Thursday, 17 September 2015



Introduction Natalie Bennett (Green Party Chair) and Sally Hunt.(UCU). 

The theme of the fringe is workers rights,. as we face an EU Referendum. What is better for our future and our children’s future as workers ? The Green Party position has been 'Yes Yes Yes' - yes to a referendum, yes to reform and yes to staying in. We know that some trade unionists oppose this and others will be questioning previously held positions especially after the treatment of the elected government in Greece and considering the TTIP threat. 

 Whatever political party trade unionists support this is a good time for us to look at the pros and cons and to put our arguments out to debate. Sally Hunt General Secretary of the Universities and Colleges Union which represents lecturers in Further, Adult and Higher Education. UCU has supported anti austerity campaigns and the Peoples’ Assembly Against Austerity, UCU takes an informed interest environmental issues and politics, it supports the Campaign for 1 million climate jobs and promotes the role of education in combating climate change.


Sally Hunt.(UCU) questions and discussion.


CHERYL GEDLING: NEC Member of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), Chair of Women's Committee Scottish Trade Union Congress.


 Jean Lambert MEP ( Green Party) Jean Lambert is the Green Party's MEP for London. 

Questions and discussion

*Trade Union open meeting for the ‘Workers Solidarity**with Refugees and Migrant Workers’ campaign*

*Trade Union open meeting for the ‘Workers Solidarity**with Refugees and Migrant Workers’ campaign*

*Tuesday 22 September, 7pm*

*PCS Union HQ,*

*160 Falcon Road, *

*Clapham Junction, *

*London SW11 2LN*

Trade unionists are building a network to ensure the Labour Movement is
building solidarity with refugees and migrant workers during this crisis.
This meeting is an opportunity to discuss what trade unionists can be doing
to offer practical solidarity and support.

Please feel free to cascade this message to other trade unionists.

See Facebook Group – Worker Solidarity with Refugees and Migrant Workers


For context you may also wish to look at:



Wednesday, 16 September 2015

national pensioners' convention




For What It's Worth Cover


Hands Off Logo with Text

The NPC’s Fair Care campaign will raise the arguments in favour of a National Care Service funded through general taxation, like the NHS. The campaign will also call for improved standards, better training and pay for care staff and the introduction of a Dignity Code to give rights to all older people in receipt of care. 

Get involved in the NPC’s ongoing Rights in Retirement Campaign for decent state pensions, proper care and an end to fuel poverty.

Sign up to receive our free monthly newsletter by sending your email address to

You can also follow the NPC on Twitter @NPCUK or find your nearest NPC  regional group by following this link.

national pensioners' convention

UCU London Retired Members Branch:UCU London Retired Members Branch

UCU London Retired Members Branch:UCU London Retired Members Branch
September Branch Newsletter
The latest UCU London Retired members Branch Newsletter is now available and may be downloaded from here...includes articles on Housing, PFI  in the NHS, Amnesty International. National Pensioners’’ Convention: Older People’s Day (1st October)

History Seminars
Socialist History Society
Saturday 19 September - Stan Newens, former Labour MP and Socialist History Society Honorary President speaks on The Achievements of the 1945 Labour Government.
Venue: Marx House, 37a Clerkenwell Green London EC1R 0DU. Time: 2.00 pm.
UCL Institute of the Americas - Caribbean Seminar
September 30th 6pm David Lambert "Am I not a Man and a Soldier?" (Re)imagining the West India Regiments in the Age of Abolition
more details...
London Socialist Historians Group:
12 October - Merilyn Moos - Generations: the impact of the personal and political on children born in Britain to refugees from Nazism
26 October -  John Newsinger  British Counter Insurgency. A history
9 November - Chris Jury  Politics, theatre and history
Socialist History Society and the Freethought History Research Group.
The British Business of Slavery
 A series of Tuesday evening talks starting on 6 October, running to 8 December 2015.
Venue: Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, Holborn, London WC1R 4RL. All talks start at 7.00 p.m.
Tuesday 6 October 2015
Freedom’s Debt, the Politics of the Atlantic Slave Trade (1672- 1752)
Dr William Pettigrew, University of Kent
Tuesday 13 October 2015
First Prime Minister of the London Empire, William Beckford, Jamaican Planter & Lord Mayor of London (1709 – 1770)
Dr Perry Gauci, University of Oxford
Tuesday 20 October 2015
The Law’s Ambiguous Struggle with Slavery
Prof Satvinder Juss, King’s College London
Tuesday 27 October 2015
George Hibbert M.P. (1757-1837) and the Defence of British Slavery
Dr Katie Donington, University of Nottingham
Tuesday 3 November 2015
The Unfortunate Colonel Despard, “Govenor of Belize”, Anti-racist, Democrat, Executed as a Traitor 1803
Mike Jay, author
Tuesday 24 November 2015
Slavery and the Shaping of British Culture
James Walvin, Professor Emeritus, University of York
Tuesday 1 December 2015
A British-Owned Congo, Roger Casement’s Battle with Slavery in Peru (1910-1914)
Prof Jordan Goodman, University College London
Tuesday 8 December 2015
Identifying Unfinished Business, the UK Modern Slavery Act (2015)
Prof Gary Craig, Durham University & University of Hull
Copyright © 2015 UCU London Retired Members Branch, All rights reserved.
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Friday, 11 September 2015

Brent Start ESOL cuts hit the voiceless and reveal government hypocrisy

Thursday, 10 September 2015
Brent Start ESOL cuts hit the voiceless and reveal government hypocrisy Guest blog for Wembley matters by 'Enda Mess'

It's good to have the opportunity to raise awareness of the severe cuts that are affecting Adult Education and, very recently, ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) courses in particular. These cuts often go unnoticed as those who take up these services are often those whose voices are least likely to be heard. However, the classes are highly valued and often vital to those who use them.

At Brent Start (formerly Brent Adult and Community Education Service - BACES) the recent central government cuts mean that 40% of ESOL provision will be cut - with job losses to match! The cut has been very sudden - the government announced the withdrawal of all funding for classes for those on Job Seekers Allowance with immediate effect at the end of July - just when everyone was finishing for the year and all timetables and staffing was planned.

Despite the fact that services in other areas seem to be managing to hold off from making immediate redundancies, here in Brent the decision has been made act very swiftly in implementing the cuts and staff are returning to work to find they may not have a job by mid October.

What were known as the JCP (Job Centre Plus) classes were problematic for most adult educatorsand trade unionists in that they were 'mandated' - the new euphemism for compulsory. Students were referred from the Job Centre and there could be sanctions for non attendance. However, their withdrawal removes an opportunity for free classes and 40% of any provision is a huge loss.

This of course comes at a time when the plight of refugees and migrants is very topical. The cut was announced the day after Cameron said: 'At the moment we have parts of the country where opportunities remain limited ... where language remains a real barrier, where too many women from minority communities remain trapped outside the workforce, and where educational attainment is low'. Such decisions show the hypocrisy of the current government’s  stated aim to help individuals develop skills in order to gain jobs and communicate with others and  ‘lift the horizons of some of our most isolated and deprived communities’. (David Cameron’s extremism speech 20/07/2015)

Since then however, many thousands of people have connected with the humanitarian aspect of the refugee situation and have clearly shown that they do not support the government's hostile stand towards people who are driven to leave what they know behind and take enormous risks to start a new life for their families.

For me, the huge but often unrecognised value of adult and community learning (everything from computer classes to pottery to sign language to childcare courses – as well as ESOL)  lies not just in the structured learning of the courses provided. It provides spaces and opportunities for a wealth of informal learning to take place. There is a real diversity of backgrounds amongst those who attend - people's lives overlap here in a way they seldom do elsewhere and these interactions can create really positive opportunities for the exchange and building of knowledge, skills and experience amongst students, that can be empowering way beyond the scope of the actual course.

We have a very long history in Brent of providing ESOL classes and it will be a terrible loss to dismantle nearly half of what has been a strong, committed and thriving department providing a quality service to the community for many years. ESOL classes provide a way in for people to access crucial services, participate in education and find work. They help parents support their children at school. They enable people who, when they arrive here bring valuable skills and experience of all kinds, to practise those skills and share that experience for the benefit of us all.

The University and College Union (UCU) which represents staff teaching in Adult Education as well as FE and HE, is campaigning against these cuts both locally and nationally and the Action for ESOL’ campaign is also very active

A demonstration has been organised to protest against the cuts in ESOL classes on
Wednesday 16th September at 5.30, outside the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (this is where the cuts come from!)

Here is a link to the Facebook page for this event LINK 

Please share, support, come along!

UCU and 'Action for ESOL' will also be attending the ‘Refugees are Welcome Here’ event on Saturday 12th September.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Beat Back! Music Against Austerity

The People's Assembly is pleased to announce that the Super Furry Animals and Charlotte Church will be joining us at the National Week of Action against the Conservative Party Conference, 3 - 7 October in Manchester. They'll show their opposition at our Beat Back! gig on Monday 5 October at 8pm

Beat Back! Music Against Austerity

Monday 5 October 
Manchester Academy 
Tickets £10 / £15 / £20 (concession / standard / solidarity)
Click here to book tickets

SUPER FURRY ANIMALS | CHARLOTTE CHURCH & more to be announced...


Super Furry Animals said:“What has happened in established politics is nothing short of criminal, testing our faith in humanity. We see blatant, systematic rebalancing of the books, favouring private greed over public wealth, to ensure the deserving majority is left with nothing in favour of an immoral minority. The Tory government and the coalition before them have worked harder to protect this imbalance than anyone, ruling through deception and fear. This is our musical response to those injustices and we ask our listeners to consider whether members of the political and business elite really have their best interests at heart.”

Charlotte Church said: 
"I'll be there for the People's Assembly week of action against the Conservative Party conference because austerity is but another shiny bauble to bewilder us with, and yet the cuts that are taking place threaten, not just livelihoods, but lives. This government is extreme in it’s ideology and is a genuine threat to our freedoms, our privileges and our economic future. We have a democratic responsibility to oppose this government, and we can sing songs while we do it. Let’s do something good!”

Protest the Tory Party Conference 3 - 7 October, Manchester
Book cheap accommodation here
Last night hundreds flocked to a Manchester People's Assembly rally to plan the week of action. Speakers included actresses Maxine Peake & Julie Hesmondhalgh, Lynn Collins from the North West TUC, Sam Fairbairn, National Secretary of the People's Assembly and local campaigns. See Maxine's speech - click here. More to follow. 


National week of action 3 - 7 October
National Demonstration Sunday 4 October
Assemble 12pm: Oxford Road, M14

Book accommodation, transport & find out what's on during the week of action click here

The People's Assembly Against Austerity

green left conference fringe and manchester meeting

1) Green Left's application for a conference fringe on "Principled or pragmatic alliances"was refused by the Green Party conferenceorganisers, so we will go ahead with our own fringe/social from 8-11pm on Saturday 26th September at The Goat & Tricycle 27-29 W Hill Rd, Bournemouth, Dorset BH2 5PF 01202 314220. which seems to be nice trad pub with real ales and food about 10 mins from conferencevenue up hill but on bus route

2) The next Green Left business meeting will be in the  Lass O Gowrie (3rd October 12.00 until 6.00 ) Address: 36 Charles St, Manchester M1 7DB Phone:0161 273 5822, where we met last year ( or year before ? ) - we may be able to assist if gl members want to stay overnight afterwards for the demo at the Tory conference on 4/10.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

ALL DAY PICKET AT NATIONAL GALLERY Saturday 12 September Rally 3-5pm

Saturday 12 September
Rally 3-5pm

Pickets everyday 9-11am plus 5-5.30pm Fridays
Joined on Friday 11th 9am by National Union of Journalists

Thanks to everyone for their support over the last week. It was great to have so much support to hand in our petition.

There has been a fantastic response to our call for solidarity both on our picket line and financially. London CWU on the picket
PCS will be putting an emergency motion to the TUC conference asking for their support for a day of action to step up the campaign.  

This Saturday 12 September we will have an all-day picket with a rally between 3 and 5 pmPlease join us if you can.
“Let them eat cake!!”  If you like baking we will be doing a fundraising cake stall so please bring contributions.

Talks are ongoing with the gallery but we need to keep up the pressure.  You can send an email here to Dr Finaldi  the new director at the National Gallery calling for him to intervene over the privatisation and to reinstate dismissed PCS rep Candy Udwin. Please sign and share!


Despite the attacks we have faced and having taken over 80 days of strike action the strikers are standing firm until we win! We have been overwhelmed by the fantastic solidarity we have received from all round the country and we only keep going with your support.
We are urgently appealing for donations to our strike fund to keep us going.

The low paid strikers rely on donations to our strike fund to allow us to keep fighting and we are appealing for your help.  Whatever donations you can afford will help us keep going until we win.

Thanks you to all those who have donated so far – your support means a lot!

Or you can donate to Sort code 086001 Account no 20169002 or cheques to PCS Culture Media and Sport Association, c/o PCS North West Region, Jack Jones House,1 Islington, Liverpool L3 8EG 

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Lawyers and unionisation of the legal sectors (paralegals and trainees as well as qualified lawyers).

1. The Criminal Lawyer's action which took place over the summer was abandoned as a gesture of goodwill last week, without having obtaining any concessions from the Ministry of Justice.  There is some confidence among the leadership of the profession that the MOJ are genuinely listening to our concerns. However, the attempts by criminal lawyers to conduct industrial action has up until now been bedevilled by a high level of amateurishness, so the decision to call off the action just when it was starting to have an affect may join the list of errors in dealing with the MOJ. It really points towards the need for lawyers to create a trade union. 
2. On that note, a committee has been formed to try to encourage the unionisation of the legal sectors (paralegals and trainees as well as qualified lawyers). It will be a very slow build and is likely to appeal initially to those who are just entering the sector. The aim, at this stage, is to encourage members of the profession to join a particular branch of Unite that was established to represent those working in the charity sector in London but is now focussing on supporting those in the legal sector as well. I am, in theory, a member of the committee, but for the last few weeks I have been so busy with work that I have not really kept up with events. I will be in a position to give a proper update at the October meeting.  

acknowledgements to Daniel Jones

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Ealing Trades Union Council PUBLIC MEETING 21st September 2015- No to Austerity, Yes to Workers Rights

National day of action, Called by Stand up to Racism, BARAC, Stop the War Coalition, Migrant Rights Network

National day of action, Called by Stand up to Racism, BARAC, Stop the War Coalition, Migrant Rights Network 

This event has been called in response to various reports of refugees fleeing war, persecution, torture and poverty losing their lives or struggling to find a safe haven. This includes the death of 200 refugees off the coast of Libya, around 70 refugees in a truck in Austria and on going reports of refugees drowning crossing the Mediterranean, stranded in Hungary and prohibited from moving around the EU, and those in Calais struggling to find sanctuary.

The government response to this has been disgraceful. Unlike Germany, Italy and Greece, Britain has not offered a safe haven for these people. 

Monday 14 September Home Secretary Theresa May will be meeting with EU leaders about the refugee crisis. We must learn the lessons of history and call on the government to take a humanitarian and compassionate response to refugees.

We are calling on the British government to meet its share of the responsibility for providing protection. Let's send a strong message: we say refugees are welcome here.

We are also calling for a national day of action on Saturday 12 September, organise local events at places of worship or unveil a "Refugees Welcome Here" banner at football matches, use your imagination!

Join us on Saturday 12 September 2015 2pm Downing Street

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Barnet UNISON Save Barnet Libraries March September 12th 2015

 I’m drawing this to your attention as I think this is something to support. The closure and privatisation of libraries is about that issue but also about the diminishing existence of public spaces and access to culture. When you think about the National Gallery dispute these are very similar issues. Barnet is attempting to outsource its Social Services also. So this march is under the banner of the libraries campaign but is about other campaigns coming along to offer their solidarity and to protest about their issue also. Anything you can do to promote this and support would be gratefully appreciated. The London SWAN banner would be very welcome. I anticipate we will have social workers on the march so it will be an opportunity to promote SWAN.
Save Barnet Libraries March September 12th 2015
Keep up to date go to the new Barnet UNISON website at