Friday, October 22, 2021

Beer, Darts, Curry, Beer

 off message

Back from a good night out in London West End.  Played my first game of darts in a wonderful pub for God knowns how long? Great Punjab meal. Pubs and restaurants appear quiet and safe. 

Street Surgery in West Ham 21.10.21

Out campaigning with my West Ham Ward colleague, Cllr John Whitworth,  who has mastered the Labour doorstep app on his phone. Another very positive response for Labour. We will be chasing highways about weeds on footways! 

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Newham Council Pension Committee (& we are shortlisted for "Best Climate Change Strategy" award)

Great to be back tonight in the Newham Council Chamber in East Ham Town Hall for a meeting. Some interesting statistics from the agenda which included our draft annual report on the pension fund. 

  • There are 29,122 scheme members
  • 53 different employers are part of the scheme (not just the Council)
  • The value of the scheme increased over the year from £1.37 billion to £1.59 billion
  • There are 22 pensioners/dependants over the age of 100 and 48 dependants under the age of 20 receiving a pension. These facts should be really important in persuading staff to join or stay in the scheme. 

Remember if you work for the Council or any of the active employers and die - your partners and children will NOT get a penny if they are not in the pension scheme!

The Chair, Cllr Nareser Osei, also announced that our fund had been nominated for "Best Climate Change Strategy" Award by LAPF Investments

In a belated (and sadly flippant) response to a good technical comment by an officer, who said she did not want to argue with an actuary (our pension/accountant specialists) I did say that I used to go out with an actuary once, and we used to argue all the time! (this is based on fact)

The meeting is on

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Latest on extremists attempts to destroy our union's democracy, stop us winning strike ballots over pay (& take our money)

Check out personal report below by former UNISON President and current NEC member Maureen Le Marinel. 

It is incredible in the midst of us mobilising to take on the Tories and win strike ballots over pay, the ultra left are attacking our General Secretary and deliberately provoking a civil war. 

"This is my personal page, the views are my own.
‘UPDATE’ on NEC Resolutions.
Many of you will have seen the ‘Opinion’ provided by John Hendy QC to the NEC, as requested by the Presidential Team, which has been posted by the “Time for Real Change’ organisation. Firstly I believe that as this ‘opinion’ was provided to the NEC it is ‘privileged’ and not for wider circulation, until the NEC had agreed it could be and the NEC should have had the opportunity to discuss and fully understand the content in a ‘legal’ sense, we are not lawyers. This was taken away from us by the publication.
The NEC was provided with ‘legal advice’ on the resolutions by Stuart Brittenden on the 5th October with verbal confirmation of this at the NEC meeting on the 6th October, this I was informed was privileged and not for wider circulation. Following the NEC meeting I reported that the legal advice conflicted with view of the Presidential Team, and as I now understand it, their ‘legal advice’ prior to the NEC meeting on 6th October which I asked for at the meeting and have again requested, as in the Statement from ‘Time for Real Change’ on the 7th October confirmed that they had legal advice and also in tweets from John McDonald MP also confirmed that “they had legal advice at every stage”.
Since receiving the email from the Vice Presidents containing Hendy’s advice this morning, the NEC has received an email from the General Secretary, which contains updated legal advice from Stuart Brittenden on Hendy’s advice. Brittenden’s advice is ‘privileged’ so again I cannot share this with you, but the upshot is that it reaffirms his original advice and conflicts with Hendy’s advice. The email also contains another document of an ‘independent’ legal view from a leading QC Michael Ford, which also does not accept that Hendy’s advice is ‘definitive’ as the Vice Presidents say it is and that is put out by the ‘Time for Real Change’.
I am told that I am bound by ‘collective responsibility’ by the Vice Presidents on the NEC decisions, but as I said earlier this is my personal FB Page and these are my personal views and I make them in a ‘personal capacity’ a term I have never used but now feel that I need to to protect my position and one widely used by members of ‘Time for Real Change’ when they do not agree with decisions made and speak against them on various platforms.
My personal view is that given the information that I have there are still serious questions on the validity and the legality of the decisions taken by certain members of the NEC in respect of the resolutions of the 6th October and I believe that I am duty bound to inform members of the union of this under my duties and responsibilities as a member of our union and a member of the NEC under rule.
I ask that you do not accept the spin’ of ‘Time for Real Change’ and that you continue to support the position taken by a number of NEC members including me as we continue to question the validity of the resolutions and their breaching UNISON Rule.
Thank you".

Other posts here and here

Monday, October 18, 2021

A minutes silence for David Amess MP

Picture from start of Newham London Full Council meeting in Old Town Hall Stratford. Next we had a minutes silence in memory of murdered MP, David Amess. Then Cllr Griffiths, who knew David gave an emotional tribute followed by fellow St Bons "old boy" Cllr Terry Paul.

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Coombe Hill & Chequers Walk


As much as I enjoy walking locally in Epping Forest, Essex and East Hertfordshire, it was great to go on some more challenging walking today in the Chilterns. 

We started off at the Coombe Hill car park (Just over 1 hour drive from Forest Gate.  The car park is pretty small so maybe if you are driving on a "busy" day park in Wendover. You could have joined the walk at the Coombe Hill memorial from Wendover Railway station or the town car park). 

Today we followed this free, downloadable path from the National Trust You can take either a 5 or 7 mile route. 

I have done different versions of this marvellous walk, a number of times over the years. Lots of happy memories but some sad, as a good trade union comrade of mine, George Woznick, who went with us on a walk in 2004 is no longer with us. 

Highlight of the walk today were not only the fantastic views but the magnificent birds of prey you could see nearly everywhere.  Red Kites, in particular, floating above us then diving down down to hunt. We saw 8 of them circling over what was probably carrion at Beacon Hill, just inside the Chequers security cordon. 

We passed the Prime Ministers Country Home Chequers. There was no sign of Boris painting or otherwise

Gill had a highly recommended chocolate ice cream at the Bookmoreend Farm shop and kitchen, while I had a tasty bacon roll. 

Afterward a drink at the "Shoulder of Mutton" in Wendover to rehydrate. I asked as usual for a pint of their "best bitter". Which today was "ConkerBonkers".  It was refreshing but a little hoppy for me. 

I have posted further pictures of this great walk on Facebook - here

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Want to create a Newham heritage project? Apply for a grant today!


Exciting news about Newham Heritage Month 2022

Newham Heritage Month will be back for an exciting third year in June 2022! The festival is made by Newham's community for the community and we're offering you grants of up to £8,000 to create a project for next year's programme. Discover more about the theme, grants, applications, training and volunteering in this month's newsletter. 

October is Black History Month and Newham has a programme of events and activities showcasing the richness of our vibrant and diverse cultural community. Find out more below.

What London 2012 Means to Us

The theme for Newham Heritage Month 2022 will be What London 2012 Means to Us. The mark the 10-year anniversary of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, we want to hear your idea for a project that will research the impact, both good and bad, of this incredible moment in our heritage, as well as other stories that were unearthed in the build up to 2012.

Your project could be inspired by anything related to the theme, from the centuries-old discoveries found during the archaeological digs before the Games, to Newham's long association with community activism.

Find out more

Apply for a Community Grant 

Want to develop a heritage project responding to next year's theme? Apply for a Community Grant before 21 November! The fund total is £100,000, and there will be grants available of up to £5,000 for individuals and up to £8,000 for constituted groups. 

Find out more

Inspiration, advice and training

Would you like some advice on how to apply? Are you hunting for inspiration? If so, we have online application surgeries and inspiration days on offer to get your project off to a great start. If your project receives funding, there's also free training provided. 

Find out more

Volunteering Opportunities

Are you an aspiring photographer? Volunteer to become a Newham Heritage Month Community Photographer and receive free photography training from professionals! You can also volunteer in Newham’s Heritage Service year round.

Find out more

Black History Month

Black History Month is an annual celebration of the contributions made by Black African and Caribbean communities in the borough nationally and internationally. Throughout October, Newham Council will host a programme of activity that responds to the theme of Ambition, Achievement, Inspiration. 

Find out more

Our Thanks

We're grateful to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for their generous support of Newham Heritage Month. The month is organised by Newham Council as part of Newham Unlocked and supported by the Royal Docks Team. 

Join us on social! 

We'd love to stay in touch with you on social media - follow Newham Heritage Month on Facebook, Instagram  Twitter YouTube and TikTok!






Know someone who'd love these emails? 

Forward this email on and invite them to sign up on the Newham Heritage Month website.

Image credits

Headline image shows a black and white photo of the London Youth Games winners from Newham lined up with their medals. Image courtesy of London Borough of Newham Heritage Service.

The Theme image shows a black and white photo of West Ham Mayor Daisy Parsons at the Beckton Lido opening August 1937. Image courtesy of London Borough of Newham Heritage Service.

Apply for a Community Grant image show a black and white photo of Jean Desforges practising at Stratford. Image courtesy of London Borough of Newham Heritage Service.

Inspiration, advice and training image shows a vintage advert for Stockdales leather goods. Image courtesy of London Borough of Newham Heritage Service.

Volunteering opportunities image shows a black and white photo of the Town Show 1978, with Trevor Brooking posing with a five-a-side football team. Image courtesy of London Borough of Newham Heritage Service

'Our Thanks' image shows the National Lottery Heritage Fund logo.

'Join us on social!' image shows the Newham Heritage Month Instagram grid, featuring images from Newham Heritage Month including: a photo of Hafza Yusef as part of IROKO Theatre Company's 2021 project, photo copyright @Muna_Ally; a photo of Queens Market in 1967 courtesy of London Borough of Newham Heritage Service; Newham Poetry Group sessions; a Newham Poetry Group member taking part in the Newham Heritage Month project, photo copyright Calu Lema; as part of the Crate Digging project by Rendezvous Projects Mike DeUnderground, Randall, Marly Marl, MC Fats, Cool Hand Flex, and Jonny 2 Bad outside De Underground Records, 18 Sebert Road, Forest Gate, July 1995. Image courtesy and copyright, Eddie Otchere; a photo of Eleanor Marx copyright M.I.A. Library and Socialist International History Archive. 


Friday, October 15, 2021

Sir Keir Starmer pays tribute to Sir David Amess

David Amess was a Newham boy born in Plaistow and educated I believe in St Bonaventure School. Today I also remembered the stabbing of East Ham MP Stephen Timms and the killing of Jo Cox MP.  We had a number of political campaigning sessions planned for tomorrow which have been rightly cancelled. 

"Sir Keir Starmer has paid tribute to murdered MP Sir David Amess. The 69-year-old, who represented Southend West, was stabbed multiple times during a constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea on Friday. "Sir David had a profound sense of public duty. He was highly respected and much liked across the Houses of Parliament on all sides," the Labour Leader said as he paid tribute to Mr Amess. "Violence, intimidation and threats will never prevail over the tireless work of public servants like David, simply doing his job." Read more here:"

Thursday, October 14, 2021

West Ham Ward Cllr Street Surgery: Uneven Pavements, Blocked drains, Fly tipping, Bulk Rubbish, Leylandii trees, Unsafe Roads...

My West Ham Ward Councillor colleague, John Whitworth and I  (our ward colleague Charlene had a clash) had a really interesting Street Surgery this evening. Knocking on doors and introducing ourselves and asking residents if they had any issues with the Council. 

Some did and I have a number of member enquires to raise tomorrow with the Council.  

Residents were generally content with the Council and understood the problems we face due to Tory funding cuts and the impact of Covid on services.  Yet, we need to raise our game on these "bread and butter" service issues and I am sure we can.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

TUC Education Winter 2021 webinar programme


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Winer 2021 webinar programme


TUC Education's popular webinar series returns with four new topics. Each webinar will explore key issues affecting workplaces, providing union reps with expert advice, and an opportunity to share resources and network with reps from across the UK.

For further information and to register for our latest webinars click the join links below.



Protecting mental health in the workplace

Tuesday 26 October 2021 13:00-14:00

Protecting workers' mental health is an increasingly important issue for all union reps.

Join Peter Kelly, Senior Psychologist at the HSE, to discuss what employers should be doing to prevent work related stress and to protect the mental wellbeing of their employees.



The role of the union rep in the conciliation process

Thursday 4 November 2021 14:00-15:00

Acas play a crucial role in resolving disputes between employers and employees.

Join Acas colleagues Nicole Clark, Head of Individual Dispute Resolution and Tony Lowe, Senior Policy Advisor,   who will explain the conciliation process and the role union reps can play in helping to resolve disputes.



Handling disciplinary and grievance procedures - what you need to know

Tuesday 30 November 2021 14:00-15:00

What has been the impact of the pandemic on the way employers and reps deal with disciplinary and grievance procedures?

Join legal expert Sally Buffard from Labour Research Department, to discuss the impact of the pandemic and how you can help to ensure fair outcomes for your members.



Coming soon: AI in the workplace

Tuesday 7 December 2021 14:00-15:00

A look at artificial intelligence (AI) and its growing impact on jobs and workplaces. (Joining instructions to follow.)

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