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