Statement signed by Diane Abbott and others launches major campaign to defend EU migrants

Stand Up To Racism has launched a statement for a major campaign to defend EU migrants rights in the wake of a racist attack by Boris Johnson’s cabinet, signed by Diane Abbott, Alf Dubs, several trade union leaders, MPs, MEPs, local politicians, faith group leaders and anti racist activists
See the Guardian letter HERE
Sign the statement online HERE
Download the statement as a petition HERE
to use in workplaces, colleges and communities

This week we’ve witnessed a spectacular pace of events unfold, with Boris Johnson proroguing parliament, losing a vote against him over his plans for a Tory No Deal Brexit, and expelling 21 Tory MPs for defying the whip and voting with the opposition.

For all who are horrified to see this hard racist in Number 10—who is following in the footsteps of Trump and deliberately launching a vicious intensification of the ‘hostile environment’ and racism—it has been uplifting to see tens of thousands taking to the streets to get him out of office and to oppose the Tories. Stand Up To Racism has joined demonstrations, such as the People’s Assembly protests at parliament and around the country, outside Downing Street as Johnson made his announcement last Wednesday, and at the Home Office last night to challenge his shocking attack on over three million EU migrants living in Britain.

We say, whether you voted Leave or Remain, it is urgent that we unite to oppose all racist division, Islamophobia and Antisemitism, challenge the ‘hostile environment for migrants and refugees, and build a mass campaign to defend EU migrants whose rights are under attack by Johnson’s Tory cabinet. 

It is clear that Boris Johnson is using his office as prime minister to go on the offensive in intensifying the ‘hostile environment’ and is also pushing a level of racism from the heart of the establishment that aims to turn the clock back, normalising racist rhetoric.

That’s why Stand Up To Racism has launched this statement, signed by Diane Abbott, Alf Dubs, several union general secretaries, MPs and MEPs, faith groups and anti racist campaigners, to defend EU migrants’ rights. 

In every local area, in union branches, colleges and communities, Stand Up To Racism groups and activists should use the petition version of the statement, and the online version, to garner widespread support for its demands.

Stand Up To Racism is also calling a national day of action to defend EU migrants on Wednesday 2 October. We encourage local groups, affiliated unions and supporters to take round the statement in their workplaces, colleges and communities, take selfies showing support, and protests in town centres on the day as well as take part in social media promoting the day of action. We want everyone to use the statement and upload the signatures from their campaigning via the online petition too.

Stand Up To Racism is encouraging it’s local groups to call public meetings in localities over the campaign to defend EU migrants. See template for artwork for public meetings HERE

On 29 September (if the Tory party conference is still going ahead that is!), Stand Up To Racism is encouraging everyone to join the People’s Assembly demonstration in Manchester. We will be marching as a bloc to End the hostile environment and defend EU migrants.

The theme of defending EU migrants and more generally challenging the hostile environment will be the focus of the Stand Up To Racism and Love Music Hate Racism gig and fringe at this year’s TUC Congress. The event is on Sunday, 8 September, at The Arch in Brighton. See full details HERE

To discuss any issues around the campaign, or what you are planning locally or in your union branch or college, contact us as the office at info@standuptoracism.org.uk 

Motion FROM BARNET UNISION: CLIMATE CHANGE IS A TRADE UNION ISSUE

#ClimateChange is a trade union issue.

It’s not enough to just demand a #ClimateChange Strike. We need joint trade union action to begin conversations with our members about how the causes of ClimateChange are already impacting on their health and well being.

Our branch has recently passed a motion which we already starting to implement .

Branch resolves:

  • To commit the branch into entering urgent negotiations with Barnet Council and other employers in order to identify the following.
    • The risks to the health and wellbeing of workers regularly exposed to air pollution.
    • What measures/protection can be put in place to mitigate the hard of air pollution?
    • What health checks can be made available to workers regularly exposed to air pollution?
  • The branch contacts our union to ascertain any possible legal claims for injury at work as a result of regular expose to air pollution.
  • To back the call for a climate strike on 20 September
  • To support the call by the UCU for the TUC to organise a 30 minute workday solidarity stoppage to coincide with the global school student strike on the 20th.
  • To call upon our national executive to support the UCU’s motion at this year’s TUC congress calling for a 30 minute workday stoppage.

For our branch to argue for and call a stoppage on the 20th September and for our branch to campaign for the maximum possible show of solidarity with school students 20th. It would be great if other trade union activists across London began similar campaigns to deal with the causes of #ClimateChange

We need a general election

The Prime Minister is right to have resigned. She has now accepted what the country has known for months: she cannot govern, and nor can her divided and disintegrating party.

The burning injustices she promised to tackle three years ago are even starker today.

The Conservative Party has utterly failed the country over Brexit and is unable to improve people’s lives or deal with their most pressing needs.

Parliament is deadlocked and the Conservatives offer no solutions to the other major challenges facing our country.

The last thing the country needs is weeks of more Conservative infighting followed by yet another unelected Prime Minister.

Whoever becomes the new Conservative Leader must let the people decide our country’s future, through an immediate general election.

Barnet Council to pull out of major care homes contract after its failure to deliver adequate services

Barnet Council has publicly announced plans to pull out of a major contract which was responsible for delivering three key care homes – Meadowside, Apthorp Lodge and Dellfield Court. The provider of these services has begun to enter into TUPE consultations with a view to handing over its care homes to the 100% council owned company, Your Choice Barnet.

This follows a damning report issued by the Care Quality Commission into Apthorp Care Centre, in Brunswick Park, that Barnet published in January 23 2019, which deemed the service inadequate – and placed the care home into special measures. The report followed an unannounced inspection in December 2018.

The CQC report highlighted that the Centre was understaffed, saying that under-staffing levels had “a significant impact on people’s dignity. For example, we observed two people, on separate occasions, had soiled themselves and were walking through communal areas of the flats.” Fremantle has a poor record on ensuring staff and worker well being – having in the past proposed reducing care workers’ basic salary by 20-25%, bringing care worker pay down to well below the London Living Wage.

Adults and Social Care spokesperson for the Barnet Labour Group, Cllr Reema Patel said,

“This sorry state of affairs illustrates two things. Firstly, the Council needs to urgently review its approach to securing high quality services that ensure worker well being. Secondly, it highlights the extent to which national cuts to social care funding are proving impossible to manage. We welcome the return of care homes to council control, but more is required – increased investment in social care funding in particular.”

For more information contact:

Cllr Reema Patel: 07398 220 745

To contact the Barnet Labour Group: 020 8359 2568

Barnet says Goodbye to Fremantle

Barnet UNISON has just been informed that the Fremantle Trust is to enter into TUPE consultations to hand over the running of its care homes: Meadowside, Apthorp Lodge and Dellfield Court to Your Choice Barnet.

We welcome this transfer as a positive step in the right direction. Your Choice Barnet is 100% owned by the Council which places the running of the homes under greater local accountability. We will do all we can to continue to represent our members who have consistently done their best to deliver support to vulnerable residents, often under difficult circumstances.

We believe there are now real opportunities to address the concerns of staff and residents in a positive and constructive way and look forward to working with Your Choice Barnet to achieve this.

The transfer of staff and services is planned to take place at the beginning of July 2019.

Barnet UNISON has already approached Your Choice Barnet in preparation for formal TUPE transfer meetings which will be looking to take place shortly.

Barnet Tories to introduce parking charges at local parks

Conservative-run Barnet Council has agreed to charge up to £6 a day for parking at local parks. The decision was forced through by Conservative councillors at this week’s Environment Committee (21 Jan). Labour councillors voted against the policy.

 Although the principal of charging was agreed, a consultation will be held on the charging proposals for specific parks.

The parks affected in the first phase are: Barnet Playing Fields, King George V Playing Fields, Mill Hill Park, Old Courthouse Recreation Ground, Scratchwood Open Space and West Hendon Playing Fields.

The Council believe the policy will raise up to £150,000 a year.

Labour’s Environment spokesperson, Cllr Alan Schneiderman said: “This is an ill-conceived money making scheme from Barnet Tories that is simply going to lead to park goers parking in neighbouring roads, many of which already lack enough spaces for residents. Rather than another consultation on this scheme, it simply needs to be scrapped”.


Ends.
Notes:
1. A copy of the report on parking charges at local parks (Agenda Item 8): http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=695&MId=9733&Ver=4

Statement from BTUC and BAPS on Capita at Brent Council

Barnet Trades Council and Barnet Alliance for Public Services are concerned and dismayed that Brent Council wants to renew its contract with Capita. Our experience of Capita is that it has delivered appalling service and therefore we, together with our local Labour Party, are campaigning for all services run by Capita for Barnet to be brought in-house forthwith. #kickoutcapita is our grass-roots campaign.

Examples of Capita’s misdemeanours in Barnet include:

  • A two million pound fraud carried out by a Capita employee, Capita’s lax and opaque processes completely failed to detect
  • A call centre which has consistently failed to answer residents’ calls in the required time
  • Incorrectly withdrawing travel passes from disabled and vulnerable people
  • Actually cost taxpayers more money than in-house services would, through extra charges and “gainshare” payments designed to maximise their profits at public expense
  • Performed extremely poorly in audits of the council and brought down the overall standards of council services

We urge Brent Council not to renew its contract with Capita. Capita, along with other failed and failing outsourcing giants like Carillion and Interserve have proved to be entirely failed models. We want to Kick Out Capita from Barnet and bring all services back in-house and under local democratic control. Brent Council should do likewise. The shadow chancellor, John McDonnell has spoken brilliantly about how properly funded, democratically accountable in-sourced public services are the future for the country and we agree. Together we are stronger.

Unite’s campaign to end bandit capitalism

Unite has launched a campaign to tackle bandit capitalism and stop Carillion-style collapses.

Unite is fighting to ensure that the untold human misery of being dumped out of work without warning caused by such collapses is tackled once and for all.

As part of the campaign Unite has produced the Ending bandit capitalism: learning the lessons following Carillion’s collapse blueprint to end vulture capitalists ruining public services and destroying livelihoods and to stop “too big to fail” outsourcing firms like Carillion imploding.

The blueprint contains a package of measures designed to introduce better regulations and stricter rules to prevent companies being able to embellish their accounts and provide an entirely false trading position – actions that had disastrous consequences for Carillion and its workforce.

Since Carillion’s collapse Unite has led the way in calling for action to be taken to bring those responsible for the company’s collapse to justice. Unite has called for a public inquiry into Carillion’s collapse and an immediate criminal investigation into those responsible.

Write to your MP calling on them to introduce legislation that adopts Unite’s recommendations, which include:

• Requiring directors to focus on the long-term welfare of the company rather than short-term profits

• New rules which bar companies from prioritising dividends, bonuses and director’s pay over reducing pension deficits

• A stop to the government awarding contracts to companies in financial difficulties

• Long-term support from the government for sub-contractors and supply chains if a major company collapses

• Radical reform of the entire financial regulatory system, with the number of regulators being reduced and those that remain being given real power and teeth

• An end to the current outsourcing culture, with contracts being brought back in house at the earliest opportunity

• A transformation of employment laws to ensure unions have access to workforces to organise workers and prevent exploitation

• A reduction of the number of legal hurdles that must be cleared before cases taken for workers employed by a company in compulsory liquidation can go forward

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.

Thailand: Railway workers fight for justice – support the online campaign

The leaders of Thailand’s State Railway Workers Union (SRUT) have faced dismissals and enormous fines because of their efforts to point out unsafe working conditions on the country’s railways.

In a story dating back to a fatal derailment back in 2009, the international trade union movement, including the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) have stood by the trade union leaders — as has the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

Last year, Thailand’s Supreme Labour Court ordered seven union leaders to pay damages amounting to nearly three-quarters of a million US dollars.

At the request of the SRUT and the ITF, LabourStart has launched a campaign calling on the Thai government and the employer to drop the claims against the union, and to return their back pay and benefits.  Please show your support here:

http://www.labourstart.org/go/srut

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

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