Wednesday, 31 March 2010

LabourStart first-ever global solidarity conference

LabourStart will be holding its first-ever global solidarity conference this summer in Canada and we'd like to invite all UnionBook users to attend.

The conference will be held on 9-11 July 2010 at McMaster University School of Labour Studies, in Hamilton, Ontario.

We're starting to put together a detailed agenda of plenaries and workshops based on the input we've received from trade unionists around the world.

Now we need to know who is coming and we've begun registering participants.

If you would like to attend, please register today

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Juan Carlos Piedra and the living wage campaign

Excellent video here of the demo last Friday at UCL which myself and Joseph attended, in support of sacked trade union organiser Juan Carlos Piedra and the living wage campaign:


Monday, 29 March 2010

Visteon pension demonstration 31 March

Visteon pension demonstration 31 March

Assemble 12 noon outside UNITE
128 Theobald's Road, Holborn, London, WC1X 8TN

March to Parliament Square for a demonstration at 2.00pm. Coaches being organised from Basildon, Enfield and Swansea.


More info on the Visteon Pensioners Action Group

Stop the Cuts at the University of Cumbria,MMU, KCL

Mass lobby outside the MMU Board of Governors Friday to call on the Board to stop the attack on Support Staff jobs and conditions that is currently being carried out by their Management.

Patrick Gannon

To members of Stop the Cuts at the University of Cumbria

Jon Bryan 26 March at 23:44 Reply
Dear all

The following link has the report and a video clip from yesterday's rally and march

Full story at the link:
***Rallies 30 March: 1pm KCL, 6pm

Tuesday 30 March will see the first ever local strike against our
management by
UCU members at King's College London. We have voted overwhelmingly to
industrial action against a £27m cuts programme that has put 205 jobs at risk
of redundancy, with more to follow.

Whole departments are set to close - Engineering, Dental Mictobiology,
Studies, Equality and Diversity - with other areas also under threat -
Palaeography, Logic, Linguistics, the Institute of Psychiatry,
Biomedical and
Health Sciences.

All this in a College where 202 staff earn over £100k a year, with a
salary bill of £29m, and where a £100k salary cap would save £9m a year. Management have by-passed the proper channels of consultation to impose
redundancies. Most staff learned that the country's oldest Engineering
department was to close via the College's website, before any formal
consultation had taken place.

All this helps explain why King's staff returned the highest proportion
of votes
in our union's history (85%) for some form of industrial action. But
this fight
is not about King's alone. If our management's redundancies are not
stopped, it
will give confidence to every management team in higher, further and
education, who believe that the top-down management model in place at
can impose cuts on everyone, everywhere. More seriously, it will
convince any
future government that education is a soft target as they try to recoup
billions spent on the banking sector.

Speaking at King's four days before the strike Tony Benn told students
staff that, 'What you're doing is educating College management in the
importance of education.' At a time when Peter Mandelson is attempting
prevent young people from going to university, and the Chancellor of the
Exchequer is contemplating cuts that will be 'worse than Thatcher', we
need to educate the present government, and its successor, about the
of education. So our fight is also your fight.

We are calling on everyone to join us on our picket lines (7pm to 5pm)
Tuesday 30 March. We want our strike to be a lively celebration of
to cuts and a demonstration of our resolve to protect our colleagues'
jobs and
our students' education.

Join our rallies on Tuesday, open to everyone:

Tues 30 March 1pmKCL
Strand and
Waterloo site entrances

Tues 30 March 6pm London
School of
Economics, U8, Tower One, Ground Floor

Please send donations and messages of support to:

For more information on our dispute see

PCS Budget Day Strike Demo

Photos by Romayne Phoenix

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Unite; Heathrow solidarity and anti-fascism in Barking

Acknowledgements to Andy Hewett

Calling all Unite Officers/Regional Committee/Activists

1. Show your support for BA Cabin Crew strike;
A further four days of strike action will commence on Saturday, unless our
pressure forces Walsh back to the negotiating table.

Your support and solidarity is needed at Heathrow.

Come along to the Strike HQ at Bedfont FC, (ten minutes from Hatton Cross Station), The Orchard, Hatton Rd Bedfont, Middx, TW14 8QT. Please come by Public transport - parking will not be available at Bedfont FC - Piccadilly Line is running this weekend

On Saturday, all day, there will be International solidarity themes with overseas visitors.

On Sunday, bring your family, kids and friends for the Cabin Crew Strikers Family day. Aim for 1pm.

Allsolidarity helps and sustains the strikers. You will feel proud of our union and our members - and you'll enjoy your visit. Please come - make sure this
crucial strike is won.

2. Defeat the BNP in Barking and Dagenham - mobilise on Saturday;
Unite is mobilising this Saturday (27th March) in Barking constituency. A busy weekend, but please make a priority of this - unless you are in West London .

The vile Nick Griffin of the BNP is standing against Margaret Hodge - he must be stopped, and the BNP must be stopped from winning the Council with their lies.

Unite have committed to support Barking's day of action in Goresbrook Ward this Saturday 27th March at 10am. We will be meeting at Dawson Hall, Hedgemans Road, 5 minutes from Becontree Train Station (District line), and mainly knocking on doors. This is important and effective work; you'll enjoy it.

We aim to have 100 people on the streets helping - our hatred and contempt
for the evil of the BNP must be turned into action.
Please confirm your attendance with us for Barking - still come if you don't - but it assists if you notify in advance.

A very busy weekend - trade unionism brings with it responsibilities; let's make sure that London & Eastern Unite fulfils its role with distinction.
Regional Secretary
London& Eastern Region

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

NUS & UCU defend Biosciences at Kent Uni

By Aaron Kiely

The Biosciences department at the University of Kent was under threat of eleven compulsory redundancies, around one-third of the staff. The University management claimed that research was poor within the department, despite the quality of teaching being ranked amongst the best by students. The University decided to ‘restructure’ the department and sack staff, some who had been in the department for up to twenty-two years in favour of employing research-only ‘high-fliers’ who would bring in better RAE scores.

After an historic extraordinary meeting of the UCU, over 130 members of the union unanimously voted to ballot for strike action or action short of a strike if the university planned to go ahead with the redundancies. Students were involved from the beginning and were invited to the meeting and links were formed at the earliest opportunity.

Several open meetings later, student groups on the campus united together and led grassroots action and planning to defend lecturers. It was crucial to garner the support of the average student and explain to them that defending the biosciences department was a matter of defending the quality of education and teaching standards. Student Union policy was passed to oppose the redundancies, mandating the Union to take a vastly differently stance to that of 2006 when it actively campaigned against the UCU during a pay dispute – pressure from Biosciences students and education activists ensured that such a course would be unthinkable in the present.

During an initial planning meeting of 20 students, the group debated strategy and unanimously agreed to plan a demonstration on a UCAS open-day against the job losses in solidarity with the lecturers. It was also agreed to send notice of such a demonstration to the deputy vice-chancellor stating that press would be invited. A week later, the student’s union sabbatical team also agreed to follow such a route and promised to make their resources available i.e. leaflet-printing, e-mails to all students and website updates. Over 350 students were confirmed to attend, with societies and individuals pledging to come out in number to be vocal in their opposition to the job cuts with local press such as the BBC and newspapers planning on creating coverage.

The day before the planned protest however, a joint statement from the UCU and University management was issued saying that strike action had been called off and all threats of compulsory redundancies had been lifted as well as plans for a redundancy avoidancy agreement; a clear and decisive victory for students and staff. Even at the University of Kent, noted in recent years for its political conservatism, students can lead important struggles, defend their education and most importantly come out victorious. The UCU issued a thank you to all students and noted that it was only possible because they had strong student support.

Here’s to a reinvigorated student movement at Kent, and long may it continue!
Aaron Kiely

Sunday, 21 March 2010

UCU Election pledge

Make Education Count

Putting education at the heart of the election

5 chances
Wednesday, 17 March 2010 by UCU

We are calling on all parliamentary candidates in the general election to pledge themselves to our vision of post-school education.

5 chances to support UCU’s vision for education:
Will you support a high quality, publicly funded education system—at all levels of study—in which people are not deterred or prohibited by financial barriers?
Do you agree that those who need a ‘second chance’ should be given the means, information and funding to access education?
Do you agree that those who teach in education should receive the support, training and remuneration they deserve which should correspond with the contribution they make to individuals and society?
Should the incoming government be committed to widening participation in education at all levels, founded on equality, diversity and social inclusion and provide funding to back up that commitment?
Do you agree that lifelong learning should be a reality, not just a slogan?
UCU’s alternative manifesto (.pdf)

More here: General Election 2010: an alternative manifesto for post-school education

Tags: adult learning, funding, Further education, Higher education, Manifesto
Posted in Candidates, Defend education | No Comments »

Thursday, 18 March 2010


The London protest will kick off from 5pm outside the UBS building at 100
Liverpool Street. Come, bring friends, bring stuff to make a noise,
bring placards!




We are appealing to all sections of the labour movement, to trade unionists, women and youth, socialists and communists, to assist in an important struggle of workers with the Union Bank of Switzerland underway in London.

For many years cleaners (janitors), mostly migrant workers, have been amongst the most exploited section of the working class. In an effort to improve their rights and conditions many have organised into trade unions as part of campaigns such as Justice for Cleaners. There has been a concerted effort by employers to break the union organisation and reverse any gains made by cleaners. Unionised workers have been dismissed and the
immigration laws used to victimise and intimidate them.

The Union Bank of Switzerland is the latest to attack these workers, despite making a profit of $1.1 billion in the last quarter, it has hired the notorious anti-union contractor Lancaster Ltd to drive down it costs.
Ignoring the legal protections afforded them, they have set out to cut
the jobs and wages of workers already on poverty pay. Simultaneously
they have attempted to break the trade union of the cleaners at UBS.

A mere three days after taking over the contract, the UNITE union
representative and leader of the Latin American Workers Association
Alberto Durango, was sacked on 4 February. Alberto has been a leading
activist amongst cleaners in London, he previously worked for the
contractor Lancaster for over a decade, on becoming a union activist
they victimised him. A series of allegations were thrown at Alberto,
they orchestrated his arrest based on false claims. He was released
without charge. The company then sacked Alberto regardless claiming he
never worked under his true identity. After his dismissal the company
admitted he had in fact worked in his true identity after all! It is
clear UBS and Lancaster are prepared to blacklist union activists.

The treatment of these workers is symptomatic of many others in this
industry. It is a disgrace which can and must be stopped. Already many
sections of our movement have endorsed the campaign in defence of the
cleaners. TO WIN WE NEED YOUR HELP. We have called an international day
of action on Friday 19 March. We appeal for protests, demonstrations and actions at all buildings of Union Bank of Switzerland. Please help us
by organising actions in your country. Through global solidarity we can
defeat a callous representative of global capital.

Chris Ford

Branch Organiser – Unite CLERKENWELL & ST. PANCRAS 0694M

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

UCU London regional demo: Defend jobs, defend further, higher and adult education: 20 March 2010; meet 12pm at Kings College London,

UCU London regional demo
Defend jobs, defend further, higher and adult education: 20 March 2010; meet 12pm at Kings College London, then march to Downing Street to hand in a statement to the prime minister, Gordon Brown.

 (.pdf) file type icon Demo leaflet (.pdf) [216kb]
 (.pdf) file type icon Demo poster (.pdf) [299kb]

Save further education
Further education is entering a new phase of crisis. At least £200 million has been wiped from adult learning budgets for 2010/11 in England and, with a further £300 million of cuts to come over the next three years, more than 1,400 jobs are already under threat. The Association of Colleges says current cuts could place more than 7,000 jobs at risk. The job cuts could affect up to 160,000 adult learners on top of the 1.4 million adult learning places lost since 2005.

At a time when individuals and the broader economy need all the assistance possible to get out of recession, UCU believes that such cuts to further and adult education are a betrayal of our communities and our future. UCU has agreed an immediate and co-ordinated response. All English branches are being asked to write to principals asking them to join our campaign against the funding reductions and calling on them not to cut jobs.

Go to: Save further education

Convention of the Left anti cuts leaflet pdf

Cuts? There is an

Monday, 15 March 2010

Campaign Against Climate Change TU group conference 13/3/2010
First plenary part 1
First plenary part 2
First plenary part 3
First plenary part 4 (Jonathon Neale speech)
Second plenary part 1
Second plenary part 2
Second plenary part 3
Second plenary part 4

Thursday, 11 March 2010

UBS Shame on you! Reinstate Alberto Durango

UBS Shame on you! Reinstate Alberto Durango

“You. It’s not just a word. It’s a commitment.”
(UBS publicity)

On 1st February UBS, the Union Bank of Switzerland, transferred the cleaning contract at its London offices to Lancaster Cleaning Services. By law the workforce’s terms and conditions should have remained the same, indeed the workers received that very commitment. Yet, working they say to UBS guidelines, the new UBS contractor has:
► Cut the full time cleaners’ daily wages by 10.75%
► Increased workloads
► Sacked union shop steward Alberto Durango for resisting these changes.

Like almost all cleaners in the City, the UBS cleaners are immigrant workers from Latin America, Africa and Portugal - all parts of the world from which UBS draws huge profits. The bank is taking advantage of the immigrant workers’ disadvantaged status to impose a wage cut and unsociable conditions. This is shameless exploitation!

We demand of UBS, and its intermediary Lancaster:
► Honour your commitment to retain wages, hours and conditions of the previous contract
► Stop bullying the cleaners into extra working and unsociable shifts
► Pay all your workers a living weekly wage
► Reinstate Alberto Durango, and full consultation with workforce.

“UBS. It’s not just a PR image.
It’s paying poverty wages and union busting”

See the Cleaners’ Defence Committee Facebook group for more info:

Defending The Wefare State & Public Services Rally 10 April 2010

Defending The Wefare State & Public Services Rally 10 April 2010

March and Rally Assemble 12 noon Temple Place Embankment
Rally 2pm Trafalgar Sq
Full details on website at

Since 1948, Britain has supported the idea that state pensions, health care, education and other public services are best provided by society as whole. But this idea is now under threat.

The state pension is totally inadequate, leaving at least 1 in 4 older people to live in poverty

7m households have a child living in poverty and existing benefits provide a very limited safety net

Unemployment now stands at over 2m and workfare offers no solution

10m adults are disabled and face huge barriers to escaping financial hardship

The NHS is slowly being privatised behind a smokescreen of choice and competition, and patients are suffering as a result

Our public services are now facing massive cuts and further privatisation

The welfare state and public services are an essential part of any civilised society - pooling the risk across the population and providing support and services to us all.

Why should you get involved?

Whoever wins the next general election will be looking at the welfare state and public services as a way of cutting public expenditure. This demonstration must therefore send a clear message to all the political parties that the majority of people do not want to see further cuts and privatisation.

On 10 April 2010 we will have a unique chance – just weeks before an expected general election – to make our voices heard. Staying at home and thinking it’s someone else’s job to speak out for the welfare state and public services won’t be enough. Make sure you are there!

Monday, 8 March 2010

The Green Party Trade Union Group supports PCS strike

The Green Party Trade Union Group supports PCS (Public and Commercial Services Union) members in their strike action today and tomorrow. Their action in defense of their conditions, is defense of the pay and conditions of all workers, (especially public sector workers) which are now under attack. It is also a defense of properly funded public services which are a benefit to all communities in the UK. We hope Green Party members will show their support for PCS strikers by visiting their picket lines and demonstrations.

“The dispute is over changes to the civil service compensation scheme which will see staff robbed of up to a third of their entitlements and see loyal civil and public servants lose tens of thousands of pounds if they are forced out of a job. The union fears that the government wants to make it easier for whoever wins the general election to cut low paid civil and public servants on the cheap.” (PCS website 8/3/2010)

Thursday, 4 March 2010

London FBU supports Greens

London region of the FBU has agreed to make a donation to the Green Party's London election fund.

This was proposed by barnet Branch of FBU and reflects the solidarity with them shown by Noel Lynch and other members of Barnet GP