BA mass sackings of its UK workforce is immoral and possibly illegal its time to act

British Airways (BA) announced that it is to make 12,000 UK workers at the airline redundant. This is without any consultation with the UK’s aviation unions. This is within the backdrop of BA parent owner IAG having secured over a billion euros in funding to save its sister airlines Aer Lingus, Iberia, Level, Vueling, and IAGcargo. None of which so far has seen anywhere near the number of redundancies announced by Alex Cruz CEO of BA. What is also interesting is that Wille Walsh, Chief Executive of IAG, has not stopped the billion euro purchase or Air Europa.   

BA through its action so far has shown that it had no intentions whatsoever to stick to the principles laid out by Rishi Sunak when the chancellor launched the UK job retention scheme in April. A scheme that BA has taken full advantage of, and let’s not forget, is funded exclusively by the UK taxpayer.

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The US-UK trade deal is happening. Take action to stop it!

It is happening. The UK is starting formal US trade deal negotiations today. The deal will be built on an agenda of deregulation, privatisation and ‘corporate courts’, all with the same aim – big business profits, whatever the cost to people and planet.

Under the ‘pro-corporate power’ agendas of both US President Trump and UK Prime Minister Johnson, this deal will pull the UK into the regulatory orbit of the US, lowering our social, health and environmental standards – unless we stop it.

Will you take action to stop it, by writing to your MP today?

Fuel poverty action: Guarantee people’s heat and power

NO ONE SHOULD BE LEFT COLD OR IN THE DARK BECAUSE THEY CANNOT AFFORD THEIR BILLS, IN THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS OR ITS AFTERMATH.

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It is very good news that the government and energy companies have agreed to support people “most in need” in these difficult times.   However, as things stand there is a real risk that many people will never get the help they are entitled to — and desperately need. 

For people normally out at work who are now home all the time, energy costs will go up.  Meanwhile, they may lose their main income. Already many people ration their gas and electricity tightly.  How can we afford to pay more? Older and disabled people, worst hit by the virus, are even more at risk in cold, damp homes. Already over 9,000 people a year, mostly elderly, die from fuel poverty.

The agreement made by the government and suppliers promises that disconnections will be suspended and that customers struggling to pay can contact their supplier for help. It is encouraging that this agreement has been reached. Gas, power, and heat are essential services, and should no more be cut off than our water supply. 

But the agreement doesn’t make clear if unaffordable payments will be waived, or just postponed. In these exceptionally uncertain times, who can take on more debt?  It is essential to have clarity over what exactly customers can expect. People need to know that they can use the energy they need, without racking up debt for the future. 

Moreover, the government’s agreement with suppliers makes customers responsible for negotiating with their supplier for the help they need.  How will people be able to get the support when they need it at a time when Customer Services could easily be overwhelmed?  Will we be able to cope with this process if we or our family are ill?  Or if we have problems with English or computers? Can we count on a response from suppliers that actually meets our needs?  Will we be asked for evidence of “financial distress” that we cannot provide? And will people even know that this support is available?

We urge the government and suppliers to:

  • Provide free credit to all prepayment meter users, promptly, so that they are not left in the cold while trying to negotiate with suppliers.  It’s great that the agreement mentions sending pre-loaded keys and cards — but payment for these should be reduced to what people can afford.
  • Guarantee that customers in financial distress, including those self-isolating and/or being laid off or losing customers at the present time, will also have bills reduced to what they can afford —  and not just deferred. 
  • Stop forced imposition of prepayment meters, including imposition remotely when people on smart meters fall behind on bills. Imposing prepayment will lead to more “self-disconnections” as people cannot pay.  
  • Announce a moratorium on debt repayments while so many people are in crisis. 
  • Prominently publicise the support on offer, in government bulletins and TV advertisements, making clear that people do not need to go without the heating and electricity they need. 
  • Ensure people can access this help quickly, without showing entitlement to benefits. 
  • Ensure that suppliers allocate sufficient staff, that there are clear, published guidelines, an advertised free helpline and online interaction, and a positive approach to offering support without obstacles, so that promises are borne out in practice.
  • Offer cash grants for off-grid customers who need them.
  • Restore services to anyone who has been disconnected.

No to racist scapegoating in Covid-19 Crisis

The Covid-19 Pandemic, combined with the failure of the British Government to properly protect its population, and a major economic crash has created situation where the most abhorrent forms of racism are set to thrive.

• We stand together against the racist scapegoating of all communities in this crisis. We condemn the use of the phrase “Chinese virus” by Donald Trump and others, attacks on migrants from the far-right and violent attacks on Chinese and East Asian communities.

• Saving lives must be the priority. Anti-Chinese racism is costing lives. Instead of racism towards China we must learn from China’s experiences in fighting Covid-19. We support the urgent demands for efforts to halt the spread of the virus to be further stepped up.

NHS Workers and all key workers, including transport, shop, postal, food distribution, police, teachers and carers must be given proper protective equipment (PPE), and testing to allow them to carry out their crucial work without placing themselves and others at risk.

• Testing must be reintroduced for all displaying symptoms and all those entering the country, with quarantine measures focused on ensuring the health of those affected as well as preventing further contagion.

• We call for an immediate amnesty for all unregistered and undocumented people. Qualified doctors and nurses that are not British citizens must be enabled to join the effort to save lives. Denial of NHS care on citizenship grounds must stop, and exorbitant health surcharges abolished.

• Britain and all countries must honour their commitments under UN conventions for refugees and accept those fleeing war and persecution, with all necessary measures to protect their health and provide quarantine where necessary.

• The unsanitary detention of people in removal centres must end, and social distancing measures put in place. Practices such as signing on in overcrowded spaces must end immediately.

• Police powers to prevent gatherings of no more than two people must not disproportionately target African, Asian and Caribbean communities.

• Covid-19 measures must be sensitive to people’s faith and beliefs. No forced cremations for Muslim and Jewish communities.

• More measures must be introduced to allow the population to follow health guidelines without forcing them into destitution. Measures such as proposed by The Peoples’ Assembly Against Austerity, trade unions, opposition spokespeople and others must be introduced including guaranteed and higher rate of sick pay, the same income rights for the employed and self employed, stopping evictions, the same payment break rights for tenants and home owners and the provision of grants.

• We call for all progressive organisations, faith/community groups and trade unions to join together in a coordinated effort to oppose racist scapegoating, demand action to save lives, and campaign for those at risk of destitution during the ongoing crisis.
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Self-employed and zero-hour contract people to be paid statutory sick pay

At present, self employed or zero hour contracts, can not claim statutory sick pay should they become ill. This is fine, on a genuine sickness bug etc. But the outbreak of the coronavirus is spreading vastly. 

I believe during this outbreak, should people need time off work (such as Italy have done in closing schools etc) that the self employed and zero hour contract workers should be entitled to the statutory sick pay. The government should protect ALL workers as we all have bills to pay.

I am self employed, sub contracting to a company for over 4 years now, but should a 2 week break elapse due to the coronavirus then I’m pretty much stuck in the mud. We all have bills to pay but how, should this happen, I don’t know how I’d manage.

The government should be helping out alot more before its a country in chaos. 

Barnet Unison: Support NHS workers

I am calling on you to immediately take action to secure the well-being of our NHS workers.

It is unacceptable that the very workers we need to save lives are worried about whether they will be able to buy food and supplies to live.

I want you to instruct supermarkets to set up a system whereby all NHS workers can place orders at their workplace and that it will be delivered to them each week. 

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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.

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

Tories force through £70 garden waste charge – but please keep signing the petition!

Despite 5,159 people (82%) opposing the Council’s plan to charge £70 a year for collecting garden waste, the Tories forced this through at Environment Committee last night (quelle surprise). But please do keep supporting local residents by getting friends and family to sign our petition. In 72 hours it reached over 2,000 signatures, so we could quite easily get to 7,000 and force a Full Council debate on this to try and stop it.

You can sign or share our petition here: http://chng.it/MXTwnWxfGg

Coca-Cola violates workers’ rights around the world

Coca-Cola continues to violate the fundamental rights of workers in Haiti, Indonesia, Ireland and the USA.

The International Union of Foodworkers (IUF) has launched a global online campaign to protest this — which we encourage you to support.

In Haiti, Coca-Cola’s bottler continues to systematically deny workers their right to form and be represented by a union.

In Indonesia, Coca-Cola’s bottler pursues its long running attack on the rights of independent, democratic trade unions.

In Ireland, Coca-Cola closed two of its directly owned concentrate plants, both of which were strongly unionised, and shifted production to the remaining plant in Ballina, where it refuses to engage in collective bargaining with the union.

And finally, in the USA the company’s bottler spent more than $330,000 hiring a union-busting consultant firm to persuade workers at its Greenfield bottling plant to not join the union.

Please show your support for the IUF campaign by sending a clear message to Coca-Cola CEO and Chairman James Quincey, expressing your outrage over these ongoing human rights violations and demanding that the company act to remedy them. 

Please share this message with your friends, family and fellow union members.

Coca-Cola workers fighting for their rights in Haiti, Indonesia, Ireland, and the USA still need your support

Coca-Cola continues to violate the fundamental rights of workers in Haiti, Indonesia, Ireland and the USA.
In Haiti Coke’s bottler La Brasserie de la Couronne continues to systematically deny workers their right to form and be represented by a union, SYTBRACOUR.
Haiti is a dangerous place to live and to work. Companies should, at a minimum, be alert to this situation and exercise maximum due diligence. In July 2019, a Coca-Cola truck driver was shot in his vehicle while at work. The Coca-Cola Company has made no meaningful independent investigation of this killing, choosing instead to rely on a version of events provided by their local bottler, which sought to shift blame onto the driver. Subsequent IUF investigations into this case have exonerated the driver and exposed a callous disregard for the truth on the part of the Coca-Cola bottler and The Coca-Cola Company.

In Indonesia Coca-Cola bottler Amatil pursues its long running attack on the rights of independent, democratic trade unions.

In Ireland, The Coca-Cola Company closed two of its directly owned concentrate plants, both of which were strongly unionized, and shifted production to the remaining plant in Ballina, where it refuses to engage in collective bargaining with the IUF-affiliated SIPTU.

In the USA the Company’s bottler spent more than 330,000.00 US dollars hiring a union-busting consultant firm to persuade workers at its Greenfield bottling plant to not join the RWDSU/UFCW.

Please show your support for these workers and the fight for rights in the Coca-Cola system.

CLICK HERE to send a message to Coca-Cola’s CEO and Chairman James Quincey, expressing your outrage over these ongoing human rights violations and demanding the Company act to remedy them. Your name will also be added to a petition that will be delivered to The Coca-Cola Company.

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