Thursday, October 24, 2013

Future Directions Striker speaks at UNISON London Regional Council

Yesterday was the UNISON London Regional Council meeting chaired by our Regional Convener, Gloria Hanson.

The first speaker was Alan Tate (left of picture) from the Communications union, CWU, who spoke about the privatisation of Royal Mail.

There was no need to do this - Royal Mail had been transformed in recent years and was making money. Why can Railtrack be publicly owned and still able to access the capital markets for investment but Royal Mail could not? The tax payers have been ripped off not only by the below value share offering but the loss of huge Royal Mail property assets across the Country.

CWU will go on strike November 4th if they cannot reach a deal on pay and to protect pay and conditions.

Next speaker was UNISON Senior National officer (not in picture) Donna Rowe-Merriman, who briefed us the Higher Education joint union strike over pay, which will take next Thursday 31 October. The pay claim is affordable and HE institutions can afford to pay more but choose not to while thousands of their directly employed staff are not even paid a living wage but exist on minimum wage rates. Further details of the strike action and regional rally's to follow. 

Final Speaker was Karen Shadwell (2nd from right), UNISON member of Rochdale branch. Karen is a disability support worker with high needs clients. She works for an organisation called "Future Directions" who are cutting her pay by nearly £100 per week.  She and her colleagues have been on strike for 29 days in recent months. Check out my past posts related to this dispute here, here and here. She was supported at this meeting by UNISON Local organiser, Karen Ellis.

Karen was an inspiration and received a standing ovation at the end of her speech. She had been up at 5am this morning in order to get here in time and was very nervous beforehand since  this was her first ever speech to such a meeting. Her speech was excellent. As her UNISON NEC member for Community, I offered her and her colleagues my support.

We have recently agreed in London for a donation  to the strike fund and sent a message of support. You can send messages of support and donations to Helen Harrison, branch secretary, Rochdale UNISON, 46 Richard Street, Rochdale, OL11 1DU. Email: Cheques can be made payable to Rochdale UNISON.

UNISON and her Future Directions had been to talk at ACAS on Friday and Monday. Hopefully a satisfactory result will be reached.

(2nd from left in picture is our London Equalities Convener Yvonne Green and behind her a bit obscured, Karen Ellis ). Hat tip photograph Karen Westwood.

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