Stop the trade union bill

ImageGen.ashxTrades unions helped workers win health and safety law, fair wages, maternity and paternity pay and a better deal at work.

Without trade unions we would not have the rights today that we take for granted; without trade unions, we would have no paid holidays, for instance.

Days lost to industrial action (strikes) are at an all-time low. Unions these days are settling concerns at work before they become disputes. Negotiation is the order of the day in 2016.

Over six million working people and their families are supported by their unions. They are the drivers, carers, paramedics, oil workers, cabin crew, scientists – you name it, they are in a union.

So why does this Conservative government want to crush their trade unions? Their anti trade union bill is making its way through Parliament. It not fit for purpose and is dangerously ideological.

When this bill becomes law British workers will be the poorest protected, and easiest to mistreat, in the Europe. Quite an achievement for a government that pledged to be the party of working people.

In May when the local elections come I urge everyone who can vote to do so. When you go to the polls remember this – the Tory government is no friend of working people.

Resolution on Sunday Trading

Here is a motion I have submitted to the next Full Council, which will be held on 10th December 2015:

Council notes that the Government has launched a consultation on whether to devolve the power to set the hours of Sunday trading.

Council further notes that whilst Council would generally welcome the devolution of new powers that these are powers that local government has not asked for.

In addition, Council notes that the government’s own economic evidence states that longer Sunday opening will not generate more consumer spending and will lead to fewer retail jobs, so this is not a tool for economic regeneration and that longer Sunday opening is unpopular with the public – the latest survey showed 77% support the current opening arrangements – and will have negative consequences for communities including shopworkers, who are already pressured to work longer hours than they wish on Sundays, convenience stores which are often a ‘lifeline’ to communities will lose trade and the government’s evidence shows that some stores will close and Sundays will become more like any other day, making it harder to hold community events.

Council resolves to write to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government advising that this Council believes that the Sunday Trading Act has worked well for 20 years and ensures that Sunday remains a special day whilst allowing shops to trade.

Council further resolves to write to all local MPs outlining the Council’s position.

What do UKIP and the Tories have in common?


Out of touch and out of time

email_ad_01 copy

Cuts to youth services

From 2012 to 2014 …

• More than 2000 youth service jobs were lost
• 350 youth centres were closed as a result of the cuts
• 41,000 youth service places for young people were cut
• At least 35,000 hours of outreach work by youth workers were removed
• Youth service spending was cut by £60 million (from 2010 to 2014the figure was £259m)

Cuts to youth services lead to increased poverty, crime, higher youth unemployment and an increase in teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. These factors will have major knock-on effects on communities, the criminal justice system, the health service and the economy.

UNISON Local Government report

Pledge to vote for public services


UKIP to be shut out of unions hustings

Just come back from a Southend Against The Cuts meeting. This was pretty well attended. This organisation brings together those who are broadly opposed to the austerity regime of the current Conservative and Liberal Democrat Government. It would be fair to say it has a fair mix of views, and a number of political parties are represented. Labour usually has the most representatives in attendance, but there are a smattering of Greens, Communists, and Socialist Workers Party activists as well. I do not know everyone’s allegiance, but I know most. It is a broad alliance of trade unionists (mostly) who want to change the Government’s direction, if not a change of Government.

Tonight a number of decisions were made.

There will be a hustings arranged for the week commencing April 20th. The exact date and venue has yet to be set, but a start time of 7.30pm is almost certain.

There will be one representative from each of the parties contesting the General Election in the two Southend constituencies; well, almost. There was a bit of a debate over whether UKIP should be invited to attend.

I thought UKIP should be invited. Unfortunately I was heavily out-voted and they will not be asked to attend. Whilst I respect the democratic decision (it was carried on a decisive show of hands) I am still convinced it was the wrong decision.

Those present felt that UKIP’s anti-union policies ruled them out. Having unfriendly policies should not exclude anyone from a public debate, not in my opinion anyway. I can understand a no platform policy for parties like the BNP, NF and English Democrats, but despite my view of UKIP’s policies I can see there is some daylight between what they stand for and fascism.

Hustings organisers are free to include or exclude who they want; I am not sure how this decision will encourage the undecided along. I am very supportive of trade unions, I belong to one myself. The debate was not acrimonious, not at all. However, I am keen to ensure that this is not seen as a decision endorsed by me. I repeat, I am still convinced it was a mistake. At our next meeting I will ask for this decision to be reconsidered.

There is going to be a May Day celebration on May 2nd (Saturday), with a stall of some sorts at the north end of Southend’s High Street. Southend Against The Cuts annual general meeting will be held after the General Election, and is likely to combined with a public meeting of some sorts (possibly examining what the election results means for trade unionists). There is also going to be some leafleting on Saturdays in the High Street, with an emphasis on the future of the National Health Service.



A march, on Saturday


Britain needs a pay rise