Dec 192013
 

Last newsletter before Xmas! I will try to get a calendar out over the holiday – there are several dates in here so please have a good look through. I hope you all get at least some break over the Xmas period.

Trades Council Report

Different unions and organisations are now being asked to discuss and come up with some ideas for the Vision For Northampton, so you or your union/organisation may be contacted in the near future with suggestions on how to go about this. Please could you put the item on your branch or meeting agenda.

REGIONAL TUC MOTION 2014 in support of the right of students to protest has been sent to the Regional TUC.

Next AGM Monday 10th February 2014: John has circulated details and nomination forms. There will be a motion for moving the AGM to Jan in 2015. Please make sure your branch gets a rep along.

NCC Budget Cuts

An 8 week public consultation will launched by Northamptonshire County Council this week and closes 4th February 2014. It is likely there will be no real choices nor proper consultation.

Cabinet Paperwork
https://cmis.northamptonshire.gov.uk/cmis5live/MeetingsCalendar/tabid/73/ctl/ViewMeetingPublic/mid/410/Meeting/2211/Committee/399/Default.aspx

List of Cuts/Savings (with Equality Impact Assessments)
http://www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/en/councilservices/council/equalities/pages/budgetequalityimpactassessments.aspx

The main issues of concern are:-

* Connexions staff reduction – quality of service implication

* Care provider funding – reducing funding to providers (includes Olympus Care), and/or going with cheaper providers – Implications of quality of service, and care worker pay/conditions. eg increasing use of zero hours contracts or reducing pay and terms and conditons of staff. Care home funding is already at below acceptable levels after funding reductions over last 3 years

* Public Health department restructure – reduce staff and impact on delivery

* Merging of police and Fire & Rescue – staff implications (could reduce number of staff, and/or pay and terms and conditions) and subsequent implications for quality of service

* Voluntary Sector Funding reduction – charities and voluntary groups could close or reduce their activities

* Social Services staffing reduction (MAP Team) – reduce back office staff, and impact on placements. This could be time taken to allocate care worker or move someone into a care home. Also more placements could be made inappropriately. eg. more “15 minutes of personal care”

*

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LGSS Proposals – reduce back office staff for HR, Finance and IT departments which are already stretched. Impact on other departments (eg social services) reliant on these back office functions

* Charging for Social Care – increasing charges for placements and transport, especially for non-statutory and low level needs – will this be affordable for users?!

Could everyone looks at the detail of the draft budget to identify what are the concerns which are worth protesting about, over the Xmas and New Year period with a view to having a meeting early Jan? Alternatively, if any campaign groups wish to lead

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a campaign perhaps contact NTUC who will can circulate an invite on your behalf to our contact list?

Also if you require further detail about any of the proposals then it will be worth going along to the various Scrutiny meetings on different topics – further information and dates of meetings here: Scrutiny – draft budget

Useful links and other resources and events:

Left Unity: Meeting tonight at Old Black Lion at 7 for members and open for non-members 8pm. Next meetings January 8th and 22nd. These will also be for party members in the first hour, second hour open to non-members.

One billion and rising global day of action against violence against women. The Northampton Borough Women’s Forum has set up a working group to organise an event on February 14th. They are looking at having an event at lunch time in the Market Square. Please note the date in your diary. More info to come.


People’s Assembly
: Action Plan of events including support for students, Women’s Assembly, Budget events and then May Day etc.

Red Rope: Please see Jan + Feb Walks Publicity 2 for the walks early next year – first will be 19th Jan.

Austerity Uncovered: A longer video of the bus tour is now available.

Left Economics Advisory Panel (LEAP) for interesting blogs and other info: here

National Shop Stewards Network: Current Bulletin

DCH – Useful stats on housing situation: http://northamptondefendcouncilhousing.wordpress.com/2013/12/17/the-housing-situation-in-northampton/

TUC

Current Touchstone blogs

TUC Action Plan

 

 

Dec 082013
 
  • WP_20131203_007Apologies for the delay between newsletters. I haven’t had much sent to me, but there are various things going on. For example UCU has taken another day of action – see picture of the latest round (left) and report below.

Local Events

9th December Trades Council Old Black Lion.

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6 to 7pm short TC business meeting, 7 to 8pm Vision Discussion. Please make a big effort to attend the next Trades Council. John Buckell has sent out the agenda and minutes. It will start early so we can spend time dedicated to the new initiative to produce a Vision For Northampton.

The last meeting endorsed this enthusiastically and we hope that unions and other organisations will get on board. This part of the meeting will be open to non-affiliates and organisations who are interested in having an input so please come along.

Dec 12th GFTU Conference Quorn Leicester. The GFTU’s Educational Trust are holding a trade union tutors event at its Hotel in Leicestershire where the eminent socialist progressive educator, Professor Julion Gambina, will be addressing those attending, providing a unique insight into Popular Education in Latin America. GFTU trade union tutors event 2013_Flyer.

March 8th Saturday: Wellingborough Diggers Festival. Early notice for your diaries. Tickets available in the New Year. Alan Moore and Attila the Stockbroker will be there! There is a new website up, but still in development so take a look. http://www.diggersfestival.org.uk/index.aspx?code=00010001

Reports

Reclaim Our NHS has met and has decided on various steps forward including the production of a leaflet, countering the Nene CCG survey of the public by developing their own, setting up a twitter account (@ReclaimrNHSNptn – please follow), and following up reports on rationing of elective surgery. See for up to date info: https://www.facebook.com/NorthamptonReclaimOurNHS

Joint Union Action at the University

University lecturers and support staff represented by UCU and UNISON, respectively, at the University of Northampton participated in two strikes in pursuit of a fair and affordable pay increase on Thursday 31 October and Tuesday 3 December. The immediate objective of the strikes was to put pressure on the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) to return to the bargaining table and to negotiate in good faith on the joint union claim, which seeks to address the 13% pay cut in real terms which Higher Education staff have experienced since 2009. Both strikes received support from students and from the general public as evidenced by numerous motorists honking their horns and good media coverage. University lecturers have been working to contract since 1 November, which means that they are not taking on additional duties, not covering for sick colleagues and, where possible, avoiding working evenings and over the weekend. Plans are in the pipeline for an escalation of the campaign in the spring term with the possibility of a marking boycott.

Resources

Touchstone Blogs. If you have never read the TUC’s Touchstone blogs you should now! The up to date comments on political and economic matters with useful statistics give Trade Unionists a better understanding of the issues we face and arm us with the facts we need. Some of the latest useful articles include the Autumn statement, Housing, Universal credit, pensions and the Robin Hood Tax as well as various others on related matters:

http://touchstoneblog.org.uk/2013/12/the-great-universal-credit-disaster-and-what-it-tells-us-about-ids
http://touchstoneblog.org.uk/2013/12/universal-credit-smaller-than-you-may-have-thought
http://touchstoneblog.org.uk/2013/12/autumn-statement-a-first-step-against-bogus-self-employment
http://touchstoneblog.org.uk/2013/12/autumn-statement-wont-cure-the-housing-crisis
http//touchstoneblog.org.uk/2013/12/young-people-short-changed-from-the-autumn-statement
http://touchstoneblog.org.uk/2013/12/european-lawyers-rain-on-osbornes-parade-over-the-robin-hood-tax

TUC Online Courses

There are still spaces for the following TUC online courses starting in Jan. These courses are well worth doing so please take a look: Trade Unions and the Environment, Going Global, Cancer in the Workplace, Introduction to Pensions, Equality Reps, Disability Champions at Work. For more details go to complete list http://www.unionlearn.org.uk/our-courses

Nov 142013
 

TRADES COUNCIL TODAY Thursday 14th Nov 7.15, Old Black Lion. Very important discussion on Trades Council, attendance, future developments/priorities etc. Please could all affiliates

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send someone along – non-affiliates would be very welcome as well. If you can’t attend you can still send in your thoughts to Ron.

FBU action: the FBU has taken part in their 4th strike action. The Executive Council has decided to ballot over other forms of action short of a strike as well. For up to date info on the general position see http://www.fbu.org.uk/archives/7399

NAPO: held a very successful 24 hours of strike action and are now doing action short of a strike. Chron coverage: http://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/local/probation-workers-in-northampton-begin-24-hour-strike-1-5651122

The CWU suspended their action for more talks. Here is the current update – there has been an extension in discussions until the 27th

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Nov: http://www.cwu.org/news/archive/royal-mail-dispute-update.html

Daventry March on the NHS. Newspaper coverage and video: https://twitter.com/BrixworthLabour/status/398865632168783872/photo/1http://www.daventryexpress.co.uk/news/local/cardiac-unit-closure-march-wins-support-1-5662786

Events

Also see previous newsletter

TONIGHT 14th Nov see Question Time 10.35 when there will be someone from the Save Portsmouth Shipyard Campaign. I believe the GMB has organised a protest outside too. Portsmouth TUC is very involved in the Campaign and I am sure messages of support would be welcome: https://www.facebook.com/saveportsmouthshipyard

18th November Monday to 24th Nov Sunday Local Human Rights Week organised by the Northampton Rights and Equality Council: press release NREC Human Rights week

20th November Wed TUC

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day on Blacklisting: Please see union links on TUC page for any events: http://www.tuc.org.uk//workplace-issues/employment-rights/health-and-safety/own-pay-clean-tuc-day-action-blacklisting

3rd December: Next joint strike action by UCU, Unison and Unite. Please support the picket lines that day – details to come: http://www.ucu.org.uk/6833, http://www.unison.org.uk/news/university-staff-announce-3-december-for-second-date-of-strike-action and http://www.unitetheunion.org/campaigning/own-up-pay-up-clean-up-tuc-day-of-action-on-blacklisting/university-staff-announce-3-december-for-second-date-of-strike-action/

Other useful links and requests for help

Unison victory over derecognition battle in Bradford – important to see these battles can be fought and won: http://www.unison.org.uk/news/union-wins-bradford-derecognition-battle

Union Learn conference video: http://us7.campaign-archive2.com/?u=ebd004a8047907dc47d269fd1&id=98468d960a&e=b4e78b83fe

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation website is full of useful reports and statistics. Here’s one of their latest : http://data.jrf.org.uk/data/low-pay-age-industry/

Defend Council Housing latest newsletter: http://www.defendcouncilhousing.org.uk/dch/

Female Genital Mutilation petition: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/52740

Murder of Colombian Trade Unionist – please send letter – only takes a few seconds: http://www.iuf.org/cgi-bin/campaigns/show_campaign.cgi?c=800

May 302013
 

Just a few items for now – I’ll try to put up some TUC and other links over the weekend if I have time.

  • The English Defence League is holding an event this Saturday as follows (lifted from their website): Meet from 10.30 hours at the East-Gate 98-102 Abington Street Northampton NN1 2BP The parade will leave at 11.45 hours and head to all saints church, where flowers will be laid at the war memorial. A minutes silence will take place at 12.00 hour,. and then return to the starting point. NO CHANTING OR SINGING. This is a public event and anyone is welcome to join. I have been requested remove the details of the meeting organised to consider how to respond to this event, so apologies to those who are looking for them.
  • Trades Council is at 7.15 pm on Monday 3rd June at University of Northampton Park Campus Cottesbrooke 107. The main business of the meeting will be to plan events around the visit of the TUC Anti-Austerity Bus on 25th June. Community groups who wish to get involved are welcome to send a representative – please let Ron and/or Pat know if you propose to do so. Please could all TC delegates make an effort to attend.