Monday, 25 November 2019

Disappointing to see bias in the latest Greener Jobs Alliance, newsletter

Disappointing to see bias in the latest newsletter ( see 

http://www.greenerjobsalliance.co.uk/news/), towards Labour Green New Deal and not a comparison to how it compares with the Green New Deal


Normally I tweet the link to the Green Jobs Alliance, but won't be this time as I am disappointed that there is a clear bias towards the Labour Party policies relating to the environment, and you have not set out the Green Party's commitments to the environment alongside this.

 I am surprised that you didn't see fit to present a more balanced view by comparing Labour's Green commitments with those of the  Green Party.

Especially as the Labour Party are not showing their commitment to becoming Green through recent actions in Parliament:

119 Labour MP's voted to expand Heathrow Airport with a 3rd runway.

Labour Shadow Cabinet members have backed Nuclear - Sepember 2019
& a new coal mine in April 2019

Also Labour in their manifesto have not committed to zero carbon by 2030 and are not putting in enough funded infrastructure, compared to the Green Party's commitment of spending Overall.

The green party propose investing around £93 billion per year in our Green New Deal, with a further £80or so billion being spend on Universal Basic Income which will form part of the New Deal (empowering people to seize the opportunities created by the new green economy)
This combined Green New Deal investment, over ten years, will represent an investment of nearly £2 trillion in fighting the climate emergency.

So perhaps in order for people to understand the differences between these two Green Deals and not have one presented as being the solution - i.e. Labour's green new deal you should have given a more objective summary and outline of both parties' commitments to the environment in full!

Regards,

Andrea Carey Fuller
Green Party Candidate for Lewisham Deptford

Sunday, 10 November 2019

Green Left Rejects the Green Party’s Remain Pact With Liberal Democrats

Green Left Rejects the Green Party’s Remain Pact With Liberal Democrats 

Green Left says ‘no’ to supporting Jo Swinson’s second rate Tories. The Liberal Democrats nationally oppose our Green values.

Green Left believes a step forward for the green movement in the UK has taken place recently, with many people joining both the Green Party and Labour Party, reflecting real concerns about the threat of climate change to our very existence on this planet.

Green Left welcomes the fact that the Green New Deal is gaining support on the left, especially in the Labour Party,  and we believe that Greens should engage with others who share the same policies as us, to build the green movement for change which is the only way to save the planet. 
Green Left believes the mass movement of Extinction Rebellion and the Youth Strikes shows up the pro capitalist parties for what they are – gambling with the planet. The Lib Dems are part of the problem not the solution.
The Liberal Democrats are a party whose leader, Jo Swinson, received funding from a major fracking company and voted for fracking. She and her party also voted for the bedroom tax, benefit cuts and the introduction of Universal Credit, the scrapping of the education maintenance, increased tuition fees, opposed increasing the tax rate on those earning £150,000, supported cuts to the police and emergency services, supported zero hours contracts, supported the badger cull and did little to challenge climate change, preferring instead nuclear power.
The Lib Dems are also uncritical supporters of the EU, unlike the Greens who want major democratic reform and accountability. The Lib Dems reject a proper further referendum that allows people a democratic say on any EU deal or no deal.
Green Left believes Caroline Lucas was right to warn how dangerous the Lib Dems position of ignoring the Referendum result, and instead going for Revoke, is  : “I certainly think that the Lib Dem way out is arrogant, self-indulgent, cynical and very dangerous. I think that will put fuel on the fire,” https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/18/caroline-lucas-lib-dems-revoke-and-remain-stance-brexit-is-arrogant
Green Party policy has been for a second people’s vote, and in this case is closer to that of Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party, who also support a second  referendum, than the Liberal Democrats’ Revoke position.
Green Left is very concerned that the implied call to support Liberal Democrat General Election  candidates where the Green Party is not standing and where the Labour candidate was either the sitting MP or is the best placed candidate to defeat the Tory MP is  an incorrect position to take - especially if that person supports anti-austerity, proportional representation, a Green New Deal and a people’s vote.
Therefore, we urge Green Party members and supporters to support the Labour Party candidate in these areas.
The UniteToRemain pact contradicts the Green Party’s initial position that this should be a Climate Emergency election. Instead the pact makes it a Brexit election.

ENDS
  


Green Left is an Eco-Socialist current within the Green Party of England and Wales.

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Capitalism Didn’t Make the iPhone, You iMbecile










Capitalism Didn’t Make the iPhone, You iMbecile



Economist Rob Larson explains why the free market isn't the force of innovation it's commonly believed to be. Support Current Affairs: http://currentaffairs.org/donate Buy Rob's book: https://www.johnhuntpublishing.com/ze... For more on the state's role in innovation see Mariana Mazzucato's "The Entrepreneurial State": https://marianamazzucato.com/entrepre...

Sunday, 3 November 2019

In Pursuit of a Common Wealth | Interview with George Monbiot







In Pursuit of a Common Wealth | Interview with George Monbiot

SUBSCRIBE
George Monbiot is a writer and activist. He is the founder of The Land is Ours, a campaign for the right of access to the countryside and its resources in the United Kingdom. His latest book, Out of the Wreckage: a new politics for an age of crisis sketches a new political story, tailored to the needs of the 21st Century, to replace the failed models of the 20th, with which we are currently still stuck. Eleanor met with George at the World Transformed Festival to discuss Labour's plans for a Green New Deal, the transferring of wealth away from private hands to the commons, and the need to address colonialism and include the Global South in demands for tackling the climate crisis.

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Engineering for Peace, Jobs and Climate Justice' Saturday 9 November



TUC: LESE update about trade union campaigns

Welcome to our regular update about trade union campaigns

From Sam Gurney, regional secretary and
Laurie Heselden, regional policy and campaigns officer

TUC: LESE is the Trades Union Congress region that is responsible for London, the east and the south east of England, where nearly two million trade union members live and work. Think Norwich across to Oxford, and then down to the Isle of Wight and you will have a rough image of our geography.

As always there is a lot in this bulletin so please feel free to scan down and look at the items that are of most interest to you.

And please cascade this campaign bulletin to trade union colleagues and activists, and urge them to register to receive it directly, by using the registration tool at the end of this bulletin.

Johnson's deal - a disaster for working people

Whether you voted 'remain' or 'leave', decided not to vote in the referendum, or indeed, you were too young to vote at the time, be under no illusion, your employment and trade union rights are under threat.

In Theresa May's deal there was a commitment in the Withdrawal Agreement to retain existing worker's rights and to maintain a 'level playing field' with the EU going forwards. In Johnson's deal the reference to worker's rights has been moved from the binding Withdrawal Agreement to the entirely voluntary Political Declaration. And the government's media line is 'Ministers will make decisions and will be accountable to Parliament for them'. So no worker's rights, or trade union rights, are protected - all is in play, all is in jeopardy!

Johnson has publicly emphasised "UK laws and regulations will potentially diverge from the EU's. That is the point of our exit...."

Dominic Raab, Foreign Secretary, and former Brexit Secretary, has said "Once they enter the workplace the British are among the worst idlers in the world..."

Priti Patel, Home Secretary, once said "the government must not underestimate the damage that trade unions are planning and the scale of their abuse of taxpayer's money". That was because we dared to oppose austerity economics and the public spending cuts that have been proven to be so harmful to the UK.

Our paid holidays, rights for part time workers, rights for agency workers, time off for working mums and dads, equal pay for women and limits on working hours, that make life better for millions of people up and down the UK and are all guaranteed in EU law.

If you want to read more about what the TUC is doing to defend worker's rights now and in the future please see https://www.tuc.org.uk/blogs/boris-johnsons-brexit-deal-disaster-working-people

Sam Gurney has been contacting MPs, and meeting MPs with delegations of trade unionists, to emphasise the TUC's position and outline our concerns.

Make sure that everyone you know is 'registered to vote'


It now seems very likely that there will be a General Election in December 2019.

It is not an exaggeration to say that woman and men died in the struggle to win the vote for working people. This includes the 18 people killed in the Peterloo Massacre  200 years ago, in August 1819.

If someone is not on the register they cannot vote. Young people and people who move home regularly are the most likely to not to be on the register. So check your family, friends and neighbours.

It takes fewer than 5 minutes to register online and it might make a life time of difference https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

Another union win against an outsourcer - GMB members force Mitie to drop plans for redundancies and pay cuts



The GMB is celebrating, and consolidating the organising benefits of, a massive win against giant outsourcing company Mitie. Southern Region GMB said "Mitie  proposed 60 compulsory redundancies and pay cuts to 400 workers at St George's Hospital, in South London. But a 99.6% vote for industrial action, broad support from the community, the local MP, and robust negotiations, stopped a multi-national company in its tracks and saved jobs, pay levels and protected the quality of public services." And the GMB gained 200 new members during the campaign.

And not one, but two more union wins against outsourcers - this time PCS wins twice at a government department, and fights on at another



After three months of indefinite strike action PCS members, who are caterers and work in a government department HQ in Westminster, have won their struggle for the real London living wage. The outsourcing contractor Aramark reached an agreement with the PCS that members working in the kitchens at the Department of Business, Enterprise and Industrial Strategy accepted. The PCS branch at BEIS said "WE HAVE WON!! Congratulations to our strikers for an historic and massive win." TUC: LESE visited their lively picket lines many times and arranged for Frances O'Grady to visit too.

And soon after the branch announced it had also won its dispute with outsourcer ISS, this time the members that work as receptionists, security guards, porters and post room staff  members won the real London living wage, better annual leave entitlement and occupational sick pay for the first time.

The prime minister is lyrical about his commitment to the real living wage and world class employment conditions, meanwhile, many people working in government departments and the public sector are denied decent terms and conditions by outsourcers.

Congratulations are  due not just to the strikers, who were brave, principled and ceaselessly upbeat, but also to the reps and wider PCS branch at BEIS, for a fantastic organising and leadership job. @BEIS_PCS_LS

Meanwhile the struggle at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office continues, this time against Interserve. The members have just been re-balloted and an 82.5% turn-out  voted 100% in favour of further industrial action.  Interserve is seeking to impose job cuts, refuses to pay the real London living wage and refuses to recognise PCS. More details at https://www.pcs.org.uk/news/call-on-foreign-secretary-to-intervene-in-fco-interserve-dispute

Unison members at Frimley Park and Heatherwood hospitals to go on strike to oppose privatisation


Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust plans to privatise up to 1,000 NHS cleaners, caterers, porters, security and estates staff, transfering them to a new ‘wholly owned subsidiary’ company early next year. UNISON has been campaigning against subsidiaries in the NHS believing them to be little more than back-door privatisation of the NHS, a blatant tax-avoidance scheme and massive threat to the long-term pay and conditions of members.

Unison South East organised a series of public demonstrations in the summer and autumn and 99 per cent of Unison members affected have now voted to take strike action.

Steve Torrance, Unison South East regional secretary said: “This ballot sends an important and overwhelming message that hospital bosses can’t afford to ignore. The trust must now take staff's concerns seriously and work with Unison (and other unions involved) to ensure these workers remain directly employed by the NHS. These hard-working hospital staff are some of the lowest paid workers in the health service and feel targeted for a quick saving by their employer. They don’t deserve to have their NHS employment status ripped away just so the trust can avoid paying some tax."

For updates follow Unison South East at @unisonSE and #scraptheWOS and @unisonFhft

Fantastic organising was the foundation of CWU's massive ballot win for industrial action at Royal Mail 


97.1% of  CWU members at Royal Mail voted for strike action, and two further ballots of Parcel Force voted 95% and 94.7% for strike action.

The CWU said "just over a year ago the Royal Mail group and CWU agreed a blueprint for the future, but the new leadership of the company wants to break that agreement. Our members take honour seriously, integrity and pride still matter. The workforce has completely rejected the company's plans to set up a separate parcels business and allow UK postal services and thousands of jobs to wither."

This dispute is about  thousands of jobs, the future of a highly valued universal public service and the integrity and value of industrial relations. CWU  members deserve support from the family of unions and from every community.

Keep up to date with developments on the CWU website at http://cwu.org  and #WeRiseAgain You can print the poster  from the CWU website and display it in your window.

BFAWU's  McStrike campaign takes next step


Young BFAWU  members took strike action at McDonald's  fast food restaurants  in Crayford and Cambridge in 2017, the first strikes in the UK against the multinational, which is notoriously hostile to unions. BFAWU has continued to organise methodically and it has called for street stalls 9 November to be organised outside of McDonald's branches by supporters, in advance of proposed strike action at more restaurants 12 November  2019.

Please stay alert to updates from BFAWU.  https://www.bfawu.org/mcstrike

And TUC: LESE will circulate more information about locations and campaign materials when we have it.

Unions say 'Thomas Cook collapse - never again"

Weak UK company law, incompetent boardroom behaviour, poor management  and government indifference all contributed to the closure of  yet another famous high street name, the loss of thousands of jobs in the UK and many thousands more abroad, 150,000 holiday makers stranded abroad and hundreds of thousands of holidays lost - when Thomas Cook collapsed. Some jobs seem likely to be rescued in the shops but more than 2000 cabin crew lost their jobs, 600 of whom are based in the TUC: LESE region.

Unite is campaigning for this never to happen again and for the workers who are owed money to be paid in full. For details of what you can do to help them go to https://unitetheunion.org/campaigns/thomas-cook-collapse-never-again/

TSSA has condemned the UK government for doing nothing to save Thomas Cook, in stark contrast to the actions of the German and Spanish governments, which intervened to save businesses and jobs.  Read more. 


FBU says - "Communities need to join it and fight to rescue our Fire Services"

Last month we featured Suffolk FBU's campaign to defend fire and rescue services in the county. This month we are featuring Surrey FBU's campaign against 'ludicrous and dangerous' cuts in the county, where it is proposed that 7 fire engines will be lost from night time services and 70 fire fighters post will be lost.

Lee Belsten, Surrey FBU Brigade Secretary said "They are claiming that the service will continue to meet its response times. But Surrey Fire Services cannot meet the standard with the existing resources - and these cuts will only make things worse."

If you live in Surrey please contact your local councillors and MP, and send a message of support to the FBU.

The campaign to defend public services in Surrey can be found at http://www.sosis.org.uk/

And wherever you live stay alert to cuts to the Fire and Rescue Service near you. 

Union members at London Borough of Tower Hamlets vote to defend their terms and conditions

Unison Greater London reports that the LB Tower Hamlets is seeking to implement wide ranging changes to terms conditions including pay scales, working time, on-call payments, annual leave, redundancy, redeployment, overtime, flexitime, shift allowances, grievance and disciplinary procedures - pretty much everything. We have seen a joint union briefing by Unite, Unison and GMB that details the detriments caused by the so called 'Tower Rewards' scheme. Members have rejected the scheme in an indicative ballot. Management has reportedly threatened to use a notorious Section 188 notice dismissing the entire workforce offering the chance to be re-employed on the new terms and conditions.  

Follow https://www.facebook.com/pg/TowerHamletsUnison/posts/
for updates.

Industrial action in universities and colleges near you; UCU, NEU and Unison members deserve your support

How false the government's fake news that 'austerity is over' rings. Union members in further education colleges, and universities, are being forced to take industrial action to win a pay rise and defend the pensions that they have already paid for.

National Education Union members in 25 FE colleges were on strike 17 October, and will be on strike again 5 November, and 20 November.  NEU members in another 16 FE colleges are being re-balloted.  More details at https://neu.org.uk/sixth-form-colleges-ballot-and-strike




The University and College Union has ballots running in FE about pay and in HE  about pensions. More information at https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/10372/Give-UCU-a-mandate-to-resolve-the-USS-dispute



Unison members in HE are presently being balloted with the recommendation to reject a 1.8% pay offer. The retail price index of inflation, which is traditionally used for pay claims, in August was 2.6%. So 1.8% is effectively an offer of a real terms pay cut. Doesn't sound like austerity is over - does it?

Prospect members at Science Museum and the Museum of London strike against low pay


Prospect members at the world famous Science Museum went on strike again 23 October opposing a below inflation  pay offer of 1.5%. Workers there have had a real terms pay cut of 10% since 2011. Unfortunately, the institution's world class reputation is built upon low pay for many, the lowest paid of whom earn less than the real London living wage. These eloquent Prospect members say 'We show you tomorrow's world, on yesterday's wages'.

And Prospect members at the Museum of London went on strike 24 October, also seeking a commitment for the lowest paid to receive a basic pay of at least the real London living wage.

Those who visit these prestigious organisations marvel at the quality and dedication of the staff, but few realise that some are paid poverty pay.

Please support  the Prospect members in their struggle.
https://prospect.org.uk/news/prospect-members-at-science-museum-group-announce-new-strike-date-after-talks-fall-short/

GMB members employed by ASDA across the country are receiving redundancy notices. How can you support them?

Loyal staff, including many who are GMB members, are being rewarded with cuts to their terms and conditions. Asda has begun a consultation with 3,257 employees in 18 'so called' underperforming stores, singled out as overstaffed relative to their current sales performance.
It's not good enough. Asda is a company with a multi-billion pound turn-over. It doesn’t have to do this. Please sign this petition to stand with Asda workers.

USDAW, apparently with Santa's support, says 'Keep your cool and respect shop workers'


Every minute of the working day a shop worker is verbally abused, threatened with violence or physically attacked. USDAW's 'Freedom from Fear' campaign  aims to speak to members, to win the support of the public and to influence both bosses and the government to act to protect shop workers.

Respect for shop workers week will be celebrated 11-17 November. And there are other campaign actions that we can all support detailed at http://www.usdaw.org.uk/Campaigns/Freedom-From-Fear 

We have one climate and we all share it - so let's defend it



The October meeting of the TUC LESE’s regional council resolved to publicise the next 'school climate emergency strike', 29 November, and to encourage unions and union branches to find imaginative ways to show support and to join in the action.

Congress 2019 resolved that 'we must keep the pressure up'. The school students have led the way but educators and the trade union movement as a whole must now act to ensure that they do not fight alone'.

In every workplace, company and organisation, there should be a commitment to change and a conversation with workers and unions at the centre, about a green new deal, just transition and quality jobs.

The TUC's thoughts on a just transition for workers can be found at https://www.tuc.org.uk/research-analysis/reports/just-transition-greener-fairer-economy

Sexual harassment has no place in the workplace. But every day people across the UK are sexually harassed at work. So sign this petition, and demand radical change

Unions and campaign groups are demanding that the government creates a new law to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. Sign the petition and demand that the government takes immediate action:
https://www.megaphone.org.uk/petitions/uk-gov-act-to-prevent-sexual-harassment-at-work

More than half of women have been sexually harassed at work. More than two-thirds of LGBT+ workers have experience sexual harassment in the workplace. But currently, there is no legal duty on employers to take proactive action to prevent this from happening.
We're demanding a new easily enforceable legal duty requiring employers to take all reasonable steps to protect workers from sexual harassment and victimisation.
Our present laws rely on individuals reporting abuse but #ThisIsNotWorking. The onus is on the victim to report offences, which can be isolating, confusing and traumatic. Four out of five workers who have been sexually abused don’t feel able to report the sexual harassment to their employer.

For more information from the TUC about tackling sexual harassment in the workplace please go to: tuc.org.uk/reportit

The reps guide is available at https://www.tuc.org.uk/resource/tackling-third-party-abuse-and-harassment
Workers who join a union have union reps and legal services that they can call upon, so do urge workers who have not joined a union yet to 'protect themselves and join a union': https://www.tuc.org.uk/join-union

We are a union family - we are a working class family - and we should be proud of ourselves!

This short film captures the spirit, values and resolve of TUC Congress 2019 and the union movement today's thinking about the base we must build from.
https://www.tuc.org.uk/blogs/were-working-class-family-and-we-should-be-proud-ourselves

The TUC's class discrimination report is at https://www.tuc.org.uk/research-analysis/reports/building-working-class-power

Help with difficult conversations and with tackling the politics of fear and hate in the workplace, and the community

A new TUC Education e-note has been launched to help you tackle difficult conversations with more confidence. Together, we can build respect for all in our workplaces and build a wider recognition that the smart and principled solutions are the ones proposed by the trade union movement, and not the ones posed by the far-right.

Defending and securing the rights of migrant workers

Amidst all the uncertainty about how, when and whether the UK will withdraw from the European Union, working people need to get on with the hard facts of life that confront them, no more so than migrant workers resident in the UK.

The TUC stands for the rights of all workers. The TUC has published a guide for unions and union reps on the 'EU settlement scheme and supporting EU workers'. It can be found at https://www.tuc.org.uk/resource/eu-settlement-scheme-and-supporting-eu-workers

An example of the practical obstacles that migrants can face is explored by 'Maternity Action' in its report about the impact of 'strict government regulations that obliges the NHS to charge some migrants for some NHS care, which can include midwifery services'. The report has collected and examined first-hand testimony from midwives and is available at https://maternityaction.org.uk/midwivesreport/

Building solidarity with Spanish and Portuguese speaking workers and communities in our region


Each September, with the support of the CCOO and CGTP trade union confederations  in Spain and Portugal, and with many community activists in our region, we were pleased to celebrate Amigo Month with a unique blend of song, dancing, music, poetry, politics and solidarity. We have only scratched the surface of the potential of #MesAmigo.

Decent Homes for All



One hundred years ago the 'Addison Act of Parliament' established the framework and concept of council housing in the UK. This year the Stirling Prize, awarded for the project that makes the most significant impact on architecture in the UK, was awarded to the development of new council housing in Norwich. 105 new homes, built directly by the council with secure tenancies at fixed social rents - and they are fantastic homes too.

When Radio 4 asked one of the architects why a social housing project had never won the stirling Prize before she rightly and tellingly said, "because none were being built".

Recent research by the Royal Town Planning Institute suggests that currently two-thirds of local authorities are involved in projects to directly provide new housing. https://www.rtpi.org.uk/knowledge/better-planning/better-planning-housing-affordability/local-authority-direct-provision-of-housing/

But constraints on the way councils can finance new projects are putting a massive handbrake on them. It is time for a national council house building strategy and a new dawn for council housing.

A new campaign tool for your union - and it is free and easy to use

Megaphone UK
Megaphone is a new petition website that is provided by the trade union movement and can be used to support your campaigns.

It is free, easy to use and you can start your own petition.

We think it will work best for local and specifically targeted campaigns. And it can be used to target the person, or body, that the campaign needs to make the decision that will give you the campaign win.

Take a look at the campaign petitions that are already running, sign the petitions you support, and think about how your union might best use Megaphone in future campaigns.

https://www.megaphone.org.uk/

You can help build our trade union communications network

You can send this campaigns update to other trade union reps, or friends and colleagues in your workplace, if you think they will be interested. Please remember to use the 'bcc' facility on the email that you forward, if you think that is appropriate.

If you have received this campaign update, but not directly from TUC: LESE, you can register for both it and our events newsletter by clicking on the link below.