Thursday, 17 August 2017

Exploitative conditions in Chinese electronics factories.

Dear Friends,
You're probably aware of the very harsh and exploitative conditions in Chinese electronics factories. This came to world attention in 2010 when there was a wave of workers' suicides at the Foxcon factory, which produces Apple's iPads and iPhones. Although the company has made some slight improvements in conditions, its main response was to introduce large numbers of robots.
Jack Linchuan Qiu, whose book 'Goodbye iSlave' documents working conditions and workers' attempts to organise in Chinese electronics factories will be in London on Septemeber 6th 2017, and Breaking the Frame is organising a meeting with trade unionists to inform and build solidarity with Chinese workers. You are invited to attend/send a delegate to the meeting, which will be at 3PM on September 6th at the Feminist Library meeting room, 5A Westminster Bridge Road, London, SE1 7XW.
If you are able to attend, please let us know by emailing Please help us publicise this event by forwarding this email to your colleagues.
Again, please forward this information to colleagues and other interested parties.
We look forward to seeing you on September 6.
In solidarity,
Dave King

Monday, 14 August 2017

Newsletter No.10 from the Greener Jobs Alliance.

Here's the link to Newsletter No.10 from the Greener Jobs Alliance.
August, 2017
Another world is possible

Words are powerful and can shape our understanding. Dull words like ‘environment’ don’t sparkle. Scientist George Monbiot argues that , “If we called protected areas ‘places of natural wonder’, we would not only speak to people’s love of nature but also establish an aspiration that conveys what they ought to be. Let’s stop using the word environment, and use terms such as ‘living planet’ and ‘natural world’ instead, as they allow us to form a picture of what we are describing. Let’s abandon the term climate change and start saying ‘climate breakdown’. Instead of extinction, let’s adopt the word promoted by the lawyer Polly Higgins: ecocide.”

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

"Moving the trade unions past fossil fuels".

"Moving the trade unions past fossil fuels". Interview with Sam Mason of PCS, the civil service union, on People & Nature.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Opportunity to show support for the UNITE strikers working for SERCO

Date: 7 August 2017 at 14:45
Subject: SERCO London Hospital Workers Pay Strike Forthcoming Events

Further to *SERTUC Public Services Committee* support for SERCO London Hospital Dispute

Please support and share two forthcoming events:

*Solidarity Rally*

*Saturday 19 August 2017*

Opportunity to show support for the UNITE strikers working for SERCO at
Whipps Cross Hospital.

Details: *

*Fundraiser Dinner* *Thursday 7 September 2017*

Thanks to the Star of India for hosting a fundraiser for the UNITE strikers
working for SERCO at Whipps Cross Hospital.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

The Green Party Trade Union Group & London Fed sends a message of solidarity to the Striking workers employed by Serco at Barts Health NHS Trust.

The Green Party Trade Union Group sends a message of solidarity to the Striking workers employed by Serco at Barts Health NHS Trust. The way these Unite members, who do vital work in the NHS, have stood up to an exploitative employer, with strike action, now including a 14 day strike is an example to Trade Unionists and workers everywhere. We support their struggle and hope they gain a victory.

Our support is endorsed by the London Federation of Green Parties at its meeting on 2/8/2017.

Striking workers from Barts to stage protest outside Serco investors meeting

02 August 2017
WHERE: JP Morgan, 60 Victoria Embankment EC4Y 0JP
WHEN:  Thursday 3 August 2017, 08:00-09:00
Striking workers employed by Serco at Barts Health NHS Trust will stage a protest outside JP Morgan where Serco will present its half year financial results for 2017 to investors on Thursday (3 August). 
Unite members have already held a 48 hour strike on Tuesday 4 July and took seven days of action from Tuesday 11 July. Workers began a 14 day strike on 25 July and further strike action will also be planned for August and September unless Serco comes forward with a reasonable offer for all of the workforce. 
Unite regional officer Ruth Hydon said: “Wealthy investors need to be aware that Serco is profiting from low paid, hard-working staff who have endured getting poorer year on year because of below inflation pay deals.  Workers regularly report getting home late, tired and sore from the intense workload heaped on them by Serco. They deserve better treatment and better pay.  
“We hope Serco’s investors will urge the company to resolve this dispute across four London hospitals. All the workers are asking for is an extra 30p an hour to help them afford the most basic items like food, rent and travel.  It is time for Serco to get around the negotiating table with Unite and resolve this dispute." 
Serco won the £600 million soft services contract for Barts Health NHS Trust last year. The company made a profit of £82 million in 2016. Unite members employed by Serco as domestic staff, porters and security workers at Barts Health NHS Trust want a 30p per hour wage increase but the claim has been rejected by Serco.  
Workers also called for a strike ballot because porters at Whipps Cross Hospital are up in arms over Serco’s plans to cut jobs, and to make matters worse Serco has also increased workloads to unsustainable levels for cleaners across the trust. 
Notes to editors 
Unite members were balloted across Whipps Cross University Hospital, Royal London Hospital, St Bartholomew’s Hospital and Mile End Hospital (Newham Hospital is not involved in the strike).  
For more information please contact Ciaran Naidoo on 07768 931 315 
  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.

the biggest attempted privatisation of local authority assets in UK history

Update on the Stop HDV campaign

Gordon Peters of Haringey Green Party and Stop the Haringey Development Vehicle Campaign writes below to mobilise people to support the judicial challenge to Haringey Council and the march on 23 September. This is becoming a London wide issue. It is thought that Camden Council are considering a similar setup. There will be a meeting hosted by Sian Berry in Camden Town Hall to discuss that on Tuesday Aug. 8 at 6.30. Find out more about the Haringey campaign at  and

Please spread this far and wide!

Anne Gray

Gordon Peters says....

  Update on the Stop HDV campaign:

 A Judicial Review of this is being filed in the High Court this week [by 4 August] on the grounds of it not having been consulted on, nor   even having gone to a full Council, on equalities impact not having been adequately considered, and on the risk to public finances not being made transparent or explained. There was a successful crowdfunding campaign which along with local collections and donations has raised  £25,000 towards legal costs. The last update on this is on <>. The campaign is a broad coalition of forces including both constituency Labour parties, LibDems, Greens, trades unions, community organisations, residents' and leaseholders' associations. Despite this the ‘red Tory’ Labour Cabinet led by Claire Kober, who also is chair of London Councils, are determined to go ahead with the £2 billion transfer of the local authority’s Council estates, land and property including over 500 business units to a partnership with Lendlease. We believe however they cannot sign any contracts while this in legal dispute and a hearing could be any time through the autumn.

September is a critical month in linking this — the biggest attempted privatisation of local authority assets in UK history — with the various similar attempts at social cleansing and depriving ordinary people of their rights to housing across London in favour of corporate developer-led ‘’regeneration’’. We are aware particularly of what Lendlease has done in Southwark, of the Cressingham Gardens campaign in Lambeth, and of new developments in Tower Hamlets, and possibly Camden, and in most cases in Labour-controlled authorities. We wish to mobilise with groups such as the Radical Housing Network, ASH, Defend Council Housing, those demanding justice for Grenfell in K and C, and others to build a fightback across London sufficient to turn the tide against these ‘’regenerations’’ which are attacking the very lives of our communities.

StopHDV is calling a march on Saturday 23 September in Haringey which will have key speakers from elsewhere as well and we want as many as possible from across the capital to join. First details below:

The plan so far is to assemble on Saturday 23rd September at around noon at Tottenham Green (150 yards up the hill from Seven Sisters Tube station), then march from 1pm to assemble around 2.30 - 3  at Finsbury Park.  The route should take us past Seven Sisters up West Green Road along Green Lanes to Finsbury Park. Depending on consent from the authorities, we may have to reverse the route and start at Finsbury Park.
Finsbury Park is by two tube stations (Manor House and Finsbury Park.). It is also where Haringey, Hackney and Islington meet and not far from the Camden borders. No local Spurs match that day  (they'll be playing at Wembley) and no Arsenal one either, so no congestion on transport from football crowds.  
The start and end points should make it fairly easy for most of London to get to and from. It just needs building across London. Please tell your contacts!

Any comments/suggestions you have would be most welcome. If we all work together we should be able to build a sizeable march that could get publicity in the weekend before Labour Party conference, when a motion on Social Cleansing is being debated.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Britain Still Needs a Pay Rise rally etc

Britain Still Needs a Pay Rise rally and lobby
Tuesday 17 October rally in Parliament Square with TU general secretaries, Jeremy Corbyn, Frances O’Grady and public sector workers, 4pm to 6pm, focused lobby 2pm to 4pm with union briefing 1pm onwards

Colchester: Banner Theatre The union makes us strong
Tuesday 21 November 7.30pm details from

Trade Union actions
London pay demonstration & rally
ATL, FBU, GMB, NUT, PCS, SERTUC, UCU, Unison, Unite Thursday 12 October assemble 5.30pm opposite Downing Street, march via Departments of Health, Treasury, Education, Home Office and then rally outside Parliament
Pride events in the SERTUC region
·         Brighton 4 August Supported by Unite
·         Margate 12 August Supported by Unison
·         Southampton 26 August Supported by Unison and Unite
·         High Wycombe 26 August speakers and march supported by NUT
·         Hastings 27 August
·         Hertfordshire 2 September
·         Reading 2 September Supported by Unison and Unite

Other actions/events
Sylvia Pankhurst Memorial Lecture

Saturday 12 August 7pm at the Workers’ Stately Home, Wortley Hall, near Sheffield, to be delivered by Sylvia’s granddaughter Helen Pankhurst “Deeds not Words: changes in women’s lives since 1918”

Friday, 28 July 2017

The People's Assembly Against Austerity: London is facing a summer of strikes

London is facing a summer of strikes which could go a long way to pressuring this Tory government out of office. Unite the Union members and BECTU workers are planning strikes over pay and conditions, while Nursing staff from the RCN are also planning mass rallies and protests against the pay cap. London is leading the resistance to the Tories!

Get involved and get down to these upcoming events to show your support:

Unite Members Strike - SERCO WORKERS STILL OUT... 
Get down to a picket at one of the 4 Health trusts affected, as cleaning staff and porters strike over pay (strikes will last till August 7th)... more info from More details here.

Bank of England Workers Strike - Threadneedle Street, 10:00amTuesday 1 August.... more details to follow... 
Staff at the Bank of England have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action in a ballot calling on their employer to give them a decent pay deal. In the industrial action ballot 95 per cent voted for strike action which will be the first strike action at the bank in over 50 years. Get down and show your support. More details here.

The Scrap the Cap campaign continues: 
RCN London #scrapthecap St Barts Hospital scrap the Cap
11:00am - 4:00pm, Thursday 10 August
St Barts Hospital, London, EC1A 9
Facebook Event

RCN #scrapthecap UK Scrap the Cap Rally
12:30pm - 2:30pm, Wednesday 6 September
Central London... Register here

Facebook Event

Also thanks very much to all those who came to Wednesday night's East London People's Assembly meeting 'After Grenfell' in Bow. It was excellent to have so many there. The meeting also agreed a number of things: 
  • To send support and solidarity from East London to the victims' families, residents and those affected by the Grenfell disaster 
  • To participate in and promote the Take Back Manchester Festival 30th September to 4th October and the National Demonstration on 1st October at the Tory Party Conference... Facebook Event Here
  • To support the October 7 Housing Summit called by Defend Council Housing
  • To circulate the following demands to be financed by central government:
1) Justice for Grenfell. Secure tenancies and proper care for all former residents. An enquiry that will look at all the issues surrounding the disaster and all those found responsible to face charges.
2) Immediate independent fire inspections in all tower blocks with published results and findings to be acted on 
3) All flammable cladding to be removed from social housing immediately
4) Sprinklers to be fitted in flats in all tower blocks
5) A comprehensive review of emergency evacuation procedures in tower blocks, including a review of fire station closures
6) The right for all social housing tenants to return to council control should they wish by means of estate ballots
7) Landlords to listen. Tenants to be consulted about all redevelopments

We have to keep up the pressure... if you want to get involved with the People's Assembly, contact us on or VOLUNTEER HERE.

See you on the streets! 

The People's Assembly Against Austerity

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

UCU general secretary offers SOME union membership free.

nb Effective from 1 October 2017, if you are a PhD teaching in HE, or part of the teaching team without a teachers’ contract in FE, UCU will make your union membership free.

From: Sally Hunt, 

Dear colleague,

I was re-elected earlier this year on a clear mandate – make UCU fit to face the future in an increasingly uncertain world. We have been busy since then and I want to share with you five key areas where we have made progress.

1. The future of our profession

First, the future of our profession. During the election, I lost count of the senior staff who approached me to express concern about the fate of the next generation. Locked into exploitative employment with little or no job security, the current model used in FE and HE has high expectations of young staff but gives little back to them. They need UCU most, yet their membership density remains low.

With your help, we want to do something about this. Let’s work together and build a trade union culture in low security areas – a culture where the union stands up for staff rights, bargains for better pay and conditions, and helps young staff to get the best out of their careers.

Pushing for better conditions from the bottom benefits both established members and the profession as a whole. We all know that this exploitative employment model is creeping upwards.

Effective from 1 October 2017, if you are a PhD teaching in HE, or part of the teaching team without a teachers’ contract in FE, UCU will make your union membership free. We think this covers around 70,000 (mostly younger) staff – the majority of whom are struggling at the start of their academic careers.

It is a big offer and valid for four years (or until a more secure job is achieved). We need to remove every possible barrier in the way of young staff joining our union in the hope that positive, valuable, UCU experience will spark a lifetime habit.

That is not all. I have heard first-hand how poorly many universities and colleges support their young staff. Too often in HE, you are thrust into the classroom with barely more than a couple of hours training. In FE, surveys show that 60 per cent of staff have no access to any CPD at all.

So – over the next year, UCU is going to put rocket boosters under our existing CPD provision to make it the best in the sector, useful to members at every stage of their career, and particularly so for those who are just starting out.  I hope that the senior academics reading this will help with the project too – sharing tips on lecturing, research bids, interviews, surviving office politics, and so on – so we can make these courses as useful and real as possible.

That is still not all. Over the coming months, we will also be putting together local claims to every employer on behalf of early career staff. We will argue of course for better pay and conditions, but we will also bargain for improved facilities, status, and support.  This is about creating a culture where everyone is valued, wherever they are in their career, and I want UCU to be at the centre of it.

2. Effective industrial action

Second, I promised members (if I won the election) I would try to ensure that when UCU calls for industrial action we follow a clear plan, and hit the employer where it hurts when necessary.

At UCU Congress I announced a commission to examine effective forms of action which will report back by the end of the year. Over the coming months, whatever your role in the union, the commission will want to hear your views on what types of action you favour and see as the most effective. I hope that everyone takes this opportunity to participate in a debate central to the future of our union.

3. Effective representation

Third, I promised that when it comes to negotiations the union would 'follow the money'. This does not mean we will abandon national bargaining - but it does mean we will enforce it. To do that, we must ensure that when the national employers refuse to negotiate, the union will take up the cause locally.

Since the election, dozens of claims have been lodged by branches, seeking to improve conditions, end casualisation, and close the gender pay gap. But we now want to do more.

Your national executive committee (NEC) has agreed on a union wide effort that increases local capacity to bargain effectively. Specialist organisers will focus on bringing our smallest branches up to speed, so no one is left behind, while our regional officials will focus on supporting our largest branches. The aim is simple – improve members' pay and conditions. Alongside the substantial investment we are making in improving training for your branch representatives, this marks a sea change in UCU's approach. I hope you will get involved.

4. More opportunity to participate in UCU

Fourth, in the election I promised that I would try and make it easier for you to participate in the union. Progress has been made already. Get the vote out (GTVO) plans, agreed by your NEC, ensure that consultation with members is now a fixture of our action campaigns – giving you a real say. This has helped to create a more engaged membership, with the average turnout in all ballots 10 per cent higher than last year.

Changes in the law mean that a 50 per cent turnout is required in order to take action, so this is something we will need to continue to protect your right as trade unionists to take action when necessary.

Increasing consultation also means seeking your views on professional issues and matters of education policy. I know that members' appetite for this is strong, based on the thousands of responses I received when I asked for help developing our policy on the Stern review, and again with our FE transforming lives campaign.

5. Standing with international staff

Fifth, I highlighted the concern across UCU about the plight of EU colleagues during the election. Brexit, and then the U.S. travel restrictions put in place by Trump, created much uncertainty and UCU has led the way – the extra support agreed by the NEC provided hundreds of individual members with legal advice on their immigration status.

The union cannot rest on its laurels. I have asked staff to put together a further package of measures aimed at supporting international staff to feel welcome, safe and unafraid of standing up for themselves at work.

If you are an international staff member, kick-start this process by filling in this survey and sharing it with international colleagues if they are in the union yet or not.

I hope all of this shows that UCU has been busy.

There is a real recognition among the NEC and the senior officials that the union needs to transform itself in order to meet our challenges. We need to create a collective trade union culture throughout the sector, especially at the low security end of the sector where the union simply does not have enough current influence.

These changes are designed to help us get better at what we do, whether that is negotiating pay, representing members, taking action, standing with international staff, or – with your help – giving a leg up to the next generation.

I thank you very much for your support.


Tuesday, 25 July 2017

The People's Assembly Against Austerity update

After the boost to morale the General Election result gave us, the campaigns against this Tory Government are hotting up again. The lack of affordable housing continues to force people into sub standard living conditions, increase the number of homeless on London's streets and after the Grenfell Tower Disaster concerns about safety have added a sense of urgency to London's ongoing housing crisis.

If you're able to get over to East London tomorrow night, please get along to this important meeting:

After the Grenfell Disaster - We need Justice We need Answers
6:30pmWednesday 26 July
Bow Road Methodist Church

Join George Monbiot, ex-Grenfell resident Mona KamalRushnara Ali MPEileen Short Defend Council Housing (DCH), Matt Wrack Fire Brigades Union Genreal Secretary, housing campaigners and others.

We need an alternative to: · Unsafe homes · Unaffordable housing · Privatisation · Deregulation · Profiteering

Check out the Facebook Event here.

Also, starting today private contractor Serco is facing a two-week long strike from its employees at four hospitals in London, as they continue to fight for an increase in wages. Serco workers have held several days of vibrant strike action already and the next wave will escalate the campaign. If you can get down to any of the 4 hospitals in the Barts Health NHS trust to show support please do and take a picture and post online to show your solidarity. 
SCRAP THE CAP. RCN London will be holding its biggest event of the summer at Richmond Terrace, opposite Downing Street, on Thursday. Get along if you can!

RCN London #scrapthecap Westminster Pay Rally
4:00pm - 6:00pm, Thursday 27 July
Richmond Terrace, London, SW1A 2

The event programme will feature high-profile speakers from inside and outside the nursing community as well as a speech from a special celebrity guest (TBA). This is part of our mission to take our campaign for fair pay right to the government’s doorstep. If you can please get along, chant, wave banners and help us send a clear message that pay restraint must end, now.
Check out the Facebook Event here.

Lastly don't forget to get ready for our up coming, Take Back Manchester Festival 2017.
Saturday 30 September - Wednesday 4 October

Join us in Manchester as we'll be holding a series of gigs, parties, rallies, meetings, screenings, comedy nights, educational events, and a National Demonstration on Sunday 1 October, in the city to let them know that we won't rest until we have chased them out of office

We've now launched the Facebook Event, check it out, like and share as widely as you can!

See you on the streets!

The People's Assembly Against Austerity

Unite members who work for privatisation giants Serco Plc, have been on strike for nine days and are about to start a two week strike.

Acknowledgements to Alan Wheatley

On Monday, 24 July 2017, 16:06, Mick - Unite Organise <> wrote:

Unite members who work for privatisation giants Serco Plc, have been on strike for nine days and are about to start a two week strike. You can help by emailing Serco and Barts NHS to demand fair play. Take action now to add your support.
"We are cleaners, porters and security workers in the Barts Heath NHS Trust. Our work is vital to high quality, safe patient care. Many of us have dedicated decades of our working lives to the NHS.
We have been privatised to Serco who boasted a £80 million profit last year but have refused a 30p pay rise. With inflation anything less will make us poorer. Will you help pressure Serco & St Barts to act?"
Our strike is solid and we voted by 99% to go on strike yet Serco have been illegally using newly hired zero hour contract agency staff to do the work of striking workers.
Will you take just a few seconds to send emails to Serco and St Barts to tell them to play fair by loyal, low-paid workers?
Thanks for your support!