Thursday, June 30, 2016

Joint trade union statement on the Labour Party

The current crisis within the Parliamentary Labour Party is deeply regrettable and unnecessary. Last week’s vote to leave the European Union presents the entire labour movement with unprecedented challenges.

 Above all, we need to be fighting to preserve our members’ jobs, already under threat in several industries and across the public sector as a consequence. The government is in crisis, but already serious debates are taking place and decisions being made which profoundly affect the interests of working people.

Under these circumstances, our members and millions of others will be looking with dismay at the events in parliament. It cannot be right to seek to denude the Labour front bench at this time, when the government more than ever needs to be scrutinised and held to account by an effective and united opposition that does the job it is paid to do

Jeremy Corbyn is the democratically-elected Leader of our Party who secured such a resounding mandate less than ten months ago under an electoral procedure fully supported by Labour MPs. His position cannot and should not be challenged except through the proper democratic procedures provided for in the Party’s constitution. We urge all Labour MPs to abide by those procedures, and to respect the authority of the Party’s Leader.

While we have stated that we believe a Leadership election would be an unwelcome distraction at this time of crisis, if one nevertheless occurs through the proper procedures we would expect all parts of the Party to honour the result and pull together in the interests of the country, and working people in particular. The only party that can win for working people is a strong and united Labour Party".

Len McCluskey, General Secretary, Unite the Union

Dave Prentis, General Secretary, UNISON

Tim Roache, General Secretary, GMB

Dave Ward, General Secretary, CWU

Brian Rye, Acting General Secretary, UCATT

Manuel Cortes, General Secretary, TSSA

Mick Whelan, General Secretary, ASLEF

Matt Wrack, General Secretary, FBU

Ronnie Draper, General Secretary, BFAWU

Chris Kitchen, General Secretary, NUM

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Forest Gate By Election 2016: 15 days to go

Picture collage from the recent canvassing sessions in the Forest Gate North ward By election in Newham, East London. The candidate is Anam Islam, a top Labour trade unionist, anti-racist campaigner and committed socialist.

The campaign started last week but I was away at Unison National delegate conference. Following the disastrous referendum result and self destructive infighting amongst the Parliamentary Labour Party, let us be honest, that this is not the best time to be holding a by election.

However, the Labour vote seems as solid as ever and Forest Gate residents want a Labour councillor to be returned in the ward. This is not to say I have not had some serious conversations with residents about national politics but only 1 person in the past 3 nights has raised the leadership issue with me.

The referendum result has stunned people and the majority of people I have spoken to about it are ashamed of the result. We came across 2 residents who said they were normally Tories but they would not be voting for them in this election because of what has happened.

I spoke to one man on Monday who claimed that he did not know the result since he had ignored all the media since the previous Thursday evening and asked what had happened. I replied that I hope I am in the middle of a horrible dream and will wake up tomorrow and find out it was the Friday morning again, and we had actually voted to remain

East European residents I have spoken to have been quite understanding and pragmatic. They accept the result and while some are fearful about what will happen to them, most said they had been working in the UK for more than 5 years, paying UK taxes, so they thought they will be ok. They were of course as interested in local bread and butter council issues such as anti-social behaviour and parking control as anyone else.

I will post further on the EU referendum result (and why Newham had such an awful low "remain" vote). In the meanwhile can supporters please come out and canvass for Anam.

Thursday 30th June 11:00 at Dean Street E7 9BJ (Odessa Road Open Space)

Thursday 30th June 18:00 at Dean Street E7 9BJ (Odessa Road Open Space)

Friday 1 July 11:00 at Wanstead Park station E7 0HX

Saturday 2nd July 11:00 at Wanstead Park station E7 0HX

Saturday 2nd July 14:00 at Wanstead Park station E7 0HX

Sunday 3rd July 11:00 at Hatfield Road E15 1QY

Sunday 3rd July 14:00 at Hatfield Road E15 1QY

Monday 4th July 11:00 at Wanstead Park station E7 0HX

Monday 4th July 14:00 at Wanstead Park station E7 0HX


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Tories are divided, but at this crucial time, Labour should not be

Unison statement by our General Secretary, Dave Prentis Blog  "Last summer, our union nominated Jeremy Corbyn for Labour
leader, and a great number of our members voted for him in the Labour leadership contest.

Support for Jeremy remains the position of this union, as determined by our members through our democratic structures.

At our Labour party members’ conference next week we will have an open and honest debate about the future of the party, and how Labour wins the coming election.

It is not the PLP or trade unions who now elect the leader of the Labour Party – it is party members and affiliate supporters, and that mandate should be respected.

It is essential that the Labour Party is united in dealing with the huge threats to our economy, society, the disturbing rise of racism in our communities and attacks on public services as our country faces a period of huge uncertainty.

The Tories are divided, but at this crucial time, Labour should not be.

As we appear to be moving towards an early general election, our members need strong and united leadership from the Labour Party.

If MPs choose not to serve in the shadow cabinet, the Labour leader has a right to seek to form a shadow cabinet and lead our party as long as he has the support of party members".

Friday, June 24, 2016

Unison NDC 16 - On the Vote to Leave

UNISON Press release "Commenting on the news that the UK has voted to leave the EU, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: 

“The people have spoken, and they have made a clear call for change – and a different relationship with Europe. 

“We will be working in the coming weeks and months to hold the leave campaigners to the promises they’ve made – that there will be more money for the NHS, and that our rights at work will remain intact.
“But this also has to be a time for our country to heal. At its best the campaign has enabled genuine debate and discussion in our homes, workplaces and communities about the future of the economy and the kind of country we want to live in. 
“At its worst, the campaign has been typified by hatred, vitriol and misinformation that have done a huge disservice to our democracy and values.    
“Over the coming weeks and months, all political leaders must think about how to address the issues that people in our communities care most about – falling incomes, insecure jobs, unaffordable housing and the huge challenges facing our public services after more than half a decade of cuts. “

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

I'm Voting Remain

Unions Together

Dear John

The Referendum’s tomorrow. We’ve all heard the arguments from both sides, and although we think the EU is far from perfect, we at unionstogether strongly believe that we are all better off IN Europe.

I'm IN

We're backing remaining in the EU for the following three reasons:

1. JOBS. Many people’s jobs depend on the trade that Britain does with Europe. Leaving the EU would destabilise our economy and put these jobs at risk.

2. RIGHTS. Lots of our rights at work, such as paid holiday and maternity leave, are guaranteed by Europe. Leaving the EU would leave our rights at the mercy of a Tory Government and put our rights at risk.

3. PAY. TUC research indicates that leaving the EU will lower wages by an average of £38 a week. Leaving the EU would put our pay at risk.

These three things are so important to all of us, and unionstogether believe that because of jobs, rights and pay, we’re better off in Europe.

If you agree, you can pledge to vote remain, and share on facebook and twitter here:

Tomorrow, I’m voting REMAIN for better jobs, for rights that are safeguarded, and to protect our pay. I hope you will too.




Click Here to Unsubscribe
Reproduced from an electronic communication sent by Helen Pearce on behalf of TULO, both at Southside, 105 Victoria Street, London SW1E 6QT.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

UNISON NDC 16: Tuesday morning

Guest Post By NEC member Elizabeth Cameron. "And we're off! !! ‪#‎uNdc16‬ gets underway.

Fairly lengthy but also interesting standing orders report delivered by new chair Mark Rayner for whom this is a well deserved achievement,

Mark has worked tirelessly for years on this committee and couldn't be a better replacement for Clytus (never knew how to spell his name apols if it's wrong).

The annual report is moved and Financial statements and accounts both accepted with some additional work we need to do with our members. The hall is full and I forgot how lovely it is at this conference bumping into old friends from across England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales in all of our sector groups. I hope we can look within the next few days at ways we can work together to do the best job possible to represent and campaign both with and for our members especially on equalities Black, Women, LGBT and Disabled.

I'm excited and proud to be speaking on Motion 65 'How much worse can it get for Black members' on Wednesday, when I'll also be a speaker at the 'Show Racism the Red Card' fringe in Syndicate room 3. A magnificent organisation and tireless campaigner against the growing tide of racism xenophobia and anti immigrant feeling.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Unison NDC 16: Greater London Regional Delegates meeting

Unison is back in Brighton for its National Delegate Conference. The NDC is the annual Parliament of our 1.3 million members. Over 2000 delegates and visitors will be in Brighton for the conference

Picture is from the London meeting this evening for delegates. Regional publicity convener, Lynn Bentley, is speaking about the daily newsletter she helps publish for delegates. 

The elected regional  delegates Yvonne and Mandy, give their report and make it clear that their role is to help delegates enjoy and participate in the conference (they are not there to recommend local pubs, give train timetable information or change hotel rooms). 

Jim, our regional representative on Standing orders committee made it clear that conference itself really decides on how conference is run. If conference wants to let dozens of delegates give endless speeches self congratulating themselves on motions that no one disagrees with then so be it. It is not the role of SOC to interfere, it is up to conference to stop this and raise points of order to bring the debate to a close. 

The regional staff conference team were introduced and the importance of making sure that delegates attend all debates and are properly scanned in as they enter the hall was explained.  All branches were also reminded to make sure they pick up their Card votes!

Finally, Karen reminded us of regional conference events. Tomorrow lunchtime (Tuesday) at 12,30 3rd floor BCC there is a new and lone branch delegates lunchtime event (which  I really recommend). 

A motion re-prioritisation  huddle on Wednesday 5pm at confrrence floor and our regional social on Wednesday 7.30pm at the Holiday Inn (£5 per ticket). 

Enjoy conference delegates!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Fathers Day

I lost my Dad 14 years ago so "Fathers Day" is always going to be a bit difficult.

But we have to move on in life and remember the good times and not just the sad times.

I was too young to actually remember this picture of me, my big sister Helen and baby sister Lucy with our Dad but love it to bits. 

Forest Gate Vigil for Jo Cox

Picture collage is from the vigil held yesterday morning (I was out of London this weekend) in Forest Gate for Jo Cox MP, who was murdered by an apparently mentally disturbed but committed Nazi and Fascist. 

It was organised by West Ham Labour Women's Forum and our local MP, Lyn Brown, was the main speaker. 

It was I understand a very moving and emotional meeting.

I did not know Jo at all and while I am outraged at her horrible death I also note how many people were equally shocked and disturbed at her killing. 

At the Forest Gate North Labour Party candidate selection meeting on Thursday which I chaired, I was genuinely surprised how many members beforehand came up to me to insist that we had a minute's silence to honour her. 

Since then I have spoken to other friends and family members and I was struck by how they understood the connection with the massacre in Orlando a few days beforehand and the disgusting campaign by some Brixit right wing media and campaigners to demonise anyone who supports remaining in the European Union. See the vile collection of Daily Express front pages in the collage. 

Did they encourage Mr. "Death to Traitors"? If so they have innocent blood on their hands. 

Hat tip photos Seyi, Rok and Veronica

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Anamul Islam is Labour Candidate for Forest Gate North

Picture following the selection of Anamul Islam tonight (looking pensive holding the large "Vote Labour" placard) as the Labour Party candidate for the Newham Council by election on 14 July.

There were 11 high quality candidates for the position, all of whom were long listed. Anamul was elected on the 2nd ballot with over 50% of the votes.

He is an excellent choice as a Councillor. A local boy who is a hard working committed campaigner and a long standing trade union and community activist.

I am really pleased that Forest Gate North branch Officers was able to work with West Ham Labour Executive Committee and others to make sure that our selection process was as we committed it to be "fair, democratic and inclusive".

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Tooting By Election

UNISON Labour Link "As you will be aware a By-election is taking place in Tooting today as a result of Sadiq Khan becoming Mayor of London.  The majority in the last General Election in Tooting was just 2842 so it is important to turn out the Labour vote.  

If you are able to support the campaign on polling day, even just for an hour or two it would be much appreciated.  Details of the campaign centre are:

Tooting Campaign Centre, 273 Balham High Road, Tooting, London, SW17 7BD"

Monday, June 13, 2016

United we stand, divided we fall

Have you ever wondered where the expression "United we stand, divided we fall" comes from? It is a traditional trade union saying but I was surprised to find it is far older. 

The ancient Greek  Aesop’s "The Four Oxen and the Lion"

The fable reads as follows:

A lion used to prowl about a field in which Four Oxen used to dwell. Many a time he tried to attack them; but whenever he came near they turned their tails to one another, so that whichever way he approached them he was met by the horns of one of them. At last, however, they fell a-quarreling [sic] among themselves, and each went off to pasture alone in the separate corner of the field. Then the Lion attacked them one by one and soon made an end of all four.

United we stand, divided we fall.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Forest Gate North Labour Party Councillor candidate selection process

Following the resignation of Forest Gate North Councillor, Ellie Robertson, in order to take up a politically restricted post in City Hall, we have a Newham Council by election on July 14 (Bastille Day).

This Thursday 16 June there will be a meeting of Forest Gate North Branch Labour Party members to decide who to short list and then elect as our candidate for this vacancy.

I hope all eligible members will turn up to select our candidate. You need to be a fully paid up member for at least 6 months and you cannot be in subscription arrears (although you can pay up any arrears before the start of the meeting).

I am Vice Chair of the Branch and gave a commitment to members at our last meeting that the branch would to every thing possible to make sure that the selection process is fair, democratic and inclusive. 

The Museum that was a real life torture chamber and pathway to the firing squad

This is a very late post. Last October I had been on a week's holiday in Rome, Italy visiting the marvellous ancient ruins and historical sites.

On the last day I went to the "Museum of the Liberation of Rome". It was a little difficult to find and when I found it, it seemed to be just part of a typical Italian apartment block.

Which it was. In 1943 the German SS turned this ordinary residential block into a prison and torture chamber. Anti-fascists, resistance fighters and Italian Jews were interrogated, imprisoned and even tortured in these same rooms. Many were then sent for immediate execution or to die in concentration camps.

This SS base has now been turned into a museum and some of the cells have been restored.  The displays were informative but upsetting and disturbing. This must have been a place of pain, terror and despair for so many people.

I had spent the days immediately beforehand visiting the Rome Colosseum and the Forum and knew that great acts of brutality and cruelty had happened at all these locations. Yet this was all thousands of years ago and you can feel distance from it. The savagery that took place at Via Tasso 145, Rome happened in the lifetime of my parents and in an ordinary block of flats that you will find in every city and town in Europe and beyond.

I would recommend that if you visit Rome, you should definitely reserve an hour or two to visit this site and learn, remember and mourn.  Then vow to never forget and do whatever is necessary to fight present day fascism and Nazis - never, again ever.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Stealing homes and killing communities

These are notes from a briefing and discussion we had at last months Forest Gate North Labour Party branch meeting on the Housing and Planning Act 2016 and it's consequences.  The briefing is based on an Unison report to its NEC. Our branch now tries to have a political discussion at every meeting.

"Former Chief of the Civil Service, Lord Bob Kerslake, who led the arguments against key aspects of the Bill in the Lords, warned that the legislation was an “attack” that would wipe out affordable
homes, as it will redistribute resources towards the building of homes for those on higher


· Placing a general duty on all local authorities to promote the supply of “Starter Homes‟
which will be counted as affordable housing on new build developments. Starter
Homes will be sold to first-time buyers between 23 and 40 years of age, at a discount
of at least 20% of market value, subject to value caps.
· Providing for grants to be paid to housing associations to compensate them for homes
sold under the Voluntary Right to Buy.
· Legislating for the sale of higher value council properties in order to fund the extension
of Right to Buy. This money is also earmarked to build replacement council properties
and cover the costs of new registers of brownfield land for each local authority.
· Giving local authorities additional powers to tackle rogue landlords in the private
rented sector.
· Implementing package of de-regulatory for housing associations.
· Introducing mandatory rent increases for high income‟ tenants in council housing, the
so-called "Pay to Stay‟ policy.
· Phasing out secure tenancies for life for local authority tenants.
· Reforming the planning system with the aim of speeding up planning decisions and
delivering more housing, including measures to promote the use of neighbourhood
planning and local plans, as well as encourage the use of brownfield

This Act, if fully implemented will destroy social housing in this country. What is left of Government and developers grant will be used to fund Starter homes. Low income workers will not be able to afford Starter homes even with a 20% discount. The respected Housing charity Shelter recently estimated that in London you will need an income of £77,000pa and a deposit of £98,000. Where on earth will ordinary people on even average earnings get that sort of money from? Never mind the low paid, unemployed or retired.

Since Councils and Housing Associations will now stop getting money to subsidise housing then we will see little or no new homes at social rents.

Even worse following the Tory General Election bribe, housing associations homes will be sold off to tenants and to pay for the discount, councils will be forced to sell off some of their void properties each year. Possibly to pay for discount in parts of the country that does not have any Council homes anymore since they transferred them to Housing Associations. This is simply theft.

The "Pay to Stay" provisions in the Act requires many social tenants who together with their spouse earn over £40,000 in London and £31,000 outside to pay rents up to market rent or lose their social rented home (council or housing association home). The policy will be voluntary for housing associations but local authorities will be compelled to implement it without keeping the income generated from the increased rents that they will generate, this will have to be remitted to the Government.  This is also theft. 

It will also destroy communities since many tenants in high value area will not be able to afford market rent and will be forced to leave or fall into arrears and face eviction. I note that even someone on £40,000 would not be able to afford a starter home either. 

A DCLG impact assessment of the policy last year warned that it would likely result in behavioural impacts, including people deciding to move or reducing their earnings or hours to avoid paying higher rents. These impacts and the costs of administering the policy, which “could more than wipe out the extra income raised from the policy”, raises questions about why such a policy should be introduced in the first place. 

During the passage of the Bill through the House of Commons, the Government introduced new clauses phasing out secure tenancies for life for local authority tenants.

This will mean that councils will only be able to offer fixed-term tenancies of between 2-10 years for most new council tenants. Councils will also have to review tenancies when they are about to expire to decide on renewing them or ending them to recover possession. The policy will likely lead to the break up stable and mixed communities, and force many people into insecure, expensive private lets.

What to do next?

The Housing and Planning bill is now an Act. However, many of the provisions will not come in force until next year and will have to come back to Parliament for approval of regulations. This gives us the opportunity to carry on campaigning against it. The Bill did have sustained opposition in and out of Parliament which led to significant concessions. The Government is weak and vulnerable to further pressure so there is everything to play for by campaigning against it.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Unions resolve dispute with Circle

See story by reporter Heather Spurr from "Inside Housing" on agreement by trade unions with Circle 
Housing Group.

"One of the largest industrial disputes in the housing association sector has been averted after a landlord compromised on plans to change its employees’ terms and conditions.

Inside Housing can reveal that Unison, Unite and the GMB unions have accepted a renewed offer from Circle Housing, which had been proposing to change staff terms and conditions in a bid to save cash under a proposed restructure.

The agreement, which was accepted by union members in ballots last month, means there is now no immediate prospect of strikes at the 50,000-home landlord.

John Gray, housing association branch secretary at Unison, said: “At one stage I thought there would be strike action but I think we’ve got a reasoned compromise.”

The unions were opposing Circle Housing’s changes to 12 different sets of terms and conditions, including salaries, pensions and working hours.

Circle Housing originally proposed to set salaries through a market review every two years. However, it has revised this to allow collective bargaining every year.

Pension-matched employer contributions have also now been increased from 8%, as originally proposed, to 12% for those who have served for five years or more.

The housing association has also abandoned plans to abolish ‘income protection’ – a benefit for those who are sick for more than six  months

Robert Melciou, GMB convenor for Circle, said: “Given the fact Circle had to make savings, this was the best compromise.”

Circle had been attempting to slash costs following the reduction to income due to George Osborne’s 1% annual rent cut.

The organisation is also planning to merge with Affinity Sutton to create a 127,000-home landlord.

Mark Rogers, chief executive of Circle Housing, said: “We are pleased to have come to an agreement with our recognised trade unions on a new set of terms and conditions… as a responsible employer we changed some of the areas that mattered most to our staff having listened to their feedback.”

Monday, June 06, 2016

UNISON rejects racist, bilious, hate-filled campaigns for Brexit

Latest Press release. "UNISON has taken a position – guided by our membership – to advise support for a Remain vote in the upcoming EU referendum.
Of course there are those within our union who take a different view, and those views are respected but what unites us all is our condemnation of the tactics employed by the official “Vote Leave” campaign, and racist, xenophobic rhetoric employed by some leading campaigners for Brexit.
In particular, we are concerned by the divisive anti-immigrant rhetoric employed by the campaign, designed to turn worker against worker rather than making real arguments about the EU: whether it’s the (false) claims by the official Leave campaign that Turkey is about to join the EU – clearly being pushed to add anti-Muslim sentiment to their list of little-Englander tactics – or Nigel Farage’s outright racist claim that women are at risk of sexual assault from immigrants.
It turns out the last refuge of the scoundrel is not “patriotism” but stoking up fear of the foreign.
It’s the hallmark of a campaign that has nothing to say about employment rights, and makes no guarantees around maternity/paternity leave, anti-discrimination or the working time directive. Likewise they have no explanation for how they are going to deal with potential post-Brexit skills shortages or economic shocks.
The biggest price for this divisive campaign will be paid by those who are demonised by campaigners for their own personal political ends.
Although UNISON is encouraging a Remain vote, it’s clear that there are arguments for leaving the EU. But they aren’t being made by the bilious, hate-filled campaigns aiming to drag us into international isolationism.
Those campaigns deserve our unreserved condemnation for their baseless attacks on immigrants and fear that diminishes their case and this entire debate. And, regardless of how you’re voting on 23 June, surely we can all agree on that".

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Join UNISON. Get support at work.

Join now. Do not put it off. One of the worse things about being a union rep is telling fellow employees who have a good case for unfair treatment that they have left it too late. You cannot get representation if you only join when you know you have a problem.

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Be a Labour Councillor training for UNISON activists by LGA Labour Group

Recently I have spoken at two training sessions organised by UNISON Labour Link for our activsts on becoming Labour Councillors. This training was delivered by the Local Government Association Labour Group at the UNISON National Centre in Euston, London. 

I gave a brief introduction on the topic as a UNISON activist who is also a Labour Councillor for West Ham Ward in Newham, London for the past 6 years. There are numerous pros and cons, highs and lows, about becoming a Councillor. 

On the con side you have to scarfice many evenings and weekends but by being an effective representative you can make a difference to your constituents' lives.

Recently being a Councillor I have challenged senior Managers at Scrutiny committee, made speeches in the Council Chamber and helped residents at surgeries who faced being evicted, suffered domestic violence as well as parking and planning complaints.

One unusual experience for me as a trade unionist who is used to going on picket lines, protests and demos is being lobbied and being occasionally shouted at by angry members of the public

Austerity and the cuts can make it a  very frustrating and upsetting experience. You see families living in cramped, overcrowded, damp hovels and you realise that there is little you can do until we can get rid of this Government. The little that you can do does count however.

Finally, I said that in my experience unison activists are already used to representing people, speaking in public and organising things so they have a head start as Councillors. It is also vital for the Labour Party that it has real life genuine trade unionists as its Councillors.  I wished both sessions well and  hoped to see them at a future Labour Local Government Assocition conference. 

Friday, June 03, 2016

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Statement on BBC documentary “Last Whites of the East End” from Newham residents

[Newham Stand Up to Racism have initiated the following unity statement. If you are a Newham resident & wish to add your name email:]
"As residents of Newham we do not recognise the picture painted of our borough by the programme makers of “The Last Whites of the East End” broadcast on Tuesday 24 May. We fear the documentary will pander to division and prejudice. It was built on the false premise that we are divided and segregated; the programme makers seem to have deliberately excluded the rich and complex realities of community life in our borough.
Throughout its history Newham has been a home to peoples and newcomers of different backgrounds and origin. it is the richer for it. Huguenot, Irish, Jewish, afro-Caribbean, Asian and east European migrants and very many others from all over the world have made their homes here and in doing so have made Newham and the east end the diverse, multicultural community it is today.
The fact that 147 languages are spoken in Newham is something to celebrate. Nor are we segregated into rigid ethnic groups. Some 34 percent of households are ethnically mixed (compared to the national average of 12 percent). Such a multicultural environment enriches our experience and that of our children and young people. Newham is as British as any other part of the country, that is itself, after all, incredibly diverse.
The programme makers of “The Last Whites of the East End” have constructed a highly divisive narrative by selecting a very small number of anecdotal views. Prejudiced viewpoints of “the other” were left unchallenged and there was little if no attempt to seek positive views of the community as a whole.
There was no serious attempt to situate the complex population moves in our inner cities over time. Population moves to Essex, the Home Counties and the outer London suburbs have been a feature of London life since World War Two. That is not exclusive to east London, nor to the white population. Changing urban populations are a feature of London life.
Despite this the programme makers played a theme of a ‘native’ white minority being driven out by waves of immigrants from different cultures and backgrounds. This was a theme used to try and divide the east end in the past; it was a theme played against Jews before World War II and against black communities after the 1950s.
It was a theme that led to serious racially motivated violence in Newham in the 1970s and after. Yet it was in Newham that Asian, white and black united together to oppose this prejudice. Then as now there were divisions to challenge and overcome; but that is how a community is built.
We enjoy Newham for the vibrant, diverse and genuine community it is. We believe that our community is far more than the sum of its parts and we are very proud to live here… together.
Cllr Rokhsana Fiaz, OBE (Custom House ward), lifelong resident
Cllr John Whitworth, (West Ham ward)
Cllr John Gray, (West Ham ward)
Rob Ferguson, Newham Stand Up to Racism
Steve Hedley, Assistant General Secretary, RMT union
Iain Hale, Asst Secretary, Newham NUT, lifelong resident
Dr Ron Singer, retired GP and chair of Newham Save our NHS
Rachel Collinson, Green Party spokesperson Business, Innovation & Skills.
Roger Silverman, Forest Gate, West Ham Labour Party
Yesim Deveci, Snr Lecturer, University of East London, Former Founder & Director of Dost Centre for Young Refugees & Migrants, lifelong resident
Gargi Bhattacharrya, East Ham, professor, University of East London
Simon Shaw - vice president Redbridge Teachers Association
Ayesha Taylor, Focus E15 campaign
Rabbil Sikdar, Newham Labour Party
Paulyne Gaillard, retired teacher
Kevin Blowe
Umair Saeed, former candidate Respect
Brian Richardson, Asst secretary, Unite Against Fascism
Roddy Slorach, Equality and diversity officer, UCU branch, Imperial College
Mohammed Ravat
Shagufta Nasreen
Jill Oxley

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

AMNT Summer Conference Monday 13 June "Do trustees delegate too much"?

Paul Trickett is Chair of Railpen Investments as well as carrying out a number of other Trustee and NED appointments in the financial services sector.  Prior to this he worked at Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Towers Watson and was previously CEO of the British Coal Pension Schemes

He is looking forward to a debate and some practical ideas abut how trustees can reduce their costs and apply more of their assets to paying members benefits

Rory Murphy  MNOPF
In the last five years the MNOPF has won numerous industry awards for their innovative de-risking projects and investment strategy and good governance is at the heart of the MNOPF’s success.  An early adopter of journey planning and one of the first large pension schemes to implement fiduciary management, this case study will highlight how the MNOPF has gone about delivering consistently improving funding levels with reduced risk and volatility.

Jonathan Stapleton
Editor-in-Chief, Professional Pensions and Workplace Savings & Benefits who says... 
The pension freedoms were launched in April 2015 and are now bedding in; the government consulted on overhauling pensions tax relief before deciding to hold back from radical change; the annual allowance taper came into force; and schemes had to grapple with the end of contracting out and GMP equalisation.

In addition to this, we have seen the introduction of a Lifetime ISA and independent governance committees; and a revised DC Code will come into force in July.

Yet, at the same time as all this change trustees continue to face the challenges of ongoing scheme management and funding – and are increasingly reliant on the support and expertise of their consultants, advisers and service providers to help meet their objectives.

But some are now questioning whether trustees are now too reliant on external help – and are perhaps delegating too much to third-party consultants and providers.

The theme of the AMNT’s Summer Conference – Do trustees delegate too much? ­– comes at a crucial time for UK pensions and I very much look forward to hearing the views of both AMNT members and speakers on this topic.

Andy Agathangelou
Founding Chair, the Transparency Task Force...

AMNT’s members are absolutely vital in helping to ensure pension schemes are well governed and can deliver value for money. I think the AMNT’s conference will be a great chance for me to explain the work of the Transparency Task Force, so much of which is being done for all types of scheme trustees including lay trustees, and how what we are doing is a “bullseye” hit on the issue of value for money. You’ll hear about the obstacles we need to overcome and how we’re doing just that, in a collaborative and consensus-based way.

Also, given all the regulatory-led and market-led changes taking place in the world of pensions right now I am absolutely convinced that the need for trustees to be right up-to-date has never been higher.
So this really is a must-attend event if you want to be confident of handling your fiduciary responsibilities correctly, for the benefit of your scheme’s members.

And I know the networking and social side of things will be great too – see you there!
Kerry Coleman ​joined The Pensions Regulator in 2011 as eLearning Manager, responsible for delivery of the Trustee toolkit and Public Service toolkit online learning programmes.

Kerry has worked in financial services for 20 years, starting out as an independent financial adviser before specialising in occupational pensions. Over the last 12 years Kerry has been working as a training consultant, with a particular focus on the web.
​ Kerry looks forward to her session with amnt on 13th June.​

Colin Meech of UNISON joins us on the panel -
  • Can trustees control costs and charges? 

Thank you
Kind regards
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"It’s a man’s world" Mayoral Elections

Not sure that blaming trade unions for an Executive Mayor macho culture is fair? Especially in unions such as Unison whose membership, officers and activist base are predominately female but this article does makes some valid points.

"The Guardian’s Helen Pidd asks why mayoral elections, especially in the new “metro” areas, are being dominated by men – specifically among the Labour Party.

Liberal Democrat Sue Derbyshire, former leader of Stockport Council, thinks that Labour's rooting in the world of trade unions has led to a "macho" culture that favours bruising election battles: "It creates a male-oriented way of doing things. Women often do things differently.”

Jean Stretton, leader of Oldham Council – the only female of 10 leaders in Greater Manchester's constituent councils, comments: "When I first became a councillor in 2003, frequently the only other woman at a meeting would be taking the minutes. Now… Things are definitely changing for the better. It will just take time for those changes to filter up to the top."

The Guardian, G2, Page: 14,15"