Emergency Budget demo – 8th July

A demonstration is scheduled to take place at Barnsley Town Hall during lunchtime on Wednesday 8th July 2015, in protest against the Chancellor’s austerity budget.

300 black (environmentally friendly) balloons will be released at 12.30pm (prompt) to symbolise the 300 jobs lost in Barnsley Council last year.

Please come along and support the event but please will you also promote the event by distributing the attached flyer amongst your networks and by encouraging your friends, family and colleagues to do the same.

Download the flyer: July 8th demo

Fair pay for the NHS

Across England and Northern Ireland today, NHS workers took to the picket lines for the first time in 30 years to demand fair NHS pay

KendrayPicket_01_LoUnite Community members showing solidarity on the picket line at Kendray Hospital in Barnsley.

 Given the feedback from our members, we are confident that this was a very well-supported action with over 100 picket line protests outside NHS hospitals up and down the country. NHS workers were especially thankful for all the messages of support they’ve been receiving from the public.

We urge Jeremy Hunt to heed his responsibility to the NHS workforce and patients and to start talking with the unions to discuss fair pay for this vital staff who would rather be caring for patients than having to fight their own poverty.

Health professionals are especially concerned that the health secretary implies that fair wages for them mean job losses, but he does nothing to curb pay excess by corporate chief executives or the horrific £3 billion cost of this government’s useless reorganisation of the NHS.

The health unions are calling for the government not to impose limits on what can be achieved for this essential workforce, but to come to the table prepared to negotiate in a meaningful way.

Today general secretary Len McCluskey visited Unite members on strike picket at St Thomas’ Hospital. He said that we should send a message to this government and the political elite that NHS workers should no longer be treated as second class citizens.

Here are a few photos from today’s action (below).

Strike Action: Britain Needs a Pay Rise

Here is a round-up of strike action in our area. We would like to encourage all Unite Community members to please go and support your local picket lines, marches and rallies.
Unite flags can be obtained from your local branch office. Please also send your photos and reviews of any strike action that you attend to Joe or Andy, so that we can include them on the blog.

March with us in London on Saturday 18th October, to call for an end to the longest squeeze on living standards for nearly a century. March for a better Britain, full of hope for ordinary people and the next generation, jobs that pay and affordable homes. Book your seat – Contact Caroline on 0113 322 3385 to book a seat on Unite’s free transport for members and family.

Please note that all of the details below are correct at the time of publication. As more details become available, we will update the list, so check back regularly. Please also check with you local branch office if in doubt.

Monday 13th October 2014

Hospital workers in UNITE, UNISON and RCM (Royal College of Midwives – striking for the first time in their history) will be on strike from 7am-11am.
Pickets at Barnsley Hospital, Keresforth Centre, Kendray and Mount Vernon hospitals/day care centres.

SHEFFIELD: Strike Action
NHS workers in UNISON, GMB, UNITE and Royal Society of Midwives are taking limited strike action against George Osborne’s refusal to pay even the 1% pay rise recommended by the Government’s own Pay Review Body.

Northern General Hospital
Herries Road Entrance at 10am
Tony Pearson, UNISON
Bill Adams, Reg TUC Sec
John Dunn, Orgreave Campaigner
Doncaster Care UK striker
All staff welcome to join the rally
0114 2714408 john.campbell@sth.nhs.uk

YORK: March
Assemble at 12noon by the West End of York Minster.
We don’t just want strike day to be a stay-at-home day. We want to show that this is an active campaign with demands that people are passionate about. Better pay in the public sector means more pressure for better pay in the private sector – and more taxes to provide support for those unable to find or undertake work. Its a win-win-win.

Picket Lines: 7am to 11am

Scarborough Hospital
Woodlands Drive
YO12 6QL

Bridlington Hospital
Bessingby Road
YO16 4QP

York Hospital
Wigginton Road
YO31 8HE

Keresforth Centre
Keresforth Close
S70 6RS

Fieldhead Hospital
Ouchthorpe Lane

Northway Clinic
YO12 7AF

Leeds Blood Transfusion Service
Bridle Path
LS15 7TW

Reginald Centre
263 Chapeltown Road

Leeds General Infirmary
Great George Street

St James Hospital
Beckett Street

Durham Health
UHND – Darlington Memorial
07880 196359

Gateshead Health
Queen Elizabeth and Bensham Hospitals
0191 4452371

Newcastle Hospitals
RVI and Maternity Services
Freeman Hospital
0191 2231373

North Tees & Hartlepool
Outside main gates at University Hospital of Hartlepool and University Hospital of North Tees.
01642 383804

Northern Blood
Blood Centre – Holland Drive, Newcastle.
0191 219 4518

Northumbria Health
Main Hospitals – Wansbeck, North Tyneside, Hexham.
01670 529347 / 825

South Tees Health
Three main sites – JCUH Middlesbrough, Redcar Hospital, Friarage (Northallerton).
01642 246 434

South Tyneside Health
General Hospital and other sites.
0191 2024066

Four main sites – Middlesbrough, Darlington, Durham and Northallerton.
01642 837 364

Wearside Health
Sunderland Royal Hospital
0191 569 9909

Tuesday 14th October 2014

HUDDERSFIELD: March and Rally
Assemble from 11.00 am St George’s Square HD1 1JS
Move off 11.30 am for town centre march
Rally back at St George’s Square
Speakers will include: Paul Holmes UNISON, Lyall Singleton UNITE, speaker from GMB, chair Nick Ruff Huddersfield TUC.
For more information: Bob Stoker 0730633708
Facebook/ Huddersfield TUC

BARNSLEY: March and Rally
Assemble at 10.30am outside Gateway Plaza for an 11am set-off, followed by a rally in the precinct. Local trade union speakers. Local MPs invited. Contact: Dave Gibson.

SHEFFIELD: March and Rally
Local Authority workers in UNISON, GMB and UNITE are taking a day’s strike action over pay restraint which has seen their pay fall in real terms faster than any other group of workers.
Assemble 11am Devonshire Green. Speakers at 11.15am. March sets off 11.30am. 12.30pm arrive at City Hall steps Barkers Pool for final rally and speeches. Close 13.30pm.

YORK: March
We’re going to be marching with UNISON, UCU and members of other unions. We want this to be a representation of our whole city. Many staff, both public and private sector, are being told year after year that they won’t get a raise, whilst money is pumped into the hands of the few. York may be doing better than many places for ‘job creation’ but so many of those jobs are paying below the Living Wage.

DONCASTER: Picket and March
Picket North Bridge, Doncaster. March Civic Building Doncaster (no other details yet available).

ROTHERHAM: Picket and March
(no details yet available).

Picket Lines: 7am to 11am

City of Sunderland
Youth Offending, Lombard Street, Sandhill View, Civic Centre
0191 5532730

Town Hall
01325 388 270

County Hall
03000 263300/ 301/ 302/ 303

Civic Centre.
Still establishing position re Schools.
0191 4776638

Main Admin Buildings, Departments and Schools.
01429 523027

Same as July. Civic Centre and other Offices and Depots.
0191 211 6980/6981

North East Ambulance
Bernicia HQ, Newburn, Riverside
0191 232 0348

North Tyneside
Bernicia HQ, Newburn, Riverside
0191 232 0348

North Tyneside
Main HQ buildings – Cobalt
0191 643 8953

Branch Committee meets Monday, 6 October. Will picket County Hall.
01670 624406/01670 624409/01670 624410

Northumberland, Tyne & Wear Health
St Nicholas Hospital, St George’s, Hopewood Park, Monkwearmouth.
01670 394161

Redcar and Cleveland
Civic Heart, R&C House, Belmont House.
01642 444 468

South Tyneside LG
Three main buildings – South Shields Town Hall, Middlefields Depot and Gordon House, South Shields.
0191 454 4167

Kingsway House, Queensway House, Municipal Buildings (Church Road).
01642 528685 / 528684

Wednesday 15th October 2014

BARNSLEY: Solidarity Walk
3 PCS picketlines in Barnsley. Assemble at 7.30 am at John Rideal House, Shambles Street.

SHEFFIELD: Strike Action
PCS civil servants on strike over attacks to their pay and conditions

The PCS will have a picket line at every Job Centre, please visit their website for more details.

Saturday 18th October 2014

LONDON: Britain Needs a Pay Rise
Support the TUC’s Britain Needs A Pay Rise demonstration in London. The Trades Council has organised a coach which is filling fast. To book your seat on Unite’s free transport for members and family, contact Caroline on 0113 322 3385.

10 July industrial action – your story. Hundreds of thousands of people took industrial action on 10 July to call for fair pay for local government workers. Here, a few of our members tell us why they felt they had to take their demonstration right to the heart of London. Click here to view.

A message from Mark Serwotka of the PCS Union.



Public Sector Strike – Barnsley


It was a fine day for marching around Barnsley in support of public services and the pay of public sector staff.

The media machine has been in full swing today, bending over backwards to find those ‘inconvenienced and angry’ at the strikers. Aghast that trade unions and their members possess the temerity to demand a living wage during these austere times. Paving the way, smoothing public opinion for the raft of anti-trade union legislation to come. In much the same way as the crude hatchetting of benefit claimants ahead of the vicious wave of welfare reforms last year.

You will no doubt have heard many stories of the pampered public sector in the news today. However, since 2010 pay freezes have eroded the wages of public sector workers by as much as 15-20%. Now an under the rate of inflation 1% pay offer, kicks sand in the face of workers who are already  down, battered by the rising cost of living and increasing pension contributions for a far lesser return. Far from the Tory myth of a sector full of generous pay and gilt edged pensions.

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Barnsley is still struggling to recover from the loss of its main industry. The death of deep coal mining decimated Barnsley and it is still trying to pick its way out of the wreckage. The public sector is now one of, if not the largest employer in Barnsley. The loss of even just a few jobs hits the area hard, but the year upon year mauling handed out in the form of local authority funding cuts and real terms pay cuts, is holding any hope of a recovery for Barnsley back.

With this backdrop in mind, hundreds of public sector workers gathered in the shadows of the two monolithic structures of Westgate Plaza and Gateway Plaza, in which many council employees are stationed. Representatives of Unison, GMB, PCS, NUT, FBU and Unite came together, along with Barnsley Retirees Action Group and the Anti Bedroom Tax campaign, banners and flags flying to march together around the town centre. Also present in large numbers were the Freedom Riders, a group composed of Barnsley retirees, who have held a number of protests against the withdrawal of free travel for pensioners and the disabled in South Yorkshire.

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The march was followed by a rally with nearly a dozen speakers, representing the unions, the Freedom Riders and visiting trade unionists from Norway and Eastern Europe. All gave rousing speeches highlighting the attack on public services, led by the spectre of austerity.

The fundamental question is, why is there no money for public services? Austerity is not an accident, it is a construct that is designed to hoover wealth upwards and convert public money into private profit. A government hell bent on forcing through their neoliberal agenda, killing our public services while handing contracts to their wealthy friends, is the enemy of the people. The very people that governments are tasked to defend and protect.

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Our second enemy is apathy. Those colleagues that have given up, think that they can’t make a difference or have absorbed the propaganda pumped out by the main stream media on a daily basis, are the very people that crossed the picket lines today. Or even went on strike, but stayed at home. These are the people that we need to motivate, they too are our comrades but need our support and encouragement. We should not give up on them, as they too need protection and representation.

At a time when the government is the enemy of the people, we need unions more than ever.

Care UK Strike Action

Doncaster supported living services for vulnerable people has historically always been provided by the NHS. It was tendered out by Doncaster Council. The tender was bid for and won by Care UK.

Care UK, within months of the transfer want to decimate agenda for change terms and conditions cutting real time NHS wages by up to 50%

Our dispute with Care UK arises from the intention of the employer to slash terms and conditions of employment in order to make their profit.

As a branch we have attempted to persuade the employer away from this course of action by participating in every negotiating opportunity without success

The branch has extensively consulted with our members and after lengthy negotiations with Care UK management we have failed to reach an acceptable agreement. Following the ballot for strike action our members overwhelmingly voted yes for strike action.

Strike action has been announced to commence on 27th February to 6th March.

Doncaster, District & Bassetlaw Health Branch are requesting your support in our cause.

Any donations to help our members at this time would be greatly appreciated.

Please make donations to ‘Unison Doncaster, District & Bassetlaw Health Branch Hardship fund’, to Jenkinson House, White Rose Way, Doncaster. DN4 5GJ.

Download Unison Flyer: Care UK flier


Hardline university bosses refuse to budge on pay, as 3 December strike looms

Hardline bosses at cash rich universities are blamed by Unite, the country’s largest union, for failing to reach a fair settlement before a second day of strike action at UK universities on Tuesday (3 December).

Despite talks under the auspices of the conciliation service, Acas, the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) refused to budge, so Unite’s members in higher education will be joining Unison, the University and College Union (UCU) and the Scottish education union, the EIS for a one day strike on Tuesday.

Unite contrasts the five year pay drought which its members have endured, resulting in a 13 per cut in pay in real terms since 2008, with the lavish remuneration packages – averaging just under £250,000 a year – that the UK’s vice chancellors enjoy.

Unite national officer for education Mike McCartney said that the one per cent pay offer on the table for 2013/14 was “completely unacceptable”, given that the cumulative operating surplus in the higher education sector was now over £1 billion.

Mike McCartney said: “We had a very successful one day strike on 31 October when our members were heartened by the strong support from other staff, students and members of the public.

“The intransigence of the employers, who are sitting on a cash mountain of £1 billion, has not moved us forward. No new offer, other than the existing one per cent, leaves the higher education unions with no choice, but to take further strike action on 3 December.

“The unions are at a loss as to why the meeting under Acas’ watchful eye went ahead with nothing extra being put on the table – it makes a mockery of the concept of negotiation.

“It should be not be forgotten that it is the hard work of higher education staff that keeps Britain in the top ten of the world’s universities.

“While highly paid vice chancellors travel the world, in some style, drumming up student numbers, it is our members that underpin the whole higher education system.”

Unite’s membership embraces technicians, laboratory assistants, administrators and facilities management staff. The union has about 20,000 members in higher education.

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Barnsley College UCU Strike Tuesday 3rd Dec

University and College Union (UCU) members at Barnsley College as part of a one day national strike across post 16 Education. The strike is against a derisory pay offer of 0.7%. In the universities, UNISON, UNITE and UCU are on strike, in the colleges just UCU.

UCU members will be picketing the main sites of the college from 7am – 9.15am and then heading through to Sheffield for a regional rally.

Barnsley College UCU has been in the forefront of showing solidarity for other workers who are taking action. In 2013, they have held collections for strikers including those at Mid Yorks Hospitals UNISON and Chesterfield College UCU, Also in 2013, UCU members have supported PCS, CWU, NAPO , UNITE Yorkshire Ambulance and FBU picket lines.

I would ask you to get your union branch/activists to do 2 things in solidarity with this strike:

1. Send a message of support to the UCU branch secretary Lee Short at: lee.short1975@gmail.com

2. Get a delegation to visit the picket line (and in my experience of UCU picket lines some Christmas cake/parkin etc will go down well!)  You will be made very welcome.

 The UCU branch buys a breakfast for all picketers after the picket and financial donations to the cost of that will be gratefully received. (cheques payable to Barnsley College UCU)

The branch hopes that lots of retired UCU members will come and join the picketline for a while too.

in solidarity,

Dave Gibson