Category: Unite the Union

Disabled people vow to continue the fight to save independent living

DPAC press Release

This morning after weeks of anxious waiting, disabled people and our supporters learned that the high court has found against the latest legal challenge against the government’s decision to close the Independent Living Fund (1). Disabled campaigners vow to continue the fight in every way that we can.

The campaign to save the Independent Living Fund has been one of the most high profile among the many battles disabled people are currently fighting against current government policy that is detrimentally impacting on disabled people, with disabled activists occupying Westminster Abbey gardens over the summer (2).

In November last year the Court of Appeal quashed the government’s decision to close the ILF with the Court of Appeal judges unanimous in their view that the closure of the fund would have an ‘inevitable and considerable adverse effect which the closure of the fund will have, particularly on those who will as a consequence lose the ability to live independently” (3).

On 6th March this year the then Minister for Disabled People Mike Penning retook the decision and announced a new date of June 2015 for permanent closure of the Fund that provides essential support enabling disabled people with the highest support needs to live in the community when the alternative would be residential care (4).

In October a second legal challenge was heard in the high court brought by disabled claimants claiming that the Minister had not considered any new information to properly assess the practical effect of closure on the particular needs of ILF users (5). The Department for Work and Pensions mounted a defence based on their assertion that the Minister had adequate information to realise that the independent living of the majority of ILF users will be significantly impacted by the closure of the fund.

Tracey Lazard, CEO of Inclusion London said: “The closure of the ILF effectively signals the end of the right to independent living for disabled people in the UK. Whilst never perfect the ILF represents a model of support that has enabled thousands of disabled people to enjoy meaningfully lives and to contribute to society as equal citizens. Since the closure of the Fund to new applicants in December 2010 we have seen disabled people left with their most basic needs unmet and unable to seek employment, to volunteer or go into education or simply even to leave the house.”

Linda Burnip, co-founder of the campaign Disabled people Against Cuts, said: “Regardless of this ruling, disabled people will not be pushed back into the margins of society, we will not go back into the institutions, our place is in the community alongside our family and friends and neighbours and we are fighting to stay”.

For more information or to speak to disabled people directly affected by the Independent Living Fund please contact Ellen on 07505144371 or email mail@dpac.uk.net.

1)      For full judgement and press release from solicitors working on the case see: http://www.deightonpierceglynn.co.uk/http://www.scomo.com/terity

2)      http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jun/28/occupy-westminster-disabled-people-against-cuts

3)      http://dpac.uk.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/522372-ILF-Briefing-Note-06-11-2013.pdf?bb10e9

4)      https://www.gov.uk/government/news/future-of-the-independent-living-fund

5)      http://dpac.uk.net/2014/06/breaking-news-2nd-court-case-to-challenge-ilf-closure-launched/

Unite Community Regional Day

UNITE COMMUNITY REGIONAL DAY
UNITE OFFICE
LEEDS

Thursday November 13 2014

What an amazing day!! It was well organised, informative, fun and inspirational!

Unite Community is 3 years old. There were 480 members in this region (Yorkshire, Humberside and North East) last September, now there are 1000! No other union is organising people who are out of work. There are now 5 branches in this region, with South Yorkshire the biggest and 2 other branches are on the way.

This was a day for 3/4 activists from each branch in the region. Other members came from Newcastle, Durham,  Barnsley, Leeds, Sheffield, Doncaster, Grimsby Teesside and Newcastle. It was inspiring to hear what the campaigns were achieving with the support of Unite Community.

Unite Community is helping release an absolute powerhouse of energy. It is involving people of all ages, abilities and experience. Campaigns include support for the Freedom Riders which has grown into a national campaign; Justice for Orgreave; the Bedroom Tax, opposing benefit sanctions, boycotting workfare, demonstrating against ATOS, campaigns against the closure of children’s centres and campaigns around student fees.

Branches have petitioned, held public meetings, rallies, demonstrations and supported picket lines. Two branches have had joint meetings with PCS members to encourage union staff to refuse to carry out unfair and cruel sanctions.

Some branches have established food banks and clothing banks – with a laundry in one branch area, washing and ironing the clothes for free. This has been very helpful for people attending job interviews.

There are courses for public speaking, learning computing skills, welfare benefits training; banner-making – whatever the need to take a community forward – it can be done with Unite Community support.

It was agreed that we needed to be clear about our aims which are to raise political awareness and give a voice to people who are not working, helping people shape and build strong working class communities.

Many of our campaigns will be about resisting austerity cuts to jobs and services and challenging racism.  It was felt important that we link up with industrial unions and with other community organisations who are working with the unemployed and that we send delegates to trade councils.

Legal help and advice is available to members from the experienced trade union law firm, Thompson’s solicitors. Services include personal injury and accident compensation, criminal law, clinical negligence, free legal advice, pensions and conveyancing.

See photos from the day in the gallery below.

Students who work: organise!

This article by Shelly Asquith originally appeared here

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This is a speech I gave at Goldsmiths College, marking the launch of NUS London’s new student branch of Unite the Union.

When I first started at uni, I managed just two weeks before I had to drop out.

Without my loan and grant coming in on time, and without either of my parents being in work, I had no other way of paying my rent. The student finance system let me down, and my University let me down.

So I moved back, signed on and looked for a job.

People always ask me, when I say I had a gap year: ‘Ooh where did you go?’
They’re often surprised when I say: ‘to the Job Centre.’
I soon started working for Social Services, helping older people get the home-visit care they needed. Earning what I now realise was a poverty wage.

That was when I first joined a trade union. It took something to make me angry. Angry at the system, and for someone to join up the dots.

Why was it that I had to leave University? Because education has been privatised, and I needed to have money to go.

Why was it that I was on such low pay to effectively keep elderly people alive day-to-day? Because my local council had been privatised, and was paying more money to recruitment agencies and private providers than it was to its workers.

I didn’t start life knowing about the importance of unions. I didn’t come from a family that has spent years at the front line of pickets, or even voting for that matter. It was a trade union rep, who looked and sounded like me, who put the crisis of capitalism in to plain English – that made me realise it was relevant.

Since then, when I made it back to uni, it was my trade union membership that helped me along the way.

Being a member of Unite helped me, in a part-time admin job, when I was threatened with unfair dismissal .

Being a member of Unite helped me, in my summer job making pizzas, when I was subject to sexual harassment.

Being a member of Unite helped me, as a student, to call out illegal, unpaid internships and force several companies to change their practices.

And being a member hasn’t just helped me. It’s helped the people I’ve worked with, and who’ve worked in those places since.

This is what trade unionism is about for me now. Although I joined to make my own situation better, it’s taught me that it won’t happen if we don’t all fight. We need to not just join a union but explain to all of our fellow students, our friends, our colleagues why they need to join as well.

Employers and bosses don’t want to give us good working conditions and better pay. If it’s not in their interest, they won’t do it. So we have to take it.

The workers at Ritzy – many of them students working part time – wouldn’t have won the Living Wage had they not been part of a Union and fought together.

The cleaners at the University of London wouldn’t have won sick pay and holiday pay had they not been part of a Union and fought together.

The women at Dagenham Ford’s wouldn’t have paved the way for equal pay, had they not been part of a Union and fought together.

There’s something else those three struggles have in common, besides them all being part of a trade union. It was the tactics they used that won them their victories. They weren’t afraid of using their right to strike. Sometimes, actually, against the will of not just their employers, but of their Union.

So it’s not just the joining and being a member that makes the difference. Sure, you’ll get benefits as and when you need them; but being active, recruiting, organising, building this branch to be democratic – and unafraid of taking radical action when needed.

This is what the student movement needs.

Because we’ve had enough of being beaten down by a marketised education system that pays Vice Chancellors millions and keeps the lowest paid in poverty.

We’ve had enough of barely scraping by – handing over our loans to private landlords, only so they can profit from our debt.

We’ve had enough of graduating only to earn the Minimum Wage, if we’re lucky, else we’re on the dole. Of bosses exploiting us on zero hours contracts, unpaid internships, poor terms and conditions  – because they know there are hundreds of thousands more of us just waiting to take up any work that will pay.

We’ve had enough. Now it’s time to fight back.

Joining Unite is one way. So join tonight, and let’s get organised.

Support Tony and George

Lobby outside Sheffield Magistrates Court, Castle Street S3 8LU

Monday 8th December at 9am

 

DSC_5399
Tony Nuttall and George Arthur were violently arrested by British Transport Police at a Freedom Riders rally in Sheffield station on June 23rd.

This followed a series of peaceful mass ‘Freedom Rides’ by elderly and disabled pass holders from March 31st. They are charged with obstructing the police and not having a valid ticket and are summonsed for a 5 day trial.

Free bus from Barnsley 8.15am provided by Unite the Union. To book a seat on the bus please call 07758 836854.

Download the flyer: Freedom rider version 2

Unite suspends local government strike action to consult on ‘improved’ pay offer

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Britain’s largest union, Unite announced today (Thursday 9 October) that strike action planned for next Tuesday (14 October) by local government workers was being suspended to allow for a new improved proposal to be put to members.

The offer, which sees thousands of the lowest paid getting pay rise of up to £1,065 a year from 1 January 2015, will be put to members in a consultative ballot.

It follows a one day stoppage earlier in the year on 10 July which saw hundreds and thousands of local government workers walk out across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Unite has about 80,000 members in local government carrying out such jobs as refuse collection, maintenance of council property, traffic enforcement, school support and care services, and grave digging.

Commenting, Unite national officer Fiona Farmer said: “This new improved offer would not have been achieved without the resolve of our members who stood together to force the employers back around the negotiating table.

“We believe the offer is the best achievable by negotiation, but local government employers and the government should be under no illusions that we will continue to campaign against poverty pay in local government.

“Industrial action is now suspended while members are consulted on whether to accept the new offer.”

 

Strike Action: Britain Needs a Pay Rise

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Here is a round-up of strike action in our area. We would like to encourage all Unite Community members to please go and support your local picket lines, marches and rallies.
Unite flags can be obtained from your local branch office. Please also send your photos and reviews of any strike action that you attend to Joe or Andy, so that we can include them on the blog.

March with us in London on Saturday 18th October, to call for an end to the longest squeeze on living standards for nearly a century. March for a better Britain, full of hope for ordinary people and the next generation, jobs that pay and affordable homes. Book your seat – Contact Caroline on 0113 322 3385 to book a seat on Unite’s free transport for members and family.

Please note that all of the details below are correct at the time of publication. As more details become available, we will update the list, so check back regularly. Please also check with you local branch office if in doubt.


Monday 13th October 2014

BARNSLEY: NHS solidarity BREAKFAST
Hospital workers in UNITE, UNISON and RCM (Royal College of Midwives – striking for the first time in their history) will be on strike from 7am-11am.
Pickets at Barnsley Hospital, Keresforth Centre, Kendray and Mount Vernon hospitals/day care centres.

SHEFFIELD: Strike Action
NHS workers in UNISON, GMB, UNITE and Royal Society of Midwives are taking limited strike action against George Osborne’s refusal to pay even the 1% pay rise recommended by the Government’s own Pay Review Body.

SHEFFIELD: Rally
Northern General Hospital
Herries Road Entrance at 10am
Speakers:
Tony Pearson, UNISON
Bill Adams, Reg TUC Sec
John Dunn, Orgreave Campaigner
Doncaster Care UK striker
All staff welcome to join the rally
0114 2714408 john.campbell@sth.nhs.uk

YORK: March
Assemble at 12noon by the West End of York Minster.
We don’t just want strike day to be a stay-at-home day. We want to show that this is an active campaign with demands that people are passionate about. Better pay in the public sector means more pressure for better pay in the private sector – and more taxes to provide support for those unable to find or undertake work. Its a win-win-win.


Picket Lines: 7am to 11am

Scarborough Hospital
Woodlands Drive
Scarborough
YO12 6QL

Bridlington Hospital
Bessingby Road
Bridlington
YO16 4QP

York Hospital
Wigginton Road
York
YO31 8HE

Keresforth Centre
Keresforth Close
Barnsley
S70 6RS

Fieldhead Hospital
Ouchthorpe Lane
Wakefield
WF1 3SP

Northway Clinic
Northway
Scarborough
YO12 7AF

Leeds Blood Transfusion Service
Bridle Path
Seacroft
LS15 7TW

Reginald Centre
263 Chapeltown Road
Leeds
LS7 3EX

Leeds General Infirmary
Great George Street
Leeds
LS1 3EX

St James Hospital
Beckett Street
Leeds
LS9 7TF

Durham Health
UHND – Darlington Memorial
07880 196359

Gateshead Health
Queen Elizabeth and Bensham Hospitals
0191 4452371

Newcastle Hospitals
RVI and Maternity Services
Freeman Hospital
0191 2231373

North Tees & Hartlepool
Outside main gates at University Hospital of Hartlepool and University Hospital of North Tees.
01642 383804

Northern Blood
Blood Centre – Holland Drive, Newcastle.
0191 219 4518

Northumbria Health
Main Hospitals – Wansbeck, North Tyneside, Hexham.
01670 529347 / 825

South Tees Health
Three main sites – JCUH Middlesbrough, Redcar Hospital, Friarage (Northallerton).
01642 246 434

South Tyneside Health
General Hospital and other sites.
0191 2024066

TEWV
Four main sites – Middlesbrough, Darlington, Durham and Northallerton.
01642 837 364

Wearside Health
Sunderland Royal Hospital
0191 569 9909


Tuesday 14th October 2014

HUDDERSFIELD: March and Rally
Assemble from 11.00 am St George’s Square HD1 1JS
Move off 11.30 am for town centre march
Rally back at St George’s Square
Speakers will include: Paul Holmes UNISON, Lyall Singleton UNITE, speaker from GMB, chair Nick Ruff Huddersfield TUC.
For more information: Bob Stoker 0730633708
www.huddersfield-tuc.org 
Facebook/ Huddersfield TUC

BARNSLEY: March and Rally
Assemble at 10.30am outside Gateway Plaza for an 11am set-off, followed by a rally in the precinct. Local trade union speakers. Local MPs invited. Contact: Dave Gibson.

SHEFFIELD: March and Rally
Local Authority workers in UNISON, GMB and UNITE are taking a day’s strike action over pay restraint which has seen their pay fall in real terms faster than any other group of workers.
Assemble 11am Devonshire Green. Speakers at 11.15am. March sets off 11.30am. 12.30pm arrive at City Hall steps Barkers Pool for final rally and speeches. Close 13.30pm.

YORK: March
We’re going to be marching with UNISON, UCU and members of other unions. We want this to be a representation of our whole city. Many staff, both public and private sector, are being told year after year that they won’t get a raise, whilst money is pumped into the hands of the few. York may be doing better than many places for ‘job creation’ but so many of those jobs are paying below the Living Wage.

DONCASTER: Picket and March
Picket North Bridge, Doncaster. March Civic Building Doncaster (no other details yet available).

ROTHERHAM: Picket and March
(no details yet available).


Picket Lines: 7am to 11am

City of Sunderland
Youth Offending, Lombard Street, Sandhill View, Civic Centre
0191 5532730

Darlington
Town Hall
01325 388 270

Durham
County Hall
03000 263300/ 301/ 302/ 303

Gateshead
Civic Centre.
Still establishing position re Schools.
0191 4776638

Hartlepool
Main Admin Buildings, Departments and Schools.
01429 523027

Newcastle
Same as July. Civic Centre and other Offices and Depots.
0191 211 6980/6981

North East Ambulance
Bernicia HQ, Newburn, Riverside
0191 232 0348

North Tyneside
Bernicia HQ, Newburn, Riverside
0191 232 0348

North Tyneside
Main HQ buildings – Cobalt
0191 643 8953

Northumberland
Branch Committee meets Monday, 6 October. Will picket County Hall.
01670 624406/01670 624409/01670 624410

Northumberland, Tyne & Wear Health
St Nicholas Hospital, St George’s, Hopewood Park, Monkwearmouth.
01670 394161

Redcar and Cleveland
Civic Heart, R&C House, Belmont House.
01642 444 468

South Tyneside LG
Three main buildings – South Shields Town Hall, Middlefields Depot and Gordon House, South Shields.
0191 454 4167

Stockton
Kingsway House, Queensway House, Municipal Buildings (Church Road).
01642 528685 / 528684


Wednesday 15th October 2014

BARNSLEY: Solidarity Walk
3 PCS picketlines in Barnsley. Assemble at 7.30 am at John Rideal House, Shambles Street.

SHEFFIELD: Strike Action
PCS civil servants on strike over attacks to their pay and conditions
BRING YOUR BANNERS!

The PCS will have a picket line at every Job Centre, please visit their website for more details.


Saturday 18th October 2014

LONDON: Britain Needs a Pay Rise
Support the TUC’s Britain Needs A Pay Rise demonstration in London. The Trades Council has organised a coach which is filling fast. To book your seat on Unite’s free transport for members and family, contact Caroline on 0113 322 3385.

10 July industrial action – your story. Hundreds of thousands of people took industrial action on 10 July to call for fair pay for local government workers. Here, a few of our members tell us why they felt they had to take their demonstration right to the heart of London. Click here to view.

A message from Mark Serwotka of the PCS Union.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=vwRjgsL9PFo

 

Yorkshire Ambulance Service Strike

Resolute in patient safety fight, intimidation will not stop ambulance members’ resolve
Mark Metcalf, Thursday, September 4th, 2014

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Eighteen months since first taking strike action and Unite members Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) are refusing to be intimidated by management in a battle over patient safety, union de-recognition and pay and conditions.

YAS are making cuts of £46m over five years. Facing £300 a month pay cuts, trained support technicians who work with paramedics are being replaced with emergency care assistants (ECA) with just six weeks training. With patient care seriously compromised, Unite members took strike action in April 2013.

Management reacted by re-employing previously fired employees, permitting the use of private ambulances with less qualified staff and de-recognising Unite despite the union putting forward a well-researched alternative financial plan.

As predicted, working conditions and patient safety, which go hand-in-hand, have deteriorated since last year. Paramedics and technicians are regularly working in excess of 13-hour shifts without even having time for a meal break.

“We are all exhausted. Last month I missed 20 meal breaks. Frequently I finish work an hour later than scheduled. Working with unqualified staff makes your job more difficult as you are not only working with the patient but their relatives in some very stressful situations,” explained paramedic Debbie Wilkinson, Unite YAS branch secretary.

No-one is blaming the ECAs for the current situation. Technician Les Muir, Unite rep at Willerby ambulance depot, is concerned that “Eighteen year olds with no life experience are facing some horrendous situations that may later come back to haunt them.

“The fact they are being employed on emergencies – increasingly on their own without a lead technician – is scary.”

With management having refused to engage in positive talks, YAS Unite members have continued their battle to maintain a top quality service by taking regular days of action over the last 18 months.

The latest was two six-hour walkouts on August 29 and September 2. Prior to the action staff were told they would be banned from overtime shifts if they participated and also have had double-time payments withheld from work already completed.

“They are trying to intimidate people,” said clinical supervisor Martin Dobson, the Unite rep at the Wakefield ambulance depot.

“And if they keep their promise it will make it doubly difficult for the trust to meet the eight minute response time for the most serious, life threatening calls especially as much of the service now depends on overtime work.

Over 30 per cent of seriously ill and injured people are currently failing to obtain 999 help within eight minutes across Yorkshire.

Despite the threats, a large majority of YAS Unite members were on strike on September 2, joining the battle to preserve an essential top quality service.

“You have to stand up for what you know is right,” said Debbie Wilkinson. “Management should admit their proposed redesign of the ambulance service has failed and come back round the table and negotiate properly.”

This is the real Big Society!

Barnsley Unite CSC Staff

Volunteers Richard Vivian, Pete Smith, Muhammad Tariq, Coordinator Joe Rollin and Brian Clarke, outside the centre.

When the Unite Community Support Centre in Barnsley opened its doors on a blazing hot day in June 2013 to a fanfare from the Unite Brass Band, it was with a sense of much needed optimism.

The shadow of the Miners’ Strike has hung like a pall over Barnsley for thirty years. The coal mines that once defined the town are now gone and with little remaining industry, Barnsley has been particularly vulnerable to the storms that have swept the economy in recent decades.

Harry Leslie Smith, in his excellent book, ‘Harry’s Last Stand’ described the grinding poverty of his early life in Barnsley during the 1920s. Not much has changed and what did, such as the NHS and our Welfare State are now being severely eroded. Currently standing as the fourth most deprived local authority in Yorkshire and the Humber, low wages, benefit cuts, sanctions and the hated Bedroom Tax are taking their toll. It seems appropriate that the office is situated in the NUM Headquarters, once known as ‘Arthur’s Castle’.

The centre is open for two days a week and is run entirely by volunteers. It offers a range of advice on benefits issues, including support for appeals and representation at tribunals. It also runs courses on welfare advice training, helping people with computer skills and internet access with the ‘Learn My Way’ course.

Richard Vivian is a retired Welfare Benefits Advisor, who moved to Barnsley thirty years ago, “I came down from Scotland in the middle of the Miners’ Strike and established the Barnsley Centre Against Unemployment, which I managed for over twelve years. The idea of a community union for people not in work, students or retired, organised within one of the biggest unions in Europe not only caught my imagination, it also fulfilled a long time personal aim to unite those in work with those out of work. So when the opportunity arose to become involved in the development of a community support centre in Barnsley, I grabbed the chance. We continue to apply the original aims of the centre and will carry on as long as the problems of working class people remain and we can create and achieve a better and fairer society.

Unite launched its Community Membership Scheme in early 2012, with the aim of bringing the principles of trade unionism to the heart of our communities, such as the values of solidarity, dignity and respect.

During Cameron’s numerous launches and re-launches of his beleaguered ‘Big Society’ flagship policy (a thinly veiled attack on public sector services, under the guise of community involvement), he can’t have imagined Unite Community, even in his darkest nightmares.

Unite Regional Co-ordinator, Joe Rollin explains, “our initiative was a response to massive unemployment, especially amongst young people. Unite saw this as disastrous for the country as a whole and thought it had a moral duty to these people. The whole trade union movement I think, was shocked by the savage way in which the Tories implemented their austerity programme, dismantling our public services and unravelling our welfare state. The movement needed to engage with our communities to help organise a fight back.”

Joe was instrumental in setting up the centre, “the vision is to reach into our communities which once had thriving industries, where joining a union was as normal as having a cup of tea. Now with de-industrialisation, the toll of unemployment has meant that the reality for working class people is bleak. No work at all, minimum wage jobs or zero hours contracts. We want to instil a feeling of dignity and respect back into these communities and show through collective organisation we can stop some of the vicious Con-Dem cuts.”

Volunteers Muhammad (Mo) Tariq, Brian Clarke and Peter Smith play a huge role in helping to run the centre. Mo moved to Barnsley from London in 2011 and advises visitors on welfare rights, helps with admin work and keeps the centre’s social media channels and blog up to date. He says, “I wanted to help people in whatever capacity I could, as the current economic climate is very harsh and communities are suffering.”

Brian helps to facilitate the centre’s various computer courses, such as Learn My Way and Learn with Unite ICT. He is from Sheffield and is a retired engineering worker, first joining the AEU in 1955. He also served as Secretary and General Manager of the Wortley Hall collective until 2005 when he retired, remaining on the management board as Political Secretary until 2013. He says, “after reading an article in the Morning Star I contacted Joe and asked if I could help, as I wanted to keep in touch with our Union. I have been involved in the centre from the early organising meetings and really enjoy the work. We have a very good team in Barnsley with a good mixture of skills and abilities to help the local community.”

Pete has always been active in the trade union movement and was an officer in the Transport & General Union from 1983 until his retirement in 2007. He helps with benefits advice, industrial problems and tribunals. Pete says, “I see Unite Community as more of a movement than anything else. I’d like to see it grow and spread its influence throughout the community, creating links with industrial branches. The centre is the ideal opportunity for me to put something back by helping people.”

In its first year, the centre conducted 180 interviews, giving advice on a range of issues such as Employment Support Allowance, Job Seekers’ Allowance, Housing Benefit, Council Tax, Bedroom Tax and Discretionary Housing Payments. Advisors attended seventeen tribunals and closed 83 cases.

Richard expands on this, “We cannot win all the time but by taking a claimant through the process of claiming and appealing at tribunals, we are helping that person regain their dignity and showing that we do care.

“Mr R was one of our first cases, seeking help with his Working Tax Credit claim. We managed to recover a total of £4,795.68 from HMRC on his behalf.”

“Another successful case,” continued Richard, “was Ms C. “By successfully claiming the Personal Independence Payment and Carers Allowance, as well as winning two Bedroom Tax appeals we increased her benefits from £71.70 per week last year, to £190.80 per week this year.”

Alongside the advice service, another important aspect of the centre’s work is supporting local campaigns. Over the last year, the centre has supported campaigns as diverse as the local Anti-Bedroom Tax campaign, Orgreave Truth and Justice, the strike by Care UK workers, the celebrated South Yorkshire Freedom Riders and the NUM’s 30th anniversary commemorations of the Miners’ Strike.

Joe explains, “The NUM have been a symbol of resistance in the local community. People remember clearly the heroic struggle against the last Conservative government and what loosing that struggle has meant to the trade union movement as a whole. Unite wanted to educate people about our past struggles and learn lessons for the future.”

For this reason, the centre has also set up its own Community Library, with a focus on the history of the trade union movement and radicalism. The growing collection has received donations from Unite members, Red Pepper magazine and would welcome any further donations.

There is no formal lending system, “people just turn up and we record their name, phone number and the books that they have borrowed on our record sheet. There is no need to become a member or make any payments, we just trust people to be honest,” said Joe.

The Unite Community Support Centre in Barnsley has covered a lot of ground over the last year, offering support and advice to the local community. This is especially impressive when considered that the centre is only open for two days a week and stands as a testament to the passion and dedication of its volunteers.

“We have come a long way in a short period of time,” says Joe, “ we want to continue our unique blend of practical support, radical education and direct action against the cuts, so that we can continue to live up to our slogan, ‘educate, agitate, organise’!”

NUM Banners

 To commensurate the 30th Anniversary of the Miner’s Strike the is displaying NUM Banners as well as at gala’s and rallies, banners were also prominently displayed during protest marches, including during the 1984-85 strike against pit closures.

Please click to view pictures!

The NUM banners depicted the history and politics of the collieries and were a huge source of pride for NUM (National Union of Miners) member.

If you have further queries please do speak to Joe Rollin.

Joe Rollin Unite Community Coordinator / Unite In Schools Coordinator
55 Call Lane Leeds LS1 7BW
Tel 07711 375 536
Email joe.rollin@unitetheunion.org

Community Support Centre Websites
Barnsley
http://barnsleycsc.com/