Helping communities is one of the strongest point of Unite The Union and recently the Unite Community Support Centre in Barnsley has recently joined forces with the British Red Cross. This week we have been able to welcome 6 Iranian Asylum seekers into the centre with the objective of assisting them with computer skills and helping them to improve their English.
Within the next few weeks we are confident that we will be in a position to offer the ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) course to them. We are looking forward to working with the British Red Cross new venture.
Leeds Unite Community members teamed up with Hands Off Our Homes today, to leaflet two of the city’s Job Centres simutaniously (not bad for a rainy Friday!). Here is the leaflet we put in. The Bed Room Tax Tool Kit also goes down well when we do our sampaign stalls, here. All these materials are available from your coordinator Joe Rollin. Why not organise a stall in your Town? As always we put a letter into the Job Centre showing our solidarity with the PCS members.
This week on Friday the 1st of August, Unite Community will be holding an information stall outside the Leeds DWP Jobcentre Plus office, to highlight the Coalition Government’s unfair and unjustified attacks on the benefits system and on the unemployed, the sick and disabled, as well as their families who rely on these benefits.
We ask you to support the action in any way you can. I want to emphasise that this Information stall is not aimed at DWP employees/PCS members who we know are under similar attack from this Government in terms of job cuts, increased threats of disciplinary measures and a squeeze on pay and conditions. We want to make common cause with you as our fight is your fight and vice versa.
Instead this Info Stall is aimed at the Government’s savage policy of cutting £30 billion out of the benefits system and forcing people off benefits through measures like the cruel sanctions regime and the discredited Work Capability Assessment.
Yours in Solidarity
Leeds Unite Community Branch
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Report From Tanis Unite Community Leeds
The general secretary, Len McCluskey opened the conference with his keynote address, urging that Unite’s major focus had to be the election of a Labour Government in 2015. The main reason is to stop the austerity programme of cuts. The two major themes of the conference was planning how to the defend the NHS from privatisation, one of the biggest threats being TTIP, which will prevent any attempts to renationalise the NHS if it is sold off, but will prevent the renationalisation of any sector of our economy, even if Labour won the 2015 elections and was willing to fight for it. There was a explaination of Unite’s new leverage campaign to save the NHS, through building public awareness and to put pressure on MP’s (in particular Labour MP’s) to vote against the privatisation and to defend it and to vote against TTIP (even if the NHS is not included) as it is being done in secret in the interests of creating trade agreements that will allow for the exploitation of workers across the globe in the interests of big business.
Overall, it’s been successful years for unite, with many gains, including the win at the Optare Strike Dispute in Leeds. Steve Turner gave a report of Unite’s campaigning against the austerity programme. Not just through demonstrations and strikes, but also with the forming of Unite Community, which gives an opportunity for Unite to build in the local communities. There was also a video of interviews of community members on the people’s assembly demo, including Steve Johnson form Leeds Branch. The community branches have been a great success, with many groups forming and the opening of several community centres, particularly across Yorkshire. It has also helped boost the profile of Unite in general, by being at the forefront of the protests and campaigns against austerity.
The most relevant policy on Unite Community was J4 (Building and Strengthening the Unity of the Movement Against Austerity: twinning Unite industrial branches with Unite Community Branches). This motion covered the use of Unite Community in building a unified movement against austerity and the way to link industrial branches with the wider community is by twinning industrial and community branches. The industrial can provide education, funding and support to community and help the industrial in the wider movement against austerity. This motion was passed and many of the speakers and delegates showed strong support in helping to build the community branches. I spoke on this motion, outlining the importance of community in building branches in non-unionised workplaces and the support we can lend to the industrial members and vice versa, giving the examples of some of the leafleting of workplaces we’ve done in Leeds and the zero hour contract and Bedroom Tax protests.
The most moving speeches came from Aidee Moreno, FENSUAGRO EC Member and Head of Human rights explaining the attack on trade unionists in Columbia. We also saw a video message from a political prisoner in Columbia, Huber Balleseros and we all held up posters calling for his release. Ricky Tomlison gave an inspiring speech on the Shrewsbury 24 campaign, which is now on its 40th anniversary.
Unite Community members from across our region made up part of the 50,000 that marched against austerity on Saturday.
Even though we marched from outside the BBC the media yet again failed to report the demonstration. More effective and imaginative ways of protest needs to be considered in future if we are going to be able to pass this media blackout.
The Doncaster Unite Community Center opened its doors today with a fantastic show of support, even though the weather conspired against us.
The Unite Community Center will act as a hub for welfare advice, activism and a collection point for the Doncaster Community Food Bank. The Center has been paid for by our Industrial Members and welfare advice can be given in English, Russian and Polish.
United We Bargain Divided We Beg.
Unite, the UK’s largest union, is opening a community centre in Doncaster which will support the local community.
The new centre at 95 Netherhall Road, will have a grand opening on Monday 9 June from 3pm. There is an open invitation to the public and press to come and meet the organisers and volunteers and see what the centre has to offer.
The centre will be open Tuesdays and Wednesdays between 10am and 3pm offering help and support for individuals and the community as a whole. The centre will provide a place for people to learn new skills, provide support with welfare problems and support for people looking for work. The centre will also become a hub for the local community to campaign on local issues including welfare changes.
Many of the most vulnerable people are suffering as a result of devastating cuts, such as the Bedroom Tax, housing benefit cuts and ATOS. The community centre will be providing welfare rights training so that local people can get knowledge of the welfare system and support each other with some of the problems they are experiencing.
Unite regional secretary Karen Reay said: “This is an exciting development which brings Unite back into the heart of our local communities. Our members can be confident that we are aware of the local issues and that Unite is seeking to work with the people of Doncaster to address them.
“We will be working with local campaign groups so we can ensure that our members’ voices can be heard and that issues that matter to them are top of the local agenda.”
Unite regional community coordinator Joe Rollin said: “I am pleased that we are opening this centre in Doncaster where the local community is in great need of support and centre will go some way to providing that assistance.
“Our experience of working with local groups and individuals ensures that issues which matter to people are campaigned for. The centre will become a focal point for making those changes.”
Unite opened five such centres last year – in Barnsley, Belfast, Cinderford, Tower Hamlets in East London and Durham.
South Yorkshire Unite Community members took part in community activist training today in the historic NUM Headquarters. The Branch is going from strength to strength and taking part in practical support with our welfare advice, as well as political activity and direct action. A fantastic presentation was also given by the community center volunteers about their work in our Center and a session was put on by our organising team, on our Leverage Strategy thanks to all involved. United we are strong.
Unite Community members were among the Anti-Fascist demonstrators in Rotherham yesterday, The EDL had a worryingly high turn out on the demonstration, proving that our movement cannot become complacent, rumors of the demise of the English Defense League are obviously exaggerated.
The far right are trying to capitalize on working peoples genuine fears and frustrations as the Con-Dem Austerity bites, causing misery and hardship for many people. We must stand united in our opposition to their message of division and hate.