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ESOL Unite Community Centre

The ESOL Classes put on by Barnsley Unite Community have become so popular that we have had to turn people away for the last few weeks because we have ran out of space. We are currently looking to put on an extra class a week and so are looking for an extra teacher (who Unite will train for free) and volunteers to assist.

Another exciting development is that we are planning a Unite Football Tournament to help with community cohesion and are working with the PFA to make this happen. Watch this space.

And finally, we now have a translator who is working alongside Richard to assist people with welfare advice do come along visit the centre and support us in our work.

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Report from fight for 15 in Detroit

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They said it couldn’t be done. They said $15 dollars an hour was a leap to far. But the working class of America and beyond are proving them wrong.

But workers in the fast food industry have been striking across America for over 2 years With one simple demand. $15 and a union.

On the 6th of june 2015 around 1500 low paid fast food workers travelled to Detroit Michigan to celebrate the success they have had in Increasing wages and building a hard hitting campaign for $15 dollars and a union.

I had the privilege of attending this conference as representative of the BFAWU (Bakers union), Along with delegates from unions from every continent on earth.

The International delegation arrived at the Cobo centre Detroit at around 9am the huge hall packed with some of the poorest most oppressed people in America. Many of whom had travelled 8,10,12 Hours on packed coaches from across The US.

The walls were covered in bright and bold Banners from every corner of the United States.

Electric Atmosphere.
Not only was I instantly hit by the visual impact of the campaign but the atmosphere was incredible. It felt more like the kick off to a football match than kick off to a union convention.

The stage was packed with the worker lead, organising committee which has been formed to strategies and coordinate action across America. The organising committee were leading proceedings whilst, dancing, leading chants and firing up an already electric atmosphere. The response from workers was incredible. Women with small babies jumping in the air people climbing on tables and chairs to chants of

“I Believe that we will win, I believe that we will win, I believe that we will win”.

And

“We work we sweat put $15 on our check”.

The convention kicked off with stories of the successes of the campaign in winning $15 dollar minimum wages in LA, Seattle, San Francisco and Washington. Announcing that the Mayor of New York had been pressured in holding a wage board to determine if wages where too low. Everyone seemed confident that this would lead to an increase in wages in New York and wider a field.

We heard stories of workers conditions and how they first engaged with the campaign.
I spoke to a worker from Kansas who told me she engaged with the campaign when a union organiser approached her near to her restaurant. And she started organising for the campaign after that. She had been on strike twice with her workmates. She told me about the fear she felt on her first strike, the fear of losing her job, and losing her home. But this fear was nothing compared to the fear she felt for her daughter if she couldn’t raise the money to send her to college in the future. She said “I was worried for my job but when I saw my fellow workers outside, I started to feel we had power. Coming here today I know we have power”.

What was notable was the presence of the big justice movements in the US like Black live matter and the campaign against deportations of migrant workers. With most delegates in being black and from a central American background it was hardly surprising that It was discussed how to support these campaigns and how these campaigns could feed back into the fight for 15.

This is a Global movement.
Fast food workers and trade union leaders from around the world were presented on stage to show US fast food workers that the campaign for dignity at work is a global campaign. Trade union leaders from Brazil and France spoke about the work they are doing and Mike Treen national director of Unite union in New Zealand spoke about how they had abolished zero hour contracts and accomplished recognition in restaurants across New Zealand.

The international delegation was greeted with great excitement in an emotional moment of international solidarity that no one who witnessed it will ever forget.

Getting down to work
After the whole conference ate together the afternoon was spent discussing some of the lessons with a Q and A session with the worker lead organising committee, whilst breaking down into to smaller groups to discus and reflect best practise across the campaign. It was wonderful to see workers grappling with the destiny of the campaign as big questions where asked of the workers like. How do we engage as a campaign with wider social movements? With the looming election how do we influence our local politicians? Each set of workers reported back to the conference on what they had discussed.

As delegates drifted off to catch flights and coaches back to every corner of the US it was clear that this campaign had real solid roots that would continue to play a huge role in influencing main stream politics in the United states. Its clear that the strike is back as a tool that can galvanise the support of communities and oppressed groups not only in applying pressure to political and business leaders but in the liberation of the individuals and the communities involved in the action.

I believe that we will win.

The international conference
Met the next day to discuss the global prospects of delivering victories for workers across the world. Union leader’s spoke of McDonald’s as the leading company forcing down wages in industries across the world. Where ever McDonald’s goes it forces down wages to the lowest possible rate it can get away with. Its drive to maximise profit puts pressure on wages in the farming industry as McDonald’s are the largest purchaser of beef, lettuce, tomatoes napkins ect ect we should see workers in these industries globally as allies also. It was also made clear we should highlight the billions of pounds McDonald’s avoids in taxes by pretending its headquarters are in Switzerland and should act to make this known.

An agreement was reached to work closer together, think big, and attempt to improve conditions for workers in fast food internationally and co-ordinated. Engaging more workers in more industries.

What Next
Here in the UK the BFAWU which is organising food workers in the UK has Launched The Hungry for justice campaign. Our aim is to organise fast food workers with the support of communities and fellow trade unions. We are demanding a £10 an hour minimum wage, an end to 0 hour contracts and union rights at work to get involved email.

Gareth.Lane@bfawu.org
@gar1ane
Gareth Lane
BFAWU
Fast Food Organiser
Northern England

Orgreave Justice Campaign Shirt

Miner Designs Customer Proof

In 2012 The Miners Rugby League Football Club was formed at Ashington, Northumberland and broke new ground by playing in the North East Regional League and so became the most Northerly Club in England.

The Club paid homage to the Regions rich mining heritage of Northumberland the shirts depicted the names of the 70 Collieries incorporated into The National Coal Board on Vesting Day 1947. Sadly as we know there are no Northumberland collieries left today?

The shirt also paid reference to the miners who gave up their lives to the mining industry which was poignant in the year of the 150th anniversary of the New Hartley Pit Disaster.

The Shirts were based on Featherstone Rovers traditional design of Navy Blue and White hoops chosen because the Yorkshire Club was from the true heartlands of the mining communities. Once again the Colliers and Miners were linked by the common bonds of Rugby League and Coal Mining.

In 2014 the Club marked the anniversary of the Miners strike of 1984 by changing the initial design to incorporate the names of 85 Collieries that were closed in Durham, Northumberland and Yorkshire since the end of the strike and the devastation caused to the mine working communities. Orgreave was poignantly added to reflect the sacrifices made by the miners to protect their communities.

The shirt had the logos of The National Union of Mineworkers and The Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign alongside Woodhorn and Straw Johnny who had given support to the Miners Rugby League team.

What was to become apparent was the continued struggle by members of The Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign to clear the names of the miners arrested on the picket lines at the coking plant. To support the campaign Miner Wear is to produce a shirt to help raise funds for the continued campaign for Justice.

The shirt will be in black and white to represent the seams of coal and the names of the miners seeking to overturn their sentences will be incorporated in the white hoops of the design. As well as the Coal not Dole logo Graham Murdie the designer has collected together the logos of the NUM, Unite the Union and The Morning Star who have all showed continued support for the mineworkers struggle.

Hopefully attention will be drawn to the campaigns to save the last three remaining deep mines at Kellingley, Thoresby and Hatfield that will see the end of coalmining in this country. The legacy of Thatcherism still remains inherent in the Government of today.

The shirts will be available to pre-order on the 11th February 2015. Customers are advised to allow 3-4 weeks for delivery after payment is received. These will be available via our website http://www.minerwear.co.uk/ we accept Paypal via the website or customers who wish to pay by bank transfer or postal order are advised to email us before placing an order so we can arrange this.

Shirts are priced at £50.00 +5.95 delivery (Delivery cost may increase when ordering more than one shirt).

Donations will be made to the Campaign from each shirt sold. Further donations will be made to The Morning Star’s fighting fund. The shirts are ethically produced in the United Kingdom and therefore do not exploit the workers in the Far East. Shirts can be obtained when the design has been approved from www.minerwear.co.uk

Spectemur Agendo

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Spectemur Agendo’ is a Latin motto meaning, ‘let us be judged by our acts’.

Ched Evans is moving to a league one team tomorrow lets make sure we live up to our motto at Barnsley Football Club, ‘Spectemur Agendo’. No Rapists at BFC!

Nothing discredits capitalism better than those who say they support it! In fact it’s pretty clear the people most likely to believe in the principal of the free-market are those who do so only when it best suits them.

Perhaps someone should explain to Jim Phipps that he wasn’t actually “not able” to do what the Sheffield United board wanted to do; he wasn’t stopped by any law or any other power that forbade him from signing Ched Evans; he simply backed down in the face of individuals making a personal, or business, decision that people like him are generally in favour of (Phipps describes himself as an “entrepreneur” – the supposed backbone of capitalism and the kind of person who rails against outside influence upon their life such as that from government or the kind of protest we have seen in the face of Evans’ return to Sheff Utd).

Paul Heaton, Jessica Ennis and United’s shirt sponsor DBL didn’t hold a gun against Phipps’ head and tell him “no”, the “mob-like behaviour” that he described didn’t involve death-threats, violence or civil-disobedience. Those in protest simply said they would, personally or as a business entity, no longer support the club in their various ways were the club to allow Evans to continue to train with the squad or if the club even thought about signing him.

Normally “entrepreneurs” like Phipps would be all in favour of individuals or businesses being free to make a personal decision and would defend their right to do so; after all, individual and corporate freedom is the edifice upon which capitalism is supposedly built. It’s notable that the likes of Phipps are not half as vocal when personal freedom means businesses cutting wages or companies charging extortion rates for basic essentials so why all the fuss now?

Basically, he’s panicked: at the thought of the loss of sponsorship or potential revenue he’s made the decision that best keeps money flowing into the club.However, he was never actually “not able” to do anything – after all, it’s the free-market, he could’ve quite easily ignored the protests and signed Evans regardless, no one or no law could’ve stopped him. Of course, that might’ve cost him a few quid, mind you, hence his decision.

Perhaps Phipps should look up exactly what being forced, compelled or physically coerced actually means: one example I could offer is the concept of rape; making a conscious decision to do something rather than something else simply because it’s more profitable doesn’t really come close to that, it isn’t quite the same as being “forced”.

So, here we have yet another example of “capitalists” thinking their system is the best thing since sliced bread when they’re lining their pockets but whinging, whining and tantrumming like toddlers when the system they supposedly love doesn’t give them exactly what they want. It says on Phipps’ LinkedIn profile that he does a lot of work in Saudi Arabia – there’s evidence to suggest that, in that part of the world, they’re a bit more laid-back about rape and rapists (often blaming the victim rather than the rapist, pretty much like those who support Evans) – maybe he’d be a little more comfortable in a society that’s much less free and allows the likes of Evans to come and go as he pleases without any complaint.

So, to paraphrase an oft-quoted jibe aimed at us socialists, if you don’t like freedom, Phipps, go and live in Saudi / Iran / UAE or wherever they have a basic enough system your simple, hypocritical mind can understand – you won’t be missed…

More here.

Sheffield Unite Community fight against Workfare

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We kept up the pressure on Savers with today’s demo outside their shop on Haymarket.

The manager got very defensive when questioned about the shop’s exploitation of young people, refusing to answer questions but threatening to have us “moved on”. We moved nowhere, stood outside the shop and gave out leaflets to passers by and shoppers who were – without exception today – sympathetic. Some people had experienced workfare schemes themselves and were pleased that we were making the issue a public one. One workfare veteran talked about her experience of the Youth Training Scheme in the 1980’s – workfare isn’t a new idea.

As we were about to leave a group of young lads, on their way to the football, came up and asked us what we were doing and what “workfare” was. Eyes wide in disbelief they watched as we explained. “Working for nothing? That’s rubbish” was their verdict and they were keen to have their photo taken with our banner: the anti-workfare team.

Workfare was wrong in the 1980’s, it’s wrong now and it looks like today’s children might just refuse to be tomorrow’s workfare slaves.

Bob Crow 1961 – 2014

It is with great sadness that today we witnessed the passing of Bob Crow, the General Secretary of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers and a member of the General Council of the TUC.

Bob was a giant within the trade union movement, a true champion of worker’s rights who fought voraciously for his members. He will be greatly missed.

The following obituary is by Gwyn Topham from the Guardian, Tuesday 11 March 2014.

 

Bob Crow: a tenacious and shrewd champion of RMT members’ interests

The union leader was unafraid to swim against the political tide to win pay rises even as wages were going down elsewhere.
Bob CrowBob Crow, who died in the early hours of the morning aged 52: loved by his members, respected by the bosses. Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

In a political era when many on the left believed a shifting Labour party had abandoned its traditional supporters, Bob Crow was a strong alternative voice and, in practical terms, a viable force.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport workers union (RMT) he led repeatedly won pay rises for its members even as wages were falling elsewhere.

The most recent flexing of Crow’s muscle came with the London Underground strikes. But the union was always fighting, and often winning, similar battles nationwide, with industrial action and ballots called to protect everyone from cleaners on Merseyrail to caterers at Euston in recent weeks. And Crow spoke out every time.

Membership of the RMT increased sharply under his 13-year leadership, during which the union broke its links with Labour, in 2004.

His militant class politics seemed to swim against the tide, within the union movement in the 1990s and later in the wider political culture. Before the Olympics, sections of the press were outraged by his demands for bonuses for those who would be operating at the sharp end of a heaving transport system.

But Crow’s unabashed, straightforward pursuit of better terms and conditions for transport workers, at a time when so-called efficiency savings and cost-cutting hit the wages of lower paid people elsewhere, resulted in a pay gap in the rail industry that is a fraction of that on airlines, for example.

The blunt, shaven-headed, Millwall- supporting Crow was easily portrayed as a classic union bogeyman in the rightwing press, and he was doubtless cursed by many commuters on strike days. But polling often showed that he and his causes were more popular among the public than the caricature suggested.

He spoke bluntly but fluently, and was good with soundbites, whether in suit, cloth cap or football shirt; and he appeared on the likes of Have I Got News for You, like a working-class Boris of the hard left.

His political opponents would often accuse Crow of being a dinosaur, but the recent Tube strikes over ticket office closures showed a degree of public support that suggested his instincts were sound.

He was, those close to him say, a hard and dedicated worker, and a jovial character able to enrich an evening. His defiance over his well-publicised cruise holiday on the eve of the walkouts was typical. Why, he asked, wasn’t a working man allowed to spend his money on a cruise: it had been advertised in the Daily Mail.

While he was unafraid to call a strike, associates remember him as shrewd negotiator who also knew when to settle and how to play his hand.

His sudden death came in the middle of talks over the tube’s future. Manuel Cortes, leader of the TSSA union, which was striking alongside the RMT said: “The thing with Bob was that he was respected by employers and loved by his members because he did the best he could to ensure they got the best possible deal on offer.

“I am proud and privileged to have stood alongside Bob. He was tenacious, and he carried the overwhelming support of his members. While many bosses might not have said it in public, he carried their respect. He understood that his job was to get the best possible deal for his members. That is what he always did.”

DID YOU DIG DEEP IN ’84?

Remember 1984-85? Digging deeper for the miners. Frankie Goes to Hollywood at number one. Everton win the league championship. And a medium-sized t-shirt was ample big enough. For those whose principles have endured the test of time a thirtieth anniversary T-shirt in classic ‘Coal not Dole’ colours. And perhaps best of all raise funds to expose the cover-ups and illegalities behind the policing of the miners strike at Orgreave. Many of those police officers five years later would be involved in another cover-up, at Hillsborough.

Enemy-Within-Black-web

Available from those lovely people at Philosophy Football

ALL PROFITS FROM THE ENEMY WITHIN  SHIRT DONATED TO THE ORGREAVE TRUTH AND JUSTICE CAMPAIGN 

PLUS! Half-price and postage-free Enemy Within book when purchased with your T-shirt.

WSB event

Barnsley’s own The Hurriers play to mark the 30th anniversary of the Miners Strike on the day we play Forest.
http://www.oldno7barnsley.co.uk/
No tickets but donations on the door will go to the ‘Justice for Mineworkers’ campaign.

Very limited capacity, get there early for a cracking night with DJ Meg playing the best in Indie, Ska and Northern Soul til late. Be even better with 3 points from the afternoon in the bag.

 

Could any football Fans wanting to be involved in the Day please contact the Orgreave facebook Page we would like to see supporters from other clubs on the day. PM us for further info.

 

https://www.facebook.com/OrgreaveTruthAndJusticeCampaign?fref=ts

 

https://www.facebook.com/WestStandBogs

 

https://www.facebook.com/TheHurriers?fref=ts

Defend Workers’ Rights Demo

DONCASTER
Saturday 16 November

On Saturday 16 November we will be marching in Doncaster to defend workers’ rights.

Last winter 183 Doncaster-based Unite drivers were sacked by Eddie Stobart Ltd (ESL) following a TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings and Protection of Employment) transfer from Tesco.

Outsourcing and TUPE transfer is bad news for workers in many industries as more and more employers are exploiting the legislation to their advantage – and the disadvantage of our members. The whole point of TUPE is to protect workers when a business changes hands.

At the same time the government is planning to dilute TUPE legislation further. These changes will drive down workers’  terms and conditions and put jobs at risk.

We must stand united and strong to protect workers’ rights and let people know that exploitation through the TUPE process is unacceptable.

We are asking members and activists to meet at Doncaster Rovers football ground, Keepmoat Stadium, Stadium Way, Doncaster DN4 5JW at 11.00 am on Saturday 16 November for a march past the gates of the Tesco depot, returning to the football ground for a rally.

If you can join us in Doncaster – bring your flags and banners – and let’s make a stand against worker exploitation.