£2 Million Payoff For Co-op HR Director
The HR director at the Co-operative Group, Rebecca Skitt, is reportedly inline to receive an exit payoff worth more than £2 million despite being in the post for less than a year, after the organisation’s draft remuneration report was leaked to a national newspaper. Skitt was informed she would be “exited”, but not dismissed, last month and that to ensure minimal disruption and a “clean break” she would be paid her full retention payment, according to the Observer newspaper.
In addition to this golden goodbye, the group’s remuneration committee recommended increasing the wage bill for the senior executive team to £12 million a year because they faced a “complex” job and the rise would ensure salary levels that were appropriate for an organisation of the Co-op’s size. Pay consultants hired by the group proposed that chief executive Euan Sutherland be paid a base salary of £1.5m this year with an additional £1.5m retention payment. With pension contributions and other rewards, for example the compensation paid for buying him out of his previous contract, Sutherland is set to receive £3.66m this year. In comparison, the previous chief executive Peter Marks took home £1.3m last year.
However, Sutherland’s enlarged pay packet is not a one off as current chief operating officer, Richard Pennycook, will also receive a huge salary of £900,000 plus a retention payment of £900,000. Six further senior executives will collect salaries between £500,000 and £650,000 with the equal sum paid in retention. Previous payments for senior executives at the organisation were set much lower between £200,000 and £400,000. Sutherland responded to criticism of the reward hikes in a statement to Co-op employees and elected members: “The executive and board directors are working our way through significant changes made necessary by very poor decision making in the past. Along the way we are making sure that the widest possible consultation takes place and that rigorous debate and challenge is allowed and encouraged.”
He also said that the remuneration report had not yet been finalised. The final version will be published at the same time as the group’s annual results on 26 March. However, Jon Mann MP, a member of the Commons Treasury Select Committee, told The Independent: “It is an absurdity that failure results in huge pay rises. This is the antithesis of Co-operative values.”
And Lord Oakeshott, Liberal Democrat peer and former Treasury spokesman, said: “Gigantic golden hellos for the new bosses send the wrong message to millions of loyal members, customers and staff. Of course, managers should be well rewarded – when they’ve turned the business round sustainably.” The group was hit by scandal earlier this year when the chairman of Co-op bank was arrested in connection with the purchase and use of drugs. Prior to this the bank itself had faced a £1.5 billion capital shortfall which required financial support from its parent group and the sale of bonds as part of a ‘bail-in’ to rescue the bank.
Derbyshire Tenant’s Right To Renew Pub Lease
Enterprise Inns must accept it has no legal basis to evict a Derbyshire pub tenant next month who has not opted out of legal tenancy rights as claimed. This is a deliberate misrepresentation to the pub tenant where Enterprise tries to get round the law and bully the tenant into signing a lease with an extortionate rent increase without justification says GMB.
GMB, the union for tied pub tenants, is calling on Enterprise Inns, freeholders of the Patternmakers Arms, Duffield in Derbyshire to accept that it has no legal basis to evict Claire Muldoon, the tied tenant next month unless she agrees to a 42% rent increase. Claire is currently on a 5 year agreement with a renewal review date April 2014. Mr Ashley Lovett, the Enterprise Inns regional manager incorrectly told Claire that she had opted out of her rights to renew her lease under The Landlord and Tenancy Act and that she has no automatic right to renewal. Mr Lovett offered her a new tenancy with an increased rent, from £16,470 to £23,450, an increase of 42%. The alternative offered was to vacate the pub.
GMB checked out the legal position under the Regulatory Reform (Business Tenancies) (England and Wales) Order 2003. Under Part 22 of the Order, any agreement to contract out is void if notice isn’t served in prescribed form, and complies with the basic requirements - essentially, agreement to be served on tenant and tenant to agree in writing before commencement of the term of the lease. GMB has checked Claire’s lease and the paperwork. No Section 25 notice has been served by Enterprise. It is clear that Claire had not signed the Schedule 1 which is a requirement along with the co signature of a solicitor. Accordingly Sections 24 - 28 of the Landlord and Tenancy Act still applies and Claire has a right to renew her lease.
There has been considerable public interest in this case. GMB wrote to Vince Cable highlighting the rent demand. Local Conservative MP Pauline Latham raised the case in a Parliamentary Debate which Dr Cable described as “truly shocking”. There was a public meeting attended by over 100 people. After that the MP presented a petition on behalf of the local residents, to Dr Cable.
Dave Mountford, GMB Branch Secretary for tied pub tenants, said “As Enterprise has admitted other blunders on rent reviews I thought it was worth checking out whether Claire had actually opted out of the Landlord and Tenancy Act. We only had Enterprises Area Manager’s word that she had. I was aware that opting out is not a simple issue and took legal advice. I was advised that the Regulatory Reform (Business Tenancies) (England and Wales) Order 2003 is critical.
Under Part 22 of the Order, any agreement to contract out is void if notice isn’t served in prescribed form, and complies with the basic requirements - essentially, agreement to be served on tenant and tenant to agree in writing before commencement of the term of the lease. Upon checking Claire’s lease it is clear that Claire had not signed the Schedule 1 which was a requirement along with the co signature of a solicitor.
As this was clearly the case Sections 24 - 28 of the Landlord & Tenancy Act still applies. As no Section 25 notice has been served by Enterprise they will simply have to grant a new tenancy on same terms as old - simply put Claire’s tenancy will roll over for a further 5 years. Enterprise has consistently refused to meet with myself and Claire to discuss this issue. This is despite three written requests for a meeting to the Operations Director Chris Jones.
We have a nonsense position where Enterprise recommends that their tenants take advice but then refuses to allow the tenants to avail of the advice when it is given by GMB. Had they done so Claire could have saved herself and a lot of other people a considerable amount of wasted time. You have to question the honesty and transparency which Enterprise has shown in this appalling mess.”
Maria Ludkin, GMB National Officer for Legal and Corporate Affairs, said “Once again we see a deliberate misrepresentation to the pub tenant, where Enterprise tries to get round the law and bully the tenant into signing a lease with an extortionate rent increase, without justification”.
Claire Muldoon added “I’m obviously pleased that we know where we stand and perhaps Enterprise can finally stop asking me for a new business plan and also stop showing people around. I just wish they had not put me and the community through such a trial – it’s been such a huge waste of my time”
Contact Claire Muldoon, Pattenmakers Arms, 4 Crown Street, Duffield 01332 842844 or Dave Mountford GMB branch secretary for tied pub tenants 07792 198 954 or 07794 021212 or Steve Kemp 07730 898102
GMB Yorkshire & North Derbyshire Region Continues To Grow
For the 6th year in a row, the region has increased its membership which now stands at 62,799, close to the 63,000 target set which should now be reached by Congress in June.
The region would like to thank everyone concerned for all their hard work and efforts in recruiting new members and retaining existing ones despite the continuing adverse economic climate.
Attempted Citizens Arrest Of Blacklist Boss
The Blacklist Support Group has attempted to serve a Citizen’s Arrest Warrant on Callum McAlpine, the first ever chair of the covert and illegal blacklister the Consulting Association. The arrest bid on Friday 21st February 2014 - the fifth anniversary of the raid on the Consulting Association by the Information Commissioner’s Office - took place at the Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd London offices.
Callum McAlpine admitted to a parliamentary select committee this was the venue for the first and subsequent Consulting Association meetings. Blacklist Support Group members combed the corridors in an attempt to serve the notice. McAlpine staff approached by the campaigners claimed Callum McAlpine was not in the building. Despite repeated requests, no senior figure from the company emerged to meet with the activists, who say they were attempting to enforce the law. A fleet of police vans turned up at the offices near Hyde Park Corner to deal with the disturbance.
The blacklisting campaigners point out that no director or senior manager has faced charges for what is an undoubted employment law and human rights offence. Over the same period, phone hacking of celebrities has led to a series of prosecutions. The campaigners add that while the celebrity victims of phone hacking certainly suffered a breach of privacy, blacklisted workers endured this and were denied work as a result. The consequences of the blacklist were usually devastating and sometime fatal, they say. A new Families Against Blacklisting Group has been created to give the partners and children of blacklisted workers somewhere they can find support and share advice.
Sheffield City Council Pay Proposals
“As you are aware GMB members rejected the last pay proposal that Sheffield City Council put to the trade unions before Christmas 2013. Since then we have been involved in intensive negotiations with the the Council and they have now submitted their final proposal for a new pay settlement for the next 4 years, today. (See below)
We believe that this latest offer represents a significant improvement from the last proposal. You will recall that the previous offer meant that all workers would go to the mid point of their incremental grades over a 3 year period. A move up the scales for some but a massive loss for others and no one would ever reach the higher levels of incremental payments because they would no longer exist, in short this was a lose, lose situation for everyone.
There have been proposals since and counter proposals from the unions but this latest offer enables all employees who are entitled to an increment (frozen for the past 4 to 5 years) to progress for the first time in a long time and breaks the increment pay freeze. Furthermore the offer protects the lowest paid employees, gives them a lump sum payment and secures on-going commitment to the living wage (rising to £7.65 in April 2014). We have also secured agreement that any offer coming out of the national local government negotiating body will also be paid to all.
There is a sacrifice for workers on more than £21,000 in year 2 (2015/16) but that is taken from 3 days unpaid leave at Christmas, to be spread over the entire years salary. There will be some exemptions and these will be negotiated through the trade union consultation framework.
We will be running consultation meetings and writing to all members next week to set out when and where these meetings will take place. Paid release for members to attend has been secured and details will be included in our letter.
We will ballot members on the offer within the next 3 weeks.”
Please find below the proposals:
SHEFFIELD CITY COUNCIL FORMAL PROPOSALS FOR REVISED PAY ARRANGEMENTS IN SCC
These formal proposals set out below incorporate the changes made to the original proposals as a result of consultation with our recognised Trade Unions. They are based on feedback and input from the joint trade unions over a period of consultation since September 2013. This proposal has been subject to detailed costing and checking by Finance colleagues to ensure affordability.
Scope of the proposed changes
The proposed scope of the revised proposals excludes former Sheffield Homes employees, Public Health employees, and non-teaching Schools employees. A business case for this decision has been shared with the Trade Unions, the Council in principle wished to include all SCC employees in scope but has been unable to do so due to legal advice in relation to TUPE protection.
The workforce to whom this proposal applies is:
• Local Government Services
• Chief Officers
There are separate proposals in respect of Soulbury staff.
In addition to the principles previously shared with the trade unions (appendix 1) the following additional principles will apply to this proposal:
• Incremental progression will be kept in the system for the period of this agreement
• The Council wishes to proceed on the basis of a 4 year deal
• The Council wishes to create a level of certainty in relation to pay and terms and conditions for staff
• The proposal needs to be affordable, not just in the 4 year period but in the longer term
• There will be no detriment to pay in year 1 for any employee as a result of this proposal.
The Council believes that although this proposal is limited to a period of 4 years it creates a level of stability for employees both in relation to pay and terms and conditions. The rationale we have applied in proposing a maximum of a 4 year deal is that there continues to be uncertainty in relation to local government finances, therefore it is prudent to make a proposal that we are confident we can afford and deliver. The Council is committed to starting early discussions about year 5 when there is more clarity about the financial position of the Council.
New arrangements for Incremental progression
Employees who are on a pay grade normally progress automatically by one Spinal Column Point (SCP) within their pay grade each year. His/her salary would normally progress by one SCP until they reach the top of his/her grade. The increase in salary associated with this is commonly referred to as an ‘incremental pay increase’. The progression in SCP and associated salary increase normally takes effect in April each year.
It is proposed that there will be a freeze in incremental progression in 2014/15 for all employees in scope of this proposal. Employees who earn less than £21,000 (pro-rata) will receive a one off annual payment of £250 in 2014/15.( this payment will also be pro rata) This payment will be calculated in September for payment in December 2014. For absolute clarity, this payment will not be made to any employee whose basic pay is on spinal point 24 and above.
In 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18 it is proposed to pay to all entitled employees half the value of an increment. No half increment will have a value of less than £250 ( pro rata). This process would entail determining new local (Sheffield City Council) interim pay points for the grades.
Annual leave proposal
To enable the Council to afford this proposal all employees who earn over £21,000 will take 3 days mandatory unpaid annual leave at the Christmas break between Christmas and New Year in these three years. This will be in addition to current leave entitlements and will not represent a break in service. It will be on a pro rata basis and will be applied to all employees on spinal point 24 and above.
Three days mandatory annual leave will also be taken at the Christmas break for all other employees this includes Sheffield Homes, Soulbury and Public Health. This will pro rata basis.
For these groups of staff and for employees who earn less than £21,000 this will be taken out of their usual annual leave entitlement and the Council will shut down all but essential services. These essential service exemptions will be agreed with Executive Directors at EMT.
The three days Christmas shutdown will not attract enhancements for employees who are expected to work as they are not statutory holidays.
All employees will be able to access the Councils salary sacrifice scheme for annual leave over and above these mandatory arrangements.
The Council is reviewing the HMRC rules which govern salary sacrifice schemes particularly in relation to mandatory unpaid leave and is also taking advice on pension impacts of the unpaid leave elements of this proposal, these impacts are therefore subject to further clarification.
Employees who have requested voluntary annual leave under the Council’s salary sacrifice scheme may amend the amount of voluntary leave they wish to take to take account of the requirement to take mandatory annual leave.
Deductions from pay would be made on a monthly basis for all employees.
Terms and Conditions
There are no proposals to make any changes to wider terms and conditions for Sheffield City Council employees, the Council however wishes to continue discussions on the cost and management of enhancements for atypical working patterns The Council is prepared on the successful outcome of this consultation to commit to no further local changes to terms and conditions for 4 years from the date of any collective agreement, other than those required by law or those that are agreed as part of National agreements.
Living wage supplement
We propose to continue payment of the Living Wage pay supplement to basic pay for those employees on our lowest pay scales. From 1 April 2014 we will increase our Living Wage level to £7.65 an hour, which is equivalent to a full time salary of £14,759 per year.
National pay awards
This change to the employee’s terms and conditions will not affect any entitlement to any additional pay award which is determined each year by the relevant national negotiating body. National pay awards will still be applied so everyone within scope and eligible would receive this, unless protected by redcircling arrangements.
Flexible working/flexi schemes
It is proposed that a separate work stream is formed with the recognised Trade Unions and service leaders to agree a common and consistently applied flexible working scheme.
Learning and Development
It is proposed that a joint work stream is established to progress the implementation of a skills and attainments framework and to explore the possibilities for accessing personal development through a salary sacrifice scheme.
We have offered a range of voluntary schemes for the past three years, which have made a significant impact not only on achieving budgetary savings but also in maintaining employee morale in very difficult and challenging circumstances.
It is proposed that the range of options available are increased to include:
o Car parking salary sacrifice
o Shared cost AVCs
o Further promotion of child care vouchers under salary sacrifice
o Work-related training costs
o Green cars
This document represents the final formal proposal as agreed with the joint trade unions on February 20th.
Director of Human Resources
Local Government Workers’ Representatives Say 1% Unacceptable and Industrial Action Inevitable
GMB and the other trade unions representing 1.6 million local government workers, have met to discuss the NJC pay claim for 2014-2015 and the employers’ response.
The following statement was agreed by the three unions:
The NJC Trade Union Side:
· Deplores the Employers’ failure to make an offer on 14 February 2014 and their statement on 21 February 2014, that a 1% remit would not be negotiable.
· Rejects any pegging of NJC pay to the National Minimum Wage.
· Reiterates the view expressed by our members last year that 1% for 2014/15 will not be acceptable.
· In light of the above, the NJC Trade Union Side believes industrial action looks inevitable and is preparing accordingly.
Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary for Public Services, said “The unanimous view of the full local government trade union side is very clear. The idea that one and a half million council workers should have to sacrifice part of a paltry 1% pay pot to meet their employers’ statutory obligation to pay the national minimum wage is unacceptable. GMB and the other unions are further incensed that the employers say the pay pot is not negotiable. We have no choice but to begin preparations for consulting our members on industrial action.”
Contact: GMB press office 07974 252 823 or 07921 289880
Co-op “Lions Led By Donkeys” £2Billion Loss
GMB, the union for funeral workers employed by the Co-op, responds to reports that losses of £2billion will be announced next month.
Paul Clarke, National Organiser for Co-operatives said “GMB has been consistently highly critical of a management team who alienated both society members and their own staff. In 2008 we said of the Co-op that it was “another case of lions led by donkeys”. We said the leadership thought ‘Ethics’ was a county east of London. They made the disastrous decisions in 2007 to attack their own workers in their funeral arm when they withdraw negotiating rights for GMB who had been recognised within their Funeralcare business for 110 years. GMB criticisms have been wholly vindicated.
Since then there has been grandstanding with people like Peter Marks, Len Wardle, Paul Flowers and Moira Lees acting like a executives of an FTSE 100 company rather than behaving as they should have done as bosses of a member owned democratic organisation. We saw the sound bites of ‘Ethical Business’, ‘Co-operative Difference’, ‘Co-operative Revolution’ and ‘Values and Principles’. They even have a V&P Committee. Whilst all the time executives were lording it up and became fixated with trying to become a major bank. The disastrous takeover of Britannia Building Society which was effectively bust and their obsession of taking over 571 Lloyds branches have been major contributors in almost bankrupting the whole society and as a direct result the Co-operative bank is now 70% owned by venture capitalists.
Now we see them going for a fire sale of long fought for assets. They plan to sell shops, farms and pharmacies, threats of mass redundancies and a reduction in staff hours is also proposed. The clothing and motor business has already gone and Sunwin Securities is also up for sale. The answer from the top is a survey with leading questions which seeks further to sever links with its core supporters and their families. The Rochdale Pioneers must be spinning in their graves as they see the society they founded almost run into the ground by the same type of spivs and chancers the Co-op was founded to oppose.
GMB as the union for the Co-operative funeral workers calls upon the board to re-discover its founding principles. It should go back to its roots and embrace its core supporters. It should make peace with both GMB and TUC. It should stop pretending to be Tesco Mark 2’.”
Contact Paul Clarke 0207 391 6723 or GMB Press office 07921 289880 or 07974 251823
Huge Payments For Housing Benefit In Great Britain Shows Landlords Are The Real Winners From Britain
Landlords Hit Housing Benefit Jackpot
A new GMB study, published on 24th Feb, shows the top twenty company landlords in each of 311 out of 380 councils in Great Britain that receive housing benefit direct from councils for tenants renting their properties. Details, where disclosed, for the top twenty landlords ranked by the amounts they received by council are set out in the pdf attached at the foot of this release for 311 councils in Great Britain.
Taxpayer’s cash pays the rent to private landlords for 1.65 million privately owned dwelling in Great Britain. This study covers where it is paid direct to company landlords not private individual landlords. See notes to editors for the latest available figures for the number of private rented households and the number and % of housing benefit recipients in the private rented sector by region and for the top 20 councils with the highest percentages.
Some organizations receiving large sums across the country are as follows:
◾ Jomast Property / John Monk & Co – Over £210,000 in the North East. Owner Stuart Monk equal 554th on the Sunday Times Rich List with wealth estimated at £147m. Developed Hartlepool Marina.
◾Stockton Flats - Over £1.7m in total from councils in North East, North West and North Yorkshire.
◾European Wellcare Lifestyles Ltd - Part of European Care Group. Parent company Esquire Group Investment (Holdings) Ltd based in the British Virgin Islands as are another 5 companies within the group. 4 other group companies are based in Guernsey.
◾Grainger Residential Management / PHA Ltd / Grip Nomco 1 & 2 - £1.2m across 16 districts. Part of Grainger PLC with fixed assets of £618m, current assets of £1bn and turnover of £283m. In 2013 own 13,353 units with a market value of £1.8bn. They manage 8,216 units with market value of £953m.
◾Associated Property Owners Ltd – £89,000. Directors are Lady Diana Errington, Robin Errington, Anne Errington, David Errington, Stuart Errington and William Saville. Directors of the parent company, Associated Property Holdings Ltd, include Sir Geoffrey Errington (2nd Baronet Errington, of Ness).
◾Northwood - National lettings Agency getting over £2.3m nationally.
◾Blackshaw Holdings – £442,000. Owner, John Brooksbank, on the Sunday Times Rich list with wealth estimated at £100m.
◾Martin & Co - Letting Agents, £3.1m from 20 districts nationally.
◾Chatsworth Trust - £10,000
◾LHT Enterprise - £8,800 from Craven. Michael Bannister, owner of Coniston Hall and the Boundary Mill chain.
◾Mountview Estates Plc - Duncan Sinclair, 901st on Sunday Times rich list worth £87m. £300,000 from 9 districts
◾Buckminster Trust Estate – Sir Lyonel Tollemache donor to the Tory party. Buckminster is a country estate in Leicestershire. £37,000.
◾Compton Estates – Castle Ashby Estate, seat of Lord Northampton, Spencer Compton, 7th Marquess of Northampton. One of Britain’s wealthiest aristocrats, =766th on Sunday Times rich list with estimated wealth of £103m. £21,000.
◾Grimsthorpe & Drummond Castle Trust Ltd – owner of Grimsthorpe Castle is Baroness Jane Willoughby De Eresby, daughter of the 3rd Earl of Ancaster and grand daughter of Nancy Astor. Inherited Grimsthorpe Castle in Lincolnshire and Drummond Castle in Perthshire. £19,000
◾Cecil Estate Family Trust - £17,000
◾Burghley House Pres. Trust Ltd - £9,000
◾Penk Holdings Ltd – Directors Alan and Joanna Monckton of Horsebrook Hall, Stafford (former High Sheriff of Staffordshire) and Piers Monckton of Stretton Hall, Stafford. £12,000
◾ADA Glossop / Glossop Caravans - £1.1m across 15 districts nationally.
◾Marquess of Hertford - £15,000 from Stratford. Henry Seymour’s country estate is Ragley Hall in Warwickshire.
◾Thorney Bay Park Ltd - £1.45m from Castle Point. Donated £3,000 to conservatives in 2001.
◾Cadogan Estates Ltd - Charles G Cadogan, 8th Earl Cadogan, 18th on Sunday Times Rich list (£3,675m) and Tory donor. £116,000
◾Grosvenor Estate Belgravia - Part of Grovenor Group. Fixed assets of £4,272,300,000. Headed by the Duke of Westminster who is in the Sunday Times Rich list as 8th richest person in Britain with wealth estimated at £7.8bn. £243,000
◾Lazari Investments Ltd – Chris Lazari is 101st on the Sunday Times Rich list with wealth estimated at 858m. £200,000
◾Woodlands Estates - Owned by Andrew Charalambous, UKIP housing spokesman.£745,00.
◾Caridon Property - £2.6m across 9 London Boroughs
◾Cowdray Estate / Paddockhurst Estate - £118,000. Viscount Cowdray listed on the Sunday Times rich list in =224th place with wealth estimated at £400m. The family firm is the Pearson Media Group and he the family seat is Cowdray Park in West Sussex.
◾Southwick Estates - £39,000 from Winchester. A 7,000 acre private estate which owns nearly all of the village of Southwick. Owned by the Thistlethwayte family.
◾Englefield Estate / Gerald Palmer Eling Trust – Owned by conservative MP, Richard Benyon. His family are =713th on the Sunday Times rich list with wealth of £110m. He is one of the wealthiest MPs in Parliament. The family seat is Englefield House and 20,000 acre Estate in Berkshire. £626,000
◾Yattendon Estates - £195,000 from West Berkshire. Lord Robert Iliffe =333rd on the Sunday Times rich list with wealth of £245m. Yattendon is a 9,000 acre estate in West Berkshire
◾Patricroft Investments - £49,000 from Worthing. Company is based in Gibralter.
◾Allsop Residential Investment Management Ltd – one of the partners is Timothy Theakston, one of the Theakston Brewery brothers. £137,000 from Brighton & Hove
◾HRH Estates Company - £349,000 from Medway
◾Sir Richard Sutton’s Settled Estates – Sir Richard Sutton, 9th Baronet, =522nd on the Sunday Times rich list with wealth of £150m. £68,000 from West Berkshire.
◾Blackmoor Estate Ltd - £18,000 from East Hampshire. Owned by the Earl and Countess of Selborne. Earl Selborne is a conservative hereditary peer.
◾Knepp Castle Estate Office - £15,000 from Horsham. A 3,500 acre Estate in West Sussex owned by Sir Charles Burrell, 10th Baronet. Owner of Knepp Castle.
◾Viscount Asquith Estate - £17,000 from Mendip.
◾Morden Estates - £14,000 from Purbeck. Owned by Richard Grosvenor Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax, conservative MP for South Dorset. Family seat is Charborough House in Dorset.
◾Powis Castle Estates - £34,000 from Powys. Owned by John Herbert, 8th Earl of Powis
◾Hawarden Estate – Sir Erskine ‘William’ Gladstone, 7th Baronet, owner of Hawarden Castle in Flintshire. £43,000 from Flintshire.
◾Strathmore Estates Holding Ltd - Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, the Queens cousin and owner of Glamis Castle £11,500 from Angus.
◾Moray Estates Development Company - Earl of Moray, owner of Darnaway Castle. £10,000 from Moray.
◾Argyll Estates - £126,000 from Argyll and Bute. 50,000 acre estate including Inveraray Castle, home to Torquhil Campbell, the Duke of Argyll.
◾Wemyss Properties Ltd – Owned by William Wemyss, part of a Scottish business dynasty which includes property, whisky and gin production and energy production. £141,000 from Fife.
◾Haddo Estate - £42,000 from Aberdeenshire. Owned by the Marquess and Marchioness of Aberdeen.
Paying housing benefits to meet housing costs for rented accommodation for tenants on low incomes dates the 1980s. The cost has ballooned to £23 billion per year. While over the past 30 years some £411billions of taxpayer’s funds have been spent on housing benefit it is not clear who the ultimate recipients are.
For 30% of tenants entitled to housing benefit the cash is paid direct to landlords. To establish the identity of these landlords GMB and Daily Mirror carried out research at the Land Registry to establish the beneficial owners of properties and Freedom of Information requests were made to councils to establish the amounts paid to them. The ultimate recipients of housing benefit and amounts were disclosed by councils where the landlords are companies. The ultimate recipients of housing benefit and amounts were not disclosed where the monies are paid to tenants or where landlords are individuals. 69 councils refused to disclose any information. GMB is inviting local media and politicians to follow up on the study and fill in the gaps.
Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary, said, “This research lifts the lid on the mainly secret payments to landlords who are the real winners from Britain’s welfare system. We see taxpayers cash subsidising buy-to-let empires where the money ends up tax free in tax havens.
The research shows the rich and powerful sucking up taxpayer’s money through housing benefit. This is made possible by out of control rents and a lack of affordable and council homes that so many hard working people and their families desperately need.
This should bring both shame and action from this government to end this exploitation of public money.
These billions going into fat cats wallets and off shore tax havens would be better spent building houses and homes for real working people. Shovelling millions of pounds to the likes of castle owning barons, whilst so many either wait for a home or have to pay exorbitant rents, is a public scandal. It is also bad economics for the nation” See at foot of the national release on GMB website http://www.gmb.org.uk a pdf with names of some castle owning barons, the amount they receive and pictures of the castles.
It is disgraceful that 69 councils refused to reveal the companies they paid huge sums to. Every council has refused to disclose the names of private landlords they pay huge sums to without scrutiny.”
Contact: Kamaljeet Jandu 07956 237178 or Gary Doolan 07852 182358 or Cath Speight 07505 711925 or Lisa Johnson 07900 392228. GMB Press Office 07921 289 880 or 07974 251 823
Regional Learning Fund
The education department has been working in conjunction with the Community Organising Project to develop a ‘Regional Lifelong Learning Strategy’. As a result we have now formed a ‘Regional Learning Committee’. The strategic focus is to ensure that GMB members have access to not only workplace learning opportunities, but also to lifelong learning.
At the regional branch event held in Wakefield in February, Colin Kirkham, education officer and Tim Roache, regional secretary, launched the new ‘GMB Yorkshire & North Derbyshire Regional Learning Fund’.
This fund has been created to assist GMB members with education and training costs in a bid to help them progress in their jobs but equally as important, it is there to help members who are out of work and who need to up-skill so they can secure future employment. It is primarily aimed at members of the GMB who are on the unemployed rate. Details of the terms and conditions of the ‘Regional Learning Fund’ and an application form can be found below.
Please remember to have previously liaised with your workplace Union Learning Representative or Branch Learning Representative, Full-time Officer, the Regional Learning Committee, the Regional Project or the Learning Co-ordinator in your area. This must be done prior to applying for funding. It may well be that one of the above could assist you in obtaining the training course that you are about to apply for funding, free of charge in the first instance.
Official launch 1st April 2014
Local Government Employers Show Contempt For Staff Over Pay Negotiations
The national employers for local government had arranged to meet GMB and the other trade unions today, 14 February, to make an offer for the 2014 pay rise. However they have decided to cancel that meeting for reasons that show utter contempt and disrespect for staff.
I am led to believe that the employers have a 1% pay rise available but, paltry as that is, they are not going to offer it to everyone. Instead, they want to wait and see how much they will have to pay to people on the very lowest pay points when the new national minimum wage is announced for this year - and deduct that from the 1% pot! So apart from the very lowest paid, everyone else will get less than 1%. To put it another way, everyone else will have to pay for the national minimum wage rise.
That is absolutely outrageous.
It’s bad enough that staff working for local authorities might be at minimum wage rates and they certainly deserve a decent rise. But at everyone else’s cost? There’s only a measly 1% in the pot to start with and then the employers have got the cheek to take some out to pay the statutory minimum legal wage. Surely everyone needs a fair pay rise!
That’s what you deserve. That’s what we must fight for.
Join Us At The Betterway Demo At The Lib Dem Conference
Demo at The Lib Dem Spring Conference Saturday 8 March, York. Calling for an end to austerity and for a better way forward.
GMB Yorkshire & North Derbyshire Membership On The Up!
GMB Regional Secretary, Tim Roache, commented, “Well done everyone on a fantastic recruited figure of 711, the best we’ve had in January for many a year. Our rolling average of new recruits continues to increase and now tops 600 but to balance that our average leavers will have gone up also meaning that the early momentum on recruitment this year has to be maintained.
I think it is no coincidence that the changes made across the region to meet the challenges we face have had a positive effect already and I am confident that, especially in light of the buzz of the branch activists weekend, our performance and therefore membership growth will once again this year be the envy of the union.
Thanks again to you all for your commitment and dedication.”
Demos Across The Region - Tuesday, 4th Feb 2014
GMB MEMBERS IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT WILL HOLD LOCAL DEMONSTRATIONS ACROSS ENGLAND, WALES AND NORTHERN IRELAND ON TUESDAY 4TH FEBRUARY FOR £1 AN HOUR PAY INCREASE AND A LIVING WAGE
The result of years of real-terms pay cuts is that a staggering 510,000 council workers are paid less than the Living Wage says GMB.
GMB members working in local government in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, will hold demonstrations outside their workplaces as part of their pay claim for £1 an hour pay rise.
The demonstrations are part of major campaign, launched last October, For a minimum increase of £1 an hour to increase the bottom rate of pay in local government to raise it to a living wage hourly rate. The local government unions are calling for the same £1 an hour increase to also apply to all pay points above the bottom rate.
A scandalous 500,000 local government workers are paid below the current living wage of £7.45 pence an hour - a rate which will increase in November. Politicians from all parties have recently called for action to deal with low pay and are encouraging individual local authorities to pay the living wage.
All the following demonstrations will take place on Tuesday 4th February:
LOCAL GOVERNMENT - 4 FEBRUARY “DAY OF PROTEST” GMB EVENTS
COUNCIL DETAILS OF EVENT GMB CONTACT
Barnsley 12-2pm outside Barnsley Town Hall, Barnsley, South Yorkshire
S70 2TA Steve Morris
Leeds 1-2 pm Rally at Leeds Civic Hall Council Chamber
Leafleting Civic Hall either side, Calverley St, Leeds, West Yorkshire LS1 1UR Jon Smith
Sheffield 12-2pm Leafleting Town Hall and Petition Launch Pinstone St, Sheffield, South Yorkshire S1 2HH Pete Davies
Calderdale 12.30 pm – 1.30 pm Leafleting Northgate House, Civic Buildings Northgate House, Halifax HX1 1UN
Huddersfield 12.30 pm Rally Town Hall and leafleting Ramsden Street, Huddersfield, HD1 2TA Neil Cole
Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary for Public Services, said: “The result of years of real-terms pay cuts is that a staggering 510,000 council workers are paid less than the Living Wage. Most are women in part-time jobs. Many have to suffer the indignity of claiming in-work benefits.
How can it be that in 21st century Britain, public-service workers must rely on state handouts?
We are talking about frontline workers who serve our communities day in, day out. Street sweepers, social workers, classroom assistants, housing officers, cleaners, dinner ladies. All will be standing together on 4th February and demanding an answer to this question: why are we made scapegoats for a financial crisis we had nothing to do with?
Because as Mervyn King admitted to the TUC a few years ago, not a single trade unionist contributed to the 2008 economic collapse. The fault lay entirely with greedy bankers cosseted by pathetic regulators.
So it’s no surprise that local-government staff are angry and want to speak out. They have more reason to than most. I will be proud to join them on February 4th.”
Contact: Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary for Public Services on 07860 606137 or GMB Press Office: 07974 252823 or 07921 289880.
Notes to Editors: Please call the local GMB Organiser shown in the table of event above for each of the separate demos.
Punch Pub Landlords Fight For Voice
Furious landlords at battered pubs group Punch Taverns are demanding they are included in discussions about the future of the debt-laden company as a crucial vote looms to decide its future.
An activist landlord is organising a tenants’ campaign group to bypass the company and work directly with its creditors. The aim is to hatch a deal to help protect the pubs if the group is forced into administration.
Punch, Britain’s second-largest pubs operator with around 4,000 premises, has been engaged in a 14-month battle with lenders over a proposed restructuring. Over ambitious expansion plans during the boom years left it with a massive £2.3billion debt pile and it urgently needs to renegotiate its loans.
Next Friday, 16 classes of lenders – each representing a different type of bond issued by the group during its borrowing spree – will vote on the latest proposal from the board, which needs the backing of 75 per cent of votes cast if it is to succeed. If the plans are voted down, then Punch is likely to default on its interest repayments and administrative receivers would be called in. Angry tenants say that they have been left out of the negotiations and that some were ‘worried sick’ about losing their livelihoods and the deposits they have paid to Punch to become landlords.
Landlord and former management consultant Chris Lindesay of the Sun Inn in Dunsfold, Surrey, is co-ordinating a tenants’ group with a view to working directly with bondholders to keep the company going after administrators are called in. ‘Tenants are terrified about what’s going to happen and the whole thing has been a farrago,’ he said. ‘They’ve got to start unwinding the company. The board’s proposals are just going to give money to US vulture funds.’
Steve Kemp, the GMB union officer for tenants at tied pubs, said: ‘Neither the shareholders nor the bondholders has listened to the tenants so far, but the administrators would take a different view.’
However, both sides claimed that the tenants were their priority. A Punch source said: ‘Uncertainty is not helpful for the tenants, and after the restructuring, more cash will be available for them,’ whereas a representative of the senior bondholders said the pubs would suffer more from being shackled by debt.
Source: Financial Mail On Sunday 2/2/14
GMB Branch Activity Weekend 1st & 2nd February 2014
Report to follow.
Derbyshire County Council To Pay The Living Wage To 3,000 Employees
Extract of letter sent to employees:
“We’re delighted to let you know that Cabinet at its meeting on 21 January 2014, approved that the Council would introduce the Living Wage for our employees.
You are one of over 3,000 employees who will benefit. From 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2015, you will be paid your current hourly rate plus an allowance to make your pay up to £7.65 an hour for any jobs you have with the Council.
The Living Wage is set nationally as the amount needed to provide an adequate standard of living, and we can be proud of the decision taken by the Council’s Cabinet.
There is more information about the Living Wage on our website – http://www.derbyshire.gov.uk/livingwage. The Council will be writing to you again in March with formal notice of the change being made and more information on how it will affect you.
If you have any questions please ask your manager or supervisor. Alternatively ring the Shared Service Centre on 01629 535119 – option 3.”
GMB North Derbyshire branch secretary Ailsa Cooling commented, “GMB congratulate the authority on its decision to pay the Living Wage to its lowest paid employees. We look forward to continuing our good relations with the Labour controlled authority, especially in working together to improve the living standards of thousands of workers and GMB members. We now await the result of national discussions on NJC pay.”
Striking Back! A commemoration of the anniversary of the Miners’ Strike
A commemoration of the anniversary of the beginning of the 1984-85 Miners’ Strike and fundraiser for the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign.
Where: Rotherham Trades Club, Greasborough Rd, Rotherham
When: Friday March 21st 2014 at 7.00
How much: £10 waged / £3 unwaged
Airport Parking & Hotels
Great Savings on your Travel Extras from Airport Parking and Hotels
By pre-booking your travel extras with APH, you can make significant savings on the rates you would pay if you just showed up without a reservation. As a GMB member, you receive the following discounts…
- 15% off APH owned car parks
- 10% off all other participating airport car parks throughout the UK
- 10% off participating hotel & parking packages
- 10% off No.1 Traveller Lounges at selected airports
These discounts are on top of APH’s existing savings of up to 25% on airport parking etc
To check prices, availability and to book securely online, please visit: http://www.aph.com/gmb14
Discounts are automatically applied on this website or call APH on 0844 871 7521 and quote ‘GMB14’
Terms and Conditions apply. *See Terms and Conditions link on http://www.aph.com/gmb14 for full booking conditions and for a list of non-participating car parks where discounts do not apply.
Mass Sackings Put On Hold At Sheffield School
School bosses have agreed to put on hold plans to sack 21 teaching assistants after they threatened to carry out a strike ballot. The 33 GMB members at Sheffield Park Academy voted at a meeting on Monday night to hold a strike ballot after finding out two thirds of them would lose their jobs on April 1st. However, within 24 hours, managers extended the consultation period from the end of March until the end of July and said they would explore other options including voluntary redundancy and redeployment.
GMB organiser Peter Davies told UnionNews: “This is a sign of how unity can work. Managers weren’t talking to us but now, all of a sudden, they are talking about mitigating the job losses. It’s my view that the threat of strike action focused their minds. I was quite surprised because usually bosses dig their heels in, but this time they’ve listened to us, which is very welcome.”
GMB Members Offer - 25% off PUMA Products
GMB Union is proud to announce an exclusive sports retail partnership with Genesis Sports, Official Licensee for PUMA in the UK and Ireland.
The agreement allows GMB members to purchase personalised leisure wear with a 25% discount across a range of sports.
Genesis Sports have been the PUMA licensee for PRO Teamsports in the UK and Ireland since 2002 and recently won the license extension for an additional 10-year period.
The company works primarily with professional clubs and education institutions across a range of sports including football, rugby league and union, netball, hockey and athletics to create innovative, resilient and high quality technical playing kit, training wear and accessories.
PUMA retains a strong global reputation for innovation and the fusion of sport and style to help sports teams maximise sporting performance.
Genesis Sports Managing Director, John Howarth, commented: “The team at Genesis Sports is equipped with the knowledge and industry expertise to provide GMB members with first-class customer service to ensure they receive the kits they need.
“PUMA are the experts in getting the right blend between performance technology, comfort and style, so we’re thrilled to be supplying GMB Union and help their members improve results across all sports.”
As well as the opportunity to buy and design discounted PUMA products, GMB will have access to a dedicated online shop hosted by Genesis Sports.
Tim Roache, GMB Regional Secretary, said: “This is an exciting agreement that will provide our members with the highest quality sports leisure wear from one of the world’s leading sports lifestyle brands. “What’s more, they will have convenient access to buy online 24/7 via a secure GMB Union online shop with orders delivered directly to the customer’s door.”
The partnership starts now and ends on 1 December 2014 - to find out more or to get a quote simply visit https://kit.genesissports.co.uk/shop/gmb/
Local Government Day of Protest - 4th February 2014
As part of the local government pay campaign, the three national unions (GMB, Unison and Unite) are holding a “day of protest” on 4 February. This has been timed to take place shortly before the national employers meet to determine their response to our pay claim. There will be events organised all around the country. This is your chance to show the employers that you deserve and expect a decent pay rise in 2014.
You may remember that GMB and the other trade unions submitted the following claim for 2014-15 on behalf of our members covered by the National Joint Council for Local Government Services:
“A minimum increase of £1 an hour on scale point 5 to achieve the Living Wage and the same flat rate increase on all other scale points”
There are lots of reasons why you need a pay rise. Here are just a few:
• Local government pay is currently the lowest in the public sector.
• Over 470,000 NJC workers earn less than the Living Wage of £7.65 outside London.
• Thanks to inflation, your pay is worth less than it used to be. People on scale point 5 earn £1,994 less in real terms than in 2009.
• Cuts to pay-related conditions have hit pay packets hard too.
• At the same time, because of job cuts staff are having to work harder than ever.
• Inflation is predicted to run at 3% in 2014. You need a decent pay rise just to keep up.
• In spite of austerity, our claim is affordable and would be good for the economy. Council reserves have increased by 20% since 2010-11. Councils chose to “bank” £2.6 billion last year alone.
The national employers are meeting on 13 February. We expect to hear back from them shortly afterwards so please get involved to make your voice heard on 4 February. Contact your local GMB branch or rep to join in.
Lighthouse Financial Services
GENERAL FINANCIAL SURGERIES
Wednesday 29th January and Wednesday 26th February 2014
Understanding where you are now and where you want to be in the future enables you to make informed decisions about your finances. Lighthouse Financial Advice is here to offer GMB members advice on all aspects of financial planning.
HOW WE CAN HELP
Our Professional Financial Advisers are able to use researched solutions drawn from the whole of the market to find appropriate products for you and can advise upon:
Financial Protection for You and Your Family
Pension Advice and Planning for Retirement
Savings and Investments
These surgeries are free to GMB members. To take advantage of this invaluable opportunity and book your initial 30 minute consultation with an adviser please contact:
DATES: 29th January 2014 and 26th February 2014 VENUE: Meeting Room 2,Thorne House,188/190 Norfolk Street, Sheffield, S1 1SY START TIME: 9:30 am ENDS: Approximately 3:00 pm
If you are interested but are unable to attend, please let us know and we will arrange for the adviser to contact you.
*The Financial Conduct Authority do not regulate all forms of tax planning
Save Eggborough Power Station
The Engineering Construction trades unions, GMB and Unite, are seeking an urgent meeting with the UK Government over the omission of the proposed biomass development of Eggborough Power Station from the original list of projects to go ahead. Unless Government reverses this decision the power station will close by end of 2015 with a loss of 850 jobs in the power station.
Eggborough is a 2,000 megawatt (MW) coal fired station in North Yorkshire. It is one of the largest generating stations, currently, providing 4% of Britain’s total electricity supply, keeping the lights on in three million homes. The station is owned by Strategic Value Partners.
The Chief Executive of Eggborough Power Limited announced in November plans to convert the station from coal to biomass as part of a £750 million expansion project for the station. The project which was due to start on the 6th January 2014 has now stalled. If it had gone ahead this would have been one of the single largest construction project in Britain to commence in the first quarter of 2014.
Phil Whitehurst GMB National Officer for Engineering Construction said “This power station has been left high and dry because the carbon capture project at neighbouring Drax power station is more favourable to the Government’s failing energy policy.
850 in house workers will go, as well as thousands in the supply chain. In addition a £60m investment at Immingham Docks, and another one at Teesport will be shelved. These port facilities would have handled the biomass fuel imports. The rail networks to handle the movement of the fuel from the docks to the power station from both ports will also be shelved.
The imminent closure of Eggborough is another indictment of the failing energy policy of this Government. This power station is a viable generation facility if converted to biomass. There are foreign investors interested, but without the biomass subsidies the investment will not happen.
When will this Government wake up to the facts of economic life. It does not take Einstein to work out, that if our power infrastructure is not under public control, then foreign investors want a return on their investment in the form of subsidies, and without these subsidies this power station will close, with the loss of 800 in-house workers and hundreds more in the supply chain”
Contact: Phil Whitehurst 07968 338810
Free Training With GMB - Eligibility Status
FREE TRAINING FOR OUR MEMBERS IN SOUTH YORKSHIRE AND NORTH DERBYSHIRE
We know it’s a hard time right now for many – wages are falling behind prices, jobs are insecure, unemployment remains stubbornly high. So GMB have teamed up with Rotherham College to offer a suite of tailored courses to help people in their work and career.
FACT: MOST GMB MEMBERS ARE ELIGIBLE FOR FUNDED VOCATIONAL TRAINING THAT DOESN’T COST A PENNY.
Answer all the questions in our new eligibility status checker to the best of your ability, and find out INSTANTLY if you can access vocational training at zero cost. Rotherham College is offering courses to GMB members covering every industry –customer service, construction, team leading, cleaning, catering, caring, retail, wholesale – you mention it!
Vocational training will:
- Help safeguard your employment
- Increase your chances of a promotion
- Make you more employable
- Improve your life chances
SO IN 2014, MAKE YOUR NEW YEARS RESOLUTION TO GET VOCATIONAL TRAINING, AND GET THE QUALIFICATIONS YOU DESERVE.
For some of these courses, you may need the cooperation of your employer. GMB will make sure that if you’re eligible for funding, you won’t pay a penny.
Please pass this on to your colleagues, as they may be eligible too.
The GMB Yorkshire & North Derbyshire region grew by 1.5% in the year to December 2013.
The region’s recruitment performance ended last year strongly and capped a very tough 12 months with further membership growth.
Senior Organiser and member of the national organising team Neil Derrick commented,
“The facts speak for themselves:
* 6 years of continuous membership growth in the region
* growth of 1.5% - twice the national average for 2013
* only 255 more required to hit the 63,000 members mark (we hit 62,000 in May last year)
Given the challenges we, our reps and members face daily, this is a tremendous achievement of which we should all be proud. 2014 will be no easier but we have begun to turn around our recruitment average which is now 585 whilst maintaining the best retention rate in the union and maintaining this is our aim for the next 12 months.
Thank you all for your continued efforts. next stop 64,000 members!”
Environment Agency Cuts Will Increase Flooding Risks
GMB, the union for staff at the Environment Agency (EA), rebutted Government claims that there will be no impact on frontline staff due to the projected cut of up to 1,700 jobs and said the cuts will increase the risk of flooding and threaten the good management of water resources in England. GMB is pointing out that since November the UK has been battered by storms and these staff are working flat out to protect citizens across the nation.
On 2nd January 2014 a Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) spokesman said: “We’re currently spending over £2.3 billion on tackling the risk of flooding and coastal erosion. Together with contributions from other partners, this is more money than ever before. We’ll also be making record levels of capital investment and will be spending over £400 million by 2020/21. In addition we have provided the Environment Agency with an above-inflation increase of £5 million on their floods maintenance work in 2015/16. Departments and agencies across government are having to make choices about their budgets and the Environment Agency is making their own choices about how best to use their resources.”
Justin Bowden, GMB National Officer rebutting this, said” Since November the UK has been battered by storms and EA staffs are working flat out to protect citizens across the nation. Government is correct to say about investment in capital monies to build new flood defences, but what is carefully avoided is the massive cuts being made to revenue budgets. Revenue monies is what is used for maintaining existing defences which is just as important as building new ones. If we don’t it’s like having a new car and never getting it serviced, it will soon fail. For one area in the EA the proposed revenue budget is down to 10% of last year’s budget; a 90% cut. This will mean a lack of maintenance not only to flood defence assets that control flood waters, but little maintenance to the rivers themselves which are the main conveyors of flood water.
These cuts to revenue budgets have led to the stark proposals of cutting manpower as the zero option to the cuts. The manpower that visits trash grilles to keep them clear to ensure free flows, the manpower that will lift out trees that block the river, the manpower that fills sandbags, and acts as the liaison to the public that are directly affected by flood waters. The Agency wants more staff to go onto standby and work in Incident Rooms but cutting numbers is a contradiction to this. Currently staff in Incident Rooms are flailing and staff from other areas are being asked to cross subsidise, but with this movement of staff it leaves their own area susceptible to any heavy rainfall and flooding. At present the agency is struggling to cope with the flooding and this is prior to the cuts!”
In November 2013 GMB announced that it was joining with Prospect, UNISON and Unite to mount a campaign to opposing these short-sighted austerity measures. GMB will join with others who have already spoken out against these cuts. The unions plan to lobby MP and local councils and seek to inform political parties and the general public on the increased risks to safety, quality of life, and the most of all the threat to the environment. They will seek to raise awareness that the cuts will mean a detriment to the environment and a lead to higher risk of flooding to persons and property. The unions will show cuts will impact on staff at the forefront of the service, protecting the public by directly maintaining rivers, deploying sandbags, giving flooding warnings, surveying protected species, dealing with pollution incidents and involved with local consenting and planning.
Justin Bowden, GMB National Officer, said “The public need to know that job losses on this scale will impact specifically directly on flood risk management, on flood defence operations teams managing flood defences and carrying out river maintenance to enables flows to be conveyed away, enhancing the river’s ecology and supporting fish stocks. These teams also provide wider incident response containing river pollution, aerating watercourses to prevent fish deaths from low oxygen levels. So cutting flood risk funds will have a detrimental affect the health of all rivers no matter what the interest.
The job losses will detrimentally impact on other function also undertaken by the Agency as follows:
· protecting the public from risks associated with radioactive waste
· regulating polluting industries and preventing environmental crime
· managing the country’s water resources
· ensuring safe bathing water quality
· enhancing our rivers to support angling.
As a nation we are vulnerable to storm damage as the floods of 1947, 1987, 2000, 2001, and 2002 and recent floods and storms clearly shows. They had the effect of major disruption, loss of life, and clean up bills of millions of pounds. So the proposed 10% cut in of Environment Agency jobs will have a detrimental effect on the lives of millions of people in England.”
Contact: Justin Bowden 07710 631 351
13.8% Fall In Earnings Value During Recession
The drop in the real value of average earnings of all employees in employment between April 2008 and November 2013 in the UK has been 13.8% a new GMB study of official earnings data shows.
In April 2008 the mean gross annual earnings for all employees in employment in the UK according to the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) was £26,137. The ASHE figure for the mean gross annual earnings for all employees in employment in the UK for April 2013 was £27,174. This is an increase of £1,037 or just 4%. Between April 2008 and November 2013 inflation has been 17.8%. This means the drop in real value of earnings between April 2008 and November 2013 has been 13.8% for the UK.
The drop in the real value of average earnings between April 2008 and November 2013 for all employees in employment resident in London has been 20.4% the largest drop of all 12 regions in the UK. Next is Yorkshire and The Humber with a drop of 15.4 %, followed by South East and the East Midlands 14.4%, East of England 13.8%, South West 13.7%, North West 13.4%, Wales 12.5%, Northern Ireland 12%, West Midlands 10.5%, Scotland 9.9% and North East 8.6%.
GMB Response To Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Statement
If Osborne Wants To Find Further Savings He Needs To Look At Improving Wage Levels, Building More Affordable Housing For Rent And Ending Tax Avoidance To Fund Them Says GMB
Shrinking public services and living standards is not the right road to recovery.
GMB commented on the statement by George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer that the UK needed to find cuts of a further £25 billion in the annual public spending every year.
Paul Kenny GMB General Secretary said, “If Osborne wants to find further savings he needs to look at improving wage levels, building more affordable housing for rent and ending tax avoidance to fund them.
If companies like Amazon are forced to pay proper wage levels this would save billions paid in tax credits to enable working people to make ends meet. Allowing councils to build enough houses at affordable rents would save billions from the £23 billion per year paid in housing benefits much of it to private landlords. Ending tax avoidance and the tax loopholes exploited by Starbucks and Google could bring in further billions.
Shrinking public services and living standards is not the right road to recovery. Make these corporations pay their fair share of tax and take his fingers from around the neck of working families and the public services they need.”
Regional Office Closures
GMB Union Learning Committee
Dedicated Adult Learning
The GMB Yorkshire and North Derbyshire Regional Union Learning Committee has been formed with the purpose of establishing the prior-ities of the GMB’s regional learning agenda, and organising the union to meet these priorities.
The aims of the committee will be:
- To increase the uptake of adult learning
- To organise the GMB and build up its profile in workplac-es and communities through learning
- To increase union membership
- To encourage members to become Union Learning Rep-resentatives
- To encourage branches to elect ULR Officers
- To increase the profile of union learning within the GMB
- To keep up-to-date with and provide regional strategies for current learning issues and initiatives
- To work alongside key partners such as the GMB’s ULF projects, training providers, the TUC and Unionlearn
Committee Meeting Dates
The dates for committee meetings are:
- Monday 13th January 2014
- Monday 14th April 2014
- Monday 14th July 2014
Meetings commece at 10.30am and will be held at GMB regional office in Wakefield.
Terms of Reference
Tied Pubs Overcharged By 45% For Beer
Parliament must legislate statutory code with a free of tie option with tenants able to buy products on the open market and pay a fair rent for the building says GMB
GMB, the union for tied pub tenants, commended Greg Mulholland MP for Leeds North for asking a question at Prime Ministers Question Time on Wednesday 11th December which drew attention to a new study on the extent of overcharging on the wholesale price of beer by property company Punch Taverns and the negative impact on consumers. A government decision on a draft statutory code covering tied pub rents and wholesale prices is expected shortly.
Greg Mulholland MP said “New figures show that the second largest pub company in this country, Punch Taverns, overcharged the British consumer in its pubs, on beer alone, by £4.3 billion over 10 years. Clear market manipulation is taking place, so will the Prime Minister commit to deal with this crony capitalism? Will he listen to the Federation of Small Businesses and back the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee’s solution to this problem?”
The study Mr Mulholland refers to compares wholesale prices charged for standard products in pubco pubs, where the tenants has no access to the free market, with prices charged for free of tie pubs.
Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary, said “This study lays bare why Parliament must legislate the statutory code with a free of tie option with tenants able to buy products on the open market and pay a fair rent for the building. The aim is to lower sky high rents and wholesale prices charged by pubcos. To pay sky high rents and wholesale prices 45% above free market prices a pint of lager is on average 80p per pint higher and ale is 65p per pint higher than justified by inflation and like for like changes in taxes since 1987. This is pricing pubs out of the market and they have closed in droves. We need Parliament to legislate option 3 in the draft statutory code to allow tenants to buy products on the open market and pay a fair rent for the building.”
Contact Steve Kemp GMB national officer on 07730 898 102 or GMB press office 07921 289880
Jeremy Hunt Is About To Change The Law To Get New Legal Powers To Shut A&Es
Jeremy Hunt is about to change the law to get new legal powers to shut A&Es, unless you act NOW. Please pass this on to everyone you can and urge them to act immediately and don’t forget to sign up yourself.
You only have a few days to stop this power grab before MPs debate the law change on Monday 16 December. Email your MP today http://action.goingtowork.org.uk/page/speakout/stop-jeremy-hunt-s-legal-loophole-to-close-nhs-services
No hospital will be safe from closure and privatisation – no matter how successful or solvent, if clause 118 or the ‘hospital closure cause’ of the Care Bill gets through without challenge.
Your local MP has a vote – the Care Bill will be debated in the House of Commons on Monday 16 December. Urge your MP to oppose Clause 118. Email them today http://action.goingtowork.org.uk/page/speakout/stop-jeremy-hunt-s-legal-loophole-to-close-nhs-services
Jeremy Hunt could come for your hospital next. The Save Lewisham Hospital campaigners fought the secretary of state and won, but they won’t win again if clause 118 becomes law.
Please, email your MP and sign this petition and let’s tell Jeremy Hunt together that he’s not going to get away with his hospital closures.
Government Pressing For Watering Down Of Measures To Protect Workers Against Exploitation In Europe
UK government hypocrisy on EU free movement beggars belief and the public needs to know as actions in Brussels contrasts sharply with their words to a UK audience on migration from Romania and Bulgaria says GMB.
A majority of employment ministers from EU member states, meeting in Brussels on Monday 9th December, agreed watered down proposals on the Posting of Workers Enforcement Directive. This deals with terms and conditions for workers from one member state working in other member states. These proposals will now go to be the subject of final negotiations between the EU Parliament and Council of Ministers.
After GMB members experience at Lindsey Oil Refinery and other sites GMB will press MEPs to support more scope for member states to be able to apply and enforce national control measures, on the basis of a truly open list, that prevent social dumping of workers. GMB will also ask MEPs to support joint and several liability to apply throughout the subcontracting chain for contractors and subcontractors found abusing workers and denying them their pay, conditions and protections.
The current proposals restrict this to first level contracting and, at the request of UK Government, only to the construction sector – the abuse is not limited to this sector and needs to be applied more widely.
Kathleen Walker Shaw, GMB European officer in Brussels, said “UK employers are actively recruiting workers either directly or via temporary agencies from EU countries with lower wages and social contributions to boost their profits at the expense of exploited workers. The UK Government at the meeting pressed for even further watering down in the Directive. They did not want to restrict the ability of business to abuse vulnerable posted workers from other EU countries and to run down pay and conditions in Britain at will.
As far as GMB and the wider European trade union movement are concerned these enforcement measures agreed by Governments don’t go far enough. Yet here is the UK Government spurning even these weak provisions. The hypocrisy of the UK Government on free movement is breath taking. People in Britain need to be told about it. Their actions in Brussels contrasts sharply with their words to a UK audience on migration from Romania and Bulgaria.
GMB will press MEPs and Ministers of EU Governments to tighten up the directive for member states to be able to apply and enforce national control measures and for joint and several liability to apply throughout the subcontracting chain for contractors and subcontractors. As the general election approaches there needs to be more pressure on the UK Government to support measures to stop companies undermining pay and conditions in the UK where living standards are already under threat.
The only way to stop exploitation of UK and migrant workers is to level up rather than calling for workers across Europe to be sold off to the lowest bidder in a race to the bottom of pay and conditions.”
Defend Abbey School - Demonstration at All Saints Square (Rotherham Town Centre) Sat, 14th Dec 11am
Abbey School in Rotherham to be torn apart by savage restructure and redundancies. The children of Abbey School will be the victims if a massive planned restructure takes place at the special school early next year. It is possible that almost every teacher in the school, as well as a number of school support staff, will be made redundant if the plans go ahead.
Such an upheaval will negatively impact on children at the school. School support staff and teachers who know them best will, in significant numbers, be made redundant. This can only have a detrimental impact on students’ learning and emotional well-being. “Many of these children are very vulnerable,” said teacher Pat McLaughlin. “I dread to think about the potential results of these changes.”
Fred Sprague, Divisional Secretary of the Rotherham Association of the National Union of Teachers, said: “Rotherham Council and the present interim management of the school seem willing to
allow a school judged good by Ofted in its most recent report be plunged into chaos. It has made a judgement to attempt to sack teachers and to effectively completely change the ethos of the school.”
The NUT and GMB believe that the consultation with staff which ends next week is a sham: Jobs in the school have already been advertised. The school and local authority refuse to negotiate with unions in order to discuss these horrendous proposals.
The Scandal Of Deaths From Winter Cold
As the country faces a cold snap and the energy companies announce inflation-busting price increases, official figures show that the number of extra deaths of older people in the winter of 2012-13 was up on the winter before. An estimated 31,100 excess winter deaths occurred in England and Wales in 2012-13, a 29% increase compared with the previous winter, according to the Office for National Statistics. As in previous years, there were more excess winter deaths of women than men in 2012-13. The gender breakdown was that female deaths increased from 13,610 to 18,000, while the respective numbers of men were 10,590 and 13,100. In Northern Ireland, the number of excess deaths was 560 against 500 the year before, while in Scotland the numbers were up from 1,420 to 2,000.
Britain’s biggest pensioner organisation, the National Pensioners Convention (NPC), described the latest excess winter death figures among the elderly as a “national scandal” and a wake-up call for the government. The NPC pointed out that the cold claims more lives in the UK than in Sweden where temperatures regularly plunge to -30C in winter. As a proportion, excess winter deaths accounted for 4.61% of all UK deaths, compared with 3.76% in Sweden. Dot Gibson, NPC general secretary said: “This is a national scandal which the government seems incapable of doing anything about. Making sure
older people have got a well insulated warm home and the income to pay the fuel bills isn’t ‘green crap’.”
The figures were released a day after the Ofgem regulator launched a scathing attack on the record and profits of the big energy suppliers. Ofgem published data showing that profit margins in the industry had risen from 2.8% in 2011, to 4.3% in 2012. Centrica, the owner of British Gas, had the highest profit margin, at 6.6%. TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said hard questions need to be asked about “why some ministers have been prepared to go along with energy company bosses in blaming green levies and help for the less well-off, when what has gone wrong is profit grabbing in a bust market”.
The Benefit System: Exposed
Joint Members Meeting (Sheffield City Council) Monday, 9th December 2013 at 12.00 noon
On the back of the most recent and continued savage cuts that the government have made to the Councils budget we are once again being asked to look at pay roll in Sheffield.
We, the joint trade unions, began a series of discussions with the Council around terms and conditions in September and now envisage this consultation drawing to a close. Once a final proposal/offer is worked up by the Council we will put that to our members in a ballot. We have agreed with the Council Leader, Julie Dore, to continue with the consultation process and that will include a commitment to attend staff consultation meetings that are now being planned. Because of the tight time scales remaining we may have to run our ballot at the same time as the Council are formally putting their offer to employees.
The joint trade unions have agreed to work together and co-ordinate our ballots and ask that members continue to bear with us whilst we conclude this difficult and challenging consultation process.
We have arranged the following joint mass meeting for members:
Venue: The Ballroom (Sheffield City Hall)
Date: Monday 9th December 2013
Time: 12noon – 2.00pm
Please encourage your colleagues to come along and we will up-date all present with regard to the current proposals and open up questions from the floor.
Paid time off has been agreed.
Labour Energy Plans
GMB Support Labour New Energy Policy To Replace Failed Regulator And Protect Consumers.
The Tories are on the back foot and their response will be to try and hold down prices until after the election when prices will continue to rise says GMB.
GMB Today commented on the new announcement by Labour Leader on energy policy. See detailsof announcement in Labour Party press release in Notes to Editors below.
Gary Smith, GMB National Secretary for energy, said “Labour has set the agenda on energy and this is a useful contribution to the debate. The Tories are on the back foot and their response will be to try and hold down prices until after the election when prices will continue to rise.
The real strategic issues have yet to be dealt with. The idea that competition will deliver lower prices is fanciful, driven by ideology and wishful thinking.
The question remains as to how we are going to deal with the challenge of energy prices going up and the likelihood of less competition not more.”
World Cup In Qatar: GMB Visit
A Disposable Workforce Trapped In Qatar - International Union Delegation Concludes Four Day Visit To Qatar
The notorious “Kefala” system that turns exploitation into virtual slavery has to be abolished and the notion that a World Cup can be held in Qatar until this occurs is simply ludicrous says GMB member on the delegation.
On the eve of the third anniversary of Qatar winning the controversial bid to host the 2022 World Cup an international trade union delegation to the gulf state finds no improvement in living and working conditions of migrant workers.
Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, ITUC said international pressure is growing, governments, human rights organisations and FIFA have all called for fundamental workers’ rights and an end to the Kafala system.
The delegation will report back to Governments in Australia, Austria, Denmark and the UK as well as the International Labour Organisation, FIFA and the UN Human Rights Rapporteur.
During the four day visit the eleven member international delegation held worker hearings, and was shocked by the increasing numbers of women and children in detention centre and rising discontent and unrest of workers in squalid labour camps.
Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, ITUC said “This is an easy choice for the Qatari government; the perplexing question is why won’t they take it. Professional and poor workers alike tell the same stories; they came to Qatar with optimism and good will, only to face despair when their employer decides they are disposable and refuse to pay wages, sack them without benefits and or refused to sign their exit permit.
We have again offered support for change, but the Government must make a commitment to implement workers.
This week we welcomed the escape of Zahir Belounis from Qatar, but find that cases like Mahmoud Bouneb and his wife Malika Alouane who were similarly invited into the country only to be disposed of and left being owed benefits and not granted exit visit are numerous.
Their desperation is multiplied by when you visit the labour camps and hear the tales of terror from the poorest and most vulnerable workers forced to hit in squalor.
What we’ve seen his week can be summarized as how not to design a system for the global workforce on any basis: human and labour rights; good will and international reputation or; productivity based on loyalty and efficiency
International companies should be on notice about the reputation risk of doing in business in Qatar without respect for workers’ rights.”
Bert Schouwenburg, GMB International officer on the delegation in Qatar, said “Hundreds of thousands of workers from Nepal, India, Phillipines and Bangladesh are being treated little better than animals in Qatar.
GMB will be asking UK contractors to work with unions with a view to abolishing the notorious “Kefala” system that turns exploitation into virtual slavery. The notion that a World Cup can be held in Qatar while this occurs is simply ludicrous.
FIFA have called for the improvements of core ILO standards and an end to the Kafala system, they will report back in March 2014, we can only hope the Qatar Government will make the right choice.
The ITUC estimates 4000 more workers will die before a ball is kicked in the World Cup, unless Qatar introduces reforms and meets international labour laws.
Unions To Challenge Blacklisting In The Courts
Some of Britain’s biggest construction firms are to face fresh legal action over their participation in a blacklisting scandal targeting union safety activists. Construction unions UCATT, GMB and Unite announced this week their intention to escalate the campaign in the courts.
UCATT said it intends to sue the firms for breach of confidence and misuse of private information found in their files, the only option it says is available. It has employed the services of Mark Warby QC, a leading expert on privacy law, to take the cases on behalf of its members. The union is initially taking action against Balfour Beatty, Bam, CB&I, Costain, Carillion, Laing O’Rourke, Lend Lease, Sir Robert McAlpine and Vinci. It is also to commence legal action against one of the former chairs of the Consulting Association, which managed the illegal blacklist, and a senior human resources manager for a blacklisting company. Steve Murphy, general secretary of UCATT, said: “Blacklisting companies wilfully destroyed the lives of ordinary construction workers and acted as though they were above the law. Our legal action will ensure that the victims receive the justice they deserve.”
GMB will also be in court next week, in an action against Carillion and Sir Robert McAlpine. National officer Justin Bowden said: “On 27 November particulars of claim will be served in the High Court in the GMB legal action against these two companies for blacklisting GMB members. A further hearing is due on 29 November… to make a decision about a group litigation order.” He said “at least half” of the 446 workers who have received confirmation they are on the 3,213 name blacklist “are covered by the High Court action.”
Unite said it had just issued its first tranche of five High Court proceedings against employers, with 45 more High Court cases to follow.
41,074 Young People Aged Under 25 Provide Unpaid Care Every Week In The Yorkshire And The Humber
They are an essential part of the ‘glue’ that maintains social solidarity across the generations GMB young members conference told. A new report, published at the GMB Young Members conference in London on Saturday 16th November, shows that 41,074 young people aged under 25 provide unpaid care every week in the Yorkshire and The Humber. This is 7.4% of all those in the region providing unpaid care. Young people aged under 25 providing unpaid care are 2.5% of all young people aged under 25 in the Yorkshire and The Humber region.
There are 3,308 young people aged under 25 providing unpaid care in Bradford. That is 10.1% of all those providing unpaid care in Bradford and 2.8% of all those aged under 25 in Bradford. The numbers of young people under 25 providing unpaid care in other area of the region are as follows: Kingston upon Hull 2,131, Leeds 5,962, Kirklees 3,591, Sheffield 4,594, Calderdale 1,610, Doncaster 2,449, York 1,310, Barnsley 1,935, Wakefield 2,586, Rotherham 1,999, North Lincolnshire 1,148, North East Lincolnshire 997, East Riding of Yorkshire 2,057 and North Yorkshire 3,543. See the table below for all the details for the region.
In England 413,779 young people aged under 25 provide unpaid care each week. This is 7.6% of all persons providing unpaid care and is 2.5% of all young people aged under 25. The data in the report compiled by GMB is drawn from the Census of Population 2011. See Notes to Editors for definitions and sources.
Tim Roache, GMB Regional Secretary, said, “This report shows the extent to which this region relies upon young people to provide unpaid care, day in and day out. They are an essential part of the ‘glue’ that maintains social solidarity across the generations.
This cuts across the picture that we have of today’s young people and the extent to which we rely on them.
Unfortunately it is this very generation that has borne the brunt of the recession now underway for 6 years. As well as not being able to find jobs young people have been shafted right, left and centre by the government.
They were denied education maintenance grants, they faced a tripling of tuition fees, rising house prices and a lack of affordable housing, and where they have been able to find work they face low wages and zero hour contracts.
This all has an adverse impact on the health, future employment opportunities and social and leisure activities of those young carers providing unpaid care.
What a bum deal affluent Britain has offered this generation of young workers.”
Paul Kenny GMB General Secretary To Appear On Question Time Tonight
Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary, is on the panel for tonight’s Question Time, in Portsmouth’s Guildhall, which is transmitted on BBC1 at 10.30 this evening.
The other panellists are Ed Davey MP, Secretary of State for Energy, Stella Creasey MP, Shadow Minister for BIS and Lord Nigel Lawson former chancellor of the Exchequer.
Paul is meeting GMB members from Portsmouth BAE Systems shipyard this afternoon. GMB Southern Region is holding a protest demonstration outside of the Question Time venue over the BAE redundancies were announced last week.
EDL Not Welcome - Public Meeting Organised By ‘We Are Wakefield’ Tuesday 19th November 2013 at 7pm
We Are Wakefield United Opposition to the EDL statement
We strongly oppose plans by the violent English Defence League (EDL) to hold a racist demonstration in Wakefield on Saturday 23 November. We urge everyone to unite together and build the largest possible peaceful celebration of multicultural Wakefield on Saturday 23 November. The biggest possible gathering will help show that the overwhelming majority of Wakefield people reject the violence, racism and division of the EDL.
We oppose the cynical and self serving attempt by the EDL to bring racism and division to our multicultural city without a care for the damage they leave in their wake. The EDL is a racist group dedicated to attacking Asian people and Muslims. Islamophobia – bigotry against Muslims – is as unacceptable as any other form of racism. Its aim is to divide us by making scapegoats of one community. Today they threaten Muslims, tomorrow it could be Jewish people, Hindus, Sikhs, black people, lesbians and gay men, Travellers or Eastern Europeans.
Cross Trade Union – Young Members Christmas Event
Cross Trade Union – Young Members Christmas Event
The TUC Y&H and the GMB Yorkshire and North Derbyshire Young Members are proud to announce a cross Trade Union Christmas Young Members event. This event is predominantly aimed at 27’s and under in the first instance as there is currently 100 free tickets available for this event, however anyone else interested is welcome to join us if we have the availability.
The event is due to take place on Friday the 6th December and will be staged in two parts, Please note the event details below;
5.30pm Arrival to the GMB Yorkshire and North Derbyshire Regional office - Grove Hall, 60 College Grove Road, Wakefield, WF1 3RN
There will be a drinks reception whilst people arrive ready for a special showing of Ken Loach’s film The Spirit of 45 - An impassioned documentary about how the spirit of unity which buoyed Britain during the war years carried through to create a vision of a fairer, united society. Film showing to begin at 6pm - 7.15pm
A special Q&A session will take place with former MP Colin Burgon – A man with so much passion regarding the birth of our NHS and also with reasons why we should fight to save our NHS!
7.55pm Just a short walk from the GMB office to the College pub 138 Northgate, Wakefield, WF1 3QT
8.15 Till late
Here we will be met with a night full of entertainment!
• We have an amazing DJ set lined up by DJ Wags
• A band to play live cover versions of all your favourite songs
• In-between all of the above we are proud to announce the amazing poet JB Barrington (Words Escape Me) from the streets of Salford!
Polish Worker Wins Unfair Dismissal Case For Trade Union Membership
Polish Worker Wins Unfair Dismissal Case For Trade Union Membership
A Leeds employment tribunal today heard how a polish man was dismissed by his employer for simply being a member of a trade union.
The dispute started when management at Whitecase Ltd in Leeds issued notice to employees that the method of paying wages was to change which would result in workers having to work a week in hand without pay.
GMB member Boguslaw Szulgan contacted his union and was advised to submit a grievance so that he could be represented at a hearing by a union official. But directors of the company met with Mr Szulgan without his union present and subjected him to bullying and intimidation because of his union membership.
Commenting, Mr Szulgan said: “My English is quite limited but I could make out the repeated swearing. I was aware that two other employees who had submitted grievances had been sacked the day before. Throughout the meeting I maintained my right to be in the union and call on its services.”
Mr Szulgan was dismissed without notice and was owed wages and holiday pay. He appealed the decision but the company failed to arrange a hearing date.
Mr Szulgan won his case and was awarded £8988.20.
Speaking at the Leeds Employment Tribunal today, GMB’s legal officer, Bill Innes, said: “Our member’s claim was made before the Coalition government introduced tribunal fees. It would now cost an employee in our member’s position £1200 to pursue this case. GMB is committed to our members getting support whenever they need to get justice against bad employers.”
Unionlearn Learning Rep of the Year 2013
Government Rethink On Coal Concessionary Fuel?
Will the Chancellor’s intervention reinstate coal cessionary fuel benefits for 1,600 former coal miners? Pensioners stand to lose either 4 tonnes of house coal delivered to their home a year, or about £550 cash in lieu tax free. After UK Coal’s collapse it looked as if hundreds of former coal industry employees were going to lose out on pension and concessionary fuel entitlements, and were facing a bleak future. The Energy Minister, Michael Fallon (written Parliamentary Answer, 16 October) confirmed that DECC has “no legal obligations” in relation to these company specific arrangements and has no plans to assume the additional liabilities involved. Pamela Ross, GMB Branch Equality Officer for the Yorkshire Coal Staff Branch brings us up to date:
“After months of seemingly fruitless campaigning, conference calling, emailing MPs, talking with TUC, unions and union members all hope of continuing the concessionary fuel entitlement seemed lost. Pensioners could either receive 4 tonnes of house coal delivered to their home, or about £550 cash in lieu tax free. For instance, What to say to the pensioner now, who had no option when coal was privatised but to continue working at the Selby Complex? Redundancy was not available for those needed to make it a going concern. A pensioner who had recently converted his new home to burn solid fuel as he knew he would be receiving concessionary fuel in his retirement? He wouldn’t receive this concession anymore, through no fault of his own. If he had retired with British Coal, he would.
Imagine my surprise therefore when watching local BBC lunchtime news on Monday 4 November to see my local MP asking a question in the House of Commons. Not just that, but the particular issue I had mentioned in a recent email to him – namely, the plight of UK Coal concessionaires! The Chancellor said:
I know that this difficult situation has been brought about by the failure of UK Coal. I congratulate my hon. Friend on leading this campaign to do something about the situation, and I know that my hon. Friends the Members for Sherwood (Mr Spencer) and for Nuneaton (Mr Jones) have joined him in coming to see me about it. We are looking very carefully at the case for what we can do to help those who have had their concessionary fuel allowance taken away because of the failure of UK Coal. I am personally looking at this case and I hope to have some good news shortly.
Now we have to hope that the news really is good, and the concessionaires will be able to keep warm this winter”.
Pamela Ross is a former Deputy Chair of the Yorkshire Coal Taskforce Group and is the GMB’s Branch Equality Officer for the Yorkshire Coal Staff Branch, and a delegate to GMB annual conference.
Lighthouse Financial Advice
How Lighthouse Financial Advice can help GMB members?
Lighthouse Financial Advice is one of the largest providers of expert financial advice in the UK. We are the preferred financial advisers for the GMB Union, with over 200 fully qualified advisers throughout the UK who are committed to providing all clients with the same standard of excellent, professional service.
How the service works for GMB members:
Members of GMB are entitled to an individual meeting which will usually take place in the comfort of their own home. There is no time limit on the duration of the meeting and it is without charge and commitment on either side. The adviser will be able to provide guidance and support on financial matters such as:
- Retirement planning
- Investing for income and growth
- Protecting your family
- Pension advice
Lighthouse Financial Advice are able to organise surgery days for your members that give them an opportunity to have a 30 minute consultation with a financial adviser. Surgeries are normally held at the place of work.
Lighthouse Financial Advice is able to run themed seminars on financial subjects such as pre-retirement, redundancy and inheritance tax. The seminars cover generic financial planning information on the key aspects members would need to consider. Both seminars and surgeries are complimentary to Union members, with the exception of Pension changes/transfers - this work may incur a fee, which we would be happy to discuss with you in further detail if required.
Lighthouse Financial Advice Limited is an appointed representative of Lighthouse Advisory Services Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Lighthouse Financial Advice is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lighthouse Group plc.
Local Government Pay Claim
At a meeting with local government employers today, 5 November, GMB and the other trade unions submitted a document setting out the arguments in support of our claim for 2014 which is :–
“A minimum increase of £1 an hour on scale point 5 to achieve the Living Wage and the same flat rate increase on all other scale points”
The full claim document is available to download below. The local government employers said they will be consulting with councils and expect to be giving a formal response to our claim in February.
We must therefore use the intervening period to campaign and raise awareness of our strong case for a decent pay rise in 2014. We are told the economy is recovering, it’s about time local government workers had a fair share.
38degrees Petition To Scrap The Gagging Law
The ministers behind it, Andrew Lansley MP and Lord Wallace, want the Lords to think all the problems with the law are fixed. But they aren’t. Legal advice and an expert civil society commission say the gagging law urgently needs to be changed: so let’s trumpet that call loud and clear.
If hundreds of thousands of us sign a petition telling the government to fix or scrap the gagging law, Lords will walk into today’s vote - and every vote after that - with a worried eye on the climbing numbers. At a glance, the strength of feeling will be clear.
Please tell Lord Wallace and Andrew Lansley to fix the gagging law or, failing that, scrap it. Click here to sign the petition now:
The last three months of campaigning - adverts, leaflets, tetchy public meetings - have turned up the heat. There are whispers that the government’s commitment to the law is wobbling. But they’re hanging on and hoping they can rush the law through before the public outcry becomes impossible to ignore.
We may not elect the Lords, but they’re not immune to what ordinary people think. And right now, we need to make the outcry so big they can’t see past it.
Let’s show them that it’s not just charity head offices who care about this law - ordinary people all across the country also want to protect their freedom of speech.
How do we do this? The old-fashioned way: by weight of numbers.
And at 38 Degrees, we have numbers: there are nearly 2 million of us. If we make this petition big enough, we’ll be impossible to ignore.
Fix or scrap the gagging law: add your name to the petition today:
Text courtesy of 38degrees
Last Remploy Factory In Yorkshire Shuts In Yorkshire
The factory for disabled people in Brightside Lane, Sheffield, shut its doors on 31st October 2013. Former workers laid a wreath on Tuesday lamenting “the death” of the government-owned organisation, which has been in the city since the 1940s. Since August 2012, more than 200 people have lost their jobs in Yorkshire with the closure of sites in Leeds, Pontefract, Huddersfield and Sheffield.
Ex-worker and GMB shop steward James Stribley, who began work at the Sheffield site in 1986, said he was “upset” by the closure and worried about his future. “It was my life,” he said. “It allowed me to have a proper life, to pay tax, have a family. I’m looking for other work but it’s hard out there.”
In total 83 factories in the UK have closed or been sold since 2007. The site in Sheffield, together with sites in Blackburn and Neath, in south Wales, are the final three to be shut. A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said an £8m package had been put in place to support ex-workers. He said the “tailored packages” were “already making a real difference to disabled people by supporting them into new careers”.
But GMB regional organiser Bob McNeill said he feared those who had lost their jobs “will all end up on benefits” and said the DWP was not doing enough to find work for those affected. He said: “They should hang their heads in shame until every single person who worked at Remploy has a meaningful job, full-time, paid, so they can have the dignity and respect they had at the Remploy factories.”
How To Cut Tied Pub Rents
GMB and 9 other organisations in the ‘Fair Deal for Your Local Campaign’ has set out for Vince Cable, Secretary of State and Jo Swinson, Minister for Consumer Affairs at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills Department (BIS) exactly how the ‘market rent only’ option in the proposed statutory code to deal with pubco overcharging would work in practice.
BIS has promised that Parliament will legislate a “market rent only” option with tenants able to buy products on the open market and pay a fair rent for the building. The aim is to lower sky high rents charged by pubcos. The Government’s verdict should be available soon following the widespread consultation on the draft statutory code over the summer.
The letter explains that it is not only the only clear solution, but is also a moderate, gradual solution that as well as leading to a fairer split of pub profits, would also allow the pubcos time to adjust their model, as it would come in practice over a number of years. The letter defines and details the market rent only option in practice setting out the process and the clauses that would be added to leases. This has not been done before, including by BIS officials who it seems may have been misunderstanding how the concept would be introduced and how it would work. The letter sets out in detail exactly how the market rent only option (the solution proposed by the BIS Select Committee) would work in practice, activated at various ‘trigger’ events, including rent review, lease renewal, a significant alteration to the price of products and the sale of a pub. (The latter would insure that developers and others cannot exploit tied terms to evict a licensee, which is something that has proved a problem – which is why a market rent only option would also protect more pubs from closure by providing greater protection from development/change of use as well as increased profit to the pub business).
What this means is that the provision of a market rent only option, as well as being the only clear solution to the serious problem of pub owning companies overcharging tenants through high rents and beer prices, is also a moderate, gradual solution that would be brought in over a number of years. This means that the large pub owning companies will be able to change their business model – and crucially that they would then have to offer attractive, fair tied options to persuade their tenants to carry on buying beer through them – which as well as stamping out the current overcharging would also allow the large companies to adapt. Ironically, the market rent only option would also be the only option that would make ‘the tie’ work as it should. With the market rent only option available to licensees at rent review, renewal or another ‘trigger – the pubcos would offer attractive, fair tied options where rent really is lower and that included genuine partnership. The letter also points out that the market rent only option means that the Adjudicator is only required to oversee breaches of the market rent only process, not to try to decide rental levels. So the market rent only option would be simple, effective and cheap – unlike expecting the Adjudicator to decide on rent levels without this being in place.
Steve Kemp, GMB National Office, said “GMB members working in the pub industry are relying on the right decision to be made by Government. The free of tie “market rent only” option is a simple, moderate and gradual way to a fair split of pub profits. A decision hopefully which ensures that the days of exploiting publicans comes to an end and that publicans who run pubs can do so without fear of losing their livelihoods. It is time for true social justice for British publicans and the pub industry as a whole.”
Commenting, Simon Clarke, Fair Pint, said:
“The Market Rent Only option is the most simple solution, it is phased, it is self policing, the cost would be apportioned to the parties, as already provided for in the existing leases, saving the industry as a whole money, and, as referral to the Adjudicator would only be necessary in the event of failure by the parties to agree, it saves time and money.”
Clive Davenport, FSB Enterprise and Innovation Chairman, said:
“FSB research shows that nearly 90% of publicans want a market rent only option, in other words being able to buy product free-of-tie with an independently assessed fair rent. The letter to the Business Secretary sets out the practicalities of how this will work, providing more freedom for publicans and lower prices for consumers. Our research project also demonstrated the economic boost, new jobs and training that would ensue, and we hope the Government listens and comes up with a strong statutory code that includes the market rent only option.”
Commenting Greg Mulholland, Coordinator of Fair Deal for Your Local and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Save the Pub Group, said:
“It is clear that the obvious, simple solution to the longstanding and ongoing problem of pubco overcharging remains the BIS Select Committee solution, the market rent only option. What still does not seem to be grasped by BIS Ministers and officials is that this is also gradual and market based solution that as well as actually making the pubco tied model work as it should, would also be the least disruptive and cheapest. The Government needs to understand that the Select Committee were right and the market rent only option is not just the only solution to the pubco problem, but the only deliverable one. They must not avoid it on the basis on pubco misinformation and must do the right and commonsensical thing and introduce the market rent only option to rebalance pub profits and to make the beer tie work as it should.”
Commenting Val Spenser, Licensees Supporting Licensees, said:
“On behalf of all our members and tied licensees past, present and future the Licensees Supporting Licensees group completely endorse the principle and definition of a Market Rent Only (MRO) option. MRO presents a huge opportunity available for the current Government, where previous Governments have failed, to put financial life and social stability back into the Communities and local economies that Pubs support on a national scale. LSL implore this Government to endorse the MRO option as to be absolutely clear anything less would be seen as a failure of the consultation. Failure would permit the continuation of the complete betrayal by Pubcos of the many hard working Licensees that we represent. Licensees have suffered for far too many years the wholesale Pubco abuses that the present system has allowed unfettered throughout this industry. It needs to stop.”
Contact: Steve Kemp GMB on 07730 898 102 or GMB press office 07921 289880
GMB Cleaners At Sheffield Park Academy To Strike
Please help to publicise the next battle in our fight for the Living Wage in Sheffield.
GMB cleaners at Sheffield Park Academy will be on strike on November 6th (next Wednesday) to fight for the living wage. They were out-sourced by United Learning Trust to Ocean earlier in the year, some are of the opinion that this was to avoid paying the living wage. Now Ocean, their new employer, won’t even discuss paying this rate of pay and are striving at every opportunity to get more and more from these workers for less and less. The current rate of pay for cleaners at Park is 1p above the minimum wage. (NMW is £6.31ph for adults over 21)
Please join these women in their fight by coming along to our GMB gazebo outside Sheffield Town Hall on November 6th at 12:00 noon and sign our living wage petition. The cleaners will be putting questions to a full council meeting at 2pm and asking what Sheffield City Council are doing to encourage all schools and out-sourced partners to pay the Living Wage in Sheffield. So far, and almost a year since the council announced the living wage as a policy in Sheffield, there has been some approval and support from elected members for this GMB campaign in out-sourced services and schools. We have had some notable success (Veolia, Amey, Norse, Enterprise and Green Co for example) but meanwhile most council officers and partners continue to find solutions to avoid paying up.
It’s time to demand a living wage for the lowest paid workers in all schools and the public sector and our councillors, all of them, need to come off the side lines and join the GMB fight for a fair day’s pay, especially when they themselves are the paymasters.
Closure Of REMPLOY Sheffield Event - Demonstration Laying Of A Wreath
Join us at Remploy Sheffield (445 Brightside Lane - Brightside - Sheffield - S9 2RR)
On Tuesday, 29th October 2013 at 1.45pm
This will be the final demonstration and show of defiance at the closure of the Remploy network which will be the death of Remploy. People from the union movement, trades council and the political network will be in attendance.
Protest Arranged at Ferrybridge Power Station (WF11 8SF)
A protest has been arranged at Ferrybridge Power Station (WF11 8SF) by Unemployed Rank and file members on Wednesday 23rd October at 6am until 10am, to highlight the plight of local labour being unable to obtain work on the multifuels project.
Please make every effort to attend in support of our colleagues. If you require travel, there will be coaches from the Unite Office in Sheffield and the Viaduct pub in Leeds. Can you contact Sheila Roddis on 0114 3210702 to book a seat, travel details below.
Coaches depart at 5.30am prompt
Campaign Launched To Get £1 An Hour Increase For Local Government Workers
The national local government employers have been written to with the claim put in formal terms as “A minimum increase of £1 an hour on scale point 5 to achieve the Living Wage and the same flat rate increase on all other scale points”. I am pleased that this claim reflects the unanimous view of GMB lay delegates who met earlier this month.
A “£1 an hour” claim is equivalent to around 8% payroll cost and the employers will say they are planning to budget for much less. That’s why we have submitted the claim now, before budgets are finalised. Local authority staff have suffered 18% real terms pay cuts, most never got the £250 given to the rest of the public sector and have seen other terms and conditions attacked. It’s high time staff got a decent pay rise to make up for some of those losses. Another low pay year would be completely unacceptable.
But achieving a decent pay rise will need unions and members to campaign together – and getting non-members to join so that we take our message into every town hall and office and school and depot until it is heard.
GMB and the other TUs believe our justification for “£1 an hour” is strong and we will be asking everyone to take part in the campaign to achieve it.
Together we can win.
Join GMB at http://www.gmb.org.uk/join
Leeds Hospital Alert and Leeds Keep Our NHS Public Meeting
Leeds Hospital Alert And Leeds Keep Our NHS Public invite you to a meeting on HOW WE ARE GOING TO RECLAIM OUR NHS!
Speaker: Sally Ruane
Health policy academic and NHS campaigner. Member of the Health Policy Research Unit at De Montfort University, Leicester and a founding member of a new think-tank, the Centre for
Health & The Public Interest (http://chpi.org.uk).
Date: Thursday 7th November 2013 Time: 7-9pm
Venue: Lecture Theatre B in The Rosebowl, Leeds Metropolitan University, next to the Civic Hall
LHA: http://www.leedshospitalalert.org.uk, email: info@ leedshospitalalert.org.uk
GMB Celebrates Launch Of Enabled Works
The official launch of Enabled Works in Morley, Leeds, took place today and over 100 guests and visitors made their way through the doors to join in the celebrations. The formal opening ceremony was carried out by local MP, Ed Balls; the Lord Mayor of Leeds also attended and paid tribute to the workforce during his speech.
Enabled Works was set up in October 2012, as a response to the closure of Leeds and Pontefract Remploy Factories. Enabled Works has been set up as a not for personal profit workers’ co-operative, owned and run by its own disabled workforce, many of whom are GMB members.
The GMB was proud to be part of their celebratory launch and wishes them well in fulfilling their vision to help train and rehabilitate people with disabilities.
For further details on Enabled Works visit http://www.enabledworks.co.uk or for business enquiries contact 0113-253 7255
GMB Seeking Help With Identifying Blacklisted Workers
GMB, the union for construction workers, is asking local organisations, including local media, across the UK to assist in identifying and locating the 3,214 workers on the construction industry blacklist after eight construction employers offered an apology and compensation. Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and VINCI PLC - all apologise for their involvement with the blacklist and the impact that its database may have had on any individual construction worker. The companies have joined together to establish The Construction Workers Compensation Scheme. The scheme is intended to make it as simple as possible for any worker with a legitimate claim to access compensation.
Blacklisted workers – number in each area
Location Number on the blacklist Location Number on the blacklist
Aberdeen City 14 Kent 95
Aberdeenshire 54 Kingston upon Hull 62
Anglesey 3 Lancashire 60
Angus 5 Leeds 53
Argyll & Bute 7 Leicestershire 5
Bath and North East Somerset 1 Lincolnshire 13
Bedfordshire 4 Manchester 183
Berkshire 2 Merseyside 173
Birmingham 69 Midlothian 3
Bristol 25 Monmouthshire 9
Buckinghamshire 20 Norfolk 7
Cambridgeshire 12 North Ayrshire 67
Cardiff 10 North Lanarkshire 22
Ceredigion 9 North Yorkshire 12
Cheshire 64 Northamptonshire 14
City of London 454 Northern Ireland 1
Clackmannanshire 3 Northumberland 7
Cornwall & Isles of Scilly 3 Nottinghamshire 12
Cumbria 27 Orkney Islands 1
Denbighshire 34 Oxfordshire 8
Derbyshire 16 Perth & Kinross 2
Devon 19 Powys 2
Dorset 8 Redcar and Cleveland 43
Dumfries & Galloway 6 Renfrewshire 15
Dundee City 21 Rhondda Cynon Taf 2
Durham 11 Rhondda, Cynon, Taff 3
East Ayrshire 18 Rotherham 56
East Lothian 1 Shropshire 2
East Riding of Yorkshire 16 Somerset 5
East Sussex 8 South Lanarkshire 16
Edinburgh, City of 52 Southern Ireland 1
Essex 57 Staffordshire 16
Falkirk 35 Stirling 7
Fife 24 Suffolk 9
Glasgow City 140 Surrey 32
Gloucestershire 32 Swansea 15
Gwynedd 12 Tyne & Wear 69
Hampshire 50 Warwickshire 1
Hereford & Worcester 3 West Dunbartonshire 8
Hertfordshire 14 West Lothian 12
Highland 15 West Sussex 11
Inverclyde 26 Wiltshire 5
Isle of Wight 1 Wokingham 10
Justin Bowden, GMB National Officer said ” This owning up by these companies is an important step in admitting they engaged in a terrible abuse of the civil rights of thousands of UK workers. The next step is for the firms to clean up and pay up. This remains our demand on the construction industry. After years of lies and denials, today some of the blacklisters have finally owned up and admitted they did blacklist and did abuse the basic civil rights of 1000’s of ordinary people. Their admission brushes aside the fig leaf other companies (like Carillion) have tried to hide behind.
For those who have owned up, the next stage will be to clean up: this must include a new and agreed code of practice for the construction industry covering how they employ people alongside their plans to ensure the industry is cleansed of those so-called “professionals” who ran the blacklist. The final part is ‘pay up’ and the victims and their families will either be fairly compensated including the offer of jobs or GMB will ensure justice for its members through the High Court. We are now appealing for help from local organisations including media outlets across the UK to assist in identifying and locating all the 3,214 workers on the blacklist so that they get compensation.”
Cut Pub Rents Says GMB
GMB, the union for tied pub tenants, welcomed a new report by the ‘Fair Deal for Your Local’ campaign setting out why Parliament should introduce the proposed statutory code of practice enabling tenants to buy products on the open market and to pay a fair rent for the building.
Steve Kemp, GMB officer for tied pub tenants, said “Fair Deal for Your Local Campaign has put together all the key point as to why Parliament should legislate the proposed statutory code of practice to enable tenants to buy products on the open market and to pay a fair rent for the building. The report well and truly destroys any deliberate misinterpretation of the true facts behind the pubco version of the tied model and its habitual abuse. No one who reads this comprehensive document, using data and information from the pubco’s own figures, can fail to be persuaded that a market rent only option is the only choice that can be made.
GMB welcome this report in the hope that it forces the Conservative Party to recognise the importance of open markets for consumers and the need for a speedy response to this issue to stop even more pubs closing. Highly indebted property companies own over half of Britain’s pubs. These charge sky high rents to tied tenants of pubs pay interest on massive financially engineered debts. These debts are held mainly by bondholders in offshore tax havens. Interest payments on these huge debts have to be paid each week before the tenant pours a pint and regardless of whether s/he can make ends meet or not.
To pay these sky high rents a pint of lager is on average 80p per pint higher and ale is 65p per pint higher than justified by inflation and like for like changes in taxes since 1987. This is pricing pubs out of the market and they have closed in droves. BIS has promised that Parliament will legislate a free of tie option with tenants able to buy products on the open market and pay a fair rent for the building. The aim is to lower sky high rents charged by pubcos.
The Government’s verdict should be available soon following the widespread consultation on the draft statutory code. We need Parliament to legislate the option to allow tenants to buy products on the open market and pay a fair rent for the building”.
Contact Steve Kemp, GMB, on 07730 898102
GMB National Project
To find out more about this project, please contact a member of the Developing Learning Capacity Among School Support Staff team:
Project Worker (Yorkshire & North Derbyshire Region)
Project Worker (Southern Region)
Low Paid Prudent Savers Will Now Have To Raid Their Savings To Take A Bad Employer To Court
Earlier this year, the government introduced new upfront fees for individuals who felt they had been wronged at work and had chosen to take an employer to an employment tribunal. A remissions scheme was also set up so that low-income individuals would not have to pay fees of up to £1,200 to make a claim. However, from today new restrictions on the remission scheme means that if an individual, or their partner, has savings or investments of £3,000 or more they will have to pay the full fee. This new restriction applies to everyone, including those who are out of work or on low incomes, as long as they or their partner has savings.
The new scheme would mean, for example, that a woman sacked because of her age, or because she is pregnant, would still have to pay £1,200 to have her case decided at a tribunal, even though she is out of work, as long as she or her partner have savings of £3,000 or more. The TUC is concerned the new scheme will disadvantage the low-paid who have been prudent and put modest savings aside. The change will particularly affect older workers who are more likely to have savings as they approach retirement.
TUC-commissioned analysis of the Family Resources Survey - published by the Office for National Statistics - shows that just one in 20 workers over the age of 50 are now likely to be fully exempt from paying the full fee when lodging a complaint against their employer at a tribunal. With fewer than one in four workers aged 50 plus likely to get any kind of financial support, fees of £1,200 will become the norm for anyone sacked because of their age, says the TUC. Even among households where someone is on the minimum wage, fewer than one in four of these workers will receive any support and will have to pay full fees of £1,200.
The number of disabled workers exempt from tribunal fees is also likely to halve, says the TUC, with just one in nine likely to be exempt from tribunal fees. TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The government has put up huge financial barriers against employees seeking justice from bad bosses. The remissions scheme was set up to help people on low incomes avoid paying fees. But the changes which come in today could mean thousands of older workers having to raid their retirement savings if they want to seek justice against an employer that has mistreated them. The changes today make it easier for rogue bosses to get away with mistreating staff, not paying them properly and dodging the minimum wage. This is not the kind of labour market hardworking people want to see.”
GMB members will not have to pay any fees subject to a few conditions. Any member that thinks they may have a case for an employment tribunal should contact their full time officer without delay as there are strict time limits for submitting claims. Telephone 0845 337 7777
Stark Warning To The Secretary State of Health By The GMB - Union for Health Workers
The NHS pay review body is an independent body that receives evidence which then determines a recommendation on pay in the NHS. If the Secretary of State wants to employ bullying-employer tactics and dictate to an independent pay review body how pay is going to be determined in the NHS the GMB message is simple - we will fight this.
Rehana Azam GMB National Officer for the NHS said ‘You only have to spend some time with a NHS Paramedic, Nurse, Theatre, Porter or any frontline NHS Worker to see their number one priority is to deliver patient care, quality of care and the best outcomes to the patients they care for.
Jeremy Hunt wants to berate and bully staff whilst NHS workers are trying to do a job under some of the most difficult conditions. This is just wrong and can not be tolerated.
Government’s attack on the NHS is significantly undermining the delivery of care. Government cuts to NHS services and jobs is putting patient wellbeing at risk. If the Government and Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt now wants to attack NHS staff pay while offering tax cuts to married couples it will be the final straw that leads to calls for industrial action.’
Carers’ Resource Employment Advice and Training Enterprises
The Carers’ Resource is the local, specialist carers’ centre for the Bradford and Airedale, Harrogate and Ripon and Craven districts of Yorkshire.
A carer is someone who, without payment, provides help and support to a friend, neighbour or relative who could not manage otherwise because of frailty, illness or disability.
They may even be juggling paid work with caring responsibilities at home. Carers have a tough job – it can mean unrelenting pressure, little chance to relax and a lot of worry. The system is complicated, and the issue is hidden.
The Carers’ Resource provides support for carers, no matter what their age, race, religion or needs. Visit there website to discover what support they can offer you as a carer, or as someone who might work with carers.
For further details visit: http://www.carersresource.org
ConDem Government Marks ‘Freedom From Safety Day’
Business minister Michael Fallon has been criticised by a top safety campaigner after he claimed a new round of cuts to safety regulations are ‘good news for the growth prospects of UK companies.’ Workplace health and safety measures dominated the cuts to ‘red tape’ highlighted by the minister. These included barring ‘strict liability’ compensation claims for workplace injuries, dramatically curtailing workplace injury and disease reporting requirements, making it more difficult for employees to pursue workplace harassment claims against their employers and removing the requirement for the Health and Safety Executive to approve training and qualifications of appointed first-aid personnel.
Marking ‘Freedom Day’ on 1 October, business minister Michael Fallon said: ‘Reducing government interference is improving Britain’s international reputation as a low-regulation, pro-business nation, but more must be done. To give our firms the best chance of winning on the global stage, we will press for more cuts in red tape in Europe, as well as at home.’
But Hilda Palmer of the Hazards Campaign said the event marked ‘freedom from having to give a damn about health and safety day’. She added: ‘Workplace safety has been the top target of the government’s attack on ‘red tape’ or, to you and me, the regulations that save our necks. There’s lots of ‘burdens’ arguments given in justifying the move, all bogus.’ She said properly enforced health and safety regulations not only save lives, they are good for the bottom line and protect responsible businesses from being undercut by the rogues.
GMB Members Will Not Be Priced Out Of Justice
GMB DEFENDS ACCESS TO JUSTICE
Employment Tribunal (ET) fees of up to £1200 for an individual case, introduced on 29th July 2013, is the most fundamental change to the Tribunal system since the 1960s when it was established to offer a cost free alternative means of resolving disputes from taking industrial action. ET claims will be rejected if not accompanied by the correct fee payable by Claimants unless they qualify for full or part “fee remission” under the Courts and Tribunals Fee Remission System. Few are likely to escape fees as remission only applies to someone on an income-related (means tested) benefit or in a sufficiently low income household. Even then Claimants have to pay fees if they have certain levels of “disposable capital”. For example, employees unfairly dismissed for redundancy may have to pay up to half the ET fees from their redundancy pay irrespective of how low their current income is. ET fees are blatantly intended to price workers out of justice as a key measure in the Coalition’s relentless hostility to the rights of working people.
GMB MEMBERS WILL NOT BE PRICED OUT OF JUSTICE
Unlike non-Union employees, GMB members do not pay for legal representation in GMB supported ET cases. Also the new ET fees are covered by the Region’s Employment Tribunal Fee Assistance Scheme for members who do not qualify for a waiver under the Courts and Tribunals Remission System. GMB members with Union supported ET cases are simply required to remain within the rules of the Union and the GMB Fee Assistance Scheme. That principally involves cooperating with and acting on advice from the legal advisor provided by the Union and maintaining full GMB membership.
DON’T RUN OUT OF TIME
There are normally just three calendar months less one day to lodge most ET claims starting from the event that gave rise to the claim. For example, an unfairly dismissed employee whose employment ended on 30th July must lodge a claim by 29th October. It would be out of time on the 30th! GMB Full-time Officers are experienced in assessing potential ET claims and advising on time limits. Potential claims must be referred to the Region’s Legal Department by an Officer over 28 days before the ET deadline. This is to ensure sufficient time is available to assess the case, provide legal advice and where the advice is to lodge a claim, prepare and issue it in the Tribunal. Before a potential case is referred to the Regional Legal Department members will be given the questionnaire for the Courts and Tribunals Fee Remission Scheme to complete so we know if the fee should be waived in part or whole. Members must also sign the GMB Regional Fee Assistance Scheme Application Form to ensure their Tribunal fees can be paid if they are not eligible for remission which is likely to be in the majority of cases. This procedure means that where potential claims are confirmed as having reasonable prospects of succeeding we have all the information on file to get the claim issued and deal with the issue fee.
EMPLOYMENT TRIBUNAL HEARINGS
A further fee has to be paid by Claimants for their case to go to a hearing. As long as the case continues to be assessed as having reasonable prospects at the hearing the hearing fee will be covered by the GMB Regional Fee Assistance Scheme if remission is not available. Members must keep their legal advisor informed of changes in financial circumstances that may mean the hearing fee would be waived under the Courts and Tribunals Remission System.
Employment Tribunals can make an award of the cost of fees against a losing party in the case. We will always apply for the costs of the fees against the losing employer in cases we win in Tribunal. Also in cases settled before a hearing we will be seeking to recover fees as part of the settlement. Fees recovered go back into the Fund to use by the Region to ensure other members continue to have access to justice.
General Secretary On Labour At The Labour Party Conference
Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary and chair of Trades Unions and Labour Party Liaison Organization (TULO) spoke at the Labour Party conference in Brighton in the debate on the Collins Report on Sunday 22nd September.
The real debate this week is about jobs, homes, living standards, employment rights not irrelevant navel gazing about internal party structures says Paul Kenny.
Paul Kenny, General Secretary, said in the speech “The trade union affiliates will only put in one speaker to this discussion. The reason being we think the real debate this week is about jobs, homes, living standards, employment rights not irrelevant navel gazing about internal party structures which frankly the British public do not give a fig about. The desire to expand Party membership is a shared one but, let nobody be under any illusion that as collective organisations the removal or sale of our collective voice is not on the agenda. We are proud of who we are and what we have achieved by way of social justice.”
NUT and NASUWT Industrial Action - GMB Advice To Members
The NUT and NASUWT have announced that they intend to have a programme of strike action as part of their campaign against government proposals on teachers’ pay. This action is likely to affect schools across England; their next action will take place on October 1st. See the attached document below for advice to GMB members.
Former Branch Secretary Passes Away
Former branch secretary of Leeds Electrical Distribution, Terry Hardy sadly passed away on Friday, 6th September 2013.
Terry had worked in the ESI for 40 years plus and was awarded the BEM for his services to the industry as well as his work with the Leeds Hospital Fund and the GMB
Terry’s funeral will take place on Wednesday 18th September at 10:45am (Holy Trinity Church Rothwell, Leeds)
Ambulance Dispute Over Sick Pay
GMB and other ambulance service unions at last week’s TUC congress announced they are in dispute with the ambulance service in England and said their members were prepared to take industrial action. The dispute arises because NHS employers and all ambulance trusts in England have imposed cuts in sick pay of up to 25% without the agreement of unions or individual employees and without notice.
Rehana Azam , GMB National Officer, said “Despite months of negotiations the final proposals from the NHS Employers simply weren’t good enough and our members rejected them by over 90%. Ambulance workers have had to put up with pay restraint and increasing workload and feel they are the pinch point in the NHS squeeze. They won’t put up with a draconian cut to their sick pay which could see them being forced to work while ill to avoid losing money. Who wants an ambulance turning up at an emergency with the medics coughing and sneezing all over the place? It’s stupid.
Nearly all members also said they would be prepared to take industrial action to defend their sick pay and so we have registered formal industrial disputes with the NHS Employers and every ambulance trust. We will also be challenging the legality of this imposition which we believe is wrong. Our members are very angry and although none of them want to put the public at risk they have been forced into a corner and the threat of industrial action looks inevitable if the employers don’t back down.”
Arrangements For The NHS Demo - Tory Party Conference Sunday, 29th September
Arrangements are being finalised for the NHS demo in Manchester. Coaches will be picking up GMB members (and family members) at the following venues:
8.15 am GMB Sheffield Office
8.45 am GMB Wakefield Office
9.15 am GMB Brighouse Office
5 pm: pick up at the drop off point. Due to the expected traffic getting out of Manchester, we cannot give a specific time of arrival at the GMB offices.
Doncaster Council In Court Over Care Home Fall
Doncaster Borough Council has been prosecuted for neglecting safety precautions after an 82-year-old vulnerable woman was injured in a fall at one of their care homes. The woman, who has dementia, suffered cuts and bruises when she fell nearly two metres into an unguarded open sewage drain at Oldfield House care home in Stainforth on 29 March 2012. The Council appeared at Doncaster Magistrates’ Court on 6th September 2013 charged with a breach of safety legislation after the incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Magistrates heard that a recently-qualified apprentice plumber was on site clearing a blockage in a live sewage drain via a manhole just outside a fire door at the end of a corridor. He had left the open hole exposed and the fire door open while he went back into the building to fetch water to flush the blockage. While the hole was unguarded, the elderly resident walked down the corridor and inadvertently through the open fire door and stumbled into the open hole. She needed an overnight stay in hospital and treatment for minor cuts and bruising.
HSE told the court the Council had failed to put simple measures in place to protect residents and staff while the work was being carried out. These could include placing temporary barriers around the hole, asking someone to keep watch on the open grate, or merely placing the cover back on the drain temporarily, and closing the fire door. Doncaster Borough Council, of Council House, College Road, Doncaster, was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £2,040 in costs after admitting breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
After the case, HSE Inspector Tim Johnson said: “This is a residential care home that will be, by its very nature, occupied by vulnerable and possibly easily-confused elderly people. It is, therefore, particularly important that proper planning and the greatest vigilance are duly accorded. It is fortunate this lady sustained only minor bruising but she was evidently badly distressed and did need an overnight stay in hospital. Doncaster’s risk assessment had outlined preventative measures to be taken but failed to follow that through. The inexperienced plumber was sent on his own, had not been trained in safe procedures and was not supplied with barriers - a failing that has since been rectified. All employers must make sure they provide the necessary equipment and train their employees to carry out work in a safe manner. However short the duration of a job, they must take into account the risks presented by the environment they are working in.”
In 2011/12, HSE reported that there were 22 fatal slip, trip or fall deaths to members of the public in the health and residential care sector, with most of the victims over 65 years of age. The sector also has one of the highest number of injuries caused by slips and trips.
Closure of Remploy Furniture
Remploy management have announced the closure of its furniture business which includes 80 jobs at the Sheffield factory. GMB believe this is a disgraceful, ideologically driven decision by the Government with the assistance of the Remploy board and KPMG. This deplorable decision will mean many disabled people being stripped of their dignity, unable to work again and be consigned to a life on benefits.
The Remploy factory network has been systematically dismantled and we believe the decision makers should be held accountable for this attack on disabled workers. In the announcement from Remploy they have said there is no viable bids, GMB do not accept and dispute this statement and call on Tim Mathews (Remploy Chief Executive) to explain exactly why the bid that would have secured jobs at the Sheffield factory is not viable and value for money.
GMB Demo On 4th September Over Closure of 6 Leeds Council Run Care Homes and 4 Day Centres
GMB will seek on behalf of its members to keep all the council run home and day centres open and properly funded says GMB.
GMB, the union for care workers will hold a demonstration outside the meeting of the Executive Board of Leeds City Council when it meets on Wednesday 4th September 2013 to make the final decision on the proposed closure of 6 care homes and 4 day centres. The publication of the report following Leeds City Council’s 12 week consultation on the proposed closure of 6 of the council’s remaining care homes and 4 council-run day centres has confirmed the closures will go ahead.
The demo will take place at:
Wednesday 4th September 2013
Leeds Civic Hall
Calverley St, Leeds
Jon Smith, GMB Regional Officer, said “GMB believes that the decision to close has already been made as demonstrated by the comments made to the local media by the Councillor with responsibility for Adult Social Care in Leeds. GMB is asking its members and the public not to be fooled by the latest comments from Leeds stating that Manorfield House and Primrose House will be spared from closure. The report states they will remain open until there are no longer required by existing residents or alternative care provision becomes available within the ward and no new admissions will be made to either home.
The other homes and day centres are recommended in the report to close once residents have been moved out. This is a devastating blow not only for GMB members but for the residents of Leeds. They say you can judge society on how it treats its most vulnerable. Well we now have the answer on how Leeds treats it elderly. By selling them out to the highest bidder.
It is a disgrace for the report to suggest that two care homes, Manorfield and Primrose, will remain open when they will in fact be closed to new admissions. This is the same as closing them now. It is also dressing it up as keeping the service in place when it is really a blanket ban on any elderly person in these areas receiving the care they need in the area they require it”.
Contact: Jon Smith GMB Organiser on 07918 905615 or GMB Press Office: 07921 289880 or 07974 251823 or 020 7391 6755.
Negligent Employer Brought To Account By GMB
A machine operator from West Yorkshire has secured £4,000 in compensation from his employer Federal Mogul Ltd thanks to legal support from his union – GMB.
Tony Render, 51, was injured while using a press in 2011 at a factory in Bradford which manufactured hinge pins for the car industry. The little finger on his left hand became trapped in an old extrusion press which had needed to be manually adjusted between manufacturing batches. On the day of the accident in October 2011, Tony found that the shutter box he needed to remove from the press to adjust the tooling system was faulty. Once removed from the machine he noticed that the slide in the shutter box was sticking and whilst he was trying to move it manually it shifted and trapped and crushed his little finger.
Tony said: “My injury could have been avoided if the shutter box had been properly maintained by my employer. The machine is an older model and is the only one at the factory where you still have to change the tooling over manually. While the company has been supportive since my accident and I’m being extra vigilant when operating the press, until the equipment is upgraded there is always the danger this could happen again.”
After being taken to hospital, Tony required surgery to his left hand and although he was able to return to work two days later, his finger has been permanently damaged. As a member of GMB for more than six years, Tony contacted his union who instructed Thompsons Solicitors to act on his behalf.
Tim Roache, Regional Secretary at GMB Yorkshire and North Derbyshire, added: “Time and again we have members coming to us having experienced a similar situation to Tony. More often than not it’s for the same reason or a combination of them, a lack of investment, interest or maintenance by the employer. However, it’s a fundamental responsibility for employers to ensure their equipment is safe for their staff at all times. If they are complacent about this, then they should be prepared to face the consequences.”
Manchester March & Rally 29th September 2013
Supporters of the National Health Service and all those wanting to defend jobs, services and a decent welfare state will be marching in Manchester to deliver a clear message to Conservative Party Conference to say hands off Our NHS from cuts and privatisation.
A March and Rally have been called by TUC and GMB is proud to support the rally alongside sister trade unions and NHS campaign groups. To assemble for the rally meet at Liverpool Road (M3 4FP) from 11am, and join GMB and the thousands marching to a rally in Whitworth Park, Manchester. Thousands will highlight the impact of job losses and spending cuts across the health service, as well as the rapid sell-off of the most lucrative parts of the NHS to private healthcare companies - many of whom like Circle are also Conservative Party donors.
The event will also raise concerns about the wider effect that government economic policies are having upon communities across the UK. - COME AND JOIN US – BRING YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS – LET’S GET THE MESSAGE ACROSS
ROUTE INFORMATION WILL BE UPDATED NEARER THE TIME. PLEASE KEEP CHECKING @ http://www.gmbnorthwest.com AND nhs299.org
SHEFFIELD SOUTH YORKSHIRE TAXI BRANCH
More “Elf and Safety” Excuses Exposed By Watchdog
As the heatwave in Britain subsides, it seems the country’s jobsworths have been suffering from heatstroke as The Health and Safety Executive releases yet more barmy ‘elf and safety myths in its drive to bring common sense back into decision making and to combat misuses of health and safety legislation.
HSE’s Myth Busters Challenge Panel was set up in 2012 to provide quick advice to people subject to ridiculous or disproportionate health and safety decisions by insurance companies, local authorities, employers and overzealous jobsworths. The Panel has received over 200 cases since being launched in April last year with nearly all rulings finding a decision was made without having any basis in health and safety law. Minister for Employment Mark Hoban said: “It’s time businesses and others stopped hiding behind health and safety when the simple truth is that they are either jobsworths or giving poor customer service. Their attitude gives health and safety a bad name and it undermines good health and safety which keeps people safe and enables them to enjoy the summer.” HSE Chair, Judith Hackitt added: “The stories just keep on coming in - you just could not make them up. I am proud of what our Myth Busters Panel has achieved in exposing the real reasons behind all of these so-called “health and safety” stories. If we understand what is really driving this blatant misuse of health and safety then we can all tackle the root causes - jobsworths be warned!”
Here are this summer’s top myths;
Jenna Barton was enjoying a break in Suffolk when she saw a young family stopped in their tracks by a sign in a chip shop window that struck her as particularly fishy. A notice declaring “under three year olds are not allowed on the premises or in the restaurant” was hanging near the front door at the chippy in Aldeburgh. Jenna, 33, a facilities supervisor, from Colchester knew there would be no health and safety regulations applying to children entering restaurants or takeaways, but alerted the Myth Busters to confirm it was a nonsense excuse. Of course, the Panel ruled this was yet another case of health and safety being used as an excuse and a complete over-reaction to an easily controlled risk. The restaurant should simply ask parents to control their children while in the premises if it doesn’t want little ones running around, not cite non-existent health and safety rules. Jenna said: “At the time it seemed like overkill and I know enough about the law to realise they were using the old health and safety line as an excuse, thinking no-one will challenge it.”
A children’s soft play centre in Oxfordshire has signs up stating “customers must not consume their own food or drink on the premises due to health and safety reasons”. Unsurprisingly though, customers ARE allowed to consume hot drinks and cooked meals on the premises as long as they are bought from the play centre’s own cafe. One disgruntled mum informed the Panel who were happy to clarify that of course no health and safety laws exist that would stand in the way of customers consuming their own food in circumstances as described. The panel all believed this was a clear case of commercial motives being conveniently hidden behind the catch-all health and safety excuse.
Patrons of a village hall in Burford, Oxfordshire will probably be glad they don’t have to get their hands clean by doing the washing up as the committee reckons putting your hands in soapy suds is a health and safety issue. It has told people using the hall for private parties, christening etc they must use a dishwasher as a requirement of health and safety. What nonsense, there is no health and safety legal requirement that would stipulate use of a dishwasher, so whatever the real reason, the Panel says the washed-up committee should stop misleading folk and come up with a better excuse to get out of doing the dishes!
A leading DIY store was hardly doing itself any favours when it refused to help a customer do-it-himself and cut a piece of timber in store. The customer popped into his local branch of a high street DIY store to pick up some timber beading for his home improvements. However, when the wood was too long to fit in his car he asked staff to cut it down to size. He was stunned when the assistant said he could not help as it was against health and safety rules. The bemused customer then asked for a saw to do it himself and was again rebuffed as the store said it would liable if he hurt himself. He approached Myth Busters who ruled that the company should be fully aware of the risks and how to safely use the tools and equipment they sell. The Panel put this case down to poor customer service and urged the store to practice what it preaches.
A local gym raised a few heckles (and chuckles) when a notice stating that for “health and safety reasons, members are requested to only use the hair dryers for hair on the head” appeared in the changing rooms. One fitness enthusiast was left scratching his own barnet at the bristly directive so alerted the Myth Busters. They of course ruled there is no occupational health and safety legislation regarding the use of hairdryers to dry hair on body-parts other than the head. The Panel stated; “This is clearly an easy excuse to deter people from using hair dryers inappropriately in a public place and the health club should give the real reason for their decision rather than hiding behind the health and safety catch all.
One might think that it would be in the best interests of hotels, restaurants and bars to provide the means for customers to leave the premises in the same way they found them. Not so one hotel…which refuses to provide toilet brushes in its bathrooms for patrons on the grounds of, you guessed it, health and safety. Despite there being absolutely no law preventing the use of bog brushes in loos around Britain, the hotel has taken it upon itself to refuse to supply the bristly cleaners to customers on the well-worn excuse of ‘elf and safety grounds. Now experts at the Health and Safety Executive’s Myth Busters Challenge Panel have flushed the nonsense excuse down the proverbial pan. Bemused customer Malcolm Forbes, 64, from Hertfordshire contacted Myth Busters after staying at a plush hotel in Newport, South Wales in June. When the company director and father of two tried to flush out the real reason for the ban, he was told it was for health and safety reasons. The Myth Busters ruled that no legal requirements exist that prohibit the provision of toilet brushes in hotels or other public conveniences. Lots of shared toilet facilities in offices, bars, supermarkets etc do provide them with any hygiene risks easily managed. Whatever the real reason for the brush ban, HSE thinks the hotel operator should come clean and stop pulling the public’s chain. If true grounds are for commercial reasons or reducing cost then be clear and flush these tired excuses away. Malcolm said: “I couldn’t believe it when they cited health and safety. What about the effect on staff having to face dirty pans every morning? The hotel should not embarrass customers in this way. They have not thought this policy through and have just used health and safety as a cover”. “I can’t imagine what the real reason is but I do know I would not want any of my family working as a housekeeper at a hotel that actively discourages residents from cleaning the pan after themselves.”
A table tennis table used by factory workers in break times was removed after a jobsworth claimed it was a health and safety risk. The panel smashed that nonsense out of the court by declaring there are no health and safety rules that prevent employees playing table tennis in their leisure time. A suitable location is all that is needed.
One diner who went to a department store in London for breakfast thought staff were yolking when he was told he couldn’t have a fried egg for health and safety reasons. Stunned at this response he probed further and was told someone in another store left a frying pan on the heat causing a fire, so a decision was made to stop supplying fried eggs in all store restaurants. The Myth Busters said this was a classic case of an over the top and misguided response to a problem. Banning the sale of fried eggs will not stop other pans being overheated if staff do not take appropriate care. Fire is a risk when cooking but one that can be easily managed. The store later admitted this was not a health and safety decision at all but a matter of company policy.
One overzealous racecourse steward confiscated a sun parasol from a racegoer because he said it posed a health and safety risk. Despite the searing heat this summer, the steward told the lady in question that someone could use it as a weapon. Bizarrely this silly rule ignores the fact that when it is raining, umbrellas are allowed. The Panel said there was clearly no health and safety issue here - many of us carry umbrellas with points when we travel on crowded public transport every day without incident. The racecourse has a clear policy that states that they reserve the right to refuse articles being brought into the event. On this occasion, someone judged that a parasol could be used as a weapon - a bizarre decision and certainly not health and safety.
A Chinese restaurant in East Sussex refused to provide a customer with a finger bowl giving health and safety as the reason. The bemused diner complained to the Myth Busters who were clear that this nonsense excuse was blatantly used to hide the poor customer service. There is no health and safety regulation that could possibly be interpreted as a reason for banning finger bowls.
The MBCP was set up to challenge the plethora of silly decisions made in the name of health and safety that lead to myths about what the law requires. HSE wants people to stop using health and safety as an excuse for unpopular decisions, when the decision has in fact been made on other grounds - such as fears about cost or complexity or worries about being sued. It wants decision makers to be specific about reasons for banning an activity on health and safety grounds, rather than just hiding behind the catch-all term “health and safety”. Tackling disproportionate advice is vital to restoring confidence in the true purpose of health and safety - saving lives and preventing injury and ill health in the workplace. Health and safety laws exist to provide safeguards against people being seriously injured or made unwell at work, not to hamper everyday activities. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice; promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice; and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. http://www.hse.gov.uk
Real Wage Statistics Burst Treasury MP’s Bubble
Tory Treasury Minister Sajid Javid claimed that the economy’s on track - just as official stats showed Britain’s wages plummeting at one of the fastest rates in the EU. Writing in the Telegraph, the wealthy former corporate banker ignored growing evidence of a complete breakdown in ordinary people’s economic well-being to tell us: “Momentum has returned.” But new wage figures immediately cast doubt on the minister’s rosy assessment.
Official statistics show that British workers’ pay has suffered one of the biggest falls of any EU country since the Con-Dem coalition was elected. Average hourly wages have plunged by 5.5 per cent in real terms - even worse than Spain, which has been battered by a huge financial crisis. Its workers have faced a 3.3 per cent cut in income. Only the Netherlands and crisis-hit Greece and Portugal registered a bigger fall.
General union GMB leader Paul Kenny attacked Tory ministers for pursuing policies that have transferred wealth away from ordinary working people. “The government is directly responsible for this unprecedented fall in the real value of wages in the three years since the election. Employers paying low wages get taxpayer subsidies in the form of tax credits to assemble a workforce for them to make decent profit margins. The government has also made it easier for employers to abuse staff and made it more difficult for them to do anything about it.”
Labour has calculated that workers will have lost £6,660 in pay between the Tories’ 2010 victory and the next election in 2015. Shadow Treasury minister Cathy Jamieson said today’s figures showed the “full scale of David Cameron’s cost of living crisis. Despite out of touch claims by ministers, life is getting harder for ordinary families as prices continue rising faster than wages.”
Source - Morning Star
New Offer To Glass Workers
The proposed strike action at Ardagh Glass has been suspended to allow members to consider a new offer made by the employer. ” We feel duty bound to put to our members in an indicative ballot”, says GMB.
Strike action due to begin on 9th August 2013 at four Ardagh Glass sites at Doncaster, Irvine, Knottingley and Barnsley has been suspended to allow union members to consider a new offer tabled by the employer.
GMB Organiser Bob McNeill said, “After considerable negotiations and Acas conciliation a revised pay offer has been tabled by the company. As the company have tabled this revised offer we feel duty bound to put to our members in an indicative ballot. Strike action that was due to start today has been suspended until the ballot is concluded.”
Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust
Events & Campaigns
Launch of Stress Awareness Week
Week commencing the 12th August 2013, the GMB union will be launching a week of stress awareness, relaxation techniques and incident reporting. Following the 2012 NHS National Staff Survey, we have conducted a survey of our own in the Leeds Trust Hospitals which seemed to indicate that the situation is getting worse rather than better.
The GMB relaxation road-show will be easily identifiable by the deck chair, palm tree and free massages, plus sign posting to the various courses which are designed to help workers under stress.
If you visit the road-show you will be entered into a free prize draw for GMB members with the chance to win a digital camera.
We will be at the following sites:
• St James (Gledhow Wing) 12th & 13th August from 10am to 4pm
• Chapel Allerton (staff coffee lounge, floor 2) 14th August from 10am to 4pm
• Seacroft (opposite WRVS café) 15th August from 10am to 4pm
• Wharfedale Outpatients 16th August from 10am to 4pm
We also wish to launch a campaign with the broader aim of pushing the Trust to deal with the shockingly high levels of stress reported in the 2012 NHS National Staff Survey.
Your GMB Representatives
Newsletters & Bulletins
Huddersfield Remploy Demo Cancelled Following Company Decision To Close Early
Today’s demo at Remploy Huddersfield IS NOW CANCELLED. Remploy management closed the site last Monday at 3pm without any notice, claiming there was no work, thus releasing staff from their contracts and avoiding publicity on the actual date the factory was due to close.
This insensitive decision by the company left workers in despair, and prevented them from having a proper send-off surrounded by friends and colleagues following years of loyal service to the company. This was the final kick-in-the-teeth for the workers who have been so badly let down over the closure of the site.
Pest Problems at Leeds Hospitals
Leeds Hospitals Should Spend More Money On Front Line Staff As FOI Reply Reveals Pest Control Problems Over Past Few Years Says GMB
There are too many people at the top end earning mega money and too few essential workers like house keepers, porters and cleaners says GMB. GMB, the union for staff in the NHS, commented on a Freedom of Information (FOI) reply on cockroaches, flies and rats in Leeds hospitals.
Bill Chard, GMB Membership Development Officer said: “Continual re-organisation, higher than UK average levels of stress, mixed with ongoing financial pressures all add up to a lethal mix. The 2012 NHS staff survey showed that Leeds Teaching Hospitals staff suffered way above average stress levels with a whopping 46% of those surveyed stating they had suffered work related stress.
Leeds staff said: “They would not recommend to their relatives that they be treated in Leeds’ hospitals.” So these shocking statistics simply bear up the staffs’ fears.
This catalogue of vermin, rats, cockroaches, fleas, etc, are an indictment of a failing system. There are too many people at the top end earning mega money and too few essential workers like house keepers, porters and cleaners.
The NHS must focus on patient care. It is not a business, it simply doesn’t need all these layers of management and expensive consultants.”
Attacks on Sheffield Parking Wardens Double
In the 12 months to June this year, there were 33 recorded incidents of verbal abuse on Sheffield Council’s 58 parking attendants - up from 17 in the year to June 2011. The number of physical attacks in the same period rose from five to seven. GMB, as the union representing Sheffield wardens, fear they are on the receiving end of motorists’ frustrations about increased charges brought in by the council.
GMB organiser Peter Davies said, “These employees are subjected to abuse on a daily basis and the reported figures are the tip of the iceberg. The vast majority of abuse goes unreported. The costs of parking have obviously risen in Sheffield but the reasons are nothing to do with our members. They do not slap tickets on willy-nilly, they wait a few minutes to see if a motorist has gone for change before issuing penalty charges. It seems to be part of our culture to abuse parking wardens but our members are simply doing their jobs and such attacks should not be tolerated.”
A Sheffield Council spokeswoman said: “No-one should feel threatened while carrying out their job and we will not tolerate abuse or violence.”
Elsewhere numbers fell or were much lower. Barnsley said there was verbal abuse ‘daily’ but only one physical assault in the year to June. Rotherham had no reports of verbal or physical abuse and in Chesterfield there were two verbal and one physical attack. In Doncaster, incidents fell from 46 verbal and five physical attacks from June 2010 to June 2011 to 31 verbal and three physical assaults in the 12 months to June 2013.
Sheffield Refuse Workers Accept Revised Pay Deal
Sheffield binmen have accepted a pay deal settling a dispute which had threatened to leave thousands of bins unemptied in the city. The 200 staff had voted in favour of a work-to-rule after Sheffield Council contractor Veolia failed to meet initial demands for a 3.5 per cent pay rise.
The GMB union, which represents the binmen, said members were angered Veolia was not offering an ‘acceptable rise’ when its annual payments from Sheffield Council increase each year in line with inflation. After talks with mediation service ACAS, Veolia made a revised offer of 2.5 per cent this year, backdated to January, and a further 2.5 per cent next year. Staff voted to accept the offer in a ballot with 77 per cent in favour and 23 per cent against.
GMB organiser Peter Davies said: “Our members feel that, in this day and age and given the pressure the council and its partners are under, this is a good deal. As part of the agreement, cleaners will also see their hourly rates increased to £7.45 in line with the council’s Living Wage policy, giving them a 12.5 per cent increase, and we have also secured improvements with bank holiday pay and arrangements.”
Coun Jack Scott, Sheffield Council cabinet member for environment, recycling and streetscene, said: “I am glad that the dispute has been resolved and that there has not been any inconvenience to the public. We are pleased that the GMB and Veolia have been able to reach an amicable agreement.”
UIA Insurance – Taking care of trade union members’ home insurance needs for over 100 years!!
GMB have endorsed UIA to promote home insurance to GMB Members. UIA is a mutual organisation so has no shareholders to pay. This allows the company to keep premiums low, provide a first class customer service and take a consistently fair and honest approach in claims assessment. There are no hidden extra charges with UIA Insurance when you need to make home insurance policy amendments. Furthermore you can pay monthly by direct debit at no additional cost.
GMB members who purchase a household policy with UIA will receive up to 40% discount. For a quotation click here or telephone free on 08000 729922.
GMB Members Vote By 90% For Industrial Action At Ardagh Glass In Doncaster
GMB members have made sacrifices to assist the company in difficult times and deserve a fair share and reward in successful years. GMB members working for Ardagh Glass in Doncaster have voted by over 90% to take industrial action after rejecting the company’s pay offer. The pay offer has been rejected by four company sites at Doncaster, Irvine, Knottingley and Barnsley. Talks with the company are continuing.
GMB Organiser Bob McNeill said “This is an extremely strong mandate from GMB members and sends a very clear message to the company that they will not accept inadequate pay offers and a drop in their living standards. GMB members have made sacrifices to assist the company in difficult times and deserve a fair share and reward in successful years. They have played an integral role in delivering huge pre-tax profits of £65 million for Ardagh Glass UK. This is an overwhelming result and I would urge the company to accept the GMB’s offer to reopen discussions without any pre conditions and enter into meaningful negotiations to resolve this dispute.”
UK Coal Into Administration
Former employees of RJB Mining Ltd and UK Coal plc, in particular those who previously worked for British Coal and were TUPE’d across at privatisation in 1995, may be concerned regarding recent reports about UK Coal Mine Holdings Ltd (UKCMHL) and UK Coal Operations Ltd (UKCOL) going into administration on 9 July 2013. The Press Release from UK Coal on 9 July stated:
“As a result of the problems that the Daw Mill fire created for UK Coal, both UK Coal Mine Holdings Ltd (UKCMHL) and UK Coal Operations Ltd (UKCOL) have today gone into administration. David Kelly, Rob Hebenton and Ian Green from PwC have been appointed administrators of the companies by Birmingham High Court following an application by the directors. Graham Newton and Paul Bates of BDO LLP were also appointed Joint Administrators of Mining Services Ltd.
The administrators have separated out the viable operations of the group and agreed a compromise with major creditors, including the Industry Wide Pension Funds, which will see the pension schemes transfer to the Pension Protection Fund in due course. The viable mining operations have been successfully restructured and their assets will now be held in individual companies owned by a new business which will operate as UK Coal Production Ltd.”
It is understood that, following this announcement, letters have been sent to former employees who had been in receipt of concessionary fuel and/or cash in lieu. Since many members may be concerned about how this situation might affect them, this is an update of what is happening as regards to actions being taken by GMB.
Pam Ross, Branch Equality Officer of Yorkshire Coal Staffs Branch is currently involved (with representatives of other mining unions) in meetings with the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). Discussions are ongoing, no further news is expected for some weeks as information is being gathered and collated. With regard to members of the Industry Wide Coal Staff Superannuation Scheme (IWCSSS), Dave Bell, Branch Secretary of Yorkshire Coal Staffs Branch, as Pension Trustee, has been attending meetings on behalf of GMB. If members of the Scheme have any queries relating to pensions, you may contact him on 01977 635176.
It is hoped to provide further updates once more discussions have taken place, but this is not expected for several weeks. In the meantime, we would urge any members affected by this situation to write to their MP.
New SIA Licence Application Service Goes Live
The Security Industry Authority have launched a new licence application service with the Post Office that makes applying for a new SIA licence easier and cheaper; most applicants will no longer need to post valuable documents and supply a photograph, which can be costly and inconvenient.
This is how it works:
Applicants register on the SIA website by going to http://www.sia.homeoffice.gov.uk/apply and clicking on the register / log in link. A username and password is e-mailed to them.
The applicant logs in and fills out their application. At the end they receive an e-mail with an application reference number and are told which identity and other documents to take to one of over 700 participating post offices nationwide. Applicants must keep their application reference number safe as they will not be able to complete an application without it.
When the applicant goes to a post office, the post office staff check and return the applicant’s documents; they will also take a digital photograph of the applicant, take an electronic version of their signature, and take payment of the application fee. The applicant will not be charged by the Post Office for using the service. The applicant’s photograph and signature are sent to the SIA electronically by the Post Office. They add them to the application information already received and continue with their checks. A licence decision is made within 25 working days.
The new service will be available alongside existing methods of applying for a licence until early in 2014, when it will replace the paper application form as the way to apply for a new licence.
Asda Members - Tax Underpayment
Asda members - Tax underpayment
Have you received a letter from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) informing you that you have underpaid your tax?
GMB both regionally and nationally are aware of the issue of HMRC writing to Asda Colleagues whether you are paid hourly or salaried, to inform you that you have underpaid tax during the year 2012/2013. Please be assured that this matter is urgently being communicated by our National Officer with Asda, and further updates will follow. Importantly, please be aware that you are responsible for paying tax to HMRC. This would include any underpaid tax which they have a right to claim.
Should you choose to write to HMRC please find below wording which may be used when communicating with them. You should also ask for a breakdown of how the sum owed has been calculated and keep a copy of your letter:
To whom it may concern,
YOUR NATIONAL INSURANCE NUMBER
I am writing to you regarding unpaid tax that you say is due for 2012-2013. In the first instance, I
would ask that you seek recovery of any tax due from my employer. I work for ASDA and they were
responsible for making the appropriate deductions for tax from my wages.
If ASDA have failed to make the right deductions for tax it is their mistake. It may be in failing to pay
the correct amount of tax for the year 2012-2013 my employer has failed to take reasonable care.
I was not aware there was a problem with my tax before being contacted by you. Any issue with tax
liability certainly was not communicated to me properly by my employer.
My union GMB has raised this matter with my employer and is seeking to establish all the facts as well
as find a way forward.
I believe that you too are in ongoing discussions with ASDA.
In the circumstances would you please confirm that I need take no further action at this stage.
(keep a copy)
Asda members - Tax underpayment
Importantly, please be aware that you are responsible for paying tax to HMRC. This would include any underpaid tax which they have a right to claim.
Should you choose to write to HMRC please find below wording which may be used when communicating with them. You should also ask for a breakdown of how the sum owed has been calculated:
To whom it may concern,
I am writing to request that you seek recovery of tax owed by me, from my employer Asda, as I believe my employer has not taken reasonable care and has made a mistake in not paying the appropriate rate of tax for the year 2012-2013.
Asda were fully aware that there were 14 pay dates during the period of 6th April 2012 and 5th April 2013 and have a formula in which to calculate this. Asda were also aware of this fact due to the information they received from HMRC and did not show due diligence in acting upon this information.
(Keep a copy)
11% Rise For MPs A Kick In The Teeth
The principle of MPs getting a decent salary is not an issue for what is an important job and they should only have one job says GMB.
Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary, said “The principle of MPs getting a decent salary is not an issue. MPs should be paid properly for what is an important job and they should only have one job.
In the current circumstances, where these same MPs are responsible for policies which have led to pay freezes and a fall in living standards, an 11% rise would be a kick in the teeth for the millions of workers who are the victims of their policies.”
Contact: Kamaljeet Jandu 07956 237178
GMB Ballot On Political Fund
GMB members paying the political levy are likely to be balloted on funds going to the Labour party when the issue goes to the next meeting of the GMB central executive council in September which will determine GMB policy.
Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary, said “Ed Miliband made a speech on 9th July 2013 with far reaching consequences for the Labour party and the relationships trades unions have with it. The announcement contains a large number of new Labour party policies which as yet are completely without the necessary substance that is required to see if they are workable. In the scrum of publicity it is important to note that Ed Miliband has said that these ideas will take a considerable length of time to flesh out and if feasible to implement them.
Ed Miliband said that he does not want any money from trades unions political funds which has not been explicitly and freely given on an individual consent basis for the sole purpose of funding Labour party activities. This intent ultimately will reduce GMB funding by a very significant but as yet unquantified amount. The desire of Ed Miliband expressed will most likely require GMB to ballot those members currently paying the political fund to see if they want any part of it to go to the Labour party.
GMB is required to have a political fund and members understand this is so that the union can campaign collectively on the issues important to them like NHS, rights at work, housing, pensions and other political and economic priorities. The changes Mr Miliband seeks to be made with regard to union affiliation fees will mean that none of the funds that would have gone in political affiliation fees will be available to fund Labour party operations. The issue will go to the next meeting of GMB Central Executive Council in September which will determine GMB policy on this matter”.
GMB Local Government Members Vote To Accept 1% Pay Offer
GMB members whose pay is set by the local government NJC including councils, schools and many contractors, have voted in favour of accepting the employers pay offer. This was for a 1% increase to all pay points from 1 April 2013 and the removal of the lowest national spinal column point from 1 October 2013 which means an extra increase for the very lowest paid.
The ballot was a secret postal vote and of the votes cast 91.2% were in favour of acceptance with 8.8% to reject. GMB will now notify the employers of this decision by our members.
Unison members have also voted to accept and when we have the decision from Unite the pay increase can be implemented with back pay to 1 April. We will let you know when the official notification goes to councils so that you will know when the money will be paid.
Thank you to all GMB members who took the time to vote. We will soon be starting the campaign for next year when I hope there will be something more meaningful on the table from the employers. It’s up to us all to work together to make sure it is.
GMB Leeds support People United to help build the ‘People’s Manifesto’
From London to Manchester this summer the People United bus will criss-cross England to help ordinary people change Britain for the better. Two chartered People United buses set off around the country on a two week tour, which started in London from the People’s Assembly at Central Hall Westminster on 22 June and will end on 5 July at Trafford hospital - the birthplace of the NHS - with a party to celebrate the 65th birthday of the now at risk National Health Service.
People across the country are struggling at the moment – so the People United will be offering free advice and information on local campaigns. It will not all be hard work, with fun promised too, members of the public can post their messages on to the prime minister, spin the NHS wheel of (mis)fortune and tweet their ideas for their street.
The country is being run by an out of touch government. That’s why People United – a coalition of unions dedicated to working with communities – is shaking things up. People United wants the people of Britain to help build the People’s Manifesto. Help share ideas for getting people back into work, boosting wages, improving local housing and the local community as well as protecting our NHS.
Austerity Uncovered Bus Tour
GMB Members Participate In Union Campaign Against Austerity In Calderdale
The TUC organised Austerity Uncovered Bus Tour aims to visit over 80 locations across Britain from 17th June to 5th July. It wants to mobilise opposition to austerity and promote positive ideas for creating jobs, protecting our NHS, investing in our young people, bringing our high streets back to life and delivering a living wage.
The Coalition government’s extreme austerity policies have failed Calderale and unemployment has risen under the Coalition with 6,460 local people out of work and unable to find a job. In the last 2 years wages have fallen in the Yorkshire and Humber region against the rising cost of living by an average of £34 per week.
Austerity has failed and is damaging our country. To join the campaign to defend our services from austerity tell us how the cuts are affecting you. Visit: austerityuncovered.org/whats-your-story
Peter Farmeary’s funeral will take place on Tuesday, 2nd July 2013 at 1.40pm at Lawnswood Crematorium, Otley Road, Adel, Leeds, LS16 6AH.
Sheila Farmeary and her family would like everyone to join them afterwards at Haley’s Hotel, Shireoaks Road, Headingley, Leeds, LS6 2DE to celebrate Peter’s life and talk about old times.
Sheila has requested family flowers only but donations can be made to:
Martin House Children’s Hospice
If you donate by cheque, please make the cheque payable to ‘Martin House Children’s Hospice.’ Could you also sign the back of the cheque and write ‘Gift Aid’ as well as your home post code so that the hospice can claim the tax back if you are a taxpayer.
If you intend to go could you please let Maria Ford know on 0845 337 7777 so that Sheila will have an idea on numbers.
South Yorkshire Festival - Saturday, 6th July 2013
Come along to Wortley Hall on Saturday the 6th July, a great day out for the whole family! From 12noon to 5pm.
FALCONRY DISPLAYS - CRAFT & GIFT STALLS - PONY RIDES - DANCERS - FACE PAINTING - COCONUT SHY - BOUNCY CASTLE - RIDES - GAMES - BBQ - BEER TENT - ANIMAL HANDLING - BRASS BAND - MUSIC
Tel: 0114 2882100 Web: http://www.wortleyhall.org.uk
Wortley Hall, Wortley, Sheffield, South Yorkshire , S35 7DB