SERTUC: Changing the Narrative and Establishing Our Vision of the Future

Today’s meeting of South East Region Trades Union Congress (soon to be renamed TUC in London, East and South England, LESE) was made two exceptionally good addresses from Labour politicians.

The first talk was from Emma Dent Coad MP, who last year went from the elation of winning a shock election victory for Labour in the constituency of Kensington & Chelsea to the horror of the Grenfell Tower fire. Emma, a lifelong resident of the borough, a student of architecture and a Labour councillor for twelve years could not be a better person to take on the K&C Tories. The high-handedness of their council administration was almost comically awful long before the tragedy of Grenfell. This was a council that accused Labour of virtue-signalling when they proposed letting a food-bank have the use of a council property, and then praised food banks as being superior to the welfare state. They were enthusiasts for the most extreme rightwing think tanks that permanently label working-class communities as “broken” by “dependency culture” and propose to fix them through means of pure social cleansing, with madcap plans to relocate Londoners to places as far afield as Hastings and Peterborough, places that they would feel completely lost in.

Emma argued that the ideological assault of the Tories cannot be fought on its own terms, which she likened to a sort of rightwing bullshit bingo. “We must challenge the social determinism of the elites… Keeping us debating in a middle ground does not help those we want to represent… We must change the narrative against the monetisation of housing and use our own language, not the language of the Tories.”. During the discussion, numerous delegates raised the ideological attacks that have come from the media, both against Emma and Labour and, horribly, the Grenfell survivors themselves, who are falsely presented as having in some way benefited from the fire. Emma said that this was part of the ideological offensive, and definitely something that is hardening up right now.

After Emma Dent Coad, we were treated to the first adress to SERTUC by Labour Shadow Chancellor for decades, John McDonnell. John informed us that had had the very great pleasure of speaking to City of London asset managers, and telling them he was absolutely in favour of investment from all investors that pay taxes and recognise unions. What he wanted to talk to us about, though, was PFI and the fallout of the Carillion collapse.

For 20 years, Jeremy and I campaigned against PFI in public services… which is all about making money by ‘sweating the assets’, which means cutting wages and spending.” He explained that the figures, which many people refuse to believe even when presented to them, that the private sector has made services anywhere between 40 and 70% more expensive. He said he had earlier in the week, he’d been discussing Carillion with Royston Bentham, a heroic worker blacklisted by that company for fighting for health and safety at work, just one example of a person who knows only too well working under these conditions are like.

Labour is going to sieze the opportunity presented by this emergency to finally end PFI. Not only will there be no more PFI contracts, but John pledged to bring services back in-house and “re-establish the credentials of direct labour and

Defaced branding is seen outside Carillion’s Royal Liverpool Hospital site in Liverpool, Britain, January 16, 2018. REUTERS/Phil Noble

services. We will end privatisation, full stop.”. The bigger ideas for reforming industry and work included:

  • There will be reform of the financial auditors to put an end to the tax avoidance industry
  • Workers will not just get onto company boards, but there will be a workers’ right to buy to enable people to take ownership of businesses they work in
  • Trade union rights will be fully restored, with the Tory anti-union laws repealed within the first 100 days of the Labour government
  • A ministry of labour will be established that will enable and enforce sectoral bargaining

McDonnell emphasised, particularly in response to discussion from the floor, that a radical Labour government will only succeed if we rebuild the mass labour movement to allow it to survive, and that we need to set ourselves the target of doubling the size of our trade union membership. He rounded up by saying that Labour is holding a potentially ground breaking conference on alternative models of ownership on February the 10th that he urged people to attend, and left us with these words: “We’ve spent a lifetime working towards this, lets sieze the moment!”

Sat 17 Feb – One Day Without Us

Barnet and Haringey More in Common are celebrating the contribution of migrants with a stall on East Finchley High Road and on social media. More info about 1DWU at http://www.1daywithoutus.org/

The purpose is proclaim the message ‘ Proud to be a migrant/Proud to stand with migrants.’  Alternatively, you might choose to bring  messages to the day, depending on your organisational or individual priorities. Celebrating migrants and migration does not preclude protest and there are lots of things to protest against:  The impact of immigration controls on migrant workers; the ‘hostile environment’; the failure to guarantee EU citizens’ rights; restrictions on health care to migrants.  What do you want the country to know about the value that migrants bring to your communities?  What migrant voices and perspectives are being left out of the public debate?   What would you like to highlight and draw attention to?  Why are you proud to be a migrant?  Why are you proud to stand with migrants?

A Follow-Up from the Lucas Plan Conference: Trades Unionists Endorse Defence Diversification

The conference to mark 40 years since the Lucas Plan, in which rank and file workers put together a revolutionary programme for repurposing weapons technology for progressive purposes to both save jobs and help society, has had a superb follow up. A an excerpt is here:

So What Happened to Our Conference Motion 16 The “Lucas Plan”, Arms Conversion and
Socially Useful Production? 1st TUCJCC renamed it Defence, Jobs and Diversification then sent it to TUC Congress 2nd It was accepted onto agenda and heard on Tuesday 12th September PM.

The motion is now the property of the General Council and has been referred to the TUC Economic and Social Department for Action. Their first action will be to consult with those Unions directly affected-we’ll keep you updated with any progression.

In the Meantime?
TUCJCC wanted you to know what had happened with your motion, particularly with the announcement of further job losses in BAE and the potential for further announcements of job losses from supply industries across the UK. They would specifically like you too

  1. Those Trades Union councils covering the area of the BAE job losses already announced to contact the Unions involved and ask how they (and we) could help (if not already involved).
  2. The TUCJCC regional representatives will raise within their own Regional Executives the wider issue of potential job loss within the wider supply chain industries.
  3. Discuss the motion within your own Trades Union Councils and consider how your
    affiliate could encourage both the TUC and Labour Party to act on it.

 

The for a link to the full motion and repot: So What Happened to Our Conference Motion 16-final copy (002)

Against Underhill Ark Academy

The Mayor, Sadiq, passed this back to the local Council. Residents are upset by conservative councillors such as Wendy Prentice who made deeply derogatory comments in public – at Town Hall planning meeting – about the existing local secondary school – TTA – (The Totteridge Academy) (see Facebook link).

Ark Pioneer, is planned to stand across the road from TTA, which is currently achieving good GCSE results and has renewed local backing, as well as spare capacity.

Some residents will go into the office to see the Conservatives. Please support the protest outside the office on:

10th January, SATURDAY. 10.00 am to noon.

Venue: Conservative HQ , High Barnet – 163 Barnet High Road.

Thanks!

From We Own It: Branson’s BIG BAILOUT Thursday 18th JANUARY

8am, Thursday 18th January – online and at Kings Cross station

Virgin Trains East Coast is getting a bailout of up to £2 billion from Chris Grayling, at our expense.

We want to show how ridiculous it is that the public is paying for Virgin and Stagecoach’s mistakes, so we’re holding a ‘fundraiser’ for Richard Branson. Next Thursday morning, let’s make some noise. If we all join together we can build pressure on Chris Grayling to stop the bailout.

1) Join in online

a) Share our facebook event to spread the word to your friends. If you’re not on facebook, share this page by email.

b) If you’re on twitter, sign up for our twitter flashmob(This works by signing up as many people as possible to tweet the same message at exactly the same time – 8am next Thursday. By tweeting hundreds of the same message at the same time we might get our message to trend on twitter. You just have to give it permission to send this tweet, and then forget about it.)

c) And of course, if you haven’t already, sign our petition to Chris Grayling: Stop the bailout of East Coast and bring it into public ownership!

2) Join us at Kings Cross station in London

Join us at 8am on Thursday 18th outside Kings Cross. We’ll supply the buckets and placards! Sign up on facebook or email info@weownit.org.uk to let us know you’re joining. Remember to wrap up warm and wear something red if possible!

Blacklist Support Group statement on Carillion

Carillon admitted in the High Court that they blacklisted workers who complained about safety on their building sites, while at the same time milking public sector contracts for millions. Workers on projects run by Carillon need to be paid and are entitled to their pensions but no more public money should be given to the bosses of the disgraced company. In any civilized society, these people would be facing criminal charges.

When you invite blacklisting human rights abusers to run the NHS and school meals, don’t be surprised when vampire capitalism attempts to suck the taxpayer dry. The government should bail out the NHS not Carillon or their bankers. The government should nationalise Carillon now at the current market value of their shares (nothing) and go further by banning all of the construction companies involved in the blacklisting human rights conspiracy from any publicly funded contracts.

Carillion and the NHS Crisis

The Crisis in our NHS deepens today as leaked memos show that unqualified student health workers are being called upon to step in and help as services continue to fail to deliver. This comes the day after twelve major Trade Unions call on the government to properly fund our NHS.

On top of all that private outsourcing firm Carillion, a major service provider across the transport, construction and health care sectors, faces liquidation this morning after warnings of financial ill health, which could leave thousands of jobs at risk. Most worryingly, quality of care and lives, are also under threat as Carillion is responsible for 200 NHS operating theatres, 11,800 beds and makes 18,500 NHS patient meals a day. 

The timing could not be worse for an NHS dragged to the brink of ruin by a wilful Tory government, ideologically committed to privatisation at any cost. We have to get the #ToriesOut of office now. 

NHS IN CRISIS – FIX IT NOW
Emergency Demonstration
12pm, Saturday 3 February 
Assemble Gower Street Central London WC1

Share and invite your friends here: Facebook Event
Download and submit the Model Motion for support here.

The People’s Assembly and Health Campaigns Together have teamed up again to respond to the worst NHS crisis in history.

We’re calling on everyone; all campaigns and local groups, all round the country – to come down to London and demand proper funding, beds and full staffing levels on fair pay.

Action Saturday – Barnet Labour

The upcoming local elections in May will be our chance to prove the power of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, taking us one step closer to government. Make sure you’re a part of the journey.

Join us this Saturday in Barnet and campaign alongside Barry Gardiner MP.

Let us know if you can make it so that we can make sure we have enough campaign materials.

Action Saturday – Barnet
Saturday 20 January, 10:00am – 2:00pm
38 Church Lane, London, United Kingdom

RSVP now

Our people powered movement showed its power last summer — taking away the Tories’ majority in the General Election. This year we’re continuing to challenge the Tories in every seat, in every part of the UK.

If you’re new to campaigning — great! This is the perfect opportunity for you to start your journey as a Labour Party campaigner as there will be a full training session beforehand.

Solidarity with the People of Turkey (SPOT) Conference – Turkey under the state of emergency

SPOT conference “Turkey under the state of emergency” on 20 January 2018 at 09:30 – 16:15.

This conference is supported by the National Education Union (NEU), who will be hosting us at the NEU / NUT Headquarters, Hamilton House, Mabledon Pl, Kings Cross, London WC1H 9BD

The event will provide an update on some of the biggest issues facing democratic forces in Turkey and workshops on how we can better campaign for change.

We have a great line up of speakers on the day; including Louise Regan (NEU Co-president), Ken Loach (Filmmaker), Fatih Polat (Editor of Evrensel), Seyit Aslan (General Secretary of GIDA-IS), Owen Jones (The Guardian), Kemal Goktas (Cumhuriyet Journalist), Kate Osamor (Labour MP), David Lammy (Labour MP), Hisyar Ozsoy (HDP MP), Mehmet Tum (CHP MP), Simon Dubbins (Unite the Union), Kani Beko (President of DISK), Lindsey German (Stop the War Coalition), Esra Ozyurek (LSE), Mustafa Yalciner (Writer), Aydin Cubukcu (Author) and many more.

We very much hope you will be available to join us on 20 January 2018.

Solidarity with the People of Turkey (SPOT)

Register Here

Programme for the day.

09:30 – Registration and Refreshments

10:00 – Turkey under the state of emergency

Chair: Louise Regan, NEU Co-President
Ken Loach, Filmmaker / Seyit Aslan*, General Secretary of GIDA-IS / Fatih Polat*, Chief Editor of Evrensel Daily / Mehves Evin, Journalist / Steve Sweeney, Morning Star 

11:30 – Workshops Part I

  • Workshop 1. Fighting for the freedom to teach and the freedom to learn – how to show solidarity with scholars at risk?
    Chair: Mehmet Ugur, BAK UK
    Joanna De Groot, President of UCU / Assoc. Prof. Ceren Sozeri / Assoc. Prof. Esra Ozyurek, LSE
  • Workshop 2. Declining women’s human rights and gender inequality – how to strengthen the women’s resistance?
    Chair: Cinar Altun, Day-Mer
    Mehves Evin, Journalist / Owen Jones, The Guardian / Ceylan Begum Yildiz, Academic / Sarya Tunc, Women’s rights activist,
  • Workshop 3. Political representation and role of parliament
    Chair: Oktay Sahbaz, SPOT
    Kate Osamor, Labour MP (Invited) / Mustafa Yalciner*, Writer / Mehmet Tum*, CHP MP / Hisyar Ozsoy* HDP MP / Israfil Erbil, President of British Alevi Federation

12:30 – Lunch

13:30 -Workshops Part II

  • Workshop 4. Attacks on workers and trade unions
    Chair: Elena Crasta, TUC
    Kani Beko*, President of DISK / Simon Dubbins, Unite / Seyit Aslan*, General Secretary of GIDA-IS / Ian Hodson, President of BFAWU
  • Workshop 5. What next for Turkey in the Middle East and the Kurdish question?
    Chair: Lindsey German, Stop the War Coalition (STWC)
    Aydin Cubukcu*, Author / Hisyar Ozsoy* HDP MP / Thomas J Miley, Academic / Andrew Smith, Campaign Against Arms Trade
  • Workshop 6. Journalism & the role of media.
    Chair: Ege Dundar, PEN
    Fatih Polat*, Chief Editor of Evrensel / Barry White, Journalist / Kemal Goktas*, Journalist Cumhuriyet / Kumru Basar, Journalist / Steve Sweeney, Morning Star

14:30 – Tea/Coffee Break

14:45 – Final Session – Campaigning to win change

Chair: Christine Blower, SPOT Spokesperson
Mehmet Tum*, CHP MP / Kate Osamor, Labour MP (Invited) / Hisyar Ozsoy*, HDP MP / David Lammy, Labour MP (Invited) / Kani Beko* President of DISK / Ian Hodson, President of BAFWU / Fatih Polat*, Chief Editor of Evrensel Daily / Cagdas Canbolat, SPOT

16:15 – Event Close


*Simultaneous translation will be provided 

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