Internationalism & the Crisis – Building a world of co-operation, ending debt, sanctions & war

Friday May 1, 3pm, online event – register here // retweet here to spread the word // RSVP+share+invite here.

Jeremy Corbyn MP, Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP and Lindsey German of the Stop the War Coalition will be joined by international guests for this event, which is part of a number of special events on May Day.

Hosted by Arise – A Festival of Labour’s Left Ideas – contact arisefestival@yahoo.com for more information.

SOLIDARITY WITH PALESTINIAN WORKERS

Palestinian workers are facing the constant pressures of living and working under the Israeli military control of the occupation and siege.

Covid-19 is presenting them with a new set of deadly challenges. This includes Israel’s almost complete closing off of the West Bank, affecting the survival of the 70,000 West Bank Palestinians who work in Israel.

Join us to hear how the current global health crisis is affecting Palestinian workers, and what we can do in solidarity, for justice and equality.

Register here for Palestinian workers webinar

SPEAKERS:
Samia Al-Botmeh, Assistant Professor in Labour Economics and the Dean of the Faculty of Business and Economics at Birzeit University in Palestine
Abed Dari, Field Coordinator, Palestinian Workers Department, Kav LaOved – Worker’s Hotline
Mariela Kohon, Senior International Officer TUC

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for workers and residents in Barnet

Survey of key workers living or working in Barnet

This is a short survey being carried out by the Chipping Barnet Labour Party to find out about the availability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for key workers who live or work in Barnet.   The survey involves a maximum of 5 short questions and should take no more than 2 or 3 minutes of your time. All responses are completely anonymous. Your answers will help us to understand more about which workers do or do not have the PPE required for them to work safely. 
We know how very busy you all are so thank you for your help.   

Take survey.

all Unite London bus members

We are all grieving the loss of so many workers in the bus industry in London.

Colleagues with families and friends, who were simply coming to work to carry out the critical role of keeping London moving during this time of crisis. Behind each statistic, lies a human tragedy.

As a mark of all of our respect, we are calling on all London bus workers to stop work and take a minute’s silence at 11am, Friday 17 April 2020 so we can all reflect on the terrible loss of our friends and colleagues.

Unite has worked tirelessly to maximise protection and minimise risk since this terrible virus took hold just a few short weeks ago. And we will continue to explore all avenues. We now have

  • hand sanitiser for all drivers
  • additional sealing of assault screens
  • seats sealed off behind drivers’ cabs
  • enhanced anti-viral cleaning of cabs and touch-points.

But we cannot and will not stop there.

We are demanding that front doors are closed off, the area behind the cab sealed off and boarding should take place on central (and rear) doors only.

A trial has already started on this and positive discussions continue with the Mayor and TfL to roll this out across the fleet. We will apply maximum pressure on this issue.

We are also demanding that TfL ensures that all companies are complying with the various measures introduced, especially the cleaning regime.

The issue of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is being constantly reviewed. We are not scientists, but all the evidence points to the use of gloves for those driving buses as offering little or no protection whatsoever. A gloved hand will still have contact with surfaces and then potentially your face.

However, Unite is demanding that the government oversees a national effort to produce and procure sufficient supplies of PPE for all front-line workers. The official advice from both the World Health Organisation and Public Health England points to masks not affording protection for those outside of clinical settings. However, we understand that many drivers and others will feel safer with a mask and we continue to explore this.

We have also begun discussions with TfL and the Mayor about the option of insisting that all those travelling on buses should cover their faces to reduce the possibility of spreading infection.

Finally, Unite has insisted that Reps are stood down in every garage, in order that they can inspect and monitor the various measures that we have managed to introduce. It is vital that if you have any concerns about the cleanliness of your bus, the fitness of the additional sealing of assault screens or any other safety issue, that you raise these directly with your Unite garage representative who will advise you and raise your concerns with the management or seek further advice as necessary from the Unite convenor or officer.

We understand that there is great anxiety among bus workers – across London and throughout the country – and Unite will continue to explore all options, pressure employers and TfL and the national government to introduce all measures to protect your safety.

Unite: Government must act immediately as construction sites face health emergency due to coronavirus crisis

Unite, the UK’s construction industry, has warned in the strongest possible terms that construction workers and their families are facing a public health emergency as the government has failed to ensure their safety at work.

Site safety

Unite believes that alongside urgent contingencies to enforce safety on sites, the government must introduce immediate measures to ensure that the self-employed (which comprises over 50 per cent of the construction industry) are covered by its wage assistance scheme, to the equivalent already announced for employees.

Health emergency

Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “There is an immediate public health emergency on construction sites, due to a lack of social distancing.

“Construction workers are currently facing a stark choice arising from negligence. That means they risk their health, or face the prospect of job loss, hardship and hunger.

“By construction workers being compelled to work unprotected and travel, the lack of government safety coordination, is risking their health, the health of their families and the health of the general public.”

Social distancing

The policy of social distancing has collapsed on many construction sites with workers displaying pictures of overcrowded buses, queues to enter sites, packed canteens and workers working in close proximity. There are also major public health concerns about large number of construction workers travelling on the tube in London.

At the weekend Unite called on the government to extend its wage assistance scheme to cover the million plus workers who are currently paid via the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS); a stand alone tax scheme for the industry, where workers are considered to be self-employed but are taxed at source so easily identifiable by the HMRC.

Sub-contracting

The problems facing construction is made more complex as most major construction contractors employ few if any workers directly, with work being subcontracted and workers engaged by these sub-contractors and in some cases agencies.

The Department of Business Enterprise and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has established a coronavirus taskforce, but has so far failed to include a union voice on it to speak on behalf of the workers. Unite is lobbying for a seat on this body.

All construction work needs to be tightly controlled with strict risk assessments and social distance rules applied at all times.

Urgent action needed

Gail Cartmail added: “The government must announce they will take urgent action to ensure that construction sites will be safe and if not that displaced workers will have their jobs and income protected irrespective of being directly employed or self-employed

“Contractors also have a moral duty to ensure that all the workers on their sites are safe and financially protected.

“No worker should have to make a life or death decision arising from government or contractor negligence.”

‘Petrified’ Amazon workers left in ‘300 Strong Crowds’

Amazon workers are ‘petrified’ of being infected by COVID-19 after being left to work in packed warehouses, without hand sanitiser or personal protection equipment. 

People at fulfilment centres across the UK report being left in crowds of 200-300 people and having to reuse equipment multiple times with no hand sanitiser available.

Workers say water dispensers are used over and over again without being disinfected, dirty canteen tables with used tissues on them, team leaders giving feedback without staying two metres away and no sanitiser or alcohol wipes to clean equipment. 

Mick Rix, GMB National Officer, said: 

“We are so angry about this – these workers are petrified of catching and spreading COVID-19 and rightly so. 

“Amazon is blatantly disregarding the two metre social distancing rules, there are no masks, no sanitiser and with the vast amount of people working there there’s no way of keeping them from getting ill. 

“It’s impossible for Amazon workers to keep a safe distance from each other and hit their productivity targets. 

“Amazon has a duty of care – not just to its own workers but to the whole of the British public.”  

Solidarity march and rally for PCS Interserve Strikers: Wed 26 Feb from 12:15-1:30 pm Westminster

Interserve Strikers Solidarity March and Rally

Event Date: Wednesday 26 February 2020

Location: Assemble at 12:15, outside the FCO, King Charles Street London SW1A 2AH

Who is this event for: Everyone who believes in equality and public services

During the last week of a 4-week strike by Interserve workers at the Foreign and Commonwealth, show them how much you support them by joining their solidarity march and rally on the 26 February. The striking members have received incredible support for trade unions and members of the public.

·       1,600 people using the PCS e-action calling on Foreign Secretary, Domini Raab, to facilitate talks to resolve the dispute,

·       38 cross party MPs have signed EDM#125

·       PCS president Fran Heathcote, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady, John McDonnell, Jeremy Corbyn, Chris Stephens MP, chair of the PCS parliamentary group, 20 MPs,  as well as PCS, RMT and Unite reps attending a solidarity picket on the 11 February as part of the Heart Unions Week.

·       The TUC released a video about the dispute on the 18 February.

·       30 supporters attended a protest  outside Interserve HQ last Wednesday (16 February).

·       Trade unions (TUC, UNISON and Unite) and individual supporters refused to cross the picket line and attend Department for Trade and Industry events at the FCO last Monday and Thursday.

,

We encourage all trade unionists and supporters to bring their flags, banners, musical instruments, babies, dogs to march from King Charles Street to Old Palace Yard for a rally at 1 pm.

Speakers include:

·       Interserve striker

·       Shadow chancellor, John McDonnell

·       United Voices of the World striker

·       Representative of We Own It

·       Others speakers to be confirmed.

Solidarity rally for striking UCU members: Tuesday 25th Feb, 6pm Imperial Hotel

55,OOO UCU members across the UK have started 14 days of strike action this week. Our fight is to defend our pensions, pay, working conditions and to secure equal pay and end the scourge of caualisation.

The employers and the government have been taken by surprise of the scale of our resistance and our determination to win. By striking to end casualisation we are also ensuring that we our students have the education they deserve.

We know we are not alone in this fight. We all face the same insecure contracts, cuts in our wages and pensions. We0 recognise a victory for us will also be a victory for the whole of the working class movement.

We invite you to attend the London Region UCU solidarity rally. Bring donations and banners. 

Speakers include:

  • John McDonnell, shadow chancellor
  • Mark Serwotka, PCS Gen Sec
  • Jane Loftus, President CWU
  • Howard Becket, UNITE Assistant General Sec 
  • Colleen Johnson, NEU Exec
  • Lesley Kane, UCU chair of OU branch
  • Ian Hodson, President Bakers Union
  • Lowkey, rapper

Venue details: Tudor Room, Imperial Hotel, Russel Square

For more details: https://uculondonregion.wordpress.com/

Strong support for Interserve workers as month-long strike continues

The facilities management (FM) workers have been in dispute with their employer since March 2019, which has already involved 18 days of strike action over six periods in 2019. Whilst strike action has won some concessions, Interserve will not move on key issues such as union recognition and a buy-out on contractual pay date changes.  This has led to this latest period of strike action which is due to continue for the whole of February.

Despite the cold weather the striking workers were out in force on the picket line this morning where they welcomed many visitors who came to show their support.

PCS president Fran Heathcote, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady, John McDonnell, Jeremy Corbyn and at least 18 other MPs representing constituencies from across England and Scotland attended.  Many London based PCS reps also came along to show their solidarity.

Inspiring

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka accused Interserve of “gerrymandering,” the recognition process which means no agreement can be reached.

He said: “Our members are taking on an aggressive employer that has done everything it can to thwart a just settlement to this dispute.

“Instead of negotiating properly, they have been accused of threatening our reps who have a mandate and are lawfully encouraging people to go on strike.”

He added that the staff were leading an “inspiring campaign” alongside other contracted out workers and urged the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to settle the dispute between the union and Interserve.

“We call upon the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to intervene in this dispute and for the government to put an end to contracting out of services within departments by bringing them back in house,” he said.

How you can help

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