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Welcome to In ToUCh e-bulletin from the TUC, the bite-size round up of our news and views.
This issue features the TUC's reaction to the latest banking scandal, research outlining the scale of the jobs crisis facing young people, and details of a new website for the 'Future that Works' demonstration on 20 October.
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Campaign website launched
Arrangements are continuing ahead of the TUC's latest mobilisation against austerity, which will take place in London on 20 October under the banner of 'A Future that Works'.
The demonstration now has its own dedicated website featuring campaign materials as well as practical information for those hoping to take part in what promises to be another huge national occasion.
Find out more @
Banks 'out of control'
The TUC has called for a fresh start for the finance sector and a Leveson style inquiry to deal with over-mighty bankers.
The call came following news that banks have been mis-selling risky insurance products to small businesses and that Barclays sought to manipulate the inter-bank lending rate, but before the resignation of Bob Diamond and the former Barclays CEO's appearance before the Treasury Select Committee.
'Britain's banking system is out of control', said TUC general secretary Brendan Barber. 'We are now paying a heavy price for the decades when banks and finance persuaded politicians that they were the new engines of growth'.
Full TUC response to scandal @
The Government's white paper on reforming the banks, which came out in the middle of the crisis, received a lukewarm response from the TUC. While there was 'welcome recognition' of the need to make UK banking safer and to ring fence retail banking operations from riskier investment banks, it was disappointing that minimum capital requirements recommended in the Vickers Review had been watered down.
Meanwhile UNI global union leader Philip Jennings, whose organisation represents 20 million service sector workers worldwide, has called for an international inquiry into the finance sector. In a letter to the Financial Times, published on 4 July, he said what was needed was a 'global truth and reconciliation commission for errant financiers'.
TUC reaction to white paper @
UNI call for international inquiry @
Young face huge jobs crisis
There has been a huge increase in long-term youth unemployment over the past 12 years, according to a TUC analysis of official figures published last month.
The number of 18 to 24-year-olds who are out of work has risen by 78 per cent since the start of the century, while unemployment across all age groups has increased by 42 per cent.
Over the same period, the number of young people unemployed for more than a year has leapt more than eightfold, from 6,260 to 60,955, underlining just how hard young people have been hit by the recession.
A presentation on the long-term evidence was given by Nicola Smith, Head of the TUC Economic and Social Affairs Department, at a TUC seminar held on 4 July. The seminar featured contributions from David Miliband MP, who has taken a close interest in this issue over the past year, journalist and author Shiv Malik, and Balbir Chatrik from charity Centrepoint.
More on the research @
Austerity damaging economy
Revised growth figures for the end of last year confirm that the Chancellor has steered the UK back into a double-dip recession for the first time in 40 years, with falling living standards continuing to depress consumer spending.
The TUC has argued that continuing with 'self defeating austerity' is not only choking off recovery, but also risks causing permanent long-term damage to the UK economy. A new plan based on investment and jobs was now more vital than ever.
Earlier in June, the TUC welcomed falls in both CPI and RPI inflation, but said that prices were still rising faster than wages, putting a squeeze on workers' finances every month.
TUC on growth figures @
TUC on inflation figures @
Labour market caution
The TUC also reacted cautiously to labour market figures published in June, showing a fall in unemployment.
While it was good news that new full-time jobs had been created, employment was up and unemployment had fallen, the TUC said there were still 'real concerns' about the number of unemployed young people and unemployed women.
More on this @
Easing not enough
The Bank of England's decision to increase its quantitative easing programme - which sees the creation of more electronic money - underlined that the double dip recession could be deeper than first thought, the TUC said in response.
As well as active monetary policy, the TUC argued we needed co-ordinated action by both government and the Bank to boost demand and create jobs.
Full TUC response @
Regional pay warning
Almost two-thirds of voters believe that the introduction of local pay rates for public sector employees would make it harder for schools in poor areas to attract and retain good teachers, according to a poll published in the middle of June.
The poll - undertaken by pollsters Survation - showed that three-quarters of those questioned felt it was important that the Government conducts an independent economic impact assessment on the possible consequences that regional pay could have for local communities before proceeding any further.
Further details @
Back to our Netroots
Hundreds of bloggers, tweeters and online activists met at Congress House at the end of June for the third Netroots UK conference.
The event looked at how to advance progressive causes using digital tools, with a special focus on resisting government NHS reforms. Among the speakers were TUC deputy general secretary Frances O'Grady, Sunny Hundal from Liberal Conspiracy, Raven Brooks from Netroots Nation in the US, disability rights activist Sue Marsh, Clifford Singer from False Economy, and writer Owen Jones.
Find out more @
Visit the Netroots website @
Your rights at work
The TUC has just published the fourth edition of its popular handbook on the law in the workplace, Your Rights at Work.
The new edition contains revised sections on maternity rights, equality law, flexible working, agency working, time-off for training and grievance procedures. All the original material has been updated.
While the book is pitched at everyone at work, it is particularly useful for union reps and officers and can be used as a recruitment tool or general introduction to workplace rights. Unions can purchase the book in bulk at discount rates.
Further information and ordering details @
Safety change needed
The government needs to change direction on health and safety policy, the TUC has said after statistics showed that the rate of workplace fatalities has remained the same for a second year.
This underlined the need for the cuts to routine safety inspections, the budget of the Health & Safety Executive and funding for local authorities to be reversed, the TUC said.
More on this @
Workers of the world reveal fears
Deep uncertainty, fear and political disempowerment: that is what the workers of the world feel about their lot.
The first global opinion poll commissioned by the International Trade Union Confederation reveals for the first time the true feeling of working people in an age of recession.
Commissioned by the ITUC from global market research company TNS, the poll covers a total of 13 countries, including half of the G20 and four emerging nations.
Released ahead of the Mexico G20 summit last month, it revealed widespread opposition to austerity measures, a collapse in the belief that governments are operating in the interests of their voters, and strong support for labour laws.
Representatives of the international trade union movement, including Brendan Barber, presented the findings to world leaders gathering in Los Cabos, Mexico for the G20 Summit, held on 18 and 19 June. The meetings included one with British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Further information @
Row cometh before Pride
London Mayor Boris Johnson and Tory-led Westminster City Council have come under attack from the TUC for their decision to cut back the World Pride festival in London on 7 July.
The Pride row came ahead of annual TUC LGBT conference, which as always took place immediately before the Pride rally. Attended by several hundred union activists, the event debated impact of the cuts on LGBT communities, transphobia in colleges, equal marriage, and discrimination and violence against the LGBT community internationally.
More on the Pride row @
Child poverty progress stalls
Last month's announcement by Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith that the Government plans to change the way child poverty is measured attracted strong criticism from the TUC.
The statement was made as figures showed that the target of halving the number of children in poverty by 2010 has been missed, although the last government's investments made a huge difference to reducing child and pensioner poverty.
Full TUC response @
Engage employees for success
The publication early in July of the Nuttall report on employee ownership saw the TUC restate the case for greater employee engagement and involvement in the organisations they work for.
The TUC said it welcomed the debate on how workers might start owning shares in the places where they worked.
Further information @
Stronger tax rules needed
The start of a government consultation into a new anti-abuse rule which could help crack down on tax avoidance in the UK was welcomed by the TUC, but it warned that ministers needed to take a much more robust approach if they are to get to the root of the problem.
Each year, billions of pounds are lost to the public purse because wealthy individuals and corporations make use of clever accounting methods to reduce the amount of tax they need to pay.
The TUC has argued for a number of years that a strong anti-avoidance rule could make it significantly harder for tax loopholes to be created by the super-rich and multinational corporations.
More on this story @
Enough power to the shareholders?
Binding shareholder votes, as proposed by Business Secretary Vince Cable, could begin to curb executive pay, but much would depend on the detail, the TUC has warned.
'Shareholders have shown increasing unease recently at the mammoth pay and bonus packages enjoyed by those at the top despite, in many cases, poor company performance', said Brendan Barber.
'Binding annual votes - or even binding votes every third year if the company chooses that option - where shareholders get to vote on real numbers on pay and actual remuneration packages could mean a new era of more sensible pay setting for those at the top', he said.
Further details @
Stress fears if consultation cut
Plans to reduce the time allowed for discussions between unions and employers before job cuts can take place have come under fire from the TUC.
In response to a government consultation the TUC argues that there is no convincing evidence to reduce the current 90 day period and that any reduction would make what is already a deeply unsettling time much more difficult for everyone involved. Some Tory MPs who have seen big firms cut jobs in their constituencies have also argued against a reduced period for talks.
Full TUC response @
Working for free won't tackle crisis
A ministerial statement suggesting that the Government is to extend the mandatory work activity scheme has been attacked by the TUC.
Instead of forcing people without paid jobs to work for free, the Government should focus on getting the economy out of recession and providing good quality employment support for 2.6 million unemployed people across Britain who were desperate to move into paid work.
Cancer action needed
Urgent action is needed from the Government to deal with the huge death toll from work-related cancer, the TUC said last month as research in the British Journal of Cancer Supplement highlighted the incidence of cancers caused by work.
The study showed that around 13,600 new cancer cases every year are caused by risk factors related to work - and this was acknowledged to be a conservative estimate.
The TUC said much more needed to be done to protect workers from carcinogens such as asbestos, silica, diesel and mineral oils.
More information @
Entertainers take awards
The entertainment and communications unions featured prominently in this year's annual trade union communications awards.
Equity members' magazine won the coveted best journal prize at the TUC's annual awards, which took place in London at the end of June. The Musicians' Union journal also attracted high praise.
USDAW scooped the best feature award, while the CWU and Prospect shared the honours in the best use of photo or illustration award. The EIS Music publication won the best one-off publication award.
The best campaign was won by CWU for its effective action to save a local nursery, while the best website award went to Equity. UNISON took the award for the best use of electronic communications.
Full details @
The death has occurred over the past month of three men closely associated with the TUC and trade union movement.
Danny Sergeant, who died on 25 June, aged 67, was general president of SOGAT in the 1980s at the time of the year-long battle against Rupert Murdoch following the News International flight to Wapping. He later played a prominent role in the creation of the GPMU.
Martin Jenkinson, who died on 12 June aged 64, was one of the group of freelance news photographers dedicated to recording labour movement history. Martin captured some of the most iconic and enduring images of the 1984-85 miners strike, and also spent many a long hour at trade union conferences photographing speakers and delegates.
Albert Johns, who has died at the age of 92, was the TUC electrician/engineer from 1966 until he retired in 1986. He was a well known character around Congress House, proud both of his work and his trade union values.
13-15 July Tolpuddle Martyrs festival
9-12 Sept TUC Congress, Brighton
20 October Future that Works demonstration
More info on TUC events @
New this month
Labour Market Report no.27 - analysis of the state of employment - from Economic & Social Affairs dept or @ http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-21065-f0.cfm
Your rights at work - fourth edition of the popular paperback guide to workplace law - from Publications.
World of Work - the magazine of the International Labour Organisation, the UN agency responsible for employment and labour rights - from EU & International Relations dept.
Details of TUC publications @
Visit the website of the Working Class Movement Library @ www.wcml.org.uk
Blog of anti-cuts campaign in Manchester @ http://lipsticksocialist.wordpress.com
Please email email@example.com if you wish to suggest a new link for the TUC website.
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