Call for a public boycott of London leisure centres as Bromley library workers dispute escalates

Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, has called for a London-wide boycott by the public of leisure centres run by social enterprise leisure services’ giant Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL).

Unite said the boycott call of GLL’s money-spinning leisure centres across the capital would support the 50 Bromley library staff who have been on strike since 6 June over pay and other issues specifically relating to GLL’s stewardship of Bromley’s 14 libraries.

The boycott will be launched on Friday (28 June) when Unite members will stage protests at three GLL venues in Woolwich. GLL has contracts with 16 London boroughs to run leisure centres and/or libraries.

The union is aiming its boycott campaign at potential new members that the GLL sales force wants to sign up for gym membership and fitness classes, as well as one-off users. It is not aimed at those with pre-paid membership plans.

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “The call for the London-wide boycott of GLL leisure centres is aimed at putting pressure where it hurts – in the company’s coffers – to achieve a resolution of the Bromley library dispute.
 
“We argue that every penny that goes to GLL, generated by its money-spinning activities at its leisure centres, helps it to win further library contracts which then results in a serious erosion of library services for both users and staff.

“Our Bromley library members have been on continuous strike since 6 June and have received fantastic support from the public who are refusing to enter the libraries in a great show of support.”
 
The Bromley dispute relates to GLL bosses not filling vacant posts; asking staff to be managers without paying the proper rate for the job; and failing to pay wages owed.
 
Unite is seeking a six per cent increase in basic pay from April 2019 for its hundreds of  members working for GLL in more than 140  leisure centres and libraries in 16 London boroughs, as well as in Belfast.
 
The London boroughs with GLL contracts are: Barnet, Bromley, Camden, Croydon, Ealing, Greenwich, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham, Hillingdon, Lambeth, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Merton, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest and Wandsworth.
 
ENDS

Notes to editors:

Diary of upcoming protest events organised by Unite

Friday 28 June
10.00 – Headquarters building. Middlegate House, The Royal Arsenal, Woolwich SE18  6SX
11.00 – Waterfront leisure centre, Woolwich High Street,  London SE18 6DL
12.00 – Woolwich library, Calderwood Street, London SE18 6QZ

Friday 5 July
Demonstration at 10.00 – Charlton Lido, Hornfair Park, Shooters Hill Road, SE18 4LX. The lido is a GLL showpiece venue.

Last year, Unite staged a campaign to make GLL pay the London Living Wage (LLW) to those aged 18-to-20 on a number of its contracts in the capital.

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on:  020 3371 2065 Email: shaun.noble@unitetheunion.org

We’re calling for an end to harassment at work. Please support our petition

Sexual harassment has no place anywhere in the UK. But it’s still happening every day in our workplaces.

Our laws rely on individuals reporting harassment to get action taken but this is not working. Four out of five don’t feel able to report sexual harassment to their employer.

We need a new law to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace before it happens.

We’ve launched a petition calling for immediate action. For government and MPs to take notice, we need thousands of people to add their name. 

Can you add your name and demand action?

Sign the Petition
1 in 2 women have been sexually harassed at work and 4 out of 5 of them don’t feel able to tell their employer. 2 in 3 LGBT workers have experienced sexual harassment too.

Just like health and safety rules protect us from physical dangers at work, employers needsimple rules to protect us from harassment, whether it comes from a colleague, client orcustomer.

We’re demanding a new, easily enforceable legal duty. It would require employers to take all reasonable steps to protect workers from sexual harassment and victimisation.
 
It’s a simple step that could stop harassment in many cases before it starts.

Join the call for the government to take immediate action. #ThisIsNotWorking.

New alliance calls on government to make employers prevent sexual harassment

‘This Is Not Working’ is an alliance of more than 20 unions, charities and women’s rights organisations – It has launched a petition calling for a new law to make employers prevent sexual harassment in their workplaces

The TUC, women’s rights organisations and charities have today (Wednesday) launched a joint campaign calling on the government to introduce a new law to make employers responsible for protecting their staff from sexual harassment at work.

TUC research found that more than half (52%) of women – and nearly seven out of ten LGBT people – have experienced sexual harassment at work.

But under current law there is no legal duty on employers to take proactive action to prevent harassment happening in their workplaces. Instead, the onus is on the victim of the sexual harassment to report it to their employer after it has happened.

Four out of five (79%) women who have been sexually harassed at work do not feel able to report it to their employer – meaning harassment continues unchecked in workplaces across the UK.

With the government set to launch its consultation on tackling sexual harassment soon, the TUC alliance – backed by organisations including the Fawcett Society, Action Aid, Amnesty and Time’s Up – wants to see the law changed so employers have a legal duty to take preventative measures to ensure their workplaces are harassment-free.

The new duty would be supported by a code of practice, explaining exactly what steps bosses need to take to prevent sexual harassment – such as carrying out mandatory training for staff and managers, and having clear policies.

This simple step would make a huge difference practically, says the alliance. It would mean that the burden of dealing with sexual harassment would be shifted from individuals to employers.

This would change workplace cultures and help end the problem once and for all.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “It’s shocking that in 2019 so many people experience sexual harassment and assault while at work.

“The government must strengthen the law to put responsibility for preventing harassment on employers.

“This would shift the burden of tackling sexual harassment away from individuals. And it would help end toxic workplace cultures that silence those who’ve been harassed.

“We’re calling on everyone who want to stop sexual harassment at work to join us and call on ministers to take action.”

Reinstate #Las9delCondestable!

Nine housekeepers at the Hotel Condestable Iranzo in Jaén (Andalusia) were dismissed in May while organizing a union and demanding the application of the collective agreement for the hospitality sector in the province. The CC.OO Services Federation is fighting for their reinstatement as unions challenge the massive growth of outsourcing which is impoverishing hotel staff.

You can support their struggle by signing the online petition initiated by the union here.

Reinstate David Muritu (UCU)

David is UCU Branch Secretary, Sandwell College.
He was summarily dismissed for writing the word “racist” on a Prevent poster.

David was a member of our NATFHE branch at Harrow College when I was Branch Secretary.
He’s a committed trade unionist and hard-working Maths lecturer.

He has support from UCU and Angela Rayner (see link below) and please circulate.

https://speakout.web.ucu.org.uk/reinstate-david-muritu/

SOAS UNISON – Deportations 10th Anniversary Commemoration Events

Wednesday 12 June 2019 marks the 10th anniversary of the arrest and subsequent deportation SOAS cleaners (and UNISON members).

The cleaners, working at the time for the outsourced company ISS, were called in for an early morning staff meeting in the G2 Lecture Theatre (now the DLT).

The meeting was actually a cover for a UK Border Agency raid. 

9 SOAS cleaners were handcuffed in the lecture theatre and subsequently deported by UKBA.

The deportation of the SOAS 9 by the UK state was done at the behest of the private company with the full knowledge and complicity of the SOAS Management.

The real reason these workers were targeted like this was that they stood up and had begun to organise to improve their working lives.

Please join us in attending the annual commemoration events below on what will be the 10th anniversary of this crime and please take a few minutes to watch the attached trailer for the ‘Limpiadores’ documentary (the full film will be shown as part of the commemorative events organised by the SOAS Justice for Workers campaign)

Employers not doing enough to keep pregnant women safe at work, TUC and Maternity Action warn

The TUC and Maternity Action have today (Wednesday) warned that employers are not doing enough to protect pregnant women at work.

  • New guidance published to protect new and expectant mothers 

The TUC and Maternity Action have today (Wednesday) warned that employers are not doing enough to protect pregnant women at work. 

The organisations have published new guidance which details steps bosses should be taking to keep female staff safe during and after pregnancy.  

The new guide says there are clear laws in place to protect new and expectant mothers. But warns that many bosses don’t know what they should be doing or are ignoring their legal responsibilities.  

A recent survey by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) found that two in five (41%) expectant mothers felt that there was a risk to their health or welfare at work during pregnancy.  

 
The guide highlights the risks new and expectant mothers face. These include:  

  • Irregular and long working hours: Working irregular hours such as night shifts can change circadian rhythms which regulate pregnancy hormones. And shift work and long working hours have been linked to miscarriages, and preterm births.   
  • Travelling: Pregnant women may have an increased need to use the toilet which can cause problems for bus, freight and train drivers. There can also be a higher risk of musculoskeletal problems such as back pain during pregnancy which can be made worse by driving or sitting in a train, car or plane for long periods.  
  • Stress: Constant stress in pregnancy can be damaging. Stress has been linked to poorer pregnancy health and possible developmental problems in babies.   
  • Heat: During pregnancy, the body has to work harder to cool down both the woman’s body and that of the unborn baby, so a pregnant worker is more likely to get heat exhaustion or heat stroke. And pregnant women are also more likely to become dehydrated.  

 
The guide suggests ways bosses can keep their pregnant staff safe including: 

  • making workstations like desks and checkouts more comfortable 
  • changing workload or hours to reduce stress  
  • varying starting and finishing times to make commuting easier  
  • agreeing an increase in breaks to visit the toilet and drink more fluids.  

 
The guide also sets out what employers need to do when a new mum returns to work, and how bosses can support their female staff with breastfeeding and expressing milk.  

 
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Pregnancy can be a stressful enough time for any woman without them having to worry about dangers at work as well.  

 
“Bosses need to do far more to ensure expectant or new mums are safe at work. Too many are ignoring their legal duty to remove risks from the workplace.  

 
“I’d advise every pregnant woman or new mum to join a union. Workplaces that recognise unions are safer and have better policies in place to protect all their staff.”  

Rosalind Bragg, Director of Maternity Action, said: “We know from the women that call our advice line that too many employers are failing to take the health and safety of pregnant and breastfeeding women in the workplace seriously. 

“As a result, we know that many women end up having to choose between risking their own health or that of their baby, going off sick, or leaving their job altogether. 

“Union reps have an important role in holding employers to account and ensuring that pregnant women are protected from workplace hazards.”  Editors note

- Pregnancy and health and safety is available at: www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/PregnancyBreastfeedingHS.pdf

– The EHRC research on pregnancy discrimination is available at:  www.equalityhumanrights.com/sites/default/files/mothers_report_-_bis-16-…

– The Trades Union Congress (TUC) exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together more than 5.5 million working people who make up our 49 member unions. We support unions to grow and thrive, and we stand up for everyone who works for a living.

Capita cock-up leaves 170 Barnet council employees out of pocket

Barnet Council’s embattled Capita contract suffered a further blow at a meeting of the Council’s Audit Committee last night (1 May), when it was revealed that 170 employees were incorrectly auto-enrolled onto the pension scheme and were paid less than they should have this week.

The accident occurred due to a technical glitch with the Capita HR system, which has long been a subject of concern to the council.

Labour’s Audit lead Cllr Alison Moore said:

“This is yet another shambles by Capita. Labour members successfully pressed for an apology to be sent to the affected staff, that no staff would be out-of-pocket and that Capita would bear any additional costs, but we have no faith in Capita systems whatsoever, and – as the meeting revealed – there appear to be severe weaknesses in their ability to test those systems before they install and operate them.”

The meeting contained an embarrassing double whammy for Capita, after the external Auditor informed the committee that Capita did not provide control reports, which is standard practice for outsourced services.

Labour Councillor Kathy Levine said:

“This is appalling. Given we had a major fraud last year, it is vital the council has a proper control environment. Not doing this means external auditors rely on the over stretched and under resourced internal audit team. Management control reports for various departments are actually a contractual obligation, which is a further outrage and begs the question about what else we are paying Capita to do that they aren’t.”

May Day 2019

WEDNESDAY MAY 1st 2019

CLERKENWELL GREEN
EC1R 0DU nearest tube – Farringdon
assemble 12.00 – march leaves 13.00


Speakers include –
JOHN McDONNELL MP
REHANA AZAM – GMB NATIONAL SECRETARY PUBLIC SERVICES
UNMESH DESAI  – LONDON UNITED
INTERNATIONAL & MIGRANT WORKERS
Joint Chairs – TONY LENNON LESE & EVE TURNER GLATUC

FOR TRADE UNION RIGHTS – HUMAN RIGHTS – INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY

FIGHT AUSTERITY – FIGHT RACISM

MAY DAY – INTERNATIONAL WORKERS DAY
On the day when ordinary workers around the world celebrate their
solidarity and achievements, in our present political climate it is
important we re-assert the need for trade union rights and workers
protection. We also celebrate the real internationalism of workers
across the world facing the same big multinationals and financiers who
try to impose austerity and attack public services.
We stand with workers around the world and oppose those who seek
to divide us by skin colour or ethnic background. We win when we
stand together.


MAKE MAY 1st A PUBLIC HOLIDAY IN BRITAIN

Support the Interserve Workers Strike Fund

www.gofundme.com/1lxblf9kao?member=2082774

PCS members at beleaguered contractor Interserve, working at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, will take strike action following the company’s refusal to negotiate with the union on redundancies, contractual changes to pay dates, and attacks on holiday pay and sick pay.

The strike action will take place on 1 and 2 May and members are angry at Interserve for making workers redundant, imposing detrimental changes and refusing to negotiate with PCS reps.

Cleaners at the company have raised concerns about unclear contracts, shortages in holiday pay and the lack of back pay from increases they were due from August 2018.

Our members working for Interserve provide services including facilities management, messengers, print room, porterage and cleaning in a number of government departments.

There has been mounting concern for the finances of the company since last year. However the government accepted a bid by Interserve to run FCO services in August 2018.

Powerful message

PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka said: “This is a powerful message that our members are sending. They will not stand by while a failing company like Interserve attacks their terms and conditions and at the same time, refuses to negotiate with the union.

“Staff have told us that changes to their pay dates have left them out of pocket and struggling to make ends meet.

“The whole debacle shows that Interserve should never have been awarded the contract at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

“Ministers cannot escape their responsibility and they should have learned from the disaster at Carillion that contracting out doesn’t make sense financially.

“All these jobs at the FCO and elsewhere must be safeguarded and brought back in-house as soon as possible.”

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