The Yorkshire and the Humber TUC has called a demonstration in York on Saturday 8 March to protest against the austerity measures of the Coalition government and to highlight a better way to grow our economy and protect our society. The demonstration takes place while the Liberal Democrats hold their Spring Conference in York.
Would your Unite Community Group or branch like to organise a mini bus to this event? We can help to source funding, if you can arrange for members to travel.
Please contact joe.rollin@unitetheunion for more Info.
Many of you may have seen the Daily Record today saying the Scottish Government has agreed to fully mitigate the cost of the Bedroom Tax here. I have been holding off messaging while I tried to add up the sums of money, but I think this is something we can be very happy about.
Last week, community member and No2Bedroom Tax campaigner Alan Wyllie and myself were at the Scottish Parliament’s Welfare Reform committee giving evidence in favour of Alan’s petition calling for the Scottish Government to make available the full cost of the rent through Bedroom Tax, around £50 million. With this announcement of their willingness to make available further funding, the government have accepted this argument and shown their willingness to make the money available. There is a cross party consensus about this, with Labour set to vote for the SNP government’s budget for the first time since they came to power in order to support this measure.
The unresolved questions are over exactly how this money will be distributed to tenants. The Scottish Government and local authorities already have the maximum top up money in their funds for Discretionary Housing Payments that they are allowed under Westminster rules, and the SNP government want the London government to increase this. (There’s more on this rather abstract legal issue here: http://lallandspeatworrier.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/legalling-nicolas-bedroom-tax-plan.html )
So there is still some legal working out of it to do for implementation, but the key point here is that campaigning activity has forced the Scottish Government to move towards a position of full mitigation, which in the short term is effective abolition from the point of view of tenants. In our evidence to Holyrood, both Alan and I were clear we understood this is an emergency measure to keep people in their homes for the next couple of years. Within that time frame we hope for a government that will abolish the Bedroom Tax, either through a Yes vote in the referendum or a Labour victory in 2015. (Incidentally, it will be interesting to see the impact of this decision on the referendum campaign.)
However, the key message here is that campaigning works. Unite Community has consistently supported and initiated meetings, protests and direct actions over the last year plus, and we have worked alongside the No2Bedroom Tax campaigners who are also Unite members. It’s only through the constant campaigning pressure that we got Ed Milliband to take a clear position, and the MSPs last week told us privately that activists and the grassroots was what had forced the parliament to sit up and take notice. This is exactly why people wanted a Scottish Parliament – as protection for when the Tories came back. On this occasion the democratic process worked and they listened to what people wanted. Now lets hammer this across the rest of the UK, if it’s possible here it puts the nails in the coffin of this hated policy for England and Wales as well.
There’s another good timeline piece by Govan Law Centre showing their involvement with the campaign and giving some background here as well.
Jack Unite Community Scotland
[responsive_gallery gallery = 6]
UNITE Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS)
Industrial Action Days
Sat 1st Feb 2014 (Midnight Fri to Midnight Sat -24 hours) &
Mon 3rd Feb 2014 1500-1900 (4 Hours)
This industrial action applies to all aspects in connection with Unite’s de-recognition within Yorkshire Ambulance Service that took away Unite members chance to share meaningful engagement in the recent implementation of the Trust’s workforce plan. (more…)
Steve Jeffery the Doncaster Geo Branch Sec took the bold decision to hold a weekend Education School in Scarborough incorporating their Branch meeting. The event was attended by 20 people from all sections of the branch. David Condliffe (NEYH Learning Organiser) ran sessions on Leadership and Learning and Organising. Steve Clark (NEYH Full Time Officer) attended and gave a Regional update on activity and the branch/region interface. Gareth Lane (Branch Sec South Yorkshire Community Branch) delivered an inspirational session on Community activities. This format proved successful in galvanising all sections of the branch: Industrial –Community – Retired, to come together to agree a set of goals which builds and strengthens the branch in 2014. Funding was given by the Branch to Doncaster and South Yorkshire Community Branches. Furthermore, funding was agreed to create 2 Branch banners to symbolise the activities of the Unite branch in Doncaster. These actions will ensure that the branch is active in work and in the wider community of Doncaster.
‘’The chance for us all to spend the weekend together allowed us not only to learn and to get a lot of branch business done, but most important for all sections to come together for the benefit of our members in and out of work” S. Jeffery
The feedback from the delegates was overwhelmingly that the weekend School should be an annual event.
[responsive_gallery gallery = 4]
Would a weekend school assist YOUR BRANCH??
Please contact David Condliffe 07791113806 – email@example.com for more information.
Unite Community held our first Holocaust Memorial Day in our Unite Community Centres in Barnsley and Durham.
Unite Community members came together to remember the victims of the past and pledged to fight Racism and Fascism in the present.
United We Bargain Divided We Beg.
[responsive_gallery gallery = 2]
The South Yorkshire Unite Community Branch is now one year old and we have grown to have over two hundred members, we are proud to say that we have achieved a great deal in such a short space of time. We have:
- Helped organise meetings, protests, lobbies, sleep outs and appeals against the hated Bedroom Tax.
- Taken part in in organising the People’s Assembly.
- Taken to the streets to oppose the English Defence League. (more…)
Yorkshire ambulance staff have voted to take strike action over changes in shift patterns which could mean paramedics going more than 10 hours without a meal break and staff being forced to work 12 hour shifts.
The staff, members of Unite, the country’s largest union, voted overwhelmingly for a 24 hour strike which will commence at 00:01 hours on Saturday 1 February 2014.
Unites members at the Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust will strike again for four hours between 15.00 and 19.00 on Monday 3 February over the imminent introduction of new elongated shift patterns.
The members voted by a margin of 76 per cent for strike action. (more…)
Report by Unite Community Member Thomas Scott-Chambers
We had 10 members of the Polish Community come along to our First Advice Session in the Library and struggled to cope with the demand in the short time we had available. Luckily we had the support of a Polish lady from Doncaster who was on hand and has now agreed to join the Union.
People came along for support on a wide range of issues and wanted to know if we could make this a regular event and also asked if we could do a week day session too, this is something we would like to do in the near future it is clear that the demand is there. Other organisations also came along to offer support – something that we can look at as we take the initiative forward.
This was great start to our Community work in Doncaster. Keep an eye out for our next Advice Session Unite Community Doncaster.
Unite young members are involved in campaigning against the cycle of debt that young people are being forced in to through tuition fees, insecure work and benefit cuts.
The following article by Anthony Curtley, Chair of the Unite Young Members section, is an excellent summary of the range of issues they face, and has been published in the Huffington Post Read the article here.
They have also produced this excellent Buzzfeed dealing with the issues: Read it here.