In this issue:
Organisation is now well under way for the March on October 20th. Transport arrangements from the region are the current main priority with a number of unions purchasing large blocks of train tickets for the scheduled trains to London on the west coast and east coast routes, in addition to the TUC chartered train. A number of unions are also arranging coach travel, there is some detail on the TUC's 'false economy' website, unions can add their own transport details to these pages. Plus, a number of trades councils are taking advantage of the transport fund that has been set aside to support efforts to get people to London for the march.
Speakers and timings are being arranged nationally, there will be activities along the route this year, which is now also published on the future that works website. Unions are asked to continue their efforts to ensure we have a massive turn out in October, upload details of transport arrangements on the website and encourage members to complete the 'pledge' on the march website also.
and via facebook and twitter, #0ct20
The regional TUC will be sending out more information about the timings of the charter train and other arrangements as the information comes into the office.
Our colleague and friend, Dave Guy sadly passed away at the end of July after a long and hard fought battle against cancer. Dave was president of the Durham Miners Association for over 26 years and from 1989 the president of the National Union of Mineworkers north-east area. He was also a long standing member of the Northern TUC Executive and Regional Council. Dave's contribution to the trade union movement and the NUM in particular was immense. Born and raised in Seaham, Co Durham, he loved the people and the area and often described them as 'the salt of the earth' -anyone who knew Dave would say the same of him. He will be remembered in many ways, not least for his contribution in securing the future of the 'Big Meeting' for generations to enjoy, but also for his humility, humour and compassion for those he was proud to represent. He will be missed by all who were fortunate to have known him.
An online survey of union reps by the Northern TUC has shown that many private sector employers in the North East and Cumbria are still taking a short-termist view of business decisions. When asked to describe the decisions taken by management and owners 58% of reps said decisions were primarily focused on the short-term (within the next 18 months), 21% focused mainly on the medium-term (18 months-5 years) and 21% on the longer-term (5 years and longer).
Employer attitudes to a range of business issue were explored further and the areas classified most as short-termist decision-making were 'involvement of the workforce in decision-making' (67%), 'workforce motivation and fair pay and rewards' (57%), 'workforce training, skills and apprenticeships' (54%) and investing in equipment (42%).
The most medium-term decisions were around issues relating 'premises and location' (43%), 'ownership, merger and takeover' (41%) and 'understanding customer needs and markets' (36%). The latter was also the most frequent response for focusing on the long-term (also 36%) but most areas received far fewer responses in this category 'including workforce motivation' (14%) and involvement in decision-making (4%).
The general picture provided is one of employers focusing on the short-term with people and equipment, medium term with premises, location and business takeover and longer-term with customer needs. A significant number of reps are frustrated at the lack of engagement in decision-making and believed they could have helped avoid some of the mistakes and false economies they observe in their workplace. However where they are able to make a difference many reps said they had broader business benefits as well as being in the interests of members. The most frequent examples were improved health and wellbeing as well as enhancing skills through workplace learning.
The message from the reps survey is that respecting, involving, valuing and engaging the workforce brings longer-term business benefits and avoids costly mistakes. The findings of the survey are to be included in a national review led by Sir George Cox on tackling 'short-termism' in British Industry.
Justice has prevailed in the case of RMT member William Etchells who has succeeded in his claim for unfair dismissal against Churchill Cleaning Services Limited - contractors on the Tyne and Wear Metro.
William Etchells was summarily dismissed without notice in March for completing a comments box which was included on his time sheet giving his views of the mismanagement of his shift on a particular Sunday. Staff were balloted and took industrial action in support of his dismissal. An Employment Tribunal declared his dismissal unfair and he was reinstated with full loss of earnings.
This year marks the fortieth anniversary of the first-ever national building workers strike. In 1972 construction workers faced hostile and powerful employers, lump labour and isolated workplaces that changed constantly whenever a contract finished. Building workers, predominantly in UCATT, the T&GWU, FTAT and the NUG&MW, organised themselves and carried out effective picketing of sites throughout the country. At the end of the twelve-week dispute, in September 1972, they succeeded in winning the highest ever pay rise in the history of the industry.
Five months after the 1972 building strike ended 24 pickets were picked up and charged with over 200 offences, including unlawful assembly, intimidation and affray. Three of the pickets were sent to prison. Jailing these building workers remains one of the most notorious anti-trade union acts of the state in recent times.
The Shrewsbury 24 Campaign, which has the formal support of UCATT, is campaigning to overturn this miscarriage of justice.
Ricky Tomlinson, one of the jailed pickets, has written a blog for the Stronger Unions blog. Please support the campaign - link below. http://tinyurl.com/shrewsbury24
The future of the BBC as we know it is at stake with cuts of 20% to budgets being proposed. Please support the Federation of Entertainment Unions campaign to stop the cuts. Details are set out in 'BBC Cuts: There is an alternative'. A hard copy of the booklet is available by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. For further information and to download the online version, go to www.nuj.org.uk
As youth unemployment rockets, the gap between rich and poor widens still further and benefits are under attack, the call for 'work or full maintenance' has a renewed resonance. Coined originally by the National Unemployed Workers Movement in the 1920s, the demand for a proper job, or failing that full pay by the State, was a clarion call of the left during the Depression. To what extent can we frame the debate around poverty in such terms today?
Organised for trade unionists, claimants and anti-poverty campaigners, this free one-day conference will examine the issues and discuss the answers.
Date: Wednesday 17th October
Venue: TUC, Congress House, London
Speakers: Diana Holland, Assistant General Secretary, Unite (Chair); Kevin Maguire, Associate Editor, Daily Mirror; Alison Garnham, Chief Executive, Child Poverty Action Group
Keynote speech: Owen Jones, author of Chavs: The Demonisation of the Working Class
For further information and to register go to www.povertyconf.eventbrite.co.uk
There are plans to hold a regional Poverty conference later in the year to be followed by the Kenny Bell Memorial International Lecture - further details to follow.
The Eighth annual Union Women Professionals' Summer School will take place again in London this year. Last year's summer school was a real success, involving women from many unions in work on trade union priorities in a supportive classroom setting. This year's course will have particular focus on organising, leadership and women's participation in the work of unions. Guest speakers, visits and social events will make for a fun and hard-working week.
Who the course is for?
All women union officers, whether newly appointed or with substantial experience.
Five days, residential. 15 to 19 October 2012, Congress House, London (due to the inflated cost of hotels in London this summer it has been moved to Autumn for this year only.)
Further information available at http://tinyurl.com/crhfyop
On November 15th Northumbria will elect its first Police and Crime Commissioner. I am the Labour candidate for this post and I intend to make our police force the best in the country, to prevent privatisation and to fight Tory cuts.
The PCC's role is not to run the police service, day to day. That stays firmly in the hands of the Chief Constable. S/he will be a directly elected voice for the public with the duty to establish what they require from the police. S/he will negotiate those needs into a 5 year Policing and Crime Plan to be delivered by the Chief Constable, control the police budget and monitor and scrutinise the Plan. PCCs will also allocate funds for community safety crime reduction and for victim support.
The choice for November is clear. A Conservative PCC will wave through more cuts and we will see private patrolling our streets, working for their shareholders interests instead of for our safety.
Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary advised the Government that 12% was the maximum amount that could be cut from the police, nationally without hitting frontline services. Ignoring that expertise, the Tories have cut 20% from budgets across the board. Northumbria may lose up to 730 officers and has already lost 260.
This is one of the safest places in the UK to live and our police have done an unrivalled job, in partnership with local Labour councils, to cut crime by 43%. All that is put at risk unless we elect someone who will fight for Northumbria to prioritise the proven policies that brought about these huge improvements to public safety.
Neighbourhood Policing has been key to cutting local crime and tackling anti social behaviour. It needs both civilian PCSOs and police officers but the Tories divide and rule, insisting that PCSOs and other non-police 'bureaucrats' can be scrapped to save frontline officers. Police themselves do not accept that distinction and neither do I. PCSOs are the vital eyes and ears of the community and without them and other civilians like scenes of crime officers, police cannot successfully tackle crime. The Tories' attacks on these civilians reflect their cuts to other public sector employees.
They describe themselves as the party of law and order but Tory core voters live in more affluent areas where there is less crime and police cuts do less harm than on our estates. This disregard of the most vulnerable victims matches their ruthlessness in slashing legal aid for housing, debt and welfare advice and by their harsh decision to scrap compensation for over 30000 annual victims of lower level crime.
I will ensure that the police improve the way they tackle anti-social behaviour and drug crime and I will work to end violence against women. I want to see our streets safe from far right thugs who are a menace to our communities and to local businesses. These are all proven Labour policies, tackling crime and the causes of crime.
They will be carried out by officers and staff working for the public interest, never for private profit. We had to banish G4S from St James's Park during the Olympics and neither they nor any other business will be making a comeback patrolling our streets.
Being a Police and Crime Commissioner will be a great challenge. I am well-qualified after 30 years as a criminal defence barrister, who worked for the miners during the strike. During my 9 years as an MP, I was advisor to Home Secretary Charles Clarke, developing policing policy with senior officers. As Solicitor General I superintended the Crown Prosecution Service and worked with police to build strong cases. That 3-dimensional experience means I know how to bring the police closer to the public they serve, so we can tackle crime and promote community safety together. I am ambitious, too, that Northumbria already a successful police service, becomes the best in the country with me as PCC. Our people deserve no less.
On the anniversary of Kenny Bell's passing, a trade union delegation, including Kenny's son Patrick, visited Colombia. Kenny had a huge impact on the lives of the people of the Valle de Cauca region of Colombia and worked tirelessly to promote international solidarity links with the indigenous people of the region. At a public meeting his many friends paid tribute to Kenny for the work he had done with community groups such as the women sugar cane cutters and in their own words 'Kenny Bell lives and is with us'. Kenny was an inspiration to many and is sadly missed; however as can be seen in the video clip below, his legacy lives on.
Banana Link is appealing for funding for the year 2012/13 to support the Union-to-Union programme. Funds provide crucial support for trade union partners organising in the Latin American agricultural sector and the advocacy and lobbying activities of Banana Link.
Many plantation workers live in poverty and their most basic rights fail to be respected in the workplace. Unions needs our solidarity to challenge the repression of the freedom to organise, educate workers about their rights and empower their union representatives to collectively bargain for living wages and Decent Work for the men and women that grow the fruit sold on our supermarket shelves.
To find out more about the Union-to-Union programme and the work of Banana Link 'working towards a fair and sustainable banana and pineapple trade' go to www.bananalink.org.uk/donate
The International Transport Workers' Federation (ITS) is calling on Turkish Airlines sponsors Manchester United and Barcelona football clubs to urge Turkish Airlines (THY) to end its heavy-handed approach and to talk to the workers' union, Hava-Is. Pressure is needed on THY and the Turkish government to get them to reinstate the 305 dismissed aviation workers and end the strike ban in the industry.
You can help step up the pressure by:
Signing up to the sign up to the LabourStart campaign
Watch the one minute video Brutally Yours- and share this too
Visit the ITF's special new campaign site for the Turkish Airlines workers for all campaign action and news
For the first time in generations workers in Burma are now free to form trade unions. But they are starting from scratch in a country slowly emerging from dictatorship and extreme poverty. They are asking for our help.
To help them meet this massive challenge, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and Federation of Trades Unions - Burma (FTUB) are setting up an office in the capital city of Rangoon to train workers on everything from organising to book keeping.
The TUC Aid trustees have agreed to launch an appeal to help Burma's workers build a trade union movement. For more information about the appeal go to http://tinyurl.com/TUCBurma
As Venezuela approaches key elections in October, the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign is appealing for financial support. The continued support and involvement of trade unions is crucial to the campaign and there are a number of ways to get involved:
The next Education, Learning and Skills Forum will take place on Thursday 27th September 2012 at the Great North Museum: Hancock. This ELSF will focus on the key changes to English and Maths qualifications and the introduction of functional skills. In addition to this we will hear an update about the GO ON campaign and the important role union representatives can play in becoming Digital Champions and supporting others to get on line. Keynote speakers include Sue O'Hara, Skills Funding Agency and Joe Fearnehough, unionlearn National Strategic Union Development Officer.
As part of unionlearn's ongoing commitment to increase capacity, drive up standards and continually improve the quality of apprentices, unionlearn in the northern region hosted and facilitated a discussion group for local apprentices to give feedback on their own personal experiences directly to the Richard Review team, the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills and Education commissioned review into the future of apprenticeships.
The group comprised more than ten current or past apprentices, ranging from 17 to 40 years old and covering a diverse range of trades and disciplines in both the public and private sector; from Mechanical Engineering and Construction to Health & Social Care, IT and Customer Services. Discussion focussed on exploring the views of the apprentices first-hand and giving them a 'voice'. All of the participating apprentices' employers, including Gateshead Council, South Tyneside Homes, Caterpillar and Gentoo are exemplar in their programmes and most hold the unionlearn Quality Award for their apprenticeship provision.
The review aims to:
The review will be conducted over the summer and the findings/experiences and suggestions from this discussion will contribute to the final report. Doug Richard, leader of the review, is expected to report on his findings and recommendations in the autumn.
Unionlearn's new Learning Centre Directory was launched in July. For the very first time, addresses and contact details for over 400 union-led learning centres and spaces have been gathered together and made available to the people who need them most - the learners, the people who support them and the unions themselves. Because of that you may not be able to see all 400 centres - those open only to employees of a particular workplace won't show up on an open search. Centres are, however, moving ever closer to an open access mode, and working hard to establish links with community groups and other organisations to make centres, while still union-led, the focus of learning activity for people from a multitude of backgrounds.
For people working in and running centres, the Directory offers a new opportunity to share information with others doing the same. There has never been a comprehensive list of centres - now we know where they all are, it is the start of a process of mutual support that could change the way centres are run for the better.
For information, to network, share good practice or simply to find out where you can join in, go to www.unionlearningcentres.org.uk
On the 13th July, John Hayes announced that 15 partnerships have been invited to pilot local Community Learning Trusts to test new ways of delivering community learning. From August 2012, partnerships of community learning providers and local organisations will work together to increase local decision-making about learning priorities and develop robust financial strategies that will enable community learning to grow and flourish. Some of the pilot aims include; increasing participation, maximising the value of public investment and giving local people a real say in decisions about adult learning in their communities.
Two of the trusts identified are in Cumbria and Sunderland. Both have specific themes to explore in depth, including measuring social impact, attracting and motivating specific disadvantaged groups, utilising virtual learning environments and widening participation in rural areas.
The pilot in Cumbria aims to develop innovative approaches to widening participation in a remote rural area; whereas the theme for Sunderland is to focus on strengthening the role of learning in delivering Drug and Alcohol Strategy and tackling obesity. Unionlearn will be working with both trusts in the region.
Joint presentations with MPs in the region have taken place in nine workplaces who have achieved the quality award for Information, Advice and Guidance provision.
The next round of Bite Size Briefings takes place from September to November 2012. Remaining briefings for this session are:
Following a series of meetings held with local authority leaders across the region to develop future work around health and wellbeing, Kevin Rowan presented a case outlining the role trade unions can play subsequent to the transfer of public health to local authorities, at a regional leaders meeting on the 20th July. Following the presentation, the TUC has been invited to submit a business case to become the main contractor for delivering the Better Health at Work Award from April 2013.
17th - Northumberland PSA, Council Chamber, Blyth Civic Centre, 5.30pm / Gateshead PSA, Civic Centre, Gateshead, 5.30pm
18th - Executive Committee, TUC Regional Office, 10am
18th - Newcastle PSA, Unison Office, 5.30pm / North Tyneside PSA, Wallsend People's Centre, 5.30pm
19th - Sunderland PSA, Civic Centre, Sunderland, 5.30pm
23rd - Sunderland Pride
24th - Community Learning Champions. A five day course over five weeks, 10am-3.30pm, TUC Regional Office
26th - Mental Health First Aid Bite-Size Briefing, TUC Regional Office, 1pm-4pm
27th - Education, Learning and Skills Forum, Great North Museum - Hancock
28th - Health and Safety Forum on 'Noise', Thistle Hotel, Newcastle, 10am-3.00pm
1st - PSA Steering Group, TUC Regional Office, 5pm
3rd October- 1st November, Anne Frank +You launch and festival of events
8th - Gateshead PSA, Civic Centre, Gateshead, 5.30pm
10th - Mental Health First Aid Bite-Size Briefing, Middlesbrough, 1pm-4pm
10th - Durham PSA, County Hall, Durham, 5.30pm
13th - Regional Council, Centre for Life, Newcastle, 10am-1pm
16th - Newcastle PSA, Unison Office, 5.30pm / - North Tyneside PSA, Wallsend People's Centre, 5.30pm
17th - Sunderland PSA, Civic Centre, Sunderland, 5.30pm
20th - March for a Future that Works, London
25th - Mediation Skills Bite Size Briefing, TUC Regional Office, 1pm-4pm
30th - PSA Steering Group, TUC Regional Office, 5pm
31st - Getting the most from your money online Bite Size Briefing, TUC Regional Office, 1pm-4pm
8th - Negotiating a Living Wage Bite Size Briefing, TUC Regional Office, 1pm-4pm
12th - Gateshead PSA, Civic Centre, Gateshead, 5.30pm
15th - Durham PSA, County Hall, Durham, 5.30pm
19th - Northumberland PSA, Council Chamber, Blyth Civic Centre, 5.30pm
20th - Executive Committee, TUC Regional Office, 10am
20th - Newcastle PSA, Unison Office, 5.30pm / - North Tyneside PSA, Wallsend People's Centre, 5.30pm
21st - Sunderland PSA, Civic Centre, Sunderland, 5.30pm
24th - Reclaim the Night. Marches held throughout the country on the nearest Saturday to the 25th of November to mark the UN day to end Violence Against Women.
27th - PSA Steering Group, TUC Regional Office, 5pm
28th - Teesside PSA, St Mary's Centre, Middlesbrough
30th - nomination forms distributed to unions and trades councils for bi-ennial conference, 13th and 14th April 2013.
For more information check out the Northern TUC website: www.tuc.org.uk/northern. For information regarding the content of this report please contact Melanie Lowden firstname.lastname@example.org - 0191 232 3175.
Newsletter (4,200 words) issued 26 Sep 2012
This page http://www.tuc.org.uk/the_tuc/tuc-21453-f0.cfm
printed 24 May 2013 at 02:57 hrs by 220.127.116.11