Archive of ‘Anti-austerity’ category
This article by Robert Booth originally appeared in The Guardian.
The Taxpayers’ Alliance, a campaign group that calls for tax and spending cuts and claims to represent the interests of taxpayers, has admitted one of its directors does not pay British tax.
The Guardian has learned that Alexander Heath, a director of the increasingly influential free market, rightwing lobby group, lives in a farmhouse in the Loire and has not paid British tax for years.
The admission, made by Matthew Elliott, the TPA’s chief executive and founder, is potentially embarrassing for the Conservative party, which has close links to the group that claims to be “the guardian of taxpayers’ money, the voice of taxpayers in the media and their representative at Westminster”.
At the Conservative party conference in Manchester this week, the TPA’s influence was underlined when David Cameron and George Osborne followed its recommendations for freezing public sector pay and capping civil servants’ salaries at the level of the prime minister, unless approved by the chancellor.
Senior Labour figures said the admission that a TPA director does not pay British tax “should ring alarm bells” about the group’s influence on the debate on tax and spending. The group has also campaigned against green taxes, quangos and town hall pay.
Heath’s status emerged from an investigation into the TPA, which also revealed that the group is heavily funded by a group of businessmen and wealthy donors who also back the Conservatives.
“Mr Heath, a retired teacher, has lived in France since marrying his French wife in 1973,” said Elliott in a statement. “He is still a British citizen but he is a French taxpayer (where taxes are higher than in the UK!). He is passionate about the Taxpayers’ Alliance.” Elliott said Heath returned to the UK for about a fortnight each year and owned no property in Britain.
“The least we can expect for an organisation that purports to represent the interests of British taxpayers is that it is run by people that pay British tax,” said Jon Cruddas MP, who said he is one of many Labour MPs concerned about the TPA’s growing influence.
“When it emerges that one of the directors doesn’t [pay British tax], their motivations seem questionable and alarm bells should start ringing for anyone who comes across the TPA.”
He said the organisation’s backers suggested there was “a revolving door” between Tory donors and supporters of the TPA, although the group denies it is a front for the Conservatives. The TPA’s financial backers include Sir Anthony Bamford, the owner of the JCB digger company, and Tony Gallagher, the owner of Gallagher Estates, both Conservative donors, who with 32 other businessmen have donated about £80,000 to the group through the Midlands Industrial Council.
Malcolm McAlpine, the chief executive of contractor Sir Robert McAlpine, said he had also funded the group. David Alberto, a property developer supplies office space to the group near Westminster worth an estimated £100,000 a year.
The campaign group refuses to publish details of its income or a list of donors, but when pressed, Elliott said the biggest single donation was no higher than £100,000 and its annual income from donations was about £1m. It is a rapid rise for a group which filed accounts for 2005 that showed donations of just £67,547.
The TPA’s links to the Conservatives include monthly meetings where speakers have included Eric Pickles, the Conservative party chairman, Liam Fox, the shadow defence secretary, and Daniel Hannan, the Tory Eurosceptic MEP who recently claimed the NHS was “a 60-year mistake”.
Unite Community members put on a fantastic show defiance against the Tory’s yesterday as they joined 1000’s of industrial members to protest against the Conservative Conference. please see below a few photo’s from the day! see if you can spot yourself amongst the sea of flags and banners!
Unite Community Activists from Barnsley helped with the making of this hard hitting documentary from the Sleaford Mods “Invisible Britain”
The band’s “state of the nation” documentary combines interviews, live footage and a look at how individuals and communities are campaigning against austerity measures
Trade Unionists, Community Groups and Activists Plan wave of Protest against Zero Hours September 9th! Get Involved! Direct Action Gets the Goods!
Get Involved! Email Your Unite Community Coordinator for more info!
Direct Action Gets The Goods! See our Win against Pizza Express here:
Guardian Article on Unites Pay Claim
Pressure Mounts on Sports Direct Chairman
Previous Action From Unite Community Pictures Below
Sticker Campaign against the Rip off Sports Direct!
South Yorkshire Community Members were delighted to get the chance to see Jeremy Corbyn yesterday in Sheffield and took the opportunity to distribute 100’s of our flyers urging those not in employment to organise within our Community’s. See a snap shot of Jeremy’s speech highlighted above where he talks about solving the countries housing crisis, helping people back into work and reducing the Welfare bill! sensible policy’s that reject the Madness of Austerity and paint a vision for a healthy society built on need rather than cruel and unnecessary cuts and poverty wages. Yet again 100’s of people packed the meeting and 100’s more attended the overflow Rally outside proving that Corbyn’s policy’s are attracting the attention of the massive sections of our community. Tony Blair has been attacking Corbyn yet again today talking about “Alice in Wonderland” ideas, but it seems the more Corbyn is vilified by the right the more support he attracts! see below some photos from the Rally including our fantastic banner of Course!
Busy day at the office yesterday, 15 ESOL learners in our class today, Richard Vivian gave a lengthy interview with Channel4 about the cruel and unnecessary welfare Reform and the devastating effects on our community’s, and on top of all that we had our fantastic colleagues from Unite Community Stoke on Trent visit us with David Condliffe! All in all a very good and productive day!
AUGUST Action Update
Lots Going on right across our Region! come along get involved! get active!
Unite Community NE, Yorkshire & Humberside
Dear Community Member,
In the three months since the Election of the Conservative Government we have seen an escalation of the attacks on worker’s rights and on the poor and vulnerable in our communities. As Unite Community Members many of you are at the forefront of resistance to this government and its attacks on our communities. As you know, Community branches across our region are working tirelessly to stand up for public services, fight welfare sanctions and support communities and workers who are under attack from the Tories.
Listed below are just some of the campaigns and events which we are organising over the coming weeks and months. It is by no means exhaustive and new events are being organised every week. Our blogs and facebook pages are constantly updated and carry updates on all our events and campaigns.
TORY PARTY CONFERENCE
Many members have contacted us enquiring about travel provision for the demonstration outside the Conservative Party conference in Manchester on October 4th. Unite NEYH will be providing transportation to and from the demonstration for all our members and places will be available to book via the Unite website. Unite Community are hoping to have a strong presence at the demonstration as we did at the People’s Assembly march in London and the Durham Miners Gala. More detailed information will follow as buses and schedules are confirmed.
* PIZZA EXPRESS – Unite Community members across the UK have been supporting1 Unite members in the hospitality industry in their struggle for better terms and conditions. As you may have seen recently our campaign in support of Pizza Express workers was featured in the National media. Unite are running a campaign to stop Pizza Express stealing their workers tips. Workers in this sector have to survive on very low rates of pay and often rely on their tips to make ends meet. Community branches will be helping to recruit Pizza Express workers to the Union and supporting them through pickets and demonstrations outside restaurants. This is a well organised nationwide campaign and we would encourage as many Community members as possible to get involved.
* SPORTS DIRECT – An article in today’s Guardian newspaper reports that 25% of job seekers are being pushed into Z hour contract positions. One of the worst offenders in the abuse of casualised workers is Sports Direct. Unite Community will be holding a nationwide Day of Action against billionaire Mike Ashley and his Victorian employment practices. This will be timed to coincide with the Sports Direct AGM on the 9th September. Unite Community NEYH are hoping to co-ordinate events in all the towns and cities in our region.
* FRESHERS WEEKS – We have so far arranged a number of events for the upcoming Freshers Weeks. Events are confirmed for Sheffield University, Sunderland University, Leeds and Keighley Colleges amongst others. With the continuing attacks on student financial provision and on further education funding it is imperative that we recruit and organise amongst students in further and higher education. We are hoping that every branch can organise a Freshers recruitment event in the Universities and Colleges in their area. I have ordered a new gazebo for the North East of the region and am producing student specific leaflets for these events.
For information on how to get involved in the Pizza Express, Sports Direct campaigns or how to help recruitment at Freshers events please contact me directly at email@example.com
DURHAM & SUNDERLAND
First of all I’d like to thank the Durham comrades for the fantastic welcome they gave members from across the region at this year’s Unite Political School and the Miner’s Gala. I know that our members from Yorkshire and the East Midlands who came to the Big Meeting this year enjoyed themselves immensely and that there will be even more of us making the journey up the A1 next year!
Our members in Durham are cementing the great relationship we have with the Durham Miners Association and the local community by organising outreach work around social security rights and the fight back back against benefit sanctions in communities across Co Durham. The first training days in this programme take place on Wednesday 30th September and Thursday 1st October at Redhills, Durham. The second part of the course takes place across two days on the 7th & 8th at the same venue. A half day course on Benefit Sanctions and how to combat them is in the process of being booked. All the training is being led by professional Benefits Rights advisers from Durham County Council. We urge all our members in the NE who are interested to join us over these two weeks. If you are interested, please contact me directly and I will pass on your details to the team at Durham.
As well as the fantastic ongoing work taking pace at Durham, recent months have witnessed the emergence of the beginnings of a new branch in Sunderland. Our Dynamic Duo of Kathrine and Dave have been joining scores of new members, been running street stalls and have even found time to set up a clothes bank in Penshaw! We will be leafleting across Sunderland and running street stalls in the run up to a public meeting in the city, after which we will constitute an official Unite Community branch there.
Unite Community will also be in attendance at the Easington Heritage Day on the 12th September in the Welfare Park, Easington, Co Durham. The event is a celebration of the town’s industrial and political heritage and will feature a mix of music, arts and politics. Unite Community will be marching with our various banners and running a stall, transport ds being organised from across the region so get in touch if you’d like to join us for what looks being an excellent day out.
In other good news from the North East, we note that far right extremists from the EDL have cancelled a planned march through Shotton Colliery on 5TH September. Nice to see the far right being pushed back in our region, let’s hope it continues.
A nicer event altogether is taking place in Easington, Co Durham on Saturday, 12th September. As part of the National Heritage Open Day programme, Easington Colliery Heritage Group would like you to enjoy a day of celebration, reflecting on our past and highlighting our future.
This FREE ENTRANCE family event will begin with a musical parade from our former pit site, then follow with arts/crafts for children, rides, live music and guest speakers, poetry, film and photography, bar, local food and much more! Unite Community will be there, marching with our banners and running a stall. We will be organising transport from other parts of the region for any members wishing to attend. 
LEEDS / YORK
Over recent months the number of members living in and around York has seen steady growth. This is mainly due to the hard work put in by various members of the Leeds branch who have recruited scores of new members in and around the city at a variety of events. Until now members in York and much of North Yorkshire have been included in the Leeds City Branch but as their numbers have grown it has become apparent that we need to constitute York as its own branch.
We will be contacting all members in the York area this week to ask for volunteers to sit on the branch committee. Full training is given to all branch officials and the Leeds branch committee will be on hand to assist with the setting up of the new branch. Again, please contact me via e-mail if you would be interested in taking up one of the positions.
LEEDS CITY COLLEGE: Leeds members will be running a stall this Thursday, 27th August, at the Leeds City College Fresher’s` event. This event is being organised in conjunction with the Students Union there. We expect the event to be packed out and it should be a good opportunity to recruit members and engage with the students about the great work Unite Community is engaged in. Again, please get in touch if you would like to help out.
Unite Community are planning to hold a recruitment stall at the Jeremy Corbyn event on Saturday 29th at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. We had stalls at the hugely successful events in Middlesbrough and Newcastle last week and signed up several new members. If anyone is available to help out in Sheffield please get in touch.
Unite Community members have been helping out with industrial recruitment in recent months and we are hoping to continue this at a range of sites across South Yorkshire. Officers are currently running recruitment drives at ASOS in Grimethorpe and IPL in Normanton. If any members have an hour or two to help out with this it would be very useful indeed.
Please contact Richard.Bedford@unitetheunion.org if you can assist at ASOS, Grimethorpe or speak to Sarah.Mitchell@unitetheunion.org if you can help out at IPL, Normanton. Travel from Leeds, Barnsley or Sheffield will be arranged for any members living there.
As well as running the hugely successful Community Support Centre in Barnsley, a number of our comrades there also find time to help out at the local Drop In club which feeds Barnsley’s homeless three times a week. The work the people do there is a lifeline to some of the area’s most vulnerable people. Unfortunately, as with many other projects, they really need more people to assist them. Anyone in the area interested in helping out should contact Peter, the project organiser on 01226 247652 or 0752 846 8327.
As many of you will have heard our Community branch at Botton Village, North Yorkshire have won significant concessions from the charity managing the village and have retained “shared living” there for the time being. The Co-workers at Botton have been supported by the wider Unite membership and Officers and staff throughout the union. They are undergoing media and campaign training and establishing a very active branch up in North Yorkshire. As we have discussed with several branches over recent months I am currently organising a visit to our newest branch for members from other branches. As with all other events listed above, please contact me directly and to express your interest. Once we have an idea of numbers, I will make firm travel plans. 
TRAINING & UNITE IN SCHOOLS
As we prepare to start a new academic year I am beginning the task of contacting FE Colleges and schools across our region as part of Unite’s “Unite in Schools” project. This project aims to take educate the next generation of workers about the benefits of Trade Union membership and explain the positive role unions play in civil society. We are currently organising training for members to deliver the Unite in Schools programme and would encourage any members who are interested in taking part to get in touch.
In addition to our Schools project we are also providing a wide range of training to our members. A full list of the courses available is detailed in the attached document.
So, it looks like being a busy couple of months coming up for all our Community branches. I look forward to working with you all in the coming weeks and months and to forging ever more successful campaigns across our region.
Yours in solidarity
John Coan – Unite Community Coordinator NE,Y&H region.
Educate, Agitate, Organise!
Unite National Education Department
Community membership education programme
Since its inception, Unite Community has had education at its core and as a key driving force for growth and activism.
It was seen from the outset that education would enable and empower community members to develop their activism in relation to all areas of community action which were to be tackled. In relation to advocacy, street activism, campaigning, public speaking, design of materials and ability to use online methods of activism, education has assisted our members to strengthen their ability to undertake the issues faced in our communities and organise around those issues.
A range of specific customised education courses were built in order to accommodate the needs of community activists and that range of courses is always changing, growing and developing to meet new challenges. The education provision for Unite Community members has been sculpted with the aid of community coordinators working closely with the Unite National Education Department, with learning organisers and key tutors in our regions and nations and with our key activists.
The full range of specific Unite Community courses are listed below, followed by short descriptions of each event.
Community Activist training
Introduction to Unite in the community, looking at the concept of community membership, how it fits into the core values and principles of Unite and links to Industrial activism. The course examines why we launched community membership to provide a voice for those who felt voiceless. We also look at some of the successes of community activism and examine how those wins were achieved. We look at campaigning and organising and examine the key three pillar vision of Unite around organising, politics and internationalism, embedded in the cement of equality. Attendees should acquire a detailed understanding of Unite in the community and broad knowledge of Unite as the largest trade union in Britain and Ireland.
Our community initiative has been successful in recruiting almost 8700 members over the last two years however we need to look at growth in a more strategic manner and therefore this one day organising course has been designed to specifically look at community organising and how to recruit, activate and retain members.
Campaigning in workplace and community
This is a campaigning course which concentrates on how to build effective campaigns, identifying issues, testing those issues, and building wider support. The course looks at existing campaigns analyses a strategic approach to campaigning, considers campaign tactics and is largely skills based. Attendees should develop confidence in their ability to organise and run campaigns within their community.
This course is delivered over two days which would normally be a few days apart. Day one will concentrate on the theory of public speaking and address some of the anxieties people encounter when attempting to speak in public. The course uses video footage to illustrate the tips and techniques which are covered. Day two concentrates on the practice of speaking in public and the days in between are used to aid construction of a speech which is delivered on day two with positive critique from peers and the tutor. There is an opportunity if attendees wish, for the final speeches to be filmed. Attendees should feel more confident in the art of construction and delivery of speeches in public by the end of this course.
This course was inspired by community activists who wanted to hone in on their skills in debating. The course looks at debating skills and how to influence through argument. The course looks at a range of techniques in debate and has cross over skills to negotiation and public speaking. Attendees should probably have already attended the public speaking course or at least be confident public speakers. Attendees should feel more confident in engaging in debate.
Social media campaigning
This course is developed to equip people with new skills to develop social media profiles for their campaigns, in order to augment and amplify those campaigns. The emphasis is on building alliances through social media and widening their reach. The course will also examine setting up simple blogsites for branch organisation and exploring the positive aspects of social media for linking our industrial, political and community strands.
This course is designed to look at the quality of our communications in particular focussing on posters, leaflets and electronic communications used in a community setting. It examines drip feed campaigns and looks at techniques which can be used to highlight events and boost attendance.
This course is designed to tackle the issue of street campaigning, whether door to door, street stalls or surveys. The course looks at and develops the skills of engaging with people in their own environment and encouraging them to share issues with a view to recruiting them into campaigns and membership of Unite Community. The first day is focussed on the theoretical side of street campaigning, the second day, a few weeks later focusses on the practicalities and gets activists out on the streets actually campaigning and engaging with the public, the intervening weeks concentrate on building for day two with activists working in teams to build for day two.
Speak up speak out
This course looks at the art of advocacy by phone, in person, informally and in formal situations. The course is based around a series of case studies which test and debate these skills using housing, social security, disability, education, energy and fuel poverty as examples. The course is skills based and very practical
Community branch officials course
This is a condensed version of the standards branch officials/branch secretary course run over two to three days and concentrating upon the nature of community branches and how to structure and build these effectively
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to book you class!
Jeremy Corbyn is coming to Sheffield!
He will address a meeting at 2pm on Saturday 29 August at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, with overspill in Tudor Square….
Unite Community South Yorkshire Branch will be running a stall at this event come along and help out and say hello!
Below are Pictures from Previous Rally’s! Come and join 1000’s of others the time for real change has come!
1 2 Next