Don’t sack 12,000 Asda workers just before Christmas

Asda workers have been told to sign the contracts – which will see them lose all their paid breaks and forced to work bank holidays – or be sacked on November 2 in the run up the Christmas.

Asda workers have been protesting outside stores up and down the country, while more than 1,000 turned out for a protest in August.

Today we are back in the birth place of Asda – once a proud, family company – calling on bosses to respect workers and offer them a better deal.

Gary Carter, GMB National Officer

Latest company accounts show directors trousered a whopping £12million last year – and profits rocketed more than £92 million – at the same time Asda slashed 5,000 jobs

Gary Carter, GMB National Officer, said:

“Tens of thousands of members of the public are backing our Asda workers in their fight against these Draconian contracts.

“Contract 6 is shocking – the changes are forcing our members to choose between looking after their families, or being able to support them. It’s a disgrace.

“Today we are back in the birth place of Asda – once a proud, family company – calling on bosses to respect workers and offer them a better deal.”

Stand with Asda workers – sign our petition

Fighting Bolsonaro: Solidarity with Brazil Thursday 24 October 2019 @ 5.30pm, Congress House

The workers of Brazil knew what was coming long before the rest of the country. A concerted assault on the labour movement and the rights of workers paved the way for the election as President of the far right demagogue Jair Bolsonaro, who has used his position rewrite the history of Brazil’s military dictatorship, and to fuel hate crime with his racism, homophobia and misogyny.

But the trade union movement remains at the core of resistance, with 45 million workers striking in June against Bolsonaro’s policies and unions building resistance on the streets, in workplaces and in Congress.

We will hear from Antonio Lisboa, the international secretary of Brazil’s biggest union organisation, the Central Workers’ Union (CUT), who will tell us of how workers and their allies are fighting not only for democracy, but “for civilisation”.

Danielle Rowley MP, the Shadow Minister for Climate Justice and Green Jobs, will talk about how the far right poses a threat to planet as well as people, as shown by the rampant deforestation revealed in Brazil this summer.

Baroness Christine Blower, Vice Chair of the Brazil Solidarity Initiative, and other speakers TBC, will speak of the international solidarity needed to defend the Brazilian people’s rights and challenge the international growth of the far right.

COMMUNICATION WORKERS’ UNION Members cheer as 97.1% strike vote announced

Hundreds of CWU reps waved their union flags and cheered as the “historic” Royal Mail ballot result was announced after a national reps’ briefing in central London earlier today.

In one of the largest ‘Yes’ votes and biggest turnouts for many years, CWU members in Royal Mail Group, not including Parcelforce members, voted by 97.1 per cent for strike action.

For legal reasons, our Parcelforce members were balloted separately in two separate ballots – one on the controversial ‘TUPE’ proposals and the other on the rest of the issues in dispute.

And both of these returned massive ‘Yes’ votes as well – 94.7 per cent and 95 per cent.

As the details of the balloting were read out by the union’s president Jane Loftus, loud cheering erupted, echoing loudly around the main hall of Euston’s Friends Meeting House.

Members of the press, who had been invited in to hear the announcement, immediately sent the news reverberating around the nation.

And in their eager questions to our general secretary Dave Ward and deputy general secretary postal (DGSP) Terry Pullinger, reporters all wanted to know when strike action could take place.

Media speculation had been building that Christmas or even November’s ‘Black Friday’ could be impacted by potential walkouts, but both Terry and Dave made clear that this would be entirely up to the Royal Mail leadership.

In his initial reaction to the announcement, our DGSP reminded the audience that “just over one year ago, the Royal Mail Group Board and the CWU agreed a blueprint agreement for the future, an agreement that included an historic pension solution, a mutual-interest-driven relationship and a joint vision for a successful postal service with social aims.”

But the new leadership of the company was now, he continued, “breaking that agreement.

“Our members take honour seriously and have voted to fight for that agreement against those who now seek to break up the Great British Postal service in the interest of fast-track profit and greed.

“Integrity and pride still matter and we will not stand aside and see what we have spent our working lives building destroyed,” Terry insisted.

General secretary Dave Ward said that the result had been “historic” and warned the company leadership that they “cannot face away” from it.

“The workforce has completely rejected the company’s plans to set up a separate parcels business and allow UK postal services and thousands upon thousands of jobs to wither on the vine,” Dave added, highlighting other issues of grievance, such as increased workload pressure on members, driven by technology.

“This dispute goes to the heart of everything that is wrong in today’s world of work,” the general secretary continued, vowing to “fight the board’s asset-stripping plans, not just through strike action, but by speaking directly to major shareholders, politicians and the public.

“We will build a coalition for change and deliver an exciting and innovative future for Royal Mail, with an expanded role for postal workers in supporting local communities and growing the economy.”

TUC LESE regional Trades Council briefing

Saturday 16 November 2019, 11-4pm, TUC Congress House, WC1B 4LS

Our 2019 regional trades council event will include an opening address by Simon Weller, ASLEF Deputy General Secretary and TUC general council member of the national Trades Council Joint Consultative Committee.

Discussion on the national trades council programme with our TUCJCC representatives Tommy Anderson (London and South East) and Andrew Coburn (East of England).

Sessions focused on trades council and union campaigning on; Housing, combating the far-right and Universal Credit.

The day will be a chance to meet and talk with colleagues from trades councils across our region.

Trades councils are welcome to send as many representatives as you like, but where requested we will meet travel expenses (by public transport) for two people from each registered trades council, less the first £5 per person. Please register with Joanne Williams Jowilliams@tuc.org.uk 020 7467 1218.

Please note in the event of a general election being called this event will be postponed if it falls within the campaign period.

This Sunday (20 Oct) – Stop the Turkish Invasion of the Kurds Demonstration

Turkey’s invasion of Syria continues, with serious attacks on the Kurds and their semi autonomous areas of Kobane. Turkey is a NATO member – and an absolutely central one both militarily and geographically. The other major NATO powers have done little to stop this onslaught. We will be protesting over the NATO summit on December 3rd in London where Donald Trump is again in town.

We will also be supporting the demonstration against the invasion and attacks on the Kurds which is taking place on Sunday at the BBC, Oxford Circus at 1pm. Our position is clear: we are against all bombing of Syria, from whichever power it comes. We call for immediate Turkish withdrawal, support for the rights of the Kurds, and no to war in the Middle East. We oppose a US/UK no fly zone, which is another form of western intervention. 

Tomorrow (17th October) – Protest/Letter Hand-In: Defend The Right To Protest – Defend XR

We are handing in a letter to Scotland Yard protesting the draconian police ban on all XR protests across London. Join us outside Scotland Yard to defend the right to protest at 17:30 tomorrow.

The text of the letter is below:

“The Metropolitan Police use of a Section 14 order to ban Extinction Rebellion’s protests across London is arbitrary and unprecedented and represents a serious attack on the right to protest. This right is a basic civil liberty which must be respected at all times. As people who have organised and participated in a wide range of protests and demonstrations we call on the Metropolitan police to withdraw the ban immediately, and to respect the long held right to peaceful protest.”

Supported by: Stop the War Coalition, CND, Stop Trump, Stand Up To Racism, People’s Assembly, Stand Up To Trump, Palestine Solidarity Campaign UK, Muslim Association of Britain

Join the Facebook event here.

Meet author of book on austerity – Tues 29 Oct.

Nathalie Olah will be speaking about her new book, Steal As Much As You Can (How to win the culture wars in age of austerity)

Tuesday 29th October
at Black Gull Books
East Finchley,
121 High Road,  N2 8AG

Event starts at 7.30pm.
Talk will be followed by a Q&A and book signing

Registerhere at Eventbrite.

About the book…..

For many, the 2010s have been a lost decade.  

Tory austerity has created suffering for millions, as well a generation beset with financial insecurity and crisis. Yet our TV, film, music, art and literature have never looked so rich, or so posh. During a period of immense struggle, the experiences of the majority have been pushed to the margins of our collective culture by the legacy media and its satellite industries – making it hard, if not impossible, to challenge those in power.

Steal as Much as You Can is the story of how this happened, exploring the rise of affluence in mainstream storytelling, and the corrosive effects of neoliberal and postmodern culture. By rejecting the established routines of achieving prosperity – and encouraging us to steal what we can from the establishment routes along the way – it offers hope to a bright and brilliant generation whose potential has suffered under these circumstances. A generation who, through no fault of its own, has become increasingly frustrated by our increasingly unequal society.

60 years of revolution – Cuba – Community meeting Tuesday 5 November 2019, 6.30 – 8.30pm

UNISON would like to invite all to a public meeting and reception to celebrate 60 years of Cuban revolution on Tuesday 5 November 2019 between 6.30 and 8.00pm at St Pauls Cambridge in the Lower Hall.

Two leading Cuban trade unionists, Santiago Badia Gonzales General secretary of health union SNTS and Neisy Pina Lago of public administration union SNTAP will be speaking at the meeting.

Electoral REFORM SOCIETY: NO TO VOTER ID

It is hard to believe: on top of an electoral system that is warped and discredited, over nine million people missing from the electoral roll, and elections open to the influence of unscrupulous donors and misinformation…the government is choosing to make it harder for us to vote.

Make no mistake: the government’s voter ID plans – announced yesterday – are a clear threat to our democracy.

Despite only eight allegations of “personation” fraud (the crime of pretending to be someone else at the ballot box) in 2018 across the whole of the UK, the government is putting up new barriers to millions of legitimate voters. This is a gross electoral injustice in the making.

It will cost up to £20m per General Election – but the democratic cost will be much higher.

This ‘show your papers’ policy must be stopped. Will you sign our petition to say no to US-style voter suppression laws in the UK – and yes to real democratic reform?

Sign our petition

Our campaign against mandatory ID has dominated headlines this week. The pressure is mounting. 

Let’s stand up for universal suffrage together. Sign our petition today.

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