Every Worker Deserves Fair Pay - James Stribley Featured on unionstogether 16th October

I’m a disabled worker. I worked at a Remploy factory from the time I left school to the time the factories closed, starting out as a welder. In my later years of employment I represented other workers as a trade union convenor across Yorkshire.

I should have been surprised by Lord Freud’s comments yesterday but I wasn’t.

From a government that has attacked disabled people at every turn - from ATOS to the Bedroom Tax and beyond - it’s what we’ve come to expect.

I’ve struggled to find work since Remploy closed, it’s almost a year now since we said goodbye to the last factory, but I’m one of the lucky ones who has occasionally had agency work and at the moment I’m stewarding football games (unfortunately as a Sheffield United fan, I’ve been subjected to Leeds games, a way to kick a bloke when he’s down…) but so many of the people I worked alongside haven’t gone on to new jobs. Imagine how they felt, sat at home worrying how they’re going to pay their bills, when a government that tells them to ‘try harder, work more, help yourselves - oh but by the way there are no jobs’ - says people like us are somehow worth less than other workers. Because that’s what Lord Freud’s comment were, they were telling us that when we go out to work every day, we don’t deserve equal treatment.

It’s rubbish. And offensive rubbish at that.

I can say from first-hand experience that the disabled workers I’ve worked alongside did a cracking job. They were grafters who often had to try a little bit harder to get the job done but got the job done nonetheless.

I can say that, but I shouldn’t have to.

A disability pay gap already exists. Disabled workers - and particularly disabled women – get paid less than those without disabilities. Maybe the government should start with looking at that, rather than saying it’s ok to pay us even less.

James Stribley, Equality Campaigner and Trade Unionist

If you are just as disgusted as we are that Lord Freud thinks disabled people do not deserve a fair wage, visit http://www.unionstogether.org.uk/lordfreud and sign the petition to call for his resignation.

unionstogether

Britain Needs A Pay Rise - GMB Members March To End Poverty

benny148's Britain Needs A Pay Rise album on Photobucket

GMB Members Marched On Saturday 18th October In London, Glasgow And Belfast For Decent Pay Rises And Economic And Social Justice.

Members have faced imposed pay freezes or derisory pay offers which do not bring earnings up to the levels that were lost during this long running recession says GMB.

GMB members with flags and banners attended marches and rallies in London, Glasgow and Belfast on Saturday 18th October in support of decent pay rises for all workers and for economic and social justice.

The London march, called by the TUC, assembled from 11am along Victoria Embankment from Embankment Tube Station towards Temple Tube station. It moved off at noon, and marched via Northumberland Avenue, Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly to Hyde Park for a rally saying Britain Needs A Pay Rise.

The Glasgow march, called by STUC, assembled at 10am in Glasgow Green and moved off at 10.30am for a Rally in George Square to say it is time to create a just Scotland.

The Belfast march, called by ICTU, assembled at 12pm in Writer’s Square, Belfast and moved off at 12.45pm calling for a pay rise for all.

Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary, said “People are currently facing the biggest squeeze on their incomes since Victorian times, and wages have fallen in real terms every year since 2010.

The economic recovery has a long way to go as even with strong growth this year GDP per head will be still 3% below 2007 levels. This is the root cause of the value of earnings being down by 14% in real terms.  Living standards of GMB members continue to decline, because of increased housing costs, childcare, food and utility bills. Members have faced imposed pay freezes, or derisory pay offers which do not bring earnings up to the levels that were lost during this long running recession.

Wealth and income inequality in the UK is now once again at pre WW1 levels. The divide in society has never been wider and we are seeing a return to the days of the workhouse with food banks becoming the soup kitchen.

All workers expect is a fair days pay for a fair days, which provides respect and dignity for them and their families. This is not a lot to ask or expect it is a basic right.  To tackle this we need action for both short and longer term. The minimum wage should rise, the public sector pay cap should go and a living wage should be mandatory.

To achieve this we need a Labour Government committed to pursue a sustainable economic recovery, not one based on political ideology, to boost incomes and reduce insecurity for workers and their families.”

 

GMB “Crocodile Tears” Tour To Shame Blacklisters As Hearing In High Court Resumed 16th October

GMB “CROCODILE TEARS” TOUR TO SHAME BLACKLISTERS AS HEARING IN HIGH COURT RESUMES ON 16TH OCTOBER TO SECURE COMPENSATION FOR BLACKLISTED WORKERS

Managers shedding crocodile tears now for blacklisting of 3,213 workers won’t wash, neither will the Nuremberg Defence of “just following superior orders says GMB.
GMB will hold 10 protest demonstrations in the first leg of a national “Crocodile Tears” Tour to shame 63 construction industry managers named as blacklisters who have yet to come clean and apologise for their actions.

The tour will start in Darlington, on Tuesday 21 October with a person in a crocodile suit accompanied by union members with flags and banners and slogans “Nuremberg defence on blacklisting won’t wash” and “Blacklisters come clean”. The details of the first 10 dates are shown below. See notes to editors for the full list if these managers and where they worked.

This comes as Law firm Leigh Day resume action in the High Court in London tomorrow (October 16th) seeking compensation for 122 GMB members blacklisted by Carillion and other construction employers. The claims were served on 27th November 2013. GMB’s claims were joined with a further 449 claims by other unions and parties at a High Court Hearing in July 2014. 

Talks between GMB and lawyers representing construction employers (Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and VINCI PLC)  on a compensation scheme for 3,213 blacklisted workers broke down in June over the amount of money being put into the scheme by the employers. Employers have unilaterally launched a cut price scheme GMB estimates will cost less than 2% of the combined profits of the eight construction firms.

Blacklisting came to light when in 2009 the ICO seized a Consulting Association database of 3,213 construction workers and environmental activists used by 44 companies to vet new recruits and keep out of employment trade union and health and safety activists.

So far 1,724 out of the 3,213 on the list know they are on blacklist. 467 were identified by themselves on by their unions. 570 cases are covered by claims in the High Court. ICO contacted direct a further 1,257 and of these 776 has now been sent a copy of their files.  That leaves 1,489 still to trace. See notes to editors for details of where those blacklisted come from.

The dates for the first leg of the Crocodile Tears Tour are as follows:
· Darlington - 21 October Lynne Day, Personnel Director, Cleveland Bridge: Cleveland House, Yarm Road, Darlington, Co Durham, DL1 4DE.
· Leeds – 22nd October Valerie Bennison, HR for Head Office Directorates and SCS at Child Maintenance Group, DWP: Quarry House, Quarry Hill, Leeds, West Yorkshire LS2 7UA.
· Wolverhampton 23th October Liz Keates of Carillion, Birch Street, Wolverhampton, WV1 4HY
· Sandy Bedfordshire 28th October Paul McCreath, HR Director, Kier Group: Tempsford Hall, Sandy, Bedfordshire SG19 2BD..and Kathy Almansoor, Group Employee Relations Manager, Kier     Group: Tempsford Hall, Sandy, Bedfordshire SG19 2BD.
· Glasgow 29th October Gerry Harvey, Human Resources Development Director at Balfour Beatty Engineering Services: Lumina Building, 40 Ainslie Road, Hillngton Park, Glasgow G52 4RU.
· Aberdeen 30th October Kevin Gorman, Vice President Human Resources, Harland Group: Ocean Spirit House, 33 Waterloo Quay, Aberdeen AB11 5BS. Was Liz Keates superior at Crown House Engineering.
· Reading University Tuesday 3rd November for lecturer in HR Shelia Knight,  EMCOR.
· London Wednesday 4th November Paul Raby, Group HR Director, Balfour Beatty: 130 Wilton Road, London SW1V 1LQ.
· West Midlands on Monday, 10th November 2014 details to be confirmed.
· Cheshire Tuesday 11th November - Arnold Nestler, Human Resources Services Director, AMEC: Booths Park, Chelford Road, Knutsford, Cheshire, WA16 8QZ.

Maria Ludkin, GMB National Officer for Legal and Corporate Affairs, said “GMB is looking forward to tomorrow’s hearing, which will be a key opportunity for the master to hear for himself, the numerous applications from the construction companies designed to try and delay proceedings, increase costs and undermine blacklisted workers pursuit of justice at a full hearing.

We also note the ICO’s continuing non-compliance with the Court order which would allow the plaintiffs to contact workers who still do not know they were blacklisted. This fits the continuing and disappointing pattern of behaviour from the government regulator, which has only served to benefit the blacklisting companies, by minimising the number of claims against them”.

Justin Bowden, GMB national officer said, ‘They might have thought they had got away scot-free, so shedding crocodile tears now for the systematic blacklisting of 3,213 building workers and environmentalists won’t wash, neither will the Nuremberg Defence of “just following superior orders”.

These so-called HR Professionals who ran the blacklists for the construction companies knew exactly what they were doing and they need to either apologise, come clean and say what they did, or get used to accounting in public for the damage they did to those they blacklisted and their families, especially with the Public Inquiry Labour has pledged after the next election. 

Just as the construction companies who paid their wages are being called to account in parliament, the courts and the media, every single one of these secret blacklisters will have their role dissected in public.’

Contact Justin Bowden on 07710 631351 or Maria Ludkin 07956 632 657 or GMB press office at 07921 289880 or 07974 251 823
For information on High Court action contact Leigh Day: David Standard 07540 332717 or Michael Newman 0795 223 9358 or Chris Benson on 07795425649.
For people to identify more names on the blacklist call please call Phil Read at GMB on 07840 897997 or email him .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Contact Dave Smith 07882 579 452 re Blacklist Support Group

GMB To Ballot Civilian Staff In Police Services

A 1% offer from the Police Staff Council is viewed as not only derisory but insulting particularly as support staff roles are being replaced by officers says GMB.


GMB will ballot members employed as civilian staff in England and Wales for industrial action in a dispute over a pay offer of just 1%. Unison and Unite will also ballot members for action.
The staffs to be balloted include Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs), 999 call takers and dispatchers, fingerprint experts, criminal justice unit clerks, custody and detention officers, and a wide range of operational and organisational support roles that keep police services running. GMB submitted a claim for a 3% pay increase or £500, whichever is greater, as well as a 3% increase on standby allowance. This follows a pay freeze in 2011 and 2012 and just a 1% increase last year. In an informal ballot in the summer, members overwhelmingly rejected the 1% offer and indicated they were prepared to take industrial action.


Following the consultation, the employers refused to re-open negotiations with the unions. Sharon Holder, GMB National Officer, said: “GMB police staff following years of below-inflation pay cuts have just about had enough. The offer of 1% from the Police Staff Council (PSC) is viewed by them as not only derisory but insulting particularly as support staff roles are being replaced by Officers. Jobs for elite boys and girls in blue, who can no longer work on the front-line, mask the actual figure of job losses in police services. The PSC are urged to get back around the table, engage in meaningful negotiation with Support Staff representatives and seriously re-consider the offer of 1% before police forces are subject to industrial action before Christmas.”
UNISON General Secretary, Dave Prentis, said: “UNISON police staff members are angry after a two-year pay freeze, followed by a miserly 1% increase last year. We are urging the employers to come back to the table and negotiate a fair pay deal.
“As the Government’s savage cuts to policing continue to bite, police staff are being asked to do more and more as colleagues are made redundant. In a survey of our police staff members carried out in the summer, 40% said that they are now struggling to pay the bills. This is no way to treat the staff who keep our communities safe.”
Unite National Officer Fiona Farmer said: “Police staff have faced years of below inflation pay increases and at the same time extensive cuts to their numbers in forces across England and Wales. Staff are angry and feel undervalued by a government that clearly does not recognise and reward these key public sector workers. Members voted overwhelmingly to reject the 1% offer and I would urge the employers to return to the negotiating table and deliver a decent pay rise.”

Britain Needs A Pay Rise

Workers are struggling with the biggest pay squeeze the country has suffered in 150 years, a report claims today.  Average wages have failed to keep pace with inflation for the seventh consecutive year, the longest decline since records began in Victorian times. 

Real-terms pay is down 8.2 per cent since 2007 when cost-of-living figures are taken into account, an analysis of Bank of England earnings and inflation figures shows. Even the economic collapse of the 1920s saw a quicker recovery in earnings. 

Tens of thousands will march through central London on Saturday calling on all employers who can afford it to reward their workforce.  The Britain Needs a Pay Rise demonstration, organised by the Trades Union Congress (TUC), will also urge the Government to lift its freeze on public sector pay increases. 

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “It’s shocking that even the most the infamous periods of pay depression in the last 150 years pale in comparison with the current seven-year slump in earning.”

Download full article.

Britain Needs A Pay Rise.pdf

Pay Care Staff The Living Wage Says GMB

GMB, the union for care staff, and Care England, the largest representative body for independent care providers in England, have written a joint open letter to Councillor David Sparks OBE Chair of Local Government Association setting out a joint concern over earnings levels in the Care Sector. Justin Bowden, GMB National Officer for the care sector, and Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive Care England, Care England, said “ We believe a workforce carrying out such highly skilled and socially vital roles deserves to be a paid a living wage.  We wish now to work with the LGA to raise pay in the Care Sector to at least living wage.


As representatives of staff and employers, we are agreed that the time is long overdue for those who care for and support the elderly and most vulnerable in our society to be properly valued. Key to recognition of the role and contribution Care Sector staff make is that they should be properly rewarded for what they do.  It cannot be right that the vast majority of care workers, and the care that they provide, are valued at only the national minimum wage or thereabouts, well short of the Living Wage and well short of the pay levels paid by local authorities to staff directly employed in comparable roles.  For us, the message this sends as a society is broader than just the value we place on the those who provide care, it also says something about the value placed on those in receipt of the care.


It is the local authority members of the LGA who fund the majority of the care places and packages in England and Wales.  Low wages, low status and the immense challenges of care work itself produce a cocktail of undervalue directly linked to the high turnover and staff shortages in the Sector and the concomitant effect on continuity and standards of care for residents and clients.  Any care provider will tell you that they haemorrhage skilled and experienced staff when a new supermarket opens nearby, as workers leave the care sector for higher paid, less stressful jobs stacking shelves.


To their credit, 70 LGA members so far have committed to paying their own employees the Living Wage. Many extend this policy to the private sector contractors they use to provide council services. However we are not aware of any council who extends this policy to the staff caring for their local residents via packages paid for by the council.


Members of Care England have stated their support for Living Wage in the Care Sector, subject to receiving the funds to do this - on an open book accounting basis to evidence the additional funds have been fully passported to the workforce.  GMB supports this pledge.


As a next step we would welcome getting together with the LGA to discuss how progress may be made on this vital issue. We look forward to hearing from you.”

GMB Members Rock Solid Support For Strike In NHS To Get Government To Listen To Calls For Decent Pay

benny148's NHS Strike 13th October 2014 album on Photobucket

In the NHS it takes years of incremental pay progression to achieve the rate for the job and that progression cannot be confused with uprating pay rates to keep pace with inflation says GMB.

GMB commented on the strike action by members in the NHS today (13th October) and rebutted public statements made by Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt on the NHS dispute.

Rehana Azam, GMB National Officer for the NHS said “reports from across the country are that the strike action has been rock solid. Members are determined to get Government to listen to them. Next week the radiographers take action

It is disingenuous of the Secretary of State to state that a 1% rise in pay will give rise to job losses. GMB has consistently campaigned for a fair funding settlement for the NHS which should include funding pay rises for essential staff.  GMB has consistently campaigned for the Treasury to plug the funding gap so that much needed NHS jobs are not put at risk. In addition GMB has consistently opposed spending £3billion that has been wasted by this Government on a top down reorganisation GMB are calling on the Treasury to step in to resolve this current pay dispute.

On incremental pay progression the Secretary of State for Health is simply wrong to say that nearly half of the staff will get an automatic 3% pay increase. There has been a long standing recognition that the NHS requires a highly qualified, skilled and experienced workforce. This means that staffs are acquiring qualifications in stages and are constantly undertaking regular training, performance development and the upgrading of their skills.  That means that in the NHS it takes years of incremental pay progression to achieve the rate for the job. That incremental pay progression cannot be confused with uprating pay rates to keep pace with inflation. GMB has always been open to meaningful discussions to review the NHS pay structures and a possible narrowing of incremental points system so where appropriate NHS staff are able to attain the rate for the job over a shorter period.  GMB remains open to these discussions.”

 

New Local Government And Schools Pay Proposals

As notified yesterday, GMB and the other trade unions along with the local government employers agreed a set of pay proposals that can go forward for consultation.  I will be setting out the details of that consultation next week but in the meantime the proposals, covering the two year period of 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2016, are set out below for your information –

• £1,065 (8.56%) on SCP5 with effect from 1 January 2015
• £1,000 (7.93%) on SCP6 with effect from 1 January 2015
• £800 (6.19%) on SCP7 with effect from 1 January 2015
• £550 (4.13%) on SCP8 with effect from 1 January 2015
• £350 (2.55%) on SCP9 with effect from 1 January 2015
• £325 (2.32%) on SCP10 with effect from 1 January 2015

• 2.20% on SCPs 11 and above with effect from 1 January 2015

• Removal of SCP5 with effect from 1 October 2015

• £325 non-consolidated payment on SCPs 5, 6 & 7 to be paid in December 2014

• £150 non-consolidated payment on SCPs 8, 9 & 10 to be paid in December 2014

• £100 non-consolidated payment on SCPs 11-25 incl to be paid in December 2014

• 0.45% of proposed new salaries on SCPs 26-49 incl, of which £100 to be paid in December 2014 and the remaining balance to be paid in April 2015

In addition the parties want to improve working relations at NJC level and have also put forward the following statement –

Both Sides recognise that local government is undergoing a period of unprecedented change. The way that public services are designed and delivered is evolving at a rapid pace and against this background the NJC agrees that councils and their workforce need collective agreements that:

• reward employees fairly and recognise the diverse needs of the workforce
• attract, retain and train people with the skills needed for the future
• enable local service providers to react more quickly to changing circumstances
• facilitate effective partnership working and collaboration across organisations
• remove or modify existing barriers to ensure employees can move more easily between different public sector employers

The NJC remains committed to national collective bargaining and aims to ensure that the bargaining machinery can reflect and support new ways of working. The NJC will focus on producing outputs that are relevant, fair and beneficial to both employers and those employed to provide public services.

The pay proposals are complex and will be explained in the consultation materials next week with worked examples but I hope it is useful to have early sight of the terms that will be consulted on.

Please support the NHS Strike Monday, 13th October 2014

This is the first national strike in the NHS for 30 years and it shows how undervalued our members feel and how worried they are about the future of the service.
Can you please support where you can and show solidarity with our NHS members by joining them on the picket-lines. 

Details of picket-lines around the region.  The strike is from 7am to 11am

Airedale Hospital
Barnsley Hospital
Bradford Care Trust
Calderdale Hospital
Doncaster Hospital
Dewsbury Hospital
Pinderfields Hospital
Leeds Teaching Hospitals (St James and LGI)
York Hospital
YAS Wakefield HQ

For further details contact Joan Keane on 0845 337 7777

 

 

Local Government Strike On 14th October 2014 Suspended

The new proposals cover the period from 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2016 and the unions will now move forward together to consult their members.

The three unions which represent more than 1.5 million workers in local government and schools – UNISON, GMB and UNITE – have today decided to suspend strike action planned for 14 October and consult their members on new proposals put forward by the Local Government Association as the best achievable by negotiation. 

The proposals cover the period from 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2016.  In doing so, all three unions have made it clear that they want to strengthen the collective bargaining machinery covering local government and schools and move quickly to jointly tackle important issues facing their members with the Local Government Association. Members covered by the National Joint Council for Local Government have the lowest pay in the public sector and have suffered significant attacks on their conditions of work in recent years.  The unions will now move forward together to consult their members.

Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary for Public Services, said “It has proved extremely difficult to persuade the local government employers to agree new pay proposals for us to consult our members on.  But now we have an agreed set of new proposals which we will consult on and while doing that GMB is suspending the strike planned for 14 October.  We will issue more details about the consultation shortly.”

GMB Members Strike Action At Sheffield Recycling Centres In Dispute Over Pay

GMB MEMBERS STRIKE ACTION ON MONDAY 6TH OCT AT SHEFFIELD RECYCLING CENTRES IN DISPUTE OVER PAY, FACILITIES AND WAY CENTRES ARE MANAGED

GMB members employed by the Green Company, running five recycling centres as a subcontractor to Veolia for Sheffield City Council, are taking a second day of strike action on Monday 6 October 2014 in a dispute over pay, facilities and how the contract is managed. The first day of strike action was on Wednesday 1st October.

The five recycling centres are located at Beighton Road, Woodhouse, S13 7PS, Blackstock Road, Gleadless, S14 1FY, Manchester Road, Deepcar, S36 2DT, Greaves Lane, High Green, S35 4GR, and Longley Avenue West, Shirecliffe, S5 8WA.

The Green Company is owned by the charity Salvaire. The dispute is failure to secure an agreement on premium pay for weekend and overtime working, on welfare facilities and about the behaviour of the senior managers on the contract. GMB secured a living wage for members in the recycling centres from the out-going senior management team effective from April 2014.

Peter Davies, GMB Regional Officer, said “GMB members are taking action over premium rates, welfare facilities and bullying. We know the company can afford to provide them but the company will not budge.

The charity Salvaire has four trustees including their chair Martine Laffan-Butler who is also on the company board again as a chair. After internal disputes the entire senior management team has gone leaving Martine Laffan-Butler to take over. GMB was not aware of the board room wrangling but due to the dismissals and suspensions, the game is up and all of the workforce are now aware of this.
According to accounts that Salvaire have submitted Martine Laffan-Butler has already had £47,000 in consultancy charges, £3,000 in expenses and a further £10,000 for being the chair of the company board. It appears that this is paid to another company, ‘Roughly Translated Ltd’ owned by Martine Laffan-Butler and her partner.

GMB believe that the chair and her supporters will exceed last year’s payment and take at least £90,000 this year. They do, as far as we can ascertain, nothing for that resource and in the meantime opening hours are reduced, sites are closed to save money and the good folk of Sheffield have to travel miles to find an open site and queue when they get there to access this service.
GMB members are striking for a fair share of these resources and to stop the whole scale abuse of Sheffield’s public purse and this vital service. That, a decent toilet in the winter, somewhere to have a wash and a bit of honesty isn’t a lot to ask for.” 

Contact Peter Davies GMB Organiser on 07501 228 313 or 01924 882255 or 0845 337 7777 or GMB press office 07921 289880

Relief For Striking Power Plant Workers As Toilet Issues Resolved

Staff working on a new power station at Ferrybridge, near Castleford, West Yorkshire, walked out on Tuesday night over claims there were just eight toilets for 650 staff, facilities were unhygienic and they were forced to bring in their own toilet paper at weekends. Members of Unite the Union and GMB held an unofficial picket outside the gates of the site yesterday, where a multi-fuel station is being constructed for energy giant SSE. After a two hour meeting between union representatives, stewards for site contractor Hitachi Zosen Inova (HZI), and management, the company agreed to open another two blocks of toilets and provide full-time cleaners.


Geoff Hunt, senior steward for HZI, delivered the news to relieved workers gathered outside the plant. He said there would be no loss of pay for the two days on strike. Tony Duckitt, GMB senior steward, told workers: “As stewards, all of us feel it’s a fair deal. They’ve pulled their socks up, it’s going to be spick and span. There’s people working on these toilets all day and more coming on site as well. They’ve got their act together.” The stewards comments were met with cheers and applause from the striking workers who unanimously agreed to return to work in the morning.

Unite member Peter Beaumont, said the issue had been ongoing for 12 months. “When you need to go to the toilet you don’t have time to start balloting the members,” he said. “When you have got hundreds of men and they need to go to the toilet and they need to clean their hands before they have their dinner, it’s an important thing. We needed to withdraw our labour.” Rob Hale, 30, a scaffolder from Doncaster, South Yorkshire, said: “From Friday afternoon until Monday morning those toilets were not being touched. Even the flies had moved out.”


Source: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food Project in Rotherham Opens Again

Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food project in Rotherham has reopened after it temporarily closed down last year because of health and safety concerns. The healthy eating project closed in June 2013 after a member of staff tumbled on a broken step forcing an inquiry by Rotherham Borough Council. The GMB union said concerns had centred around a missing stair nose which had been repeatedly reported to bosses.


The council said the premises, on All Saints Square, had been refurbished and it had invested an undisclosed sum to renovate the premises, which also included a new kitchen. It was reopened by Mayor of Rotherham, Cllr John Foden and celebrity chef Gennaro Contaldo, Jamie Oliver’s former mentor. The project is now being run by Leeds-based charity Zest, which also operates a Ministry of Food initiative in the city.


Joanna Saunders, head of health improvement at Rotherham Borough Council, said: “We are delighted to see the centre reopening and getting back on track addressing health inequalities in Rotherham. The council is investing in the centre and has commissioned Zest - Health for Life, the organisation responsible for the successful Ministry of Food Leeds project, to ensure the project delivers a quality health intervention in an attractive central food centre.” Neil Lovell, from the Jamie Oliver Foundation, said he was “thrilled to see the centre” reopen.


The TV chef opened the Ministry of Food project in Rotherham in July 2008 to encourage people to increase their knowledge of food and how to cook. His PR company said the project was not funded by the chef.

Local Government Pay Update - Unions & Employers Fail To Agree On New Proposals

Earlier this year the local government employers made their pay offer for 2014 which was worth 1%.  This was rejected by all union members in ballots and subsequently those same members voted to take strike action on 10 July.  Since then GMB and the other trade unions have been involved in talks with the employers to try to secure a new offer that we could put to our members.  Those talks have been very difficult, with councils telling their negotiators that they had no financial room for manoeuvre.  Some of those discussions have had ACAS in attendance to try to help move the discussions forward. The unions and the employers eventually arrived at a new set of proposals as follows -

*  A two year proposal covering from 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2016
*  Involving a combination of percentage increases and cash lump sums
*  Payable in December 2014 and January 2015 for the whole two year period (not
  backdated)
  The amounts being:
£325 non consolidated payment on SCPs 5,6 and 7 in December 2014 (pro rata part time)
£150 non consolidated payment on SCPs 8,9 and 10 in December 2014 (pro rata part time)
£100 non consolidated payment on SCPs 11-49 in December 2014 (pro rata part time)
£1,065 (8.56%) consolidated increase on SCP 5 in January 2015
£1,000 (7.93%) consolidated increase on SCP 6 in January 2015
£800 (6.19%) consolidated increase on SCP 7 in January 2015
£550 (4.13%) consolidated increase on SCP 8 in January 2015
£350 (2.55%) consolidated increase on SCP 9 in January 2015
£325 (2.32%) consolidated increase on SCP 10 in January 2015

*  2.20% consolidated increase on SCPs 11 and above from January 2015
*  Removal of SCP 5 in October 2015

This is a very complicated set of proposals that would affect GMB members differently. Some might see this as an attractive proposal, others might not.  There are good points and bad points.  It would need very careful consideration.  What is very clear is that this amounts to a completely new proposal compared to the 1% offer that was originally rejected by our members.  Therefore GMB’s view is that our members should be able to decide whether these new proposals would be acceptable or not.  We had previously prepared a further day of strike action on 14 October and we would obviously want to suspend that strike while our members have the opportunity to vote by secret postal ballot to decide to accept or reject.  GMB is absolutely committed to members having the final say.

However I’m afraid that we are not in a position to consult with our members.  The reason is that the employers have been prepared to negotiate this far on the understanding that all three local government trade unions - GMB, Unison and Unite - would all consult members.  Unfortunately one of the unions could not agree to do this and therefore the employers have withdrawn from the proposal.  This is disappointing for GMB because we are strongly supportive of trade union solidarity but we find that extremely uncomfortable when it is at the expense of what we believe is our members’ right to have a say on their future pay.

At the moment I do not know whether it will be possible to piece negotiations back together and I have called a national meeting of our senior representatives next week to discuss the situation, including the planned strike on 14 October.  In the meantime I thought you would want to know exactly what has transpired and, as ever, I will keep you informed if there is further progress.

Brian Strutton

Brian Strutton
National Secretary - Public Services

Derbyshire Employer Prosecuted After Worker Severs Thumb

The owner of a Derbyshire firm that specialises in refurbishing precision machining tools, has been fined for safety breaches after a worker severed a thumb while lifting a heavy component. 45 year old Mark Evans from Chesterfield was rebuilding a rotary table device at CNC Rotary in Staveley when the incident happened on 17 June 2013. Chesterfield Magistrates’ Court heard that he was under the management of David Helley, 56, of Tuxford, Nottinghamshire.


As he worked on the tool, which is used for drilling or cutting work at exact intervals around a fixed axis, and weighs around 30kg, it came loose from a sling attaching it to the prongs of a forklift truck that was being used to lift it. As the sling slipped through the eyebolts in the rotary table, Mr Evans’ right thumb was somehow trapped by the sling and eyebolt, severing it completely and causing further tendon damage to the hand. Mr Evans was given a skin graft to cover the damaged area and a big toe was used to replace the thumb. However, he experienced debilitating complications and was unable to work for a year.


An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found there was no lifting attachment to secure the sling to the forklift truck, and that the sling and eyebolts had not been thoroughly examined. As a result of this incident, HSE inspectors also found a series of other safety breaches that required urgent attention. Prohibition Notices were issued for the use of unsuitable and untested lifting bolts/eyes, the spraying of solvent-based paint in an area where there were unprotected electrics, and one for using lead chromate and isocyanate-containing paints. Improvement Notices were also served for training on lifting and slinging, and for a written scheme of examination for two pressure vessels in the workshop’s compressed air systems.


David Helley of Markham Road, Tuxford, was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,514 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Steve Shaw said, “Lifting incidents are often the result of a lack of training, the wrong equipment or the equipment being in a poor state of repair. It is important to have the correct equipment in place, which has been thoroughly examined so that safe lifting operations can be carried out by appropriately trained personnel. As a result of not having safe working conditions in place, Mr Evans suffered a painful, life-changing injury that could have been prevented.”

Branch Competition To Win VIP Tickets to Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott gig

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott are set to visit our Region once again and have offered 2 VIP tickets to the following gigs:

BRADFORD 23rd November 2014
SHEFFIELD 4th December 2014

For the month of October each branch that would like to take part will be asked to recruit the most members throughout the month. The two branches that perform the best in the competition will win the VIP tickets to one of the above gigs.

Branches wishing to get involved should contact Deanne Ferguson on 0845 337 7777 before the 30th September 2014.

Unions Make Work A Fair Bit Safer

Unions make work safer, fairer and better, a new TUC guide shows. ‘The union advantage’ demonstrates the benefits of unions not only to individual workers but to employers and society as well. It points to government research that established union health and safety reps save taxpayers hundreds of millions of pounds each year by reducing lost time from occupational injuries and work-related illness.

It adds union members have 3.8 days more paid leave on average than non-union members. And they also benefit in their pay packets; 55 per cent of unionised workplaces had pay rises in 2011, compared to just 35 per cent of non-unionised workplaces.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Workers in the UK who are members of trade unions are better paid, safer at work and get more paid holidays than workers who aren’t in a union.” She added: “Our new guide, ‘The union advantage’, sets out these benefits and how we achieve them through strong negotiation, and by working with employers and government for an economy with decent jobs and sustainable growth.”

TUC news release and guide, The union advantage.

ICO In Contempt Of Court On Blacklisting

GMB seeks contempt of court ruling over the Information Commissioner’s Office refusal to obey a High Court order enabling unions to contact blacklisted construction workers. The ICO had no difficulty with following a court order to give workers’ names and addresses to the blacklisting employers but seem very reluctant to follow a very similar order in favour of the workers GMB says.

The TUC Congress in Liverpool was told that GMB started enforcement proceedings in the High Court on Friday 5th September over the failure of the information Commission Office (ICO) to comply with a High Court ruling that they hand over to trades unions the addresses of workers blacklisted by construction companies. Leigh Day solicitors, acting for GMB, has now filed an application for contempt of court based on the ICO breaching the group litigation order made in July that they hand over the addresses by August 25th. ICO admit they are in breach of the order.

Blacklisting came to light when in 2009 the ICO seized a Consulting Association database of 3,213 construction workers and environmental activists used by 44 companies to vet new recruits and keep out of employment trade union and health and safety activists. See notes to editors 2 for the 97 areas in Scotland listed alphabetically where workers blacklisted are from with numbers.
In July 2014, Leigh Day, acting for GMB, begun action in the High Court in London seeking compensation for 122 GMB members blacklisted by Carillion and other firms. GMB’s claims are joined with a further 449 claims by other unions and parties.

In June 2014 talks between GMB and lawyers representing eight construction employers on a compensation scheme for 3,213 blacklisted workers broke down in June over the amount of money being put into the scheme by the employers. The eight construction employers are Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and VINCI PLC.

Following the breakdown of talks these employers announced that they are unilaterally going ahead with a scheme GMB estimates will cost these employers between £15m and £20m. This is less than 2% of the combined profits of the eight construction firms in the talks.

So far 1,724 out of the 3,213 on the list know they are on blacklist. 467 were identified by themselves on by their unions. 570 cases are covered by claims in the High Court. ICO contacted direct a further 1,257 and of these 776 has now been sent a copy of their files.  That leaves 1,489 still to trace. On 15th April the ICO said: “We don’t plan to write out to any more people, as we believe we’ve written to everyone who we can be sure of having up-to-date details for.”

Michael Newman solicitor from Leigh Day said “The ICO had no difficulty with following a court order to give workers’ names and addresses to the Compensation Scheme, but seem very reluctant to follow a very similar order in favour of the workers.

The ICO have also complied with previous court orders in relation to The Consulting Association, so we cannot understand why they are now refusing to follow a court order. The ICO have admitted they are in breach of the group litigation order, and we intend to take every step to enforce that order, including contempt of court.”

Paul Kenny,GMB General Secretary, speaking at the TUC Congress said “Why doesn’t the ICO stop wasting taxpayers’ money and do what the High Court has ordered it to do? Yet again we see the ICO as state regulator appearing to bend over backwards to accommodate those guilty of blacklisting but this time also in contempt of a High Court. Instead of putting obstacles in the way of speedy justice and compensation for the victims of blacklisting, it should just give us the information the high court ordered it to and let us get on with the job of contacting those blacklisted.”

The Region Welcomes The People’s March

The People’s March for the NHS from Jarrow to London was welcomed by thousands of GMB members and supporters across the region as it made its way through our towns and cities as part of the 300-mile journey to Parliament.  GMB, the union for staff in the NHS, is supporting the People’s March for the NHS which takes the form of the NHS Jarrow - London Crusade as it travels down the country.
The People’s March for the NHS is organised by a group of local mums in Darlington in defence of the NHS. It is following the basic route of the 1936 Jarrow Crusade. It is taking three weeks to cover 300 miles with 21 overnight stops. It started in Jarrow on Saturday16th August.

Rehana Azam GMB National Officer and one of the marchers, said: “Hospital services across the country are being shut down at an alarming rate. We are not only marching to support a fair funding in the NHS budget, but to overturn the Health & Social Care Act which has enforced privatisation of profitable NHS services, and has allowed them to be axed elsewhere. As mums with young kids we see it as our civic duty to try and save the NHS before our children grow up.”

benny148's Peoples March For The NHS album on Photobucket


http://www.unionstogether.org.uk/backthebill

One of those supporting the People’s March is Labour MP Clive Efford. This Autumn, he’s putting forward a Bill in Parliament to stop the sell off, and give us our health service back. 

David Cameron is selling off our NHS, piece by piece and we’re all paying the price. It’s getting harder to see a GP, staff have been cut and waiting lists are going up.
Add your name to back the Bill to put public health - not private profit - back at the heart of our NHS.

http://www.unionstogether.org.uk/backthebill

The NHS is our health service – together we can fight to save it.

Hotpoint Offer

Scheme ID: GMBY/207

Visit: Hotpoint

Hotpoint Kitchen Appliances Offer

Great offer from Hotpoint

We are pleased to announce a new partnership between GMB and Hotpoint which offers fantastic savings on a comprehensive range of kitchen appliances including Hotpoint’s new range of small kitchen appliances.

 

SAVE UP TO 30% OFF HOME APPLIANCES FROM HOTPOINT AND INDESIT

FREE delivery and FREE removal of your old appliance

Visit: Hotpoint and enter the scheme ID to take advantage of these great offers.  Click here to enter the members’ area for the scheme ID.

 

 

Retired Life Membership

If a member retires on or after 1st August 2014, they can pay £40.00 within 3 months of no longer paying contributions in line with rules 45 or 46.

Retired life membership continues to provide retired members with legal assistance and Funeral Benefit (qualifying and conditions apply to both these benefits.)

If a retired life member returns to paid work, they will no longer be a retired life member and will start to pay contributions in line with rule 45 and we will refund the lump sum they paid when they became a retired life member.

GMB Members Vote To Retain Political Fund

GMB members have voted 94% in favour of retaining the union’s political fund.

The Independent Scrutineer’s report of voting in the above ballot, which closed at noon on 18th August 2014, is as follows:-

Number of voting papers returned to the scrutineer:             63,292
Number of votes found to be spoiled or otherwise invalid: 126
Total number of valid votes to be counted:                         63,166


THE RESOLUTION is that the political objects set out in section 72 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 be approved as an object of the Union.

Question : Do you vote in favour of the resolution?

Number of valid votes cast in favour of the resolution 59,617 (94.4%)

Number of valid votes cast against the resolution 3,549       (5.6%)

The People’s March for the NHS - Coming through our region 20th-27th August 2014

“The People’s March is a perfect opportunity to build support for the NHS and to join up with amazing NHS campaigners across the country. Following the basic route of the 1936 Jarrow Crusade, the People’s March for the NHS will head to Parliament. On route we aim to make the public aware of what the coalition Government has been doing to our NHS and what has been happening to our hospitals and health services.

It’s really hard to passively watch the rapid dismantling, privatisation and destruction of the NHS. First we had the Health & Social Care Act, then Section 75 and more recently Clause 119 of the Care Bill. The Government has legislated to open the NHS to the open market.  We believe every penny saved in the NHS should go back into improving and developing our NHS. We don’t want to see private companies operating in the NHS under the heading of ‘efficiency’ when we know they are accountable to their shareholders, who are only interested in maximum profit before patient health care.”

GMB members in the NHS and Yorkshire Ambulance Service need our help!!  It’s time to stand-up and defend OUR NHS. Join the march for a mile or two as it comes through your city or local area and come to one of the rallies - be part of the fight back.

THE ROUTE (Yorkshire & North Derbyshire Region)
20th August - Northallerton to Ripon: Meet at the entrance of Bullamore Memorial Park next to the Friarage Hospital at 9.30 am (lunch at Burneston).
21st August - Ripon to Harrogate: Meet at Ripon Community Hospital at 10.00 am (lunch to be confirmed).
22nd August - Harrogate to Leeds: Meet at the Stray next to Harrogate Hospital at 9.30 am (picnic lunch at Harewood Estate).
23rd August - Leeds to Wakefield: Meet at Leeds Art Gallery at 9.30 am (lunch at the Half Way House - along A61).
There will also be a ‘feeder’ march from Dewsbury train station setting off at 9.00 am to join the main march in Wakefield.
24th August - Wakefield to Barnsley: Meet at Northgate/Westmoreland Street, Wakefield at 10.00 am (lunch to be confirmed).
25th August - Barnsley to Sheffield: Meet at Barnsley Hospital at 10.00 am (lunch to be confirmed).
26th August - Sheffield to Chesterfield: Meet at Sheffield Town Hall at 10.00 am (lunch at Graves Park/Meadowhead).
27th August – Chesterfield to Mansfield: Meet at Chesterfield Royal Hospital at 10.00 am (lunch at Bolsover Assembly Rooms).

For full route details and rally times click here.  For further information contact Joan Keane or Caroline Jones on 0845 337 7777
We look forward to marching with you!

Five Week Wait For Benefits Money ‘will undermine speedy return to work’

Currently most workers who lose their job have to wait two weeks for their first payment, which allows a relatively normal continuation of cash flow during the initial stages of their job hunt. However, under new Universal Credit rules for assessing unemployment claims, the majority of people will now face a wait of more than five weeks before they get any money, the TUC said. This could mean jobseekers keen to get back into the job market could go two months into rent arrears before any financial support appears.
Under the existing system, most newly unemployed claimants move off benefits within three months, while only one in 10 continue to receive money after a year out of work, TUC analysis found. But nearly 300,000 people across the UK will be affected by the five-week wait each month, the research showed, with London and North West of England expected to be hardest hit with about 40,000 people waiting longer for money in each region every month.
The TUC warned that the longer delay for safety-net payments would push many claimants into financial difficulties distracting them from focusing on finding a new job. A recent report by the debt charity Step Change found that 13 million people do not have enough savings to last a month, with six million people already using credit to manage until payday. In the Universal Credit pathfinder areas, interim evaluation published by the Department for Work and Pensions in November 2013 showed that 34 per cent of Universal Credit claimants had borrowed money, compared to 19 per cent for a control group receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance. Further research by YouGov, for the TUC, found that only 13 per cent of people had heard about the plans, while 70 per cent said that they would be worried when asked to imagine losing their job and not being entitled to receive any benefit payments for five weeks.
Frances O’Grady, TUC general secretary, said: “The government is sneaking through changes that will make newly unemployed claimants wait at least five weeks before they get any cash support. It’s a debt trap that will hit hundreds of thousands of people each month. It’s right to deal with people who abuse the system, but the five-week wait is a collective punishment for anyone who loses their job. People need to focus on finding new work, instead of being stressed out about how they will pay the rent, feed the kids and keep the heating on. The government is out of touch and ministers simply don’t understand the anxiety many people feel not knowing if they’ll still have work next month. If your job goes, the five-week wait puts you at greater risk of a downward spiral where you’re trapped in debt, lose your home, become ill from the stress and fall too far to climb back again.”
The TUC is launching a ‘Saving Our Safety Net’ campaign to challenge the changes.

Local Govenment Unions Agree Joint Escalation Of Our Campaign For Fairness

In a joint announcement on the 31 July, the main local government unions GMB, Unison and Unite, representing 1.3 million council and schools staff, escalated the pay dispute and named the next date for strike action as 14 October 2014.  This is a clear and powerful message to employers ; you have two months to work with us to resolve our pay dispute or we will take further strike action.  This is not going away and all three unions are united in our common cause.

Since they tabled their ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ offer worth 1% which GMB members massively rejected and took strike action on 10 July to prove their anger, the national employers have refused to even talk to us about it let alone hold negotiations.  It is this flagrant disrespect for staff that has directly caused the dispute and if anything people are getting more angry not less.  Nevertheless it is right that we provide an opportunity for talks to take place,  if the employers see sense and come to the table, while keeping our line in the sand for 14 October.  This is a particularly important date because during that week NHS workers and other public sector staff are also planning industrial action in the run up to the TUC-led demonstration on 18 October to shout ‘Britain Needs A Pay Rise’. Of course, few places need it as much as local government.

We hope to organise further activity during the summer and I will keep you informed of these and any other developments.

TUC Celebrates 40th Anniversary of the Health and Safety Work Act

The Health and Safety at Work Act is one of the most important and successful pieces of workplace legislation ever, the TUC says today (Thursday) to mark the 40th anniversary of the Act, which received royal assent on 31 July 1974.

In the 40 years since the Act was passed, the number of fatalities in the workplace has fallen by 85 per cent while the number of injuries at work has fallen by 77 per cent.
However, the TUC is concerned that the government is seeking to remove a key part of what made the Act so effective – its universal coverage and its simplicity – by removing most self-employed workers from its protection.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Few pieces of legislation can be seen to have been as effective as this Act. We should be celebrating its 40th birthday and thanking those who drafted it.
“Unfortunately the present government is hell-bent on chipping away at the Act by removing large numbers of self-employed from its coverage. Ministers are planning to replace its universal coverage with complex new rules about which self-employed workers are covered and which are not. The will create huge challenges for employers, workers and regulators. While the Act has been successful in bringing down deaths and injuries in the workplace it has been less effective at preventing occupational diseases such as cancers, asthmas, dermatitis, back pain and lung diseases. This is still a massive problem and I hope that the Act will be used much more vigorously to address this challenge in the years to come.”

Wakefield United for Palestine Public Meeting - Thursday, 31st July 2014 at 6.30pm

A group of young people from Wakefield have taken the initiative and organised a collective called Wakefield United for Palestine. They have been fundraising to send aid to Gaza and are also trying to raise awareness on all issues currently faced by Palestinians.

There is a public meeting this Thursday 6.30pm at Lightwaves Leisure Centre and a rally on Saturday in the Cathedral Precinct in Wakefield City centre starting at 12 noon. I hope you will be able to support these events and/or circulate to your activists in the area. 

For further details contact Rachel Dix on 0845 337 7777.

Tories Promise To Interfere With Union Democracy

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude has said the Tory manifesto for the next general election in May 2015 would include the requirement for at least half of eligible union members to vote in order for a strike to be lawful. There would also be a three-month time limit after the ballot for the action to take place and curbs on picketing. As well as the 50% threshold, Maude also pledged to require unions to set out on the ballot paper the exact form or action they were proposing, with a vote on each aspect of the dispute. Unions would also be required to give employers 14 days notice before taking industrial action, rather than seven days now.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Britain’s strike laws are already some of the toughest of any democracy. You do not have to support every bit of industrial action to see that the right to strike is an important human right — and always one of the first things banned by any dictatorship. The purpose of this is clear. It is to ensure that the fruits of recovery are reserved for the few and kept from the many.”

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady has also called on the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to change the rules so that union members might use digital means to vote in future strike ballots.

O’Grady told business secretary Vince Cable in a letter: “Three-quarters of adults now have access to broadband at home, 94% own a mobile and seven in 10 a smartphone. With these figures going up all the time — even for low-income workers — it seems strange for some ministers to slam unions for low turnouts, while having little enthusiasm for the 21st century methods of voting that would encourage greater participation. Unions already use digital means to reach members and when they use these modern methods to gauge feelings over pay offers, for example, they can secure turnouts as high as 96%.”

Workers In The Heat

The increase in temperatures means that many woprkplaces have become unbearably hot with many employees affected by the heat. The best and most simple way for staff to keep cool inside when it’s scorching outside is for them to be able to come to work in more casual clothing says the TUC.

While it may not be possible for staff who regularly attend meetings with external clients, who deal with the public or who wear company uniforms to turn up to work in vest and shorts, so long as employees are smartly turned out, it should be possible to agree on a dress code that fits with the corporate image and helps staff keep cool.

Other measures employers could adopt include: allowing flexible working so that staff can avoid the sweltering conditions of the rush hour commute; moving desks away from windows; drawing blinds or installing reflective film; and allowing staff to take frequent breaks with a ready supply of cool drinks available.

Employers who provide cool and comfortable work environments will get more out of their staff when it’s sweltering. Workers who are unable to come to work in smart summer clothing and who work where there is no air conditioning, fans or cold drinking water will feel lethargic and lack inspiration and creativity.

For many years the TUC has been pushing for a change in the safety regulations to introduce a new maximum working temperature of 30C - or 27C for those doing strenuous work - with employers forced to adopt cooling measures when the workplace temperature hits 24C.

University of Sheffield Will Pay The Living Wage

The University of Sheffield has announced plans to implement the living wage from the 1st August 2014. The university will pay its staff the living wage of £7.65 per hour, a move that will benefit around 400 of the university’s lowest paid staff. This decision comes on the back of lobbying from Sheffield University Living Wage Campaign, Sheffield Students’ Union and several trade unions including GMB. The campaign gained a broad range of support from staff, trade unionists, academics, alumni, city councillors and local Labour MPs.

Sheffield Central Labour MP Paul Blomfield, who recently spoke in the House of Commons on the problems created by low pay, welcomed the decision: “The University is one of Sheffield’s major employers and is sending out a powerful message by committing to introduce the living wage, and I hope that others will follow their lead.  Paying the living wage is an important step towards ending poverty pay and growing income inequality.”

The living wage is currently £7.65 per hour and, unlike the minimum wage, is re-calculated each year to take into account the rising cost of living. Most of those at Sheffield University who are not paid the living wage are women, making this a gender issue.

Yael Shafritz, Sheffield University Student’s Union President, said:  “The Students’ Union are thrilled that the university has decided to take this step in paying fairer wages. The living wage is not just a pragmatic response that helps staff, it is a moral imperative for any values led organisation. We’re happy to work with a university that not only values its entire staff but listens to the concerns of its students and workers. Particularly we’d like to thank the living wage campaign, which for the last 3 years has worked hard to bring this issue to the forefront of the universities’ agenda.”

Workers at the Student’s Union and contracted staff will not however benefit from the announcement.

Shafritz continues, “We also want to highlight that although this is a great step it is only the first one and we will continue campaigning and working with the university to ensure it provides the support and funding for all Unicus and Student Union staff to be paid the living wage.”

Olivia Blake, Co-Chair of the Sheffield University Living Wage Campaign and GMB member, said: “We welcome this decision and believe it will go some way to reducing pay inequalities at the university.  After speaking to staff about the difficulties they face because of their low wages, we’re looking forward to seeing an improving situation. It’s disappointing that it took so long for the university to agree to pay its staff fairly, but we hope that this is a sign of better things to come. We’re looking forward to working with the university on becoming an accredited employer with the Living Wage Foundation. We are disappointed that the university has decided against giving the Students’ Union the funding necessary to implement the living wage as well. While this is a partial victory we will continue to campaign for Students’ Union and contracted staff. GMB will not consider this a job done until they are paid at least the living wage.”

This decision follows the Fairness Commissions’ report calling for businesses and large employers in Sheffield to implement a living wage. Sheffield City Council has led the way on this recommendation and has set a good example to the university by becoming a living wage employer.

Cllr Ben Curran – Cabinet Member for Finance & Resources at Sheffield City Council, said: “I would like to congratulate Sir Keith Burnett and the Students Union Officers for the leadership they have shown in bringing the living wage to staff at the University of Sheffield. The living wage is an important tool in tackling the inequalities that exist within Sheffield. The University of Sheffield paying the living wage is good news for the city. The university employs 6000 people in Sheffield, making one of the city’s largest employers. They are doing the right thing for their staff and are contributing to our vision for Sheffield to be a city of fair pay.”

10th July Strike - Brilliant!

The 10 July strike in local authorities and schools was a huge success and GMB members played a massive part.  Tens of thousands of workers attended marches and rallies throughout the country, there were active picket lines at every council and most schools were either closed or partially closed.  While the government has tried to play it down, newspapers reported around a million people were on strike.  This was a fantastic turnout and GMB salutes every single striker.

The strength of the action meant -

* News reports were dominated by the strike.
* Images of members on marches and demos filled TV screens.
* The anger and frustration of people on strike were on every front page.
* Ministers and employers were forced onto the back foot trying to defend the indefensible.
* The message about low pay and unfairness in local government and schools came over loud and clear.
* Our claim for a £1-an-hour increase for all council workers and school support staff was highlighted repeatedly.

So we can be justly proud of the strike and the opportunity it gave us to put across our case to the public who, incidentally, were strongly supportive.  But the strike must also mean something more tangible – it must mean that the national employers and council leaders actually listen to us when we say -

* We want sensible consideration of our fair and reasonable case for better pay.
* We want proper negotiations over the paltry 1% offer for 2014.
* We want respect for the local government and school support staff workforce and for the dedication and loyalty they give every day.

Our members, other union members and hundreds of thousands of other workers have sent a message to the national employers and it’s time to give something back to the workforce for all the hard work they have done over recent years in the most difficult of circumstances.  Let’s hope they take heed or we will be forced to consider our next steps.

Join GMB at http://www.gmb.org.uk/join

Over One Million Staff In Schools And Councils Join Strike Over Pay On July 10th

benny148's 10th July 2014 Strike Day album on Photobucket

Over One Million Staff In Schools And Councils Join Strike Over Pay On July 10th Says GMB

There are more people on strike than union members as school and council staff, union members or not, are very angry and it’s time someone listened says GMB.

GMB commented on the impact of the strikes today (July 10th) in schools and councils.

Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary for Public Services said “From ringing around GMB regions and branches our information is that over 1 million workers are on strike in councils and schools. The majority of schools are closed or partially closed. Council services are significantly affected. However a number of our members have been released to work so that we do not endanger life and limb.

But the bottom line is that there are more people on strike than just union members and we’ve been overwhelmed by the support. Local council and schools staff, union members or not, are very angry and it’s time someone listened. “

 

Employers Lose The Plot

On 4th July we issued a bulletin saying that the TUs had asked for last minute talks with council leaders to try to avert Thursday’s mass strike.  I believe that’s the responsible thing to do.  They have not answered our request but instead the national employers yesterday wrote to all council Chief Executives, bizarrely accusing GMB of seeking to reopen negotiations. As if we shouldn’t!  I can only presume this means they will not even meet us and are happy for the strike to go ahead.

I think it can honestly be said that GMB has tried everything possible to find a peaceful resolution to our pay dispute, as our members would expect.  It is equally clear that the national employers and council leaders continue to treat us with complete disdain.  That’s why our strike on Thursday is so important.  That’s also why when there are complaints about the disruption Thursday’s mass strike will cause, I hope the blame is pointed fairly and squarely at those responsible; the national employers and council leaders. 

Thursday 10 July is our day to stand up and demand respect.

Brian Strutton
National Secretary – Public Services

We All Need A Pay Rise Marches And Rallies - 10th July 2014

Join millions of public sector workers across the UK who have had enough of having their pay frozen or capped.


BARNSLEY
Event Location:
10.30am   Gateway Plaza Car Park, Sackville Street, Barns S70 2RD
11.30am   Barnsley Precinct, 1 Cheapside Barnsley S70 1RU

BRADFORD
The march will assemble at 10:45am in Centenary Square with the rally taking place back in the Square, after the march has concluded.
Event Location:  Centenary Square Market Street Bradford BD1 1LH


DONCASTER
The march will assemble at 12 noon outside the Civic Offices in Nigel Gresley Square with the rally taking place back in the Square, on completion of the march.
Event Location:  Next to Civic Offices,  Nigel Gresley Square,  Waterdale,  Doncaster DN1 3BU

HUDDERSFIELD
Huddersfield TUC, in conjunction with trade unions, will be holding a day of action, including a march and rally on Thursday 10th July.
The march will assemble at St George’s Square from 10:30am with the march commencing at 11am.

Speakers will include:
Paul Holmes UNISON       Hazel Danson NUT       Neil Cole GMB
Layll Singleton UNITE       Trevor Andrews PCS     Daryl Schofield FBU
Chair Nick Ruff Huddersfield TUC

All are welcome.
Event Location:  St George’s Square Huddersfield HD1 2TA


KIRKLEES
Event Location:   
10.30am St George’s Square, Huddersfield HD1 1JA


LEEDS
The march will assemble at 11:30am outside Victoria Gardens.
Event Location:    Outside Victoria Gardens The Headrow Leeds LS1 3AA


SHEFFIELD
The march will assemble at 11.30am at Devonshire Green, with the rally taking place at 1pm outside City Hall, Barkers Pool.

Event Location:  City Hall, Barkers Pool S1 2JA

WAKEFIELD
12.30pm - Gather at Coronation Gardens next to County Hall to march
1.00pm – Rally at Cathedral Precinct
2.30pm - Strikers are invited for refreshments at Wakefield Labour Club (Red Shed) on Vicarage Street.

Event Location:  Coronation Gardens, Wakefield WF1 2QW

YORK
The march will assemble at 12 noon at Clifford’s Tower with the rally taking place at 1pm at St Sampson’s Square.
Event Location:    Clifford Tower Tower St York YO1 9SA

 

GMB Demo In Rotherham Produces Results

Members of GMB, the union for school support staff, participated in a fourth day of strike action on 27th June and demonstrated at the Council offices. Following the demo, GMB were invited to a meeting with Dorothy Smith, Director of Schools and Lifelong Learning.

Lee Simpson, GMB Branch Convenor, said “GMB have had a positive meeting with Dorothy and at last someone seems to be listening. A further meeting has been arranged between school management, the GMB and Dorothy Smith for 4th July and we are hoping that something positive comes from it.”

Following the positive meeting the staff have decided to postpone the next scheduled strike day which was due to take place on Wednesday 2nd of July stating that it would be their intention to strike again after the national strike day on 10th July if nothing positive comes from the proposed meeting.

Eric Batty, GMB Branch Secretary, said “GMB have now contacted all special schools in Rotherham and sent them a Freedom of Information Request to ascertain the number of recorded incidents” this follows the comments from Abbey’s Headteacher who has stated that staff concerns in respect of Abbey are the norm for all special schools in Rotherham. It would be of great concern to the GMB and parents if, as Abby’s Headteacher has stated, the ‘the norm’ amounts to 100 incidents reported in 10 days.”

GMB are planning a public demonstration in Rotherham Town Centre which will be postponed if the meeting on 4th July is productive.

The details of the demonstration are as follows:

From 10am Saturday 5th July

All Saints Square, Rotherham Town Centre

Members of GMB will be present on the day with flags and banners. Parents and the public are urged to join the demonstration.

Ends

Contact:

Lee Simpson GMB 01709 255424 – 07585795938 – .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Eric Batty GMB 01709 255955 – 07748 142610 – .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Britain Needs A Pay Rise: TUC National Demonstration 18 October 2014

UNIONLINE

UNIONLINE - Put 0300 333 0303 in your phone now. You can call us about a personal injury law problem and we will provide legal advice if you are a GMB member. 

Our accident and injury service is free of charge* to GMB members and their families. Don’t call a number you have seen on the TV or in an advert, call UNIONLINE.  You can also call UNIONLINE if you need advice on any of the following:

UNIONLINE can offer something no other service can give you – 100 per cent of your damages with no deductions for GMB members and their families.

No other service can offer you that: THEY WILL ALWAYS MAKE A DEDUCTION. UNIONLINE never will. All of your compensation goes to you as a GMB member. Worried about debt, or a bad landlord? Call UNIONLINE.

Whatever problems you have we will try and help you, providing quality local legal advice.

So put 0300 333 0303 in your phone and remember, GMB is your union and this is your union law firm. It is not out to make a fast buck, its job is to provide the best legal service in the country to GMB members.

Translated UNIONLINE Leaflets

UnionLine - English.pdf
UnionLine - Czech.pdf
UnionLine - Portuguese.pdf
UnionLine - Gujararti.pdf
UnionLine - Hindi.pdf
UnionLine - Latvian.pdf
UnionLine - Polish.pdf
UnionLine - Punjabi.pdf
UnionLine - Russian.pdf
UnionLine - Scottish Gaelic.pdf
UnionLine - Tamil.pdf
UnionLine - Urdu.pdf
UnionLine - Welsh.pdf

*Subject to rule.

GMB Members Decide To Escalate Industrial Action At Abbey Special School

GMB MEMBERS DECIDE TO ESCALATE INDUSTRIAL ACTION AT ABBEY SPECIAL SCHOOL OVER ONGOING ISSUES WITH RECRUITMENT AND FEARS OVER HEALTH & SAFETY AND PUPIL BEHAVIOUR

Members of GMB, the union for school support staff, have reluctantly decided to take a third and fourth day of Strike Action to take place on Wednesday 25th & Friday 27th June 2014. Staff continue to raise serious concerns over the behaviour of pupils, saying things are getting worse.

The School management and Local Authority Human Resources have stated that they are not wiling negotiate on the recruitment issues despite a viable alternative solution being put to them by the GMB to avoid industrial action. Lee Simpson, GMB Branch Convenor, said “The staff have been left with no alternative but to continue to take strike action as the School are now refusing to take responsibility for the difficulties with pupil behaviour, resorting instead to blaming the staff for the poor behaviour displayed by pupils.

Eric Batty, GMB Branch Secretary, said “The GMB have now contacted the RMBC Cabinet Member responsible for schools requesting a meeting about the issues as the ongoing discussions with Human Resources and the Management of Abbey have failed to resolve the issues”.  At this point in time the GMB and staff regrettably cannot give assurances to pupils and parents that further disruption can be avoided.


End
For Further information please contact:
Lee Simpson GMB 01709 255424 – 07585795938 – lee.simpson@rotherham

High Court Reject Blacklisters Bid

High Court Rejects Application By Employers To Unilaterally Proceed With Inadequate Blacklisting Compensation Scheme.

A cheap under-funded compensation PR stunt will not wash so companies should get serious and make proper restitution and close the book on this shameful chapter says GMB.

The High Court yesterday (10th June) rejected an application by blacklisting employers to take the next step to unilaterally proceed with a wholly inadequate compensation scheme for 3,214 blacklisted workers.

Last week GMB said that talks with lawyers representing construction employers on a compensation scheme were on the brink of breaking down over the amount of money being put into the scheme by the employers. See notes to editors for copy of GMB release.

The talks are now deadlocked with the employers proposing a cost envelope for the fast track compensation scheme that GMB estimates will cost these employers between £15m and £20m. This is less than 2% of the combined profits of the eight construction firms in the talks.

Blacklisting came to light when in 2009 the ICO seized a Consulting Association database of 3,213 construction workers and environmental activists used by 44 companies to vet new recruits and keep out of employment trade union and health and safety activists.

In October 2013 eight blacklisting companies (Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and VINCI PLC) announced that they were setting up The Construction Workers Compensation Scheme (TCWCS) to compensate the victims they blacklisted. Pinsents Masons represent the eight blacklisting companies. GMB has been in talks with them on the scheme.

So far 1,724 out of the 3,213 on the list know they are on blacklist. 467 were identified by themselves on by their unions. Several hundred of these 467 are covered by claims in the High Court. ICO contacted direct a further 1,257 and of these 776 has now been sent a copy of their files.  That leaves 1,489 still to trace. On 15th April the ICO said: “We don’t plan to write out to any more people, as we believe we’ve written to everyone who we can be sure of having up-to-date details for.” See notes to editors for details of where those blacklisted come from.

On 27th November 2013 particulars of claim were served in the High Court in the GMB legal action against Carillion and other for blacklisting GMB members. The next hearing is due on 10 July.

Maria Ludkin, GMB National Legal and Corporate Affairs Officer, said “ GMB is delighted that the High Court judge seems to have had enough of lawyers for the employers continuing secret and unorthodox applications to the Court.

In particular the judge commented that the efforts of the employer’s lawyers to contact legally represented blacklisted workers probably amounted to a breach of the Law Society Professional Code of Conduct.

The lawyers for the employers have used every trick in the book to trample on the legal rights of our members. We are delighted that their latest efforts to sell their cheap low cost PR scheme as a genuine attempt to compensate blacklisted workers has been squashed in the Courts.

Legally represented blacklisted workers are likely to get a much better settlement through the Courts.

The judge has rightly dovetailed the operation of the compensations scheme into the outcome of the litigation. The next hearing is due on 10th July.

The employers should now be clear that a compensation offer which is not an act of contrition but a cheap underfunded PR stunt will not wash. My advice is that the companies should get serious and make proper restitution and close the book on this shameful chapter.”

End

Contact Justin Bowden on 07710 631351 or Maria Ludkin 07956 632 657 or GMB press office at 07921 289880 or 07974 251 823

For people to identify more names on the blacklist call please call Phil Read at GMB on 07840 897997 or email him .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Contact Dave Smith 07882 579 452 re Blacklist Support Group

£10 Per Hour Living Wage

Campaign For £10 Per Hour Living Wage Launched At GMB Congress In Nottingham Which Has Lowest Level Of Household Disposable Income In UK

A £10 per hour living wage would free our members from claiming benefits or pay day loan sharks and go some way to reversing inequality of income from work says GMB.

A campaign for a living wage of £10 per hour wage across the security industry was launched today at GMB Congress in Nottingham.  GMB members in the security industry are calling for an end to poverty pay and demanding respect at work and a decent wage they can live on.

GMB Congress was told that according to recently published official figures Nottingham has an average gross household disposable income per head of £11,411 which is the lowest in the East Midlands region and in the UK.

The average gross household disposable income per head for UK is £16,791.Gross disposable household income is the amount of money that all of the individuals in the household sector have available for spending or saving after income distribution measures (for example taxes, social contributions and benefits) have taken effect. Included are wages and salaries, rental income and interest on savings and social benefits received and other current transfers.

London has an average household disposable income per head of £21,446 which is the highest in the UK.

Set out in the table below is the data for nations and regions in the UK. See notes to editors for source, geographies and definitions of the latest available data which was released on 14th June 2014.

Northern Ireland has an average household disposable income per head of £13,902 which means it ranks lowest in the UK regional league. See notes to editors for regional league.

The 10 areas with the for the lowest average gross disposable household income per head are Birmingham £12,793, Bradford £12,786, Walsall £12,686, Stoke-on-Trent £ 12,660, Wolverhampton £12,632,  West and South of Northern Ireland £12,605, Kingston uponHull, City of £12,250, Blackburn with Darwen £11,582, Leicester £ 11,539 and Nottingham £11,411. See notes to editors 9 for list of bottom 30 areas in UK. The figures for all 139 areas in UK are set out as pdf at foot of this release.

Average gross Disposable Household Income (GDHI) per head by region in UK              
£ per head
2012
United Kingdom
16,791
England
17,066
Wales
14,623
Scotland
16,267
Northern Ireland
13,902
London
21,446
South East
19,126
East of England
17,630
South West
16,914
Scotland
16,267
East Midlands
15,206
North West
14,939
West Midlands
14,744
Wales
14,623
Yorkshire and The Humber
14,575
North East
14,393
Northern Ireland
13,902

Jude Brimble, GMB National Officer for the security industry, said “the cost of living crisis is about inadequate wages and hours.

Britain needs a pay rise and enough hours of work to earn a decent living. Too many people at work in the security industry have to claim benefits to make ends meet. Zero hours contracts and a minimum wage that has become the maximum for millions has created a vast army of working poor

A £10 per hour living wage would free our members from claiming benefits or pay day loan sharks. It would go some way to reversing inequality of income from work.

Calling for anything less would be calling for our members to be trapped forever in the benefit trap. The only people who can make work pay are employers and the only people who can make them is unions.

There also has to be a recognition that workers need to work enough hours to enable them to secure an income they can live on. 125 years ago the founders of our union fought to cut daily hours from 12 to 8. Today we have to fight to get from zero to eight.”

97th GMB Congress In Nottingham (June 8th - 12th) Will Mark 125 Years Since Union Was Founded

500 delegates representing over 626,000 GMB members from all parts of the UK and Ireland and from every sector meet to discuss the industrial, economic and political agenda of the third largest trade union. The 97th GMB Congress, comprising of 500 elected lay members, will meet in Nottingham’s Capital FM Arena, Bolero Square, The Lace Market, Nottingham NG1 1LA from Sunday 8th to Thursday 12th June. The 97th Congress comes back to Nottingham for the first time since the 12th Congress was held there in 1908. 

GMB is the direct successor to the Gas Workers & General Union which was formed on 31st March 1889 by Will Thorne. 125 years ago the union spread like wild fire across Britain and Ireland after it liberated gas workers from the unrelenting toil of working twelve hour days for six days a week by winning an eight hour day. This 125th birthday will be marked at the Congress.  Delegates attending GMB Congress are the members who have been elected to represent over 626,000 members from every part of the UK and Ireland and who are employed in every sector of the economy. 

Congress is the supreme policy making body in the union.  300 visitors and guests will also attend GMB Congress and are also drawn mainly from GMB organised workplaces around the UK and Ireland. 
Among the guest speakers during GMB Congress week are Rachel Reeves MP, Glenis Willmott MEP, Margaret Curran MP, Emma Reynolds MP, Lord Whitty, Senior Labour MP’s address & Q&A.

On Sunday morning Ricky Tomlinson will present the GMB Annual Daniel Dennis H&S Award. Kevin McGuire from the Mirror will host a Q&A with Rachel Reeves MP on Labour’s plans for Welfare Rights.

On Monday morning Rachel Reeves MP will address Congress and then take questions from the floor. A CEC Special Report on Housing will be taken in the afternoon and the funding and constitutional reform of the Labour Party will be also discussed.

At the close of the Monday afternoon session, Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary will give his keynote address to the GMB Congress delegates at around 5:30 pm.

On Monday evening there will be a special social event with Paul Heaton to mark the 125 years of the union.

During Tuesday three section conferences will be held for Public Services, Commercial Services and Manufacturing. See notes to editors for topics for debate and guest speakers. On Tuesday a GMB study into social care charges by local councils will be published.

On Wednesday morning there will be a GMB statement on energy markets and a debate on fracking and a CEC statement on the NHS.

On Thursday a senior Labour Party politician will address Congress and take questions from delegates on Labour’s plan for the 2015 General Election.

There are written reports to Congress on Women in GMB, GMB Branch Structure and GMB Finances, Housing and on the NHS.

GMB Members Vote To Strike Over Recruitment Issues and Health & Safety Fears at Rotherham School

Following a unanimous ballot by GMB, the union for school support staff, members at Abbey have decided that enough is enough.

Members have voted for Strike Action to take place on Monday 9th June 2014 with a further date planed and yet to be confirmed following a breakdown in talks over issues with the recruitment process with could result in 4 possible redundancies.

The School management and Local Authority Human Recourses have stated that they are not wiling negotiate on the recruitment issues despite the false promises made.

Members have raised serious concerns over Health & Safety and the behaviour of pupils.

Eric Batty, GMB Branch Secretary, said “Children of Abbey will be once again
the victims if the strike goes ahead at the special school. Despite management stating that they have put in place several improvements which the GMB welcomes and appreciates, the staff feel that it is not enough to ensure the Health, Safety and Welfare of the staff and pupils.”

“Management were warned following the last restructure that such an upheaval would negatively impact children at the school. School support staff and teachers who knew the children best were, in significant numbers, left with no other alternative but to take redundancy. This has had a detrimental impact on students emotional well-being and had contributed in part to the behavioural issues in school.”

Lee Simpson, GMB Branch Convenor, said “ the staff have been left with no alternative to strike action as the School are stating that they have done enough and that things will improve with time. Despite management saying they have a proactive hands on approach, staff say that they do not do enough.”

“Staff have raised issues with the deployment of Team-Teach principals in school saying that Restrictive Physical Intervention Techniques are being used to quickly.”

Negotiatations will continue with the view to a possible agreement.


End


For Further information please contact:
Lee Simpson GMB 01709 255424 – 07585795938
Eric Batty GMB 01709 255955 – 07748 142610

GMB Yorkshire & North Derbyshire Region Continues To Grow

Against a continuing bleak economic backdrop, more and more people continue to join GMB Yorkshire & North Derbyshire region. In the last year to May the region grew by 1.8% compared to a national growth of 1.2%.

This represents the second best performance in the union’s nine regions and reflects all the hard work done by lay activists, branch officers, full time officers and staff. Thank you and well done to you all!

Statutory Code For Fair Pub Rents Welcome

GMB welcomes the announcement of a statutory code for fixing pub rents but regrets that a “Free of Tie” option is not included. Key issues will be to stop the pubcos watering down the code and pulling teeth an independent adjudicator has as the legislation goes through Parliament and then to make it work in practice. GMB, the union for tied pub tenants, commented on the announcement by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Business Secretary Vince Cable on 3 June 2014 that the government will give publicans new rights under a statutory code, and set up an independent adjudicator with the power to resolve disputes.

Steve Kemp, GMB lead officer for tied pub tenants, said “Self-regulation has been rejected. That is to be welcomed. Any tenant will tell you this self- regulation simply does not exist. We will study what is proposed to see how workable it is. Everything in the proposed code already exists in the voluntary codes but up to now these provisions have been largely ignored by the pubcos. So the key issues will be to stop the pubcos watering down the code and pulling the teeth an independent adjudicator has to enforce the code as the necessary legislation goes through Parliament and then to make it work in practice.

GMB regret that the free of tie option has been ruled out. That would provide a powerful incentive to the pubcos to deal fairly with tied tenants. The new regime has to stop abuses and lead to fair and affordable rents. The system now is that interest payments on the huge pubco 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. The test of the new regime will be if it can stop this.”


Contact Steve Kemp 07730 898102 or Dave Mountford GMB publican who led the campaign for changes on 07792 198 954 or 07794 021212

UNIONLINE

UNIONLINE - Put 0300 333 0303 in your phone now. You can call us about a personal injury law problem and we will provide legal advice if you are a GMB member. 

Our accident and injury service is free of charge* to GMB members and their families. Don’t call a number you have seen on the TV or in an advert, call UNIONLINE.  You can also call UNIONLINE if you need advice on any of the following:

UNIONLINE can offer something no other service can give you – 100 per cent of your damages with no deductions for GMB members and their families.

No other service can offer you that: THEY WILL ALWAYS MAKE A DEDUCTION. UNIONLINE never will. All of your compensation goes to you as a GMB member. Worried about debt, or a bad landlord? Call UNIONLINE.

Whatever problems you have we will try and help you, providing quality local legal advice.

So put 0300 333 0303 in your phone and remember, GMB is your union and this is your union law firm. It is not out to make a fast buck, its job is to provide the best legal service in the country to GMB members.

Translated UNIONLINE Leaflets

UnionLine - English.pdf
UnionLine - Czech.pdf
UnionLine - Portuguese.pdf
UnionLine - Gujararti.pdf
UnionLine - Hindi.pdf
UnionLine - Latvian.pdf
UnionLine - Polish.pdf
UnionLine - Punjabi.pdf
UnionLine - Russian.pdf
UnionLine - Scottish Gaelic.pdf
UnionLine - Tamil.pdf
UnionLine - Urdu.pdf
UnionLine - Welsh.pdf

*Subject to rule.

UNIONLINE does not use premium line charges, you will not be charged anything in addition to your standard call charge. Calls to this number costs no more than a national geographic rate number (01 or 02) and must count towards any inclusive minutes or discount schemes in the same way as 01 and 02 calls so as not to be charged. Call plans without inclusive minutes or discount schemes are typically charged up to 10p per minute for landlines and between 10p and 40p from mobiles.

Blacklisted Workers’ Compensation Scheme On Brink Of Breakdown

Talks between GMB and lawyers representing construction employers on a compensation scheme for 3,213 blacklisted workers are on the brink of breaking down over the amount of money being put into the scheme by the employers. Progress had been made on the shape of the compensation process. However talks are now deadlocked with the employers proposing a cost envelope for the fast track compensation scheme that GMB estimates will cost these employers between £15m and £20m. This is less than 2% of the combined profits of the eight construction firms in the talks. Blacklisting came to light when in 2009 the ICO seized a Consulting Association database of 3,213 construction workers and environmental activists used by 44 companies to vet new recruits and keep out of employment trade union and health and safety activists.

In October 2013 eight blacklisting companies (Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and VINCI PLC) announced that they were setting up The Construction Workers Compensation Scheme (TCWCS) to compensate the victims they blacklisted. Pinsents Masons represent the eight blacklisting companies. GMB has been in talks with them on the scheme. So far 1,724 out of the 3,213 on the list know they are on blacklist. 467 were identified by themselves on by their unions. Several hundred of these 467 are covered by claims in the High Court. ICO contacted direct a further 1,257 and of these 776 has now been sent a copy of their files.  That leaves 1,489 still to trace. On 15th April the ICO said: “We don’t plan to write out to any more people, as we believe we’ve written to everyone who we can be sure of having up-to-date details for.” On 27th November 2013 particulars of claim were served in the High Court in the GMB legal action against Carillion and other for blacklisting GMB members. The next hearing is due on 10 July 2014.

Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary, said “The GMB Central Executive Council has been updated on progress in the talks which are now on the brink of breaking down.  GMB consider that the main stumbling block is the amount of compensation being offered to the victims of blacklisting in whatever form that took. The total current cash envelope for fast track compensation we estimate is between £15m and £20m. That is less than £3m per company. This is grossly inadequate to deal with the devastating damage inflicted on people in their working lives and the colossal invasion of their privacy.
This compensation offer is not an act of contrition, it is a PR stunt. My advice is that the companies should get serious and make proper restitution and close the book on this shameful chapter. The eight companies between them have a turnover of over £34 billion and pre-tax profits of £1.04 billion. The talks should not break down over the size of the cash envelope. The employers have to own up, clean up and pay up.”
For people to identify more names on the blacklist, please call Phil Read at GMB on 07840 897997 or email him .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Contact Dave Smith 07882 579452 re Blacklist Support Group

UNIONLINE - 0300 333 0303

UNIONLINE - GMB’s new advice line for personal injury claims is now live. Please see following the letter from the Regional Secretary to all branches, activists, officers and staff:

29 May 2014

To: All Branches, Activists, Officers & Staff

Dear Colleague,

Unionline

The GMB union has established the UK’s first union legal firm that will deal with all of our members’ legal cases from Thursday, 29th May 2014.  Any member who has a personal injury claim will need to phone the new number: 0300 333 0303.  The person who answers the phone will take details of the accident and it will then be forwarded to the region’s solicitors for them to pursue the case.

Please note that the new solicitors for our region with effect from Thursday, 29th May 2014 are Pattinson & Brewer, who are a UK national firm with one of their offices being in York.

Please advise all of your members of this new legal phone line number that they need to ring in the event of a personal injury case. In respect of employment cases i.e. dismissal, discrimination, unpaid wages etc., there is no change to the existing set up that these are dealt with through our internal regional union structures.

Unionline and our solicitors, Pattinson & Brewer will also advise and assist on extended legal services, for example; criminal, matrimonial, free will service etc., so our members need to ring Unionline for these services.

You will be aware that until now our region’s solicitors have been Thompsons, but unfortunately Thompsons are not signatories to the new agreement and that is why we have appointed Pattinson & Brewer. I am confident that we will still provide the very best legal service on behalf of all of our members across the region, but if anyone experiences any difficulties whatsoever, please refer them to either Bill Innes our legal officer or myself direct.

May I ask once again that you get this message out to every member as quickly as possible, but can I say that every member will receive a Unionline card with details and the phone number on with the next edition of The Pulse magazine that will come out after GMB Congress.

Best wishes.

Yours sincerely,

Tim Roache
Regional Secretary

 

NEXT Sheffield Protest With Paul Heaton

NEXT should pay wages and enough hours of work for people to live on and as a starting point they should pay £7.65 per hour and £8.80 per hour in London. GMB, the union for retail workers, will hold a public protest on Thursday 29th May with musician Paul Heaton outside NEXT Sheffield store to coincide with a national tour by Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott which arrives in the city on Thursday. NEXT employ 50,000 workers at over 500 stores, call centres and warehouses in the UK and Ireland. GMB is supporting the national tour by Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott tour during May and June. Paul headed up the Housemartins and together they headed up the Beautiful South in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

In March NEXT reported a 12% increase in annual profits to £695m. NEXT says it expects profits in 2014 to rise by up to £770m. NEXT said January that it is generating more cash than can be invested in the business so it will pay a special £300m pay out to shareholders. NEXT currently pay £6.33 per hour to those 21 and over and £5.47 to those aged 18 to 20. GMB is aware of that many jobs are for12.5 hours per week or less in some stores. Some store staff may get a bonus which the company claim can amount to an additional 4% to 7% on hourly rates. Staff hourly rates will also increase by 37p from 1st June. This will leave the majority of staff well below a living wage of £7.65 per hour and £8.80 per hour in London.

Details of the photocall protest are as follows:

at 3.30pm with Paul Heaton,

Thursday 29th May,

Outside NEXT,

45-47 Fargate,

Sheffield S1 2HD.

GMB will present an ASBO to store manager for failing to make work pay for Next workers.

Mick Rix, GMB National Officer for retail staff, said “GMB is calling on NEXT to pay wages and enough hours of work for people to live on. As a starting point, we are demanding £7.65 per hour and £8.80 per hour in London. GMB asks shoppers to support diverting a special £300m pay out to shareholders and spend it instead to offer jobs with longer hours per week and to pay staff a living wage. It is time NEXT made work pay. If this was done, staff would not need their meagre wages to be topped up by taxpayers with family tax credits and housing benefits so as to make ends meet.

That NEXT is over-subscribed when it offers jobs is a reflection on the level of youth unemployment not that NEXT jobs are so good. That is why GMB is protesting outside NEXT stores as the Paul Heaton tour swings across Britain. GMB presents an ASBO to NEXT because it is an employer that does not face up to its social responsibilities.”

Contact: Deanne Ferguson in Sheffield on 07850 919933

Union Law Firm Gets Go Ahead

First Ever Trade Union Owned Law Firm Wins SRA Licence

Almost a million trade union members to benefit from “first of its kind” one stop legal service

The Communications Workers Union (CWU) and GMB announced a “first of its kind” trade union legal firm. UNIONLINE will provide a comprehensive legal service to almost a million trade union members as the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) granted its licence on Thursday 22nd May 2014.

New law firm, Unionline, was formed as the two unions saw a significant opportunity where a deregulated legal profession allowed for new organisations to operate in the legal marketplace.

UNIONLINE, based in Sheffield, has been set up by the CWU and GMB as an Alternative Business Structure (ABS) which will offer the full and comprehensive suite of legal services to the whole membership of the two unions. Unions have a long and proud history of providing top-class access to justice for their members.  The new rules allow GMB and CWU to bring that tradition right up to date.

A partnership of UNIONLINE approved solicitors firms will act for the many thousands of CWU and GMB members legal cases each year under the authority of the UNIONLINE monitoring board ensuring that CWU and GMB members retain access to legal redress.

CWU general secretary Billy Hayes said: “Unionline is a unique opportunity for both the CWU and GMB to compete in a previously highly-regulated industry. We want to make sure our members get the very best legal advice and by creating and operating our own legal services we can ensure that.

This is the first legal service of its kind. With legal assistance being such an integral part of the benefits offered to trade union members this is a truly exciting innovation of which we are immensely proud.”

Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary said: “GMB is delighted that the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) has granted a licence to this highly innovative new law firm jointly owned by GMB and the Communication Workers Union to serve the needs of almost one million trade union members.

We look forward to providing a one-stop shop for members which will provide a comprehensive legal service, and unlike the High Street, there will not be deductions from their personal injury awards. We have significant plans for the future and look forward to giving trade union members a unique advantage in their choice of legal services.”

GMB Call For Action To Reduce Pollution Levels For Street Cleaners, Refuse & Parking Staff

Localised monitoring has shown some areas with extremely high levels of pollutants so councils should do more to identify the areas and times of day and vulnerable people should also be helped to avoid these areas says GMB.

GMB, the union for street cleaners, refuse workers and parking staff, today publish a new study of official data on the mean average level of PM10 pollutants in the air measured so far for 2014 at 58 monitoring stations across the UK. PM10s are noxious particles which irritate the airways and find their way deep down into the lungs causing breathing difficulties even in healthy people. Workers who work on the roadside such as street cleaners, refuse workers, parking staff and others are particularly exposed to such pollutants. GMB is calling for more localised monitoring and for action to further reduce exposures. The European Union sets PM10 levels at 40ug/m3 (micrograms per cubic metre) on average over a year, while the WHO guidelines put this lower, at 20ug/m3.
John McClean, GMB National Health, Safety and Environment Officer said, “This study shows that there are high levels of PM-10s in areas across the UK. Clean air should be a right, not a privilege.
Road transport is a major cause of air pollution. Exposure is attributed to thousands of deaths and new cases of asthma and bronchitis each year. The World Health Organisation states that there are no safe limits for these particles. Government has to ban high polluting vehicles from our city centres. There is a need to look at the final mile delivery from business to business and to consumers in urban areas being reorganized to be done on a zero emission basis.

More has to be done to force all diesel vehicle manufacturers to fit particulate filters to their vehicles. The mistaken belief that diesel cars are ‘better’ for the environment has to be challenged. Diesel cars emit twenty two times more PM10s that petrol cars do. Public transport must be made clean, reliable and affordable. Councils must improve facilities for cyclists and employers should pay cycle allowances and other incentives to discourage car use. Localised monitoring has shown some areas with extremely high levels of pollutants. So councils should do more monitoring to identify areas and times of day with high levels of pollutants. Doctor’s surgeries should have information on display making vulnerable people aware of these areas so that they can avoid them.

Schools should advise parents and children of the routes to and from schools with the lowest levels of pollutants. Contractors and councils should consider installing monitoring equipment on wagons and barrows. They should look at designing street cleaning and refuse collection routes to avoid the times in the areas with the highest levels of pollutants.” 
Contact: Justin Bowden national officer for contractors on 07710 631351 or John McClean GMB 07710 631 329 or Dan Shears 07918 767781

GMB Strike Ballot - 83% Reject 1% Offer

GMB STRIKE BALLOT IN LOCAL COUNCILS AND SCHOOLS IN ENGLAND, WALES AND NORTHERN IRELAND AS 83% OF MEMBERS REJECT 1% PAY OFFER
Ballot in June and if the result is positive we plan to strike on 10th July as members faced with years of pay freezes, low pay, cuts and job losses say enough is enough says GMB.
GMB is to move to an official strike ballot for members in local councils and schools in England Wales and Northern Ireland after a pay offer of just over 1% was overwhelmingly rejected in a consultative ballot.

GMB asked members to accept the offer or to reject it and support moving to an official ballot for industrial action. 83% voted for the second option.  Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary for Public Services, said “GMB members in councils and schools have spoken loud and clear: they do not want another low pay offer and they are prepared to do something about it.  Members have asked the union to instigate an official strike ballot which the GMB Executive has today approved. We will be balloting members in June and if the result is positive we plan to strike on 10th July.  Industrial action is not our member’s preference but faced with years pay freezes, low pay, cuts and job losses they are saying enough is enough.”

Still the Enemy Within at the Sheffield Doc Fest

By the time that Margaret Thatcher came to power in 1979, the Tories had been planning for years how to crush the trade unions. This archive-rich film takes us back to the frontline of that battleground: the 1984 miners strike. Lasting a year, it brought tens of thousands of miners to the picket lines, in protest at the shutting of collieries, and loss of jobs. Told primarily from the retrospective of the miners’ communities themselves, we hear how the initial euphoria and solidarity evolved into desperation, starvation and bitter division. Interviewees recount how the state ruthlessly confronted the industry - from stockpiling coal before the strike, to ongoing harassment by thousands of riot police throughout, all aided by a relentless national media campaign. The government’s ultimate triumph smoothed the way for a country still determined to sell off its public assets in the pursuit of free enterprise.

Carol Nahra

http://www.showroomworkstation.org.uk/stilltheenemywithinqa

Director: Owen Gower | Producer: Sinead Kirwan, Mark Lacey | Country: United Kingdom | Year: 2014 | Duration: 109 MINS

GMBProtect - Family Protection Insurance


At GMBProtect our aim is to provide GMB members and their families with access to greater financial security through insurance policies that protect against the financial impact of major life traumas. 

Our real understanding of the issues that affect trade union members and a genuine commitment to enhancing the value of membership has helped to establish long-term relationships with major UK trade unions. So far more than 1.5 million people have benefitted from our products and 12 years of experience.

Our current range of products, include:

£5,000 Personal Accident and Accidental Death Cover

As a benefit of your GMB membership, we’re offering you the chance to register for FREE £5,000 Personal Accident and Accidental Death Cover. Cover lasts for 12 months and is guaranteed acceptance for UK residents aged 18-64.

Life Cover

Life insurance is designed to safeguard your family’s financial future after you die. It can provide a lump sum to help pay bills, meet mortgage repayments, cover funeral costs and other expenses too.

Personal Accident and Accidental Death Cover

Personal accident cover is designed to provide financial help via a cash lump sum if you have a serious accident or permanent injury, or if you suffer a fatal accident.

Income Protection

Income protection insurance is designed to support you if you can’t work because you’re ill or injured. It replaces part or all of your income if you can’t work for a while because you’re ill or disabled.

50+ Accident Cover

50+ Accident Cover is designed for over 50’s to cushion the financial impact of an injury by paying out a cash lump sum if you suffer fractures, dislocations, burns or death as a result of an accident.

For more information about the above products and to get a free online quote, visit http://www.gmbprotect.com/gmb. Prefer to chat? Call us free now on 0800 033 4181.

Terms and Conditions apply.

_______________________

GMB is an Introducer Appointed Representative of GMBProtect. GMBProtect is a trading name of Union Income Benefit Holdings Ltd (UIB) who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, register number 307575. This can be checked on the FCA website http://www.fca.org.uk. Registered in England No.03877610 Registered Office: UIB, 4th Floor, 7/10 Chandos Street, London W1G 9DQ. GMB Free £5,000 Personal Accident and Accidental Death cover is underwritten by Stonebridge International Insurance Ltd.

The Un-credible Shrinking Man

UKIP Threat To Workers’ Rights Exposed

Trade Unions for Labour launched a poster campaign on Friday 2 May 2014 to warn workers that UKIP favours scrapping basic rights for workers to maternity leave, sick pay, and paid holiday. The message will be taken on the road over the Bank Holiday weekend to highlight UKIP’s hidden commitment to scrap the workplace rights, including paid holiday, maternity leave and sick pay relied upon by the 31 million working people in the UK. This campaign by unionstogether, the campaigning voice of the trade unions affiliated to the Labour Party, is to take on the serious threat to working people posed by UKIP.

Launching the campaign, chair of TULO and leader of the GMB union, Paul Kenny, warned that Nigel Farage and his party want to take working people back to the ‘dark ages’. Supporters of unionstogether, who are ordinary union members, were invited to vote online to choose the message they thought most important to Britain’s workers. The message, chosen by thousands, will now adorn a mobile billboard, touring the country to urge people: ‘don’t let UKIP steal what matters to you’. The campaign draws attention to some of UKIP’s lesser known policies, put forward just last year in their Small Business Manifesto.

Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary and chair of unionstogether, said “Nigel Farage is just another banker, trying to flog his snake oil while forgetting to tell us about the small print. While UKIP like to portray themselves as the only party that is in touch with working people, the reality is that they support a range of anti-worker policies including scrapping the right to maternity leave, sick pay, and paid holiday leave.

He really does not want people knowing that UKIP will take Britain’s working people back to the dark ages, scrapping basic rights we fought hard for and relied upon by the 31 million workers in this country to make life fairer like maternity leave, sick pay, and paid holiday leave. He can’t swerve the fact that these were written in his name, these are his policies. The ordinary working people who took part in our poll made it clear that they want to expose UKIP for what they are, dangerous, so that is the message that we are taking out to our communities.”

GMB Consultation On The Local Government Pay Offer Now Open

As reported in previous bulletins, GMB is committed to consulting members in local authorities, schools and other employers that are entitled to the NJC pay award over the pay offer that has been made for 2014.  That consultation is now underway and over the next few days all eligible GMB members will receive a voting form so you can have your say.

The offer is for 1% for most people with extra for the very lowest paid.  This is fully explained in a letter accompanying the voting form so you will be able to judge for yourself.  GMB believes that the offer is not good enough and should be rejected with a mandate to ballot for industrial action.  It’s time to say to local government employers that staff deserve a decent pay rise.

If you have not received your voting paper by Tuesday 6 May then please let your GMB office know and we can arrange for a replacement to be sent.  It is absolutely vital that everybody votes - it is your pay and your democratic decision. And if you know of any non members who might like to join GMB and get the chance to vote they can easily do so online at http://www.gmb.org.uk/join.

Number Of Private Landlords Paid Rents From Public Funds Up By 68.7% In Yorkshire & The Humber

The number of private landlords paid rents from public funds is up by 68.7% in the Yorkshire & Humber region. With ‘Buy To Let’ landlords now renting out a million more properties than in 2008 GMB says it would be cheaper to build social housing for rent to stop £9 billion a year lining the pockets of the already wealthy.

In Sheffield there was an increase of 122.6% in the number of private landlords in receipt of rent via housing benefit paid for by taxpayers between November 2008 and November 2013. Sheffield had the highest increase in the number of landlords in the private rented sector in receipt of rent via housing benefit paid for by taxpayers in Yorkshir eand Humber in that period. The next area with the highest growth was Wakefield, up 105.7%, followed by Richmondshire up 93.6%, North Lincolnshire, 92% Leeds 90%, Rotherham 82.9%, Kirklees 72% and Doncaster 71.8%. In the Yorkshire & The Humber in November 2008 there were 87,851 private sector housing benefit. By November 2013 this number had increased by 68.7% to 219,536.

In Great Britain in November 2008 there were 1,054,810 private sector housing benefit claimants.By November 2013 this number had increased by 56% to 1,645,504.
Overall the number of private rented households in England grew from 2,982,000 in 2008 to 3, 956,000 in 2012/13.

These figures are from a new analysis by GMB of housing benefit claimants in the private rented sector for November 2008 and 2013. In Feb GMB published details of the top twenty company landlords in each of the 21 councils in Yorkshire & The Humber 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 to national release on GMB website http://www.gmb.org.uk  and for all 21 Councils in Yorkshire & The Humber and for all councils in Great Britain.

Last year GMB established that of 15,874 dwellings in council blocks in Wandsworth where tenants acquired the leasehold under 1980s “right to buy” legislation some 6,180 dwellings are now owned by private landlords who rent them to private tenants. That is nearly 40% of the total sold by the council. There are 977 private landlords who own more than one of these 6,180 dwellings. One private landlord owns 93, another owns 32, another 15 landlords each own 10 or more and a further 83 landlords each own between 5 and 9 of these dwellings.

Tim Roache, GMB Regional Secretary said, “Buy to Let landlords are now renting out a million more properties than in 2008. In this region the growth in “buy to let” empires is paid for by taxpayers via the massive 68.7% increase in the number of private landlords in receipt of housing benefit. Mrs Thatcher’s Government changed the labour movement traditional policy of spending money on bricks to spending the money on rents. Labour’s John Burns 1907 law to allow councils to build houses for rent was also reversed then.

Since then, £411 billion of public funds has been spent on rents. It would be far cheaper to build social houses for rent and stop at least £9 billion a year lining the pockets of the already wealthy. GMB consider that this was a serious policy mistake and the cost to the public purse is now becoming apparent. We want to see this public money fuelling “buy to let” empires replaced with a system directly benefiting those in need of social housing.
GMB is aiming to secure a fundamental change in policy on funding social housing. This is not a new stance by the union. We want private sector middlemen cut out of public housing provision. We are also seriously concerned about the money spent on rents, rather than bricks and mortar, is fuelling the growth in inequality in our society.”

Workers Memorial Day

Workers Memorial Day is held on 28th April every year and all over the world workers and their representatives conduct events, demonstrations, vigils and other activities to mark the day. The day is intended as a rallying cry to, “Remember The Dead - Fight For The Living!”

First the good news, according to official figures from the Health and Safety Executive, between 1974 (when the Health & Safety At Work Act became law) and 2013, fatal injuries at work fell by 85% and reported non fatal injuries by 77%.

The bad news is what that actually means to workers. HSE figures for 2012/13 recorded 148 people dying at work and a total of 646,000 accidents. Of those 231,000 led to over 3 days absence from work and 175,000 over 7 days. And since the coalition LibCon government came to power, there has been a 40% reduction in funding for the HSE leading to workplace inspections being cut, new regulations blocked, some existing protections removed, reporting requirements undermined and access to compensation being restricted with the burden of proof being removed from employers. The government has also chosen the 40th anniversary of the HASAW Act 74 to remove some 4.3 million self employed workers from the protection of the Act.

A new report shows that contrary to what the press and the government would have you believe, workplace compensation claims have fallen by more than 50% in the last decade with 86% of workers that are hurt or made ill at work receiving no compenstion at all.

Workers Memorial Day - remember the 148 workers that went to work one day but didn’t return home leaving their partners and families devastated, and fight for the living.

Unions and Leeds City College Agree Talks To Save Three Nurseries

UNISON and the GMB will hold meetings with the management of Leeds City College to discuss ways of saving three nurseries catering for students.
If the proposed closures go ahead, 36 trained nursery staff would lose their jobs and students at the college would struggle to find alternative nurseries for their children. 

The college says the nurseries are not being used to full capacity and are running at a loss.  The unions held a meeting of members and students and Leeds Councillors and later met with Leeds City College where the agreement was reached to jointly discuss ways of avoiding closure. 

UNISON Regional Organisers Dean Harper said: “We are pleased about the talks and between us we hope to come up with some plans to increase the number of people using the nurseries.” 

And the GMB’s Rachel Dix said: “This is a step forward and hopefully a step away from closure. We are determined to generate concrete ideas that will secure both the future of nursery provision delivered by Leeds City College and the jobs currently at risk”. 

Ends

For further information contact Dean Harper on 07944 877800 and Rachel Dix on 079581 56839

 

 

 

GMB Community Event

Unions Act To Defend Leeds City College Nurseries

LEEDS UNION MEETING ON MONDAY 7TH APRIL TO STEP UP CAMPAIGN TO KEEP OPEN THREE LEEDS CITY COLLEGE NURSERIES FACING CLOSURE

The College says the nurseries with 36 jobs are not fully used and making losses so test in big city like Leeds is to get these important assets fully used and the losses eliminated says GMB.
GMB and UNISON have organized a meeting from 5pm on Monday 7th April Leeds Civic Hall to step up a campaign to shelve proposals by Leeds City College to close three nurseries catering for students with children. 

Union members and students who would be affected by closure have been invited to discuss what steps to take next in the fight to save jobs and stop the three nurseries closing.
The unions have written jointly to Peter Roberts, Principal and Chief Executive of Leeds City College to say they will do “whatever is necessary” to support their members’ fight to safeguard their jobs and the service they provide.”  Rachel Dix, GMB Regional Organiser, said “These nurseries are an important asset and the staffs are very experienced and it would be a terrible waste of established nurseries to simply close them. 

GMB believe there should be proper, detailed consultation on this issue so that a viable way of running them can be drawn up. At the moment it looks like the management, in isolation, have already decided on closure.  If the plans go ahead, 36 trained nursery staff would lose their jobs and students at the college would struggle to find alternative nurseries for their children.
The College says the nurseries are not being used to full capacity and are running at a loss. What is needed is a plan to get them fully used and eliminate the losses. In a city the size of Leeds this challenge should not be impossible.” 

Dean Harper, UNISON Regional Organiser, said “We argue that there has not been enough proper consultation with ourselves and with the students at Leeds City College who rely on the nurseries to pursue their studies.  Given all the recent coverage of a crisis in nursery provision which has a negative effect on the economy, we feel confident that these nurseries could have a viable future in the city if their spare capacity was made available more widely.”

Ends

Contact Rachel Dix on 07958156839 or Dean Harper on 07944877800 or GMB press office 07921 289880  

Community Event in Leeds Attracts More Than 400

benny148's GMB Community Event 31st March 2014 album on Photobucket

GMB Community Event - Leeds 31st March 2014 - Freedom, Beauty and Equality

How fitting that the GMB should hold an event centred on Freedom, Beauty and Equality 125 years to the day that the union was founded. Will Thorne, founder of the GMB in 1889, famously said ‘There is a world of freedom, beauty and equality to gain’, referring to the hopes of working people in the community.

The event which attracted over 400 people from West Yorkshire included Labour prospective parliamentary candidates, councillors, local election candidates and leaders of the Asian community. 

Imam Qari Asim MBE of the Makkah Masjid Mosque opened the proceedings with verses from the Koran extolling the virtues of harmony and communities working together. Keith Wakefield, Labour leader of Leeds City Council, continued the theme while highlighting the threat to the citizens of Leeds caused by the devastating cuts imposed by the ConDem Government. He spoke of the dangers for those most in need in our society if a Labour Government is not returned in 2015.

Leeds Labour councillor, Javaid Akhtar, also branch secretary of the GMB Yorkshire Professional Drivers’ branch, organised the event along with the key activists of the branch. Aurangzeb Qabal, branch committee member, spoke about the difference the GMB had made to the private hire and hackney trade in Leeds, organising against unfair over regulation, he went on to say that he was totally committed to the GMB and to the Labour Party.

Speaker after speaker praised the GMB for holding the event and for its work in the community. Councillor Naveeda Ikram (first Asian woman city mayor in the UK), Mark Burns Williamson MBE, Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire, Asghar Khan European candidate, Richard Burgon prospective parliamentary candidate for East Leeds, Alex Sobell prospective parliamentary candidate for Leeds West, John Grogan prospective parliamentary candidate for Keighley, Imran Khan Deputy Leader of Bradford Council, councillor Riswan Malik from Bradford, councillors Mohammed Rafique, Arif Hussain and Ghulam Hussain from Leeds, Mr Vakharia from the Hindu Temple in Leeds all thanked the union and the GMB drivers’ branch for the unifying effect of the meeting.

Tim Roache, GMB regional secretary of the Yorkshire and North Derbyshire region, was the final speaker finishing of the event with a rousing speech, attacking the government for the unnecessary pain it was causing working people and their families; he remembered the words of Will Thorne and firmly placed them into context for the community in Leeds in 2014. He spoke about hope and organising for fairness and pledged the region’s support to fight against the privatisation of our services and to campaign for Labour wins in the forth coming Local, European and 2015 General Election.

Community awards were also presented to a number of activists for promoting sports, giving leadership and to the media representatives present.

Councillor Akhtar, said: “This has become the talk of the city.  The event has received national and international coverage in the Asian media. People seemed to like the obvious togetherness of all those present and were impressed at the calibre of speakers.  I keep receiving phone calls from people who attended and the comments I have received are heart-warming, with many saying the event was ‘beautiful’ and ‘unifying’. Social justice seems attainable when we all fight under the GMB banner and this was the best political and organising event that I can remember in my community - the GMB is recognised as an integral part of our lives.


 

GMB Yorkshire & North Derbyshire Region Membership Continues To Grow

The membership reports for March show we have passed the 63,000 members mark. This is about 2 months ahead of when we expected to do so and is due to our continued strong start to the year. We recruited 771 last month and due to our ongoing solid retention we grew by 372, our rolling average now being 625.

Just to put this into perspective our real membership ( once we had cleared the system of non payers) was 55,410 in January 2008 - today we have grown it to 63,171. That’s an increase of 7,761 in 6 years.

Well done everyone. Hard work I know, but building the union always has been, as a region we seem to be good at it!

Thanks for your continued efforts.

Neil Derrick, Senior Organiser & NOT Member

GMB Welcome The Prime Minister’s Statement On Pubs

GMB, the union for tied pub tenants, responded to an exchange on 2nd April 2014 at Prime Ministers Questions on new laws on tied pub rents. The details of the exchange are as follows:

Greg Mulholland (Leeds North West) (LD):

“The Chancellor’s cut in beer duty is great news for Britain’s brewers, as it will allow them to invest, but it will do nothing to help the 20,000 pubs tied to large companies. He has got rid of the fuel duty escalator, the beer duty escalator and the alcohol duty escalator; will the Government now tackle the pubco problem by getting rid of the pubco price escalator?

The Prime Minister:

I thank my hon. Friend for what he said about the cut in beer duty, which is the second in a row in the Budget. It is about making sure that the industry creates jobs and about supporting our pub trade. It was noticeable that straight after the Budget Marston’s announced 3,000 additional jobs. We want to look very carefully at what is happening in tied pubs and at the activities of some pub companies. It has been debated in the House. We are looking very closely at what more we can do to make sure there are fair outcomes for Britain’s publicans and Britain’s pub goers.”

In April 2013 the Department for Business, Innovations and Skills published a draft statutory code for tied pubs for consultation which closed in June. There was an overwhelming and unprecedented response from tenants and the public supporting statutory regulation for a free market for products and fair rents.

GMB is campaigning for Option 3 the “freedom option” in the statutory code. This offers tied tenants the ability to buy products from the open market and pay a fair market rent for the building.   

Steve Kemp, GMB lead organiser for tied pub tenants, said “This reply shows the issue of a new law is a live issue and this is welcome. GMB is campaigning for Option 3 in the statutory code. This will offer tied tenants the ability to buy products from the open market and pay a fair market rent for the building. Interest payments on the huge pubco 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. That is why Enterprise was seeking a 42% increase in rents.

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. The common view that shareholders in the pubcos own a pub business is wrong. In fact the shareholders don’t own a pub business; they own a holding company which invests in and manages incomes from pubs- these are called pub securitisations.

These securitisations are the infernal machine that is closing pubs across the country. It is the same infernal machine that drove Southern Cross care homes to the wall. GMB and others have campaigned for many years for Parliament to legislate to free pubs from this infernal machine before it destroys them all. This statutory code is likely to be our one chance to save local pubs. This campaign exposes the Orwellian world where the pubcos say that regulation to ensure a free market is “red tape”. What Tosh.”

End

Contact Dave Mountford GMB representative for tied pub tenants on 07792 198 954 or 07794 021212 or Steve Kemp 07730 898102

Regional Learning Fund Is Launched

At the regional branch event held in Wakefield, Colin Kirkham, education officer and Tim Roache, regional secretary, launched the new ‘GMB Yorkshire & North Derbyshire Regional Learning Fund’ which came into operation on the 1st April 2014.

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 by clicking here.

GMB Credit Union Continues To Grow

The annual general meeting of TCU Money Ltd, GMB’s credit union, took place on Saturday, 29th March 2014 in the GMB offices, Wakefield with 25 credit union members present. The board of directors, all unpaid GMB members active within their regions, were pleased to report that 2013 was another successful trading year despite the ongoing difficult operating climate.

In line with credit unions elsewhere, there was a drop in levels of borrowing by 4% but the number of savers increased by 6% with 230 new members over the last year. Following a very strong performance, a net profit of over £46,000 has been ploughed back into the business with a dividend of 1.5% being agreed which is better than can be obtained in most places. TCU Money is now up and running in three GMB regions including Yorkshire & North Derbyshire providing access to ethical and cheap financial services for GMB members with hopefully two more to come on stream during 2014 now that TCU has GMB’s blessing nationally.

Board member and GMB senior organiser Graham Benton said, “Our growth rate of 12% annually compares well as people generally are turning away from loan sharks and pay day lenders towards credit unions. Over the last year we lent £2 million to credit union members at highly competitive rates, in fact, TCU will better any loan offer made elsewhere. Now with the option of joining the credit union and managing loans online, together with the availability of deposit accounts for union branches, we look forward to assisting more and more GMB members in managing their money during 2014/15. Existing credit union members should be aware that there is still a £10 bonus for introducing new members!”

For further information, please phone 0161 486 1777, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or go online at http://www.thornecreditunion.com for further details.

GMB Advise Rejection Of 1% Council Pay Offer

It is time to say ‘enough is enough’ and we are confident our members want to show their anger and frustration by rejecting the paltry 1% offer and opting instead for industrial action says GMB.

GMB, the union for local government workers, held a national meeting of shop stewards and workplace representatives on 31st March to consider the 1% pay offer for local government workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary for Public Services, said, “The national meeting of senior lay representatives unanimously agreed to consult our 220,000 GMB members on the offer. The meeting agreed to recommend that members reject this offer and that they be asked if they will support industrial action. Council staff have had only a 1% pay rise in the last five years and it is a terrible indictment that the national minimum wage has caught up with them. It’s scandalous to think that people who work for Councils could not legally be paid any less, yet day in and day out they serve their communities in schools and academies, care homes, emptying bins and cleaning streets, protecting vulnerable children and all the other jobs they do.

Local Authorities have had their budgets slashed by this Coalition government but have also accepted council tax freezes and squirrelled cash away in reserves. The net result is that Council staff have had 18% real terms pay cuts and suffered 440,000 job losses. GMB believes it is high time to say ‘enough is enough’ and we are confident our members want to show their anger and frustration by rejecting the paltry 1% offer and opting instead for industrial action.”

GMB Sees Off Bid By Pub Bosses To Increase Rent By 42%

Claire Muldoon, a GMB tied tenant in the Patternmakers Arms, Duffield, refused to pay the extra money and, with the support of her union, has signed a new deal that is better that her existing one.

GMB rep Dave Mountford said: “It has been incredibly hard work with a fair amount of unpleasantness but this deal secures the future of the Pattenmakers Arms. Claire has taken a lot of stick but she has stuck to her guns and has now got a new deal that is better than her existing arrangement. This is an important result because it is a high-profile case but is by no means unique. The majority of publicans don’t know what they can achieve by fighting back because so many are unaware of their rights. Ultimately, the case of the Pattenmakers Arms shows what is going on in the industry and it isn’t just Enterprise Inns who are not following the guidelines.”

In late 2013 Claire whose five-year agreement was up in April 2014 was told that she has no automatic right to renewal. Her Regional Manager, Ashley Lovett offered her a new tenancy with a 42% increase in rent from £16,470 to £23,450. 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 more than 100 people. After that the MP presented a petition on behalf of the local residents to Dr Cable.

On the claim that Claire had no automatic right to renew the lease GMB checked out the legal position, the lease and the paperwork. GMB concluded that Sections 24 – 28 of the Landlord and Tenant Act applied and Claire had a right to renew her lease. The Patternmakers is one of 25,000 pubs owned by big property companies like Enterprise which are piled up with billions of pounds worth of debts. They are overcharging publicans for drinks – wet rent – as well trying to drive up rents – dry rents – in order to pay the interest charges.

In April 2013 Department for Business, Innovations and Skills published a draft statutory code for tied pubs for consultation which closed in June. There was an overwhelming and unprecedented response from tenants and the public supporting statutory regulation for a free market for products and fair rents. GMB is campaigning for Option 3 the “freedom option” in the statutory code. This offers tied tenants the ability to buy products from the open market and pay a fair market rent for the building.

Dave Mountford said: “On the wider we need Option 3 in the statutory code. This will offer tied tenants like Claire Muldoon the ability to buy products from the open market and pay a fair market rent for the building. Interest payments on the huge pubco 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. That is why Enterprise was seeking a 42% increase in rents. 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.

The common view that shareholders in the pubcos own a pub business is wrong. In fact the shareholders don’t own a pub business; they own a holding company which invests in and manages incomes from pubs – these are called pub securitisations. These securitisations are the infernal machine that is closing pubs across the country. It is the same infernal machine that drove Southern Cross care homes to the wall. GMB and others have campaigned for many years for Parliament to legislate to free pubs from this infernal machine before it destroys them all. This statutory code is likely to be our one chance to save local pubs. This campaign exposes the Orwellian world where the pubcos say that regulation to ensure a free market is “red tape”. What tosh!”

GMB Founded 125 Years Ago Today

The GMB union was founded 125 years ago on 31st March 1889 by gas workers in east London who fought and won the battle for an eight hour day. As a result of their victory, led by one of the greatest pioneers of the Labour movement, Will Thorne, general unionism spread like wild fire throughout Britain and Ireland and liberated millions from a world of unrelenting toil says GMB.

Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary said “The National Union of Gasworkers & General Labourers was formed on 31st March 1889. For 125 years GMB has organised and represented workers in Britain and Ireland in a wide range of industries and public services. GMB has made a major contribution to the part played by trade unions in a healthy democracy. GMB speaks out on behalf of its members and is fearless in the fight for economic and social justice.

Its first battle in spring 1889 ended with the birth of the 8 hour working day. This set the goal for all working people who until then toiled for 12 hours a day. As a result of their victory general unionism spread like wild fire throughout Britain and Ireland and liberated millions from a world of unrelenting toil. GMB as it is today is the result of mergers and amalgamations of unions throughout the last century but mainly in the last 30 years.

Asked why he had dedicated his life to the labour and trade union movement founder Will Thorne explained, “There is a world of freedom, beauty and equality to gain, where everyone will have an opportunity to express the best that is in them for the benefit of all, making the world a place more to our heart’s desire and the better to dwell in.”  These principles guide GMB today as we honour its founders and their slogan that unity is strength.”

Security Industry Association Advise That Paper Based Applications Will Stop

The private security industry told the SIA they wanted a modern, more efficient, and faster system of applying for new licences. They listened, and worked with the industry to provide it. The new licence application service with the Post Office is faster and easier; reduces errors and discourages fraud; and also saves the applicant having to spend money on photographs and postage. 
The Post Office will complete licence applications by:

Checking and returning the applicants documents,
Taking a digital photograph and an electronic signature, and
Taking payment of the application fee.

The service is already a success and has become the most popular way to apply for a licence, so from 7 April that will be the way for an individual to apply for an SIA licence - any old-style paper applications we receive after 7 April will be returned to the applicant.

Individuals

The only way to apply for a new licence will be to fill in your application online at the SIA website; you will then be told which identity and other documents to take to one of over 750 post offices around the country to complete your application.

Licence renewals: Individuals renewing their licence can use the telephone renewals service, as now.

http://www.sia.homeoffice.gov.uk/Pages/licensing-applying.aspx

xConference & Training Centre - Wakefield

GMB Training & Conference Centre

The GMB regional office in Wakefield offers conference and meeting room facilities of an excellent standard in a welcoming and professional environment and at very competitive rates.
____________________________________________

Conference Room
Facility to convert into one large conference room that can accommodate up to 50 people theatre style layout with the following provided: Tea/coffee and water machine, flipchart, pad and pens, projector/laptop, Wifi.  The room can be adapted to various styles of layout to accommodate different types of meetings.

____________________________________________

2 Meeting Rooms
Can accommodate between four and 30 people depending on the preferred layout.  Ideal for interview use or for more informal occasions.

____________________________________________


Convenient Location
We are only ten minutes’ walk from Wakefield bus station and 25 minutes’ walk (five in a taxi) from Wakefield Westgate train station.

____________________________________________

Contact Us
To discuss your specific meeting requirements or if you would like to view the facilities please contact Mandy Roache on 01924 887260 or email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Booking Form.docx

For details of our Brighouse Training & Conference Centre click here.

Community Event Leeds Monday, 31st March 2014 at 5pm

The GMB union is holding an event in conjunction with the West Yorkshire Asian Community at Woodsley Road Community Centre in Leeds at 5pm on the 31st March 2014. The event is aimed at cementing relations between the GMB union and the Asian Community in West Yorkshire and building on a series of projects that the GMB have organised in recent years.
The event is expected to attract over 400 attendees including the Leader of Leeds City Council, Keith Wakefield, councillors, Imams and community leaders from Leeds, Bradford, Kirklees, Wakefield and Calderdale.

The GMB has provided community training and a number of learning centres in conjunction with its Yorkshire Professional Drivers’ Association which is made up of mainly private hire and hackney drivers.

Leeds City Councillor and branch secretary of the association, Javaid Akhtar, said: “This is a community event but it’s also political, it’s a gathering of influential leaders from our community under the umbrella of the GMB union. We will be fighting in the Local and European Elections in May for all the people in Leeds and West Yorkshire who have suffered from the cuts imposed on Northern Councils by the Con-Dem Government. The introduction of the Bedroom Tax has hit the most vulnerable in our society and we are getting together to build a resistance.”

Tim Roache, GMB regional secretary, commented: “The GMB has been in existence in one form or another since 1889 and we have always worked in and with our local communities, 125 years of helping working people organise themselves to stand up against inequality. The GMB will assist those in our society who are treated unfairly, who suffer from discrimination and prejudice.”

A report by the European Network Against Racism Director, Micheal Privot, states that the ongoing financial and economic crisis that Europe has faced over the last 6 years has worsened the situation for minorities. For example, in the UK people with foreign sounding names are a third less likely to be short listed for jobs than people with white British sounding names. Even when they are in a job, ethnic and religious minorities continue to face unequal treatment, lower wages, glass ceilings, difficult working conditions, zero hours contracts and harassment.

The event will be held at Woodsley Road Community Centre - 64 Woodsley Road,  Leeds,  LS3 1DU

For further comment or details please contact Javaid Akhtar 07830243149, Tim Roache 0845 337 7777 or Bill Chard 07958156838

Local Government Pay Offer

New Pay Offer - 21 March 2014.docx

Yesterday, 20 March, the Local Government Employers made a new pay offer for NJC staff.  The increases, to be effective from 1 April 2014, can be found in the bulletin attached. There are no conditions or strings attached to this offer which is for a one year deal.

You will recall that the employers’ previous position had been to suggest that they would offer 1% minus the cost of the National Minimum Wage.  Their offer now is 1% plus some extra for the lowest paid.  Therefore this is an improvement but it is still roughly 1% for the vast majority of staff.  That goes nowhere near our claim for £1 an hour nor does it make up for the losses you have suffered in recent years.

GMB had been consulting members on the employers’ earlier position and that was showing very strong support for taking industrial action.  Now that we have a new offer it is only right that I start a new consultation to give all affected GMB members the opportunity to decide whether this should be accepted or rejected.  I will let you know when the consultation is open and how to vote.  Please share this with colleagues who are not union members so that they can join GMB using the link below to ensure they too get a vote.  The more we are, the stronger our voice.

GMB To Consult On New Offer For Local Government Workers

Extra for the lowest paid is welcome but worth only a few pence extra and hour leaving the local government workforce as the poor relations of the public sector says GMB.

GMB, the union for local government workers, responded to the pay offer from the employers from April 2014 for 1.5 million local council workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The offer is for Scale point 5 the lowest rate- 4.66%, Scale point 6 - 4.36%, Scale point 7 - 3.10%, Scale point 8 - 2.06%, Scale point 9 - 1.46%, Scale point 10 - 1.25% and Scale point 11 and above - 1%.

Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary for Public Services, said “The 1.5 million strong local government workforce will be dismayed that nearly all of them will be getting just a 1% pay rise. The extra for the lowest paid is welcome but is worth only a few pence extra on the hourly rate. It still leaves the local government workforce as the poor relations of the public sector. And councils can afford more. They are squirreling away hundreds of millions in reserves. We will now be consulting GMB members who I expect will say it is not good enough.”

Community Organising Project Comes To An End

The GMB Community Organising Project Team would like to inform that we are at the end of our current project,  which completes on the 31st March 2014, and will return with an exciting new project “Working Towards Work” which commences on the 22nd April 2014.

Should you have an urgent query between the 31st March and 22nd April, please contact one of the three Regional Union Learning Committee members who have volunteered to provide a ‘postbox’ service, and will endeavour to answer your query:

Secretary - Sarah Barnes - 07984 689236 - .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  /  .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Chair - David Wallace - 01246 453217 - .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Deputy Chair - Angela Cooper - 07891 279686 - .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Thank you for your support throughout the duration of the Community Organising Project.

Kind regards.

Geoff Burrow
Community Organising Project Manager

Local Government Pay Is Not Enough And It’s Time To Take Action

While pleading poverty, Councils have squirrelled away £2.6 billion in reserves in the last year alone!

Did you know that:

• Local government is the lowest paid in the whole public sector
• Since 2010 local government pay has fallen 18% behind the cost of living
• Over 500,000 local government staff earn less than the Living Wage
• The local government pay bill has fallen by 23% in the last two years
• There have been 440,000 job losses and the people left have had to pick up more work as a result.

The facts speak for themselves.  Everyone working in schools and local authorities have a clear, justified case for a decent pay rise and the trade union claim for £1 an hour increase is fair and affordable.

But the employers have said they will only put a 1% pot on the table and they want to take some of that to meet their statutory obligation to pay the National Minimum Wage – incidentally, isn’t it appalling that councils have let pay slip so badly that we have public servants on the minimum wage?  The net result would be that the pay offer for 2014 would be less than 1%.

Unless we do something about it.  First, we have to say loud and clear that this is totally unacceptable.

Then, we have to show that we are prepared to take action.

This is a difficult course.  Nobody wants to take action that will put their service users or the children they support to any inconvenience.  But if we don’t act we will be consigning hundreds of thousands of school and council staff to low pay for years to come.  And unless staff are treated fairly the long term consequences for those very services will be worse.

There are two simple things you can do to help and they will only take a few minutes of your time.  One is to complete our short survey to say what you think about the pay situation.  You can do this online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/GMBLocalGovPay2014, or by using the form attached to this bulletin.  The other is to talk to your work colleagues who may not be union members and explain why pay is an issue that everyone should be working together on.  If you want to have more information about helping other colleagues join GMB please let me know using .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

These simple steps will make a big difference.  Please take them to support GMBs campaign to get you a fair pay settlement for 2014.

Pay Survey Download.docx

Regional Learning & Organising Strategy

GMB YORKSHIRE & NORTH DERBYSHIRE REGION

LEARNING & ORGANISING STRATEGY

• GMB will increase the life chances of its members in the workplace and the community using lifelong learning
• Standard and quality is guaranteed
• Member development to reach full potential
• Flexible learning in our communities
• Create alternative education models
• Learning to enhance employment opportunities
• Improving and enhancing the quality of members lives and their communities

GMB LEARNING COORDINATORS

GMB CORE BUSINESS

• Officer 100% campaigns
• Maximising membership where we have recognition
• Member retention – back to work
• Community Organising
• Integrating with the Regional Organising Team

TEN STEPS TO SUSTAINABILITY

• Identify and elect ULR’s
• Train ULR’s
• Establish a Learning Committee
• Learning Agreement signed by Officer
• Conduct a learning survey
• Good communication
• Continue ULR training at stage 2
• Promoting learning through the GMB
• Set up learning centres
• Interlink through the branch with other workplace reps

GMB ALTERNATIVE EDUCATION MODEL FOR MEMBERS

• Develop a funding stream through an annual branch levy
• Learning centres to commence drawing down funding direct to the learning centre
• Initial Regional financial support
• Utilise any ULF projects available
• Work in partnership with providers

KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATOR CHART

• Members recruited
• Members on courses
• ULR’s recruited
• ULR’s trained to Stage 1, Stage 2 and Advanced Level
• ULR’s on branch committees
• Members gaining employment
• Members offered Information, Advice and Guidance, leading to refreshing their skills, Up skilling and Continued Professional Development
• Changes in facility time agreements and new learning agreements
• Producing a Regional ULR Guidance Manual

RECORDING PROCEDURES

• Reports submitted to each learning committee meeting
• Membership growth figures directly contributed to by the initiative
• Increased ULR activity in the workplace
• Unemployed members returning to work
• Employed members progression
• Strengthening of community links e.g. Migrant Workers, Under 16’s, Unemployed

xSports Section - Hospitality Offer

Sports’ Hospitality Packages

The region is now able to offer various hospitality packages, free to GMB members, as part of our sponsorship of Castleford Tigers, Featherstone Rovers, Keighley Cougars and Doncaster Belles Ladies’ Football Team for 2014.

The various packages are open to members and particularly activists as a small thank you from us for all the work that you do.  Games will be offered on a first come, first served basis and will be limited to one per branch/workplace at least to start off with to ensure everybody gets an opportunity to go along to a game.

You will see how to apply and the application form is part of the attachment.

Good luck and best wishes….
Hospitality Packages for 2014.pdf

 

79% Fall In Tribunal Claims Since Fees Introduced

Charging £250 to issue a claim and between £960 and £1,060 for a hearing has priced workers out of tribunals since 29th July last year says GMB.

GMB responded to new figures showing that for employment tribunals the number of claims received in October to December 2013 was 9,801 – 79% fewer than in the same period of 2012, and 75% fewer than last quarter.

Maria Ludkin, GMB National Corporate Affairs and Legal Officer said, “These figures confirm our fears that government changes to time limits and introduction of fees has had devastating impact on access to justice for working people. To suggest a 79% reduction is part of a long term declining trend is frankly laughable. Charging £250 to issue a claim and between £960 and £1,060 for a hearing has priced workers out of tribunals since 29th July last year. We predicted that this would happen but it fell on deaf ears in a government made up of the multimillionaire elite.”

GMB Welcomes A Move To Ban Backlisting Under EU Law

GMB European officer Kathleen Walker Shaw said:  “We have worked closely with MEPs for two years to ensure that the revision of the Data Protection rules now includes specific measures to outlaw blacklisting across the EU, and welcomes the European Parliament’s support today. GMB had called for the amendment to ensure that sensitive data including membership and activities in trade unions should under no circumstances be used to put workers on blacklists, and to vet or bar them from future employment. It also explicitly prohibits the processing, drawing up and passing on of blacklists.
The measures require governments to adopt adequate sanctions and penalties to enforce these measures. Existing UK legislation will need to be strengthened to ensure companies acting illegally in blacklisting workers are forced to own up, clean up and pay up.”

GMB national officer Justin Bowden said: “Over 3,200 workers were found to have been on the blacklist yet to date none have been compensated for the devastation caused to workers and their families through being barred from employment. GMB continues its campaign to get justice for these workers, and we hope that these measures will help us to address this scandal. Many of the companies using this blacklist were European-based multinationals, and GMB has been working with our European trade union colleagues to target these companies and bring them to book.

GMB believes no public or government authority should use taxpayers’ money to award public contracts to blacklisting companies who have failed to compensate workers fully and have cleaned up their act”

GMB Members in Schools - NUT Industrial Action

The NUT have announced that they intend to take 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 26th March 2014.

GMB ADVICE
GMB respects the rights of other trade unions to take industrial action. GMB members in schools have not been balloted to take part in any form of industrial action and therefore they are advised to continue with their normal duties and responsibilities.  However, GMB members should not take on any additional responsibilities that are given to them directly as a result of the teacher’s industrial action.

For e.g. School support staff should not be expected to provide cover for or take classes, where teachers who are taking part in the action would normally do this. In particular, Higher Level Teaching Assistants or cover supervisors should only take classes or provide cover where it is timetabled as part of their normal contractual duties. Staff should not be moved from the duties they would normally carry out in order to frustrate the industrial action of colleagues. 

GMB members who come under pressure to cover should contact their GMB rep, branch or region for further advice and support.

If anyone is not a member -  JOIN GMB online at http://www.gmb.org.uk/join

GMB Advice To Members.doc

Consultation Meetings - Sheffield City Council Formal Proposals For Revised Pay

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 Council and they have now submitted their final proposal for a new pay settlement and this proposal covers the next 4 years.
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 and represented a much bigger detriment than this new proposal.
There have been proposals since and counter-proposals from at least one of the other unions. No matter how we cut it though they all amount to a detriment for workers who earn more than £21,000. 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) and 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 have attached the full offer and a ballot form and we have arranged another consultation meeting at the Library theatre in the City Centre.  Paid release for members to attend has been secured. Please also contact your conveners if you can’t make this meeting and would prefer a work-place consultation meeting instead.
GMB Member consultation meetings:

19th March 12:00 – 1:00pm and 5:00 – 6:00pm (Library Theatre, Surrey Street, S1 1XZ)

Council Offer:

START……..
SHEFFIELD CITY COUNCIL FORMAL PROPOSALS FOR REVISED PAY ARRANGEMENTS

Background:
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
• Craft

• There are separate proposals in respect of Soulbury staff.


Principles:
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 red-circling 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.

Voluntary Schemes
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 ranges 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
Julie Toner
Director of Human Resources
24 February2014
END……………………………..

A ballot form is attached and given the reasons that have been set out above we believe that this offer represents an improvement for the vast majority of our members. It is the best that we believe can be achieved through the current negotiations and in the current economic environment. It is for that reason that we must recommend acceptance.
If the offer is accepted we will sign a collective agreement with the Council. If the offer is rejected we will ask the Council to withdraw it and in the event that they refuse or do not table an improved offer, we will ballot for industrial action, including strike action and action short of strike action.
Regards
Peter Davies
(GMB Organiser)
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

£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

Background

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
• Craft

There are separate proposals in respect of Soulbury staff.

Principles

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.

Voluntary Schemes

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.

Julie Toner
Director of Human Resources

24 February2014

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.”

End

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

PUMA Discount Offer

GMB is proud to announce an exclusive sports retail partnership with Genesis Sports, Official Licensee for PUMA in the UK & Ireland

The agreement allows GMB members to purchase personalised leisure wear with 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/

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.

RLF Application Form.docx
RLF Terms and Conditions.docx

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.

8th March York Demo.pdf

Smart Energy

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
07958 156843

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
07918 905615

Sheffield 12-2pm Leafleting Town Hall and Petition Launch Pinstone St, Sheffield, South Yorkshire S1 2HH Pete Davies
07501 228313

Calderdale 12.30 pm – 1.30 pm Leafleting Northgate House, Civic Buildings Northgate House, Halifax HX1 1UN
Gary Baker
07958 156837

Huddersfield 12.30 pm Rally Town Hall and leafleting Ramsden Street, Huddersfield, HD1 2TA Neil Cole
07974 250952

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.”
Ends

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.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/markets/article-2550090/Dont-bar-Pub-landlords-fight-voice-Punch-Taverns-crisis-talks.html#ixzz2sGVAHn52

Source: Financial Mail On Sunday 2/2/14

GMB Branch Activity Weekend 1st & 2nd February 2014

Report to follow.

 

in