The Future of Working Time: Organising and Strategy

OPEN INVITE              

The Future of Working Time: Organising and Strategy                        

Tuesday 7 May 2019                       

14:00 – 17:00                   

TUC Congress House

(Please Register – Eventbrite)

·     Join NEF and TUC on Tuesday 7 May from 2pm, for a participatory session on organising and campaigning around working time. Hear from experienced organisers and build strategy around:

–     Winning control over working hours: how do we organise against precarious and insecure forms of work?

–     Winning a shorter working week: why should we demand it and how do we get there?

·     This event is open to anyone who wants to develop their knowledge of these issues and build power in the workplace. We know the best ideas will come from the ground up, so come prepared to listen and share your experiences and ideas with others.

·     Full events details and registration HERE

·      For additional information, Kate Bell writes why trade unions are calling for a four-day week.

Jeremy Corbyn: The people need an election

The Brexit deal Theresa May has negotiated is a bad deal and Labour will vote against it next week.

If the government can’t pass its most important legislation then there must be a general election.

The real divide in our country is not between those who voted to remain in the EU and those who voted to leave. It’s between the many – who do the work, create the wealth and pay taxes – and the few – who set the rules, reap the rewards and so often dodge taxes.

I put it like this: if you’re living in Tottenham, you may well have voted to remain. You’ve got high bills, rising debts, you’re in insecure work, you struggle to make your wages stretch, you may be on Universal Credit and forced to use a food bank. You’re up against it.

If you’re living in Mansfield, you’re likely to have voted to leave. You’ve got high bills, rising debts, you’re in insecure work, you struggle to make your wages stretch, you may be on Universal Credit and forced to use a food bank. You’re up against it.

But you’re not against each other.

Only Labour can bring people together based on their common interests. Whether they voted to leave or remain, people know that the system isn’t working for them.

Because it’s a system rigged against the many, to protect the interests of the few – that’s the real cause of inequality and insecurity in Tottenham, Mansfield and across the country.

That’s why an election is so urgent – and why we must win it. And what will make the difference? Your campaigning and your energy.

So in a speech today in Wakefield, I sent the prime minister a message: if you’re so confident in your deal, call the election, and let the people decide.

But if you don’t, Labour will table a motion of no confidence in the government, at the moment when we judge it has the best chance of success.

If we can’t get an election, then we’ll keep all options on the table, including campaigning for a public vote, as our members decided at Conference last September.

But an election is the best outcome because it enables us to tackle the Tories’ cuts to public services, their awful Universal Credit, rising homelessness, and all the other issues that are damaging our communities.

Together, we have the chance to transform our country for the many, not the few.

Jetpacks, Robots and the Radical Politics of Technology

A day workshop – 11:00-16:30 Sunday 27 January 2019, The Common House. Unit 5E, 5 Punderson’s Gardens, London E2 9QG

Technology appears as either promise or threat – the rise of the robots means either a fully automated luxury future without work, or basically the Terminator film franchise. Where the left was dominated by a pessimistic vision of technology in the not too distant past, the current moment is one full of visions of life after work as technology does all the toil and, to top it off, solves climate change without us having to change anything else. In both visions, technology is this thing out there, separate from us; either a machine to enslave us or one to liberate us.

But is this all there is to a radical politics of technology? How else can we understand the world and the complex of machines, algorithms and technologies we live with and through?

It is vital that we free our imaginations from the grip of capitalist realism (the idea that capitalism is the only option for organising society), and picture possible future worlds and the role that technology will play in them. But we must also keep our imagined worlds grounded in social and economic realities Not forgetting, for example, that we are living on a planet with limited natural resources, or that we have to consider how to make our imagined futures real.

At this one-day workshop of facilitated discussions we will explore some areas within the radical politics of technology: ways of understanding technology in the context of the labour process; how technology relates to ecological concerns; how it has been shaped by the social and economic relationships of capitalism and other hierarchical societies; and how we can shape it in future.

We will continue a discussion begun at an earlier event, Techno-Fantasies and Eco-Realities [https://www.weareplanc.org/blog/techno-fantasies-and-eco-realities/] – although if you missed that one, don’t worry, this one will have a stand-alone agenda. We intend to get down to specifics, with sessions on particular types of technology, some historical examples and some key debates within the politics of technology.

Prosperity and justice: A plan for the new economy

The IPPR Commission on Economic Justice is a landmark initiative to
rethink economic policy for post-Brexit Britain

The IPPR Commission on Economic Justice was established in autumn 2016 in the wake of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union. The purpose of the Commission was broadly conceived: to examine the challenges facing the UK economy and to make recommendations for its reform.

The members of the Commission come from all walks of life and different political viewpoints. They voted on different sides of the EU referendum, and the Commission is independent of all political parties.

The Commission’s Interim Report was published in September 2017, setting out our analysis of the condition of the economy and the causes of its weak performance. The Commission has also published 17 discussion and policy papers to inform its work and to stimulate public debate. These papers provide more detail on the analysis and proposals made in this report. The Interim Report and full set of papers are available at here.

Given the breadth of Commissioners, we have reached a remarkable degree of agreement, which we hope can be reflected in a wider national consensus about a new direction for the UK economy. Our proposals are deliberately ambitious. Taken together, we believe they offer the potential for the most significant change in economic policy in a generation. We hope that this report can spark a national conversation on why we need a change of direction, and what that direction should be.

Co-Operative Party – Community Energy: Repowering London

Barnet Co-op Party Branch Meeting

Next Meeting 5th December 2018 at 8pm

Chipping Barnet Labour Party Offices, 104 East Barnet Road, EN4 8RE

Barnet Co-operative Party is hosting a talk by community energy specialist Dr Afsheen Rashid. Afsheen is the CEO of Repowering London . A former Senior Policy Advisor at the Department of Energy and Climate Change and current Chair of Community Energy England, Afsheen is a leading figure in the field of community energy generation and was awarded an MBE in the 2016 New Year’s Honours List for her work in renewable energy in deprived London communities. In her talk, Dr Raschid will talk about the community-owned solar energy project on the Banister House Estate in Hackney.

Banister House Solar

Banister House Solar is the first community owned solar energy project in Hackney as well as the UK’s largest community energy project on social housing. Hackney Council commissioned Repowering London to develop this project in January 2014. Repowering London has worked to develop this project alongside residents of the Banister House Estate and local energy advocacy group Hackney Energy. The project development has been funded and supported by Hackney Council.

On the 3rd of October 2015 Banister House Solar went live, generating renewable, community-owned electricity for the Banister House Estate and its residents.

Key Achievements 

Social

  • The co-operative was established with 4 local directors from Banister House Estate.
  • 25 local young people were engaged in the 30 week paid internship programme.
  • 6 local young people benefitted from paid work experience installing solar panels on their estate. 

Environmental

  • In total 102 kWp of solar array has been installed on the estate.
  • Over the project’s 20-year lifetime, 679 tonnes of CO2 will be prevented from entering the atmosphere.
  • Since it went live, Banister House Solar has generated 92,385 kWh of clean renewable electricity (November 2016). This is roughly equivalent to the electricity usage of 38 average Banister flats for a full year.
  • This means that Banister House Solar has saved around 42 tonnes of C02 from entering the atmosphere since its launch.

Financial 

  • £149,000 of capital funds were raised through a community share offer to fund the project

£20,000 will be generated for the Community Fund. The following areas were selected by the community to benefit from the fund:

  • Energy efficiency measures for the Banister House homes
  • Opportunities for young people living in Banister House
  • Community activities on the estate 
  • Hackney Council will benefit from a potential savings of £20,000 in energy costs over the lifetime of the project 

CND Trade Unions: Trident and Jobs

Trident’s replacement will cost at least £205 billion of public money. A staggering figure, particularly when we consider the nuclear weapons system has no real military value and is useless in the face of the real threats we face today, such as terrorism, climate change and cyber-attacks and could be rendered obsolete by new technology. But many try to argue that this investment is worth it because of the jobs the nuclear weapon system sustains.

People’s livelihoods matter. But an objective appraisal of the jobs associated with Trident, Britain’s nuclear weapons system, and its replacement will demonstrate that these are among the most costly jobs ever created. By simply re-directing a proportion of the money allocated to the Trident replacement programme to other industries, it would be possible to create many more, highly specialised and well-paid jobs. This transition programme would directly benefit those currently working on Britain’s nuclear weapons. Society as a whole would benefit from the shift to more productive jobs. And of course, humanity as a whole would benefit from the reduction in the numbers of weapons of mass destruction.

 

Read report here: Trident-and-Jobs

Report from A New Lucas Plan Workshop

Attendees at the Trades Council conference workshop hosted by The New Lucas Plan group heard introductions from John Routley former Lucas Shop Stewards Combine and Steve Schofield researcher for Lessnet (The Local Economic Sustainability and Security Network) and author of Oceans of Work: Arms Conversion revisited. Discussion centred on the original Lucas plan and its relevance for today. By the end there was agreement that with long term planning and investment, particularly in High-Tec growth areas like wind and marine energy, the creation of alternative, sustainable, socially-useful, high skill, high value employment was possible and desirable but only achievable by a Government prepared to invest time, money, with sustained political will and a Labour Leadership that reflects our values-as we now have!

However, success was only possible if there was engagement with defence workers and their Unions and representatives at the very start and heart of the process. They are the ones to identify their needs, capacity and to initiate ideas for the drawing up of practical arms conversion plans whilst protecting skilled employment and pay levels, in the same way that Lucas Aerospace workers did over 40 years ago. It was felt given the sensitivities around this issue Trades Union Council’s, based in their local communities, were well placed to initiate, and develop those discussions locally.

You can see John and Steve’s introductory workshop speeches on https://www.facebook.com/greatermanchester.cnd/videos/804404266416772/.

Following on the film THE PLAN – that came from the bottom up tells the story of those pioneering Lucas workers and the ideas that were the motivation for the Arms Conversion/Defence Diversification motion passed at the TUC Congress in 2017.

Frances O’Grady has written this about the film “Throughout the union movement’s 150-year history, our cause has been to make working lives better. But there are times when we have gone further, we have challenged the very nature and the purpose of the work that we do. The Lucas Plan was created during one of those times. It holds out hope that production can be transformed to create a fairer, greener world. And it is testimony to the wealth of genius to be found on the shop floor. This will be a must-see film for every trade unionist – please support it.”. You can do so by donating through crowdfunding using this link https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-plan-community/x/11054043#/ or get more information via http://www.theplandocumentary.com

Of course, a key means in developing any industrial strategy would be the National Investment Bank proposed by John McDonell who has stated that such a bank could support the development of diversification plans in the local economies of areas heavily dependent on the defence industry, in consultation with local Unions and businesses.

In addition, a shadow Defence Diversification agency would also help deliver a future Labour Government’s goals of an ethical foreign policy and secure sustainable jobs, guaranteeing as Jeremy Corbyn said in his 2015 Labour Leadership statement “A just transition for communities whose livelihoods are based in those defence sectors, so that engineering and scientific skills are not lost but transferred into more socially productive industries”.

Building on from the workshop there are a few public meetings taking place on Defence diversification/arms conversion-Labour CND AGM; Parliamentary launch of Nuclear Education Trust report; Labour CND fringe at Unite conference; Yorkshire CND meeting with Fabian Hamilton.

You can continue discussion with both Steve Schofield on steveschofield@phonecoop.coop

And John Routley through john.routley@hotmail.co.uk

Thanks Moz Greenshields workshop chair

Co-operatives Unleashed: Doubling the Size of the UK’s Co-operative Sector

The New Economics Foundation (NEF) has launched an independent report, commissioned by the Co-operative Party, which sets out an ambitious vision for our co-operative movement.

‘Co-operatives Unleashed: Doubling the Size of the UK Co-operative Sector’, calls for significant expansion in the co-operative sector, and outlines five steps that policymakers could take to achieve this aim.

Read more and help us spread the word using the links below:

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