Join the discussions – you can comment below each post.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

A message from the General Secretary

It’s been quite a year for our union – and for me personally. You might already know that I had a heart transplant at the end of November and I am writing this from my ward at the wonderful Papworth Hospital – although I'll be back home very soon.

Words cannot express how much strength I have taken from the love and support of my wife, Ruth, and children Imogen and Rhys. I also want to repeat my admiration for the truly world-class team here at Papworth who deserve all the praise they get.

It’s been a tough year in many ways, with fresh attacks from the Tories on your terms and conditions at work. But we have won some notable successes – again fighting off the Land Registry privatisation and bringing an end to the most unpleasant aspects of performance management in the civil service.

I hope you find time to relax and enjoy yourself over the festive break. I wish you a very happy Christmas and here’s to a successful new year.

Mark Serwotka

Friday, 16 December 2016

The answer to the crisis in social care?

Tony Mulhearn of NW ARMS wrote this letter to The Observer:

Yet another investigation in addition to at least ten similar reports this year (Observer 11/12/16) confirms that which everybody with a smidgeon of awareness knows - that there is a crisis in social care. This crisis was inevitable since this fat cats’ government seized on the banker-induced economic crash of 2008 as an excuse to slash expenditure on social provision which is demanded by the wealthiest one per cent who bankroll the Tory Party, and whose income has increased exponentially as the working class’s has declined.

Local authorities like Liverpool have butchered social care by complying with Tory cuts, and a further cut of £90million is promised which in the words of Mayor Anderson could see Liverpool council unable to provide even statutory provision for deprived children and the elderly.

Teresa May attempts to disguise the brutal agenda of her government by feigning sympathy with, in her words, 'ordinary, working-class families, not the wealthy, that had made the biggest sacrifices' since the financial crash. The following week her Chancellor Hammond promised no let-up in the Tory programme of everlasting cuts.

The solution proposed in your comment page merely fiddles with the problem. Certainly political will is required, but to do what? Reversing the cuts in inheritance tax is a start, but what about collecting the taxes being dodged on an industrial scale and increasing the taxes of the top 1%. The immediate cancellation of all PFI payments would yield millions for the NHS and social care.

These measures could be given teeth by 6,500 Labour councillors refusing to carry out any further Tory cuts, supported by a massive programme of industrial action to be initiated by the TUC in defence of those in society who are least able to defend themselves. 

Tony Mulhearn

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

News updates - from the web

Our regular round up of relevant news items, selected by Steve Ion of NW ARMS.

Life expectancy rises but health failing - here.

No money for WASPI women as too expensive - here.

"Pensions time bomb" say financial advisers - here.

Millions paid to social care companies despite crisis in standards - here.

Care homes crisis: private providers returning contracts to councils - here.

And winner in the Lying Propaganda Category is the Telegraph, which asserts that UK 'pensions apartheid' is the worst in the developed world: "The UK is the only country where civil servants will enjoy pensions worth more than 100pc of their final salary".
One ARMS NW committee member calculates he is owed arrears of at least £112,000.
To see more, click here.

Friday, 2 December 2016

NHS: Victory for Opponents of STPs

TUSC recognises that organisations campaigning against attacks on the NHS can celebrate an important success in preventing almost £1billion of cuts to the NHS on Merseyside under the grotesque Tory misnomer of the Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs).

Several hundred NHS supporters lobbied the Health and Wellbeing Board on Thursday 1 December at which Chairman Joe Anderson declared the Liverpool City Council’s total opposition to this plan of the Tories to dismantle the NHS in the region and to hand out more contracts to their friends in the private sector.

Mayor Anderson was also asked to give a commitment to oppose the closure of the Women’s Hospital which he did. There was also a call for the Mayor to organise a national assembly of councils to collectively oppose the latest Tory plans to wreck the NHS. This decision represents a step forward by the campaigns to Keep Our NHS Public and to oppose the closure of the Women’s Hospital.

But everybody campaigning against the Tories are fully aware that this fat cats’ government will press on with their attacks on the NHS and on the poor and needy. That’s why TUSC supports the Liverpool TUC in calling on all organisations defending the NHS and opposing Austerity to come together to discuss the next stage of the struggle.

Tony Mulhearn
ARMS NW

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Victory for Land Registry Office workers - video

This was a tremendous campaign. A tribute to the fortitude and determination of workers fighting for a worthy cause. The TUC needs to emulate the campaigning activity of these PCS members and of the PCS leadership. Then the Tories could be swept into the dustbin of history.

Click here for a short video about their campaign and how they defeated privatisation.

Tony Mulhearn
ARMS NW

News updates - from the web

Our regular round up of relevant news items, selected by Steve Ion of NW ARMS.

Labour pledge £155 per week for women hit by pension age changes - here.

Labour states the Autumn Statement ignores the sick and old - here.

Pension age may be set to rise again - here.

Elderly care close to collapse - here.

Huge rise in hospital beds in England taken up by people with malnutrition - here.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Jo's amazing life - a message from Brendan Cox

Dear friends,

As you may have seen in the news, the trial finished earlier today and the defendant has been found guilty. Our priority now is to try and focus on Jo’s amazing life and not the manner of her death. That’s why I spoke in court today about who Jo was and what she meant to us - you can read the full statement here.

And that’s also why we are also asking people to watch and share a short film about Jo made by one of her closest friends: view the film here. Please share it with your friends and family to remember Jo’s life and work.

As I said in court today, the killing of Jo was a political act. But in the history of such acts it was perhaps the most incompetent and self-defeating. An act driven by hatred which instead has created an outpouring of love. An act designed to drive communities apart which has instead pulled them together. An act designed to silence a voice which instead has allowed millions of others to hear it.

In the weeks ahead I will be remembering Jo for her energy, passion and love. In the months and years ahead I look forward to working with you all to keep her ideas, values and passions alive.

With thanks as ever for your love and support,

Brendan

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

The vanity of the Fox

£20 cover price - £3.59 if
you shop around
Vanity publishing is one thing, but vanity management is something else, as civil servants in the DIT can confirm:

"Disturbing revelations emerge from a survey of civil servants working in Liam Fox's Department for International Trade.

"It was no surprise the mandarins found Fox a tetchy boss. But more worryingly, they said he had told them that if they wanted to understand the exciting possibilities of the modern world, they had to read Rising Tides: Facing the Challenges of the New Era by, er, one Liam Fox.

"Worse still, they didn't just have to read it - Fox wanted them to buy it too! If all 2,000 of the department's civil servants were to shell out, they would more than double Fox's sales. Between publication in 2013 and this year, Rising Tides has sold a measly 1,876 copies in the English-speaking world"

Pinched from Private Eye, 25 November.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

News updates - from the web

Our regular round up of relevant news items, selected by Steve Ion of NW ARMS.

Cold weather payments how to qualify - here.

The state of social care in the UK - here.

1 in 8 older people in England find essential, everyday tasks difficult - here.

Potential prevention for Alzheimers - here.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

UK's violations of the UN disability convention

How it was reported months ago
Our government is on the back foot, acutely embarrassed after a United Nation's report concluded that the UK is guilty of "grave or systematic violations" of the UN’s disability convention. Changes (wrongly called 'reforms' by the media) to the welfare system - partly due to austerity measures and partly to the Tories' deep-seated loathing of paying money to people they consider to be 'shirkers' - are the reason for this assessment.

Predictably, the Tories have resorted to pompous, but meaningless, huffing and puffing, declaring that the report was "patronising and offensive". This would be almost laughable, seeing that MPs voted themselves massive pay rises while cutting disability benefits, if the consequences weren't so serious.

To read more, here is what the Independent had to say, and here are the views of the Disability News Service.

Neville Grundy
ARMS Mersey

Friday, 11 November 2016

Support the EHRC demo, Liverpool - 16 November

Please note: this event has been cancelled and therefore so has the leafleting.

Next Wednesday 16/11/16 (the 2nd day of the 2 day EHRC strike), the EHRC intend to hold a training seminar in Liverpool for all its employees from across the country. Obviously we have told our members, along with Unite members, not to attend this seminar.

Having said that, it would be remiss of us not to remind those EHRC employees who do attend what's going on back at their offices (or - hopefully - not as the case may be). It's our intention to leaflet this seminar. The details of our leafleting are:
  • Date: Wednesday, 16 November 2016
  • Time: 11:15 until around 12:15
  • Venue: ACC Liverpool, Kings Dock, Liverpool, L3 4FP
Please attend - the more the merrier. We have been told that EHRC members on strike that day cannot leaflet because it could compromise them, so let's show the EHRC how we stand together ... You never know: it may help them with their team building exercises!!

Paula Wood
PCS North West Regional Secretary

Thursday, 10 November 2016

ARMS at ACAS demo, Manchester


PCS held a small protest today outside ACAS in Manchester where ACAS chair Sir Brendan Barber and chief executive officer Ann Sharpe were meeting staff to talk about the office closures.

Jacquie Hadfield of ARMS Greater Manchester adds: "Small but beautifully formed. Lots of people took time to talk to us and take leaflets. The irony of ACAS forcing staff to move without proper consultation was not lost on people. We have had enough of cuts to vital services like ACAS, the EHRC and the NHS. Keep services local."

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Stop ACAS office closures

Please come tomorrow (10 November) to the protest against proposed closure at ACAS, Piccadilly Gate, Store Street, Manchester, M1 2WD. We will have the ARMS banner and leaflets to hand out. The office is being visited by the ACAS Chair, Sir Brendan Barber. We will be there to meet him from 9.15am until about 10.00am.

Triple lock under threat

This motion will be discussed at the next Merseyside ARMS meeting.

This organisation condemns the growing campaign to end the triple lock which protects the already inadequate State Pension spearheaded by the appalling Ian Duncan Smith.

The Tories are determined to penalise Pensioners on the spurious and dishonest grounds that pensioners are being protected at the expense of the younger generation.

This is a complete falsehood designed to distract from the real causes of the economic crisis which was the massive miss-selling of mortgages and criminal marketing policies, with bankers being guilt of the worst excesses of de-regulated capitalism. And scandalously they continue to pile up wealth at the expense of the disabled, working poor and those who did not cause the crisis in the first place.

British pensions are amongst the lowest in Western Europe, thousands die each year from hypothermia because they can’t afford adequate heating, with hundreds of thousands denied care because of the callous cuts policies of Duncan Smith’s government.

Pensioners are entitled to live their lives without hardship and worry.

We reject any attack by this Tory government and we call on the whole anti-austerity movement to join us in a mass campaign to protect our pensioners as part of a determined campaign to bring an end to the continuing programme of austerity being perpetrated by the this fat cats’ government.

Tony Mulhearn

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

News updates - from the web

Our regular round up of relevant news items, selected by Steve Ion of NW ARMS
  • National Pensioners Convention triple lock protest - here.
  • Alzheimers treatment within reach - here.
  • Squalor in rented accommodation - here.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Words are not enough

Mere words will not force a Tory retreat. The cant, hypocrisy and callousness of the Tories is displayed by just two of its latest measures.
  1. The cuts in benefit entitlement to the unfortunate which will plunge thousands of families into even deeper poverty. The phoney mantra that work should pay more than benefits is deployed to depict the workless as scroungers, the oldest slander in the book. 
  2. The rejection of the Orgreave campaigners for a public enquiry into the behaviour of the police. This is a monumental cover-up designed to protect those who gave the police the order to smash the miners by any means necessary, including the use of army detachments. The revolting spectacle of heavily protected police being unleashed with military precision on miners dressed in summer tops and trainers will live in infamy in this country’s history. 
But words of condemnation are not enough. We need a powerful mass movement to defeat a Tory party bankrolled by hedge fund managers, private equity spivs, rack renting landlords and international tax dodgers. As a first step Labour councils should refuse to implement any more draconic Tory cuts. Secondly, give full backing for the Orgreave campaigners in their fight for justice.

Tony Mulhearn

Friday, 4 November 2016

Call to PCS: Save Chorley A&E demo

Saturday 26 November has been chosen as the date when PCS branches and groups will be asked to support the weekly Save Chorley A&E demo between 10.00 am and 11.00 am. The more PCS people, banners and flags the better. What's happening to Chorley Hospital now can happen anywhere else soon, and probably will.

The demo is at the hospital entrance on Euxton Lane, the B5252. Sat Nav: PR7 1PP.

For drivers, there is free parking in a lay-by about a quarter of a mile west of the entrance.

P.S. (4 hours later): please read this article in today's Liverpool Echo stating that A&E departments may be downgraded and hospitals merged in Merseyside, according to a leaked NHS report.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

White poppies for peace

The white poppy dates back to 1934. It expressed the fear that was steadily growing between the wars that the First World War was likely to be followed by an even worse war; the sad fact is there hasn't been a year without war since 'the war to end wars' a hundred years ago.

There are three elements to the meaning of white poppies:
  • Remembrance for all victims of war. 
  • A commitment to work for a world where conflicts are resolved without violence and with justice. 
  • A challenge to attempts to glamorise or celebrate war.
Throughout history there always have been non-combatant deaths in war, but in modern warfare, most casualties are civilians. The red poppy specifically commemorates British and Commonwealth military casualties, but the white poppy commemorates all victims of war. Some people wear both. 

They are distributed by the Peace Pledge Union (PPU). You can get white poppies:
Neville Grundy

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Support PCS members in Bootle ACAS

You may or may not be aware of Acas' decision to close their Bootle office. There are 50+ employees at the office whose fate is yet to be decided. One thing we can do now is let members of the Acas board know what we think about this decision. We will protect PCS members. We want to keep jobs in Bootle.

We want to ask Sir Brendan and Ann Sharp some key questions and make them accountable for their actions. We are therefore looking to organise a welcoming committee in Bootle on Wednesday 2 November.

Our intelligence tells us that they are arriving by train at around 1:30 this means we need to be in place at 1:30, his meeting begins at 2:00 (these times are subject to change - we will let you know asap if they do). We are looking to meet outside the main entrance of Redgrave Court, Merton Road, Bootle, L20 7HS. Please come along to support workers at Acas. Let Sir Brendan Barbor and Ann Sharp know that in this region we stick together.

Looking forward to your support on Wednesday.

Paula Wood
PCS North West Regional Secretary

Friday, 28 October 2016

ARMs National Committee - ballot results

The results of the election for the associate and retired members (ARMs) national committee are now available.

Candidates elected unopposed:
  • Chair - Phil GREEN
  • Vice chair/editor - Eddie SPENCE
  • Secretary - Brian HERBERTSON
  • Assistant secretary/organiser - Barry FUGE
  • Treasurer - Sandra DURKIN
Ordinary Members
Total number of votes cast: 1,451
Number of votes found to be invalid: 5
Total number of valid votes to be counted: 1,446

Result (6 to elect)
  • GALLOWAY, Margaret - HMRC ........................................ 1,043 Elected
  • THOMAS, Kevin - HMRC .................................................. 1,008 Elected
  • HADFIELD, Jacqueline - DWP .......................................... 1,004 Elected
  • PARK, Jim - HMRC ............................................................ 953 Elected
  • ION, Steve - HMRC ............................................................ 900
  • GIBSON, Brian - MoD ....................................................... 830 Elected
  • BRYANT, Anne - Met Police .............................................. 674 Elected*
  • ST BARTHOLOMEW-BROWN MORGAN, L (NAW) ........ 557
*elected due to the requirement that no more than half the elected candidates must be from the same employer.

Click here to see the result on the PCS website.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Stop The War Public Meeting, Manchester

As the wars continue across the Middle East, the need for an anti-war movement and our opposition to intervention from all sides are as great as ever. Even Stop the War's opponents recognise the influence our work has had in shaping public opinion and constraining the establishment's policy options. The Telegraph's defence editor Con Couglin recently wrote that he believed "the real reason why so many MPs, as well as the wider public at large, are now so opposed to any form of military intervention is because of the highly effective propaganda campaign mounted by STWC". What we have in fact done is told people the truth about the series of wars since 2001.

Public meeting in Manchester: The US Elections & The Crisis in the Middle East

Wednesday 2 November at 7.00 pm
St Peters Chaplaincy
Oxford Road
Manchester

Speakers:
  • Lindsey German (StWC convenor) 
  • Ron Senchak (Manchester StWC)
  • Adnan Hussein (Drive for Justice)

News updates - from the web

Our regular round up of relevant news items, selected by Steve Ion of NW ARMS
  • Self-funding care home residents pay for council shortfall - here.
  • Policy on healthy ageing - here.
  • Councils don't pay fair price for care - here.
  • UK drops down global pensions league - here.
  • Our prospects for working longer - here.
  • Alzheimers study offers hope of prevention - here.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

EHRC Picket Line - Manchester

Our union is taking action alongside colleagues in Unite after workers were told to expect a 25% budget cut and threatened with compulsory redundancies. This follows a 70% cut to the commission's budget since 2010. In a ballot, 82% of the union's members at EHRC voted for strikes and 90% for other forms of industrial action, on a 64.7% turnout.

19 of the first 26 posts due to be axed are held by staff in the three lowest paid grades, meaning the government body responsible for protecting vulnerable workers is itself disproportionately targeting older, ethnic minority and disabled staff. The commission has refused to consider alternative sources of savings, including the high cost of employing non-payroll consultants - with almost £1.2 million last year paid to just eight staff.

We are asking all PCS members to show solidarity and support for the strikers on Wednesday morning. We are looking for as many branches and groups as possible to support the picket line for a short time on Wednesday morning.

More details on the PCS website - here.

EHRC picket address: Manchester, Arndale Centre (across the road from Selfridges, Cross Street), Arndale House, M4 3AQ. Between 7.30 am to 10.00 am.

On Twitter: @savetheehrc / #savetheehrc 

If you cannot attend the picket line please send a message and photographs of support to londonbargaining@pcs.org.uk

Disability & Carers Festival 2016 in Preston

Monday, 24 October 2016

Do as I say, not as I do

The report into Wallasey CLP is a master class of distortion and weighted naturally in support of the Blairite wing of the Party, who are protected by its continued suspension with any selection process to be implemented by regional mini-McNicholls.

The report rebukes the members with 'It appears that meetings in Wallasey have been increasingly adversarial and challenging for some time.' Any party worth its salt is precisely adversarial and challenging, that is how policy is thrashed out. It is not in dispute that 'bullying' is unacceptable, but if challenging MPs or councillors is bullying then the bullying of Jeremy Corbyn by the 170 Blairite MPs suggests the PLP should have been suspended long ago.

Horror of horrors, some members are 'accused' of demanding that Labour (yes Labour) councillors should refuse to carry out cuts. As that is the policy of the TUC, Unite the union, the RMT, the FBU, the POA and many others, should the whole Labour movement be suspended?

In 1985 a similar report was published by Kinnock’s witch-hunt committee into the Liverpool District Labour Party, it was challenged in court and the judge threw it out on the grounds that it was based on tittle-tattle, gossip and innuendo and therefore totally unreliable as evidence.

Unlike then, the tide of history is flowing AGAINST the Blairites. A mass response of all those committed to anti-austerity and internal democracy is now essential to force this discredited right-wing bureaucracy to retreat. The working class need a leadership which fights the Tory attacks on the poor and needy rather than attacking its own membership.

Tony Mulhearn
NW ARMS

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Hospitals and rail safety face the axe

Merseyside TUSC (Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition) metro-mayoral spokesperson Roger Bannister is writing to Steve Rotheram, Labour's metro-mayoral candidate, to propose a joint campaign to save threatened hospitals on Merseyside and to support the RMT transport union against Merseytravel bosses.

Roger Bannister says:

"Leaked plans show hospitals face merger and closure across Liverpool, and across the Merseyside and Cheshire region. I have been actively campaigning against the closure of Liverpool Women’s Hospital. We need a massive campaign of action to defend our National Health Service starting right now, or there could be little left by the time of the next general election.

"I was outraged to learn that Merseytravel is ignoring the questions by transport union RMT over their intended removal of guards from trains. Repeated questions from an RMT union official to Merseytravel chair Liverpool Labour councillor Liam Robinson have gone unanswered. I and Merseyside TUSC will continue giving our full support to the RMT’s campaign against cutbacks on Merseytravel.

"I believe that key elements in the metro-mayoral position, and the election campaigns leading up to it, should include defending our hospitals, defending our Merseyrail guards, and opposing cutbacks to both.

"I will be writing to Steve to propose we take on the cutters together."

For more info, contact Roger Bannister on 07954 376 096 or r.bannister@blueyonder.co.uk.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Stop The War meeting, Liverpool - 26 October

Stop the War are holding an anti-war public meeting:

"The War in the Middle East: Why More Bombing Won’t Help Syria" 

  • Wednesday 26th October.
  • 6.30 pm.
  • Friends House, 22 School Lane, Liverpool L1 3BT.

Come and join the discussion of the crisis in Syria and the region more widely, as well the risk of escalation into a direct military confrontation between the West and Russia.

The discussion will be initiated by a national Stop the War officer. All welcome.
Also, please invite friends and share the event on Facebook.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

News updates - from the web

Our regular round up of relevant news items, selected by Steve Ion of NW ARMS
  • You can retire early if you take a cut in pension - here.
  • Cuts in council in elder care are hitting A&E - here.
  • Waspi lawyers take legal action against DWP - here.
  • Elderly put at risk by needless medication - here.
  • How can civil servants top up state pension? - here.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Meeting on State Pension Age, Blackpool

There is a review of State Pension Age from 2028 going on. The retirement age could move into your 70s. The Reviewer is John Cridland. He has agreed to hear views from people in Blackpool. 

We have organised a meeting on Tuesday evening at the Ruskin Hotel in Albert Road on Tuesday 18 October at 7.30pm. If you want to find out more, ask questions, and make your views known, be there.
  • The Blackpool Gazette is very interested. I was asked to submit an extended quotation on the issue. There is a pre-article going into the Gazette.
  • Yes - John Cridland was the Director General of the CBI. He is also my brother. We are very pleased that he has accepted our invitation to come to Blackpool and hear what we have to say.
I will be chairing the meeting - see you there.

Ken Cridland
Chair of Blackpool Against Cuts

Friday, 14 October 2016

Use your vote in the ARMS National Committee election

You should have by now received your copy of the most recent edition of PCS People (Issue No 3 - 2016). PCS ARMs members will find inside a ballot paper for the election of up to 6 members of the ARMs National Committee (the Officers of the National Committee have all been elected unopposed). Please note that voting closes at 12:00 noon on Friday 21 October 2016.

Owing to problems with ballot paper distribution, the decision has been taken to extend the balloting period to 12:00 noon on Thursday 27 October 2016, with the results announced the following day.

Also, the envelope provided has 2nd class postage. If posting close to the deadline, we suggest you apply a 1st class stamp.

The table below lists the nominations made by the NW Regional ARMs Special General meeting held on the 24 August for those Committee posts. You may wish to consider supporting these nominees when casting your votes.

Committee Member
(6 to be elected)
Former PCS Group
ARMs Region
1. Margaret Galloway
HMRC
Northern Ireland
2. Brian Gibson
HMRC
South West
3. Jacqueline Hadfield
DWP
North West
4. Steve Ion
HMRC
North West
5. Kevin Thomas
HMRC
South East

Sign Up To Stop CETA

When EU member states vote on the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) on October 18, all it takes is one "No" vote to derail the whole deal. The CETA trade deal is less famous than TTIP, but just as dangerous - this EU-Canada pact provides big business with the same toolbox to bully governments into doing what they want.

We’ve been doing all we can to shore up Austria’s opposition to CETA, but now it looks like there’s another opposition voice that needs our support - Belgium’s regional governments.

We should use all avenues possible to block this hideous piece of neo-liberal oligarchical legislation.
Tony Mulhearn
NW ARMS

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Mark Serwotka's blog

This quote about Theresa May's laughable claim that the Tories have all mutated into working class heroes is from Mark Serwotka's blog on the PCS website - there is a link to his blog here and I have also installed it in the 'PCS & ARMS links' list on the right so you can keep up with his future posts.

Click here for the ARMS NW blog's view on Theresa May's claim to be the new people's champion.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Stop the pensioner bedroom tax

Pensioners could be hit by a new "bedroom tax". The government wants to cut housing benefit for elderly people who have a spare room. But experts say there aren’t enough smaller homes to move into, particularly for pensioners who need ground floor flats.

Some people will lose up to £34 a week if this cut goes ahead. If you’re on a state pension, it could mean choosing between turning on the heating or paying your rent.

Back in 2012, the government protected pensioners from the original bedroom tax. They knew then that it would be too controversial to turf elderly people out of their homes. A huge petition right now will show the government this is still hugely unpopular - we know it's just the bedroom tax by the back door. It could convince them to let pensioners stay in their homes.

The original bedroom tax was controversial. It hit some of the most vulnerable people in our society, such as parents with disabled children. And to make matters worse, experts say it’s been completely ineffective because there aren’t smaller homes to move into.

Theresa May’s new government won’t want to be tarnished with the scandal of forcing pensioners out of their homes. If enough of us get behind the huge petition we could convince them to scrap their new bedroom tax on the elderly.

If you think no pensioner should have to face the choice between heating their home or paying their rent, please sign the petition now - here.

Short URL for petition: tiny.cc/ebstfy

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Theresa May - the new People's Champion

Theresa May has generally voted for more restrictive regulation of trade union activity. This is her voting record:
  • On 9 Jan 2008: she voted yes on Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill - preventing prison officers from taking industrial action.
  • On 22 Oct 2010: she was absent for a vote on Lawful Industrial Action (Minor Errors) Bill - Second Reading.
  • On 14 Sep 2015: she was absent for a vote on Trade Union Bill - Second Reading.
  • On 10 Nov 2015: she was absent for a vote on Trade Union Bill - New Clause 2 -Workplace Ballots and Ballots by Electronic Means.
  • On 10 Nov 2015: she voted to require the appointment of a picket supervisor and for them to be identified to, and contactable by, the police.
  • On 10 Nov 2015: she voted to require a 50% turnout in order to make a strike ballot valid and for other aspects of increased regulation of trade union activity.
When you hear the nonsense about the Tories reclaiming the so-called Middle Ground of politics, remember how she voted to deprive ordinary working people of their rights.

Information from the They Work For You website - pinched with thanks.

Friday, 7 October 2016

Rudd: don't make targets of migrant workers

Amber Rudd, the worst Home Secretary since Theresa May, declared at the Tory Party rally that: "Twenty years ago levels of immigration weren’t really an issue in British politics. As net migration has risen, that has changed." Extraordinarily, this nonsense was uttered by a history graduate. She has clearly chosen to forget the long history of racism in this country, such as the thousands of workers who went on strike as long ago as 1968 in support of Enoch Powell's "Rivers of Blood" speech - surely one of British organised labour's low points - or, ten years earlier, the Notting Hill race riots of 1958. Pretending that concerns about immigration are a modern phenomenon provides her xenophobic proposals with an spurious contemporary justification.

Accordingly she announced to the party faithful extensive new powers to reduce the numbers of people coming into the country, and plans to 'name and shame' companies employing workers from abroad by forcing them to publish figures showing how much of their workforce is 'foreign'.

I wouldn't be too surprised if in a couple of years' time she announces that 'foreigners' will have to wear badges sewn onto their coats to identify their alien status. Too fanciful? There is a precedent: G4S, still a recipient of many government contracts, recently had the doors of asylum seekers painted red in Middlesbrough, leading to a number of racist incidents.

With Rudd's speech, we are entering an nastier period of discrimination in the UK, this time subtly led by the government. Rudd has strenuously denied that what she said was racist, saying we ought to be able to have a discussion about immigration. While that is true in itself, it doesn't mean that the boundaries have been abolished. It doesn't excuse incitement to racism, whether deliberately or inadvertently: it seems highly likely that companies that are revealed to have a higher proportion of migrant workers on the payroll would face a racist backlash, a reaction that would rapidly extend from the company to the workers themselves. They might as well put a sign outside saying, "Here be foreigners!"

It is possible that these are not Rudd's intentions, but as a professional politician she ought to assess the possible consequences of her words and actions. If she hasn't, she's failing in her job. If she has, she is a more unpleasant and dangerous person than I have so far judged her to be.

Please sign this 38° petition - here - calling upon Rudd not to force companies to publish how many migrant workers they employ.

Neville Grundy
NW ARMS

Monday, 3 October 2016

Save Chorley A&E campaign on TV

Greater Manchester ARMS members have been involved in the "No Cuts To Chorley A&E" campaign. Recently cameras from ITV rolled up and took 35 minutes of footage for the Tonight programme which will go out on Thursday 13 October at 7.30pm (its viewing figures are 3 million). Be sure to tune in.

The next step in the campaign will be a walk on Saturday 22 October from Royal Preston Hospital to Chorley & South Ribble Hospital as a symbol of bringing Chorley A&E home. To find out more and how you can help, click here.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Black History Month

Black History Month begins today, 1 October: let it inspire you to get involved and support PCS by saying no to racism, challenging stereotypes and promoting equality today. At times it can be easier to say nothing than to challenge racism and prejudice. Staying silent can be seen as acceptance.

Black History Month, which runs until 31 October, is an opportunity to be seen and to be heard in an open, inclusive and positive way. Working collectively, supporting each other and embracing our differences can form bonds of understanding. BHM website.

BHM is also an opportunity to focus on the achievements of black people past and present and reflect on the path to race equality. It started in the USA with a holiday that coincided with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederic Douglass. In the US, BHM is celebrated in February but in the UK it takes place in October each year. Since the first UK celebration in 1987 the event has expanded and now encompasses the history of Africa, Caribbean and Asian people who have a direct link with the UK through slavery, colonialism and migration.

Past
Our shared histories and cultures feature many black people of whom we can be proud: Mary Seacole, nurse Crimean War; Ignatious Sancho, writer, musician and businessman; Olaudah Equiano, political activist, Sophia Duleep Singh, suffragette.

Present
Current history makers: Lord William [Bill] Morris, TGWU first black general secretary; Diane Abbott, first black woman MP; Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London; Ken Olisa, OBE, Lord lieutenant Greater London; Munroe Bergdorf, trans model and feminist; Zita Holbourne, poet, activist; Rikki Beadle-Blair, writer and film-maker.

Future?
Our history tells a story of overcoming hardship. Forging new lives. Creating communities, challenging racism, speaking up and speaking out. Who are the new history makers? It is ready to be written.

How can you celebrate BHM?
  • Organise an event at your workplace or branch. These can provide an informative and interesting experience for all PCS members.
  • Highlight and celebrate black achievement - perhaps a quiz, sharing of cultural foods, speakers.
  • Create your own poster using one of our photo opportunity cards, with the themes: 
Say No To Racism
Challenging Stereotypes
Equality Freedom and Justice.
Please send a report and photographs of your event to: equality@pcs.org.uk
Whatever you do, be inspired to achieve higher.
Find out more about PCS equality work.

This article originally appeared on the PCS website.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Demonstrate at Tory conference

Join PCS and thousands of others at a demonstration in Birmingham on Sunday 2 October 2016 organised by the People's Assembly and Midlands TUC to protest at Theresa May's first Tory party conference as prime minister to say we demand an alternative to austerity UK.

Help with transport costs may be available - contact the PCS Liverpool Office on 0151 298 3900.

More info from:

Merseyside blog archived - all info here

Owing to the fact that the NW blog and the Merseyside blog largely duplicate each other, it has been decided to close the Mersey blog and use this one for all ARMS information across the North West from now on.

The Mersey blog will remain as an archive, but there will be no more updates. You can see it here.

There are no plans to discontinue the ARMS Mersey Facebook page.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

TUC should speak for the rank & file

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady calls for the Labour Party to look outward and deal with the Tories but she doesn’t identify the guilty party. Not a word of criticism of the Blairites who caused the divisions and chaos. She should declare that the rank and file Party members campaigning for socialist change are lions led by the Blairite donkeys of the PLP who are turning their fire on the leadership instead of organising to defeat the Tories. You can't be neutral in this situation; as the spokesperson for six million organised workers she should be demanding full support for Jeremy Corbyn whose policy is totally in accord with the TUC's policy of opposition to all austerity.

Tony Mulhearn
ARMS NW

Friday, 2 September 2016

Next NW Committee in Manchester

As you may be aware, the next scheduled meeting of the NW Regional ARMS Committee (to which all ARMs members in the North West are cordially invited) will be held as follows:
  • Date: Thursday 22nd September 2016
  • Venue: Methodist Hall, Oldham Street, Manchester, M1 1JQ
  • Time: 12:30 am – 2:30 pm
Please note the change from our usual venue. In accordance with the decision taken at the 2016 AGM, we are rotating meetings around the North West area and have arranged this meeting to follow on immediately after the newly formed Manchester ARMs Group meeting on the same day and venue. We will be discussing issues which will be of interest to ARMs members, so why not come along and see what PCS is doing for you?

Thursday, 1 September 2016

News updates - from the web

Our regular round up of relevant news items, by Steve Ion of NW ARMS

  • One in ten over 65s in work - here.
  • Waspi: Jeremy Corbyn pledges support for pensioners - here.
  • Expats pensions possible impact - here.
  • Care home costs increase - here.
  • Potential plans to reform final salary pensions - here.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Miners pension fund fight

This petition calls upon the UK Government to review the mineworkers' pension fund to reduce the 50/50 share of the surplus that the Government takes from the system. It has been many years since the mineworkers and widows have had an increase in their pension (other than cost of living increases). They deserve a fair increase in their pension.

Since 1994, both Labour and Tory governments have taken from the surplus of the miners' pension fund at a rate of £1 million per day, making a total of £8 billion. The government must reduce the deduction from 50% of the surplus to a more reasonable percentage. 

Sign the petition here.

Monday, 29 August 2016

PCS Bulletin - help & support requested

The help of ARMS members is asked for the following campaigns:

  • Protect Chorley and South Ribble Hospital from Cuts and Privatisation
WE NEED YOUR HELP to demonstrate outside these hospitals for 1 hour from 10.00 a.m. on Saturday 17th September to protect your local A&E:
Preston, Wigan, Bolton, Blackburn, Blackpool, Lancaster.

Our campaign was given the bad news that Chorley and South Ribble Accident and Emergency department will be closed until April 2017; we believe this is a move to close it indefinitely. The effect of this is rippling out to A&Es in other areas. This isn't good for other A&Es and the people they are intended to serve. It is having a negative effect on the North West Ambulance Service, some ambulances are queuing for hours to hand over sick or injured people.

Ask yourself these questions: If not me then who? If not now, then when? The NHS will survive as long as there are people willing to protect it. We are those people.

To help contact: Andrew Birchall on andrewbirchall3@gmail.com or mobile 0784 0202 084.

  • March for the Liverpool Women’s Hospital 
25th September 2016 – Assemble at the Women’s Hospital at midday and walk to the water front.

The Liverpool Women’s hospital is a 20 year old world class hospital on a good site. It’s the largest maternity hospital in Europe and cares for more than 50,000 patients a year. Its future is under threat because of inadequate maternity funding, lack of investment, funding problems for all the NHS and the rampant privatisation and market focus of the NHS.

Follow ‘Save Liverpool Women’s Hospital’ on Facebook, Save-Liverpool-Womens-Hospital or email SaveLWH@outlook.com.

  • Conservative Party Conference Demonstration 
Sunday, 2nd October 2016 – Assemble in Victoria Square, Birmingham, B1 1BD at 11.30 a.m.

Austerity has failed! Join the Midlands TUC’s march and rally to tell the Government that austerity isn’t working. Please let PCS NW know if you wish to attend. Please email: nwrc@pcs.org.uk

Thursday, 18 August 2016

News updates - from the web

A triple lock, yesterday
Our regular round up of relevant news items, by Steve Ion of NW ARMS.

  • Over 60s cutting back to make ends meet - here.
  • Why we must stick with the triple lock - here.
  • Annuity pensions cut again - here.
  • Lifetime ISA should not be used for pension - here.
  • WASPI campaign has no support from Government - here.
  • UK firms paid five times more in dividends than into pensions - here.
  • Retired people spending less than £20 per week - here.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Zero hours contracts - a personal view

My grandfather was gassed aged 15 or 16 in the trenches during the First World War. The lifelong ill health that resulted made finding work hard but he never gave up trying. He'd go from his Kirkdale home to the Liverpool docks every day to try to get a single day's work. He never managed to because he refused to pay the foreman a bribe from the meagre wages that were on offer, partly on the principle that a man shouldn’t have to pay to get a day’s work, and partly because he had a family to keep. He died in his 40s during the Second World War from an illness related to his First World War injuries. 

What a way to treat an old soldier who had ruined his health for his country - and what a way to treat a worker. That's the world the Tories want to take us back to with their attacks on employment rights, with "no fault dismissals"; we have them already in the form of redundancy, but they actually want a US-style "hire and fire" regime because that’s a lot cheaper. Zero hours contracts take us precisely to what my grandfather had to face in his struggle to get just a single day’s work.

This is even further than Mrs Thatcher dared go. We must not allow it.

Neville Grundy
NW ARMS 
Committee member

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

NW Regional ARMS Committee Special General meeting

To: North West Regional ARMs Committee members and all ARMs members in the North West.

As you may be aware, following on from the 2016 ARMs Forum held in June, arrangements have now been put in place to hold elections for the ARMs National Committee.

The first step in this process (which is set out in detail on the PCS National ARMs web-page ( ARMS latest news - PCS ) will be for the NW Regional ARMS Committee to hold a Special General Meeting (to which all ARMs members in the North West are cordially invited) to consider putting forward nominations for the National Committee. Accordingly, the Special General Meeting will be held as follows:
  • Date: Wednesday 24th August 2016
  • Venue: PCS Regional Office, 3rd Floor, Jack Jones House, 1, Islington, Liverpool, L3 8EG
  • Time: 11:30 am – 2:00 pm
This is the first opportunity in over two years that members will be entitled to participate in the election process for the ARMs National Committee, so it is hoped that as many members as possible will be able to attend the meeting, As it is a special meeting, the question of nominations will be the only item on the agenda, so that the meeting will not be expected to last more than an hour, even though the meeting room has been booked for longer. Nominations are invited for the following National posts: Chairperson; Vice Chairperson/Editor; Secretary; Assistant Secretary/Organiser; Treasurer and Committee member (6 posts).

In order to facilitate debate at the meeting, any NW Regional ARMs member who wishes to submit nominations for the ARMs National Committee should send the details (via hard-copy or e-mail) to the NW ARMs Regional Secretary so as to reach him no later than 5:00 pm on Wednesday 17th August 2016.

Yours sincerely,

Phil Green
Secretary
PCS North West Regional ARMs Committee

E-mail: p.c.green@ukgateway.net
33 Cambridge Avenue
Churchtown
Southport PR9 9SA

Monday, 8 August 2016

John McDonnell’s plea to JC’s would be assassins

John's history underpins his loyalty to the working class and the ideas of socialism, but I was puzzled by his comments on BBC Radio's Today programme. He described the right wing MPs as nice people who should get behind Jeremy. John should know that they are behind him alright with daggers poised to plunge into his back. When asked was he in favour of re-selection he completely rejected the suggestion instead arguing that they could be persuaded to support a Corbyn-led party.

The right wing are desperate to preserve their influence, income and privileges which they see threatened by a rank and file who are supporting a radical leader and are rightly calling for control over their elected representatives, and that includes reselection. It’s called democratic accountability, a concept now described as 'bullying' by those hostile to JC.

John should be familiar with the truism: 'no ruling group has left the scene of history without a fight, and that means a fight with no holds barred.' When JC is re-elected as the leader, the truth of that axiom will be confirmed in spades.

Tony Mulhearn
NW ARMS

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Jeremy Hunt: reveal your plans for the NHS

Health Minister Jeremy Hunt has a secret plan to force changes to local NHS services in order to cut costs. The changes, called "sustainability and transformation plans", are being kept secret. But they could mean cuts to hospital beds, local walk-in centres or family planning services near you.

Across England, these plans are being drawn up in the next few weeks. Because they're secret it's hard to say exactly which services near you are at risk. But the plans for one area have been leaked and show the scale of the threat: they include axing 500 hospital beds and some emergency ambulances. No wonder Jeremy Hunt doesn't want us to see them!

The best way to stop these cuts is to get them out in the open and demand the public has a say. So please can you sign the petition now, demanding that Jeremy Hunt publishes his plans for local NHS cuts? It only takes 30 seconds to add your name to the petition - here.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Corbyn providing an inspiration

To paraphrase a well-known old class fighter: ‘Let the ruling class and their Labour shadows in parliament tremble at the developing movement which will recreate a new mass party of the working class. We have nothing to lose but a fossilised right wing bureaucracy which has stripped working people of political representation for the last thirty years. All forces on the left are uniting to ensure the success of Jeremy Corbyn.’

St George’s plateau [in Liverpool] the scene of magnificent demos in 1911, 1926, 1983-87, last night witnessed the re-emergence of the spirit of workers who, given leadership, displayed magnificent energy in their quest for a just socialist society and see Corbyn as the leader that can achieve that objective. The ban on CLPs meeting should be lifted and the re-selection procedures be started immediately.

Tony Mulhearn
ARMS NW committee

Saturday, 30 July 2016

News updates - from the web

Our regular round up of relevant news items, by Steve Ion of NW ARMS. 

  • Ros Altmann's resignation letter in full - here.
  • Altmann: "I felt like I was in detention" - here.
  • Annuity rates on pension investment drop by 37% - here.
  • A new vaccine could reverse dementia - here.
  • Perception of downgrading importance of pensions by government - here.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

HMRC cleaners strike 25 & 26 July

A message from Phil Dickens, HMRC PCS Union Representative

Next Monday and Tuesday (25 & 26 July) PCS members working for ISS as cleaners in HMRC buildings in Liverpool and Bootle are taking part in a 48 hour strike, following a unilateral decision by management to cut the hours of cleaning staff.

PCS has called for the actual Living Wage as defined by the Living Wage Foundation (LWF), currently £8.25 per hour outside London, to be paid to the cleaners. ISS is accredited by the LWF and claims to be a Living Wage employer. Yet to pay for the government's much lower 'national living wage' (NLW) of £7.20, it is imposing the cuts to HMRC cleaners' hours.

We believe that ISS, having turned a £250 million profit in 2015, can more than afford the real Living Wage. We also believe that HMRC, as the department responsible for implementing the government's NLW, ought to save itself embarrassment by ensuring that it is properly applied without shortcuts on its own estate.

Cleaners are clear that they want a wage they can live on without cuts and are willing to fight in order to get that. If this initial strike doesn't move ISS, they are willing to escalate their action. Please support them in every way you can:
Please attend picket lines (see below) if you can, and show your support for the lowest paid and most precarious section of the union's membership in HMRC.

More details about the campaign (including how you can support us through social media) can be found on-line here.

Support the pickets:

Bootle
  • Litherland House, Litherland Road, Bootle (map) – 7am to 9.30am
  • The Triad, Stanley Road, Bootle (map) – 7am to 12pm
Liverpool
  • Graeme House and Regian House, Derby Square, Liverpool (map) – 3pm to 5pm
  • Imperial Court, Exchange Street East, Liverpool (map) – 12.30pm to 2pm

Sunday, 17 July 2016

News updates - from the web

ARMS NW committee member Steve Ion's regular round-up of relevant news items.
  • Adult social care faces 1billion shortfall - here.
  • Joined-up health and social care - here.
  • Funding concerns of defined benefit pensions schemes - here.
  • Theresa May's husband works for investment firm whose major clients include Amazon and Starbucks - here.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Business Writer In Aspic

Tony McDonough writes what appears to be a 1980s composite editorial straight from the pages of the Murdoch Press, the Daily Mail, the Express and the then Liverpool Echo. He asserts Eagle can take Labour back to the fabled 'middle ground'; he doesn’t mention she and her allies lost Labour the last two elections and during the Blair years attracted the lowest ever turnout in a general election and bequeathed in Iraq the most toxic legacy since Ramsey MacDonald joined the Tories in 1931.

Aping the worst features of political analysis he dismisses Corbyn as being 'grumpy' and more of a comedian than a leader.

He then regurgitates the old false calumnies that Labour in the 1980s destroyed Liverpool's economic credibility. Is he not aware that under a Liberal/Tory coalition locally and Thatcher nationally 65% of Liverpool's economy had collapsed? These were the dark days the socialist council inherited. We refused to impose further suffering on the city. We cancelled redundancies, built houses, created jobs, opened nursery classes, etc.

Tony claims he mistakenly supported the left in the 80s. Is he suggesting that we should have implemented the draconic cuts demanded by Thatcher and worsened the plight of thousands of Liverpool’s citizens.

I look forward to his reply.

Tony Mulhearn.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Petition for a conference to defend Jeremy Corbyn

The nine month nascent civil war in the Labour Party has been escalated in earnest. The majority of the Parliamentary Labour Party has never accepted Jeremy Corbyn’s democratic election as leader and is now determined to get rid of him by any means necessary.

This is not, as they claim, because Jeremy Corbyn is unelectable but because they fear he could win a general election. Blair himself said that Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister would "be a very dangerous experiment"; an experiment his acolytes are determined to prevent. Jeremy Corbyn was thrust into power by an uprising against austerity. If he was to win a general election the 1% are terrified that the hopes of millions of working class people would be raised and, as a result, that government would be pressurised to take radical measures which would threaten their system and gargantuan profits.
Now that war has been declared by the PLP, the worst possible response would be to capitulate. It is much to Jeremy Corbyn’s credit that he has so far stood firm. Now the labour movement, together with all those who are opposed to austerity, needs to mobilise to support Jeremy against the Blairite onslaught.

Petition here.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Witch hunting by our 'free' press

The spectacle of a media pack in full blood-thirsty pursuit of Jeremy Corbyn has provoked the question, particularly from younger observers of the current events, why does the media behave in this crazed, irrational, fashion?

Against Corbyn are Rupert Murdoch (The Scum), Paul Dacre (Daily Mail), Daily Express, The Telegraph, The Times, The Observer, even the so-called Labour paper the Mirror, with Kevin Maguire the ‘radical’ journalist joining the chorus against JC. All of these papers, like Corbyn’s would be assassins, have belched out the lying narrative since day one of the crisis that 'austerity is necessary'. That is austerity for the poor, and increasing wealth for the financial spivs who created the crisis. ITV, Sky news and BBC’s 'Flagship' programmes like Newsnight, and their number one Torquemada Laura Kuenssberg attempt to give some 'intellectual' heft to the hysteria. The component parts of this congealed instrument of hatred far from being irrational are bent on destroying JC politically and socially because he represents a challenge to their wealth and privilege. Jeremy must trust the massive support he enjoys, make no more concessions to the closet Tories and stand firm for a socialist future.

Tony Mulhearn
NW ARMS  
committee member

Sunday, 3 July 2016

News updates - from the web

ARMS North West Committee member Steve Ion's regular round-up of relevant news items.

  • Pensions timebomb faced by UK firms is frightening - here.
  • Media turns Nazi after EU vote: "stop older people voting" - here.
  • WASPI update - here.
  • 9 things you might not know about older people in the UK - here.
  • Why it’s lazy, misleading and wrong to blame older people for Brexit - here.
  • Sign of the times: people have to work longer - here.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Fight austerity, not Corbyn

Corbyn: under siege from his own side
The Blairites are enticed out of the woodwork by what they believe is the scent of Jeremy Corbyn's blood. Instead of mobilising to defeat the Tories the same old Progress members, 4.5 per centres, and closet Tories are ignoring the successes in elections under Corbyn's leadership and instead are creating a smokescreen behind which they can politically assassinate him.

Let us welcome Benn's sacking and the resignation of the rest and develop an irresistible force in support of JC and the policies of anti-austerity and socialism. If members of the PLP have no stomach for the fight they can resign and fight an election on their right wing, pro-austerity, pro-EU programme under which ever banner they can find to back them.

Tony Mulhearn
ARMS North West
Committee Member

Friday, 24 June 2016

EU vote: what next?


North West ARMS committee member Tony Mulhearn proposes the Labour Movement's response to the referendum result.

The result shows a clear majority rejecting a system which has seen inequality reaching the highest levels in modern history. Endless austerity and attacks on workers' rights has been rejected. The Tories have been given their marching orders and are in complete disarray. Jeremy Corbyn and the TU leaders should demand a general election now.

Farage’s temporary triumphalism, which can only flourish in times of shortage, can be crushed by a confident Labour Movement mobilising all anti-austerity forces to finish the job off by throwing the Tories into the dustbin of history and returning a Corbyn-led Labour government committed to rolling back the cuts and bringing our utilities and the NHS back into public ownership. We can reach out to the European Labour and anti-austerity movement to join us in this objective.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Support sacked union activist

Leicestershire-based food manufacturer, Samworth Brothers, which supplies baked goods and other products to major UK retailers, responded to the introduction of the National Living Wage in April by eliminating paid breaks, premium pay and overtime rates, measures which can reduce workers’ pay by thousands of pounds per year. When hundreds of workers responded to these attacks by joining the Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union, Samworth Brothers bosses responded by harassing Kumaran Bose, a leading union organiser who spoke out against the attack on pay and conditions, and then sacking him from his job at Samworth’s Kettleby Foods on 3 June.

Kumaran’s only offence was to convince over 50% of the workers at his factory to join the union; he has worked there for 12 years with a spotless record. Samworth Brothers, who last year recorded profits of over £41 million, refuse to recognise the bakers union at this site, despite the union’s majority membership. The union is energetically defending Kumaran and is appealing against the company’s refusal of voluntary recognition.

Send a message to Samworth Brothers telling them to reinstate Kumaran Bose, recognise the BFAWU and stop attacking workers’ pay and conditions!

The petition is here.

Info: Samworth Brothers own Cornish pasty maker Ginsters, and are the largest maker of certified Melton Mowbray pork pies. It is listed at number four in The Times Top Track 250.