Friday, 31 January 2014

The People's Assembly Against Austerity newsletter

In this newsletter:
1) Hands off our Unions: Defend our right to resist
2) Save Our London Underground
3) Student week of action

1) Hands off our Unions: London Rally

Join us to launch the campaign to defend our trade unions and
our democratic rights to resist austerity. This meeting is organised by
the People's Assembly, Campaign for Trade Union Freedom and
Institute of Employment Rights.

When: Tuesday 11 February @ 6:30PM
Where: Camden Centre, Bidborough Street, London WC1H 9JE

This is a free event but please rgister your place here:

Speakers include:Len McCluskey, Unite the Union
Mark Serwotka, Public and Commercial Services Union
Francesca Martinez, Comedian
John Hendy QC
A striking transport worker
More tba

The last few weeks have seen a range of strike action including:
university employees strike in an ongoing dispute over declining real wages, outsourced university staff striking for their rights to a London
living wage, pensions, holiday and sick pay.

The RMT and TSSA will be striking over cuts to London Underground
 next week and the NUT are discussing strike action in the coming weeks.

But the government’s announcement of an inquiry into trade union tactics
is further proof of its determination to undermine the right to protest against
its austerity programme.

On top of this, the so-called "gagging bill", which will have disastrous
consequences for trade unions, their members, and non-party campaigners
and organisations, was voted through the House of Lords this week.

In a time of "austerity", Boris is now planning to spend £90,000 on three
water cannons for use on protestors in London, a draconian, dangerous
and violent means of crushing resistance.

The campaign being launched by the People's Assembly to defend our
trade unions and our right to resist is more important than ever.

2) Save London Underground 

As part of their industrial campaign to stop cuts and job losses, members
of Tube unions RMT and TSSA working on stations will be taking strike
 action starting on 4 February.

As part of this, station staff will refuse to carry out “revenue duties”,
including selling and checking tickets. Ticket office windows will be closed
and ticket machines will be powered down. Revenue Inspectors will not
conduct checks and issue penalty fares, and, except in cases where crowd 
control means it’s unsafe to do so, ticket gates will be kept open. 
In other words… free travel!

The revenue action takes place between 9.30 and 11.30am and 6.30 
and 8.30pm on Friday 7,Monday 10, and Friday 14 February.

Please join the Hands off London Transport (HOLT) campaign by:
a) Signing up to spread the word
Sign up to and share the Thunderclap message, which will be sent out
on Tuesday 4 Feb at 12PMvia Twitter/ Facebook by everyone who signs
 up. Let's support the striking staff by hitting Boris where it hurts: travel
for free.

To sign up, click here:
b) Joining a public meeting tonight, Friday 31 Jan at 6PM outside
 Kings Cross to raise awareness about the planned cuts. See here 
for more public meetings.

To find out more about the strike action and how to support it, please
visit theRMTTSSA and HOLT websites.

3) Student Week of Action, 3-7 February 2014

Stop the sell-off of student loansNext week (Monday 3 – Friday 7 February) students from 50 campuses
 across the UK are uniting together to take on the government’s latest
 attack on students and education: their attempts to sell off the student
 loan book. Protests, rallies and creative direct action is set to take place
 all over the country. Here are a couple of key events happening in
London during the week:

RALLY: Right to resist – hands off our student loans! Tuesday 4 
February at SOAS JCR, 5-7pm.
Featuring: Francesca Martinez (comedian, writer), Clare Solomon (People’s Assembly Against Austerity),
Aaron Kiely (NUS Black Students’ Officer), Sean Vernell
(UCU) and a SOAS StudentAssembly Against Austerity speaker. 
Facebook event for more info here:
PROTEST AND ‘DEBT IN’: action to stop the student debt sell off
outside the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills on Friday
7 FebruaryAssemble on the steps of SOAS at 12noon or join us
 outside BIS at 2pm
Join the facebook event here:
For further details check out the Student Assembly website:

In solidarity,

The People's Assembly Against Austerity

The People's Assembly Against Austerity · United Kingdom
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Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Green Party leader of Northern Ireland 'There is power in a union'

There is power in a union

Only 56% of public sector workers are members of a trade union. Only.

During the debate on the Public Service Pensions Bill, DUP politicians used this argument as justification for denying trade unions a guaranteed place on the Pensions Board.
Similar figures have been trotted out in the past to question the legitimacy of strike ballots.
I think some politicians need to be careful they don’t undermine their own legitimacy.
In the 2011 Assembly elections the DUP received 30% of the vote. The party that holds the ministries for Finance, Enterprise, Trade & Investment, Health and Social Development; the party that has the power to block any piece of legislation going through the Assembly and of course the party which appoints the First Minister, only has 30% of the vote.
Combined the DUP and Sinn Fein only have 56% of the vote yet they effectively control the government of Northern Ireland. The turnout in 2011 was 54.5% of the eligible adult population so in reality their support is much less. So why then was 56% of total employees deemed an insufficient mandate for trade unions?
The Health Minister Edwin Poots has already found himself in trouble with the courts for his failure to appoint a trade unionist to the Health and Social Care Board.
Ultimately the real objection to unionised action is that minority politicians with a majority of power guard it jealously. Whether it is trade unions or bodies like the Consumer Council or the Human Rights Commission, informed, organised challenge is a threat to their power. However it is essential to our democracy.
There is power in a union.
So when politicians like Sammy Wilson make claims like “most people listening to this debate” remember that they do not represent “most people”. Like every politician in the Assembly (myself included) they only represent a minority interest. This is why we have to govern collectively in Northern Ireland.

Will Duckworth, Deputy Leader of the Green Party: speech to the Black Country People's Assembly Against Austerity 25/1/2014

Fellow campaigners, friends, comrades.

It’s a pleasure and an honour to be here – to welcome you to the first full meeting of the Black Country People’s assembly against austerity with people who, like me, have focussed attention and time on developing and explaining the alternative to the economic disaster we have suffered.  And the one under which we continue to suffer thanks to the Con-Dem’s blind adherence to the policies which landed us here in the first place.

I am the Deputy Leader of the Green Party. There may be some among you today who wonder why I – representative as I am of a Party viewed by many as muesli-knitting tree-huggers – why I should be here at all today.

And it’s simple. Austerity is not an economic imperative, no matter how often our Chancellor and his colleagues repeat that particular lie. It is a political decision. And like any political decision, there are alternatives to it. 

As most of us are aware, the financial crisis of 2008 was a gift to the Tory Party. It enabled them to scare people into voting them back into power – well, almost – and since then, it has given them an excuse to shrink the state and cut the social security system to the bone – and they have only just started.

As we all know it’s not working!  We see a “recovery” that is in fact basically rich home owners in the South East being able to spend a bit more money on things they don’t need while food banks throughout the country are the only industry that is really booming.  We don’t need an economic recovery we need an economy for the common good.

And they said they wanted us to realise we were all in it togather, but at every Budget they have announced cuts to services, social security payments, wages, assistance for children, working people and the infirm, and announced they’re using that money – money taken from society’s most vulnerable and its hardest working, and spending it on tax cuts, especially for the rich and for big buisnesses.  Let’s stop taxing second bedrooms and start taxing second homes.

In this, they are ably abetted by the Lib Dems and the vast majority of the National media. Even the Labour Party’s announcements have sounded like promises to wear slightly softer shoes when they kick the poor and migrants.

We know how to arrest this crisis:

We have to make sure we tax people properly. That is, ensure that people pay the correct amount of tax – the legal level, and the level they are expected to pay. Tax evasion and tax avoidance cost us, according to economists’ reports, £120bn per year.

Let’s make sure we set taxes that are not there to be avoided – and that when people evade them illegally we catch them and punish them.

We cut the replacement for Trident – a weapons system we really don’t need and which will cost us more than £100bn over its lifetime.

We introduce a land value tax, to stop land speculators making money for doing nothing and a Robin Hood tax to take some money from the bankers.

And we could even work on ensuring we’re actually repaid the money we lent to the banks, rather than coming up with half-baked deals to sell our stakes in them to oil billionaires.

We can build and repair houses, ensuring the thousands of people on council waiting lists can have a place to live in that’s fit for human habitation.

It will enable us to create energy efficient, well-insulated homes, fit for a 21st Century developed state, and again, it will also offer people employment, and at a decent rate, cutting even further our welfare costs.

We must ensure we pay people a decent living wage. Working tax credits and income support are not bad policies because they are a burden on us all as taxpayers, they are bad policies because they are a clear acceptance of the fact that private big businesses are refusing to pay their employees enough to live on.  They are an unacceptable form of corporate welfare.

We must insist that employees are paid a decent wage for their hard work, and that wage must never be less than they require to live. The tax payer should not be making up the wage bill of Tesco and Starbucks.

To get out of this crisis and to build a prosperous, sustainable life for all will take investment we must invest. In jobs, in useful industries, and in people.
 But if our politicians don't believe that people and the planet are worth investing in...
Then we need to change our politicians.

As a Councillor and a party member we are in a difficult position.  I was the only one of 72 Councillors in Dudley who voted against a cuts budget. 
We who believe that we shouldn’t kick the poor and the vulnerable, even if we have taken our shoes off, need to unite and tell the neo-liberals that enough is enough.

There is an alternative to austerity and we need to shout it from the platform, shout it from the rooftops and shout it from the barricades!  We need to unite and fight for the common good.

So today let’s learn what we can and then get out there and do it!

Thank you.

Monday, 27 January 2014

[London] TfL cuts - Public Meetings at tube stations

RoseMary Warrington via 
6:08 PM (6 minutes ago)
to meAnnouncements
Can you help bring the public on board?[London] 

The TfL proposed cuts will impact passenger safety, impact disabled passengers and lead to a worse travel experience for all. There is also a proposal to remove pay-as-you-go oyster cards and replace with a facility on contactless bank cards - so that TfL do not sort out any problems - your bank has to do that.

At the December London Fed a motion was passed: “The London Green Party will campaign against the TfL cuts and where possible will liaise with the relevant unions and Occupy.”

Can any members of the Green Party join with the RMT to hold a public meeting at their local tube station (for an hour - with a drink and discussion afterwards)? Please let me know asap if you can so we be as joined up as possible.
I will be at the Kings Cross one (with the Green Party Women's banner) and Wanstead, hopefully Leytonstone too and could get to others (but will not be able to be in two places at once).

Propose dates are
Fri 31st Jan    Kings Cross
Mon 3rd Feb    Whitechapel, Willesden Green
Fri 7th Feb
Mon 10th Feb
Fri 14th Feb

RMT will supply a speaker with a megaphone and their leaflets.

You will need:
Sufficient space close to tube entrance that is public and non-obstructive,
GP leaflets
Plan/person for dealing with officialdom if they turn up.

Ideally but not essential:
local party banner,
umbrellas, gazebo even if space
soapbox (equivalent) -
stall with GP leaflets (GPTU one – joining leaflet, Jean’s LGNs etc) and, donations tin, badges

There will be a mass meeting at Kings Cross this Friday from 18:00 for about an hour.

Please come and see how it is done.

Full disclosure - my husband is one of the staff who will need to re-apply for his job.

Rosemary Warrington
Secretary to London Federation of Green Parties

PS the strikes are planned for:
The strikes are from 12.00 on Tue 4th Feb to 12.00 on Thu 6th Feb and 12.00 on Tue 11th Feb to 12.00 on Thu 13th Feb. Around these dates we are proposing public meetings and the dates and the first Stations are at the bottom of this e-mail

Urgent Petition in Defence of Barnet Trade Unions

Romayne Phoenix via 
to GP-TUGreen
Urgent Petition in Defence of Barnet Trade Unions

Link to the petition against this at 38 Degrees:

Please sign and circulate.

The two local trade unions, UNISON & GMB, have been subject to both personal and political attacks by Conservative controlled Barnet Council in relation to facility time. On 1 April 2014 the Council are ceasing all of the facility time for both trade unions. The facility time pot has already been cut by 66% to date.

This is the final act of what has been a sustained attack on the local trade unions for daring to question the wisdom of the One Barnet mass outsourcing of Council services.

Barnet Council has been promoting the ideology ?Public Bad Private Good? as the solution to ?Austerity? with the help of expensive consultants (Consultancy Agilisys estimated costs to date close to £8million this does not include £millions spent on legal advice). First it was Future Shape then EasyCouncil, then One Barnet and now it is being promoted as the Commissioning Council. Whatever the name of this policy the human cost has meant redundancies and significant attacks on terms & conditions for those staff outsourced to contractors such as Your Choice Barnet, NSL, Capita and Barnet Homes.

Here is an animation explaining what is happening in Barnet:

Sunday, 26 January 2014

GPTU and Green Left and Islington Greens support the Islington Free School strikers

The Green Party Trade Union group and Green Left both send solidarity to the Islington Free School strikers. GL and GPTU both oppose Free schools but we believe that al l employers should recognise the Unions chosen by workers as their representatives and that workers are right to oppose any attempts to impose new contracts unilaterally or intimidate workers into accepting them. We trust that Green Party members locally and nationally will also support the strike.

Victory for the  Islington Free School strikers.

P.Murry Secretary GPTU

Green Left, the eco-socialist group within the Green Party, sends a message of solidarity and support to teachers striking for union recognition at Stem  6. Social justice demands that workers have the right to organise in the workplace and recognition by employers in order to negotiate to  protect and enhance working conditions.

We applaud your courageous collective refusal to obey the instruction to attend 1:1 interviews with the principal of the college, chair of governors and the chief executive of the sponsor.

We note the importance of your struggle as the first to take place in a free school when such schools are actively undermining hard won conditions of service including sick pay, maternity pay and pay progression.

Martin Francis PP Green Left


Myself and Ernestas- teacher and fellow target ward candidate in Islington will be attending the picket.(details at

Any other Greens interested- get in touch.

Charlie Kiss
Twitter @charliekiss
07808 932 618
(Sent from my iPhone)

Thursday, 23 January 2014

UCU HE strike

Subject: Please support today's strike action
Date: Thu, 23 Jan 2014 00:09:00 +0000

Dear colleague,

I hope that you will join colleagues on strike as we make a stand for fair pay.

This morning's comprehensive survey published by UCU shows that VCs received on average more than five times the pay rise given to staff, with nearly one-third getting increases of 10% or more. 

This week has also seen many members receive messages from their employers clearly aimed at bullying members into not taking action. 

In response I have committed to support members legally, industrially and where necessary by paying strike pay. It is now time for us all to ignore the bullies and unite in support of fair pay for the important work you do.

Thank you again for your support.

Sally Hunt
UCU general secretary

Fair pay in HE

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Protesters occupy Grand Hall at Brent Civic Centre

Martin Roger Francis12:38am Jan 21
Protesters occupy Grand Hall at Brent Civic Centre

Protesters against Brent Council's Council Tax Support Scheme which penalises the poor occupied the ...

video for next 3cosas strike - next week

 derek wall via
 to greenleftdiscu., gpex-members please share!

 Hi everyone, video for next 3cosas strike - next week - is here it can also be found at where people can also click the donate button straight after watching! feel free to share one (or both!) on twitter, Facebook, e-mail etc cheers! Aaron

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Hands off our Unions, Defend our right to resist austerity Public Rally organised by the People's Assembly

Hands off our Unions, Defend our right to resist austerity
Public Rally organised by the People's Assembly

Tuesday 11 February, 6:30pm
Camden Centre, Bidborough Street, London WC1H 9AU

This is a free event but please register your place:
Eventbrite - Public Rally: Hands off our Unions | Defend our
right to resist austerity

Speakers include:
Len McCluskeyMark SerwotkaFrancesca MartinezJohn Hendy

Len McCluskey, Unite the Union
Mark Serwotka, Public and Commercial Services Union
Francesca Martinez, Comedian
John Hendy QC
The government’s announcement of an inquiry into trade union tactics is further
proof of its determination to undermine the right to protest against its austerity

As millions of people face falling real wages, unemployment, part time or casualised
low paid work, and the rapid destruction or privatisation of the welfare state they
stand in need of trade union organisation and the right to protest more than ever.

We pledge ourselves to resist this attack. The right to protest is a fundamental civil
liberty. The right to join an effective trade union is the product of generations of working
class resistance. We have no intention of relinquishing it to a Government with no
interests in the needs of working people.
The People's Assembly Against Austerity · United Kingdom
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Thursday, 16 January 2014

GMB Sussex Branch (@GMBSussexBranch) tweet

GMB Sussex Branch (@GMBSussexBranch)
Brighton and Hove Greens take a positive decision to allow the public to make the decision on council tax increase Gmb supports

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Curzon Cinemas and BECTU sign voluntary recognition agreement ---

Acknowledgements to Josiah Mortimer 

Dear supporters,
We are delighted to report some wonderful news!
--- Curzon Cinemas and BECTU sign voluntary recognition agreement ---

Curzon Cinemas and the BECTU union yesterday (13 January) signed a voluntary recognition agreement. The recognition of Curzon employees' right to union representation is the fulfilment of one of this campaign's main aims.

This means Curzon will recognise BECTU for negotiation and consultation on behalf of the 150 employees in its cinemas. The union and company will co-operate towards achieving shared objectives for the commercial success of the business. We are continuing to call on Curzon Cinemas to pay their employees a Living Wage.

Philip Knatchbull, chief executive of Curzon, said:
“We welcome this opportunity for our colleagues to be represented by BECTU. This agreement is the culmination of several weeks of constructive dialogue with BECTU, during which we were able to identify a great deal of common ground. The management team at Curzon welcomes the knowledge and enthusiasm that all employees contribute to making our cinema experience special and we want to reward them as well as we can. We have a commitment to pay the Living Wage, in London and outside of the capital, as soon as we are able to do so without it tipping the company from its current break even position into loss making. We are working on plans to increase revenues to enable us to move to the Living Wage and we are looking forward to working with BECTU to achieve this."

Gerry Morrissey, general secretary of BECTU said:
"Everyone at BECTU is delighted that we were able to conclude our constructive discussions with Curzon Cinemas, and today sign a voluntary recognition agreement with the company. We look forward to working with the company to ensure that all employees are paid a Living Wage when possible."
A huge thank you for your support over the last year which has helped us achieve this brilliant milestone. As mentioned by representatives of both Curzon and BECTU above, we are all looking forward to the next step of the journey - moving to payment of a Living Wage to employees.

You can read the full BECTU press release here:
Please do retweet and share this great news 

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Prominent 2009 NO2EU Candidate and NW Trade Unionists Back Green Campaign

14 January 2014 from with acknowledgements to Peter Cranie

Prominent 2009 NO2EU Candidate and NW Trade Unionists Back Green Campaign

I am very pleased to report the following letter has been published in the Morning Star today. I’d like to thank all of the signatories and extend an open invitation to all anti-racist political parties considering standing in the NW to engage in dialogue with us before nominations close this year.

In particular, I’d like to thank Alec McFadden. We have campaigned together and worked within Merseyside Coalition Against Racism and Fascism (MCARF) when the BNP were on the ascendancy and conceivably threatened a breakthrough at council level on Merseyside.

Alec and the others are Trade Unionists, with far more prominent roles than my own (I’m a Branch Membership Secretary and Green Rep in my college for UCU). Last time the BNP sneaked in. Many good anti-racist votes were wasted. We need to get it right and consign them to history this time and this letter is a big step in that direction.

Dear Editor,

The news that Nick Griffin, Chairman of the BNP, has been declared
financially bankrupt is an insult to all the people struggling
financially in the North West region he represents.

As a Euro MP, Griffin earns a salary equivalent to £80,000 a year. In
addition he can claim for travel, living expenses and other costs. On
the other hand, the average wage in Britain is just £26,000 and
households are being hit with the bedroom tax, privatised rail fare
increases, rising privatised energy company bills and privatised water
bill increases.

Griffin's views on non-white British residents, his denial of the
holocaust and his hateful comments about asylum seekers and immigrants
have appalled decent people for four and half years. Now his financial
incompetence is added to the picture.

In 2009 the BNP beat the Green Party to the final MEP seat in the
North West by less than 5,000 votes out of over 5 million registered
voters. On May 22nd, in the European elections, voters have the chance
to make the North West a region with no BNP elected representatives by
voting him out.

The biggest barrier to removing Griffin is that 3 out of 4 people
simply didn't bother to vote in the last European elections. However
it is also true that if just 1 out of 10 voters for the Socialist
Labour Party and NO2EU had instead backed the Greens at the last
election, we could have avoided Griffin being elected in the first
place. Let's avoid making this mistake again.

We need green activists, trade unionists, anti-fascists, socialists
and anti-cuts campaigners united in our focus to remove racism and
fascism. We need to combat the victimisation of refugees and economic
migrants, and minority religious communities while continuing to
oppose the destruction of our public services under this government.

Peter Cranie, UCU and North West Green Party European elections lead candidate
Alec McFadden, President Merseyside County TUC (in personal capacity)
Clara Paillard, PCS Culture Sector President (in personal capacity)
Mark Hattersley, Secretary, St Helens TUC (in personal capacity)
Liz Epps, Secretary, Merseyside TUC (in personal capacity)
Sue Lloyd, PCS North West Regional Green Officer (in personal capacity)
Peter Billington, Secretary Lancashire County TUC (in personal capacity)
Steve Hall, President, Greater Manchester TUC (in personal capacity)
Don Naylor, Environmental Rep, Stockport UNISON (in personal capacity)
Paul Filby, Secretary, National Construction Safety Campaign (in personal capacity)
Ross Quinn, President, Wirral TUC (in personal capacity)
Angela Grant, Vice President, Wirral TUC (in personal capacity)

Monday, 13 January 2014

Public rally to stop cuts to London Underground.

Steve Cushion
On 13/01/14 08:04, Steve Cushion wrote:

Hands Off London Transport - Public Rally

Public rally to stop cuts to London Underground.
it is on Thursday 16 January, 18.00, Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London, WC1R 4RL (nearest Tube Holborn)
Launch of the Hands off London Transport public campaign.
Workers and passengers unite for an affordable, accessible, safe public transport system in London.
Bob Crow RMT
Jeremy Corbyn, MP
Manuel Cortes, TSSA
Jenny Jones, GLA member
Ron Douglas, NPC
Ciara Doyle, DPAC
Lianna Etkind, Transport For All.
Come along to be part of the campaign

Friday, 10 January 2014



That this House is appalled to learn what thousands of people in mining communities have strongly suspected for 30 years in the wake of the release of the Cabinet papers relating to the 1984-85 miners' strike, that senior Cabinet ministers, including the Prime Minister, micromanaged the Government's side of the strike, whilst publicly claiming to be innocent bystanders; notes that, all along, the National Coal Board had the intention to close over 70 collieries whilst publicly claiming the number to be around 20; further notes that senior Cabinet Ministers deliberately misled the country; further notes that when those striking to protect their communities seemed to be on the verge of victory, the Government plotted to bring in the armed forces to avoid defeat; and furthermore demands a full independent inquiry into the then Government's handling of the 1984-85 miners' strike.