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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.