Say NO to the Bedroom Tax

Dear Unite Community members,

It is really important to make sure politicians know how this change to the benefits system is affecting ordinary people.

On Tuesday 12th November, the Labour Party has arranged a day of opposition to the Bedroom Tax. As well as holding a debate in the House of Commons, a meeting has been arranged for those affected by the bedroom tax to share their stories with MPs, and also meet other people who have faced similar experiences.

This meeting will be hosted by trade union MP Ian Lavery, and we will also be joined by other MPs including Rachel Reeves, who is leading the anti-bedroom tax campaign.

Please join us in this crucial protest, and show the government we won’t accept this cruel and unfair tax. The details of the times and locations are below. We will have Unite stewards on hand to make sure you know where to go on the day.

Unite the Union has also organised a no bedroom tax demo and potential photo call directly after the meeting. It would be great to see you there.

NO to Bedroom Tax meeting: Tues 12th November, 10am – 12.30pm Boothroyd Room, Portcullis House, SW1A 0AA

NO to Bedroom Tax rally: 1pm onwards, Old Palace Yard outside the Houses of Parliament, SW1A 0AA.

If you can’t make to London please take a couple of moments to email your MP directly and ask them to stand this those affected by the Bedroom Tax by take part in Tuesdays debate. Please follow this link – http://www.unitetheunion.org/campaigning/stopthebedroomtax/

If you are interested in attending this, or if you know of anyone directly affected that would like to have their say please let me know!! We will be happy to pay for your travel expenses, we can do that in advance if you let us know by 2pm on Monday the 11th of November.

If you can’t make this event but would like to have your say you can email your MP directly:

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about this or cannot make this event but want to get involved with your local Unite Community group.

Or if you know of any local events or potential campaigns or anyone else in your community that may want to join and get involved please ask them to get in touch, the more members we have the louder our voice will be to create positive changes in our communities.

Bye for now

Colin Stuart
Unite Community

November 5th Day of Action

A great report from the South Yorkshire People’s Assembly Against Austerity.

11.00 – 12.00
Yesterday morning over sixty disabled activists and supporters gathered outside the Atos assesment centre in Sheffield to protest about work capability assesments. The action was called by Unite Community and supported by Disabled People Against the Cuts (DPAC) and UK Uncut. Speakers included Mike Higgins of DPAC who called for an end to work capability assesments and the use of for profit companies in the assement of disabled people.

A sea of red Unite flags surrounding Ratos, the giant inflatable rat, greeted passes by, many of whom stopped to see what was happening and offer support. Speakers from Unite Community and ex-Remploy workers talked about the hardships disabled people face in Austerity Britain. Mike Higgins called for the creation of a Sheffield DPAC, announcing a launch meeting for all interested parties.

12:00 – 13:00
The Demonstration ended with a speech by Unite member Oliver Clayton, recently sacked from his zero hour contract job at the Sheffield branch of CEX. He asked demonstrators for solidarity with his fight to get his job back. Virtually everyone present then got behind the Unite Community banner and marched onto Sheffield High Street and descended upon CEX, not only to demand Oliver’s reinstatement, but to campaign against the company’s unfair use of zero hour contracts.

13:00 – 16:00
The demonstration was soon joined by around sixty members of the National Association of Probation Officers (NAPO), who were staging a walk-out over the privitisation of probation services. After a short session of protest and chanting, the main bulk of the gathering marched on to Sheffield Town hall, whilst others joined bedroom tax activists, food banks and faith groups holding an alternative market in the city centre. Freshly baked donations were recieved by the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) and Sheffield students, who gave away cakes and leaflets to passers by.

16:00 – 18:00
Striking probation officers, disability activists and zero hour campaigners joined together with trade unionists and other campaigners and community groups to hear speakers from across the movement, in a rally organised by the Peoples Assembly. The mood was vibrant with over 200 people shouting and cheering as speakers called for more action. People spoke of the huge attacks our communities are facing, with increased poverty, hunger, desperation and illness caused by austerity. People spoke of the need to unite, to organise and to fight back.

Benefits justice activist Jennifer Bush spoke of the pain of the Bedroom Tax, striking probation worker Sharon Price spoke of the need to escalate strike action against this government. Unite Member Mark keening talked of the difficulties their members face in the council. BFAWU president Ian Hodson spoke of the magnificent victory over zero hour contracts for the Hovis workers, and talked passionately about the importance of learning from our victories and supporting all campaigns. Joe Forde spoke of the need to remove the need for food banks, and Sheffield students were represented with passionate speeches by Henry Parkyn Smith and Apryl Walcott.

The biggest cheer of the day went to Unite Community member Jack Hetherington who used his closing speech to call for direct action, resulting in the immediate blocking of the road as symbol of what collective action can achieve. On his call, around 100 people gathered behind the Unite Community Banner and staged a ten minute blockade of rush hour traffic to cause disruption and gain publicity.

Many people stayed around after the demonstration to enjoy the atmosphere, the music and the excellent street theatre. Eventually the increasing rain and cold forced people to retire to the pub or disappear off to bonfires, but there’s no doubting the day’s events lifted many people’s spirits.

Find the original article here.

Art Inclusion & Wellbeing

Come and join us for free Art Classes
(Painting, art, crafts and children’s activities)
18th Sep every Wednesday 5.00pm – 7.00pm
Venue:R&B Mind
Arcadia House, 72 Market Street
Barnsley, S70 1SN
‘Find out how to stay warm and healthy this winter while discovering your creativity and talent’. Places are limited so please register early to get priority. For more information and to book a place please contact:

Roya: 07529028705 or email:
royapourali@360engagement. co.uk
Download the flyer here Art inclusion and Wellbeing Flyer

Miners’ hall to become community centre

Len McCluskey at this year's Durham Miners' Gala

Len McCluskey at this year’s Durham Miners’ Gala

A MINERS’ hall is to become a part-time community centre and campaign base to fight the Government’s welfare reforms.

The trades union Unite and the Durham Miners’ Association (DMA) have teamed up to open the DMA’s headquarters, the Miners’ Hall, at Red Hill, Durham City, to the community two days a week.

Visitors will be offered the chance to learn new skills, help with welfare issues and support to find work.

Supporters hope the centre will also be a hub for local campaigning against reforms such as the so-called bedroom tax and other benefit cuts.

A grand opening will be held on Friday, November 15, after which the centre will be open on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10am to 3pm.

The opening will be addressed by Len McCluskey, Unite’s general secretary.

Karen Reay, Unite’s regional secretary, said: “This exciting development in conjunction with the Durham Miners’ Association brings Unite back into our industrial heartlands.”

Dave Hopper, from the DMA, said: “We have opened the community support centre in partnership with Unite in a response to the vicious attacks on the benefits system brought in by the Con-Dem government.”

Durham’s will be the fifth such centre Unite has opened this year.

You can find the original article at The Northern Echo here.

Bonfire Against Austerity Nov 5th!

Today Nov 5th unite community activists in Sheffield, together with activists from uk uncut., D.P.A.C and the people’s Assembly held a picket of private for profit Atos. The company responsible for huge hardship and misery for many disabled people. Speakers called for an end to the work capability assessment and an end to the profit motive in public services. The 60 or so activists and supporters then marched to a local porn shop CEX where sacked unite member, Oliver Clayton had called a picket over zero hours contracts demanding his job back. Around 130 people manned the demonstration at CEX after striking probation workers joined the demonstration! Spontaneously songs of solidarity forever and chants of the workers united will never be defeated were heard. Both demonstrations then marched jointly to Sheffield Town Hall to join people collecting for food banks, bedroom tax campaigners and others.

What a Fantastic day of Action!!!
Next Unite Community Meeting in South Yorkshire is on the 12th of November in Sheffield at the United Reform Church come along! Get Involved! Unite and Fight!!

 

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Leeds Unite Community / Peoples Assembly 5th of November Action

As part of the National Bonfire Against Austerity Leeds Unite Community today targeted sports direct, with a large picket to highlight the misery caused by Zero Hours Contracts.

The rise of zero hours contracts in the workplace is the latest attack on workers’ rights and dignity. Put simply, zero hours contracts cover a range of arrangements that mean workers have no guaranteed weekly hours or income, and are only being paid for the hours that they do work. Unite wants to challenge employers to end the exploitation.

Employers use zero hours contracts to cut wages, avoid holiday pay, pensions, and other benefits enjoyed by employees and agency staff. Workers are also unable to take on other work, as they are obliged to be available for work at the whim of the employer. And with the high level of insecurity comes the risk of bullying, harassment and stress. It’s time to end the exploitation.

Zero hours contracts are on the rise having almost doubled in the last five years. The latest data shows some 208,000 people are now ‘employed’ on zero hours contracts, and these figures underestimate the reality as many people do not know they are on them.

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Solidarity Donation

The Barnsley Unite Community Centre Volunteers would like to thank Pegler Yorkshire Branch NE/405/22, for the Amazing donation of £2000. This money will help the people of Barnsley in their fight against the cruel and unnecessary Welfare Reforms.

United we bargain. Divided we beg!

New union community support centre for Durham to open

Durham opening poster

Unite, the UK’s largest union and the Durham Miners Association (DMA) have joined forces to open a community centre in Red Hill, Durham which will support the local community.

The new centre at Miners Hall, Red Hill, Durham, Co Durham, DH14BD, will have its “Grand Opening” on Friday 15 November from 2pm where the public and press will be able to meet the volunteers and see what the centre has to offer.

The centre will be open for two days a week (10am – 3pm, Wednesday -Thursday) offering help and support for individuals and for the community as a whole. The centre will allow 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 welfare changes.

With devastating cuts, such as the Bedroom Tax, housing benefit cuts and ATOS to name a few, the centre will introduce Benefit Buddying, which will offer peer-to-peer support for many of the most vulnerable people who will suffer as a result of these cuts and who have difficulties with benefit claims.

With unemployment running at 22,700 in County Durham – the largest number of any local authority area in the North East and over 4,000 unemployed young people – the centre’s services will be a vital resource for the local community adversely affected by government’s cuts to services and social security payments.

Unite regional secretary Karen Reay said: “This exciting development in conjunction with the Durham Miners Association brings Unite back into our industrial heartlands. Our members can be confident that we are aware of their local issues and that Unite is seeking to work with the people of Durham to address them.

“By working with local campaign groups and politicians we can ensure that our members’ voices are heard and that issues that matter to them are top of the local agenda.”

David Hopper of the DMA said: “We have opened the community support centre in partnership with Unite in a response to the vicious attacks on the benefits system brought in by the Con-Dem government. The last Conservative government decimated our coal industry now this government is making the people of the North East suffer all over again.”

Unite regional community coordinator Joe Rollin said: “I am really pleased that we are opening this centre in Durham where the local community is in great need of support and this 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. This centre will become a focal point for making those changes.”

Unite has already opened four such centres this year – in Barnsley, Belfast Cinderford and Tower Hamlets in east London.

Downloadable PDF Poster: Durham opening poster

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