Betterway demo at the Lib Dem conference confirmations

The list of speakers for the rally in York on Saturday 8th March has now been confirmed, organised to coincide with the Liberal Democrat Spring Conference. There’s a good mix of national and local  speakers drawing on the different themes of the day and calling for a Better Way than the austerity policies of the Coalition government.

Pam Johnson, Yorkshire and the Humber TUC Vice Chair, has kindly agreed to MC the event. Given that the demo takes place on International Women’s Day it’s fitting that we have a great set of women speakers – full details here: There will be 1 or 2 more additions in the coming days.

We also have leaflets and posters promoting the event. If you would like to place a free order then please email Y& with the name, address and quantities you require. You can also download them from  and an electronic copy is also attached.

To make the demo a safe and smooth event we still need more stewards. Please email with names of volunteers and we will arrange for briefing details.

The event website is available at and the finalised route will be uploaded shortly and other information you may find useful. For those on twitter our address is @yorkprotest8mar and for those on facebook you can find us here

As a reminder:

11.00am Meet at Clifford’s Tower, Tower St, York, YO7 9SA. We’re also collecting food for local food banks and homeless groups so please bring dried, tins and packets of food if you can.

11.30am Demonstration begins. The designated route takes us directly past the Barbican Centre where the Lib Dem conference is held, into the city centre before returning to Clifford’s Tower for a rally. Check for route information.

12.30pm Rally. Speakers include: Kay Carberry (Assistant General Secretary of the TUC), Kate Fox (poet, comedian & writer), Fran Heathcote (PCS union DWP Group President), Sue Marsh (disability campaigner & blogger), Liz Mawson (NHS worker), Megan Ollerhead (Student at University of York), Nikki Sharpe (Sheffield City Councillor)

We are prioritising five issues focusing on the positive alternatives and encouraging demonstrators to adopt a colour for the day to highlight why they’re marching. This could be reflected in an item of clothing or the colour of a placard or banner.

The themes are:

Jobs and fair pay

Tax justice

Industrial growth

NHS, public services & social security

Young people and the future

To confirm that you are attending and to help spread the word, please click here:

Many thanks for all your support so far and please forward this email to your contacts and networks.

Download the flyer here: A5 2 page leaflet LO

On Wednesday there is another chance to get rid of the Bedroom Tax!

Parliamentary vote – Wednesday 12 February 2014

We don’t need to tell you the misery the bedroom tax is inflicting on hundreds of thousands of people. Labour MP, Ian Lavery has worked hard to get this vote in parliament but if your MP doesn’t support him, nothing is going to happen.

Please take a moment to ask your MP to help get rid of the Bedroom Tax.

Unite members have fought the Bedroom Tax since it was announced, through the implementation last April and are determined as ever as we approach the 1st anniversary. That pressure has seen some success, last week the Scottish government banished the Bedroom Tax and the Labour Party have promised to scrap it if they win the general election in 2015.

We know that for thousands 2015 is simply too far away.

The Bedroom Tax vote comes straight after Prime Minister’s Questions, often a pantomime of childish cheering and insult throwing – but most MPs attend PMQ’s then quickly vanish.

Ask your MP to stay in their seat and vote down the Bedroom Tax

We know more and more MPs are using social media like Twitter, we want to make sure that as well as filling up their email inboxes, the stand against the Bedroom Tax is on their Twitter profiles. Please tweet your MP to ask or encourage them to vote against the Bedroom Tax using the hashtag #BedroomTax.


Liane Groves, lead community coordinator

It only take a second to email your MP

PS the 5 April is the first anniversary of the Bedroom Tax. Unite Community will be arranging events across the country…. we will be in touch……..

Doncaster Food Bank

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Doncaster suffers from above average unemployment and the Council has compounded the situation by reducing their employees by many hundreds over the last three years, and announcing recently that approximately a further twelve hundred jobs are to be lost as a result of the reduction of £109 million in Government funding.

Against this background, coupled with the desperate situation many people find themselves in when trying to heat their homes, members of Unite Community, along with members of other protest groups in Doncaster, namely Doncaster Against the Cuts and the Doncaster Peoples Assembly decided to highlight the situation by setting up a Food Bank in the town centre on one Saturday in November.

The intention initially was to bring the issue of people having to choose between heating the home or feeding themselves.  However, the response we received was shocking with a number of people bringing heartbreaking stories of poverty and hunger, often brought about through Draconian unfair sanctions placed upon them by the employment service or unfair medical assessments that ruled severely disabled people we’re fit for work.

Consequently, from mid November members of Unite Community have operated a Food Bank in Doncaster town centre every Saturday and the number of people using this has increased week on week.  The finance for the Food Bank has come from a range of sources.  Initially we had collections at various group meetings, but as we have become more prominent we have had donations from members of the public.  These have been in the form of either cash donations or food donations.

There already exists several Food Banks in Doncaster but these have strict rules on who can use them, often only through a referral from the employment service, and on the number of times in a year they can be used.  Our view is that if someone is so desperate that they have to use a Food Bank restricting them to four times a year, which I believe some do, is ridiculous and so we have no restrictions on usage.

This policy however does place great pressure on our limited resources and we were grateful that the Doncaster branch of Unite recently agreed to provide additional funds to support our activities.

We recognise that our activities will have a limited impact on the total number of people in Doncaster who are suffering hardship, but while ever we have the finance to continue we will make at least some inroads into addressing the consequences of the unfair and cruel policies that are putting so many people at risk.

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Fast Food Rights for Workers

SATURDAY 15th FEBRUARY – 12pm -1pm
The Bakers Union (BFAWU). Unite Community Sheffield and Unite the Resistance have teamed up to support workers in the fast food industry.

Recent announcements from these hugely profitable companies regarding their use of unpaid labour and abundant use of zero hours contracts seem to have gone largely unnoticed in the mainstream media.

It would appear that forcing workers into poverty and having them rely on benefits to pay for basics such as rent and food is quite acceptable in David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ Britain.

Well it isn’t.

Saturday the 15th of February: We will hold a flying picket of the worst culprits in Sheffield and call on all trade unionists and members of the community to show support and join us.

Our demands are simple.
1. Proper contracts of employment for employees. security in work.
2. A decent wage that means no longer will employees need to claim benefits.
3. The scrapping of unpaid work like the use of workfare.

We will meet at the bottom of Fargate. Sheffield. S1 1QF to walk the short distance to our first target.

For more information, please message or email

Demo at the Lib Dem Spring Conference

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.

Scotland Axes the Bedroom Tax!

Dear all,

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: )

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
Bedroom tax neyh 111-13244

Unite Community Members are urged to Support the Picket Line In Carlton Barnsley From 10 am on Saturday the 1st of February.

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…)

New Branch Meeting Format – Empowers Doncaster Members to Set their Sights High for 2014

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.

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Would a weekend school assist  YOUR BRANCH??

Please contact David Condliffe 07791113806 – for more information.


Doncaster Against Austerity

Join with UNITE COMMUNITY members on February 22nd @ Doncaster Women’s Centre from twelve noon to discuss, debate and decide how to organise in our town against austerity. Week by week, jobs, services and many important aspects of our life are changing and changing for the worse. The welfare state that has been set up to protect us from cradle to grave is lambasted as an unaffordable out of date idea.

This is leading to massive attacks on the most vulnerable in our society – women and children.

12.00 pm – 1.15 pm – opening session:
Austerity Against Women – Women Against Austerity
Lindsey German: National People’s Assembly organiser
Katy Taylor Aya Project: The Imkaan and Women’s Aid Capacity Building
Partnership (PC)

1.15pm – 1.45 pm – coffee break:
Buy a Raffle Ticket in Aid of Doncaster Unite Community Food bank

2.00 pm – 3.30 pm – Last session:
Benefits Advice: Know Your Rights – Know Why Benefits Matter.
Speaker to be confirmed
Thirty years after the Miners’ Strike – Campaigning for Justice For All

Barbara Jackson: Orgreave, Truth and Justice Campaign
Mike Symonds: Documentary maker of ‘Still the Enemy Within’
Janet Alder: Campaigner against deaths in police custody
Session Chair: Joyce Sheppard Women Against Pit Closures ’84-85′

Joe Rollin Unite community coordinator.

Louise Harrison @ women’s centre/platform 51, Cleveland street, Doncaster town centre
contact by text 07949 436356

Download the flyer here: donny womens 2