Sunday, 18 March 2018

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

UCU Union members react with anger to proposed deal

Union members react with anger to proposed deal

Photo credit Jonny Jones

Members of the UCU union were expressing their
determination on Monday evening to reject a deal
reached earlier in the day by a section of their
 leadership and Universities UK. The deal was
heavily criticised by members as soon as it was
released by UCU. Many vented their frustration
online, furious that it fell far short of what the strike
has demanded so far. They pointed out that this
 was because the deal:
§  Accepted the bosses case that the scheme
was financially unsustainable and raised the
amount of money workers would have to
contribute each month into their pension. At
the same time, the rate at which employers
pay into the scheme would fall.
§  Forced striking workers to reschedule their
classes that were missed during the strike,
effectively making them work unpaid whilst
also undermining the strike action.
§  Only lasted 3 years, in which time so-called
experts would be invited to come and
present inferior pension schemes, something
 that goes against what people have been on
 strike for.
In one open letter –signed by 5,000 union
members within hours – it said “In three years time
 we will be demobilised and pressured to accept a
worse deal. In our opinion we should keep going
and throw UUK’s offer out all together.”
In another statement released by University of
Liverpool UCU, it stated that a meeting of 100
members earlier in the day had unanimously
rejected the deal. “Members in our branch and
across the country did not join one of the most
impressive shows of collective solidarity in the
face of restrictive trade union laws for a
compromise offer that does not guarantee them
decency in retirement.”, it read. Within hours,
#NoCapitulation was trending on Twitter. One user
wrote “I was feeling a tad unstrikey at the
weekend. I am feeling very, very strikey now.
#NoCapitulation #ucustrike” The branch secretary
of one UCU branch involved in the strike simply
stated ‘massive sellout!” on Facebook.
However, this was not a done deal. Even the BBC
headlines on Tuesday morning that made out the
strikes were about to end had to acknowledge that
the agreement needed to be ratified by a meeting
of union reps that day, as well as any decision on
halting strikes. The meeting – to be held in UCUs
London offices – quickly became the focus of
union members’ anger, with hundreds committing
themselves to demonstrate outside in protest at
the proposed deal. Student groups which had
been set up to support the strike also threw
themselves behind what appeared to be an
overwhelming desire to carry on the fight in
defence of a decent pension.
As the morning rolled on, stories poured in of huge
meetings of striking university staff rejecting the
deal. One rep in Cardiff put the atmosphere like
this: “We’ve had picket lines this morning outside
buildings where there hasn’t been one before.
People are turning out more because they’re so
angry about the deal.” The hall booked for the
meeting was too small for the hundreds who
wanted to attend, so they held it outside instead.
Workers held aloft their placards, some had been
made the night before and simply read: ‘No’. The
meeting overwhelmingly rejected the deal.
The strike has unleashed a level of industrial
struggle and solidarity not seen in decades. The
mood of the strike has been very upbeat and
workers rightly think they can win. Pushing a deal
that falls so far short may have provided an
already confident strike with further opportunity to
strengthen the organisation of ordinary union
members and their supporters.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Support Ex Carillion staff at British Museum

Support Ex Carillion staff at British Museum
12.30-1.30 pm British Museum 
Great Russell St WC1B 3DG
Speaker: Mark Serwotka General Secretary PCS

* Tell British Museum it is time to talk
* Bring staff back in house
* Protect our jobs, pensions, terms & conditions
* End privatisation

The collapse of Carillion in January putting at threat 20,000 jobs many providing public services has proved right all those who argued that privatisation isn't working! It is tax payers who have paid for the millions that go in profits to these multinationals in our public services, and it is us who has to pick up the bill when they go bust.

Five years ago staff at British Museum took action to protest against being privatised. Carillion was the company that took over now leaving them high and dry!

Since the bankruptcy was announced staff are still keeping the museum services going. But no one can guarantee their jobs, their terms & conditions or their future. 

New Director Hartwig Fischer has said he can’t meet staff or unions. But Councils round the country have agreed to bring services provided by Carillion back in-house to keep them running. 

It is now urgent the British Museum at least meet to discuss our future. Many staff have worked here for 20 years and the museum can’t function without them.  PCS are demanding an immediate meeting with the Director and urgent talks to protect staff and to bring them back in house. 

Please support us by 

Fire and cold - time for justice for high-rise residents!

Fire and cold - time for justice for high-rise residents!

7 - 9 pm, 15 March, Crossroads Women's Centre, NW5 2DX 

Since the public meeting in January and our followup meeting in February, we've been forging ahead on this, working with residents in three estates to see what can be won, and getting some national attention on the fact that thousands of people are now freezing without insulation or cladding on their high-rise blocks, while others are still living in danger.  We've gathered a lot of really damning information about how the government, developers, and manufacturers -- and in particular the plastics industry -- have put residents at risk, and have put together a dynamite factsheet that will be a very useful tool; we have shared it with MPs and others before, and at, a parliamentary debate.  

Our position is: Central government, not residents, caused this national disaster, and central government, not residents, should pay to deal with it, and ensure that people can keep warm and dry, and cladding is replaced without delay.

At this meeting -- our regular monthly meeting postponed from 1 March because too many people couldn't make it in the snow -- we will present some of this information, before discussing demands, strategy, and next steps in this campaign, and how to build on our heightened media presence -- since last time, Radio London, BBC Victoria Derbyshire programme, BBC Channel 5 News, and ITN news (still to be broadcast), in addition to Vice and our letter in the Guardian on cladding.  

Your input would be very welcome!  If anyone can come from an estate affected by these or similar issues, you will have time to go into a bit more detail about your situation.  

There's also a lot more happening, on District Heating, energy prices and caps, our Mini-Guide, casework, the Mayor's London Plan, fracking, divesting from fossil fuels  . . . please keep urgent reports to a couple of minutes.  Some reports can carry over to the following meeting -- 5 April in Stockwell to allow more time to work out our strategy on cladding and insulation, and to discuss some ideas on how to bring in more people who can help with FPA's work on a weekly basis, and also to get funding for it!
As always, the venue is fully wheelchair accessible.  It really helps if you have a minute to indicate if you're

Hope to see you there, or soon.  


Friday, 9 March 2018

Demo to support the UCU strikes and Yiddish Glory: The Lost Songs of WWII

Demo to support the UCU strikes and Yiddish Glory: The Lost Songs of WWII

MARCH  FOR   EDUCATION #2 BACK PENSION  & PAY STRIKES Wednesday  14 March,  12 noon Assemble:  Malet St,  London WC1E 7HY

more details here...

Yiddish Glory: The Lost Songs of WWII

Six Degrees Records has just released Yiddish Glory: The Lost Songs of WWII. On this collection of Yiddish music from the Second World War some very talented modern musicians perform previously unheard songs that call for the defeat of fascism and revenge on the Nazi oppressors.
Read a review on the UCU Retired Members' website...