Mar 112016

Apologies to everyone for not getting up a newsletter for ages. Health issues have made me tired and scrambled my brain!! I hope you are all following our Facebook page,

Reminder: if your union hasn’t paid its affiliation fees to NTUC, please could you do so asap. Contact Bob Ansell at, who can email you a form. Dues are 20p a member.

You might find the TUC directory useful for TC/Union contacts.


This weekend, starting tonight: Diggers Festival Wellingborough: Recommend you go to hear Danny Dorling tonight. Amongst many other things he wrote an excellent book on housing.

13th March: Kill The Housing Bill March. London. Details:

14th March: Next Trades Council meeting. Jeffrey room, Doddridge Centre, 109 St James Road, NN5 5LD at 19.15 hrs. Please could delegates make every effort to attend and send apologies if they can’t.

16th March (Wed): Special screening of a movie called Boom Bust Boom (see Terry Jones (Monty Python) mixes expert insight, animation, puppetry and song to explain economics to everyone. Why do crashes keep happening? Why are students taught crashes do not happen? Will we ever learn from our mistakes? Co-written by Theo Kocken, entrepreneur and professor of risk management. With contributions from Nobel Prize winners Daniel Kahneman, Robert J. Shiller, Paul Krugman, journalists John Cassidy and Paul Mason, actor John Cusack and the rhesus monkeys of Puerto Rico. 6pm, room C119 (may move to a larger room if demand is high) Park Campus.

17th March (Thursday) Midlands TUC H&S Forum, CWU Offices, Summer Lane, Birmingham, B19 3TH. Email Michelle at for details. Also take a look at TUC Risks:

19th March (Sat) London, Stand Up To Racism March. Details at

24th March Independent Socialists in Wellingborough will be hosting a meeting about the Junior Doctors dispute and the future of the NHS. There will be a representative of the British Medical Association and/or a Junior Doctor spokesperson. The meeting starts at 8.00pm in  the Rising Sun pub,  corner of Canon Street and Mill Road, Wellingborough. Contact Paul Crofts

5th April: Save Northants Services (SNS) meeting. Venue to be decided. If anyone can help with finding one (preferably free, cheap and with good access) please let Paul know

6th – 8th April (Wed) Junior Doctors’ next strike begins. The strikes planned involve 48-hours of emergency care only. Next strike planned for Tuesday 26 April 8am to 8am, Thursday 28 April

16th April (Sat) People’s Assembly March/Demo for Homes, Health, Education and Jobs. Go to the events page via for details. If anyone is organising a coach let me know and I can advertise it.

Oct 022015

Unison MeetingOutsourcing Meeting Report by Ron

John Burgess, Barnet UNISON Branch Secretary, led a discussion of how trade unionists and community residents can organise to combat councils’ attempts to outsource public services. Drawing on the experience of the London Borough, where since 2008, many public sources have been outsourced or privatised, John cited examples of campaigning activity, including holding stalls, petitioning, speaking at council meetings, grilling councillors with questions and political action aimed at unseating Tory councillors.The 25 who attended the meeting resolved to meet in the near future to build a movement in Northamptonshire to contest NCC’s plans to outsource a range of public sources to Community Interest Companies.

The Northampton ​TUC secretary  has  reserved a room  at the Doddridge Centre on Wednesday 7 October at 7:15 for the meeting to kick start a campaign against  outsourcing of NCC services. Feel free to spread the word to colleagues, neighbours  and friends, since the Barnet  campaign took off when they involved not only trade  unionists but community residents also.

Tory Party Conference Protests and Events (from People’s Assembly)

Details of March

CTUF_Manchester_Tory_demo_flyer_v2Form up Arrangements and Dispersal area map

Travel – it’s a bit late to book coaches now – details have already been circulated. If you want to attend the TUC demonstration at the Conservative Party Conference 4th Oct, there is NUT transport available from Northampton or Kettering.

08:30 Coach departs from Cornmarket Hall (Kettering)

09:00 Departure from Mounts Car Park (Northampton)

12:30 Estimated arrival at Oxford Road or police directed drop off point (Manchester)

16:30 Departure from pick up point (Manchester city centre) 

19:30-20:00 Arrival Mounts (Northampton)

20:00-20:30 Arrival back at Cornmarket Hall (Kettering)

Please contact Gordon White for further details: Email – by the end of today (Friday).

4 October join Defend Council Housing in a housing contingent on the big TUC People’s Assembly march in Manchester. The DCH Contingent assembles 12.30pm by the National Computing Centre, Oxford Rd, M1 7EF.

Other DCH  information

Also the People’s Housing Conference 10 October 10-5 at Friends Meeting House Euston Rd in London, will bring together tenants, trade unions and housing activists. DCH with Unite the Union, the People’s Assembly and many others are collaborating to build on the growing housing movement. For details and to book see The People’s Housing Conference. And housing and health campaigners will join protests 21-23 October in Olympia, West London, when developers gather to buy up public land: see more information and leaflet here.
Sign up to resist attacks on council housing, along with Jeremy Corbyn, Caroline Lucas, councillors, trade unions and tenants: see statement
And pass this statement against means testing by Councils and housing associations – see model resolution.

DPAC demo 5th Oct

Northampton Solidarity Network next meeting 26th October on austerity:

Syria has a quick way to lobby your MP over the UK not bombing Syria

NSSN latest newsletter

 BooQfest see poster to rightbooQfest-Flyer2015-HI-RES

West Midlands Hazard Trust AGM

At Irwin Mitchell, Imperial House, 31 Temple St, Birmingham, B2 5DB Tues 13th October.  refreshments and AGM at 6.15, followed by Speaker on Cancer- causing substances in the workplaces by Hilary Cross, industrial toxologist.

NUT lobby of Parliament about cuts in funding 18th Nov


Sep 082015

This newsletter covers several areas of interest to Trade Unionists. Please look at the calendar of events on the previous newsletter as well as reading this one.


Petitions are going to be presented at the Borough Council Meeting on 21st Sept. One is an ePetition, which urgently needs to be supported. Please sign it – it only takes a minute.

There is also a paper version which you can print out and put up at work. See previous NTUC letter for the link and details.

12th September Sat Stall to get signatures on the petition in town 11.00 at the Cobblers Last Statue. We still need extra people to help out. Contact

The TUC has lots of info, including downloadable resources and a way to write to your MP – click here

This Bill will affect all union members, so it is really important to circulate details to everyone in your workplace asap.

Equality Conference

Looks as if there will be a good number of top speakers.

31st October Midlands Equalities Conference, CWU offices, 47 Summer Lane, Birmingham B19 3TH. RSVP to Michelle Kesterton

Domestic Abuse

Daventry is currently holding a week of action on Domestic Abuse. More info and help: DA poster and DaventryPREVENT VIOLENCE – DON’T SUFFER IN SILENCE DAVENTRY AWARENESS 2015

Next Northampton Solidarity Network meeting

After a lively meeting on the pros and cons of the EU, it has been decided that the next meeting will discuss the results of the Labour Leadership election and think about ‘where to now?’ The provisional date and location are Tuesday 22nd Sept at the Sheep St Working Men’s Club. More details to be announced.

Refugee Crisis

12th Sept Stop the War Demo ‘Refugees Welcome Here’. Assemble Marble Arch 12.00, march to Downing St. For more details:

Refugee Crisis collection point, Northampton. See poster:refugees crisis collection point flyer

Aug 292015

There’s a lot of important work to be done this year. A key national focus will be to fight the TU Bill, so please support events locally and nationally, and get your workplace colleagues involved. Don’t forget we now have a Facebook Page too at


7th Sept: 7.30 Northampton Solidarity Network meeting on ‘The Left and the EU/Common Market In or Out – What’s the Socialist View? Northampton Working Men’s Club Sheep St. More details: Socialists and the EU 1

12th Sept: NTUC stall in town against the TU Bill. 11.00 Abington St Cobbler’s Last statue. Please let Graham know if you can help out

17th Sept: NTUC Dodderidge Centre 7pm Agenda tbc

19th Sept: 10 to 5 Stop the War Annual National Conference University of London Union, Malet St London. Jeremy Corbyn will be speaking. Details at

21st Sept: Full NBC Council Meeting 6.30 – NTUC hopes to give in a petition on the TU Bill. Print off copies and return by scan/email to secretary by the 18th Sept. Please get as many signatures from your workplace as possible – we need minimum 2000: trade union bill petition ntuc 2015

22nd Sept: Regional Public Rally against the TU Bill and Austerity, 7pm Church Room, Carrs Lane, Birmingham, B4 7SX. See here for poster and details of speakers.

24th Sept: Full NCC Council Meeting 10.30. NTUC hopes to give the petition in again (see 21st Sept).

24th Sept: 7.00pm NTUC open meeting with John Burgess Secretary of Barnet Unison ‘Defending Against The Outsourcing of Public Services’. John will be talking about Unison’s lengthy fight against the outsourcing of council services. This is very relevant to all employees of NCC and NBC so please get people along.

3 – 7 Oct: TUC and People’s Assembly events at the Conservative Party Conference, Manchester. See PA website for info including accommodation, transport and comedy night. Events timetable. TUC March and Rally on 4th, assembling at 12.00 at Oxford Rd for a rally at 1.00 and the march at 1.30. Local transport – does anyone have details of coaches? If so please contact me and/or Graham at Lots more info on the PA’s website and the TUC.

At the time of writing, beware – I think the events tab on the PA site has been hacked, so don’t click on anything suspicious. My links still worked.

10th Oct: BooQfest – Northampton’s LGBT literary event. Go to

2nd Nov: National Lobby of Parliament Protect the Right to Strike. More details to come.


Trade Union Bill Consultation: The TUC Going To Work  is asking everyone to contribute to the government consultation. They can help you with this at

Community Courtyard is asking for some help:

Trade unionists, grassroots activists & their families are supported at the Ron Todd House by providing practical solidarity in the form of food, washing facilities, a place to stay etc. We are seeing up to 30 trade unionists and their families a week seeking help and over the summer holidays we have been distributing hundreds of packed lunches each week to trade unionists who are struggling to make ends meet during these times of austerity.
Community Court Yard is aware that 1 in 5 young people in Northamptonshire are living in real poverty and through the Ron Todd Foundation, we are already planning for Christmas. We estimate that we will be distributing around 150 Christmas hampers to support those trade union members who will not have the financial resources to provide food and heating over the Christmas period for their family.
Family is extremely important, which is why we are asking our trade union family to support us in the task to give our brothers, sisters and their families an easier Christmas this year.  We are asking trade union branches and activists to consider supporting this cause by either affiliating to the Ron Todd Foundation or to make a donation to Community Court Yard specifically for this project.
To affiliate to the Ron Todd Foundation or to provide a solidarity donation Account Number: 20332635, Sort Code: 08-60-01, Account Name: Ron Todd Foundation. Contact Community Court Yard direct:, 07925730772, Ron Todd House,  41 Lea Road, Abington. Northampton, NN1 4PE (note change of email address).


Jul 262015


29th July ctuf meeting tu bill 29jul156-9 pm Renewing and Resisting the Trade Union Bill Mander Hall NUT, Mabledon Place, London, 9BD. Also, for more details of the bill, see Trade Union Bill – TUC briefing 20 7 15 FINAL FINAL 

15th/16th August: Umbrella Fair, N’ton Racecourse – NTUC will be running a stall both days. Any campaign group except political parties can join us. Also we welcome help to man the stall. Please contact Graham at

18th August: nationwide protests for a nationalised rail industry

31st October 11am: TUC Midlands Equality Conference at the CWU Offices, Summer Lane, B19 3TH. Contact details email:

 Other News and Links

Northampton Solidarity Network: Following the well attended and lively meetings on ‘The General Election results and the Left’ and ‘The significance of the recent events in Greece’ it was agreed to hold meetings on ‘Arguments to counter austerity’ and on ‘How the Left should relate to Common Market/EU’. These will be after the summer break. Contact: 01604 752588.

National Gallery Anti- Privatisation Campaign: please support through donations, the petition etc.

Cuba Solidarity Campaign. If you don’t currently get details of activities, please contact Jerry at

National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) carries a long list of current action – there is more going on than the media would have us believe. In particular the Glasgow Homelessness Caseworkers have won a significant victory after 17 weeks of strike action. Also Deutsche Postal Workers in Germany have won a broad pay and conditions agreement on good terms after 3 months of action. We need to publicise these victories and support disputes.

Housing. If you are interested in housing locally then go to: For national housing news: Also see TUC Young Workers Housing Charter:

Disabled People Against Cuts: Local group contact John on

 TUC items

Final Resolutions of the Trades Council Conference 2015:

Union Reps TUC Bulletin Board – this is a really useful discussion board for reps who may need help with specific issues. I have used it before. Register here:

TUC Alerts. If you want to receive alerts from the TUC, which include press releases, resources, videos, blogs etc you can do so here:

Maternity leave discrimination – press release and links:

Jun 292015

photo 4Reports

Anti-Austerity March

Thanks to Cas Hawkins for the photos. Here’s an extract from Ron Mendel’s account, to give you a flavour.

The march was huge, well over 200,000 participants, and consisted of entire families,  young  and old, and every movement for social justice and peace one can think of.

More important perhaps than the breadth of support was the espirit de corps of the participants  – buoyant, defiant and committed. Talking to a number of marchers (not only my family ) I was encouraged by our shared sense of purpose which a  national demonstration of this size and scope can reinforce. I think I do not just speak for myself that we feel more energised,  inspired and committed to building a mass movement against austerity. Of course, that means some of the demanding work needs to be done locally, and towards that end hopefully we can initiate the process of forging an ecumenical coalition of activists and others in Northamptonshire.

DPAC held a successful stall against the cutting of the Independent Living Fund. See the DPAC page for some good photos by Steve White:

Victory in Smurfit Kappa dispute

Unite workers have won a great victory with a disciplined and well organised approach. Click Smurfit Kappa for report.  Thanks Craig for the info.


30 June 7.30 Sheep St Working Men’s Club Socialist Discussion and Action ‘The Successes and Action of Syriza and Podemos – is this the future for a UK Socialist Movement?’ Leaflet: Socialist Discussion

8 July Summer Budget – Lots of events both local and national. Protest County Hall Northampton 5.30pm. Details TBA. The People’s Assembly is organising events around the country: There will also be a protest in Wellingborough  6.00 until 7.00pm outside of the offices of Wellingborough MP Peter Bone in the High Street. Bring banners, placards, whistles… Make our voices heard! Please share widely with your FB friends, or with any local FG groups that you are a member of. Also, Balls to the Budget: and see

13 July Open Trades Council Doddridge Centre Tomalin Room. The meeting will be in 2 parts: 7 – 7.30 normal NTUC business for delegates amd 7.30 to 9 open meeting to discuss outsourcing of council services. John Burgess, Branch Sec Unison at Barnet Council, will be the speaker. Unison has been fighting privatisation there for some years and now we face the same thing here. What lessons can we learn?

15/16 August Umbrella Fair. NTUC will be having a stall both days. Please contact Graham Croucher at if you want to be involved and/or do a stint on the rota. The NTUC focus will be on basic TU recruitment and building for future meetings against Austerity. We will also distribute the Vision For Northampton Leaflet.





Jun 082015

June 13: Defend Council Housing, Housing and Benefit Campaign Summit: see previous news and

CANCELLED June 15th: Trades Council 7.15 Dodderidge Centre, St James. Now 22nd June.

June 18: Healthwatch Northamptonshire Annual Meeting 6 – 8pm N’ton College, Booth Lane, NN3 3RF. All 7 county MPs have been invited to form a panel discussing the future of health and social care in the next 5 years. Ring 01604 893636, text 07951 419331 or email

June 20: Peoples’ Assembly ‘End Austerity Now’ demo. Assemble 12pm Bank of England (Queen Victoria St), City of London. See previous newsletter and:

July 3: Action Mesothelioma Day. Service at St Martin’s cathedral 7, Peacock Lane, Leics, LE1 5PZ 2pm, followed by strawberry tea. To book places contact Derbyshire Asbestos Support Team 0124638041?

July 6: Unionlearn Conference 10 – 3 Congress House

July 11/12: Women Chainmakers’ Festival 11- 6pm

 Posted by at 2:30 pm
Apr 302015

Hi everyone, I am hoping to get back to more regular newsletters. What I will try to do is shorter but more frequent ones, though this happens to be a bit long! I have done it in a rush, so apologies for any mistakes – let me know if you spot one.


Sat 2nd May: Hoping to have an NTUC stall in town to give out the leaflet A Vision For Northampton (‘Vision Final‘) This will be at 11am just by Burger King on the market square. If you can help let me or Ron know. Leaflet folds into 6 little pages. Please print it out for distribution or display or send round the pdf. We have had some very favourable responses and will be doing a longer pamphlet for the autumn covering more areas.

Friday 8th May, Cuba Solidarity Campaign event at the NN Cafe opposite the museum in the town centre. With exciting recent developments in Cuba, CSC Northampton is pleased to invite you to a special fun evening celebrating Cuban culture with music, dancing, cocktails and snacks. Tickets are limited so please advise your requirements as soon as possible. For tickets and more information please contact All proceeds from ticket sales will go to funding activities to raise awareness and there will be a separate raffle raising money for the Music for Cuba fund.

Also there’s a cycle challenge to Cuba:

16th May: Northants Red Rope trip to Levellers’ Day, 16th May 2015, Burford. Levellers Day, marking the execution of 3 Leveller leaders in Burford during the Civil War, is on 16th May from 10.30.  It includes a speakers’ event and a short parade through the village – guaranteed to annoy the Tories in this, Cameron’s constituency. We finish the day with a circular Red Rope walk along the Windrush river, past the remains of an abandoned medieval village and on through attractive Cotswolds countryside (moderate 4-5 miles). The 2015 theme for the day is Education. The speakers are: Melissa Benn – Journalist and writer, Kevin Courtney – Asst Gen Sec, National Union of Teachers, Danny Dorling – Radical social geographer and Professor of Geography at Oxford University, author of a recent book on the UK housing crisis.

13th June: Defend Council Housing, 11-4.30pm at Bloomsbury Baptist Church Hall in central London.Tenants and housing campaigners are meeting to spell out how we will win our demands after the election. Sessions on What Next for March for Homes, the Tenants Manifesto, Anti Benefit Cuts campaigns, trade unions and housing, private renters and rent control, and the Fight for Council Housing – against demolition, sell off and privatisation. Get your tenant group, trade union or community organisation to come along. For more details and leaflets contact

20th June: People’s Assembly National Demonstration and Festival against Austerity in London. More details to come. Assembling at the Bank of England. They are asking for affiliations to the PA and donations to run the march and festival. They have a motion which can be used at branch meetings. Flyers can be printed out too. For more details:

July 6th Unionlearn annual conference 10:00am – 3.00pm Congress House, London. To sign up:

Other Items of Interest

From the National Shop Stewards Network two items of interest/inspiration given the similar threat we face: NSSN

More details on their site as well as other stories.

Unite: Second wave of strikes over Bromley council’s mass privatisation – Bromley council’s plans to carry out a mass privatisation of services are being challenged by members of Unite with a second wave of strikes. The selected strikes from 27 April to 19 May dovetail with the stand of the council’s Labour group which has accused the Conservative-dominated authority of being ‘openly committed to being a ‘commissioning council’ and to reducing the number of council employees from 4,000 to 300’. Unite’s selected strike action will hit libraries (27 April-30 April); the parks (5 May); strikes by all the branch members, except school staff, on 1, 7 and 19 May; and at the Astley care centre and the passenger services (13-19 May).

Unison: UNISON members who still work for Barnet Council (excluding schools staff) will be taking strike action on Thursday 30 April & Friday 1 May – The dispute will involves coach escorts, drivers, social workers, occupational therapists, lschools catering staff, education welfare officers, library workers, children centre workers, street cleaning & refuse workers, all of whom have made it clear they want to remain employees of the Commissioning Council.


Manufacturing in the balance:

Mar 292015
Dave Green has written this tribute to Harry:

Harry portraitIt is with great sadness that we are informing you that our friend and campaigning colleague Harry Tuttle passed away on Thursday 19th March. Harry had a serious operation just prior to Christmas, which had gone well, and he seemed to be on the road to recovery, but things took a turn for the worse recently with complications that took their toll.

Harry will be sorely missed, he was a great guy to know and a great fighter for justice and a better world, free of exploitation, unfairness, poverty and division. He was a staunch supporter over many years of the ‘Save Our Services’ – SOS Campaign which he helped to set up. Harry was always prepared to involve himself in activities, manning stalls, giving out leaflets, standing as a candidate in elections and speaking wherever he could for better services and against the reactionary cuts policies of our political establishment with their decimation of the NHS and the welfare provisions that past generations fought so hard to achieve.  He was also a leading activist in Pensioners Voice and supported other progressive organisations.

Harry at a stallHarry had a long and proud background stretching over most of his life, fighting as a socialist and humanitarian for what he believed in, and we can be sure he would want us to continue that activity. We will miss not having him by our side but we can be proud to have known him and to have worked with him in his endeavours.

Our thoughts go out to Hazel, his dear wife and campaigning partner, his extended family who loved him and his wide circle of friends.

Harry’s funeral will be a humanist commemoration on the afternoon of April 7th at 2.45pm at the Milton Malsor Crematorium.
 Posted by at 2:41 pm
Sep 222014

Apologies for the temporary break in blog entries. I have been in hospital and now have a recovery period at home. I will just be able to manage the odd short blog at the moment. Do send me items/events in the form of date, event, location, transport arrangements if relevant, contact details. Sarah.

26th September: Northamptonshire Heathcare Foundation Trust AGM and Public Meeting

2 – 4 pm Rodber Suite, Northampton Saints Rugby Ground, Weedon Road, Northampton. A chance to ask questions eg about budget cuts. If you want to go ring the trust: The Foundation Trust Office 01536 452059 or email

28th September: The Hard Up Festival

Victoria Sq Birmingham 11.00 – 16.00 Entertainment, march, speakers including Owen Jones, Dave Prentis, Mark Serwotka, Matt Wrack, Billy Hayes, Max Hyde

Sunday 12th October 2014 – A Walk In The Cotswolds with Red Rope

This 6-7 mile moderate walk in the Cotswolds, takes us through part of the ancient  Wychwood forest dating back to Anglo-Saxon times, starting in Charlbury, South East of Chipping Norton. It takes in an attractive mix of landscapes, from open views over the Evenlode valley , through part of the ancient forest and on, via the Cornbury deer park, back to the town of Charlbury, where refreshment can then be taken.

On the way back to the car park, you can even view the ‘infamous’ Riverside Music Festival site where a certain David Cameron once almost landed up in the same field at the same time as Rebekah Brooks  before her hacking trial started. Fortunately, a bit of judicious PA work managed to co-ordinate their separate arrivals and departures, thus disappointing the gaze of the world’s media. Exciting stuff, eh! What more could you ask for? If you are interested in coming on this walk please let us know by Thursday 9th October at the latest and let us know if you can offer a lift to Charlbury to anyone else. If anyone wants a lift from Wellingborough  please give Paul Crofts a ring  or send email:  07872836463

18th Oct Britain needs a Pay Rise Demo.

Venue: Hyde Park 11:00 – 17:00

Website: Transport details:

Health and Safety booklets and courses:

 Posted by at 3:14 pm