Issue date
11 Jan 2018
A round-up of union news from across the South West

Christmas is going to be a lot more expensive this year. Food prices have gone up at twice the rate of wages. And with overall inflation running higher than pay rises families are really feeling the squeeze. Working people need a pay rise.

Season’s greetings from South West TUC



12-18 February

The opportunity to show the value of trade unions and make the case for priority campaigns will take place in February. The TUC shall be supporting the Bakers’ Union campaign for an independent voice for workers inside MacDonalds. Trades Union Councils are helping to organise the hand-out of leaflets. The week will help make the case for a new deal for working people including proper funding of public services, decent pay rises for all and assistance to particular union campaigns.

Mental Health Awareness

Friday 2 February 10.30am-3pm

Plymouth Athenaeum, Derry's Cross, Plymouth PL1 2SW 

Half-day event with three interactive workshops for reps and officers wanting to understand more around mental health issues in the workplace, tackling stigma and discrimination, and how best to support members in the workplace. This event is free, with lunch and refreshments provided.


Communicating online

Thursday 8 February

Tony Benn House, Victoria Street, Bristol BS1 6AY


Tuesday 27 February

Mecure Rougemont Hotel, Exeter

Communication skills sessions for trade unionists to help use social media, blogs and video clips can help get your message across. Learn about reaching people by social media - knowing your audience and finding your tone of voice - blog writing skills, getting your message across on video, tips and techniques for social media and online conversation, and more.

If you’ve recently started blogging or using social media or already have experience and are looking to further improve your skills, come along to one of these workshops with Riz Hussain, TUC Social Media Officer and Niamh Ni Mhaoileoin, TUC Digital Content Editor.

There’ll be practical tips and activities and opportunities to share experiences with other union reps too.

Register here for Bristol and here for Exeter


Fat Cat Pay Day

The High Pay Centre and CIPD’s ‘Fat Cat Thursday’ was 4 January, the day on which the typical FTSE 100 chief executive already earned the same as the average wage for a whole year. Analysis by the High Pay Centre and CIPD found the ratio of CEO pay to the average full-time worker wage is 120 to 1. In the South West the average pay is around £2,000 less than the UK average.

South West TUC Regional Secretary Nigel Costley said: “Workers are suffering the longest pay squeeze since Napoleonic times. One out of seven are skipping meals to make ends meet. But fat cat bosses are still getting salaries that look like telephone numbers. The government needs a plan to make the economy fair again.

“Workers should be given seats on pay committees to bring some common sense and fairness to boardroom pay. And the minimum wage should be put up to £10 an hour as quickly as possible.”

High Pay Centre


Swindon journalists strike as Newsquest makes £4m profit

Journalists at the Swindon Advertiser have been on strike over low and unfair pay at the daily title owned by Newsquest. Laura Davison, NUJ national organiser, said: "Our members at Newsquest are taking a determined stand against poverty pay and a stubborn refusal to acknowledge the injustice and inequality that sees colossal profits channeled out of the local centre at the expense of local journalism.”

NUJ Strike News

Office move

NEU-NUT Section Office is moving and the new address will be:

NEU South West, Knightshayes House, 9 Harrier Way, Sowton, Exeter EX2 7HU

All the phone numbers, etc. will remain the same.

Fight the break-up of the NHS

Unions are fighting plans to establish so-called NHS subsidiary companies (subcos) across the South West. NHS Trusts say they can claim back VAT using subcos but when staff are transferred into an NHS subsidiary company, they are no longer part of nationally-agreed terms and conditions (Agenda for Change). This means Trusts can change employee contracts to be less favourable.

One team in the NHS – UNISON campaign

B&M Bargains deal with Usdaw

Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw has secured a new recognition agreement with retail discounter B&M Bargains, which allows the union to recruit and organise the company’s retail staff.

More here

Union Vacancies

UNISON Local Organiser

Wareham, Dorset

Closing date 29 January

UNISON Team Administrator

Wareham, Dorset

Closing date 29 January

URTU Project Worker

Home-based South West and South Wales

Closing date 9 February

TUC Jobs



Rebellious Sounds

The Rebellious Sounds Archive will collect women’s contemporary stories of activism in the South West.  A mobile listening booth built like a voting booth will tour museums and locations to gather and share contemporary stories of women’s activism, whilst also looking back 100 years to discover local stories and connections to the women’s suffrage campaign.  Supported by Heritage Lottery Fund.

More details here


Memorial Service for Alderman John Bees

Thursday 18 January 11am

Lord Mayors Chapel, Bristol

Everyone is welcome to the celebration of John’s life and work in Bristol City Council and the Trade Union movement. Tributes will be made by Alun Beynon, Marvin Rees and Doug Naysmith and others from Bristol City Council.

FBU centenary film

4 February 7pm for a drink before the 45-minute film

Cube Cinema in Kingsdown, Bristol BS2 8JD
In 1918 a small group of firefighters, disillusioned with poor treatment at the hands of those who oversaw their service, set up the Firemen’s Trade Union with the founding aim of “a means to reorganise the conditions of their labours and thus bring more happiness into the lives of its members.” Soon renamed the Fire Brigades Union. In its centenary year, the FBU wants to commemorate and celebrate the people who built the union. A special film for the occasion has been commission and will be shown in Bristol followed by a Q&A session with FBU General Secretary, Matt Wrack.
The 4th February has a special place in the hearts of everyone in the South West FBU as it was the date in 1996 when Avon Firefighter Fleur Lombard QGM lost her life in the line of duty whilst fighting a blaze in Bristol. 

Lantern Parade - Celebrating Suffrage!

Tuesday 6 February 6-9pm

Berkeley Square, Bristol BS8

Celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the signing of the Representation of The People Act, which allowed some women to vote in the UK for the first time! The parade will march pass Wills Memorial Building which will be lit in suffrage colours and down Park Street to City Hall. The March will be accompanied by an all-female marching band playing popular songs followed by a reception hosted by the Mayor of Bristol, where a 100-girls choir will perform the March of The Women and a newly composed song by Dionne Draper celebrating women and girls today. This will be followed by speeches from Bristol politicians and activists, celebrating democracy. 
See Facebook Event Page

We are the Lions, Mr Manager!

We Are The Lions, Mr. Manager! is the story of the Grunwick Strike of 1976-78 and the inspirational strike-leader Jayaben Desai who led a group of workers in the backstreet London factory. Their stand kick-started one of the longest and most important industrial disputes.

16 February 7.45pm

Dorchester Arts Centre, The Corn Exchange, High Street East, Dorchester DT1 1HF

Box Office: 01305 266926 / Website

17 February

Bridport Arts Centre, 9 South Street, Bridport DT6 3NR 
Box Office: 01308 424 204 / Website

21 February 7.30pm

Blackwood Miners High St, Blackwood NP12 1AA 
Box Office: 01495 227206 / Website

22 February 8pm

The Plough Arts Centre 9-11 Fore Street, Great Torrington EX38 8HQ 
Box Office: 01805 624624 / Website Tickets

23 February 7.30pm

Halstock Village Hall, Leigh Lane, Yeovil BA22 9SH 
Box Office: 01305 269512 / Website Tickets

6 April 7.30pm

Hen and Chicken, 210 North Street, Bristol BS3 1JF 
Box Office: [email protected]Website


South West TUC Annual Conference

20-21 April

Croyde Bay

The annual gathering of trade union delegates.

For more information contact [email protected]


Open for stalls and volunteers

Applications for stall holders and volunteers for the 2018 Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival 20-22 July can now be made on the Tolpuddle Martyrs website.


Captain Ska
Captain Ska

Captain Ska to come to Tolpuddle

In early news of the Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival line-up it is announced that the fantastic CAPTAIN SKA will perform on the Saturday evening – 21st July. Captain Ska are releasing their new Christmas single Sons and Daughters, in collaboration with The People's Assembly. All proceeds in the run up to Christmas will be split between the People's Assembly and Food Banks Nationwide - directly helping those suffering most at the hands of the Tories and helping sustain a campaign for the alternative to austerity. 

Check out this video with interviews from the band