Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Edinburgh College, good news!

Dear sister/brother,

Thank you so much for your message of support/donation to the Edinburgh College lecturers' strike. We are please to report that, thanks to the solidarity given and the determination of EIS members to defend our conditions and the education service through indefinite strike action, we have had a successful result. The initial plans of management would have involved a major increase in workload, adding to the already high levels of stress, and producing a serious deterioration in provision.

Knowing that we had widespread backing, our strike was solid. The branch membership of 453 rose by 60 people, and each day saw larger numbers on the picket line with fewer classes being run. After only three days of all-out strike action the management climbed down. We have not only protected all our conditions, but seen a cut in teaching workload for some lecturers of 8%, and a pay increase over two years averaging 7%, with 22% for the lowest paid. 

The general lesson for us is that unity and solidarity wins. Please pass our heartfelt thanks to your members.

Yours fraternally,

Penny Gower
EIS-FELA branch secretary, Edinburgh College

Sunday, 23 February 2014

TITP BRIEFING: UCU London Retired Members Committee

The Up-Coming US/EU Free Trade Agreement: TTIP/TAFTA

Unbeknown to the vast majority of the population, an ignorance it would seem shared by the media, in secret and by unelected apparatchiks, the future of our world is being constructed.
What is commonly described as the EU/US free trade agreement but which is officially known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) in Europe and the Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA) in the USA is being negotiated, on our behalf but in secret, by the unelected European Commission in Brussels.
The intention of all this cloak-and-dagger activity is to benefit transnational corporations and make the world safe for profit. As a mirror to the TTIP, the Transpacific Partnership (TPP) is simultaneously being negotiated, on the other side of the world, but with the same purpose.
The intention of both these agreements is to subjugate public policy, arrived at by democratically elected and accountable bodies, to the legalised absolute right of corporations to maximise their profits.
How is this to be done? This is, as one can imagine, a complex matter and here I will only present a basic picture. But I hope it will be enough to make you worried for the future and encourage you to agitate against it.
Who is deciding all of this? The TTIP is being negotiated behind closed doors by officials of the European Trade Commission and US Trade representatives. Our elected MEPs and the European Parliament have no input into these negotiations as neither do the national parliaments of the 28 EU member states or elected representatives in the US Congress. Nor do they have access to the negotiating texts. Negotiations are held in complete secrecy and we only know about them via leaks. There is a complete lack of transparency.
What is the Free Trade Agreement about? Its aim is to reduce barriers to trade and hence to corporate profit. Transnational corporations are concerned about two main impediments to their ability to maximise profits:
1) Tariff barriers. These are where national governments raise revenues by imposing taxes on traded goods. These may also be used to protect a national industry e.g., to protect a domestic car industry a government may impose a tariff on importing cars from a competitor nation. In an increasingly globalized world market tariff barriers are reduced, becoming less of a ‘problem’ to transnational corporations.
2) Non-tariff barriers. These are all the other impediments to “free” trade resulting from the legislation of national governments. It is often these non-tariff barriers that protect the people from the more voracious aspects of unbridled capitalism. These non-tariff barriers may be: health and safety legislation, controls on the ingredients of processed foods or the raising of livestock e.g., animal welfare legislation or controls on the use of antibiotics or pesticides in the production of our food, limits on the sale of tobacco and alcohol, holiday entitlements for workers, sick pay and benefits, the right of workers to join unions and defend their working conditions and remuneration, restrictions on the ability of banks and other financial institutions to do more or less what they want. These ‘non-tariff barriers’ interfere with the ability of corporations to “freely” maximise profit and are indeed referred to in the trade agreement as “trade irritants”. A major trade irritant in the UK until recently was the NHS system of public provision of public health care, closed to private companies. Or as they prefer to call it “the healthcare market”.
These frameworks of regulations covering the ability of transnational corporations to trade obviously vary from country to country reflecting different histories, culture and the balance of class forces in each location. To give themselves the maximum advantage transnationals are pushing via TTIP and TPP for regulatory harmonisation. Considering where the impetus for these trade agreements comes from, it is obvious that this harmonisation will represent a loosening of regulatory constraints rather than a tightening of regulation. Where EU regulation is stricter than in the US it will be reduced to the laxer US level and vice versa. Where this may not be possible they are pushing for “Mutual Recognition”, each trading partner recognising the standards of the other. One effect will be that a corporation operating in two jurisdictions will be able to choose which set of regulations is more favourable to it and comply with those, its choice being accepted by the regulatory authorities of the country it is operating in.
For the UK it is a relaxation of financial regulations that is most important reflecting the importance of the City of London in the promotion of TTIP. Here US regulation is now stronger, and the proposals amount to a Bankers’ Charter leading to the elimination of the regulations that have had leading banking institutions fined in recent years over such matters as the manipulation of the Libor rates. Anticipating the consequences of this harmonisation, the Health & Social Care Act 2012 was specifically designed to fit in with the corporate-benefit basis of the US public healthcare model, opening up the provision of healthcare, previously the remit of the NHS, to US transnational healthcare providers and other multinational corporates.
There are similar concerns over the opening up of the British education system to the transnationals. (See the University and College Union Briefing Document, which gives a very good overall analysis of TTIP)
How are the transnational corporations going to protect their interests? Trade agreements under the auspices of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) usually have a state-to -state mechanism for resolving disputes between corporate investors and national governments; when companies feel that government legislation threatens their actual or potential profits, their home state raises a dispute on their behalf against the other country, and the remedy is state-to –state trade sanctions. TTIP/TPP are different. They contain a mechanism for Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS). ISDS is perhaps the most pernicious element to TTIP.
If a transnational company feels that the legislation of a nation state threatens its future profits it will be able to sue the government. (This may even be for potential profit it may calculate it might have earned at some time in the future). The company’s case will be heard by an extra-territorial tribunal i.e., not a legally constituted court in a national jurisdiction, where the case will be adjudicated by 3 “judges” who are corporate trade lawyers who will not operate within the ideology of impartiality that prevails in a court of law but just on the basis of ‘free trade’, with no consideration of other values, such as environment, human rights, safety etc. So ISDS can lead to national governments having to pay billions of tax-payers’ money to the corporations. It will also lead to legislators having their hands tied in regard to new legislation.
If you think this sounds far-fetched and that nobody would allow this to happen, currently:-
A Swedish company, Vattenfall, is suing the German government as a result of its decision in the post-Fukushima world to cease the generation of electricity from nuclear power. The Swedish company, which makes machinery used in nuclear power stations, is suing for loss of potential profit.
Infinito Gold, a Canadian mining company, is currently suing the small Central American country of Costa Rica for a billion dollars because that country has decided it does not want its pristine subtropical forest to end up like parts of the Amazon rainforest that have been totally devastated by the surface extraction of gold and the use of mercury in that process.
Philip Morris, the US tobacco giant, is using Hong Kong to sue the Australian government because of its decision to legislate for the sale of cigarettes only in plain packaging.
So the application of ISDS will have a profound effect on the democratic process. Not only does it have the real potential of costing governments billions in compensation payments to big business there is also the danger of “legislative chill”. This is where governments scrutinise and then decide to pull potential legislation because of the perceived danger of corporate litigation. A future Labour government may decide not to legislate to rein in the activities of the financial sector because of the risk of ISDS. It almost certainly means that, no matter how disastrous the “reforms” of the NHS turn out to be, a future government will not undo the Health and Social Care Act because of the costs of compensating, for example, Virgin Care and United Health. Similarly it doesn’t bode well for those hoping for an eventual renationalisation of the railways in Britain.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/british-sovereignty-at-risk-from-euus-trade-deal-uk-in-danger-of-surrendering-judicial-independence-to-multinational-corporations-warn-activists-9057318.html
http://blogs.computerworlduk.com/open-enterprise/2014/01/ttip-update-xii/index.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CcGE1BtVisk
It is relevant that in the Canada/US Free Trade Agreement, still being negotiated, Canada is insisting that its healthcare system is exempt from the scope of the agreement; Cameron is insisting that everything (including provision of healthcare) will be covered by TTIP. A CBI (Confederation of British Industry) representative at a recent parliamentary meeting on TTIP said that, for the corporations that the CBI represents public procurement, that is all government spending, is the “big prize”. The EU target is US public procurement, especially at the level of US states. But our public procurement including, EU welfare systems, the NHS, education, elements of state administration, security, prisons, will all be up for grabs with tax-payers’ money going directly to multinational corporations. In this way public welfare becomes “corporate welfare”.
Another aspect of TTIP is Mode 4, which covers transnational corporations moving workers across borders as part of trade-in-services. The EU stipulates ‘skilled’ workers in its Mode 4 offers. This then allows corporations to bring in skilled temporary workers, inevitably as cheaper labour. Where this has happened in existing agreements, it has led to a general undermining of salaries and working conditions.
It was pointed out above that national governments have no input or scrutiny of the negotiations over TTIP. But surely they will have some say once the negotiations are complete? Yes they will, but there will be no right of amendment or modification. The governments of the 28 EU member states will only be allowed a YES/NO vote. A state will have to buy the whole package or reject it in its entirety. The European Parliament will discuss the Agreement after negotiations have concluded and then, assuming assent has been given, the Commission will provisionally implement the Agreement even before Members State parliaments have discussed it. Under those circumstances it can be seen as little more than a rubber-stamping procedure particularly in Britain’s case where the ConDem government is one of the main proponents of TTIP.
Our elected representatives may have no input into the negotiations but corporate lobbyists certainly have the ear of the negotiators. In the TPP negotiations, corporate interests met with negotiators some 150 plus times while representatives of “civil society” (NGOs and the like) only managed to access them some half-a-dozen times.
What can you do if all this alarms you?
  • Firstly you could affiliate to stopttip which is organising to oppose the Free Trade Agreement. (There is a fairly high email load here but it is good stuff from people who know what they’re talking about)
    Stopttip-request@lists.riseup.net - A website is in preparation.
  • Request a StopTTIP speaker for a meeting of your organisation
  • Seek the endorsement of your organisation for this campaign.
  • Write to your MEP telling them that you oppose the democratic deficit implicit, not only in the complete opacity of the negotiation process, but also in the ISDS system.
  • Write to your MP with the same concerns. At the end of the day, although they will obviously be whipped, it is these people who will be giving the TTIP the legislative nod.
  • George Monbiot has written extensively on TTIP on his blog and he is worth following for information as is Glyn Moody, one of whose blogposts has been included above.
  • http://www.monbiot.com/2013/11/04/a-global-ban-on-left-wing-politics/
  • http://www.monbiot.com/2013/10/14/elite-insurgency/
  • See also Open Democracy:
  • The Seattle to Brussels Network
  • and Corporate Europe Observatory provide up-to-date, informed and critical perspectives.
  • There is an exceedingly thorough examination of TTIP in December’s Le Monde Diplomatique (in English!)
  • And an article in a recent New Statesman looking at the consequences of TTIP implementation
Tony Hodges - UCU London Retired Members Committee

Friday, 21 February 2014

UCU Retired Members AGM Thursday 10th April 2pm to 4:30pm etc

UCU Retired Members AGM Thursday 10th April 2pm to 4:30pm - UCU Offices Carlow Street
This will include elections of officers, committee and congress delegate. Any nominations to the Secretary (s.cushion23@gmail.com) or on the day.

North London People's Assembly Against Austerity Pre-Budget Rally
The People Versus Austerity!
Tuesday March 4, 7pm, St Mellitus Church, Tollington Park Road, Tollington Park, N4 3AG London (5 minutes from Finsbury Park & numerous bus routes - seewww.tfl.gov.uk)  
Diane Abbott MP - Jeremy Corbyn MP - Katherine Connelly, Student Assembly Against Austerity - Manuel Cortes, TSSA General Secretary - Elaine Graham-Leigh (chair), Enfield Against the Cuts & NLPAAA - Suzanne Jeffrey, IHOOPS - Unite speaker & contributions from unions, anti-cuts groups & campaigns from across North London!

UN anti-racism day
Last branch meeting agreed to support the demonstration on SATURDAY 22 MARCH 2014 called by the TUC and Unite against Fascism.
Assemble 11 am - Join us on procession from Nelson Mandela statue, Parliament Square to Trafalgar Square rally. A branch meeting place will be advertised nearer the time.
Event website: http://www.standuptoracism.org.uk/

Branch Walks - message from the "Walks Co-ordinator"
Thanks to all who showed up for the Lea Valley walk. We were fortunate to hit on a gap between storm assaults.Hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did.
Just to remind the regulars, and to inform new faces (not to mention branch members we have not yet seen), selection of walks is in the hands of everyone who participates.
So if you know somewhere with a walk attached that you want to share, in London or out of town, drop me (as Walks Coordinator) a note through the branch secretary.
So long as you are prepared to provide a brief text with details on place, walk length and conditions, proposed date, mode of transport, etc, for circulation, it will find a place in the programme.
Meanwhile info on the next ramble will follow shortly.
Dave

SERTUC Pensioners Network
 open meeting Retired trade union members - a resource or a bit of a nuisance? Wednesday 16 April 10am Congress House with Carolyn Simpson Unite, Jerry Latter Ipsos Mori, Anneliese Dodds Labour Party, Neil Duncan-Jordon NPC, Denise Murphy, Rodney Bickerstaffe info sertucinfo@tuc.org.uk

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Stand up to racism and fascism rally 22/3/2014


Stand up to racism and fascism rally 22/3/2014

Thursday, 13 February 2014

UCU newsletter Environmental news 33, February2014

UCU newsletter

Environmental news 33, February2014

1. UCU Environment Networks
2. 
Greener Jobs Alliance AGM
3. 
Pensions and the 'carbon bubble'
4. 
Quality Assurance Agency Guidance
5. 
HEFCE Sustainable Development consultation
6. 
NUS Green Fund
7. 
UK Government Policy + One million climate jobs
8. 
Trade unions for energy democracy
9. 
English Learning and Sustainability Alliance
10. 
Events

 (.doc) file type icon Environmental News February 2014 (.doc) [197kb]

 (.pdf) file type icon Environmental News February 2014 (.pdf) [209kb]

Previous Issues of Environmental News can be viewed on thearchive page.


Sunday, 9 February 2014

Women's Assembly conference

Saturday, 22 February 2014 from 10:00 to 17:00 (GMT)
Conway Hall
Red Lion Square
WC1 London
United Kingdom

View Map
Attend Event
Share this event:
Facebook Twitter LinkedIn
divider
The People's Assembly is pleased to announce the Women's Assembly conference date as announced in the Guardian, to take place on Saturday 22nd February 2014 at Conway Hall, London. 

Organised by women for women, all self defining women welcome. If you do not self define as a woman you can support the assembly by helping out publicise and inviting your women friends :-)
Here's some of the speakers confirmed so far...

Dianne Abbot MP, Sarah Veale TUC, Lindsey German Stop The War, KAte Hudson CND, Diana Holland Unite, Gloria Mills UNISON, Francesca Martinez, Natalie Bennet Green Party, Cllr Rania Khan, Kate Smurthwaite comedian, Barbara Ntumy, Mya Pope-Weidemann, Kerry Abel Abortion Rights, Sabby Dhalu UAF, Doreen Massey, Christine Blower NUT and many more tbc... 

Workshops include: Comunity organising, Health, Women & Work: All Work and no equal pay, Anti-racism, Women & War, Transport, Education and more...

After the assembly we will be going to a pub round the corner :-)

Please let us know if you can help with stewarding on the day by emailing us atwomen@thepeoplesassembly.org.uk
Perhaps you could ask your local union or campaigning group to help with transport costs or to sponsor women from your area. 

You can help by sharing this event on Facebook and Twitter

We hope you can make it!

In comradely sisterhood, 
Women's Assembly

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Liverpool budget cut plans

It'll be just like home when we go up to Liverpool for the Green Party conference, (maybe especially if you're from Brighton or Brent!)

Libraries to close, adult care will lose £42m and leisure centres to shut under Liverpool budget cut plans


Massive funding cuts mean lollipop ladies and Sure Start centres will also lose out
http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/liverpool-council-outlines-156m-budget-6681111

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

tube strike: People's Assembly update



Dear Peter
Solidarity with the Tube strikes
Last night tube workers started their strike action over massive subsidy cuts of £9 billion to Transport for London and London Underground's annual operating budget.

The Mayor of London, who campaigned for election on the promise of keeping ticket offices open, now plans to close every London Underground ticket office as part of this budget cut. The first tranche of cuts will also see the loss of nearly 1000 front line, safety critical and customer facing station jobs.

In a message to RMT members Bob Crow said:
"The strike action that began last night has been rock solid and this has meant the London Underground network has effectively been closed down. This isn’t a boast but a fact which can leave LUL in no doubt of the determination of RMT members to put a stop to their disastrous plans to cut nearly 1000 jobs and close ticket offices."

Manuel Cortes TSSA general secretary said fewer than a third of normal tube trains were running during this morning's rush hour with "overwhelming" support for the action from his members. He called on the London Mayor to enter into immediate peace talks and end "government by gimmick" in the capital.

If you can, get down to a picket line to show your support.

Tomorrow will also see members of UCU, Unite, Unison and EIS in Higher Education take strike action over pay.

The People's Assembly is organising a rally in support of the strikes and in defense of our right to resist austerity next Tuesday. Please do all you can to show solidarity with the strikes and spread the word about this important rally.

All-London Rally: Hands off our Unions | Stop the cuts | Resist Austerity

Organised by the People's Assembly, Institute of Employment Rights and the Campaign for Trade Union Freedom

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

Please register 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

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

UCU industrial action with Unison, Unite and EIS



Dear colleague,

The next phase of our campaign of industrial action resumes this week. UCU has joined our colleagues from Unison, Unite and EIS in calling a full day strike for this   Thursday, 6 February. 

A further two hour strike has been called for 9am-11am on Monday 10th February

Please support the strikes as we continue our campaign for fair pay in higher education.  

Last week saw UCEA briefing the press once again that most staff have received 3-4% increases a year since 2009, including incremental pay. Yet, as the employers have previously told us in negotiations some 60% of staff receive no increments at all.  In fact, if one looks at the figures from the Office of National Statistics, average pay for full time academic staff increased by just 0.3% in 2013, 0.6% in 2012 and actually fell by 1% in 2011. My hope is that UCEA will stop spinning and finally now agree to address themselves to the union's claim before it is too late.

The purpose of our action is simple: to seek a resumption of negotiations and a fair deal on pay.

1. A fair deal is possible when Vice Chancellors and Principals get 5% increases while staff get just 1%.  
2. A fair deal is achievable when our sector has a combined surplus of more than £1bn and has built up reserves many times that on the back of previous pay restraint.  
3. And a fair deal is essential when the Office for National Statistics shows that average annual pay for full time academic staff has remained stagnant since 2010.

Last week saw a substantial increase in student complaints to UCU about the disruption caused by our strikes. My response has been to say that UCU and our fellow unions prefer not to strike but we cannot negotiate with an empty chair. Without urgent and meaningful negotiations, this dispute is fast reaching the point where real damage will be done to our sector.  Students should therefore contact their institution head and ask them to lobby UCEA to reopen negotiations.  We are meeting the National Union of Students (NUS) tomorrow to discuss the deteriorating situation and I will thank them for their continuing support for a "fair and sustainable settlement" for staff.  In return for their support, I hope that you will let your students have a version of the template letter produced by UCU which sets out the reasons for the dispute and is available here. Please also direct them to our new briefing for students, which you can find here

Sally Hunt,
UCU General Secretary

STEM 6 Islington Free School strike


Martin Francis via lists.greenparty.org.uk 
4:24 PM (1 hour ago)
to meAnnouncements
Please support if you can:


Teachers at the STEM 6 Islington Free School thought they had won an important victory.  Directors at the Free School agreed to recognise the NUT and other TUC affiliates for collective bargaining and will enter into meaningful negotiations about terms and conditions at the school. www.islingtongazette.co.uk/news/crime-courts/strike_at_finsbury_academy_called_off_1_3258919 <http://antiacademies.us1.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=f8eedbe0c9351706048923dff&id=1fa25fc59f&e=b2d819e827>

Less than a week after telling the NUT: 'We are not prepared to recognise you whether or not industrial action is taken', the Principal had backed down writing: 'Just to confirm that we are willing to recognise the NUT and enter meaningful negotiations'. Members at the school suspended the strike to allow further discussions on draconian contracts which include a lay-off or zero hours clause.

However Headteacher  John O'Shea has cancelled the meeting with NUT representatives.
Teachers have decided they have no option but to strike as originally planned.

Islington NUT Deputy Secretary Ken Muller said,

"The sooner John O'Shea and the STEM 6 governors honour their promises, respect their teachers and sign a standard TUC drafted union recognition agreement the sooner we can enter in to constructive negotiations about staff terms and conditions of employment and the sooner the school can focus on what it is meant to be doing: providing students with the high quality of education to which they are entitled."
Unfortunately, because they have not been able to do this, teachers at STEM 6 will be striking Wednesday and Thursday and picketing from 7.30 am onwards.

For further information, call Ken Muller on 07950075088 or email ken-muller@blueyonder.co.uk

Passengers face massive disruption if Boris’s cuts to ticket offices happen: Statement by Darren Johnson AM

Monday, 3 February 2014


Passengers face massive disruption if Boris’s cuts to ticket offices happen


The Mayor of London’s proposal to close all London Underground ticket offices and cut
up to 1,000 tube staff is apparently supported by 82 per cent of Londoners, according
to a poll commissioned by TfL.

However the question they ask in their poll doesn’t mention either the ticket office
closures, or cutting a thousand staff, but TfL are now claiming public endorsement for
the cuts. Polls commissioned by the unions also show overwhelming opposition from
passengers to these cuts.

Closing ticket offices which are only used by 3 per cent of people making journeys
does not sound much of a problem, except when you translate that into over a 100,000
people a day who are queuing up to sort out the issues which the machines can’t help
them with.

I can see some merit to the argument that we utilize new technology to make staff
more accessible, but these plans combine the closures with a huge reduction in staffing.
Fewer staff will be around and when they are wandering about, we may, or may not, be
lucky enough to bump into them. Ticket offices in most stations provide a reassuring
focus point where you know you can find someone.

The presence of a staffed office provides an invaluable source of advice and
assistance to passengers, way beyond the function of merely selling tickets. Get rid of
a 1000 staff and you lose that reassuring presence which helps passengers feel safer,
especially if travelling after dark.

Crime and abuse sadly occur in society and tube stations are no exception. In a recent
 survey of disabled travellers “enhancing personal security and safety” was ranked
consistently as the most important benefit that staff provide to disabled passengers.
CCTV cameras can never replace staff in making passengers feel safe waiting on a
dark platform at night.

As we have tragically seen in recent years, emergencies do happen on our transport
network and deleting staff posts as the number of passengers flowing through stations
increases is irresponsible and could lead to injury or loss of life on the expanding tube
network.

This Mayor – Boris Johnson – presided over annual fare hikes above the rate of
inflation every year between 2008 and 2013. During this time, the real average increase
in TfL fares was 11 per cent, hitting Londoners’ pockets over and over again.

Meanwhile, he throws away vast sums of public money on a succession of vanity projects
 including his New Bus and his cable car. While the Mayor wants to shed staff from tube
stations to save money, the additional cost for the extra staff on the back of the 600 Boris
Buses is an estimated £30m a year.

With record numbers using the tube and a massive predicted increase in passenger
numbers these cuts to staffing are unnecessary, unsafe and unworkable.

He has slashed away at our public services. Earlier this month, 10 of London’s oldest fire
stations closed their doors for the last time, 14 fire engines were withdrawn and 552
firefighter jobs were axed – all victims of this Mayor’s decision to cut council tax for the
 average family by 7p per week to make a political point, rather than safeguard our
communities.

He has also presided over police front counter closures and is pushing for City Hall
security services to be outsourced too.

Tube workers have been rightly praised, as heroes during the terrorist attacks, for
making the Olympics a success and for keeping London moving. They now deserve
 our full support in their fight for a safe, properly staff tube.

Industrial action is a last resort and no one wants strikes, least of all tube workers who
 lose pay. But passengers face disruption and a worse service for years to come if
these cuts take place.

This Mayor opposed the closure of 40 ticket offices by his predecessor and entered
office in 2008 with a firm pledge to keep ticket offices open. He repeated his promise
again in 2010. Now we see the Mayor quietly ditching his commitments and hoping
nobody will notice.

I hope Londoners will see what he’s really doing and object to these dangerous cuts.

Written by Darren Johnson, Green Party London AM 

Sunday, 2 February 2014

message from The Campaign Against Tube Privatisation (CATP)

Steve Cushion Dear All Here is a message from The Campaign Against Tube Privatisation (CATP) in support of the RMT / TSSA strikes next week. +++++++++++++

Steve Cushion +++++++++++++ Dear everyone, The latest CATP leaflet is attached.

We had excellent response from the public at Archway Tube last Friday evening.

ON MONDAY, 3RD FEB, WE ARE HAVING A BIG LEAFLETTING SESSION AT FINSBURY PARK TUBE 4 - 5pm. Please join us! We'll start at the Wells Terrace exit and,as more CATP supporters arrive, some can move to other exits. Do please send the leaflet around all your friends and contacts.

 We'd like to hear which stations YOU would like help in leafletting. Someone suggested Warren St. Could anyone else get there? Where's your local station? Do let us know. Remember we'll need to leaflet in between the 2 strikes so far declared. On the first morning of the strikes, I'd suggest you could go to your nearest Tube station to show solidarity with RMT and TSSA strikers if they have a picket-line there. Take some of the CATP leaflets with you to give out with you. In case you need my number it's 07748 311 769

 In Solidarity, Jan for CATP

      KEEP TUBE TICKET OFFICES OPEN!             STOP MASSIVE STAFF CUTS!  
   
London Underground (LU), chaired by London Mayor Boris Johnson, plan to close all ticket offices on the tube by 2015. These disastrous cuts are starting now with over 950 station staff jobs to go; these cuts and more will continue until 2021. So who will be available to help passengers?
As passengers, we need trained staff who can help disabled and older people. Passenger safety is at risk as a completely mechanised ticket service means that no- one is there to help with ticket queries. It will be a mugger’s paradise on deserted staff- less stations.  

Boris Johnson promised, before his election, to stop planned ticket office closures and people believed him. Now he supports the closure of ALL ticket offices. LU has already been reducing the number of maintenance checks on vital equipment and now station supervisors are to be cut on many stations. The cuts will disproportionally hit outer suburban stations, home to many Tory voters.  

The Campaign Against Tube Privatisation (CATP), and the unions RMT and TSSA have been opposing tube privatisation since it began in the eighties. Some private companies went bankrupt, Metronet for example, as their main priority was the profits of their shareholders rather than the people of London. Yet Transport for London (TfL) and LU still put contracts out to private companies. Fares have risen far above inflation but passengers would much rather see fares cut than services. For too long, Boris Johnson has postponed making the tube accessible for more disabled passengers. Under Boris, many stations have acquired more shops rather than access which requires staff on platforms and trains to operate boarding ramps, for example.   

This massive attack on the service will result in the RMT and TSSA together holding two 48- hour strikes on 4th- 6th February and 11th- 13th February. It is hardly surprising to find that disabled people’s and pensioners groups are supporting the strikes. 

Boris plans to have Olympic- style helpers to act as scab labour. Are they trained in health and safety or how to assist disabled passengers? No! Can they deal with broken ticket machines? No! 

WHAT YOU CAN DO

# Let Boris Johnson know your views.  Contact him at mayor@london.gov.uk
#Ask your union branch or community group to support the rail unions’ stand against these cuts.  
#Join us in leafletting the public or take leaflets for your friends and workmates.
#Display this leaflet on noticeboards at work, in community centres etc.
#Sign the petition: http://38degrees.org.uk/petitions/hands- off-london-transport 

The Campaign Against Tube Privatisation (CATP) campaigns for a publicly- owned, safe, accessible, affordable and reliable tube network with trained staff.  You can contact CATP on 07946 284089


Stop the privatisation of student debt: National Week of Action! Mon 3 - Fri 7 February 2014

Join the national week of action to stop the student debt sell off!

Monday 3 - Friday 7 February 2014

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/237473933084637/

Thank you to the Falmouth Student Assembly Against Austerity for designing this banner.

Tomorrow at 9:00am
Your campus, your town, your city
You were invited by Aaron Kiely

Hands Off London Transport public meeting 31/01/2014

Hands Off London Transport public meeting 31/01/2014, featuring Natalie Bennett and speakers from RMT, GPEW, HOLT& Youth Fight for Jobs

Saturday, 1 February 2014

UCU London region: winter blues wipeaway



A SERTUC Pensioners Network Event
Retired Trade Union members –
a resource or a bit of a nuisance?
Wednesday 16 April 2014 at Congress House, 10am – 3.30pm

Time was when life expectancy of trade unionists who had retired was considerably lower than it is now. Expectations of life after work were lower too, and the assumption seemed to be that we’d potter about a bit, pop into the British Legion occasionally and turn up at our Branch meetings to keep in touch with what was happening at work – and then we’d die. Our Unions knew there was value in a large number of loyal members who kept trade unionism going throughout their working lives and who were still interested and committed, but they weren’t really too sure what to do with us. After all, Unions are about representing people in work and we weren’t working anymore, but we continued to hang around, asking questions about policy and being a bit chippy. Retired members’ organisations seemed an ideal solution, as it allowed us to hold meetings, take minutes, affiliate to campaigns, and… Well, that’s it really.
But retired trade unionists have changed. There’s lots more women for one thing, reflecting the fact that a majority of trade unionists are women these days. We live longer and are generally fitter, and a lot of us continue to take part in activities that our parents at the same age wouldn’t have dreamed of. Quite a few of us even still have parents alive! We’re often technically savvy, familiar with using the internet and there are a good number of retired reps with Face Book pages. To put it bluntly, we decided there was more to retiring than hanging about until we popped our clogs and we discovered that continuing to be physically and mentally active was good for us. So perhaps its time to re-evaluate our role and the contribution we can make.
The SERTUC Pensioners Network has therefore decided that the 2014 annual seminar should focus on the role we can play and how our skills and experience could be better used. The day will feature a series of sessions, under the common theme, but looking at the different ways older people are regarded, treated and valued, in the UK and abroad. The day will end with Rodney Bickerstaffe, considering how retired trade union activists can re-assert themselves as valuable and fully functioning members of society in the 21st century.
The Seminar is on Wednesday 16 April 2014 at Congress House, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3LS, from 10am to 3.30pm. This is a free seminar sponsored by SERTUC, the TUC in London, the South and the East. Tea, coffee and a buffet lunch is provided. Congress House is fully accessible.

Agenda
10.00 Registration and coffee
10.30 The format and purpose of the day. Chair Carolyn Simpson Unite
10.40   Pensioners in UK Society – How are we doing?
An overview of UK pensioners, how many of us are there, our situation in the economy, and our prospects. Speaker Jerry Latter Research Manager at Ipsos MORI
11.10   Pensioners in Europe – How do we compare?
Looking at how UK pensioners are doing compared with our sisters and brothers in our neighbouring states, and how their society views them. Speaker Anneliese Dodds Labour candidate for the South East in 2014 European Elections
11.40   Future prospects and those already left behind.
Many retired women in the UK are worst off than their male counter-parts and the results of Government’s new ‘auto-enrolment’ pension system for the next generation are unclear. What are the forecasts?
Speaker
Neil Duncan-Jordan National Officer, NPC
12.10   Questions to the Panel and discussion
12.45   Lunch
13.30   A new role for retired trade unionists?
A review of good practice by our Unions in involving retired members, the roles they are playing and how these can be developed. Speaker to be confirmed
14.00   Reasons to be cheerful – Across the world, pensioners can set the pace. Despite far too many instances of neglect of older people, there are amazing examples of retired people taking effective action and securing real changes. This session reminds us that we too can still make a real difference.
Speaker
Denise Murphy OBE former Director of RSVP, a national volunteering organisation for retired people
14.30   Questions and discussion
14.50   Where should we go from here? Ideas for a more vigorous and engaged role for retired trade union activists. Keynote speech from Rodney Bickerstaffe ex-General secretary of both NUPE and Unison, ex-President of the NPC and long-term campaigner for older people  
15.20   Closing remarks by the Chair and Seminar ends at 15.30  
To register email sertucevents@tuc.org.uk or call
020 7467 1220 or use booking form overleaf




A SERTUC Pensioners Network Event
Retired Trade Union members –
a resource or a bit of a nuisance?
Wednesday 16 April 2014 at Congress House, 10am – 3.30pm




Name


Union


Any other retired people’s organisations or action groups you are involved with?

Email


Telephone


Address




Please specify any disability access and other facilities/needs



Complete and return to:
SERTUC, Congress House, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3LS
020 7467 1220          sertucevents@tuc.org.uk www.tuc.org.uk/sertuc



Please pass this on to any other retired colleagues who may not have heard about this seminar