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 ( 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 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
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 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 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 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)

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
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
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Saturday, 28 October 2017

No to fascist Britain First in Bromley! Sat - November 4th


No to fascist Britain First in Bromley! Sat - November 4th

 · Hosted by Stand Up To Racism - South East Londonand Unite Against Fascism

Unite Against Fasicsm, Bromley - Disabled People Against Cuts, Stand Up To Racism - South East London, Lewisham Islamic Centre, Greenwich & Bexley Trades Council, Bromley Momentum, Bromley - Trades Council.

The fascist splinter group, Britain First are aiming to march in Bromley, on November 4th. This is due to the notorious leaders of this group having to sign on at the local police station, weekly. Golding and Fransen, the two who have to sign on, face charges resulting from their history of Islamophobic and racist provocations.
Ludicrously, they claim they are 'martys' for a cause, in reality, they are racist bigots.
Britain First split from the Nazi BNP. However, their fascist politics are clear. Only recently did they try, but fail to have a noxious, anti Semitic priest speak at one of their hate rallies.
Members interchange membership with other fascist groups and their thuggery is known. They are banned from going near mosques due to their threatening behaviour at a number of such places of worship.
Bromley people do not wish such fascists here. We ask that you support UAF's call, backed by Disabled People Against Cuts, among others, to come out and oppose such far right thugs.
Please invite freinds to this event and spread the word. The far right internationally, are growing, and in Britain, they look to emulate the likes of Le Pen and Golden Dawn, for instance. We have thus far knocked back the BNP and EDL to a mere shadow of themselves, let's stay on guard!
See you on the 4th November!

Hands off our Jobcentres! Demonstration Monday November 6th 3-4pm

From Brent Fightback Facebook

Hands off our Jobcentres! Demonstration
Monday November 6th 3-4pm
Department of Work and Pensions, Caxton House, 12 Tothill St, Westminster, SW1H
The government has already closed 24 jobcentres since August this year. They plan to close a further 78 Jobcentres by April of 2018.
16 of these Jobcentres are in London.

The poor and vulnerable need local jobcentres, not some superhub 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 as often as the jobcentre demands– you'll be up for a sanction!

The Tories say that much of the jobcentres' 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 are learning disabled.

You can't use the internet if you can't afford a computer or a mobile phone contract or 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 Jobcentres, 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 jobcentre, 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 meters, 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.

But if you miss an appointment, or are simply late, you'll be considered for a sanction!

Let's meet outside the DWP's headquarters at Caxton House and let them know what we think about this.

Save our Jobcentres!
The 16 London jobcentres that are closing are:
Highgate, 24 November 2017
Edgware, 8 December 2017
Finchley, 12 January 2018
Dagenham, 19 January 2018
Southall, January 2018
Kingston, February 2018
Brixton,- 9 February 2018
Neasden 16 February 2018
Clapham 23 February 2018
Kilburn, March 2018
Hammersmit,h 9 March 2018
Croydon, 16 March 2018
Wandsworth, 23 March 2018
Leytonstone,- 30 March 2018
Hounslow, 10 Montague Road,

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Interrogating Digital Capitalism 3 Digital automation: 'post-capitalism' or a new Lucas Plan?

Interrogating Digital Capitalism 3
Digital automation: 'post-capitalism' or a new Lucas Plan?
November 9th 2017, 7.15pm.  London Action Resource Centre, 62 Fieldgate Street London E1. Free/donation
Digital technology-driven automation and restructuring has been ongoing since the 1960s, most notoriously in the destruction of the printers’ unions by Rupert Murdoch in the 1980s.  Now, the impending ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ is creating widespread public anxiety about massive job losses caused by robots and software, and threats to workers rights as digital technology restructures the economy.  Some on the left have welcomed this trend, arguing that, with Universal Basic Income, automation can produce a post-work, or even ‘post-capitalist’ utopia.  Another left tradition, embodied by the Lucas Plan of the 1970s, argues for socially useful work and for putting human skills at the centre of production.
  • Tahir Latif of PCS union will describe current challenges for workers facing automation in air traffic control.
  • Jim Benfield, of Independent Workers of Great Britain (IWGB) will talk about the Deliveroo strike and impact of digital technology in the gig economy.
  • Dave King of Breaking the Frame will critique recent calls for 'full automation' from the left, and show how the Lucas Plan provides a better solution for the future.
7.15pm, November 9th
Venue: London Action Resource Centre, 62 Fieldgate Street London E1
Coming soon....
Big Gene Gathering +20 - A celebration of 20 years of anti-GM food campaigning
December 2nd, London.  For more info contact

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Rally Against School Cuts October 24th

Rally Against School Cuts October 24th

From the National Education Union

Join parents, heads, teachers and support staff and community leaders at a rally to call on the government to reverse school cuts and fairly fund schools. Show your support for the mass lobby of MPs which has been organised to put pressure on the chancellor to take action on funding ahead of next month's budget. The rally starts at 10.30 but if you simply want to show your support at the rally, there will be further events at 12.30.

The Emmanuel Centre, Marsham Street, Westminster, London SW1P 3DW 

At the morning rally we have the following speakers:

- Angela Rayner MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Education
- Layla Moran, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Education
- Vix Lowthion, Green Party Education Spokesperson
- Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary, National Education
- Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary, National Education Union 
- Paul Whiteman, General Secretary, NAHT

At 1pm, the programme of speakers will include:

- John McDonnell, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer
- Sir Vince Cable MP
- Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary, National Education 
- Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary, National Education Union
- Paul Whiteman, General Secretary, NAHT
- Vix Lowthion, Green Party Education Spokesperson

More TBC

Because of shortfalls in funding, 88% of schools are still facing real-terms cuts despite Government announcements about more money going into the system.

That means less for our children and young people, bigger classes, fewer teachers and staff, a reduced curriculum and parents plugging the gaps.

Hundreds of parents and school staff will be lobbying their MP on the day. To find out how, see

Monday, 16 October 2017

Greener Jobs Alliance Newsletter.

Below is the link to the latest Greener Jobs Alliance Newsletter. Please forward to contacts who want an update on labour movement responses to climate change and progress to a low carbon economy.

Graham (GJA Secretary)

Monday, 2 October 2017

SERTUC activities and news

SERTUC activities and news

SERTUC East of England TU network

Saturday 30 September 10.30am Cambridge. More info

SERTUC Race Relations Committee

Monday 2 October 6pm in Congress House, celebrating the contribution of Jayaben Desai with Tim Roache GMB general secretary, Betty Joseph SERTUC RRC chair, Kamaljeet Jandu GMB national equality officer, Megan Dobney SERTUC regional secretary. Followed by refreshments

SERTUC H&S reps conference

Friday 6 October in Congress House “What effect will Brexit have on Health, Safety and Well-being in the workplace?” 10am

SERTUC East of England TU network training day

Saturday 28 October Bury St Edmunds. More info

SERTUC/ACAS London conference

Friday 3 November – note the date, more info to come

SERTUC xmas celebration

Friday 8 December 2pm to 4pm Congress House

Britain needs a pay rise/Lift the pay cap

London pay demonstration – CHANGE OF DATE

ASLEF, BFAWU, CWU, FBU, GMB, NEU, PCS, POA, RCN, RMT, SERTUC, TSSA, UCU, Unison, Unite, URTU Tuesday 17 October assemble 5.30pm opposite Downing Street, march via Departments of Health, Treasury, and Education and then rally outside Parliament
The TUC is organising a focussed lobby earlier in the day and the march will end at the TUC’s rally (7pm) outside Parliament

Norwich march & rally

Saturday 14 October 12 noon onwards, more details from

King’s Lynn rally

Saturday 28 October 12 noon at the Bandstand, march to the town centre. Speakers at rallies before and after Alex Mayer MEP, Megan Dobney SERTUC, Chris Jenkinson Unison, John Lister, Steve Sweeney Morning Star, Riccardo de Torre FBU. More info


Unionlearn Supporting Learners event

TUC education – win an iPad…

Trades Council actions

Colchester: Banner Theatre The union makes us strong

Tuesday 21 November 7.30pm details from

Trade Union actions

Unite: King George Hospital march and rally

Saturday 14 October assemble 11am Central Park Dagenham, 11.45 march to Redbridge Town Hall, 3pm rally. Supported by GLATUC, Barking, Dagenham & Havering, and Waltham Forest trades councils. Contact

NEU: Celebrating the 1967 Abortion Act

Other actions/events

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

People’s Assembly demo at Tory conference

·         Portsmouth coach organised by Portsmouth City Unison. Seats £20 waged/£5 unwaged (non-Unison members welcome). Coach leaves the Hard at 6.30am, Students Union at 6.40, Fratton 6.45, North End 6.50, Cosham 7am. Aiming to return by 9pm. Book seats with Mark on 07816 835 261
·         RMT London Region coach leaving the British Library (near Kings Cross) at 8am. Contact 07932 576 955
·         Unite Southampton coach leaving SeaCity Museum 6am, University Interchange 6.20am, Eastleigh Railway Station – details and booking here
·         Bromley trades council coach seats £10 (£15 solidarity, unwaged £6). Leaving the H G Wells Centre at 5.30am. Contact Arthur

Grunwick 40: mural unveiling

Saturday 30 September from noon at Dollis Hill – more info here

We are the lions, Mr Manager Grunwick play

Townsend Theatre Productions present their new play on the Grunwick dispute
·         Saturday 14 October Bedford
·         Tuesday 7 November Southsea
·         Thursday 9 November Ruskin College Oxford
·         Friday 10 November Lowestoft
·         Tuesday 21 to Saturday 25 November London

Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance, Peterborough

A demonstration for Peterborough Conservative Councillor to resign Wednesday 11 October 6pm

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