Public meeting: Stop Trident – jobs not bombs!

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7.30-9.30pm, Monday 15 February

Leytonstone United Free Church, 55 Wallwood Rd, London E11 1AY
(Five minutes from Leytonstone tube station)

Trident is a weapon of mass destruction. Its use would be illegal and immoral. It would kill millions of people, maim millions more, and render vast parts of our world uninhabitable for generations. But the government is proposing to spend £100 billion (and inevitably much more) on renewing it.

We oppose this criminal waste of human and natural resources. The same money and skills could be used to produce renewable energy, to support and improve our schools and hospitals, to pay a decent wage to millions of public service workers and to end the vicious attacks on poor, sick and disabled people.

In the run-up to the national demonstration on 27 February, Waltham Forest Left Unity invites you to a public forum with CND General Secretary Kate Hudson, and Sophie Bolt from Waltham Forest Stop the War. All welcome.

Leytonstone United Free Church

https://goo.gl/maps/mhNPNnyzYzL2

Report from the Junior Doctors’ picket line, Whipps Cross Hospital

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At 9am there are about 35 people at the picket line, about half doctors, alongside the Unison and Waltham Forest Save Our NHS banners.
Huge support from passing motorists. Other doctors have split off to meet the public at Leytonstone and Walthamstow tube stations. A rally will be held at the main entrance on Whipps Cross Road at 5.30pm.
Whipps Cross is part of Barts Health, one of the most heavily indebted NHS Trusts. 10% of the Trust’s budget is being spent on servicing a £1.1bn PFI scheme.

The next strike is planned for 10 February.

Osborne’s National Living Wage is a Complete Con

Budget day protest in Parliament Square, London 8th July 2015. Photo: Steve Eason

Budget day protest in Parliament Square, London 8th July 2015.
Photo: Steve Eason

Eleanor Firman, Unite Community activist and Left Unity member, shares her views on yesterday’s announcement by Chancellor George Osborne.

The compulsory National Living Wage which Osborne announced today is a complete and utter con. The media are hyping it as the Tories stealing Labour’s clothes but the miniscule Living Wage is not about Osborne getting tough with low wage-paying bosses – the reality is in fact the complete opposite: the Tory Chancellor is merely instructing businesses to return a tiny fraction of the money that has been stolen from our (social) wages and handed to bosses in the form of the employers’ National Insurance ‘allowance’ that began last year (up to £2000 per employer) and was increased by Osborne yesterday to £3000.[1]

Society seems to have forgotten that Employers’ N.I. contributions are actually part of wages – they are the portion of the wage that instead of being paid direct to the employee is forwarded directly to Treasury by the employer where it is pooled with all N.I. contributions and returned to workers in the form of the social wage i.e. the welfare state provisions of pensions, the NHS, compulsory education and social housing. So employer’s contributions are actually our wages but we don’t see it because it is paid on our behalf and then collectivised before we get our pay packet. This collectivisation includes spending in the form of social assistance for those who cannot work due to their impairments or those whose pay is inadequate.

This system of social insurance that began in 1946 is commonly referred to as the post war social settlement but understood by the left as a compromise between labour and capital to fend off rising social unrest: capital could keep a certain amount of profit if workers laboured not just for subsistence wages in the form of cash, but also improved social conditions.

Now public services and welfare are being dismantled and employers are being made to give back a tiny portion of their new N.I. allowance to the workers in the form of the new ‘national living wage’ – but the overall amount of tax and N.I. allowances bosses receive will more than offset a marginally more expensive workforce. Let’s not forget corporation tax was also cut to 18% along with other tax breaks for the rich.[2] So this national ‘living wage’ is not just a downgraded replacement of the higher voluntary living wage as many are pointing out, – but is actually a cut to the existing compulsory minimum wage.

Osborne was deadly serious when he described his budget as a new social settlement. But do the public realise what has really been lost? Less tax and less welfare does not just mean higher incomes for a few, and lower incomes for the many. It means less public services as well as greater financial inequality. Iain Duncan Smith’s reaction yesterday in the Commons and the following day in the Daily Telegraph, clearly signalled that for people like him who only came into politics to realise the vision of Margaret Thatcher, Osborne’s National Living Wage is a dream come true. For the rest of us it’s a laissez faire nightmare.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/employment-allowance

[2] In a bid to reassure businesses, the chancellor also reiterated that the cost to business will amount to one per cent of corporate profits, which he has offset with the cut in corporation tax to 18 per cent. Smaller firms would be helped by a cut in their national insurance contributions. From 2016, the new employment allowance will be increased by 50 per cent to £3,000 and a company employing four full-time workers on the new national living wage would pay no national insurance.
http://realbusiness.co.uk/article/30726-summer-budget-2015-compulsory-national-living-wage-gets-mixed-reception

George Monoux dispute: NUT statement on the suspension of strike action

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) branch has issued this statement following the temporary suspension of their strike action:

Following discussions between NUT officials and the Chair of Corporation, a new proposal has been put forward with the aim of resolving the dispute over the unfair sackings of Flor Thompson and Diane George. This will involve an independent adjudicator hearing evidence and presenting a new report to the Corporation. Any member of staff can present evidence to this adjudicator, and their evidence will be anonymous.

To facilitate an attempt to resolve the dispute, the NUT will co-operate with this process and has decided to suspend the action planned for this week. In doing so we wish to stress:

1) The NUT remains in dispute with the college on this issue.

2) We have made no commitment to respect the outcome of this process, especially as the adjudicator’s report goes to the Corporation itself. Our resolve the fight for a fair outcome of our members remains undiminished. The college in turn has not given any pledge to respect the findings of the adjudicator.

3) We have merely suspended industrial action for this week. Our ballot for discontinuous strike action remains in force and allows us to resume strike action next term should this be necessary.

The NUT remains easily the biggest union in the college and the overwhelming majority of our members have respected the picket lines. We congratulate our members for their continued solidarity and determination in the face of the barrage of propaganda and disinformation ranged against them.

Teachers at George Monoux College announce further strike action

Teachers at Sir George Monoux Sixth Form College have voted to step up their strike action in defence of two colleagues sacked for their union roles.

wpid-wp-1434999397873.jpegNational Union of Teachers (NUT) members at the college say that Flor Thompson, union health and safety representative, and Diane George, joint college rep, were victimised by college management and that the charges against them are ridiculous.
Flor Thompson was originally suspended in 2013 and sacked after one year’s suspension. She was later reinstated after a governors’ inquiry, only to be re-suspended and sacked in 2015 on a different set of trumped up charges. Diane George was also sacked this year.
After five days of strike action Principal Paolo Ramella and the college governors have remained intransigent and refused all attempts at a negotiated settlement. NUT members have voted unanimously for another 5 days of strike action this term and 3 more at the start of next term.
wpid-wp-1434988427653.jpegCollege NUT rep Pippa Dowswell, a supporter of Left Unity, said: “We are facing a hardnosed management who want to establish an autocratic regime. They have to understand that we will not allow our representatives to be victimised in this way. Our union executive has given our strike action 100% support. If management can pick off union activists, all teachers at the college are threatened.”

Join the pickets outside George Monoux College, 190 Chingford Road E17 5AA from 7-9 am on 24 and 25 June, and 1, 2, 8 and 9 July.

Teachers at Monoux College to strike over union victimisation

Members of the National Union of Teachers at Sir George Monoux College in Walthamstow are planning a two day strike this week over the sacking of two union officials. The strike will include Wednesday 6 May and election-day Thursday 7th.

The union claims that the two long-serving and highly respected sacked teachers – Flor Thompson and Diane George – were victimised because of their role as union representatives. The strike follows a one-day strike over the same issue in March.

Union members will picket the school both days. On Thursday part of the college will be used as a polling station, but NUT members will not be picketing the entrance to that area.

Waltham Forest Unite Community supports Boycott Workfare

Week of Action Against Workfare April 25 – May 2

Can you help?

Boycott Workfare writes…

As the general election campaign gets underway we are already seeing politicians calling for more of the same policies. More workfare. More sanctions. Yet we know that these policies have been a total disaster. It is shameful that workfare and sanctions are supported by all the main political parties. This is why we are holding a week of action in the week before the election (Sat 25 April – Sat 2 May) We need your help to expose and challenge workfare and sanctions policies and the political lies that underpin them.

http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=4239

Want to know more about Workfare? Here’s some background information (taken Keep Volunteering Voluntary http://www.kvv.org.uk)

What’s wrong with Workfare?

Continue reading

George Monoux college strike: A statement from the NUT

Here is a statement from NUT rep Pippa Dowswell on the ongoing strike action being taken by staff at Sir George Monoux College in Walthamstow.

The strike has arisen because two NUT members, both active in the union, one as the joint college rep with me and the other as the health and safety rep have been dismissed.  The NUT officials who have dealt with their cases agree that both dismissals are unfair, involving a lack of willingness by the senior leadership team to give a fair hearing to the point of view of the staff rather than the managers and a lack of support when and where it was needed.   In my opinion, working on the ground at the college, these dismissals are part of a broader picture of management incompetence and a campaign against the NUT which started because we organised a vote of no confidence against the Principal when he went forward with an ill advised restructuring in 2011.  A culture of fear has developed at the college where middle managers are made to feel that being an NUT member is not compatible with their position in the college and where teaching staff are worried that they could be next to have disciplinary or capability procedures used against them.  As the NUT Rep who is often challenging the management, I am constantly looking over my shoulder.

The NUT group at the college have voted for sustained discontinuous action, which means that if our demands for the reinstatement of our 2 colleagues are not met, we will strike again, next time for 2 days.

The management have now agreed to meet with the local and regional reps.

Stop benefit sanctions – national day of action, 19 March 2015

From Unite the Union

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More and more people are facing benefit sanctions. Over 2 million people have had their money stopped in the past 2 years.

That’s 2 million people, many of whom have been plunged into poverty, unable to heat their homes or even eat. How is this meant to help prepare people for work?

Benefit sanctions must be fought against.

These sanctions are cruel and handed out for ridiculous reasons such as:

  • Arriving minutes late to a meeting
  • Not applying for jobs when waiting to start a new job!
  • Missing an appointment on the day of the funeral of a close family member.

This has to stop.

Up and down the country on Thursday 19 March we will be protesting against the cruel use of sanctions.

FOUR ways to get involved:

  • Join an event near you on Thursday 19 March to stop benefit sanctions in your community.
  • Sign our petition calling on the government to stop using sanctions.
  • Share your story – we are looking for people who have been sanctioned to tell their story.
  • We want to show the reality and impact on people’s lives – show your support – share on Twitter and Facebook #No2Sanctions Like us on Facebook.