The Scandal Of Deaths From Winter Cold
As the country faces a cold snap and the energy companies announce inflation-busting price increases, official figures show that the number of extra deaths of older people in the winter of 2012-13 was up on the winter before. An estimated 31,100 excess winter deaths occurred in England and Wales in 2012-13, a 29% increase compared with the previous winter, according to the Office for National Statistics. As in previous years, there were more excess winter deaths of women than men in 2012-13. The gender breakdown was that female deaths increased from 13,610 to 18,000, while the respective numbers of men were 10,590 and 13,100. In Northern Ireland, the number of excess deaths was 560 against 500 the year before, while in Scotland the numbers were up from 1,420 to 2,000.
Britain’s biggest pensioner organisation, the National Pensioners Convention (NPC), described the latest excess winter death figures among the elderly as a “national scandal” and a wake-up call for the government. The NPC pointed out that the cold claims more lives in the UK than in Sweden where temperatures regularly plunge to -30C in winter. As a proportion, excess winter deaths accounted for 4.61% of all UK deaths, compared with 3.76% in Sweden. Dot Gibson, NPC general secretary said: “This is a national scandal which the government seems incapable of doing anything about. Making sure
older people have got a well insulated warm home and the income to pay the fuel bills isn’t ‘green crap’.”
The figures were released a day after the Ofgem regulator launched a scathing attack on the record and profits of the big energy suppliers. Ofgem published data showing that profit margins in the industry had risen from 2.8% in 2011, to 4.3% in 2012. Centrica, the owner of British Gas, had the highest profit margin, at 6.6%. TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said hard questions need to be asked about “why some ministers have been prepared to go along with energy company bosses in blaming green levies and help for the less well-off, when what has gone wrong is profit grabbing in a bust market”.
The Benefit System: Exposed
Defend Abbey School - Demonstration To Be Held Outside Rotherham Council offices at Riverside House
Abbey School in Rotherham to be torn apart by savage restructure and redundancies - Demonstration to be held outside the Rotherham Council offices at Riverside House on Monday 9th December.
The children of Abbey School will be the victims if a massive planned restructure takes place at the special school early next year. It is possible that almost every teacher in the school, as well as a number of school support staff, will be made redundant if the plans go ahead. Such an upheaval will negatively impact on children at the school. School support staff and teachers who know them best will, in significant numbers, be made redundant. This can only have a detrimental impact on students’ learning and emotional well-being. “Many of these children are very vulnerable,” said teacher Pat McLaughlin. “I dread to think about the potential results of these changes.”
Fred Sprague, Divisional Secretary of the Rotherham Association of the National Union of Teachers, said: “Rotherham Council and the present interim management of the school seem willing to
allow a school judged good by Ofted in its most recent report be plunged into chaos. It has made a judgement to attempt to sack teachers and to effectively completely change the ethos of the school.”
The NUT and GMB believe that the consultation with staff which ends next week is a sham: Jobs in the school have already been advertised. The school and local authority refuse to negotiate with unions in order to discuss these horrendous proposals. The demonstration will start at 4 pm at the Rotherham Council offices at Riverside House.
Location: Riverside House
Joint Members Meeting (Sheffield City Council) Monday, 9th December 2013 at 12.00 noon
On the back of the most recent and continued savage cuts that the government have made to the Councils budget we are once again being asked to look at pay roll in Sheffield.
We, the joint trade unions, began a series of discussions with the Council around terms and conditions in September and now envisage this consultation drawing to a close. Once a final proposal/offer is worked up by the Council we will put that to our members in a ballot. We have agreed with the Council Leader, Julie Dore, to continue with the consultation process and that will include a commitment to attend staff consultation meetings that are now being planned. Because of the tight time scales remaining we may have to run our ballot at the same time as the Council are formally putting their offer to employees.
The joint trade unions have agreed to work together and co-ordinate our ballots and ask that members continue to bear with us whilst we conclude this difficult and challenging consultation process.
We have arranged the following joint mass meeting for members:
Venue: The Ballroom (Sheffield City Hall)
Date: Monday 9th December 2013
Time: 12noon – 2.00pm
Please encourage your colleagues to come along and we will up-date all present with regard to the current proposals and open up questions from the floor.
Paid time off has been agreed.
Labour Energy Plans
GMB Support Labour New Energy Policy To Replace Failed Regulator And Protect Consumers.
The Tories are on the back foot and their response will be to try and hold down prices until after the election when prices will continue to rise says GMB.
GMB Today commented on the new announcement by Labour Leader on energy policy. See detailsof announcement in Labour Party press release in Notes to Editors below.
Gary Smith, GMB National Secretary for energy, said “Labour has set the agenda on energy and this is a useful contribution to the debate. The Tories are on the back foot and their response will be to try and hold down prices until after the election when prices will continue to rise.
The real strategic issues have yet to be dealt with. The idea that competition will deliver lower prices is fanciful, driven by ideology and wishful thinking.
The question remains as to how we are going to deal with the challenge of energy prices going up and the likelihood of less competition not more.”
World Cup In Qatar: GMB Visit
A Disposable Workforce Trapped In Qatar - International Union Delegation Concludes Four Day Visit To Qatar
The notorious “Kefala” system that turns exploitation into virtual slavery has to be abolished and the notion that a World Cup can be held in Qatar until this occurs is simply ludicrous says GMB member on the delegation.
On the eve of the third anniversary of Qatar winning the controversial bid to host the 2022 World Cup an international trade union delegation to the gulf state finds no improvement in living and working conditions of migrant workers.
Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, ITUC said international pressure is growing, governments, human rights organisations and FIFA have all called for fundamental workers’ rights and an end to the Kafala system.
The delegation will report back to Governments in Australia, Austria, Denmark and the UK as well as the International Labour Organisation, FIFA and the UN Human Rights Rapporteur.
During the four day visit the eleven member international delegation held worker hearings, and was shocked by the increasing numbers of women and children in detention centre and rising discontent and unrest of workers in squalid labour camps.
Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, ITUC said “This is an easy choice for the Qatari government; the perplexing question is why won’t they take it. Professional and poor workers alike tell the same stories; they came to Qatar with optimism and good will, only to face despair when their employer decides they are disposable and refuse to pay wages, sack them without benefits and or refused to sign their exit permit.
We have again offered support for change, but the Government must make a commitment to implement workers.
This week we welcomed the escape of Zahir Belounis from Qatar, but find that cases like Mahmoud Bouneb and his wife Malika Alouane who were similarly invited into the country only to be disposed of and left being owed benefits and not granted exit visit are numerous.
Their desperation is multiplied by when you visit the labour camps and hear the tales of terror from the poorest and most vulnerable workers forced to hit in squalor.
What we’ve seen his week can be summarized as how not to design a system for the global workforce on any basis: human and labour rights; good will and international reputation or; productivity based on loyalty and efficiency
International companies should be on notice about the reputation risk of doing in business in Qatar without respect for workers’ rights.”
Bert Schouwenburg, GMB International officer on the delegation in Qatar, said “Hundreds of thousands of workers from Nepal, India, Phillipines and Bangladesh are being treated little better than animals in Qatar.
GMB will be asking UK contractors to work with unions with a view to abolishing the notorious “Kefala” system that turns exploitation into virtual slavery. The notion that a World Cup can be held in Qatar while this occurs is simply ludicrous.
FIFA have called for the improvements of core ILO standards and an end to the Kafala system, they will report back in March 2014, we can only hope the Qatar Government will make the right choice.
The ITUC estimates 4000 more workers will die before a ball is kicked in the World Cup, unless Qatar introduces reforms and meets international labour laws.
Unions To Challenge Blacklisting In The Courts
Some of Britain’s biggest construction firms are to face fresh legal action over their participation in a blacklisting scandal targeting union safety activists. Construction unions UCATT, GMB and Unite announced this week their intention to escalate the campaign in the courts.
UCATT said it intends to sue the firms for breach of confidence and misuse of private information found in their files, the only option it says is available. It has employed the services of Mark Warby QC, a leading expert on privacy law, to take the cases on behalf of its members. The union is initially taking action against Balfour Beatty, Bam, CB&I, Costain, Carillion, Laing O’Rourke, Lend Lease, Sir Robert McAlpine and Vinci. It is also to commence legal action against one of the former chairs of the Consulting Association, which managed the illegal blacklist, and a senior human resources manager for a blacklisting company. Steve Murphy, general secretary of UCATT, said: “Blacklisting companies wilfully destroyed the lives of ordinary construction workers and acted as though they were above the law. Our legal action will ensure that the victims receive the justice they deserve.”
GMB will also be in court next week, in an action against Carillion and Sir Robert McAlpine. National officer Justin Bowden said: “On 27 November particulars of claim will be served in the High Court in the GMB legal action against these two companies for blacklisting GMB members. A further hearing is due on 29 November… to make a decision about a group litigation order.” He said “at least half” of the 446 workers who have received confirmation they are on the 3,213 name blacklist “are covered by the High Court action.”
Unite said it had just issued its first tranche of five High Court proceedings against employers, with 45 more High Court cases to follow.
41,074 Young People Aged Under 25 Provide Unpaid Care Every Week In The Yorkshire And The Humber
They are an essential part of the ‘glue’ that maintains social solidarity across the generations GMB young members conference told. A new report, published at the GMB Young Members conference in London on Saturday 16th November, shows that 41,074 young people aged under 25 provide unpaid care every week in the Yorkshire and The Humber. This is 7.4% of all those in the region providing unpaid care. Young people aged under 25 providing unpaid care are 2.5% of all young people aged under 25 in the Yorkshire and The Humber region.
There are 3,308 young people aged under 25 providing unpaid care in Bradford. That is 10.1% of all those providing unpaid care in Bradford and 2.8% of all those aged under 25 in Bradford. The numbers of young people under 25 providing unpaid care in other area of the region are as follows: Kingston upon Hull 2,131, Leeds 5,962, Kirklees 3,591, Sheffield 4,594, Calderdale 1,610, Doncaster 2,449, York 1,310, Barnsley 1,935, Wakefield 2,586, Rotherham 1,999, North Lincolnshire 1,148, North East Lincolnshire 997, East Riding of Yorkshire 2,057 and North Yorkshire 3,543. See the table below for all the details for the region.
In England 413,779 young people aged under 25 provide unpaid care each week. This is 7.6% of all persons providing unpaid care and is 2.5% of all young people aged under 25. The data in the report compiled by GMB is drawn from the Census of Population 2011. See Notes to Editors for definitions and sources.
Tim Roache, GMB Regional Secretary, said, “This report shows the extent to which this region relies upon young people to provide unpaid care, day in and day out. They are an essential part of the ‘glue’ that maintains social solidarity across the generations.
This cuts across the picture that we have of today’s young people and the extent to which we rely on them.
Unfortunately it is this very generation that has borne the brunt of the recession now underway for 6 years. As well as not being able to find jobs young people have been shafted right, left and centre by the government.
They were denied education maintenance grants, they faced a tripling of tuition fees, rising house prices and a lack of affordable housing, and where they have been able to find work they face low wages and zero hour contracts.
This all has an adverse impact on the health, future employment opportunities and social and leisure activities of those young carers providing unpaid care.
What a bum deal affluent Britain has offered this generation of young workers.”
Paul Kenny GMB General Secretary To Appear On Question Time Tonight
Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary, is on the panel for tonight’s Question Time, in Portsmouth’s Guildhall, which is transmitted on BBC1 at 10.30 this evening.
The other panellists are Ed Davey MP, Secretary of State for Energy, Stella Creasey MP, Shadow Minister for BIS and Lord Nigel Lawson former chancellor of the Exchequer.
Paul is meeting GMB members from Portsmouth BAE Systems shipyard this afternoon. GMB Southern Region is holding a protest demonstration outside of the Question Time venue over the BAE redundancies were announced last week.
EDL Not Welcome - Public Meeting Organised By ‘We Are Wakefield’ Tuesday 19th November 2013 at 7pm
We Are Wakefield United Opposition to the EDL statement
We strongly oppose plans by the violent English Defence League (EDL) to hold a racist demonstration in Wakefield on Saturday 23 November. We urge everyone to unite together and build the largest possible peaceful celebration of multicultural Wakefield on Saturday 23 November. The biggest possible gathering will help show that the overwhelming majority of Wakefield people reject the violence, racism and division of the EDL.
We oppose the cynical and self serving attempt by the EDL to bring racism and division to our multicultural city without a care for the damage they leave in their wake. The EDL is a racist group dedicated to attacking Asian people and Muslims. Islamophobia – bigotry against Muslims – is as unacceptable as any other form of racism. Its aim is to divide us by making scapegoats of one community. Today they threaten Muslims, tomorrow it could be Jewish people, Hindus, Sikhs, black people, lesbians and gay men, Travellers or Eastern Europeans.
Cross Trade Union – Young Members Christmas Event
Cross Trade Union – Young Members Christmas Event
The TUC Y&H and the GMB Yorkshire and North Derbyshire Young Members are proud to announce a cross Trade Union Christmas Young Members event. This event is predominantly aimed at 27’s and under in the first instance as there is currently 100 free tickets available for this event, however anyone else interested is welcome to join us if we have the availability.
The event is due to take place on Friday the 6th December and will be staged in two parts, Please note the event details below;
5.30pm Arrival to the GMB Yorkshire and North Derbyshire Regional office - Grove Hall, 60 College Grove Road, Wakefield, WF1 3RN
There will be a drinks reception whilst people arrive ready for a special showing of Ken Loach’s film The Spirit of 45 - An impassioned documentary about how the spirit of unity which buoyed Britain during the war years carried through to create a vision of a fairer, united society. Film showing to begin at 6pm - 7.15pm
A special Q&A session will take place with former MP Colin Burgon – A man with so much passion regarding the birth of our NHS and also with reasons why we should fight to save our NHS!
7.55pm Just a short walk from the GMB office to the College pub 138 Northgate, Wakefield, WF1 3QT
8.15 Till late
Here we will be met with a night full of entertainment!
• We have an amazing DJ set lined up by DJ Wags
• A band to play live cover versions of all your favourite songs
• In-between all of the above we are proud to announce the amazing poet JB Barrington (Words Escape Me) from the streets of Salford!
Polish Worker Wins Unfair Dismissal Case For Trade Union Membership
Polish Worker Wins Unfair Dismissal Case For Trade Union Membership
A Leeds employment tribunal today heard how a polish man was dismissed by his employer for simply being a member of a trade union.
The dispute started when management at Whitecase Ltd in Leeds issued notice to employees that the method of paying wages was to change which would result in workers having to work a week in hand without pay.
GMB member Boguslaw Szulgan contacted his union and was advised to submit a grievance so that he could be represented at a hearing by a union official. But directors of the company met with Mr Szulgan without his union present and subjected him to bullying and intimidation because of his union membership.
Commenting, Mr Szulgan said: “My English is quite limited but I could make out the repeated swearing. I was aware that two other employees who had submitted grievances had been sacked the day before. Throughout the meeting I maintained my right to be in the union and call on its services.”
Mr Szulgan was dismissed without notice and was owed wages and holiday pay. He appealed the decision but the company failed to arrange a hearing date.
Mr Szulgan won his case and was awarded £8988.20.
Speaking at the Leeds Employment Tribunal today, GMB’s legal officer, Bill Innes, said: “Our member’s claim was made before the Coalition government introduced tribunal fees. It would now cost an employee in our member’s position £1200 to pursue this case. GMB is committed to our members getting support whenever they need to get justice against bad employers.”
Unionlearn Learning Rep of the Year 2013
Government Rethink On Coal Concessionary Fuel?
Will the Chancellor’s intervention reinstate coal cessionary fuel benefits for 1,600 former coal miners? Pensioners stand to lose either 4 tonnes of house coal delivered to their home a year, or about £550 cash in lieu tax free. After UK Coal’s collapse it looked as if hundreds of former coal industry employees were going to lose out on pension and concessionary fuel entitlements, and were facing a bleak future. The Energy Minister, Michael Fallon (written Parliamentary Answer, 16 October) confirmed that DECC has “no legal obligations” in relation to these company specific arrangements and has no plans to assume the additional liabilities involved. Pamela Ross, GMB Branch Equality Officer for the Yorkshire Coal Staff Branch brings us up to date:
“After months of seemingly fruitless campaigning, conference calling, emailing MPs, talking with TUC, unions and union members all hope of continuing the concessionary fuel entitlement seemed lost. Pensioners could either receive 4 tonnes of house coal delivered to their home, or about £550 cash in lieu tax free. For instance, What to say to the pensioner now, who had no option when coal was privatised but to continue working at the Selby Complex? Redundancy was not available for those needed to make it a going concern. A pensioner who had recently converted his new home to burn solid fuel as he knew he would be receiving concessionary fuel in his retirement? He wouldn’t receive this concession anymore, through no fault of his own. If he had retired with British Coal, he would.
Imagine my surprise therefore when watching local BBC lunchtime news on Monday 4 November to see my local MP asking a question in the House of Commons. Not just that, but the particular issue I had mentioned in a recent email to him – namely, the plight of UK Coal concessionaires! The Chancellor said:
I know that this difficult situation has been brought about by the failure of UK Coal. I congratulate my hon. Friend on leading this campaign to do something about the situation, and I know that my hon. Friends the Members for Sherwood (Mr Spencer) and for Nuneaton (Mr Jones) have joined him in coming to see me about it. We are looking very carefully at the case for what we can do to help those who have had their concessionary fuel allowance taken away because of the failure of UK Coal. I am personally looking at this case and I hope to have some good news shortly.
Now we have to hope that the news really is good, and the concessionaires will be able to keep warm this winter”.
Pamela Ross is a former Deputy Chair of the Yorkshire Coal Taskforce Group and is the GMB’s Branch Equality Officer for the Yorkshire Coal Staff Branch, and a delegate to GMB annual conference.
Lighthouse Financial Advice
How Lighthouse Financial Advice can help GMB members?
Lighthouse Financial Advice is one of the largest providers of expert financial advice in the UK. We are the preferred financial advisers for the GMB Union, with over 200 fully qualified advisers throughout the UK who are committed to providing all clients with the same standard of excellent, professional service.
How the service works for GMB members:
Members of GMB are entitled to an individual meeting which will usually take place in the comfort of their own home. There is no time limit on the duration of the meeting and it is without charge and commitment on either side. The adviser will be able to provide guidance and support on financial matters such as:
- Retirement planning
- Investing for income and growth
- Protecting your family
- Pension advice
Lighthouse Financial Advice are able to organise surgery days for your members that give them an opportunity to have a 30 minute consultation with a financial adviser. Surgeries are normally held at the place of work.
Lighthouse Financial Advice is able to run themed seminars on financial subjects such as pre-retirement, redundancy and inheritance tax. The seminars cover generic financial planning information on the key aspects members would need to consider. Both seminars and surgeries are complimentary to Union members, with the exception of Pension changes/transfers - this work may incur a fee, which we would be happy to discuss with you in further detail if required.
Lighthouse Financial Advice Limited is an appointed representative of Lighthouse Advisory Services Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Lighthouse Financial Advice is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lighthouse Group plc.
Local Government Pay Claim
At a meeting with local government employers today, 5 November, GMB and the other trade unions submitted a document setting out the arguments in support of our claim for 2014 which is :–
“A minimum increase of £1 an hour on scale point 5 to achieve the Living Wage and the same flat rate increase on all other scale points”
The full claim document is available to download below. The local government employers said they will be consulting with councils and expect to be giving a formal response to our claim in February.
We must therefore use the intervening period to campaign and raise awareness of our strong case for a decent pay rise in 2014. We are told the economy is recovering, it’s about time local government workers had a fair share.
38degrees Petition To Scrap The Gagging Law
The ministers behind it, Andrew Lansley MP and Lord Wallace, want the Lords to think all the problems with the law are fixed. But they aren’t. Legal advice and an expert civil society commission say the gagging law urgently needs to be changed: so let’s trumpet that call loud and clear.
If hundreds of thousands of us sign a petition telling the government to fix or scrap the gagging law, Lords will walk into today’s vote - and every vote after that - with a worried eye on the climbing numbers. At a glance, the strength of feeling will be clear.
Please tell Lord Wallace and Andrew Lansley to fix the gagging law or, failing that, scrap it. Click here to sign the petition now:
The last three months of campaigning - adverts, leaflets, tetchy public meetings - have turned up the heat. There are whispers that the government’s commitment to the law is wobbling. But they’re hanging on and hoping they can rush the law through before the public outcry becomes impossible to ignore.
We may not elect the Lords, but they’re not immune to what ordinary people think. And right now, we need to make the outcry so big they can’t see past it.
Let’s show them that it’s not just charity head offices who care about this law - ordinary people all across the country also want to protect their freedom of speech.
How do we do this? The old-fashioned way: by weight of numbers.
And at 38 Degrees, we have numbers: there are nearly 2 million of us. If we make this petition big enough, we’ll be impossible to ignore.
Fix or scrap the gagging law: add your name to the petition today:
Text courtesy of 38degrees
Last Remploy Factory In Yorkshire Shuts In Yorkshire
The factory for disabled people in Brightside Lane, Sheffield, shut its doors on 31st October 2013. Former workers laid a wreath on Tuesday lamenting “the death” of the government-owned organisation, which has been in the city since the 1940s. Since August 2012, more than 200 people have lost their jobs in Yorkshire with the closure of sites in Leeds, Pontefract, Huddersfield and Sheffield.
Ex-worker and GMB shop steward James Stribley, who began work at the Sheffield site in 1986, said he was “upset” by the closure and worried about his future. “It was my life,” he said. “It allowed me to have a proper life, to pay tax, have a family. I’m looking for other work but it’s hard out there.”
In total 83 factories in the UK have closed or been sold since 2007. The site in Sheffield, together with sites in Blackburn and Neath, in south Wales, are the final three to be shut. A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said an £8m package had been put in place to support ex-workers. He said the “tailored packages” were “already making a real difference to disabled people by supporting them into new careers”.
But GMB regional organiser Bob McNeill said he feared those who had lost their jobs “will all end up on benefits” and said the DWP was not doing enough to find work for those affected. He said: “They should hang their heads in shame until every single person who worked at Remploy has a meaningful job, full-time, paid, so they can have the dignity and respect they had at the Remploy factories.”
How To Cut Tied Pub Rents
GMB and 9 other organisations in the ‘Fair Deal for Your Local Campaign’ has set out for Vince Cable, Secretary of State and Jo Swinson, Minister for Consumer Affairs at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills Department (BIS) exactly how the ‘market rent only’ option in the proposed statutory code to deal with pubco overcharging would work in practice.
BIS has promised that Parliament will legislate a “market rent only” option with tenants able to buy products on the open market and pay a fair rent for the building. The aim is to lower sky high rents charged by pubcos. The Government’s verdict should be available soon following the widespread consultation on the draft statutory code over the summer.
The letter explains that it is not only the only clear solution, but is also a moderate, gradual solution that as well as leading to a fairer split of pub profits, would also allow the pubcos time to adjust their model, as it would come in practice over a number of years. The letter defines and details the market rent only option in practice setting out the process and the clauses that would be added to leases. This has not been done before, including by BIS officials who it seems may have been misunderstanding how the concept would be introduced and how it would work. The letter sets out in detail exactly how the market rent only option (the solution proposed by the BIS Select Committee) would work in practice, activated at various ‘trigger’ events, including rent review, lease renewal, a significant alteration to the price of products and the sale of a pub. (The latter would insure that developers and others cannot exploit tied terms to evict a licensee, which is something that has proved a problem – which is why a market rent only option would also protect more pubs from closure by providing greater protection from development/change of use as well as increased profit to the pub business).
What this means is that the provision of a market rent only option, as well as being the only clear solution to the serious problem of pub owning companies overcharging tenants through high rents and beer prices, is also a moderate, gradual solution that would be brought in over a number of years. This means that the large pub owning companies will be able to change their business model – and crucially that they would then have to offer attractive, fair tied options to persuade their tenants to carry on buying beer through them – which as well as stamping out the current overcharging would also allow the large companies to adapt. Ironically, the market rent only option would also be the only option that would make ‘the tie’ work as it should. With the market rent only option available to licensees at rent review, renewal or another ‘trigger – the pubcos would offer attractive, fair tied options where rent really is lower and that included genuine partnership. The letter also points out that the market rent only option means that the Adjudicator is only required to oversee breaches of the market rent only process, not to try to decide rental levels. So the market rent only option would be simple, effective and cheap – unlike expecting the Adjudicator to decide on rent levels without this being in place.
Steve Kemp, GMB National Office, said “GMB members working in the pub industry are relying on the right decision to be made by Government. The free of tie “market rent only” option is a simple, moderate and gradual way to a fair split of pub profits. A decision hopefully which ensures that the days of exploiting publicans comes to an end and that publicans who run pubs can do so without fear of losing their livelihoods. It is time for true social justice for British publicans and the pub industry as a whole.”
Commenting, Simon Clarke, Fair Pint, said:
“The Market Rent Only option is the most simple solution, it is phased, it is self policing, the cost would be apportioned to the parties, as already provided for in the existing leases, saving the industry as a whole money, and, as referral to the Adjudicator would only be necessary in the event of failure by the parties to agree, it saves time and money.”
Clive Davenport, FSB Enterprise and Innovation Chairman, said:
“FSB research shows that nearly 90% of publicans want a market rent only option, in other words being able to buy product free-of-tie with an independently assessed fair rent. The letter to the Business Secretary sets out the practicalities of how this will work, providing more freedom for publicans and lower prices for consumers. Our research project also demonstrated the economic boost, new jobs and training that would ensue, and we hope the Government listens and comes up with a strong statutory code that includes the market rent only option.”
Commenting Greg Mulholland, Coordinator of Fair Deal for Your Local and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Save the Pub Group, said:
“It is clear that the obvious, simple solution to the longstanding and ongoing problem of pubco overcharging remains the BIS Select Committee solution, the market rent only option. What still does not seem to be grasped by BIS Ministers and officials is that this is also gradual and market based solution that as well as actually making the pubco tied model work as it should, would also be the least disruptive and cheapest. The Government needs to understand that the Select Committee were right and the market rent only option is not just the only solution to the pubco problem, but the only deliverable one. They must not avoid it on the basis on pubco misinformation and must do the right and commonsensical thing and introduce the market rent only option to rebalance pub profits and to make the beer tie work as it should.”
Commenting Val Spenser, Licensees Supporting Licensees, said:
“On behalf of all our members and tied licensees past, present and future the Licensees Supporting Licensees group completely endorse the principle and definition of a Market Rent Only (MRO) option. MRO presents a huge opportunity available for the current Government, where previous Governments have failed, to put financial life and social stability back into the Communities and local economies that Pubs support on a national scale. LSL implore this Government to endorse the MRO option as to be absolutely clear anything less would be seen as a failure of the consultation. Failure would permit the continuation of the complete betrayal by Pubcos of the many hard working Licensees that we represent. Licensees have suffered for far too many years the wholesale Pubco abuses that the present system has allowed unfettered throughout this industry. It needs to stop.”
Contact: Steve Kemp GMB on 07730 898 102 or GMB press office 07921 289880
GMB Cleaners At Sheffield Park Academy To Strike
Please help to publicise the next battle in our fight for the Living Wage in Sheffield.
GMB cleaners at Sheffield Park Academy will be on strike on November 6th (next Wednesday) to fight for the living wage. They were out-sourced by United Learning Trust to Ocean earlier in the year, some are of the opinion that this was to avoid paying the living wage. Now Ocean, their new employer, won’t even discuss paying this rate of pay and are striving at every opportunity to get more and more from these workers for less and less. The current rate of pay for cleaners at Park is 1p above the minimum wage. (NMW is £6.31ph for adults over 21)
Please join these women in their fight by coming along to our GMB gazebo outside Sheffield Town Hall on November 6th at 12:00 noon and sign our living wage petition. The cleaners will be putting questions to a full council meeting at 2pm and asking what Sheffield City Council are doing to encourage all schools and out-sourced partners to pay the Living Wage in Sheffield. So far, and almost a year since the council announced the living wage as a policy in Sheffield, there has been some approval and support from elected members for this GMB campaign in out-sourced services and schools. We have had some notable success (Veolia, Amey, Norse, Enterprise and Green Co for example) but meanwhile most council officers and partners continue to find solutions to avoid paying up.
It’s time to demand a living wage for the lowest paid workers in all schools and the public sector and our councillors, all of them, need to come off the side lines and join the GMB fight for a fair day’s pay, especially when they themselves are the paymasters.
Closure Of REMPLOY Sheffield Event - Demonstration Laying Of A Wreath
Join us at Remploy Sheffield (445 Brightside Lane - Brightside - Sheffield - S9 2RR)
On Tuesday, 29th October 2013 at 1.45pm
This will be the final demonstration and show of defiance at the closure of the Remploy network which will be the death of Remploy. People from the union movement, trades council and the political network will be in attendance.
Protest Arranged at Ferrybridge Power Station (WF11 8SF)
A protest has been arranged at Ferrybridge Power Station (WF11 8SF) by Unemployed Rank and file members on Wednesday 23rd October at 6am until 10am, to highlight the plight of local labour being unable to obtain work on the multifuels project.
Please make every effort to attend in support of our colleagues. If you require travel, there will be coaches from the Unite Office in Sheffield and the Viaduct pub in Leeds. Can you contact Sheila Roddis on 0114 3210702 to book a seat, travel details below.
Coaches depart at 5.30am prompt
Campaign Launched To Get £1 An Hour Increase For Local Government Workers
The national local government employers have been written to with the claim put in formal terms as “A minimum increase of £1 an hour on scale point 5 to achieve the Living Wage and the same flat rate increase on all other scale points”. I am pleased that this claim reflects the unanimous view of GMB lay delegates who met earlier this month.
A “£1 an hour” claim is equivalent to around 8% payroll cost and the employers will say they are planning to budget for much less. That’s why we have submitted the claim now, before budgets are finalised. Local authority staff have suffered 18% real terms pay cuts, most never got the £250 given to the rest of the public sector and have seen other terms and conditions attacked. It’s high time staff got a decent pay rise to make up for some of those losses. Another low pay year would be completely unacceptable.
But achieving a decent pay rise will need unions and members to campaign together – and getting non-members to join so that we take our message into every town hall and office and school and depot until it is heard.
GMB and the other TUs believe our justification for “£1 an hour” is strong and we will be asking everyone to take part in the campaign to achieve it.
Together we can win.
Join GMB at http://www.gmb.org.uk/join
Leeds Hospital Alert and Leeds Keep Our NHS Public Meeting
Leeds Hospital Alert And Leeds Keep Our NHS Public invite you to a meeting on HOW WE ARE GOING TO RECLAIM OUR NHS!
Speaker: Sally Ruane
Health policy academic and NHS campaigner. Member of the Health Policy Research Unit at De Montfort University, Leicester and a founding member of a new think-tank, the Centre for
Health & The Public Interest (http://chpi.org.uk).
Date: Thursday 7th November 2013 Time: 7-9pm
Venue: Lecture Theatre B in The Rosebowl, Leeds Metropolitan University, next to the Civic Hall
LHA: http://www.leedshospitalalert.org.uk, email: info@ leedshospitalalert.org.uk
GMB Celebrates Launch Of Enabled Works
The official launch of Enabled Works in Morley, Leeds, took place today and over 100 guests and visitors made their way through the doors to join in the celebrations. The formal opening ceremony was carried out by local MP, Ed Balls; the Lord Mayor of Leeds also attended and paid tribute to the workforce during his speech.
Enabled Works was set up in October 2012, as a response to the closure of Leeds and Pontefract Remploy Factories. Enabled Works has been set up as a not for personal profit workers’ co-operative, owned and run by its own disabled workforce, many of whom are GMB members.
The GMB was proud to be part of their celebratory launch and wishes them well in fulfilling their vision to help train and rehabilitate people with disabilities.
For further details on Enabled Works visit http://www.enabledworks.co.uk or for business enquiries contact 0113-253 7255
GMB Seeking Help With Identifying Blacklisted Workers
GMB, the union for construction workers, is asking local organisations, including local media, across the UK to assist in identifying and locating the 3,214 workers on the construction industry blacklist after eight construction employers offered an apology and compensation. Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and VINCI PLC - all apologise for their involvement with the blacklist and the impact that its database may have had on any individual construction worker. The companies have joined together to establish The Construction Workers Compensation Scheme. The scheme is intended to make it as simple as possible for any worker with a legitimate claim to access compensation.
Blacklisted workers – number in each area
Location Number on the blacklist Location Number on the blacklist
Aberdeen City 14 Kent 95
Aberdeenshire 54 Kingston upon Hull 62
Anglesey 3 Lancashire 60
Angus 5 Leeds 53
Argyll & Bute 7 Leicestershire 5
Bath and North East Somerset 1 Lincolnshire 13
Bedfordshire 4 Manchester 183
Berkshire 2 Merseyside 173
Birmingham 69 Midlothian 3
Bristol 25 Monmouthshire 9
Buckinghamshire 20 Norfolk 7
Cambridgeshire 12 North Ayrshire 67
Cardiff 10 North Lanarkshire 22
Ceredigion 9 North Yorkshire 12
Cheshire 64 Northamptonshire 14
City of London 454 Northern Ireland 1
Clackmannanshire 3 Northumberland 7
Cornwall & Isles of Scilly 3 Nottinghamshire 12
Cumbria 27 Orkney Islands 1
Denbighshire 34 Oxfordshire 8
Derbyshire 16 Perth & Kinross 2
Devon 19 Powys 2
Dorset 8 Redcar and Cleveland 43
Dumfries & Galloway 6 Renfrewshire 15
Dundee City 21 Rhondda Cynon Taf 2
Durham 11 Rhondda, Cynon, Taff 3
East Ayrshire 18 Rotherham 56
East Lothian 1 Shropshire 2
East Riding of Yorkshire 16 Somerset 5
East Sussex 8 South Lanarkshire 16
Edinburgh, City of 52 Southern Ireland 1
Essex 57 Staffordshire 16
Falkirk 35 Stirling 7
Fife 24 Suffolk 9
Glasgow City 140 Surrey 32
Gloucestershire 32 Swansea 15
Gwynedd 12 Tyne & Wear 69
Hampshire 50 Warwickshire 1
Hereford & Worcester 3 West Dunbartonshire 8
Hertfordshire 14 West Lothian 12
Highland 15 West Sussex 11
Inverclyde 26 Wiltshire 5
Isle of Wight 1 Wokingham 10
Justin Bowden, GMB National Officer said ” This owning up by these companies is an important step in admitting they engaged in a terrible abuse of the civil rights of thousands of UK workers. The next step is for the firms to clean up and pay up. This remains our demand on the construction industry. After years of lies and denials, today some of the blacklisters have finally owned up and admitted they did blacklist and did abuse the basic civil rights of 1000’s of ordinary people. Their admission brushes aside the fig leaf other companies (like Carillion) have tried to hide behind.
For those who have owned up, the next stage will be to clean up: this must include a new and agreed code of practice for the construction industry covering how they employ people alongside their plans to ensure the industry is cleansed of those so-called “professionals” who ran the blacklist. The final part is ‘pay up’ and the victims and their families will either be fairly compensated including the offer of jobs or GMB will ensure justice for its members through the High Court. We are now appealing for help from local organisations including media outlets across the UK to assist in identifying and locating all the 3,214 workers on the blacklist so that they get compensation.”
Cut Pub Rents Says GMB
GMB, the union for tied pub tenants, welcomed a new report by the ‘Fair Deal for Your Local’ campaign setting out why Parliament should introduce the proposed statutory code of practice enabling tenants to buy products on the open market and to pay a fair rent for the building.
Steve Kemp, GMB officer for tied pub tenants, said “Fair Deal for Your Local Campaign has put together all the key point as to why Parliament should legislate the proposed statutory code of practice to enable tenants to buy products on the open market and to pay a fair rent for the building. The report well and truly destroys any deliberate misinterpretation of the true facts behind the pubco version of the tied model and its habitual abuse. No one who reads this comprehensive document, using data and information from the pubco’s own figures, can fail to be persuaded that a market rent only option is the only choice that can be made.
GMB welcome this report in the hope that it forces the Conservative Party to recognise the importance of open markets for consumers and the need for a speedy response to this issue to stop even more pubs closing. Highly indebted property companies own over half of Britain’s pubs. These charge sky high rents to tied tenants of pubs pay interest on massive financially engineered debts. These debts are held mainly by bondholders in offshore tax havens. Interest payments on these huge debts have to be paid each week before the tenant pours a pint and regardless of whether s/he can make ends meet or not.
To pay these sky high rents a pint of lager is on average 80p per pint higher and ale is 65p per pint higher than justified by inflation and like for like changes in taxes since 1987. This is pricing pubs out of the market and they have closed in droves. BIS has promised that Parliament will legislate a free of tie option with tenants able to buy products on the open market and pay a fair rent for the building. The aim is to lower sky high rents charged by pubcos.
The Government’s verdict should be available soon following the widespread consultation on the draft statutory code. We need Parliament to legislate the option to allow tenants to buy products on the open market and pay a fair rent for the building”.
Contact Steve Kemp, GMB, on 07730 898102
GMB National Project
To find out more about this project, please contact a member of the Developing Learning Capacity Among School Support Staff team:
Project Worker (Yorkshire & North Derbyshire Region)
Project Worker (Southern Region)
Low Paid Prudent Savers Will Now Have To Raid Their Savings To Take A Bad Employer To Court
Earlier this year, the government introduced new upfront fees for individuals who felt they had been wronged at work and had chosen to take an employer to an employment tribunal. A remissions scheme was also set up so that low-income individuals would not have to pay fees of up to £1,200 to make a claim. However, from today new restrictions on the remission scheme means that if an individual, or their partner, has savings or investments of £3,000 or more they will have to pay the full fee. This new restriction applies to everyone, including those who are out of work or on low incomes, as long as they or their partner has savings.
The new scheme would mean, for example, that a woman sacked because of her age, or because she is pregnant, would still have to pay £1,200 to have her case decided at a tribunal, even though she is out of work, as long as she or her partner have savings of £3,000 or more. The TUC is concerned the new scheme will disadvantage the low-paid who have been prudent and put modest savings aside. The change will particularly affect older workers who are more likely to have savings as they approach retirement.
TUC-commissioned analysis of the Family Resources Survey - published by the Office for National Statistics - shows that just one in 20 workers over the age of 50 are now likely to be fully exempt from paying the full fee when lodging a complaint against their employer at a tribunal. With fewer than one in four workers aged 50 plus likely to get any kind of financial support, fees of £1,200 will become the norm for anyone sacked because of their age, says the TUC. Even among households where someone is on the minimum wage, fewer than one in four of these workers will receive any support and will have to pay full fees of £1,200.
The number of disabled workers exempt from tribunal fees is also likely to halve, says the TUC, with just one in nine likely to be exempt from tribunal fees. TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The government has put up huge financial barriers against employees seeking justice from bad bosses. The remissions scheme was set up to help people on low incomes avoid paying fees. But the changes which come in today could mean thousands of older workers having to raid their retirement savings if they want to seek justice against an employer that has mistreated them. The changes today make it easier for rogue bosses to get away with mistreating staff, not paying them properly and dodging the minimum wage. This is not the kind of labour market hardworking people want to see.”
GMB members will not have to pay any fees subject to a few conditions. Any member that thinks they may have a case for an employment tribunal should contact their full time officer without delay as there are strict time limits for submitting claims. Telephone 0845 337 7777
Stark Warning To The Secretary State of Health By The GMB - Union for Health Workers
The NHS pay review body is an independent body that receives evidence which then determines a recommendation on pay in the NHS. If the Secretary of State wants to employ bullying-employer tactics and dictate to an independent pay review body how pay is going to be determined in the NHS the GMB message is simple - we will fight this.
Rehana Azam GMB National Officer for the NHS said ‘You only have to spend some time with a NHS Paramedic, Nurse, Theatre, Porter or any frontline NHS Worker to see their number one priority is to deliver patient care, quality of care and the best outcomes to the patients they care for.
Jeremy Hunt wants to berate and bully staff whilst NHS workers are trying to do a job under some of the most difficult conditions. This is just wrong and can not be tolerated.
Government’s attack on the NHS is significantly undermining the delivery of care. Government cuts to NHS services and jobs is putting patient wellbeing at risk. If the Government and Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt now wants to attack NHS staff pay while offering tax cuts to married couples it will be the final straw that leads to calls for industrial action.’
Carers’ Resource Employment Advice and Training Enterprises
The Carers’ Resource is the local, specialist carers’ centre for the Bradford and Airedale, Harrogate and Ripon and Craven districts of Yorkshire.
A carer is someone who, without payment, provides help and support to a friend, neighbour or relative who could not manage otherwise because of frailty, illness or disability.
They may even be juggling paid work with caring responsibilities at home. Carers have a tough job – it can mean unrelenting pressure, little chance to relax and a lot of worry. The system is complicated, and the issue is hidden.
The Carers’ Resource provides support for carers, no matter what their age, race, religion or needs. Visit there website to discover what support they can offer you as a carer, or as someone who might work with carers.
For further details visit: http://www.carersresource.org
ConDem Government Marks ‘Freedom From Safety Day’
Business minister Michael Fallon has been criticised by a top safety campaigner after he claimed a new round of cuts to safety regulations are ‘good news for the growth prospects of UK companies.’ Workplace health and safety measures dominated the cuts to ‘red tape’ highlighted by the minister. These included barring ‘strict liability’ compensation claims for workplace injuries, dramatically curtailing workplace injury and disease reporting requirements, making it more difficult for employees to pursue workplace harassment claims against their employers and removing the requirement for the Health and Safety Executive to approve training and qualifications of appointed first-aid personnel.
Marking ‘Freedom Day’ on 1 October, business minister Michael Fallon said: ‘Reducing government interference is improving Britain’s international reputation as a low-regulation, pro-business nation, but more must be done. To give our firms the best chance of winning on the global stage, we will press for more cuts in red tape in Europe, as well as at home.’
But Hilda Palmer of the Hazards Campaign said the event marked ‘freedom from having to give a damn about health and safety day’. She added: ‘Workplace safety has been the top target of the government’s attack on ‘red tape’ or, to you and me, the regulations that save our necks. There’s lots of ‘burdens’ arguments given in justifying the move, all bogus.’ She said properly enforced health and safety regulations not only save lives, they are good for the bottom line and protect responsible businesses from being undercut by the rogues.
GMB Members Will Not Be Priced Out Of Justice
GMB DEFENDS ACCESS TO JUSTICE
Employment Tribunal (ET) fees of up to £1200 for an individual case, introduced on 29th July 2013, is the most fundamental change to the Tribunal system since the 1960s when it was established to offer a cost free alternative means of resolving disputes from taking industrial action. ET claims will be rejected if not accompanied by the correct fee payable by Claimants unless they qualify for full or part “fee remission” under the Courts and Tribunals Fee Remission System. Few are likely to escape fees as remission only applies to someone on an income-related (means tested) benefit or in a sufficiently low income household. Even then Claimants have to pay fees if they have certain levels of “disposable capital”. For example, employees unfairly dismissed for redundancy may have to pay up to half the ET fees from their redundancy pay irrespective of how low their current income is. ET fees are blatantly intended to price workers out of justice as a key measure in the Coalition’s relentless hostility to the rights of working people.
GMB MEMBERS WILL NOT BE PRICED OUT OF JUSTICE
Unlike non-Union employees, GMB members do not pay for legal representation in GMB supported ET cases. Also the new ET fees are covered by the Region’s Employment Tribunal Fee Assistance Scheme for members who do not qualify for a waiver under the Courts and Tribunals Remission System. GMB members with Union supported ET cases are simply required to remain within the rules of the Union and the GMB Fee Assistance Scheme. That principally involves cooperating with and acting on advice from the legal advisor provided by the Union and maintaining full GMB membership.
DON’T RUN OUT OF TIME
There are normally just three calendar months less one day to lodge most ET claims starting from the event that gave rise to the claim. For example, an unfairly dismissed employee whose employment ended on 30th July must lodge a claim by 29th October. It would be out of time on the 30th! GMB Full-time Officers are experienced in assessing potential ET claims and advising on time limits. Potential claims must be referred to the Region’s Legal Department by an Officer over 28 days before the ET deadline. This is to ensure sufficient time is available to assess the case, provide legal advice and where the advice is to lodge a claim, prepare and issue it in the Tribunal. Before a potential case is referred to the Regional Legal Department members will be given the questionnaire for the Courts and Tribunals Fee Remission Scheme to complete so we know if the fee should be waived in part or whole. Members must also sign the GMB Regional Fee Assistance Scheme Application Form to ensure their Tribunal fees can be paid if they are not eligible for remission which is likely to be in the majority of cases. This procedure means that where potential claims are confirmed as having reasonable prospects of succeeding we have all the information on file to get the claim issued and deal with the issue fee.
EMPLOYMENT TRIBUNAL HEARINGS
A further fee has to be paid by Claimants for their case to go to a hearing. As long as the case continues to be assessed as having reasonable prospects at the hearing the hearing fee will be covered by the GMB Regional Fee Assistance Scheme if remission is not available. Members must keep their legal advisor informed of changes in financial circumstances that may mean the hearing fee would be waived under the Courts and Tribunals Remission System.
Employment Tribunals can make an award of the cost of fees against a losing party in the case. We will always apply for the costs of the fees against the losing employer in cases we win in Tribunal. Also in cases settled before a hearing we will be seeking to recover fees as part of the settlement. Fees recovered go back into the Fund to use by the Region to ensure other members continue to have access to justice.
General Secretary On Labour At The Labour Party Conference
Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary and chair of Trades Unions and Labour Party Liaison Organization (TULO) spoke at the Labour Party conference in Brighton in the debate on the Collins Report on Sunday 22nd September.
The real debate this week is about jobs, homes, living standards, employment rights not irrelevant navel gazing about internal party structures says Paul Kenny.
Paul Kenny, General Secretary, said in the speech “The trade union affiliates will only put in one speaker to this discussion. The reason being we think the real debate this week is about jobs, homes, living standards, employment rights not irrelevant navel gazing about internal party structures which frankly the British public do not give a fig about. The desire to expand Party membership is a shared one but, let nobody be under any illusion that as collective organisations the removal or sale of our collective voice is not on the agenda. We are proud of who we are and what we have achieved by way of social justice.”
NUT and NASUWT Industrial Action - GMB Advice To Members
The NUT and NASUWT have announced that they intend to have a programme of strike action as part of their campaign against government proposals on teachers’ pay. This action is likely to affect schools across England; their next action will take place on October 1st. See the attached document below for advice to GMB members.
Former Branch Secretary Passes Away
Former branch secretary of Leeds Electrical Distribution, Terry Hardy sadly passed away on Friday, 6th September 2013.
Terry had worked in the ESI for 40 years plus and was awarded the BEM for his services to the industry as well as his work with the Leeds Hospital Fund and the GMB
Terry’s funeral will take place on Wednesday 18th September at 10:45am (Holy Trinity Church Rothwell, Leeds)
Ambulance Dispute Over Sick Pay
GMB and other ambulance service unions at last week’s TUC congress announced they are in dispute with the ambulance service in England and said their members were prepared to take industrial action. The dispute arises because NHS employers and all ambulance trusts in England have imposed cuts in sick pay of up to 25% without the agreement of unions or individual employees and without notice.
Rehana Azam , GMB National Officer, said “Despite months of negotiations the final proposals from the NHS Employers simply weren’t good enough and our members rejected them by over 90%. Ambulance workers have had to put up with pay restraint and increasing workload and feel they are the pinch point in the NHS squeeze. They won’t put up with a draconian cut to their sick pay which could see them being forced to work while ill to avoid losing money. Who wants an ambulance turning up at an emergency with the medics coughing and sneezing all over the place? It’s stupid.
Nearly all members also said they would be prepared to take industrial action to defend their sick pay and so we have registered formal industrial disputes with the NHS Employers and every ambulance trust. We will also be challenging the legality of this imposition which we believe is wrong. Our members are very angry and although none of them want to put the public at risk they have been forced into a corner and the threat of industrial action looks inevitable if the employers don’t back down.”
Arrangements For The NHS Demo - Tory Party Conference Sunday, 29th September
Arrangements are being finalised for the NHS demo in Manchester. Coaches will be picking up GMB members (and family members) at the following venues:
8.15 am GMB Sheffield Office
8.45 am GMB Wakefield Office
9.15 am GMB Brighouse Office
5 pm: pick up at the drop off point. Due to the expected traffic getting out of Manchester, we cannot give a specific time of arrival at the GMB offices.
Doncaster Council In Court Over Care Home Fall
Doncaster Borough Council has been prosecuted for neglecting safety precautions after an 82-year-old vulnerable woman was injured in a fall at one of their care homes. The woman, who has dementia, suffered cuts and bruises when she fell nearly two metres into an unguarded open sewage drain at Oldfield House care home in Stainforth on 29 March 2012. The Council appeared at Doncaster Magistrates’ Court on 6th September 2013 charged with a breach of safety legislation after the incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Magistrates heard that a recently-qualified apprentice plumber was on site clearing a blockage in a live sewage drain via a manhole just outside a fire door at the end of a corridor. He had left the open hole exposed and the fire door open while he went back into the building to fetch water to flush the blockage. While the hole was unguarded, the elderly resident walked down the corridor and inadvertently through the open fire door and stumbled into the open hole. She needed an overnight stay in hospital and treatment for minor cuts and bruising.
HSE told the court the Council had failed to put simple measures in place to protect residents and staff while the work was being carried out. These could include placing temporary barriers around the hole, asking someone to keep watch on the open grate, or merely placing the cover back on the drain temporarily, and closing the fire door. Doncaster Borough Council, of Council House, College Road, Doncaster, was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £2,040 in costs after admitting breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
After the case, HSE Inspector Tim Johnson said: “This is a residential care home that will be, by its very nature, occupied by vulnerable and possibly easily-confused elderly people. It is, therefore, particularly important that proper planning and the greatest vigilance are duly accorded. It is fortunate this lady sustained only minor bruising but she was evidently badly distressed and did need an overnight stay in hospital. Doncaster’s risk assessment had outlined preventative measures to be taken but failed to follow that through. The inexperienced plumber was sent on his own, had not been trained in safe procedures and was not supplied with barriers - a failing that has since been rectified. All employers must make sure they provide the necessary equipment and train their employees to carry out work in a safe manner. However short the duration of a job, they must take into account the risks presented by the environment they are working in.”
In 2011/12, HSE reported that there were 22 fatal slip, trip or fall deaths to members of the public in the health and residential care sector, with most of the victims over 65 years of age. The sector also has one of the highest number of injuries caused by slips and trips.
Closure of Remploy Furniture
Remploy management have announced the closure of its furniture business which includes 80 jobs at the Sheffield factory. GMB believe this is a disgraceful, ideologically driven decision by the Government with the assistance of the Remploy board and KPMG. This deplorable decision will mean many disabled people being stripped of their dignity, unable to work again and be consigned to a life on benefits.
The Remploy factory network has been systematically dismantled and we believe the decision makers should be held accountable for this attack on disabled workers. In the announcement from Remploy they have said there is no viable bids, GMB do not accept and dispute this statement and call on Tim Mathews (Remploy Chief Executive) to explain exactly why the bid that would have secured jobs at the Sheffield factory is not viable and value for money.
GMB Demo On 4th September Over Closure of 6 Leeds Council Run Care Homes and 4 Day Centres
GMB will seek on behalf of its members to keep all the council run home and day centres open and properly funded says GMB.
GMB, the union for care workers will hold a demonstration outside the meeting of the Executive Board of Leeds City Council when it meets on Wednesday 4th September 2013 to make the final decision on the proposed closure of 6 care homes and 4 day centres. The publication of the report following Leeds City Council’s 12 week consultation on the proposed closure of 6 of the council’s remaining care homes and 4 council-run day centres has confirmed the closures will go ahead.
The demo will take place at:
Wednesday 4th September 2013
Leeds Civic Hall
Calverley St, Leeds
Jon Smith, GMB Regional Officer, said “GMB believes that the decision to close has already been made as demonstrated by the comments made to the local media by the Councillor with responsibility for Adult Social Care in Leeds. GMB is asking its members and the public not to be fooled by the latest comments from Leeds stating that Manorfield House and Primrose House will be spared from closure. The report states they will remain open until there are no longer required by existing residents or alternative care provision becomes available within the ward and no new admissions will be made to either home.
The other homes and day centres are recommended in the report to close once residents have been moved out. This is a devastating blow not only for GMB members but for the residents of Leeds. They say you can judge society on how it treats its most vulnerable. Well we now have the answer on how Leeds treats it elderly. By selling them out to the highest bidder.
It is a disgrace for the report to suggest that two care homes, Manorfield and Primrose, will remain open when they will in fact be closed to new admissions. This is the same as closing them now. It is also dressing it up as keeping the service in place when it is really a blanket ban on any elderly person in these areas receiving the care they need in the area they require it”.
Contact: Jon Smith GMB Organiser on 07918 905615 or GMB Press Office: 07921 289880 or 07974 251823 or 020 7391 6755.
Negligent Employer Brought To Account By GMB
A machine operator from West Yorkshire has secured £4,000 in compensation from his employer Federal Mogul Ltd thanks to legal support from his union – GMB.
Tony Render, 51, was injured while using a press in 2011 at a factory in Bradford which manufactured hinge pins for the car industry. The little finger on his left hand became trapped in an old extrusion press which had needed to be manually adjusted between manufacturing batches. On the day of the accident in October 2011, Tony found that the shutter box he needed to remove from the press to adjust the tooling system was faulty. Once removed from the machine he noticed that the slide in the shutter box was sticking and whilst he was trying to move it manually it shifted and trapped and crushed his little finger.
Tony said: “My injury could have been avoided if the shutter box had been properly maintained by my employer. The machine is an older model and is the only one at the factory where you still have to change the tooling over manually. While the company has been supportive since my accident and I’m being extra vigilant when operating the press, until the equipment is upgraded there is always the danger this could happen again.”
After being taken to hospital, Tony required surgery to his left hand and although he was able to return to work two days later, his finger has been permanently damaged. As a member of GMB for more than six years, Tony contacted his union who instructed Thompsons Solicitors to act on his behalf.
Tim Roache, Regional Secretary at GMB Yorkshire and North Derbyshire, added: “Time and again we have members coming to us having experienced a similar situation to Tony. More often than not it’s for the same reason or a combination of them, a lack of investment, interest or maintenance by the employer. However, it’s a fundamental responsibility for employers to ensure their equipment is safe for their staff at all times. If they are complacent about this, then they should be prepared to face the consequences.”
Manchester March & Rally 29th September 2013
Supporters of the National Health Service and all those wanting to defend jobs, services and a decent welfare state will be marching in Manchester to deliver a clear message to Conservative Party Conference to say hands off Our NHS from cuts and privatisation.
A March and Rally have been called by TUC and GMB is proud to support the rally alongside sister trade unions and NHS campaign groups. To assemble for the rally meet at Liverpool Road (M3 4FP) from 11am, and join GMB and the thousands marching to a rally in Whitworth Park, Manchester. Thousands will highlight the impact of job losses and spending cuts across the health service, as well as the rapid sell-off of the most lucrative parts of the NHS to private healthcare companies - many of whom like Circle are also Conservative Party donors.
The event will also raise concerns about the wider effect that government economic policies are having upon communities across the UK. - COME AND JOIN US – BRING YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS – LET’S GET THE MESSAGE ACROSS
ROUTE INFORMATION WILL BE UPDATED NEARER THE TIME. PLEASE KEEP CHECKING @ http://www.gmbnorthwest.com AND nhs299.org
SHEFFIELD SOUTH YORKSHIRE TAXI BRANCH
More “Elf and Safety” Excuses Exposed By Watchdog
As the heatwave in Britain subsides, it seems the country’s jobsworths have been suffering from heatstroke as The Health and Safety Executive releases yet more barmy ‘elf and safety myths in its drive to bring common sense back into decision making and to combat misuses of health and safety legislation.
HSE’s Myth Busters Challenge Panel was set up in 2012 to provide quick advice to people subject to ridiculous or disproportionate health and safety decisions by insurance companies, local authorities, employers and overzealous jobsworths. The Panel has received over 200 cases since being launched in April last year with nearly all rulings finding a decision was made without having any basis in health and safety law. Minister for Employment Mark Hoban said: “It’s time businesses and others stopped hiding behind health and safety when the simple truth is that they are either jobsworths or giving poor customer service. Their attitude gives health and safety a bad name and it undermines good health and safety which keeps people safe and enables them to enjoy the summer.” HSE Chair, Judith Hackitt added: “The stories just keep on coming in - you just could not make them up. I am proud of what our Myth Busters Panel has achieved in exposing the real reasons behind all of these so-called “health and safety” stories. If we understand what is really driving this blatant misuse of health and safety then we can all tackle the root causes - jobsworths be warned!”
Here are this summer’s top myths;
Jenna Barton was enjoying a break in Suffolk when she saw a young family stopped in their tracks by a sign in a chip shop window that struck her as particularly fishy. A notice declaring “under three year olds are not allowed on the premises or in the restaurant” was hanging near the front door at the chippy in Aldeburgh. Jenna, 33, a facilities supervisor, from Colchester knew there would be no health and safety regulations applying to children entering restaurants or takeaways, but alerted the Myth Busters to confirm it was a nonsense excuse. Of course, the Panel ruled this was yet another case of health and safety being used as an excuse and a complete over-reaction to an easily controlled risk. The restaurant should simply ask parents to control their children while in the premises if it doesn’t want little ones running around, not cite non-existent health and safety rules. Jenna said: “At the time it seemed like overkill and I know enough about the law to realise they were using the old health and safety line as an excuse, thinking no-one will challenge it.”
A children’s soft play centre in Oxfordshire has signs up stating “customers must not consume their own food or drink on the premises due to health and safety reasons”. Unsurprisingly though, customers ARE allowed to consume hot drinks and cooked meals on the premises as long as they are bought from the play centre’s own cafe. One disgruntled mum informed the Panel who were happy to clarify that of course no health and safety laws exist that would stand in the way of customers consuming their own food in circumstances as described. The panel all believed this was a clear case of commercial motives being conveniently hidden behind the catch-all health and safety excuse.
Patrons of a village hall in Burford, Oxfordshire will probably be glad they don’t have to get their hands clean by doing the washing up as the committee reckons putting your hands in soapy suds is a health and safety issue. It has told people using the hall for private parties, christening etc they must use a dishwasher as a requirement of health and safety. What nonsense, there is no health and safety legal requirement that would stipulate use of a dishwasher, so whatever the real reason, the Panel says the washed-up committee should stop misleading folk and come up with a better excuse to get out of doing the dishes!
A leading DIY store was hardly doing itself any favours when it refused to help a customer do-it-himself and cut a piece of timber in store. The customer popped into his local branch of a high street DIY store to pick up some timber beading for his home improvements. However, when the wood was too long to fit in his car he asked staff to cut it down to size. He was stunned when the assistant said he could not help as it was against health and safety rules. The bemused customer then asked for a saw to do it himself and was again rebuffed as the store said it would liable if he hurt himself. He approached Myth Busters who ruled that the company should be fully aware of the risks and how to safely use the tools and equipment they sell. The Panel put this case down to poor customer service and urged the store to practice what it preaches.
A local gym raised a few heckles (and chuckles) when a notice stating that for “health and safety reasons, members are requested to only use the hair dryers for hair on the head” appeared in the changing rooms. One fitness enthusiast was left scratching his own barnet at the bristly directive so alerted the Myth Busters. They of course ruled there is no occupational health and safety legislation regarding the use of hairdryers to dry hair on body-parts other than the head. The Panel stated; “This is clearly an easy excuse to deter people from using hair dryers inappropriately in a public place and the health club should give the real reason for their decision rather than hiding behind the health and safety catch all.
One might think that it would be in the best interests of hotels, restaurants and bars to provide the means for customers to leave the premises in the same way they found them. Not so one hotel…which refuses to provide toilet brushes in its bathrooms for patrons on the grounds of, you guessed it, health and safety. Despite there being absolutely no law preventing the use of bog brushes in loos around Britain, the hotel has taken it upon itself to refuse to supply the bristly cleaners to customers on the well-worn excuse of ‘elf and safety grounds. Now experts at the Health and Safety Executive’s Myth Busters Challenge Panel have flushed the nonsense excuse down the proverbial pan. Bemused customer Malcolm Forbes, 64, from Hertfordshire contacted Myth Busters after staying at a plush hotel in Newport, South Wales in June. When the company director and father of two tried to flush out the real reason for the ban, he was told it was for health and safety reasons. The Myth Busters ruled that no legal requirements exist that prohibit the provision of toilet brushes in hotels or other public conveniences. Lots of shared toilet facilities in offices, bars, supermarkets etc do provide them with any hygiene risks easily managed. Whatever the real reason for the brush ban, HSE thinks the hotel operator should come clean and stop pulling the public’s chain. If true grounds are for commercial reasons or reducing cost then be clear and flush these tired excuses away. Malcolm said: “I couldn’t believe it when they cited health and safety. What about the effect on staff having to face dirty pans every morning? The hotel should not embarrass customers in this way. They have not thought this policy through and have just used health and safety as a cover”. “I can’t imagine what the real reason is but I do know I would not want any of my family working as a housekeeper at a hotel that actively discourages residents from cleaning the pan after themselves.”
A table tennis table used by factory workers in break times was removed after a jobsworth claimed it was a health and safety risk. The panel smashed that nonsense out of the court by declaring there are no health and safety rules that prevent employees playing table tennis in their leisure time. A suitable location is all that is needed.
One diner who went to a department store in London for breakfast thought staff were yolking when he was told he couldn’t have a fried egg for health and safety reasons. Stunned at this response he probed further and was told someone in another store left a frying pan on the heat causing a fire, so a decision was made to stop supplying fried eggs in all store restaurants. The Myth Busters said this was a classic case of an over the top and misguided response to a problem. Banning the sale of fried eggs will not stop other pans being overheated if staff do not take appropriate care. Fire is a risk when cooking but one that can be easily managed. The store later admitted this was not a health and safety decision at all but a matter of company policy.
One overzealous racecourse steward confiscated a sun parasol from a racegoer because he said it posed a health and safety risk. Despite the searing heat this summer, the steward told the lady in question that someone could use it as a weapon. Bizarrely this silly rule ignores the fact that when it is raining, umbrellas are allowed. The Panel said there was clearly no health and safety issue here - many of us carry umbrellas with points when we travel on crowded public transport every day without incident. The racecourse has a clear policy that states that they reserve the right to refuse articles being brought into the event. On this occasion, someone judged that a parasol could be used as a weapon - a bizarre decision and certainly not health and safety.
A Chinese restaurant in East Sussex refused to provide a customer with a finger bowl giving health and safety as the reason. The bemused diner complained to the Myth Busters who were clear that this nonsense excuse was blatantly used to hide the poor customer service. There is no health and safety regulation that could possibly be interpreted as a reason for banning finger bowls.
The MBCP was set up to challenge the plethora of silly decisions made in the name of health and safety that lead to myths about what the law requires. HSE wants people to stop using health and safety as an excuse for unpopular decisions, when the decision has in fact been made on other grounds - such as fears about cost or complexity or worries about being sued. It wants decision makers to be specific about reasons for banning an activity on health and safety grounds, rather than just hiding behind the catch-all term “health and safety”. Tackling disproportionate advice is vital to restoring confidence in the true purpose of health and safety - saving lives and preventing injury and ill health in the workplace. Health and safety laws exist to provide safeguards against people being seriously injured or made unwell at work, not to hamper everyday activities. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice; promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice; and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. http://www.hse.gov.uk
Real Wage Statistics Burst Treasury MP’s Bubble
Tory Treasury Minister Sajid Javid claimed that the economy’s on track - just as official stats showed Britain’s wages plummeting at one of the fastest rates in the EU. Writing in the Telegraph, the wealthy former corporate banker ignored growing evidence of a complete breakdown in ordinary people’s economic well-being to tell us: “Momentum has returned.” But new wage figures immediately cast doubt on the minister’s rosy assessment.
Official statistics show that British workers’ pay has suffered one of the biggest falls of any EU country since the Con-Dem coalition was elected. Average hourly wages have plunged by 5.5 per cent in real terms - even worse than Spain, which has been battered by a huge financial crisis. Its workers have faced a 3.3 per cent cut in income. Only the Netherlands and crisis-hit Greece and Portugal registered a bigger fall.
General union GMB leader Paul Kenny attacked Tory ministers for pursuing policies that have transferred wealth away from ordinary working people. “The government is directly responsible for this unprecedented fall in the real value of wages in the three years since the election. Employers paying low wages get taxpayer subsidies in the form of tax credits to assemble a workforce for them to make decent profit margins. The government has also made it easier for employers to abuse staff and made it more difficult for them to do anything about it.”
Labour has calculated that workers will have lost £6,660 in pay between the Tories’ 2010 victory and the next election in 2015. Shadow Treasury minister Cathy Jamieson said today’s figures showed the “full scale of David Cameron’s cost of living crisis. Despite out of touch claims by ministers, life is getting harder for ordinary families as prices continue rising faster than wages.”
Source - Morning Star
New Offer To Glass Workers
The proposed strike action at Ardagh Glass has been suspended to allow members to consider a new offer made by the employer. ” We feel duty bound to put to our members in an indicative ballot”, says GMB.
Strike action due to begin on 9th August 2013 at four Ardagh Glass sites at Doncaster, Irvine, Knottingley and Barnsley has been suspended to allow union members to consider a new offer tabled by the employer.
GMB Organiser Bob McNeill said, “After considerable negotiations and Acas conciliation a revised pay offer has been tabled by the company. As the company have tabled this revised offer we feel duty bound to put to our members in an indicative ballot. Strike action that was due to start today has been suspended until the ballot is concluded.”
Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust
Events & Campaigns
Launch of Stress Awareness Week
Week commencing the 12th August 2013, the GMB union will be launching a week of stress awareness, relaxation techniques and incident reporting. Following the 2012 NHS National Staff Survey, we have conducted a survey of our own in the Leeds Trust Hospitals which seemed to indicate that the situation is getting worse rather than better.
The GMB relaxation road-show will be easily identifiable by the deck chair, palm tree and free massages, plus sign posting to the various courses which are designed to help workers under stress.
If you visit the road-show you will be entered into a free prize draw for GMB members with the chance to win a digital camera.
We will be at the following sites:
• St James (Gledhow Wing) 12th & 13th August from 10am to 4pm
• Chapel Allerton (staff coffee lounge, floor 2) 14th August from 10am to 4pm
• Seacroft (opposite WRVS café) 15th August from 10am to 4pm
• Wharfedale Outpatients 16th August from 10am to 4pm
We also wish to launch a campaign with the broader aim of pushing the Trust to deal with the shockingly high levels of stress reported in the 2012 NHS National Staff Survey.
Your GMB Representatives
Newsletters & Bulletins
Huddersfield Remploy Demo Cancelled Following Company Decision To Close Early
Today’s demo at Remploy Huddersfield IS NOW CANCELLED. Remploy management closed the site last Monday at 3pm without any notice, claiming there was no work, thus releasing staff from their contracts and avoiding publicity on the actual date the factory was due to close.
This insensitive decision by the company left workers in despair, and prevented them from having a proper send-off surrounded by friends and colleagues following years of loyal service to the company. This was the final kick-in-the-teeth for the workers who have been so badly let down over the closure of the site.
Pest Problems at Leeds Hospitals
Leeds Hospitals Should Spend More Money On Front Line Staff As FOI Reply Reveals Pest Control Problems Over Past Few Years Says GMB
There are too many people at the top end earning mega money and too few essential workers like house keepers, porters and cleaners says GMB. GMB, the union for staff in the NHS, commented on a Freedom of Information (FOI) reply on cockroaches, flies and rats in Leeds hospitals.
Bill Chard, GMB Membership Development Officer said: “Continual re-organisation, higher than UK average levels of stress, mixed with ongoing financial pressures all add up to a lethal mix. The 2012 NHS staff survey showed that Leeds Teaching Hospitals staff suffered way above average stress levels with a whopping 46% of those surveyed stating they had suffered work related stress.
Leeds staff said: “They would not recommend to their relatives that they be treated in Leeds’ hospitals.” So these shocking statistics simply bear up the staffs’ fears.
This catalogue of vermin, rats, cockroaches, fleas, etc, are an indictment of a failing system. There are too many people at the top end earning mega money and too few essential workers like house keepers, porters and cleaners.
The NHS must focus on patient care. It is not a business, it simply doesn’t need all these layers of management and expensive consultants.”
Attacks on Sheffield Parking Wardens Double
In the 12 months to June this year, there were 33 recorded incidents of verbal abuse on Sheffield Council’s 58 parking attendants - up from 17 in the year to June 2011. The number of physical attacks in the same period rose from five to seven. GMB, as the union representing Sheffield wardens, fear they are on the receiving end of motorists’ frustrations about increased charges brought in by the council.
GMB organiser Peter Davies said, “These employees are subjected to abuse on a daily basis and the reported figures are the tip of the iceberg. The vast majority of abuse goes unreported. The costs of parking have obviously risen in Sheffield but the reasons are nothing to do with our members. They do not slap tickets on willy-nilly, they wait a few minutes to see if a motorist has gone for change before issuing penalty charges. It seems to be part of our culture to abuse parking wardens but our members are simply doing their jobs and such attacks should not be tolerated.”
A Sheffield Council spokeswoman said: “No-one should feel threatened while carrying out their job and we will not tolerate abuse or violence.”
Elsewhere numbers fell or were much lower. Barnsley said there was verbal abuse ‘daily’ but only one physical assault in the year to June. Rotherham had no reports of verbal or physical abuse and in Chesterfield there were two verbal and one physical attack. In Doncaster, incidents fell from 46 verbal and five physical attacks from June 2010 to June 2011 to 31 verbal and three physical assaults in the 12 months to June 2013.
Sheffield Refuse Workers Accept Revised Pay Deal
Sheffield binmen have accepted a pay deal settling a dispute which had threatened to leave thousands of bins unemptied in the city. The 200 staff had voted in favour of a work-to-rule after Sheffield Council contractor Veolia failed to meet initial demands for a 3.5 per cent pay rise.
The GMB union, which represents the binmen, said members were angered Veolia was not offering an ‘acceptable rise’ when its annual payments from Sheffield Council increase each year in line with inflation. After talks with mediation service ACAS, Veolia made a revised offer of 2.5 per cent this year, backdated to January, and a further 2.5 per cent next year. Staff voted to accept the offer in a ballot with 77 per cent in favour and 23 per cent against.
GMB organiser Peter Davies said: “Our members feel that, in this day and age and given the pressure the council and its partners are under, this is a good deal. As part of the agreement, cleaners will also see their hourly rates increased to £7.45 in line with the council’s Living Wage policy, giving them a 12.5 per cent increase, and we have also secured improvements with bank holiday pay and arrangements.”
Coun Jack Scott, Sheffield Council cabinet member for environment, recycling and streetscene, said: “I am glad that the dispute has been resolved and that there has not been any inconvenience to the public. We are pleased that the GMB and Veolia have been able to reach an amicable agreement.”
UIA Insurance – Taking care of trade union members’ home insurance needs for over 100 years!!
GMB have endorsed UIA to promote home insurance to GMB Members. UIA is a mutual organisation so has no shareholders to pay. This allows the company to keep premiums low, provide a first class customer service and take a consistently fair and honest approach in claims assessment. There are no hidden extra charges with UIA Insurance when you need to make home insurance policy amendments. Furthermore you can pay monthly by direct debit at no additional cost.
For GMB members who purchase a household policy with UIA before the 25th November 2013 they will receive a 25% discount. For a quotation click here or telephone free on 08000 729922.
GMB Members Vote By 90% For Industrial Action At Ardagh Glass In Doncaster
GMB members have made sacrifices to assist the company in difficult times and deserve a fair share and reward in successful years. GMB members working for Ardagh Glass in Doncaster have voted by over 90% to take industrial action after rejecting the company’s pay offer. The pay offer has been rejected by four company sites at Doncaster, Irvine, Knottingley and Barnsley. Talks with the company are continuing.
GMB Organiser Bob McNeill said “This is an extremely strong mandate from GMB members and sends a very clear message to the company that they will not accept inadequate pay offers and a drop in their living standards. GMB members have made sacrifices to assist the company in difficult times and deserve a fair share and reward in successful years. They have played an integral role in delivering huge pre-tax profits of £65 million for Ardagh Glass UK. This is an overwhelming result and I would urge the company to accept the GMB’s offer to reopen discussions without any pre conditions and enter into meaningful negotiations to resolve this dispute.”
UK Coal Into Administration
Former employees of RJB Mining Ltd and UK Coal plc, in particular those who previously worked for British Coal and were TUPE’d across at privatisation in 1995, may be concerned regarding recent reports about UK Coal Mine Holdings Ltd (UKCMHL) and UK Coal Operations Ltd (UKCOL) going into administration on 9 July 2013. The Press Release from UK Coal on 9 July stated:
“As a result of the problems that the Daw Mill fire created for UK Coal, both UK Coal Mine Holdings Ltd (UKCMHL) and UK Coal Operations Ltd (UKCOL) have today gone into administration. David Kelly, Rob Hebenton and Ian Green from PwC have been appointed administrators of the companies by Birmingham High Court following an application by the directors. Graham Newton and Paul Bates of BDO LLP were also appointed Joint Administrators of Mining Services Ltd.
The administrators have separated out the viable operations of the group and agreed a compromise with major creditors, including the Industry Wide Pension Funds, which will see the pension schemes transfer to the Pension Protection Fund in due course. The viable mining operations have been successfully restructured and their assets will now be held in individual companies owned by a new business which will operate as UK Coal Production Ltd.”
It is understood that, following this announcement, letters have been sent to former employees who had been in receipt of concessionary fuel and/or cash in lieu. Since many members may be concerned about how this situation might affect them, this is an update of what is happening as regards to actions being taken by GMB.
Pam Ross, Branch Equality Officer of Yorkshire Coal Staffs Branch is currently involved (with representatives of other mining unions) in meetings with the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). Discussions are ongoing, no further news is expected for some weeks as information is being gathered and collated. With regard to members of the Industry Wide Coal Staff Superannuation Scheme (IWCSSS), Dave Bell, Branch Secretary of Yorkshire Coal Staffs Branch, as Pension Trustee, has been attending meetings on behalf of GMB. If members of the Scheme have any queries relating to pensions, you may contact him on 01977 635176.
It is hoped to provide further updates once more discussions have taken place, but this is not expected for several weeks. In the meantime, we would urge any members affected by this situation to write to their MP.
New SIA Licence Application Service Goes Live
The Security Industry Authority have launched a new licence application service with the Post Office that makes applying for a new SIA licence easier and cheaper; most applicants will no longer need to post valuable documents and supply a photograph, which can be costly and inconvenient.
This is how it works:
Applicants register on the SIA website by going to http://www.sia.homeoffice.gov.uk/apply and clicking on the register / log in link. A username and password is e-mailed to them.
The applicant logs in and fills out their application. At the end they receive an e-mail with an application reference number and are told which identity and other documents to take to one of over 700 participating post offices nationwide. Applicants must keep their application reference number safe as they will not be able to complete an application without it.
When the applicant goes to a post office, the post office staff check and return the applicant’s documents; they will also take a digital photograph of the applicant, take an electronic version of their signature, and take payment of the application fee. The applicant will not be charged by the Post Office for using the service. The applicant’s photograph and signature are sent to the SIA electronically by the Post Office. They add them to the application information already received and continue with their checks. A licence decision is made within 25 working days.
The new service will be available alongside existing methods of applying for a licence until early in 2014, when it will replace the paper application form as the way to apply for a new licence.
Asda Members - Tax Underpayment
Asda members - Tax underpayment
Have you received a letter from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) informing you that you have underpaid your tax?
GMB both regionally and nationally are aware of the issue of HMRC writing to Asda Colleagues whether you are paid hourly or salaried, to inform you that you have underpaid tax during the year 2012/2013. Please be assured that this matter is urgently being communicated by our National Officer with Asda, and further updates will follow. Importantly, please be aware that you are responsible for paying tax to HMRC. This would include any underpaid tax which they have a right to claim.
Should you choose to write to HMRC please find below wording which may be used when communicating with them. You should also ask for a breakdown of how the sum owed has been calculated and keep a copy of your letter:
To whom it may concern,
YOUR NATIONAL INSURANCE NUMBER
I am writing to you regarding unpaid tax that you say is due for 2012-2013. In the first instance, I
would ask that you seek recovery of any tax due from my employer. I work for ASDA and they were
responsible for making the appropriate deductions for tax from my wages.
If ASDA have failed to make the right deductions for tax it is their mistake. It may be in failing to pay
the correct amount of tax for the year 2012-2013 my employer has failed to take reasonable care.
I was not aware there was a problem with my tax before being contacted by you. Any issue with tax
liability certainly was not communicated to me properly by my employer.
My union GMB has raised this matter with my employer and is seeking to establish all the facts as well
as find a way forward.
I believe that you too are in ongoing discussions with ASDA.
In the circumstances would you please confirm that I need take no further action at this stage.
(keep a copy)
Asda members - Tax underpayment
Importantly, please be aware that you are responsible for paying tax to HMRC. This would include any underpaid tax which they have a right to claim.
Should you choose to write to HMRC please find below wording which may be used when communicating with them. You should also ask for a breakdown of how the sum owed has been calculated:
To whom it may concern,
I am writing to request that you seek recovery of tax owed by me, from my employer Asda, as I believe my employer has not taken reasonable care and has made a mistake in not paying the appropriate rate of tax for the year 2012-2013.
Asda were fully aware that there were 14 pay dates during the period of 6th April 2012 and 5th April 2013 and have a formula in which to calculate this. Asda were also aware of this fact due to the information they received from HMRC and did not show due diligence in acting upon this information.
(Keep a copy)
11% Rise For MPs A Kick In The Teeth
The principle of MPs getting a decent salary is not an issue for what is an important job and they should only have one job says GMB.
Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary, said “The principle of MPs getting a decent salary is not an issue. MPs should be paid properly for what is an important job and they should only have one job.
In the current circumstances, where these same MPs are responsible for policies which have led to pay freezes and a fall in living standards, an 11% rise would be a kick in the teeth for the millions of workers who are the victims of their policies.”
Contact: Kamaljeet Jandu 07956 237178
GMB Ballot On Political Fund
GMB members paying the political levy are likely to be balloted on funds going to the Labour party when the issue goes to the next meeting of the GMB central executive council in September which will determine GMB policy.
Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary, said “Ed Miliband made a speech on 9th July 2013 with far reaching consequences for the Labour party and the relationships trades unions have with it. The announcement contains a large number of new Labour party policies which as yet are completely without the necessary substance that is required to see if they are workable. In the scrum of publicity it is important to note that Ed Miliband has said that these ideas will take a considerable length of time to flesh out and if feasible to implement them.
Ed Miliband said that he does not want any money from trades unions political funds which has not been explicitly and freely given on an individual consent basis for the sole purpose of funding Labour party activities. This intent ultimately will reduce GMB funding by a very significant but as yet unquantified amount. The desire of Ed Miliband expressed will most likely require GMB to ballot those members currently paying the political fund to see if they want any part of it to go to the Labour party.
GMB is required to have a political fund and members understand this is so that the union can campaign collectively on the issues important to them like NHS, rights at work, housing, pensions and other political and economic priorities. The changes Mr Miliband seeks to be made with regard to union affiliation fees will mean that none of the funds that would have gone in political affiliation fees will be available to fund Labour party operations. The issue will go to the next meeting of GMB Central Executive Council in September which will determine GMB policy on this matter”.
GMB Local Government Members Vote To Accept 1% Pay Offer
GMB members whose pay is set by the local government NJC including councils, schools and many contractors, have voted in favour of accepting the employers pay offer. This was for a 1% increase to all pay points from 1 April 2013 and the removal of the lowest national spinal column point from 1 October 2013 which means an extra increase for the very lowest paid.
The ballot was a secret postal vote and of the votes cast 91.2% were in favour of acceptance with 8.8% to reject. GMB will now notify the employers of this decision by our members.
Unison members have also voted to accept and when we have the decision from Unite the pay increase can be implemented with back pay to 1 April. We will let you know when the official notification goes to councils so that you will know when the money will be paid.
Thank you to all GMB members who took the time to vote. We will soon be starting the campaign for next year when I hope there will be something more meaningful on the table from the employers. It’s up to us all to work together to make sure it is.
GMB Leeds support People United to help build the ‘People’s Manifesto’
From London to Manchester this summer the People United bus will criss-cross England to help ordinary people change Britain for the better. Two chartered People United buses set off around the country on a two week tour, which started in London from the People’s Assembly at Central Hall Westminster on 22 June and will end on 5 July at Trafford hospital - the birthplace of the NHS - with a party to celebrate the 65th birthday of the now at risk National Health Service.
People across the country are struggling at the moment – so the People United will be offering free advice and information on local campaigns. It will not all be hard work, with fun promised too, members of the public can post their messages on to the prime minister, spin the NHS wheel of (mis)fortune and tweet their ideas for their street.
The country is being run by an out of touch government. That’s why People United – a coalition of unions dedicated to working with communities – is shaking things up. People United wants the people of Britain to help build the People’s Manifesto. Help share ideas for getting people back into work, boosting wages, improving local housing and the local community as well as protecting our NHS.
Austerity Uncovered Bus Tour
GMB Members Participate In Union Campaign Against Austerity In Calderdale
The TUC organised Austerity Uncovered Bus Tour aims to visit over 80 locations across Britain from 17th June to 5th July. It wants to mobilise opposition to austerity and promote positive ideas for creating jobs, protecting our NHS, investing in our young people, bringing our high streets back to life and delivering a living wage.
The Coalition government’s extreme austerity policies have failed Calderale and unemployment has risen under the Coalition with 6,460 local people out of work and unable to find a job. In the last 2 years wages have fallen in the Yorkshire and Humber region against the rising cost of living by an average of £34 per week.
Austerity has failed and is damaging our country. To join the campaign to defend our services from austerity tell us how the cuts are affecting you. Visit: austerityuncovered.org/whats-your-story
Peter Farmeary’s funeral will take place on Tuesday, 2nd July 2013 at 1.40pm at Lawnswood Crematorium, Otley Road, Adel, Leeds, LS16 6AH.
Sheila Farmeary and her family would like everyone to join them afterwards at Haley’s Hotel, Shireoaks Road, Headingley, Leeds, LS6 2DE to celebrate Peter’s life and talk about old times.
Sheila has requested family flowers only but donations can be made to:
Martin House Children’s Hospice
If you donate by cheque, please make the cheque payable to ‘Martin House Children’s Hospice.’ Could you also sign the back of the cheque and write ‘Gift Aid’ as well as your home post code so that the hospice can claim the tax back if you are a taxpayer.
If you intend to go could you please let Maria Ford know on 0845 337 7777 so that Sheila will have an idea on numbers.
South Yorkshire Festival - Saturday, 6th July 2013
Come along to Wortley Hall on Saturday the 6th July, a great day out for the whole family! From 12noon to 5pm.
FALCONRY DISPLAYS - CRAFT & GIFT STALLS - PONY RIDES - DANCERS - FACE PAINTING - COCONUT SHY - BOUNCY CASTLE - RIDES - GAMES - BBQ - BEER TENT - ANIMAL HANDLING - BRASS BAND - MUSIC
Tel: 0114 2882100 Web: http://www.wortleyhall.org.uk
Wortley Hall, Wortley, Sheffield, South Yorkshire , S35 7DB
Austerity Uncovered Bus Tour
The TUC are coordinating two weeks of action to highlight the impact of austerity and cuts on communities across the country, with bus visits to highlight the effects of service and benefit cuts. The bus will be in our region on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd June 2013, visiting Sheffield and Halifax and the schedule for each day is outlined below:
Peter Farmeary - Retired GMB Legal Officer
It is with great sadness that the region has to report the passing away over the wekend of retired GMB Yorkshire & North Derbyshire regional legal officer, Peter Farmeary.
Peter Farmeary’s funeral will take place on Tuesday, 2nd July 2013 at 1.40pm at Lawnswood Crematorium, Otley Road, Adel, Leeds, LS16 6AH. Then afterwards at Haley’s Hotel, Shireoaks Road, Headingley, Leeds, LS6 2DE to celebrate Peter’s life.
Family flowers only but donations can be made to:
Martin House Children’s Hospice
If you donate by cheque, please make the cheque payable to ‘Martin House Children’s Hospice.’ Could you also sign the back of the cheque and write ‘Gift Aid’ as well as your home post code so that the hospice can claim the tax back if you are a taxpayer. If you intend to go could you please conact Maria Ford at GMB on 0845 337 7777.
Regional Secretary, Tim Roache, said, “I have known Peter for many years and he was a great comrade, friend and colleague who will be sadly missed. Peter was a one off character the like of which will never be seen again, extremely knowledgeable about employment law and always happy to assist officers and lay reps. The region sends its condolences to wife Sheila and family.”
Pontefract Liquorice Festival - Sunday 14th July 2013
This year GMB will be attending the Pontefract Liquorice festival. The festival is a great family day out and attracts people from all over the region. GMB will be hosting a stall at the festival to promote the union and will also be handing out some GMB merchandise.
There will be some raffle prizes, information on the benefits of the GMB and what is on offer with your membership. We also have some surprise guests throughout the day! This is also a great opportunity to meet some of your local representatives and people from the two local branches. The GMB Community Organising Team will also be available to discuss Adult Learning opportunities in communities and workplaces. The Liquorice Festival takes place on Sunday 14th July 2013. 10am to 4pm in Pontefract Town Centre.
We hope to see you on the day.
A Think Tank For Working People: Class Yorkshire Launch - Thu 13 June 2013, 6:30pm
A think tank for working people: Class Yorkshire Launch - Thu 13 June 2013, 6:30pm
The Unite offices, 55 Call Lane, Leeds LS1 7BW
With the Coalition Government and their programme of austerity and tax cuts for millionnaires, it is time that someone ensured that the political agenda was on the side of working people and that policy development branched outside of the Westminster bubble.
That’s why Class, a new, high-profile think-tank co-founded by the GMB, Unite the Union and the Institute of Employment Rights, and backed by a growing number of trade unions, is holding its first regional launch on 13th June 2013.
Class aims to promote policies to influence decision-makers on a wide-range of areas, such as inequality, welfare, housing, the NHS and employment, as well as pushing an economic agenda to counter the Coalition Government’s programme of welfare cuts and its injustices.
Come along to our regional launch to find out more about what we do and join in the discussion.
- Professor Danny Dorling - University of Sheffield
- Veronica King - Class and Unite activist
- Karen Reay - North East and Yorkshire and Humberside Regional Secretary of Unite the Union
- Tim Roache - Yorkshire and North Derbyshire Regional Secretary of the GMB, elected Chair of Yorkshire and the Humber Regional TUC and elected President of Class
- Jon Trickett MP - Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office
Thursday 6th June 2013
The morning session openend with an update on the bucket collections.
Motions to Congress
Motions discussed and debated throughout the day included pensions, state pension reform, employment rights, opt out from EU legal protections, refuges and safe houses, policing, defence cuts, drugs, rail re-nationalisation, transport links and the Eurotunnel to name but a few.
Terry Pollard from Rotherham Chemicals Branch moving Motion 288: Investment For Railways In Rural Areas.
This Congress endorses a campaign for investment in improving rail links and services between towns, cities and rural areas such as in parts of Yorkshire & North Derbyshire. This much needed investment would address barriers to employment and increase opportunity for GMB members in isolated areas without adequate public transport.
Paul Brayshaw from Leeds Civic Branch seconding motion 288.
Closing Procedure of Congress
Congress closed with a slideshow of the weeks events, speakers and guests and the Red Flag was played while the regional banner was carried out of the conference hall.
The Omnibus Vote of Thanks was made by George Fraser from London Region.
The Red Flag
The people’s flag is deepest red,
It shrouded oft our martyred dead,
And ere their limbs grew stiff and cold,
Their hearts’ blood dyed its ev’ry fold.
Then raise the scarlet standard high.
Within its shade we’ll live and die,
Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
We’ll keep the red flag flying here.
Look ‘round, the Frenchman loves its blaze,
The sturdy German chants its praise,
In Moscow’s vaults its hymns are sung
Chicago swells the surging throng.
Then raise the scarlet standard high.
Within its shade we’ll live and die,
Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
We’ll keep the red flag flying here.
It waved above our infant might,
When all ahead seemed dark as night;
It witnessed many a deed and vow,
We must not change its colour now.
Then raise the scarlet standard high.
Within its shade we’ll live and die,
Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
We’ll keep the red flag flying here.
It well recalls the triumphs past,
It gives the hope of peace at last;
The banner bright, the symbol plain,
Of human right and human gain.
Within its shade we’ll live and die,
Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
We’ll keep the red flag flying here.
It suits today the weak and base,
Whose minds are fixed on pelf and place
To cringe before the rich man’s frown,
And haul the sacred emblem down.
Within its shade we’ll live and die,
Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
We’ll keep the red flag flying here.
With heads uncovered swear we all
To bear it onward till we fall;
Come dungeons dark or gallows grim,
This song shall be our parting hymn.
Within its shade we’ll live and die,
Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
We’ll keep the red flag flying here.
END OF DAY’S BUSINESS – END OF CONGRESS
“Free Of Tie” Option For Pubs
“Free of tie” option 3 will enable the pub tenant to be free to buy products at open market prices and to pay a fair market rent for their pub or stay tied to the pubco if that is better says GMB.
GMB, the union for tied pub tenants, commented on a CAMRA survey on the pay of tied pub tenants. See CAMRA release in notes to editors 1 below. Steve Kemp, GMB political officer, said “That 60% of pubco licensees earn less than £10,000 a year is a national disgrace that cannot be allowed to continue. Option three in the BIS draft statutory code, which is now out to consultation, frees the tenant to buy products in the open market and to pay a fair rent for the building. GMB is campaigning for this option to be adopted when the issue goes back to Parliament in the autumn.
GMB has written to all elected councillors and MPs in Britain asking them to support option three which will resolve the issue which plagues tied pubs. See copy of GMB letter in notes to editors 2 below.
We need local elected politicians of all parties to make their voice heard loud and clear in favour of a free and open market. This will enable the pub tenant to be free to buy products at open market prices and to pay a fair market rent for their pub or stay tied to the pubco if that is better.”
Contact Steve Kemp 07730 898 102 or GMB press office 07921 289880 or 07974 251 823
Notes to editors
1 CAMRA Press Release for Wednesday June 5th 2013
Pubcos squeeze life out of pubs with high rents and wholesale beer prices
New data shows 60% of pubco licensees earn less than £10,000 a year
CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, is today presenting new evidence to MPs revealing that the majority of publicans tied to the big pub companies earn less than the minimum wage. These new statistics are released as pub campaigners visit Parliament to join a rally supporting Government plans to clamp down on big pub companies charging above market rents and inflated beer prices.
A representative sample of over 600 licensees were interviewed by research firm CGA Strategy*, with the results showing that licensees tied to the big pub companies are substantially worse off than free of tie lessees. A shocking 60% of licensees tied to the big pub companies earn less than £10,000 a year. This compares to only 25% of free of tie lessees who earn less than £10,000 a year.
The other end of the earnings scale also shows a stark difference in earnings, with just one in a hundred tied pub licensees earning over £45,000, as opposed to one in five who run free of tie pubs.
Mike Benner, CAMRA’s Chief Executive said:“These new figures reveal the shocking truth that many licensees tied to the big pub companies are struggling to survive due to unfair business deals verging on outright exploitation. Pubs that are invaluable community assets are being put at risk by pub companies forcing the majority of their licensees to survive on less than the minimum wage. The inability of licensees to earn sufficient income means money cannot be invested back into pubs enabling them to grow as businesses.”
“The Government should be congratulated for recognising the need to call time on the abuses of the big pub companies. Our message today is that they must push forward plans for an independent adjudicator and code of practice without delay.”
“The big pub companies are contributing to the destruction of Britain’s pubs by failing to support their licensees with competitive wholesale beer prices and rents. Every pub failure is a disaster for the individuals involved as well as for the local community built around that pub. In contrast, pub companies can profit from pub failures by retaining licensees’ deposits, premiums and even selling the pub off to property developers.”**
“Pub goers can join the charge to secure a fair deal for pubs by visiting fairdealforyourlocal.com”.
NOTES TO EDITORS
The “Fair Deal for Your Local” campaign is supporting plans for an adjudicator, code of practice and an option for licensees to pay a market only rent freeing them from the burden of having to pay a typical 70% premium on wholesale beer prices.
*The full report of the licensee survey will be included in CAMRA’s submission to the Government consultation
**Tied licensees going out of business can be subject to fees for dilapidations as well as forfeiting deposits and premiums paid.
GMB letter to elected politicians
Dear Elected Politician,
I am writing to you as an elected local politician on behalf of GMB tied pub tenants members. I am asking you to support Option 3 in the draft statutory code for tied pubs currently out for consultation by Department for Business, Innovations and Skills.
The property companies that own over half of Britain’s pubs charge sky high rents to tied tenants of pubs in your area to pay interest on massive financially engineered debts. These debts are held mainly by bondholders in offshore tax havens.
Interest payments on these huge debts have to be paid each week before the tenant pours a pint and regardless of whether s/he can make ends meet or not.
To pay these sky high rents a pint of lager is on average 80p per pint higher and ale is 65p per pint higher than justified by inflation and like for like changes in taxes since 1987. This is pricing pubs out of the market and they have closed in droves.
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 pub securitizations.
These securitizations are the infernal machine that is closing pubs in your area. It is the same infernal machine that drove Southern Cross care homes in your area to the wall.
In 2009 an Office for Fair Trade report concluded that the average tied lessee is being overcharged by pubcos by around £12,000 per annum or £230 per pub per week, after higher “wet rents” and lower “dry rents” are factored into the equation (pages62 to 64).
GMB and others have campaigned for Parliament to legislate to free pubs from this infernal machine before it destroys them all.
Last month the Department for Business, Innovations and Skills published a draft statutory code for tied pubs for consultation. The consultation is available to view online at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/pub-companies-and-tenants-consultation and will run until 14 June.
GMB welcome the conclusion by BIS that pubcos will overcharge tied tenants for rents unless they are prevented from doing so.
GMB is in favour of Option 3 the “freedom option”. This offers tied tenants the ability to buy products from the open market and pay a fair market rent for the building.
GMB consider that the other two options will allow pubcos to put up rents by the backdoor by overcharging for products tenants are tied to buy from them.
This is what the consultation document says on option 3:
“Option 3: Mandatory free of tie option with open market rent review
All pub owning companies with over 500 pubs would have to offer a free of tie option with open market rent review. This would apply at the next rent review point for current leases and for all new leases. Each licensee would be able to choose to be either tied or free of tie. This is in addition to the statutory code and adjudicator from option 2.
The rent in the free of tie offer would have to be based on Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors guidance. This would ensure that there was a genuine free of tie option rather than one involving an unrealistically high free of tie rent.”
I am writing to you to ask you to respond to the BIS consultation as follows: by email
Pubs Consultation, Consumer and Competition Policy , Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, 3rd Floor, Orchard 2, 1 Victoria Street, Westminster, LONDON ,SW1H 0ET
I would also like you to make representation to your local MP to support the free of tie option 3 when the matter comes before Parliament later this year.
We will likely only get this one chance to save your local pubs.
We need local elected politicians of all parties to make their voice heard loud and clear in favour of a free and open market. This will enable the pub tenant to be free to buy products at open market prices and to pay a fair market rent for their pub or stay tied to the pubco if that is better.
Yours sincerely Paul Kenny , GMB General Secretary
Wednesday 5th June 2013
The morning session opened with music from Montpelier Primary School Steel Band and a presentation of a £2000 cheque for the school made by president, Mary Turner.
Cindy Gavin from Leeds School Support Staff Branch moving Motion 19: Servicing Existing Members
This motion called on the GMB to apply equal effort to persuading members to become active and activists to become stewards, safety reps and union learner reps, as it does to recruiting new members. All of the above posts are needed to service the needs of existing members and motivated activists.
Martin Dolan from ASDA Distribution Branch seconding the motion.
Ian Kemp from Parkgate Branch moving Motion 20: Support Domestic Service Workers
Which called on the GMB to mount a campaign to both expose the abuse of domestic workers and to recruit them to our union to give them a strong united voice. One hundred years ago, the largest employment sector was Domestic Service, pampering and serving the needs of the great and the good (i.e. the rich and powerful). In the 21st Century, although the terminology and job titles may have changed, Domestic Service still exists. Just as in the past, exploitation of these workers is rife, with pay often below the minimum wage, workers with little or no recognised rights and suffering abuse.
Jim Shield from York General Branch seconding the motion.
Melissa Hobson from Sheffield Mcp & Lt Branch moving Motion 63: Working Class Education.
This motion asked Congress to call on the CEC to support efforts to revive and strengthen independent working class education within the GMB. At a time when little formal education is taught to challenge the social and economic orthodoxy it is important that we learn the lessons of history and of trade unions’ political and economic growth. We call on the CEC to produce a report for Congress 2014 setting out existing provision and opportunities to work within the GMB and with outside partners to better represent workers history and alternative economic theories to a new generation of GMB activists and members.
Shelagh Carter from Sheffield Mcp & Lt Branch seconding the motion.
Colin Gill from Leeds Works Department Branch moving Composite 19: Social Housing and The Green Deal
This Congress recognises the value of Social Housing to the community. It condemns the Tory led government policy on ‘right to buy’ which will seriously reduce the social housing availability and add to the 1.7 million people in England alone on the ever-growing council house waiting list.
It recognises that the social housing shortage can only be addressed by a massive programme of house building and that this must be built by directly employed workers and to the highest environmental and sustainable standards of this National Code for Sustainable Homes. We therefore call on the GMB at all levels to campaign with ‘Defend Council Housing’ against the continued sell off and to lobby government and local authorities to build new housing to the National Code.
James Stribley, CEC member, speaking on behalf of the CEC on Composite 19
Stacey Booth from Leeds Local Government Branch moving Motion 302: Domestic Violence.
This Congress opposes this government’s proposal to pay future benefits to only one individual per household. This will undoubtedly lead to an increase in domestic violence which is already at unacceptable levels and spiralling out of control. We call on the CEC to campaign for an immediate change to this practice and ensure benefit payments are made only to the claimant.
Amanda Burley from Leeds Civic Branch seconding motion 302.
Johanna Early from BASF Chemicals Branch moving Motion 307: Benefits Online.
Congress totally opposes this government’s move to make it compulsory for all benefits to have to be claimed ‘online’ in future. 8 million people in the UK currently have no computer access and in addition to that, many are simply not able to do what will be required to make a claim. That, we suggest, is the government’s aim! We call upon the CEC to lobby all MP’s to get this changed immediately and further, to lobby for a firm commitment from the Labour Party to reverse this position if it is still practice when they get elected.
Rita Knowles from ASDA South Branch seconding motion 307.
Michael Hinchliffe from Sheffield Health & Light Branch moving Composite V: The Bedroom Tax
The Government has enacted legislation called the Welfare Reform Act (“the Act”) due to come into force in April 2013. The Act reduces housing benefit by between 14% and 25% for those in social housing (council housing or housing association housing) if they are deemed to be ‘under occupying’.
This Congress believes that under occupancy of Council housing is not the problem, the lack of Council housing being built is the real problem that needs addressing. This Congress resolves to support any GMB members affected by this policy who raise it with the union.
Child Poverty Action Group
Alison Garnham from Child Poverty Action Group address Congress. Child Poverty Action Group is the leading national charity working to end poverty among children, young people and families in the UK. CPAG’s vision is of a society free of child poverty where all children can enjoy their childhoods and have fair chances in life to reach their full potential.
CPAG’s activities build on their history of strategic policy leadership to identify and campaign for changes in policy, practice and attitudes necessary to end child poverty.
Iris Walters from Leeds Apex Branch moving Motion 52: Contribution Rate For Unemployed Members.
This Congress notes the increasing need to win over public support to be successful in our campaigns in defence of jobs, pensions and services. We also note the need to work with the wider community on issues, resulting from welfare reform, which are affecting our members. Chesterfield No 1 Branch prides itself on the work it carries out in our area winning the Regional Branch Community Campaign of the Year Award two years running.
We note the innovative work being carried out by other trade unions in relation to community membership. The branch recognises the prohibitive rate of contributions for those out of work. We, therefore, instruct the GMB to investigate community membership and organisation for the benefit of the union, its campaigns and our communities.
Johanna Early from BASF Chemicals Branch seconding the motion.
Ian Kemp from Parkgate Branch speaking moving Motion 156: Save Our Steel Industry.
This Congress notes with concern the 23rd November announcement by Tata Steels of 900 job losses in the UK. Whilst tempered with the news of investment by Tata, that is of no consolation to those losing their jobs and their families. In addition, the job losses will impact on local economies, both in terms of reduced spending in local shops and the knock on effect on other businesses in these areas.
Tata’s announcement shows the total failure of the ConDems policies. As the Tories and Lib Dems cannot be trusted, Congress calls on the Labour Party to offer alternative policies to protect the steel industry in particular and manufacturing in general. It needs to discuss with trade unions, rather than just employers, about what needs to be done, including serious consideration of re-nationalising the steel industry. Without steel, nothing gets made. Just as with utilities and transport, the steel industry is too important to be left as the playthings of capitalists.
Ken Gilberthorpe from Sheffield Boilmakers seconding the motion
Pam Ross from Yorkshire Coal Staffs Branch moving Motion 157: British Coal Mining Industry.
This Congress deplores the way in which the British Coal mining industry has been allowed to decline, and urges the government to provide incentives for investment in the industry.
David Sim from Transport & Distribution Branch seconding motion 157.
Tony Gledhill from Leeds Central & Symphony Branch moving Composite 7: Supported Employment For Disabled People/Remploy
This composite asked Congress to endorse a campaign/lobby of the Labour Party to include in its manifesto for the 2015 general election a commitment to consult with GMB and other unions, in the first term when elected, on supported employment for people with disabilities.
Over 80% of Remploy workers have still not found alternative employment after the disgraceful decision of factory closures by this coalition government; this must be addressed by exploring alternatives such as funded co-operatives etc so that some of our most vulnerable members in society have the dignity and respect they deserve.
Tony Gledhill from Leeds Central & Symphony Branch moving Motion 153: Remploy.
This Congress endorses a campaign for an independent inquiry into the closure of Remploy factories. Consultation of the final 54 sites with GMB and other unions was a sham and anything but meaningful. Government ministers Maria Miller, Ian Duncan Smith, Ester Mcvay and this coalition government now need to be made accountable for the disgraceful treatment of disabled workers at Remploy.
Pam Ross from Yorkshire Coal Staffs Branch moving Motion 217: Company Failures.
This Congress is concerned at how employees are suffering when companies collapse due to decisions taken by chief executives and boards of directors, and believes laws should not just protect employees, but also penalise directors.
Lee Mosby from Yorkshire Plastics Branch seconding motion 217.
Jim Shield from York General Branch moving Motion 218: Directors Pay
This Congress is appalled that many directors of companies in the UK are receiving massive percentage increases year on year in their salary. Companies are making smaller profits but the directors are still receiving vast amounts of money. The average pay increase for workers is forecasted to go up by less than 3% in 2013 while directors pay in many cases could increase by over 25%.
Mick Hirst from Pontefract Central moving motion 218.
GMB Support For School Teaching Assistants
GMB Congress has today pledged its support for 230,000 school teaching assistants who face the sack from government cuts. Teaching assistants are not a “mums army” but education’s hidden professionals and are a vital integral part of our education system and should be recognised as such says GMB.
GMB, the union for school teaching assistants, carried an emergency motion today, 4th June 2013, at GMB Congress in Plymouth on reports about sacking school support staff.
Avril Chambers, GMB national officer for education staff, said “The tories and their fan club have sought to undermine the work of teaching assistants for the last decade. The evidence though is clear, where school support staffs are deployed correctly, they play a major positive role in improving educational outcomes. Classroom support staffs are vital to the modern school environment and in meeting the educational and wider needs of today’s school children.
They are not a “mums army” as Michael Gove so insultingly calls them. They are education’s hidden professionals and are a vital integral part of our education system and should be recognised as such.”
Contact Avril Chambers 07974 251 766 or Martin Smith 07974 251 722.
Tuesday 4th June 2013
The morning session opened with a presentation from Peter Smith, Labour Deputy Leader of Plymouth City Council and Dave Smith from the Blacklist Support Group.
Brian Golding from Rowntree & Associated Branch seconding Composite 3: Blacklisting.
This Congress notes the on-going campaign as a result of the exposure of the blacklist and its use by major construction and engineering companies. That at least 200 GMB members were on the blacklist and in the region of 500 GMB members may have been blacklisted over decades. The important and continuing campaign against blacklisting and for redress being pursued by those who were blacklisted.
This Congress believes the GMB continues to have an important role in the broader campaign against blacklisting. This Congress resolves that the GMB should ask its sponsored local Councillors to take steps to ensure that those companies who utilised the blacklist are excluded from local government contracts. That the GMB should ask its sponsored MPs to take steps to ensure that those companies who utilised the blacklist are excluded from central government contracts.
Colin Gill from Leeds Works Department moving Motion 174: Bogus Self-Employment And Pay Roll Companies.
Many employers on major government funded contracts are using the recession to further increase the use of bogus self-employment, agency labour and payroll companies. Bogus self-employment not only denies workers of their entitlement to basic rights such as holiday pay, sick pay, lay off pay and redundancy, but also costs the economy approaching £2 billion. Direct employment should be the norm for all workers, but especially on government funded contracts.
We therefore call on the GMB to lobby this government and the Labour Party to ensure that the best standards of employment are written into future procurement contracts.
Cindy Gavin from Leeds School Support Staff seconding motion 174.
Dave McLean from Leeds School Support Staff Branch moving Motion 176: School Support Staff National Agreement.
This Congress agrees that the GMB should press the Labour Party to include in its education policy for the next election the reintroduction of a School Support Staff national agreement. After the delays by the last Labour Government which prevented a national agreement being placed on the statute book, this should be a priority for the Labour Party when next in power.
The GMB now has many school based members and the creation of a national agreement is the best way of ensuring minimum national terms and conditions. By the time of the next election, the majority of schools will have converted to Academies, therefore it is essential that the national agreement covers all schools funded by central government.
Cindy Gavin from Leeds School Support Branch seconding motion 176.
Julie Whitaker from Sheffield Local Govt Branch moving Motion 181: Independent Hearings for School Support Staff.
This Congress agrees that the GMB should campaign for the introduction of independent boards to hear formal cases for School Support Staff instead of governing bodies, particularly at final hearings which could result in dismissal.
In most cases chairs of governing bodies and head teachers have such a close affinity it is difficult for members to achieve natural justice, and in most cases head teacher recommendations are upheld.
Cindy Gavin from Leeds School Support Branch Moving motion 181.
Amanda Burley from Leeds Civic Branch moving Motion 183: Breakfast in Schools.
Congress calls upon GMB to campaign for schools to provide a free nutritious meal at the start of each school day. Evidence suggests that when a child has eaten a breakfast they are more alert, work harder, interact better and learn more. Government cuts are forcing some children to go to school hungry and it need to stop. For this to work, it needs to be a free meal for all children.
Paul Brayshaw from Leeds Civic Branch seconding the motion.
GMB Refutes The Coalition Government Attack On Teaching Assistants And Vows To Defend Them!
The Sunday Times (2nd June 2013) published details of secret government talks, led by Michael Gove, aimed at axing 230,000 classroom assistants to save money. GMB have over 100,000 school support staff members, mostly teaching assistants, and it is imperative that we urgently respond to this threat. GMB Congress rejects any undermining of the fantastic work done by teaching assistants and will challenge any attempts to reduce their members - our children’s education depends on it.
Sitrap - Costa Rica
Other emergency motions included Sitrap, Costa Rica, which condemned the robbery that took place in May at the headquarters of Costa Rican agricultural union Sitrap. The motives of which may have been political. Congress was asked to contact the Costa Rican authorities to demand a full investigation and to organise an emergency appeal for funds.
Potential Nuclear Holocaust in Korea
An emergency motion on a potential nuclear holocaust in Korea called on the government to work with the united nations to prevent the threat of armed conflict because of tensions on the Korean peninsula.
General Secretary, Paul Kenny, moving the General Secretary’s Report and addressing Congress.
Mark Sykes from Leeds Local Govt Branch moving Motion 132: Carers.
This Congress notes that unpaid carers in employment are often subject to unfair employment practices resulting in termination of contract due to the absence workplace policies that should be in place to support and protect a group of people that actually save economy 19 billion pounds a year. This Congress calls to vote on new legislation that invokes a national policy on employers that helps support what have become a vulnerable and increasing group of employees that have become an easy target for an uncaring government.
Stacey Booth from Leeds Local Govt Branch seconding the motion.
Fringe Meeting - Hosted By Yorkshire & North Derbyshire Region
GMB Union Learning Funded Projects
Chaired by Colin Kirkham, Education Officer (Yorkshire Region) with guest speakers: Martin Smith, National Officer; Paul Maloney, Regional Secretary (Southern Region) Tim Roache, Regional Secretary (Yorkshire Region) and Paul McCarthy, Regional Secretary NW & Irish Region).
This fringe explored the benefits to unions and members of engaging with the lifelong learning agenda and heard case studies from employers and members.
Pam Ross from Yorkshire Coal Staffs moving Motion 144: Fracking.
Congress is concerned about support given to fracking compared with the lack of support for carbon capture and sequestration (CCS).
Ian Brook from Pontefract & Castleford Branch seconding motion 144.
Lee Mosby from Yorkshire Plastics seconding Composite 13: Living Wage
This Congress calls upon GMB to better publicise and celebrate those local authorities who sign up to implement the living wage, but also increase pressure through campaigning to get all local authorities to do it. Whilst we accept that the minimum earning legislation was a massive and important move forward by the Labour Government, it has to a large extent been overtaken by recent wage freezes, massive increase to all basic living cost and the attack on benefits. As a result of which, Congress now agrees we should adopt the living wage as the standard for the future.
Monday 3rd June 2013
The morning session started with a video message from Ed Miliband wishing all the GMB delegates a great Conference and a video on Working People & Politics.
Ian Kemp from Parkgate Branch moving Motion 249: Create A Constitutional Convention
This Congress notes that whilst there have been a number of changes to the British Constitution over the past 150 years; these have effectively been tinkering round the edges rather than radical alterations. After a number of false dawns, Britain is still essentially run in the same way, by the same people as two centuries ago. Congress therefore, calls on the next Labour government to set up a Constitutional Convention, composed of ordinary voters, not the usual suspects of academics, jurists and politicians.
Dave McLean from Leeds School Support Staff Branch seconding motion 249.
Garry Warwick from Sheffield Local Govt Branch moving Motion 234: GMB Support For The Labour Party.
This motion asked Congress to recommend that there must be a new ‘Warwick’ agreement and commitment by the Labour Party to work with the trade unions when next in power, before the GMB supports the Labour Party at the next election.
Lee Mosby seconding motion 234.
Maureen Taylor from Chapeltown Branch moving Motion 237: Full Employment.
This Congress calls on the Labour Party to include a commitment to “full employment” in the next General Election Manifesto.
Moira Hunter from ASDA South Branch seconding motion 237.
Terry Plumb from Asdair Branch moving Composite 15: Labour Party Candidates
This Congress calls on the GMB to continue the campaign for more working class candidates to be nominated for political and Parliamentary office within the Labour Party.
It notes with concern the selection process for the Rotherham by-election and calls on the GMB to demand an inquiry in to this selection and the role of the Labour Party NEC in the selection process in general. Labour Party rules should allow a more open access to selection panels and a greater say for local CLP’s in short listing and selecting local candidates.
Sue Walker from ASDA Stores seconding Composite 15.
Owen Jones, author and newspaper columnist addressing Congress and answering questions.
“This government is turning people against people… We have to offer hope”
Owen Jones has received attention as a significant commentator of the left, with The Daily Telegraph placing him as one of their ‘Top 100 Most Influential People on the Left 2011 and readers of the Left Foot Forward blog voting him as the most influential left wing thinker of 2011.
In February 2013 Jones was awarded the Young Writer of the Year prize at the Political Book Award, donating half the prize money to support the campaign of Lisa Forbes, a Labour parliamentary candidate, and the other half to Disabled People Against Cuts. Jones commented in an interview with The Student Journals, that several people have made the accusation that he uses his politics only as a tool to raise his own profile, and that he risks being seen as a “lefty rent-a-gob”.
Fringe Event - Hosted By Yorkshire & North Derbyshire Region
The Role Of Class In GMB
Chaired by Dave Noble and speakers, Tim Roache, Regional Secretary, Owen Jones and Hilary Wainwright, author of Public Services Reform and Reclaim The State.
Not only is Class playing a bigger role in today’s world, but Class the organisation is having a bigger influence on Labour party policy and the GMB collective bargaining agenda.
Composite 9 and 10: Save the NHS from Privatisation/National Health Service
Martin Jackson from Barnsley Health Branch speaking on behalf of the CEC on Composite 9 and 10.
Andy Burnham MP Addressing Congress followed by a Q&A Session
Martin Jackson, Barnsley Health Branch, asked Andy about the South West pay cartel. “We know the cartel threat has not gone away and we are aware of similiar cartels being established in the North West and Yorkshire. What assurance can you give in supporting NHS workers in retaining a national Agenda for Change agreement?”
Alex Burton-Keeble from Barnsley Health Branch seconding Composite11: NHS
This Congress deplores the coalition Government’s attack on the National Health Service by the biggest shake up in the history of the NHS. Public money is being used not for patient care but political dogma.
The Government’s policy will not address the postcode lottery and make it more difficult for the elderly and vulnerable to get medical help. Congress calls on the Government to think again on its proposals and let medical staff get on with doing a tough job in difficult circumstances, free of political interference.
This Congress calls upon MP’s from all parties to work together to ensure that NHS facilities and providers within their constituency remain within the NHS and a public service.
Amanda Burley from Leeds Civic Branch moving Composite 12: Has The Care Gone Out Of Care For The Carers.
These motions said that we need to look into the care homes of our elderly and make sure that they are treated with the respect that they have worked for and deserve. Too many stories have come to light about the care homes, treatment, food and care of our retired, ill health and old members of our communities.
Our old folk are the backbone of our nation. Why are our senior citizens paying for the current status of the Government.
Let’s look into this further and solve the problems, including legislating the ratio of care assistants to service users.
Sue Walker from ASDA Stores Branch moving Motion 219: Austerity
This Congress should campaign for and build support for a general strike against the government’s devastating austerity measures. We should base this campaign around the TUC consultation on their 2012 Congress resolution with the objective of coordinating days of action with our sister unions and covering as many sectors as possible. This will in turn reignite the fight against the Condems and build on our resistance against their appalling and discriminatory attacks on working class people.
Maureen Taylor from Chapeltown Branch seconding motion 219.
Ben Kirkham from Ripon & Thirsk General Branch moving Composite 14: General Strike
This Congress 2013 agrees to support the growing call for a one day general strike in response of the destruction of jobs and services and the wholesale attacks on working class living standards we are enduring from this Tory/Liberal Coalition Government. We say enough is enough and believe we should now be applying maximum pressure within the TUC to name the day.
Kevin Barnes from BASF Chemicals Branch movng Motion 222: Peaceful Civil Disobedience.
The government has aggressively advanced on all fronts against the interests of working class people. It continues to aggressively attack employee rights at work and their ability to hold employers to account. The impact of Government policies are that the living standards of the working class have been reduced, whilst the living standards of the richest 1% have continued to increase.
This Congress believes that the attacks by this government on social security, employment security and
health and well-being for the vast majority of people will continue and increase. That an effective campaign to defend public services and living standards may require acts of peaceful civil disobedience and protest. It will support grassroots collective campaigns of peaceful civil disobedience and protest against the policies of austerity pursued by this government.
Iris Walters from Leeds General Branch moving motion 222
GMB Opposes 58 Job Losses At 26 Sheffield Schools
Reduced budgets in Sheffield schools are now starting to bite and is proof that education is no longer protected or safe from government austerity measures says GMB. GMB, the union for school support staff, responded to proposals that 26 schools in Sheffield lay off school support staff and down grade others following Sheffield City Council sending GMB an official notice of redundancy.
Peter Davies, GMB Organiser, said “Sheffield City Council has issued to GMB a redundancy notice covering the loss of 58 jobs. GMB believes that the situation is much worse than the council either realises or is admitting and that there are more to come.
GMB has not been consulted in good time in most cases and certainly not since December as the Council are claiming.
The stand still budgets and, in most cases, reduced budgets in Sheffield schools are now starting to bite. This is certainly proof that education is no longer protected or safe from government austerity measures.
GMB is in discussions with the teaching unions and again, in most cases, teachers are simply unaware that they’ll be loosing vital support staff in their class rooms come September.
At many of these schools it would appear the proposals are to get rid of some jobs altogether and to downgrade the role of many Teaching Assistants who remain.
There seems to be little or no realisation that many of the remaining reduced roles will not cover the support that teachers and pupils need in the classroom.
If our members end up in these reduced roles all good will would disappear and they will do no more than their reduced poverty level wages pay and in accordance with their job descriptions as the lowest grade is paid less than the living wage.
So far we’ve only been able to meet with governors at some schools and the rest of the school management teams knew, in far too many cases, nothing about the proposals when we asked about their involvement.
It is unfair to single individual schools out because they’re certainly not alone but we are seeing unprecedented job losses in schools and with many now choosing to buy their own HR services there appears to be little involvement from the Council.
GMB are consulting with members at all of these schools and there is a lot of anger amongst staff, we can not rule out industrial action to halt this attack and the number of schools involved grows each week.”
Pete Davies 07501 228 313 Neil Derrick 07958 156 832 or GMB press office 07974 251 823 or 07921 289880
GMB Congress In Plymouth - Sunday 2nd June to Thursday 6th June
Delegates attending GMB Congress are the members who have been elected to represent over 620,000 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 be attending GMB Congress and are drawn mainly from GMB organised workplaces around the UK and Ireland.
GMB Congress is open to the media with the necessary credentials. It will be webcast live on the GMB national website at http://www.gmb.public-i.tv.
Congress documents are online on GMB website in the area for GMB members only. Journalists attending the Congress will be supplied with all Congress documents on arrival.
GMB can supply live feed and recorded highlights to media outlets by arrangement.
Media releases planned to coincide with debates
Sunday 2nd June
Travel To Work - How workers travel to work in each area for all regions - except Scotland- from 2011 census and impact of travel to work costs on living standards
Monday 3rd June
A GMB investigation into the number of new homes that could be built in each area in all regions if half the housing benefit paid in that area was invested instead to build new social houses.
At 2pm on Monday afternoon there will be a special press briefing for journalists from the GMB Legal Team dealing with High Court action to get justice for the 3,213 workers and green activists who were blacklisted by 44 construction companies. This is in advance of the debate on Tuesday morning and will be embargoed to 00.01 4th June.
Tuesday 4th June
There will be a press release embargoed 00.01 Tuesday 4th June on latest developments on blacklisting.
Wednesday 5th June
Unpaid Carers – The number of unpaid carers in each area - except Scotland - from 2011 Census and the need for support for unpaid carers by their employers.
Thursday 6th June
The cost of dying – A GMB investigation into the costs of cremation, buying and using a grave by council by all regions.
Speakers and other debates.
Among the guest speakers during GMB Congress week is Margaret Aspinall of the Hillsborough Family Support Group on Sunday 3.30p.m.
On Monday morning Owen Jones, journalist will speak to Congress and in the afternoon Andy Burnham MP will host a Question & Answer session on the NHS and Social care.
On Tuesday Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary will give his keynote address to the Congress delegates at around 11 am. On Tuesday morning newly elected Emma Lewell Buck MP for South Shields has been invited to speak (TBC). Dave Smith from the Blacklist Support Group, who was blacklisted by Carillion, will speak during the blacklisting debate on Tuesday morning.
On Wednesday morning Alison Garnham of the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) addresses Congress and on Thursday Monica Smith from the Retired Members Section speaking on GMB Retired Members Section.
The day by day draft program is set out below in Notes to Editors and is subject to change.
There are written reports to Congress on Women in GMB, GMB Branch Structure and GMB Finances.
Contact: GMB Congress Press Office; Steve Pryle on 07921 289880 or Rose Conroy on 07974 251823.
Notes to Editors:
1 Sessions: Sunday 2nd June 2013 9.30 am to 12.30 pm then 2.00 pm to 5.30 pm. Monday 3rd June to Thursday 6th June 9.30 am to 12.30 pm.
2 Draft GMB Congress programme is subject to change.
SUNDAY 2nd JUNE:
Mary Turner, GMB National President will address Congress on the work of GMB since Congress 2012 and present the GMB President’s Leadership awards in the afternoon. Other awards include our annual GMB Annual Daniel Dennis Health and Safety Award.
Guest speaker - Margaret Aspinall, Hillsborough Family Support Group
Debates – Motions on union organisation, GMB branch structure and a report on the GMB womne’s project.
Fringe Meetings – GMB Living Wage Campaign Update, Using Social media, and Coalition’s Attacks on Workers Rights.
MONDAY 3rd JUNE:
Guest speakers: Andy Burnham MP (confirmed) as part of NHS and health debate and Q&A
Stephen Hughes MEP will give the European report and be presented with a retirement gift.
Debates – Politics. Report on GMB and it’s future political direction, motions on the Labour Party. In the afternoon Andy Burnham MP (confirmed) as part of NHS and health debate and Q&A. Related issues and motions will be debated.
Fringe Events – The People’s Operator, GMB Political Department, Women GMB making a difference at work, The Role of Class in the GMB, Asbestos in Schools.
TUESDAY 4TH JUNE:
Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary’s address to Congress
There will be a presentation to three long serving GMB Shop Stewards who have served GMB members working for British Gas and who are retiring.
Guest speaker: Emma Lewell Buck, (invited) Labour Party candidate for south Shields
Debates – Blacklisting, the economy, social justice, local government privation, schools, Rights At Work; Living Wage campaign update, employment status, Zero hours contracts, Energy policy and an Emergency Motion on North Korea.
Fringe Events: What can be done about rising energy bills? Working with Labour representing Communities. Union Learn funded projects. Genetically Modified Food.
WEDNESDAY 5TH JUNE:
Guest speakers: Alison Garnham of the Children Poverty Action Group (GPAG)
Debates – Training, childcare, housing, workfare, education, welfare rights and bedroom tax apprentices, retired GMB members, GMB finance report, tribunals defense and Remploy.
Fringe Events: Public sector pension is the job done? European politics. Ethical procurement for local authorities.
THURSDAY 6TH JUNE:
Debates: Pensions, refuges, transport, lottery, drugs and badgers.
Debates – Justice, rights at work, International and any outstanding Congress business. Congress is expected to close at lunchtime.
NORTHERN GENERAL HOSPITAL
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Sunday 2nd June 2013
Mary Turner, President, called Congress to order. This year’s banner ceremony was carried out by North West and Irish Region. For the first time all nine regions carried their own regional banner in a procession behind the national banner.
Jo Early and Lee Mosby carrying the Yorkshire & North Derbyshire Young Members’ Banner
Delegates were shown a short video montage on GMB@Work carried out during 2013.
The opening session also included:
•Appointment of Tellers
•Confirmation of Standing Orders Committee
•President’s Adddress: Mary Turner
Mary Turner addressing Congress
CEC Rule Amendments/Rule Amendments
The morning was spent discussing and debating CEC Rule Amendments on Audits, Branches, Victimisation Benefit and Rule Amendments on Congress Business, Organisers and Procedures for Electing Organisers.
Shelagh Carter from Sheffild Mcp & Lt Branch moving Motion 38: Activist Title.
This motion called for Congress to agrees that any names/titles used in any GMB correspondence, publications, forms etc. shall be the names/titles used in the rule book e.g. shop steward. If no name/title exists in the rule book then national/regional advice (if any) is to be followed. This rule covers all forms of communication including electronic.
Julie Whitaker from Sheffield Local Govt Branch seconding the motion.
Dave Noble from Leeds Works Dept Branch paying tribute to President, Mary Turner, in the ‘Vote of Thanks’ to the president speech.
CEC Special Report: GMB Women’s Project
This report looks at the development of women within the GMB and suggests ways to help career progression for both activists and staff. 4 full-time officers took to the stage (including Rachel Harrison, former secretary at GMB Sheffield) who were either previously employed as staff or were lay activists. They spoke about their experiences and offered encouragement to women interested in becoming full-time officers for the GMB.
CEC Special Report GMB Womens Project Final.pdf
Nicola Sharpe speaking on behalf of the CEC on the CEC Special Report: GMB Women’s Project
Terry Plumb from Asdair Branch moving Motion 15: APEX Section
The motion called on Congress to revive the Apex Section or similar, to encourage recruitment and activism amongst the managerial and supervisory sections of the workforce.
Pam Ross from Yorkshire Coal Staffs Branch seconding the motion.
Allison Morrell from Doncaster Central Branch moving Motion 17: Fair Trade Refreshments
Congress asked that all food and drink items procured by the GMB should, wherever possible, be locally produced or Fair Trade. In particular, all procured tea and coffee must be Fair Trade, and all procured sugar must be Fair Trade or produced in the UK.
Melissa Hobson from Sheffield Mcp & Lt Branch moving Motion 79: Disability Attack
This Congress believes that people with disabilities in this country are facing unrestrained attacks from those with authority and control. We resolve to campaign and work in alliance with other local and national groups - DEPAC and UKUncut among others - against the attacks on people with disabilities, particularly attacks on employment, benefits and other support services. Of particular recent concern have been the attacks on Remploy employees and the cuts to Disability Living Allowance.
Amanda Burley from Leeds Civic Branch seconding the motion.
Presentation of the President Leadership Awards for Equality and the Presentation of the Daniel Dennis Health & Safety Award were made by Paul Kenny, General Secretary and Mary Turner, President.
The Hillsborough Family Support Group
Margaret Aspinall, Chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group addressed Congress. The Hillsborough Family Support Group was founded in May 1989 by a majority of the families who lost loved ones in the Football Disaster at Hillsborough Stadium Sheffield, England on the 15th April 1989.
A few families met whilst travelling to and from the Lord Justice Taylor Inquiry, and decided that they should contact every next of kin and form a group. They held their first meeting at the Vernon Sangster Sports Centre, Liverpool. By July of the same year, they had democratically elected a committee and held their first committee meeting.
The bereaved families came together to help and support each other throughout the aftermath. It became very clear at an early stage that a strong group was needed if a campaign to bring out the truth and ensure justice was to succeed.
Other motions debated and discussed throughout the day included the amalgamation of GMB and Unison, Durham Miners Gala, Outlawing Bullying, Sexual Violence, Harassment, Legislative Changes to Maternity Leave, Same Sex Parenting, Homophobic Bullying, Health and Safety, Regeneration, Mental Health Awareness Criminal Injuries Scheme, Knife Crime, Orgreave and Policing the Miners’ Strike and Business Solvency to name but a few.
Remploy - More Job Losses
Remploy Announce Possible Sale Of 3 Factories & Closure Of Huddersfield With No Plans Yet For The Other 15.
Remploy management has made an announcement that they have a preferred bidder for Blackburn, Neath Port Talbot, Sheffield but Huddersfield will close on 8th August.
GMB, the union for staff at Remploy, responded to a new statement by Remploy on the possible sale of furniture and CCTV business and the implications for Remploy factories in Blackburn, Neath Port Talbot, Sheffield and Huddersfield. See statement in notes to editors below.
Jerry Nelson GMB National Officer for Remploy said “Remploy factories at Blackburn, Neath Port Talbot and Sheffield are subject to an expression of interest from an undisclosed source for the furniture business that these three factories undertake.
In the current and final phase of this Governments plans for the destruction of Remploy, the remaining 15 factories have not yet had formal announcements of expressions of interest, although the joint unions have been told there are some such.
The Huddersfield factory has had no expression of interest. Remploy now set a closure date of 8th August 2013. Many of our 31 members in Huddersfield are going to struggle in the main. Many will spend a life on benefits after working all their lives and with dignity.
The whole process of the expressions of interest up to best and final offers being submitted is shrouded in secrecy at the insistence of the DWP legal advisors and there consultants, KPMG.
The process is a sham that leaves all Remploy workers worried and upset, being kept in the dark about their future till the very last minute. This is typical of this government led by the upper class spoilt brats that they are. They are destroying people’s lives with the stroke of a pen with absolutely no consideration for the damage they inflict upon people’s lives”
School Support Staff - Administering Medicines
GMB Congress 2013: Why is Class such an important GMB investment?
Britain faces a ‘death spiral of self-defeating austerity’, according to Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman.
That’s why Class, a new high-profile think-tank co-founded by the GMB, Unite the Union and the Institute of Employment Rights, and backed by a growing number of trade unions, is developing policies on a wide-range of areas, such as inequality, welfare, housing and employment, as well as pushing an economic agenda to counter the Coalition Government’s austerity programme and its injustices.
With Class, the GMB is pushing the political agenda back on the side of working people and policymakers are finally starting to take note of the strong evidence behind the issues that matter to us. Delegates at the fringe meeting will hear the challenging ideas we’re going to push in the months ahead and our plans to transform the debate.
Owen Jones - Independent columnist and Policy and Media Advisor to Class
Dave Noble - Yorkshire and North Derbyshire GMB Regional President
Tim Roache - Yorkshire and North Derbyshire GMB Regional Secretary, the elected Chair of the Yorkshire and the Humber Regional TUC and elected President of Class
Hilary Wainwright - Co-editor of Red Pepper magazine and a member of Class’s National Advisory Panel
31 jobs go as Remploy look to close Huddersfield factory
Asbestos Heater Danger In Schools
GMB Warn Parents And Teachers Of Asbestos In Heaters In Schools. Everyone with children at school and those who work in our schools must get their heaters checked by an authorised, qualified asbestos surveyor. GMB is calling on Head Teachers and School Governors to whether their school contain warm air heaters that contain asbestos.
GMB believes that closure of Cwmcarn school in Wales last year after reports of asbestos in the convection heaters and ceiling voids is the tip of the iceberg and indicative of the problem common in schools. The local authority and the school governors of Cwncarn school are to spend around £750,000 on remedial action to make the school asbestos free and re-open it in September 2013 including the heaters containing asbestos.
John McClean, GMB National Heal & Safety Officer said, “GMB is warning everyone with children at school and those who work in our schools to get their heaters checked by an authorised, qualified asbestos surveyor. The information regarding the heaters should be in the school’s own Asbestos Management Plan. If there is no reference to these heaters in the plan then the school governors must get all the heaters examined by a qualified asbestos surveyor. Each local council usually has approved local contractors for this work. If the school doesn’t have an Asbestos Management Plan then the Head Teacher, Chair of Governors or the Local Authority must get busy and put on one in place as a matter of urgency.”
GMB Hold Public Meeting on 1st May Over Proposed Closure of Leeds Care Homes and Day Centres
GMB will seek on behalf of its members to keep all the council run home and day centres open and properly funded.
GMB, the union for public sector workers, is holding a open meeting for GMB members and the public on Leeds City Council’s 12 week consultation on the proposed closure of 6 of the council’s remaining care homes and 4 council-run day centres.
The meeting is to help the public to respond to the proposal by Leeds City Council, during the 12 week consultation on the proposal to close the homes. See notes to editors for details of the care homes and day centres and for what the council proposes for them.
The open meeting will take place on:-
WEDNESDAY 1ST MAY at
GMB will host a ‘Question Time’ session as part of the meeting. Leeds City Council officials and councillors have been invited to take part.
Jon Smith, GMB Regional Officer, said “GMB is organising this open meeting to get feedback from the public on the proposals to close these care homes. The whole of Leeds will be affected in some way by these cuts but it is not clear to what extent Leeds residents are aware of the proposal and the impact they will have.
GMB members believe that at least 70% of the care home residents would have to be rehoused in like for like homes in the private sector if the closures take place. GMB believe that it’s the residents that matter most her and the emphasise should be on them and their homes and not on evicting them for the sake of profit driven businesses.
Leeds City Council began the 12 week consultation on 11th March on closing care homes. Consultations are also underway on 4 council-run day centres.
GMB is seeking on behalf of its members to keep all the council run home and day centres open and properly funded. These are dedicated staff and have many years of experience. This will be lost at the stroke of a pen, whilst the residents and service users will be sent packing off to the private sector.
The 3 homes they closed last year as well as others from previous years remain empty with no known plans to be used for anything else, this is money being sat on that could be reinvested into the homes and day centres.
The closures are estimated to save £5 million but the year on year cost saving is only £800,000.
We should be investing in public services and not selling them off to the highest bidder with a priority to make money. The people of Leeds have got a very simple choice “care or profit”. GMB want them to tell the council where they stand during the consultation period.”
Notes to Editors:
Leeds City Council: proposed options for residential homes
Executive Board decided on 15 December 2012 hat consultation takes place on the following proposals
· Amberton Court in Gipton
· Burley Willows in Hyde Park
· Fairview in Seacroft
· Manorfield House in Horsforth
· Primrose Hill in Boston Spa
· Musgrave Court in Pudsey
Close the home and transfer residents to other services of their choice already available in the area.
This means that we will consult on the possibility of ceasing to offer local authority residential accommodation in the future at these homes
Home Lea House in Rothwell
Explore opportunities for developing a business case to transfer the ownership and continued operation of the home to a community interest company.
Commissioners in Adult Social Care are talking to existing social enterprise organisations that have shown an interest in the running of Home Lea House.
Suffolk Court in Yeadon
Consult on developing a specialist short stay integrated intermediate care unit with access to 24 hour nursing (as is being developed at the former Harry Booth House in Beeston).
This means that in future it would provide short-term support for people who need intermediate care, rather than residential care.
Proposed options for day centres
Executive Board decided on 15 December that consultation takes place on the following proposals
Burley Willows in Hyde Park
and Queenswood Drive in Kirkstall
That consultation is undertaken on the option to close these day centres when new developments arise in the locality e.g. Holt Park Active opens in Oct 2013 and will provide a much wider range of services for older people.
Naburn Court in Whinmoor
That consultation is undertaken on the option to close these day centres. This means that they will cease to offer local authority day care services in the future.
Doreen Hamilton in Osmondthorpe
That consultation is undertaken on the option to develop the role of the Doreen Hamilton building so that it can play a wider role in the life of its local community or its use as an Early Years Centre can be considered. Part of this proposal would include helping people who currently use the older people’s day centre find alternative daytime support within the local area.
Region Says Farewell to President
Dave Noble today stood down as the regional president for the Yorkshire and North Derbyshire region, a position that he has held for the last 4 years.
Dave announced his decision at the Regional Council meeting held in the newly refurbished conference suite at Grove Hall. Tributes poured in for Dave from those delegates who were in attendance and Tim Roache, regional secretary, spoke of the tremendous support given by the outgoing president.
After a contested vote, Andy Irving, convenor at the giant BASF chemical plant in Bradford, was elected as the new regional president for the next 4 years. Andy said: “He was looking forward to building on the good foundation and continuing to grow the region, even in these times of austerity.”
Lesley Day and John Gibson were elected onto the Commercial Services section of the Regional Executive Committee, Paul Harvey and Rob Whitehead onto Manufacturing and Stacey Booth and Garry Warwick onto Public Services.
GMB Consults Members On Pay Offer
GMB To Consult Members In Local Government In England, Wales And Northern Ireland Over New Pay Offer For 2013. There is likely to be relief that we have broken the 3 year pay freeze but disappointment that there is only 1% on the table so we will see whether that’s enough to satisfy our members says GMB. GMB, the union for staff in local government, responded to the pay offer put forward by the employers covering 1.5m staff in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary for Public Services, said “GMB will consider this pay offer and then we will consult our members to ask whether they wish to accept it or not. My initial reaction is that there is likely to be relief that we have broken the 3 year pay freeze but disappointment that there is only 1% on the table (See Note 2 below). We’ll see whether that’s enough to satisfy our members.”
Young Members Survey - NMW
GMB is the union campaigning nationally for a living wage for all workers of £7.45
However, a large portion of our young members are struggling to get paid the same rate of pay as their colleagues due to the different levels within the National Minimum Wage. The highest rate of the NMW is currently £6.19 per hour but this is only payable to workers aged 21 and over. We have always argued that work of equal value should attract the same rate of pay, irrelevant of age.
What has now made this situation even worse is the government’s announcement that the youth rates of the NMW will only increase this October by up to 5 pence per hour:
- 16-17 yr olds - 4 pence per hour increase – new hourly rate £3.72
- 18-20 yr olds - 5 pence per hour increase - new hourly rate £5.03
- Apprentices – 3 pence per hour increase – new hourly rate £2.68
The GMB Yorkshire and North Derbyshire Region young members’ section are launching a campaign requesting that employers equalise pay. We will be asking them to pay the same rate of pay to all employees doing the same work, irrelevant of how old they are. In order for us to launch this campaign, we first of all need to know which employers in the Yorkshire region are paying the youth rate of the National Minimum Wage.
Please complete the survey below and return to me via post or email. We will then be able to see whether there is a potential campaign in your workplace.
Please contact me if you have any questions.
Rachel Harrison Young Members Officer
Barnsley Premier Leisure
GMB BPL Corporate Membership Package
This offer is valid for all GMB members in the Yorkshire & North Derbyshire region. It includes:
- Unlimited use of 10 fitness suites
- Unlimited use of all fitness classes
- Unlimited use of Calypso Cove
- Unlimited use of 6 other swimming pools*
- Unlimited use of the athletics track
- Off peak badminton at the Metrodome
- Half price adult swimming lessons
- FREE personalised Induction & Progression Reassessment
- (Inductions are compulsory for new members using the gym)
*Dependant on session times
£22.50 per month payable by direct debit and NO joining fee (12 month minimum contract).
Dearneside Leisure Centre, Doncaster Fitness Flex, Dorothy Hyman Sports Centre, Hoyland Leisure Centre, Metrodome Leisure Complex, Royston Leisure Centre, Wakefield City Academy & Pontefract Fitness Flex, Worksop Leisure Centre, Retford Leisure Centre & Bircotes Leisure Centre.
To receive the offer please show your GMB membership card in your chosen gym. For more information please contact your local BPL/Fitness Flex gym or contact Jessica Carrington at the GMB regional office on 0845 337 7777. For further information on BPL please visit their website.
Fall Cuts Short GMB Member’s Career
A civilian police worker had to retire early after injuring his back when he fell down a flight of stairs. The 61-year-old GMB member badly injured his back in the fall at West Yorkshire Police headquarters in Wakefield in November 2008. The maintenance officer, whose name has not been released, was walking down the concrete stairs to the basement when he slipped and fell a full flight, hitting his head against the wall. The stairs had no handrail. He strained his back, bringing on degenerative changes by two years and forcing him to take eight months off work. Although he returned on light duties, the continued pain prevented him from lifting and he eventually had to give up work. West Yorkshire Police denied liability.
The case was heard at Leeds County Court where the judge ruled the incident had been caused by the absence of a hand rail. He added that the GMB member’s retirement was brought forward by six months as a result of his injuries. He was awarded £17,000 in compensation.
Tim Roache from the GMB commented: ‘A simple risk assessment would have established that these steps should not have been in use without a handrail. The installation of a handrail - something employers must do by law - would have given this member something to steady himself and prevented the fall.’ Stephen Woolford from Thompsons Solicitors, the law firm brought in by GMB to act in the case, said: ‘This accident proves that the regulations the government loves to attack are not just red tape but are a practical common sense approach to avoiding accidents in the workplace. Implementing them would have been a lot cheaper for the West Yorkshire Police than paying compensation to an injured worker.’
Exposing The Myths of Welfare
We are facing government policies of such inhumanity that if they are allowed to be carried through, we will look back in years to come with deep horror and shame. From the attacks on disability benefits to the bedroom tax, these measures return us to the kind of society where poverty was blamed on the poor and gross inequality was accepted as an economic inevitability.
This booklet below is the start of a series of myth busters from Class and Red Pepper.
Invitation to joint GMB & Unite Young Members Gig!!
Join us for a free GMB Young Member social on Thursday 18 April at Henry Boons Function Room, 130 Westgate, Wakefield WF2 9SW, 7pm start. Anyone who is 27 and under is invited to attend. Under 18’s are also welcome at the venue. We encourage you to bring a friend. There will be live music from band ‘The Cheats’ who will also be partnered by DJ Wags. There will also be food provided and free drinks per person.
This is your chance to come along and meet fellow young members of the GMB Yorkshire Region. Don’t worry if you don’t know anyone, you can bring a friend. You will also have the opportunity to meet new people at the event. You are the future of the trade union movement. The event has been organised in conjunction with other unions in the area and also West Yorkshire Young Labour.
I hope to see you there.
GMB Seek Meeting On Beer Tie
After his role in the abolition of the beer duty escalator can he support principle in consultation process to give tied tenants an opportunity to tackle the issue of the tied business model and how it is operated asks GMB.
GMB, the union for tied pub tenants, in an open letter to Andrew Griffiths Tory MP for Burton, is asking for a meeting to discuss his stance on the consultation now under way on the principle of the tied tenant being no worse off than the free of tie tenant.
Dave Mountford, GMB Matlock branch secretary, says in the letter “May I take this opportunity to thank you for your unwavering support for the abolishment of the beer duty escalator. The Government’s decision was welcoming for our industry and the 1p reduction was also a step in the right direction. It is good to know that the combined might of so many organisations can have an impact on issues such as this and having been part of the efforts to reform the tie, I speak from experience.
Following this success I would now like to ask you if you can throw your support behind the consultation process that will hopefully give us an opportunity to tackle the issue of the tied business model and how it is operated. As the chair of the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group I believe you are in a perfect position to tackle this issue and in many respects the principle of the tied tenant being no worse off than the free of tie tenant, I’m sure you would agree, is one that will have a greater effect to many than the beer duty escalator.”
Contact Dave Mountford 07794 021 212 or 01629 258 083
Osborne’s Economic Policy Is Insane
Osborne sticking to plan A after 3 years fits Einstein’s definition of insanity which is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results says GMB who commented on the ConDem coalition government budget delivered today (20th March 2013).
Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary, said “The Tory/Liberal government has not pulled off “mission impossible” which is to deflate the economy to growth and a balanced budget. Osborne sticking to plan A after 3 years fits Einstein’s definition of insanity which is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. The US, which did not embrace such folly, has recovered. The recovery underway in the UK was derailed by this reckless stupidity. At the local elections in May the electorate must punish the two coalition parties for this lunacy.”
Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary for Public Services, added “There is no justification and nothing fair about further public sector pay restraint. It is bad enough capping the annual pay rise but now attacking pay progression is outrageous. In the private sector people tend to have a rate for the job but in the public sector people start lower and reach the full rate after, typically, five years’ service. The other effect is that those who would suffer most from a freeze in increments will be low paid women who tend to have shorter service and not to have reached the full rate for the job. Freezing progression seems on the face of it to discriminate against women.”
Gary Smith GMB National Secretary for Energy and Utilities added “The Government plan for two major carbon capture and storage projects is a rehash as they scrapped the last one. Also Osborne originally announced months ago a new tax regime to promote investment in shale gas.”
Yorkshire & Humber TUC Join Forces To Fight The Cuts
Conference delegates heard that Sheffield Council had voted to introduce the living wage for all its staff, but private contractor Carillion, which has taken over council jobs, is refusing to pay it - resulting in a strike by school cleaners employed by Carillion.
Public-sector unions Unison and GMB proposed and seconded a motion calling for a living wage for all of £7.45 an hour. The call was backed unanimously.
GMB won solid support for its call to restore democracy within the Labour Party and for local members to have the right to choose election candidates - rather than the party hierarchy.
The conference threw its weight behind the Unite union’s call for the People’s Charter to campaign for a fair economy, a fairer Britain, more and better homes, social justice and a secure and sustainable Britain.
People’s Charter activist Kevin Donnelly laid out a six-point action plan, urging unions in the region to affiliate to the charter and invite representatives to speak at meetings.
National Union of Teachers and University and College Union delegates highlighted the dire effects the cuts were having on children and students. They condemned the privatisation of education and the dramatic rise in tuition fees, which has left many young people unable to afford to carry on with higher education. And Unison highlighted the vicious media attacks on the NHS and its staff in Tory-inspired attempts to convince the public of a “public-bad, private-good” attitude to win backing for the government’s privatisation programme.
Conference resolved that Yorkshire and the Humber TUC would work with affiliated unions to promote the value of a publicly funded NHS, oppose fragmentation and privatisation and support public involvement in commissioning of services.
This Report appeared in the Morning Star on Monday,18th March,2013 by Peter Lazenby.
Tory Party Fossil
David Cameron says GMB is a dinosaur but GMB has more members than the tory party and is growing while the tory party is shrinking says GMB who responded to the reference by Mr Cameron to the union at Prime Ministers Questions in the House of Commons on 13th March 2013. See below for summary of exchange.
Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary said “According to David Cameron GMB is a dinosaur. GMB has more members than the Tory Party and is growing while the Tory Party is shrinking. If GMB is a dinosaur then the Tory Party is a fossil; dead and buried.”
Notes: Prime Minister question time Wed 13th March
Ed Miliband criticised the Prime Minister for making it up as he went along and said the country was paying the price.
Cameron said Miliband did not have a single positive suggestion about getting on top of the deficit.
He drew attention to a copy of Miliband’s diary which Cameron said had a list of the dinners that he had held to raise money from trade unions including the GMB, Usdaw, Aslef, TSSA and Ucatt, Mr Cameron said: “Dinosaur after dinosaur, dinner after dinner. They pay the money, they get the policies, but the country will end up paying the price.”