GMB To Take Part In Talks To Resolve Pay Dispute For Police Civilian Staff
Talks have been continuing with the police employers during the preparation for our industrial action over the 2014 pay dispute. In order to enable these positive talks to continue, UNISON, Unite and GMB have asked the employers to extend the period in which we can call industrial action to the end of January. This extension has been agreed, and as a result we have agreed to withdraw the industrial action scheduled before Christmas.
The extension of the period in which we can call industrial action provides a ‘window’ of opportunity for our negotiators to see if we can get an improved offer which we could recommend to members. We will know this very early in the New Year.
Sharon Holder, GMB National Officer, added “It was always GMB’s view that this dispute should be resolved around the negotiating table and we are pleased that this can now take place.”
GMB Hearing In High Court In London Resumed To Secure Compensation For Blacklisted Workers
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. 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.
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. GMB held 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 started in Darlington 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”. In the New Year dates of the second leg of the tour will be announced.
Justin Bowden, GMB national officer said, “The GMB campaign to get justice for blacklisted workers went back to the High Court. In addition, in the New Year the second leg of the “crocodile tears” tour to name and shame managers who organised the blacklist will be announced. These managers 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.”
GMB Christmas Jumper Appeal for Save The Children
By 9.10am this morning staff and officers at GMB’s Wakefield office had raised £75 for the Save the Children Christmas Jumper Appeal, just by wearing a Christmas jumper and making a small donation to a fantastic cause. And it’s not too late to spread the ‘jumper joy’ and donate a few quid!! You can donate through the region by simply sending a cheque made payable to GMB (don’t forget to let us know who you are and to say it’s for the Christmas Jumper Appeal) and we will do the rest.
Extract from Save the Children website
What is Christmas Jumper Day?
We’re asking people to make the world better with a sweater by wearing a Christmas jumper for the day and donating to Save the Children (we’re asking grown-ups for a suggested £2 and schools and children for £1 per woolly).
So dig out your winter knitwear and join us! If you don’t own a festive sweater you could tinsel up an ordinary jumper, go all out with sequins and snowmen, or even knit your own.
When is it?
Christmas Jumper Day 2014 is on Friday 12 December.
Can I do it at another time?
Yes! We’d love as many people as possible to organise their Christmas Jumper Day on Friday 12 December, but if you can’t make this date then please pop on your pullovers any time around Christmas.
Who can take part?
Everyone! We want to spread the jumper joy to offices, schools and homes around the country. So get your workplace, school, friends and family involved, and help us raise as much as we can to help transform children’s lives.
GMB Support TUC Organised Decent Jobs Week From 15th to 21st December
Pay for full time workers in the lowest graded jobs including security guards, shelf fillers, hospital porters, kitchen and catering assistant jobs, waiters and waitresses and bar staff is still 12.6% below its value in 2007 says GMB. GMB is supporting Decent Jobs Week running from 15th to 21st December which is organized by the TUC with a series of events across England and Wales to raise awareness about workers in precarious and low paid jobs struggling to make ends meet.
Events are planned to draw attention to the millions of workers in the UK trapped in low paid and insecure jobs. There are more than 1.4 million zero-hours contracts in use, offering no steady work. Others, such as agency and casual workers, lose out on important rights and benefits.
Events in our region are planned as follows:
16 December Leeds 12.00 – 14.00 Leeds City Centre, Briggate.
20 December York 11.00 – 14.00 York City Centre, St Helen’s Square.
Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary said “In the run up to Christmas we need to focus on the working poor struggling to make ends meet on wages that have not kept pace with prices that are up by a quarter since 2007.
The welcome increase in the levels of economic activity is partly linked to population growth as GDP per head is still 3% below 2007 levels so many workers have seen no sign of the upturn.
The real value of take home pay for workers is 10.4% below pre–recession levels while many of the new jobs are precarious and badly paid.
It is the lowest paid who have been worst affected by the recession. The real value of earnings for full time workers in the lowest graded jobs in UK is still 12.6% below its value in 2007. This group of workers include security guards, shelf fillers, hospital porters, kitchen and catering assistant jobs, waiters and waitresses and bar staff.
At the forthcoming General Election the Labour Party will offer hope of a better future in contract to the Tories who are offering another five years of despair with pay freezes and austerity”.
This is what five GMB members on low pay recently told the union: “Watching your money is always a stress, questioning yourself, do we need this? can we go without that? It’s a drain. Telling your children we can’t afford things when their friends have them is heart breaking when they are crying and feel left out.”
“I have a wife and two young daughters aged 3 & 8. Currently I go to work at 7 am and don’t get home until 7pm or even later. For the majority of the days in a week I do not get to see my children at all but I have to work these crazy hours to pay the bills and keep my kids fed and in clothes.
“My quality of life is zero because I simply have to work all the time and have little to no family life at all. My company does not pay overtime either, so it is really tough just to earn enough to scrape through the weeks and months.”
“If I could do less hours but have a higher rate of pay, then I would be happier. In my current position the workload for me has increased since 2008 but wages have not kept up. I used to work regular overtime until it was stopped. Now when I have done my work for the week, I am shattered, as I have to cram in more responsibilities into my hours for no more money. If I could revert back to doing less in my working day, then I would consider more hours. I’m not workshy, but my health has to be a major consideration.”
“Difficult! If something went wrong with my car I couldn’t commute to work nor could I buy a new one. The bus service costs too much to use daily and in my area is so unreliable I couldn’t in good faith tell my employer I would never be late. With the wages being so low at times I feel depressed as I’m working to just stay alive. What sort of life is it that you work until you die and have no enjoyment or anything to show for your time on the earth!”
GMB Members Embroiled in Bitter Battle with Waste Recycling Company
Green Co members (Sheffield Household Waste Recycling Centres) are embroiled in a bitter battle after staff have been sacked or forced to leave their jobs in a long dispute about how the centres are being run. Bullying, pay and poor welfare facilities are the key issues.
Intermittent strikes commenced in October and a continuous strike started in November and is currently suspended to allow the Client (Sheffield City Council) time to investigate and intervene. The contract, for instance, cannot be altered whilst there is a strike underway. GMB reps, Jim Rodgers and Gordon Parkes, organised a 2 hour walk out in between strikes after a disabled worker was bullied for taking part in the intermittent strikes. The GMB agreed to Sheffield City Councils, and their main contractors (Veolia), request to suspend the current action in order to put new proposals to this sub-contracted company, Green Co, that would have gone some way to resolving the dispute. The company refused to accept these proposals on Friday, November 21st and furthermore sacked our reps the following Tuesday for the 2 hour walk out that took place on October 16th.
This may well be a final attempt to break the resolve of our members in this dispute, a last hoorah or an attempt to get us back out on strike. Green Co have invested thousands in, what they describe as, an army of temps ready to take their slots (jobs).
We must give the Council every opportunity to intervene despite this appalling attack on our people and for that reason, we are launching a fighting fund to support these sacked reps whilst we carry that fight forward.
GMB Protest At Next Warehouse On Friday, 5th December 2014 at 10am
GMB is organising a protest on Friday 5th December in South Elmsall, West Yorkshire in response to the report that NEXT offered Christmas jobs to Polish workers at the warehouse there before being advertised in Britain. This coincides with the national tour by Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott calling on NEXT to pay enough hours of work for people to live on and as a first step towards £10 per hour living wage pay £7.85 per hour and £9.20 per hour in London. Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott tour reaches Yorkshire on 4th December when they play in Sheffield.
The details of the West Yorkshire protest are as follows:
10am, Friday 5th December 2014
Outside a NEXT warehouse
at the junction of Elmsall Drive and Elmsall Way
The protest will be attended by GMB members and people from the local community. GMB will present an ASBO to NEXT for failing to make work pay for workers and for being an employer that does not face up to its social responsibilities. GMB protesters will be available for interview.
Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary, said “This is a protest against gross abuse of UK and migrant workers by NEXT. Sadly this abuse is not unique. All over Europe there are labour agencies exploiting posted workers on a massive scale. Internal EU wide union estimates show that approximately one million workers are exploited as posted workers annually. We have to face up to the brutal fact that whatever the European vision was on integration, harmony, economic advancement and political stability, what we currently have isn’t it.
The free movement of labour and the single market were to be balanced by the social charter where all the people of Europe would live in freedom and with those in the poorer economies, benefitting from the harmonisation of standards across all member states. There were to be standards on workers protection, TUPE, excessive hours, health & safety, information and consultation and so many others were meant to keep labour exploitation in check. That dream has been chipped away at for years. Right wing governments and employer have engineered massive change in the direction of the EU vision. Judgements in the European Courts like Viking and Laval were the green light to massive assaults on organised labour across Europe, but especially in the UK.
From Lindsey Oil refinery to food production we have seen workers recruited in certain member states by agencies and exploited. They were shipped in “literally” in order to undermine the terms and conditions of existing workers on those contracts. Both sets of workers have been let down by UK Government, the EU Commission and the European Court. On exploitation – don’t blame the exploited; damn those who exploit. This has been repeated up and down the country over recent years. And that is part of the discontent that extreme political parties turn into xenophobic rhetoric to win votes. Look past the simplistic tag and face the challenge of exploitation. Let’s reach out to those migrant workers not attack them, but organise and protect them.”
GMB On The Autumn Statement
GMB commented on the Autumn Statement delivered on 3rd December 2014 by George Osborne Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary said “The so called “prudent” Mr Osborne will borrow more in five years at the Treasury than Labour chancellors he labels as profligate did in thirteen. The welcome increase in economic activity is partly linked to population growth as GDP per head is still 3% below 2007 levels. The real value of take home pay for workers is 13% below pre–recession levels while many of the new jobs are precarious and badly paid. If this is success I would not like to think what failure looks like.”
Four GMB members on low pay told the union:
“I have a wife and two young daughters aged 3 & 8. Currently I go to work at 7 am and don’t get home until 7pm or even later. For the majority of the days in a week I do not get to see my children at all but I have to work these crazy hours to pay the bills and keep my kids fed and in clothes. My quality of life is zero because I simply have to work all the time and have little to no family life at all. My company does not pay overtime either, so it is really tough just to earn enough to scrape through the weeks and months.”
” I never go on holiday, can’t afford a car, don’t eat much meat as I can’t afford to, only buy Christmas present for my daughter, never go out, don’t buy new clothes.”
“Everyday bills all mount up and once they are all paid you have very little for food or to go and enjoy life.”
“Every penny needs to be accounted for. We buy supermarkets own brands, collect save money coupons and buy one get one free.”
Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary for public services, said “Osborne’s forecasts on the deficit reduction have been dismal and his latest forecasts will be no different. Downgrading growth forecasts and downgrading tax rates add up to very deep cuts reducing public spending to the lowest proportion of GDP for 80 years. The OBR say we are only 40% along the way with a further 60% of cuts still to be implemented to fill the cavernous fiscal hole. The public service spending cuts that have already happened have had a traumatic effect on elderly care, children’s services and other basic support for our communities.
The services that have already been cut by one third face cuts of another third. Cuts in expenditure of this order for law enforcement, armed forces, social and community services and public sector pay are not remotely realistic. Supporting further cuts is to condone more failures in services to the most vulnerable and needy in society and to undo the glue of a civilised society. That is the harsh reality of the choice to be made at the next election. GMB demands that the Chancellor come clean now and tell the British public exactly what services he would cut.”
Construction Unions Demonstrate At Westminster Against Umberella Companies
Rather than pay workers in a standard PAYE manner there has been a mass move to pay workers via umbrella companies, which charge their ‘employees’ for their services. They also charge the worker both employers’ and employees’ national insurance contributions and they have been alleged to add strange inexplicable charges. Not only are construction workers losing out – typically by up to £120 a week – but so is the exchequer.
Phil Whitehurst, GMB national officer for construction, explained: “An umbrella company is a company that acts as an employer to agency workers like construction and other workers. So instead of their being two parties the contractor and the worker, umbrella arrangements usually involve four parties – the worker, the contractor, the agency and the umbrella company. On construction sites there will be a main contractor, and often multiple layers of subcontractors, employment agencies but the worker’s employment contract is with the umbrella company, not the agency. Normally the agency will agree a job and pay rate with a contractor and then contact the worker about the job. The umbrella company receives the payment from the contractor for the work done by the worker. It processes the payment, deducting PAYE income tax, employee’s and employer’s National Insurance contributions and the umbrella company’s fee.
The residual sum is then paid to the worker as net pay. Often workers are officially paid at the national minimum wage, despite having negotiated a pay rate far in excess of this figure. Pay is then partially re-boosted through scams using expenses, performance related pay and other methods. Payslips are often so complex that workers tell us that they do not understand how their pay is being calculated. Many umbrella companies also withhold an amount of money that should be paid to the worker at a later date in the form of holiday pay but is not paid. The benefit to construction companies and agencies of using umbrella companies is that of reducing tax and national insurance liabilities. These liabilities and other costs, including the cost of the employer’s NI contributions and the umbrella company fee for providing payroll services, are passed on to the construction workers. This is an abuse.
We have construction companies negating their responsibilities of direct employment by using parasitic umbrella companies and forcing workers into accepting the terms offered or they quite simply don’t get the work. These spurious tax avoidance contracts leave staff with no employment or financial stability. They are very often put on zero hours contracts with holiday and other payments rolled up into one composite rate of pay. Workers are then forced by the very nature of the contracts to pay both the employees and the employers National Insurance contributions. This can cost them up to £120 per week. These parasitic companies then have the brass neck to charge between £20-£30 admin fees per week for their troubles.”
Shadow exchequer secretary Shabana Mahmood MP said that Labour is committed to introducing deeming into construction. This would mean that workers would be considered employees unless they met strict criteria to prove they were self-employed. She also said that Labour was committed to cracking down on the use of expenses by umbrella companies, which would make such schemes less attractive.
Save Rotherham School from Closure
GMB, the union for school support staff, will join with other unions to lobby Rotherham Council ( RMBC) Cabinet Members on Wednesday 26th November at the Town Hall from 9.30am to reject the proposed closure of Abbey Special School in Kimberworth which would potentially mean 37 redundancies. This is part of a joint union/ parent campaign to save the school from closure. Consultations on the closure are underway. Abbey School has 87 children with a range of behavioural and learning difficulties. It has suffered disruption since a staff restructuring programme was introduced last year.
As part of the campaign to save the school union members will be in the Town Centre on Saturday 29th November gathering signatures for the petition to save the school. Also as part of the campaign a meeting has been arranged for parents to attend to give them the true story behind what has been happening at the school. This will be held at the Green Dragon Public House, Kimberworth at 6.30am on Wednesday 3rd December with refreshments to be provided from 6.15pm. Unions urge as many parents as possible to attend the meeting.
Also unions are asking parents and residents to sign the online petition https://www.change.org/p/rotherham-metropolitan-borough-council-save-abbey-special-school
Teachers and Support staff took strike action earlier in the year over the devastating and disastrous restructure and an increasing number of violent incidents involving pupils. The staff took this action as they felt that Management were not doing enough to ensure the safety of the pupils and staff.
Lee Simpson, GMB convenor, said “Consultations are already under way, but we plan to put pressure on councillors to reject the officers’ recommendations. What is disappointing is that while staff and public consultations are underway the Local Authority is already offering parents places at other schools. This is a school which was outstanding in 2008 and good in 2011. Since then, the management team has been changed and they have failed to introduce and enable change and innovation in an appropriate time frame, they had failed to encourage initiative and support and reward staff. However, we do not believe Abbey is beyond repair, even though it is currently in a very dire situation. Parents and residents are urged to get behind the campaign to save the school and stop elected Councillors from making a wrong decision that will have a detrimental impact on Rotherham’s children.”
E-Learning Online Short Courses
Welcome to online learning with the GMB
The Education Department is pleased to bring you the region’s first section dedicated to online learning courses. These courses are available by simply clicking on the electronic title. It is important to remember that whilst undertaking these e-learning courses that as a GMB representative you are still entitled to paid release duty and facility time to enable you to complete these courses.
Don’t miss out on paid release
If you are a member and not a GMB legislative post-holder then you may have to take these courses in your own time. I suggest that those of you who are post-holders commence negotiating your paid release or the equivalent reimbursement of release with your employer prior to commencing the course. You may also want to get your full time officer involved during these negotiations.
These courses are not a replacement of our conventional training programme they are seen as being additional and an alternative way of becoming educated. To enable you to deliver the best service to members that the GMB can provide.
GMB member Michelle Bateson, pictured with education officer Colin Kirkham, has completed all the online courses successfully
To complete our online courses simply click one of the links below:
TUC Education Online Courses for ULRs
Blacklist Fears Are “A Huge Fuss Over Nothing” Says HR Chief
A personnel chief has been condemned for telling a meeting of blacklisted workers that the scandal was a “big fuss about very little.” So-called “employee relations expert” Mike Emmott, from human resources workers’ professional body the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), made the comments following his keynote speech at the Manchester Industrial Relations Society’s 50th anniversary conference on Friday.
He told the packed-out meeting of 200 leading industrial relations academics, HR professionals and union officials, including blacklisted workers and Shrewsbury Pickets, that he found “union moral outrage over blacklisting rather distasteful.” Mr Emmott had been speaking of the need for HR managers to embed a “culture of trust, fairness and respect” but showed his true colours after being quizzed by general union GMB political officer Neil Smith over CIPD’s lack of response to blacklisting. His outburst was met with gasps, then loud applause after follow-up questions identified a number in CIPD’s ranks who were personally involved in blacklisting union members.
A flustered Mr Emmott responded by claiming ignorance, even though the issue has been front-page news in even the CIPD’s own journal. “Yes, it is a big fuss about nothing when you cannot feed and clothe your kids and don’t know why,” said Manchester electrician and MRI picket Tony Jones, who was blacklisted for many years after raising concerns about electrical safety. “To me that’s a form of child abuse.”
Blacklist Support Group chairman Steve Acheson, also a Manchester electrician, said the campaign group had submitted a complaint to the CIPD for breaches of the code of ethical conduct but that, two years later, nobody had faced any sanction. “Nor has any senior manager involved in blacklisting been disciplined by their employer. Most remain in post or have even been promoted to the board,” Mr Acheson said. “The firms and CIPD have cried crocodile tears about blacklisting but the mask of hypocrisy worn by the HR profession has finally slipped.”
GMB Yorkshire & North Derbyshire senior organiser Graham Benton commented, “Mr Emmott needs a good chat with his chief executive officer Peter Cheese who earlier this month at the CIPD’s own annual conference condemned the practice following a question I put to him as a CIPD member. Obviously a breakdown in communication at the higher levels of the organisation which is hiding behind pending court action to avoid disciplining senior CIPD members for driving a coach and horses through their own ethical conduct policy. Hardly ‘the right thing to do’ as the CIPD teaches.”
Unions including GMB, Ucatt and Unite are seeking compensation for blacklisted members through the courts.
GMB Members In The NHS To Take Second Day of Strike Action On Monday 24th November In Pay Dispute
The strike action on Monday will be followed by action short of strike (ASOS) from 11.01 a.m. on Monday 24th November until Sunday 30th November midnight. GMB members in the ambulance service will to take part in action short of strike (ASOS) from 11.01 a.m. on Monday 24th November until Sunday 30th November midnight after Monday’s strike. This will consist of a ban on all planned voluntary overtime in the ambulance service.
GMB conducted an official ballot of 22,000 members in the NHS in England and Northern Ireland. There was overwhelming support for industrial action against the government and employers pay policies.
The pay offer is a 1% unconsolidated offer for 2014 for those who get it and a further 1% unconsolidated offer in 2015 for those who get it.
Rehana Azam, GMB National Officer, said “On Monday, 24th November 2014, from 7am NHS Staff will stop work and join a picket line outside their NHS workplace. NHS staff take action with a heavy heart as their only priority is to deliver the best patient care, quality and outcomes. Even after staff voted to take strike action and action short of a strike the Secretary of State for Health has refused to meet with the unions representing NHS staffs.
GMB has agreed at regional and local level with Ambulance Services that life-threatening and certain other categories of call (such as renal dialysis and Oncology patients in the North West) will be responded to by GMB ambulance crews during the forthcoming dispute in the NHS. In addition, GMB has agreed that the major and hazardous incident team will remain on duty in case a major incident occurs. The strike has arisen because of the Government’s overruling of the independent, NHS Pay Review Body’s (PRB) recommendation for a 1% consolidated pay rise across the board for all NHS staff.
The intervention by Government means that the 1% will only be available to approximately 40% of NHS employees and it will not be consolidated in to basic pay.
Government intervention is in stark contrast to its view when the independent Pay Review Body for MP’s recommended that MP’s should receive a pay rise of 11%. In that case the government said it could not interfere with the recommendation because it had come from an independent body. Our members are angry as there seems to be one rule for MP’s and a different rule for everyone else.
Members have seen workload increasing and colleagues being overworked. When the cost of living has increased members have endured not just pay freezes but pay cuts, as NHS pay rates are frozen to April 2013 rates. Jeremy Hunt claims that he withholding the NHS Pay Review Body recommendation s because the cost of implementation will mean further job cuts. NHS Staff are not convinced this is the case as they know the true cost of what is happening to the NHS. £3 billion was wasted on top down NHS reorganisation while £13.5 billion of NHS services are tendered to the private sector and over £1 billion NHS money has been returned to Treasury. This demonstrates the choices Jeremy Hunt is making over NHS Staff pay.”
GMB Welcome Vote In Parliament For Tied Tenants
GMB, the union for tied pub tenants, welcome the vote by 284 to 259 ( majority 25) in Parliament on Tuesday, 18th November 2014 for a new Clause 2 in the Small Business Bill which puts a ‘market rent only’ (MRO) option for tied pub tenants on to the statute book. The Government is committed to introducing a statutory code of practice for the large pub companies in the Small Business Bill that reached the Report stage today in Parliament. That Bill will enshrine in law the long accepted but largely ignored principle: that the tied licensee should not be worse off than a free of tie licensee. This new clause introduces the market rent only option for tenants of the large pubcos, who own more than 500 pubs, with this applying only to companies that own 500 or more pubs, applying to their leased, tenanted and franchised pubs only.
A cross party new clause was tabled by Greg Mulholland, Chair of the Parliamentary Save the Pub Group, Adrian Bailey, Chair of the BIS Select Committee and Brian Binley, a member of the Select Committee and President of the Save the Pub Group with support from MPs across the house. The New Clause was supported by the national campaign for reform of the unfair pubco model, the Fair Deal for Your Local campaign coalition backed by 10 organisations.
Paul Kenny GMB General Secretary said “MPs have done the right thing and GMB welcome this. Government must accept this vote and move to properly implement it to save 25,000 tied pubs. MPs have voted for a clause that shows that the market rent only option is a simple, cheap to administer and market based solution that at certain trigger points would simply give licensees the choice as to whether to pay a fair rent only or stick with a tied agreement. This choice will force the large pub companies to ensure that their tied agreements – where tenants pay marked up prices for beer and other products and services - are competitive, fair and attractive to tenants.”
GMB Members Accept Local Government Pay Offer
GMB members in local government and schools in England, Wales and Northern Ireland as well as members the other two local government unions have voted to accept a pay offer put forward by the Local Government Association. 1.5 million council workers and school staff have taken a pragmatic decision to accept a two-year deal which is worth around 2.35% on average and up to 9.6% for the lowest paid.
Local government and school support workers had been offered just 1%, with slightly more for the lowest paid to bring them above the level of the new National Minimum Wage in March. However following a strike on 10 July and a threatened further walkout in October, the LGA made an improved offer. The proposals cover the period from 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2016.
All three unions have made it clear that they will continue to campaign for fair pay and conditions for local government and school workers, strengthen the collective bargaining machinery covering local government and schools and move quickly to jointly tackle other important issues facing their members with the Local Government Association. Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary for Public Services, said: “1.5 million council workers and school staff have taken a pragmatic decision to accept a two-year deal which is worth around 2.35% on average and up to 9.6% for the lowest paid. That puts the 2014 pay dispute to bed but there are still serious financial challenges ahead for local government services and our members who provide them.”
The local government craft workers have also voted to accept the pay proposals.
GMB National Secretary, Brian Strutton writes, “Following the vote by GMB members last week, I can now advise that the other craft unions have also completed their consultations on the pay proposals. As a result the craft JNC unions have formally signified their acceptance and so employers should be making cash lump sum payments in December and percentage pay rises in January.”
Further Government Cuts To Council Services in Leeds
Because of further Governments cuts, Leeds City Council plans to put the final nail into the coffin of Adult Social Care.
On Wednesday 19th November, the Executive Board of the Council are meeting to make a decision on starting a consultation process to close the final Local Authority run Adult Care Homes and stop the community generic service within Leeds; putting between 400 and 500 jobs at risk and leaving the most vulnerable people in our City at the mercy of the private sector.
As such, we will be holding a demonstration at 12.00 noon on Wednesday 19th November outside the Civic Hall in Leeds and would like your support and attendance at this demonstration.
GMB Campaign Against Closure of Westfield Health Centre, Sheffield
The reality of the way in which this government places Health Care provision to ordinary and vulnerable members of the public is shown for what it is. A well respected and caring GP who runs Westfield Health Centre in Sheffield is to retire. NHS England have decided not to replace the GP and instead, they will close the Health Centre. There has been no public consultation. Patients have not been told where they will be treated in the future, nor have they been considered in what is an unacceptable decision with no measures in place to protect the 2000 patients, many of whom are elderly, young and vulnerable.
The staff providing valuable services have been served with redundancy notices. GMB members, Labour MP Clive Betts, and councillor Isobel Bowler will join protesters outside of the Health Centre today in an effort to get NHS England to change it’s mind. It is also rumoured that another Heath Centre, serving 12,000 patients nearby is also earmarked for closure in the near future.
Is this David Cameron and Jeremy Hunt’s way of protecting the NHS and ensuring patients come first ? Is it any wonder people have to resort to going to A & E departments? It is distasteful to note the advice given by Jeremy Hunt today that they should go to the local chemist instead. It is also an appalling indictment on Nick Clegg, who is a local MP that he is allowing this to happen. His silence is deafening !
GMB anger over plans to close council-run care homes in Leeds
Leeds City Council has unveiled proposals to shut the homes, in Morley, Armley and Seacroft, affecting 69 residents, as well as associated day centres. It is also looking at ceasing most council-provided home care services, hitting hundreds of jobs. The moves, set to be discussed by councillors next week, could save a total of £12m over the next four years. Council bosses say no decisions will be made until a full consultation has taken place, and no-one will be asked to leave their home until an alternative was available. But a union representative criticised the plans, the latest in a raft of care home closures.
Jon Smith, regional officer for the GMB, said: “The last two times they have done this, it has caused nothing but anguish for staff and residents. “It will mean Leeds will have no more local authority residential homes.
“For a city the size of Leeds to announce that, it’s something I hoped we would never see, particularly from a Labour council. What we are going to end up with is purely private sector provision.” He added that additional proposals to stop providing home care direct could affect 400 workers, and if they went ahead would essentially mean the end of Leeds City Council-provided adult social care.
The Better Lives strategy, which includes shutting Siegen Manor in Morley, Middlecross in Armley and The Green in Seacroft, is part of a multi-million pound cost-cutting drive.
Permanent admissions to Knowle Manor in Morley and Spring Gardens in Otley would cease once a suitable alternative has been identified, while a business case will be drawn up for Home Lea House and Dolphin Manor in Rothwell, which community groups could establish social enterprises to run.
Coun Adam Ogilvie, executive member for adult social care, said they were “incredibly difficult options”, but necessary. “We are acutely aware that any consultation concerning the future of care provision can create a great deal of uncertainty and worry for those who receive care as well as for their family and loved ones. “However, the harsh reality is that government cuts to our budget mean we simply cannot afford to continue to provide adult social care in the same way that we have in the past and we must look at new ways of doing things both now and in the future. “Whatever the result of the consultation, nobody will be forced to leave their home or day services until an alternative has been found nearby that they are happy with and which fits their individual needs.”
Sheffield Council Bosses Urged To Intervene In Waste Recycling Strike
Members of the GMB union have been on a continuous strike since last Saturday following several one-day walkouts last month. The dispute is over pay, conditions and allegations of ‘bullying’ at the five centres, run by The Green Company on behalf of Sheffield Council and waste contractor Veolia. Tim Roache, regional secretary for GMB Yorkshire and North Derbyshire joined about 20 workers picketing the waste facility at Blackstock Road, Gleadless Valley, yesterday. Other centres affected by walkouts are in Woodhouse, Deepcar, High Green and Shirecliffe.
Peter Davies, GMB organiser, said union officials are asking the authority and Veolia to intervene in the dispute. Both the council and Veolia have said they want to ‘encourage both sides to engage in talks again’. Mr Davies said workers who had been involved in some of the one-day walkouts last month had been ‘singled out’ by company bosses. “When they tried the initial strikes, they were being singled out one by one. All of them were pulled into meetings and told not to strike. We are asking for the bullying to stop and to talk to us about pay.” He said a skeleton staff of non-union members and additional workers brought in by management are running the sites while the dispute goes on.
A statement from Sheffield Council and Veolia said: “We all want this strike to be resolved as quickly as possible, to minimise disruption to the public and to enable people to get back to their jobs. This can only happen if those concerned are around the table trying to find a resolution.”
GMB Welcome EAT Judgement That Overtime Pay Should Be Included In Pay For Holiday Leave
GMB commented on the EAT judgement that overtime pay is part of normal remuneration and to be included as such in the calculation of pay for holiday leave.
Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary, said “This judgment ensures that workers are properly paid for holidays and is a good and welcome result. This judgment clarifies that voluntary overtime and time spent waiting for emergency call outs must be included in holiday pay calculations. Members who did not get the same pay during holiday as during the rest of the year should contact GMB to be advised of their rights and to have their claims assessed and taken forward.
GMB look forward to a sensible discussion with employers who need to have a rethink about the way holiday pay is dealt with. No doubt certain elements and interests will condemn the European Directive upon which this court decision is based that will give workers in the UK the extra pay they have been denied by UK employers and politicians for years.”
Sheffield Recycling Workers Strike Indefinitely
Workers at five waste recycling centres in Sheffield in South Yorkshire have walked out in an open-ended strike over poverty pay, bullying and a lack of basic facilities. The workers, members of general union GMB, are employed by the Green Company - a subcontractor for privateer Veolia, working for Sheffield City Council.
GMB has accused managers of bullying workers, including some who have mental-health issues and learning difficulties, and failing to provide them with enough toilet and washing facilities. The union added that the firm is in turmoil with a senior management team sacked after agreeing to pay workers the living wage. The action follows a nine-day strike in early October and now overtime pay has been attacked.
GMB regional officer Peter Davies said: “GMB members are taking strike action over premium rates, welfare facilities and bullying. We know the company can afford to provide these basic conditions but they will not budge.”
Mr Davies claimed that some workers had already been sacked for bravely taking a stand, with those remaining facing disciplinary processes.
“As with all bullies, the senior managers are picking on those who they see as the easiest targets first and this includes at least three disabled workers with mental health and learning difficulties, who have been subjected to disciplinary action for alleged gross misconduct,” he added.
Injury And Ill-health Statistics Highlight Workplace Dangers
Injury and ill-health statistics released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show that an estimated 28.2 million working days were lost due to work related ill health or injury in 2013/14. As a result, the cost to society from such injuries and new cases of ill health due to current working conditions is an estimated £14.2 billion (2012/13 figures based on 2012 prices), according to the latest annual statistics published by HSE today. Judith Hackitt, the chair of HSE, says that behind every number is the reality of a real person being killed or suffering injuries or ill health while simply doing their job.
The statistics show that, in 2013/14, there were 133 fatal injuries – a fall from 150 the previous year. 77,593 other injuries reported under The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR). That equates to 304.6 injuries per 100,000 employees. An estimated two million people in 2013/14 suffering from an illness they believed was caused or made worse by current or past work.
Judith Hackitt said: “These latest figures remind us what health and safety is really about. We should remind ourselves what these numbers actually mean – the number of times in the last year someone went out to work and either did not return home to their loved ones or came home with life changing injuries. The health numbers also demonstrate the scale of harm being done to people’s health while at work, too often leading to premature death. Jobsworths using ‘elf n safety as a convenient excuse for all manner of things, and those claiming health and safety is a burden, need to reflect on this. Britain has one of the best health and safety systems in the world, but that is cold comfort to those who have suffered loss or suffering that is so easily avoided with sensible and proportionate risk management.
We all need to commit to focussing on what really matters – ensuring more people return home from work every day and enjoy long and healthy working lives.”
The industries in which workers are most likely to be injured by their jobs have not changed significantly – with construction (1900 major/specified injuries), agriculture (292 major/specified injuries), manufacturing (3159 major/specified injuries) and waste and recycling (486 major/specified injuries) among the higher risk sectors.
GMB Members Potential Holiday Pay Claims
A recent ruling in the Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled that UK law in relation to the calculation of holiday pay is not in line with European law.
As paid holiday is a health and safety measure, members should not be deterred from taking holiday because they will be paid less than their normal pay.
For most members the calculation of holiday is straightforward and they receive the same pay for each week of holiday as they do for the rest of the year. But the position is more difficult where pay varies because of factors such as overtime, shift pay, commission and some allowances, but not expenses.
WHO MIGHT HAVE A CLAIM?
Anyone whose holiday pay is calculated on their basic pay only, excluding other amounts they regularly get paid when they are working. Examples of other amounts would include:
• overtime (contractual or discretionary)
• shift payments (shift allowance, nightshift payments, on-call allowance)
• unsociable hours payments.
IF YOU THINK YOU MIGHT HAVE A CLAIM
You must contact your GMB Region AS SOON AS POSSIBLE so we can investigate your claim and, if necessary, contact your employer to ensure you are paid correctly.
If we cannot get the issue resolved (both back pay and future holiday pay), we may need to file a grievance, or take legal action to ensure your employer obeys the law.
If you think you have a claim, it is particularly important that you get in touch with us IMMEDIATELY if you have recently left your job OR your employer has recently changed the way they calculate your holiday pay.
In either of these situations, there are strict time limits and you may lose your rights to claim for missing back pay of holiday pay if you miss the time limit.
One Year Since Remploy Factories Closed
GMB, the union for ex Remploy staff, commented on the first anniversary of the closure of the last of the 51 of 54 Remploy factories that shut down.
Remploy had 54 factories at Aberdare, Aberdeen, Abertillery, Acton, Ashington, Barking, Barrow, Birkenhead, Birmingham, Blackburn, Bolton, Bridgend, Bristol, Burnley, Chesterfield, Cleator Moor, Clydebank, Coventry, Cowdenbeath, Croespenmaen, Derby, Dundee, Edinburgh, Gateshead, Heywood, Huddersfield, Leeds, Leicester, Leven, Manchester, Merthyr Tydfil, Motherwell, Neath Port Talbot, Newcastle, North London, North Staffordshire, Norwich, Oldham, Penzance, Pontefract, Poole, Porth, Portsmouth, Preston, Sheffield, Southampton, Spennymoor, Springburn, Stirling, Sunderland, Swansea, Wigan, Worksop and Wrexham. All but 3 closed. Rempower Ltd took over the Remploy Automotive factories in Birmingham, Coventry and Derby.
GMB conducted a survey of ex Remploy workers earlier this year that showed only one in four was employed and most were working shorter hours and on less pay. Jerry Nelson, GMB National Officer said, “It is now one year since the final day of the Remploy factory closures, over 2700 disabled workers had their lives destroyed by this Government’s callous and thoughtless attack on the disabled workers, workers who relied on their employment to maintain their sense of independence working in an environment of protected equality. The factories were a sheltered environment and for many of these workers it was their only connection with life outside of their own homes.
What people need to remember is that not one single disabled worker within the factories were asked how they would feel about the closures. We should know better than to expect that the thoughts or feelings of any worker could ever be considered by a right wing coalition government whose only aim is to feed the rich and greedy by bending the rules and taxation policies to benefit their kind. Disabled workers had their lives destroyed for what, so the top rate of tax could be cut from 50% to 45% giving the all the Conservatives and their friends another £50,000 a year in their pockets on every million pounds they earn.
Is this everyone sharing the burden of austerity? We have a huge percentage of those members made redundant sat at home depressed and isolated from any forms of social interaction or inclusion. These are not there by choice. Unfortunately in many areas the economic climate is still depressed so there are not the jobs out there for able bodied workers so what chance a worker with severe learning or physical disabilities. We will never forget or forgive this atrocious attack on the most vulnerable members of this union by this government. They used the Sayce Report and RADAR, Mind, Mencap, Scope, RNID and Leonard Cheshire as “Trojan horses” to close the Remploy factories.
Radar characterised Remploy as some out of date solution stigmatising it as a form of ghettoisation. These organisations started with an aspiration we all share where all disabled people are treated in an equal way in employment and that ideal state may lead to a completely different view of what support is required. This is the outcome when disabled charities made “the best” the enemy of the “good”. They started with resolutions that will not be achieved in the short run. They were then pickled into a rigid dogma, a code, and they went through the years sticking to that ignoring real needs, and they end in the grotesque chaos of disabled charities – disabled charities – used as Trojan horses to sack disabled workers in 51 locations across the UK.
The Tories knew what they were doing using these “useful idiots” who were party to this attack on disabled workers. GMB will never forget the role of and RADAR, Mind, Mencap, Scope, RNID and Leonard Cheshire.”
There will be a social for ex Remploy workers at the GMB Sheffield office on Friday, 31st October 2014 starting at 4pm with organiser Bob McNeill the host. For further details please contact Bob on 0114 276 8017.
Former consortium member, convenor at Remploy Sheffield, GMB Regional and Central Executive Member James Stribley said, “A year ago today the last Remploy factory officially shut its doors. That was a sad day for me and thousands of other working people across the country. Since I left school at 16, I’d worked at Remploy Sheffield, starting out as a welder and in recent years representing fellow workers as a GMB trade union convenor. For a lot of us at Remploy, the factories offered secure employment, the dignity of work and a workplace that understood our circumstances.
I stood on the picket lines as factories started to close with people who were terrified about life after Remploy – people who knew that, especially in a time of high unemployment, they just weren’t going to get another job. They were leaving a job they loved for a life of ATOS, ESA (and any manner of other acronyms you might want to name) and being told by this government that they’re scroungers. Some of them were even hit by the Bedroom Tax as the government effectively sacked them. And unfortunately, the fears of many Remploy workers were realised.
When I spoke to the people I used to represent earlier this year, half of them were still out of work and a good chunk chose to retire instead of struggling on. A GMB survey showed that only a quarter of the workers I represented had managed to find a job but of those, quite a few were on part-time, agency and zero hours contracts that offered little security. Personally, as some people will have read in a blog I wrote post Lord Freud’s comments, I’ve gone from doing skilled work to holding down a couple of jobs on zero hours contracts, one of which is to steward football games on a Saturday including at the brilliant New York stadium in Rotherham. But, as a Sheffield United fan, it’s punishment enough to have to steward Leeds United games, but at the same time I know that every game is one week closer to potentially ending up back on the dole.
My story isn’t unique. This is what real life is like for people like me now because whether we like it or not, employers are less likely to employ a disabled worker than someone without a disability.
So for all the government guff about people needing to get a job (and that’s polite language for Labour List, it might be slightly saltier on the shop floor…), what this government did with Remploy was to throw thousands of people who had jobs, who were skilled and who were ready, willing and able to work at the worst onto the scrap heap and at best into a very long dole queue. I’m glad Labour have said they’ll look at supported work schemes again but I hope they’ll work with us too to make work, rights and pay for disabled people fit for the 21st century.
With a little help, and like has been done at places like Enabled Works in Leeds, we can give real hope to people who are feeling the brunt of this government’s cuts agenda at every turn. If Labour stands with us, we’ll stand with you. We’re not looking for a hand-out, we’re looking for a hand up.”
Contact; Jerry Nelson on 07958 156846
General Secretary On UKIP
“Morning Star” - 29/10/14
Paul Kenny warns that many of Ukip’s supporters would actually be far worse off under its policies
“The long-delayed recovery has a long way to go, with GDP per head still 3 per cent below 2007 and pay 14 per cent down on pre-recession levels. It is hardly surprising that voters angry at this prolonged recession are protesting at the ballot box. Our polling shows that many Ukip voters are white, male, over 40, working in the private sector and many used to vote Labour. Their key concerns are wages, job security and housing.
But Ukip policies would make things worse for them. Ukip would have NHS services run by private companies for profit. Roger Helmer MEP supported views that the NHS was a “60-year mistake.” Nigel Farage claims to be the only politician “keeping the flame of Thatcherism alive.” Ukip would give millionaires a bigger tax cut than the Tories. Its 2010 election manifesto committed to drastically reducing the size of the public sector and getting rid of two million jobs.
Ukip would get rid of workers’ legal rights on weekly working hours, overtime, redundancy, sick pay, pensions and employers’ national insurance obligations. Ukip would scrap the legal right to four weeks’ paid holiday. Ukip would not give apprentices the minimum wage. It would scrap all health and safety legislation except in the most dangerous of workplaces. Ukip wants to limit which employment claims can be brought to tribunal.
Ukip MEPs voted against EU Parliament measures that would help workers facing mass redundancies and better health and safety and conditions for airport baggage handlers and offshore oil and gas workers. Last year, Ukip MEPs in the EU Parliament refused to vote for equal pay for women. Ukip would scrap the right to maternity leave and would cut weekly maternity pay by more than half. Farage has stated that women are “worth less” to their employers after coming back from maternity leave and that EU proposals for better and longer maternity leave constitute “excessive regulation” and are a “ruinous exercise.”
Farage failed to turn up to vote to strengthen the EU Posted Workers Directive to stop exploitation of migrant workers and did nothing to strengthen control measures to prevent the simultaneous undercutting of terms and conditions for domestic workers. His MEPs there abstained. He could have acted. He didn’t. The 2013 Ukip Congress voted to proscribe Hope Not Hate, labelling Britain’s largest anti-racist organisation as “extremist.”
Ukip MEPs have refused to support EU action for greater financial transparency, banking reform and against tax evasion, avoidance and fraud. Farage being a former City commodities trader himself, this probably shouldn’t surprise us. Many Ukip MEPs are climate change deniers and have weakened EU environmental legislation, hindering Europe’s transition to an energy-efficient and low-carbon economy. Ukip has tapped into concerns over more fundamental problems about Europe that we have to face up to. Whatever the European vision was on integration, harmony, economic advancement and political stability, what we currently have isn’t it.
The free movement of labour and the single market were to be balanced by the social charter where all the people of Europe would live in freedom and with those in the poorer economies, benefitting from the harmonisation of standards across all member states. There were to be standards on workers’ protection, Tupe, excessive hours, health and safety, information and consultation and so many others that were meant to keep labour exploitation in check. That dream has been chipped away at for years. Right-wing governments and employers have engineered massive change in the direction of the EU vision.
Judgements in the European Courts like Viking and Laval were the green light to massive assaults on organised labour across Europe, but especially in Britain. From Lindsey oil refinery to food production, we have seen workers recruited in certain member states by agencies and exploited. They were shipped in, literally, in order to undermine the terms and conditions of existing workers on those contracts. Both sets of workers have been let down by Westminster government, the EU Commission and the European Court.
On exploitation, we shouldn’t blame the exploited — we should damn those who exploit. And yet the exact opposite has been occurring up and down the country over recent years. And that is part of the discontent that Ukip turns into xenophobic rhetoric to win votes. Look past the simplistic tag and face the challenge of exploitation. Let’s reach out to those migrant workers, not attack them but organise and protect them.
Too many workers go to work fearful about exercising their basic rights. A new Labour government working with the EU has to create a workplace without fear and equip the trade unions to enforce it. The challenge for Labour in government is to deal with exploitation and harassment of workers who it has ignored for too long. Collective rights are the key to unlock that challenge. Take away our shackles and we will show you what enforcement is all about.
Paul Kenny is general secretary of GMB.
AIM Club at GMB Sheffield
Opening on 17th November 2014, the club will be accessible in the GMB Sheffield office between 10am and 12 noon on Mondays and Tuesdays, and will assist members currently out of work to brush up on their IT skills to enhance job prospects. For further details please contact WTW project worker Tom Henthorne on 07747 280284.
Closure of Monckton Coke Plant With Loss of 120 Jobs
GMB responded to the news that the 130 year old coking plant in Royston near Barnsley faces closure in december 2014 with the loss of 120 jobs.
Consultations on the closure of this plant are due to end on 11th December and the plant is expected to close soon after that says GMB.
Steve Morris, GMB Regional Officer, said “GMB was informed today (27th October) that the company have started consultations on the closure of this plant. The consultation is due to end on 11th December and I expect the plant to close soon after that. The shop stewards have been expecting this news as the plant is linked to a coalfield that no longer exists.
This is a sad day. It marks the final nail in the coffin of the coal industry in Yorkshire.”
DWP’s Bennison “Crocodile Tears” Blacklist protest Leeds
GMB “Crocodile Tears” Protest In Leeds On Wed 22nd October To Shame Valerie Bennison, Hr Manager At DWP, Linked To Blacklisting At Least 22 Workers
Managers like Valerie Bennison shedding crocodile tears now for her part in blacklisting 3,213 workers won’t wash, neither will the Nuremberg Defence of “just following superior orders” says GMB.
GMB held a protest demonstration in Leeds on Wednesday 22 October to shame Valerie Bennison, Human Resources Business Partner for Head Office Directorates and SCS at Child Maintenance Group part of Department for Work and Pensions for her part in blacklisting construction workers.
Blacklisting came to light when in 2009 the ICO seized a Consulting Association database, run by Ian Kerr, 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.
Valerie Bennison, was Human Resources Manager at Whessoe Oil and Gas Ltd from May 2004 till November 2007. She has yet to come clean and apologise for her part in the hurt and damage caused by her former employer Whessoe Oil & Gas who were involved in blacklisting at least 22 workers.
This was the second date in a national “Crocodile Tears” protest tour to shame 63 construction industry managers named as blacklisters who have yet to come clean and apologise for their actions. See notes to editors 1 for the 10 dates in the first leg of a national tour and notes to editors 2 for the list the 63 managers and where they worked.
The protest was held at the DWP offices at Quarry House, Quarry Hill, Leeds. At the protest was 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”. Pictures are available.
Valerie Bennison (VB) as Human Resources Manager was a contact for Whessoe Oil and Gas Ltd with the blacklisting body the Consulting Association.
These are some examples known to GMB about Whessoe Oil and Gas Ltd blacklisting activities:
· GMB has evidence of queries to Valerie Bennison and her colleague from the Industrial Relations Administrator on the Whessoe-Volker Stevin JV Dragon LNG project in Milford Haven in West Wales asking her to do checks on individuals. Between December 2005 and August 2006, 297 names were checked on this single project.
· A Glaswegian welder put on the blacklist by Wimpey in 1977 was labelled as a troublemaker. 28 years later he applied for a job with Whessoe Oil and Gas Ltd. VB, despite being told that the file had a lack of detailed information and stressing the date, did not employ him.
· The Sales Ledger from The Consulting Associations shows that Whessoe Oil and Gas Ltd spent over £12,500 in the four years between 2005/06 and 2008/09 while Valerie Bennison was Human Resources Manager.
· In 2006 there is an entry on the files saying 17 scaffolders were put on the blacklist by Ron Barron, Human Resources Manager at CB&I. The entry states ‘would not be considered by 3289 (Whessoe Oil & Gas) and 3290 (CB&I) following problems at Texaco Refinery Site Milford Haven during w/c 16th October 2006.
On October 16th there was a hearing in the High Court on compensation for 122 GMB members blacklisted by Carillion and other construction employers on claims served in 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. The next hearing is 17th December
Talks between GMB and lawyers for Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and VINCI PLC on a compensation scheme broke down in June over the amount of money being put into the scheme. Employers have unilaterally launched a cut price scheme GMB estimates will cost less than 2% of the combined profits of the eight construction firms.
So far 1,724 out of the 3,213 on the list know they are on blacklist and of these 570 cases are covered by claims in the High Court. That leaves 1,489 still to trace. See notes to editors for details of where those blacklisted come from.
Justin Bowden, GMB national officer said, ‘Valerie Bennison and the rest 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.’
Local Government Consultation Begins
GMB has commenced briefings on the new local government pay proposals which affect NJC Green Book staff in councils, schools, academies and many related employments. Please try to attend any briefings arranged at your workplace and if you haven’t heard about one or want to request one, contact your GMB rep or local GMB office. Membership democracy is paramount so the vote on the proposals will start at the end of this month and will be a postal ballot of GMB members. It is important that everyone has a say on their pay so please use the opportunity and if you know of any non members please bring this to their attention too so they can join online and get the chance to vote.
The proposals cover a two year period from 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2016 and are worth 2.32% on average (although much higher for the lower paid) and for most people comprise a cash lump sum payable in December plus a percentage pay rise in January. The details are attached including a table showing how the proposals take effect at different salary levels. Much more detail will be explained at our briefings.
For members who are not covered by the NJC, for example craft red book staff or chief officers, discussions are still ongoing and I will issue further information when it is available.
Britain Needs A Pay Rise - GMB Members March To End Poverty
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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
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
Bradford Care Trust
Leeds Teaching Hospitals (St James and LGI)
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.”
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
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.
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.”
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.
The NHS is our health service – together we can fight to save it.
Scheme ID: GMBY/207
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Great offer from Hotpoint
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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
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.
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.
10.30am Gateway Plaza Car Park, Sackville Street, Barns S70 2RD
11.30am Barnsley Precinct, 1 Cheapside Barnsley S70 1RU
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
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 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
10.30am St George’s Square, Huddersfield HD1 1JA
The march will assemble at 11:30am outside Victoria Gardens.
Event Location: Outside Victoria Gardens The Headrow Leeds LS1 3AA
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
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
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.
Britain Needs A Pay Rise: TUC National Demonstration 18 October 2014
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
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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.
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.”
Contact Justin Bowden on 07710 631351 or Maria Ludkin 07956 632 657 or GMB press office at 07921 289880 or 07974 251 823
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
East of England
Yorkshire and The Humber
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.
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 was set up by GMB in May 2014 to provide members with access to a full range of legal services. GMB and UNIONLINE work with other specialist law firms so between us we can provide national and regional support to our members.
UNIONLINE HELPLINE 0300 333 0303
Call the Helpline for personal injury cases including:
- Accidents anywhere, any time – at work, at home, in a public place and road traffic accidents
- Industrial disease
- Clinical negligence
- Criminal Injury Compensation cases
A UNIONLINE advisor will discuss the claim with you and explain the next steps. They understand that suffering an injury can be very stressful and traumatic so are there to help you. As specialists in Personal Injury they are best placed to assist you in your time of need.
Call the Helpline 0300 333 0303 for:
- Preparation of wills for member and spouse / partner
- Support for members accused of driving offences through the Road Traffic Fund (just 20p a week! – contact Regional Office for details)
Discounted, preferential rates for GMB members and their families for:
- Family law and matrimonial advice
- Conveyancing services
For these services or any other non-work legal problem just call UNIONLINE 0300 333 0303
Have your membership number to hand when calling UNIONLINE
If you have a problem at work:
- Involve your GMB workplace representative first. GMB representatives are trained to help you defend your rights. They will do everything they can to resolve your problem at the workplace.
- If you do not have a GMB workplace representative you are still legally entitled to have a GMB representative accompany you to a grievance or disciplinary hearing. Just call 0845 337 7777 and you will be put in touch with a GMB representative.
- Sometimes problems at work require legal action. That is why Yorkshire & North Derbyshire Region has its own legal department providing expert employment law advice and Employment Tribunal representation.
- If legal action is needed a GMB officer will help you deal with the pre-Employment Tribunal claim requirement to take the complaint through ACAS Early Conciliation.
- Many thousands of workers have been prevented from getting justice by Employment Tribunal fees introduced by the Coalition Government (these can be over £1200 in a single claim). Fees are not a barrier for GMB members as they will be dealt with through the Regional Fee Assistance Scheme.
24 Hour Criminal Law Helpline – call 07908676445:
GMB members often work in occupations that may make them vulnerable to false allegations. You need to know you will get the right level of support when and if it is needed. GMB members accused of a work related criminal offence will get free initial advice and representation. Just call the Criminal Law Helpline number 07908676445.
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
All legal services are subject to Rule 27 in the GMB Rulebook.
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.”
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
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.
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,
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.
Director: Owen Gower | Producer: Sinead Kirwan, Mark Lacey | Country: United Kingdom | Year: 2014 | Duration: 109 MINS
GMBProtect - Family Protection Insurance
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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”.
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.”
Contact Rachel Dix on 07958156839 or Dean Harper on 07944877800 or GMB press office 07921 289880
Community Event in Leeds Attracts More Than 400
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.”
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!”
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.
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.
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.
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.
We are only ten minutes’ walk from Wakefield bus station and 25 minutes’ walk (five in a taxi) from Wakefield Westgate train station.