DEFEND THE RIGHT TO STRIKE: STOP LEGAL ACTION AGAINST THE NEU

Dear John Biggs,

We are extremely concerned to hear that Tower Hamlets Council is taking legal action against the NEU in respect of their strike ballot to defend their members’ terms and conditions.

We are particularly disappointed, as the NEU has played a leading role in the School Cuts campaign, working with MPs and councillors all over the country to highlight the effects of government cuts on our schools.

The right to strike is fundamental in a democratic society and we are truly shocked that a Labour Council is using anti-trade union laws brought in by David Cameron’s government to try and stop this.

We note that part of your submission to the High Court is the suggestion that strike action by school staff will cause financial hardship to parents and lead to an increase in anti-social behaviour.

This has nothing to do with the legality of the NEU ballot but is a clear signal to any judge who is sympathetic to Boris Johnson’s idea that public sector workers should be banned from taking strike action.

We fully support the right of NEU members to take strike action.

We urge you to withdraw the threat of legal action and to talk to the NEU and other unions so that the dispute can be resolved.

SIGN HERE.

Thanks for your support – if you want to be kept informed of future developments please leave your email address.

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.

Britain is Broken – General Election Now!

No matter which way you voted in the original referendum, if you care about ending austerity, if you care about homelessness, if you want to see rail and other privatised utilities taken back into public ownership, then a general election is the only way that this can be done. In short it is driving the Tories from power which is the key question for working people in Britain today.

Assemble: 12 noon outside the BBC Portland Place – Nearest Tube: Oxford Circus.

Facebook event here.

See you on the streets and don’t forget your #YellowVests
#ToriesOut
#YellowVestsAgainstAusterity

 

Unseat Bob Blackman

JOIN MOMENTUM, ASH SARKAR, OWEN JONES AND OTHERS

Harrow East’s Tory MP Bob Blackman is a right-wing extremist. He opposed equal marriage, called for the reintroduction of the anti-gay Section 28, has retweeted anti-Muslim hatred and a post by fascist leader Tommy Robinson, as well as backing the bedroom tax, austerity, cuts to taxes on the rich, trebling tuition fees, privatisation and other unjust Tory policies.

Last year his majority collapsed from 4,757 to just 1,757 in the 2017 election. That was down to Jeremy Corbyn’s inspiring alternative – but it was also down to campaigning by you.

The #Unseat campaign has the Tories on the run. Thanks partly to our campaigning the local elections, Trafford Tory council was unseated, Labour won the popular vote in Wandsworth and got the best result for 22 years, Labour won 4 seats in Portsmouth, and Labour nearly matched the Tory vote in Westminster.

According to leaked messages, Iain Duncan Smith – who hammered disabled people and low-paid workers – is on the run because of #Unseat.

We can unseat Bob Blackman whenever an election is called – and get a Labour MP who champions the majority, as well as a Jeremy Corbyn-led government. Labour has a brilliant candidate – Pamela Fiztpatrick – who will fight for the many, not the few.

Never campaigned before? Great! Most haven’t, we’ll give you support and pair you up with an experienced campaigner.

Spread the word and see you then!

RENDEZ VOUS ADDRESS: The Training Academy, Harrow Civic Centre, 7 Station Road, Harrow HA1 2XY

Politics for the Many: The Trade Union Case for Electoral Reform

The trade union movement has always been at the vanguard of political change in Britain. And furthering economic equality goes hand in hand with political institutions that deepen political equality. To ignore the role of the political system (which concentrates political power in a minority of voters in a minority of seats) in driving political inequality, is to miss the potential for radical political change.
To truly shift power closer to the people on a long-term basis requires more than changing the underlying economic structures. Embedding changes in the political system would allow for a change in the very way we do politics, securing better social and political outcomes.
Politics for the Many: The Trade Union Case for Political Reform sets out the opportunities for the labour movement as a whole in uniting behind a broad platform of progressive political reform.
Key findings:
  • Proportional representation is linked to greater economic equality and democratic quality
  • The Westminster model of government has allowed for sweeping legislation, eroding trade union rights in the UK.
  • The Westminster voting system is increasingly working against the progressive
  • majority forming the next government

 

Briefing here: PFTM-Briefing-Final

Report here: The-Trade-Union-Case-for-Political-Reform-report1

Barnet Trades Union Council Statement on Local Election Results 2018

Barnet TUC notes with dismay that the Tories have won yet again in our borough, despite running a dysfunctional and discredited administration that has and will cause misery to large numbers of people. Despite broadly positive results in the rest of London and a slight vote increase since 2014, Labour did not succeed in unseating conservative councillors. Our movement now has to face four more years of serious attacks on the conditions of working class people, and we have no time to lose in organising for this.

It is shocking that this viciously rightwing administration has survived. The extreme version of public service cuts and privatisation that the Tories have pursued under a variety of glossy buzz phrases, such as “easycouncil” and “One Barnet”, have resulted in an overblown, under-bid contract with the failing outsourcing giant Capita. The threat that a Carillion-style collapse of Capita could potentially take our essential services down with them was so serious that earlier this year that a question was raised about it in Parliament. There have been myriad other stories, many of them concerning massive mismanagement by the uncaring Tories and their outsourcers, but probably the most horrific was last year’s Oftstead report into children’s services in Barnet. The regulator found that the council was entirely inadequate in all levels, including the protection of vulnerable children. The increased suffering of the vulnerable is the inevitable and greatest cost of the extreme, market-driven ideology of Barnet Conservatives.

With such a dire leadership, the Tories should not have been unbeatable, and we in Barnet TUC believe they were not. In some ways, we have suffered from problems that had been seen in other parts of the country, as Labour did not make many of the big gains that had been hoped for. Writing The Times, Dr Faiza Shaheen of the leftwing thinktank Centre for Labour and Social Studies, had this analysis of the big picture:

…The 2017 general election perhaps gives us better ideas about how to move forward. General elections provide the opportunity for political parties to lay out their policy agenda for the UK. The Labour Party’s manifesto resonated with voters and it showed in the end election result. During local election campaigning I noticed a distinct change in our approach: I had less to offer on the doorstep and ideas were missing from the national conversation. I think it is fair to say that neither Labour nor the Conservatives have been offering a positive vision for the UK in recent weeks.

There were some issues that didn’t get the airtime expected, most notably the scale of cuts to local authority budgets. A recent report by the National Audit Office found that since 2010 local authorities have seen an average reduction in funding of 49.1 per cent. Weirdly these cuts were spoken about continuously during the general election campaign but not during the local elections. It seems that voters failed to make the connection with poorer local service provision, including social care, and Conservative party policy. Yet many voters, including a majority of Conservatives, feel that public spending cuts have gone too far.

Barnet Labour’s local election strategy was not significantly influenced by the 2017 manifesto or campaign. It had six pledges, some of which were very neutral-sounding (“Low council tax”, “Better roads” and “Free parking”) and did not tap into anti-austerity feeling. This was in strong contrast to the sort of themes that had played well in the general election. The unions, led by local government Unison (which organises the largest group of workers affected by the Capita crisis) had brought well-worded proposals on cuts and outsourcing to all three constituency parties. There were also excellent proposals on how to campaign around the issues by respected bloggers like Mr Reasonable. The councillor group rejected all this good advice.

In a bitter absurdity, the Tories realised that Labour’s service campaign was weak and did a completely dishonest, but highly effective, attack on that flank. A leaflet was distributed throughout key wards claiming that Labour would not only put up council tax, but change bin collections from weekly to fortnightly. For impact, they illustrated with this with a picture of an overflowing wheelie bin being raided by a fox. Neither of these claims about Labour policy were at all true, but with only around 48 hours before polling and no existing material on services such as bin collection prepared by Labour, it was very difficult to counter. Further panels on the leaflet utilised misleading statistics to pretend that Barnet is doing well in both affordable housing and education, which was also totally untrue but added up to a very clever attack. This demobilised the Labour vote and allowed the Conservatives to absurdly win on the very issues they should have been weakest on! And so, the Tories won with complete rubbish – in every sense of the word.

A lot of the national debate on Barnet has focused on anti-Semitism and perceptions of it in Labour in particular. The council group completely failed to defend Labour’s positive record on racism and allowed the narrative on anti-Semitism to completely overshadow the media narrative on the election. We believe that anti-Semitism absolutely needs to be fought, but there needs to be a discussion about all the racism that has been manifested recently: and this has to include the victimisation of Black Britons over the Windrush scandal, the alarming rise of Islamophobic stunts like “Punish a Muslim Day” and the recent mobilisation of thousands by the far right “Football Lads Alliance”. There needs to be a renewed anti-racist movement and Barnet TUC will do whatever it takes help make one happen.

However, we will also need a renewed offensive against the Tory council. Our public sector workers and those members of the public who depend upon them will once again have to form a resistance to what will doubtless be an even more hard-line set of policies. There will very likely be industrial action, but in the shorter term and from now on, we also need to wage a strong propaganda campaign. The Tories stole victory by lying about their intentions, and we must expose them every time they put private profit ahead of people’s needs.

Big Union Campaign Day

Join Unison Gen Sec Dave Prentis and other trade union colleagues to campaign in the run up to vital council elections on May 3rd.

Your campaigning could make all the difference in May in turning Barnet Council red and delivering for working people.

You don’t need any experience of campaigning – just come along. There’s a way for everyone to get involved.

Facebook link here.

Take immediate action against Romford Conservatives for whipping up racism

With local elections set for 3rd May, racism is already playing a serious role in campaigning. A disgraceful leaflet was distributed by the Conservative Party in Romford warning that if residents didn’t vote Conservative, Romford would “increasingly look like an inner city area“, a “London crime wave” would take place and that Havering would resemble “boroughs like Hackney, Newham, Camden and Barking rather than a traditional parts of Essex”.
UKIP is also set for the most racist campaign since it was founded. Acting Leader Gerard Batten has described Islam as a “Death Cult” and for Muslim immigrants to have to sign a document renouncing parts of the Qur’an.
Stand Up To Racism will be campaigning across the country to keep racism out of the local elections – contact info@standuptoracism.org.uk for leaflets or get in touch with your local group.
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