Travel Pass Protest

Bus Pass meeting

South Yorkshire added extra concessions to the travel pass schemes for disabled and elderly people because of the higher rates of disability and lack of money in our area.

Many other parts of the country did the same. London still has free travel during the day on buses, local over ground trains and the underground. West Midlands threatened to take away its concessions but backed down because of a massive protest campaign.

South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive voted by 7 to 5 to stop all travel on trains with passes and to only allow bus travel between 9.30am and 11pm. The seven who voted for cuts were 5 Sheffield councillors and 2 Barnsley councillors. This is a particularly severe cut for disabled people who are able to use passes at any time of the day. Many disabled people have been able to take on low paid and part time work because of free travel. Partially sighted people will find handling money outside of ‘free’ times difficult and demeaning.

A meeting of over 300 in Barnsley decided to oppose these cuts. Over 150 turned up to lobby the latest meeting of the SYPTE.

It has been agreed to organise a ‘Freedom Ride’ on Monday 31st March. We are asking people in Barnsley to turn up at Barnsley Train station from 10am to board the 10.24 to Meadowhall refusing to pay. We hope that other parts of South Yorkshire will also aim to get to Meadowhall on their own ‘Freedom Rides’ to meet up for a rally at 11am where we will plan further action.

View the poster: Travel pass Freedom Ride poster

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.”

Doncaster Unite Community Food Bank

Doncaster Unite Community Members stock up on food for their Food bank with donations made by our industrial members. The fivefold increase in the use of Food Banks is a disgrace in this the seventh richest country in the World. That being said we refuse to stand by while others suffer and continue to campaign against the causes of food and fuel poverty. Working class solidarity in action.

 

York TUC Protest

Unite Community members from Doncaster, Grimsby, Durham and Leeds marched through the streets of York on Saturday to protest at the Lib Dem Conference. The March also had added significance because it was also International Women’s Day which was reflected by having an all-female platform of speakers listed below. Fantastic work from our Unite Community Members once again United We Bargain, Divided We Beg.

Kay Carberry – Assistant General Secretary of the TUC. Kay will be outlining ‘the better way’ our society, economy and country needs. Kay will highlight the alternatives to austerity, why Britain needs a pay rise, the importance of publicly owned services and need for a real recovery for all parts of the country.

Kate Fox – comedian, poet, writer and BBC Radio 4 regular. She’s been a Poet in Residence for the Great North Run and the Glastonbury Festival and originally trained as a radio journalist, working in Yorkshire and the North East. She has toured comedy shows all over the country and will be sharing a new poem about the Coalition government at the rally in York. www.katefox.co.uk.

Sue Marsh – disability campaigner & blogger. Sue is an inspiring campaigner who through her blog http://diaryofabenefitscrounger.blogspot.co.uk/ has helped make a difference and given people with disabilities a louder voice over what the government is doing right now.
Fran Heathcote – PCS DWP Group President. Fran lives in the North of England and will be taking on the attacks on those in need of social security, the culture of TV shows such as Benefits Street and the scapegoating of the unemployed. She will be highlighting the huge potential to fully fund public services through clamping down on tax avoidance.

Nikki Sharpe – social entrepreneur and councillor in Sheffield. She will be highlighting the gutting of local government by the Coalition with the poorest areas hit hardest. Nikki will highlight Nick Clegg’s betrayal of Yorkshire & the North.

Megan Ollerhead – campaigning student from the University of York. As well as highlight the repeated broken promises from Nick Clegg’s party, Megan will speak about the cuts of Higher and Further Education and the removal of the Educational Maintenance Allowance that helped young people from modest backgrounds to stay in education.

Liz Mawson – NHS worker in Yorkshire and an inspiring workplace rep. Liz will be exposing the Coalition’s mythical ‘ring-fenced’ funding for the NHS and the scale of privatisation that is taking place without any democratic consent.

Kate Lock – environmental columnist, author, researcher and campaigner. Kate is a published author and writes a regular ‘green’ column for The Press in York. She has worked for the Stockholm Environment Institute and is Chair of the York Environment Forum. Kate will be highlighting the environmental impact of austerity cuts and outlining how the green economy can be a win-win for jobs, young people and the planet.

Cllr Tracey Simpson-Laing – Deputy Leader of York City Council where she also holds the Cabinet Portfolio of Health Housing & Adult Social Services. Tracey will be speaking about the importance of a living wage.
York City Council is a living wage employer and the city has the greatest number of accredited living wage employers outside of London.

Liz Kitchen Hands Off our Homes / Unite Community

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York demo poster

Sheffield NUJ Miners Strike Anniversary Rally

The Sheffield NUJ Miners Strike Anniversary Rally was absolutely packed on Friday night 7/3/14, with some fantastic speakers including ex miners, the women against pit closures, striking Unison care workers, and Barbara Jackson Unite Community Member and founding member of the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign. The meeting remembered the bravery and courage of the Miners in that year long dispute and heard about how communities rally together in times of struggle. Truly inspiring with many lessons relevant in today’s fight against austerity. The fight continues …

Barnsley’s best radical group the Hurriers, have just released their first music video “Truth and Justice” to celebrate the anniversary of the great Miners Strike. Three members of the band are Unite Community members of course! Please watch the band’s video here:

The Hurriers – Truth & Justice

Barnsley Unite Community supports local foodbank

Barnsley Unite Community activists continued to support their local food bank today with another donation. The Unite team have built up a great relationship with the foodbank over the last year and the community center acts as a voucher point for people to collect. The foodbank refers people up to the center for welfare support and advice.

Practical solidarity in action!
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Doncaster Care Workers Strike

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Some fantastic pictures from Unite Community Members Support and Unison Care Workers on strike today.

Earlier today we caught up with Dave Honeybone, Unison Shop Steward, who said this:

“Great attendance again for the 6th day of striking. People are still strong. We’ve had no response from management on talks and we are going to carry on striking for as long as it takes!”

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Donation from Sheffield East Branch

Unite Community Barnsley would like to thank our brothers and sisters in the Sheffield East Unite Geographical Branch NE/GEO/1 for the Generous Donation of £500, this money will help us continue organise our community activists and campaign against the cruel and unnecessary Welfare Reforms.  United we bargain, divided we beg!

Branch donation

Women’s Assembly Against Austerity

Six Unite Community Members from Doncaster made the trip to the Women’s Assembly Against Austerity in London on the 22nd of February, following on from the success of the previous week’s Women’s Event in Doncaster. Please see full report here http://www.thepeoplesassembly.org.uk
Unite Community Members are really gearing up the activities in Doncaster, supporting strikers, running a local food bank and offering Welfare Advice. Please get in touch if you would like to be involved.

 

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