Please Support Unite & RMT Members Taking Action On The North Sea

oilplatformUnite and RMT members employed by Woodgroup on Shell oil platforms in the Brent Field on the North Sea are to take strike action on July 26th – the first strike in a generation on the North Sea.

They will also be taking action short of strike action in response to attempts by Woodgroup to cut pay and allowances by 30%.

99.1% of those members voting in the ballot backed strike action, with 99.5% supporting action short of a strike. The turnout was 86.6%. This is a resounding endorsement and support of the action.

The result follows a breakdown in talks at ACAS after Woodgroup showed little willingness to resolve the dispute.

This is the third time that Woodgroup have brought forward proposals on cuts. The ballot result shows quite clearly that Unite members are no longer willing to accept such attacks.

The strike action will be taken across the Shell assets in the Brent Field at the following platforms: Shearwater, Gannet, Nelson, Curlew, Brent Alpha, Brent Bravo and Brent Charlie.

Unite remains committed to achieving a negotiated settlement in this dispute and will leave the door open for Woodgroup to enter into meaningful negotiations.

Please send messages of support to our members who will be off-shore and on-shore during the strike.

You can do this by emailing a message of support to offshoreunite@gmail.com

Messages will be posted on the Unite Offshore Facebook site facebook.com/uniteoffshore2015

– and on Twitter @offshoreunite and you will be able to keep up with developments through social media.

All messages of support are welcome by our members.

Could you also put the information here on your own Facebook pages.

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Tribute’s to Durham Miners leader Davey Hopper

_90167379_mediaitem90167378Trade union officials and MPs have paid tribute to Davey Hopper of the Durham Miners who died yesterday July 16th and took to the social media to pay tribute to Davey including TUC General Secretary, Frances O’Grady; Prison officers General Secretary Steve Gilliam; Matt Wrack of the FBU; Unison General Secretary Dave Prentis and former Unison General Secretary Rodney Bickestaffe and Jeremy Corby said that Davey was “a pillar of strength for the working class”

Ian Lavery, Labour MP for Wansbeck and former president of the National Union of Mineworkers, tweeted: “Sad news I’m afraid. My very good friend the legendary Durham Miners general secretary Davey Hopper died this afternoon. RIP comrade & friend”.

Grahame Morris, Labour MP for Easington, tweeted: “Dave Hopper a colossus of the trade union and labour movement who supported the oppressed & fought for social justice all of his life R.I.P.”

Unite’s Len McCluskey said: “On behalf of Unite the union I offer our deepest, most sincere condolences to Davey’s family, and to all members of the Durham Miners’ Association.

“Hearts will be heavy today as we reflect upon the loss of this brilliant and determined man, a giant of our movement, a man dedicated to justice, equality and the betterment of his community.

“I have lost a great friend but I won’t be alone in remembering Davey with huge affection and admiration. He was a true friend to working people and a proud son of the north east who brought passion and grit to the fight to improve the lives of working people.

“His legacy will, of course, live on in the Gala, the most vibrant union gathering in the world, which thrives because Davey never, ever let us forget that we must celebrate our traditions, we must not lose our history and we must bring our values to all that we seek to achieve today.”

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Statement On Coup In Turkey From Turkish Metal and Manufacturing Workers Union

103407214_turkey-5-news-large_trans++eo_i_u9APj8RuoebjoAHt0k9u7HhRJvuo-ZLenGRumAThe following statement has been issued by our comrades in Birlesik Metal IS Turkey.

By Eyup Ozer of Birlesik Metal IS

Secular, Democratic, Independent,  Social State of Law cannot be created by Dictators, it will be creation of workers!

We are going through extraordinary days.

Our country once again came to the verge of a coup d’etat. Starting with yesterday evenning, discussion about a military coup came up. Our country many times has encountered military coups and coup attempts in the past and our country couldn’t recover from the pain and sufferings of these attempts for many years.

Our country paid  very heavy prices for these.

Current anti-democratic governance which ignores rule of law, ignores public opinion and attack worker rights and governs the country for many years has brought our country to the current situation.

Since past, workers and people of the country are the those who gets most damages and paid the heaviest price because of coup d’etats which suspends most basic human rights, destructs freedoms and attacks workers’ rights.

Suspension of Constitution, dismantling of rule of law, suspension of freedoms cannot be acceptable regardless of which kind of juntaist and authoritarian mindset they are coming from.

Working class in Turkey will rebuild secular, democratic, independent, social state of law with determination and common sense.

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What does Brexit mean for Regional Economies and Industries?

Post-Brexit event on regional economy 14.07.16Download Unite’s Policy on the EU agreed at the Unite Policy Conference EXECUTIVE COUNCIL STATEMENT ON THE EUROPEAN UNION 2016

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Posted in Employment Rights, European Trade Unions, International Trade Unions, Labour Party, Politics, Trade Unions, Trades Union Congress, Unite The Union, Workers Uniting | Leave a comment

Guidence issued to all Unite Employees – Labour Party membership

A number of people have asked me about Unite’s guidence on joining the Labour Party. So here it is.

Guidence issued to all Unite Employees.

Joining Unite the union – eligibility to vote in the Labour leadership election

Unite is a trade union representing working people in most sectors of the economy.

People seeking to join Unite are of course very welcome but they should join at the appropriate rate.

For speed of process, we would advise would be members to join online at www.unitetheunion/join

If you are in work, then please join Unite at the full rate, which is £14.06 per month.

If you are not in paid employment; a student, carer, retired or unemployed, membership costs just 50p a week which can be paid annually or monthly by Direct Debit.

You can find out more about the category of membership that is most appropriate for you by visiting http://www.unitetheunion.org/growing-our-union/joinunite/

All Unite members are eligible to vote in the Labour leadership election provided:

1. They pay the political levy – this will be the case unless the member has opted out.

2. They have agreed to be affiliated to the Labour Party and have signed a statement that they support the aims and values of the Labour Party and are not a supporter of any other political party. Unite member should sign up at www.unitetheunion.org/yourpartyyourvoice before 8th August.

3. That they are on the electoral register at the address given to the union and the Labour Party.

4. That have provided a date of birth and email address

5. They have joined Unite and signed up as an affiliated member by August 8th. The Labour party will be conducting the election.

The Labour Party will be first check applications against the electoral register and then will conduct checks on members to ensure that they are not supporters of any other parties.

Unite does not have any role in this process.

All queries about the election timetable and process should be directed to the Labour party at www.labour.org.uk

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UK workers reject a Brexit cuts budget says post-referendum poll

Frances O'Grady, TUC General Secretary

Frances O’Grady, TUC General Secretary

The TUC has published findings from a poll taken immediately after the EU referendum ballot closed, and its action plan for protecting jobs and industry.

The poll – of 2,716 adults who voted in the referendum – found that nearly three-fifths (58%) would oppose a “Brexit cuts budget”, with opposition highest amongst Leave supporters (65%). Just one in six voters (17%) would support plans for a cuts budget following the UK’s decision to exit from the European Union.

The survey also finds that the vast majority of both Remain and Leave voters back post-Brexit policies of safeguarding vital rights like maternity leave (73% of Remain and 69% of Leave voters) and maintaining protection against discrimination at work (80% of Remain voters and 77% of Leave voters) and safeguarding vital rights like maternity leave.

Both sets of voters are convinced that all parties should declare that they will protect all employment rights currently guaranteed by the EU once the UK leaves.

Instead of a ‘punishment budget’ of further cuts and tax rises, the TUC is today calling for a new and urgent strategy of sustainable investment to make sure that working people do not pay the price of economic uncertainty after the referendum vote.

The TUC report ‘Working people must not pay the price for the vote to leave the EU: an action plan to protect the economy, jobs and workers’ rights’ is published today (Friday). It calls for:

·    Immediate help for industry to help stave off job losses now

·    Increased investment in infrastructure, such as building homes, announcing plans for more high-speed rail and giving the go-ahead for a third runway at Heathrow

·    A modern industrial strategy to start creating the skilled jobs of the future across the nations and regions of the UK

·    Protection for all workers’ rights guaranteed by Europe once the UK leaves the EU

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Working people’s wages have not recovered since the financial crash of 2008. They must not be asked to pay the price again of economic uncertainty following the vote to leave the EU.

“The current prime minister and his government must act quickly and decisively to reduce the uncertainty that is already impacting on investment decisions and jobs. They must not sleepwalk through their final months in office and into a recession.

“And the new prime minister must learn from the mistakes of the past and not embark on another round of spending cuts.

“As our plan makes clear today, the best way to prevent our economy from nose-diving is to invest in Britain’s future. We must give the go-ahead to big projects like the third runway at Heathrow and fast-track investment into new high-speed rail, broadband infrastructure, clean energy and new homes.

“And if we are to re-build trust in politics, promises made by the Leave campaign must be kept. Having denied that any rights were at risk, they must now commit to safeguard all current workers’ rights after the UK leaves the EU.”

 

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Global Union Warns Volkswagen To Stop Union Busting

volkswagen-chattanooga-plantFor the first time in its history, IndustriALL Global Union (consisting of unions – including Unite – worldwide in manufacturing, energy and mining) has warned a transnational company that its relationship and a Global Framework Agreement they hold with an employer are in grave peril.

At a May 26th meeting of the IndustriALL Executive Committee, representatives of VW workers from around the world voted unanimously to hold Volkswagen to account for flouting the terms of its own social charter.

At the meeting, IG Metall (the giant German union) President Jörg Hofmann clearly stated: “It is not acceptable that companies abide by the law in Germany but disregard it in other countries. Workers’ rights should be respected worldwide – particularly by companies headquartered in Germany.”

By ignoring its legal responsibility to sit down and reach a working agreement with maintenance workers at its Chattanooga, USA plant – as confirmed and ordered by the U.S. National Labor Relations Board – Volkswagen violates its own Global Framework Agreement. Chattanooga workers voted overwhelmingly for the UAW in a vote held in December 2015.  Volkswagen managers have already damaged the company’s profitability by concealing the diesel scandal, and they now seem determined to defy their legal responsibility to abide by the ruling of the U.S. labour court.

IndustriALL denounced Volkswagen’s “stall and delay” tactics, as often coached by anti-union consultants in the U.S., and demanded that Volkswagen “immediately” begin negotiations with the United Auto Workers (UAW).

UAW Secretary-Treasurer Gary Casteel warned trade union leaders: “There is a cartel of capitalists in the South of the USA working in cohesion with right wing groups and antiunion lawyers. The tricks and tactics in the south of the US won’t remain there – they will be coming to you soon.”

IndustriALL affiliates decided that if the company does not agree to talks by the June 22nd Annual General Meeting of Volkswagen, the Global Union will initiate actions under its “Charter of Solidarity in Confronting Corporate Violations of Fundamental Rights.”

The Charter prescribes a series of actions in response to companies that refuse to recognize basic labor standards in their global plants.

Should the Charter be invoked, IndustriALL cautioned, the organization will “initiate further actions which could lead to the eventual revocation of the Global Framework Agreement between IndustriALL and Volkswagen.”

A timeline of the Chattanooga dispute can be found by clicking here

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Posted in Blogs, Employment Rights, International Trade Unions, Trade Unions, Unite The Union, Workers Uniting | 1 Comment

James O’Brien On The Murder Of Jo Cox MP

5763fb261500002a0073b236 James O’Brien of LBC (the guy who nailed Nigel Farage) on the murder of Jo Cox perfectly captures the state of debate in Britain today

The LBC presenter James O’Brien gave a monologue on his radio show this morning, perfectly capturing the sentiments of many across the nation.

 He said:

 If I was to be reading my newspaper every single morning and being told my very existence was under seige, by people I’ve never met and never seen but keep getting told are coming here in their hordes.

If I was to open my newspaper or turn on my radio or telivision set, and told that every body who is coming here is a rapist and they’ve got their eyes on our women and we’ve got no chance whatsoever of protecting ourselves, and unless we do this or do that, or treat them like this or treat them like that, then we’re all doomed, we are all going to hell in a handcart.

If I was told it’s time to reclaim our country every time I got out of bed in the morning, I would begin to believe it I think… if I didn’t have the knowledge or the insights and the education to know that it is not true.

We want our country back from whom?

 We want our country back from when?

We want our country back, how?

….Convince me if you can, that political debate in Britain in the last couple of years has NOT created an environment in which we find it easy to believe… or possible to believe, that this sort of violence, that this sort of terrorism, could unfold on our streets.

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Unite to fight ‘buy American’ procurement policy

planes 303732164_Page_2Defence secretary Michael Fallon has serious questions to answer about the UK’s secretive procurement policy – the latest controversy being the decision to buy nine maritime patrol aircraft from America.

See Mail On Sunday June 7th article

The deal to purchase the nine Boeing Poseidon P-8A  patrol aircraft, estimated to be worth $3.2bn, without competitive tendering, is expected to be signed at next month’s Farnborough air show which takes place between 11th -17th July.

Unite, the country’s largest union with about 70,000 members across the aerospace, defence, and shipbuilding industries, is raising serious concerns about the lack of ‘offset agreements’ in the proposed Boeing deal, work that could be earmarked for British defence firms to safeguard skilled jobs.

This flies in the face of chancellor George Osborne’s commitment to “unashamedly back … a British success story … like aerospace”.

The current imbroglio comes as a result of the coalition government’s ‘rash and short-sighted’ decision to scrap the Nimrod Maritime Patrol Aircraft, as part of the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) at a cost of £4bn to the taxpayer and the loss of 1,400 skilled jobs.

This left the UK as the only major maritime nation without the capability to patrol its own waters with modern reconnaissance aircraft.

The threat to the UK defence industry is further compounded by media reports that Boeing is in line to receive the order for 50 much-needed Apache helicopters, rather than Yeovil-based Agusta Westland, with the potential loss of 600 West Country jobs.

Unite said that Michael Fallon has major questions to answer about the massive tilt in procurement policy, which analysts say, could amount to £2.5bn of the annual Ministry of Defence equipment budget of £8bn being spent with US companies, with minimal UK content, by 2020.

Unite assistant general secretary for manufacturing, Tony Burke said: “At a time of increased international tension and security concerns, defence secretary Michael Fallon needs to come clean with the British public on the secretive nature of the UK’s arms procurement policy.
 
“As a first step, the government needs to ensure that a substantial amount of P-8A production work is undertaken in the UK, with all the support work to maintain these aircraft in the years ahead. Apparently, the P-8A will not be using UK weapons, which is a disgrace.
 
“The UK defence and aerospace sector is critical to maintaining thousands of skilled jobs in the UK and the economic prosperity of the communities where the factories are based.
 
“This proud tradition of manufacturing is critical in any renaissance of overall UK manufacturing in the decade ahead. It can’t just be squandered by the easy option of buying ‘off the shelf’ from America.
 
“The decision to scrap the new generation Nimrod aircraft as part of the SDSR has been shown to be rash and short-sighted.
 
“Michael Fallon needs to make a statement to MPs before any contracts are signed and before Parliament rises for the summer recess on 21 July on what is happening specifically with the replacement for Nimrod and also regarding the Apache helicopters’ order.
 
“More generally, the defence secretary has to outline a strategy that will maintain defence manufacturing in the UK, safeguarding British expertise and jobs, as well as the maintenance contracts that go hand-in-hand with such complex pieces of technology.
 
“Chancellor George Osborne’s ‘march of the makers’ should not begin at Boeing’s headquarters* in Seattle, but with well-respected British defence firms with deep roots across the UK.”

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Ross Pritchard Essay Competition

RossThe Annual Essay Competition, is open to all trade unionists, first prize £750, closing date Saturday 22nd September.

The RPMF was established to commemorate the life of one of the Graphical, Paper & Media Union’s best known rank and file members, Ross Pritchard.

The Trustees of the Fund invite entries to the annual essay competition on a subject dear to Ross’s heart, this year:

“Propose some short term responses to the immediate housing crisis”

1,000 words maximum

Essays should be submitted to  Megan Dobney by 22nd September 2016 and you must include your name, postal address and trade union (including your Branch or Region).

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