Monday, 28 June 2010

Firefighters in Union Street vuvuzela protest outside brigade HQ

Union Street was filled with the sound of vuvuzelas and whistles on Thursday lunchtime as members of the Fire Brigades' Union held a protest outside a meeting of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA).
Firefighters in Union Street vuvuzela protest outside brigade HQ
Firefighters in Union Street vuvuzela protest outside brigade HQ
Darren Johnson AM
Darren Johnson AM

The union is protesting against plans by the Conservative-controlled fire authority to impose a new 12-hour shift pattern. The day shift currently starts at 9am and runs until 6pm (9 hours) with a night shift starting at 6pm and running until 9am (15 hours). LFEPA claims that the change will provide more time for operational training, more time for community safety and engagement and more flexible working opportunities.

"We know that the proposed 12-hours-on 12-hours-off shift patterns are a prelude to cutting nighttime fire cover," said FBU general secretary Matt Wrack.

The demonstration outside the London Fire Brigade HQ on Union Street was addressed by speakers including Green Party London Assembly member Darren Johnson, who also serves on the fire authority.
There was a heavy police presence at the demonstration and community wardens flagged down motorists to warn them to drive slowly past the protest.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

RMT slams 'lethal and unworkable' Tory plan to axe all tube drivers and operators in a dash for cuts

From: RMT media office [] 
Sent: 17 June 2010 10:58

Subject: RMT slams 'lethal and unworkable' Tory plan to axe all tube drivers and operators in a dash for cuts
TUBE UNION RMT tonight condemned “lethal and unworkable” plans leaked to the BBC from within the GLA Tory Group to axe all train drivers and operators on London Underground and to move the entire tube system to a driverless operation.
The leaked report, confirmed as being under discussion by the GLA Tories and which London Tory Mayor Boris Johnson is aware of, recommends sacking all of the 3,525 train drivers and operators estimating that it could result in savings of £141 million per annum.

The report is also clear that the plan is part of a secret drive by the Tory Party to break the strength of the Tube’s biggest and most powerful trade union, RMT.
RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:

“Under normal circumstances I would be tempted to dismiss this leaked report as some kind of a joke, cooked up by anti-union fantasists, but in the current climate of cuts and attacks on public services we are taking it very seriously.
“People only have to look at the footage of the carnage down the tube after the 7/7 bombings, and the brave and critical role played by train operators and platform staff in dealing with that emergency situation, to see why these crew are so vital to the safety of Londoners.

“The people behind this Tory Party report not only want to get rid of the drivers but they want no staff on the tube trains at all. That just proves that they have no understanding of the tube system and a complete and utter disregard for passenger safety.

“It may well be that some junior politician is simply flying a kite to make a name for themselves but RMT will not sit back and allow this lethal and unworkable idea to gain any traction whatsoever.

“We are already involved in a battle to defend Tube Lines, station and platform jobs and our fight for safe staffing levels across London Underground, including the use of industrial action, will continue.”

acknowledgements to P.MacCafferty

Demonstrate Against Likely Closure of Refugee and Migrant Justice – Defend Legal Aid

David Cameron’s claims to value the work of charities rings very hollow indeed.

RMJ (formerly the Refugee Legal Centre) was founded in 1992 and in the last year alone has helped over 11,000 people. Closure would mean that many thousands of vulnerable people will be left without legal representation. Many will face being returned to countries where theyface persecution and their lives are in danger.

So far the Ministry of Justice has declined to help RMJ. UNITE is calling for RMJ to be saved and for proper Legal Aid funding to ensure that the most vulnerable members of society have real access to justice.

Cuts in public spending are affecting the poorest people right across our society. But these people did not cause the economic crisis and should not be made to pay for it.

UNITE, the union that represents RMJ’s 340 staff, has called a demonstration outside the Ministry of Justice at 4pm on Friday 18th June 2010. Please join us.

Ministry of Justice
102 Petty France
London SW1H 9AJ
Tubes: St James’s Park and Westminster
For further details, please contact Rachael Maskell, Unite National
Officer, Community and Non Profit Sector: 07768 693933


4.30pm - 6.30, Parliament Square Tuesday June 22nd.

Called by Stop the War and CND

The government is claiming a consensus for the need for massive cutbacks to our public services. Almost no-one in public life is calling for serious cuts in the war budget - a measure that would be hugely popular. Stop the War and CND are organising a protest outside next Tuesday’s budget debate.

The current annual expenditure on Afghanistan is nearly £4 billion, enough to build 200 new secondary schools. Scrapping Trident would save £70 billion, more than the total amount the government wants to
cut from the deficit in the next five years. Meanwhile the approach of the 300th British military death in Afghanistan is testimony to the terrible human cost of the war.

Join us on  budget day and protest as the 300th British death approaches and we demand 'Cut the war, Scrap Trident, Troops out of Afghanistan'.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

A moral outrage: 30% increase in trade unionists killed world-wide

From: [] Sent: 11 June 2010 05:46
With acknowledgements to Phelim Mac Cafferty

Subject: A moral outrage: 30%  increase in trade unionists killed world-wide


The annual survey of trade union rights was released today -- and I'm sorry to say that the news is not good.
According to the International Trade Union Confederation, 101 trade unionists  were killed last year. And that represents a 30% increase on the year before.

That even a single human being dies because they are members of a trade union  is a tragedy. That 101 are killed in a single year is a moral outrage. 

South Africa:
Appeal for support from striking Dis-Chem workers

We've launched a new urgent action campaign at the request of the South   African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union (SACCAWU).  SACCAWU members have been on strike for two weeks and the employer is refusing to negotiate. The union is claiming that among other things, Dis-Chem is guilty of wage disparities based on race and this in the new South Africa , nearly twenty years after the collapse of apartheid.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Sunday, 6 June 2010

UCU Congress warn skills gap will hamper low carbon economy and cost Britain jobs and contracts

1 June 2010

Delegates at the UCU annual Congress in Manchester today called on the new coalition government to close the environmental skills gap in the UK or risk shattering any chance of a low carbon economy.
The Congress also heard that the country would miss out on lucrative contracts to deliver green programmes if it did not act fast to close the gap.

As part of a debate on the environment delegates heard from Angie Birtill from South Thames College who warned that the skills gap between what we know and what we need to know about the low carbon economy was one of the biggest obstacles to its successful delivery.

In December, 2009, it was claimed that government action meant that 500,000 jobs would be created around the clean energy sector. However, many of the projects being introduced are going to overseas firms because the skills and manufacturing base does not exist in the UK.

Delegates heard that the problem is being compounded by the cuts being imposed on the further and higher education sector. Because it is difficult for institutions to adapt their programmes to meet the green skills challenge at a time of such uncertainty.

Angie Birtill said:'There is a huge gap in knowledge and skills and what is needed to deliver a low carbon economy. The current UK workforce is not equipped to take advantage of the opportunities presented by any future growth in 'green jobs'. After all these years of talking about sustainable development policies it is nothing short of scandalous.'

Graham Petersen, UCU environment co-ordinator, said: 'If the UK is going to offer the hope of employment to 16-24 year olds this is not the time to cut back on budgets. There is huge potential to train apprentices in renewable energy skills, yet college construction departments are being cut back and staff threatened with redundancy.'

Full details of UCU Congress can be found at: UCU Congress 2010 This release covers motion 97.