Issue date
17 Oct 2017

Pay up now

Trade unionists are taking action in workplaces, in Parliament and on the streets to demand a pay rise.

Wages are being squeezed with inflation rising faster than pay. The unfair cap on public sector pay is cracking but it needs smashing before the recruitment crisis causes more harm. The TUC is organising a lobby of Conservative MPs on 17th October and the South West TUC is urging a good turnout for a rally in the low-wage capital of Cornwall.


Rally for a Pay Rise

Saturday 21st October 12.30pm
Lemon Quay, Truro, Cornwall

Hard working people have seen their real incomes cut since 2008 and the wage squeeze is getting worse. Cornwall’s workers are amongst the lowest paid in the UK - £100 less a week than the UK average. Public sector workers are still stuck with a 1% pay cap despite rising inflation. Frances O’Grady, TUC General Secretary will join speakers who can tell of life for workers in Cornwall struggling to make ends meet.

Rally flier here

Bristol Better Jobs

Wednesday 1st November 1-5pm
City Hall, Bristol

Unions want businesses and public employers to create opportunities and upgrade current jobs where many people are looking for better pay and conditions. A third (32%) of workers in Bristol either need a job or say they don’t get enough hours, have insecure contracts, or are low paid.
Parts of Bristol where more people say they struggle with money, such as Hartcliffe (22%), Southmead (18%) and Lawrence Hill (21%) also have more people working in at-risk sectors for poor work. More than half the jobs in retail, care and cleaning offer poor conditions according to research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
Unions are calling on Bristol city council and businesses to develop a ‘Bristol Jobs Charter’ with higher standards of wages, training and wellbeing, as well giving workers a voice and committing to fight modern slavery.
The joint event between South West TUC, Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol and Business West will discuss how to promote better jobs in the Bristol. Sessions will include: skills at work, a fair and living wage, mental health and well-being at work and tackling exploitation.


Exeter hospital porters to strike over 12-hour shifts

UNISON has told management at the Royal Devon and Exeter (RD&E) hospital that a porters’ strike can be averted if plans for 12-hour shifts are scrapped. The strike is set for 24 hours from 6am on 20th October. This will be followed by an eight-hour action from 10pm on 22nd October.

96% of porters voted to strike over a year-long disagreement with hospital management. Porters currently work 8-hour physically demanding shifts and believe 12-hour working is unsafe.

A report commissioned by the Trust shows that portering services at the RD&E are amongst the cheapest in the country, costing 50% less than the NHS average.



South West pension blackspots

TUC analysis shows that in some industries, central to the South West economy, like hospitality and agriculture, six in ten workers are not enrolled in a pension.
The TUC says many are missing out on a decent retirement because they earn less than £10,000 – the level of earnings at which employers must enroll someone into a workplace pension.
Despite the success of pension auto-enrolment, nearly nine million UK workers are still unable to save into a pension scheme.
The five industries with the lowest level of pension cover are:

  • Agriculture, forestry and fishing – 65% of employees (93,000) do not have a pension.
  • Hospitality – 60% of employees (908,000) do not have a pension.
  • Other services (hairdressing and beauty) – 56% of employees (270,000) do not have a pension.
  • Construction – 50% (493,000) of employees do not have a pension.
  • Arts and entertainment – 48% of employees (253,000) do not have a pension.

South West TUC Regional Secretary Nigel Costley said:  “Many South West workers remain at risk of poverty in retirement because they are saving nothing, or very little, into a pension scheme. We urgently need the government to help more low-paid workers join schemes. And ministers must set out a plan for increasing contributions from employers.”

West of England Strategy - South West TUC responds

The South West TUC welcomes the vision for the West of England to be a beacon of growth and innovation; but a new approach is needed to make sure everyone has the opportunity to reach their potential and where prosperity delivers for everybody. The South West TUC has responded to Tim Boyles, the Metro Mayor’s proposed strategy by declaring that trade unions stand ready to work to help make the West of England a success. The South West TUC believes that whilst the paper sets out bold intentions, it could be seen as complacent and the plans lack clarity and tangible actions.

Read the response here.


Union Pensioners Annual Conference

Thursday 19th October 10.30-3.30
Weston College, Knightstone Road, Weston-super-Mare BS23 2AL
The annual gathering of South West TUC pensioners will hear updates on the latest pension issues including the Women Against State Pension Equality. Motions will be considered including those protesting against the threat to the ‘triple lock’ state pension increases, hospital parking charges and the impact of moving services online.

For more details contact:

Bristol Radical Film Festival


Trinity Arts Centre, Trinity Road, Bristol BS2 0NW
The Bristol Radical Film Festival celebrates political, activist and experimental filmmaking. This year’s programme combines urgent contemporary political subjects with an eclectic mix of archive gems, including a double bill on the 100-year anniversary of the Russian Revolution, and a Hollywood venture into left-wing politics by actor and activist Tim Robbins Cradle Will Rock.

Rat Film is an exploration of racism and housing policy in Baltimore; Brexitannia, the first feature documentary to be released about Brexit; and there is a powerful exploration of the lives of women graffiti-writers in Girl Power.

Festival Pass: £30 Individual screenings: £6/4

Mayors making a difference at work

Mayors around the world are using all their powers and influence to make work better for their citizens.

The TUC has highlighted four examples here.

Edward Colston: why is Bristol dominated by this man’s legacy?

Saturday 14th October 11:30am-1:30pm
Redcliffe Caves, 
Phoenix Wharf, Redcliffe Way, Bristol BS1 6SR
A walk: Countering-Colston. More details here. Free, no booking required

More here

Journey to Justice

Runs until 29th October

Bristol Cathedral

View the exhibition, which includes the Bristol Bus Boycott and Peaches Golding's family history through slavery and human rights campaigns, on display at the Cathedral until the 29th October.

For more details visit the website.  

Refusing To Kill – Bristol’s Conscientious Objectors

An exhibition in Bristol Cathedral until early January

More details here.

Fight for Rights

An exhibition in the Central Reference Library, Bristol until 29th October

More here

Bristol Compass

Tuesday 24th October 6.30-8.30pm

Tony Benn House, Victoria Street, Bristol BS1 6AY

Bristol Compass members are launching a local group to campaign for a more equal, sustainable and democratic future

National safety reps workplace inspection day

Wednesday 25th October 
As part of European Health and Safety Week the TUC will launch the 40 years of safety representatives campaign. Reps are reminded to take the opportunity to inspect their workplace. The TUC has a general guide to inspections, although, this year you may want to consider suggesting that fire safety should be a major part of any workplace inspection. The TUC recently published an inspection checklist on that as part of the wider fire safety guide.

Belonging: the truth behind the headlines

Wednesday 1st November 7.30pm
Curzon Cinema, Clevedon
An investigative documentary about where power lies in the United Kingdom. Re-examining events surrounding three industrial disputes, three governments and over three decades the film shows the impact of government and corporate power on democracy and human rights not just for trade unionists, but for all.

More information and tickets at

Liberating Arts Festival

3-5th November
University of Exeter
A major new cultural initiative from the GFTU will be a celebration of contemporary creative activism and political art but also an exploration that asks specifically how the arts can contribute to campaigning and political education.

Tickets for all sessions are available from the online Ticket Store and start at £5.Festival Passes can be purchased for 1 day, 2 days or 3 days and start at £15Tickets are available for the festivals four big shows:
 Liberated Friday Night 8-11 pm
Francesca Martinez and Banner Theatre. £12 (£6 concessions)
• Liberated Saturday 5.15-7.15 pm
Townsend Productions new show about Grunwicks, We Are The Lions Mr Manager £8 (£4 concessions)
• Liberated Saturday Night 8-11 pm
Captain Ska, King Blues, Robb Johnson, Anthony Anaxagorou, Attila The Stockbroker and Chris Coltrane. £15 (£8 concessions)
• Liberated Sunday 2.30-5.30 pm
Commoners Choir and Red Ladder. £10 (£6 concessions)

There are discounts for trade unionists and students.

More here

Mental health at work

Friday 1st December 10am-1pm - Bristol
Workplace stress is high and the stigma of mental health means people are often reluctant to seek help. Union reps can help support people and encourage early intervention. To give reps more understanding of this crucial issue the South West TUC is holding mental health awareness events.

To see more and book your place click here.