Newsletter of Wisbech, March & District TUC Issue 20 October 2015

The Workers’ Herald

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Workers Herald .20

Newsletter of Wisbech, March & District TUC Issue 20 October 2015

National Gallery Strikers say Thank You


Thank you for your fantastic solidarity. Our strike has shown that it is always worth campaigning and that workers who stand up and fight will get support and can win. We hope that we will encourage others to do the same and our success will help build a national movement against privatisation and for an alternative to austerity.

We are pleased to have reached an agreement with the National Gallery that will mean protection of terms and conditions for our members and a return to work for our senior rep Candy Udwin. Unfortunately despite all of our best efforts and yours we have not stopped the private contract at National Gallery going ahead on 01 November. However, the gallery have agreed to review the contract after one year.


We are still fundraising to be able to support our low paid members who have had no pay for 111 days so any donations will still be gratefully received!


Or you can donate to Sort code 086001 Account no 20169002 or cheques to PCS Culture Media and Sport Association, c/o PCS North West Region, Jack Jones House,1 Islington, Liverpool L3 8EG


Living Wage Week 1-7 November

This is held each year in the first week of November. On the Monday 2 November the Living Wage Foundation will announce the 2015/6 Real Living Wage which is presently £7.85 an hour outside London. Already well above Mr Osborne’s fake living wage. The real living wage is based on research by the Joseph Rowntree Trust in which members of the public identify what is needed for a minimum acceptable standard of living. This is then combined with the actual cost of living including essentials like rent, council tax, child care and transport, to produce the living wage figure. The fake living wage is just a figure plucked out of thin air.

This is also an opportunity to demonstrate to the public how Osborne and Cameron have lied to the public over being the party of hard working families and their fake “national living wage”. Despite many attempts to get support we have only enough volunteers to run one stall which will be in March Market Place between 10.30am and 12.30pm on Saturday 7th. If you can help please respond to Martin field at


Tony Benn Film – tickets limited

Tony Benn Will & Testament will be showing at the Light Cinema in Wisbech at 7.30pm on November 17. Tickets are £5 from Light Cinema Box Office.

A member of the film crew will be present for the Q&A but Tom Watson is very doubtful, a substitute is being sought.

The film will be shown in the smaller of the two downstairs screens so early booking is advised to ensure a ticket.


BBC inadvertantly points way forward for Labour

Michelle Dorrell who emotionally exposed the Tories tax credit lies on Question Time on 15 October vindicates the new social movement of Jeremy Corbyn. In an interview for the Guardian she commented; “Corbyn is shaking things up and allowing our voice to be heard but there’s more to be done. We need more normal people like me that have been through the worst and have tried to better themselves.”

It is easy to criticise Michelle for voting Tory at the last election but what she says should make us all aware of how we need to campaign. Michelle is one of many “normal” people who didn’t vote Labour in May or put differently one of the many ordinary working class voters who didn’t identify with or felt betrayed by Labour. Some like Michelle now feel betrayed by the Tories but as she says can see a difference in Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party. We all need to listen, learn and build on what Michelle has said.


Michael Meacher


The sad news of Michael Meacher’s sudden death came after I had written this month’s book review. I considered pulling the review out of respect for Michael but then I remembered the end of his forward to the book where he says “I believe this collection of essays opens up a new vision out of the tired and sterile arguments that have crippled politics over the last decade or more and point to…a profound transformation of our society that so many of our people long for.”

Michael has been a great friend of the trade unions and all who have held genuinely progressive political views over a number of decades. He will be greatly missed. I feel the best way we can pay tribute to his work in the labour movement is to actively support the social movement that Jeremy Corbyn is leading and which Michael Meacher so whole heartedly supported and helped to create.


News in Brief


SERTUC union learn annual conference

Tuesday 3 November at Congress House, register at Agenda here

SERTUC Women’s Rights Committee training seminar

Friday 27 November at Unite House London, with TU Bill, Abortion Rights, workshops and comedian. Full agenda here

SERTUC health & safety reps conference

Trade unions campaigning for better health, safety and well-being at work and in the community Friday 5 February 2016 at Congress House. Registration details here

Theatre: United We Stand

Townsend Productions present the story of Des Warren, Ricky Tomlinson and the Shrewsbury Pickets – 2 to 14 November in Peckham

National Pensioners Convention

Parliamentary lobby on social care and pensions Wednesday 4 November 11.30 onwards, contact NPC 020 7383 0388

Schools Out UK: LGBT History Month

Theme: Religion, belief and philosophy Thursday 26 November Cambridge, all day and evening


Campaign to save mental health services in Norfolk & Suffolk

Public meeting Monday 2 November 5.30pm Norwich including Guardian columnist Owen Jones

Stand up for your rights Hard hitting video: a powerful voice for the unemployed of Southwark

The Welfare Charter developed with Unemployed Centres Combine, PCS, Unite Community

Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign

An afternoon of Nicaraguan films Saturday 21 November 3pm £11.50/£6.50 details here

Jobs at Ruskin College Oxford

More information here

Trade Union Research and Curriculum Development Officer fixed term to 31 July 201

Trade Union Education Development Officer fixed term to 31 July 2017
Book Review


Published in February of this year this book was intended to influence a new Labour government on an economic policy that separated Labour from Tory Austerity . It is even more useful today since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader. With contributions from David Blanchflower, Marianna Mazzacuto, Richard Murphy, Andrew Cumbers, John Mills, Ha Joon Chang and more this book of short essays is a useful introduction to the economics debate that Jeremy and John McDonnell have promised.

The book also destroys the arguments of the Blairite “no alternative to neoliberalism” hard right of the Labour Party. Some of the top economic thinkers explain the arguments as to why change is needed and suggest alternative economic policies. This is a handy, easy to read overview of the alternative to austerity and neoliberal free market economics. It is £9.99 and available through Searching Finance on the internet or via E-Bay.
Children’s Book Review (courtesy Tom Pride)

With Christmas coming we are reminded that all our book reviews so far have been for adults so this is the first of our suggestions for children.

Our first book as you can see is very topical and hot off the presses. This is a story about how thousands of children in a part of the country somewhere up north, and not near anything of importance, are saved from having to ask for Christmas presents or eat Christmas dinner because their Mum’s and Dad’s have lost their jobs after the steelworks closed and have no money.

Instead of a being forced to go to Santa’s grotto they have been able to join a million other children visiting a Foodbank this Christmas all thanks to kindly Dave and George who have also found a way of preventing many hard working people losing their tax credits next year.

The book is available from Tory Central Office and if you are able to afford the price of the book they will soon ensure you can’t.

Health and safety statistics 2014/15

Published online today (27 October) the latest statistics on work-related health and safety in Great Britain and includes the following key annual figures (2014/15):

• 1.2 million working people suffering from a work-related illness.

• 2,538 mesothelioma deaths due to past asbestos exposures (2013).

• 142 workers killed at work.

• 76,000 other injuries to employees reported under RIDDOR.

• 611,000 injuries at work from the Labour Force Survey.

• 27.3 million working days lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury.

• £14.3 billion estimated cost of injuries and ill health from current working conditions (2013/14).
If you can be in London on 2nd November support the demonstration from 1pm in Westminster Central Hall . To lobby your MP e-mail him or her and say you want to lobby them you will be given a time. If you cannot why not e-mail them anyway.

1 – 3.30pm – rally Hear from some exciting speakers from 1pm – 3.30pm.

2pm – lobbying starts -The lobbying in Parliament will start from 2pm and throughout the afternoon groups will go over to the House of Commons to meet with their MPs to explain why they should vote against the bill.

Is comparing Tory Britain to Franco’s Spain too farfetched? (Editorial)

When Tory MP David Davies compared part of the TU Bill to Franco’s Spain he may have been much nearer the truth than he imagined. A quick check on Tory policies throws up some startling comparisons with authoritarian regimes.

This time last year, the Gagging Act had just come into effect. It prevented trade unions, charities and community groups from effectively participating in the general election. Did you notice how dull the election was when only politicians could contribute? Democracy is based on people being able to have a say, the Act seriously undermined the principles of freedom of expression, leaving the Tories open, with their massive donations from multi-millionaires and corporate business, to smear their opponents and frighten the electorate with Goebbels like propaganda.

The election success saw the Tories swiftly move on other policies they couldn’t get through when in coalition. The TU Bill introduced in parliament in July will seriously weaken trade unions, require strike leaders to register with police, undermine the right to strike and see the government interfere in the affairs of independent trade unions to an extent not seen in any other established democracy.

The Tories too have made no secret of their intention to scrap the Human Rights Act and effectively withdraw from the European Convention. These are rights, which are the cornerstone of any modern democracy, guarantee individual and collective liberties.

Then there is Individual Electoral Registration (IER) which is being rushed in against the advice of the Electoral Commission because the Tories want to influence the Boundary Commission review in a way that benefits the Tories even more. The Tories intention, thwarted under the coalition, is to ensure a built in Tory majority in England. IER is predicted to result in millions losing their right to vote especially those in Labour dominated constituencies. The Tory intention in rushing this in is to influence the boundary review into reducing the number of electoral constituencies which are more likely to vote Labour, by reducing the electoral roll in those constituencies.

Finally not only has the government decided to limit the ability of unions to support their members and significantly interfere in their internal affairs, but the government party is now rebranding itself as the Workers’ Party and setting up its own trade unionism. This is the nearest we have ever come to abolishing independent trade unions in this country and is behaviour reminiscent of some of the most obnoxious and authoritarian regimes of the 20th Century.

1 – 3.30pm – rally Hear from some exciting speakers from 1pm – 3.30pm.
2pm – lobbying starts -The lobbying in Parliament will start from 2pm and throughout the afternoon groups will go over to the House of Commons to meet with their MPs to explain why they should vote against the bill.
Where were the Black and Asian Suffragettes?

While the portrayal of the suffragette movement in the film from a working class perspective should be applauded it is sad that the role of Black and Asian women in the suffragette movement was ignored.

Black and Asian suffragettes were at the forefront of the Black Friday protest outside Parliament on November 18 1910 which resulted in two suffragettes being killed. It is even more regrettable that the film premiere should coincide with Black History month.

Nevertheless this film is an important reminder of how long it took for universal suffrage to be achieved and how important it is not to lose the vote. Individual Electoral Registration (IER) is threatening to remove up to 2million people from the roll on top of the already 8 million that are not registered. We must not let that sacrifice be wasted.

The photograph is of suffragette Ada Wright, beaten by British police on November 18 1910 outside parliament. For six hours women were batoned, beaten, punched, thrown to the ground, kicked on the floor and had their faces rubbed against railings in full view of the House of Commons.





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