MPs Report Criticises Blacklist Compensation Scheme

A press release from the cross-party group of MPs says that is was highly critical of the Construction Workers Compensation Scheme (TCWCS) scheme, but does acknowledge that only those companies who set it up have taken any steps “to remedy the sins of the past”. Talks between the TCWCS and lawyers and unions representing claimants broke down in July 2014 over the amount of money being offered, and the scheme subsequently opened without their support.

The MPs committee was critical of the lack of prior agreement with the trade unions over the scheme; the low levels of compensation being offered; and the fact that those participating in the High Court litigation are not eligible to access the scheme. It also said that there should have been an offer of “positive action measures to upskill and re-employ the victims of blacklisting”. The MPs’ report also calls for a statutory code of practice on pre-employment vetting to eradicate the practice of blacklisting in the future, saying that a voluntary code is not sufficient.


Ian Davidson MP, chair of the committee, said: “While we are highly critical of the scheme and the way it was introduced, at least those eight companies have made even this effort. We do not accept the excuses made from the other companies for their non-participation and interpret this as evidence of their unwillingness to self-cleanse. “Despite the grave flaws in the scheme, our main concern is that the victims of blacklisting receive at least some measure of compensation. The ICO [Information Commissioners Office] should redouble its efforts to find and contact as many of the individuals whose names who were on the original TCA list as possible–including the families of those blacklisted workers who may have passed away.”
However, the TCWCS scheme also issued a statement defending the scheme and its intentions, and pointing out that since it launched it had paid out compenation to 149 people. It said: “The scheme, which opened in July 2014, offers straightforward and easy access to compensation for anyone who has been affected by the existence of TCA records.  It is a faster and less stressful process than a court case and since launch has received hundreds of eligible applications. Awards start at £4,000 for those on whom very basic information was held, rising to £100,000 where there is proof of significant loss of earnings.  The lowest level of compensation through the scheme is intended to reflect a basic award for breach of data protection where there is no evidence of financial loss.  In addition, we are paying for legal advice for anyone applying to the scheme to ensure they make the right decision for their circumstances; and refresher training, to update skills, experience and certification, is available to anyone entering the scheme to ensure this is not an impediment to future employment. We were disappointed that that the launch of TCWCS was not supported by the unions; we note that the final report references our engagement with the unions prior to the launch and recognises key changes were made to the scheme as a result of these conversations. We strongly refute any suggestion that we had attempted to mislead any of our audiences or conceal the outcome of our discussions with the unions. That said, we wrote to MPs in July 2014 apologising for any ambiguity our original letter may have created.”


According to the GMB union, the next hearing in the High Court in London to seek compensation for 122 of its members blacklisted by Carillion and other construction employers is due in May. The claims were originally served in November 2013. In a statement, Justin Bowden, GMB national officer, said: “The only way the questions posed by the Scottish Affairs Committee will get answered is from a full public inquiry.”

Steve Murphy, general secretary of UCATT, said: “This puts fresh pressure on the government to launch a public inquiry so workers and their families whose lives were ruined can learn the full truth once and for all.”


Source: Construction Manager - 27/3/15

Health Services Under Strain Says The Kings Fund Report

Rehana Azam, GMB National Officer for NHS said, “The electorate will heed this assessment that the NHS performance is deteriorating and the service is in the red as election approaches. The Kings Fund highlights the serious consequences of Tory and Lib Dem mismanagement of the NHS. It makes crystal clear that the government’s chaotic reorganisation has added to the pressures the NHS is now facing. David Cameron’s Health and Social Care Act was a purely ideological vehicle for marketising the NHS. The health service will not recover until this pernicious piece of legislation is scrapped. Only this government could be unaware of the growing NHS crisis. The Kings Fund plainly states that many hospitals are operating at the limits of their capacity. It points to targets missed for waits for A&E, cancer treatment and admission to hospital, to more and more NHS trusts falling into the red, and a host of other indicators of a system under strain.


Another part of the problem is under-funding. The Kings Fund makes the important point that workforce numbers have failed to keep pace with population growth and other demographic changes, most notably the rising elderly population. It warns the service is facing an accelerating decline. These pressures are having a damaging effect on staff morale and between 2010 and 2014 the number of NHS workers off work ill with work-related stress has jumped.


The NHS is now in a critical condition. This is going to be a massive issue at the general election. People will be voting to protect the NHS. David Cameron and Nick Clegg had no mandate to tear up the NHS and voters won’t trust them with it again.”

Pressure On School Budgets Means Drop In Quality Of Education And Job Losses

Avril Chambers, GMB national officer for school support staff said, “GMB is alarmed that if the additional pressures on schools budgets is not taken seriously and addressed immediately by the incoming Government there will be long term consequences. Cuts will lead to a deterioration of the quality of education our children receive, but also to massive job losses for Teaching Assistants and all other school support staff, all of whom are vital and integral to improving the learning environment and educational outcomes of our next generation.


Many of the forthcoming additional costs have been imposed on schools by Government policy, and GMB think therefore they should at least have the decency to cover them by increasing spending accordingly. Only the Labour Party has committed to at least protect and increase by at least the rate of inflation but we think this is still not good enough, and we will continue to campaign for more.


GMB has already been told by a large number of the Multi Academy Trusts that they will not be able to avoid large scale restructures leading to staff reductions if the situation for school funding is not increased for the 2016 academic year. This will ultimately mean a return to pre 1997, whereby we saw unqualified, untrained, undervalued and underpaid staff assisting in the running and delivery of education to our children.”

GMB Members’ 3 Day Strike Over Union Rights and Cuts At Arla Foods

Milk supplies to North of England supermarkets of Tesco, Aldi, Morrison and ASDA face disruption unless a 3 day strike by 100 drivers, who recently transferred from Leeds based Arla Foods to haulage company Moran Logistics, is averted. These members voted overwhelmingly for strike action in a dispute over union rights and cuts to pay and conditions. Notice has been given that the strike action will commence at one minute past midnight on Wednesday 1st April until one minute to midnight on Friday 3rd April, i.e.72 hours.


The members deliver milk to supermarkets from Nottingham to the North East on the east of the Pennines and in Cheshire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester and Lancashire west of the Pennines. The transfer itself was motivated by Arla wishing to make significant cost savings across their supply chain. Arla awarded the outbound delivery work to Moran who they say can provide the service at a cheaper rate. Both unions have continuously requested financial information that supports this move which has been refused to date. The 100 drivers had worked approximately 1,000 years of loyal service for Arla.


Rachel Dix, GMB Regional Officer, said “Whilst there has been considerable progress to resolve a number of the outstanding issues with the new employer Moran Logistics Arla, the previous employer, are viewed as the key obstacle to remedying problems that occurred under their employment regarding a shortfall in holiday pay and pension benefits. The joint trade unions met with Moran Logistics last week and our talks were productive. We are hopeful that we can reach an agreement soon and that as a consequence, we can work constructively with the new company under new bargaining arrangements.
The fly in the ointment however is Arla. Our members feel like they have been short changed by their former employer over past underpayments in holiday pay and by the company not committing to past agreements that should have transferred to Moran.


They are prepared to take strike action against their new employer in order to defend these rights. We had a return of 85% in favour of taking strike action which illustrates the strength of feeling amongst our members . Arla could sort easily sort this out and in doing so they could spare us all the severe disruption to milk supplies and anticipated shortages in supermarkets across the north of England that awaits us at Easter. The ball is very much in Arla’s court, and Unite and the GMB are ready for constructive talks at any time.”

Councils To Enforce National Minimum Wage

Newham Council, in partnership with GMB, today (24th March) publish a report called “Pay By The Rules”  which demands that Government allows local authorities to use their local knowledge and expertise to tackle exploitative businesses who fail to pay the National Minimum Wage (NMW). The Labour Party has committed to local enforcement of the NMW being included in their general election manifesto and the report outlines how that can be achieved. The publication of the report coincides with the release by BIS of the names of a further 48 employers named and shamed by BIS for failing to pay the national minimum wage.
 

The employers in the GMB Yorkshire & North Derbyshire region named today (24 March 2015) are:
 

Mrs Yoko Banks, trading as Ashley House Hotel, Harrogate, neglected to pay £405.07 to 1 worker

The Widd Group Ltd, trading as Widd Signs, Leeds, neglected to pay £253.50 to 1 worker

Call & Deliver Ltd, trading as Pizza Hut, Heckmondwike, neglected to pay £163.45 to 9 workers

Central Electrical Ltd, Chesterfield, neglected to pay £130.28 to 1 worker


The report, Pay By The Rules, estimates that across the UK workers are losing £533million to employers who are ignoring the law. It highlights the negative impact on workers and law-abiding businesses as well as the failure of central government to tackle the problem. The report shows that, in Newham alone:

17 per cent of working residents are paid below the NMW

£38.2million is underpaid to workers every year

Underpaid workers lose an average of £2,260 per annum

However, Government figures show that:

From 2009 to 2014, there has been a 60 per cent reduction in businesses inspected by NMW enforcement officers at HMRC and since the start of this government , only two prosecutions have been brought against criminal employers.

The report is backed by Rt. Hon. The Lord Andrew Adonis, Councillor Richard Watts, Leader of Islington Council, Councillor Jim McMahon, Local Government Association Labour Group Lead, and Leader of Oldham Council, Adam Chircop, Head of HR for ExCel London, Nick Pearce, Director of IPPR, and John Burton, Westfield Director of Development and CIPD the professional body for HR and people development. The report is being shared with Government, HMRC, and business representatives and it is hoped that as part of the localism agenda the next government will promptly devolve these powers to local authorities, who are best placed to support their local residents.


Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales said: “This report clearly demonstrates that central government has been woefully inadequate at protecting workers from exploitative businesses who, in the majority of cases, are wilfully breaking the law. Local authorities have the interests of their residents at heart, and are best placed to identify rogue businesses. We’re already aware of companies that flout licensing, planning, trading standards and waste rules and are able to take action. With additional powers to tackle underpayment of NMW, councils could make a substantial difference to residents’ lives. All we need is a government who are willing to act to improve the lives people nationwide.”


Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary, said: “The national minimum wage is one of the most important workplace rights and more needs to be done to ensure all workers receive the pay to which they are entitled. Centralised enforcement is weak and currently fails to protect the lowest paid and most vulnerable. GMB welcome Labour manifesto commitment to implement Newham’s proposals for local authorities to be able to investigate and in turn prosecute employers who exploit their workers.”


The report has also been endorsed by leading politicians and business leaders including Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna MP, who said: “This report makes a powerful case for giving local authorities a greater role in enforcing the National Minimum Wage. If Labour is elected in May we will act, giving local authorities new powers to tackle rogue employers. Under this government we’ve seen a failure to properly enforce the legal minimum and only a tiny number of prosecutions brought. As this report shows, there are real concerns that non payment is still far too commonplace. Labour local authorities like Newham are leading the way in tackling low pay. Councils must be given the tools and powers they need to beef up local enforcement and make sure everyone at work gets paid what they are entitled to under the law.”

South Yorkshire Firm A ‘Serial Safety Offender’

A Rotherham-based metals business has been sentenced after it repeatedly risked workers’ lives by making them use dangerous machines – notching up a shocking 31 enforcement notices for safety breaches in just three months. Sheffield Crown Court was told that Meadowbank Vac Alloys was a serial safety offender. It allowed employees to operate vehicles and plant with category ‘A’ defects, the highest possible level meaning ’immediately dangerous’, and continued to keep the machines in use even after being specifically prohibited from doing so by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).


Twenty enforcement notices were served by HSE at the end of May 2012 after a visit by inspectors to the firm’s site in Harrison Street. The visit was prompted by a complaint voicing concern about the condition of the firm’s vehicles. The notices covered a multitude of safety and health risks ranging from improvements needed to a variety of plant and lifting machines to the provision of basic welfare facilities for staff. The court heard that there were a further four visits by HSE between then and early August when additional enforcement notices were issued. These included seven which banned use of three forklift trucks, three mechanical grabs and a loading shovel that had no brakes. All had category A defects, identified by an independent engineer.


Although numerous extensions of time were granted by HSE to Meadowbank Vac Alloys to comply with the enforcement notices, the company continually failed to take adequate action and workers had to operate the defective machines. HSE identified that on two occasions in July and August, prohibited machines were still being used. None of the defects had been rectified and again the company director was informed specifically what was needed for the notices to be complied with. During the last inspection, in October 2012, HSE found the dangerous loading shovel still in use and with some 80 hours’ working time clocked up when it should have been idle. In total 31 notices were served between 29 May and Aug 2012 identifying 57 safety breaches.


Meadowbank Vac Alloys, of Harrison Road, Rotherham, was fined a total of £36,000 and ordered to pay £36,000 toward prosecution costs after pleading guilty to a single breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998; and multiple breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 974, three relating to Prohibition Notices and two for offences of non-compliance with Improvement Notices. After the hearing, investigating HSE inspector Denise Fotheringham said, “Meadowbank Vac Alloys displayed a reckless disregard for the safety of its employees and a persistent contempt for the legal notices issued requiring the firm to bring equipment to an acceptable standard.
HSE exercised protracted patience with the company and was in regular contact with the director to ensure what was needed to comply was clear, unambiguous and fully understood. Despite being given ample opportunity, Meadowbank chose to ignore their responsibilities; put workers in danger on a daily basis; defy the law and turn a deaf ear to information, advice and guidance conveyed by inspectors and an independent engineer.”

GMB Shocked At BBC Allegation Of Fake SIA Security Licenses

GMB, the union for workers in the security industry, reacted with shock to allegations that will be aired tonight on BBC One’s Inside Out London programme at 19.30 that thousands of licensed security guards could be working in the UK fraudulently after buying fake Security Industry Association licences (SIA) and training for cash.

Jude Brimble, GMB National Officer for the security industry said, “If the BBC’s investigation proved to be correct it raises very serious concerns about the security of some of the UK’s most sensitive installations and institutions let alone the safety of individual security guards. Operating in the security industry with a fraudulent SIA license is a very serious issue that not only undermines the professionalism of the security industry but potentially puts the UK public at risk.

GMB has long campaigned for rouge operators and practices to be driven out of the security industry, and since the inception of licensing and regulation much progress has been made on this front.  No doubt the SIA will use all its powers to fully investigate and take the appropriate action, including reporting any criminal findings the matter to the police.”

Motor Legal Service

UNIONLINE’s new free Motor Legal Service is designed to save you money, as a GMB member, whilst providing expert support ensuring you get the best service and outcome if you need to make a motor Service claim following an accident or damage to your vehicle.

The UNIONLINE Motor Legal Service is available to GMB members and their families free of charge.

To make the most of the UNIONLINE Motor Legal Service, you need to call UNIONLINE on 0300 333 0303 and press option 5 BEFORE you call your vehicle motor insurer.

The Service and Benefits to Members

The benefits of UNIONLINE’s Motor Legal Service, for GMB members and their families are:

• Full accident management regardless of fault.
• You will receive 100% of any compensation recovered for the member.
• Access to telephone advice on a wide range of motoring issues.
• Dedicated personal customer manager who will deal with your claim.
• Unlimited number of claims.
• An option for a replacement vehicle whilst yours is off the road following a non fault accident
• Management of repairs to your vehicle at an approved repair centre or a repair centre of your choice
• Covers you and your family.
• Saves you up to £40 per year (no need to buy this service from your insurer)
• Organise windscreen repairs and replacement
• Service available 24/7, 365 days per year
• Service available across the UK and Northern Ireland

Non fault accident
If you are involved in a non fault accident, your UNIONLINE Motor Legal Service provides a replacement vehicle, organise and handle the repairs, as well as dealing with the recovery of all losses and handling any personal injury claim (provided that your claim possesses reasonable prospects of success at all times).

Fault accident, fire & theft
If you wish to use the service instead of buying your own service, then there may be instances where a higher excess would be payable compared to if they went with their own insurers’ choice of repairer. This will be detailed in your motor policy documentation.

With UNIONLINE’s new free Motor Legal Service, you as a GMB member, may no longer need to purchase additional motor legal cover from your insurer (sometimes referred to as Motor Legal Expenses Insurance by your insurer).

Whilst generally Motor Legal Expense Insurance from your insurer only covers legal costs relating to non fault accidents and excludes any claims against the customer’s own insurer, UNIONLINE can help, regardless of the circumstances of the claim – be it theft, fault, non fault etc…

The service is available 24/7, 365 days per year. The main claims handling times are available from 8am to 7pm weekdays and 9am to 1pm Saturdays.

Outside of these hours, an emergency service operates which can assist you with vehicle recovery in the event of an accident, so you will not be left stranded. Please note vehicle recovery arranged under the scheme will be chargeable to the member but should be recoverable from a comprehensive insurance policy or the person responsible for the accident.

The UNIONLINE Motor Claims Service is operated on behalf of Unionline by Lexelle Ltd – a specialist insurance and accident claims management business authorised and regulated the Financial Conduct Authority (312782) and the Ministry of Justice (CRM3909).

*Subject to rule.

Motor Legal Service

UNIONLINE’s new free Motor Legal Service is designed to save you money, as a GMB member, whilst providing expert support ensuring you get the best service and outcome if you need to make a motor Service claim following an accident or damage to your vehicle.

The UNIONLINE Motor Legal Service is available to GMB members and their families free of charge.

To make the most of the UNIONLINE Motor Legal Service, you need to call UNIONLINE on 0300 333 0303 and press option 5 BEFORE you call your vehicle motor insurer.

The Service and Benefits to Members

The benefits of UNIONLINE’s Motor Legal Service, for GMB members and their families are:

• Full accident management regardless of fault.
• You will receive 100% of any compensation recovered for the member.
• Access to telephone advice on a wide range of motoring issues.
• Dedicated personal customer manager who will deal with your claim.
• Unlimited number of claims.
• An option for a replacement vehicle whilst yours is off the road following a non fault accident
• Management of repairs to your vehicle at an approved repair centre or a repair centre of your choice
• Covers you and your family.
• Saves you up to £40 per year (no need to buy this service from your insurer)
• Organise windscreen repairs and replacement
• Service available 24/7, 365 days per year
• Service available across the UK and Northern Ireland

Non fault accident
If you are involved in a non fault accident, your UNIONLINE Motor Legal Service provides a replacement vehicle, organise and handle the repairs, as well as dealing with the recovery of all losses and handling any personal injury claim (provided that your claim possesses reasonable prospects of success at all times).

Fault accident, fire & theft
If you wish to use the service instead of buying your own service, then there may be instances where a higher excess would be payable compared to if they went with their own insurers’ choice of repairer. This will be detailed in your motor policy documentation.

With UNIONLINE’s new free Motor Legal Service, you as a GMB member, may no longer need to purchase additional motor legal cover from your insurer (sometimes referred to as Motor Legal Expenses Insurance by your insurer).

Whilst generally Motor Legal Expense Insurance from your insurer only covers legal costs relating to non fault accidents and excludes any claims against the customer’s own insurer, UNIONLINE can help, regardless of the circumstances of the claim – be it theft, fault, non fault etc…

The service is available 24/7, 365 days per year. The main claims handling times are available from 8am to 7pm weekdays and 9am to 1pm Saturdays.

Outside of these hours, an emergency service operates which can assist you with vehicle recovery in the event of an accident, so you will not be left stranded. Please note vehicle recovery arranged under the scheme will be chargeable to the member but should be recoverable from a comprehensive insurance policy or the person responsible for the accident.

The UNIONLINE Motor Claims Service is operated on behalf of Unionline by Lexelle Ltd – a specialist insurance and accident claims management business authorised and regulated the Financial Conduct Authority (312782) and the Ministry of Justice (CRM3909).

*Subject to rule.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt Ran Scared From Leeds GMB Protest In Support Of NHS


He got out of his car, walked into the centre, shook a few hands, walked out again, got back into his car and that was it and he can’t have been there more than 30 seconds says GMB.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt ran scared from a GMB protest held in support of the NHS yesterday (19th March) in Pudsey after they gave him a noisy reception during a farcical visit to a Leeds health centre. See notes to editors for copy of GMB press release before the protest.

Mr Hunt arrived at Robin Lane Medical Centre in Pudsey to be greeted by demonstrators from local trade union branches including GMB. 

Tim Roache, GMB Yorkshire and North Derbyshire Regional Secretary attended.

Tim Roache said “Mr Hunt refused to answer questions put to him by demonstrators about what the government is doing to the NHS.

It was a total farce. He got out of his car, walked into the centre, shook a few hands, walked out again, got back into his car and that was it.He can’t have been there more than 30 seconds. If it had been a private medical centre he’d have stayed an hour.”

General Election 2015

Visit this page for details of campaigning in the key seats within Yorkshire & North Derbyshire Region.  We would strongly encourage all members to help campaign in their nearest key seat as these will be seats that decide the outcome of the next General Election.  We know there may be a lot of calls on your time but with not long to go to the election we are asking you to help us with a last push to get Labour MP’s elected in these seats.

Even if you’ve only an hour to spare and you may never have campaigned before, you’ll be made very welcome and offered support.  We will be updating this site regularly with campaigning dates / times / events across our region and we hope to see as many of you on the campaign trail!

Batley & Spen 26th March 2015.pdf
Leeds North West Pizza & Politics - 30th March 2015.pdf

GMB Register to Vote 2015

GMBs Response To Today’s Visit By Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, To Medical Centre

GMB’s response to today’s visit by Jeremy Hunt to Pudsey Medical Centre. Trade Unions will be demonstrating outside Robin Lane Medical Centre in Pudsey today at 2.30pm as Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, has the audacity to turn up after yesterday’s budget in which he offered nothing on the future funding of the NHS.

The result will be, more people paying to see their GP, longer waiting lists and more privatisation: in effect, the end of the NHS as we know it.

Osborne Has Claimed More Recoveries In The Past Five Years Than The RAC Says GMB

If the Tories are re-elected people would have more chance of winning the lottery than seeing police patrolling their streets or seeing waiting lists in the NHS coming down says GMB.

GMB commented on the budget presented by Tory Chancellor George Osborne today (18th March 2015). See notes to editors for main points in budget from Press Association.

Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary, said “Osborne has claimed more recoveries in the past five years than the RAC.

Even a blind person would see the short term bribes Osborne is offering today.

What he is planning however is the most draconian cuts in services that we rely on for a civilised way of life.

If the Tories are re-elected people would have more chance of winning the lottery than seeing police patrolling their streets or seeing waiting lists in the NHS coming down.

The recovery underway should be much further ahead than it is. The recovery has been the weakest of any in the past 100 years.

The new jobs being created are mainly low skilled, low paid and very precarious jobs. Even skilled workers in the UK face being undercut while wages are stagnant or falling in real terms.

Most workers have seen little or no evidence of any recovery in living standards arising from real economic growth based on investment and productivity gains.

On tax evasion there is too little, too late, and many of the schemes that help the multi- millionaire elite avoid tax remain in place.”

Police Spied On Unions

GMB is calling on the Appeal Court judge, Lord Justice Pitchford, appointed yesterday 12th March by Home Secretary Theresa May to head an inquiry into undercover policing, to investigate the new statement by Peter Francis, a former undercover police officer, that he spied on NUS, NUT, Unison, CWU, UCATT and FBU members as part of his job. This information is contained in a statement by Peter Francis read out at the launch of a new book “Blacklisted: The Secret War between Big Business and Union Activists” on Thursday evening 12th March in Committee Room 15 - Houses of Parliament, Westminster. London. See text of statement below.


Blacklisting came to light when in 2009 the ICO seized The Consulting Association (TCA) database of 3,213 construction workers and environmental activists used by 44 companies to vet new recruits and keep out of employment trade union and health and safety activists. The statement is as follows:


Statement from Peter Francis March 12.

“I am humbled as well as honoured to be offered to speak tonight at such an important book launch here at the prestigious House of Commons.

However, I cannot appear here for a number of reasons, including and primarily, because of some very serious outstanding legal issues/difficulties with the Metropolitan Police, that continue to hang over me ever since I became a whistleblower and therefore a potential criminal in their eyes.

I have received clear legal advice that me, even speaking here today, is likely to be considered a breach of the Official Secrets Act because I have not been granted permission from the Metropolitan Police or Home Secretary to speak to you.

This remarkable, well-researched and must- read book clearly shows how police spying on political activists has destroyed lives and that I, most unfortunately and regrettable, played a part in this.

The forthcoming Home Secretary’s public inquiry into undercover policing must include a forensic, independent (in other words, non-police) examination into all the blacklisting files compiled by the Consulting Association and then cross-reference them with corresponding Special Branch individual activists’ records to look at the areas of collusion.

There will be multiple duplicates. Of that I have no doubt at all.

In relation to Mark JENNER aka Mark CASSIDY, exposed last week in the media as being a UCATT member.

An anonymous and unaccountable Scotland Yard spokesperson has obviously re-quoted their usual attempted ‘Get out of Jail Free card’ response by saying “We neither confirm nor deny the identity of any individual alleged to have been in a covert role. We are not prepared to confirm or deny the deployment of individuals on specific operations.”

But tonight, here in this supposed home of UK democracy, please let me state very clearly that Mark JENNER was 100% one of my fellow undercover SDS Police Officers deployed alongside me in the 1990s.

Jenner, who has now been very publicly exposed, should be forced to appear in person at the public inquiry to account for his spying on, amongst numerous other political protesters, the totally law-abiding construction union UCATT members whose only ‘crimes’ were being union members.

I would also like take this opportunity to unreservedly apologise to all the union members I personally spied upon and reported back on whilst deployed undercover in the SDS.

Including those not only engaged in working in the construction industry but also those in the National Union of Students (NUS), National Union of Teachers (NUT), Communications Workers Union (CWU), UNISON and the Fire Brigades Union (FBU).

As everything I have previously stated, I am prepared to repeat all of this under oath at the public inquiry and should UCATT or any other union or the blacklisted campaigners wish me to, in any court cases they might bring against the relevant UK authorities.

Yours in solidarity/ Because at this precise moment in time, before the public inquiry, there is “No Justice there is Just US”.

Peter FRANCIS former SDS undercover Police Spy and now Police Whistleblower”


Following on from the launch, GMB held a protest demonstration in Derby on Friday 13th March to shame Ron Barron of CB&I (Chicago Bridge & Iron), named for his part in blacklisting at least 43 construction workers. 16 of the workers blacklisted are from Derbyshire. Ron Barron was the Human Resources Manager when working at CB&I. CB&I were a relative newcomer to The Consulting Association (TCA) having started to subscribe to the organisation in 2006.  CB&I have 48 mentions in the blacklist files. On 43 occasions the initials RB (Ron Barron) are written next to information submitted to The Consulting Association by CB&I. He attended one of the secretive security group Woodstock meetings in November 2007.


This was the fifth date in the second leg of a national “Crocodile Tears” protest tour to shame 63 construction industry managers named as blacklisters who have yet to come clean and apologise for their actions. The second leg of the tour visits Bristol, Plymouth, Epsom, Cambridge, Derby and Bridgend.


There was hearing in the High Court in London on 13th February 2015 seeking compensation for 122 GMB members blacklisted by Carillion and other construction employers. The claims were served on 27th November 2013. GMB’s claims were joined with a further 449 claims by other unions and parties at a High Court Hearing in July 2014. Talks between GMB and lawyers representing construction employers (Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and VINCI PLC)  on a compensation scheme for 3,213 blacklisted workers broke down in June 2014 over the amount of money being put into the scheme by the employers. Employers have unilaterally launched a cut price scheme GMB estimates will cost less than 2% of the combined profits of the eight construction firms.


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


Justin Bowden, GMB national officer, said “The decision by Peter Francis to blow the whistle on undercover police spying on five further unions is to be congratulated.  Until all the information about the undercover spying activities of the police is fully in the public domain, and the police held to account for their activities, trust cannot even begin to be restored. The latest revelations from Peter Francis highlight exactly why it is essential that Lord Justice Pitchford’s inquiry into undercover policing and the operation of the Metropolitan Police’s controversial Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), must also include blacklisting.”

GMB To Ballot Over Tata Steel Proposal To Close Pension Scheme

GMB and over unions in the steel industry are now preparing to ballot their members for industrial action as senior managers from Tata Steel announced their intention on 13 March to close the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS) to future accrual. The decision was communicated to a mass meeting of trade union representatives GMB, Unite and Community from across Tata Steel’s UK operations which was held at TUC Congress House in London.  As of December 2014, the British Steel Pension Scheme had 143,000 members, with 17,004 making up employee members and 91,264 making up pensioner members. As of November 2014, the assets of the scheme were valued at around £13.6 billion and continue to increase.


David Hulse, GMB National Officer, said “Tata Steel’s decision to close the BSPS is unnecessary and profoundly disappointing. It is not a position we expected to find ourselves in given that trade unions have been in discussions with the company since early November. Throughout a long process we have acted in good faith and negotiated constructively in trying to reach an agreement which addresses what we acknowledge to be a significant deficit in the scheme. We have made every effort to compromise with the company, even discussing the possibility of meeting the deficit through changes to member benefits, despite the fact the company is legally obliged to pay for the deficit and has always done so in the past.


Sadly, the company rejected this offer out of hand. It appears they are hellbent on closing the scheme and are not prepared to compromise. We have lost all faith in the company and its leadership, which has brought us to the brink of a major national industrial dispute for the first time in over 30 years. The senior management of Tata Steel Europe should seriously consider their positions for bringing about this total breakdown in trust. We feel we have no option but to consult our members and prepare to ballot for industrial action to defend their hard won pension rights.”

Easter Strike Likely At Sheffield Waste Sites

Staff at the sites – run by Sheffield Council sub-contractor The Green Company – are likely to down tools for an hour a day over the break – one of the busiest times for the centres. It is the latest twist in a long-running dispute over pay, conditions and bullying claims which has developed over many months. Industrial action first took place in October has been suspended since November for negotiations but GMB union representative Peter Davies said ‘in all likelihood’ the Easter strike would go ahead.


He added, “Easter is a very busy time so we don’t want to close the centres down but we do want to make the point that this dispute is very much active and needs to be resolved.”


In February Sheffield Council said the authority ‘could no longer have confidence’ in The Green Company to manage the centres. The GMB had called on the authority to act as it said new zero hour contract staff and those on probation were being used to try to break the dispute. Mr Davies said contractor Veolia, which sub-contracts to The Green Company, had been given time to act and now staff felt they had to ‘fight back’.


Union members will decide whether they wish to strike and must give seven days notice if they agree. The Green Company has never commented on the dispute and did not want to say anything yesterday. Veolia also did not comment. A council spokesman said: “We will continue to encourage talks between Green Co and their employees and do all we can to minimise any disruption to services.”


Source: Sheffield Star 13/3/15

GMB Strike Ballot At Milk Supplier Over Union Rights and Cuts To Terms & Conditions

GMB STRIKE BALLOT BETWEEN 16TH AND 23 MARCH AT NORTH OF ENGLAND MILK SUPPLIER OVER UNION RIGHTS AND CUTS IN JOBS AND TERMS AND CONDITIONS

In a consultative ballot last week 98% of drivers voted to take strike action to defend their jobs and trade union rights says GMB.  The threat to disruption of milk supplies to North of England supermarkets – Tesco, Aldi, Morrison and ASDA – has moved a step closer as GMB and Unite served notice on Monday 9th March for an official ballot for industrial action for 100 members now employed as drivers by Moran Logistics in a dispute over union rights and cuts to pay and conditions. The official strike ballot commences on 16th March and closes on 23rd March. See notes to editors for GMB press release dated 2nd March on the dispute.

These members based in Leeds were transferred from Arla Foods to Moran Logistics Ltd on Sunday 8th March. There is no agreement to protect pay and conditions of the drivers transferred to the new employer. Union members voted almost unanimously in a consultative ballot to take strike action in this dispute.

The members deliver milk to supermarkets from Nottingham to the North East on the east of the Pennines and in Cheshire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester and Lancashire west of the Pennines.

Rachel Dix, GMB Regional Officer, said “Despite a number of meetings with both companies the unions have not been given any real reassurances that terms and conditions and jobs will be secure going forward.

The transfer itself was motivated by Arla wishing to make significant cost savings across their supply chain. Arla awarded the outbound delivery work to Moran who they say can provide the service at a cheaper rate. But how? We have asked where the savings will be made but have had no concrete tangible response.

Our members fear that the cost savings will be made at the expense of their pay and jobs. All both companies have needed to do was to share this information with us and in doing so, reassure our members that they have nothing to fear. But they haven’t and they won’t. Leading us back to the question why?

The other key issue is that from the offset Moran have emphasised that the joint trade union recognition agreement will not transfer. This position has been viewed as incredibly hostile by our membership. They and the unions see this as a means to silence the workforce. 99% of drivers are members of GMB and Unite and are angry that Moran has made it very clear that they would not accept the existing collective bargaining agreement and that therefore it would not carry over post transfer. 

Our members are adamant that they will defend their terms and conditions of employment, their jobs and their right to continue to be organised and represented by a trade union. In a consultative ballot that concluded on Friday 6th March 98% of those drivers who took part said that they were prepared to take strike action to defend their jobs and trade union rights.”

More Chance Of Winning Lottery Than Seeing Police Patrolling The Streets

GMB commented on the speech by Ed Balls, Labour Party Shadow Chancellor, showing that Conservative spending plans will mean £70 billion of cuts to public spending if the Tories win the election.


Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary, said “Ed Balls has laid bare the reality of Tory plans for our country after the election. There would be less security with the smallest police force since records began, the smallest army since Cromwell, older people would lose entitlement to social care and the Department of Transport would have no day-to-day budget. People would have more chance of winning the lottery than seeing police patrolling their streets or seeing waiting lists in the NHS coming down.


Another Tory government would sound the death knell for some of the vital front line services that hold society together.”

Parents, GMB and NUT Campaign Is Successful in Keeping Abbey School Open

Following a long campaign lead by parents, the GMB and NUT trade unions, Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council have announced a u-turn on their plans to close Abbey Special School. Despite the victory for campaigners, the council still intends to reduce the number of available places from 105 to 60. This will ensure however,  that it gives the best opportunity for the school to improve and will drastically reduce the excessive stress levels that all staff have been placed under.

The GMB, NUT and especially parents with children at the school have been pounding the streets of Rotherham collecting signatures for a petition which was submitted to the Council which over 5000 people signed.

Guidance On Teaching Assistants In Schools

GMB, the union for school support staff including teaching assistants, commented on new guidance for schools from the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) on “Making Best Use of Teaching Assistants”. As part of the guidance the EEF recommends that “schools should provide sufficient time for teaching assistant training and for teachers and for teaching assistant to meet out of class to enable the necessary lesson preparation and feedback”.


Avril Chambers, GMB National Officer for schools staff, said “Teaching assistants could certainly avail of more time within their working day to access training opportunities and liaise with teachers. However we think schools should be able to accommodate this through careful timetabling, rather than seeking to adjust teaching assistant working hours as the Education Endowment Foundation proposes. There is a need for more funding for training teaching assistants, not just more time. The funding now available for support-staff training is close to zero.


There have been cuts to training budgets as well as cuts and freezes to teaching assistants pay and conditions, including demotion to lower grades. Many teaching assistants have been recruited on, or downgraded to, the lowest teaching assistant pay level while carrying out duties well above this level. That is why we urgently need a broader package of measures for school support staff including funded training opportunities and a robust national pay and career development framework.


The EEF report picks up on the latest evidence that teaching assistants deliver noticeable improvements to pupil attainment. It is a pity the EEF does not give this emerging evidence as much prominence as it does the earlier findings of the Deployment and Impact of Support Staff (DISS) project. One thing that rarely gets quoted from the DISS project is its recommendation that schools should ensure that the goodwill of teaching assistants is not abused and that teaching assistant and other support staff are fairly rewarded for the work they do. This message is more important today than ever.”

GMB YouTube March 2015

Nearly 700,000 “Zero Hours” Workers Actually Average 25 Hours Per Week

GMB commented on the latest ONS figures on contracts with no guaranteed hours - zero hour contracts, 2014.


Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary, said “There are nearly 700,000 workers each week that have no guaranteed hours of work while working on average 25 hours per week. What employers are offering workers has seriously decreased while workers often have little alternative but to accept what is on offer. Even skilled workers in the UK face being undercut while wages are stagnant or falling in real terms.
There are fundamental problems about Europe that we have to face up to. Whatever the European vision was on integration, harmony, economic advancement and political stability, what we currently have isn’t it.


The free movement of labour and the single market were to be balanced by the social charter where all the people of Europe would live in freedom and with those in the poorer economies, benefitting from the harmonisation of standards across all member states. There were to be standards on workers protection, TUPE, excessive hours, health & safety, information and consultation and so many others were meant to keep labour exploitation in check. That dream has been chipped away at for years. Right wing governments and employers have engineered massive change in the direction of the EU vision. Judgements in the European Courts like Viking and Laval were the green light to massive assaults on organised labour across Europe, but especially in the UK.


From Lindsey Oil refinery to food production we have seen workers recruited in certain member states by agencies and exploited. They were shipped in “literally” in order to undermine the terms and conditions of existing workers on those contracts. Both sets of workers have been let down by UK Government, the EU Commission and the European Court. On exploitation – don’t blame the exploited; damn those who exploit. This has been repeated up and down the country over recent years. And that is part of the discontent that UKIP turn into xenophobic rhetoric to win votes.


Look past the simplistic tag and face the challenge of exploitation. Let’s reach out to those migrant workers not attack them, but organise and protect them. Too many workers go to work fearful about exercising their basic rights. A new Labour Government working with the EU has to create a workplace without fear and equip the trade unions to enforce it.  The challenge for Labour in government is to deal with exploitation and harassment of workers which it has ignored for too long. Collective rights are the key to unlock that challenge. Take away the shackles that enable trade union organisation and we will show what enforcement is all about.”

Directors Of Firms Not Paying NMW To Be Denied Further Directorships

Martin Smith, GMB National Organiser, said “Naming and shaming these employers is to be welcomed as far too few wage dodging employers not paying the national minimum wage have been brought to justice. Government needs to make a real commitment to making work pay by more aggressively seeking out offenders to prosecute them. The enforcement rules should also be changed so that trade unions can make complaints to HMRC on behalf of members.


As part of the public disgracing for the firms named, GMB is calling for the directors of these companies to be placed on a “wage offenders register” at Companies House and be deemed an unfit person to hold any further directorships. We are expecting the recommendation from the Low Pay Commission any time now on the uprating of the national minimum wage from £6.50. There are bucket loads of evidence that an uplift of at least 50p per hour would help the low paid and start to stimulate the economy and that all the big firms including the retailers can afford it.


There is no justification for the national minimum wage not keeping up with inflation. The Low Pay Commission should recommend a rate of at least £7 per hour from October 2014 to make up the ground lost since 2006. It is time for the Low Pay Commission to do what it says on the tin – “fight for the low paid”.”


Stafforce Personnel Ltd, Rotherham, neglected to pay £3,044.79 to 63 workers

Mancroft Ltd, Leeds, neglected to pay £1,172.97 to 3 workers

Mr S Partridge & Ms M Shead trading as Cobblers Fine Sandwiches & Pastries, Wakefield, neglected to pay £1,003.83 to a worker

General Tarleton Ltd, Knaresborough, neglected to pay £300.62 to 6 workers

Mr H Singleton trading as Willowbank Builders, Huddersfield, neglected to pay £163.89 to a worker


The cases named were thoroughly investigated by HM Revenue & Customs. The scheme was revised in October 2013 to make it simpler to name and shame employers that do not comply with minimum wage rules. Employers who are unsure of National Minimum Wage rules, and employees who would like advice or to complain that they are not receiving the National Minimum Wage, can get free advice via the Pay and Work Rights Helpline on 0800 917 2368 or by visiting http://www.gov.uk.


The current National Minimum Wage rates are:

Adult rate (21 and over) - £6.50 per hour
18-20 year olds - £5.13 per hour
16-17 year olds - £3.79 per hour
Apprentice rate - £2.73 per hour

Care Quality Commission Publish New Information On Cameras In Care Homes

GMB, the union for staff in care homes, commented on the publication on 12th February by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) of information to help people make appropriate decisions on the use of hidden cameras to monitor someone’s care.


There is a degree of inevitably about cameras in care settings so five tests set out by union should be applied says GMB


Justin Bowden, GMB National Officer for care sector, said “Cameras are not the answer to the crisis in the care sector, more money is. As things are now, care is a minimum wage or just above sector. Society seems to value those working and caring for our most vulnerable and elderly less highly than those stacking shelves at any major supermarket. That just cannot be right. We recognise there is a degree of inevitably about cameras in care home resident’s rooms, and private individuals’ homes but GMB say there should be five tests applied first:

1. What would be the purpose of each camera being introduced?
2. Has the prior consent and views of the residents been obtained?
3. How is the system regulated?
4. Who will have access to the footage and when? How will it be kept secure?
5. Could the money be better spent elsewhere?”

GMB Branches Recognised for Outstanding Achievements at Regional Activity Weekend

GMB branches from across the region came together for the sixth annual Branch Activity Weekend in Wakefield, 7-8 February.  The event began with a keynote address from Tim Roache, GMB regional secretary.  Workshop forums were held during the day which focused on GMB Challenges and Opportunities,  General Election 2015, Regional Democracy and Autonomy and Immigration and Integration.  Feedback from the workshop presentations will go on to help formulate a Branch Charter and way forward for the year ahead.

A question time session was held in the afternoon and panellists included Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary, Tom Watson, MP and our very own young member Olivia Blake.  Chaired by senior organiser Des Risebury, the panel took questions from the delegation on a whole range of issues from the economy to Islamophobia.

In the evening a special awards ceremony took place to honour branches who had worked tirelessly during 2014 for their members and communities.  From the high calibre of applicants, this year’s lucky recipients were Sheffield Health branch who won the Campaign of The Year Award for Outstanding Work in Promoting GMB@Work in the community and joint recipients of the ‘Kerry May’ Award For Outstanding Achievement in GMB@Work went to Leeds Local Government Staff and Bradford Public Services branches. 

Day two of the weekend was an opportunity for the 2014 award winners to provide an update on how they’d put their £1000 of promotional merchandise to use within their workplaces and communities. 

 

Tax Evasion By HSBC For Wealthy In Switzerland Is Systemic And Deep Rooted

Instead of tackling tax evasion, the Tory Party has colluded in covering it up as the boss of the bank, HSBC, was promoted to be a minister in the Government says GMB.


GMB Yorkshire & North Derbyshire regional secretary Tim Roache said, “This is another example of tax evasion on a massive scale that is endemic, systemic and deep rooted in the City and the wealthy classes across the country.  This is criminal activity on an industrial scale. Instead of tackling it the Tory Party has colluded in covering it up. The boss of the bank was promoted to be a minister in the Government. The credibility of this class in dealing with the deficit fairly has taken a very bad knock”

GMB Reacts To RICS Report On Skills Shortages

Phil Whitehurst, GMB National Officer said, “Only when the employers wake up and own up to their failed years of non investment, and invest a real apprenticeship program will we get back on track in the UK. For years the construction industry employers have buried their heads in the sand, way before the deepest recession we have experienced in living memory, they have failed to invest in “real apprenticeships” and opting for past Government low wage alternatives, with nothing at the end of the tunnel for those employed in such schemes.


When the going was good they did not invest, they just chose to pocket the high returns and put nothing back, unfortunately the horse has now bolted which has resulted in a massive skills shortage, and now they are looking at any excuse they can to vindicate their position of none investment. Sadly, the norm has been on many large infrastructure projects in the UK to use non UK Posted Workers, which are more than often, underpaid and exploited, which undercuts the UK construction industry, and propagates a race to the bottom, which GMB has uncovered on numerous sites.


Bold statements of 100,000 jobs created means nothing, unless they are full time positions on PAYE Class 1 national insurance with full employment rights, but sadly these jobs are reportedly by the very nature of the industry, agency zero hour contracts, or unscrupulous agencies employing these workers via tax avoidance umbrella companies.”

Sheffield City Council Slam GreenCo Actions

Sheffield City Council has reacted angrily at the reports that Green Co, the company currently operating Sheffield’s Household Waste Recycling Centres, are engaged in the abuse of zero hours contracts.


Councillor Jayne Dunn, Cabinet Member for Environment, Recycling and Streetscene said: “The council has a good record of working in partnership with the trade unions as both an employer and contractor in preventing the abuse and exploitation of zero hours contracts. “Our position on this issue is absolutely clear, abuse of ‘zero hours’ by Green Co as a measure to strengthen their position in an industrial dispute is absolutely unacceptable as far as the council is concerned. We were not aware of these practices and would like to thank GMB for bringing this issue to our attention.  We are committed to taking action to resolve this situation immediately.


This new information now adds to the questions that have already been raised about the practices that Green Co operate in running their organisation and the perception that could be created about the misuse of public funds. When the council signed the contract with Sova back in 2012, a nationally recognised and reputable company, it was agreed that all profits would be invested in charitable purposes. We have made it clear to Green Co and their parent company Salvaire that issues about the companies weak governance must be addressed. The fact that they have not been for such a long period only makes this ever growing list of allegations about financial impropriety and bad employment practices, even more concerning. This is something that would quite rightly infuriate the people of Sheffield.


This contract is using public money delivering services to the people of Sheffield, and there has been an ongoing dispute with the workforce that Green Co has been unable to resolve for months, which is putting the operation of the sites at risk. Regrettably after a lot of patience and months of giving them an opportunity to resolve the dispute and concerns about the governance of the company, it seems that things are only getting worse not better. The culmination of all of these problems means that the council can no longer have confidence in the ability of the Green Co to manage Sheffield’s Household Waste Recycling Centres and to act as a responsible provider of public services in the city.”

GMB Calls On Sheffield City Council To Act On Abuses At Green Co Recycling Depots

The Green Company is owned by the charity Salvaire. The dispute is over failure to secure an agreement on premium pay for weekend and overtime working, on welfare facilities and how the contract is managed. GMB secured a living wage for members in the recycling centres from the out-going senior management team effective from April 2014. All of those managers have since been dismissed or have had to leave the company. The Finance Director and Operations Manager have already been dismissed and a HR manager and others have also left after raising concerns over bullying. GMB reps have been sacked and other members have also been issued with disciplinary letters after a previous, unofficial, walk out over the bullying of a disabled worker.


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


Peter Davies, GMB Organiser said, “Clearly Green Co has found even more ways of abusing the use of zero hours contracts. This entire contract requires no more than 34 staff to staff the sites. By GMB’s estimates they have 50+ and the way things are going, those on zero hours contracts will soon outnumber employees on proper terms and conditions.  This is typical of this employer that it is hell bent on delivering this service as cheaply as possible to maximise their own profits. It’s certainly not about enhancing or extending the service, far from it. Green Co is now also deploying unpaid staff, referred to them from the probation service on ‘Community pay back hours’ in an attempt to break this dispute. We have a number of members who are disabled and classed as vulnerable adults working on this contract, in January at least two were made to work, unsupervised with probation work placement’s all day.” 


Jim Rodgers, one of the sacked GMB reps said, “We have nothing against these guys on probation, we have helped them in the past but this is no more than chain gang mentality that is driving this company now. Green Co Directors are getting a small fortune on this contract with 35% of the entire budget going on management. What they do isn’t rocket science and it’s about time the public were aware of just what they are paying for.”

NHS Strike Action Suspended

After a week of negotiations with Govt we have emerged with a pay offer. The GMB committees agreed that should a pay offer emerge we would undertake a consultation of the membership. A pay offer has emerged. After discussions with the National Secretary, Brian Strutton we have recommended and agreed that whilst this consultation commences we suspend the NHS Strike in England. We remain in dispute in Northern Ireland.

It is fair to say the GMB NHS strike escalation, particularly in the ambulance service is what strengthened our bargaining position in these talks.

As we turn to the consultation there will be scheduled a special NHS meeting of reps. This will take place next Wednesday 4th February 11-3 at the GMB Euston office.

Further details to follow.

GMB Issues Notices For NHS Strike Action On 29th January 2015

GMB, the union for NHS and ambulance staff, has issued the necessary formal notices to all relevant NHS employers for strike action on 29th January 2015 in the pay dispute in England and Northern Ireland. GMB also responded to the latest statement from Department of Health ahead of further talks to avert strike action.


A 24 hour stoppage by GMB members in the ambulance service will commence at 00.01 and will continue until 23.59 on Thursday January 29th. Unison and Unite ambulance members will commence a 12hour strike from 12 noon on 29th January. GMB and the other health unions will also take strike action for Thursday 29 January 2015. This will be a 12 hour stoppage from 9am -9pm in the rest of NHS.  For the other union this action will be followed by action short of strike until 24th Feb. This will be followed with a 24 hour stoppage on Wednesday 25th February 2015, time to be confirmed. GMB members have already taken part in the strike action in the NHS across England & Northern Ireland on 13th October and 24th November.


GMB conducted an official ballot of 22,000 members in the NHS in England and Northern Ireland. There was overwhelming support for industrial action to secure a better offer. The pay offer for NHS staff in England and Northern Ireland is 1% cash payment in 2014, restricted to staff not eligible for incremental progression and the same approach in 2015. This goes against the recommendation of the independent NHS Pay Review Body for a 1% consolidated pay rise for all staff.


Rehana Azam, GMB National Officer, said “It has taken months to get the talks started in the NHS pay dispute. We are all well aware the pressures on NHS staff who have worked tremendously hard despite government taking an axe to their independent pay review body recommendations. Should a tangible offer emerge as a result of these current talks GMB will take that offer back to members. We are not in a position to call the strike off until we have such an offer. Notices have been served to the relevant NHS employers today.”

Welcome to GMB on YouTube

A new GMB video update will be uploaded on regularly basis.  Each update will cover GMB news, GMB fighting for justice, GMB campaigns, GMB action points and GMB members’ offers.  It will remind members to update their profiles, follow us on twitter, visit the national website and move the Direct Debit and so on.

Please circulate the link far and wide:
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLB4BRdiTEwzaf0kMBcUC6NXMCSjTPknoK

Council Spending On Agency Staff and Consultants

The Institute of Fiscal Studies estimates that “under Autumn Statement plans Conservatives could be cutting unprotected budgets by 26% after 2015-16, or an extraordinary 41% over the whole period from 2010” says GMB


Tim Roache, GMB Yorkshire & North Derbyshire regional secretary said, “GMB members in local authorities echo the concern at the level of council spending on agency workers. GMB has monitored this for many years and we have tried to rein it in. The reasons councils end up employing agency staff are well known. Councils made too many people redundant in the first place and then found they could not operate their services without taking those people back on. In addition because council pay is so low many staff have left their permanent jobs to become agency workers and double their earnings.
One of the major reasons has been the constant change and reorganisation as councils struggle to cope with government imposed austerity. This has led to a managerial merry-go-round for consultants brought in to bolster existing managers, often on six-figure salaries.


It all stems from a combination of a lack of strategic workforce planning and panic reactions to budget cuts. Councils are in a mess and this is another example of where the Government has been penny wise and pound foolish. This is not sensible nor is it an isolated case of where setting out to save money actually costs more in the end. It is why George Osborne will borrow more money in five years than Labour Chancellors did in the previous 13 years.


The Institute of Fiscal Studies said on 13th Jan that “ Under Autumn Statement plans Conservatives could be cutting unprotected budgets by 26% after 2015-16, or an extraordinary 41% over the whole period from 2010”. Cuts in expenditure of this order for law enforcement, armed forces, social and community services and public sector pay are not remotely realistic.
That is the harsh reality of the choice to be made at the next election.”

Stoke Based Ceramics Union Unity Vote For Merger With GMB

The combined experience of Unity and GMB will create a stronger more secure union for the benefit of all our members says Unity General Secretary.  It was announced on 9th January 2015 that members of Stoke based ceramics union Unity had voted in favour of a merger with GMB.  A majority of 93% voted in favour of the merger. Nearly 4,000 ballot papers were issued to members eligible to vote.

Harry Hockaday, General Secretary of Unity, said “These are exciting times for our union and its members.  The combined experience of Unity and the GMB will create a stronger more secure union for the benefit of all our members.”  Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary, said “the two unions joining forces will provide improved and strengthened services for all our members and their families.  The new union will protect our historic values and allow us to invest in representation and support services for all our member’s needs.  There will now be a period of transition which will take place to ensure that there is a smooth integration of the two unions.  There will be no interruption in service to our members during this time.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank the members who voted in favour of the merger thereby securing a positive future for all our members.”   

TCU Money Best For GMB Members, Their Families And The Community

A new year, all exciting, but January can be a very stressful month financially for many the Guardian reported recently and millions fear missing January’s rent or mortgage payments, says Shelter.


If you are fed up feeding the high street loan sharks with your hard earned cash and want a better deal for you and your community why not consider joining TCU money. Set up by GMB in 1999 to provide much fairer financial services for our members and their families, TCU Money is a democratic and ethical alternative to other high street financial organisations.  Designed to help GMB members and their families manage household budgets, TCU is run for the benefit of members and the wider community, with all profits re-invested.


TCU Money is the trading name of Thorne Credit Union and offers members competitive rates and invests in the GMB community by lending a proportion of member deposits to other members thereby ensuring a fair return for all members.  TCU is regulated by the FSA and all savings are fully guaranteed up to £85,000 by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.


So change the way you arrange your financial services and generate a financial and social return for your family and the wider GMB community. Join TCU Money in its on-going campaign for greater financial inclusion through the provision of simply, secure, socially responsible financial services.


TCU assesses individual circumstances and includes length of membership of both GMB and TCU as a criteria which may be rewarded through lower interest rates and TCU members have exclusive access to a competitive range of member loans.


Benefits of membership also include a deposit of £5 to new junior accounts to encourage your children or grandchildren to save and our member gets member scheme gives you £10 for every new account opened by someone you introduce.


http://www.thornecreditunion.com
   

Tel: 0161 486 1777  
 

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

Survey Shows 4 Out of 5 People Deterred By ET Fees

People are being put off holding unfair employers to account by too high fees and a lack of awareness about support, Citizens Advice has found.

The report, “Fairer fees: fixing the employment tribunal system” found:

- more than 4 in 5 (82%) said the current fee prices would make them less likely to claim or deter them from claiming altogether
- the income of people with employment troubles highlighted the problems with the level of fees
- over 4 in 10 (43%) had a household income of less than £46 a week after essential bills
- only 3 in 10 (30%) were aware of elegible financial support for those on low incomes
- over half (53%) didn’t know what they could get out of making a claim and therefore whether it was financially worth their while

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said, “Fees are pricing people out of basic workplace rights and a justice system that is supposed to protect them. Many claims go unheard as people simply can’t afford to pursue them and if they do, employers still won’t pay up. Claims are often for amounts below the fees so this leaves some having to concede claims.”

GMB Yorkshire & North Derbyshire regional secretary, Tim Roache, commented, “Sometimes problems at work require legal action which is why GMB members will receive support with our legal department providing expert employment law advice and where necessary, representation at employment tribunals. Fees are not a barrier for GMB members as they will be dealt with through the Regional Fee Assistance Scheme. 100% of any compensation goes to our members as nothing is deducted unlike some so called “no win, no fee” schemes. Yet another benefit of GMB trade union membership.

The same applies to personal injury claims, or any other non-work legal problems, through GMB’s own Unionline set up in May 2014 which can be contacted on 0300 333 0303. For those GMB members working in occupations that may make them vulnerable to false allegations such as school support staff or care home workers, there is the 24 hour criminal law helpline on 07908 676445.”

GMB Yorkshire & North Derbyshire Region Grows By 2.1% In 2014

Regional Secretary Tim Roache commented, “The region has now grown for 7 consecutive years at a time when working people in particular are facing increasing attacks from a hostile ConDem government and unscrupulous employers. Those out of work and seeking employment are commonly retaining their membership for when they are succesful in gaining work. This all demonstrates the value of union membership whatever the right wing press might have you believe. It’s never been more important to be a GMB member.”

GMB Call For £7 Per Hour National Minimum Wage

GMB commented on reports that the Low Pay Commission is split on whether to recommend uprating the national minimum wage by 50p per hour to £7 per hour from October 2014 to make up ground lost to inflation since 2006.


Tim Roache, Yorkshire & North Derbyshire Regional Secretary, said “There are bucket loads of evidence that an uplift of at least 50p per hour would help the low paid and start to stimulate the economy and that all the big firms including the retailers can afford it.

There is no justification for the national minimum wage not keeping up with inflation. The Low Pay Commission should recommend a rate of at least £7 per hour from October 2014 to make up the ground lost since 2006.

It is time for the Low Pay Commission to do what it says on the tin – “fight for the low paid”.”

Road Maintenance Budget Only Half Of What’s Needed Says GMB

The government is being penny wise and pound foolish as money saved not fixing potholes leads to much more serious damage that can only be fixed at a much higher cost later says GMB, the union for highway maintenance workers, commenting on the announcement by Department of Transport that £6 billion will be spent on maintaining and improving local roads in the six years between 2015 and 2021.


Tim Roache, regional secretary for the GMB Yorkshire & North Derbyshire region said, “The announced £976m per year is less than half the official estimate of the investment needed to cover the backlog of road repairs so the public should ask why the government is not doing more. In any event, not all councils will benefit from this announcement. The promise of future money may or may not materialise under the next government.


Meanwhile existing potholes will crack up when this winter bites leaving roads in an unfit and dangerous state for motorists. The government is being penny wise and pound foolish as money saved not fixing potholes leads to much more serious damage that can only be fixed at a much higher cost later. This is not sensible nor is it an isolated case of where setting out to save money actually costs more in the end. It is why George Osborne will borrow more money in five years than Labour Chancellors did in the previous 13 years”.

Festive Message From GMB General Secretary Paul Kenny

Dear Colleague,


As we reach the festive season and the promise of a brighter year in 2015 GMB continues to campaign for a better future for our members and their families. The continued growth of GMB this year, up by nearly 10,000 shows the ever growing reputation of a union fighting for its members and for the social justice so many in the United Kingdom are denied. GMB local and national representatives have won pay rises and working improvements despite political and management opposition. 2015 will show that more workplaces will refuse to accept living standards being cut or threats to job security.

 
It is a fact that trade union members in GMB organised workplaces earn more than workplaces without trade union bargaining. Trade union workplaces are safer and more secure. Exploitation and bullying are real problems our union fights against every day and we will continue to do so. Decent jobs, guaranteed work and respect from employers is not a New Year resolution but a demand to every employer not just for Christmas but as the saying goes ‘it’s for life’.

 
Our work fighting blacklisters, for care staff the NHS and our great tied pubs campaigns show what the strength of GMB can be used for. For those not working during the festive season, have a wonderful break. For GMB members in particular in the services we rely on like hospital, ambulance and paramedics, energy supply, British Gas engineers and the army of care staff looking after our elderly and vulnerable. Thank you. You are the real New Year’s Honours List.


Best Wishes

Paul Kenny
GMB General Secretary

GMB To Take Part In Talks To Resolve Pay Dispute For Police Civilian Staff

Talks have been continuing with the police employers during the preparation for our industrial action over the 2014 pay dispute. In order to enable these positive talks to continue, UNISON, Unite and GMB have asked the employers to extend the period in which we can call industrial action to the end of January. This extension has been agreed, and as a result we have agreed to withdraw the industrial action scheduled before Christmas.


The extension of the period in which we can call industrial action provides a ‘window’ of opportunity for our negotiators to see if we can get an improved offer which we could recommend to members. We will know this very early in the New Year.


Sharon Holder, GMB National Officer, added “It was always GMB’s view that this dispute should be resolved around the negotiating table and we are pleased that this can now take place.”

GMB Hearing In High Court In London Resumed To Secure Compensation For Blacklisted Workers

Blacklisting came to light when in 2009 the ICO seized a Consulting Association database of 3,213 construction workers and environmental activists used by 44 companies to vet new recruits and keep out of employment trade union and health and safety activists. Talks between GMB and lawyers representing construction employers (Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and VINCI PLC)  on a compensation scheme for 3,213 blacklisted workers broke down in June over the amount of money being put into the scheme by the employers. Employers have unilaterally launched a cut price scheme GMB estimates will cost less than 2% of the combined profits of the eight construction firms.


So far 1,724 out of the 3,213 on the list know they are on blacklist. 467 were identified by themselves on by their unions. 570 cases are covered by claims in the High Court. ICO contacted direct a further 1,257 and of these 776 has now been sent a copy of their files.  That leaves 1,489 still to trace. GMB held 10 protest demonstrations in the first leg of a national “Crocodile Tears” Tour to shame 63 construction industry managers named as blacklisters who have yet to come clean and apologise for their actions. The tour started in Darlington Tuesday 21 October with a person in a crocodile suit accompanied by union members with flags and banners and slogans “Nuremberg defence on blacklisting won’t wash” and “Blacklisters come clean”. In the New Year dates of the second leg of the tour will be announced.


Justin Bowden, GMB national officer said, “The GMB campaign to get justice for blacklisted workers went back to the High Court. In addition, in the New Year the second leg of the “crocodile tears” tour to name and shame managers who organised the blacklist will be announced. These managers might have thought they had got away scot-free, so shedding crocodile tears now for the systematic blacklisting of 3,213 building workers and environmentalists won’t wash, neither will the Nuremberg Defence of “just following superior orders”.


These so-called HR Professionals who ran the blacklists for the construction companies knew exactly what they were doing and they need to either apologise, come clean and say what they did, or get used to accounting in public for the damage they did to those they blacklisted and their families, especially with the Public Inquiry Labour has pledged after the next election.  Just as the construction companies who paid their wages are being called to account in parliament, the courts and the media, every single one of these secret blacklisters will have their role dissected in public.”

GMB Christmas Jumper Appeal for Save The Children

By 9.10am this morning staff and officers at GMB’s Wakefield office had raised £75 for the Save the Children Christmas Jumper Appeal, just by wearing a Christmas jumper and making a small donation to a fantastic cause.  And it’s not too late to spread the ‘jumper joy’ and donate a few quid!!  You can donate through the region by simply sending a cheque made payable to GMB (don’t forget to let us know who you are and to say it’s for the Christmas Jumper Appeal) and we will do the rest.

Extract from Save the Children website 

What is Christmas Jumper Day?
We’re asking people to make the world better with a sweater by wearing a Christmas jumper for the day and donating to Save the Children (we’re asking grown-ups for a suggested £2 and schools and children for £1 per woolly).

So dig out your winter knitwear and join us! If you don’t own a festive sweater you could tinsel up an ordinary jumper, go all out with sequins and snowmen, or even knit your own.

When is it?
Christmas Jumper Day 2014 is on Friday 12 December.

Can I do it at another time?
Yes! We’d love as many people as possible to organise their Christmas Jumper Day on Friday 12 December, but if you can’t make this date then please pop on your pullovers any time around Christmas.

Who can take part?
Everyone! We want to spread the jumper joy to offices, schools and homes around the country. So get your workplace, school, friends and family involved, and help us raise as much as we can to help transform children’s lives.

GMB Support TUC Organised Decent Jobs Week From 15th to 21st December

Pay for full time workers in the lowest graded jobs including security guards, shelf fillers, hospital porters, kitchen and catering assistant jobs, waiters and waitresses and bar staff is still 12.6% below its value in 2007 says GMB. GMB is supporting Decent Jobs Week running from 15th to 21st December which is organized by the TUC with a series of events across England and Wales to raise awareness about workers in precarious and low paid jobs struggling to make ends meet.

Events are planned to draw attention to the millions of workers in the UK trapped in low paid and insecure jobs. There are more than 1.4 million zero-hours contracts in use, offering no steady work. Others, such as agency and casual workers, lose out on important rights and benefits.
Events in our region are planned as follows:

16 December Leeds 12.00 – 14.00 Leeds City Centre, Briggate.
20 December York 11.00 – 14.00 York City Centre, St Helen’s Square.

Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary said “In the run up to Christmas we need to focus on the working poor struggling to make ends meet on wages that have not kept pace with prices that are up by a quarter since 2007. 

The welcome increase in the levels of economic activity is partly linked to population growth as GDP per head is still 3% below 2007 levels so many workers have seen no sign of the upturn.
The real value of take home pay for workers is 10.4% below pre–recession levels while many of the new jobs are precarious and badly paid. 

It is the lowest paid who have been worst affected by the recession. The real value of earnings for full time workers in the lowest graded jobs in UK is still 12.6% below its value in 2007. This group of workers include security guards, shelf fillers, hospital porters, kitchen and catering assistant jobs, waiters and waitresses and bar staff. 

At the forthcoming General Election the Labour Party will offer hope of a better future in contract to the Tories who are offering another five years of despair with pay freezes and austerity”.

This is what five GMB members on low pay recently told the union: “Watching your money is always a stress, questioning yourself, do we need this? can we go without that? It’s a drain. Telling your children we can’t afford things when their friends have them is heart breaking when they are crying and feel left out.”
“I have a wife and two young daughters aged 3 & 8. Currently I go to work at 7 am and don’t get home until 7pm or even later. For the majority of the days in a week I do not get to see my children at all but I have to work these crazy hours to pay the bills and keep my kids fed and in clothes.
“My quality of life is zero because I simply have to work all the time and have little to no family life at all. My company does not pay overtime either, so it is really tough just to earn enough to scrape through the weeks and months.”
“If I could do less hours but have a higher rate of pay, then I would be happier. In my current position the workload for me has increased since 2008 but wages have not kept up. I used to work regular overtime until it was stopped. Now when I have done my work for the week, I am shattered, as I have to cram in more responsibilities into my hours for no more money. If I could revert back to doing less in my working day, then I would consider more hours. I’m not workshy, but my health has to be a major consideration.”
“Difficult! If something went wrong with my car I couldn’t commute to work nor could I buy a new one. The bus service costs too much to use daily and in my area is so unreliable I couldn’t in good faith tell my employer I would never be late. With the wages being so low at times I feel depressed as I’m working to just stay alive. What sort of life is it that you work until you die and have no enjoyment or anything to show for your time on the earth!”

GMB Members Embroiled in Bitter Battle with Waste Recycling Company

Green Co members (Sheffield Household Waste Recycling Centres) are embroiled in a bitter battle after staff have been sacked or forced to leave their jobs in a long dispute about how the centres are being run. Bullying, pay and poor welfare facilities are the key issues.

Intermittent strikes commenced in October and a continuous strike started in November and is currently suspended to allow the Client (Sheffield City Council) time to investigate and intervene. The contract, for instance, cannot be altered whilst there is a strike underway. GMB reps, Jim Rodgers and Gordon Parkes, organised a 2 hour walk out in between strikes after a disabled worker was bullied for taking part in the intermittent strikes. The GMB agreed to Sheffield City Councils, and their main contractors (Veolia), request to suspend the current action in order to put new proposals to this sub-contracted company, Green Co, that would have gone some way to resolving the dispute. The company refused to accept these proposals on Friday, November 21st and furthermore sacked our reps the following Tuesday for the 2 hour walk out that took place on October 16th.

This may well be a final attempt to break the resolve of our members in this dispute, a last hoorah or an attempt to get us back out on strike. Green Co have invested thousands in, what they describe as, an army of temps ready to take their slots (jobs).

We must give the Council every opportunity to intervene despite this appalling attack on our people and for that reason, we are launching a fighting fund to support these sacked reps whilst we carry that fight forward.

Please consider a contribution and send all cheques to our Wakefield Office, C/O Kalvinder Degun, Grove Hall, 60 College Grove Road, Wakefield. WF1 3RN). Please make cheques payable to: GMB, and write Green Co fighting fund on the reverse side. This fund will be used to support our sacked reps and their families accordingly. Please e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for speaker requests at any meetings you may have where you would like to hear more about this campaign.

GMB Protest At Next Warehouse On Friday, 5th December 2014 at 10am

GMB is organising a protest on Friday 5th December in South Elmsall, West Yorkshire in response to the report that NEXT offered Christmas jobs to Polish workers at the warehouse there before being advertised in Britain. This coincides with the national tour by Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott calling on NEXT to pay enough hours of work for people to live on and as a first step towards £10 per hour living wage pay £7.85 per hour and £9.20 per hour in London. Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott tour reaches Yorkshire on 4th December when they play in Sheffield.


The details of the West Yorkshire protest are as follows:


10am, Friday 5th December 2014

Outside a NEXT warehouse
at the junction of Elmsall Drive and Elmsall Way
South Elmsall,
West Yorkshire,
WF9 2TX.

The protest will be attended by GMB members and people from the local community. GMB will present an ASBO to NEXT for failing to make work pay for workers and for being an employer that does not face up to its social responsibilities. GMB protesters will be available for interview.


Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary, said “This is a protest against gross abuse of UK and migrant workers by NEXT. Sadly this abuse is not unique. All over Europe there are labour agencies exploiting posted workers on a massive scale. Internal EU wide union estimates show that approximately one million workers are exploited as posted workers annually. We have to face up to the brutal fact that whatever the European vision was on integration, harmony, economic advancement and political stability, what we currently have isn’t it.


The free movement of labour and the single market were to be balanced by the social charter where all the people of Europe would live in freedom and with those in the poorer economies, benefitting from the harmonisation of standards across all member states. There were to be standards on workers protection, TUPE, excessive hours, health & safety, information and consultation and so many others were meant to keep labour exploitation in check. That dream has been chipped away at for years. Right wing governments and employer have engineered massive change in the direction of the EU vision. Judgements in the European Courts like Viking and Laval were the green light to massive assaults on organised labour across Europe, but especially in the UK.


From Lindsey Oil refinery to food production we have seen workers recruited in certain member states by agencies and exploited. They were shipped in “literally” in order to undermine the terms and conditions of existing workers on those contracts. Both sets of workers have been let down by UK Government, the EU Commission and the European Court. On exploitation – don’t blame the exploited; damn those who exploit. This has been repeated up and down the country over recent years. And that is part of the discontent that extreme political parties turn into xenophobic rhetoric to win votes. Look past the simplistic tag and face the challenge of exploitation. Let’s reach out to those migrant workers not attack them, but organise and protect them.”

GMB On The Autumn Statement

GMB commented on the Autumn Statement delivered on 3rd December 2014 by George Osborne Chancellor of the Exchequer.


Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary said “The so called “prudent” Mr Osborne will borrow more in five years at the Treasury than Labour chancellors he labels as profligate did in thirteen. The welcome increase in economic activity is partly linked to population growth as GDP per head is still 3% below 2007 levels. The real value of take home pay for workers is 13% below pre–recession levels while many of the new jobs are precarious and badly paid. If this is success I would not like to think what failure looks like.”


Four GMB members on low pay told the union:


“I have a wife and two young daughters aged 3 & 8. Currently I go to work at 7 am and don’t get home until 7pm or even later. For the majority of the days in a week I do not get to see my children at all but I have to work these crazy hours to pay the bills and keep my kids fed and in clothes. My quality of life is zero because I simply have to work all the time and have little to no family life at all. My company does not pay overtime either, so it is really tough just to earn enough to scrape through the weeks and months.”


” I never go on holiday, can’t afford a car, don’t eat much meat as I can’t afford to, only buy Christmas present for my daughter, never go out, don’t buy new clothes.”


“Everyday bills all mount up and once they are all paid you have very little for food or to go and enjoy life.”


“Every penny needs to be accounted for. We buy supermarkets own brands, collect save money coupons and buy one get one free.”


Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary for public services, said “Osborne’s forecasts on the deficit reduction have been dismal and his latest forecasts will be no different. Downgrading growth forecasts and downgrading tax rates add up to very deep cuts reducing public spending to the lowest proportion of GDP for 80 years. The OBR say we are only 40% along the way with a further 60% of cuts still to be implemented to fill the cavernous fiscal hole. The public service spending cuts that have already happened have had a traumatic effect on elderly care, children’s services and other basic support for our communities.


The services that have already been cut by one third face cuts of another third. Cuts in expenditure of this order for law enforcement, armed forces, social and community services and public sector pay are not remotely realistic. Supporting further cuts is to condone more failures in services to the most vulnerable and needy in society and to undo the glue of a civilised society. That is the harsh reality of the choice to be made at the next election. GMB demands that the Chancellor come clean now and tell the British public exactly what services he would cut.”

Construction Unions Demonstrate At Westminster Against Umberella Companies

Rather than pay workers in a standard PAYE manner there has been a mass move to pay workers via umbrella companies, which charge their ‘employees’ for their services. They also charge the worker both employers’ and employees’ national insurance contributions and they have been alleged to add strange inexplicable charges. Not only are construction workers losing out – typically by up to £120 a week – but so is the exchequer.


Phil Whitehurst, GMB national officer for construction, explained: “An umbrella company is a company that acts as an employer to agency workers like construction and other workers. So instead of their being two parties the contractor and the worker, umbrella arrangements usually involve four parties – the worker, the contractor, the agency and the umbrella company. On construction sites there will be a main contractor, and often multiple layers of subcontractors, employment agencies but the worker’s employment contract is with the umbrella company, not the agency. Normally the agency will agree a job and pay rate with a contractor and then contact the worker about the job.  The umbrella company receives the payment from the contractor for the work done by the worker.  It processes the payment, deducting PAYE income tax, employee’s and employer’s National Insurance contributions and the umbrella company’s fee.


The residual sum is then paid to the worker as net pay. Often workers are officially paid at the national minimum wage, despite having negotiated a pay rate far in excess of this figure. Pay is then partially re-boosted through scams using expenses, performance related pay and other methods. Payslips are often so complex that workers tell us that they do not understand how their pay is being calculated. Many umbrella companies also withhold an amount of money that should be paid to the worker at a later date in the form of holiday pay but is not paid. The benefit to construction companies and agencies of using umbrella companies is that of reducing tax and national insurance liabilities.  These liabilities and other costs, including the cost of the employer’s NI contributions and the umbrella company fee for providing payroll services,  are passed on to the construction workers. This is an abuse.

We have construction companies negating their responsibilities of direct employment by using parasitic umbrella companies and forcing workers into accepting the terms offered or they quite simply don’t get the work. These spurious tax avoidance contracts leave staff with no employment or financial stability. They are very often put on zero hours contracts with holiday and other payments rolled up into one composite rate of pay. Workers are then forced by the very nature of the contracts to pay both the employees and the employers National Insurance contributions. This can cost them up to £120 per week. These parasitic companies then have the brass neck to charge between £20-£30 admin fees per week for their troubles.”

Shadow exchequer secretary Shabana Mahmood MP said that Labour is committed to introducing deeming into construction. This would mean that workers would be considered employees unless they met strict criteria to prove they were self-employed. She also said that Labour was committed to cracking down on the use of expenses by umbrella companies, which would make such schemes less attractive.

Save Rotherham School from Closure

GMB, the union for school support staff, will join with other unions to lobby Rotherham Council ( RMBC) Cabinet Members on Wednesday 26th November at the Town Hall from 9.30am to reject the proposed closure of Abbey Special School in Kimberworth which would potentially mean 37 redundancies. This is part of a joint union/ parent campaign to save the school from closure. Consultations on the closure are underway. Abbey School has 87 children with a range of behavioural and learning difficulties. It has suffered disruption since a staff restructuring programme was introduced last year.


As part of the campaign to save the school union members will be in the Town Centre on Saturday 29th November gathering signatures for the petition to save the school. Also as part of the campaign a meeting has been arranged for parents to attend to give them the true story behind what has been happening at the school. This will be held at the Green Dragon Public House, Kimberworth at 6.30am on Wednesday 3rd December with refreshments to be provided from 6.15pm. Unions urge as many parents as possible to attend the meeting.


Also unions are asking parents and residents to sign the online petition https://www.change.org/p/rotherham-metropolitan-borough-council-save-abbey-special-school


Teachers and Support staff took strike action earlier in the year over the devastating and disastrous restructure and an increasing number of violent incidents involving pupils. The staff took this action as they felt that Management were not doing enough to ensure the safety of the pupils and staff.


Lee Simpson, GMB convenor, said “Consultations are already under way, but we plan to put pressure on councillors to reject the officers’ recommendations. What is disappointing is that while staff and public consultations are underway the Local Authority is already offering parents places at other schools. This is a school which was outstanding in 2008 and good in 2011. Since then, the management team has been changed and they have failed to introduce and enable change and innovation in an appropriate time frame, they had failed to encourage initiative and support and reward staff. However, we do not believe Abbey is beyond repair, even though it is currently in a very dire situation. Parents and residents are urged to get behind the campaign to save the school and stop elected Councillors from making a wrong decision that will have a detrimental impact on Rotherham’s children.”

 

E-Learning Online Short Courses

Welcome to online learning with the GMB

The Education Department is pleased to bring you the region’s first section dedicated to online learning courses. These courses are available by simply clicking on the electronic title. It is important to remember that whilst undertaking these e-learning courses that as a GMB representative you are still entitled to paid release duty and facility time to enable you to complete these courses.

Don’t miss out on paid release

If you are a member and not a GMB legislative post-holder then you may have to take these courses in your own time. I suggest that those of you who are post-holders commence negotiating your paid release or the equivalent reimbursement of release with your employer prior to commencing the course.  You may also want to get your full time officer involved during these negotiations.

These courses are not a replacement of our conventional training programme they are seen as being additional and an alternative way of becoming educated. To enable you to deliver the best service to members that the GMB can provide.


GMB member Michelle Bateson, pictured with education officer Colin Kirkham, has completed all the online courses successfully

To complete our online courses simply click one of the links below:

GFTU    ACAS    UNIONLEARN

TUC Education Online Courses for ULRs

Union Learning Representative (ULR) Stage 1 Award
Union Learning Representative (ULR) Stage 2 Award

Blacklist Fears Are “A Huge Fuss Over Nothing” Says HR Chief

A personnel chief has been condemned for telling a meeting of blacklisted workers that the scandal was a “big fuss about very little.” So-called “employee relations expert” Mike Emmott, from human resources workers’ professional body the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), made the comments following his keynote speech at the Manchester Industrial Relations Society’s 50th anniversary conference on Friday.

He told the packed-out meeting of 200 leading industrial relations academics, HR professionals and union officials, including blacklisted workers and Shrewsbury Pickets, that he found “union moral outrage over blacklisting rather distasteful.” Mr Emmott had been speaking of the need for HR managers to embed a “culture of trust, fairness and respect” but showed his true colours after being quizzed by general union GMB political officer Neil Smith over CIPD’s lack of response to blacklisting. His outburst was met with gasps, then loud applause after follow-up questions identified a number in CIPD’s ranks who were personally involved in blacklisting union members.


A flustered Mr Emmott responded by claiming ignorance, even though the issue has been front-page news in even the CIPD’s own journal. “Yes, it is a big fuss about nothing when you cannot feed and clothe your kids and don’t know why,” said Manchester electrician and MRI picket Tony Jones, who was blacklisted for many years after raising concerns about electrical safety. “To me that’s a form of child abuse.”

Blacklist Support Group chairman Steve Acheson, also a Manchester electrician, said the campaign group had submitted a complaint to the CIPD for breaches of the code of ethical conduct but that, two years later, nobody had faced any sanction. “Nor has any senior manager involved in blacklisting been disciplined by their employer. Most remain in post or have even been promoted to the board,” Mr Acheson said. “The firms and CIPD have cried crocodile tears about blacklisting but the mask of hypocrisy worn by the HR profession has finally slipped.”


GMB Yorkshire & North Derbyshire senior organiser Graham Benton commented, “Mr Emmott needs a good chat with his chief executive officer Peter Cheese who earlier this month at the CIPD’s own annual conference condemned the practice following a question I put to him as a CIPD member. Obviously a breakdown in communication at the higher levels of the organisation which is hiding behind pending court action to avoid disciplining senior CIPD members for driving a coach and horses through their own ethical conduct policy. Hardly ‘the right thing to do’ as the CIPD teaches.”


Unions including GMB, Ucatt and Unite are seeking compensation for blacklisted members through the courts.

GMB Members In The NHS To Take Second Day of Strike Action On Monday 24th November In Pay Dispute

The strike action on Monday will be followed by action short of strike (ASOS) from 11.01 a.m. on Monday 24th November until Sunday 30th November midnight. GMB members in the ambulance service will to take part in action short of strike (ASOS) from 11.01 a.m. on Monday 24th November until Sunday 30th November midnight after Monday’s strike. This will consist of a ban on all planned voluntary overtime in the ambulance service.


GMB conducted an official ballot of 22,000 members in the NHS in England and Northern Ireland. There was overwhelming support for industrial action against the government and employers pay policies.
The pay offer is a 1% unconsolidated offer for 2014 for those who get it and a further 1% unconsolidated offer in 2015 for those who get it.


Rehana Azam, GMB National Officer, said “On Monday, 24th November 2014, from 7am NHS Staff will stop work and join a picket line outside their NHS workplace. NHS staff take action with a heavy heart as their only priority is to deliver the best patient care, quality and outcomes. Even after staff voted to take strike action and action short of a strike the Secretary of State for Health has refused to meet with the unions representing NHS staffs.


GMB has agreed at regional and local level with Ambulance Services that life-threatening and certain other categories of call (such as renal dialysis and Oncology patients in the North West) will be responded to by GMB ambulance crews during the forthcoming dispute in the NHS.  In addition, GMB has agreed that the major and hazardous incident team will remain on duty in case a major incident occurs. The strike has arisen because of the Government’s overruling of the independent, NHS Pay Review Body’s (PRB) recommendation for a 1% consolidated pay rise across the board for all NHS staff.
The intervention by Government means that the 1% will only be available to approximately 40% of NHS employees and it will not be consolidated in to basic pay.


Government intervention is in stark contrast to its view when the independent Pay Review Body for MP’s recommended that MP’s should receive a pay rise of 11%.  In that case the government said it could not interfere with the recommendation because it had come from an independent body. Our members are angry as there seems to be one rule for MP’s and a different rule for everyone else.
Members have seen workload increasing and colleagues being overworked. When the cost of living has increased members have endured not just pay freezes but pay cuts, as NHS pay rates are frozen to April 2013 rates.  Jeremy Hunt claims that he withholding the NHS Pay Review Body recommendation s because the cost of implementation will mean further job cuts. NHS Staff are not convinced this is the case as they know the true cost of what is happening to the NHS. £3 billion was wasted on top down NHS reorganisation while £13.5 billion of NHS services are tendered to the private sector and over £1 billion NHS money has been returned to Treasury. This demonstrates the choices Jeremy Hunt is making over NHS Staff pay.”

GMB Welcome Vote In Parliament For Tied Tenants

GMB, the union for tied pub tenants, welcome the vote by 284 to 259 ( majority 25) in Parliament on Tuesday, 18th November 2014 for a new Clause 2 in the Small Business Bill which puts a ‘market rent only’ (MRO) option for tied pub tenants on to the statute book. The Government is committed to introducing a statutory code of practice for the large pub companies in the Small Business Bill that reached the Report stage today in Parliament. That Bill will enshrine in law the long accepted but largely ignored principle: that the tied licensee should not be worse off than a free of tie licensee. This new clause introduces the market rent only option for tenants of the large pubcos, who own more than 500 pubs, with this applying only to companies that own 500 or more pubs, applying to their leased, tenanted and franchised pubs only.


A cross party new clause was tabled by Greg Mulholland, Chair of the Parliamentary Save the Pub Group, Adrian Bailey, Chair of the BIS Select Committee and Brian Binley, a member of the Select Committee and President of the Save the Pub Group with support from MPs across the house. The New Clause was supported by the national campaign for reform of the unfair pubco model, the Fair Deal for Your Local campaign coalition backed by 10 organisations.


Paul Kenny GMB General Secretary said “MPs have done the right thing and GMB welcome this. Government must accept this vote and move to properly implement it to save 25,000 tied pubs. MPs have voted for a clause that shows that the market rent only option is a simple, cheap to administer and market based solution that at certain trigger points would simply give licensees the choice as to whether to pay a fair rent only or stick with a tied agreement. This choice will force the large pub companies to ensure that their tied agreements – where tenants pay marked up prices for beer and other products and services - are competitive, fair and attractive to tenants.”

 

GMB Members Accept Local Government Pay Offer

GMB members in local government and schools in England, Wales and Northern Ireland as well as members the other two local government unions have voted to accept a pay offer put forward by the Local Government Association. 1.5 million council workers and school staff have taken a pragmatic decision to accept a two-year deal which is worth around 2.35% on average and up to 9.6% for the lowest paid.


Local government and school support workers had been offered just 1%, with slightly more for the lowest paid to bring them above the level of the new National Minimum Wage in March. However following a strike on 10 July and a threatened further walkout in October, the LGA made an improved offer. The proposals cover the period from 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2016.


All three unions have made it clear that they will continue to campaign for fair pay and conditions for local government and school workers, strengthen the collective bargaining machinery covering local government and schools and move quickly to jointly tackle other important issues facing their members with the Local Government Association. Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary for Public Services, said: “1.5 million council workers and school staff have taken a pragmatic decision to accept a two-year deal which is worth around 2.35% on average and up to 9.6% for the lowest paid. That puts the 2014 pay dispute to bed but there are still serious financial challenges ahead for local government services and our members who provide them.”


The local government craft workers have also voted to accept the pay proposals.


GMB National Secretary, Brian Strutton writes, “Following the vote by GMB members last week, I can now advise that the other craft unions have also completed their consultations on the pay proposals.  As a result the craft JNC unions have formally signified their acceptance and so employers should be making cash lump sum payments in December and percentage pay rises in January.”

 

Further Government Cuts To Council Services in Leeds

benny148's Leeds Care Home Demo 19th Nov album on Photobucket


Because of further Governments cuts, Leeds City Council plans to put the final nail into the coffin of Adult Social Care. 

On Wednesday 19th November, the Executive Board of the Council are meeting to make a decision on starting a consultation process to close the final Local Authority run Adult Care Homes and stop the community generic service within Leeds; putting between 400 and 500 jobs at risk and leaving the most vulnerable people in our City at the mercy of the private sector.

As such, we will be holding a demonstration at 12.00 noon on Wednesday 19th November outside the Civic Hall in Leeds and would like your support and attendance at this demonstration.

GMB Campaign Against Closure of Westfield Health Centre, Sheffield

The reality of the way in which this government places Health Care provision to ordinary and vulnerable members of the public is shown for what it is. A well respected and caring GP who runs Westfield Health Centre in Sheffield is to retire. NHS England have decided not to replace the GP and instead, they will close the Health Centre. There has been no public consultation. Patients have not been told where they will be treated in the future, nor have they been considered in what is an unacceptable decision with no measures in place to protect the 2000 patients, many of whom are elderly, young and vulnerable.

The staff providing valuable services have been served with redundancy notices. GMB members,  Labour MP Clive Betts, and councillor Isobel Bowler will join protesters outside of the Health Centre today in an effort to get NHS England to change it’s mind.  It is also rumoured that another Heath Centre, serving 12,000 patients nearby is also earmarked for closure in the near future.

Is this David Cameron and Jeremy Hunt’s way of protecting the NHS and ensuring patients come first ? Is it any wonder people have to resort to going to A & E departments? It is distasteful to note the advice given by Jeremy Hunt today that they should go to the local chemist instead.  It is also an appalling indictment on Nick Clegg, who is a local MP that he is allowing this to happen. His silence is deafening !

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GMB anger over plans to close council-run care homes in Leeds

Leeds City Council has unveiled proposals to shut the homes, in Morley, Armley and Seacroft, affecting 69 residents, as well as associated day centres.  It is also looking at ceasing most council-provided home care services, hitting hundreds of jobs.  The moves, set to be discussed by councillors next week, could save a total of £12m over the next four years.  Council bosses say no decisions will be made until a full consultation has taken place, and no-one will be asked to leave their home until an alternative was available.  But a union representative criticised the plans, the latest in a raft of care home closures.

Jon Smith, regional officer for the GMB, said: “The last two times they have done this, it has caused nothing but anguish for staff and residents. “It will mean Leeds will have no more local authority residential homes.
“For a city the size of Leeds to announce that, it’s something I hoped we would never see, particularly from a Labour council. What we are going to end up with is purely private sector provision.” He added that additional proposals to stop providing home care direct could affect 400 workers, and if they went ahead would essentially mean the end of Leeds City Council-provided adult social care.

The Better Lives strategy, which includes shutting Siegen Manor in Morley, Middlecross in Armley and The Green in Seacroft, is part of a multi-million pound cost-cutting drive.

Permanent admissions to Knowle Manor in Morley and Spring Gardens in Otley would cease once a suitable alternative has been identified, while a business case will be drawn up for Home Lea House and Dolphin Manor in Rothwell, which community groups could establish social enterprises to run.

Coun Adam Ogilvie, executive member for adult social care, said they were “incredibly difficult options”, but necessary.  “We are acutely aware that any consultation concerning the future of care provision can create a great deal of uncertainty and worry for those who receive care as well as for their family and loved ones. “However, the harsh reality is that government cuts to our budget mean we simply cannot afford to continue to provide adult social care in the same way that we have in the past and we must look at new ways of doing things both now and in the future. “Whatever the result of the consultation, nobody will be forced to leave their home or day services until an alternative has been found nearby that they are happy with and which fits their individual needs.”

Sheffield Council Bosses Urged To Intervene In Waste Recycling Strike

Members of the GMB union have been on a continuous strike since last Saturday following several one-day walkouts last month. The dispute is over pay, conditions and allegations of ‘bullying’ at the five centres, run by The Green Company on behalf of Sheffield Council and waste contractor Veolia. Tim Roache, regional secretary for GMB Yorkshire and North Derbyshire joined about 20 workers picketing the waste facility at Blackstock Road, Gleadless Valley, yesterday. Other centres affected by walkouts are in Woodhouse, Deepcar, High Green and Shirecliffe.


Peter Davies, GMB organiser, said union officials are asking the authority and Veolia to intervene in the dispute. Both the council and Veolia have said they want to ‘encourage both sides to engage in talks again’. Mr Davies said workers who had been involved in some of the one-day walkouts last month had been ‘singled out’ by company bosses. “When they tried the initial strikes, they were being singled out one by one. All of them were pulled into meetings and told not to strike. We are asking for the bullying to stop and to talk to us about pay.” He said a skeleton staff of non-union members and additional workers brought in by management are running the sites while the dispute goes on.


A statement from Sheffield Council and Veolia said: “We all want this strike to be resolved as quickly as possible, to minimise disruption to the public and to enable people to get back to their jobs. This can only happen if those concerned are around the table trying to find a resolution.”

 

 

 

 

 

GMB Welcome EAT Judgement That Overtime Pay Should Be Included In Pay For Holiday Leave

GMB commented on the EAT judgement that overtime pay is part of normal remuneration and to be included as such in the calculation of pay for holiday leave.

Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary, said “This judgment ensures that workers are properly paid for holidays and is a good and welcome result. This judgment clarifies that voluntary overtime and time spent waiting for emergency call outs must be included in holiday pay calculations. Members who did not get the same pay during holiday as during the rest of the year should contact GMB to be advised of their rights and to have their claims assessed and taken forward.


GMB look forward to a sensible discussion with employers who need to have a rethink about the way holiday pay is dealt with. No doubt certain elements and interests will condemn the European Directive upon which this court decision is based that will give workers in the UK the extra pay they have been denied by UK employers and politicians for years.”

Sheffield Recycling Workers Strike Indefinitely

Workers at five waste recycling centres in Sheffield in South Yorkshire have walked out in an open-ended strike over poverty pay, bullying and a lack of basic facilities. The workers, members of general union GMB, are employed by the Green Company - a subcontractor for privateer Veolia, working for Sheffield City Council.


GMB has accused managers of bullying workers, including some who have mental-health issues and learning difficulties, and failing to provide them with enough toilet and washing facilities. The union added that the firm is in turmoil with a senior management team sacked after agreeing to pay workers the living wage. The action follows a nine-day strike in early October and now overtime pay has been attacked.


GMB regional officer Peter Davies said: “GMB members are taking strike action over premium rates, welfare facilities and bullying. We know the company can afford to provide these basic conditions but they will not budge.”


Mr Davies claimed that some workers had already been sacked for bravely taking a stand, with those remaining facing disciplinary processes.


“As with all bullies, the senior managers are picking on those who they see as the easiest targets first and this includes at least three disabled workers with mental health and learning difficulties, who have been subjected to disciplinary action for alleged gross misconduct,” he added.

Injury And Ill-health Statistics Highlight Workplace Dangers

Injury and ill-health statistics released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show that an estimated 28.2 million working days were lost due to work related ill health or injury in 2013/14. As a result, the cost to society from such injuries and new cases of ill health due to current working conditions is an estimated £14.2 billion (2012/13 figures based on 2012 prices), according to the latest annual statistics published by HSE today. Judith Hackitt, the chair of HSE, says that behind every number is the reality of a real person being killed or suffering injuries or ill health while simply doing their job.

The statistics show that, in 2013/14, there were 133 fatal injuries – a fall from 150 the previous year. 77,593 other injuries reported under The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR). That equates to 304.6 injuries per 100,000 employees. An estimated two million people in 2013/14 suffering from an illness they believed was caused or made worse by current or past work.

Judith Hackitt said: “These latest figures remind us what health and safety is really about. We should remind ourselves what these numbers actually mean – the number of times in the last year someone went out to work and either did not return home to their loved ones or came home with life changing injuries. The health numbers also demonstrate the scale of harm being done to people’s health while at work, too often leading to premature death. Jobsworths using ‘elf n safety as a convenient excuse for all manner of things, and those claiming health and safety is a burden, need to reflect on this. Britain has one of the best health and safety systems in the world, but that is cold comfort to those who have suffered loss or suffering that is so easily avoided with sensible and proportionate risk management.
We all need to commit to focussing on what really matters – ensuring more people return home from work every day and enjoy long and healthy working lives.”
The industries in which workers are most likely to be injured by their jobs have not changed significantly – with construction (1900 major/specified injuries), agriculture (292 major/specified injuries), manufacturing (3159 major/specified injuries) and waste and recycling (486 major/specified injuries) among the higher risk sectors.

GMB Members Potential Holiday Pay Claims

A recent ruling in the Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled that UK law in relation to the calculation of holiday pay is not in line with European law.

As paid holiday is a health and safety measure, members should not be deterred from taking holiday because they will be paid less than their normal pay.

For most members the calculation of holiday is straightforward and they receive the same pay for each week of holiday as they do for the rest of the year. But the position is more difficult where pay varies because of factors such as overtime, shift pay, commission and some allowances, but not expenses.

WHO MIGHT HAVE A CLAIM?

Anyone whose holiday pay is calculated on their basic pay only, excluding other amounts they regularly get paid when they are working.  Examples of other amounts would include:

• commission
• overtime (contractual or discretionary)
• shift payments (shift allowance, nightshift payments, on-call allowance)
• unsociable hours payments.

IF YOU THINK YOU MIGHT HAVE A CLAIM

You must contact your GMB Region AS SOON AS POSSIBLE so we can investigate your claim and, if necessary, contact your employer to ensure you are paid correctly.

If we cannot get the issue resolved (both back pay and future holiday pay), we may need to file a grievance, or take legal action to ensure your employer obeys the law.

If you think you have a claim, it is particularly important that you get in touch with us IMMEDIATELY if you have recently left your job OR your employer has recently changed the way they calculate your holiday pay.

In either of these situations, there are strict time limits and you may lose your rights to claim for missing back pay of holiday pay if you miss the time limit.

Holiday Pay.pdf

One Year Since Remploy Factories Closed

GMB, the union for ex Remploy staff, commented on the first anniversary of the closure of the last of the 51 of 54 Remploy factories that shut down.


Remploy had 54 factories at Aberdare, Aberdeen, Abertillery, Acton, Ashington, Barking, Barrow, Birkenhead, Birmingham, Blackburn, Bolton, Bridgend, Bristol, Burnley, Chesterfield, Cleator Moor, Clydebank, Coventry, Cowdenbeath, Croespenmaen, Derby, Dundee, Edinburgh, Gateshead, Heywood, Huddersfield, Leeds, Leicester, Leven, Manchester, Merthyr Tydfil, Motherwell, Neath Port Talbot, Newcastle, North London, North Staffordshire, Norwich, Oldham, Penzance, Pontefract, Poole, Porth, Portsmouth, Preston, Sheffield, Southampton, Spennymoor, Springburn, Stirling, Sunderland, Swansea, Wigan, Worksop and Wrexham. All but 3 closed. Rempower Ltd took over the Remploy Automotive factories in Birmingham, Coventry and Derby.


GMB conducted a survey of ex Remploy workers earlier this year that showed only one in four was employed and most were working shorter hours and on less pay. Jerry Nelson, GMB National Officer said, “It is now one year since the final day of the Remploy factory closures, over 2700 disabled workers had their lives destroyed by this Government’s callous and thoughtless attack on the disabled workers, workers who relied on their employment to maintain their sense of independence working in an environment of protected equality. The factories were a sheltered environment and for many of these workers it was their only connection with life outside of their own homes.


What people need to remember is that not one single disabled worker within the factories were asked how they would feel about the closures. We should know better than to expect that the thoughts or feelings of any worker could ever be considered by a right wing coalition government whose only aim is to feed the rich and greedy by bending the rules and taxation policies to benefit their kind. Disabled workers had their lives destroyed for what, so the top rate of tax could be cut from 50% to 45% giving the all the Conservatives and their friends another £50,000 a year in their pockets on every million pounds they earn.


Is this everyone sharing the burden of austerity? We have a huge percentage of those members made redundant sat at home depressed and isolated from any forms of social interaction or inclusion. These are not there by choice. Unfortunately in many areas the economic climate is still depressed so there are not the jobs out there for able bodied workers so what chance a worker with severe learning or physical disabilities. We will never forget or forgive this atrocious attack on the most vulnerable members of this union by this government. They used the Sayce Report and RADAR, Mind, Mencap, Scope, RNID and Leonard Cheshire as “Trojan horses” to close the Remploy factories.


Radar characterised Remploy as some out of date solution stigmatising it as a form of ghettoisation. These organisations started with an aspiration we all share where all disabled people are treated in an equal way in employment and that ideal state may lead to a completely different view of what support is required. This is the outcome when disabled charities made “the best” the enemy of the “good”. They started with resolutions that will not be achieved in the short run. They were then pickled into a rigid dogma, a code, and they went through the years sticking to that ignoring real needs, and they end in the grotesque chaos of disabled charities – disabled charities – used as Trojan horses to sack disabled workers in 51 locations across the UK.


The Tories knew what they were doing using these “useful idiots” who were party to this attack on disabled workers. GMB will never forget the role of and RADAR, Mind, Mencap, Scope, RNID and Leonard Cheshire.”


There will be a social for ex Remploy workers at the GMB Sheffield office on Friday, 31st October 2014 starting at 4pm with organiser Bob McNeill the host. For further details please contact Bob on 0114 276 8017.


Former consortium member, convenor at Remploy Sheffield, GMB Regional and Central Executive Member James Stribley said, “A year ago today the last Remploy factory officially shut its doors. That was a sad day for me and thousands of other working people across the country. Since I left school at 16, I’d worked at Remploy Sheffield, starting out as a welder and in recent years representing fellow workers as a GMB trade union convenor. For a lot of us at Remploy, the factories offered secure employment, the dignity of work and a workplace that understood our circumstances.


I stood on the picket lines as factories started to close with people who were terrified about life after Remploy – people who knew that, especially in a time of high unemployment, they just weren’t going to get another job. They were leaving a job they loved for a life of ATOS, ESA (and any manner of other acronyms you might want to name) and being told by this government that they’re scroungers. Some of them were even hit by the Bedroom Tax as the government effectively sacked them. And unfortunately, the fears of many Remploy workers were realised.


When I spoke to the people I used to represent earlier this year, half of them were still out of work and a good chunk chose to retire instead of struggling on. A GMB survey showed that only a quarter of the workers I represented had managed to find a job but of those, quite a few were on part-time, agency and zero hours contracts that offered little security. Personally, as some people will have read in a blog I wrote post Lord Freud’s comments, I’ve gone from doing skilled work to holding down a couple of jobs on zero hours contracts, one of which is to steward football games on a Saturday including at the brilliant New York stadium in Rotherham. But, as a Sheffield United fan, it’s punishment enough to have to steward Leeds United games, but at the same time I know that every game is one week closer to potentially ending up back on the dole.


My story isn’t unique. This is what real life is like for people like me now because whether we like it or not, employers are less likely to employ a disabled worker than someone without a disability.
So for all the government guff about people needing to get a job (and that’s polite language for Labour List, it might be slightly saltier on the shop floor…), what this government did with Remploy was to throw thousands of people who had jobs, who were skilled and who were ready, willing and able to work at the worst onto the scrap heap and at best into a very long dole queue. I’m glad Labour have said they’ll look at supported work schemes again but I hope they’ll work with us too to make work, rights and pay for disabled people fit for the 21st century.

With a little help, and like has been done at places like Enabled Works in Leeds, we can give real hope to people who are feeling the brunt of this government’s cuts agenda at every turn. If Labour stands with us, we’ll stand with you. We’re not looking for a hand-out, we’re looking for a hand up.”

 

Contact; Jerry Nelson on 07958 156846

 

General Secretary On UKIP

“Morning Star” - 29/10/14


Paul Kenny warns that many of Ukip’s supporters would actually be far worse off under its policies


“The long-delayed recovery has a long way to go, with GDP per head still 3 per cent below 2007 and pay 14 per cent down on pre-recession levels. It is hardly surprising that voters angry at this prolonged recession are protesting at the ballot box. Our polling shows that many Ukip voters are white, male, over 40, working in the private sector and many used to vote Labour. Their key concerns are wages, job security and housing.


But Ukip policies would make things worse for them. Ukip would have NHS services run by private companies for profit. Roger Helmer MEP supported views that the NHS was a “60-year mistake.” Nigel Farage claims to be the only politician “keeping the flame of Thatcherism alive.” Ukip would give millionaires a bigger tax cut than the Tories. Its 2010 election manifesto committed to drastically reducing the size of the public sector and getting rid of two million jobs.


Ukip would get rid of workers’ legal rights on weekly working hours, overtime, redundancy, sick pay, pensions and employers’ national insurance obligations. Ukip would scrap the legal right to four weeks’ paid holiday. Ukip would not give apprentices the minimum wage. It would scrap all health and safety legislation except in the most dangerous of workplaces. Ukip wants to limit which employment claims can be brought to tribunal.


Ukip MEPs voted against EU Parliament measures that would help workers facing mass redundancies and better health and safety and conditions for airport baggage handlers and offshore oil and gas workers. Last year, Ukip MEPs in the EU Parliament refused to vote for equal pay for women. Ukip would scrap the right to maternity leave and would cut weekly maternity pay by more than half. Farage has stated that women are “worth less” to their employers after coming back from maternity leave and that EU proposals for better and longer maternity leave constitute “excessive regulation” and are a “ruinous exercise.”


Farage failed to turn up to vote to strengthen the EU Posted Workers Directive to stop exploitation of migrant workers and did nothing to strengthen control measures to prevent the simultaneous undercutting of terms and conditions for domestic workers. His MEPs there abstained. He could have acted. He didn’t. The 2013 Ukip Congress voted to proscribe Hope Not Hate, labelling Britain’s largest anti-racist organisation as “extremist.”


Ukip MEPs have refused to support EU action for greater financial transparency, banking reform and against tax evasion, avoidance and fraud. Farage being a former City commodities trader himself, this probably shouldn’t surprise us. Many Ukip MEPs are climate change deniers and have weakened EU environmental legislation, hindering Europe’s transition to an energy-efficient and low-carbon economy. Ukip has tapped into concerns over more fundamental problems about Europe that we have to face up to. Whatever the European vision was on integration, harmony, economic advancement and political stability, what we currently have isn’t it.


The free movement of labour and the single market were to be balanced by the social charter where all the people of Europe would live in freedom and with those in the poorer economies, benefitting from the harmonisation of standards across all member states. There were to be standards on workers’ protection, Tupe, excessive hours, health and safety, information and consultation and so many others that were meant to keep labour exploitation in check. That dream has been chipped away at for years. Right-wing governments and employers have engineered massive change in the direction of the EU vision.


Judgements in the European Courts like Viking and Laval were the green light to massive assaults on organised labour across Europe, but especially in Britain. From Lindsey oil refinery to food production, we have seen workers recruited in certain member states by agencies and exploited. They were shipped in, literally, in order to undermine the terms and conditions of existing workers on those contracts. Both sets of workers have been let down by Westminster government, the EU Commission and the European Court.


On exploitation, we shouldn’t blame the exploited — we should damn those who exploit. And yet the exact opposite has been occurring up and down the country over recent years. And that is part of the discontent that Ukip turns into xenophobic rhetoric to win votes. Look past the simplistic tag and face the challenge of exploitation. Let’s reach out to those migrant workers, not attack them but organise and protect them.


Too many workers go to work fearful about exercising their basic rights. A new Labour government working with the EU has to create a workplace without fear and equip the trade unions to enforce it. The challenge for Labour in government is to deal with exploitation and harassment of workers who it has ignored for too long. Collective rights are the key to unlock that challenge. Take away our shackles and we will show you what enforcement is all about.


Paul Kenny is general secretary of GMB.

AIM Club at GMB Sheffield

Opening on 17th November 2014, the club will be accessible in the GMB Sheffield office between 10am and 12 noon on Mondays and Tuesdays, and will assist members currently out of work to brush up on their IT skills to enhance job prospects. For further details please contact WTW project worker Tom Henthorne on 07747 280284.

Closure of Monckton Coke Plant With Loss of 120 Jobs

GMB responded to the news that the 130 year old coking plant in Royston near Barnsley faces closure in december 2014 with the loss of 120 jobs.


Consultations on the closure of this plant are due to end on 11th December and the plant is expected to close soon after that says GMB.


Steve Morris, GMB Regional Officer, said “GMB was informed today (27th October) that the company have started consultations on the closure of this plant. The consultation is due to end on 11th December and I expect the plant to close soon after that. The shop stewards have been expecting this news as the plant is linked to a coalfield that no longer exists.
This is a sad day. It marks the final nail in the coffin of the coal industry in Yorkshire.”

DWP’s Bennison “Crocodile Tears” Blacklist protest Leeds

GMB “Crocodile Tears” Protest In Leeds On Wed 22nd October To Shame Valerie Bennison, Hr Manager At DWP, Linked To Blacklisting At Least 22 Workers

Managers like Valerie Bennison shedding crocodile tears now for her part in blacklisting 3,213 workers won’t wash, neither will the Nuremberg Defence of “just following superior orders” says GMB.

GMB held a protest demonstration in Leeds on Wednesday 22 October to shame Valerie Bennison, Human Resources Business Partner for Head Office Directorates and SCS at Child Maintenance Group part of Department for Work and Pensions for her part in blacklisting construction workers.

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

Valerie Bennison, was Human Resources Manager at Whessoe Oil and Gas Ltd from May 2004 till November 2007. She has yet to come clean and apologise for her part in the hurt and damage caused by her former employer Whessoe Oil & Gas who were involved in blacklisting at least 22 workers.

This was the second date in a national “Crocodile Tears” protest tour to shame 63 construction industry managers named as blacklisters who have yet to come clean and apologise for their actions. See notes to editors 1 for the 10 dates in the first leg of a national tour and notes to editors 2 for the list the 63 managers and where they worked.

The protest was held at the DWP offices at Quarry House, Quarry Hill, Leeds.  At the protest was a person in a crocodile suit accompanied by union members with flags and banners and slogans “Nuremberg defence on blacklisting won’t wash” and “Blacklisters come clean”.  Pictures are available.

Valerie Bennison (VB) as Human Resources Manager was a contact for Whessoe Oil and Gas Ltd with the blacklisting body the Consulting Association.

These are some examples known to GMB about Whessoe Oil and Gas Ltd blacklisting activities:

·  GMB has evidence of queries to Valerie Bennison and her colleague from the Industrial Relations Administrator on the Whessoe-Volker Stevin JV Dragon LNG project in Milford Haven in West Wales asking her to do checks on     individuals. Between December 2005 and August 2006, 297 names were checked on this single project.

·  A Glaswegian welder put on the blacklist by Wimpey in 1977 was labelled as a troublemaker. 28 years later he applied for a job with Whessoe Oil and Gas Ltd. VB, despite being told that the file had a lack of detailed information     and stressing the date, did not employ him.

·  The Sales Ledger from The Consulting Associations shows that Whessoe Oil and Gas Ltd spent over £12,500 in the four years between 2005/06 and 2008/09 while Valerie Bennison was Human Resources Manager.

·  In 2006 there is an entry on the files saying 17 scaffolders were put on the blacklist by Ron Barron, Human Resources Manager at CB&I. The entry states ‘would not be considered by 3289 (Whessoe Oil & Gas) and 3290 (CB&I)    following problems at Texaco Refinery Site Milford Haven during w/c 16th October 2006.

On October 16th there was a hearing in the High Court on compensation for 122 GMB members blacklisted by Carillion and other construction employers on claims served in November 2013. GMB’s claims were joined with a further 449 claims by other unions and parties at a High Court Hearing in July 2014. The next hearing is 17th December

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

So far 1,724 out of the 3,213 on the list know they are on blacklist and of these 570 cases are covered by claims in the High Court. That leaves 1,489 still to trace. See notes to editors for details of where those blacklisted come from.

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

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

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

Local Government Consultation Begins

GMB has commenced briefings on the new local government pay proposals which affect NJC Green Book staff in councils, schools, academies and many related employments.  Please try to attend any briefings arranged at your workplace and if you haven’t heard about one or want to request one, contact your GMB rep or local GMB office.  Membership democracy is paramount so the vote on the proposals will start at the end of this month and will be a postal ballot of GMB members.  It is important that everyone has a say on their pay so please use the opportunity and if you know of any non members please bring this to their attention too so they can join online and get the chance to vote.

The proposals cover a two year period from 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2016 and are worth 2.32% on average (although much higher for the lower paid) and for most people comprise a cash lump sum payable in December plus a percentage pay rise in January.  The details are attached including a table showing how the proposals take effect at different salary levels.  Much more detail will be explained at our briefings.

For members who are not covered by the NJC, for example craft red book staff or chief officers, discussions are still ongoing and I will issue further information when it is available.

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

benny148's Britain Needs A Pay Rise album on Photobucket

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

It’s rubbish. And offensive rubbish at that.

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

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

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

James Stribley, Equality Campaigner and Trade Unionist

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

unionstogether

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GMB To Ballot Civilian Staff In Police Services

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


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


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

Britain Needs A Pay Rise

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

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

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

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

Download full article.

Britain Needs A Pay Rise.pdf

Pay Care Staff The Living Wage Says GMB

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


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


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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

New Local Government And Schools Pay Proposals

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

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

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

• Removal of SCP5 with effect from 1 October 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please support the NHS Strike Monday, 13th October 2014

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

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

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

For further details contact Joan Keane on 0845 337 7777

 

 

Local Government Strike On 14th October 2014 Suspended

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Relief For Striking Power Plant Workers As Toilet Issues Resolved

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


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

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


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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brian Strutton

Brian Strutton
National Secretary - Public Services

Derbyshire Employer Prosecuted After Worker Severs Thumb

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


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


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


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

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

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

BRADFORD 23rd November 2014
SHEFFIELD 4th December 2014

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

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

Unions Make Work A Fair Bit Safer

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

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

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

TUC news release and guide, The union advantage.

ICO In Contempt Of Court On Blacklisting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Region Welcomes The People’s March

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

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

benny148's Peoples March For The NHS album on Photobucket


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

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

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

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

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

Hotpoint Offer

Scheme ID: GMBY/207

Visit: Hotpoint

Hotpoint Kitchen Appliances Offer

Great offer from Hotpoint

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

 

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

FREE delivery and FREE removal of your old appliance

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

Spring Offer

From 16th March until 1st May 2015, GMB members can attract an additional 6% discount on their respective purchases!

Simply enter the code “SPRING6” at checkout.

Retired Life Membership

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

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

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

GMB Members Vote To Retain Political Fund

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

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

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


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

Question : Do you vote in favour of the resolution?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Local Govenment Unions Agree Joint Escalation Of Our Campaign For Fairness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For further details contact Rachel Dix on 0845 337 7777.

Tories Promise To Interfere With Union Democracy

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

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

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

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

Workers In The Heat

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

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

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

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

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

University of Sheffield Will Pay The Living Wage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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