Category: Unite the Union

With Banners Held High (Discussion Group)

Session at With Banners Held High info here
Joe Rollin Unite Organiser / OTJC Chair Person will introduce this important meeting bringing together four exciting grass roots campaigns. With the mass de – industrialisation of our economy and over 30 years of attacks on Trade Union rights in the UK, the old methods of workplace organisation are inadequate and long out of date, they no longer meet the needs of today’s workers facing short term contracts, agency work and zero hours contracts. Come along and take part in the debate on how we can help fight back. Speakers / Campaigns below …..
Chantal Chegrinec
Pizza Express campaign
Gareth Lane from the BFAWU

Fast Food Rights

10 11

NEY&H Unite Community Sanctions Protests March 9th

sanctions demo best - Copy
Sanctions are Cruel and unecessary Millons of people are being plunged in abject poverty, unable to heat their homes or even eat. How is this meant to help prepare people for work?

Benefit sanctions must be fought against – say #No2Sanctions

These sanctions are cruel and handed out for ridiculous reasons such as:

  • Arriving minutes late to a meeting
  • Not applying for jobs when waiting to start a new job!
  • Missing an appointment on the day of the funeral of a close family member.

This has to stop.

– See more at:

Unite Community in the Northe East Yorkshire and Humberside are planning lots of protests as part of a nationwide day of action on March the 9th see below confirmed Demonstrations! get in touch! plan your own action!
1) Bradford – Vicar Lane Job Centre – 11:00am – 1:00pm
Jobcentre Plus
Eastbrook Court, 50 Vicar Lane
2) Sunderland – Job Centre Plus – 11:00am
John St, Sunderland, Tyne And Wear, SR1 1QT
3) Newcastle – 11:00am – 1:00pm
Cathedral Square, 1 Mosley St, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1EE
4) Redcar – 10:00am
Portland House, W Dyke Rd, Redcar, Cleveland TS10 1DH
5) Middleborough – 12:30pm
James Cook House
79 Corporation Road
6) Stockton on Tees – 2:30pm -Office of James Wharton MP (Northern Powerhouse Minisiter!)
DTV Business Centre, Orde Wingate Way, Stockton-on-Tees, TS19 0GD
7) Sheffield – 12:00pm
DWP Assessment Centre, 1 Hartshead Square, Sheffield, S1 2FD
8) Barnsley – 11:00am – 1:00pm
Barnsley Town Hall Square – Then leafleting Barnsley Market

Speak Out Against Sanctions!

More and more people are facing benefit sanctions. Half a million people have had their benefits suddenly stopped by sanctions in the last 12 months. There’s a big task ahead of us to stop this cruel and unecessary practice, but one of the best and easiest things you can do is lobby your MP.This guide is created to make that process as easy as possible.

Easy Guide Below

Job 7297 Speak out against Sanctions


Barnsley Anti-Racism Football Tournament

This story by Nick Stevens originally appeared on Hope Not Hate.

Some of the teams on show. Photo: Mark Harvey

Some of the teams on show. Photo: Mark Harvey

It’s fair to say that we at HOPE not hate have written extensively over the years about the relationship between organised football violence and the growth and movements of the far-right scene in the UK. That being the case, it is always a delight when we can write about the opposite: a positive story about the impact of ‘the beautiful game’, and its role in bringing people together.

And so was the case in Barnsley on Saturday 16th January, as 16 teams from across Yorkshire, and even as far afield as London and Leicester, came together for a 5-a-side ‘Anti-Racism Tournament’ organised by Unite the Union, with backing from Show Racism The Red Card and Barnsley FC Community Support Trust.

HOPE not hate was delighted to be invited to the fantastic, diverse, event in a freezing sports hall next to Barnsley football ground in the middle of the South Yorkshire town. The ground itself is situated in a residential area, and walking around, one really gets the sense of the unifying properties of the world’s most popular sport, as the game becomes a catalyst for a community to come together.

As teams such as ‘Yorkshire St Pauli’, ‘Barnsley ESOL’ and ‘Manchester Refugee Support’ clashed in their various groups, the viewing gallery and seating area was packed with people determined to stand in solidarity with those that some see fit to demonise and scapegoat.

Being as they were only 5 minutes long, and with 3 matches being played at once, the games themselves were played at a whirlwind pace, with some fantastic individual and team skill on show. Whilst we got a stitch just watching, the boundless levels of energy from all involved needs to be commended, as does the organisation of the day itself, which was superb. Also, a big thank you to the caterers who put on a great spread to keep the teams full of vitality.

In the end, Manchester Refugee Support emerged victorious, so congratulations to them!

DCC United put on a solid display. Photo: Mark Harvey

DCC United put on a solid display. Photo: Mark Harvey

Spot the ball, answers on a postcard. Photo: Mark Harvey

Spot the ball, answers on a postcard. Photo: Mark Harvey


Unite football tournament plays a blinder!

Last Saturday 16th January, a very unique event took place at Barnsley Football Club.

Photos by Brian Clarke and Ian Parker.

The event was a 5 a side football tournament, not just any 5 a side tournament, this event was unique because it was organised by two passionate football fans, Linda Hughes (Unite Union Learning Organiser) and Joe Rollin (Unite Industrial Organising Officer) as an anti-racist event and to show support for refugees and asylum seekers.

The idea was developed when Linda and Joe became aware that a group of asylum seekers/refugees in Barnsley were spending their time playing football in Locke Park Barnsley. It was decided to organise using the title of “Celebrating diversity through learning” and supported by Barnsley FC Community Trust, Learn with Unite, Achievement through sport, Professional Footballers Association, Union Learning Fund, Show Racism the Red Card and Barnsley Trades Union Council.

Following negotiations with Barnsley Football Club the tournament was held in the Training Academy and 16 teams were invited to take place. The teams, 4 from Barnsley, 1 from Doncaster, 2 from Leeds, 1 from Leicester, 2 from Manchester, 1 from London, 2 from Middlesbrough, 1 from Pudsey and 2 from Sheffield. Getting all the fixtures worked out was quite a task but the organisers did it and made a good job of it.

We will not mention all the teams but the team from where the idea came from was Barnsley ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) an all women team a Dads & Lads team and a music group turned out a team.

The day went very well with very few hitches, 3 pitches were used simultaneously it was great to see such activity with so many Nationalities taking part, all watched and cheered on by a good audience of very enthusiastic supporters.

At half time Kenny Barron Unite the Union’s Head of Lifelong Learning presented ESOL certificates and medals to the Barnsley ESOL Team and a free buffet was provided by the Professional Footballers Association which was a bit like the proverbial bun fight, but much appreciated.

After all the matches had been played, the team coming out on top were Manchester Refugee Support, showing some excellent football skills, worthy winners. The trophy was presented by Dave Gibson on behalf of Barnsley Trades Union Council who provided trophies and medals.

All in all a very enjoyable day and thanks should be given to Barnsley Football Club, Unite the Union, Professional Footballers Association not forgetting Linda and Joe. The Barnsley team asked if it was going to be a regular event!! Perhaps it may develop into an Annual event, who knows?

‘King Coal’ is not a lost cause, despite treasury short-sightedness, says Unite

‘King Coal’ has a future as a UK producer, despite ministerial short-sightedness, driven by treasury cuts, Unite, the country’s largest union, said today (Thursday 17 December).

And coal’s importance cannot be underestimated when there are big questions about the country’s energy security in the decades ahead.

Unite said that the closure tomorrow (Friday 18 December) of Britain’s last deep pit coal mine at Kellingley colliery, near Castleford, was yet another glaring example of the government’s short-termism in its overall energy policy.

Unite has repeatedly warned that industry, commerce and consumers face higher UK electricity prices and the prospect of the lights going out in the years ahead, because power reserves are so slim, especially during cold weather ‘snaps’.

Unite national officer for the coal sector, John Allott said: “Coal was responsible for kick-starting the Industrial Revolution 250 years ago and generating much of the country’s energy needs since then.

“The closure of Kellingley colliery is a sad end to the proud history of deep mining coal production in the UK.

“There is a future for coal in the UK and it is not a lost cause. We urge the government to turn more attention to surface mining and its future development and creation of much-needed employment. 

“We are sitting on a sea of coal that ministers now seem to have discarded in their energy calculations, despite the fact that we are living in an increasingly insecure world where oil and gas imports could be under threat.

“The last straw was the jettisoning of the £1bn carbon capture and storage (CCS) competition by chancellor George Osborne last month that would have given coal a real future, while keeping carbon emissions within EU limits. This technology is already used effectively in Canada and Sweden.

“Energy and climate change secretary Amber Rudd does not seem to have a grip of her portfolio and appears to be rudderless under the weight of treasury pressure. Coal is a victim – as are the dedicated workers at Kellingley – of this policy of drift, cutbacks and short-sightedness.   

“Currently 31 per cent of electricity comes from coal burning power stations, but a third of this is expected to close by next year and by 2023 the National Grid expects all power stations to close leaving a gaping hole in the UK’s capacity to keep the lights on.

“When the sun is not shining, the wind is not blowing and there is peak demand, we need other affordable, reliable and secure sources of UK energy supply.”

Unite’s policy is keep UK coal production alive, utilising CCS technology to keep coal as an integral part of a UK coherent energy policy.

Unite in the news: Friday 11 December

Sports Direct value plummets £400m as sales stall and controversy grows over staff pay

The results came as Sports Direct was forced to defend working conditions at its vast Shirebrook depot in Derbyshire. Chairman Keith Hellawell said the staff-checking process had been “streamlined”. But Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “Gulag working conditions have no place in 21st-century Britain.”

The flipside of the online Christmas shopping miracle

Sports Direct is no aberration: Dickensian conditions are now the daily experience of many UK workers

 Sports Direct risks a lasting stain with its grubby behaviour

 More news on Sports Direct.

Jaguar Land Rover confirms Slovakia car plant in £1bn investment

Union welcomes ‘great news’ saying overseas ventures can mean more investment for UK plants

Pay stalemate at Bombardier as union rejects changes

The manufacturer is set to remain in talks with trade union Unite after its membership rejected a proposal to alter wages and working conditions.

Bombardier staff reject pay freeze proposals

Unite, which represents the majority of the workforce, said it would seek “urgent discussions” with employers.

Northern Ireland: Bombardier staff reject pay freeze

More news on Bombardier.


Callum Stanland’s funeral

Leafleting outside Jobcentre Plus office in Leeds

The following letter to Unite members is from Unite Community Regional Co-ordinator, John Coan, about the arrangements for Callum Stanland’s funeral following the announcement of his passing in November.

Dear Colleague,

Many of you have been in touch after the sad passing of our dear friend and comrade Callum Stanland. I know how many of you knew Callum and that many of you will want to pay your respects and attend his funeral service.

The funeral is Weds 16th Dec 1:30pm at Grimsby Crematorium, Weelsby Ave, Grimsby, DN32 0BA

The wake will be at Grimsby Central Hall, Duncombe St, Grimsby, DN32 7EG

We will be providing a coach from the Leeds office. Can you please contact the Leeds Unite office on 0113 2364830 if you are wanting to travel on the coach.

Please bring union banners for display outside the service.

Callum’s family have asked that instead of flowers that we make a donation to the WEA in Callum’s memory

The link is below:

John Coan – Unite Community Coordinator NEY&H

BARNSLEY MP’s CLAIMS; Staffing, Office, Travel & Accommodation.

The expenses of our local MPs; Dan Jarvis, Michael Dugher, Angela Smith & John Healey. Information based on an article in the Barnsley Chronicle 18th September 2015.

2013-14 Total for all four = £710,583.22

2014-15 Total for all four = £743,164.28 an overall increase of £32,581.06 or 4.6%.

This equates to almost £510 per day!

Dan Jarvis ranked 3rd of the four, however he was the only one who lowered his claims overall, the other 3 all increased their claims.

  • Dugher by almost £7,000 or 4%
  • Healey by £2,732 or 1.4%
  • Smith by just short of £25,000 or almost 14%.

Jarvis whilst an MP for the period has the lowest staffing costs of the four.

Lowest travel costs at just short of £5,000 which is 43% below those of Smith and almost £7,000 lower than those of Healey.

To complete the picture, office costs;

Dugher’s are the most competitive at £16,500, Smith’s ranked next at £17,800, Jarvis at £22,400 and Healey £23,000. All the other three increased their expenses i.e.

  • Dougher £ 6,922                       almost             4% increase
  • Smith             £24,410                                   13% increase
  • Healey             £ 2,733                                    4% increase

*Figures rounded up to the nearest £.

On average the bill as compared to 2012/13 rose by £32,581 or 4.6%.

*In other words more than double the rate of inflation over the same period.

During the same period many working people have had to endure far less percentage increases in their wage packet, indeed many have received pay freezes. Some have had decreases enforced upon them by ruthless employers.

Those on welfare and benefits have seen their meagre entitlements dwindle and disappear. It should not be forgotten that MP’s are paid by the public purse just like any other worker in the Public Sector, how many of them collectively increased their income by 4.6%?

Had Dugher, Smith and Healey managed their expenses in a similar fashion as Jarvis, there would have been a saving of well over £34,500.

If you further analyse their expenses on an itemised basis you can determine that there are fluctuations on;

  • Accommodation ranges from £13,719 for Dugher to £20,600 for Smith.
  • Office costs range from £16,500 for Dugher again to £23,100 for Healey.

There may be perfectly good reasons for these variances, location, rental, leasing, size, running costs and rent of premises.

  • Travel shows wide and significantly differing costs, Jarvis by far away the most economical, his are below £5,000, Dugher’s are £1,936 above whilst Smiths are £6,500 and Healey’s £6,900 which are more than twice those of Jarvis.

It would be interesting to hear the explanation as to why one can travel from South Yorkshire at more than half the cost of 2 of the others.

*All figures rounded marginal differences in money/percentage terms.

  • Staffing there are only marginal differences between Jarvis, Smith and Healey i.e. £138,000, Dugher’s is marginally above at £141,700.

Each of the MP’s employs their spouses which is permissible i.e.

  • Angela Smith employs her husband Steve Wilson full time as Senior Parliament Assistant who is paid between £35,000 and £40,000.
  • John Healey employs his wife Jackie Bate part time as Office Manager and paid between £10,000 and £15,000.
  • Dan Jarvis employs his wife Rachel Jarvis part time as Senior Secretary and paid between £5,000 and £10,000.
  • The MP for Barnsley East Michael Dugher employs his wife Joanne part time in the capacity of Office Manager. However when it comes to her salary she is paid by her husband between £35,000 and £40,000.

All my calculations will be based on the above salary level i.e. the mid points between the salary levels e.g. between £5,000 and £10,000 = £7,500, between £10,000 and £15,000 = £12,500, and between £35,000 and £40,000 = £37,500.

I have assumed that a full time worker works 40 hours and a part time worker works 21 hours.

To determine what the respective MP’s hired helpers are paid on an hourly and monthly basis I have applied my assumptions above and I have tabulated them below.

MP & Spouse Weekly Hrs. Monthly Hrs. Annual Hrs. Hourly Rate Monthly Rate
Michael Dugher Joanne 21 84 1,008 £37.20 £3,125
SmithSteve Wilson 40 160 1,920 £19.50 £3,125
HealeyJackie Bate 21 84 1,008 £12.40 £1,041
JarvisRachael Jarvis 21 84 1,008 £7.40 £625
TOTALS 103 412 4,944

The remuneration packages of the respective MP’s spouses are determined by their respective husband (Angela Smith) in her case and by the other MP’s for their wives.

The hours worked are in the main part time with one exception i.e. Steve Wilson works full time. However when you turn to the financial rewards they are significantly different.

i.e. Dugher’s spouse Joanne receives £37.20 per hour.

This is;

£29.80 more than Jarvis’s wife on £7.40.

£17.70 more than Smith’s husband for full time on £19.50.

£24.80 more than Healey’s wife on £12.40.

If you take the salary paid to the Barnsley East MP’s part time Office Manager £37,500, an hourly rate of £37.20 (21 hours per week).

The rate of £37.20 per hour is £2.10p less than that of the cumulative total of the other three Barnsley MP’s who have a total hourly rate of £39.30.

It should also be remembered that all the “gang of four” abstained from voting against the Tories Austerity Programme and its consequences have a greater impact on those on the lower scale of the earnings league. Let’s look at the millions at the bottom of the league, those on the National Minimum Wage (NMW).

The rate for the NMW at the time of analysis is £6.70.

The difference in hourly rates are very alarming they bear no resemblance to the way in which the Labour MP’s pay their spouses, although to be completely fair, Jarvis is the closest to the NMW i.e. 70 pence above but that is just short of 10.5%. Nearest to the so called “living wage” which is to be phased in over a period of 3 years. It should be remembered that it is the Conservatives that are responsible for the introduction of the Living Wage; Labour should hang their head in shame.

N.B. The Gang of Four are members of the Labour Opposition.

If you calculate on a numerical comparison i.e. 4 MP’s spouses and 4 workers on the NMW, it shows in stark reality the differences in both remuneration and the hours needed to receive that reward.

Total pay per. Hr. monthly Total Hrs. worked monthly
 4 Labour MP’s spouses £76.50 412
4 workers on NMW £26.80 640

So those on the NMW receive an hourly remuneration that is £49.70 less than MP’s spouses.

Equally to receive their pay they work 228 hours per month more or 2,736 hours per annum.

 It appears a fairly common practice for MP’s to employ their spouses in various administrative capacities. However is it morally acceptable? Could some of those positions be both occupied and performed by any of their respective constituents?   Some of which may be in receipt of low pay or even on NMW!

My final comparison is how much do MP’s spouses receive more than those on the NMW n.b. I have already highlighted Dan Jarvis’s (see page 2 Para. 3) case, the other three are listed below.

John Healey                 £5.70 more per hour than NMW.

Angela Smith               £12.80 more per hour than the NMW.

Michael Dugher          £30.50 more per hour than the NMW.

Anyone who receives £6.70 per. Hr. (NMW) gets £13,900 per. Annum; if they equally work part time they receive £7,316.


Angela Smith Penistone full time (40 hrs.) Parliamentary Assistant receives £37,500.

It will take anyone on the NMW over 2 years to earn the above.

Michael Dugher Barnsley East part time Office Manager receives £37,500.

Which is £23,600 more than a part time worker on NMW. Indeed he/she would have to work over 5 years to earn the equivalent of £37,500.

I need to draw this analysis to some kind of conclusion and before doing so it should be remembered that I have only had the financial information and statistics of the four MP’s for the Barnsley area. There are well over 600 MP’s, what are their individual staffing costs, travel expenses, salary arrangements, employment practices, Annual year on year increments? Are there any different Party Political Policies? Would there be any cost savings to be made if you examined the whole political spectrum? More pertinently would those savings make a contribution to the national Deficit?

Well it certainly would and also demonstrate to the millions of ordinary working people and their families and those who are unfortunate to be in receipt of benefits, because they are the people who are having to bear the brunt of the Austerity Drive. The current Prime Minister, his Chancellor and the whole Cabinet are quick to tell the general public;

“We are all in this together”

Well are we? Not according to this analysis of the Barnsley MP’s. Indeed let’s not forget that all MP’s were recently bequeathed a £10,000 Annual Increase to their salary. For the 649 members who sit in the House of Commons that’s just marginally short of £6,500,000. That’s an ironic coincidence; £6,500,000 is over 50% of the proposed targeted cut to the Welfare Budget.

Well my Right Honourable friends a more appropriate description can be taken from the Bible.

“Physician heal thyself”

Barnsley Chronicle article: Barnsley Chronicle

Barnsley Peoples Assembly events

At last nights meeting of the Barnsley People’s Assembly we decided to support a number of important events taking place over the next few weeks:

Meeting “Refugees are welcome here” – this is now supported by the Trades Council and by Stand Up to Racism.  It will take place on Saturday December 5th at 11am in the central library on Wellington Street. You may be aware that the South Yorkshire Casuals, a far right group, are planning to demonstrate against immigration outside the Town Hall at 2pm on that date. Their slogan is “Its not immigration its an invasion” and they are clearly trying to create divisions and hatred in our community.

An open meeting has been organised for Tuesday November 10th at 7.30 in the YMCA on Blucher St (just up from the post office) to discuss how those of us opposed to racism can show that these people do not represent the people of our town. The meeting is supported by People’s Assembly, the trades council, Stand Up to Racism and others. Please do your best to get along and be part of the discussion on how we can build a broad coalition of resistance to these racists.

Public meeting “No Fracking in Barnsley” – Thursday Nov 12th, YMCA 7.30, hosted by the Green Party and Frack Free South Yorkshire – all welcome.

Regional People’s Assembly Sunday Nov 15th in Leeds, 11 till 5.50. We are entitled to 5 delegates to the day. 3 people are already planning to go (by train) – please let me know if you would like to attend.

Sat Dec 5th is also the date of the People’s Assembly National conference in London. Obviously this clashes with the important anti-racist activity detailed above, but we would be glad to see someone delegated from Barnsley.  Again please let me know if you would like to attend.

Our next planning meeting will be Wed Dec 2nd 5.30 Barnsley library. All welcome.

If you are in touch with other networks/individuals who may be interested in these events, particularly the events on 10th Nov and 5th Dec please feel free to circulate this information.