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Sunday 2nd June 2013
A Think Tank For Working People: Class Yorkshire Launch - Thu 13 June 2013, 6:30pm
A think tank for working people: Class Yorkshire Launch - Thu 13 June 2013, 6:30pm
The Unite offices, 55 Call Lane, Leeds LS1 7BW
With the Coalition Government and their programme of austerity and tax cuts for millionnaires, it is time that someone ensured that the political agenda was on the side of working people and that policy development branched outside of the Westminster bubble.
That’s why Class, a new, high-profile think-tank co-founded by the GMB, Unite the Union and the Institute of Employment Rights, and backed by a growing number of trade unions, is holding its first regional launch on 13th June 2013.
Class aims to promote policies to influence decision-makers on a wide-range of areas, such as inequality, welfare, housing, the NHS and employment, as well as pushing an economic agenda to counter the Coalition Government’s programme of welfare cuts and its injustices.
Come along to our regional launch to find out more about what we do and join in the discussion.
- Professor Danny Dorling - University of Sheffield
- Veronica King - Class and Unite activist
- Karen Reay - North East and Yorkshire and Humberside Regional Secretary of Unite the Union
- Tim Roache - Yorkshire and North Derbyshire Regional Secretary of the GMB, elected Chair of Yorkshire and the Humber Regional TUC and elected President of Class
- Jon Trickett MP - Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office
Remploy - More Job Losses
Remploy Announce Possible Sale Of 3 Factories & Closure Of Huddersfield With No Plans Yet For The Other 15.
Remploy management has made an announcement that they have a preferred bidder for Blackburn, Neath Port Talbot, Sheffield but Huddersfield will close on 8th August.
GMB, the union for staff at Remploy, responded to a new statement by Remploy on the possible sale of furniture and CCTV business and the implications for Remploy factories in Blackburn, Neath Port Talbot, Sheffield and Huddersfield. See statement in notes to editors below.
Jerry Nelson GMB National Officer for Remploy said “Remploy factories at Blackburn, Neath Port Talbot and Sheffield are subject to an expression of interest from an undisclosed source for the furniture business that these three factories undertake.
In the current and final phase of this Governments plans for the destruction of Remploy, the remaining 15 factories have not yet had formal announcements of expressions of interest, although the joint unions have been told there are some such.
The Huddersfield factory has had no expression of interest. Remploy now set a closure date of 8th August 2013. Many of our 31 members in Huddersfield are going to struggle in the main. Many will spend a life on benefits after working all their lives and with dignity.
The whole process of the expressions of interest up to best and final offers being submitted is shrouded in secrecy at the insistence of the DWP legal advisors and there consultants, KPMG.
The process is a sham that leaves all Remploy workers worried and upset, being kept in the dark about their future till the very last minute. This is typical of this government led by the upper class spoilt brats that they are. They are destroying people’s lives with the stroke of a pen with absolutely no consideration for the damage they inflict upon people’s lives”
School Support Staff - Administering Medicines
GMB Congress 2013: Why is Class such an important GMB investment?
Britain faces a ‘death spiral of self-defeating austerity’, according to Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman.
That’s why Class, a new high-profile think-tank co-founded by the GMB, Unite the Union and the Institute of Employment Rights, and backed by a growing number of trade unions, is developing policies on a wide-range of areas, such as inequality, welfare, housing and employment, as well as pushing an economic agenda to counter the Coalition Government’s austerity programme and its injustices.
With Class, the GMB is pushing the political agenda back on the side of working people and policymakers are finally starting to take note of the strong evidence behind the issues that matter to us. Delegates at the fringe meeting will hear the challenging ideas we’re going to push in the months ahead and our plans to transform the debate.
Owen Jones - Independent columnist and Policy and Media Advisor to Class
Dave Noble - Yorkshire and North Derbyshire GMB Regional President
Tim Roache - Yorkshire and North Derbyshire GMB Regional Secretary, the elected Chair of the Yorkshire and the Humber Regional TUC and elected President of Class
Hilary Wainwright - Co-editor of Red Pepper magazine and a member of Class’s National Advisory Panel
Sign our Petition to Save Care Homes and Day Centres in Leeds
GMB, the union for public sector workers, is calling on the public of Leeds to respond to the proposal by Leeds City Council (during the 12 week consultation which has now begun) to close 6 of the council’s remaining care homes and 4 council run day centres. GMB will seek on behalf of its members to keep every council run home and day centre open and properly funded. The staff within them are dedicated and have many years’ experience which will be lost at the stroke of a pen, whilst the residents and service users will be sent packing off to the private sector.
3 homes which closed last year as well as others from previous years remain empty with no known plans to be used for anything else, this is money being sat on that could be reinvested into the homes and day centres. The closures are estimated to save £5 million but year on year cost saving is only £800k. Many of the residents in Leeds will be affected by these cuts and should be aware of the detrimental impact it will have in the future. We should be investing in public services and not selling them off to the highest bidder whose priority is making money. The people of Leeds have got a very simple choice - care or profit?
31 jobs go as Remploy look to close Huddersfield factory
Asbestos Heater Danger In Schools
GMB Warn Parents And Teachers Of Asbestos In Heaters In Schools. Everyone with children at school and those who work in our schools must get their heaters checked by an authorised, qualified asbestos surveyor. GMB is calling on Head Teachers and School Governors to whether their school contain warm air heaters that contain asbestos.
GMB believes that closure of Cwmcarn school in Wales last year after reports of asbestos in the convection heaters and ceiling voids is the tip of the iceberg and indicative of the problem common in schools. The local authority and the school governors of Cwncarn school are to spend around £750,000 on remedial action to make the school asbestos free and re-open it in September 2013 including the heaters containing asbestos.
John McClean, GMB National Heal & Safety Officer said, “GMB is warning everyone with children at school and those who work in our schools to get their heaters checked by an authorised, qualified asbestos surveyor. The information regarding the heaters should be in the school’s own Asbestos Management Plan. If there is no reference to these heaters in the plan then the school governors must get all the heaters examined by a qualified asbestos surveyor. Each local council usually has approved local contractors for this work. If the school doesn’t have an Asbestos Management Plan then the Head Teacher, Chair of Governors or the Local Authority must get busy and put on one in place as a matter of urgency.”
GMB Hold Public Meeting on 1st May Over Proposed Closure of Leeds Care Homes and Day Centres
GMB will seek on behalf of its members to keep all the council run home and day centres open and properly funded.
GMB, the union for public sector workers, is holding a open meeting for GMB members and the public on Leeds City Council’s 12 week consultation on the proposed closure of 6 of the council’s remaining care homes and 4 council-run day centres.
The meeting is to help the public to respond to the proposal by Leeds City Council, during the 12 week consultation on the proposal to close the homes. See notes to editors for details of the care homes and day centres and for what the council proposes for them.
The open meeting will take place on:-
WEDNESDAY 1ST MAY at
GMB will host a ‘Question Time’ session as part of the meeting. Leeds City Council officials and councillors have been invited to take part.
Jon Smith, GMB Regional Officer, said “GMB is organising this open meeting to get feedback from the public on the proposals to close these care homes. The whole of Leeds will be affected in some way by these cuts but it is not clear to what extent Leeds residents are aware of the proposal and the impact they will have.
GMB members believe that at least 70% of the care home residents would have to be rehoused in like for like homes in the private sector if the closures take place. GMB believe that it’s the residents that matter most her and the emphasise should be on them and their homes and not on evicting them for the sake of profit driven businesses.
Leeds City Council began the 12 week consultation on 11th March on closing care homes. Consultations are also underway on 4 council-run day centres.
GMB is seeking on behalf of its members to keep all the council run home and day centres open and properly funded. These are dedicated staff and have many years of experience. This will be lost at the stroke of a pen, whilst the residents and service users will be sent packing off to the private sector.
The 3 homes they closed last year as well as others from previous years remain empty with no known plans to be used for anything else, this is money being sat on that could be reinvested into the homes and day centres.
The closures are estimated to save £5 million but the year on year cost saving is only £800,000.
We should be investing in public services and not selling them off to the highest bidder with a priority to make money. The people of Leeds have got a very simple choice “care or profit”. GMB want them to tell the council where they stand during the consultation period.”
Notes to Editors:
Leeds City Council: proposed options for residential homes
Executive Board decided on 15 December 2012 hat consultation takes place on the following proposals
· Amberton Court in Gipton
· Burley Willows in Hyde Park
· Fairview in Seacroft
· Manorfield House in Horsforth
· Primrose Hill in Boston Spa
· Musgrave Court in Pudsey
Close the home and transfer residents to other services of their choice already available in the area.
This means that we will consult on the possibility of ceasing to offer local authority residential accommodation in the future at these homes
Home Lea House in Rothwell
Explore opportunities for developing a business case to transfer the ownership and continued operation of the home to a community interest company.
Commissioners in Adult Social Care are talking to existing social enterprise organisations that have shown an interest in the running of Home Lea House.
Suffolk Court in Yeadon
Consult on developing a specialist short stay integrated intermediate care unit with access to 24 hour nursing (as is being developed at the former Harry Booth House in Beeston).
This means that in future it would provide short-term support for people who need intermediate care, rather than residential care.
Proposed options for day centres
Executive Board decided on 15 December that consultation takes place on the following proposals
Burley Willows in Hyde Park
and Queenswood Drive in Kirkstall
That consultation is undertaken on the option to close these day centres when new developments arise in the locality e.g. Holt Park Active opens in Oct 2013 and will provide a much wider range of services for older people.
Naburn Court in Whinmoor
That consultation is undertaken on the option to close these day centres. This means that they will cease to offer local authority day care services in the future.
Doreen Hamilton in Osmondthorpe
That consultation is undertaken on the option to develop the role of the Doreen Hamilton building so that it can play a wider role in the life of its local community or its use as an Early Years Centre can be considered. Part of this proposal would include helping people who currently use the older people’s day centre find alternative daytime support within the local area.
Region Says Farewell to President
Dave Noble today stood down as the regional president for the Yorkshire and North Derbyshire region, a position that he has held for the last 4 years.
Dave announced his decision at the Regional Council meeting held in the newly refurbished conference suite at Grove Hall. Tributes poured in for Dave from those delegates who were in attendance and Tim Roache, regional secretary, spoke of the tremendous support given by the outgoing president.
After a contested vote, Andy Irving, convenor at the giant BASF chemical plant in Bradford, was elected as the new regional president for the next 4 years. Andy said: “He was looking forward to building on the good foundation and continuing to grow the region, even in these times of austerity.”
Lesley Day and John Gibson were elected onto the Commercial Services section of the Regional Executive Committee, Paul Harvey and Rob Whitehead onto Manufacturing and Stacey Booth and Garry Warwick onto Public Services.
GMB Consults Members On Pay Offer
GMB To Consult Members In Local Government In England, Wales And Northern Ireland Over New Pay Offer For 2013. There is likely to be relief that we have broken the 3 year pay freeze but disappointment that there is only 1% on the table so we will see whether that’s enough to satisfy our members says GMB. GMB, the union for staff in local government, responded to the pay offer put forward by the employers covering 1.5m staff in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary for Public Services, said “GMB will consider this pay offer and then we will consult our members to ask whether they wish to accept it or not. My initial reaction is that there is likely to be relief that we have broken the 3 year pay freeze but disappointment that there is only 1% on the table (See Note 2 below). We’ll see whether that’s enough to satisfy our members.”
Young Members Survey - NMW
GMB is the union campaigning nationally for a living wage for all workers of £7.45
However, a large portion of our young members are struggling to get paid the same rate of pay as their colleagues due to the different levels within the National Minimum Wage. The highest rate of the NMW is currently £6.19 per hour but this is only payable to workers aged 21 and over. We have always argued that work of equal value should attract the same rate of pay, irrelevant of age.
What has now made this situation even worse is the government’s announcement that the youth rates of the NMW will only increase this October by up to 5 pence per hour:
- 16-17 yr olds - 4 pence per hour increase – new hourly rate £3.72
- 18-20 yr olds - 5 pence per hour increase - new hourly rate £5.03
- Apprentices – 3 pence per hour increase – new hourly rate £2.68
The GMB Yorkshire and North Derbyshire Region young members’ section are launching a campaign requesting that employers equalise pay. We will be asking them to pay the same rate of pay to all employees doing the same work, irrelevant of how old they are. In order for us to launch this campaign, we first of all need to know which employers in the Yorkshire region are paying the youth rate of the National Minimum Wage.
Please complete the survey below and return to me via post or email. We will then be able to see whether there is a potential campaign in your workplace.
Please contact me if you have any questions.
Rachel Harrison Young Members Officer
Barnsley Premier Leisure
GMB BPL Corporate Membership Package
This offer is valid for all GMB members in the Yorkshire & North Derbyshire region. It includes:
- Unlimited use of 8 fitness suites
- Unlimited use of all fitness classes
- Unlimited use of the Metrodome waterpark
- Unlimited use of 3 other swimming pools*
- Unlimited use of the athletics track
- Off peak badminton & squash at the Metrodome
- Half price adult swimming lessons
- FREE personalised Induction & Progression Reassessment
- (Inductions are compulsory for new members using the gym)
*Dependant on session times
£22.50 per month payable by direct debit and NO joining fee.
Dearneside Leisure Centre, Doncaster Fitness Flex, Dorothy Hyman Sports Centre, Hoyland Leisure Centre, Metrodome Leisure Complex, Royston Leisure Centre, Wakefield City Academy & Pontefract Fitness Flex.
To receive the offer please show your GMB membership card in your chosen gym. For more information please contact your local BPL/Fitness Flex gym or contact Jessica Carrington at the GMB regional office on 0845 337 7777. For further information on BPL please visit their website.
Fall Cuts Short GMB Member’s Career
A civilian police worker had to retire early after injuring his back when he fell down a flight of stairs. The 61-year-old GMB member badly injured his back in the fall at West Yorkshire Police headquarters in Wakefield in November 2008. The maintenance officer, whose name has not been released, was walking down the concrete stairs to the basement when he slipped and fell a full flight, hitting his head against the wall. The stairs had no handrail. He strained his back, bringing on degenerative changes by two years and forcing him to take eight months off work. Although he returned on light duties, the continued pain prevented him from lifting and he eventually had to give up work. West Yorkshire Police denied liability.
The case was heard at Leeds County Court where the judge ruled the incident had been caused by the absence of a hand rail. He added that the GMB member’s retirement was brought forward by six months as a result of his injuries. He was awarded £17,000 in compensation.
Tim Roache from the GMB commented: ‘A simple risk assessment would have established that these steps should not have been in use without a handrail. The installation of a handrail - something employers must do by law - would have given this member something to steady himself and prevented the fall.’ Stephen Woolford from Thompsons Solicitors, the law firm brought in by GMB to act in the case, said: ‘This accident proves that the regulations the government loves to attack are not just red tape but are a practical common sense approach to avoiding accidents in the workplace. Implementing them would have been a lot cheaper for the West Yorkshire Police than paying compensation to an injured worker.’
Exposing The Myths of Welfare
We are facing government policies of such inhumanity that if they are allowed to be carried through, we will look back in years to come with deep horror and shame. From the attacks on disability benefits to the bedroom tax, these measures return us to the kind of society where poverty was blamed on the poor and gross inequality was accepted as an economic inevitability.
This booklet below is the start of a series of myth busters from Class and Red Pepper.
Invitation to joint GMB & Unite Young Members Gig!!
Join us for a free GMB Young Member social on Thursday 18 April at Henry Boons Function Room, 130 Westgate, Wakefield WF2 9SW, 7pm start. Anyone who is 27 and under is invited to attend. Under 18’s are also welcome at the venue. We encourage you to bring a friend. There will be live music from band ‘The Cheats’ who will also be partnered by DJ Wags. There will also be food provided and free drinks per person.
This is your chance to come along and meet fellow young members of the GMB Yorkshire Region. Don’t worry if you don’t know anyone, you can bring a friend. You will also have the opportunity to meet new people at the event. You are the future of the trade union movement. The event has been organised in conjunction with other unions in the area and also West Yorkshire Young Labour.
I hope to see you there.
GMB Seek Meeting On Beer Tie
After his role in the abolition of the beer duty escalator can he support principle in consultation process to give tied tenants an opportunity to tackle the issue of the tied business model and how it is operated asks GMB.
GMB, the union for tied pub tenants, in an open letter to Andrew Griffiths Tory MP for Burton, is asking for a meeting to discuss his stance on the consultation now under way on the principle of the tied tenant being no worse off than the free of tie tenant.
Dave Mountford, GMB Matlock branch secretary, says in the letter “May I take this opportunity to thank you for your unwavering support for the abolishment of the beer duty escalator. The Government’s decision was welcoming for our industry and the 1p reduction was also a step in the right direction. It is good to know that the combined might of so many organisations can have an impact on issues such as this and having been part of the efforts to reform the tie, I speak from experience.
Following this success I would now like to ask you if you can throw your support behind the consultation process that will hopefully give us an opportunity to tackle the issue of the tied business model and how it is operated. As the chair of the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group I believe you are in a perfect position to tackle this issue and in many respects the principle of the tied tenant being no worse off than the free of tie tenant, I’m sure you would agree, is one that will have a greater effect to many than the beer duty escalator.”
Contact Dave Mountford 07794 021 212 or 01629 258 083
Osborne’s Economic Policy Is Insane
Osborne sticking to plan A after 3 years fits Einstein’s definition of insanity which is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results says GMB who commented on the ConDem coalition government budget delivered today (20th March 2013).
Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary, said “The Tory/Liberal government has not pulled off “mission impossible” which is to deflate the economy to growth and a balanced budget. Osborne sticking to plan A after 3 years fits Einstein’s definition of insanity which is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. The US, which did not embrace such folly, has recovered. The recovery underway in the UK was derailed by this reckless stupidity. At the local elections in May the electorate must punish the two coalition parties for this lunacy.”
Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary for Public Services, added “There is no justification and nothing fair about further public sector pay restraint. It is bad enough capping the annual pay rise but now attacking pay progression is outrageous. In the private sector people tend to have a rate for the job but in the public sector people start lower and reach the full rate after, typically, five years’ service. The other effect is that those who would suffer most from a freeze in increments will be low paid women who tend to have shorter service and not to have reached the full rate for the job. Freezing progression seems on the face of it to discriminate against women.”
Gary Smith GMB National Secretary for Energy and Utilities added “The Government plan for two major carbon capture and storage projects is a rehash as they scrapped the last one. Also Osborne originally announced months ago a new tax regime to promote investment in shale gas.”
Yorkshire & Humber TUC Join Forces To Fight The Cuts
Conference delegates heard that Sheffield Council had voted to introduce the living wage for all its staff, but private contractor Carillion, which has taken over council jobs, is refusing to pay it - resulting in a strike by school cleaners employed by Carillion.
Public-sector unions Unison and GMB proposed and seconded a motion calling for a living wage for all of £7.45 an hour. The call was backed unanimously.
GMB won solid support for its call to restore democracy within the Labour Party and for local members to have the right to choose election candidates - rather than the party hierarchy.
The conference threw its weight behind the Unite union’s call for the People’s Charter to campaign for a fair economy, a fairer Britain, more and better homes, social justice and a secure and sustainable Britain.
People’s Charter activist Kevin Donnelly laid out a six-point action plan, urging unions in the region to affiliate to the charter and invite representatives to speak at meetings.
National Union of Teachers and University and College Union delegates highlighted the dire effects the cuts were having on children and students. They condemned the privatisation of education and the dramatic rise in tuition fees, which has left many young people unable to afford to carry on with higher education. And Unison highlighted the vicious media attacks on the NHS and its staff in Tory-inspired attempts to convince the public of a “public-bad, private-good” attitude to win backing for the government’s privatisation programme.
Conference resolved that Yorkshire and the Humber TUC would work with affiliated unions to promote the value of a publicly funded NHS, oppose fragmentation and privatisation and support public involvement in commissioning of services.
This Report appeared in the Morning Star on Monday,18th March,2013 by Peter Lazenby.
Tory Party Fossil
David Cameron says GMB is a dinosaur but GMB has more members than the tory party and is growing while the tory party is shrinking says GMB who responded to the reference by Mr Cameron to the union at Prime Ministers Questions in the House of Commons on 13th March 2013. See below for summary of exchange.
Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary said “According to David Cameron GMB is a dinosaur. GMB has more members than the Tory Party and is growing while the Tory Party is shrinking. If GMB is a dinosaur then the Tory Party is a fossil; dead and buried.”
Notes: Prime Minister question time Wed 13th March
Ed Miliband criticised the Prime Minister for making it up as he went along and said the country was paying the price.
Cameron said Miliband did not have a single positive suggestion about getting on top of the deficit.
He drew attention to a copy of Miliband’s diary which Cameron said had a list of the dinners that he had held to raise money from trade unions including the GMB, Usdaw, Aslef, TSSA and Ucatt, Mr Cameron said: “Dinosaur after dinosaur, dinner after dinner. They pay the money, they get the policies, but the country will end up paying the price.”
Carillion GMB School Support Staff Strike
24 GMB members employed by Carillion as support staff in several schools in Sheffield will take strike action on Friday 15th March 2013 over the refusal of the contractor to apply the living wage of £7.45 per hour paid to direct council employees. Some of these staff were out-sourced years ago but most were outsourced to Carillion only 2 years ago.
Sheffield City Council recently agreed to become a living wage employer. The council will pay the lowest paid direct employees a living wage of £7:45 per hour in April 2013. Sheffield City Council political leadership made clear in a recent full council meeting ‘we will do all we can to make sure partners pay the living wage even if we have to name and shame them.’ However Carillion is refusing to pay £7.45 per hour to staff doing work for the council. Carillion also refused to pay a lump sum of £250 when the workers were first out-sourced.
GMB will also launch a petition at 3pm on Friday 15th March 2013 outside the Town Hall that all out-sourced public sector workers in Sheffield are paid a living wage. The Carillion school cleaners on strike will be there for the launch.
The dispute between GMB and Carillion in Sheffield is the third dispute between the union and the company underway across the country.
In Swindon 200 GMB members are still in dispute with Carillion at Great Western PFI hospital over allegations of bribery, shakedowns, racism, bullying and intimidation after 21 days of strike action. There are fifty seven cases filed against Carillion in the employment tribunal arising from this dispute.
GMB’s dispute with Carillion over blacklisting will be subject to litigation in the High Court. Carillion also face a case in the Employment Appeals Tribunal for blacklisting Dave Smith. Carillion’s involvement with blacklisting came to light when in 2009 the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) seized a database of 3,213 construction workers used by 44 companies to vet new recruits and keep out of employment trade union and health and safety activists. ICO confirmed that Dave Smith was one of 224 construction workers from around the UK were victims of blacklisting by Carillion. Of these one was from Sheffield and 9 from Yorkshire. See notes to editors for recent GMB press release on Carillion blacklisting.
Peter Davies, GMB Regional Officer, said “Most of the city’s lowest paid workers in schools and other public services have been out-sourced to contractors over successive administrations. Where this has happened these Sheffield City Council contractors are refusing to honour the rise to £7.45 per hour for the city’s lowest paid employees. We have a ridiculous situation at Firth Park Community College and other schools where workers work directly for the council in the kitchens for half of their job and then for Carillion later as cleaners, Carillion pay these workers over £1.00 an hour less.
Council contractors were all quick to follow the City pay freeze but when there is something on the table for the lowest paid they suddenly run for the shadows. The only way these workers will get the living wage is to fight for it through a sustained industrial action campaign like the Carillion workers are doing. As part of the campaign we plan to link up with GMB members in dispute with Carillion in Swindon and with the 201 blacklisted workers in Yorkshire.
GMB will use the petition we are launching on Friday to force a debate in the Council over the coming weeks and months to see if we can bring the Councils ‘so called’ partners in line with the living wage.”
Contact Peter Davies GMB Organiser on 07501 228313
General Secretary Paul Kenny To Stay
8 March 2013
I thought it would be appropriate to update you on the announcement I made at the December meeting of the CEC and the note I sent to all colleagues on December 4 2012.
The first thing to say is that my intention was not to cause concern, but to give as much notice as possible of my potential retirement date. I have to admit I have been humbled and stunned by the vast number of letters, cards, emails, personal calls and visits all asking me to reconsider the request made to the CEC.
In particular the very generous messages of support from lay members, many of whom I have never met, were amongst the highlights of my union life. I never wished to outstay my effectiveness as General Secretary. I have seen in the past how many seek the post without understanding their own limitations.
The other main reason for seeking to retire a little earlier was to take on responsibility for certain family matters which I had mistakenly thought would wait until the end of this year. Sadly that responsibility which both Pat and I were happy to discharge, now no longer exists.
I always promised myself that if the day ever came when I didn’t get angry at the injustice I saw in our society, that I didn’t wake up each morning with that trade union principle fighting for social justice, at the forefront of everything I did, then I would know the day had come to walk away. Well I am angrier now than I was twenty years ago. This Government is the enemy of all working class people. Rich kids playing with our national health service, education provision and rights at work.
This Government, that cuts winter fuel payments for the over 80’s then gives tax cuts to millionaires. This Government, that blocks banking reforms in Europe and a Robin Hood tax but now promises to smash the Human Rights Act. A bunch of well-heeled plums that spend much of their time dressed as penguins. Anyway you get the drift, I don’t like what they are doing to our members, pensioners, public services and so much more.
The upshot of all this is to confirm to anyone who hasn’t heard via the bush telegraph, that I have agreed with CEC to stay until my term of office expires. I just hope everyone is up for the next couple of years in the same way I am because the challenges are huge. The threats against working people, our members, are real and serious.
It will require everyone to fulfil their full commitment to the Union and to the members. It will require everyone to evaluate their contribution to the Union’s objectives. The overwhelming majority of those reading this will understand when I say, thank you for all you do, you are brilliant.
GMB NORTH DERBYSHIRE
Tax Avoidance Demo Day - Doncaster Sat 2nd March 2013
The GMB is at the fore in the campaign against TAX AVOIDANCE by companies such as AMAZON. As part of this campaign we are meeting on Saturday 2nd March 2013 to leaflet and ask the public to sign a petition supporting this campaign and also linking it with our support for the Labour Party candidate Ros Jones in the Doncaster Mayor election.
Ros is supporting our position that TAX AVOIDANCE is morally wrong and companies such as AMAZON should pay their fair share the same as we do. The current Mayor Peter Davies who is standing for re-election has called GMB irresponsible for raising this issue in Doncaster.
If anyone is available to help we are meeting as follows:
SATURDAY 2ND MARCH 2013 - Clock Corner outside the Frenchgate Centre in Doncaster.
10.00am until 1.00pm.
Your support would be greatly appreciated.
Sheffield Lobby of The Council Budget Setting Meeting Fri 1st March 2013
The Joint Trade Unions and Community Campaigners invite you to join us at a Lobby of the Council Budget Setting Meeting on Friday 1st March 1pm-2pm, outside Sheffield Town Hall. Guest Speakers have been invited. The lobby has been organised in an attempt to get Sheffield City Council to drop their plans to change staff terms and conditions, decimate Early Years services, close Children’s Centres, Libraries and Sports Centres across the city. These closures will have a devastating effect on the people of Sheffield and will result in significant job losses.
UNISON, GMB and UNITE, the Joint Trade Unions, are also holding an all members meeting for Council employees on:
Tuesday 5th March - 5pm
at the Library Theatre
(Rear of Central Library)
Jointly we are opposing the Council’s proposed cuts and changes to terms and conditions, therefore it is vital that members make every effort to attend this.
It is now becoming increasingly clear that the cuts that we face in Sheffield in the next 2 years will threaten the very fabric of our City. Our Childrens Schools are being encouraged to become independent businesses. Libraries, Leisure centres, Childrens centres and museums are all set to disappear at a rate of knots and the rest of our public services along with Care is up for sale. It’s also increasingly obvious that the main stream political parties are offering little alternative to austerity or resistance to these divisive attacks.
This meeting has been called to enable our activists and members to come together to hear from speakers from across the public sector union movement in Sheffield and to share their views as to what we can do to fight back.
Join the GMB online at http://www.gmb.org.uk/join or phone us on 0845 337 7777
Pay Offer For Council Workers
Over the next few weeks we will start the process of consulting our members to find out if they want to accept one of the two options or reject them both says GMB. At the 21st February 2013 meeting of the Executive of the NJC for Local Government the national employer representatives put forward two options to increase pay.
After a 3-year pay freeze the employers offered –
· 1.0% on all pay points from 1 April 2013
· NJC mileage rates replaced by HMRC Approved Mileage Rates (http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/rates/travel.htm) for those councils currently applying NJC rates, from a date to be agreed (Green Book Part 2 Para 12 and Part 3 Para 6 refers)
· Unilateral arbitration clause replaced by bilateral reference, from date to be agreed (Green Book Constitution Para17 refers)
· An increase in the minimum paid annual leave entitlement from 21 days to 22 days, from a date to be agreed (Green Book Part 2 Para 7.2 refers)
· Increase in continuous service entitlement for the purposes of calculation of entitlements to annual leave, occupational maternity leave / pay and occupational sick pay from return to service within five years to within ten years of the original transfer, from a date to be agreed (Green Book Part 2 Para 14.2 and 14.3 refers)
· Joint statement providing a list of the issues on which both Sides agree to commence immediate serious discussions.
(NB: all dates for implementation of changes to be agreed as part of final deal)
· 1.0% on pay points 4 to 10 from 1 April 2013
· 0.6% on pay points 11 and above from 1 April 2013
Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary for Public Services, said “GMB has been arguing very strongly that the 3 year pay freeze in local government must end and at least we have achieved that. However the 2 alternative offers the employers have made are of low value and I am not sure that either of them are sufficient to be acceptable to our members. So over the next few weeks we will start the process of consulting our members to find out if they want to accept one of these options or reject them both”.
Dewsbury MP Who Earns More As A Barrister Than As An MP
Dewsbury barrister-cum-MP Simon Reevell accepted an invitation to spend a weekend shooting on a stately home to the value of over £850. The Tory MP somehow still managed to find the time in his diary for the soiree with a group of other Conservative MPs despite mixing his parliamentary duties with a full-blown career at the Bar.
Reevell declared his blood-sport weekend away as a donation in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests. The total cost of the weekend for the six Tories came to over £5,000 and was paid by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation. Aside from this being another embarrassing indication that the Tories are a far cry from the modernised party they seek to portray themselves as, the degree to which his accepting such hospitality demonstrates contempt for his role as Dewsbury’s voice in parliament is compounded by a closer look at the Register.
It shows that Mr Reevell earned more as a barrister last year than he did in his supposed day-job as an MP. The Register of Members’ Financial Interests shows that during 2012 Mr Reevell earned £87,439.42 for work as a barrister. He declared no fewer than 96 separate payments during the calendar year, many of which were for multiple day’s work.
These figures show Mr Reevell spent a very significant proportion of his time while parliament was sitting choosing not to represent the people of Dewsbury, as he was elected to do, but to represent individuals or companies in court instead, often at rates of approaching £100 per hour. He has failed to vote in over a third of all votes cast in the House of Commons since he became an MP.
Moreover, much of the work he took on was for the Crown Prosecution Service, so he was in effect being paid twice simultaneously by the taxpayer – both for MP work he was supposed to be doing, and for the legal work he was doing instead.
Dewsbury Labour Councillor Karen Rowling said: “Simon Reevell is a part-time MP who is neglecting his constituents to pursue his own legal career. When he’s not in court he’s off on shooting trips with his Tory chums. People in Dewsbury being hit hard by a stagnant economy, high unemployment and damaging cuts to their public services expect and deserve better. It beggars belief that he thinks he has time to be swanning off to stately homes accepting hundreds of pounds worth of hospitality for a blood sport.
“Mr Reevell is utterly out of touch with Dewsbury. We’re fed up with his attitude to repre senting us. He should make a choice – be an MP or be a barrister, not both. I’ve nothing against MPs taking on occasional commitments over and above their constituency MP duties, I can see that doing so can be healthy for keeping our parliament populated with individuals in touch with the country they represent. But by any reasonable person’s judgement Mr Reevell is overwhelmingly overstepping that mark to the extent that he appears to treat being an MP as a secondary rather than primary job.
“Maybe he doesn’t think he can get by on an MP’s salary of nearly £66,000, even with his free shooting excursions thrown in for good measure. Well, at the next election voters in Dewsbury will have their chance to pass their verdict and send him down by voting for a full-time Labour MP instead.”
Source: Yorkshire & Humber Labour Party Members’ Briefing
Sheffield CCTV In Cabs Dispute
GMB, the union for private hire cab drivers, has launched a campaign to fight against Sheffield City Council’s decision to move from a voluntary policy covering CCTV in private hire and black cabs to a mandatory policy. This decision was made on February 5th 2013.
As part of the campaign GMB plan the following steps:
· Written to the Chief Licensing Officer and Head of Licensing, Stephen Lonnie, and put our case forward in defence of a voluntary model for CCTV in cars. We await a response but we have requested that an urgent meeting is now scheduled to consider our case appealing the decision to move to a mandatory policy.
· If we cannot revisit this decision with the Council we will consider a legal challenge once we have received advice from our solicitors.
· In any event we are also considering organising a large protest by both private hire and black cab drivers in Sheffield to show our dissatisfaction with this decision.
Peter Davies, GMB Regional officer said “We cannot accept that anyone will benefit from a policy that forces drivers to comply. The likelihood is that we’ll end up with a minimum set of standards at a maximum cost to drivers. Surely the best way to improve driver and customer safety standards is to develop good practice through a workable policy that all interested parties agree with and have contributed to.
GMB encourage the use of CCTV but the Council are forcing a mandatory policy through that will result in a £500 system without any consultation with the drivers. This Council seems to be approaching this with a ‘we know best and you’ll do as you are told’ attitude. Well maybe they don’t and maybe we won’t.”
End Support For Pay Freezes
GMB last month launched a campaign to win a living wage of £7.45ph (£8.55ph in London) for 280,000 low paid workers in councils across England and Wales.
GMB, the union for public services, commented on the announcement today that Labour will go into next election promising to introduce a 10p tax rate and will seek to reverse falls in living standards. This co-incides with a GMB round-up which shows that the number of councils in England and Wales now paying or committed to pay a living wage has risen to 37. All 32 councils in Scotland now pay or are committed to pay a living wage.
Recent additions are Barking and Dagenham (£9 per hour minimum), Deal, Greenwich and Harrow. This is in addition to Ashfield, Blackpool, Birmingham, Brent, Brighton & Hove, Calderdale, Camden, Cardiff, Carlisle, Chorley, Croydon, Dartford, Derby City, Ealing, Enfield, Gloucester City, Hackney, Hounslow, Hyndburn, Islington, Lambeth, Lewisham, Newark & Sherwood, Newcastle, Norwich, Oxford City, Preston, Sheffield, Southwark, Swansea, Wirral, Wolverhampton and York.
GMB has secured the support of Labour leader Ed Miliband for higher pay for low paid council staff. Typical council jobs which pay £6.30/£6.38ph are home helps, school dinner staff, teaching assistants, cleaners, grave diggers, admin assistants, sure-start workers, refuse staff, caretakers, meals on wheels staff, care workers and school crossing patrols.
Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary for Public Services, said “GMB welcome Ed Miliband announcing today that Labour Party deplores the falls in real living standards under this government and him saying that people need higher incomes to support economic growth. His bold vision of fighting the next election by pledging to improve living standards is great news. But it needs to be pointed out that such a view is incompatible with the Labour leaderships’ previous support for the public sector pay freeze.
Probably the most significant contributor to the wage stagnation he so obviously deplored has been the freeze on pay of over 6 million public sector workers. In the past both Ed Miliband and Ed Balls have said they support public sector pay restraint to the dismay of low paid GMB members like school dinner ladies, refuse collectors, street cleaners, hospital porters and school classroom assistants. We now look forward to both Eds making it clear that as part of the drive to improve living standards they will no longer support the public sector pay freeze. They should commend Labour councils now paying or committed to pay a living wage.”
Sheffield City Council Increment Freeze
13th February 2013
To: GMB members in Sheffield City Council
The Increment Freeze
If you are entitled to increments and have not signed the letter the Council sent, you will have been invited to attend a meeting with your line management. This letter, in my opinion and based on legal advice from our solicitors, is only an offer to meet and not an instruction to attend this meeting. The purpose of the meeting is an attempt by the Council to persuade you to agree to vary your contract on a voluntary basis and to remove your right to receive increments for another year.
The Council have claimed that the trade unions have not come up with any reasonable alternatives to their proposal but they are, to be blunt, misleading you. I have asked them on several occasions to show me their total costs for agency staff and to show me why they could not find their projected £5million savings from that budget, or even a proportion of the savings. As you are aware I have shared the information that they sent to me. They have now changed their minds and come up with another set of figures but this time they have not included their entire spend on all agencies and consultants. Even at that, the budget comes in at £6.5million and shows a 20% increase on last year.
The GMB cannot and will not accept that a Council should opt for further pay cuts and job losses when they are simply replacing those staff, to a large extent, with temporary agency workers and consultants.
Please accept my apologies for the timing of this, our latest advice, I would have preferred to send it sooner, but the letters they have sent to you this week have not been shared with the trade unions in advance.
The letter says that they will serve you notice of termination, it does not go on to say that they will also offer reengagement on the new terms. It therefore follows that the Council is trying to scare you into signing the voluntary change of contract.
The GMB deplores these kinds of tactics and gives the following advice:
Not signing the voluntary change of contract does not affect your pension or length of service but we will offer further advice when you receive the letter of termination/reengagement.
You are strongly advised to politely decline the invitation to these meetings with the following words:
“Thank you for your correspondence inviting me to a meeting to discuss the SCC increment freeze. I am currently taking advice from my trade union and therefore do not feel it necessary to take up the offer of a meeting at this stage.”
If you receive undue pressure from your manager it is imperative that you immediately contact your trade union for advice. If your manager tells you that the meeting request is an instruction, not an invitation, then please ask for that in writing and, again, contact the union.
If you do attend the meeting insist on having a GMB rep with you and if there is no one available then please insist that the meeting is rearranged. Do not sign anything at this meeting.
If you have any questions contact your convenor below or the GMB Sheffield office for advice.
John Stevenson 07899 791420
Dave Kitchen 07802 497824
Shelagh Carter 07805 805198
Maria Hill 07805 750829
Martyn Wragg 07792 489927
Northern Towns Against Cuts - Halifax February 2013
NHS INFORMATION / BULLETINS 2012
GMB@WORK Oct 2012.pdf
GMB@WORK Sept 2012.pdf
GMB@WORK July 2012 - Happy Birthday NHS.pdf
GMB@WORK June 2012 - GMB Members Reject Government Offer.pdf
GMB@WORK May 2012 - Make Sure You Vote.pdf
GMB@WORK April 2012 - Reject the Pension Offer.pdf
NHS - Reject the Pension Offer.pdf
NHS GMB Presentation Slides - April 2012.pptx
GMB NHS Bulletin - Pay 2012-13 - March 2012.pdf
NHS Pension Reform March 2012.pdf
Drop the Health & Social Care Bill - Februay 2012.pdf
GMB NHS Questions Briefing Feb 2012.pdf
GMB@Work Newsletter January 2012.pdf
NHS INFORMATION / BULLETINS 2011
NHS and Civil Service Pension.pdf
NHS Newsletter - Day of Action.pdf
NHS Newsletter - November 2011.pdf
NHS Newsletter - October 2011.pdf
NHS Newsletter - September 2011.pdf
NHS Newsletter Political Campaign - August 2011.pdf
NHS Special Pensions News Update - August 2011.pdf
NHS Pension Scheme Ten Key Facts - July 2011.pdf
NHS News Update - June 2011.pdf
NHS News Update - May 2011.pdf
NHS INFORMATION / BULLETINS 2009/10
Pay and Conditions for NHS Staff.pdf
NHS Pension Scheme - February 2009.pdf
NHS Pension Scheme 2 - February 2009.pdf
ETUC Executive - Working Time Directive.pdf
NHS Public Sector Pay.pdf
GMB Oppose Cuts in Museums Sheffield
GMB members, employed by Museums Sheffield, face redundancy and cuts in working hours as the organisation looks to save money as a result of cuts in it’s funding. They are calling on the public in Sheffield to join them in opposing these cuts. Museums Sheffield runs the Millennium Gallery, Graves Art Gallery and Weston Park Museum. It faces a minimum cut of 10% or £200,000 in funding from Sheffield City Council.
When Museums Sheffield failed in its bid to gain Renaissance Major Grant funding from the Arts Council that decision saw hundreds of people take to the city’s cultural venues in 2012 to show their support after Museums Sheffield encouraged them to do so on social networking sites and blogs. The current proposals impact on front line staff only. This time there has been no call to arms on the organisation’s websites or in the media.
Peter Davies, GMB Regional Officer, said “ Under the proposal, front line changes are planned that will see a shift in focus from well-staffed, interactive and safe exhibition spaces to more retail trade to make money to bridge the gap in funding. The effect of this latest cut will see the existing front of house team split into two separate teams - one a dedicated retail team devoted to up selling and increasing revenue to cover the shortfalls in funding. The second team will be a reduced version of the existing Visitor Services team but will be substantially smaller. The proposal will affect the lowest paid members of Museums Sheffield team.
GMB members worry that whilst the changes will indeed save money in the short term, over a longer period a less well staffed and secure environment will lead to falling visitor numbers. Also as staff invigilation falls the GMB believes Museums Sheffield may have to renegotiate its partnerships and exhibit loans from other arts organisations. GMB do not believe that this further threat to the city’s museums and galleries is the future envisioned by the hundreds of ordinary people who sat in Museums Sheffield venues supporting the importance of Sheffield’s culture during its failed arts council funding bids last year.
GMB members will be voicing their concerns about how this new cut will lead to the dilution of the visitor service team in the forthcoming individual consultations. GMB ask the same people who supported the city’s cultural venues in 2012 to make their views known to Museums Sheffield and Sheffield City Council.”
Northern Towns Against Cuts
Hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets in Halifax today, to protest against the on-going government cuts which threaten to do more damage to our health and council services. The protest is backed by trade unions which have formed the Northern Towns Against Cuts group to resist the government’s austerity programme. The group was originally founded by the NUT and GMB two years ago but savage government cuts has seen the group extend to 12 unions.
Protesters met outside of Halifax Town Hall and at 10.30am were led through the streets of Halifax by a 12-strong troop of bag pipers to Halifax Piece Hall for a rally. Speakers included Halifax Labour MP Linda Riordan, a parent from a local children’s centre, a local resident, James Stribley from Remploy and Yorkshire and the Humber TUC chairman and GMB regional secretary, Tim Roache.
GMB Publish UK Map Showing Where 3,213 Workers On Construction Blacklist Lived Or Worked
GMB, the union for construction workers, today publish an article and map from the current issue of the GMB magazine setting out where the 3,213* workers on the blacklist either lived or worked.
A copy of this article and the map are set out on the GMB website http://www.gmb.org.uk/ as a pdf at the foot of this release
Below in notes to editors is the text of the article which accompanies the map from the current issue of the GMB magazine which is sent to all member’s homes asking for help in identifying more people on the blacklist.
*When alias names and duplicates are excluded there are 3,213 individuals on the blacklist. The map shows where 2,554 lived or worked. There are an additional 12 unmapped in Wales and 8 unmapped in Scotland. For 639, or 20%, no proper addresses are given. The ICO using NI details could, with help of DWP, find current addresses for most of 3,213 but they have not done so.
By autumn 2012 only 194 of the 3,213 people on the blacklist knew three years later that they were on the list as these had contacted the ICO directly.
Please download it and circulate widely as less than 10% of the 3,213 on the blacklist know they are on it.
Are you one of the 3,213 names on the construction industry blacklist?
On the page opposite is a map showing how many construction workers in each area of UK were listed on the construction industry blacklist.
The blacklist first came to light when in 2009, the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) seized a Consulting Association database of 3,213* construction workers which was used by 44 companies to vet new recruits and keep out of employment trade union and health and safety activists. The ICO never contacted anyone on the list to let them know they were blacklisted.
*When alias names and duplicates are excluded there are 3,213 individuals on the blacklist. The map shows where 2,554 lived or worked. There are an additional 12 unmapped in Wales and 8 unmapped in Scotland. For 639, or 20%, no proper addresses are given. The ICO using NI details could, with help of DWP, find current addresses for most of 3,213 but they have not done so.
By autumn 2012 only 194 of the 3,213 people on the blacklist knew three years later that they were on the list as these had contacted the ICO directly.
After GMB representation ICO finally agreed to supply names, date of birth, trade and town to enable a check against our own membership records to find our members on the blacklist. We found nearly 200 exact matches and we are in contact with these members to get their files from ICO. Leigh Day is preparing litigation to get them compensation at no cost to these members.
There were a further 300 GMB members who may have been on the list but we need more information to assess this.
We publish the map opposite, based on the locations supplied by ICO to us, to prompt responses. If you were a construction worker from one of these areas and you as a trade union and health and safety activist were denied work for reasons you could not explain get in touch with us and we can cross check the records. Let your construction friend see it too.
GMB priority now is to step up the campaign to get each and every GMB members blacklisted proper compensation. GMB is also still pushing ICO for proactive action to inform all builders on the list that they are on the blacklist.
A GMB report on blacklisting showed that it was not something isolated or rare. The report estimated, that in one quarter, that Carillion for example checked 2,776 names with the Consulting Association and in the period from October 1999 to April 2004 it estimates that Carillion checked at least 14,724 names.
Did you work for any Carillion company like Crown House, Schal International, SkyBlue Employment Agency, Tarmac, John Mowlem or Carillion itself or one of the other blacklisting employers?
Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary, said “people have been deprived of an honest living through these illegal tactics which has blighted their families’ lives. They have been the victims of injustice over many years by multi- national companies- now seeking to live off public sector contracts. Not a single company has yet been punished nor have any of them paid compensation. GMB is calling on local councils not to award any new public work to the companies that operated the blacklist till they compensate those they damaged”
Employment Law Briefing for 2013
Please find below a briefing, produced by Thompsons Solicitors, on what we can expect to see coming into force throughout 2013.
Employment Law Diary 2013.pdf
Unions unite in demonstration against Austerity
Hundreds of people are expected to join a rally on Saturday 2nd February 2013 to protest at government cuts to public services and jobs. ‘Northern Towns Against Cuts’ will be marching from Halifax Town Hall to the Piece Hall where they will gather to listen to a range of speakers, including Halifax MP Linda Riordan, a speaker from Remploy and a parent opposed to cuts in Children’s Centres. The rally aims to send a clear message to the government and to councils that public sector cuts are devastating Northern Towns.
The group initially formed by the Calderdale branch of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and GMB two years ago, formed an alliance with Calderdale branches of UNISON UNITE PCS ATL AEP CYWU NAHT NASUWT ASPECT UCU and staged a successful protest in Halifax in February 2011, drawing people from Northern towns including Bradford, Wakefield, Barnsley, Huddersfield, Keighley, Leeds, Halifax, Wigan and Sheffield. But savage Government cuts in Northern Towns have seen the trade union group grow to include Prospect and Voice.
Saturday 2nd February 2013
10.15am Assemble Halifax Town Hall car park HX1 1UG
10.30am March commences Halifax Town Hall
11.00am Rally Halifax Piece Hall HX1 1RE
A Step Forward For 200 Blacklisted GMB Members
GMB, the union for construction workers, today welcome the new approach by the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) to cooperate with GMB solicitors Leigh Day who is preparing litigation to get compensation for over the 200 GMB members on the construction industry blacklist. This blacklist came to light when, in 2009, the ICO seized a database, held by blacklisting body the Consulting Association, of 3,213 construction workers used by 44 companies to vet new recruits and keep out of employment trade union and health and safety activists.
After the ICO seized the database they never contacted anyone on the list to let them know they were blacklisted. By autumn 2012 only 194 of the 3,213 people on the blacklist knew three years later that they were on the list as these had contacted the ICO directly. ICO finally agreed to help us check against our own membership records to find our members on the blacklist. ICO then failed to cooperate with Leigh Day who is preparing litigation to get them compensation at no cost to these members. However Leigh Day has now informed GMB that they and ICO have reached an agreement so that the blacklist files for GMB members can be released to them.
Maria Ludkin, National Officer for Legal and Corporate Affairs “We are very pleased that the ICO has decided to adopt a more flexible and pragmatic approach which will help ensure the GMB can effectively represent those members who have been blacklisted. These are people who were deprived of an honest living by these illegal tactics which blighted their families’ lives. They have been the victims of injustice over many years by multi-national companies which now seek to live off public sector contracts.
GMB welcome this move by the Labour front bench to try and force the ICO to write to those blacklisted so that they can seek compensation. The ICO should have done this more than 3 years ago and until they do so GMB will push ICO for a proactive action to inform all 3,213 builders that they are on the blacklist. There are a further 300 GMB members who may have been on the list but we need more information to assess this. We are using the next issue of our member’s magazine to help us do this. GMB’s priority now is to step up the campaign to get each and every GMB members blacklisted proper compensation.
GMB also welcome the Scottish Affairs Committee seeking evidence from Mr Cullum McAlpine who chaired the blacklisting body. This Committee has done a great job pulling back the curtain of secrecy to give a glimpse as to the way that employers like Carillion and others have illegally used their power and money to blacklist citizens and to deny them their rights to employment. GMB has faced stalling and denials from the likes of Carillion. They have consistently sought to deny or play down their involvement in spite of evidence from the ICO that Carillion involvement with the Consulting Association blacklist included parts of their organisation such as Crown House, Schal International, SkyBlue Employment Agency, Tarmac and John Mowlem as well as Carillion itself along with as evidence that up to 10 Carillion managers were involved in the operation of the blacklist.”
More Diluting Of Employment Rights
GMB commented on the package of measures to stop workplace disputes ending up at Employment Tribunal set out today by the Employment Relations Minister.
Maria Ludkin, GMB National Officer for legal and corporate affairs, said “The measures announced by the Employment Relations Minister today on resolving workplace disputes, are more “slash and burn” of employee rights at work. Where is the evidence that any of this will create jobs or growth?”
Employees who have been unfairly dismissed should receive compensation that reflects their losses. This arbitrary 12 month cap on the compensatory award fails to do that, particularly in the current difficult environment. It will disadvantage vulnerable groups such as older workers who are more likely to have accrued higher pension rights and who find it more difficult to find new employment.
The use of “settlement agreements” – whereby an employer can offer an employee a sum of money and a settlement agreement in return for leaving their employment even though there is no pre-existing dispute – sends a clear signal to employers that it is acceptable to sack employees for any arbitrary reason.
Theoretically employees may be able to refuse an offer but they will know that if they remain in work they will be victimised and bullied. The lack of clarity over the meaning of “improper behaviour” proposed in the Code continues and will result in more confusion and litigation.
The Government has already slashed employee rights. The introduction of fees for employment tribunals later this year and extending the qualifying period for bringing an unfair dismissal claim to 2 years will make it much harder for employees to pursue claims in any event.
Cutting back on employee protection by watering down TUPE is a disgrace. TUPE protects employees who transfer from one employer to another after the acquisition of a business. Removing service provision changes – which often arise in public to private transfers - from the scope of TUPE will encourage unscrupulous employers to cut terms and conditions. The inclusion of service provision changes in TUPE by the previous Government had created certainty in an area which had previously been fraught with litigation over when TUPE applied. This litigation will return.”
GMB Fears That Pensions Proposals Will Scupper The Public Sector Pensions Deals
The abolition of the contracting out NI rebate will impose a £6bn new tax burden on workers and companies which is not fair to those who will have to pay more tax
Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary for public services, said"The new flat rate state pension should be fairer than the complicated basic plus additional pension set up it is intended to replace but the detail will need to be scrutinised carefully.
However, there is a very serious consequence arising from the ending of contracting out and that is the increase in National Insurance contributions that employers and employees in defined benefit pension schemes will have to pay. For employers that is 3.4% of the NI ranking earnings and for the 6 million employees affected it will be an extra 1.4%m.
The abolition of the contracting out NI rebate will impose a £6bn new tax burden on workers and companies which may be a nice windfall for the chancellor but is not fair to those who will have to pay more tax.
Most defined benefit scheme employers and members will find this unaffordable so will need to renegotiate their schemes. A good example is the Local Government Pension Scheme which has just been reformed by unions and government and would face an unaffordable extra NI bill of several hundred million pounds.
Just as the Treasury legislation to reform public sector pensions is going through parliament DWP is proposing to blow it all out of the water by completely rewriting the state and occupational pension landscape. I will be urging Treasury and DWP to get their act together to avoid reopening the public service pension deals.”
Carillion Liable For Night Worker’s Injury
A road maintenance worker working in the dark on an unlit stretch of the A52 needed surgery on a badly damaged ankle after he suffered a fall. Dean Ness, 35, was off work for three months following the operation to mend torn ligaments in his ankle when he stumbled on the kerb while putting cones on the road at Spondon, Derby.
The GMB member was working the night shift for Carillion plc on the back of a road maintenance truck, placing cones on the road to close it off so work could be done on the central reservation. When he got off the truck he turned his left ankle on the kerb, which couldn’t be seen in the pitch dark. Even though colleagues had complained about the lack of lighting on that stretch of the road, Carillion had failed to rig-up temporary lighting so he could see what he was doing. Despite suffering from a swollen and badly bruised ankle he attempted to work through the pain for a number of weeks. When it became clear the ankle was not healing he was referred to physiotherapy and then surgery to stabilise his ankle. In a union-backed compensation case, Carillion admitted liability and settled the claim out of court for over £8,000.
GMB Yorkshire & North Derbyshire regional secretary Tim Roache commented: ‘Carillion is responsible for maintaining miles of the UK’s road network. They are experienced in the industry and we would expect that experience to translate to providing a safe working environment for its employees. Instead the firm ignored the staff’s concern about working in a poorly lit section of the road and as a result Mr Ness was badly injured.’
Fair Rents In Tied Pubs
There is need for vigilance of the grave danger that the pubco landlords will again try to ensure the small print is vague to wreck the plan says GMB
GMB, the union for tied pub tenants, responded to the announcement by Vince Cable of an independent adjudicator and a statutory code to deal with disputes over tied pub rents. See proposals in notes to editors below.
GMB members briefed MPs yesterday in advance of a debate about pubco rents in Parliament on 9th January.
Dave Mountford, pub landlord and GMB branch secretary and spokesperson for tied tenants said “If Vince Cable sticks to this plan this is a welcome step forward. It is a tribute to the hard work by GMB tied tenants who did not give up their demands for a fair deal. GMB will be vigilant of the grave danger that the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) will again try to ensure the small print is vague to wreck the plan or some other ways to escape the rules.
The pubcos have “pulled to wool” for years as they priced pubs out of the market with sky high rents to pay interest to bondholders in offshore tax havens. GMB welcome the recognition by Government that tenants on pubco rents should no worse off than free of tie rents. A free of tie option is essential to achieve this. That is why a free of tie option for pubco rents must be enshrined in the statutory code.
GMB is pleased that the independent adjudicator will have wide ranging powers to address day to day abuses inflicted by pubcos in their desperate attempts to protect the tie and high wholesale prices. GMB also consider that BIS recognition of the constant mis-representation by pubcos of rental negotiations is a big step forward.
GMB want to see immediate Government action on the guest beer provision which would offer immediate support to tenants who are still suffering today until the new arrangement come into place.”
Contact: Dave Mountford pub landlord and GMB branch secretary and spokesperson for tied tenants on 07916 154 359 or 07794 021212 who is available for interview.
Notes to Editors
NEW PROPOSALS TO STAND UP FOR BRITISH PUBS AND PREVENT UNFAIR PRACTICES
Struggling pub landlords were promised help today with Business Secretary Vince Cable announcing plans for an independent Adjudicator to address unfair practices in the industry.
As well as the new Adjudicator, Dr Cable also wants to establish a new statutory Code to look at the relationship between large pub companies and publicans, which will be enforced by the Adjudicator. This new Code will ensure fair practices for a number of issues including rents and the prices publicans pay for beer. It would also have the power to investigate and deal with disputes between pub companies (pubcos) and publicans, and in some cases have the power to fine.
In particular, the proposed Code would prevent abuses of the beer tie, which oblige publicans to sell particular types of beer. It would enshrine the fundamental principle that ‘a tied licensee should be no worse off than a free-of-tie-licensee’ which will ensure a level playing field is maintained in the pub sector.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said:
“There is some real hardship in the pubs sector, with many pubs going to the wall as publicans struggle to survive on tiny margins. Some of this is due to pubcos exploiting and squeezing their tenants by unfair practices and a focus on short-term profits. The Labour government oversaw three Select Committee reviews into these problems but only acknowledged the need for action in their last few months in office.
“Last year we gave the pubcos one last chance to change their behaviour but it is clear that the self-regulation approach was not enough. A change in the law is now needed.
“I hope these measures mean publicans are given a fairer chance at running their pub, which in turn will help them grow their businesses instead of losing them.”
The formal consultation on these proposed measures will be launched the spring.
NOTES TO EDITORS
* The proposed Code will be based on the existing Industry Framework Code but will be strengthened to include an overarching ‘fair dealing’ provision, and also the principle referring to the beer tie which states that ‘a tied licensee should be no worse off than a free-of-tie-licensee’. This will be particularly important for rents, as the consultation will propose that guidance issued by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors be interpreted in light of this principle.
2. The proposed Adjudicator will be based on the model of the widely-welcomed Groceries Code Adjudicator, and will have the power and function to:
* arbitrate individual disputes between large pub companies and publicans;
1 carry out investigations based on complaints that have been received, during which they could require information from pub companies;
2 impose sanctions where an investigation finds that a pub company has breached the Code - including, in the case of severe breaches, financial penalties;
3 publish guidance on when and how investigations will proceed and how these enforcement powers will be used;
4 advise pub companies and publicans on the Code;
5 report annually on his or her work; and
6 recommend changes to the Code.
3. The Code is expected to apply to all pub companies which own more than 500 tied leases, exempting smaller companies so that only those with the greatest market power are targeted. This is due to evidence indicating that smaller companies have been behaving responsibly, although this will be explored further during the consultation.
4. Concerns about the relationship between pubcos and publicans have been raised by the pub industry for many years, with BIS Select Committee Reports highlighting the issue continuously since 2009. In 2011 the Committee recommended that the Government implement a binding industry Code and establish a Code Adjudicator. In November 2011 the Government announced a self regulatory approach, with the Code being brought into legal contracts and the industry establishing an independent arbitrator and advisory services.
5. The independent arbitration service appears to be working well, with two of the three cases heard so far finding against the pubcos. Version 5 of the Industry Framework Code was incorporated into contracts by the end of 2011.
6. Following further concerns raised by the BIS Select Committee the Secretary of State wrote to the industry to ask for evidence on how well the self-regulatory approach was working. Many responses showed some improvements had been made, but that much more was needed and that the necessary culture change had not taken place.
The Code will not mandate, as some campaigners have suggested, a ‘free of tie option with open market rent review.’ Neither will it abolish the beer tie. Evidence strongly suggests that the tie itself is not the issue- it is in fact a valid business model and its removal would significantly harm the British brewing industry. It is the abuse of the tie in certain circumstances that is causing the problem. The Code will ensure that pub companies use the tie responsibly.
GMB Call On Sheffield City Council To Postpone Changes In Children’s Services
GMB CALL ON SHEFFIELD CITY COUNCIL TO POSTPONE CHANGES IN CHILDREN’S SERVICES TO NOVEMBER TO ALLOW TIME TO ASSESS FUNDING SWITCHES
The report to the Council is hiding the reality that these are cuts which will damage vulnerable children and young people and mean job losses says GMB
GMB, the union for public service workers, is calling on Sheffield City Council to postpone proposed changes in services for Children and young people to allow time for proper consultation on the proposals and to assess impact of funding switches by central government.
At the Sheffield City Council full cabinet meeting 12th December 2012 GMB members employed in Children’s Services raised a number of questions on a report from the Children and Young People Scrutiny and Policy Development Committee which met on 9th December.
GMB call for the Council to postpone the changes is in a written report and complaint to a special meeting of Sheffield City Council Scrutiny Board Meeting which was scheduled for 9th January but has now been cancelled. Set out in notes to Editors are a few of the key questions that were asked at that meeting and the main points that GMB have picked out of the report that was approved by the Cabinet on 12 December.
Peter Davies GMB organizer said “The report to the Council from the Children and Young People Scrutiny and Policy Development Committee is hiding the reality that these are cuts which will damage vulnerable children and young people and mean job losses.
We have a report that lists the advantages to these cuts. We need to ask ourselves why the report not only justifies these cuts but actually sells them to the people of Sheffield, the service users and employees, as positive and justified cuts. In short, the report implies that the current service is and therefore must have been a gross misuse of public sector money. This is far from the truth and is a distortion.
GMB will oppose these cuts through every means at our disposal. In the mean time we would urge the Council to at the very least, postpone the proposed funding cut date (March 2013) to allow for meaningful and proper consultation to take place with service users, their communities, providers, employees and their respective trade unions. By extending the ‘cessation’ date to November 2013, for example, we would not only be able to engage in the consultation process properly, we would also be able to assess how the switch in the way early years services are to be funded by the government would work in Sheffield and particular through our changing school environment and NHS.”
Sacked Remploy Workers Demonstrated Outside Leeds Remploy Factory On Its Last Day
Sacked Remploy workers in Leeds demonstrated outside of their factory today following its closure by the government. Workers waited until they finished their final shift before beginning an emotional protest which saw a coffin, symbolising the death of Remploy, being taken to a nearby cemetery.
Leeds is one of 35 Remploy factories due to close by the end of the year with the compulsory redundancy of 1,752 people of whom 1,518 are disabled.
Phil Davies GMB National Officer said: “The Government is throwing disabled workers in Leeds and thirty-four other places out of work and on to the scrapheap. Sheltered workshops are allowed under EU procurement rules and can successfully keep disabled workers gainfully employed if supported by public contracts. Instead this government used 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 with attempts to stigmatise it as a form of ghettoisation and linking it to old institutional forms. You could use the same argument against staging the Paralympic games. These organizations 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 what happens when you make“the best” the enemy of the “good”. You start with resolutions that will not be achieved in the short run.
They are then pickled into a rigid dogma, a code, and you go through the years sticking to that ignoring real needs, and you end in the grotesque chaos of disabled charities – disabled charities – used as Trojan horses to enable redundancy notices for more than 2,700 disabled workers in 54 locations across the UK. The Tories knew what they were doing using these “useful idiots”.
Engineering Construction Workers Accept 7.7% Pay Deal
GMB members have voted to accept the final offer from the Engineering Construction Employers Association to increase pay rates in the National Agreement for the Engineering Construction Industry “NAECI” of 7.7% over three years from Monday 7th Jan 2013. The increase is pro-rata through all the grades, including apprentices. In year one from 7th Jan 2013 the increase is 2%, is 2.3% in year two from 6th January 2014 and 3.4% in the third year from 5th January to the end of 2015.
The basic hourly rate for a craft worker will increase to £15.25 in 2013, £15.60 in 2014 and £16.10 in 2015. This rate is for skilled trades like welders, platers, pipe fitters, steel erectors, mechanical fitters, thermal insulation engineers, scaffolders and electricians.
There are changes to other benefits which the employers final offer such as 10 days for bereavement leave and better terms for redundancy plus uprating of travel and lodging allowances etc.
Phil Whitehurst, GMB National Lead organiser for construction, said “GMB engineering construction membership had a very hard decision to make in what are very lean times and they have made a collective decision to accept the deal. With publication today of the Energy Bill these are the skilled workers the nation will rely on to build our new generation of power stations.
For industrial stability it is essential that all employers recognize the necessity of the universal usage of the national agreement by all employers on all engineering construction sites like new power station sites. There can be no further attempts to undermine it as happened at Lindsey and if there are these will be firmly resisted.
The Gibson report said 55,000 workers were covered by this agreement across the UK. When all the projects in the pipeline come on stream this number will be exceeded. That is why we also need a step change in the number of apprentices to maintain the skill base.”
Contact: Phil Whitehurst, GMB National Organiser on 07968 338810
Sheffield Recycling Dispute Back On
The deal due to start at the end of October was delayed until this November but when GMB met with SOVA on Monday they could not confirm any implementation date so the deal agreed at ACAS was just another false promise says GMB.
GMB members employed by Sova at 5 household waste recycling centres (HWRC) in Sheffield have agreed to go back on indefinite all out strike action to commence on 22nd December 2012 over the failure to implement the agreement arrived at the end of October to end the long running dispute including several periods of strike action.
Peter Davies, GMB Regional officer, said “GMB agreed through ACAS in early October to settle the HWRC dispute in Sheffield because SOVA had secured more work from Veolia, this mitigated our winter reduction in hours which was the main issue of dispute. The new work was to involve the recycling of bulky waste.
The new winter hours were to start at the end of October. The Council, Veolia and SOVA delayed this until November due to a delay in the method statements but it soon became clear that we wouldn’t even get the hours this year. We met with SOVA on Monday and they could not confirm an implementation date.
On top of this we have seen little or no improvements in welfare facilities (inadequate wash off facilities and no wash off time) and there is a requirement to remain behind after hours if members of the public are on site with no guarantee of payment.
SOVA, the national charity, has bailed out of any ownership of the contract but their trustees have set up a new charity to take ownership of the recycling arm which employs our members. I suppose they think this will protect them against any potential fines/penalties that are built up for failing to deliver on the contract. There are already hundreds of thousands of pounds owed for these failures to the Council. In short we are in a mess and the members believe that what was agreed through ACAS was just another false promise.
Whilst the key decision makers ponder and play politics with this service and our members livelihoods it is GMB members and their families who will continue to suffer hardship.
GMB members have had enough and they have decided to call an all out, indefinite strike, to commence on December 22nd. That is not a threat it is simply a reflection of their desperation.
I can only hope that the Council, Veolia and SOVA (or whoever employs our members these days) get focused, get serious, get back round the negotiating table and come up with a proper resolution to this dispute that is not built on assumptions and false promises.”
GMB Accues BBPA Of “Hoodwinking” Ministers
GMB, the union for tied pub tenants, today accused BBPA of hoodwinking BIS Ministers on two aspects of the self regulation Framework Codes in discussions with Government in 2011. This is based on evidence that has come to light from freedom of information requests. GMB drew this evidence to the attention of BIS officials at a meeting last week.
First BBPA did not make Ministers properly ware that changes in the codes they agreed to in response to 16 improvements sought by Ed Davey were already in place in Company codes.
Second BBPA did not make clear to Ministers that they were aware for two years that the question of the legal enforcement of the Codes was in serious doubt.
GMB advised BIS officials at a meeting last week that all the 16 “changes” negotiated by BBPA with the Government in response to improvements sought by Ed Davey, and outlined in their self-regulation package were already included in codes prior to the negotiations.
The 16 points were as follows:
- Upwards Only Rent Reviews - were already in codes
- Waiver Policies - were already in codes
- Timetable for pre-entry training - were already in codes
- Timetable for information - were already in codes
- Insurance - were already in codes
- AWP Machines - were already in codes
- RICS Guidance - were already in codes
- Rents and other complaints - were already in codes
- Rents - were already in codes
- Professional Advice - were already in codes
- Dilapidations - were already in codes
- BDM Training - were already in codes
- Price Lists - already sent to tenant.
- Annual Statements of Compliance - already published on BII website
During their discussions with the BIS in September and October 2011, the BBPA informed Ed Davey that the Company codes of practice were legally enforceable and therefore the statutory legislation, recommended by the BIS enquiry of earlier that year, was unnecessary. The legal opinion the BBPA sought to rely on to persuade the Minster was that of Robert Howe, QC. Ed Davey explained that this was one of the main reasons for not needing a statutory response to the Select Committee report chaired by Adrian Bailey.
When meeting BIS officials last week GMB informed them that the BBPA had sought another legal opinion nearly two years previously, which contradicted the opinion given to Mr Davey.
Martin Rees of DLA Piper the highly respected London law firm wrote to Bridget Simmons on the 4th January 2010. In it, it states that “the Framework Company Codes cannot be directly relied upon by individual tenants or lessees, whose contractual relationship is with the Company”.
Dave Mountford Branch Secretary for the GMB at Matlock said “From replies to freedom of information requests it is now abundantly clear that the BBPA seriously hoodwinked Ministers in attempting to avoid statutory regulation, by stating it wasn’t necessary as it was already in force and including “improvements” in codes which were already in place and having no effect. GMB now discover that the BBPA had two conflicting opinions and chose to provide the Government with the one that suited their own case.
GMB calls on the Government to learn lessons and put in place a series of regulatory reforms to halt this continued abuse of thousands of individual’s lives and the destruction of a heritage for communities up and down the land.”
Contact: Dave Mountford 07794 021 212 or 01629 258 083 or 07916 154359
GMB To Hold Demonstration Outside of Doomed Leeds Factory
GMB To Hold Demonstration Outside of Doomed Leeds Factory - Friday, 30th November 2012 from 11.00am.
Join us for a lobby outside Remploy in Leeds (Manor Mill Lane, Millshaw, Leeds, LS11 8DF). The campaign to save Remploy factories continues. People are asked to assemble from 11.00am outside the site for a rally and short march. Please show your support.
Leeds City Councillor, Javaid Akhtar, Condemns the Violence in the Gaza Strip
Leeds City Councillor, Javaid Akhtar, Calls on the Leeds Community to Condemn the Violence in the Gaza Strip and Lobby for Peace.
GMB Yorkshire Professional Drivers’ branch secretary, Councillor Javaid Akhtar, is arranging a meeting with community leaders and politicians at the Civic Hall in Leeds in order to generate a Leeds movement for peace in the Middle East.
Councillor Akhtar said: “Leeds can play its part in the peace process, every life lost, be it Palestinian or Israeli is a human life, a precious life. I intend to get thousands of signatures from the citizens of Leeds calling for talks instead of killing. Leeds is an international city, our people can play their part in keeping pressure on the people making the decisions to bomb and kill.”
More than 100 people have been killed in the Gaza in the last few days as Israeli forces continue their bombardment, the dead include children and the killing is expected to continue.
Councillor Akhtar continued: “We must bring international pressure to bear and stop an invasion of Palestine; I call on both sides to refrain from violence. I am extremely concerned at the inhumane and grossly over reaction by the Israeli forces, nine innocent children were killed at the weekend, nothing can justify that. The people of Leeds should lobby their MPs and councillors asking them to use Leeds as a force for peace.
The details of the Civic Hall meeting are as follows; Friday, 23rd November 2012 at 5.30pm. All Leeds Councillors invited, MPs (Hilary Benn MP confirmed) Community Leaders from around the city. For further comment contact Councillors Akhtar 077830243149; Gerry Harper 0779077757; Ron Graham 07742533785 or Asghar Khan 07761230027.
GMB New App For Tied Tenants
GMB will gather evidence from tied pub tenants on the four questions raised by Vince Cable on self-regulation and the economic dispute in the sector. GMB has until November 23rd to respond with evidence to these four questions and on the wider economic dispute between tied tenants and pubcos.
GMB has set up mobile app that will make it easy for tied tenants to provide confidential information regarding their own experience of with their pubco and whether they have seen any improvements due the self-regulation introduced last year. This follows a recent tweet to a GMB tied tenant by pub minister Jo Swinson asking the tenant to put her case forward as part of the evidence gathering. See notes to editors for more info on the app which can be accessed at http://apps.twinpier.co.uk/appm/mvarv85ejgusl.
GMB will use this easy to use app to gather information on the four questions posed by Vince Cable in his letter of Nov 7th and wider economic dispute. The four questions from Cable are as follows:
1. What action has been taken, and is planned, by the governing board of PICAS to promote and maintain awareness among licensees of the availability of mediation and arbitration services in relation to any matter relating to the Framework and Company Codes. Any facts you can share, consistent with commercial confidentiality, of binding decisions already made by PICAS would also be welcome.
2. What action has been taken, and is planned, by the large pubcos (those with over 500 pubs) to maintain awareness among licensees of their rights under the code, including of the specific improvements introduced in December 2012 through version 5 of the Industry Framework Code in relation to rents, insurance, dilapidations and training, including pre-entry training; of the legally binding nature of the code; and of licensees’ right to binding arbitration. I would be interested to know what further improvements the industry is proposing to include in version 6 of the code, designed to further improve transparency and fairness for tenants and when will these be implemented?
3. What progress have the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) made in preparing for their code re-accreditation role and what is the status of the necessary agreements with the industry on how the re-accreditation process will work?
4. What action, if any, is being taken under the leadership of the BII to set up a Pubs Advisory Service for licensees, further to the Pubs Advisory Service already set up under the leadership of Chris Wright and others.
Dave Mountford, GMB branch secretary, said; “GMB is disappointed at the weak questions posed by Vince Cable to members of the industry regarding self-regulation. GMB is also very concerned that the list of organisations being consulted does not include any organisation that directly represents tenants. As Mr Cable clearly only intends to hear the views of one side of the industry, to questions that do not relate to the crux of the issue, our responses, will hopefully even that out.
We had already put in place a mobile app that was due to be launched in the next few weeks, but this opportunity was too good to pass up. Jo Swinson is well known for her use of Social Networking and clearly supports the idea of tenants using this system to put across their points. The importance of this current review cannot be overstated and we need as much feedback from tenants as possible.
The “App” can be viewed through a normal Web Browser or through an I Phone and the information requested relates to disputes between the tenant and their pubco and how they are resolved. There is an opportunity to give a very detailed response outlining the issue at hand and the tenants comments on how they view self-regulation is working.
Whilst all the information given is strictly confidential it is important that we are provided with means of verifying the individual and therefore being able to confirm their points are valid.”
Contact: Dave Mountford 07794 021 212 or 01629 258 083
2012 Annual Awards Celebrate GMB Branches
GMB branches from across the region came together for the fourth annual Branch Activity Weekend held in Wakefield on the 10th and 11th November 2012, which is sponsored by Thompsons Solicitors. Tim Roache, Regional Secretary, set the scene for the weekend and General Secretary, Paul Kenny, made his keynote speech to more than 150 delegates.
3 workshops were facilitated by key guests, which included Owen Jones, author and political commentator, James Alexander, leader of York City Council, Rachel Reeves MP for Leeds West, Professor Malcolm Sawyer, economist at Leeds University Business School, Paul Novak from the TUC and GMB’s Steve Pryle, Rose Conroy and Eamon O’Hearn Large. Austerity and the economy, campaigning to win and why politics should matter to union reps were covered in the workshops. Presentations were also made by the People’s Telephone Operator, Move Your Money, UK Uncut and Thorne Credit Union.
The annual awards ceremony took place in the evening and this year a number of branches were honored.
Branch Community Campaign of the Year - The judges were unable to decide between two excellent candidates for this year’s award, which recognises outstanding work by branches in promoting GMB@WORK in the community. So for the second year running Chesterfield No 1 branch received the award jointly with the combined branches of Leeds for their campaigns and initiatives throughout the year.
Regional Branch of the Year (The Kerry May Award For Outstanding Achievement In GMB@WORK) - When Paul Harvey, from Pontefract Central branch, took over as rep at Haribo in Pontefract 3 years ago there was only a handful of members and an employer intent on derecognising the GMB. The branch has steadily built momentum through the GMB@WORK agenda, recruiting new reps, utilising GMB and TUC training and using the GMB learning project to build confidence and members at Haribo. From a standing start membership at Haribo is now at 290.
The Class of 2012 Award was presented to Emma Scott after she and her team recruited the most members during the Class of 2012 initiative which forms part of workplace organisers’ induction training.
Commenting at the branch event, Tim Roache, said: “The branch weekend just goes from strength to strength every year. The discussion and debate from the delegates was inspirational and the input from the guest speakers invaluable. My congratulations go to the branch award winners who are a credit to this region, as is every other branch who work tirelessly every day on behalf of our members.”
Health & Safety Matters - Bullying & Harassment.pdf
Bullying and Harassment Questionnaire.pdf
GMB Survey on Bullying & Harassment.pdf
Bullying & Harassment - ACAS Guide.pdf
Stress At Work Thompsons Guide.pdf
Gas Cuts Will Lead To ‘Explosions And Loss Of Life’
A dramatic cut in the number of gas distribution workers ‘will lead to major gas explosions and loss of life’, the union GMB has warned. The union believes up to 3,000 workers could lose their jobs as a result of funding cuts proposed by the regulator Ofgem.
Gary Smith, GMB national secretary for energy, said: ‘If the Ofgem final proposals due in December 2012 to cut funding for gas distribution by 20 per cent for the eight years from 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2021 are not changed there will be major gas explosions leading to loss of life across Great Britain.’ He said the Ofgem review ‘takes no account whatsoever of the dangers in handling the volatile and highly explosive substance. Gas main replacement will be cut and gas workers aren’t going to be able to cope with gas escapes if it gets cold.’ He said in the cold snap two years ago ‘there simply was not enough skilled labour with current labour force to cope.’ He added that subsequent discussions between Ofgem and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) seem to have been ‘forgotten’ by the gas regulator.
According to GMB, the distribution companies - Northern Gas Networks, SGN, Wales and West Utilities and National Grid - are the emergency service providers who will bear a 20 per cent cut the union believes ‘is a done deal. Jobs are already going. It will lead to up to 3,000 job losses.’ Gary Smith said: ‘This is the worst kind of short-termism in an industry that the country will depend upon for generations to keep homes warm and the lights on. Cutting distribution budgets by 20 per cent also hasn’t stopped huge hikes in gas prices for customers. We are paying more and getting a less safe industry.’
European Day Of Action and Solidarity - 14th November 2012
The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) has agreed to launch a campaign against austerity and for growth and workers’ rights, in line with the TUC campaign for a Future that Works. As a precursor, the ETUC Executive Committee has called a day of action on Wednesday 14 November for jobs and solidarity, and against austerity. The documents below set out details of the ETUC’s overall campaign, and proposals for what could be done for 14 November in the UK, in the context of the TUC’s Future that Works campaign and the 20 October demonstrations in Belfast, Glasgow and London.
14 November Day of Action
As an early taste of campaigning at European level, the ETUC Executive Committee of 17 and 18 October 2012 called for a European day of action and solidarity on 14 November 2012 to mobilise the trade union movement behind the claims expressed in the Social Compact for Europe. The ETUC Executive Committee adopted a statement for the day which is also attached, including policy demands fully in line with TUC policy. The ETUC has called for solidarity with trade unions in the worst affected countries, and has asked trade unions across Europe to take initiatives on 14 November.
Meet The Team
Steve Jennings - Political Officer
Steve is the region’s political officer. He is a member of the regional management team, regional TUC and member of the Labour Party executive board. Steve also holds the CIPD post graduate diploma in HR Management graduating from Huddersfield University in July 2009.
Trudy Frampton - Political Secretary
RIPON AND THIRSK GENERAL
GMB Marches For A Future That Works
October 20 saw tens of thousands of people from across the UK head to London for A Future That Works - a march which started on the Embankment and ended with a rally in Hyde Park. Hundreds of GMB members from Yorkshire & North Derbyshire took part in the event.
The day was organised by the TUC in protest against the government’s austerity measures and called for a new approach which puts growth and an economy that works for ordinary families at the heart of government policy.
Speaking at the rally, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: ‘It is fantastic to see so many people here today from every part of our community, all utterly determined to build a better, fairer future for our country. We have a stark and united message for the government, austerity isn’t working. It is hitting our jobs, our services, our living standards. It is hammering the poorest and the most vulnerable and austerity is failing even on its own terms, for this is a government of broken promises.
GMB Welcome New Asbestos Guidance To Schools And Colleges Issued By The UK Government
The online guidance is a step in the right direction in the campaign to make all UK schools and colleges safe from the dangers of asbestos teachers, support staff and children says GMB.
GMB as a member of Joint Union Asbestos Committee (JUAC) welcome the new online Department for Education asbestos management guidance for UK Schools and Colleges. The asbestos guidance for schools is now live and available at:- http://www.education.gov.uk/b00215518/asbestosmanagementschools
JUAC is a trade union campaigning committee comprising unions in education: GMB, Association of School and College Leaders; Association of Teachers and Lecturers; National Association of Head Teachers; NASUWT; National Union of Teachers; Voice; The education sections of Unite, UNISON, and UCATT. See JUAC website: http://www.juac.org.uk.
JUAC has the objective of making all UK schools and colleges safe from the dangers of asbestos. All the unions in JUAC are members of the Asbestos in Schools (AIS) campaign.
Over 75 per cent of Britain’s state schools contain asbestos, according to the Asbestos in Schools: the need for action report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Occupational Safety and Health. The report reveals that much of the asbestos is badly maintained, meaning that children and staff are exposed to this killer fibre.
Julie Winn JUAC Chair “The new online guidance is a step in the right direction in the campaign to make all UK schools and colleges safe from the dangers of asbestos.
More than 140 school teachers have died from mesothelioma (a cancer that is almost exclusively caused by exposure to asbestos) in the past ten years. An unknown number of cleaners, administrative staff, caretakers, cooks and lunchtime supervisors have also died.
The number of children who have been killed by exposure to asbestos at school is unknown, but in the US it was estimated that for every one teacher who dies, nine former pupils will die in adulthood from their exposure as a child., In the UK that would mean that more than 100 people are dying every year as a result of asbestos exposure when they were at school.
With the delivery of education experiencing major changes, and even more expected, it has never been more important that head teachers, bursars and school managers know how to manage the asbestos in their schools and JUAC calls for mandatory asbestos management training.
It is equally important that those working and learning in schools containing asbestos understand the risks and how to reduce those to the lowest possible level. This online guidance is a good starting point for all teaching and support staff. It is a simple and effective way to gain an understanding of asbestos awareness so that they can then avoid disturbing asbestos and can prevent pupils from disturbing asbestos.”
GMB And Labour On Pub Closures
GMB branch secretary, David Mountford and GMB officer David Castledine will meet Toby Perkins, MP for Chesterfield and Labour’s Shadow Minister for Small Business on 2nd November to step up the campaign for the statutory code on pubco leases called for last year by Business, Innovation & Skills Committee (BISC). This follows reports that consumer minister Jo Swinson, Liberal Democrat MP for East Dunbartonshire, considers that the self-regulatory Industry Framework Code is working properly so no further involvement is needed by Government.
The Government failed to implement a statutory code after it agreed with British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) that this self- regulatory Industry Framework Code (IFC) should be introduced instead. As part of the IFC a Pub Independent Conciliation Advisory Service (PICAS) was set up to deal with disputes about matters other than rents between pubcos and tenants.
Toby Perkins MP is also a member of the All Parliamentary Save The Pub Group. The meeting will take place on Friday 2nd November at his constituency office in Chesterfield. See notes to editors for his position on the BISC call for a statutory code.
Dave Mountford, GMB branch secretary of the Matlock branch, said “Consumer minister Jo Swinson says that the self- regulatory Industry Framework Code in place is working properly so no further involvement is needs by Government. GMB and tied tenants profoundly disagree that this is the case. With Toby Perkins, MP Labour’s Shadow Minister for Small Business we will discuss ways of stepping up the campaign for a statutory code. GMB want a manifesto pledge to make this an issue at the next general election for pub tenants and pub customers. (See notes to editors for Labour Party) manifesto commitments in 2010.
The underlying issue of pubs being priced out of the market is not being tackled at all. Sky high rent that have pushed the price of a pint £1 above the level justified by inflation and changes in taxation. That is why sales of beer in the “on trade” are down nearly 40% on the peak levels in 2002. The additional revenue ends up in offshore tax havens paying faceless pubco bondholders. I will raise how the Industry Framework Code and PICAS are working. Apart from the absurd claims that this Code is legally binding I will point to the yawning gaps in it and seek support for a Code drawn up by the tenants.
Rodger Vickers from Punch Taverns chairs PICAS to deal with disputes about matters other than rents between pubcos and tenants. Appointing Rodger Vickers was the equivalent of the FA appointing Sir Alex Ferguson to referee a game between Manchester United and Liverpool. The bias is that blatant. PICAS operates alongside another toothless body PIRRS (Pubs Independent Rent Review Scheme) where Vickers has also been an advisor since 2009 and will have the same dismal record as PIRRS.”
Contact Dave Mountford 07794 021 212 or Pat Hardy 07809 182 386 or Martin Allen 07966 327 962
Notes to Editors
1 Toby Perkins MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Small Business, said on 12 Jan 2012:
“Pubs are closing at a rate of around 25 a week and despite promises the Tories made in opposition, the Government has failed to take the action needed to help publicans and stop pub closures, and is refusing to introduce a statutory code to protect pub tenants or take steps to ensure that a non-tied option is offered by pub companies to tenants.
“Pubs play a vital role in communities across Britain in villages, towns and cities. They also contribute hugely to the Government’s tax revenues and employ hundreds of thousands of people, including many young people who are currently finding job hunting so difficult.
“Despite their promises, the Tory led Government has refused to take action needed to give pubs the best chance of fighting their way through the recession. We are calling on ministers to implement our action plan in full and to work with the BIS Select Committee to bring forward a statutory code and a non-tied option for publicans.”
Statement made 12th January 2012
2 Labour Party Manifesto on pubs at 2010 general election
The local pub and social club are also hubs of community life. Too many pubs have closed that could have been sustained by local people. We will support pubs that have a viable future with a new fund for community ownership in 2010-11. Councils must take full account of the importance of pubs to the local community when assessing proposals that change their use, and we will make it more difficult to demolish pubs. Restrictive covenants applied by pub companies to property sales will be curbed and flexibility for pubs to provide related services promoted, making it easier to have live entertainment without a licence. A non-tie option should be available for pub tenants; we will act if the industry fails to make progress on this.
TV programme ‘Inside Out’ to feature Remploy workers in Leeds
TV programme ‘Inside Out’ to feature Remploy workers in Leeds and their fight to keep their factory open. BBC1 Monday, 22nd October at 7.30pm.
Leeds/Wakefield/Doncaster Train IS Running As Normal Tomorrow
We have just had confirmation from the Train Chartering Company that the Regional TUC chartered train from Leeds, Wakefield and Doncaster IS running.
All other arrangements stand. Many apologies for the problems that this has caused, which has been completely out of our hands, and thanks again for your support.
Bulletins & Minutes
Derbyshire CC Bulletin No 1.pdf
Reductions in Pensionable Pay - Form.pdf
Reductions in Pensionable Pay - Factsheet.pdf
Update On Harmonising Terms & Conditions of Service - October 2012.pdf
Schools JCC Meeting 25th May 2012.pdf
Schools JCC Meeting 22nd June 2012.pdf
Schools JCC Meeting 20th July 2012.pdf
Schools JCC Meeting 21st September 2012.pdf
Government Wants Workers To Give Up Their Rights
Unions have angrily attacked government plans to use employee ownership schemes to encourage workers to give up hard won employment rights. Chancellor George Osborne told this week’s Conservative Party conference businesses will be allowed to remove ‘gold-plated employment rights’ in exchange for handing out shares to employees.
The £100m ‘employee-owner’ scheme will allow employees to received tax-exempt shares worth £2,000 to £50,000 if they give up their rights to claim unfair dismissal and redundancy. They would also have to sacrifice the right to request flexible working and time off for training, and would be required to provide 16 weeks’ notice of a firm date of return from maternity leave, instead of the usual eight. TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said the measure ‘looks more to be said for effect, than because it will make much difference’, but added: ‘We deplore any attack on maternity provision or protection against unfair dismissal, but these complex proposals do not look as if they will have very much impact as few small businesses will want to tie themselves up in the tangle of red tape necessary to trigger these exemptions.’
Paul Kenny, GMB general secretary, said: ‘Slashing people’s employment rights under the guise of ownership schemes won’t create jobs and it won’t create growth,’ adding: ‘George Osborne has as much knowledge about economics as a stick of rhubarb.’ In conference and fringe meeting speeches, ministers including Eric Pickles and Francis Maude also said they would cut dramatically the facilities time available to civil servants. Unions said the move ‘makes no sense’, as unions have been shown to deliver a massive cost saving by providing a well-organised negotiating structure for employers, reducing costly legal proceedings and by dramatically reducing lost time related to work-related injuries and illnesses by delivering safer workplaces. The prime minister, in a throw away sound bite in his conference speech, said he wanted he wanted ‘less nonsense about health and safety.’
Bereaved relatives group FACK responded: ‘As the families of people who went to work hard to provide for their families, but never came home, we know that treating health and safety as ‘nonsense’ is deadly.’
Faulty Crane Linked To Crushed Foot
A welder needed surgery after a steel beam fell on his foot from a faulty crane. The 51-year-old GMB member from Wetherby, whose name has not been released, was moving the 10ft long and two foot wide beam using an overhead pendant operated crane as part of his job as a welder for Severfield Reeve Ltd.
The beam broke free from the crane’s plate grab and fell to the floor, crushing his left foot. He suffered severe crush injuries, including a broken big toe and a large open wound in his foot which needed surgery. He was in hospital for a week and off work for three months. Investigations found the plate grab was faulty and it was removed from use. The welder has been left with permanent symptoms including pain when standing and working for long periods of time. He has a 25 per cent chance of developing arthritis and if he does develop the condition he will need further surgery. In a union-backed compensation case, Severfield Reeve admitted liability and settled the claim out of court for an undisclosed sum.
Tim Roache, GMB regional secretary for Yorkshire & North Derbyshire, said: ‘Employers have an absolute duty to maintain work equipment. The consequences of failing to do so can be expensive and in the worst case scenario may result in the death of a worker. Our member is now permanently disabled but is fortunate that he came away with his life.’
Details of train from Sheffield for the 20th October march/rally - London
The charter train departs Sheffield on the morning of 20th October at 07:23 and calls at Derby and Leicester before arriving at London St Pancras at 10:15. A train has been booked for the return journey too which will leave London St Pancras at 16:45. Tickets are £10 return for RMT members or £20 for all others.
Members and organisations (Trades Councils, etc.,) wishing to pay by credit or debit card should call the RMT Industrial Relations department at HO on 0207 529 8825 for more details.
Please make sure you indicate clearly how many tickets are required, both for non members and members and remember to include a return address. ALL tickets will be dispatched from the Midlands Regional Office from w/c 8th October and the final date for orders will be 16th October to allow for delivery.
Brulines Shows Sales In Closed Pub
A “big brother” remote monitoring system based in Stockton on Tees recorded the sale of 60 pints of draught beer on 7th May 2012 in The Old White Horse tied pub in Bingley, West Yorkshire on the day the pub was closing down and had no draught beer to sell.
Kevin Roberts, the tied tenant of The Old White Horse, was forced to close the pub and give back the keys after pubco Enterprise Inns refused to fix an economic rent for this pub that had suffered a loss in trade.
Enterprise Inns is now seeking £37,800 from the tied tenant which includes court fees of £10,000 arising from action over the remote monitoring records that recorded the non-sale of 60 pints and rent arrears arising from their refusal to fix an economic rent due to the same records.
Enterprise Inns have given Kevin Roberts until 12 October to pay this sum. They are threatening to take him to court to seek to bankrupt him as he is unable to pay these sums. This is the latest in a long line of legal harassment of a tied tenant unable to pay an uneconomic rent.
GMB, the union for tied tenants, has studied the case and consider that the figure is unjustified and grossly unfair. GMB tied pub tenants branch has written to Ted Tuppen, Managing Director of Enterprise Inns, demanding an explanation for the legal persecution of the licensee of this West Yorkshire pub.
Kevin Roberts took on The Old White Horse in Bingley, West Yorkshire on a rent of £28,000 in Oct 2005 which through RPI had risen to £37,000 in 2010. This huge rent plus the sky high wholesale prices charged was too high and the pub struggled. In 2009, for example, David Morgan of Morgan and Clarke undertook an assessment of the business and said the correct rent was about £15,000.
In March 2010 Kevin Roberts was unable to sustain the rent of £37,000 rent and got into arrears and was put on cash with order whilst he repaid the debt.
The Bradford and Bingley headquarters moved from Bingley in 2010 and this led to trade in the town nose-diving. Kevin Roberts applied for a Code of Practice rent review which he assumed would be a formality. He was stunned to find that he was turned down due to discrepancies in his actual sales and the record of sales from the remote monitoring system.
There was a court hearing in 2010 to deal with rent arrears and fines levied using the remote monitoring records during which £10,000 court fees were incurred. Kevin Roberts was ordered by the court to pay £650 per week towards his on-going rent while the other matters in contention were resolved.
Dave Mountford, Secretary GMB Matlock branch with tied tenant members said, “Unable to financially survive, Kevin handed back the keys on the 7th May 2012. He had no draught sales on his last night and which was witnessed by many customers. Yet the remote monitoring system recorded 60 pint draught dispense for that night alone which shows how reliable this monitoring system is. Enterprise Inns now seek to bankrupt Kevin for £37,800. This sum includes fees of £10,000 from their court action over records from the remote monitoring system and arrears continued to build after they refused to fix an uneconomic rent using the same records as an excuse. This refusal was in breach of their own Code of Practice. This forced Kevin into a position whereby failure was inevitable.
This demand for £37,800 is just the next step in a long line of legal harassment on a business asked to pay an uneconomic rent. Rather than agree an economic rent to get the pub on its feet Enterprise Inns sent round a debt recovery service supported by two West Yorkshire police officers to recover arrears. This was while Kevin was paying the on-going rent ordered by the court. Enterprise also ignored the Court order to give notice 48 hours before visits to the pub Enterprise Inns continued to turn up unannounced to undertake cellar checks.
Unfortunately this is typical of the sort of behaviour this appalling company inflicts on tied tenants. These pubcos care little about the individual and even less about the pub and community it serves. That Enterprise Inns is now leasing the Old White Horse for £18,000 rent shows how unjust this threat of court action is. That is why GMB is writing to Ted Tuppin about this case”.
Contact: Dave Mountford 07794 021212
Terms & Conditions’ Proposals for Sheffield City Council and Sheffield Homes Workers
GMB are organising an emergency meeting at Farm Road Sports & Social Club, Farm Road, Sheffield, S2 2TP, Monday 08 October 2012 at 6.30pm
Directions: From the train station continue down Suffolk Road. You will see McDonalds on the corner. Steer right down Farm Road and the club is 100 metres on your left. Onsite parking is free.
GMB have received formal notification letters from both Sheffield City Council and Sheffield Homes referring to HR1 and Section 188 Notices. Without going into minute detail, both employers want to freeze increments in 2013 - 14. As is always the case whenever we get to this point in negotiations, rumours are plentiful. There are some quite controversial issues that are under discussion and/or being proposed by both employers. We will cover what is and is not under discussion at this meeting. This is your first chance to hear it from your Conveners and your Regional Officer. If you cannot attend please consider asking another colleague to attend so that they can feed back information. There will be a full and frank briefing given at the meeting with time for questions.
Non trade union members are welcome but you will be asked to join on the night.
Former Sheffield City Council Craft Workers Settle Dispute
GMB and other unions have been in dispute in Sheffield over a gross pay differential between wages for craft workers and their colleagues who are classed as labourers. The pay for Sheffield City Council labourers went through a job evaluation process 2 years ago and the labourers saw their wages rise as a result.
Craft workers however do not come under the same pay agreements as most other Council staff and so they were left out of the process. What resulted was a situation where most craft workers pay fell below that of the labourers they work along side, something that the workers were not willing to accept.
Peter Davies, GMB organiser, explained ‘Unfortunately the Council were not willing to settle this dispute despite our threat of strike action, partly it has to be said, because they knew that the vast majority of craft workers were due to transfer from the Council to AMEY in August, the company that have secured the massive PFI funded roads and streets contract, and partly because they’re skint. AMEY on the other hand have been keen from day 1 to resolve this.
Yesterday we reached a deal that not only re-dresses the imbalance, which everyone has accepted is unfair, but also maintains fair differentials that reflect our members skills’. All 3 trade unions worked together throughout this dispute in order to reach this deal. The settlement falls in a range that gives a minimum rise of around 10% with the lowest paid workers seeing an up-lift of around 20%. Pete added, ‘This sounds like a huge rise in this day and age but what this really shows is how far public sector craft workers have fallen behind in terms when it comes to a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. These AMEY craft workers can now concentrate on the job of delivering what Sheffield needs, great roads, street lighting and top notch pavements. Now we need to pursue a similar deal for the craft workers that remain in the Council’.
GMB has negotiated a fabulous corporate discount for GMB members - Bodyline cards can be used at all 20 Leeds City Council leisure facilities, all 18 swimming pools, all 13 Bodyline gyms and over 500 fitness classes, and there’s definitely something to suit everyone.
We have been given an amazing 15% discount on normal prices, which can increase further the more of us that join the scheme. You don’t just have to live or work in Leeds to benefit, as long as you can use any one of the Leeds City Council leisure facilities, you can be part of the Bodyline scheme.
Joining the scheme not only gives you the opportunity to get fit and stay fit, it also helps to support our local economy. Many GMB members work for Leeds City Council, and ensuring the leisure facilities are supported by us will also help to safeguard our members’ jobs who work there.
If you are already a Bodyline member, please let them know that you are a GMB member as this may result in a further reduction in the future.
Paul Kenny’s Fraternal Greetings To Labour Conference
GMB general secretary, Paul Kenny, tells the Labour party conference in Manchester that the TUC march and rally in London on October 20th will be the day when the tide really begins to turn against the ConDem government. It will bring together people in their hundreds of thousands – black and white; men and women; young and old – united in their commitment to social justice.
Paul Kenny said in his speech “On 20th October, less than three weeks from now, the TUC will be holding our ‘Future that Works’ demonstration in central London. It will bring together people in their hundreds of thousands – black and white; men and women; young and old – united in their commitment to social justice.
I’m sure it will be a momentous occasion; a day when the tide really begins to turn against this government”.
GMB Members Rough-it For A Good Cause
Members from GMB’s Leeds Civic branch, along with staff and officers from GMB, slept under the stars last night to raise badly needed funds for local homeless charity, ‘Simon On The Streets’.
Dozens of people agreed to give up their evening and from 9.30pm were taken around the sites of Leeds where the homeless are often found bedding down for the night, before bedding down themselves at 11pm in Millennium Square.
‘Simon on the Streets’ offers street-based support. They operate across Leeds, Huddersfield and Bradford providing front-line emotional and practical care for those who need it and their role in the community is to provide individual support to the homeless; those at risk of becoming homeless; those with behavioural and mental health issues; and those who are struggling with an addiction. Their aim is to be there for these people and help them to access the services that they need to make positive changes to their lives.
Commenting, Leeds Civic branch secretary, Neil Cole said: “We were horrified to see the latest figures on homelessness had increased by 40% in the last year. With these figures in mind, and the fact that ‘Simon on the Streets’ does not get any government funding, we would like to raise awareness and as much money as possible for the very important work that this charity does for our community.”
Regional secretary for the GMB trade union, Tim Roache, said: “I’m so proud of my GMB members who wanted to do this in the cold weather so that they would get an appreciation of what it’s like to sleep rough. They have also raised over £5 thousand and that figure is increasing by the hour. This shows the true side to trade unions and that we are caring, compassionate people and not just about strikes and conflict.”
Public Sector Receives No Pay Rise For Three Years
GMB commented on the speech by Ed Balls, Shadow Chancellor at the Labour Party conference.
Ed Balls should have been more ruthless about closing the tax loopholes which takes billions per year out of the UK Exchequer and PFI contracts which created assets worth £55 billion are set to cost the taxpayer £320 billion says GMB.
GMB General Secretary Paul Kenny said “Public sector workers have not had a pay rise for 3 years while inflation has been high. What they have had to do is to pick up the work of the 250,000 public sector jobs that have gone for no additional pay. The out of touch elite decision makers are wrong. This is a time when public and private sector workers know that next year the multi millionaire elite will be getting a boost to their income of £40,000 a year because of Tory tax cuts for the wealthy.
Ed should have been more ruthless about closing the tax loopholes which tax billions per year out of the UK Exchequer. PFI contracts which created assets worth £55 billion are set to cost the taxpayer £320 billion. Government spending public money in the wrong way and the Tories are about to repeat the PFI waste. Public and private sector workers did not made the bankers recession. They should not be made to pay for it. “
Health and Safety Cuts Wrong
GMB says that health and safety cuts are just propaganda to appease the right wing condem coalition. These cuts will not promote growth and could well lead to an increase in accidents at work and in the retail sector increase risks to the public also says GMB.
GMB commented on the Government proposals to cut the coverage of health and safety laws.
John McClean GMB National Health & Safety Officer said “ This is nothing new and is in effect a regurgitation of previous statements from Lord Young and principally the previous Health and Safety Minister. It was Mr Grayling without reference to his department who announced this in March 2011. This is just propaganda to appease the right wing from a new minister- none of which is new or unfortunately surprising. This will not promote growth and could well lead to an increase in accidents at work and in the retail sector increase risks to the public also. Current laws in this area were not enforced very strongly anyway. The burdens will now fall on individuals and society in suffering and cost. Most small and medium firms would not be able to identify the legislation that states they should carry out risk assessments.”
Statement on Remploy Chesterfield
GMB regional and local officials met with Remploy management on Wednesday 19th September 2012. During these discussions the company stated the future of the Remploy Chesterfield factory either through buyout with a TUPE transfer or a factory closure will be decided on Tuesday 25th September 2012 at a Remploy board meeting.
To enable discussions and have the opportunity to respond/negotiate on the Chesterfield factories future, GMB members have agreed to a further suspension of industrial action that was due to start on Monday 24th September 2012.
If there is no progress in discussions or no statement/information by Remploy before a GMB members meeting on Wednesday 26th September 2012 industrial action will continue and GMB members at Remploy Chesterfield will be on strike from 6.00am on Thursday 27th September to 6.00am on Thursday 4th October 2012.
Blacksmith Receives GMB Enhanced Asthma Payout
A council blacksmith who developed asthma when he was exposed to dangerous fumes in the workplace has been awarded a payout six times the original offer from his employer, thanks to help from his union. Simon Litherland, 47, was initially offered £16,000 in compensation by Sheffield County Council despite his condition meaning he could no longer work in his trade. The GMB member was eventually awarded £104,000 in damages when the union-backed case went to court.
He was diagnosed with occupational asthma after he was exposed to fumes from metalworking fluids. The trained blacksmith, who had been employed by Sheffield County Council all his working life, began to suffer from breathlessness in 2005. The council introduced the metalworking fluids in 2000 but from 2004 his job required him to use the fluids more often. In July 2007 he was diagnosed with occupational asthma caused by the metalworking fluids. He is now working in a temporary clerical role for the council but medical experts have said if he lost his job he would never be able to work again.
Tim Roache from the GMB commented: ‘Sheffield County Council could easily have had measures in place to make sure that Mr Litherland was protected against these noxious fumes. They failed to do that and then thought they could buy off his claim for £16,000 when the health, livelihood and future employability of a relatively young man has been severely restricted.’
Young Members on facebook
Remploy Chesterfield Industrial Action Suspended
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Members Vote To Accept New LGPS Proposals
GMB members have voted 95% in favour of the new LGPS 2014 proposals. This is a very strong endorsement of the improvements negotiated by GMB over the government’s original disastrous proposals.
We now await the results of the consultation exercises from other unions and employers which, if positive, means that government will be mandated to put the new 2014 proposals into statute thereby securing the future sustainability of the pension scheme.
Leeds Branch ‘Rough’ It For A Good Cause
GMB Leeds Civic Branch (for members working in Leeds City Council) are currently working with the Leeds-based charity ‘Simon on the Streets’. We believe that the work they do is vital to our community by offering front line emotional and practical support to those who need it. Simon on the Streets’ role is to offer individual support to those who are homeless, at risk of becoming homeless; those with behavioural and mental health issues and those who are struggling with an addiction.
As a Branch we were horrified but not surprised to see the latest figures on homelessness had increased by 40% in the last year. This has been reported in the Guardian newspaper and on the Inside Housing website. With these figures in mind, and the fact that Simon on the Streets does not get any Government funding, we would like to raise awareness and raise money for the very important work that Simon on the Streets do for our community. We have arranged to do a sponsored Sleep-Out. We will be sleeping rough through the night of Monday 1st to Tuesday 2nd October 2012 in Millennium Square, Leeds. We have the support of Leeds City Council’s CEO Tom Riordan, Council Leader Cllr Wakefield and Lead Member for Adult Social Care Cllr Yeadon to organise the event.
This event is exclusively for GMB members and we need 100 people to commit to join us and raise funds to hit our target. If we can do so, Simon on the Streets will be able to employ a Support Worker for a 12-month period.
If making a donation by cheque, please make payable to ‘Simon on the Streets’ and send to Neil Cole, c/o GMB Convenors’ Office, Civic Hall, Leeds LS1 1UR. We hope you will all be able to get involved in some way. Your support is appreciated.
Member Savings • Member Loans • Member Financial Services
TCU was established in 1999 to serve GMB members and their families by providing a competitive democratic alternative to banks and other savings and loan providers. TCU is 100% owned by GMB members and offers a range of services aimed at assisting members to manage their household budgets.
Members are encouraged to make the most of their money through regular savings, which are fully protected by the FSCS up to £85,000, and responsible borrowing with fast flexible loans from £100 to £10,000.
Join TCU and be part of a fairer way to manage your money. Download a TCU application form or visit the TCU website for further details.
Tel: 0161 486 1777
TCU also operates a Member get Member scheme which will reward members with £10 for each new member introduced… so get signing your friends and family up now!
TCU Money is the trading name of Thorne credit Union Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. FSA firm reference number 213550
Members’ Case Information Pack
Applicable for Workplace Organisers, Shop Stewards, Health & Safety Reps, Trade Union Learner Reps and Accompanying Reps.
Workplace Organisers’ Toolkit
Many members of our union get active at work.Some hold official GMB positions such as Safety Representatives, Shop Stewards and GMB Learning Representatives. Others just help the union in anyway they can – taking the newsletter round their workplace or looking after a noticeboard for example.
But however our members volunteer to support GMB where they work, whether in an official capacity or not, we see you as our GMB Workplace Organisers and this toolkit exists to give you a reference point and to support and advise you in all you do.
Remploy Sales Up By 12.2%
Last month, the government announced that 27 factories will close by the end of the year throwing about 1,700 disabled workers out-of-work. A further nine factories face an uncertain future. The remaining 18 sites are due to close or be sold-off next year. Remploy employees have held two 24-hour strikes recently in a bid to force a government rethink, which have received enormous public support. Further protests are planned.
The full list of Remploy factories facing closure or sell off are: Aberdare, Abertillery, Acton, Ashington, Barking, Birkenhead, Bolton, Cleator Moor, Gateshead, Lanarkshire, Leeds, Leicester, London (Haringay), Manchester, Merthyr Tydfill, Newcastle, Oldham, Penzance, Pontefract, Preston, Southampton, Spennymoor, Stoke-on-Trent, Swansea, Wigan, Worksop and Wrexham.
Phil Davies, GMB National Secretary, said: “After the two days of strike action we are now asking the Remploy workers to discuss the next stage in the campaign. This could include demonstrations in London and other cities in September during the Para- Olympic games. We are not ruling out further industrial action.
Clearly this pension atrocity will also apply to the other 18 sites, plus Employment Services and Close Circuit Television monitoring.
GMB has strongly criticised the silence of the Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith in failing to offer any help to the soon-to-be made redundant 1,700 Remploy workers – unlike the Welsh Government which has pledged £2.4 million for employers who give jobs to Remploy workers when the factories in Wales close.
Both GMB and Unite have been campaigning to keep the Remploy factories open as viable businesses. The unions are citing the recent upbeat assessment of Remploy’s future prospects from Alan Hill, Managing Director, Remploy Enterprise Businesses covering all 54 factories who wrote that: “We have grown our sales by 12.2%, a fantastic achievement.”
GMB Proud To Support Leeds Pride - Sunday 5th August 2012
Once again Leeds Pride is upon us, a major event in our Region celebrating equality and inclusion. GMB is proud to be involved again this year, and are expecting a bigger presence than last year. Having an open top bus in the main parade, with key activists sporting orange tutu’s and original tops commissioned for the event, to ensure they fit in with the glitz and glam of the colourful parade.
GMB are also pleased to have secured a stall on Lower Briggate, which will be filled with merchandise to fit the day. One of the organisers of the GMB presence, at the pride event Branch Secretary Neil Cole, said “GMB continues to drive equality in the workplace and community, keeping it high on the agenda. It is scandalous that discrimination continues in this day and age, we continue to represent many of our members who encounter such discrimination and will continue to do so until it is fully stamped out, it has no place within our society”.
GMB represents 62,000 members within the Yorkshire Region, in both Public and Private sectors, having a strong base of members and activists within Leeds. Of which many will be attending the event to rally for fairness and equality.
‘Underhand’ Insurer Tried To Dupe GMB Injury Victim
‘Underhand’ insurer tried to dupe injury victim
GMB is warning members who are injured at work not to accept offers of compensation from their employers or insurance companies without taking independent legal advice. Factory worker Shaun Powell, whose foot was crushed by a huge metal beam while working for Joseph Ash Chesterfield Ltd, was called into work by a senior manager and offered just £1,700 in compensation by the employer’s insurer, Garwyns. Now the GMB member has received more than £122,000 in damages with the support of the union’s legal service.
The 43-year-old from Chesterfield has been unable to return to work since the red hot 10 metre long, 1.25 tonne steel beam landed on his left ankle in 2008. His foot was so badly burnt and broken he needed a skin graft and suffered from chronic pain syndrome, which means he needs regular injections to control the pain. He also suffered post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), with anxiety, nightmares and flashbacks. Just six weeks after the injury he was phoned by a senior manager and asked to come into the office to discuss the incident. At the meeting, a representative from Garwyns offered him just over £1,700 to cover his time off and injuries. Mr Powell, who was subsequently made redundant, has been unable to find another job due to his physical and mental injuries.
After declining the offer on GMB advice, union law firm Thompsons commenced legal action against Joseph Ash when they denied any responsibility. The firm settled the claim for £122,000 shortly before trial. Mr Powell said: ‘I thought it was a good offer and was ready to settle it. I had no idea that my injuries would cause me to be out of work for so long. Fortunately I asked the GMB and Thompsons for advice otherwise I’d be unemployed now and the £1,700 they offered would be long gone.’
Jeremy Hague from Thompsons Solicitors said: ‘This is the worst case I’ve seen of employers and their insurers attempting to take advantage of their employee’s vulnerability. It’s a return to the bad old days when insurers had offices in factory car parks and injured workers would be sent to them for a pay off if nothing more was said. Mr Powell was approached by his employer when he was still in shock over his very serious accident. He wasn’t advised to seek independent advice but was being told by those with vested interests to accept an appalling low level of damages.’
Remploy Workers Strike To Stop Factory Closures
Workers at Remploy Leeds, Pontefract, Huddersfield, Sheffield and Chesterfield have taken part in the first of two 24-hour strikes over government plans to close 36 of the remaining 54 Remploy factories. 1,752 workers will be made compulsory redundant, 1,518 are disabled. Ever since Remploy was established in 1946 the company has been run for the benefit of disabled people but crucially has been managed by non disabled people.
Clive Warley, Olympic torchbearer and also disabled, was at the picket line in Leeds to support the striking workers, wearing his official tracksuit and carrying an Olympic Torch, Clive was described by City of York Chief Executive as ‘a stalwart of the city’. They were joined by a bag-piper who ‘lamented’ the threatened closure of the factory. A number of Leeds Councillors also joined the striking workers to show their continued support.
Tim Roache, GMB regional secretary for the Yorkshire and North Derbyshire region, said “Our members are fighting for their jobs but also for the dignity that bringing home a wage brings. This is not just about the loss of the their jobs as important as that is, the stark reality is that these workers are unlikely to find work anywhere ever again.”
Phil Davies, GMB national officer said: “Disabled people in Remploy have not taken lightly the decision to withdraw their labour. These are workers who do not have large amounts of savings. So for them to sacrifice a day’s pay shows the passion with which they are trying to save their jobs.
“The Government is running around like a headless chicken trying to introduce separate schemes of employment support when everybody knows that the economy is in recession and sustainable employment is not available. “This decision to force the closure of Remploy means that thousands of disabled people and their families will be put into poverty and their health is bound to suffer.
“At the same time as the world’s athletes are going for gold, our members will be sent to the dole. What a disgrace, the Government should hang its head in shame. We can assure them that this will not be forgotten.”
A second strike will be held next Thursday. For further details contact Steve Morris on 0845 3377777.
GMB Defend ‘Man of Steel’ - Rangi Chase of Castleford Tigers RLFC
GMB confirm that following our representation, Chase remains a Castleford Tigers’ player
The Rugby League Players’ Association (RLPA), part of GMB has successfully represented ‘Man of Steel’ rugby league player, Rangi Chase in a disciplinary hearing with his club Castleford Tigers.
Geoff Burrow, GMB/RLPA Officer said: “Our member Rangi Chase faced very serious disciplinary allegations but I am pleased to confirm that following our representation, Chase remains a Castleford Tigers’ player. I would like to thank all parties involved for reaching this fair and sensible decision. Rangi was at pains to point out that this would not have been the case had he not had the support of the GMB/RLPA”
This is another success GMB has secured for our members and I want to remind all players, coaches and staff that GMB/RLA is, and remain, the only representative body within rugby league that can provide this level of service, expertise and professional support when players need it most.”
Seven Remploy Factories To Close By Christmas
The strikes will go ahead on 19th and 26th July as planned and should be a rallying point giving for each local community the opportunity to stand behind these disabled workers who will be facing the scrap heap.
GMB responded to the government announcement today in the House of Commons confirming that 27 of the 36 Remploy factories scheduled to close in the first wave of closure would close from August 2012 and then will be completed by December 2012. The remaining 9 factories would be subject to a further period of consultation regarding their future. In all 2,800 disabled workers’ jobs are set to go. Last week the unions announced strike action on 19th and 26th July.
Manor Mill Lane
445 Brightside Lane
Tandem Industrial Estate
The list of the 36 factories that were announced in March to close were:- Aberdare, Aberdeen, Abertillery, Acton, Ashington, Barking, Barrow, Birkenhead, Bolton, Bridgend, Bristol, Chesterfield, Cleator Moor, Croespenmaen, Edinburgh, Gateshead, Leeds, Leicester, Manchester, Merthyr Tydfil, Motherwell, Newcastle, North London, North Staffs, Oldham, Penzance, Pontefract, Poole, Preston, Southampton, Spennymoor, Springburn, Swansea, Wigan, Worksop and Wrexham.
The 9 of these factories to be subject to further consultation are:- Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Springburn, Barrow, Bristol, Chesterfield, Poole, Bridgend, Croespenmaen, All the others are set to close by December 2012.
Phil Davies GMB National Secretary said, “GMB is very angry with the government’s confirmation today that it will close 27 Remploy factories in the first wave by December with the rest to follow shortly afterwards. To close these factories that employs disabled people in the present economic climate is a sentence to life of unemployment and poverty. The strikes will go ahead on 19th and 26th July as planned and should be a rallying point giving for each local community the opportunity to stand behind these disabled workers who will be facing the scrap heap.”
Team GMB Going For Gold
Team GMB (made up of 13 officers, staff and family) joined with almost 9,000 people to take part in the 2012 Jane Tomlinson Run for All in Leeds. The 10km (6.2 mile) run is in its sixth year and almost 60,000 people have participated in the event since it was launched. The event was first held in 2007 just three months before the charity fundraiser Jane Tomlinson died from cancer. The race has raised more than £4.5m since it began.
Team GMB were joined by television and sports stars on the run through the centre of Leeds including actors from Emmerdale and Waterloo Road. All 13 team members made the distance with some incredible finishing times.
Anyone wishing to donate to Team GMB should make their cheques payable to ‘GMB’ and send them to regional office.
The team are already back in training for 2013!
Notice of Strike Action To Save Remploy Factories
Further to our recent notice regarding the positive result of the industrial action ballot. We have today notified the company of the intended dates of strike action and action short of a strike. They are as follows:
From 12 noon on Thursday 12th July 2012 a continuous overtime ban
From 6am on Thursday 19th July 2012 to
6am on Friday 20th July 2012 24 hour strike
From 6am on Thursday 26th July 2012 to
6am on Friday 27th July 2012 24 hour strike
This will take place in all 54 factory sites.
Please show your support by attending one of the picket lines - for further information contact regional office on 0845 337 7777.
Sova Dispute Update
The SOVA strike on the recycle sites in Sheffield has been suspended and we have secured the jobs of all GMB members who have been made redundant, they will now be reinstated.
We have agreed to trial a bonus scheme that, we are told, can provide a £2.00 per hour increase in wages. This will be calculated on a weekly basis and reviewed with our reps but the bonus will be paid at the same rate to all regardless of separate target achievements on individual sites.
Annualised hours are now optional. Pay protection on rates for those who failed to secure foreman positions will be protected until December. 3 sites will open 6 days per week, 1 will open 7 days per week and 1 will open 4 days per week. Staff will be deployed to alternative sites so that they do not have to work most weekends and travel will be paid. The business model and opening hours for recycling will be reviewed and this will begin with a full scrutiny board meeting with the Council.
The GMB will be at the forefront of a new strategy to develop a green waste service in partnership with the Council. The Councils preferred model will be a Cooperative and they wish to involve the GMB and our COT project (Training and development) as well as reps to ensure work is channelled through the recycle centres. It is envisaged by the GMB that this has the potential to increase opening hours and recycling services significantly.
Councillor Jack Scott is now meeting with GMB to keep this new momentum going. We will review our position after 3 weeks with a view to calling an end to the dispute itself if these actions are evident.
Remploy Vote For Strike Action
OVERWHELMING VOTE FOR INDUSTRIAL ACTION OVER THE CLOSURE OF 54 REMPLOY FACTORIES WITH THE LOSS OF 2,800 DISABLED WORKERS JOBS
We now have the prospect of Remploy workers taking strike action to defend their jobs to avoid their certain destiny of being chucked on the economic scrapheap says GMB.
Members of GMB and Unite employed by Remploy in 54 factories across the country have voted by an overwhelming majority to take part in strikes and other industrial action to protest against the closure of the factories and disabled workers being forced in to unemployment. The trade union side in Remploy will give 7 days notice with immediate effect for a programme of strikes and other action.
The majority for strike action was 79.5% of the vote in the GMB. The majority for action short of a strike was 87.3% in GMB. The figures for Unite are 59.7% in favour of strike action and 76.1% in favour of action short of a strike.
There was a Ministerial statement on 7th March the House of Commons to announce the closure of 36 of the 54 remaining Remploy sites with compulsory redundancy for 1,752 people of whom 1,518 of these are disabled. The statement envisages the complete closure of all 54 factories in due course leading to 2,800 disabled workers jobs being lost. A 90 day consultation period was due to end last month (June) but it has been extended.
The Remploy factories scheduled to close in the first wave in this area are as follows: Chesterfield, Leeds, Pontefract and Worksop.
Phil Davies GMB National Secretary said, “The government’s intention to destroy thousands of disabled workers jobs in Remploy has given rise to an overwhelming vote for strike action against the proposed closures of their 54 factories. These closures are going ahead without any consideration of the feelings and needs of these workers and their families or their future job prospects. To close a factory that employs disabled people in the present economic climate is a sentence to life of unemployment and poverty.”