Monthly Archives: July 2017

SERTUC Race Relations Committee: A Tribute to Jayaben Desai – Monday 2 October 2017

Date and time of event: Mon 2 Oct 2017 – 18:00 to 20:30Picket-007

This event is hosted by the SERTUC Race Relations Committee in conjunction with GMB.

As one of the sacked women workers employed by Grunwick, a film-processing firm based in north London, Jayaben Desai fought for better pay, conditions and dignity for workers in 1976 and 1977, on behalf of 137 sacked and poorly paid Asian women. At first she and her fellow workers were not in a trade union, but after a visit to the Trades Union Congress, she and her work mates joined Apex, which is now part of the GMB. Their struggle was supported by Brent Trades Council.

This was the beginning of a legendary battle for trade union rights, it was to become a watershed for British trade unionism and Jayaben Desai was to become an inspiration to a generation of trade unionists, and beyond. Famously, she told her factory manager, “What you are running is not a factory, it is a zoo. But in a zoo there are many types of animals. Some are monkeys who dance on your fingertips. Others are lions who can bite your head off. We are those lions, Mr Manager”. Jayaben Desai, union activist was born 2 April 1933 and died 23 December 2010.

This Black History celebration event will feature Jayaben Desai’s struggle and will allow some prominent modern day trade unionists to describe how she helped to shape their views and working lives. Kamaljeet Jandu will explore lessons for unions from that struggle in meeting the ongoing challenge of ‘organising migrant workers’ today. There will be plenty of time allowed for contributions from the audience.

Guest Speakers include:

Betty Joseph, Chair, SERTUC Race Relations Committee and NUT

Megan Dobney, SERTUC Regional Secretary

Tim Roache , General Secretary, GMB

Kamaljeet Jandu,  National Equality Officer, GMB

Taranjit Chana, GMB London Region 

Margaret Greer, National Officer, Race equality, UNISON

Gail Cartmail, Assistant General Secretary, UNITE 

*** Monday 2 October 2017 – Event Programme***

Please support and encourage others to attend this event – THANK YOU.

* * BHM Exhibition (Marble Hall), TUC Congress House – FREE ADMISSION

Start date: Friday 29 September 2017 / closing date: Friday 13 October 2017

Information about the venue:

Congress House is a fully accessible building. 

Contact for further information:

There is no charge for attending this event.

PLEASE REGISTER

Queries: sertuc@tuc.org.uk or 020 7467 1220

UNISON in ANOTHER Court of Appeal victory over employers who fail to consult unions

UNISON has won a landmark court victory today (Friday) that makes it much harder for employers to ignore staff when making major changes in the workplace.

The Court of Appeal ruling means that for the first time employers will be obliged to consult with unions around any workplace issues that affect their members.

Until now, unions only had the right to be consulted where the law required this, for example in TUPE regulations where employees transfer from one employer to another, and in redundancy cases.

The ruling means employers will also have to involve unions in issues such as those around working hours and holiday pay.

It will benefit thousands of employees whose rights at work are under threat and means that employers will face greater scrutiny over their treatment of staff, says UNISON.

The victory came about after the union took up a case involving parks police who were made redundant by the London Borough of Wandsworth.

The Court of Appeal ruled that UNISON had the right to be consulted by Wandsworth over the job losses.

More on UNISON website.

Unite Against Fascism: THE BATTLE OF LEWISHAM 1977 – 40 YEARS ON

darcushowe77Forty years ago this August, thousands of anti fascists and locals from South East London stopped the fascists of the National Front from marching.  The National Front hoped that by demonstrating in Lewisham – an area with a high proportion of Afro Caribbeans – they would further intimidate minorities. The fascists, however, were to receive a rude awakening. The victory was critical in beating back the rise in racism and fascism. Saturday 13th August, 1977 helped set back the fascists for a generation.

The far right had become, pre Lewisham, mainstream in the media, in political life and often, in popular culture. In 1977, the National Front received over 100,000 votes in London elections.

The historic day in Lewisham, itself, saw trades unionists, socialists, Labour Party members, and crucially, many people from Lewisham itself, come together to say enough is enough.

Up to 10,000 people joined in to oppose the NF. All the fascists possible routes were continually blocked, NF banners were burned, and Bob Marley was played. The counter demo became a great example of black and white unity.

Nazi organizations such as the NF, believed that they could build a mass movement based upon racial prejudices and racist violence. They were wrong, and they were defeated.

Ted Parker who took part in the battle, mentions, “Thereafter the NF never again posed a serious political threat. Lewisham led directly to the formation of the Anti Nazi League (ANL) which, together with Rock Against Racism (RAR), and nowadays Love Music Hate Racism mobilised hundreds of thousands in collective expressions of solidarity between those of differing cultures and ethnic backgrounds. Organised racism was marginalised for the next quarter of a century”

Unite Against Fascism and Love Music Against Racism will be part of organising;

Eyewitness accounts and archive footage, including,

– How we defeated the Nazi National Front & built the Anti Nazi League

– The fight against the fascists today

Weekend events on Saturday 12th August/Sunday 13th August; in Lewisham.

Details and Facebook event pages here, https://www.facebook.com/UAFpage/photos/gm.133868667158866/10154541652065814/?type=3&theater

https://www.facebook.com/LMHRNational/photos/gm.1934749313408164/1901761653421730/?type=3&theater

To Transport for London: Keep Uber’s drivers and passengers safe

Sign petition here.

Last year GMB won a landmark employment tribunal against Uber, which ruled that its drivers were not self-employed contractors but employed workers – and were therefore entitled to the national minimum wage, sickness and holiday pay.

This important case has major implications for more than 30,000 drivers across England and Wales. Many of our drivers are working long hours for less than national minimum wage in order to try and make ends meet. Drivers working excessive hours is bad for drivers, bad for passengers and bad for Londoners.

Uber refuses to accept they’re an employer and has appealed. That means they still refuse to pay their drivers a living wage, give paid rest breaks or abide by laws that limit the number of hours they work. It’s wrong for Uber not to live up to its responsibilities, and none of us wants worn-out drivers on our roads.

Transport for London (TfL) is in charge of renewing Uber’s 5 year license to operate in London, and they’re going to make a decision on it this summer. Today, GMB, the union for Uber drivers, has called on TfL not to renew the license unless Uber guarantee safe working practices and basic employment rights.

Together we can remind TfL of their obligations to all Londoners and not just to Uber’s powerful lobbyists. Sign the petition to tell TfL to keep Uber drivers and passengers safe.

Massive Court Victory: Employment Tribunal Fees Ruled Illegal

The case was taken by the UNISON trade union, which successfully argued that the fees – which can be as high as £1,200 per case — prevented many workers from gaining justice at work.20258126_928598360611760_5349853763245492798_n

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“This is a massive win for working people. Congratulations to UNISON for doggedly pursuing this case. Today’s result shows the value of working people standing together in trade unions.

“Too many low-paid workers couldn’t afford to uphold their rights at work, even when they’ve faced harassment or have been sacked unfairly.

“Tribunal fees have been a bonanza for bad bosses, giving them free rein to mistreat staff. Any fees paid so far should be refunded as soon as possible.”

More on Touchstone Blog: http://touchstoneblog.org.uk/2017/07/employment-tribunal-fees-found-unlawful/

Unison website: https://www.unison.org.uk/news/2017/07/massive-win-union-massive-win-workers/

 

 

 

A Response to the CELS Report

Dear Sir

 ttendance at council meetings often opens the lid on how our Councils are run. The Children, Education, Libraries and Safeguarding committee of Barnet Council on 18 July was no exception.

 1                     The order paper ran to 260 pages. Clearly this committee is overburdened with responsibilities. It needs to be subdivided. “Children” included a damning indictment by an Ofsted report of Barnet’s acknowledgedly inadequate children’s services. Pages 240/241 described the council’s aim to deliver quality services, the statutory duties of the Council and the risk management necessary. Thus councillors are informed of the appalling risks being taken by pursuing illegal policies. Yet they have been doing this as part of a mistaken library strategy since 2002, unchecked by either the Secretary of State for Culture or by rumblings from opposition councillors, the media or the Four Barnet Bloggers who, in response to the Ofsted revelations, have called upon the Chair Reuben Thompstone to resign.

2                     The meeting dwelt at length on the Ofsted report. Chris Munday, the Strategic Director for Children and young People, was questioned by members of the committee on current plans to improve services.

3                     The imminent time bomb was left ticking of how library services, arguably in breach of the council’s statutory duty under the 1964 Act to provide a comprehensive and efficient public library service, are currently the subject of a report by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), to the Secretary of State for Culture Karen Bradley. Watch this space.

4                     Clearly lots to do. Islington in contrast to Barnet received an Ofsted report on its outstanding leadership, so good models are at hand.

5                     The CELS committee has four co-opted members. It would benefit hugely by co-opting pillars of the community with local experience rather than employing expensive consultants without such local knowledge.

Keith Martin

Support Disabled People’s Right to Ride!

1537f6ab-d6c5-45d6-8271-fb704371d8faOn this Thursday 20th July TSSA and DPAC members and supporters will be travelling together en masse to the Department for Transport’s headquarters in London to deliver a petition demanding the right to ride. This is a part of DPAC’s week of action – to coincide with the holding of the para-athletics championships in London.

Assemble outside the Department for Transport at 2pm.
Department for Transport Great Minster House, 33 Horseferry Road, London W1P 4DR

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