Annual General Meeting 2017 Report

 

Thursday saw us hold our AGM, our ninth since officially relaunching last decade, and despite some organisation hiccoughs (those who were there know what I mean!) it was a really good night.

Unfortunately, TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes was forced to give his apologies because he was attending talks between Irish bus workers and their employers at the time. Never the less, we had some excellent speakers, starting with two comrades from Derby Unison to talk to us about the long running dispute between school support staff and the city council.

Unions organiser Oliver gave us the basic run-down on the situation, in which the council had very specifically targeted school support workers for an alleged “equal pay review” that saw their already modest salaries cut by as much as 25% in some cases, forcing the union into industrial action that has been running since June last year. Teaching assistant Sarah, who works with children with special needs, spoke very m20170309_194607ovingly about how her colleagues desperately wanted to just go back to jobs that they care about deeply, but are losing homes and livelihoods and feel they have no choice. Disappointingly, Derby city council is a Labour administration (with a majority of one!) that has proved intransigent to appeals from the national leaderships of both Unison and the Labour Party. Barnet TUC resolved to donate one hundred pounds, and do a collection on the night, but more importantly to get this massive dispute to be more widely known to help these essential workers get justice. We are all being asked to write to Derby councillors and urge them to end this attack on school support workers. Get more information on the Derby City Unison Facebook page.

Next we heard from Phoebe Moore, of the UCU, speaking about her work with the Freedom of Movement campaign. Freedom of Movement was set up by university workers in response to threat that restrictions on immigration have toward higher education in this country, and what they perceived to be a drift within the labour movement to supporting this by endorsing restrictive “points based” systems that countries like Australia use. They have been primarily working on getting educational institutions to commit to passing motions affirming support for free movement, but are now urging other parts of the movement to come on board. Our own Unison members followed this up with their experience of trying to organise a symbolic “One Day without Us” event on February 20th. They found out that there was actually significant fear among EU national workers about doing simple things like being photographed holding “I am Immigrant” placards, showing how necessary this work really is. Bahir from the NUT also urged the meeting to remember that freedom of movement is something that we want for all people, not just those of certain nationalities, we are internationalists not just Europeans.

Our final speaker Miriam Scharf from the Middle-East and North Africa Solidarity Network. Although MENA, which was formed in 2011 in response to the wave of revolutions in the region, actually gets involved in workers’ struggles in many countries, Miriam spoke to us primarily about the organisation’s work with activists in around Egypt. Despite heavy repression since the counter-revolution of 2013, workers and activists in Egypt have continued to take action – there are actually more strikes per year in Egypt than in Britain, despite striking being completely illegal. MENA was part of numerous important campaigns, such as the campaign to get the labour lawyer Haitham MohamEgypt_SOLIDARITYedain released from prison and support for Alexandria dockworkers, ultimately successful, action against their military employers (pictured). Miriam urged urgent support for an Amnesty International letter writing campaign that is happening now, justice for Italian Cambridge University student Gulio Regeni, who was captured and murdered while in Egypt researching the conditions of Egyptian workers in January last year. BTUC voted to affiliate to MENA.

Obviously, the key task for the AGM was approving our constitution and officers committee for the new year. I am proud to announce that the following officers have been elected:

  • President: Keith Nason, Barnet NUT
  • Vice-President: Dominic Alexander, Barnet College UCU
  • Secretary: Kieran Crowe, London Underground MATS & Operational Management TSSA
  • Minutes Secretary: Bahir Lattoe, Barnet NUT
  • Equalities Officer: Helen Davies, Barnet Local Government Unison

The posts of treasurer and deputy treasurer will announced shortly. I think I can speak for the entire committee and say that we are all looking forward to a fresh year’s campaign, starting with the march against racism next week.

 

Show Culture Some Love

16797816_1093584557419993_4489735210433799335_oThe third conference of the “Show Culture Some Love“ campaign – organised in conjunction with SERTUC and affiliated unions – is taking place on 25 March 2017 from 1.00-5.30pm in TUC Congress House. Tim Newton’s film of the first conference can be viewed here:
https://vimeo.com/124096909

The conference focusses on the theme of “The Future of Arts & Culture” and will be opened by Megan Dobney, (Southern & Eastern TUC Regional Secretary). The main session will be chaired by Clara Paillard (President, PCS Culture Sector) – and will feature a number of leading speakers. Further announcements will be made as and when speakers are confirmed.

The main session will be followed by four workshops which will explore equality issues:
• Race, Racism, Art & Culture: (Chair: Zita Holbourne, “Black Activists Rising Against Cuts”)
• Disability, Culture & Art: (Chair: Mark Leopard, TUC Disabled Workers Committee)
• LGBT, Art & Culture: (Chair: Theresa Easton, Artists Union England)
• Gender, Art & Culture: (Chair: Fiona Whitelaw, Equity).

A second series of workshops on a number of issues relevant to the sector will then take place:
• Arts & Campaigning: (Chair: Nicola Hawkins, SERTUC Creative & Leisure Industries Committee)
• The Arts & “Brexit”: (Chair: Tracy Edwards, PCS Culture Sector)
• Developing and taking forward the Show Culture Some Love programme: (Chair: Tom Taylor, SERTUC Creative & Leisure Industries Committee)
• National Libraries and Museums Campaign: (Chair: Candy Udwin, PCS or Helen Davies, Barnet UNISON)

Each workshop is being asked to identify two priority action points and to appoint someone to report back to the final session – which will be chaired by Tom Taylor (Secretary, SERTUC Creative & Leisure Industries Committee).

Registration will take place between 12 noon to 1.00pm – with free sandwiches and refreshments being provided. Advance booking is essential – and people can book their place via email at:
sertuc@tuc.org.uk

Trade Union Studies at the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London

There is a new list of TUC courses that are being delivered in Essex and London next term, by the Trade Union Education Department of the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CoNEL).

Course Title

Start Date

End Date

Duration

Venue

Chelmsford – Health and Safety Stage 1 Certificate

03/05/2017

12/07/2017

10 Wednesdays

Chelmsford

Union Learning Reps

24/04/2017

12/06/2016

5 Mondays

Tottenham

Union Reps Stage 1 Certificate

02/05/2017

11/07/2017

10 Tuesdays

Tottenham

Health and Safety Stage 1 Certificate

03/05/2017

12/07/2017

10 Wednesdays

Tottenham

Employment Law Certificate (Union Reps Stage 2)

04/05/2017

13/07/2017

10 Thursdays

Tottenham

Health and Safety Stage 2 (Next Steps) Certificate

05/05/2017

14/07/2017

10 Fridays

Tottenham

 As you may be aware, the government has attacked the funding that is available for trade union education, reducing it by 50% this year and potentially to nothing from August 2017. However, currently we are still able to offer free courses, so there is still an opportunity to take advantage of this. Unfortunately, this may be your last chance.

If you, or any of your colleagues would like to apply for any of these courses, you can do so online at  https://www.tuceducation.org.uk/login/index.php . If you have any issues applying online, please give us a call on 020 8442 3075 with your email address and we can send you an application form. 

Barnet TUC Annual General Meeting – Draft Agenda

The AGM is Thursday of next week. As usual, we’ll have a slightly different order of business.

7pm – Apologies and Minutes of last AGM

7.15pm – Move constitution, financial report and election of officers for new year

7.30pm to 8.30pm – Speeches from out guest speakers:

  • Manuel Cortes, leader of TSSa
  • Speaker from From Free Movement of Labour Campaign
  • Miriam Scharff from the Middle East and North Africa Solidarity Campaign

With plenty of time for discussion afterwards!

See you all there at the Safari Bar, 975 Finchley High Road N12 8QR, at 7pm this Thursday, March the 9th.

Finchley More In Common meeting

moreincommon-shortFinchley residents! Please join our #MoreInCommon meeting on Wednesday 15th March at 7.15-8.30, at the Blue Beetle room at St Mary at Finchley parish hall, Hendon Lane (5 minutes walk from Finchley Central tube).

We want to bring together local people concerned about the rise in intolerance and racism since the EU referendum. We’ll share our ideas about what can be – and is being done – locally to build a positive response to hate, and longer-term we’ll turn those ideas into reality. 

No special expertise or insight needed. All welcome – any and every religion, ethnicity, political persuasion, age – you just have to be concerned and want to help.

For more information please contact mslizzyhawkins@gmail. com.

More on the Hope Not Hate website here: http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/more-in-common/

Closure of Job Centres in the London Borough of Barnet

Closure of Job Centres in the London Borough of Barnet

Barnet UNISObarnet-unison-logo-e1462368170626N are concerned about the proposed closure of two of the four Job Centres in the Borough.  The DWP appears to have not fully considered the impact this would have on those people working in and using Job Centres, and the wider community including our members working to provide support for those seeking work.

Instead of closing Job Centres we call on the DWP to consider the benefits and opportunities of working in partnership with local Government.  The proposal shows a failure to learn from the success of existing DWP and Local Government partnerships such as the Boost project at Burnt Oak

Barnet’s population, already the size of many UK cities, will rise from 373, 000 to over 400,000 within the next decade. To reduce Job Centre services by 50% in the face of this growth illustrates a lack of strategic planning by the DWP

Reducing the number of Job Centres will place greater strains and stresses on people who already are in the difficult and worrying situation of having to find work as travel costs and waiting times will increase.

The closure of half of the Borough’s Job Centres will put further pressure on our members working in council services such as libraries and social care who are providing support to people who are out of work; our members are already suffering from additional pressures from cuts to jobs and resources.

Barnet UNISON call for a more imaginative and socially responsible approach to providing Job Centre Services in our Borough. This to be  arrived at after a  full and real consultation with Job Centre workers as represented by the PCS, service users, the Council and other concerned organisations.

Barnet Unison – Local Government branch.

Votes for residents on estates facing regeneration

gVcdXkmjUhhcUcP-800x450-noPadIn recent years, London has seen a number of estates undergo ‘regeneration’. Many of these have resulted in demolition, the loss of much needed social homes, and the displacement of communities.

Sadiq Khan has released a ‘Draft Good Practice Guide to Estate Regeneration’, but as it stands none of the most important safeguards are enshrined. It should be a basic democratic right that people living on estates facing regeneration should get to have a vote on the different plans.

We call on Sadiq Khan to require that regeneration takes place ONLY when there is resident support. Councils must BALLOT their residents, ensuring everyone gets a VOTE in the future of their home.

As the mayor promised in his manifesto, regeneration should only go ahead with majority resident support.

  • Do not demolish good homes
  • All residents must have final say via ballot on any regeneration/demolition plan
  • Rents need to stay at council ‘social’ rent levels
  • Right of return must be contractually enforceable
  • All financial and technical information about estates to be made public
  • Leaseholders must have a right to return or receive full market value of their property
This petition will be delivered to:

North London says no to Trump

5d977d4c-dd0d-4856-8eaf-d4d1611ef3c4North London Says No to Trump –
ADD YOUR NAME HERE

We the undersigned, from across North London (namely the boroughs of Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Haringey and Islington), write to express our opposition to US President Donald Trump being accorded a state visit to this country.

Racism, sexism, misogyny, Islamophobia, antisemitism, homophobia, war mongering, climate change denial or policies designed to boost the wealth of the already super-rich should not be rewarded or celebrated – most people  here want no part of it. They do not expect our government to condone or celebrate such policies or the values that stand behind them.

Trump is, as the president of the richest and most powerful nation on earth, uniquely placed to do good or ill. His tenure in office so far shows beyond doubt that he intends the latter.

We call on elected representatives, local councils and all sections of society from across North London to express their opposition to him being accorded a state visit, and we pledge to join those who will protest against Trump’ state visit.

Please forward this email to spread the word and ADD YOUR NAME HERE

Talk about your struggles with housing costs in London

lightAre you struggling with housing costs in London and want to tell your story in the media?

Next month a major piece of research will be published, looking at the high cost of living in London, particularly for households on modest incomes. We want to make sure that the message is heard loud and clear that rising rents are a major problem for a large group of Londoners across the city.

Perhaps you’ve been forced to move because the landlord has put up the rent, or the gap between your wages and housing costs means you’ve had to put up with unsuitable homes, or just found it harder and harder to find anywhere to live in the city.

If you would be interested in speaking to the media about your experiences, please reply to sebklier@generationrent.org by Friday 3 March, giving a little bit of information about the problems you’ve faced as a result of London’s high housing costs.

Please do pass this on to anyone else you think might also be interested.

Thanks – together we can make the case for housing in London that is properly affordable for all the city’s residents.

 

All the best,

Generation Rent
http://www.generationrent.org/

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