Thursday, 29 March 2018

United Voices of the World the union  Recycling Workers Wildcat Strike.
United Voices union members at the Orion recycling plant in east London walked off the job this morning in a historic and inspiring wildcat strike to protest against inhuman working conditions.
The 10 migrant workers, all of whom are from Peru, took the courageous decision to stand together and fight, despite being told to 'fuck off' by their foreman, and threatened with the sack.
Within only 19 hours of first coming to United Voices offices in Elephant and Castle to speak out about the conditions they endure, they were on strike and negotiating with their boss in a mass meeting at the gates of their workplace.
The workers had never been members of any union before let alone been on strike, and much less a Wildcat strike. This shows what can be achieved in next to no time and at no expense with the right combination of inspiration, determination, unity, and solidarity.
The workers, who were joined at the gates in the pouring rain by representatives from the Bakers' Union and McDonald's strikers, as well as United Voices union supporters, had the courage to also demand from their boss - face to face - a living wage for working in 19th Century conditions.
They demanded and won a personal pledge from the company owner to provide them, by 9am the next day, with proper face masks, air filters, gloves, four pairs of protective overalls each, soap and toilet paper - and to provide showers on site within a month.
They also won a pledge to meet with the union to discuss a 25 per cent raise in the workers' minimum wage pay rate to the London Living Wage, plus occupational sick pay. They also received a personal apology from the site manager for abusing the workers, and walked off with the promise that for the day of this unprecedented wildcat strike they would still be paid and not be victimised!
Confident, combative, united and inspiring, these 'invisible' workers have shown what it takes to stand up and resist precarity and marginalisation.
Dismissed as 'unorganisable' by most official unions, these migrant worker members of United Voices of the World have shown that the best weapon to fight back is the collective strength of those you work with.
If 'invisible' migrant workers at an industrial site in east London can do this, there's no reason why other workers can't take on the bosses and win!
photography by Gordon Roland Peden

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

– DEFENDING THE BROMLEY LIBRARY SERVICE!! strike action from Wednesday 28 March 2018.

Unite The Union members will begin all out indefinite strike action from Wednesday 28 March 2018.
This action takes place following the failure of Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) who took over the library contract last year, to properly staff our libraries. This is despite all the promises from the Council. GLL are also refusing to pay staff the local government pay offer – despite initially agreeing to do so. That’s another promise broken – under GLL staff will be under poorer conditions than local government colleagues. It is also very suspicious that the Council and GLL are refusing to release a report which went to Council last year and which set out how GLL would make efficiency savings. This is despite freedom of information requests made by the union. Instead the Council are hiding behind so called “commercial confidentiality”.Workers have had enough! That is why Unite members voted by 100% for strike action. We are not wasting any more time - all out indefinite strike action begins on Wednesday 28 March. Join us on our first day of strike action from 8am at Bromley Central Library. For further details contact

Kathy  Smith                                                  Onay Kasab            
07786170379                                                 07771818637

Time to visit Chancellor Philip “CUTS” Hammond and say……………..DEMO Saturday 7 April 2018

Friday, 23 March 2018

France: Unions, left confront Macron’s attacks on rail services and jobs Dick Nichols March 23, 2018

France is once again on the brink of an all-out industrial war — and its outcome could transform the country’s political landscape.
The showdown is over the plans that President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Edouard Philippe have for the state-owned National Railway Company (SNCF), which have been described by Le Monde as “the biggest change for the SNCF since its founding in 1937”.
The stakes in the fight are huge: France’s 150,000 rail workers could suffer a defeat like that of Britain’s miners under Margaret Thatcher. On the other hand, Philippe could suffer the same fate as former PM Alain Juppe, whose 1995 economic “reform” was trashed by a vast wave of industrial action and popular revolt.
As an initial response, rail worker unions led a Paris demonstration on March 22 in defence of public services that also involved workers from Air France, air traffic control centres, Paris regional public transport, public hospitals and retirement homes and other services. This demonstration was one of 150 across the country.
The country’s four rail unions have also announced that they will launch 36 days of strikes over a three-month period beginning on April 3, alternating 48-hour stoppages with 72 hours of normal work. 
Previously, in an unprecedented display of unity, 13 left organisations issued a joint statement calling for participation in the demonstration. The call was initiated by former New Anti-Capitalist Party presidential candidate Olivier Besancenot, taken up by Communist Party of France general secretary Pierre Laurent and eventually supported by the other main forces of the left, France Unbowed and the Socialist Party (PS), as well as by the Greens and smaller left forces.
The mobilisation attracted 400,000 across the whole of France, with 65,000 in Paris, 55,000 in Marseilles,  35,000 in La Rochelle, 20,000 in Toulouse and 15,000 in Lyon. 40% of high-speed trains and 50% of regional services were cancelled on the day.

Trial of strength

The government’s plan for the SNCF covers all aspects: train operations, the rail network, infrastructure, finances, and company structure and legal form. 
However, for Macron and Philippe, the plan’s immediate target is the collective agreement that has covered SNCF employees since 1920. Defeating the rail workers in a fight over this contract is the key to unlocking the plan’s other aspects.
Rail workers realised they were Macron’s primary target on February 24, when he announced at the annual Agriculture Show that “I can’t have on one side farmers without any retirement plan and on the other a rail worker collective agreement [that includes a retirement package] and not change it.”
Macron did not say a word about any SNCF plans in his campaign for president. However, from his behaviour it is clear that he judges that a successful fight with the rail workers would be his “Thatcher moment” and help boost his authority.
It will also give French employers the crushing victory over organised labour that they have been seeking for decades.
Spokesperson for the rail worker division of the radical union Solidarity Unity Democracy (SUD-Rail) Bruno Poncet said: “The government wants a trial of strength. It’s moving to try us out. It wants this test because it knows if it wins, the last resistance will have been overcome”.

One-way dialogue

The government’s first move was to accept the diagnosis and recommendations of the report Philippe had commissioned from Air France CEO Jean-Cyril Spinetta, The Future of Rail Transport.
Spinetta paints a gloomy picture of a “massively subsidised” SNCF sinking towards oblivion under a crushing debt burden, politically determined low prices and tariffs, suffocating bureaucracy, torpid management, rent-seeking unions and regional special interests.
Spinetta’s 43 recommendations include: line closures (up to a third of the network’s 30,000 kilometres); rises in ticket prices and freight rates; opening the SNCF network to private operators; offloading the burden of regional line subsidies onto regional governments; opening services to competition; compulsory staff transfers to private operators; and the progressive extinction of the collective agreement via the introduction of worse conditions for new staff.
The Spinetta report is also notable for what it does not say: it contains no audit of environmental and social impacts and no cost-benefit analysis. The SNCF is treated as a purely commercial operation that must recover competitiveness and profitability to meet European Union directives.
Thus, while Macron poses as world leader in the fight against global warming, he accepts a report that ignores that every passenger or tonne of freight lost from rail represents a rise in greenhouse gas emissions, road accidents and noise pollution. 
As the joint statement of left organisations noted: “Throughout Europe the recipes that [Macron] wants to apply are producing line closures, price hikes, rolling stock and infrastructure decay and loss of freight.
“The population as a whole foots the bill in three ways: financially; in terms of inequality between regions; and in deteriorating health due to the extra pollution produced.”
Philippe’s following step was to stage an ostentatious ritual of meetings with rail unions. One by one, delegations from the rail worker divisions of the General Confederation of Labour, the National Alliance of Independent Unions, SUD-Rail and the French Democratic Labour Confederation had the plan explained to them and were invited to put forward their point of view and make proposals.
This, however, was not a negotiation but a show of consultation that would allow the government to say it had more than 20 meetings with rail unions. None of the unions’ proposals, nor those of rail transport users groups, were taken into consideration.
The government then announced that the plan would not be set in legislation to be debated in parliament, but instead rammed through as a temporary statute (ordonnance) by the Macronite majority, with the aim of launching the “reform” before summer and with as little debate as possible.
While the government claimed that Spinetta’s proposals in no way envisaged privatising the SNCF, when the ordonnance was published it concentrated on just two points: opening the SNCF to competition and phasing out the rail workers’ collective agreement.

Hearts and minds

The French media, alert to the presidential attack strategy, lost no time in backing Macron’s double goal: to instil the feeling that the plan is “unavoidable” and to make the rest of the working class — which has suffered a steady loss of wages and conditions — envy and hate rail workers.
In this hostile atmosphere, rail union spokespeople have had their work cut out explaining their real working conditions — on average only slightly better than the norm for most workers, but in no way privileged.
French media watch website Acrimed has been monitoring this operation, which has included biased survey questions like “Should rail workers be able to stop the trains for a month and penalise everyone in France?” and “In what way does the rail workers’ collective agreement improve service to the public?”
Acrimed noted that during one TV debate, SUD-Rail federal secretary Fabian Dumas was interrupted by his fellow panellists 66 times in eight minutes — once every seven seconds on average.
Opinion polls show that the idea that rail workers have to make a sacrifice to help out the SNCF still has majority support — 69%, according to a recent RMC poll. The poll also showed that 43% would support the rail workers if they went on strike.
Clearly, there is still a way to go in winning the battle for hearts and minds. Nonetheless, at the time of writing, signs are emerging that Macron’s blitzkrieg is faltering.
First, his determination to pick a fight has forced the four rail union confederations, with a history of conflict and rivalry, into a unified response, even though SUD-Rail — the most radical of the confederations — maintains that the rolling stoppage plan will at some point have to become an all-out strike.
This unity reflects that willingness to strike is high in all parts of the SNCF workforce. The March 10 edition of the web-based transport industry newsletter Mobilettre stated that 93% of SNCF workers and a similar percentage of SNCF management were ready to strike.
Second, Macron’s popularity is down to 41% and his En Marche! movement has suffered losses in two recent byelections.
Most importantly, the longer the battle for hearts and minds continues, the more the case against the Spinetta plan will sink in.
A big problem for Macron is that his war on the SNCF is coming late in the privatisation cycle that began in the 1980s. The evidence has long been in as to the disastrous impact of rail privatisation, with two-thirds of people in Britain, for example, supporting rail renationalisation.
In France itself, many remember that a similar restructuring of France Telecom in 1997 was sworn by the PS government of the day not to open the door to privatisation. That giant state firm has since become a gold mine for private interests.
As the fight continues, the most fundamental issue will also start gaining more weight: the need for a comprehensive rail network as part of any project for environmental sustainability.
The battle has just begun and is winnable. As “someone very close to Macron”, quoted in the March 15 Liberation, said: “If Macron starts to wobble, the whole show collapses.”
[Dick Nichols is Green Left Weekly’s European correspondent, based in Barcelona.]
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Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Help University of London outsourced workers fight for equality

Help University of London outsourced workers fight for equality

Over 100 University of London cleaners, porters, security officers, gardeners and others are preparing for the biggest-ever outsourced workers strike in UK higher education, and they need your help.
These workers, who are demanding an end to outsourcing, an end to zero-hours and for pay rises, are close to a historic victory that could end years of discrimination at the university.

More details here..

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Watermelon on line

Watermelon on line now at ​

Hard copies available FREE for Green Left members £1.50 to fellow travellers, contact

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

London's Silver Economy

London's Silver Economy – A conference on older workers contribution towards ec….
Monday 19 March, 11.00am - 3.30pm
Europe House, Smith Square London SW1P 3EU

Videos of the CCCTU conference March 10

Videos of the CCCTU conference  March 10 (​ plenaries  and climate refugees and Lucas plan workshops ) now posted at

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

UCU Union members react with anger to proposed deal

Union members react with anger to proposed deal

Photo credit Jonny Jones
Members of the UCU union were expressing their determination on Monday evening to reject a deal reached earlier in the day by a section of their leadership and Universities UK. The deal was heavily criticised by members as soon as it was released by UCU. Many vented their frustration online, furious that it fell far short of what the strike has demanded so far. They pointed out that this was because the deal:
  • Accepted the bosses case that the scheme was financially unsustainable and raised the amount of money workers would have to contribute each month into their pension. At the same time, the rate at which employers pay into the scheme would fall.
  • Forced striking workers to reschedule their classes that were missed during the strike, effectively making them work unpaid whilst also undermining the strike action.
  • Only lasted 3 years, in which time so-called experts would be invited to come and present inferior pension schemes, something that goes against what people have been on strike for.
In one open letter –signed by 5,000 union members within hours – it said “In three years time we will be demobilised and pressured to accept a worse deal. In our opinion we should keep going and throw UUK’s offer out all together.”
In another statement released by University of Liverpool UCU, it stated that a meeting of 100 members earlier in the day had unanimously rejected the deal. “Members in our branch and across the country did not join one of the most impressive shows of collective solidarity in the face of restrictive trade union laws for a compromise offer that does not guarantee them decency in retirement.”, it read. Within hours, #NoCapitulation was trending on Twitter. One user wrote “I was feeling a tad unstrikey at the weekend. I am feeling very, very strikey now. #NoCapitulation #ucustrike” The branch secretary of one UCU branch involved in the strike simply stated ‘massive sellout!” on Facebook.
However, this was not a done deal. Even the BBC headlines on Tuesday morning that made out the strikes were about to end had to acknowledge that the agreement needed to be ratified by a meeting of union reps that day, as well as any decision on halting strikes. The meeting – to be held in UCUs London offices – quickly became the focus of union members’ anger, with hundreds committing themselves to demonstrate outside in protest at the proposed deal. Student groups which had been set up to support the strike also threw themselves behind what appeared to be an overwhelming desire to carry on the fight in defence of a decent pension.
As the morning rolled on, stories poured in of huge meetings of striking university staff rejecting the deal. One rep in Cardiff put the atmosphere like this: “We’ve had picket lines this morning outside buildings where there hasn’t been one before. People are turning out more because they’re so angry about the deal.” The hall booked for the meeting was too small for the hundreds who wanted to attend, so they held it outside instead. Workers held aloft their placards, some had been made the night before and simply read: ‘No’. The meeting overwhelmingly rejected the deal.
The strike has unleashed a level of industrial struggle and solidarity not seen in decades. The mood of the strike has been very upbeat and workers rightly think they can win. Pushing a deal that falls so far short may have provided an already confident strike with further opportunity to strengthen the organisation of ordinary union members and their supporters.

Kilburn Unemployed Workers' Group oppose jobcentre closures on the end of Yakutsk Kilburn jobcentre 28/2/2018

Today your 'all weather leafletters were: CJ via cab and fresh off the operating table along with all the kuwg equipment: banners, music, cd player, bullhorn, record player, Pam, Mira, folding stool...yes ok, as he passed our estate he picked us up...nothing escapes your keen eyes! Speaking of Keen, Paul K contacted CJ to say he was already in position at Kilburn, as wasGerry Dowing with the leaflets. Abby (more gloves than an Eskimo) and Angie (fur coat and Ski sticks), Peter Murry pulling his wheelchair behind him as an ice breaker. Hassan arrived singing his way down Cambridge Avenue. We even had our Nygell Firminger memorial flame in tow. 

We set up. Vinyl on record player and cassettes in the cd player. As we stood waiting for Can the Can to start the notorious Kay passed through our ranks spitting the words "Tell your friend to stop telling lies about me" CJ straightened up and began calling him (all together now) "LIAR!" this is to do with the incident Abby reported last week about Shelley having a seizure in kilburn JCP. I must mention the perma-tanned JCP worker who poked her orange mug through the doorway and shook her head dramatically in a no gesture after clocking us, or maybe her face was inflamed and she wanted to cool off? I shouldn't jump to conclusions.

We did a raucous version of Devil Gate Drive, followed by Crazy Horses (Crazy 'Tories') I have snatches of film and you can hear how much we are laughing as we sing! Our anthem 'Gaukes out' (Schools out) which had the bus stop crowd transfixed, there were so many watchers, surely a few buses had gone by without anyone boarding. We got some waves and cheers too. I filmed as kuwg sang Slades Gudbye to Pam (Jane). We ended with a lovely singalong Glad to be Gay by Tom Robinson then we packed up and went for coffee. Photos to follow and as soon as youtube has twiddled the videos I will send them also. Incidentally, 2 young men going in asked me what we were there for, I expained, they had no idea that Kilburn is to close on Friday! They looked so alarmed they asked me if they could still enter the building...

Goodbye Kilburn JCP!

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Support Ex Carillion staff at British Museum

Support Ex Carillion staff at British Museum
12.30-1.30 pm British Museum 
Great Russell St WC1B 3DG
Speaker: Mark Serwotka General Secretary PCS

* Tell British Museum it is time to talk
* Bring staff back in house
* Protect our jobs, pensions, terms & conditions
* End privatisation

The collapse of Carillion in January putting at threat 20,000 jobs many providing public services has proved right all those who argued that privatisation isn't working! It is tax payers who have paid for the millions that go in profits to these multinationals in our public services, and it is us who has to pick up the bill when they go bust.

Five years ago staff at British Museum took action to protest against being privatised. Carillion was the company that took over now leaving them high and dry!

Since the bankruptcy was announced staff are still keeping the museum services going. But no one can guarantee their jobs, their terms & conditions or their future. 

New Director Hartwig Fischer has said he can’t meet staff or unions. But Councils round the country have agreed to bring services provided by Carillion back in-house to keep them running. 

It is now urgent the British Museum at least meet to discuss our future. Many staff have worked here for 20 years and the museum can’t function without them.  PCS are demanding an immediate meeting with the Director and urgent talks to protect staff and to bring them back in house. 

Please support us by 

More information

As London Green Party Trade Union Liaison Officer, I send the support of the Green Party Trade Union group to the ex-Carillion staff who have been subjected to insecurity and uncertainty through no fault of their own, their struggle for jobs, their terms & conditions and their future., is fully justified and we wish them every success.


Fire and cold - time for justice for high-rise residents!

Fire and cold - time for justice for high-rise residents!

7 - 9 pm, 15 March, Crossroads Women's Centre, NW5 2DX 

Since the public meeting in January and our followup meeting in February, we've been forging ahead on this, working with residents in three estates to see what can be won, and getting some national attention on the fact that thousands of people are now freezing without insulation or cladding on their high-rise blocks, while others are still living in danger.  We've gathered a lot of really damning information about how the government, developers, and manufacturers -- and in particular the plastics industry -- have put residents at risk, and have put together a dynamite factsheet that will be a very useful tool; we have shared it with MPs and others before, and at, a parliamentary debate.  

Our position is: Central government, not residents, caused this national disaster, and central government, not residents, should pay to deal with it, and ensure that people can keep warm and dry, and cladding is replaced without delay.

At this meeting -- our regular monthly meeting postponed from 1 March because too many people couldn't make it in the snow -- we will present some of this information, before discussing demands, strategy, and next steps in this campaign, and how to build on our heightened media presence -- since last time, Radio London, BBC Victoria Derbyshire programme, BBC Channel 5 News, and ITN news (still to be broadcast), in addition to Vice and our letter in the Guardian on cladding.  

Your input would be very welcome!  If anyone can come from an estate affected by these or similar issues, you will have time to go into a bit more detail about your situation.  

There's also a lot more happening, on District Heating, energy prices and caps, our Mini-Guide, casework, the Mayor's London Plan, fracking, divesting from fossil fuels  . . . please keep urgent reports to a couple of minutes.  Some reports can carry over to the following meeting -- 5 April in Stockwell to allow more time to work out our strategy on cladding and insulation, and to discuss some ideas on how to bring in more people who can help with FPA's work on a weekly basis, and also to get funding for it!
As always, the venue is fully wheelchair accessible.  It really helps if you have a minute to indicate if you're

Hope to see you there, or soon.  


Friday, 9 March 2018

Demo to support the UCU strikes and Yiddish Glory: The Lost Songs of WWII

Demo to support the UCU strikes and Yiddish Glory: The Lost Songs of WWII

MARCH  FOR   EDUCATION #2 BACK PENSION  & PAY STRIKES Wednesday  14 March,  12 noon Assemble:  Malet St,  London WC1E 7HY

more details here...

Yiddish Glory: The Lost Songs of WWII

Six Degrees Records has just released Yiddish Glory: The Lost Songs of WWII. On this collection of Yiddish music from the Second World War some very talented modern musicians perform previously unheard songs that call for the defeat of fascism and revenge on the Nazi oppressors.
Read a review on the UCU Retired Members' website...

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Solidarity actions: Lancashire, Stansted, Royal Courts of Justice... Campaign against Climate Change

Solidarity actions: Lancashire, Stansted, Royal Courts of Justice... Campaign against Climate Change 
A quick heads up about some events coming up.

Reclaim the Power are organising transport to the demo/party at Preston New Road on Friday 16 March 'Jig at the Rig' (up on Thursday afternoon or evening, back on Fridayevening or Sunday).
More info here:

Wednesday 14th is the first day of the trial of those who blocked a deportation flight at Stansted Airport. While not directly climate-related, the activists, from Plane Stupid and other groups, face serious charges and would welcome support

On Tuesday 20 March the case brought by Plan B, that the government's climate targets are not sufficient to meet the Paris agreement, is going to have its first Court hearing - they have to persuade the Court they have an arguable case that merits a full hearing. Supporters gathering outside 9-10am