Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Green Party open letter to Jeremy Corbyn, Tim Farron and Leanne Wood urging talks about a progressive alliance

This is the text of the open letter that has gone from the Green Party to Jeremy Corbyn, Tim Farron and Leanne Wood urging talks about a progressive alliance.(Acknowledgements to Martin Francis)

 Dear all,
In a spirit of openness and transparency, we are writing to you as Leaders of parties which oppose Brexit, to invite you to a cross-party meeting to explore how we best rise to the challenge posed by last week’s vote to leave the EU.

Britain is in crisis and people are scared about the future. Never have we had a greater need for calm leadership to be shown by politicians.

We have a UK Government in chaos, an economy facing a crisis and people up and down the country facing serious hardship. There is an urgent need to make a stand against any austerity and the slashing of environmental legislation, human and workers’ rights that may come with Brexit.
With the growing likelihood of an early General Election, the importance of progressive parties working together to prevent the formation of a Tory-UKIP-DUP government that would seek to enact an ultra-right Brexit scenario is ever more pressing.

This is an opportunity to recognise that a more plural politics is in both the Left’s electoral and political interests. This crisis exposes the absurdity of our first past the post electoral system. Just 24 per cent of those eligible to vote elected the government that called the referendum. The only fair way to proceed is to have a proportional voting system where people can back the politicians who they believe in, rather than taking a gamble and not knowing who they will end up with.

The idea of a progressive alliance has been floated for several years, and proposals have once again been put forward in the context of the current crisis. We believe that the time has come to urgently consider such ideas together in the context of a Westminster Government. We recognise the very different political situation in Scotland, given the strongly pro-EU majority there. We hope that co-operation between progressive parties their can ensure that this mandate is respected, and we will support them to keep all options open.
We look forward to your response,

Natalie Bennett, Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales
Alice Hooker-Stroud, Leader of Wales Green Party
Steven Agnew MLA, Leader of the Green Party of Northern Ireland
Caroline Lucas MP, Brighton Pavilion


Kevin Courtney (Dep Gen sec & likely to be new Gen Sec) of the NUT has just sent this email re the strike scheduled for July 5th (UCU also strike on the same day)

Division secretaries have been sent the following, which, as you can see, contains the text of an e-mail that will be go to all members today.

Dear colleagues,
Thank you for all you are doing to build for the strike action. We have received a number of messages from members concerned about the efficacy of taking action given the current political turmoil but we are also experiencing a large spike in joiners and members reinstating.
Tomorrow, we will be emailing members in the ballot cohorts with the message below which has a link to a letter I have sent to Nicky Morgan MP setting out our concerns and reminding her of the steps she can take to avert the strike:

Following the referendum we have being considering steps we need to take to support our members and our pupils.
• We are writing to our members from overseas - reassuring them of our support and determination to do everything we can to help.
• We are working on materials for teachers to use in schools at a time of increasing racial tension.
• We have decided that it is important to go ahead with the strike on July 5.
I'm writing to explain that decision and to ask for your support.

Firstly, it is important to know that under the UK's union laws there is no option of simply delaying action to September; action must be started within 28 days of the ballot closing.
Secondly, we believe the demands our strike is putting forward are now more important than ever.
Schools are facing a very difficult budget because George Osborne has FROZEN the money he gives schools, while INCREASING the money he takes from them.

As a result we are seeing:
• increases in class sizes,
• cuts to subjects especially Arts subjects,
• less individual attention for children,
• worsening of terms and conditions for teachers.

The referendum result makes this all the more important. If inflation now rises then George Osborne's funding freeze will damage education even more.

It is also vital for the Government to acknowledge that they bear the responsibility for increasing class sizes. They are not due to migrants, but due to a lack of funding and of school place planning. We are therefore calling  on Nicky Morgan and George Osborne to commit to investing in education, not cutting it. This is in the interest of our country as well as our children's education and our teachers and support staff. I have written to Nicky Morgan outlining some steps she could take which would allow us to suspend our action.

But in the meantime, if you can, please support our strike - in the best interest of education, teachers and the young people we teach.

1,000 new members have joined the union since last Thursday.

acknowledgements to Martin Francis

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

SERTUC activities and news

SERTUC activities and news

SERTUC Regional Council

Saturday 9 July Congress House, 10am to 1pm. All trade unionists in the Region are welcome to attend as visitors, but must register before the meeting at Speakers are:
·         Richard Howitt MEP – EU update
·         Gerry Morrissey, General Secretary – BECTU update

Burston Strike School Rally

Sunday 4 September with Mick Whelan ASLEF, TUC President Liz Snape, Attila the Stockbroker, Steve White and the Protest Family, NASUWT Brass Band, Red Flag, Grace Petrie, Banner Theatre 1st May Band and John McDonnell MP Shadow Chancellor

Trade union actions

NUT strike: Standing up for Education Tuesday 5 July

East of England events
·         Ipswich: 10.30 Giles Statue for rally and leafleting. 12 noon picnic for teachers, parents and children in Christchurch Park
·         Chelmsford: march and rally assembling from noon at the top of the High Street opposite Shire Hall
·         Cambridge: joint action with UCU Anglia Ruskin University. Assemble on Donkey Common at 11am for a rally, then march round the town back to the Common for a couple of final speeches
·         March and rally assemble from 11am at Portland Place, march at 12 noon, rally from 1.30 in Parliament Square

Unite Community Southampton

LeftFest Saturday 23 July 11am A celebration of local left and progressive activism

Unite Bromley march to save our services

Saturday 23 July 11am contact 07771 818 637

Unite Community campaign for housing in Cambridge

Nautilus International supporting ITF

The International Transport Workers Federation’s petition to protect transport workers’ jobs – one million signatures needed


TUC comment on the European Referendum

Midland Region TUC demo

Demonstration at the Conservative Party conference Sunday 2 October, Birmingham with Dave Prentis Unison, Tom Roache GMB, Owen Jones writer

Unionlearn annual conference Monday 4 July

Speakers include Frances O’Grady TUC, Simon Kirby HS2, Barbara Byrd AFL-CIO

Trades Council actions

Lambeth at the Lambeth Country Show

16 and 17 July Lambeth trades council will be having their usual trades union marquee. Included are the Lambeth & Wandsworth Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Greenwich and Bexley street stall

Saturday 23 July at Charlton Community Day contact

Barking, Dagenham and Havering is going to Tolpuddle

Free coach leaving Dagenham at 7.45am on Sunday 17 July, leaving Tolpuddle at 5.45pm. £5 returnable deposit will be returned on the coach. Contact

Brent commemorates Grunwick 40

It’s 40 years since the Grunwick strike

GLATUC briefing

All London trades council officers and delegates welcome Tuesday 19 July 7pm contact

Other actions/events

Day of Action against Personal Independence Payments

Wednesday 13 July Ipswich action 11.30am

Palestine Youth Orchestra UK tour

Royal Festival Hall London Monday 1 August 7.30pm

Penge Trade Union & Social Club

It does what it says on the tin… Bar, upstairs ballroom, and more

Redbridge Forest Farm Peace Garden

Sunday 10 July World Music Day, free and family friendly, 12 noon to 5pm

Cuba Solidarity Campaign

·         Miami Five Freedom Walk Sunday 3 July 11am
·         Miami Five Freedom Tour Friday 15 July 6.30pm

Thanet Labour Councillors public meeting

On WASPI – Women Against State Pension Inequality Saturday 9 July Ramsgate, more info

Tolpuddle Festival

15 to 17 July 2016 the annual event commemorating the contribution of the Tolpuddle Martyrs

Sylvia Pankhurst Memorial Lecture

Saturday 13 August 7pm at Wortley Hall, near Sheffield. Lecture by Ruth Taillon “Socialism, Feminism and the Women of 1916”

Marx Memorial Library events

·         NOW: Exhibition: Socialist Opposition to World War 1 will be at Congress House 25 June to 11 July
·         Friday 1 July 7pm Ciaran Walsh will recite Heathcote Williams epic poem
·         17-30 October Remembering the International Brigades, two week festival
·         Appeal for a plans chest for posters
·         Socialist Opposition to World War One exhibition At Congress House 25 June to 11 July

International Brigades Memorial Trust

London commemoration Saturday 2 July 1pm 80th anniversary of the start of the Spanish Civil War, with Maxine Peake, Paul PrestonJubilee Gardens more from

Send a piano to Cuba

·         Gala concert Saturday 2 July 7.30pm

More music for the NHS

Ada Salter Day

Friday 15 and Saturday 16 July Many events to celebrate this outstanding campaigner. Bermondsey

Friday, 24 June 2016

Sign our petition demanding no cuts to workers' rights

Going to Work

Many vital rights at work in the UK are derived from EU law, guaranteeing things like paid leave entitlements, protections from being forced to work excessive hours, discrimination protections and rights for working mums-to-be.

Following the UK vote to leave the European Union, we now have to decide what happens to these rights. As the official Leave campaign's plan for managing Brexit said:
Parliament will decide carefully which areas of existing EU law should a) be kept, b) be amended and c) be removed.

Sign our petition demanding no cuts to workers' rights

Prominent leave campaigners have called for a halving of regulations derived from EU law, or flexibility in interpreting rights, claiming that British business would benefit from a reduction in "red tape".
What they call "red tape" is really rights and protections that are valued by millions of working people. Attempts to cut these rights, or to limit the range of workers they apply to (for example exempting staff of small businesses or temporary workers), would cause great harm to fairness at work and to working people's living standards.
We need to keep a close eye on our MPs as they start to debate what happens to our rights at work, and hold them to account, whether they backed leave or remain. They must not cut or water down any of the rights that working people and their unions fought so hard to win.
Can you help us get the message to your MP and their colleagues in Parliament? We have started a petition that we will use to show them how many of their own constituents support strong rights at work, and will publish their response.

Please sign our petition and let our MPs know you're watching

Thanks for all your support,
John and the Going To Work team

Statement from the UCU NEC The vote to leave the EU

Statement from the UCU NEC

The vote to leave the EU has created a political earthquake.
The referendum was marred by disgraceful racism and scaremongering over immigration by figures on both sides of the official campaigns and of course by the tragic death of Jo Cox MP.
However millions of people have voted to leave the EU as a direct result of years of austerity and economic decline.
The UCU rejects any attempt to use the 'Leave' vote to impose further austerity measures.
Post 16 education is already under attack, we will fight any attempt at further cuts as a result of the referendum.
We will determinedly oppose any attempt by politicians to use the vote to restrict the rights of migrant workers and refugees and reaffirm our Congress commitment to supporting EU students and staff in UK institutions.
On 5 July teachers will be striking against attacks on education and will be joined by our members in HE who have elected to strike on that day. We will mobilise as a union to back their strikes and protests on the day.
We support the mobilisation called by the People's Assembly against austerity at the Tory Party conference on 2 October
Copyright © 2016 UCU London Retired Members Branch, All rights reserved.
UCU London Retired Members Branch - members and supporters

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Stop the persecution of Academics for Peace in Turkey/ Truth for Giulio Regeni

Stop the persecution of Academics for Peace in Turkey
Solidarity with Chris Stephenson

Chris Stephenson, trade unionist and lecturer at Istanbul’s Bilgi university, has been charged with possessing “propaganda for a terrorist organisation.” His trial starts on 23 June. The charge is serious and could result in a long prison sentence.
Chris was central to organising one of the first trade union branches at a private university in the country.
Send messages of solidarity to
for more details...

Truth for Giulio Regeni

Giulio Regeni's parents Paola and Claudio made a clear call on European governments to take action against Egypt when they met MEPs at the European parliament last week.
more details...
Vigil - London Sunday June 26, 12 noon, outside the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, King Charles Street, Westminster
Copyright © 2016 UCU London Retired Members Branch, All rights reserved. 
UCU London Retired Members Branch - members and supporters 

Stop the persecution of Academics for Peace in Turkey/ Truth for Giulio Regeni

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

London Greens send their solidarity to the UNISON strikers in Barnet,

London Greens send their solidarity to the UNISON strikers in Barnet, you are making a stand for public libraries which are under attack all overLondon and throughout the UK. You are not only defending pay and conditions, but also standing up for education and culture. The abolition of ignorance is a central principle of the welfare state and it should be an aim of local and central government, by defending this you are representing all of us.
Secretary Green Left
London Federation of Green Parties Trade Union Liaison Officer pp GPTU

Monday, 13 June 2016

Three day strike called by Barnet Council Library workers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Three day strike called by Barnet Council Library workers

Barnet UNISON Press Release: 6 June 2016 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Three day strike called by Barnet Council Library workers
UNISON members working in Barnet Libraries are taking industrial action on the 13th, 14th and 15th of June 2016 in opposition to the Council’s plan to outsource the Library Service.
What the Council intends for Barnet Libraries
  • Library posts will be cut by 46%, a loss of 52 full time equivalent posts
  • Staffed hours will be reduced by 70% (despite overwhelming opposition to this from respondents to the Council’s Library consultations)
  • Under 15 year olds unaccompanied by an adult will not be able to use libraries during unstaffed hours, which will be for most of the time libraries are open
  • Library space to be reduced, thus cutting study space and book stock
  • Four libraries to be run by “community groups”
  • Phase 3 alternative delivery model to be identified for this section.
More detailed analysis of the destruction of the Library service can be found in our report entitled “Direct and Collateral Damage to the Future of Barnet Libraries” here
UNISON Picket Lines will be at the following Barnet Libraries:
  • Monday 13th June – Mill Hill Library (Hartley Avenue, Mill Hill, London NW7 2HX) from 8.30 am
  • Tuesday 14th June – North Finchley(Ravensdale Ave, North Finchley N12 9HP) from 8.30 am followed by a demonstration outside Barnet House 12-1 pm
  • Wednesday 15th June – Chipping Barnet Library (3 Stapylton Road, Barnet, EN5 4QT) from 8.30 am
UNISON Library Convenor, Hugh Jordan said: Barnet UNISON calls for the current plan to decimate our Library Service to be stopped now before further damage is done. Our members are angry at proposals which look to sack half of them and then outsource them to another employer. Every day we hear of another Library closing due to cuts, handing over the service to volunteers or outsourcing. Enough is enough, there needs to be a national response to the systemic destruction of the national library service. Our Borough needs real libraries and real library professionals and para-professional, only this year our service was given a 96% customer satisfaction rating. If theLibrary staff less plan is implemented and staff sacked their absence will see Barnet pay a heavy price in the coming years as literacy levels fall, accessibility to information is reduced, and social mobility is further curtailed. Lastly, whilst we appreciate the current support from Library volunteers we are asking volunteers not to take our jobs away which is the part of the Barnet Libraries Plan”
Notes to Editors.
Contact details: Helen Davies Barnet UNISON on or 020 8359 2088 or email:
Background to Barnet Council Library proposal:
  • The Council’s proposal, if implemented, will result in Barnet Libraries offering a reduced service
  • Library posts will be cut by 46%, a loss of 52 full time equivalent posts
  • Staffed hours will be reduced by 70% (despite overwhelming opposition to this from respondents to the Council’s Library consultations)
  • Unaccompanied under 15 year olds will not be able to use libraries for most of their opening hours
  • Library space to be reduced, thus cutting study space and book stock
  • Four libraries to be run by “community groups”
  • Phase 3 alternative delivery model to be identified for this section.
Barnet Council has a statutory duty to provide a “comprehensive and efficient service”. This legal obligation will not be met in future because, as in the Council’s own words,
“The reduction in staffed opening hours will mean less support available in the library to get advice, information and to utilise the resources in the library. This will have the biggest impact on those who may require support to make best use of services at static library sites or are less able, or confident at using libraries without library staff support” (Barnet Future Library Service 5.9.10)

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Support of Tony Cox and the right to be accompanied at jobcentres and benefit-entitlement-assessments

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Placards in support of Tony Cox and the right to be accompanied at jobcentres and benefit-entitlement-assessments

'Never attend anywhere official alone' is our golden rule
This Thursday 9 June at 09:30 members of Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group will be standing outside Kilburn Jobcentre, 3 Cambridge Avenue, London NW6 5AH meeting and greeting claimants as they enter and leave that building. Location map.(1) As usual, we can expect the privatised G4S staff and/or Jcp management to call the police in an attempt to remove the attention we draw to what goes on inside that building, and any police presence that arrives to realise that we are not a threat to the public and least of all to vulnerable adults and staff inside the building. (The Department for Work & Pensions are the real danger to vulnerable adults and staff and to standards of service delivery.)

Arrest abusers of vulnerable claimants, not advocates!

Tony Cox is  hero, not villain

Tony Cox is innocent

On this particular occasion, there is an added message of UK-wide solidarity. For on Thursday 9 June Scottish Unemployed Workers Network activist Tony Cox will again be hauled up in court for spurious charges. Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty is calling for Tony's supporters to attend Dundee Sheriff Court for 10am in support of Tony Cox and the right to be accompanied. Advocacy is STILL NOT a crime — Solidarity with Tony Cox June 9th(2) We cannot transport ourselves up to Dundee Sheriff Court in support of Tony's appearance there on that day, but we can get a group 'selfie' AND give some support where it's required on the same day.

Attend Maximus alone at your peril!

The prime motto of the Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group is, "Never attend anywhere official alone."