Monday 31 January 2011

Fighting the cuts

The key date in everyone's diary must be 26th March - the mass demonstration against the cuts in London. UNITE members and their families should book places now on the transport from around the country.

The demonstration is extremely important as part of building up the campaign against the cuts, but clearly it will take more than a demonstration to stop them - industrial action will be needed too.

It's impressive to see one small group of UNITE members who are Speech and Language Therapists in Southwark who are going on strike this week over plans to make 1/3 of them redundant as a result of the Con-Dem cuts. Everyone who cares about the NHS should get behind them and help ensure their campaign is successful. They have a protest at 6:30pm on Wednesday 2nd February at Walworth Methodist Church, 54 Camberwell Road, London, SE5 0EN. Be there if you can. If you can't please sign their online petition and send them a message of support via

UNITE has launched a separate web site for our "Don't Break Britain" anti-cuts campaign. There's also a SMS text message service (called UniteYou) for updates on the anti-cuts campaign. To join, simply text CUTS to 86888. It is free to receive and to reply to. So far over 50,000 UNITE members have signed up, making it a powerful campaigning tool.

Tuesday 18 January 2011

Inflation rises (again)

The latest inflation figures are out today, showing the cost of living (RPI) up 4.8% in the year to December, and even the artificially lower CPI that the government and media quote so much up by 3.7%.

Pay rises have continued to lag behind the increase in the cost of living for a number of months, meaning standards of living for most workers falling rapidly. As I've previously highlighted, this is one of the key planks of the effort to make working people pay to boost profits following the financial crisis.

These figures don't even include this month's VAT rise.

There can't be many workplaces where "productivity" hasn't been driven up over the last year or so, with fewer workers working longer and harder (for less). This means workers getting an ever smaller share of the wealth we produce.

Anyone want to join the union and campaign to protect our standard of living? You'd have to be hopelessly naive to think you could stop this on your own...

IT workers want better training

See the press release on the UNITE web site.

Saturday 15 January 2011

UNITE Rules Conference 2011

UNITE's current rule book, which sets out how the basics of the union's structure and operation, was adopted in a simple Yes/No vote. The Rules Conference taking place in Liverpool on 13-16 June will be the first opportunity for members to amend and improve that rule book, as last year's "special" Rules Conference only dealt with the issue of the future composition of the Executive Council.

Apparently Joint General Secretaries Derek Simpson and Tony Woodley wrote out in December to all officers responsible for constitutional committees (Regional Committees, Regional Industrial Sector Committees, Area Activist Committees, Regional Equalities Committees, National Industrial Sector Committees and National Equalities Committees) and to all branches and chapels inviting them each to submit one rule amendment to be received by Friday 1st April 2011.

While the rule book is not the most exciting aspect of the union, and hardly as pressing as the threats to jobs, pay, pensions etc that many of us face, it is important and we won't get another chance to improve our rulebook until 2015.

Monday 10 January 2011

United Left candidates for UNITE EC election 2011

Here's what I've got so far on the United Left candidates for the 2011 UNITE Executive Council elections:

[to avoid confusion, I've deleted the table that was here. Please look instead at the United Left web page, which is being updated with more details]

Heinz to strike again

UNITE members at Heinz have voted to reject the latest "final" offer from the company, so they will be out on strike again tomorrow (Tuesday).

The Right To Work campaign have produced a collection sheet for the Heinz strike fund so you can take a collection round your workplace, friends and family, or failing that it has enough information so you could donate online or send a message of support.

Sunday 9 January 2011

Backed by the United Left for the Executive Council elections

I'm pleased to say that yesterday's national meeting of the United Left agreed to support me as the candidate for the IT & Communications seat on the new Executive Council.

Nominations meetings start tomorrow (Monday 10th January) and must be held by Monday 7th February. See my web page about the Executive Council elections for more information, including a leaflet.

Monday 3 January 2011

Nominations for the UNITE Executive Council election 2011

I'm seeking nominations from workplaces and branches to stand for re-election to the UNITE Executive Council, for the IT & Communications industrial sector seat. Nomination meetings must be held between 10th January and 7th February 2011, and members must be given at least 7 days' notice of the meeting.

I've produced a downloadable leaflet seeking nominations. For more information about the election, please see my "Executive Council elections" web page, which I am updating from time to time.