Wednesday, 12 December 2007

PROTESTORS AGAINST THE DISMISSAL OF KAREN REISSMAN (with acknowledgements to Richard Searle on

CND Conference report by Sue Tibbles

Report from Sue Tibbles, SERTUC delegate, on CND Conference 2007.

This year's Annual CND Conference took place at City Hall, London, on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th October.Debate took place in the Council Chamber on motions and several fringe meetings and workshops took place in the smaller meeting rooms during the weekend. The meeting rooms were rather overheated and airless unfortunately.

I managed to hear the discussion around the proposal for a US radar in the Czech Republic, and also the discussion on trade unions and CND.The meeting about trade union involvement raised the issue that many trade union branches and even some of the smaller unions have so many worthy organisations asking for funding all the time that it is not that easy to get financial support these days for CND.

Policies for the next year were agreed after motions were carried as follows:
-campaigning against Trident replacement, plus supporting a Nuclear Weapons Convention in 2008 and working more closely with Scottish CND.
-building the European campaign against US missile defence-pledging to focus on work at Aldermaston AWE
-continuing to campaign against nuclear power-continuing to campaign about issues concerning nuclear weapons convoys, depleted uranium and the plight of Mordechai Vanunu

Officers endorsed: Chair: Kate Hudson Vice Chairs: Jeremy Corbyn MP; Dave Webb; Sophie Bolt Treasurer: Linda Hugl.
15 directly elected National Council members were:Pat Arrowsmith, Jenny Clegg, Tom Cuthbert, Sue Davis, Joan Horrocks, Peter Leary, Gawain Little, Caroline Lucas, Alice Mahon, Pat Sanchez, Tom Shelton, Tony Staunton, Rae Street, Carol Turner, Hannah Tweddle.

I aim to strengthen the link with the National Council in future as I am already in contact with Caroline Lucas, Tony Staunton and Gawain Little. Gawain will be an NUT delegate to Oxford & District Trades Union Council next year.

Guest speakers were Dr Alan Mackinnon, Chair of Scottish CND who spoke on political campaign successes in Scotland.Arielle Denis, Co-Chair of French peace group Le Mouvement de la Paix, spoke about nuclear challenges facing the world today.

Workshops were open to the wider public. Several specialist speakers addressed the conference including the young representative from the Czech Peace Movement speaking on US proposals to site a X Band Radar at Brdy, Czech Republic. The Czech people are strongly opposed to the site and approximately 80 mayors have formed the Mayors’ League against the radar.An action emanating from this presentation is to lobby MPs to sign Early Day Motion 65 calling for a democratic debate in UK parliament on the issue of US Missile Defence.

There was a drinks reception on the Saturday evening in London’s Living Room at the top of City Hall, which is always an opportunity to go outside for fresh air and to look at the amazing view

Other items to note for next year’s 50th anniversary of CND:
A Global Summit for a Nuclear Weapon-Free World is being held in London on 16th and 17th February 2008. Delegates from groups and organisations are welcome to attend by contacting CND National Office. There is to be a reception on the Saturday evening of this conference honouring early members.2008 will be the 50th anniversary of CND and at Easter the 50th anniversary of the first Aldermaston march will be marked by meeting there on Easter Monday 24 March, 12 noon.

Also a History of CND exhibition at London School of Economics displaying archive stills of CND's history to take place with an opportunity for the exhibition to go to other parts of the country if organisations have facilities available.

CND National Office, England Contact : Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, 162 Holloway Road, London N7 8DQ*Tel:* 020 7700 2393*Fax:* 020 7700 2357a>>

Thursday, 29 November 2007

William Morris Gallery news

Publicly the Council have said they've pulled out of the De Morgan Plan to move the majority of the William Morris collection away from the William Morris Gallery - BUT privately there are rumours that they are still in dialogue with Kate Catleugh. Peter Cormack leaves his post of curator and keeper on December 6th, for those of you who have not met Peter he is truly an inspiring curator, and has worked for 30 years at the gallery. From December 6th, there will be no-one at the gallery with the knowledge or experience to safeguard the collection or to help visitors. There is a new team due to join the gallery - but no one seems to have a long term contract. The new Education and Outreach Officer and Assistant Keeper are both on secondment contracts. The Manager of the Gallery and Museum still seems to be based in Northumberland with no sign of a start date. The interim Keeper at the gallery is apparently from the de Morgan Centre. The entire collection is not catalogued - the council has never invested the time or money to do this - the entire collection is therefore in serious danger. From January 2008 William Morris Gallery and Vestry House Museum will only be open part-time. This is an enormous reduction in access.

This reduction in access seriously jeopardizes the museums and galleries chances of gaining future funding. Funding is most often assessed on access criteria. Staff have been told to do everything possible - at no matter what cost - to book up events for Sundays in January 2008 onwards to boost visitor numbers. These same staff have been under a year of extreme stress because they didn't know what was happening with their jobs - some have lost their jobs and some have been forced to take part-time positions - to then be told 'it doesn't matter about the money' by the Manager of Museums and Galleries has been hard to swallow. The council have applied for a license for wedding ceremonies to be held at Vestry House Museum and William Morris Gallery, they have stated that this should not further reduce opening hours. At the William Morris Gallery this means you'll only be able to get married Monday - Wednesday which is a blow to their income generation plans. Meanwhile in the same council department - the Manager of Museums and Galleries - the person who implement these cuts and restructuring has been promoted to Head of Libraries also. According to the local Guardian, the council has admitted this post was not advertised, that no-one else was considered and that this member of staff jumped 4 civil service grades - breaking their own rules. The department has already been forced to admit that a popular library was closed with 'virtually no consultation' and today the news broke that the borough has admitted the number of library items fell 239,344 between 2005 and March 2007 and that 100,000 + books were destroyed.Petition NewsThe petition will be printed off and presented very soon - we need 60 more signatures to get the petition to 11,000 - so please help... sign if you haven't already and forward if you haven't already. We do believe it will make a difference. See:

How to Help / What to do next:
1. Please write to the people on this page: Please write again if you've done so already3. If possible, please call for the reinstatement of Peter Cormack as Keeper and Curator. 4. If possible, please encourage the council to open their galleries full time.3. If you have written already but have not had a reply or an unsatisfactory response, please fill in this council complaints form. All complaints are recorded and must be responded to. This department is coming under increasing scrutiny and we are all making a difference. We campaigners believe:
That the council's stated aim to save £56,000 by this restructuring and part-time service will not be achieved.
We are increasingly beginning to believe that the council wishes to purposely run down the service as the buildings are valuable real estate.
We also believe that the council are having to spend hundreds of thousands on employing outside consultants to supplement the lack of knowledge within the council. This money would've been better spent on advertising the gallery and museum and keeping experienced staff in post.
The collection is in extreme danger, after next week there will be no-one employed with knowledge or experience in looking after the collection.
Part-time opening hours under values the service and is a dangerous precedent for museums and galleries nationwide.
The reduction in investment and opening hours will run the service down further, and this will eventually lead to the redundancy of the gallery.
Our continued scrutiny of the council is having an effort and must be continued.
There are many ways to increase the gallery's income generation - starting with actually advertising the service locally - the council have not sufficiently explored these routes.
Exhibitions Currently on at Vestry House Museum and William Morris Gallery
1948:2012Vestry House Museum until 28 January.
Zarah Hussain, HandasahWilliam Morris Gallery, private view tonight 29 November 7-8pm, open until 25 January

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Does the GMB have a truly social agenda?

The Green Party of England & Wales has common cause with the GMB in its opposition to Remploy factory closures that are in the name of 'efficiency savings'. Yet there seems to be a dichotomy in other aspects of its corporate workforce strategy that is far from helpful to vulnerable adults and is so unhelpful to the environment as to make everyone vulnerable.

Its national secretary for public services says he suggests moving
towards a "more efficient" local government workforce in which fewer
staff each receive greater rewards (Community Care, 8 November, 'The
shape of disputes to come').

Yet in the leisure and tourism industry, the GMB is very much on the
same side as BA and the British Airports Authority in a 'the sky is the
limit' approach to Heathrow expansion, despite global warming.

Do they have a truly social agenda, or just a leisure and tourism one?

Alan Wheatley
Green Party of England & Wales Disability

Thursday, 15 November 2007


Arguably the most important issue at present is climate change; there are some sceptics about it and scientific truth cannot be decided by a majority vote, but an overwhelming majority of relevant scientific opinion now agrees that climate change is taking place and trace its causes to a rise in global temperatures that has taken place over about the past 200 years. This can be attributed to human industrial production and consumption, but there is no consensus over what the effects could be. Sea level rises, extreme weather fluctuations and desertification in some regions, perhaps, but exactly how much, when and where is uncertain.

Whatever the impacts, it seems certain that these will affect the working lives of Trades unionists in all occupations. Some Union are becoming aware of this and, are taking on climate change as a Trades Union issue. A recent TUC leaflet notes how front line workers in the emergency services could already be feeling the impact of climate change, but the effects will certain spread far wider that this, possibly including the destruction and relocation of entire industries and markets, and more positively, perhaps, the creation of new industrial sectors, as is already happening with renewables and recycling.

All major British political parties at least state that something ought to be done, but what role can Trades Unions play in this? A lot of work so far seems to have gone towards uncontentious issues, e.g.; having environmental reps who may engage with employers to encourage modifications to make workplaces as environmentally sound as possible. However, deeper problems remain, some unions may successfully pressure, for ‘green’ workplaces; Fords at Dagenham now reportedly adorns its roof with wind turbines, but if the product continues to do environmental damage, as mass-produced petrol driven vehicles do, what is the point?

Difficult issues such as this mean that pre-existing ‘green’ and trades Union political, economic and social agendas cannot simply be bolted together. However discussion about disagreements is the way forward to building a united response to climate change. drawn from a politics based on the interests of workers, the powerless and the poor, rather than the concerns of existing elites to perpetuate their power and privilege.

To this end, I would like to invite trade unionist, activists and branches to support the Campaign Against Climate Change Trades Union Conference that will be held at ULU Malet St, London on February 9th 2008. The Campaign Against Climate Change is an environmental pressure group, which numbers many trades unionists amongst its members and supporters. It has called the conference to address questions such as those outlined above with the support of several major trades Unions, TU branches and Green organisations. There will be workshops throughout the day and plenary sessions addressed by some prominent political and union figures, including Derek Wall and Caroline Lucas. For further details please contact.

Sunday, 4 November 2007


Report from Aled Fisher

Hi guys,The following regards news I've just received from Sam Causton, Chair of the LSESU Citizens for Social Justice Society.This Friday, following pressure from the T&G and London Citizens, Citigroup have agreed to move all their cleaners onto the Living Wage!

LSE students were involved, taking the protest to Citigroup HQ by handing out leaflets to LSE students at an LSE-focused presentation. Many students were shocked that Citigroup did not pay cleaners a Living Wage, and Citigroup themselves sat up and took notice of our action. They have now been shamed into doing the right thing!Another high profile victory for the campaign and for underpaid Londoners. Well done to all involved!The LSESU should be proud to be affiliated to London Citizens - so let's keep taking the campaign to new places until London is a Living Wage City!

Regards,Aled Dilwyn FisherLSESU Environment and Ethics Officer

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Sian Berry backs justice for cleaners

NEWS: Office of Siân Berry, Green Party candidate for Mayor of London

>>> For immediate use, Wednesday 31st October 2007>>>


Siân Berry, the Green candidate for Mayor of London, has lent her backing to a Hallowe'en demonstration [1] demanding better pay for cleaners. Members of the T&G section of the Unite trade union are > presenting Citigroup with a Hallowe'en pumpkin and the message 'Justice For Cleaners!' between 4pm and 5.30pm this afternoon in a bid to secure better wages for the workers that clean the Canary Wharf offices of the banking giant.

Siân said: "Citigroup is one of the world's biggest companies, with assets worth 1.9 trillion dollars - clearly they can affords to pay their cleaners a living wage. The T&G has my total support in > their campaign, and I hope they can repeat their success in securing pay rises for cleaners at Barclays, Deloitte and KPMG.

"London has the biggest pay gap in the country - women working full time in the capital earn, on average, 23% less than men. A big part of the reason for that is that the largely male upper echelons of financial giants like Citigroup are awash with money, but pay their mostly female cleaners poverty wages.

"We all know London is an expensive place to live, but there's plenty of money to go around if people are treated fairly. The Greater London Authority has calculated that the London Living Wage is £7.20 an hour, but companies that are raking in billions in profit are still paying London workers well below this. Thanks to pressure from the Justice for Cleaners campaign, KPMG is now a Living Wage Employer. Citigroup - will you match that?"

For more information or comment, please contact the office of Siân Berry, details below.

Notes to editors:>> 1. Demonstrators are meeting at the Jubilee line exit of Canary > Wharf tube station at 4pm. The will then proceed to Canary Wharf > to present a pumpkin to Citigroup, and the demonstration is > expected to end around 5.30pm.>> 2. Following the campaign's last demonstration at Canary Wharf, > over 1000 ancillary Barclays staff, including cleaners, received a > payrise of £1.10 per hour. More recent actions have resulted in a > settlement of £7.20ph plus sick pay for Lehman Bros and Deloitte > workers, and £7.70ph for cleaners at KPMG.>> For more information on the Justice For Cleaners campaign, see the > T&G website at or contact Anita Ceravolo > at Unite on 020 7611 2500 or>>


The current battles over the tube & CATP.
(Based on a talk given by Dave Walsh to the london Federation of Green parties' AGM September 2007)

First, a bit of history. Some of you will have travelled here to today on the Piccadilly or Central line to Holborn station. Holborn station is a monument to Edwardian plutocratic greed- the fat cats of another era. It was built by American speculators, principally Charles Tysen Yerkes, the man who famously proclaimed that ‘it’s the straphanger who pays the dividend’. Much of the underground, from its beginnings in 1863, had been funded by private companies eager to cash in on the travel needs of middle- class Londoners.

That’s one side of the underground- the search for profits and the ensuing mixed results for passengers of unnecessary competition and jockeying for power. William Morris, whom some of you might consider an early green socialist, fumed about travelling conditions on the Metropolitan Railway in the 1880s, making a coherent attack on the fat cat monopolists who ruled over the system. You’ll find it on page one of his great novel News from Nowhere as well as in the pages of his newspaper Commonweal.

The other side of the underground is can be found in the growing campaigns around the need for public control of the underground in the 1880s and 1890s. This was often articulated by socialists like John Burns but found its way into the wider arena through people like HG Wells who wanted public transport to be efficient and a pleasure to travel on- a vision not achieved in 2007. There was a consensus by about 1910 that public transport in the capital was a mess and much hand- wringing in government circles about how difficult this was to reform.

Fast forward to 1933 and we find one solution in the formation of the first integrated public transport authority for London: the London Passenger Transport Board. The LPTB brought all transport services- buses, tubes and trams (not mainline railways) under the aegis of a public corporation, an idea pushed strongly by Herbert Morrison.

Whatever was wrong with this model of public ownership, and there were many problems, it provided a secure and strong umbrella for transport right through until the 1980s when Thatcher’s government began to privatise sections of it and to dismantle it following its removal from GLC control in 1984. We had thought that public ownership was permanent because it worked, but, post Thatcher, Tony Blair came along and introduced (and backed by Gordon Brown) the PPP system. That was the point when I left the Labour Party. I have been linked with the underground all my life, my father working on there as a ‘telephone lineman’ and then going onto the underground in 1978.

In 1999 we formed CATP (the Campaigan Against Tube Privatisation) to fight the proposed privatisation of parts of the underground and stood candidates in the first GLA elections. Since then CATP has continued the battle to maintain public ownership of the tube and to support the trade unions in keeping jobs and protecting conditions and services.

So where are we today? In the run-up to the GLA elections in 2008 the tube is going to be key. Over the coming months we have a huge opportunity to raise the issues and put forward our vision of a publicly owned and funded tube system.

There are three key issues here: firstly, the farcical collapse of Metronet, the consortium of companies which runs two thirds of the basic infrastructure of the tube. We have been out campaigning on Metronet and received a very favourable response- this has been during the RMT strikes which, unlike their portrayal on the BBC and in the press, are strongly supported by passengers.

Secondly, the complete privatisation of the East London line. The existing line from Whitechapel to New Cross will close in December and be upgraded and extended. Then it will be handed over to the private sector. This is an insult to Londoners and will; herald the further break- up of the tube system in a way similar to what’s happening in the NHS.

Thirdly, the proposed closure or running- down of many tube ticket offices throughout the capital. Ticket offices are often like local post- offices, a vital part o the local community and a place where staff can offer help and assistance to passengers. We know all about the impact of staff reductions on many rail stations in London and we don’t want to repeat this on the tube.

What CATP is calling for is the reclaiming the tube for the people of London. We can build a mass campaign linking transport workers, unions and passengers. At the start of the Blitz in World War II mass action opened the tube for shelterers and some 7% of Londoners used it throughout the war. This was a demonstration of the effectiveness of mass action, in this case spearheaded by the Communist Party. In the 1980s, after the banning of the GLC’s Fares Fair policy by Bromley Council and the Law Lords, the second biggest mass campaign Fare Fight was launched to defend the policy. Many of the good policies that have emerged in recent decades came out of Fare Fight but its real legacy was to show that transport workers and passengers can link up to fight for better public transport. It’s not always easy but it can be done.

We believe that another campaign on this scale can be launched in 2008. CATP supports the unions in their active defence of transport workers, including the recent industrial action of the RMT- and don’t forget that the TSSA white collar union voted by 76% in favour of strike action. We support their campaigns for lower- paid workers like the cleaners. We will be leafleting throughout London in the coming months and holding events/ meetings/ lobbies whenever possible. We hope we’ll get the continuing support of the Green Party Trade Union Group- you are of course affiliated to CATP and other socialist organisations in the capital. Having the right policies on public transport is one thing, supporting practical campaigns like CATP is putting your money where your mouth is. We need people to come out and help with leafleting at tube stations and we hope local groups will be set up throughout London to defend ticket offices. We look forward to your future support.

Dave Welsh

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Miranda Dunn Green party candidate for Barnet and Camden supports CWU strike


Dave Ward of the CWU says "the threat to postal services" his members are striking against "is real". I can bear witness that Dave Ward and the CWU are right. The loss of local offices is not just to the local workers. The loss of our post office has hit the community badly. Years on from the closure, we have lost three other shops from our high street and small businesses and pensioners have to travel much further and queue for longer. The staff who provided the excellent service, now transferred to other branches, are threatened with lower pay and fewer rights.

The closure of the Post Office has taken capital out of the local community and into supermarkets. The loss of the small shops has undermined our quality of life. We must stand up for the CWU because the Post Office provides social glue and supports small businesses and individuality. The CWU workers represent those who rely upon the Post Office as well as themselves in this strike.

Miranda Dunn Green party candidate for Barnet and Camden

Monday, 24 September 2007

Lambeth Green Councillor Rebecca Thackray Supports the Remploy Campaign

"As a nurse I am very familiar with the medical model of disability as a
condition related to individual functioning. 46 Remploy employees in Brixton are now familiar with the social model of disability too, as they face the threat of being disabled from work by the Remploy Board.
Where people are likely to be permanently deprived of access to
employment, the Green Party is unwilling to watch from the side-lines
without advocating for Remploy Workers.

This is an issue of human rights. It is unworthy of the sort of society
we want to see in 21st century Britain. We want more opportunities for
disabled people not fewer. It's not important to retain employees out of charity. Remploy supplies packaging, print, furniture, recycling IT, textiles, healthcare and building products. It meets high standards which have been long maintained and satisfies the market demand for quality, reliability and customer care.

In Lambeth we have recently witnessed:
  1. in health and social care - cuts,

  2. in Council Housing - wasted public funds on propoganda & an
    undemocratic ballot to place management of housing stock at arms-length,

  3. in education the rise of the Academies - schools erected by private
    entrepreneurs with no obligation to honour statutory statements for
    special educational needs.

As if there had not already been enough slackening of local government
responsibility to the most vulnerable - older people, ill people,
carers, council tenants, pupils with educational needs without job loss
of Remploy employees on Effra Road!

Public authorities are legally allowed to support contracts to Remploy -
amounting to a tiny fraction of tax payers' money. Is there the
political will to ensure that workshops are maintained and closure is
averted? Perhaps prior to the general election, Labour councillors would
care to nail their colours to the mast on where they stand on this."

Jean Lambert MEP Supports Remploy Campaign

Jean Lambert MEP, who is a member of the Employment and Social Affairs Committee and the Disability Intergroup in the European Parliament, said: "The planned closure of the Remploy factory in Brixton will leave 46 highly skilled disabled workers without the opportunity to work in theirchosen field, delivering high quality goods and services"

She continued: "Evidence has shown that compared to able-bodied workers, working classdisabled people are far more likely to be employed at the lower end ofthe skill range under unfavourable terms and conditions. The Remploy trade unions have negotiated excellent sick pay and holiday benefits and afinal salary pension scheme, but workers now face losing their jobs andthese hard-won rights"

"I fully support the call for an end to the Remploy factory closures until a proper independent review has taken place, examining in full the opportunities to restructure and develop Remploy whilst retaining all the current manufacturing sites."

Thursday, 30 August 2007

(Australian) Union bosses may urge a Green vote

From,25197,22331218-5013404,00.html (thanks to Niel Walsh)

UNION leaders may advocate a vote for the Greens in the Senate after the minor party said it would have a "mandate" for more union-friendly industrial relations policies if it won the balance of power in the upper house.
Electrical Trades Union Victorian secretary Dean Mighell yesterday said he had held talks with other union officials, many of whom regarded Labor's policy as a "betrayal" and would increasingly consider supporting the Greens.
"I think there will be more union officials that will be advocating for workers to consider supporting the Greens in the Senate; yes, I do," Mr Mighell said.
"And I think, whether they are doing it overtly or privately ... you will find that people can't deny that the Greens haven't got an excellent industrial relations position, one that is traditional Labor."
Mr Mighell is already at war with Labor over his support for the Greens, but other unionists predicted increased interest in the minor party after Tuesday's announcement of Labor's industrial relations policy.
The fate of Labor's workplace laws could be determined by which minor party holds the Senate balance of power from July next year - the Greens or even Family First or the Democrats - with Labor unlikely to win control.
Deputy Opposition Leader Julia Gillard yesterday issued a warning to the Senate that if Labor were elected it would expect its mandate to be respected.
But Greens industrial relations spokeswoman Rachel Siewert said her party could be unable to give ground on aspects of the policy.
"If the Greens hold the balance of power, we, too, will hold a mandate," she said.
"And that will centre around the fact that people want us to be there holding a strong line on industrial relations.
"Obviously, you have the Coalition and then the ALP with 'Work Choices Lite' and the Democrats are slightly better than that, but we have the strongest IR policy and that has been recognised by some unions."
But Ms Gillard maintained the electorate would expect Labor to introduce its policy if it won government.
"If the Greens were elected to government, they would have a mandate to implement their policies, not if they win a couple of seats in the Senate," a spokeswoman for Ms Gillard said.
The Coalition will retain a majority in the Senate until July next year. Like Mr Mighell, Senator Siewert listed as her concerns the retention of Australian Workplace Agreements, changes to unfair dismissal laws, right of entry and the temporary retention of powerful building watchdog the Australian Building and Construction Commission.
The Greens, who have four senators, with two up for re-election, were also concerned about the extension of any secondary boycott provisions under the Trade Practices Act, with more legislation due from the Coalition in the next sessions.
Another possible balance-of-power player, Family First, yesterday dismissed the notion of a mandate and vowed to judge any proposed legislation on its merits.
Senator Steve Fielding said the balance of power was one of the crucial issues in this election.
He said he had voted against Work Choices after assessing its affect on families and small business, and he would adopt the same approach in relation to any Labor bill.
Any bill should be looked at as a whole once drafted and not picked off in a piecemeal fashion, he said.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Cleaning the City for £5.50 per hr

Thanks to Anita Ceravolo, who works for the union UNITE with migrant workers, for bringing this to our attention.,,2146862,00.html

Joseph Healy
Trade Union Group Rep on GPRC

Saturday, 28 July 2007


P.Murry (Secretary, Green Party Trades Union Group 25/02/2007

In the last Green World Derek Wall called for Greens to join Trades Unions, so I just wanted to write a short piece because I support Derek’s suggestion and because I feel that sometimes, some Greens may have some misconceptions about Trades Unions and their politics.

I think that a proper Trades Union is an autonomous workers’ organisation, originally set up by its own members to represent them primarily in the workplace and primarily to improve and defend pay and working conditions. Since workplaces exist in economic, political and ecological contexts this leads unions to act as pressure groups in these areas.

Hence Trades Union involvement in the campaign against the Colnbrook incinerator, (workers at nearby Heathrow airport would be amongst those worst affected by the pollution), and Gerry Doherty of the TSSA’s * call for support for road pricing, coupled with a reduction in excessive rail fares, (Guardian letters page 21/2/2007).There are many other examples of where Unions would support the same policies as Greens, but there are also instances where the oppose them, the worst example probably being Prospect and the TGWU’s support for new nuclear power stations. Here Greens have to argue that such stances are short-sighted as they will damage workers and their families as well as everyone else and that the job creation involved in greening the economy and society could more than compensate for jobs lost in some industries.

It is possible for Greens to make such arguments within Trades Unions, since they are basically, (but not perfectly) democratic institutions. Currently British Unions are politically dominated by a conventional Left consensus, (ranging from Trotskyite to right wing Labour) AND then there are the entrenched, vested interests of Officers (elected) and Officials (paid) who derive power, prestige and remuneration from the status quo, this all means that being an active Green within a Union can be a very frustrating and isolating experience. Things could become easier with the current superficial ‘greening’ of British politics , but paradoxically more difficult for the Green Party if others can claim to be able to enact the same policies, however what some Unions are starting to realise is that there is a very close convergence of the Green and Union agendas on social and economic policies.

So I think Greens should follow Derek’s advice and become more involved in Unions; for those who already have and for those who are just thinking about it, there is the Green Party Trades Union Group, open to all GP members, to join the email list contact .

* Transport Salaried Staff’s Association

Monday, 9 July 2007

Cllr Sven Rufus writes about the Green party, TU's and Co-ops

I'm in the GMB, my local branch have paid for adverts in our local Green Party newsletter. Now I have been elected as a Councillor, they are more interested still in what we can do together. I will be nurturing this relationship - in so many ways the TU movement is a natural partner for the GP. We should be drawing them towards us, we need to find common ground and build on that. On that note, the Brighton and Hove GP-TU group was on the picket supporting the CWU in their recent action. This support has been noted by the CWU at a national level, and contrasted to the complete absence of any contact from anyone in the Labour Party. Simple actions like this help build links for the future.
As for Coops and Mutuals - I am also a Committee member of the Local Co-op branch, and hopefully as soon as the group is properly convened,I will be on the national Environment Working Group for the Co-op too. I have raised the issue of Co-op support for Co-op Party (and thus the LabourParty) several times and I think the message is beginning to get through. I have also raised the issue of Co-op Party support for Labour with Co-op Party members, but inevitably, this is not being so well recieved. The people I work with in the Co-op are almost all Labour, and almost all disenchanted. The Co-op Party does not allow me to join as I actively campaign against the Labour Party, (in breach of the 1st Co-operative Principle - no discrimination allowed on various grounds including political). As the Co-op part funds the Co-op Party, despite the breach of the 1st Co-operative Principle, I believe that there is real scope for opening theCo-op's eyes to what the GP can also do for them. It should be noted that during the recent Local Elections, I was running on a manifesto that made more mentions of Co-ops than did the Labour Party manifesto (yet the Co-op Party paid £1200 towards publishing the LP manifesto). As with the Unions, I feel that of course we should be prepared to take any support that comes from people with a natural link to our philosophy as long as it is on our terms and we are not dictated to about how we should do things or what stance to take.Trade Union's and Co-ops are striving for many of the same outcomes as us and so of course we should work with them to get the job done. If these organisations have explicitly set aside funds to help influence political decision making, we have as much right to ask for support as do other parties. In fact we should be highlighting to these potential partners that the money they offer Labour has come to be seen as an automatic right by that Party, and often does not lead to the outcomes TU's and Co-ops are after. If they are not giving value for money to their funders, then a new relatonship may offer them more hope of achieving their own ends.

Furthermore, as the TU movement and the Co-op have memberships massively greater than the GP's, developing a good working relationship with them offers us the opportunity to get involved more in promoting the GP agenda to their members. If the GP establishes a relationship with my union, the GMB, that gives us access to 700,000 people. The Co-op has 4 million members - these numbers soon add up. If more people understand our message, we have a better chance of success.

This Branch/Trades Council (delete as applicable) notes:
1. That a new centre to detain 426 asylum seekers and migrants is being built in the grounds of Gatwick airport.
2. That people are detained in such centres without trial and for no crime. They have been deemed illegal simply for being in this country. Many are fleeing persecution and poverty. They are likely to face deportation.
3. That a No Border Camp has been called between September 19-24 to protest against the building of this detention centre and against all such centres.
This Branch/Trades Council therefore resolves to:
A. To campaign against the building of this detention centre
B. Sponsor the No Borders Camp and make a donation of ....... (recommended range £50-300 according to the finances of the branch. Donations made payable to No Borders Brighton and clearly marked - 'No Border Camp' on the back - sent to No Borders Brighton, PO Box 74, Brighton BN1 4ZQ.).
C. Encourage members to attend the camp. (For details see
D. Campaign to close down all detention centres.
E. Campaign against all deportations and immigration controls.
F. Call on the union at regional and national level to campaign to support the camp, campaign against the building of this detention centre, campaign to close down all detention centres, deportations and immigration controls.

Sunday, 8 July 2007


The Green Party is becoming online shop. Did you know that "We believe that environmental awareness does not have to mean the deprivation of the benefits our modern society has grown to enjoy.." ?

Well, see the new GP leaflet which uses the offer of a £5 voucher as an incentive to join the Green Party. The voucher can be
redeemed with the following company for purchases over £50 :

The following website appears prominently on the leaflet:

And if you went to consume the LIVE EARTH Concert on 7/7/07, the Wembley exclusion zone protected you from tree-hugging weirdos.

Brent Council threatened GP leafletters with arrest (and also removed Campaign for Climate change leafletters) in the walkway leading from Wembley Park tube on 7/7/07 at the Live Earth concert whilst permitting hamburger stalls, they have an exclusion zone for unlicensed leafletting round Wembley which means that the punters for Live Earth could proceed from the tube station to the stadium perhaps purchasing a funny hat or some junk food without being worried by being offered the chance to do anything about Climate change. Long live passive consumerism.

Friday, 6 July 2007

Amazing (if somewhat predictable) GPTU banner competition

This is our current banner , (I made it myself and that is why we need a new one), the picture of Bob Crow gives an idea of its true size. We are now broke because Sue Tibbles was sensible enough to spend all our money on organising a meeting at the Unison conference . So the fantastic prizes for a new banner design are:

A cat litter tray filled with specially pre-shredded patio heater leaflets AND

A copy of the Eco-socialist Manifesto pre-folded to provide emmission free air transport for fleas.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007


This Blog is going to be a blog open to any member of the Green Party TU Group . At the moment to post to it you need to send your postings (ie written pieces or pictures) to me, Pete Murry, at It will be open to the public and probably in the public domain for legal purposes, ( I don't know I'm not a lawyer but if I put you on the blog I do not personally accept responsibility for any defamation, sedition, indecency or libel that you may post, however enjoyable it may be).
I hereby appoint myself Blog administrator which means I can remove posts if I think neccessary (but I hope it won't be).
If this works it should be an online means of pursuing the discussion we have had at GPTU meetings and on the email lists and perhaps reaching out to the wider audience we keep talking about.
If not another teabag on the compost heap of history.