Protest tomorrow over threat to ban transport strike action

RMT to protest at Parliament tomorrow over threat to ban transport workers from taking strike action

TRANSPORT UNION RMT has confirmed that it will be staging a protest tomorrow outside Parliament in response to the threat by the in-coming Tory government to ban workers across the sector from taking any kind of effective industrial action.

The provisions for this legislation are expected to be included in tomorrow’s Queen’s Speech and as a result the demonstration has been organised to assemble outside parliament on:

Thursday 19th December, by 12.30pm by Parliament Square, (Opposite the Houses of Parliament), SW1P 3JX. https://goo.gl/maps/uAmeAS6o46rmk8hW9 


RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:

“It hasn’t taken long for the true colours of this new Tory Government to emerge and tomorrow we will be kicking off the fight back against their new raft of anti-union laws.

“Nobody should be under any illusions about the scale of the threat now being lined up against the trade union movement. Banning strikes and denying workers the basic human right to withdraw their labour has been the hallmark of hard right, authoritarian regimes throughout history.

“It is no coincidence that this threat comes while our members on South Western Railway are continuing a month of rock-solid action in defence of the basic principle of a rail service that is safe and accessible for all.

“Instead of attacking rail workers fighting to defend safety and disabled access any responsible Government would be tackling the scandal of private profiteering on Britain’s railways which has reduced services to chaos.”

Other unions back the protest, taking industrial action is a basic human right and denying workers the ability to withdraw their labour has previously been the hallmark of hard right, authoritarian regimes.

The provisions for this legislation will be included in Thursday’s Queen’s Speech and a demonstration has been organised outside parliament to coincide with it by the Trade Union Co-ordinating Group, of which PCS is a member.

People’s Assembly Post Election Statement

The election result has made one thing clear: the task of rebuilding the anti-austerity movement, as part of the wider project of reconstructing the labour movement, now lies before us.

The Tory government will immediately set about privatising the NHS…and it will be into the pockets of private firms that any new funding goes. They are threatening to make strikes by rail workers and others in essential services illegal. And their policies will continue to find an echo among desperate, disenfranchised working people unless the labour movement finds a way of rebuilding its roots in these communities. 

There is now a direct contest for the long term loyalty of at least some workers. Boris Johnson’s claim to want to speak at the Durham Miners Gala shows the kind of bravado that the Tories now feel is possible.

We have to be the first line of resistance. We have to ensure that no Tory proposal goes unchallenged, no community goes unrepresented, no struggle is left to fight alone.

The People’s Assembly will be redoubling our campaigning efforts. We have been at the forefront of the fight against austerity. We helped change the national conversation about what an acceptable economic system should look like. Now new struggles are ahead. Support us and work with us.

We hope you all take some time to rest over the Christmas period and come back stronger than ever in the New Year

If you would like to donate towards our campaign please see here

TUC London East and South East post election message

If you are reading this then I strongly suspect you will share in the deep disappointment about last week’s election result and be only too aware of the challenges, we will now face.

Many of you will have been out campaigning across the region in the seven weeks since the election was called, through your unions and trades councils and as members of political parties. Being out in our communities, seeing again and again why we desperately need a government dedicated to supporting our people and not to funnelling wealth and power into the hands of the few.

Throughout the election there was a huge amount of work done to focus attention on how insecure work, inequality and austerity is damaging our people. As our General Secretary, Frances O’Grady, said on Friday ‘in the face of a campaign that was shameless in its right-wing populism we stood for a radical and hopeful alternative.’

However now the result is in we have to turn our sights to the period ahead: building and growing our movement and our strength, relentlessly holding this government to account, including its next moves on Brexit and standing together against attacks on our rights and our public services, and combating the politics of hate that try to divide working people. We have also seen some great colleagues returned or coming into parliament for the first time in our region and we look forward to working with them.

As a region we will be reviewing our work-plan and adjusting it where needed in the light of the incoming government.

Our core mission remains the same: to make the world of work better;

  • By promoting trade unionism across our region – giving a voice to working people
  • Bringing our unions and trades councils together in an impactful way through; our structures, campaigning and providing information, support and training
  • And being the link/face of the TUC to and from unions and the wider public in our region and delivering on the national TUC campaign plan and regional policy.

But more than ever we will need to focus our resources on;

  • Building our capacity to engage with and share information with union officers, activists and members in the region
  • Increasing our campaigning work on issues raised by our regional council, including; the climate emergency, the housing crisis, tackling the far-right, opposing the roll-out of Universal Credit and dealing with the impact of Brexit on jobs, rights and our colleagues, friends and family from other EU countries
  • Supporting union organising, work-place campaigning and industrial action (including defending the basic right to take strike action) and doing everything we can to support reps and showcase union successes.

At our last regional council I was cautioned by a delegate for saying I was afraid of what a majority Tory government under Boris Johnson could mean for us. She rightly pointed out we had to fight for the future we wanted to see and not be scared. I’ve got to be honest and say I am worried about what a Johnson administration is planning, but I’m also confident in our ability to come together, not just to deal with whatever is thrown at us, but also to build a stronger movement that will remain in the front line fighting for a better future. Whoever is in government trade unions remain a force for good and for change.

Start by asking a friend or family member who isn’t a union member to join and please encourage other reps and activists you know to sign up to receive our regional updates HERE

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RMTs Ticket Office Campaign

RAIL UNION RMT has released a full list of London Overground’s plans to cut hours at 45 stations to the bare minimum and close the ticket offices altogether at Brondesbury, White Hart Lane and West Hampstead.

The revelations of the scale of the planned cutbacks comes on the eve of the union holding a day of action as part of a fresh campaign to fight the closures. Last year, London Overground planned to close 51 ticket offices on the network. However, RMT launched a campaign and thousands of London Overground passengers opposed the closures leading to the Mayor intervening and promising to keep the Ticket offices open.

  • RMTs Ticket Office Campaign – full details HERE  

Firefighters win back pensions in blow to government

Over 6,000 firefighters are entitled to return to their pre-2015 pension schemes, an employment tribunal declared today, in a landmark victory for the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) with implications across the public sector. This comes after the Court of Appeal ruled last December that the government’s attacks on firefighter pensions constituted unlawful age discrimination.

The claimants, members of the 1992 and 2006 firefighters’ pension schemes, are now entitled to be treated as if they have remained members of their original pension scheme, with benefits including a retirement age of between 50 and 55.

In July, the government admitted it had spent £495,000 on legal costs fighting to maintain discriminatory pensions, while the total annual cost of applying the ruling across the public sector could be up to £4 billion.

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said:

“Last Christmas, we gave firefighters the gift of a victory in the courts. This year, firefighters can celebrate knowing that their union has secured their rightful retirement – a gift borne of solidarity that proves what unions can achieve.

“The law has now changed and our FBU claimants will be entitled to return to their previous pension schemes. Legislation will need to be amended, but there can be no delay in implementing this remedy. Firefighters were robbed, and they must now be repaid.

“To the new Tory government, let me be clear. We fought tooth and nail against your attacks on our pensions and won. If you dare to try to pay for these changes by raiding the pensions of current or future firefighters, we will come for you again – and we will win.”

In 2015, the Tory-Lib Dem government imposed a series of detrimental changes to firefighter pensions, which included a built-in “transitional protection” which kept older firefighters on better pension schemes while younger members were moved onto a new, worse pension scheme, which included a requirement to work until aged 60.

In December 2018, the Court of Appeal ruled that this transitional protection arrangement constituted age discrimination and was therefore unlawful. The government then attempted an appeal to the Supreme Court which was denied in June 2019, ending their legal challenge. They have since confirmed that the ruling will be applied across all public sector pensions.

Today’s decision is an interim declaration which will cover immediate cases, such as those who have taken ill-health retirement, with a final declaration in July. It will apply to firefighters who joined the fire and rescue service before 1 April 2012.

The declaration follows similar judgements for judges, police, and Ministry of Defence police. The FBU is the only organisation that has fought on behalf of firefighters and launched over 6,000 employment tribunal cases, organised dozens of periods of industrial action, and sent hundreds of firefighters to lobby parliament against the changes.

The FBU will now pursue compensation for injury to feelings and compensation for financial losses for claimants who lost money due to the changes.

Any FBU member who was a member of the fire and rescue service before 1 April 2012 who is not currently a claimant will be able to register as a claimant shortly, with details and frequently asked questions to be addressed in an all members circular.

STATEMENT ON THE ATTACK ON A RABBI IN STAMFORD HILL

Barnet TUC and Stand Up to Racism have been shocked and saddened by the attack on the Rabbi last Friday in Stamford Hill. We are particularly appalled by the fact it was racially motivated. We absolutely stand by the rights of any individual to be able to go about their business without fear of assault for what clothes they wear or skin colour they have or what gender they are perceived to be. The attack on this Rabbi is therefore an attack on all of us.

No Pasaran!

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

New Labour Manifesto – Trade Union policies

  • Requiring breaks during shifts to be paid.
  • Giving everyone full rights from day one on the job.
  • Strengthening protections for whistleblowers and rights against unfair dismissal for all workers.
  • Ending bogus self-employment and creating a single status of ‘worker’ for everyone
  • Banning zero-hour contracts and strengthening the law so that those who work regular hours for more than 12 weeks will have a right to a regular contract, reflecting those hours.
  • Increasing wages through sectoral collective bargaining.
  • Requiring cancelled shifts to be paid and proper notice for changes in hours.
  • Giving all workers the right to flexible working.
  • Extending statutory maternity pay from nine to 12 months.
  • Doubling paternity leave from two weeks to four and increasing statutory paternity pay.
  • Introducing statutory bereavement leave, guaranteeing workers time off to grieve the loss of close family members or following miscarriage.
  • Introducing four new bank holidays celebrating our four patron saints’ days.
  • Reviewing family-friendly employment rights, including rights to respond to family emergencies.
  • Requiring employers to devise and implement plans to eradicate the gender pay gap – and pay inequalities underpinned by race and/or disability – or face fines.
  • Requiring employers to maintain workplaces free of harassment, including harassment by third parties.
  • Increasing protection against redundancy for people wherever they work.
  • Giving statutory rights to equalities representatives.
  • Setting up a Royal Commission to bring health (including mental health) and safety legislation up to date.
  • Ensuring that public-facing workers are protected by toughening the law against abuse and violence.
  • Banning unpaid internships.
  • We will remove unfair and unnecessary restrictions on trade unions, allowing people to come together and speak up on issues that affect them at work.
  • Allow trade unions to use secure electronic and workplace ballots.
  • Remove unnecessary restrictions on industrial action.
  • Strengthen and enforce trade unions’ right of entry to workplaces to organise, meet and represent their members and to recruit.
  • Ban union-busting, strengthen protection of trade union representatives against unfair dismissal and union members from intimidation, harassment, threats and blacklisting.
  • Repeal anti-trade union legislation including the Trade Union Act 2016 and create new rights and freedoms for trade unions to help them win a better deal for working people.
  • Simplify the law around union recognition. Give union reps adequate time off for union duties.

Trump, the Palace & the Right to Protest

It is exactly two weeks until Donald Trump descends on Buckingham Palace in the middle of one of the most important General Elections in British history. It’s an unprecedented moment and one our movement must capitalise on.

The Metropolitan Police are trying to the restrict the route for the demonstration organised by a wide coalition of campaign groups who are planning to protest outside Buckingham Palace during a reception for NATO leaders on December 3rd. We must be allowed to make a stand outside Buckingham Palace for everything Trump can’t stand – peace, human rights, climate justice, equality, tolerance & diversity.

Join the protest: https://bit.ly/356wXAI

As the de facto leader of NATO, the largest military alliance on earth, Trump will be pushing his fellow NATO heads of state to increase military spending whilst reasserting US priorities for the organisation. Over the past couple of decades NATO has been central to the so-called War on Terror, particularly in Afghanistan and the bombardment of Libya.

Trump’s seemingly critical attitude towards NATO is designed to pass the burden of funding for the alliance onto European nations in order to strengthen its power, not lessen it. Any notion that Trump wants to pull out of NATO is absurd. NATO is a crucial arm of violent US foreign policy power and must be opposed.

TUC Conferences for 2020

Women’s Conference:                                    4-6 March

Young Workers Conference:                          21-22 March

Black Workers Conference:                            25-26 April

Disabled Workers Conference:                       21-22 May (Bournemouth)

Trades Council Conference:                           13-14 June (Leicester)

LGBT+ Conference:                                        25-26 June

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