Thursday, February 22, 2024

What a good idea! Encourage tenants to downsize & free up family homes


Not a new idea but pleased about offer to Newham Council tenants of a brand new home in a over 55s block at a rent no higher than their current rent. Too often while canvassing I come across elderly tenants in family sized homes whose children have grown up and left. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

UNISON Housing Association Branch AGM 2024


At tonight's Branch Executive Committee meeting we discussed planning for our AGM. The email below has been sent to all of our 3000 plus members.

"Dear Member,

Due to the Easter Weekend, the UNISON Housing Association Branch AGM 2024 has been moved to Wednesday 27th March, 2024.

Further details of exact time and location will follow in the coming weeks.

If you are interested in:
  • joining the Branch Executive Team as Branch Officer or General Committee Member for 2024
  • proposing a change to Branch Rules
  • putting forward a Branch motion

Please fill in the attached form and submit to
by 8:00pm on Tuesday, 26th March 2024.

If you have any questions regarding Branch Officer positions, or any other matters relating to the AGM, please contact:

Kind regards,

Chris Milson
Branch Secretary
UNISON Housing Associations Branch

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Ealing Labour x Swindon Labour Party Fundraiser 2024

On Sunday I went with UNISON Labour Link colleagues to a fundraising dinner in Ealing. It was packed and extremely well organised. The food and service was also excellent. It was great to meet and catch up with Labour and union friends. After speeches there was the inevitable Labour auction and raffle! 

Good luck to the many Labour candidates there who are standing for the GLA or winnable Parliament seats. 

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Capital Ring Walk 3. Grove Park to Crystal Palace

Today Gill and I continued with our journey around London via the Capital Ring walk. We had started off in Woolwich during November and will hopefully finish 78 miles later in Beckton (not in one go!).

It took us about 1 hour to get to Grove Park (bus to Stratford since Lizzie line down, change Jubilee to London Bridge then over head to Grove Park). Route is 7.7 miles with extra 0.5 miles from station to start. 

The walk was mostly going through London suburbia but there were a number of parks and greenways. Highlight was Beckenham Place Park which had ancient forests and trails, wide open spaces and is a wonderful green lung for London. I enjoyed there a tasty (but somewhat pricey) egg, bacon and tomato roll with coffee. 

The weather was quite warm for the time of year (quite a few people in shorts and even tee-shirts) but it was overcast and we were lucky it didn't rain. The early spring blossom and flowers were marvellous and a reminder of the good things to come. 

It is a fairly long section of the ring walk but mostly flat with some up and downs. Lots of noisy Ring-necked Parakeets and squabbling grey squirrels. 

In another park Gill chatted to a family about their naughty dog, which refused to respond to their repeated calls to return to them, instead enjoying drinking out of a very muddy puddle. She afterwards recognised him as the actor, Paul Ready, from the sitcom "Motherland" (Kevin). 

At the end of the walk in the historic Crystal Palace, the kids seem to enjoy the victorian statues of dinosaurs.  Despite being on the "at risk" register of English Heritage they seemed to be in fairly good condition considering they are around 170 years old. 

The walk finished at the station and we took a similar trip back and are looking forward to our next leg, Crystal Palace to Streatham. 

Friday, February 16, 2024

HeartUnion Blues 2024

Love Unions week finishes on Sunday. In the meanwhile :-

"Have a bit of musical fun, with deep political foundations And if you and all your trade union friends want to cheer yourselves up and give your politics a happy bounce in HeartUnions week, then watch TUC LESE HeartUnions Blues"

Thursday, February 15, 2024

West Hammers on tour: Wellingborough By election 15 Feb 24

This morning four of us (Alan, Ash, Me and Varghese - all of whom live in the West Ham Parliamentary constituency) drove down to Wellingborough to support the Labour Candidate, Gen Kitchen (former Newham Councillor) in this important by election. 

It took under 2 hours to get there and we had been directed to a community centre which was a campaign hub. It was thankfully, very well organised and we were speedily booked in, given leaflets and shown a video by Gen and the Labour Party GS, David Evans, on local issues and campaigning techniques.  There was also sandwiches and drinks available. 

There was no hanging about and we were soon allocated a Labour Party "board runner" to take us "on the knocker" and remind voters that this is election day and to get out the Labour vote. 

We bumped into Rita (another West Hammer) who was campaigning with "Sikhs 4 Labour". 

Kizzy led us on our first canvass session. She is a Labour Party media organiser and this was the first time she had led a canvass team and she did a great job. We went to the Finedon ward which comprised predominantly of traditional terraced houses, but there was many blocks of flats which were converted from shoe wear factories, which used to be a major employer in the area. 

The canvassing went well but we were approached by a shop workers who asked us if she was able to vote since she had no photo ID. She was disabled and had no passport or driving licence. Sadly she was not able to vote but we did suggest that she apply for a postal vote for next election. She was angry about being deprived of her right to vote and had wanted to support Gen. 

Another elderly voter told us that she had gone to the polling station but got turned away since she had forgotten to bring her photo ID with her. She said she would go back but she was clearly frail and not well. I suspect that she too will be deprived of her vote. 

We only saw one canvasser for any of the opposition parties (it may have been the Tory candidate but we were not sure). There was in the distance a mobile loudspeaker which I believe was ranting for a far right party but could not make out what they were saying.  

One person stopped me and asked me about Gen and was very supportive of Labour but said he was worried because he had been told that Keir Starmer had been the "lawyer" for the sex abuser, Jimmy Saville. I assured him that this is totally untrue and it is a shame that opposition parties are spreading such lies and misinformation. He seemed content with this. 

We stopped for coffee and cake at a local shop then went out again this time with Rob as our "Board Runner".  Good to meet up again at the community centre, with the Leader of Greenwich Council, Anthony Okereke. 

This 2nd session was now later in the day and we found more people at home after work and it became clear that many residents had either voted already or were about to vote and they were well motivated and keen to vote for Labour. 

One lady however, told me that she had "forgotten" who she and her partner had voted for that morning. Hmmnn... I suspect she not vote for us. 

Alan drove us there and back. According to Google fit I walked 20,343 steps today (8.73 miles). 

Result is due around 4am tomorrow morning. Fingers and toes crossed for Gen and her team. Will update tomorrow. 

Good luck to Damien Egan in the Kingswood byelection. Another great candidate. 

Update: Great news @Gvkitchen & @damienegan both elected!

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Tory Wipe out Poll (don't believe it)


While I want to believe that this poll is accurate I do not believe it "until it happens". We are are still very, very vulnerable to Tory division and lies. The Tories are the most ruthless and successful election machine in Western Europe. Never forget this.

I also had a rather depressing experience today at a trade union meeting, where the ultra left spent all their time slagging off Labour and not the Tories. They obviously want another 5 years (and longer) of Tory rule, since they believe it will bring about "the revolution". Yeah. 

Labour is not perfect and I have never personally agreed with every one of their policies or statements. But the choice (in the main UK elections) is really about either the Tories or Labour. Full Stop.

The Ultra left would rather have the Tories in power than Labour to keep themselves "ideologically pure". They do not give a damn about working class people. 

I am off with "West Hammers on Tour" tomorrow to support the Labour Candidate for Wellingborough, Gen Kitchen. Fingers crossed. 

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

"Return of tribunal fees"


Hat tip to Thompsons Solicitors. This is dreadful news. The employment tribunal process is already biased in favour of employers. Today I had to help an unemployed member apply to a tribunal. The prospect of fees will frighten people. We already have unscrupulous lawyers threatening to claim costs on winnable cases.

Picture is of the UNISON team that took legal action in 2017 which resulted in fees being quashed since they were found to prevent access to justice and discriminative. Hopefully these fees can be stopped as well. 

Monday, February 12, 2024

#HeartUnions Join UNISON

TUC heartunions week 2024

12 – 18 February 2024

Annual TUC week to promote trade unions and UNISON to the wider public and in workplaces.