Category: Fighting Cuts

Defend Workers’ Rights Demo

Saturday 16 November

On Saturday 16 November we will be marching in Doncaster to defend workers’ rights.

Last winter 183 Doncaster-based Unite drivers were sacked by Eddie Stobart Ltd (ESL) following a TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings and Protection of Employment) transfer from Tesco.

Outsourcing and TUPE transfer is bad news for workers in many industries as more and more employers are exploiting the legislation to their advantage – and the disadvantage of our members. The whole point of TUPE is to protect workers when a business changes hands.

At the same time the government is planning to dilute TUPE legislation further. These changes will drive down workers’  terms and conditions and put jobs at risk.

We must stand united and strong to protect workers’ rights and let people know that exploitation through the TUPE process is unacceptable.

We are asking members and activists to meet at Doncaster Rovers football ground, Keepmoat Stadium, Stadium Way, Doncaster DN4 5JW at 11.00 am on Saturday 16 November for a march past the gates of the Tesco depot, returning to the football ground for a rally.

If you can join us in Doncaster – bring your flags and banners – and let’s make a stand against worker exploitation.

Say NO to the Bedroom Tax

Dear Unite Community members,

It is really important to make sure politicians know how this change to the benefits system is affecting ordinary people.

On Tuesday 12th November, the Labour Party has arranged a day of opposition to the Bedroom Tax. As well as holding a debate in the House of Commons, a meeting has been arranged for those affected by the bedroom tax to share their stories with MPs, and also meet other people who have faced similar experiences.

This meeting will be hosted by trade union MP Ian Lavery, and we will also be joined by other MPs including Rachel Reeves, who is leading the anti-bedroom tax campaign.

Please join us in this crucial protest, and show the government we won’t accept this cruel and unfair tax. The details of the times and locations are below. We will have Unite stewards on hand to make sure you know where to go on the day.

Unite the Union has also organised a no bedroom tax demo and potential photo call directly after the meeting. It would be great to see you there.

NO to Bedroom Tax meeting: Tues 12th November, 10am – 12.30pm Boothroyd Room, Portcullis House, SW1A 0AA

NO to Bedroom Tax rally: 1pm onwards, Old Palace Yard outside the Houses of Parliament, SW1A 0AA.

If you can’t make to London please take a couple of moments to email your MP directly and ask them to stand this those affected by the Bedroom Tax by take part in Tuesdays debate. Please follow this link –

If you are interested in attending this, or if you know of anyone directly affected that would like to have their say please let me know!! We will be happy to pay for your travel expenses, we can do that in advance if you let us know by 2pm on Monday the 11th of November.

If you can’t make this event but would like to have your say you can email your MP directly:

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about this or cannot make this event but want to get involved with your local Unite Community group.

Or if you know of any local events or potential campaigns or anyone else in your community that may want to join and get involved please ask them to get in touch, the more members we have the louder our voice will be to create positive changes in our communities.

Bye for now

Colin Stuart
Unite Community

November 5th Day of Action

A great report from the South Yorkshire People’s Assembly Against Austerity.

11.00 – 12.00
Yesterday morning over sixty disabled activists and supporters gathered outside the Atos assesment centre in Sheffield to protest about work capability assesments. The action was called by Unite Community and supported by Disabled People Against the Cuts (DPAC) and UK Uncut. Speakers included Mike Higgins of DPAC who called for an end to work capability assesments and the use of for profit companies in the assement of disabled people.

A sea of red Unite flags surrounding Ratos, the giant inflatable rat, greeted passes by, many of whom stopped to see what was happening and offer support. Speakers from Unite Community and ex-Remploy workers talked about the hardships disabled people face in Austerity Britain. Mike Higgins called for the creation of a Sheffield DPAC, announcing a launch meeting for all interested parties.

12:00 – 13:00
The Demonstration ended with a speech by Unite member Oliver Clayton, recently sacked from his zero hour contract job at the Sheffield branch of CEX. He asked demonstrators for solidarity with his fight to get his job back. Virtually everyone present then got behind the Unite Community banner and marched onto Sheffield High Street and descended upon CEX, not only to demand Oliver’s reinstatement, but to campaign against the company’s unfair use of zero hour contracts.

13:00 – 16:00
The demonstration was soon joined by around sixty members of the National Association of Probation Officers (NAPO), who were staging a walk-out over the privitisation of probation services. After a short session of protest and chanting, the main bulk of the gathering marched on to Sheffield Town hall, whilst others joined bedroom tax activists, food banks and faith groups holding an alternative market in the city centre. Freshly baked donations were recieved by the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) and Sheffield students, who gave away cakes and leaflets to passers by.

16:00 – 18:00
Striking probation officers, disability activists and zero hour campaigners joined together with trade unionists and other campaigners and community groups to hear speakers from across the movement, in a rally organised by the Peoples Assembly. The mood was vibrant with over 200 people shouting and cheering as speakers called for more action. People spoke of the huge attacks our communities are facing, with increased poverty, hunger, desperation and illness caused by austerity. People spoke of the need to unite, to organise and to fight back.

Benefits justice activist Jennifer Bush spoke of the pain of the Bedroom Tax, striking probation worker Sharon Price spoke of the need to escalate strike action against this government. Unite Member Mark keening talked of the difficulties their members face in the council. BFAWU president Ian Hodson spoke of the magnificent victory over zero hour contracts for the Hovis workers, and talked passionately about the importance of learning from our victories and supporting all campaigns. Joe Forde spoke of the need to remove the need for food banks, and Sheffield students were represented with passionate speeches by Henry Parkyn Smith and Apryl Walcott.

The biggest cheer of the day went to Unite Community member Jack Hetherington who used his closing speech to call for direct action, resulting in the immediate blocking of the road as symbol of what collective action can achieve. On his call, around 100 people gathered behind the Unite Community Banner and staged a ten minute blockade of rush hour traffic to cause disruption and gain publicity.

Many people stayed around after the demonstration to enjoy the atmosphere, the music and the excellent street theatre. Eventually the increasing rain and cold forced people to retire to the pub or disappear off to bonfires, but there’s no doubting the day’s events lifted many people’s spirits.

Find the original article here.

Bonfire Against Austerity Nov 5th!

Today Nov 5th unite community activists in Sheffield, together with activists from uk uncut., D.P.A.C and the people’s Assembly held a picket of private for profit Atos. The company responsible for huge hardship and misery for many disabled people. Speakers called for an end to the work capability assessment and an end to the profit motive in public services. The 60 or so activists and supporters then marched to a local porn shop CEX where sacked unite member, Oliver Clayton had called a picket over zero hours contracts demanding his job back. Around 130 people manned the demonstration at CEX after striking probation workers joined the demonstration! Spontaneously songs of solidarity forever and chants of the workers united will never be defeated were heard. Both demonstrations then marched jointly to Sheffield Town Hall to join people collecting for food banks, bedroom tax campaigners and others.

What a Fantastic day of Action!!!
Next Unite Community Meeting in South Yorkshire is on the 12th of November in Sheffield at the United Reform Church come along! Get Involved! Unite and Fight!!


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Leeds Unite Community / Peoples Assembly 5th of November Action

As part of the National Bonfire Against Austerity Leeds Unite Community today targeted sports direct, with a large picket to highlight the misery caused by Zero Hours Contracts.

The rise of zero hours contracts in the workplace is the latest attack on workers’ rights and dignity. Put simply, zero hours contracts cover a range of arrangements that mean workers have no guaranteed weekly hours or income, and are only being paid for the hours that they do work. Unite wants to challenge employers to end the exploitation.

Employers use zero hours contracts to cut wages, avoid holiday pay, pensions, and other benefits enjoyed by employees and agency staff. Workers are also unable to take on other work, as they are obliged to be available for work at the whim of the employer. And with the high level of insecurity comes the risk of bullying, harassment and stress. It’s time to end the exploitation.

Zero hours contracts are on the rise having almost doubled in the last five years. The latest data shows some 208,000 people are now ’employed’ on zero hours contracts, and these figures underestimate the reality as many people do not know they are on them.

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Solidarity Donation

The Barnsley Unite Community Centre Volunteers would like to thank Pegler Yorkshire Branch NE/405/22, for the Amazing donation of £2000. This money will help the people of Barnsley in their fight against the cruel and unnecessary Welfare Reforms.

United we bargain. Divided we beg!

Fighting Cuts at Conference

Earlier this week, Unite was proud to co-host with the Daily Mirror a meeting at the Labour Party conference.  This was a special meeting because it was led by those who are at the front line of fighting the cuts.

Jack, a young single mother talked of the struggle to find work and bring up a toddler on a pittance.

Mary, a woman who fears that the full life she currently leads will come to an end when the government withdraws the benefits she receives as a profoundly disabled woman.

And Hetty, who has spent much of her 107 years fighting for social justice and is determindely fighting to save the NHS today.

These women brought those attending the fringe near to tears with their tales of courage in the midst of adversity, and the humanity that compels them to fight for a better world for all should inspire us as we fight to for fainress and decency for the people of our nations.

Please do watch and share.

With many thanks

Unite campaigns team