Tuesday, 14 November 2017

The People's Assembly Against Austerity :Budget Protest

Chancellor Phillip Hammond will announce the Budget next week and outline the Government's spending priorities for the next year.

We're calling a protest at Downing Street the night before to urge the Government to use the Budget to scrap their plans for Universal Credit, to close tax loopholes and force the tax avoiders to pay their fair share, to end the public sector pay cap with an increase above inflation, and to properly fund our NHS and public services.
Protest: 6pm, Tuesday 21 November, Opposite Downing Street, Whitehall, London
** We're asking everyone to take 10 minutes today and invite your friends on Facebook: click here to invite your friends** Please also Tweet using hashtag #SackTheTories


We're pleased to team up with Health Campaigns Together, Unite Community, Axe The Housing Act and many other campaigns to organise this protest. (If your campaign would like to get involved please get in touch)

It's fair to say that this Government hasn't had the best few weeks. Theresa May's authority is dwindling even in her our party while a growing crisis in the cabinet, based on inappropriate behaviour from ministers, leaves a question mark over whether this Government will survive the next few weeks in office.

But the crisis around the roll out of Universal Credit is growing which will push thousands into poverty, the Paradise Papers revealed the huge extent of Tax Avoidance where the rich are thieving money which should be spent on services, and the head of the NHS last week warned billions of pounds extra is needed if the NHS is to survive this winter.

Come along, bring friends and workmates. Let's make sure this weak Government feels the growing opposition to their damaging austerity measures.

Foodbank Collection
As part of the protest we're collecting food which will be donated to local foodbanks so their shelves are stocked to deal with the fallout from Universal Credit and the continuation of austerity policies in the budget. We will also be using the thousands of pounds that was raised through sales of Captain Ska's track 'Liar Liar' to buy tonnes of food and deliver it to foodbanks across the country. But before it's delivered, we'll be displaying all of it right on the doorstep of Downing Street to show Theresa May and Phillip Hammond the effect their damaging policies are having on ordinary people.

Items that are needed for Foodbanks:
  • Tinned meat
  • Tinned fish
  • Tinned veg
  • Tinned fruit
  • Pasta sauces
  • Instant coffee
  • Milk (UHT or powdered)
  • Fruit juice (long life)
  • Tinned pudding
  • Jam / preserves
  • Instant mashed potato
  • Male and female toiletries

The People's Assembly Against Austerity :Budget Protest

Climate Change motion etc

Motion 3 Climate Change, Airport Expansion and Fracking
Proposer London Retired Members Branch

We recognise that the motion on Climate Change passed at this year's TUC makes progress towards UCU retired members resolution 7.6 of our 2016 annual meeting. However, we regret that there is no mention of opposition to fracking or airport expansion. We therefore call upon the UCU NEC to continue to campaign within the trade union movement in support of all the demands raised in UCU Congress 2017 resolution 17: Climate change, jobs and airport expansion.


John McDonnell will highlight the human and economic costs of manmade climate change, calling it the “greatest single public challenge” and say the government should include the fiscal risks posed by global warming in future forecasts.
The landmark change would, for the first time, put climate change on an equal footing with other complex challenges affecting the public finances such as demography.
Under a Labour government, the Office for Budget Responsibility would be given total independence, McDonnell will announce, saying the forecaster would report directly to parliament rather than the Treasury.

Monday, 13 November 2017

SERTUC news and activities

SERTUC xmas celebration

Friday 8 December 2pm to 4pm Congress House – invitations will be in the next regional mailing

Regional Secretary Designate

I am delighted to introduce you to SERTUC’s next Regional Secretary:
Sam Gurney is currently acting head of the TUC’s Equality and Strategy department. Previous roles at the TUC include Senior Strategy and Development Officer and Policy Officer in the International Department. He was a member of the Governing Body of the UN International Labour Organisation 2009-2017.
Before he joined the TUC in 2003 he was a Regional Organiser for GMB London Region and an Assistant National Organiser at Connect. He studied at the School of African and Asian Studies at the University of Sussex (where he was also president of the student union 1995-96) and then the Centre for Research in Ethnic Relations at the University of Warwick.
He was born in Paddington, brought up in North Kensington and now lives in Walthamstow, East London.
Sam will take over on 1 January and I know he will maintain and develop the progressive work we have engaged in in SERTUC over the last many years! You can contact Sam on sgurney@tuc.org.uk

Britain needs a pay rise/Lift the pay cap

Cambridge march and rally

Saturday 18 November 11.30 https://cambridgeuniteunion.com/

Trade Union actions

Unison Eastern: cut crime not PCSOs Day of Action

Saturday 2 December 10.30 in Norwich – leafleting every home, contact easterncampaigns@unison.co.uk and see https://eastern.unison.org.uk/keep-norfolk-pcsos-campaign-latest/

CWU: bring Royal Mail back into public ownership


TUC Education webinar: Unions and Young People

Building Stronger Unions Prospectus of support

TUC support for effective union organising, campaigning and recruitment. Details available from TUC national organiser Carl Roper croper@tuc.org.uk

Trades Council actions

Colchester: Banner Theatre The union makes us strong

Tuesday 21 November 7.30pm details from r.pigott@levysolicitors.co.uk

Supporting the Unite Barts Strike Fund

Waltham Forest and Redbridge trades councils are supporting: Tuesday 14 November https://www.facebook.com/events/712830625576043/?active_tab=about

Cities of London & Westminster Pentonville 5 celebration

Friday 1 December with Len McCluskey Unite. 45th anniversary celebration, more info from Roger Sutton secretary@clwtc.org.uk

Other actions/events

Close Campsfield anniversary demonstration

Saturday 25 November 12 noon with Layla Moran MP, Anneliese Dodds MP, Freed Voices, Movement for Justice, Robb Johnson https://closecampsfield.wordpress.com/

Fund raiser for Whipps Cross Unite strikers

Tuesday 14 November 8pm Walthamstow with Steve White & the Protest Family, Maddy Carty, Chip & Nadia, David Thorpe. Donation and raffle https://www.facebook.com/events/712830625576043/ 

Latin America 2017 conference

Saturday 2 December 10am London, full details here http://www.cuba-solidarity.org.uk/events/166/latin-america-conference-2017

Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign newsletter

Oxford Stand Up To Racism public meeting

Thursday 21 November 7pm, more info admin@oxfordstanduptoracism.org.uk

London Labour Film Festival

Marx Memorial Library film festival Spark

A festival of revolutionary film 24 September to 12 November at the Rio (Dalston) and Phoenix (East Finchley) cinemas http://www.1917.org.uk/spark-film-festival/

We are the lions, Mr Manager Grunwick play

Townsend Theatre Productions present their new play on the Grunwick dispute http://www.townsendproductions.org.uk/shows/we-are-the-lions-mr-manager/

Thursday, 9 November 2017


Published on 2 Oct 2016

This film is an account of the system of blacklisting operated by the UK construction industry. It describes how the industry operated a secret blacklist to prevent workers who would make an issue of safety or poor employment practices getting employment. It also describes the evidence of state involvement in this practice and the struggle by construction workers for a degree of justice.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Peoples Assembly: Day of action the night before the Budget Tuesday 21 November, Nationwide

Stop the Universal Credit Crisis - Stop Tax Avoidance
Day of action the night before the Budget
Tuesday 21 November, Nationwide

Universal Credit
The Government's plans to overhaul the welfare system by forcing people onto Universal Credit have been widely criticised by MPs, charities, and campaigners all warning that this is likely to cause a rise in homelessness, poverty, and unnecessary debt. It will leave thousands without an income for weeks as they wait to be transferred, many will be left thousands of pounds worse off, and there is reduced support for claimants. The Trussell Trust have said that they expect a 30% increase in foodbank use this winter in areas where Universal Credit is rolled out. Child Poverty Action Group have found that Government welfare reform will push 1 million children below the poverty line
The cost of moving to Universal Credit was originally estimated at £2.2bn, however it is now at a staggering £15.8bn and still rising.
Paradise Papers
Revelations in the Paradise Papers show how companies, politicians and individuals are avoiding paying billions of pounds in tax using offshore tax havens rather than paying their fair share here. Theresa May said she would clamp down on tax avoidance but loopholes are still in operation.
More people than ever are having to rely on foodbanks to feed their families, our NHS is in a funding crisis, public sector workers are still facing a pay cap below inflation, millions can't access affordable housing while the richest individuals and biggest companies take money that should be spent on dealing with these problems and squirrel it away for themselves. The Government is doing nothing to stop it. 
The People's Assembly is calling a nationwide day of action the night before the Chancellors Budget is announced. We're organising 'Stop the Universal Credit Crisis - Stop Tax Avoidance' protests in towns and cities across the country. As part of the protests we're collecting food which will be donated to local foodbanks so their shelves are stocked to deal with the fallout from Universal Credit and the continuation of austerity policies in the budget.   
We want to urge the Government to use the Budget to scrap their plans for Universal Credit, to close tax loopholes and force the tax avoiders to pay their fair share, to end the public sector pay cap with an increase above inflation, and to make sure our public services are properly funded.
We will also be using the thousands of pounds that was raised through sales of Captain Ska's track 'Liar Liar' to buy tonnes of food and deliver it to foodbanks across the country. But before it's delivered, we'll be displaying all of it right on the doorstep of Downing Street to show Theresa May and Phillip Hammond the effect their damaging policies are having on ordinary people - this will take place as part of the London wide protest on Tuesday 21 November. Join us at Downing Street or at one of the many protests that will be taking place across the country and don't forget to bring along food for the foodbank collection. 
If you would like to set something up where you live please get in touch and we will add to our list of events. More information to follow.

JOIN AN EVENT (more to be confirmed):
London5:30pm - 7pm, Tuesday 21 November, Downing Street, London
6:30pm, Tuesday 21 November, GMEX Steps, Windmill Street M2 3GX
4:00pm - 8:00pm, Tuesday 21 November, Wharf Green Swindon Town Centre SN15 3
6:30pm, Tuesday 21 November, St George's Square, Hebden Bridge, HX7 8
5:30pm, Tuesday 21 November, Outside Lloyd's Bank, Wellington Place, Hastings, TN34 1NX
4:00pm, Tuesday 21 November, Queens Square, Liverpool

Milton Keynes
5pm until 6.30pm outside Civic offices, Central Milton Keynes

12:00pm, Saturday 2 December, Old Market Square, Nottingham, MK18 3
5:30pm, Tuesday 21 November, Sheffield Cathedral
5:00pm, Wednesday 22 November, Waterstones Birmingham
If you can organise a protest or an event in your area please get in touch: office@thepeoplesassembly.org.uk
Items that are needed for foodbanks:
  • Tinned meat
  • Tinned fish
  • Tinned veg
  • Tinned fruit
  • Pasta sauces
  • Instant coffee
  • Milk (UHT or powdered)
  • Fruit juice (long life)
  • Tinned pudding
  • Jam / preserves
  • Instant mashed potato
  • Male and female toiletries
The Trussell Trust have said they would like collections to stick to the above items when collecting as these are the most urgent items and they have lack of storage space for others. 

The People's Assembly Against Austerity

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Save our Jobcentres! Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group

Protest 6/11/17 outside DWP HQ Caxton House, Tothill Street. London 

photo Becca Thackeray

photo and video Lois Davis

The government has already closed 24 job centres since August this year. They plan to close a further 78 Job centres by April of 2018...16 of these Job centres are in London.
Poor people and people facing the biggest challenges need local job centres, not some super-hub that they have to walk miles to reach.

Benefit money is too little to cover regular trips on public transport. People will have to walk. And don’t be late or too ill to walk over a mile each way whenever the job centre demands it-– you’ll be up for a sanction!

The Torys say that much of the job centres work is now done online, but 5.3 million people in Britain have never used the internet, and 10 million lack the basic digital skills. And millions of these people will be in receipt of benefits.

You can’t use the internet if you can’t afford a computer or a mobile phone contract or the fee for using library or internet cafe

You can’t use the internet if you are illiterate (and six to eight million Britons are borderline or fully illiterate)

Our local Job centres, Kilburn and Neasden, serve one of the most deprived areas in the country. If they are closed then over half of the borough of Camden and around two thirds of Brent will be more than half a mile from the nearest job centre, i.e. more than a mile round trip. These areas contain heavily populated areas: a lot of people are going to be affected.

In amongst the people who can’t use the internet are hundreds of thousands of people who have lost their disability benefit because they aren’t disabled enough for the Tories. They may be able to walk just 200 metres, or sometimes panic when out and get lost, or nor be able to plan a journey to places they don’t know, or have epilepsy. They may be seriously depressed or suffering from brain fog brought on by medication or illnesses like Fibromyalgia. They may be recovering from Cancer or waiting for a heart operation. They may have variable conditions that mean that they can’t guarantee being able to go out at all on any particular day.

Save our Jobcentres!

Our local Labour MPS Tulip Siddiq and Karen Buck  have sent us letters of support  against the proposed closures, and Brent Labour Councillor Shama, with Green Party GLA Members Sian Berry (Camden) & Caroline  Russell (Islington) also against these ridiculous proposals.

KUWG are holding a Food Bank Stall at Neasden Parade noon-2pm Saturday 2nd December, with help from Sufra Neasden Foodbank. This part of Unite Community Day of Action against Universal Credit and part of a motion to stop Job centre closures. SACK GAUKE!


Saturday, 4 November 2017



Engaged Scholarship on Citizenship & Governance Seminar Series

Wed 15 November 2017
14:00 – 16:00 GMT

Chaired by Dr Thomas McManus, Research Fellow at Queen Mary University of London

ArtsOne Lecture Theatre, Queen Mary University of London (building 37 on map )


Aditya Chakrabortty (Senior Economics Commentator, The Guardian)
Vicki Cooper (Lecturer in Social Policy and Criminology, Co-director of Harm and Evidence Research Collaborative (HERC), The Open University)
Steve Tombs (Professor of Criminology, The Open University)
Pilgrim Tucker (Housing campaigner and supporter of The Grenfell Tower Action Group)
This Engaged Scholarship in Citizenship & Governance is jointly hosted by The Open UniversitySRA Citizenship & Governanceand the Harm and Evidence Research Collaborative (HERC) with the International State Crime Initiative (ISCI) and Human Rights Collegium at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) School of Law.

Monday, 30 October 2017

Celebrate 20 Years of Defeating Corporate GM Food!

Big Gene Gathering +20
Celebrate 20 Years of Defeating Corporate GM Food!
December 2, 2017 9.30am – 6pm
LARC, 62 Fieldgate St, London E1 1ES. FREE/donation
Are you eating GM food? The fact that you are mostly* not is down to 20 years of inspiring direct action and pressure by anti-GM activists. In 1997, sparked by the threatened invasion of Monsanto’s GM soya, the anti-GM food campaign erupted into the fields and streets of Britain. Five years of frenetic campaigning persuaded the British public that GM crops were an unacceptable threat to nature, farming and health. The supermarkets were forced to ban GM ingredients and repeated ‘decontamination’ of trial sites blocked GM crop development. By 2003 trials had stopped and there was a Europe-wide de-facto moratorium on growing new GM crops.  The myth that ‘you can’t stop technology’ was dead.
The Big Gene Gathering +20 is a chance to learn lessons about how to win on food and environment issues, and how to keep going for the long haul after the initial success and excitement fade.  Despite our victories, scientists and corporations are threatening a comeback with much more powerful new technologies that they claim are not GM and so don’t need regulating. Brexit may force GM crops and imported GM foods on us, while the new ‘synthetic biology’ aims at completely rewriting nature and even creating GM babies. So come and meet some of the hero(in)es of the anti-GM food campaign and discuss ways forward to combat the new threats to nature and people.
Speakers from: GM Freeze, Genetic Engineering Network, Beyond GM, GM Watch, Breaking the Frame, Human Genetics Alert and others.
There will be a 20th Birthday party on the evening of Saturday Dec 2nd.  Dec 3rd will be devoted to planning new and existing campaigns.
The event is free, but places are limited so please book in advance at Eventbrite (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/big-gene-gathering-20-tickets-39334569757). Please help us publicise the event by sharing this on social media and within your networks.
*Products from animals fed on GM crops are still not banned or labelled.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

NSSN 362: PCS strikes against DWP office closures

The full version of this week’s no.362 can be viewed HERE this week's highlights include news, protests, solidarity campaigns against victimisation, strikes and industrial action ballots involving BFAWU, Unite, RMT, PCS, Unison, GMB, CWU, BECTU, UCU, UVW, NBRU, SIPTU, TSSA and TEEU as well as international reports plus much more

NSSN 362: PCS strikes against DWP office closures on November 6th in Plymouth & all-out in Sheffield and RMT announces more DOO strikes
In this week’s bulletin, we headline with the continued action by PCS members against office closures in the Department for Work and Pensions. Also, for the 3rd time, Southern Rail management have put a divisive offer to train drivers in the dispute against Driver Only Operation (DOO). We call on ASLEF members to again reject this offer and open the way to joint action with the RMT, who have now called strikes against DOO in five train operators

Workers had already taken 26 days of strikes at Sheffield Eastern Avenue jobcentre but started indefinite action this Monday after DWP management announced that they intend to close it on November 17th.
Now PCS members at Plymouth Old Tree Court benefit centre have voted to strike on 6 November in protest at the plans to close the benefit centre. An overwhelming majority of members voted in favour of striking with 76.9% supporting the strike. The 230 members in the benefit centre however have been told they must relocate to another office in Plymouth. However, due to the geography and the transport connections of the area, a large number of members will not be able to relocate to the proposed new office as it is well outside reasonable daily travel from their homes. This has left a significant number of members at risk of redundancy.
PCS DWP Group President Fran Heathcote on Sheffield Eastern Avenue picket line

As well as these two offices, there have also been strikes at Hoylake and Whitley Bay job centres as part of the PCS DWP Group’s strategy to defend offices, jobs and public service.
PCS DWP Group President Fran Heathcote said, “With strikes like these, PCS is showing DWP management and behind them the Tory Government, that we will fight these vindictive closures that are to the detriment of our members and claimants alike.”
To support these strikes and all others by PCS in DWP:-
Send messages of support to leeds@pcs.org.uk. Donations should be sent to PCS DWP Group, 3rd floor, Town Centre House, Merrion Centre, Leeds, LS28LY.
PCS consultative pay ballot – the consultative ballot on the pay cap and whether members are prepared to take industrial action to protest against it, opened on October 9th
The ballot runs from Monday, 9 October to Monday, 6 November and you can vote by post, email or phone.
If you have not received a ballot paper in the post or received details of how to vote online to your personal email address by 20 October you should request a replacement ballot paper by emailing balloting@pcs.org.uk.
The ballot asks two questions:
Do you agree that the pay cap should be scrapped; and that funds should be made available to provide you with an above inflation pay rise?
If the government refuse to scrap the pay cap, are you prepared to take part in industrial action? Read more   Join PCS by 27 October to vote on pay
Video update from today's CSCS talks (24 Oct) - General Secretary Mark Serwotka talks to members about the Civil Service Compensation Scheme talks that PCS was part of at the Treasury today

RMT announces strike action in separate disputes over the attack on the role of the guard and the extension of Driver Only Operation (24 Oct) - RAIL UNION RMT today confirmed strike action in November in separate disputes with train operating companies across the UK over attacks on the role of the safety-critical guard and the extension of Driver Only Operation in the name of increased profits. Members on Southern, Greater Anglia, South Western Railways and Island Line have been instructed to take action as follows:
Not to book on for any shifts between 00.01 hours on Wednesday 8th November and 23.59 hours on Thursday 9th November.
Members on Northern and Merseyrail have been instructed to take action as follows:
Not to book on for any shifts between 00.01 hours and 23.59 hours On Wednesday 8th November read more
RMT calls on Southern Rail staff to stand together and reject divisive and tainted company plan to destroy safety and access (24 Oct) - Rail union RMT today called on Southern Rail staff to continue to stand united and reject the latest company and government proposals to extend Driver Only Operation which would destroy the principles of safe operation and access to services for all. Staff on Southern Rail have stood together for nearly 20 months now in the teeth of attacks on the safety culture and have repeatedly rejected plans cobbled together by Southern/GTR, under the direction of the Government, which would give the green light to axing the second safety-critical member of staff from services at the whim of the bosses and which would leave disabled passengers stranded. RMT is calling on staff to maintain that sense of unity. In a letter to members today – below - RMT reveals that the latest tainted company deal on Southern Rail attempts to link the most blatant of attacks on safety to increased pay while rolling back the boundaries on Driver Only Operation on a scale not seen before in any of the earlier proposals. RMT is making it clear that the union will be campaigning for a rejection of the whole package read more
National dispute fund (DOO disputes) – If you would like to donate to the RMT National Dispute Fund which makes payments to support their striking members taking part in National DOO disputes then you can donate via PayPal using the donate button below or make a cheque payable to RMT National Dispute Fund and send it to the address below. Alternatively, you can ring their Freephone helpline on 0800 376 3706 who will be happy to process a credit card payment for you, or, if you would like to pay via internet banking, please email l.rolles@rmt.org.uk for further details. Vicky Thompson, Finance Manager RMT, 39 Chalton Street, London NW1 1JD. Tel: 020-7529-8843

Support the Royal Mail workers: ‘Dispute postponed – not cancelled’ read more on CWU website
Defending the NHS
This Saturday October 28 - National Demonstration and Rally in Barnsley Save Our NHS: fighting back to win. Assemble Barnsley Eastgate http://barnsley.streetmapof.co.uk/eastgate/ at 11.30. Speakers include: Justin Madders, Shadow Health Minister, Mike Forster, Hands Off HRI, Ellen King, Bassetlaw parents
Saturday November 4 Health Campaigns Together Conference in London. Early bird registration and travel concessions closes 23.30. 31st October. The link for online booking is www.healthcampaignstogether.com Lunch will be provided for all PRE-BOOKED delegates Early bird fee: £7.50 | After 31st October / On the door: £10 Concessions: £5 pre-booked (£7 on the door) https://www.healthcampaignstogether.com/

NSSN news
There was an excellent NSSN Solidarity Forum last Saturday in Birmingham.
Over 80 union reps and members discussed how to build support for the increasing number of disputes, including the CWU in Royal Mail, Unite at Birmingham bins, PCS in DWP, BFAWU in McDonalds and the fight to scrap the public sector pay cap. We also heard from campaigners fighting to keep the Derby Women’s Centre open. If you want to organise a similar event in your area, email us via info@shopstewards.net
Get your trade union branch or trades council to affiliate to the NSSN – it only costs £50. Already affiliated? Please think about renewing it. Also, many of our supporters pay a few pounds a month. You can set up a similar standing order to ‘National Shop Stewards Network’, HSBC – sort code 40-06-41, account number 90143790. Our address is NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE. Affiliation letter is below
Download the ‘Join the NSSN’ leaflet here
And if you can, come to one of our regional Conferences. If there is not one in your area, get in touch to either assist in organising or have a speaker at one of your meetings or events. Contact Rob or Linda on info@shopstewards.net
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