People’s Assembly Statement on The Coronavirus Crisis

The people are ahead of the government in making serious moves to combat the spread of the coronavirus. It is clear the government were pushed by organisations already taking action to close down large events, a move we very much welcome. Where government refuses to act civil society institutions, trade unions, and ordinary citizens are taking matters into their own hands. We reject the ‘herd immunity’ theory that coronavirus can simply be left to rip through society until enough people develop immunity. Not only is there no proof this will happen with this virus, it is the most deadly and careless approach the government could take. The government should be acting on World Health Organisation guidance and learning from those countries it commends for swift and decisive action. Older and vulnerable people matter as much as everyone else. We insist the government alter course immediately and implement the following measures:

1. Close all schools, universities and colleges. Government and Local Authorities to work with schools to develop plans to get food to children who would have been entitled to free school meals.

2. Mass testing and tracing, which World Health Organisation experts have suggested is more effective in the early stages.

3. Workers should be allowed to work from home where possible. Introduce a mortgage and rent freeze for the duration of the crisis for those workers denied their full pay.

4. Extend statutory sick pay to all workers. Following successful pressure on the government to give sick pay from day one for those affected by the virus. Statutory sick pay should be uplifted to a living wage.

5. Pensioners on low-incomes, low income workers and disabled people to be eligible for one-off grants to cover food, fuel and travel costs.

6. Scrap the assessment period for Universal Credit and make payments immediately. Sanctions for benefit claimants who don’t attend appointments should be scrapped. Universal Credit payments should be topped up to account for extra costs of preparing for virus and moving to shut down.

7. Price controls to be introduced on essential medical equipment and drugs. There must be no hiking of prices on masks, ventilators, isolation units, beds, basic supplies like soap and hand towels, as well as drugs to combat bacterial complications etc.

8. Private hospitals to be put under the management of the NHS. Essential equipment owned by private companies should be pooled as part of the overall effort; private hospital beds should be treated as public.

9. Cleaners are a vital frontline, as are NHS staff. They should both be given an immediate pay boost to attract more cleaners, nurses, hospital porters and administrators. All workers should have the protective clothing necessary in line with TUC guidelines.

10. No scapegoating of Chinese people, Italians, immigrants or anyone else. An emergency programme of aid and refugee resettlement should be initiated across Europe.

11. The outbreak must not be used as a pretext for clamping down on civil liberties. Frontline public sector workers, especially health workers, should be brought in at the highest level of decision making. The trade unions should be part of the conversation with civil servants and senior NHS staff.

Solidarity rally for striking UCU members: Tuesday 25th Feb, 6pm Imperial Hotel

55,OOO UCU members across the UK have started 14 days of strike action this week. Our fight is to defend our pensions, pay, working conditions and to secure equal pay and end the scourge of caualisation.

The employers and the government have been taken by surprise of the scale of our resistance and our determination to win. By striking to end casualisation we are also ensuring that we our students have the education they deserve.

We know we are not alone in this fight. We all face the same insecure contracts, cuts in our wages and pensions. We0 recognise a victory for us will also be a victory for the whole of the working class movement.

We invite you to attend the London Region UCU solidarity rally. Bring donations and banners. 

Speakers include:

  • John McDonnell, shadow chancellor
  • Mark Serwotka, PCS Gen Sec
  • Jane Loftus, President CWU
  • Howard Becket, UNITE Assistant General Sec 
  • Colleen Johnson, NEU Exec
  • Lesley Kane, UCU chair of OU branch
  • Ian Hodson, President Bakers Union
  • Lowkey, rapper

Venue details: Tudor Room, Imperial Hotel, Russel Square

For more details: https://uculondonregion.wordpress.com/

Solidarity with our Tube Cleaners: RMT Parliamentary demonstration & rally

Tues 29th Jan 2019
5.00pm: (sharp) Demonstration opposite Parliament (Old Palace Yard, SW1P 3JY)
6.30pm: Rally in the Houses of Parliament

London Underground’s 3000 cleaners have been outsourced to global contractor ABM. Despite working unsocial hours, in dirty and hazardous conditions, our cleaners are being treated less favourably compared to other workers directly employed by London Underground.

That means inferior sick pay, holidays, pensions and travel facilities

On top of this the cleaning workforce is set to be cut by a third from 3000 to 2000, piling the pressure on these hard-pressed workers. RMT is holding a demo and rally at Parliament to demand:
• No Cleaning Job Cuts
• Equal Conditions with London Underground workers
• Bring all cleaning work in-house.
Please show solidarity with our cleaning members on 29th January

AMAZON PROTEST- CYBER MONDAY 2ND DECEMBER 2019

Tis the season to hurt Amazon, falalaa laa la la la. They are mean there’s no comparison, falalaa laa la la la.

This 2nd of December at 10.45 am GMB would appreciate your assistance and attendance at Amazon office’s from 10.45 am for approximately 3 hours. Your welcome to attend during this period when you can, but the greater the number the louder the message. We hope to have frontbench speakers from the Labour Party as well as our famous rat.

Please get the message out far and wide so we can make the difference.

Details of the location is below.

Amazon HQ, 1 Principle Place, Worship Street, London, EC2A 2FA (Shoreditch/City of London) Farringdon and Barbican stations are around five minutes walk.

Please feel free to contact me should you have further questions in relation to this important event

The hashtags (#) we will be using for the day are: #AmazonWeAreNotRobots #AmazonPayYourTaxes #AmazonActOnClimate

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.”

#mcstrike: The start of something big

On Tuesday, McDonald’s workers took strike action to demand a fair wage and a union to represent them. Thousands of supporters backed their call and made sure McDonald’s know they’re up against a powerful movement. 

In more than 35 locations across the country, supporters organised McStrike solidarity actions, speaking to the public about the campaign. Their conversations are critical in building public support and putting pressure on McDonald’s.

And you couldn’t pick up a newspaper yesterday without reading about McStrike. There was coverage in The Mirror, The Guardian, The iThe Daily Mail and many more. 

And this is just the beginning. McDonald’s will not back down easily, which is why your support is so important. Our movement will grow and these workers will strike again.

We will fight until these workers, and workers everywhere, get what’s fair.

This campaign will be long, so anything you can chip in will help our movement win.

Chip in to support McDonald’s workers and the McStrike

CWU Supporters: FIGHT against exploitative employers

The fight against exploitative employers, dodgy contracts and insecure work requires the support of every single community across the country.

Our recent vote for strike action in Royal Mail Group was secured by connecting with our membership in every corner of the UK – both online and on the ground.

Now we need your help to take our message to the public. By joining CWU Supporters you will be contacted with campaign materials and resources that will help us win this battle – and the others we are fighting

Be one of the first to join us by signing up below. Once you have joined us, don’t forget to hit share so that you can alert your social media networks to our new network.

Join CWU Supporters now

TUC London, East and South East (LESE) Celebrates Amigo Month

Thursday 19 September 2019 
18:30 – 20:30 

TUC Congress House, 23-28 Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3LS 
Amigo Month is a five-week period that celebrates the shared cultures and experiences of the three million people who are resident in UK whose first language is Spanish or Portuguese.  

It starts each year on 7 September, which is significant as the ‘independence day’ of Brazil and Mozambique, where 90 per cent of the world’s 260 million Portuguese speakers live. And Amigo Month ends on 12 October, which is significant as the international Day of the 600 million Spanish speakers, and of the indigenous people of the Americas.  

Amigo Month promotes awareness, joint working, friendship and solidarity between communities. It promotes cultural, artistic, social, economic, tourism and educational links between communities and cultures too, on the basis of shared values. 

During these 35 days of Amigo Month many events are being organised and the importance of the event will be recognised by many key institutions, such as the Mayor of London, national Embassies and of course, the trade union movement. 

This event is hosted by the TUC region that is responsible for London, the East and the South East of England, where nearly two million trade union members live and work. 

The TUC believes that every worker in Britain should have a good job, high-quality rights at work, and fair pay. And we are confident that the best way for every worker to have a voice at work, to be respected, and to secure their full employment rights is for them to join a union and to organise to defend themselves and their workmates. 

If you are not a trade union member already there is a facility on the TUC website to help you identify which union might be the right one for you to join. 

https://www.tuc.org.uk/why-join-union 

Brazil: Stand with the resistance against far-right Bolsonaro by Brazil Solidarity Initiative Thursday 28 March 2019 @ NEU 18:30 – 20:30

Thursday 28 March 2019

Brazil: Stand with the resistance against far-right Bolsonaro

by Brazil Solidarity Initiative

18:30 – 20:30

NEU

Hamilton House, 4 Mabledon Place, London WC1H 9BB

Cost: £Donations

Opposing Bolsonaro’s attacks on human rights — Free Lula – Remembering Marielle Franco.

 With: Julia Felmanas, PT nucleo in Londres, for a special eye-witness report back from Brazil

Danielle Rowley MP

Christine Blower, former NUT General Secretary

Kate Hudson, CND

Chair: Claudia Webbe, Labour NEC

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