♦️ The Elections Bill has finished its first debate in Parliament and is now in ‘Committee Stage’. Trade Unions’ right to campaign independently is under threat, with new rules on ‘joint campaigning’ with political parties that risk stopping unions campaigning in their own right at election time.
The affiliated unions don’t just campaign for Labour – they campaign politically on industrial and wider issues, and they campaign against the far right. Affiliated unions represent 3 million working people, and their families – they are entitled to a strong, independent political voice.
The Bill attempts to mute the voice of trade unions and is an attack on freedom of expression and association, which cannot be allowed to stand. These new rules are completely unnecessary – trade union campaigning is the cleanest money in politics. They’re already regulated by the Electoral Commission and the Certification Officer, and unions decide how to campaign democratically. This isn’t about fairness – it’s about silencing the Government’s critics.
This Elections Bill is an assault on the UK’s democratic tradition and a brazen attack on the ability of trade unions to speak out on behalf of the millions of working people they represent. If you believe we should aspire to be a beacon of democracy, join the campaign for fair elections and to stop the Elections Bill. Take action 👇
♦️ GMB – Brighton Bins
GMB union and Brighton City Council agreed a pay-and-conditions deal this week that will lift all low-paid staff at Sussex council, not just the members involved in the dispute. Council bin collectors and drivers had been on full-on walkout since 5th October. Full details of the deal have yet to revealed, but GMB officials assert that it ‘ticks all the boxes and more’.
GMB’s Gary Palmer says:
“We are very proud of GMB members for standing up for themselves to win their own respect and fair treatment. They have also had amazing public support despite the inconvenience the people of Brighton and Hove have had to put up with”.
“We will also see all lowest-paid council staff – predominantly women workers – across the city get a pay rise as a consequence of this GMB City Clean campaign.”
Unite Community Eastbourne joined Eastbourne Labour’s monthly stall on October 9th to raise awareness of Empty Homes Day and homelessness. There are nearly 1500 empty homes in Eastbourne and 275,000 nationally. Information leaflets and cards on local services were handed out. #NoCovidEvictions cards were also handed out with QR codes of local services.
Our action was part of the SE UNITE COMMUNITY HOUSING GROUP action. A new campaign was launched urging Michael Gove to reinstate the COVID eviction ban for private and social tenants. Without this, there will be a wave of homelessness sweeping the country in the run up to Christmas.
A weeklong action was launched from SATURDAY 9th OCTOBER until 16th OCTOBER. Activists in towns and city centres in the Southeast campaigned to highlight the growing housing crisis.
Members of Unite Community’s Housing Action Group held street stalls in towns and city centres across the Southeast: including Hastings, Southampton, and EASTBOURNE.
The group warns that the removal of the COVID eviction ban has already led to a spike in evictions’ proceedings with more 550 people in England and Wales subject to proceedings since the ban ended on 31 May 2021.
This situation is likely to worsen in the months ahead as the government’s furlough scheme ends and £20 a week cut to Universal Credit begins to bite.
♦️Unite is running a national campaign against Weetabix “Fire re Hire”. Members are just entering the fifth week of Industrial action (as at 19th October).
Eastbourne Unite Community members joined the Fire and Re Hire Roadshow at 3 local locations on Wednesday 27th October, Sainsbury, Tesco, and Asda.
Unite are targeting supermarkets in all Regions encouraging shoppers to Boycott Weetabix products along with a mass online petition. Link here:
Please sign and share.
#TimeForRealChange is the grassroots members support for the New President Paul Holmes and the new majority Left NEC voted for in June.
They set up very recently to take a pivotal role in establishing the Union as a united left-wing Union to fight the Tories.
Here is their social media tree link:-
There was much alarm expressed by UNISON members at the role the union played in ensuring the Labour Party leadership’s Rule Changes were agreed at LP Conference in September. Supporting these Rule Changes went against UNISON policy agreements of 2018.
To avoid future confusion, the new Presidential Team brought six motions to the NEC of 6 October 2021, designed to bring clarity. All six motions were passed with substantial majorities by the NEC in line with UNISON’s democratic process. However, to prevent the motions being heard the Union General Secretary team had issued notice of their legal advice saying 4 of the motions would be unlawful. The Presidential team sought their own legal advice and went ahead.
The Presidential Team then directed a full written legal Opinion be obtained from the country’s leading authority on trade union law, Lord Hendy QC. The hope is this will resolve the situation, so UNISON can go forward as a united union in line with the NEC’s democratic wishes.
Meanwhile, grassroots members are rallying to support Paul Holmes who was suspended by Kirklees Council. The group consider this to be political victimisation.
♦️ Unite to defend ‘the Labour 5’
More legal ‘attacks’ from the ‘unity’ leadership.
The Labour Party is taking five ex-staffers to court, accusing them of leaking the leaked report. All five are Unite members. Unite will support the defence. “A senior party source said they believed that this fight could end up costing the Labour Party more than Unite had contributed during the last decade”.
♦️The TUC has called for a just transition to a greener, fairer economy.
Unions have called for a green jobs and investment plan and condemned the government’s feeble level of investment and action to date.
The huge scale of UK green job losses show government leading the country the ‘wrong way’ on low carbon revolution.
And the TUC has called for an action plan in every workplace, with joint work with unions at its core. COP26 will be an international government conference held in Scotland in November. The COP26 Coalition is mobilising for climate justice and radical action, and the more unions are involved, the more a just transition in the workplace will be at the core of its campaigning. Eastbourne TUC and Eastbourne Labour are supporting Eastbourne COP26 Climate Coalition Global Day of Action on 6th November.
For more information and to RSVP 👇