UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia declared unlawful

Last week, our friends at Campaign Against Arms Trade won a historic court case against the UK Government over arms sales to Saudi Arabia. The Court ruled that the Government’s approval of arms sales to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen was unlawful, and that it must halt exports until it reviews the permissions in light of evidence of Saudi violations of international law. The ruling is unprecedented, and really speaks to the collaborative work of grassroots campaigners, lawyers, academic experts, and many others who pitched in to make the case so strong.

But this is just one case. The UK still approves arms exports to dozens of other human rights abusing regimes that use military force to repress protests, to gain territory, and to commit dreadful and illegal violence against civilians. And it will undoubtedly try to resume its exports to Saudi Arabia at the earliest date possible. That’s why we need grassroots pressure now to make this court victory stick, for the people of Yemen and millions of others around the world who are still at risk of being attacked using British made bombs and other weapons.

The UK sells weapons and military technology to States that commit sustained and grave human rights abuses, including Israel, Egypt, Turkey, Honduras, the Philippines, and dozens of other regimes.

The UK must stop arming repression. Will you email your MP, and ask them to pressure the government to end its trade in arms with human rights abusing regimes?

Stop deportations! Release Owen Haisley & the 50 others facing deportation on Tuesday 5 February

Last week, on Friday, Owen Haisley was snatched by the Home Office when attending the Salford registration centre. Owen arrived legally in the UK in 1977, with his mother and sister, when he was just four years old. He has three children, all of whom have full British citizenship. He is a drum and bass/ jungle MC, music tutor and community worker (AKA Madrush MC), and has been part of the Manchester music scene for his entire life.
He has been detained and is currently being held at Harmondsworth Removal Centre. Along with 50 other people, he is due for deportation to Jamaica on Tuesday 5th February – the day before the #Stansted15 sentencing.
This is the first plane to attempt to deport people to Jamaica since the Windrush scandal. They will be escorted by large numbers of security personnel. There are more than 50 people who need our immediate support.

Barnet UNISON issues warning to members about the Pension Service provided by Capita

“The final straw for me was when I was sent copies of letters issued on London Borough of Hounslow letterheads with London Borough of Hounslow email contact details to our members by Capita Pension Service in response to their own Barnet Pensions queries. Barnet UNISON has been monitoring an ongoing catalogue of serious errors made by the Capita Pensions Service operating out of Darlington. Not only am I unhappy with Capita, but also with the Council, which agreed this outsourcing model. This fragmented model, where you have two pay roll departments running out of Belfast and Carlisle and Pensions running out of Darlington was agreed by senior Barnet Council Officers in 2012. They have long gone and left us with a service in which we have no confidence. Our Pension, is our members’ single biggest financial saving for their future. It is also their deferred earnings. The Pension service our members’ are having to endure is unacceptable. My concern is that there is an “Emperor’s New Clothes” culture in our Council. No criticism is tolerated, well Barnet UNISON will not stay silent the service needs to be brought back in-house.”  John Burgess Barnet UNISON Branch Secretary

Full report on Barnet Unison site.

Scandal of war graves’ staff facing £6,000-a-year pensions’ loss

Letter received by a Barnet Trade Unionist from a relative who works for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

As you know I work for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, what you may not know is that we’re having serious issues with our pension

Despite the promises of a decent pension at retirement the Commission wants to change it to a scheme which will leave many of us out of pocket in retirement by 1,000’s for every year we survive beyond normal retirement age.

I have been moved around many times, often against my will and with a mediocre salary but on the understanding that our pension was secure. I don’t need to go on about commitment and dedication and at my time of life there is little to no chance of making up the shortfall.

Our Unions have tried to negotiate an improvement on the proposals and have tabled many options but all have been refused. It’s got to a point now to which we have no option but to try and get public support for the work we do and put pressure on the government to intervene.

I would be most grateful if you could write to your MP asking that he/she signs this EDM, your local MP can be found here:  http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/

Or follow my unions link

http://action.pcs.org.uk/page/speakout/commonwealth-war-graves-commission-pensions-scandal