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HAPPY BIRTHDAY NHS FROM EVERYONE AT THE GMB TRADE UNION
Happy birthday NHS and here’s to at least another 72 in good health. The NHS is in the public eye like never before and we need to keep it there. This weekend when many people are celebrating the 72nd anniversary of its forming there are so many things that we need to be aware of. Obviously the Coronavirus pandemic has been and is still a major cause for concern. Spikes in the virus in certain areas and the coming of a second wave, across England in particular, are rightly being flagged up as something everyone needs to remember when considering the option of ignoring medical and scientific advice. The strain on the NHS and care services has been of seismic proportions, with staff dying as a result of working on the frontline and most other members of a beleaguered,heroic, workforce stressed to ridiculous degrees. We are urgently hearing about leaks about a current struggle between the treasury and NHS executives, negotiating for investment to provide cover for the spikes and second wave and to open up for other health treatments like cancer and orthopaedic surgery for examples. The details are woolly but it appearsSimon Stevens, the Chief Executive of the NHS in England is demanding a £10bn shot in the arm from the Tory government. On face value, I’d vote for that. However it is being suggested that Stevens is keen to divert a certain amount of this money to private hospitals to help take the pressure off the NHS. Forgive me but that should raise alarm bells at this time when we are out clapping for the beloved health service and celebrating its formation in July 1948, we are having to rely on privatised services. When Nye Bevan and his supporters successfully fought for the establishment of a free health service for the nations and regions of these Islands, the Tories at the time had alreadyvoted over 20 times against the move. Led by the way by Winston Churchill who saw it as a step towards a socialist state. He actually suggested a national socialist state in one speech, invoking fear of a Nazi ideology, just three years after WW2. Unfortunately and unsurprisingly they haven’t changed their spots but are now undermining the NHS by their actions, handing out contracts to their pals in the private sector to the detriment of of the NHS ancillary workers and negatively impacting on the quality of delivery. As Tories do, they see and grasp every opportunity to make a killing, I mean financially of course, but if the top hat fits… So we are clapping all the people associated with health service workers, genuinely thanking and celebrating with our NHS workers, our heroes,  but as we do that worthwhile action, we can’t afford to have our attention diverted. Really can’t look the other way showing our gratitude, because when we look back again another chunk could have gone, another piece of capitalist surgery making cuts we can ill afford. It’s time to stand our ground and demand we defend what was set up 72 years ago and stop this Tory government from doing what their forefathers attempted and failed. Happy birthday NHS and here’s to at least another 72 in good health. Neil Smith Regional Political Officer GMB Trade Union...
POLITICAL SUPPORT BEHIND WORKPLACE DISPUTES TO PUT PRESSURE ON INTRANSIGENT EMPLOYERS FIGHTING FOR JOBS
In the last two years our political work has paid dividends in this region with successful campaigns to, save jobs and stop closures such as Bombardier, ABC council and Harland Wolff in Northern Ireland and Cammell Laird on Merseyside to name just a few. It is now around 100 days since lockdown and the health and safety along with the lives of our members and the public has been the major battle for us. The aftermath in economic terms now needs to be brought into focus as we face a major new challenge. Redundancies. In tackling the threat of cut backs by employers and government, we need to use all options to try and avoid redundancies at every opportunity. We have our industrial muscle, calling on workplace organisation and solidarity to stand our ground. The legal threat if the employer attempts to ignore employment laws on consultation and selection processes. And the political influence we have in our nations and regions. Politicians in our parliaments, assemblies and at local authority level need to be ready to respond to our demand for support. The development of political influence is an important part of any fight against job cuts. We need to be confident that when we call for support then elected representatives are right beside us, on picket lines and in debating chambers. The arguments about losing jobs and the impact on families and the local economy need to be made well in advance of threatened closures for example. We need to engage and build support of a political base, an idea that maybe easier in some areas than others, but all politicians need to show their backing to save constituents’ jobs or face the wrath of the voters at the ballot box. In the last two years our political work has paid dividends in this region with successful campaigns to, save jobs and stop closures such as Bombardier, ABC council and Harland Wolff in Northern Ireland and Cammell Laird on Merseyside to name just a few. The shipyard campaigns were similar with skilled jobs and the community at risk. In August 2019 in Birkenhead, Cammell Laird were demanding 291 job redundancies despite our knowledge that orders were in the pipeline. It was nothing short of a cost cutting exercise and a casualisation of most of the workforce, using cheaper labour. Our campaign moved quickly to develop local support with the union officers meeting with Local Labour constituency parties and with local authority leaders including Phil Davies, Steve Rotheram and Joe Anderson. By this time the members were heading for the picket lines and after nine days of strike action Joe Anderson and his colleagues persuaded the company directors to put together a task force to explore every route to finding a solution. The swift action of the joint unions with GMB Officer Albie McGuigan to the fore, led to an outcome of no compulsory redundancies and a fully restored workforce doing what they should have been doing all along, making ships. Denise Walker our senior officer in Ireland led a similar approach of joint union action in the form of a walkout and engagement with politicians across Belfast delivering continuity of shipbuilding at Harland & Wollf. This was a particularly difficult time because of the absence of the local assembly at Stormont. However every effort was made to get the local politicians involved and leading Labour Party MPs like Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Tony Lloyd and deputy leader John McDonald MP were invited into support the successful campaign. Belfast City Council were engaged with all party involvement in setting up a task force with the unions and local DUP MP Gavin Robinson. While the NI Labour Party held a public meeting on the issue to raise the community awareness. Drawing on our Political influence in NI also paid dividends in the fight to retain leisure services under local authority control in Armagh, Bambridge and Craigavon and more recently Nicola Mallon SDLP who is Minister for Infrastructure has worked with our reps and officers around Translink services. Political support backs our industrial campaigns and we need to put it to use as part of our armoury as we face up to imminent redundancy threats. Each region should be building capacity for cross party support wherever possible, reaching out to our politicians, to educate them on why every job counts. Political officers, regional secretaries, national officers and reps all need to have some political clout behind them before entering into consultation on possible job cuts or closures. Standard letters templated and ready to go out to politicians seeking their support should be created in advance. Site, office and factory visits to their local employment sources should be encouraged. From our point of view we also need a clear understanding on who among local employers will work with us, not just impose cuts without seeking alternatives to job losses. A list of good and bad employers will help us identify where more effort is required. Political support behind any dispute is always to be welcomed, adding to media coverage to help pile pressure on intransigent employers. Photo opportunities are also required and an MP or Mayor on a picket line is good copy for newspapers or online sites. Every option should be used in the fight for jobs and there is no time like now. Neil Smith Regional Political Officer GMB Trade Union...
GMB UNION TRAINING BRIEF VIDEO BULLYING AND HARRASMENT
Bullying & Harassment GMB union Training Brief. Bullying and harassment is a big problem for trade union reps. It is a health and safety issue which at its worst can lead to suicide. Many stress and mental health problems arise from bullying and harassment and it is a matter of life or death that we as a union declare zero tolerance of such behaviour in the workplace. Upload Video:  Bullying & Harassment GMB trade union Training Brief Video of Bullying & Harassment GMB trade union Training Brief Video Category: Trade Union Training...
POVERTY EXTENDS BEYOND MONEY AND INTO EDUCATION, HEALTH CARE, POLITICAL PARTICIPATION AND ADVANCEMENT OF YOUR SOCIAL ORGANISATION
Parents going hungry to feed their children and food bank organisers panicking as they see a future which is only going to get worse as companies start to shed jobs. Poverty is a health hazard. It damages people physically and mentally. It humiliates and causes major stress. Imagine the shame that not being able to feed your family properly would cause, the stress and pain of having to bear public humiliation. This wasn’t unusual, as we also heard that schools who were trying to access the vouchers couldn’t log onto the system and had to tell parents their visit to the supermarket to feed the kids was on hold again. Absolutely unacceptable way for people to be treated in this day and age, in this country. Benefits claims are up 128% including to the 2.8million unemployed. Universal credit is not enough to stay out of debt and pay bill demands. In work poverty is a major problem as highlighted by Labour MP Rebecca Long Bailey this week even with the recent minimum wage increase of 6.2%. This means it goes up to £8.72 for people aged 25 and over and for those aged 18-20 yr old the not so princely sum of £6.45 an hour. Parents going hungry to feed their children and food bank organisers panicking as they see a future which is only going to get worse as companies start to shed jobs. Our union and every progressive organisation need to come together and keep the Marcus Rashford initiative top of our agenda.  It needs to be to the forefront of our minds when we step up to fight redundancies. These jobs under threat are ours and for future generations, unemployment drives down tax revenues and increases benefits demands, further undermining the economy and the downward spiral continues. We need to be ready to challenge every job loss, using everything we can in our battles against job and services cuts.  Industrial struggle, legal action and political support. Let’s not take our foot off the pedestal, fight poverty and look for a better way that what we have now. Neil Smith Regional Political Officer GMB Trade Union  ...
GMB UNION REACHOUT WEBINAR ON MODERN SLAVERY 3 JULY 2020 2PM
link to register - https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/2415928226148/WN_amm3Yft4RGCaiSubuuf6yg The team at GMB trade union Reachout have been working alongside Marek, the Lancs police and PAN Lancashire Anti Slavery Partnership in raising awareness of some of the challenges faced in addressing Modern Day Slavery. Follow this link to register - https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/2415928226148/WN_amm3Yft4RGCaiSubuuf6yg The webinar will be an opportunity for union members to hear first hand experiences of Marek when he was a victim of slave labour and chance to hear from Sion Hall who is the Lancs Police lead on modern slavery on looking for signs of slavery, how it translates into law and learn more about the support agencies across the region that can support victims. It will be held on Friday 3rd July at 2pm. Places are limited and people are asked to register in advance. Online links will soon be shared on the social media platforms or people can email or call the Reachout Project info@gmbreachout.org.uk or call 01254 238 443 (Mon to Fri)....
INTRODUCTION TO HEALTH & SAFETY PAUL HOLLERAN NEW GMB UNION REPS
Video brief provides an insight into the Health and Safety Executive guidelines on Management Standards and how they can be used to avoid or reduce stress in the workplace. This video briefing put together by the GMB trade union education department for union representatives. Upload Video:  Paul Holleran New GMB union Reps Introduction to Health & Safety Video of Paul Holleran New GMB union Reps Introduction to Health & Safety Video Category: Trade Union Training...
GMB TRADE UNION MOURNS THE LOST OF A LEGEND RIP ARTHUR MOSS
Arthur, who was the clear underdog, had decided to stand simply because “someone told him he couldn’t”. GMB trade union North West & Irish region recently said farewell to one of our long serving and hardest working Union Branch Secretaries, Arthur Moss, someone who, without any shadow of a doubt, had earned the title ‘Legend’ many times over. When accolades were being thrown around Arthur was the type of person who would go into hiding, preferring to simply get the job done, but everyone who knew him, (family, friends and GMB union colleagues) always recognised the efforts he made over the years for the trade union (and more importantly for Arthur – his union members). The list of campaigns, battles and successes on behalf of GMB trade union members involving Arthur is endless, but none of them meant more to him than the lesser known fights that Arthur won every day on behalf of his mostly female low paid union members working for Liverpool City Council. The second of 2 children Arthur was born on 10August 1947 to Mary and Harry Moss. Arthur has a brother Harry. Arthur went to St Oswalds and then St Cecilia’s (both Tuebrook Liverpool). He left School at 15 and went straight into a job at Remetal windows on Green Lane. Even early on Arthur showed he wasn’t one to back down and got into a skirmish. with a bigger older lad over a bottle of Lemonade of all things. Arthur met his future wife of 52 years, Sheila when they were both 15 and they started going out when they were both 16. By this point Arthur was working on a building site and Sheila bought him a signet ring for his 17thbirthday, which he lost whilst working on a roof and was devastated. Thankfully he found the ring a few weeks later in a cellar below the roof he had been working on and it became one of his most prized possessions right up until when he passed away. After spending a short spell working at a cobblers right across the road from his house, Arthur started work aged 18 on the buses at the Green lane depot as a conductor. This was a role that was scrapped with the introduction of single operator buses and Arthur became a bus driver. Arthur and Sheila were married in March 1968, but their wedded bliss was interrupted within days by an 11 week strike on the buses. As the sole provider Sheila continued to work as according to her: Arthur “enjoyed himself playing football”. Arthur and Sheila have 3 children (Stephen, Paula and David) and 5 grandchildren, all of whom he doted on and everyone remembers Arthur as a great family man, but he saved most of his energies for looking after Sheila, doing all the work around the house and never once did she wake up without a cup of tea, right up until Arthur became ill. Arthur became a trade union steward on the buses after becoming friends with Norman Joliffe who also persuaded Arthur to join the TA. Arthur wasn’t really in it for the glory or the excitement and always said he was quite happy peeling spuds. In 1984, almost 25 years to the day he started, Arthur left the buses to work for Liverpool City Council driving “the yellow buses” for social services. Arthur soon began to get more involved with the GMB trade union and eventually became a full time convenor working with Roy Gladden and Arthur’s subsequent long term friend Bobby Daniels. In those days they had an office in the old fruit and veg market on Edge Lane. It was in 1986 that Arthur decided to stand as GMB union General Secretary, unfortunately for Arthur, but fortunately for his LCC members, Arthur was beaten in the election by John Edmunds. Arthur, who was the clear underdog, had decided to stand simply because “someone told him he couldn’t”. It was this rebellious streak that often drove Arthur, this and his heart felt desire to do what was right for low paid workers and those he saw as victims of injustice. Arthur’s proudest moments with GMB trade union came when he was instrumental in the council removing the bottom 2 pay grades (almost all female) and when equal pay and job evaluation were eventually agreed, addressing a decades old issue of pay inequality in LCC and other authorities. Arthur was also influential in the council agreeing improved maternity and paternity provision. Over the years Arthur became more and more involved in the work of the union itself and became a GMB union Regional Committee member and a frequent delegate at the annual GMB trade union congress. It was at GMB union Congress that Arthur made some of his most heartfelt speeches on a variety of topics (including low pay) and he never backed away from confrontation even when taking on the union to fight against the increases in members subs. Arthur never really got to grips with technology and would rather spend the time making and taking calls than being online or reading Emails. This approach to his work suited Arthur, being the great people person he was. In recent years Arthur started to visit America more and more often with Sheila to see friends and family. Arthur retired from the council around 5 years ago, but continued his work for the union right up until he became too ill. Paying tribute to Arthur, GMB trade union Regional Secretary Paul McCarthy said: “Arthur was not only a great friend of mine and many others in the GMB union North West & Irish region and the wider trade union movement, but a wonderful warm human being. He will be sadly missed by everyone who knew him, most of whom have their own stories to tell, but he will quite rightly be remembered most for his tireless dedication to putting right the injustice of pay inequality and improving the lives of low paid female workers. The likes of Arthur come along very rarely in life and to have known him is a great personal honour and he is someone I will never forget. He was a trade unionist of the highest calibre and thousands of council workers have benefitted from what he has done for them. God bless Arthur, rest in peace....
GMB TRADE UNION LEARNING REPS VIDEO BY JULIE DOWLING
This video briefing put together by the GMB trade union education department, highlights the benefits for the union and its members with having a Union Learning Rep on their workplace team. Upload Video:  GMB Union Learning Reps Julie Dowling GMB June 2020 Video of GMB Union Learning Reps Julie Dowling GMB June 2020 Video Category: Trade Union Training...
POVERTY
Poverty is on the agenda, like we haven’t seen it in many a year. On the agenda of the media, the politicians and the public as the Coronavirus crisis raises yet another lid on an unacceptable element of UK life. The media who appear to be lapping up every story on how the people of this country are suffering and struggling, which is how it should be of course. Reporters and presenters normally reticent at challenging government ministers are tearing into them, demanding to know what they are doing about the record number of excess deaths, the racism rearing its ugly head on our streets and the scandal of families struggling to feed their hungry children. Of course these three issues are integrally linked. I’m in danger of repeating myself on this site, but It’s all about cost and priorities of government. The COVID-19 scale of deaths across the UK is a shocking indictment of this government and their austerity programme over recent years, with a lack of planning and investment. The ongoing cuts to NHS and care services, highlighted by a lack of PPE to protect workers and patients, leading to more deaths than there could have been. The eventual drip drip of information now coming out following inquiries into the extraordinarily disproportionate amount of deaths of BAME citizens in this country, again shows the links between poverty, health, class and race. The horrendous mortality figures around many BAME health workers is another catalyst in shining a spotlight on the wrongs of our system. Ironically the three issues have been fired into the public arena through the mainstream and social media giving massive coverage to a young black man from a working class area in the North West. When have we ever seen a letter to the Prime Minister from such a source, garner the amount of press that Marcus Rashford has triggered. A u-turn no less. No Thatcherite “the lady’s not for turning” here. Announcements that they were reconsidering their previous decision to exacerbate an already serious problem for too many families has gone viral. Tory minsters and MPs going on television saying they would vote with Labour against the government if there wasn’t a change of mind and policy. Although some people might believe this u-turn was an announcement of the end of poverty. It simply allows 1.3million families who have a household income (with benefits) of £7400 in England and £14000 in Norther Ireland to access free school meal vouchers. Marcus Rashford followed his letter with media interviews talking about the massive importance to children to get a square meal that their families could ill afford without state support. He was brutally honest about the struggles his single parent mother had bringing up five kids and trying to feed them and point them in the right direction. This straight from the heart speaking brings home the impact of poverty. Of how hungry kids can’t concentrate on school work or take part in sports. Scratching the surface even more we can now see that Marcus and his charity, was only part of the campaign. Teachers unions were up in arms at the hardships they were witnessing and organisations such as Sustain and the Good Food Project were threatening legal action against the government. This joint campaign boosted by the Manchester United striker came together nicely with incredible social media support driving things onto a higher level. One Tory ex-minister apparently admitted his party has a “blind spot on poverty”. But let’s look at what we still have and what people are still facing in light of that admission. There is a major issue around poverty, there is a stigma and much humiliation at times. For example in this atmosphere of transparency we now hear of how the provision of supermarket vouchers worth £15 a week appeared to be a saviour for hungry families. Until it is reported by brave mums where they half filled the shopping trolley with half decent food, looking forward to seeing their children’s faces. That was until they got to the till and the vouchers failed to register and the queues built up behind them as a store manger was called for and they couldn’t get it working. And the trolley of food was returned to the shelves. Imagine the shame that would cause, the stress and pain of having to bear public humiliation. This wasn’t unusual, as we also heard that schools who were trying to access the vouchers couldn’t log onto the system and had to tell parents their visit to the supermarket to feed the kids was on hold again. Absolutely unacceptable way for people to be treated in this day and age, in this country. Benefits claims are up 128% including to the 2.8million unemployed. Universal credit is not enough to stay out of debt and pay bill demands. In work poverty is a major problem as highlighted by Labour MP Rebecca Long Bailey this week even with the recent minimum wage increase of 6.2%. This means it goes up to £8.72 for people aged 25 and over and for those aged 18-20 yr old the not so princely sum of £6.45 an hour. Parents going hungry to feed their children and food bank organisers panicking as they see a future which is only going to get worse as companies start to shed jobs. Our union and every progressive organisation need to come together and keep the Marcus Rashford initiative top of our agenda. It needs to be to the forefront of our minds when we step up to fight redundancies. These jobs under threat are ours and for future generations, unemployment drives down tax revenues and increases benefits demands, further undermining the economy and the downward spiral continues. Let’s not take our foot off the pedestal, fight poverty and look for a better way that what we have now.  ...
GMB TRADE UNION UPDATE ON LATEST INFLATION AND WAGES REPORTS PLUS CONTRIBUTION RATES
GMB trade union members and representatives, please find the latest wages and inflation report attached, as well as the latest key figures document that includes the updated October 2019 contribution rates as agreed by GMB union Congress. Headline twelve-month inflation rates in May were:RPI: 1% (down from 1.5% in April)CPI: 0.5% (down from 0.8% in April) Please note that much of our trade union normal bargaining support information dates to before the coronavirus outbreak. While this information will continue to be reported, in many respects it has been overtaken by events. To compensate, the union try to balance these lagging indicators with more recent data where it is available. As ever, these publications are intended to provide information that is useful in trade union bargaining contexts. If there is additional information that you would like to be included, or if you have any other comments, then please do not hesitate to get in touch.    ...