TUC: LESE update 7/9/2018
TUC new event information View this email in a browser Welcome to our regular update about trade union campaigns From Sam Gurney, regional secretary and
Laurie Heselden, regional policy and campaigns officer Welcome to our new ‘campaigns update’. The format will generally be a very short description about a trade union campaign, an organising drive, or a dispute, and a link that you can click through on if you want to learn more about the issue.
It will a be regular bulletin and we will try to send one out monthly, but we will flex that if there is an urgent need, or a quiet period.
We are committed to raising the profile of trade unions in our region, and within that, to stimulating more communications within the trade union family. And we want to build awareness amongst people who are not yet a trade union member of the brilliant things trade unions do.
TUC: LESE is the Trades Union Congress region that is responsible for London, the east and the south east of England, where nearly two million trade union members live and work. Think Norwich across to Oxford, and then down to the Isle of Wight and you will have a rough image of our geography.
We are sorry that there has been less communication flowing out of our office in the past few months than we would have liked. But every trade union has been dealing with the demands of the new GDPR regulations for handling personal data and making sure that our contact lists were compliant with the new rules. Thank you for your patience.
This is our first stab at a campaigns update. We hope you find it useful. We would welcome any constructive comments sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
We will also be sending out a slightly shorter events newsletter on a roughly weekly basis.
There is much good news to share, and many great trade union stories to tell, so we are determined to make this campaigns update a success.
Sam and Laurie TUC Congress, to be held 9-12 September 2018 It will be held in Manchester and will celebrate 150 years of the TUC. Central to the efforts to celebrate the 150 th anniversary are 150 stories of influential trade unionists, and ‘a project to reach out to young people as the next generation of trade unionists, activists and leaders’.
https://www.tuc.org.uk/campaigns/reaching-young-workers Increasing cost of childcare running massively ahead of the average increase in pay Working parents with children under five have seen nursery fees rise three times faster than their wages over the past decade, according to new TUC analysis published 3 September.
The sub-regional data documents an event greater problem for most families with young children in our region.
In the south east childcare costs have risen 4.5 times faster than the average increase in wages.
In the east of England childcare costs have risen 3.4 times faster than the average increase in wages.
In Inner London childcare costs have also risen 3.4 times faster than the average increase in wages.
The story is less bad in outer London, but even there childcare costs have risen 1.5 times more rapidly than the increase in average wages.
This leaves hundreds of thousands of families with a massive shortfall in their monthly budget and it is evidence of the devastating impact of Britain’s cost of living crisis on working mums and dads.
‘Decent Homes for All’ Public policy on homes and housing in the UK has been a massive area of failure for forty years and the UK is left with too few homes, poor quality housing, a poorly regulated private rented sector, a massive loss of properties owned by local councils, and too few new homes built for low-cost rent each year. Our region is particularly badly affected. We are supporting trade union’s campaigns for more public sector housing, for stronger regulation in the private sector, and we have our own ‘Decent Homes for All’ campaign.
We are particularly interested in collecting stories from trade union members who are ‘working homeless’, which we define as people with paid employment who cannot afford a decent home, because of the cost of housing, low pay or the collision of both. Shelter estimate that there are 33,000 people in Britain that are both working and homeless. There are tens of thousands of others who cannot afford to live anywhere near where they work.
If you are a trade unionist and have a housing story to tell us, please contact email@example.com and we will arrange a private chat on the phone. Far-right vandals attack Bookmarks, the socialist bookshop in London The increase in far right activity across our region is a cause of serious concern. Late on Saturday 4 August approximately a dozen people wearing masks entered the shop and proceeded to tear down displays, rip up books and magazines, and throw books on to the floor. Some of the vandals wore ‘Make Britain Great Again’ caps. Subsequently, UKIP suspended three of its members, pending enquiries.
Frances O’Grady, TUC General Secretary tweeted, “Solidarity to our friends at Bookmarks. Another sinister reminder of the growing confidence of the far-right”.
TUC: LESE works closely with Bookmarks and it has stalls at many of our events. Members of our executive committee and office team members went to Bookmarks to express TUC: LESE’s solidarity.
The more volunteers that Bookmarks has the better it will be defended against politically motivated acts of vandalism and intimidation. If you would like to know more about volunteering at Bookmarks please contact https://bookmarksbookshop.co.uk/contact
We will be working closely with our affiliates to mobilise more generally to respond to the increase in far-right activity. Organising drive begins at Sky Photo credit: Prospect-Bectu and Jess Hurd
Prospect-BECTU has launched a new information and recruitment initiative at Sky to build on existing membership numbers at the company. The campaign is called Moxie – meaning force of character, determination, nerve or energy. It is intended to capture the vitality of workers at Sky and of BECTU. The union wants to pool that energy to strengthen workers’ voice at Sky.
https://www.bectu.org.uk/news/2859 Unite the Union members at TGI Fridays on strike from 24 August Workers at TGI Fridays restaurants in Milton Keynes and Covent Garden in London walked out for a fifth time, with workers at Stratford City in London, joining the action for the first time, in an ongoing dispute over the company’s refusal to address concerns over tips and alleged minimum wage abuses. Three days of strikes started on Friday 24 August and continued over the bank holiday weekend.
We were pleased to visit the protest and official picket line outside TGI Fridays in Covent Garden.
http://www.unitetheunion.org/news/workers-at-tgi-fridays-to-strike-for-historic-fifth-time/ GMB calls on Heathrow to pay the real London Living Wage to all direct and contracted staff GMB, one of the unions that organises at Heathrow, has called on Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited to ensure all direct and contracted staff on its sites are being paid the living wage, which in London is presently £10.20 per hour. The GMB says that contracted staff such as those from Omniserv, OCS, and ISS, who deliver services such as wheel chair assistance, terminal cleaning and aircraft cleaning, have not had a wage increase for over three years. Heathrow Holdings Limited became an accredited real living wage employer in November 2017 and has made a commitment that its direct employees and those of any contractors on its sites will be paid the real living wage by the end of 2020.
https://www.employeebenefits.co.uk/issues/november-2017/heathrow-airport-gains-living-wage-accreditation/ UNISON East of England is opposing drastic cuts to the number of Police Community Support Officers in Suffolk Suffolk Constabulary has announced its intention to reduce the number of PCSO posts to 48, down from 107 posts in 2016, and 173 in 2010. This is not only an attack on jobs, but on the front-line services that people depend upon. UNISON East of England said “PCSOs are not only a reassuring, visible presence in communities, they also gather vital intelligence that prevents crime and protects the public”.
We have written to the local Police and Crime Commissioner calling on them to reconsider. If you live or work in Suffolk please write to your MP and to the Police and Crime Commissioner at http://www.suffolkpcc.co.uk/contactus
https://www.unison.org.uk/news/press-release/2018/07/cutting-suffolks-police-community-support-officers-risks-public-safety-says-unison/ RMT and guards on trains: dispute with South Western Railway South Western Railway was awarded the south western rail franchise in March 2017, and it took over from South West Trains in August 2017. It operates commuter services from London Waterloo to south west London and provides suburban and regional services in southern England.
RMT members at South Western Railway took strike action, 18 August seeking to defend the role of guards on its train services. The RMT said “that members are standing rock solid and united across the South Western Railway network this morning in the fight to retain guards and protect safety, security and accessibility on the company’s services”.
More industrial action was held 31 August – 2 September, 8 September and 15 September, as negotiations to resolve the dispute were not successful. RMT reports that the strike action was ‘rock solid’.
In July the RMT had a breakthrough in negotiations about guards in trains with Greater Anglia, and in August an agreement in principle was reached with Merseyrail. Union members and the travelling public should keep the pressure on intransigent rail operating companies to reach agreements to keep guards on trains, with ‘an operational role’.
https://www.rmt.org.uk/news/rmt-south-western-railway-guards-safety-action-rock-solid180818/ ‘Your Health at Work‘: an indispensable guide to physical and mental well-being published by the TUC This new book covers the most common physical and mental health risks at work and how trade union reps can tackle them, advising reps and officers in advance of negotiating with employers and managers, and providing a guide to assisting members in the workplace. The 240 page book is an essential reference book, and a must-have for all trade union workplace reps.
You can purchase it from the TUC for £12.99, which is £2 cheaper than you will find it in book shops. Unions that would like their own logo printed on the cover can have this done for no extra charge, if they order a minimum of 50 copies. Other bespoke options are available. Please contact Paul Rey-Burns for further details at firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7467 1294.
To order this book please do so online here
Discounts apply for bulk orders.
Employment status, the ‘gig economy’ and ‘art educators’ at the National Gallery Recent high-profile Employment Tribunals about employment status include cases involving Pimlico Plumbers, Uber, CitySprint and Deliveroo. These all involved workers in the private sector. But precarious terms and conditions of employment affect workers in public sector institutions too, either through outsourcing, or through long-term anomalies.
For decades art educators at the National Gallery in London welcomed school tours and visitors, gave talks, workshops and offered information about the history of the Gallery and the art on display. The people that did these jobs had their employment terminated in late 2017, and some of them were offered the opportunity to apply for vacancies, reportedly on lesser terms and conditions. The employment status of the original art educators is the subject of an Employment Tribunal claim as 27 of them, (the NG27), are seeking to get their status as employees recognised.
It will probably be a high-profile case. Obviously, every claim that goes to an Employment Tribunal is unique, but precarious employment is commonplace in the heritage sector, so it is a case that is worth following and supporting.
The NG27 are fund-raising to pay the legal costs of taking their claim to Employment Tribunal. Following a preliminary hearing on 16 July, their 8-day hearing will start on 26 November 2018. The target is to raise £65,000. They have already raised more than half of the target.
There is an online auction of art works with all proceeds going towards the campaign
Facebook ‘Stand with NG27′
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/jul/16/employment-tribunal-hears-cases-against-national-gallery You can help build our trade union communications network You can send this campaigns update to other trade union reps, or friends and colleagues in your workplace, if you think they will be interested. Please remember to use the ‘bcc’ facility on the email that you forward, if you think that is appropriate.
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