Saturday, 31 May 2014

Guatemala: Bring murderers of banana trade unionists to justice

Going to Work
Guatemalan banana worker

Dear Peter,

Tell the new Guatemalan Attorney General the world is watching how she handles union murder cases.

Guatemala is the most dangerous country in the world to be a trade unionist, and unions in the banana trade are on the front lines. Between 2007 and 2012, twelve organisers from the banana union SITRABI were murdered in northern Guatemala, and attempts to form unions in the south have been put down with violence and murder.
The investigations into the killings are going very slowly, and nobody has been brought to trial, despite suggestions in March that possible culprits had been identified. And then Guatemala's Attorney General was suddenly dismissed, jeopardising the work she had started on the investigation.
This is an international issue too, with implications for workers in many other countries. Guatemala is growing very quickly as a producer of bananas, as companies seek to find cheaper labour for their crop. The exploitation of Guatemalan workers makes them the cheapest and threatens jobs with better conditions and respect across Latin America. We need to take a stand to avoid a race to the bottom for the whole region.

Can you help?

It's a key moment for the issue. A new Attorney General, Thelma Aldana, has just been appointed by the President, amidst suspicions the change was politically motivated. Will she let these crimes just get swept under the carpet to spare the government international embarrassment?
Please can you email the new Attorney General's Office and the Guatemalan Ambassador to the UK to demand action on these cases?
Internationally, activists are ramping up the pressure on the Guatemalan government, showing them that impunity for union murders is damaging their country's perception in the eyes of the world. Your support will help show that the brave activists of SITRABI don't stand alone against these threats.

Email the Guatemalan Attorney General's Office now

Friday, 30 May 2014

The People's Assembly Against Austerity: update

The People's Assembly Against Austerity

The People's Assembly Against Austerity

There's loads going on in the run up to the #NoMoreAusterity national demonstration on Saturday 21 June! Here we've got some recent articles on our website, upcoming events and reports of activity across the country.

If we've left anything out or if you can help out with leafleting, street stalls, etc in the coming weeks please get in touch.

In this newsletter:
  1. Proud of the NHS? Then fight for it!
  2. March for the 99% and defy the 1%
  3. Building the 21 June demo locally - a ten point plan
  4. Support the mass strike on 10 July
  5. Stand up Against Austerity - benefit gig
  6. Upcoming events
  7. Reports from events

Proud of the NHS? Then fight for it!

Bronwen Handyside, of Keep our NHS Public and Unite, explains how private companies have their greedy fingers in our public health service - and how only by working together can we drive them off.
Read more
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March for the 99% and Defy the 1%

POSTED BY JOHN WEEKS · MAY 23, 2014 11:31 AM
Why should people march on 21 June in protest against austerity?  There is a government budget deficit - don't we have to do something about that? Isn't opposition to austerity policies just putting your head into the sand and ignoring the problem we all face?
Read more
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Building the 21 June demo locally

10 point plan for building the June 21 national demonstration
#NoMoreAusterity #DemandTheAlternative
Read more
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Support the Mass Strike 10 July 2014

It looks as if 10 July will be the largest day of strike action for two years. John Rees reports from discussions at the national meeting of the People’s Assembly.
Read more
3 reactions Share

Stand up Against Austerity


Jo Brand, Jason Manford, Stewart Lee, Shappi Khorsandi, Francesca Martinez, Marcus Bridgstoke, Jeremy Hardy, Mark Steel, Jen Brister, Robin Ince, Kate SmurthwaitePlus comment from Owen Jones & Sam Fairbairn
Hammersmith Apollo (Eventim Apollo Hammersmith)
Early bird tickets: £20 / £23.50 / £30
Book your place - click here

Upcoming Events:

Brighton | Sat 30 May
A community conference on austerity, how we are experiencing it, perceiving it and fighting it.Details...

Cambridge | Sat 30 May
Public rally with Kevin Courtney (NUT), Kate Smurthwaite (Comedian), Henry Chango Lopez (3 Cosas Campaign). Details...

Calderdale | Mon 2 June
Activist meeting. Details...

Sheffiled | Tues 3 June
Public rally with Kevin Courtney (NUT), Neil Carbutt (FBU), Doncaster Care UK striker (TBC), Bea Kay (GMB Sheffield). Details...

Newcastle | Thurs 5 June
Public rally: Stand up For Education. Details...

London | Tues 10 JuneGet involved! All London activist meeting for the national demonstration. Details...

Merseyside | Wed 11 JunePublic Rally with Owen Jones, Billy Hayes (CWU), John Hendy QC, Sheila Coleman (Unite Community), Anita Wright (National Assembly of Women), Sam Fairbairn (People's Assembly) Chair: Carolyn Jones (Institute of Employment Rights). Details...

Fenland | Thurs 12 JuneDisability day: an event for people with or without disabilities to raise awareness of the difficulties and disproportionate impact of the reforms and the demonisation of the disabled community. Details...

National demonstration and free festival

Saturday 21 June
Assemble 1pm, BBC HQ, Portland Place (Tube: Oxford Circus)
March to Parliament
See full details


Wednesday night, on Market Street in Manchester city centre, hundreds of people gathered to hear journalist and tv commentator, Owen Jones, deliver an anti-UKIP, anti austerity, message of hope in advance of the People's Assembly demo and festival in London on June 21st. Full report here

Around 100 people attended our People v Austerity half-day event on Sat May 10th. The first half of the event began with Green Party leader Natalie Bennet, comedian Francesca Martinenez, economist James Meadway and local commentator and historian Edson Burton. Full report here
South East London:
On Tuesday night South East London People's Assembly held  it's first educational forum with economist Michael Burke and Mary Robertson on the housing crisis. Full report here

The People's Assembly Against Austerity
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Greening the workplace – building the “union effect”

Greening the workplace – building the “union effect”
Congress House, London, Friday 11 July 2014 10.00-13.00

The TUC has invited Labour’s shadow energy Minister Tom Greatrex MP to open this national conference, which focuses on the rights and responsibilities of trade union reps in building sustainable workplaces. We will launch new findings from the Labour Research Department’s study of the “union effect” on greening the workplace. Aimed at shop stewards and activists interested in creating sustainable workplaces, the conference will also brief delegates on best practice projects across the UK, and introduce UCU’s newEnvironment Reps Handbook Staff Organising for Sustainability SOS. The event also includes best practice in building green networks in trade unions and in the regions.

10.00 Welcome & introductions: Sue Ferns, Director of Research & Communications, Prospect, and TUC General Council lead on sustainability
10.10 – 10.20 Paul Nowak, Assistant General Secretary, TUC: the union effect and rights for environmental reps
10.20-10.40 Tom Greatrex, DECC shadow energy Minister
10.40- 11.00 Q&A
11.00-11.15 Tea break

11.15 – 12.00 and 12.00 -12.45 Workshops

Workshop 1: The “union effect” on greening the workplace
Chair: Sue Ferns
Lionel Fulton: Key findings from new Labour Research Department study of the “union effect.”
Commentaries from employer and trade union reps

Workshop 2: Building a green reps network in your union and your region
Chair: Sue Ferns
Introduction and overview: Sarah Pearce, editor, TUC greenworkplaces newsletter
Green union network panel
Graham Petersen, UCU Environment Coordinator, on the new UCU Environment Reps Handbook
Staff Organising for Sustainability SOS.
Beverley Hall, Prospect
Speakers tbc: Keith Hatch, South West TUC; Lynn Collins, North West TUC; PCS; GMB.

12.45-13.00 closing plenary: chair Sue Ferns
Buffet lunch

Do you have questions about Greening the workplace – building the “union effect”?Contact Trades Union Congress (TUC)

book at

Tuesday, 20 May 2014



The miners of Kryviy Rih, members of the Independent Union of Miners of Ukraine, are appealing for solidarity to the workers of Europe. Whilst attention has been focused on the conflict in Ukraine the social-economic crisis is being overlooked.

Workers real wages have fallen by up to 50% as the cost of living has risen,
Miners have received only 15% of their actual pay rates,
A promised pay rise for miners of 20% turned into a £25 hand-out,

The mining company EVRAZ they work for is based in London. It is owned by the Russian Oligarch Abramov, he is worth $7.5 billion. These oligarchs who helped cause the crisis in Ukraine, pay slave wages whilst making vast profits. They pay almost no tax, putting their wealth abroad in the City of London.

The Miners of Kryviy Rih are fighting back and are setting an example to all workers in Ukraine. The miners defence brigades have ensured peace and workers unity in Kryviy Rih and prevented any violence. The miners are organising strike action to demand their wages are doubled and are calling for help to win their demands.

Ukrainian Socialist Solidarity is a campaign set up by socialists and trade unionists in the England. Show your support for the mineworkers of Ukraine. Come to the emergency demo, bring union banners and flags.
Send messages of solidarity to the Kryviy Rih miners at:

Like ·  · 21

The miners of Kryviy Rih, members of the Independent Union of Miners of Ukraine, are appealing for solidarity to the workers of Europe. Whilst attention has been focused on the conflict in Ukraine the social-economic crisis is being overlooked.
Workers real wages have fallen by up to 50% as the cost of living has risen,
Miners have received only 15% of their actual pay rates,
A promised pay rise for miners of 20% turned into a £25 hand-out,
The mining company EVRAZ they ...
See More
Like ·  · 

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

TUC are hosting a Tolpuddle Coach

*First come first served basis (very limited seats)*

·TUC are hosting a Tolpuddle Coach on Sunday 20 July.

·Coach leaves 8.30am from TUC Congress House.

·Coach leaves Tolpuddle at 6 .30pm returning to Congress House.

For Bookings please contact:

*Paul Rey-Burns (TUC Despatch & Publications)*

*020 7467 1293*

In the 1830s life in villages like Tolpuddle was hard and getting worse. Farm workers could not bear yet more cuts to their pay. Some fought back by smashing the new threshing machines but this brought harsh punishments.

In 1834, farm workers in west Dorset formed a trade union. Unions were lawful and growing fast but six leaders of the union were arrested and sentenced to seven years' transportation for taking an oath of secrecy. A massive protest swept across the country. Thousands of people marched through London and many more organised petitions and protest meetings to demand their freedom.


Sunday, 11 May 2014

People’s Assembly meeting 10/5/14

People’s Assembly meeting 10/5/14
Notes by P.Murry: some salient points

Press Officer: David Peel (Morning Star ) responsibilities for PAAA press releases and media training

Currently 100+ local groups from all over UK good spread represented at this meeting.

Soas cleaners: victory reported ( ).

Doncaster care workers: on strike for 28 days ( Solidarity pickets of Fatface clothes shops and Pret a Manger considered.

PCS strike against Land Registry privatisation 14/15 May (

PAAA demo 21 June ( climate change block (amongst others) proposed for march, including GPEW, Green peace, FoE, cacc etc?
(c 20 member organising committee appointed, R.Phoenix & Steve Turner, (Unison)  co-chairs).

Large strike being organised for 10 July possibly includes Unison. Unite, NUT.PCS

August Jarrow-London People’s march organised by 999 NHS emergency

28/9 demo at Tory conference, brum.

TUC national demo 10/10

PAAA Finances seem healthy but more dosh always needed.


Subject: Newark By-Election

On the 5th June there will be a by-election in Newark. If you are one of the national Green Party members or supporters who thinks it is vital that we stand and contest Parliamentary by-elections then we need you to show your support in the next 72 hours.

East Midlands Green Party has expressed support for the idea of standing, but a final democratic decision and selection of candidate have still to be concluded.
They have authorised me to make this appeal on their behalf. An absolute minimum requirement is that the campaign raises £1,500 to enable them to pay for a freepost leaflet and to cover the deposit.
This will not be a paper candidate if we stand we stand to fight the seat.
The seat will be a focus of national interest following the resignation of the previous MP, and coming just 2 weeks after the European results.
It is essential that Newark has a Westminster Party that opposes austerity to choose from and since the selection of Roger Helmer, UKIP’s energy spokesman this will be an opportunity for the Green Party to challenge the UKIP position on renewable energy as well as the extreme views Mr Helmer has on a variety of issues including rape and homosexuality. 
We are currently seeking nominations for potential candidates and I myself have already agreed to stand for nomination to be the candidate as I was born in the town and still live and work locally and feel that Newark has to be able to choose an alternative to austerity and as a gay man and trade unionist want to ensure people in Newark know there’s more to UKIP that the Farage grin. 

Please pledge your support with whatever amount you can and send that pledge in the next 72 hours. If enough pledges are received we will then contact you with details of how to make your donation.

As you know the Green Party do not have big business or other organisations to bank roll us so we rely on your support, please consider supporting our campaign.
If you are not in a position to pledge financial support perhaps you would consider joining the campaign team to give practical support on the ground?
Thank you in advance for your support and please pass this message to any individuals or groups you know that may be willing to help.


David Kirwan
Fundraising officer for the East Midlands Green Party
There is a political party that sees thing differently! But we really do need your help to make a change. Please vote for Katharina Boettge at the Euro elections on the 22nd May 2014.

Support for Land Registry strike

Support for Land Registry strike (from

9 May 2014
Our campaign to resist government attempts to privatise the Land Registry has been backed through messages of support sent to our striking members.
Save Land Reg House cost comment
Our members working for the Land Registry are holding a two-day strike next week - 14-15 May - against privatisation, job cuts and office closures.
We have organised a massive campaign, with the support of industry professionals and MPs, against proposals to privatise the Land Registry. 

Right to resist

Supporters have contacted us to back our members' action.
Sally Hunt, general secretary, University and College Union, said: "The Land Registry is a trusted institution and its staff provide vital impartial work. The government’s idea that private companies can come in and run public services better is certainly not backed up by evidence.
"We are seeing real efforts to allow private companies take a bigger stake in education and access taxpayers’ money. We will continue to oppose those efforts and PCS is right to resist attempts to privatise such important work in the civil service, and has our full support."
Andrea Marsh, branch secretary of the PCS north region Ordnance Survey branch, said: "Please accept our message of support on solidarity from Ordnance Survey Branch. Our members work in tandem every day with Land Registry staff and we are also about to face the same challenges in the future, so we fully appreciate your stance."

Ideological attack

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson said: "I'm delighted to give my support but saddened, if not surprised, by the actions of this lousy government in treating public servants and the crucial work you do in this way.
"It is all part of their desire to use the economic recession as a cover for their ideological attack on public services and those who deliver them. I urge all people of goodwill to see through this subterfuge and give their support to the workers who keep this country civilised."
Our Home Office group sent this message of support to their Land Registry colleagues: "Your members are right to be angry, your members are right to fight to seek to protect jobs and keep the Land Registry in the public sector.
"Through the efforts of your reps and members the dispute has gained a large amount of publicity and many within our union, the wider union movement and the general public are watching carefully how your dispute pans out. 
"You are doing the general public a service by raising these issues and your members deserve praise for their conviction to fight for what is right."
Plymouth MP Alison Seabeck, speaking in parliament yesterday, called the plans a "total sham". 

What you can do 

The People's Assembly national demonstration etc

The People's Assembly national demonstration is shaping up to be a huge event. Transportis being organised from across the country and thousands of people have been out on the streets leafleting, organising people to come from their union branches, campaign groups and community organisations.

No More Austerity | Demand the Alternative: Saturday 21 June
Assemble 1pm, BBC HQ, Portland Place
London W1 1AA

In the next few weeks, we are asking all our supporters to do as much as they can to help make sure the demonstration is as big as possible.

People are feeling the squeeze more than ever as living standards continue to drop. And all Cameron and his millionaire cabinet tell us is things are getting better - but the so called economic recovery demonstrates it's only getting better for those at the top.

And it's an outrage that the far right UKIP has had so much press coverage recently. This demonstration is a way of cutting through this; uniting, and not dividing, communities to fight for a better future.

Demonstration route:

We are pleased to announce that we have negotiated a fantastic route for the march. We'll be assembling right on the BBC's doorstep, then marching through central London, and ending with a free festival outside Parliament.

Performers and speakers include: Russell Brand, Christine Blower, Owen Jones, Kate Smurthwaite, Sam Fairbairn, Sean Taylor, Len McCluskey, Stephen Morrison-Burke, Francesca Martinez, Jeremy Corbyn MP. More TBA.


Demonstration blocs:

The march will bring together all campaigns and organisations who are fighting austerity. Some organisations will be forming themed blocs on the demonstration to represent their campaigns.

Themes include:
Hands off our NHS, Stand up for Education, Welfare not Warfare, Housing, Artists Against Austerity, Environment, Immigrants Welcome Here, Europe Against Austerity, StudentAssembly. Trade Unions will also be organising their own blocs, more info to follow.

If you'd like more information or would like to organise a bloc / theme please email

Order Publicity:
You can order leaflets, stickers and posters for the demonstration. Click here
...or you can pick some up from our office in Hackney Wick.

Stand up Against Austerity

A benefit gig for the People's Assembly

Monday 7 July, 7pm
Hammersmith Apollo (Eventim Apollo Hammersmith)
Tickets are selling fast... We only have a limited number of early bird tickets left for sale on our website: Book now to ensure you get the best seats in the house and at a cheaper rate than through the Apollo website.

Early bird tickets: £20 / £23.50 / £30
Acts include:
Jo Brand, Jason Manford, Stewart Lee, Shappi Khorsandi, Francesca Martinez, Marcus Bridgstoke, Jeremy Hardy, Mark Steel, Jen Brister, Robin Ince, Kate Smurthwaite

The People's Assembly Against Austerity