Monday, 31 March 2014

Lambeth College staff to strike: GPTU sends suppport

Lambeth College staff to strike tomorrow in contracts row

from UCU website 31 March 2014
Members of the UCU at Lambeth College will be on strike tomorrow (Tuesday) in a row over proposed changes to terms and conditions.
The strike comes after a massive 95% of staff who voted backed the call for industrial action at the south London college.
The dispute centres on the college's desire to change the contracts of new staff. Under the proposals new staff would see their workloads increase, but their sick pay and holidays cut. UCU said the changes would leave some Lambeth staff working longer hours than all but three of London's 38 further education colleges.
UCU had hoped a resolution to the dispute could be found before the strike. However, it added that the strong mandate for strike action demonstrated just how bad things had got at the college.
The union warned that a system where staff had different contracts, hours and benefits would do little to enhance morale. It added that there were fears the college would seek to impose the new contracts on existing staff in the future.
UCU regional official, Una O'Brien, said: 'There is deep anger over these proposed changes which will mean workloads will increase but sick pay and holidays will be cut. Different staff will have different contracts, hours and benefits and that will do little to enhance morale.
'The management of the college needs to work with us to ensure the college is fit for purpose. Downgrading staff terms and conditions is not the way to do that.'
  • Vicky Wilks
    Tel:020 7756 2601
    Fax:020 7756 2501
  • GPTU sends it's solidarity to Lambeth College UCU strikers. Green Party Trade Union group Secretary Peter Murry writes; "As an ex FE lecturer and member of the UCU Retired (London) Branch, I know that Further Education can often seem like the 'forgotten' sector of education and it is all to easy in a climate of austerity for yet more attacks to be mounted on FE Lecturers' pay and conditions inspite of the fact that FE plays a vital role benefitting society as a whole. I therefore send support to theLambeth College UCU strikers on behalf of GPTU."

Friday, 28 March 2014

National Association of Probation Officers strike action: 31 March to 1 April

Martin Roger Francis8:15pm Mar 28
National Association of Probation Officers strike action: 31 March to 1 April

At Napo’s Special General Meeting, held in Birmingham Town Hall, General Secretary Ian Lawrence announced further strike action from 31 March to 1 April against plans to privatise 70% of the services work.

Making the announcement he told attendees: ‘The Coalition’s plans to sell off the management of offenders to private providers so that they can make a profit from the justice system is a recklessly dangerous social experiment that presents massive risks to the safety of communities.’
When: 12.00 pm on Monday 31 March until 11.59 pm on Tuesday 1 April

Please support the striking probation officers. See the NAPO website for more information:
Napo - Home page
This is the home page.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Why a retired headteacher and current governor supports today's teachers' strike

Why a retired headteacher and current governor supports today's teachers' strike

It is simple really: teachers have no choice but to strike if they are to stop education spiralling into a crisis that will damage thousands of children. A one day strike is inconvenient - Michael Gove and the Global Education Reform Movement is a catastrophe.

The DfE and Ofsted would have us believe that the quality of education our children receive is dependent on tough 'super' head teachers and their senior management teams following government diktat. It is not.

What is important is the quality of the teaching force, their creativity and their commitment. At a day to day level is is important that they should not be tired, frazzled, over-burdened with paperwork and fearful of the next monitoring visit.

Labour and now the Coalition have put the teaching force under incredible strain in terms of workload and have accompanied this by attacks on their professionalism and their conditions of service. Pensions have been cut and contributions increased, take home pay has declined 17% since 2010 and they are now expected to work until the age of 68.

Imagine for a moment  teaching a class of  lively 5 year olds as a 68 year old! The fact is that it will be a huge strain and  bad for teacher and child. Governors and parents must realise this is something they cannot countenance. Teachers will end up retiring early due to ill-health or will be subject to 'competency' procedures that will end their careers on a sad and sour note.

Teachers are leaving the profession in increasing numbers with many young teachers giving up exhausted and frustrated after five years. Recruitment of headteachers is in crisis. Morale is plummeting.

The introduction of performance related pay will tie teachers ever closer to target driven lessons related to spurious data based on testing. 'Standards' may go up but in reality will reflect more 'teaching to the test'.

But worse is waiting in the wings. The employment of unqualified teachers by free schools and academies is a wedge that will be used to increase the employment of unqualified teachers in local authority schools faced by declining budgets. This deskilling and deprofessionalisation is no accident because corporations such as Murdoch (Gove's ex-employer) and Pearsons are on hand to supply schools with ipad based curriculum packages for individualised learning - much cheaper than teachers and supervised by low paid teaching assistants.

I respect teachers and have seen their commitment over the years and now in the schools where I am a governor. I am not surprised that the research shows that they work a 60 hour week to keep up with the planning and paperwork. I am impressed that despite this they find time to organise and supervise residential visits with children, organise sleepovers at the Science Museum, run afterschool clubs and fund raise at the School Fair.

Their commitment to children and their learning is immense but continually undermined by government interference and bullying and an inspection system that induces fear rather than positive partnership for improvement.

Support the teachers today for a better tomorrow for our children.

UCU London Retired Members Branch - The Budget, the AGM and a Walk

UCU London Retired Members Branch - The Budget, the AGM and a Walk
View this email in your browser

What the Budget means to you

The NPC has produced an easy to read guide to the main changes affecting older people that were announced in the March 2014 Budget

You can download a copy here.

The Branch AGM

Thursday 10th April 2013 2pm to 4pm
Guest Speaker from Middle East and North Africa Solidarity Campaign

Elections will take place for all branch officers and committee as well as our delegate to UCU Annual Congress. Nominations in advance or on the day.
Meetings take place in the union office in Carlow Street NW1 7LH, nearest tube Mornington Crescent.
All retired academic staff are welcome (as well as those about to retire). If you have items for the agenda please let me know.

A Walk

Monday 7th April 2014
Epping Forest

Meet at Chingford rail station to start at 1.00pm.
Copyright © 2014 UCU London Retired Members Branch, All rights reserved.
UCU London Retired Members Branch - members and supporters

Our mailing address is:
UCU London Retired Members Branch
53 Fladgate Road
Leytonstone, London E11 1LX
United Kingdom

Add us to your address book

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences  

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Support the Strike, Support Teachers, Support Education.

Tomorrow thousands of teachers will walk out in a nationwide strike called by the National Union of Teachers (NUT). The Rugby Green Party understands and shares the concerns of these teachers who are acting to defend the integrity of their profession and are standing shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with their fellow workers. This strike action is not the result of an irrational or hostile trade union. It is an action of last resort, taken due to numerous long-standing grievances.

The Education Secretary Michael Gove has severely damaged the relationship between teachers and central government by stubbornly pushing through top-down reforms, failing to take into account the views of those who actually work on the frontline of education. As a result trade unions representing hundreds of thousands of members (including the National Association of Head teachers (NAHT), the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), the NUT, and the NASUWT) have declared “no confidence” in Gove’s policies, which they say are not in the best interests of children, parents or schools.

The main reasons teachers will be out on strike tomorrow are:
 Excessive workload, with the government’s own research showing that primary school teachers work up to 60 hours
 Excessive bureaucracy which diverts focus from teaching to box-ticking
Destruction of the national pay framework which shifts the burden of developing a pay framework onto head teachers and governors who should be focusing on teaching and learning
Unfair pension changes which mean working longer for less

Furthermore, teachers have expressed their frustration with excessive and inappropriate testing of children, the introduction of unqualified teachers, and widely criticized changes to the curriculum.

As the Rugby Green Party’s Trade Union Liason Officer I would like to express solidarity with those striking tomorrow on behalf of the local party.

Laurence Goodchild.

Information from the NUT on why they are striking:
Strike page:

Declarations of no confidence in Gove from teaching unions:

“Why I am striking” from teacherROAR:
Posted by Rugby Green Party at 04:50

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Alan Wheatley for Chancellor.NOW!

The photos I got a friend to take with my camera did not click properly tonight.

However, here is a clickable link to photo Peter a photographer from Demotix took of me tonight with newly decorated Kilburn Unemployed 'Budget Box'.

I believe though, that the most important work done by Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group activists has been the behind the scenes operations of Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group activists supporting one another in attempting to get support of claimant's doctor toward successful Employment & Support Allowance claims.


Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Fair Pay Campus Week of Action

Fair Pay Campus Week of Action
Join us this Friday at 1pm to call for a living wage and a 10:1 ratio at
Imperial College London.

the Young Greens national campaign to reduce pay ratios between the
highest and lowest paid workers in Higher Education in England and Wales
and this week we are holding a national week of action, with universities
taking part up and down the country.

In London, we will be protesting at Imperial College London. In a report
last year, the Young Greens found that Imperial was the most unfair campus
in the country.

Please join us on Friday at 1pm! We need as many people as possible there.
We will also have speakers including Green MEP candidates Caroline Allen
and Violeta Vajda.

RSVP on the event here:

Demo to support public sector unions- Thursday 20th March from 1pm to 2pm

Public sector workers have had pay frozen since 2009 and have suffered a drop
in pay when compared to inflation of around 16%
The public sector unions are asking for £1 extra per hour across all pay
The employers have responded saying they will look to see how much the
minimum wage will rise by!!
Apologies for the short notice, but the date of the
national union officials' meeting with the NJC employers (on the pay issue) was
changed at short notice.

Would be great if there was a Green Party presence as we support public
services and not privatisation.

The meeting of the
employers' side is at Westminster City Hall, 64 Victoria Street, SW1E
6QP.  So we will meet outside
The demo will start at 1 and finish around 2.00

Charlie Kiss
07808 932 618

Unison shop Steward.
Islington Green Party

Monday, 17 March 2014

an email from Unison asking me to join a leafletting campaign for the Labour Party.

 Today I recieved an email from Unison asking me to  join a leafletting campaign for the Labour Party.

I wanted to complain so I asked my branch secretary who to send an email to.

He replied: don't pay into the APF. Entirely up to you whether you go on to state that you're in fact an active member of and council candidate for the Green Party, which promotes policies that are much closer to UNISON's own on a whole range of critical issues, than the current programme of the Labour Party.

which I found amusing and had to share!

* I would strongly recommend that when unions ask us to campaign for the Labour Party that we reply accordingly.

I have now emailed Unison.

and emailed people in my shop asking them to also ask to be removed from the list as well if they are not supporters of the Labour party

Charlie Kiss- Unison Shop Steward
Islington Green Party

Gp-tu mailing list

Charlie, many thanks for this information. Was the email sent to UNISON
members in your region only? I don't think I have received a similar email
sent to UNISON members in South East, although SE region has included a
great big Labour Link section in the latest regional Campaigner newsletter
sent to activists with an article (a.k.a. self promotion) written by the
female Labour MEP candidate for South East, which has been duly forwarded
to Keith Taylor's office so he knows about it.
Will keep a look out for the email and reply accordingly.
 Best wishes, Sue

to Suegptu
Hi Sue,

Sorry. Yes this was a London region email.

They have now apologised and said it was sent to me in error..
Without answering the other points of course.


Sign the Petition: For a #PeoplesBudget

Sign the Petition: For a #PeoplesBudget

The Government should reverse damaging austerity, and replace it with a new set of policies providing us with a fair, sustainable and secure future. We will no longer tolerate politicians looking out for themselves and for the rich and powerful. Our political representatives must start governing in the interests of the majority.

We, the undersigned, demand:

Re-nationalise our services & remove private profit from health, education and social services

A statutory living wage, abolish zero hour contracts, end the wage freeze

Invest in building social housing, abolish the bedroom tax & place a cap on private rents

A higher tax on the rich & a clamp down on tax avoidance

Reverse all spending cuts

Invest in creating green jobs

Increases to welfare and pensions should be tied to inflation

A stop to scapegoating of immigrants or those on welfare

A publically owned, democratic banking system

End the cost of war in blood and money: no military interventions, no Trident replacement 

Sign here: 

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Demonstrate for a People's Budget

The beginnings of a structure to build a movement and the sense of shared purpose that can make it happen.

Saturday, 15 March 2014 from Wembley Matters Martin Francis' blog

People's Assembly makes itself fit for purpose

Today's recalled People's Assembly Against Austerity began with a warm minute of standing applause for Tony Benn and Bob Crow which seemed to set the tone for a serious but friendly day in which the organisation sorted out its aims, structure and priorties in an atmosphere refreshingly untainted by sectarianism.

I could have been there wearing one of several different hats but settled for the Green Party Trade Union Group which had put forward a resolution committing the PAAA to campaign for effective action against climate change. Natalie Bennett's moving of the resolution linking austerity, neoliberalism and clinmate change was well received and the resolution was passed overwhemingly.

The Assembly adopted the People's Charter for Change which states: We need a government to reverse damagaing austerity and replace it with a new set of policies providing us with a fair, sustainable and secure future. We can no longer tolerate politicians looking out for themselves and for the rich and powerul. Our political representatives must start governing in the interests of the majority in the direction outlined by this statement of aims.

The aims were:
1. A fairer economy for a fairer Britain
2. More and better jobs
3. High standard homes for all
4. Protect and improve public servies
5. For justice and fairness
6. For a secure and sustainable future

Supplementary motions were passed adopting the People's Charter; supporting the nationalisation of those firms and banks that do not invest to build a high-skilled, high-wage, high employment economy; supporting house building, rent capping and opposing fixed term tenancies and 80% market rents in Council and Housing Association properties and supporting regulation of rents, conditions and tenancies in the private rented sector; stepping up campaigns to defend the NHS and abolish the NHS and Social Care Act, brnging privatised NHS services back under public ownership and control; and resolving to campaign for money to be spent on welfare rather than warfare,

The structure that was agreed created a body to be known as 'The Assembly' which would manage the PAAA between conferences and would be made up of one representative from each signatory group and one representative for each local, national or group assembly and this will nominate a management group to be endorsed by the Assembly. The Assembly will meet at least twice a year. 

A supplementary motion from the Coalition of Resistance was approved which set out the People's Assembly's commitemnt to be a broad united campaign against austerity, cuts and proiatisation in workplaces, commity and welfare services based on general agreement on the signatories' Founding Statement. It was made clear that the PA would be linked to no political party and would be committed to open non-sectarian working. An amendment to adopt a less formal, decentralised structure with participatory democracy and consensus decision making, on the lines of Occupy, across the PAAA was defeated.

Two slightly contradictory motions were passed on Finance with some confusion about what constituted membership and membership fees, and whether these should be paid centrally or locally. This will need sorting out in the near future.

The Assembly adopted a future programme based on mobilising hundreds of thousands of people in activity and coordinating national events, days of action and support groups, It was agreed to work to set up new People's Assembly groups, strengthen local groups and central organisation (finance will be essential for this) to hold 'meetings, rallies, protests and actions in every locality possible' and to mobilise for the following national events:

• March 19th Budget Day Demonstration
• March 22nd Stand up to racism demo
• March 26th Support for NUT strikes
• April 5th Day of Action Against the Bedroom Tax
• May Day Events
• June 21st People's Assembly National Demonstration (support by the NUT)
• August 31st NATO Protest Cardiff
• September 28th Tory Party Conference protest
• October 18th TUC National Demonstration

 The day ended with a rousing speech from Christine Blower, General Secretary of the NUT, making a strong case for community based campaigning in the form of the Stand Up For Education camaign that has seen NUT members out engaging with the public at high street and market places stalls throughout the country.

There is clearly a massive amount to do but the day left me feeling that we now had the beginnings of a structure to build a movement and the sense of shared purpose that can make it happen.

Care UK is quite a misnomer

Alan Wheatley 15/3/2015

I've just returned home from the People's Assembly Against Austerity [PAAA] recall conference 

The conference today remembered Tony Benn and Bob Crow with a great deal of warmth. One of the issues that came up there was the strike action taken by Unison members in Doncaster who have been thrown into the privatising 'race to the bottom' clutches of a nasty company called, ironically, 'Care UK'. The Unison members involved are so incensed at the treatment that company is throwing at them and their learning disabled service users that they are going on strike yet again on Thursday 20 March
Clickable link to Community Care online mag article about this issue.
And the conference found the workers' example so inspiring that half the collection of over £1,600 went to the workers' strike fund. (That was actually my main reason for giving to the collection today.)

Anyhow, on hearing the name Care UK there, I recalled some blog pieces from Community Care magazine dating back a few years to when blogger Mike McNabb's regular 'Outside Left' blog was one of my great favourites. He wrote of Care UK in far from complimentary terms. Here are a few sample pieces. (Follow the clickable link to other clickable links.)

Your comrade

Alan -- aka 'Swheatie'

Thursday, 13 March 2014

TTIP PUBLIC MEETING: 6.30pm, Mon 17th March at UNITE

UCU London Retired Members Branch
View this email in your browser


To all members and supporters of the UCU London Retired Members Branch

6.30pm, Mon 17th March at UNITE’s building
128 Theobalds Rd Holborn (next to Holborn Hotel)
 Fancy chlorinated chicken, hormone beef and pork, Genetically Modified (GM) food and endocrine disrupting pesticides on your veg?
All this is on the menu with the US/EU free trade agreement (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership-TTIP), in exchange for deregulated financial services and privatised public services - which you probably didn’t want either.
 Hear food and trade experts explain how this secretive so-called ‘trade’ deal threatens our food supply - because knowledge is power.
Free event.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

RIP Bob Crow.

RIP Bob Crow.

The Green Party Trade Union group sends its condolences to family, friends and to RMT members for the loss of Bob Crow. He was an able and tenacious Trade unionist who consistently defended the pay and conditions of his members during a period when they are subject to a sustained anti-union assault. Furthermore in defending transport workers he was also a friend to the travelling public as the threats to his members also often meant increased safety problems for passengers, a consideration that privatised profit oriented managements were and are often anxious to brush aside.

Not all Greens or all socialists saw eye to eye with Bob on every issue, but we can pay tribute to him because, under his leadership the RMT, as well as working for its members, supported workers throughout the world in its international solidarity work. Also under his leadership the RMT was freed from its ties to Labour and its sections became able to support movements and parties that offered more than a watered down version of neo-liberalism.

Greens should be proud to say that we stand with him in the call to renationalise the railways and will continue to do so.

We have lost a champion at a time when we need to follow his example more than ever.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Resistance to Austerity fringe meeting at Green Party spring conference 2014.

 Resistance to Austerity fringe meeting at Green Party (England & Wales) spring conference 2014. Introduction from Nigel Rolland, (Tameside GP and Tameside Against Austerity) and Paul Ellis and Ruth (speakers from South Liverpool Against Poverty).
Resistance to Austerity fringe meeting at Green Party (England & Wales) spring conference 2014. Nigel Rolland, (Tameside GP and Tameside Against Austerity) and Sheila Coleman (Unite Community NW Region organiser).
Resistance to Austerity fringe meeting at Green Party (England & Wales) spring conference 2014. Questions and discussion

Friday, 7 March 2014

The Green Socialist alternative to climate chaos and austerity: Videos

Green Left meeting at GP conference spring 2014: The Green Socialist alternative to climate chaos and austerity: with Romayne Phoenix, Laura Bannister, Will Duckworth and much questions and discussion

Videos now posted at

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

The NUT needs your support to defend education and protect teachers. There is a national strike planned for March 26, but there is much that can be done before then.

from with acknowledgements

Teacher Workload Survey – huge increases shown

It is now clear why the DFE didn’t want to publish this survey and its publication is a tribute to the many members who contacted their MPs.
The average primary teacher is now working nearly 60 hours per week. Secondary heads 63 hours and the average secondary teacher is working nearly 56 hours a week. This is simply unsustainable.
You can read our press release here.
For more information click here.

Stand up for education

Roll mouse over to pause slideshow.
Download campaign PDFs here or Powerpoint here
The NUT needs your support to defend education and protect teachers. There is a national strike planned for March 26, but there is much that can be done before then.
Reps bulletin – dealing with next stage of campaign, success stories and our reaction to NASUWT decision.
You can help us:
  • ENGAGE with parents. We know that parents trust teachers far more than they do the Government. We have leaflets and a petition and you can read our message to parents here. We are also asking members to set up stalls around the country, where parents and the general public can join the campaign for education.
    For stalls on 8 March click here. Details of stalls on later dates will follow.
  • Put PRESSURE on politicians. Meeting with your local MP is a powerful way of getting across how low teacher morale is. There is a General Election just around the corner - they need to listen and your vote counts. You can also write to your MP here.
  • STRIKE on March 26. We deeply regret this step, but Michael Gove hasn’t shown any willingness to change on issues which matter deeply to teachers. Your support is vital and it is your democratic right to take action. Rallies will be organised throughout England and Wales and details will be circulated shortly.
The cross-union talks which opened on February 25 could avert a strike. We will engage in all talks but they need to be constructive. To avoid a strike, Michael Gove must show he is willing to compromise. Already, the STRB has dealt a blow to Michael Gove in their refusal to accept his flimsy reasoning for changes to pay and conditions. Even the head of Ofsted has dubbed it a ‘scandal’ that two fifths of teachers leave the profession within the first five years. Education is in crisis and we must stand against those who seek to erode it further.
This document summarises the recommendations on teacher pay and conditions set out in the latest School Teachers’ Review Body report, including its rejection of key proposals from Michael Gove, and explains the implications for teachers.
We are standing up for education. Join us and get involved.