Friday, 20 December 2013

UNITE Executive Council elections

I previously posted details of the elections to the UNITE Executive Council that will begin in the New Year.

The December EC meeting decided how to ensure that enough seats were designated for BAEM members to ensure their representation was at least proportional:

  • One national BAEM seat
  • One of the seats in the London & Eastern Region
  • One of the seats from the Passenger sector
  • One additional BAEM seat for the Civil Air Transport sector
  • One additional BAEM seat for the West Midlands region
  • One additional BAEM seat for the Food, Drink & Tobacco sector
I have served on the union executive for ten years, which has been an honour and a privilege.  I have found it useful and I hope I have made a contribution to the union as a whole, and for members in my industrial sector in particular.  However, ten years is a long time and I am not intending to seek nomination for the EC this time.  To paraphrase Tony Benn, I'm stepping down to spend more time on trade unionism.  For me, the most important part of the union is in the workplace.

If members in the GPM&IT sector are seeking nomination for our two sector seats on the Executive Council and send me details, I'd be happy to post details here.



Stress, performance management, LEAN and absence management



Thursday, 5 December 2013

Report from GPM&IT National Industrial Sector Conference, November 2013

The UNITE national sector conferences were spread across a week, with several sectors meeting each day.  Each morning started with a plenary session with Len McCluskey, who gave a speech and answered questions.

Our plenary, like those on other days, was dominated by the disgraceful attacks on members at the Grangemouth petrochemical plant and refinery, on Stevie Deans, and on UNITE, which have been coming from the Labour right, from Ineos and its billionaire owner Ratcliffe, from the Tories and their press.

The deal accepted by UNITE at Grangemouth included a three year no-strike agreement and pay freeze, worse pensions and cuts in union facilities.  This had been accepted under the threat of closure and the loss of many jobs.  While standing united in defence of our union and Stevie Deans, it is vital we learn lessons from this serious setback.  We cannot afford employers to imagine that such blackmail will work again.  Nor can we afford our own members to conclude that there is no alternative to making massive concessions without even a fight.  The debate about what these lessons were continued through the conferences and in the bars, and is still ongoing.

The conference for the Graphical, Paper, Media & IT sector was the first meeting since the old GPM and IT & Comms sectors came together.  There was a degree of suspicion, hostility and misconceptions from a small minority of delegates, but most seemed keen to make the sector work and to learn about the issues across all the industries.  This was helped by two hefty reports - one from the National Officers, the other on Collective Bargaining.  These reports, along with a copy of Len's speech, can be found here if you log on to the UNITE web site.

The 2012 Labour Force Survey reports that 12% of UK employees in the Information and Communication industries are union members, but I assume this includes companies such as BT and Royal Mail, giving slightly too rosy a picture.  Overall the GPM sector had 11% union density.

The conference elected delegates to TUC Congress:

  • 2014: Ged D, with Tony M as substitute
  • 2015: Pauline B, with Ged D as substitute
All the conferences meeting that day jiontly elected three members of the Standing Orders Committee:
  • Bill D, Metals, East Midlands
  • Ann M, Automotive, North West
  • Paul R, GPM&IT, Scotland
The following motions were agreed:

1. WORKERS UNITING – PAPER AND PACKAGING SECTOR
This Conference welcomes the continuing development of our strategic relationship with the USW in the USA and Canada’s papermaking and packaging sector.

The exchange of FOCs, MOCs and Union Reps in our countries has developed a greater understanding of the globalisation of the papermaking and packaging industry and the development of good working relationships between lay reps within the sectors.

Conference believes that we must now deepen the relationship by extending the USW’s involvement, where appropriate, in EWCs in the paper and packaging sector and that we look to develop joint negotiations with companies where both of our Unions have membership.

2. NEWS INTERNATIONAL & LEVESON ENQUIRY
This Conference welcomes the Leveson Enquiry and subsequent police enquiries uncover alleged untold wrong doings and illegal behaviour by Executives of News International, including the alleged corruption of public officials and the police, leading to the closure of the News of the World and the arrest of senior Executives of News International.

This Conference congratulates Tom Watson MP and other Labour MPs who refused to be bullied and cowed by News International and were prepared to expose the disgraceful acts of NI executives and senior journalists.

This Conference believes that the lack of Union involvement in the News International empire by Unite and the NUJ contributed to the alleged wrong doing and illegal activities and the corrupt power wielded by Rupert Murdoch and his family over political and public life in this country.

3. AUSTERITY, DIVIDE & RULE
This conference notes that the government’s austerity, cuts and deregulation policies are affecting members in our sector by:
  1. deflating the economy
  2. cutting the public services we and our families and communities rely on
  3. cutting in-work benefits and tax credits
  4. putting downward pressure on pay and conditions by attacking them in the public sector
  5. putting downward pressure on pay and conditions by increasing competition for jobs by cutting benefits, driving sick and disabled people into the job market, and encouraging the expansion of low-paid and unpaid work
  6. cutting legal protection for members on everything from health & safety to redundancy consultation
  7. feeding racism by scapegoating migrants and Muslims, boosting organisations such as UKIP, the BNP or EDL
This conference believes that strong and effective union organisation cannot be built without tackling political questions such as these within the workplace. This conference rejects attempts to divide members in our sector from colleagues in the public sector, from those reliant on state benefits, or from migrants or Muslims. This conference believes that unity is strength and an injury to one is an injury to all.

This conference resolves:
  1. Our sector will work with other sectors, unions and community groups to deliver a strong and united response to the government’s attacks on working people
  2. The NISC, working with appropriate officers and staff, will periodically produce template leaflets on such issues for reps to adapt and combine with workplace-specific material
  3. Activists in our sector are encouraged to invite speakers from public service sectors, community branches and anti-fascist groups to address workplace and branch meetings.

4. ORGANISING IN THE IT & COMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRIES
This Conference believes:
  1. Organisations in the public and private sector are now heavily reliant on IT & Communications in order to function
  2. Outsourcing and “cloud” services are concentrating a high proportion of IT & Communications services in a relatively small number of large companies
  3. Commoditisation of IT & Communications products and services is leading to commoditisation of jobs and skills and accelerating downward pressure on pay and conditions
  4. Hundreds of thousands of workers in IT & Communications would benefit from UNITE organisation
  5. Strong UNITE organisation in IT & Communications would strengthen UNITE’s leverage and bargaining power across every sector.
5. CAMPAIGN TO RECRUIT ICT WORKERS AND RAISE UNITE PROFILE
This National Industrial Sector Conference notes that Technology continues to impact traditional industries both developing new opportunities for employment whilst reducing manning levels significantly in older processes.

The overwhelming majority of young people entering the UK labour market today take ICT skills for granted in the same way basic skills of reading and writing were viewed by previous generations.

The union movement has been slow to adapt to this growing workforce and even today in industries well organised in production and distribution areas is poorly organised in ICT sections. Yet the ICT Industry is future proofed has a diverse workforce and controls in many respects the UK economy.

Often these critical workers are not employed by the main company anymore and so are excluded from the major campaigns of the union.

Because of the fragmentation of ICT workers across the membership it is not possible to commence a major campaign at either RISC or Regional Committee level. To really organise these workers there needs to be a campaign supported by the National Union across the sector as a whole.

ICT workers occupy powerful positions in the processes operating within industry, services and the public sector. Their ability to influence employer’s decisions is significant whereas nowadays due to a combination of alternative supply and fragmented workforces many groups struggle to produce such an impact.

This Conference requests the Executive Council to establish an initiative to raise the profile of UNITE amongst ICT workers and the ICT Industry in general. Such a campaign to be launched at the start of 2014 will not only assist organise ICT workers in ICT companies but also ICT workers in existing employers with union agreements.

E1. OPPOSING CHANGES TO THE TUPE REGULATIONS
Conference notes that the Government has published its response to the latest public consultation on reviewing TUPE on 5 September 2103 under the heading of Making the labour market more flexible, efficient and fair

The Government has concluded that there is scope to amend the Regulations by removing provisions which go further than the Acquired Rights Directive requires and generally improve how the Regulations operate.

Due to the structure of ICT industry through the winning and losing of accounts ICT workers are vulnerable to being transferred disproportionately compared to other employees. This means that these proposed changes will impact adversely on IT workers who often work in the contracted out sector so need the protection of TUPE.

This Conference opposes the attack upon collective bargaining rights of UK trade unionists by placing limits upon the protection of collective agreements post a TUPE transfer. This is a significant development that introduces time limits on voluntary agreements governing workers’ terms and conditions of employment for the first time in the UK.

According to Government figures there are between 26500 and 48000 TUPE transfer every year with the number of workers affected ranging between 1.42 million and 2.11 million with the majority of these workers being transferred yearly to other employers being potential members.

Every ICT worker who has transferred in the past now works under a contract between the client and their employer that will come up for renewal or a new service provider will take over the contract. The workers’ terms and conditions of employment will also then be vulnerable to employer attempts to reduce them. The race to the bottom is accelerated by these changes.

Unite must take the lead opposing this attack upon terms and conditions of employment and agreements that is a campaigning issue that affects millions – those already transferred, those being transferred and those that fear outsourcing of their jobs.

The Coalition’s programme of relentless attacks upon the limited defences in favour of workers’ rights includes the withdrawal of many of these workers from TUPE protection by virtue of removing service provision changes.

Conference calls upon the Unite Executive Council to launch a campaign within three months to alert UK workers to the risk to their futures that these changes represent to both private and public sector workers, skilled and unskilled, manufacturing and services.

6. NARROWING THE SKILLS GAP
UK industry is suffering from the lack of investment in training especially the lack of opportunities available to young people entering traditional industries through training programmes especially apprenticeships.

This Conference believes this puts the UK at a disadvantage in comparison to other countries that invest in skills for the future of their industries. Evidence has shown that the age profile in our sector is increasing whilst the number of apprentices entering the industry is decreasing.

This conference calls upon the National Industrial Sector Committee to lobby and meet with all stake holders in our industry to analyse, discuss and plan a strategy which will ensure the industry invests in skills within the sector and to ensure training/apprenticeships are on the bargaining agenda. A written report on the progress of this should be given to the next National Industrial sector conference in 2015.
  • In addition we call on the Executive Council to campaign in support of the ‘forgotten generation’ and to lobby for: Government to increase investment in industry based skills and training.
  • To ensure that bona-fide Apprentice Programmes are available for young people.
7. SECTOR SURVEY
In light of the demise of the BPIF/Unite National Agreement and the ravages of the recession on terms and conditions of employment, this conference calls on the National Industrial Sector Committee to conduct and publish an annual survey of all workplaces in the sector. The aim of the survey is to gather a database of current trends in the sector which may impact on other sites in the absence of a National Agreement. Conference also calls upon the National Industrial Sector Committee to meet with the BPIF on a regular basis in the interests of our members working in the sector

8. BUILDING CLOSER WORKING LINKS WITH OTHER PUBLISHING AND MEDIA UNIONS
This Conference calls upon the GPM Sector NISC to explore a formal protocol with other publishing and media unions and in particular with the NUJ, to assist us in securing union recognition and extending our collective bargaining coverage across the sector.

Working with our sister unions on joint campaigns and sharing resources can only be in the best interest of the members within the joint workplaces that we strive to represent.

The conference further calls on the NISC to ask the union to revisit our dual membership arrangement with the NUJ as we see this as a further assist.

Publishing and Media workers have historically worked jointly in many of our companies and the union needs to promote and support such activity. We ask that in drafting such a protocol the NISC seeks guidance from the officers and senior reps working in this sector.

9. DEFENDING OUR UNION AGREEMENT IN THE WHOLESALE AND DISTRIBUTION SECTORS
This Conference calls upon the GPM NISC to develop a strategy to address the outsourcing of our member’s jobs from our core employers to agencies within the wholesale & distribution sectors.

We have seen a major increase in temporary labour as employers dismiss their permanent workforce and rely more and more often on agency workers.

In these companies where the permanent staff is constantly reducing in numbers and the agency staff are on the increase, we are now seeing a low level of union density and the undermining of our collective terms and conditions in favour of minimum standards.

The NISC is required to defend our members, potential members and our industry standards by strengthening the links between our workplace reps and Unite officials within this sector and ensuring that the adequate resources are in place for our organising and recruitment initiatives to be sustainable.

10. OUTSOURCING
This Conference calls upon Unite NEC and its Officers at all levels to uphold outsourcing of print, packaging, graphics & media related work for the Union, TUC and the Labour Party from recognised Unite GPMs workplaces.

At a time when print, like rest of manufacturing industry, has suffered due to the recession; and the savage ConDem's austerity and cuts agenda.

That has led to many closures, redundancies and the loss of our members livelihoods.

Outsourcing is penalising and under cutting those employers who abide by agreed union policies, procedures and pay rates.
  1. This Unite GPM sector conference therefore re-affirms the policy that our union only sources print from GPM recognised companies.
  2. We further call on Unite and our NEC to ensure that the TUC and its affiliates does likewise and upholds this principle.
  3. That they put pressure on the Labour Party at all levels to comply to ensure all party units, candidates and agents uphold the policy of only sourcing print from approved Unite GPMs unionised companies.
11. LIVING WAGE
Conference endorses a national bargaining objective for a minimum adult hourly pay rate based on the Living Wage (both provincial and London as appropriate) where no collectively bargained national agreement exists, and calls on the GPM NISC to develop a bargaining, organising and political campaign to achieve it.

The following motion was referred to the NISC for further consideration:
12. PAY BARGAINING STRATEGY
Conference calls on the GPM NISC through our National Officer to call national level meetings annually of all Federated Chapels and Groups where these firms are not covered by a National Agreement for the purpose of setting co-ordinated bargaining objectives including the minimum rate of wage increases; in addition, for the independent company sector not operating under a National Agreement, the GPM NISC develops in consultation with the National Officer and appropriate Regional Officers a coherent and sustainable District by District national pay campaign strategy in preparation for the next wage round.



Thursday, 31 October 2013

The government onslaught on TUPE rights - a threat to us all

Workers in IT Services often face being transferred from one employer to another as customer contracts are lost and won.  This process is covered by the EU "Acquired Rights Directive", which became UK law through the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employees) Regulations, commonly known as TUPE.

TUPE was meant to protect workers against having their terms and conditions worsened as a result of the change.  It only ever provided partial protection, with major gaps (for example in relation to pension rights).  There's a UNITE guide to the 2006 regulations here.

Now the government proposes to worsen the limited legal protection we have.  The outcome of the government's "consultation" is here.  Below is an extract from a union commentary on the proposed changes, which are expected to come into effect in January 2014.

The proposals, if implemented, will be very bad news for workers in many industries, but IT Services will be particularly badly hit.  They would make it easier for employers to dismiss workers, short-circuit redundancy consultation, make it easier for employers to change terms and conditions, and open the door to more arguments about whether or not TUPE applies when services switch between suppliers.

It has always been the case that strong union organisation is a better protection for employee rights than just relying on the law.  The changes will make this even more true.  And of course even though the law will still ban some activities by rogue employers, other government changes mean workers not in a union who need to make a tribunal claim will face the prospect of either stumping up sizeable tribunal fees or seeing "no win no fee" solicitors taking a large chunk of their compensation.

This is a government of millionaires helping their mates get richer by slashing the rights of working people.  This week I've been at a UNITE training course on TUPE where reps from different IT & Communications companies came together to learn how best to protect employees during and after TUPE transfers.  It may be possible for union members to challenge the legality of some of the changes as cases come up, but the danger is that workers lose their jobs, terms and conditions while such challenges grind through the courts.  Workers need to get better organised now to defend ourselves when TUPE rears its head.

Unite commentary on proposed changes to TUPE Regulations (5 September 2013)


The government has announced proposed major changes to the TUPE Regulations, including:
·         Restricting the service provision change rules
·         Permitting employers to seek to change terms and conditions derived from a collective agreement after 1 year.
·         Weakening unfair dismissal rights
·         Permitting consultation on possible redundancies before a transfer to count towards the transferees obligations to consult under section 188.

The TUC is concerned that several of the proposed changes do not appear to be consistent with EU law including the Acquired Rights Directive and the Collective Redundancies Directive.

TUPE protects employees' terms and conditions of work when a business is transferred from one owner to another. Staff automatically become employees of the new employer on the same terms and conditions as they were on before, and their continuity of service is also protected.

However, under the government's plans TUPE will not always apply when services are outsourced.

These changes will lead to the erosion of the pay and conditions for low-paid staff in sectors such as cleaning, social care and catering where outsourcing is common, says the TUC. It argues this will have an adverse impact on women, who are more likely to be employed in contracted-out services than men.

In addition, employers will now be able to re-negotiate changes to collective agreements one year after transfer. This will give them extra flexibility to cut pay and conditions after a transfer takes place.

The summary of the government’s proposals with TU side comments are as follows:

·         The Service Provision Changes rules (SPC) will be amended so that they only apply if the service is fundamentally or essentially the same following the transfer. The government argues this is simply codifying case law.

However this change could significantly limit the SPC provisions, with the risk that tens of thousands of service sector workers will lose out on TUPE rights. It will also cause huge uncertainty for employers and lead to increased litigation.

·         The government is proposing two major changes relating to TUPE protected pay and conditions negotiated through collective agreements. The government plan to allow employers to renegotiate collective agreements one year after a transfer. Any changes must be agreed and any changes must not be overall less favourable to employees affected.

This proposal blatantly attacks trade unions’ ability to represent working people. It victimises individuals covered by collective agreement. This approach is not consistent with the Directive. It’s also unclear how they could make this change in EU law.

·         The government is also planning to legislate following the CJEU decision in the Alemo-Herron to provide for a static approach to transferred terms and conditions.

The decision of the CJEU is very problematic and effectively means that the Acquired Rights Directive can be interpreted as providing a ceiling of rights rather than a floor of rights. The TUC plans to raise concerns via the ETUC.

·         Other variations to terms and conditions post transfer. The government also plans to amend regulation 4 to allow for unilateral variation of terms pursuant to a contractual provision if such changes could otherwise have been made.

It’s not clear what this means. We suspect the government plans to say that if employers were able to vary terms and conditions if a transfer had not taken place they should be able to do so after a transfer. The TUC will investigate further to check whether this change will drive a coach and horses through the Regulations.

·         A change of location will become an ETO reason justifying dismissal.

This will mean it will be easier for employers to sack staff after a transfer where work is undertaken in a different location.

·         Wider unfair dismissal rights: The government plan to amend Regulation 7 to ‘more closely to reflect the wording of the Directive’.

These changes will weaken unfair dismissal rights

·         Consultation on redundancies undertaken before the transfer will count towards the new employer’s obligations to consult under section 188 of TULR(C)A 1992.

This will substantially weaken protection for transferring staff. The proposal is also not consistent with the requirements of the Collective Redundancies Directive.

·         Micro firms (with 10 of fewer employees) who do not recognise a union will no longer be obliged consult with employee representatives on TUPE Transfers. They can inform and consult employees directly.

The Directive does not allow for a small firm exemption on this or other TUPE rights. It is essential that consultation continues with recognised unions.

·         The transferor will not be able to rely on the transferee’s ETO to dismiss an individual before the transfer.

This is welcome, although if the government had proceeded to make the proposed change it would have been in breach of the Directive.

·         Disclosure of Employee liability information: The current provisions are to be retained. The notification period will be extended to 28 days before the transfer takes place.

This is welcome, but is mainly a response by government to the business lobby.



Sunday, 22 September 2013

UNITE Executive Council elections 2014

This week's UNITE Executive Council (EC) meeting decided the timetable and constituencies for the next EC elections, which are due in 2014, with the new EC taking office on 1 May 2014.

The timetable is:

  • Despatch of nomination forms: w/c 6 Jan 2014
  • Nomination meetings: Mon 13 Jan - Tue 11 Feb 2014
  • Last date for receipt of nominations: Tue 18 Feb 2014
  • Last date for acceptance and receipt of election address: Tue 25 Feb 2014
  • Voting papers despatched: 26-28 Mar 2014
  • Last date for receipt of votes: Wed 23 Apr 2014 (NB: this is just after the Easter bank holiday weeked)
  • Count: Thu 24 and Fri 25 Apr 2014
Nominations for industrial sector seats are by branches including members in the sector.  Where there is no workplace branch, workplaces including members in the sector can also make nominations.

The seats are allocated based on the number of paying members, making a total of 59.

23 regional seats:
  • East Midlands: 2 seats (including at least 1 woman)
  • London & Eastern: 4 seats (including at least 1 woman)
  • NEYH: 2 seats (including at least 1 woman)
  • Ireland: 2 seats (including at least 1 woman)
  • North-West: 3 seats (including at least 1 woman)
  • Scotland: 2 seats (including at least 1 woman)
  • South-West: 2 seats (including at least 1 woman)
  • Wales: 2 seats (including at least 1 woman)
  • West Midlands: 2 seats (including at least 1 woman)
4 national equalities seats, one each for women, BAEM, LGBT and Disabled members.

32 industrial sector seats:
  • Food, Drink & Tobacco: 2 (including at least 1 woman)
  • Rural, Agricultural and Allied Workers: 1 seat
  • Motors: 2 seats
  • Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals, Process and Textiles: 2 seats
  • General Engineering, Manufacturing & Services (GEMS): 2 seats
  • Energy/Utilities: 1 seat
  • Metals: 1 seat
  • Aerospace & Shipbuilding: 2 seats
  • Road Transport Commercial, Logistics & Retail Distribution: 2 seats
  • Docks / Rail: 1 seat
  • Passenger: 2 seats
  • Civil Air Transport: 2 seats (including at least 1 woman)
  • Finance / Legal: 2 seats (including at least 1 woman)
  • Community Youth and Not For Profit: 1 seat
  • Construction: 1 seat
  • Graphical Print & Media and IT: 2 seats
  • Local Authorities: 2 seats (including at least 1 woman)
  • Health: 2 seats (including at least 1 woman)
  • MoD / government departments: 1 seat
  • Education: 1 seat
The December EC will address the question of how the election will ensure at least minimum proportionality for BAEM members in this election (which means ensuring at least 6 seats are filled by BAEM members).

Community and Retired Member Plus members cannot currently vote in EC elections, something that the EC expects to be debated at the next Rules Conference, but this would not be until after this round of EC elections.



UNITE constitutional conferences and elections timetable

This is the current timetable, as presented to the September 2013 Executive Council meeting:

  • EC Elections - every 3 years (next elections 2014)
  • Workplace & Branch Rep Elections – every 3 years (next elections 2015)
  • Policy Conferences - every 2 years (next conference 2014)
  • Rules Conference - every 4 years (next conference 2015)
  • National Sector Conferences - every 2 years (next conferences 2013)
  • National Equalities Conferences - every 2 years* (next conferences 2014 & 2015*)
  • National Retired Members Conference - every 2 years (next conference 2013)
  • Regional Industrial Sector Conferences/Elections - every 3 years (next conferences
  • 2015)
  • Regional Equality Conferences/Elections – every 3 years (next conferences 2015)
  • Area Activists Meetings/Elections – every 3 years (next conference 2015)
  • Regional Retired Conferences/Elections – every 3 years (next conference2015)
  • Regional Political Conferences/Elections - every 3 years (next conferences 2014)
 



Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Executive decision on future of IT & Comms in UNITE

Today the UNITE Executive took the decisions on the review of industrial sectors.

In relation to IT & Comms, the decision was broadly in line with the response to the consultation from the IT & Comms National Industrial Sector Committee (NISC).

The IT & Comms sector will be combined with the Graphical, Paper & Media (GPM) sector as the GPM & IT Sector with immediate effect.  An IT & Communications Advisory Committee will be established, subject to review at the end of the current 3-year cycle (2012-2015).

The GPM & IT NISC and Regional Industrial Sector Committees (RISCs) will be formed from all the existing members of the current committees for the remainder of the current term of office, rather than holding fresh elections.  The new combined RISCs will meet from December 2013 and the new NISC from January 2014.

The national sector conference in November 2013 will be a combined GPM & IT one, made up of the delegates elected from the previous sectors.

Work will commence in late 2014/early 2015 on devising new constituencies, including occupational proportionality, for the NISCs and RISCs for electoral period 2015/18.



Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Schedule of UNITE meetings 2014

UNITE's schedule of meetings 2014 is now out, showing the windows in which the various meetings are supposed to take place to avoid clashes:



Regional Industrial
Sector; Area Activists;
Regional Equalities &
Regional Political
Committees


National Industrial
Sector Committees &
National Political
Committee

Regional
Committees

National Equalities
Committees
During:
Between:
Between:
Between:

December 2013

Jan 2nd – 17th

Jan 20th – 31st 

3rd Feb – 12th Feb


March 2014

April 1st – 17th

April 22nd – 30th

May 1st – 13th May


June 2014


July 7th – 17th

July 24th – 30th

July 18th – 23rd July

September 2014


Oct 6th – 23rd

Oct. 24th – 30th

Nov 3rd – 7th Nov


Executive Council meetings:
  • 3-7 March 2014
  • 9-13 June 2014
  • 15-19 September 2014
  • 8-12 December 2014
Policy Conference: 30 June - 4 July 2014

TUC Congress: 7-10 September 2014

Labour Party conference: 21-25 September 2014



Strikes at Hovis and Kuehne+Nagel

It's a busy week for strikes in Greater Manchester.

This morning I visited the bakers' union (BFAWU) picket lines at Hovis in Wigan.  They are starting their second week of strike action against zero hour contracts and the abuse of agency workers.



There's a report here and a collection sheet here.  The union is talking about balloting the sites in Bradford, Leicester and Belfast next.  On Saturday 14th there will be a solidarity march from the Moon Under the Water in Market Square, Wigan to a public meeting at 2:30pm at Whelley Labour Club with Lisa Nandy MP; Ronnie Draper General Secretary BFAWU; Ameen Hadi  UTR; Neil Turner  Ex Wigan MP; Terry Abbott  Wigan Trades council; Ian Hodson BFAWU National President.

Much closer to my own workplace is a Kuehne + Nagel Drinks Logistics depot where I visited UNITE picket lines at dinner time and after work.  The strike affects sites all round the country, and apparently the others were as solidly out as the Manchester one, where nothing went in or out all day.  Pickets continue till 10am tomorrow (Thursday) when an overtime ban and work to rule kicks in.





Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Everyone to Manchester on 29 September - Save the NHS, No to Austerity

The Tories are in Manchester for their conference on 29th September.  UNITE, the TUC, other unions and campaigns are organising a national demonstration in defence of the NHS and against austerity.  Everyone should throw themselves into building this - a big demo can boost confidence to take the action we will need to stop the Tories and their Lib Dem props.

The TUC information about the demo is here: www.nhs299.org.

The UNITE information about the demo (including transport details from round the country) is here: www.unitetheunion.org/saveournhs.

UNITE has produced a video explaining some of the issues around the cuts and privatisation of the NHS to encourage people to come on the demo:



Thursday, 25 July 2013

Solidarity with the Capita workers, fighting over pay

UNITE members at Capital IT Services and Capita Life & Pensions are striking tomorrow (Friday) against a below-inflation pay offer despite profits up 10%.  The UNITE press release is here.

Members at Capita won an important victory last year against offshoring, showing they have real power.

If you want to show support, get down to a picket line or send a message of support:

  • Belfast: the Pru at Clarendon Dock
  • Bournemouth: 100 Holdenhurst Road, BH8 8AL
  • Bristol: Friends Life Centre, Brierly Furlong, Stoke Giffird, Bristol (by Parkway station)
  • Glasgow: is the Santander office at 287 St Vincent Street
  • Manchester: next to the Coop (don't know which one yet!)
  • Reading: the Prudential office
  • Stirling: Capita PLC, Craigforth, Stirling, FK9 4UE