Friday, 21 October 2016

From Grunwick to Deliveroo - migrant workers, trade unions & the new economy

From Grunwick to Deliveroo - migrant workers, trade unions & the new economy

A one-day conference on migrant workers, trade unions and the new economy.

Forty years ago Asian women at Grunwick led a strike for basic human dignity at work and for the right to join to a trade union. Today these battles are still being fought, often by migrant workers in precarious employment conditions. The experiences of workers at Byron revealed the extent to which migrant workers can be exploited by 'the new economy' and tossed aside when no longer needed, while those at Deliveroo showed that resistance is both necessary and possible.

This one-day conference will bring together campaigners, trade unionists, activists and thinkers to examine the changing nature of work and the terrains for resistance.


Willesden Library Centre
95 High Road
NW10 2SF

Willesden Green tube (Jubilee line)

Although a free event, please ensure you book your place HERE as spaces are limited.

Sessions will include: 

  • The legacy of Grunwick
  • Do we need independent trade unions?
  • Building community support
  • What does Brexit mean for workers
  • Resisting immigration raids
  • Building community support

Confirmed participants are:

  • Rita Chadha (Refugee and Migrant Forum Essex and London
  • Dr Sundari Anitha
  • Suresh Grover (The Moniroring Group)
  • Anti Raids Network
  • Amrit Wilson (writer, activist)
  • Durham teaching assistants
  • Jack Dromey MP
  • Unite Hotel Workers Branch
  • United Workers of the World Union (Deliveroo and other campaigns)
  • More to be announced

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Transforming Lives, a UCU campaign

Transforming Lives, a UCU campaign

 Dear colleague,

I wanted to update you on 'Transforming Lives', a UCU campaign which showcases the power of further education (FE) to change lives.

The first remarkable case studies are collected here.

It is hard not to be moved by the life stories of the amazing people found by project authors Vicky Duckworth and Rob Smith.

The recurring theme in these stories is the influence of a committed and inspiring teacher. Yet since 2010 thousands of teaching jobs have been cut from colleges in order to save money.

UCU has calculated that to replace capacity in further education lost since 2009/10 will require 15,000 additional teachers and £700m additional public investment. That is an essential investment in the people who need FE most.

In the coming months we will, with your help, be showing politicians the human face of FE and asking them to give their support to Adam, Pippa, Herbert and the other remarkable people this project showcases.

Will you help us?

Please share the link with everyone you know by email or social media.

Please share your own stories of transformation here.

Thank you for your support.

Sally Hunt
UCU general secretary

Sunday, 16 October 2016




Oct 19 - Nov 2Brent Museum and Archives · London


Sat 10:30 AMWillesden Green Library Centre · London
Shared to Brent Fightback


Wed 7 PMSOAS, Khalili Lecture Theatre Lower Ground Floor, Main Building, Thornhaugh Street, WC1H 0XG

Friday, 14 October 2016

Letter to your MP opposing CETA.

Letter to your MP opposing CETA.

Hi all
Please could people sign the letter below to your MP opposing CETA.
CETA is a major new business deal that was negotiated in secret between the EU and Canada over five years from 2009 to 2014. It stands for the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement.
As you no doubt know CETA is TTIP by the back door and will threaten our legislative processes and regulatory standards and everything from
environmental protection, public services, and labour rights to consumer
safety laws and food standards – thereby inhibiting the government from acting in the public interest for 20 years even after leaving Europe.
Would you get behind our campaign to send a letter to MPs re the imminent
voting of CETA in the Council of Europe on Oct 18th and its signing at a
EU-Canda summit on Oct 27th . Please write to your MP and pass on to other
lists that campaign on issues will be affected by CETA such as environment, democracy food and health standards, public services etc and ask them to write to their MP.

Many thanks

Haringey Unite Community

Dear MP

The trade deal CETA is about to be voted on in the Council of Europe in Luxembourg on Oct18th and if agreed, signed on Oct 27th at the summit between the EU and Canada. At present the UK government supports CETA.

CETA is a major new business deal that was negotiated in secret between the EU and Canada over five years from 2009 to 2014. It stands for the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement and it represents one of the ‘new generation’ of trade treaties on behalf of big business that are set to undermine our democracy and destroy our basic rights. CETA will lead not just to economic losses but also to rising unemployment and inequality, with negative implications for social cohesion in an already complex and volatile political context according to the most up to date assessment [1A]

The  UK will be subject to the provisions of CETA whatever our relation with the EU until we formally leave. The referendum last June indicated that the British people certainly did not expect Brexit to mean continuing EU control over our legislative process for a further 20 years. Yet due to Article 30.9 of CETA (the stabilisation or sunset clause)  "in the event that this Agreement is terminated, the provisions of Chapter Eight (Investment) shall continue to be effective for a period of 20 years after the date of termination of this Agreement in respect of investments made before that date", it means that everything from environmental protection, public services, and  labour rights to consumer safety laws and food standards could be under threat - thereby inhibiting the government from acting in the public interest for 20 years. So while the PM is trying to take back control of UK borders at some cost to the economy she is at the same time throwing away control of our legislative processes and regulatory procedures with negligible economic benefits to the UK.CETA is designed to protect the interests of corporations at the expense of ordinary people - to benefit the few at the expense of the many, quite contrary to the Prime Ministers new agenda.

I am very concerned there has been no debate either in Parliament or in the media despite the imminence of the vote and widespread opposition in Europe and the UK.

Could you therefore please ask the following question at Prime Ministers Question time preferably on Oct12th or raise the issue via some other House of Commons procedure.

"Given the fact that  CETA (the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement between the EU and  Canada) is about to be agreed on Oct18th and signed on Oct 27th can the Prime Minister ensure there will be a debate on CETA in Parliament  as a matter of urgency?
In the meantime until Parliament  has a chance to debate CETA could she agree the UK government will neither sign up nor authorise ‘provisional application’ of the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA)"

CETA has caused widespread opposition throughout Europe. The Dutch and Irish parliaments have passed a motion rejecting provisional application of  CETA. Austrian Vice Chancellor Kern has spoken against it and the government has been shaken by a split.  Luxembourg and Belgium have said they will vote against CETA or abstain. Bulgaria and Romania have issues over visas and will refuse to sign unless addressed. Both the TUC in the UK and trade-unions throughout Europe are opposed. There is a legal lawsuit being brought at the Federal Constitutional court in Germany and a legal challenge to ICS may be brought at the European Court of Justice.

Over 3 million Europeans voted against TTIP and CETA in the European Citizens Initiative of which 500.000 were from the UK. In addition there was a public consultation by the European Commission on Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) which was opposed by 97% of respondents.(The Investor Court system is only different from ISDS in respect of procedure. In essence it is the same - see below 10, 11)

Below is further  information about CETA and ICS from a number of organisations

Yours Sincerely

[1A] The most recent study of the Economic Impact of CETA on the EU
[1B] Current status of CETA & how it affects the UK after Brexit
[1] War on Want: What is CETA?
Here’s another good guide to what’s in CETA:
Global Justice Now: What is CETA?
[2] Politics: The Canadian trade deal which will let in TTIP by the back door:
[3] This article from the Financial Times is behind a paywall.
“European and Canadian authorities are aiming to ratify the CETA at talks in Brussels next month but political resistance in Austria and Belgium presents a fresh threat to the pact as it cannot come into force without unanimous support from all 28 EU member states. The leadership of the Austrian government is divided on CETA.”
[4] Politico: Europe nears trade deal with Canada:
[5] This article from Politico is behind a paywall.
Junior economy Minister Harald Mahrer: “We expect that this declaration will be finished by next week”
[6] Global Justice Now: CETA: TTIP’s little brother A guide to the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada:
[7] This blog gives a good outline on why CETA will weaken our regulations, protections and increase privatisation:
Citizen Action Monitor: CETA: What it is and why it’s bad for Canada:
This article discusses how dangerous CETA is because 80% of US companies have subsidiaries in Canada:
Public Citizen: Tens of Thousands of U.S. Firms Would Obtain New Powers to Launch Investor-State Attacks against European Policies via CETA and TTIP:
Here’s the story about the EU asking Canada to re-work some of CETA:
CBC: EU quietly asks Canada to rework trade deal's thorny investment clause:
[8] 38 Degrees: DIY Brexit results, trade section:
[9] 38 Degrees: 6 things you need to know about CETA
[10] Legal briefing EP Legal Service Opinion on ICS in CETA by Client earth
[11] ISDS Rebranded as ICS, rights for corporations to sue states refuse to die. by Corporate Europe Observatory

UCU campaigns update:

In this week’s campaigns update:

Further education England member pay consultation
Members in further education England are to be consulted on whether to accept the Association of Colleges’ (Aoc) final offer for 2016/17. If you are a member working in an English FE college then please look out for an email inviting you to vote in the consultative ballot which should arrive in your inbox over the next 24 hours. 
For more on the FE England pay campaign please see here.

Urgent: stop the demolition of Calais camp petition
The Calais refugee camp is now under imminent threat of demolition leaving around 9000 refugees facing winter with no shelter. Please urgently support the Care4Calais campaign and 
sign the petition to stop the demolition.

United for Education demonstration 19 November
Please help us make the 19 November UCU/NUS demonstration for education the biggest ever by 
downloading posters, sharing on Facebook and letting us know you are coming here. We also need more volunteers to help steward so please

Also this week:
• In the news
• Stand up for EU staff and students
• Senior management survey (SMS) to audit university management practices
• UCU offers legal advice on immigration to EU members
• UCU Learning for Life: develop your career with our CPD courses
• LGBT+ research conference 2017
• Voice care for educators
• UCU equality groups conference
• Offenders’ Learning and Skills Services: prison education contracts
Please click here. 

All the best

Ed Bailey
UCU acting head of campaigns

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

UCU: Please help us fight the HE bill.

Dear colleague,

In recent days, hundreds of you have written to your MP about the need to protect the position of EU staff and students in the UK. The message is getting through, and several MPs raised our concerns in parliament this week.

We need to keep the pressure on government to protect our higher education sector. That’s why I now need your help in fighting the Higher Education and Research Bill.

The bill will make it easier for new private providers to award degrees, which poses a real risk to quality and the international reputation of our higher education sector. The government also wants to link rising tuition fees to a flawed new measure of teaching quality, putting more pressure on staff and increasing the financial burden on students.

Please click here to send a message to your MP, asking them to oppose these damaging plans.

Thank you.

Sally Hunt

UCU general secretary

Tuesday, 11 October 2016