EVERY SINGLE POSTAL WORKER IN THE UK NEEDS TO SEE THIS – STAND BY YOUR UNION

Royal Mail USO/Executive Action

This LTB is to update Branches, Representatives and members on the union’s response to the announcement made yesterday by Royal Mail Group regarding the company’s executive decision to suspend Saturday letter deliveries and to impose un-agreed changes to the current operational network and agreed duty structures.

By their actions Royal Mail has derecognised the union and disrespected our members and the customers we serve. They are refusing to adhere to any of our agreements, be they at local or national level.

It is quite clear that this current managerial leadership has no moral compass and has dragged standards of behaviour and industrial relations to an all-time low. Our members have lost full confidence and trust in these people and this planned national executive action is a despicable attempt to use a public health crisis to drive through long-term and highly damaging change.

The changes they advocate go to the very heart of our dispute and our ability to protect the 6 day USO, our members’ jobs and this great public service. We stepped back from our dispute to do the right thing for our nation during this pandemic and Royal Mail Group agreed to do the same but they are now breaking that agreement.

The timing of their action was also in our opinion deliberately planned to coincide with the CWU National Postal Workers day, so when the rest of the nation, including politicians from all parties, were showing their gratitude for our members and this excellent public service, RMG were rewarding them for their efforts with this highly damaging imposition and the very real potential of 20,000 job losses.

Against this backdrop the Postal Executive, following consultation with our Senior Field Officials earlier today, has agreed the following political and industrial response:

🛑 The union will explore with immediate effect and where possible utilise all legal options available to mount a legal challenge against the actions of the company, including if possible a challenge on the reduction of the USO being an unlawful act.

🛑 In line with the relevant legislation it is the union’s intention to draw up the appropriate notices to send to Royal Mail within the legal timeframe that will result in us calling upon our members in Royal Mail to take industrial action in line with the ballot result we announced on 17th March 2020.

🛑 With immediate effect Representatives and members should not cooperate or give any local agreement to any deployment of management’s plan.

🛑 In defiance of the company’s unilateral action, all members should continue to adhere to their currently agreed duty/attendance arrangements.

🛑 The union will issue further guidance on all aspects of H&S standards and compliance with HMG guidance relating to social distancing/PPE within the workplace, the legal obligations of the employer to comply with them as well as the legal requirement for the employer to consult the recognised Trade Union on changes in the workplace which have health and safety implications.

🛑 The DGS(P) Department in conjunction with the General Secretary, Postal National Officers and the Head of Communications will develop a high profile communications strategy, including as a priority an individual letter to all postal members that sets out and exposes in detail the actions of the company and reaffirms the CWU commitment to defend its members, their terms and conditions and the public postal service. The union via the office of the General Secretary will continue to explore all political avenues in challenging Ofcom and the Government.

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.

Firefighters win back pensions in blow to government

Over 6,000 firefighters are entitled to return to their pre-2015 pension schemes, an employment tribunal declared today, in a landmark victory for the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) with implications across the public sector. This comes after the Court of Appeal ruled last December that the government’s attacks on firefighter pensions constituted unlawful age discrimination.

The claimants, members of the 1992 and 2006 firefighters’ pension schemes, are now entitled to be treated as if they have remained members of their original pension scheme, with benefits including a retirement age of between 50 and 55.

In July, the government admitted it had spent £495,000 on legal costs fighting to maintain discriminatory pensions, while the total annual cost of applying the ruling across the public sector could be up to £4 billion.

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said:

“Last Christmas, we gave firefighters the gift of a victory in the courts. This year, firefighters can celebrate knowing that their union has secured their rightful retirement – a gift borne of solidarity that proves what unions can achieve.

“The law has now changed and our FBU claimants will be entitled to return to their previous pension schemes. Legislation will need to be amended, but there can be no delay in implementing this remedy. Firefighters were robbed, and they must now be repaid.

“To the new Tory government, let me be clear. We fought tooth and nail against your attacks on our pensions and won. If you dare to try to pay for these changes by raiding the pensions of current or future firefighters, we will come for you again – and we will win.”

In 2015, the Tory-Lib Dem government imposed a series of detrimental changes to firefighter pensions, which included a built-in “transitional protection” which kept older firefighters on better pension schemes while younger members were moved onto a new, worse pension scheme, which included a requirement to work until aged 60.

In December 2018, the Court of Appeal ruled that this transitional protection arrangement constituted age discrimination and was therefore unlawful. The government then attempted an appeal to the Supreme Court which was denied in June 2019, ending their legal challenge. They have since confirmed that the ruling will be applied across all public sector pensions.

Today’s decision is an interim declaration which will cover immediate cases, such as those who have taken ill-health retirement, with a final declaration in July. It will apply to firefighters who joined the fire and rescue service before 1 April 2012.

The declaration follows similar judgements for judges, police, and Ministry of Defence police. The FBU is the only organisation that has fought on behalf of firefighters and launched over 6,000 employment tribunal cases, organised dozens of periods of industrial action, and sent hundreds of firefighters to lobby parliament against the changes.

The FBU will now pursue compensation for injury to feelings and compensation for financial losses for claimants who lost money due to the changes.

Any FBU member who was a member of the fire and rescue service before 1 April 2012 who is not currently a claimant will be able to register as a claimant shortly, with details and frequently asked questions to be addressed in an all members circular.

TUC Conferences for 2020

Women’s Conference:                                    4-6 March

Young Workers Conference:                          21-22 March

Black Workers Conference:                            25-26 April

Disabled Workers Conference:                       21-22 May (Bournemouth)

Trades Council Conference:                           13-14 June (Leicester)

LGBT+ Conference:                                        25-26 June

FBU response to Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 report

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary:

“The Inquiry’s interim report must finally be a turning point for fire safety in the UK. Warning after warning from previous fires were ignored; central government must now take responsibility for ensuring that recommendations are applied nationwide, not just in London; this has never simply been a matter for the London Fire Brigade. That change can only be achieved by establishing a new, credible and accountable body responsible for fire and rescue service policy in the UK.

“Firefighters stand in solidarity with the bereaved, survivors and residents and share their grief for the lives lost that night. They have an absolute right to ask difficult questions. However, we have said from the start that the order of issues to be investigated has been entirely wrong. The Inquiry’s structure prioritises scrutiny of firefighters, who did everything that they could to save lives, over investigating the critical issues of public safety that led to the fire and caused it to spread in such a disastrous manner.

“Before any firefighter arrived that night, Grenfell Tower was a death trap. Firefighters that night acted bravely in impossible circumstances, many of them repeatedly risking their own lives to save others. We welcome that this is reflected in the Inquiry’s report.

“Firefighters and control room staff are, as with any profession, only able to operate within their training and procedures. It is clear that no one had planned or prepared for an incident like Grenfell. The planning by fire service policy makers did not take account of a fire where compartmentation failed on such a scale.

“It’s disgraceful that over two years since the fire and there has been no major review or assessment of the Stay Put policy. This could have been done within months of the fire and we have raised this with government ministers on numerous occasions. Concerns about stay put policy were raised with central government years before Grenfell, the government must stop dragging its heels and recognise the urgent need to act.

“There was no other evacuation policy available to firefighters on the night, the report rightly recognises this. Those on the ground believed that a whole-scale evacuation would have been unsafe, potentially causing further fatalities.

“We strongly refute the report’s assertion that it would have been possible or safe to evacuate more than 150 people via a narrow smoke-logged stairwell with just 30 firefighters. There is no evidence to suggest that this was possible. It is particularly alarming that the Inquiry failed on this issue to seek the advice of its own expert advisor on firefighting matters. There is therefore currently no way of knowing if evacuation could have saved more lives.

“We are disappointed that the report makes no reference to the vast additional resources needed to implement its recommendations. It’s time for government to provide national leadership, to properly fund and coordinate fire and rescue services and ensure these urgent matters of public safety are addressed.

“The true culprits of the fire are those who wrapped the building in flammable cladding, who gutted the UK’s fire safety regime, who ignored the warnings from previous fires, and who did not hear the pleas of a community worried for their safety. We will be watching phase two of the Inquiry closely to ensure they are held to account. But we cannot wait for years for the Inquiry to conclude. Change is needed now.”

CWU reacts to High Court Judgement

The CWU is extremely disappointed at the ruling and we have no doubt our members and representatives will feel the same way. Following 18 months of negotiations, including external mediation, the company’s actions are nothing more than a desperate delaying tactic from a board who are increasingly out of touch with the views of its workforce.

Legal proceedings and Royal Mail’s court room politics will not solve the company’s problems. The union has nothing to fear from mediation and unless there is significant movement from the company on a range of issues and a satisfactory agreement is concluded, the union will be calling further strike action once the mediation process has been completed. Furthermore, we will not allow Royal Mail to string out the process beyond the minimum required period.

CWU General Secretary Dave Ward said “The company are deluded if they believe their court room politics will resolve this dispute. Instead the company’s actions will have the complete opposite effect. Postal Workers’ attitude towards the company will harden and it makes us more determined than ever to defend our members pensions, jobs, service and achieve our objectives.”

“Unless the company significantly shifts its position on a range of issues and we can quickly conclude a good agreement for our members then strike action is inevitable. “

“We walked into the court today with a massive 90% yes vote for strike action – we walked out of the court today with a massive 90% vote for strike action. We want an agreement and will comply with the injunction to undertake further external mediation. But sooner rather than later Royal Mail Group will have to confront the harsh reality that they are completely out of touch with the views of its workforce.“

CWU Deputy General Secretary Terry Pullinger said “We saw today that Royal Mail Group would rather spend time, money and resources playing politics than engaging with this union to reach an agreement. Our members are square behind the CWU and from this moment we are putting Royal Mail on notice of further action should the mediation fail. Let me be clear – we will not stand by and see this once great institution run into the ground. Our members will stand up and save it by whatever means are necessary.”

“We will use the mediation process to seek an agreement but also to galvanise support amongst our members and the public. Be in no doubt though, if Royal Mail Group are not serious about reaching an agreement we will not hesitate to call strike action immediately after the mediation period closes.”

TUC LESE regional Trades Council briefing

Saturday 16 November 2019, 11-4pm, TUC Congress House, WC1B 4LS

Our 2019 regional trades council event will include an opening address by Simon Weller, ASLEF Deputy General Secretary and TUC general council member of the national Trades Council Joint Consultative Committee.

Discussion on the national trades council programme with our TUCJCC representatives Tommy Anderson (London and South East) and Andrew Coburn (East of England).

Sessions focused on trades council and union campaigning on; Housing, combating the far-right and Universal Credit.

The day will be a chance to meet and talk with colleagues from trades councils across our region.

Trades councils are welcome to send as many representatives as you like, but where requested we will meet travel expenses (by public transport) for two people from each registered trades council, less the first £5 per person. Please register with Joanne Williams Jowilliams@tuc.org.uk 020 7467 1218.

Please note in the event of a general election being called this event will be postponed if it falls within the campaign period.

Barnet TUC MEETING SEPTEMBER 12TH

We are meeting at the Greek Cypriot Brotherhood, Britannia Road Fincley, 7pm as usual.

07:00 PM 1 Attendance and apologies
07:05 PM 2 Review minutes of 2018 AGM
07:10 PM 3 Matters Arising from the Minutes
07:15 PM 4 Barnet Stand Up to Racism Launch
07:30 PM 5 Launch of Barnet Stand Up to Racism
07:45 PM 6 20th of September Climate Strike
07:55 PM 7 Proposal for End of Year Music Night
08:10 PM 8 Industrial reports
08:30 PM 9 Meeting Ends

MCSTRIKERS’ request for help

Dear friends,

Since 2017 McDonald’s workers have been organising and striking for better conditions. They are winning and have already won record pay rises and guaranteed hours. 

If McDonald’s was a country it would be the 68th biggest economy in the world, bigger than countries such as Bulgaria, Myanmar and Uruguay.  McDonald’s has enormous resources at its disposal to stop workers winning their union and a living wage of £15 an hour. Despite McDonald’s efforts, workers are getting organised, but financial instability and chaotic lives caused by low pay and insecure work make meetings of workers hard to bring together. 

Workers need your help!

The BFAWU are looking for volunteer drivers to help bring workers together so they can meet and build their strength.

  • Can you help?
  • Do you have access to a car, and some free time?

This is a great opportunity to be involved and support the McStrike. You will meet brave workers standing up and improving work for everyone,

Cost of petrol covered and food and drink provided for all volunteers

Please get in touch here: https://fastfoodrights.wordpress.com/drivers

Thanks, the McStrike [BFAWU]

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