Thursday, June 30, 2016

Joint trade union statement on the Labour Party

The current crisis within the Parliamentary Labour Party is deeply regrettable and unnecessary. Last week’s vote to leave the European Union presents the entire labour movement with unprecedented challenges.

 Above all, we need to be fighting to preserve our members’ jobs, already under threat in several industries and across the public sector as a consequence. The government is in crisis, but already serious debates are taking place and decisions being made which profoundly affect the interests of working people.

Under these circumstances, our members and millions of others will be looking with dismay at the events in parliament. It cannot be right to seek to denude the Labour front bench at this time, when the government more than ever needs to be scrutinised and held to account by an effective and united opposition that does the job it is paid to do

Jeremy Corbyn is the democratically-elected Leader of our Party who secured such a resounding mandate less than ten months ago under an electoral procedure fully supported by Labour MPs. His position cannot and should not be challenged except through the proper democratic procedures provided for in the Party’s constitution. We urge all Labour MPs to abide by those procedures, and to respect the authority of the Party’s Leader.

While we have stated that we believe a Leadership election would be an unwelcome distraction at this time of crisis, if one nevertheless occurs through the proper procedures we would expect all parts of the Party to honour the result and pull together in the interests of the country, and working people in particular. The only party that can win for working people is a strong and united Labour Party".

Len McCluskey, General Secretary, Unite the Union

Dave Prentis, General Secretary, UNISON

Tim Roache, General Secretary, GMB

Dave Ward, General Secretary, CWU

Brian Rye, Acting General Secretary, UCATT

Manuel Cortes, General Secretary, TSSA

Mick Whelan, General Secretary, ASLEF

Matt Wrack, General Secretary, FBU

Ronnie Draper, General Secretary, BFAWU

Chris Kitchen, General Secretary, NUM

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Forest Gate By Election 2016: 15 days to go

Picture collage from the recent canvassing sessions in the Forest Gate North ward By election in Newham, East London. The candidate is Anam Islam, a top Labour trade unionist, anti-racist campaigner and committed socialist.

The campaign started last week but I was away at Unison National delegate conference. Following the disastrous referendum result and self destructive infighting amongst the Parliamentary Labour Party, let us be honest, that this is not the best time to be holding a by election.

However, the Labour vote seems as solid as ever and Forest Gate residents want a Labour councillor to be returned in the ward. This is not to say I have not had some serious conversations with residents about national politics but only 1 person in the past 3 nights has raised the leadership issue with me.

The referendum result has stunned people and the majority of people I have spoken to about it are ashamed of the result. We came across 2 residents who said they were normally Tories but they would not be voting for them in this election because of what has happened.

I spoke to one man on Monday who claimed that he did not know the result since he had ignored all the media since the previous Thursday evening and asked what had happened. I replied that I hope I am in the middle of a horrible dream and will wake up tomorrow and find out it was the Friday morning again, and we had actually voted to remain

East European residents I have spoken to have been quite understanding and pragmatic. They accept the result and while some are fearful about what will happen to them, most said they had been working in the UK for more than 5 years, paying UK taxes, so they thought they will be ok. They were of course as interested in local bread and butter council issues such as anti-social behaviour and parking control as anyone else.

I will post further on the EU referendum result (and why Newham had such an awful low "remain" vote). In the meanwhile can supporters please come out and canvass for Anam.

Thursday 30th June 11:00 at Dean Street E7 9BJ (Odessa Road Open Space)

Thursday 30th June 18:00 at Dean Street E7 9BJ (Odessa Road Open Space)

Friday 1 July 11:00 at Wanstead Park station E7 0HX

Saturday 2nd July 11:00 at Wanstead Park station E7 0HX

Saturday 2nd July 14:00 at Wanstead Park station E7 0HX

Sunday 3rd July 11:00 at Hatfield Road E15 1QY

Sunday 3rd July 14:00 at Hatfield Road E15 1QY

Monday 4th July 11:00 at Wanstead Park station E7 0HX

Monday 4th July 14:00 at Wanstead Park station E7 0HX


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Tories are divided, but at this crucial time, Labour should not be

Unison statement by our General Secretary, Dave Prentis Blog  "Last summer, our union nominated Jeremy Corbyn for Labour
leader, and a great number of our members voted for him in the Labour leadership contest.

Support for Jeremy remains the position of this union, as determined by our members through our democratic structures.

At our Labour party members’ conference next week we will have an open and honest debate about the future of the party, and how Labour wins the coming election.

It is not the PLP or trade unions who now elect the leader of the Labour Party – it is party members and affiliate supporters, and that mandate should be respected.

It is essential that the Labour Party is united in dealing with the huge threats to our economy, society, the disturbing rise of racism in our communities and attacks on public services as our country faces a period of huge uncertainty.

The Tories are divided, but at this crucial time, Labour should not be.

As we appear to be moving towards an early general election, our members need strong and united leadership from the Labour Party.

If MPs choose not to serve in the shadow cabinet, the Labour leader has a right to seek to form a shadow cabinet and lead our party as long as he has the support of party members".

Friday, June 24, 2016

Unison NDC 16 - On the Vote to Leave

UNISON Press release "Commenting on the news that the UK has voted to leave the EU, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: 

“The people have spoken, and they have made a clear call for change – and a different relationship with Europe. 

“We will be working in the coming weeks and months to hold the leave campaigners to the promises they’ve made – that there will be more money for the NHS, and that our rights at work will remain intact.
“But this also has to be a time for our country to heal. At its best the campaign has enabled genuine debate and discussion in our homes, workplaces and communities about the future of the economy and the kind of country we want to live in. 
“At its worst, the campaign has been typified by hatred, vitriol and misinformation that have done a huge disservice to our democracy and values.    
“Over the coming weeks and months, all political leaders must think about how to address the issues that people in our communities care most about – falling incomes, insecure jobs, unaffordable housing and the huge challenges facing our public services after more than half a decade of cuts. “

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

I'm Voting Remain

Unions Together

Dear John

The Referendum’s tomorrow. We’ve all heard the arguments from both sides, and although we think the EU is far from perfect, we at unionstogether strongly believe that we are all better off IN Europe.

I'm IN

We're backing remaining in the EU for the following three reasons:

1. JOBS. Many people’s jobs depend on the trade that Britain does with Europe. Leaving the EU would destabilise our economy and put these jobs at risk.

2. RIGHTS. Lots of our rights at work, such as paid holiday and maternity leave, are guaranteed by Europe. Leaving the EU would leave our rights at the mercy of a Tory Government and put our rights at risk.

3. PAY. TUC research indicates that leaving the EU will lower wages by an average of £38 a week. Leaving the EU would put our pay at risk.

These three things are so important to all of us, and unionstogether believe that because of jobs, rights and pay, we’re better off in Europe.

If you agree, you can pledge to vote remain, and share on facebook and twitter here:

Tomorrow, I’m voting REMAIN for better jobs, for rights that are safeguarded, and to protect our pay. I hope you will too.




Click Here to Unsubscribe
Reproduced from an electronic communication sent by Helen Pearce on behalf of TULO, both at Southside, 105 Victoria Street, London SW1E 6QT.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

UNISON NDC 16: Tuesday morning

Guest Post By NEC member Elizabeth Cameron. "And we're off! !! ‪#‎uNdc16‬ gets underway.

Fairly lengthy but also interesting standing orders report delivered by new chair Mark Rayner for whom this is a well deserved achievement,

Mark has worked tirelessly for years on this committee and couldn't be a better replacement for Clytus (never knew how to spell his name apols if it's wrong).

The annual report is moved and Financial statements and accounts both accepted with some additional work we need to do with our members. The hall is full and I forgot how lovely it is at this conference bumping into old friends from across England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales in all of our sector groups. I hope we can look within the next few days at ways we can work together to do the best job possible to represent and campaign both with and for our members especially on equalities Black, Women, LGBT and Disabled.

I'm excited and proud to be speaking on Motion 65 'How much worse can it get for Black members' on Wednesday, when I'll also be a speaker at the 'Show Racism the Red Card' fringe in Syndicate room 3. A magnificent organisation and tireless campaigner against the growing tide of racism xenophobia and anti immigrant feeling.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Unison NDC 16: Greater London Regional Delegates meeting

Unison is back in Brighton for its National Delegate Conference. The NDC is the annual Parliament of our 1.3 million members. Over 2000 delegates and visitors will be in Brighton for the conference

Picture is from the London meeting this evening for delegates. Regional publicity convener, Lynn Bentley, is speaking about the daily newsletter she helps publish for delegates. 

The elected regional  delegates Yvonne and Mandy, give their report and make it clear that their role is to help delegates enjoy and participate in the conference (they are not there to recommend local pubs, give train timetable information or change hotel rooms). 

Jim, our regional representative on Standing orders committee made it clear that conference itself really decides on how conference is run. If conference wants to let dozens of delegates give endless speeches self congratulating themselves on motions that no one disagrees with then so be it. It is not the role of SOC to interfere, it is up to conference to stop this and raise points of order to bring the debate to a close. 

The regional staff conference team were introduced and the importance of making sure that delegates attend all debates and are properly scanned in as they enter the hall was explained.  All branches were also reminded to make sure they pick up their Card votes!

Finally, Karen reminded us of regional conference events. Tomorrow lunchtime (Tuesday) at 12,30 3rd floor BCC there is a new and lone branch delegates lunchtime event (which  I really recommend). 

A motion re-prioritisation  huddle on Wednesday 5pm at confrrence floor and our regional social on Wednesday 7.30pm at the Holiday Inn (£5 per ticket). 

Enjoy conference delegates!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Fathers Day

I lost my Dad 14 years ago so "Fathers Day" is always going to be a bit difficult.

But we have to move on in life and remember the good times and not just the sad times.

I was too young to actually remember this picture of me, my big sister Helen and baby sister Lucy with our Dad but love it to bits. 

Forest Gate Vigil for Jo Cox

Picture collage is from the vigil held yesterday morning (I was out of London this weekend) in Forest Gate for Jo Cox MP, who was murdered by an apparently mentally disturbed but committed Nazi and Fascist. 

It was organised by West Ham Labour Women's Forum and our local MP, Lyn Brown, was the main speaker. 

It was I understand a very moving and emotional meeting.

I did not know Jo at all and while I am outraged at her horrible death I also note how many people were equally shocked and disturbed at her killing. 

At the Forest Gate North Labour Party candidate selection meeting on Thursday which I chaired, I was genuinely surprised how many members beforehand came up to me to insist that we had a minute's silence to honour her. 

Since then I have spoken to other friends and family members and I was struck by how they understood the connection with the massacre in Orlando a few days beforehand and the disgusting campaign by some Brixit right wing media and campaigners to demonise anyone who supports remaining in the European Union. See the vile collection of Daily Express front pages in the collage. 

Did they encourage Mr. "Death to Traitors"? If so they have innocent blood on their hands. 

Hat tip photos Seyi, Rok and Veronica

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Anamul Islam is Labour Candidate for Forest Gate North

Picture following the selection of Anamul Islam tonight (looking pensive holding the large "Vote Labour" placard) as the Labour Party candidate for the Newham Council by election on 14 July.

There were 11 high quality candidates for the position, all of whom were long listed. Anamul was elected on the 2nd ballot with over 50% of the votes.

He is an excellent choice as a Councillor. A local boy who is a hard working committed campaigner and a long standing trade union and community activist.

I am really pleased that Forest Gate North branch Officers was able to work with West Ham Labour Executive Committee and others to make sure that our selection process was as we committed it to be "fair, democratic and inclusive".