Monday, 24 December 2012


A number of UCU activists are being tried in disciplinary action at Halesowen college on trumped up charges, the Branch Secretary Dave Muritu has already been sacked, there will be a lobby of the college at 0815 on the 7th of January, and I am intending to try and make it down, would be good to see any other Birmingham types who can make it.

Nick Varney the regional Official states that “I have never known such an abuse of disciplinary procedures. It is obvious that despite the lack of any evidence the college were determined to dismiss David and it is impossible not to link this to his union activity where he has legitimately challenged the Principal over the years .The whole process was like a kangaroo court and it was clear that the management chairing the hearings had been told what the outcome had to be. Indeed evidence is now emerging that new maths teachers were being appointed prior to the hearing so that they would be in place e for the beginning of the new term!”

Petition and further details can be found online here:


Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Alarming new evidence of hunger in schools raises urgent call for free school meals

Alarming new evidence of hunger in schools...
Martin Roger Francis9:14pm Dec 18
Alarming new evidence of hunger in schools raises urgent call for free school meals

Nearly half of UK teachers are seeing hungry children coming into school, a new report from The Children’s Society, released today (14 December) reveals.

‘Food for Thought: A survey on teacher’s views on school meals’ reveals alarming evidence of child poverty and hunger in UK schools. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of teachers reported seeing children coming to school with no lunch and no means to pay for one.

And two thirds (66%) of the teachers we spoke to stated that staff provide pupils with food or money if they come into school hungry.

The Children’s Society’s report comes just a few days after the government announced its plans for implementing Universal Credit. The introduction of a new welfare system provides decision-makers with a unique opportunity to make sure all children in poverty get a free school meal.

Every day, more than half of the 2.2 million school children living in poverty in England miss out on a free school meal. 700,000 of these children are not even entitled to one - often because their parents work, regardless of how little they earn. A further 500,000 are not taking up their free school meals because they face barriers, such as stigma, teasing and bullying.

‘Food for Thought’ also reveals that 98% of teachers believe that all children living in poverty, including those in working families, should receive a free school meal.

Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, said: “This report sets out shocking evidence of just how much hardship teachers up and down the country are witnessing in classrooms day in, day out. Something is going badly wrong when teachers themselves are having to feed children.

"Every child in poverty should be given a free school meal. Free school meals are key to moving children out of poverty and vital to helping them flourish."

Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), said: “Our teachers see hunger in their classrooms every day. Free school meals often are the only chance children in poverty get to have a balanced, nutritional meal. They should be available to all children in need.”

Hank Roberts, President of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), said: “It is deeply worrying that our teachers are seeing pupils arriving at school unable to pay for their lunch and are too often going without. The Children’s Society’s report clearly shows the importance of free school meals in tackling child poverty, and we support the recommendation that all children living in poverty should be entitled to free school meals.”

The Children’s Society’s report also highlights teachers’ views of the importance of a healthy lunch on students’ ability to learn.

It also emphasises the importance of a cashless system for helping to end the stigma sometimes associated with free school meals.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Clegg targets pensioner benefits

If the Coalition, Conservative Party or...
David Francis10:27pm Dec 17
If the Coalition, Conservative Party or Liberal Democrats try to
 withdraw the Bus Pass and other universal benefits from 
Pensioners there will be a massive campaign by NPC & Other 
Pensioner Groups . Also Trade Union Retired members will be 
part of that campaign. It is rumoured the threshold for 
withdrawal will be quite low. Not just rich pensioners.

Please make sure the Green Party supports Pensioners. The Bus
Pass is environmentally friendly and has social benefits. An 
investigation in Devon where I live found that it also benefited the 
local economy by encouraging pensioners to travel and use local 
shops, cafes etc. Quite apart from the reasons I have given so far
there are now huge numbers of pensioners with votes (pensioners
are the most enthusiastic voters) .

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Conference Agenda Prioritization Ballot

Conference Agenda Prioritization Ballot
The agenda for conference is ordered in accordance with a vote of the membership, the motions with the most support appear higher up the agenda than those with less support. This ensures that where time is tight, the most supported motion prior to the conference get the best chance of being heard. 
The agenda and the ballot will be published as close as possible to December 21st and will run until the 15th of Januarywhen it will close in time for the publication of the final agenda.
To find the first agenda and the prioritization ballot when they are published, please visit the SOC part of the members website

Thursday, 13 December 2012

PROTEST AGAINST UNFAIR DISMISSAL! Re-instate Dee Topping! No more bullying!

Message from members of CONEL College UCU about bullying and victimisation of a staff member.

PROTEST AGAINST UNFAIR DISMISSAL! Re-instate Dee Topping! No more bullying!
Tuesdays 12.45pm - 1.30pm CONEL College, High Road, Tottenham N15

More than 100 staff, students and members of the community held a noisy and angry protest on Tuesday outside CONEL college in Tottenham against the sacking of UCU member Dee Topping. We need your continued support!

Dee is a teaching assistant working with 14-16 year olds at CONEL. She has been sacked because students on a trip to Thorpe Park were accused of smoking dope, although no drugs were found on them, and the college did not ask Thorpe Park staff for evidence or challenge Thorpe Park for searching youngsters without parental consent. 7 staff were on the trip, but only Dee has been sacked: the college claim Dee could have predicted and prevented this incident, even though she was not in charge, and was not with the students who snuck off for a cigarette. Dee is being targeted, and taking the rap for management failings.

College management talk about ‘cleansing’ the staff body and are operating to create a cheaper, more expendable and compliant workforce: where ever possible replacing permanent staff with hourly-paid and agency staff, and cranking up the use of capability and disciplinary procedures to get rid of staff without having to pay redundancy. This strategy can only damage the college, as well as us as individuals: Dee is a highly-respected support teacher, and makes a massive difference to the life-chances of her students. Treating her so unfairly damages all staff. We are not the enemy – we are the college community.

UCU at CONEL are organising protests in support of Dee every Tuesday until she is re-instated, 12.45pm - 1.30pm, outside the college in Tottenham High Road. Please come and give your support - we need as many people there as possible to prevent reprisals against union members taking action for Dee.

UCU Branch Secretary, Jenny Sutton, contact 07707 011 374, - please circulate this widely.

acknowledgements to Steve Cushion, Secretary UCU Retired members branch (London)

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Some Thoughts on Cuts by Doug Rouxel

It's a discussion about torture, militarism, going to war, and films - Zero Dark Thirty to be precise. However, the mindset which leads some people (on the 'soft left' in this country, or in America, liberals - I personally prefer the term liberals because it identifies them pretty well, and Phil Ochs wrote a nice tune all about them.) to support war (see support for bombing Libya from Sunny Hundal, or the ex-chair of GPEX's comments on the futility of demonstrating against the Iraq war) and the following quote stuck out at me:

"It's not that I think liberals support torture. No, I think liberals 
want to be forced to support torture. What liberals want is ultimately to do what conservative hawks want to do, but only after experts and leaders assure them that they have no choice. They want extreme events to make the choice for them"

You could easily take out the word torture, and replace it for cuts:

"It's not that I think the Green Councillors support cuts. No, I think the Green Councillors want to be forced to support cuts. What the Green Councillors want is ultimately to do what conservative hawks want to do, but only after experts and leaders assure them that they have no choice. They want extreme events to make the choice for them"

When you read/talk o or generally hear a response to the call for opposition to cuts from anyone within the party, or even within the Labour party and beyond, then the most important part of their argument is the inevitability of cuts, and ultimately that there is no choice - because that's what we are told, that there is no choice.

I think that this is something, in and of itself that requires challenging - the reason why we want a bottom up party (or union) is not that we like it that way, or it's nicer - it's to avoid the situation where people are able to absolve blame onto a higher power which sets the agenda that there is no choice - there is always choices, you might not like them, but they are certainly there.

Protests as Michigan passes 'anti-union' law

Thousands of union workers and their supporters crowded into downtown Lansing - the capital of Michigan. A show of strength against so-called Right To Work legislation that would prohibit unions from forcing people to join and pay dues as a condition of employment. Al Jazeera's John Terrett reports from Lansing, Michigan see 
acknowledgements to Ged Hickman

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Rally in defence of public services, the NHS and the Welfare State

Subject: Dec 5th protest in Brighton
Rally in defence of public services, the NHS and the Welfare State

Wednesday 5th December
5.45 pm
Clock Tower

Speakers from NHS and Council Unions, and campaigners for public services.

Why are large corporations and wealthy individuals able to avoid tax while our services are slashed?
Why do bankers get bonuses while we get wage and benefit cuts?
Why are millions unemployed while employers are allowed to use workfare schemes to avoid taking people on and paying them a decent wage?

Austerity isn't working!

Join the Budget Day protest

Supported by
Brighton Hove and District TUC
Brighton Stop the Cuts Coalition
Brighton Benefits Campaign

In his Budget statement on December 5th, Osborne is announcing more misery for ordinary people. This is in addition to the cuts in benefits already announced and the selling off of the NHS.  Brighton and Hove City Council is facing a deficit of £25 million next year alone.  This will decimate local services and destroy jobs.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

NHS resistance events this week

Attached is the Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group leaflet advertising a protest on Monday December 3rd against even tighter DWP rules against the PROVEN sick. 
Apologies for the short notice, but please support if you can.

REMINDER: Next Brent Fightback meeting Tuesday December 4th 7.30 pm at Brent Trades Hall, 375 High Rd, Willesden NW10 2JR

Events this week
Wednesday 5th December: The Chancellor's Autumn Statement
March from King's College, Strand assembling 5.30 pm to Downing St for a rally at 6.00 pm Called by UCU London Region, hosted by Unite the Resistance.

Thursday December 6th Meeting for Health Workers and Health Service Campaigners 6.00 - 8.00 pm Thatcher Room, Portcullis House, Westminster Bridge. This meeting will unite campaigners from across NW London, Lewisham and other health campaigns to discuss the way forward in the fight to defend our NHS. Room booked by Andy Slaughter MP. Make sure you allow time to get through security.

NW London Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts will be meeting from 4.00 pm at Central Hall Westminster. Documents for the meeting - which bring the decisions on the Shaping a Healthier Future "consultation" up to date -  can be downloaded from the Shaping a Healthier Future website
There is space on the agenda for questions from the public, but not until 5.30 pm. We plan to ask for it to be taken earlier as we will have to leave at 5.30 pm.

Saturday 8th December "CASUALTY CONVOY" organised by Ealing Trades Council - cars decorated with Save Our Hospitals posters will drive past the four threatened hospitals. Organiser Oliver New writes:
Assembly Point Please arrive by 11..00am in the Hayes Bridge Retail Park. 
To get there drive down the Uxbridge Road through Southall Broadway (it won't be too busy at that time) towards Hayes. Just as you leave Southall you will go over a canal bridge. Turn left at the traffic lights into the Hayes Bridge shopping outlet - you will see Currys/PC World on the corner. (Alternatively, if you are coming via the M4, take the Hayes bypass and signs for Southall, just before Southall turn right when you see Currys/PC World.)  Enter the shopping outlet and park your car insideon the left. This place is always unoccupied.  Here we will put posters on the cars, using masking tape of the type used in car body shops.  The posters are bright and the designs are as attached to this e-mail in the 'all posters' PDF.
If you are coming by bus, take the 207 and get off at the Hayes Bridge stop. (If you want to come early for shopping, this retail park includes Currys/PC World, Staples, Halfords and furniture shops.)
What you will need  A car, with enough petrol in it, preferably at least one passenger who can read a map and keep up good spirits.  You might also want to bring a whistle for making a noise, or even a loud hailer if you have one.  You might want a bottle of water or a sandwich as we will be driving though lucnch time. Our trial run on a Saturday took about 2 hours and 30 minutes.
If a traffic light goes red, don't worry or crash the lights to keep up. You will be given a map and a route so we will all go the same way, even if we get a bit spread out at times. We will all be very noticeable with our posters and we will toot and whistle etc (obviously not to the extent of becoming aggressive or counter productive.)
The Route Led by our hired lorry, we are going to head off down the Uxbridge Road, though Southall (beep beep!) and past Ealing Hospital (Save Our Hospitals! Save Our Hospitals!), through Ealing (beep beep SOH, SOH). The convoy should stay together during this part. We will turn left into the North Circular and up to the Hanger Lane gyrator where we will turn right into Twyford Abbey Road, where we will pause to regroup. From there we will drive past Central Middlesex and then Hammersmith Hospital (beep beep SOH etc). From there we will go down Wood Lane, round Sheperds Bush, down to Hammersmith curl round North End Road, Lillie Road, past Charing Cross Hospital, back to Hammersmith, down the Chiswick High Road and regroup/debrief in Bollo Lane, Acton. We fully expect to be spread out during the second half of all this, but the brightly coloured posters and a bit of beeping will make local people highly aware that we are THE SAVE OUR HOSPITALS CASUALTY CONVOY!
We will  pass thousands of local people, Christmas shoppers as well as the four threatened hospitals.  We will probably be on loads of facebook photos and get into the local press.
So thanks for your support - it's not to late to tell friends. 
Toot toot for now!
Oliver New

BARNET Don't Let Capita in!

The Cabinet of Barnet Council meet on 6 December to decide whether to award a £750 million contract to Capita to run a huge chunk of council services - and put 200 council workers out of a job. We will be there to lobby and demonstrate our opposition to the Council's #OneBarnet outsourcing programme. Please join us!

Morning protest: Don't Let Capita in! Residents and supporters protest outside North London Business Park, 8-10am, Thursday 6 December.