Thursday, March 31, 2022

Newham Rough Sleeping Count 31.3.22


Last night we met at Newham Council Dockside building just after 11pm for a briefing on tonight's count. There was Council officers, volunteers, outreach workers and Councillors taking part. We were split into 5 mobile teams and given maps and directions for each of our patches.

I was teamed up with local officer, PC Pearson, and we were tasked out with checking out two local parks, a tower block and a number of low rise blocks, where rough sleepers had been found in the past. 

It was a very cold, miserable and damp evening and I was pleased that we came across no one sleeping rough. I am sure that the other groups would find some people sleeping rough on the street but I hope that the collective figures this time will be less than last (which was 11). 

Since we came across no one, the count took less time than normal and I was back home for 2am. 

Many thanks to the Newham Council's Street Population manager, Ajith Sajeev BEM and her team for organising this event so well and PC Pearson for his interest and enthusiasm for our task. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

"From UNISON to Ukraine, with love"

 (I am so proud of UNISON London Ambulance branch and activists)

London ambulance staff lead humanitarian convoy to Ukraine

Paramedics are driving 1,000 miles to deliver 10 ambulances to Ukraine health workers and relief goods to refugees

Early this morning a team of 26 London Ambulance Service (LAS) paramedics, many of them UNISON members, left a foggy East London for a 1,000-mile drive across Europe to Poland, in an extraordinary humanitarian convoy.

They will deliver 10 reconditioned ambulances filled with medical supplies, to be used by the Ukraine ambulance staff tackling the terrible casualties of Russia’s invasion, as well as two vans full of much-needed items – such as clothing and toiletries – to the refugees amassing on the Ukraine-Polish border.

The relief effort is the result of a collaboration between the ambulance trust and its paramedics, who have collected the donations and are volunteering in their own time to make the journey. It’s also had the support, with a hefty donation to match, from the UNISON London Ambulance branch.

Branch secretary Eddie Brand said: “This is such an important cause. Our members are showing real solidarity with the people of Ukraine. I’m so full of admiration for them.”

Today’s journey is the result of two separate initiatives coming together, and three weeks of intense planning....

Check out full story here

Monday, March 28, 2022

Why we walked out of UNISON Community Conference? because a man dismissed for bullying & harassing 14 women was chairing it


A week ago there was a walkout of UNISON delegates and Service Group Executive members from our annual Community conference, which was being held in Glasgow. This has never happened before in Community.
This was an unplanned and spontaneous walk out since we had no idea until the last minute, that an imposter, pretending to be the lay President of UNISON, Paul Holmes, was going to chair our conference. Despite the fact he has recently been dismissed by his employer, following bullying and harassment allegations by 14 (yes 14) female UNISON members (and also by at least one male who was threatened with violence).
Not only has Paul Holmes been dismissed by his employer for bullying and harassing women but the current majority Group on the UNISON NEC have decided that they will "change" long established union rules to allow him to be our lay President, despite being unemployed, and therefore not eligible under rule to hold office.
The NEC has no right to change our rules to support men accused of such bullying and harassment. Only our annual National Delegate Conference can change such rules.
Paul Holmes has also recently lost an employment tribunal case for what is called "interim relief", which means the courts think it is likely he was fairly dismissed for abusing all these women.
We are a relatively small UNISON Service Group with only 60 delegates representing some 60,000 members. We also had visitors and members of the Service Group Executive.
I think around 25 members walked out including a former Female UNISON President, members of the Service Group Executive, delegates and visitors. Far more would have walked out if we had known in advance about this outrage.
Since then I have been contacted by UNISON members from all over the UK horrified that a man dismissed for abusing so many women can be allowed to hold office. They want him to be at least suspended until there is a proper investigation and process by UNISON into the allegations.

Otherwise it seems UNISON is saying to our 1 million plus female members, that no matter what you say, or how many say it, we won't believe you if you say it about one of our male NEC favourites.

Sunday, March 27, 2022

View from my Chair: Northward Hill and Halstow Marshes

If you like big skies, bird song, isolation and spring blossom, then this 8 mile energetic circular walk is for you. Gill and I drove down from East London in around 51 minutes (sorry, public transport is not great for this walk) and parked in the RSPB Northward Hill car park (warning - search on this address only). 

We used this "Kent Walks - pathfinder" which is out of date but the latest version doesn't appear to have this marvellous walk, which is an incredible shame. 

It was cloudy and cold in the beginning but later brightened up and the wind dropped. We hardly saw a soul during the walk, the sense of peace, quiet and remoteness was incredible. You could see for miles and miles. 

The walk along the embankment next to the River Thames in the bracing wind was exhilarating. We did this same walk 4 years ago and can still see why Dickens used this location for the famous beginning of "Great Expectations". 

The car park was supposed to close at 4pm so due to my mistake about timing, we had a tough yomp up the hill to get back in time (there is a gate which can be closed). 

Afterwards, we stopped off for a drink at the Red Dog, which was full of families celebrating Mother's Day. 

I have posted further photos on Facebook.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

"Your opinion matters to me John" Christina asks members about a UNISON College


Dear John,

When I was elected as your general secretary, one of my key pledges was establishing a UNISON college. And now this pledge is starting to take shape.
The past year has seen work happening to create this college, but now I need your help to make sure it matches what you want from a UNISON college. 
Can you complete a quick survey to give me an idea of what you expect from the college? As a thank you, you'll be entered into a prize draw to win up to £250 in shopping vouchers.
Can you take the survey now, John?


The UNISON college will be built on our union's key values. It will provide new learning opportunities for UNISON members like you, John, to help you in your personal and work life. 
Thank you for taking the time to complete the survey - and best of luck in the prize draw.
Christina McAnea
UNISON general secretary 



Friday, March 25, 2022

Willis Road Play Street: Sunday 27 March 2022 1-4pm #LoveE15

"I am writing on behalf of Love E15 to invite you to our first ever Love E15 Willis Road Play Street and Street Party. Please see the attached flyer.

When? Sunday 27th March, 1pm-4pm

Where? Willis Road, E15 (off Holbrook Road)

Kind regards,

Rebecca and Rosie (Love E15)

Follow us on Instagram @lovelondonE15

(I have a prior commitment but wish it well)



Thursday, March 24, 2022

TUC Pensions Conference 2022: Wed 30 March virtual



Auto-enrolment, the next 10 years

A decade on from the introduction of auto-enrolment, the 2022 TUC Pensions Conference will look at the priorities for pensions policy over the years ahead.

The conference will take place online via Zoom on Wednesday 30 March, 10:00 to 16:00, and is intended for trade union members and officials, pension fund trustees, and anyone with an interest in pensions policy.

This conference will explore the successes and short-comings of auto-enrolment, a policy that has enjoyed cross-party support and brought an extra 10 million workers into occupational pension schemes.

It will also examine how pension policy must develop to ensure that these new members – and the workers still excluded from occupational pensions – can maintain a decent standard of living in old age.

Sessions will cover:

  • Extending auto-enrolment to close the gender pensions gap
  • Investing defined contribution pension pots productively while protecting members’ savings
  • The role of collective defined contribution in improving outcomes for today’s DC members
  • The case against further increases to the state pension age

Speakers include:

Jonathan Ashworth, shadow work and pensions secretary; Paul Nowak, TUC; Mark Serwotka, PCS; Sue Ferns, Prospect; Stephen Timms MP; Richard Holden MP; Fiona Steele, Aegis; Joanne Segars, NOW Pensions; Hilary Salt, First Actuarial; Harinder Mann, RSA; Kate Bell, TUC; Nigel Stanley, NEST; Dr Iain Clacher, Leeds University Business School; Mick McAteer, Financial Inclusion Centre; Josephine Cumbo, Financial Times; Alicia Minns, DWP; Daniela Silcock, Pensions Policy Institute; Sonia Kataora, Barnett Waddingham, Andy Cheseldine, Capital Cranfield, Dr Carole Easton, Centre for Ageing Better, Sandeep Maudgil, Slaughter and May


10:00-10:40:    Opening keynote

Jonathan Ashworth, Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Paul Nowak, TUC Deputy General Secretary     

10:40-11:40     Extending auto-enrolment to close the gender pensions gap

Sue Ferns, Prospect Senior Deputy General Secretary

Richard Holden MP

Joanne Segars, NOW Pensions Chair of Trustees

Fiona Steele, Aegis Deputy General Secretary

Daniela Silcock, Pensions Policy Institute Head of Policy Research

11:50-12:50    DC investments: Making a positive impact without undermining consumer protections

Dr Iain Clacher, Professor of Pensions and Finance at Leeds University Business School

Mick McAteer, Financial Inclusion Centre Co-Director

Josephine Cumbo, Financial Times Global Pensions Correspondent

Sonia Kataora, Barnett Waddingham Head of DC Investment

Andy Cheseldine, Capital Cranfield Professional Trustee

Lunch break

13:55-14:55     Taking a collective approach to turning workers’ savings into retirement income

Stephen Timms MP, Work and Pensions Select Committee chair

Dr Harinder Mann, Royal Society of Arts CDC forum co-chair

Nigel Stanley, NEST Members’ Panel chair

Alicia Minns, DWP multiple employer collective pension schemes policy lead

Sandeep Maudgil, Slaughter and May Partner

15:00-16:00      State pension age review: Can we afford further increases?

Mark Serwotka, PCS General Secretary

Hilary Salt, First Actuarial Director

Kate Bell, TUC Head of Rights, International, Social and Economic

Dr Carole Easton, Centre for Ageing Better Chief Executive

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

London Stands with Ukraine: March and Vigil Saturday 26 March

"The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan is inviting all those who wish to show solidarity with Ukraine to join together on Saturday 26 March for a march and vigil. The march and vigil will be an opportunity to send a unified message of support to the Ukrainian people.

London stands with Ukraine’ will begin with a solidarity march from Park Lane to Trafalgar Square, starting at 2pm. The vigil will commence from 3pm on Trafalgar Square.

The march from Park Lane will go via Piccadilly Circus, where Yoko Ono’s ‘IMAGINE PEACE’ artwork, commissioned by CIRCA in collaboration with Serpentine, will be displayed on Piccadilly Lights".

(This march and vigil is being supported by UNISON who is working with the international trade union movement to mobilise support for those affected by the war in Ukraine, details of how branches and members can help can be found on the UNISON website at

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Speaking about decent pensions at Brent Local Government AGM 2022


Today I had been invited by Brent UNISON to speak at their AGM on the importance of decent pensions. Well done to the branch for not only having the leader of Brent, Cllr Muhammed Butt speak and take Q&As but also its deputy leader, Cllr Margert McLennan. 

I had been invited in my role as Chair of UNISON London regional pension network. Also, I had recently been appointed by the London local authority trade unions, to fill their seat on the shareholder Committee of the London Pension collective investment pooling vehicle (better known as the London CIV). 

My aim was to remind trade union members in Brent how important it is to join and stay in the Local Government Pension scheme. 

I began by recalling being a Council housing officer on an estate in Tower Hamlets in the early 1990s, I remember being horrified by pensioner poverty. So many of our retired residents were living in simply dreadful conditions. They had no spare money for treats, holidays or even decent presents for their grandchildren. Recent research indicates that in 2021 some 18% (nearly a fifth) of UK pensioners still live in poverty. 

I also spoke about if you don't join the council pension scheme you miss out on "free money" since your employer is paying at least double what you contribute AND your income tax should be reduced. 

Also, you get free life assurance and free protection against ill-health. If you are not in the Council pension fund and then die or have a serious medical condition, it is likely you, your spouse and your dependants will get nothing. 

Sadly, I remember when a young man with a dependent spouse and 2 teenage children died in service due to an accident when visiting relatives. He was not in the pension scheme and therefore his spouse and kids got nothing, not a penny from the employer to help them out. 

Please do not let this happen to you! If you are eligible join your pension scheme join today! If money is tight then consider what is known as the "50/50" option. You pay 1/2 your dues but get 100% life cover (but you only get 1/2 of what you should get from your pension - so only do this as a temporary stop gap)

There was a wide ranging Q&A with members including a discussion on decarbonisation of our pension funds and the need to do this via a "Just Transition".

Monday, March 21, 2022

Workers Memorial Day 2022: Occupational health & safety is a fundamental right at work

Today I had a meeting with one of my employers health and safety team to discuss what we can do to mark Workers Memorial Day on 28 April 2022. 

The international theme for this year is that "Occupational health & safety is a fundamental right at work". 

My UNISON branch will be holding our remembrance event again with hopefully West Ham MP, Lyn Brown, at the "Clasping Hands" memorial in Three Mills Green in Newham and I will urge all union activists to try and mark this important day at their workplace in some meaningful way. 

UNISON activists can download this poster and place on any union notice boards (physical or virtual) There is one currently in our Bow office and I will send to all our activists. 

Sunday, March 20, 2022

UNISON Community Seminar 2022 (& the "imposter" dismissed for bullying & harassing women) Day 1


Friday was day 1 of the UNISON Community Service Group (Housing associations and voluntary sector members) annual Seminar and conference in Glasgow. 

It was so good to have a physical in person conference and meet other delegates who I have not seen outside zoom or teams for 2 years or so. I was part of the Greater London Housing Associations delegation. 

At noon there was a series of sector specific workshops. As you would expect I attended the Housing Associations workshop, where we had a very useful wide discussion on current issues and problems in our sector and what we can do about them. 

However, someone who described himself as the "President" of UNISON also attended despite admitting (and then demonstrating ) he had little or no knowledge of Housing Associations. This man  must be an imposter since he has been dismissed by his employer for allegedly bullying/harassing 15 female UNISON members (and also men). 

Nevermind the awful nature of these allegations, UNISON rules have never allowed someone who is unemployed to hold such an office, not least because we are a trade union representing members at work on their terms and conditions. 

There was also workshops on the CVO sector and Major Charities. After these sessions there was a briefing for new delegates to the seminar and conference. 

The seminar started officially at 2.45pm and there was a series of really interesting speakers on topical Community Service Group issues followed by Q&A. 

Derby City branch Community UNISON members have posted a really good account of this session here

Afterwards we had a London regional delegation meeting followed by a meal in a Spoons in 
Sauchiehall Street. One of the London delegates mother was Ukrainian and she made it clear her hatred of what is being done to her family members  every time the TV screens showed pictures of the fascist monster Putin. 

Thursday, March 17, 2022

UNISON Labour Link Regional Forum "UNISON Stands with Ukraine"

Today, as Chair of UNISON London Regional Labour Link Committee,  I chaired our London Forum of UNISON Labour Link. Which took place in the UNISON Centre in Camden. It was great to be back in the centre after two long years, for a in person (and virtual meeting).  

I was so proud that when I entered the centre, you clearly could see the huge screen with the blue and yellow of the Ukrainian flag, with the motto "UNISON stands with UKRAINE". Our elected General Secretary, Christina, has made it clear that we must offer "unqualified support for our sister unions and the people of Ukraine in the face of Putin’s aggression".

We discussed our workplan for 2022; our London Boroughs elections campaign grid, financial report and a marvellous motion from Voluntary Organisation branch about stopping employers forcing their staff to pay the full cost of the DBS (criminal record) tests. This was passed unanimously.  

David Lammy MP, was our guest keynote speaker and he gave great speech and took part in an informed Q&A with Forum members. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

LAPFF Roundtable on Socio-Economic Diversity: 23 March


Invitation: LAPFF Roundtable on Socio-Economic Diversity: 23 March @ 3pm (f you are an LGPS officer, pension committee or board member or an advisor please join us next week)

Dear LAPFF members,

I am writing to you to remind you of the Roundtable on Socio Economic Diversity, that is being hosted by my colleague and vice-chair John Gray next week.

HM Treasury and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) have commissioned the City of London Corporation to lead an independent Taskforce on Socio Economic Diversity in order to boost productivity and levelling up opportunities for under-privileged communities. This taskforce is intended to improve socio-economic diversity at senior levels in UK financial and professional services and has a vision of ‘equity of progression’ – where high performance is valued over ‘fit’ and ‘polish’.    

My colleague and vice-chair, John Gray, was appointed to the advisory board of this Taskforce last year. Since his appointment, he has been making valuable contributions on behalf of the Forum to this body. The Taskforce has already held a number of roundtables and interviews to try and understand how government, regulators and sector bodies can create incentives for employer action in increasing socio-economic diversity at senior levels in the sector. LAPFF members now have an opportunity to join the dialogue and contribute directly to an industry consultation at a roundtable discussion. Please do bring consultants or fund management contacts along to join the conversation.

Also, another reminder that LAPFF is asking member funds to reach out to these consultants and fund managers to fill out a survey for senior staff at financial organisations to anonymously share their socio-economic background, level of seniority, and views on career progression.

Social mobility is an important issue for the UK and its economy. Research from the Bridge Group shows that employees from non-professional backgrounds progress 25 percent slower than peers, with no link to job performance. These employees report they are exhausted by efforts to conform to dominant cultures, which in turn impacts individual productivity. The Taskforce’s objective to drive forward successful businesses based on the view that people from all backgrounds can perform to their potential and have their abilities recognised aligns very well with LAPFF’s approach to diversity. 

If you have any questions or ish to register, please direct them to

Best regards,

Councillor Doug McMurdo



Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Putin's UNISON "useful idiots" blames the military invasion of Ukraine on NATO and don't support sanctions against apartheid or fascist regimes


Blog post title is mine but please check out and share this really important expose of the vile decisions currently been made in our name by the extremist toy town revolutionaries who currently dominate our NEC and are doing their best to destroy our union.

"UNISON NEC today agreed a Presidential statement on the war in Ukraine. I voted against the statement as it contained a number of comments that I was gravely unhappy with. The statement said ‘The conflict has been prompted by NATO expansion.’ I could not accept any statement that did not put blame exactly where it should lie, with Russia and Vladimir Putin. This is a military invasion of a democratic country where thousands have been killed. To say the responsibility lies anywhere than with Russia is not acceptable to me.

The second issue was the Presidential statement saying ‘economic sanctions will be seen as an aggressive measure and may well strengthen support for Putin.’ I supported the UK Anti Apartheid Movement in the 70s and 80s and we called for sanctions against the racist regime in South Africa, I don’t remember the UK trade union movement saying sanctions could be seen as aggressive or increasing support for John Vorster, PW Botha or apartheid. I also supported the workers at Rolls Royce in East Kilbride refusing to send aircraft engines to Chile in the 70s. While trade unionists were being arrested, tortured and murdered in Chile I don’t remember being told economic sanctions were aggressive or would increase support for General Pinochet.

If UNISON members believe this decision risks UNISONs good name please get out a vote in the upcoming UNISON Service Group elections and vote against the Time for Change candidates who agreed this statement today. We need to simply condemn Russia’s invasion and support the Ukrainian people with economic sanctions, no ifs, no buts, no whatabouts".

By NHS Nurse, former UNISON President and current minority Group NEC member, Gordon McKay.

Monday, March 14, 2022

Pension scammers screw up lives


"Pension scammers screw up lives. With up to 5% of all transfers estimated to be scams there are devastating financial and emotional consequences for scheme members. But you can help. The industry is best placed to identify and stop potential scams and from 30 November 2021 new regulations introduced a system of red and amber flags, giving trustees more power to refuse transfers.

And there’s more that can be done to protect scheme members. Join our webinar on 30 March to hear more about:

The evolving pension scams landscape
Transfer Guidance to support you with the new regulatory duties
The Pledge to Combat Pension Scams – find out more about updates we’ve made since the launch of transfer regulations
Updates from the Pension Scams Industry Group

To pledge or find out more about the pledge click here.

Register now 

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Hertford & the Cole Green Way walk

Off message but a nice if damp tramp today with Gill starting in Hertford. A circular walk, some 45 minutes from East London by car and accessible by train. 

As we started the walk it started to rain very heavily so we sheltered in the entrance to the Gatehouse of Hertford castle, which is now run by the local Council. As we were drinking coffee and eating scotch eggs, some council officers returned from a civic event and I had a chat. One of them was the Council mace bearer who remembered meeting the Newham Council mace bearer at a national meeting of Mace Bearers. Small world. 

I was pleased that the gatehouse was proudly flying the flag of Ukraine in solidary with its people and that the chain surrounding the central cenotaph was wrapped in blue and yellow.

The walk was only 5.5 miles and there was a little bit of up and down but it was not that demanding. Some fine, open views of the Lea Valley. It rained on and off for a while but brightened up at the end. The Cole Way is an old railway line which has been converted into a 4 mile none traffic walkway. 

We sat on a log in the "Grotto wood" just off the walk for a damp lunch. The Grotto was a romantic folly created in the 18th century and reminded me a little of Wansted Park but there are little remains. 

We saw some magnificent birds of prey and a young fox, who we followed along a path for quite a while, until he turned round, saw us then quickly ran off. 

Compared to our walk last weekend in the Chilterns, it was very quiet and we saw very few other walkers. 

At the end of the walk we had a drink in the "Woolpack" in Hertford town centre overlooking the river. I did my normal trick of asking the bar staff what was their best bitter and they served me a pint of locally brewed McMullen mild which to my surprise (not being a mild drinker) was lovely. 

Will post and link more photos on facebook. 

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Labour Canvass - Maud Gardens then Olympic Park (a plaque to the Pentonville Five?)


This morning I went on a Labour canvass in my ward, West Ham with my fellow Councillor John Whitworth and local activist Asheem Singh. 

We went to Maud Gardens which is a small low rise housing estate. We picked up a lot of case work and issues. Residents were pleased to see us but the estate definitely needs a "refresh". 

I will see where it is on the list for future planned maintenance programme. I was invited in by one resident who lives in a one bed flat, which has damp problems but also he and his wife has to share the only bedroom with his 10 year old autistic child, who was a lovely boy but obviously his housing situation is completely inadequate. 

I will raise a Council members enquiry into what we can do, however, I really wish the Prime Minister or Chancellor of the Exchequer was with me when I make these visits, so they can see for themselves what real poverty and housing deprivation means to vulnerable families

By a complete contrast I went this afternoon with West Ham MP, Lyn Brown, to a brand new development next to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, called Chobham Manor. Where there is new private and social housing which appears to be high quality and residents are generally very satisfied (despite concerns over lack of domestic bins and that google does not know they exist). 

I believe this development is actually the site of an important Newham and Labour movement historical event. In 1972 five Dock workers were imprisoned for "unlawfully" picketing at a cold storage facility which I believe was located at or near this development. This resulted in an "unofficial" national strike across the UK which ended up with the "Pentonville Five" being released. This was a famous victory at the time against trade union oppression. Vic Turner (see centre picture of him being realised from prison) was one of the Pentonville Five and he later went on to be a Newham Councillor and Civic Mayor. 

Lyn had a long conversion during the canvass with a resident who was originally from Ukraine. Our hearts go out to him, his family and friends and the people of Ukraine who are being murdered and suffering in Putin's war of aggression against them. 

Friday, March 11, 2022

Appointed as trade union nominee on Stakeholder Committee of London Collective Investment Vehicle (CIV)


I was really pleased to have been nominated as the new joint trade union  rep to the London CIV. This collective pool of London Council's pension funds potentially will have £44 billion of assets under its management. Many thanks to Christopher Cooper from UNISON Southwark Local Government branch who has now retired for the great work he has done as our rep in the past. 

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Labour Parliamentary Candidate & Local Elections Webinars

Check out these Labour Party webinars below on being a Labour Party Parliamentary candidate and support for the local elections in May.

Picture above is from the 2013 TULO (now called Labour Unions) Parliamentary training school. UNISON was well represented. Harriot Harman MP, the then Deputy Leader was very supportive. You may recognise a number of candidates who went on to be Labour MPs - including a certain future Labour Party Deputy Leader.

Getting selected as a Parliamentary Candidate

With Westminster Parliamentary selections due to take place later this year, we are hosting three webinars open to all members, that are designed to inform and encourage any member who is considering putting themselves forward to be selected.

March 14 2022 6pm 

Getting selected as an MP – the process

It’s vital that you understand the process of applying. Join the team as we share top tips, ideas and guide you through each stage of the process in order to apply to become a Parliamentary Candidate.


March 21 2022 6pm 

Getting selected as an MP – What’s expected of a Labour Candidate

Voters are at the core of the Labour Party. We need to change the way we interact with them - no longer can we expect our supporters to just turn up and vote for us. We need to engage with them, listen to them and ultimately win back their trust. Find out how you as Labour Candidates would be expected to lead this change.


March 30, 2022 6pm

Getting selected as an MP – Your story

It’s vital that you understand the process of applying. It’s also vital that you know how to develop your Labour story and be able to share it with potential supporters. Join the team as we share tops tips and ideas.



 Local Elections 2022 - support webinars

We have a number of webinars also taking place that are supporting local campaigns in the run up to the elections taking place in May - we hope that you can join us.

Wednesday 9 March 2022 4pm

Agents Training 

Election campaigning is regulated by legislation. This essential webinar for members who will be agents at the upcoming elections. In this session we provide an introduction to electoral law for prospective election agents and campaign coordinators, including the nominations process, expenses, donations and how to keep your campaign activities and material legal. This session is ideal for those experienced or taking on this role for the first time.


 Tuesday 15 March 2022 5pm   

Getting ready for the short campaign 

As we enter the crucial period of the campaign join the team as we share with you ideas, updates, best practice and top tips that will help you plan the last few weeks of the campaign. 


Tuesday 29 March 5pm   

Getting ready for polling day and the count 

A wide ranging session in which we will share top tips and advice that will help you start thinking ahead and run a smooth polling day and count operation on the 5 May. 


 Sent by email from the Labour Party. Promoted by the Labour Party at Southside, 105 Victoria Street, London, SW1E 6QT.


To join or renew call 0345 092 2299.

Wednesday, March 09, 2022

In-UNISON: On International Women's Day - a former UNISON President gives her view on the current "President"

Hat tip in-UNISON blog yesterday by former President and current minority group NEC member, Maureen Le Marinel.

"On such a special day, it is always great to hear news that will make a difference to women in our union both members and staff. Many of you are following the events around the UNISON President and the faction Time for Real Change (TFRC) who are quick to put out news when it is in their or the Presidents favour.

Recently they made noise that UNISON was backing an application for ‘Interim Relief’ following the dismissal of the President by his employer for what we now know from those women and men involved was bullying and victimisation. The ‘Interim Relief’ application was on the grounds of Trade Union Victimisation because that's what the President and TFRC say is the reason for the dismissal!
Don't get me wrong if anyone is dismissed or being treated differently for performing their legitimate Trade Union duties then I would be there standing with them, but it is clear to me and many others that there is more going on in this case and ‘hiding’ behind an allegation of Trade Union Victimisation undervalues and demeans real cases and makes it harder for those who do face this treatment harder to take and be believed.
So yesterday at an online open to the public (if you had registered) Interim Relief Order Hearing, Solicitors acting on behalf of UNISON and representing the President and Solicitors acting on behalf of Kirklees Council put their cases to a Judge. The Judge would determine if when the case went to a full tribunal hearing there would be a significant possibility that the President and his solicitors could win a case for Trade Union Victimisation and if so one of the outcomes from yesterday would have been that Kirklees Council would have had to reinstate the President and his salary from the date of his dismissal in early February 2022.
Following both sides putting their case, the Judge REJECTED the claim for ‘Interim Relief’. Whilst this Judge did not give the Interim Relief Order, and many could see that as a clear indication that a case for Trade Union Victimisation could not be taken or won, the President still has the right to take a case to a full Employment Tribunal based on Unfair Dismissal (which has been widely reported in the media that it is what the next step will be) for Trade Union Victimisation.
The result yesterday must give those women and activists involved in this awful case within our union some strength that they did the right thing in taking their cases up with the employer and their union. That there are 1000’s in our union who believe them, stand with them and support them.
I love my union and the work that it does for women, but we need to be clear that sometimes we get it wrong for all the right reasons. Our union now needs to put an end to its internal process and follow the rule book in respect of a Rule I process, I can see no reason to delay now that the employers process is complete, they are and always have been separate processes.
I call on the UNISON NEC, of which I am a member, on this International Women's Day to act immediately and address these allegations by a Senior Lay activist in our union against the women of our union.

Tuesday, March 08, 2022

Forces of light & reason win elections for London UNISON Labour Link Committee, its National Forum (& I am going to Labour Conference as a London delegate)

Fantastic news today that the Greater London Labour Link elections resulted in a clean sweep for those committed to win a future general election. We won all the elected positions of our regional committee, national forum and Labour Party Conference delegates. Thanks to team work and some great organising. 

This also shows that activists are rightly worried about the direction of our current NEC junta and want real change. We are fighting the Tories and we don't want ultra left student politics and the unacceptable bullying/harassment complaints of so many of our staff. 

In our slate we had a coalition of UNISON activists from all traditions of the union and the Labour Party. However, we need to win over those who know that the current NEC majority is acting badly and even disastrously and not in the interests of our members. 

(Picture from UNISON centre 2020 with our Labour Leader Keir Starmer MP, UNISON London Regional Secretary Maggi Fermcombe (currently on secondment) and super NHS branch secretary and Staff nurse, Rose Minty-Tutton. 

InUNISON International Women's Day 2022

 Hat tip

Monday, March 07, 2022

My UNISON Branch officer Labour Link report - 2022 AGM

Last week was my branch AGM (UNISON Greater London Housing Associations) where I was re-elected unopposed as an executive committee member and Labour Link Officer. Below is my written report to the AGM (obviously pre the fascist Putin invasion of Ukraine)

"Notwithstanding bungled COVID restrictions and corrupt PPE procurement, the brazen lies and cheating over COVID parties, by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his ministers, has shown us, once and for all, that the Tories are unfit to govern this country.

Even if Boris goes, the Tories will remain in power until we can defeat them in the ballot box.

The next big electoral test will be the Council elections in May 2022. We must give the Tories a hammering in these elections. In May last year branch activists campaigned for Labour in the London Mayor and GLA elections. Our branch Executive, Lolo Oyesusi, was the Labour candidate for the Kent Police Crime Commissioner and got the highest ever Labour vote for that position.

I will be organising branch Labour Link “door to door” and telecanvass campaign sessions for members to take part in and support Labour candidates. A number of our branch members will also be standing as Labour candidates, who will be asking for your support.

In the meanwhile, the best thing you can do if you want to support Labour is to register for a postal vote (contact your local council or click here and encourage your friends and families to do so.

After the elections in May, I hope to organise another branch Labour Link AGM and social in the House of Commons.

Please contact me if you want any further information on UNISON and its Labour Link.

John Gray"

Sunday, March 06, 2022

Aldbury, Ivinghoe Beacon & Ashridge Walk

Off message but Gill and I went today on one of our "favourite" walks in the Chilterns. Starting in the "Chocolate box" village of Aldbury. It is an hour away from East London by car (nearest train station is Tring) a 7 mile circular walk along the Ridgeway then back via Ashridge estate. 

Today it was glorious but very cold in the wind. Despite being quite busy with walkers, you do get a sense of remoteness and isolation, remarkable for somewhere so close to London. 

You could pick up snatches of conversations from these other walkers, most of which were banal but interesting that people were talking about the horror in Ukraine and how to support people while standing up to (to quote one) "that foul Nazi Bully Putin". 

There is lots of ups and downs on the walk but nothing too strenuous. The chief problem today was mud. Lots and lots of muddy and slippy paths. I was glad to be wearing my Brasher boots and using a walking pole. We saw other walkers wearing trainers who must have found things really difficult. 

During our first coffee break we were entertained on Steps Hill by magnificent Red Kites birds of prey hovering above us then swooping down for prey.  

There was plenty of evidence of recent storms with huge trees, not unrooted and blown down but snapped in two like straws by high winds. 

We finished off with a drink in the Greyhound Arms. The food being served looked gorgeous. Next time.

Check out my Facebook link for other pictures (will post later) and for my previous post on this walk from Boxing Day 2011. We cannot believe that it may be 11 years since we last did this marvellous walk. 

The picture above is of the Ridgeway path carrying on towards the Whipsnade White Lion. This will be our next walk in this area.