Saturday, April 30, 2022

West Ham then Plaistow West & Canning Town East with Lyn Brown MP ("We Stand with Ukraine" Street)

Canvasing pictures from West Ham Ward this week and the new Plaistow West & Canning Town East Ward today with our local MP, Lyn Brown. 

In West Ham ward we had a stall outside the station with Canning Town North and we did the two tower blocks in Leather Gardens (many thanks to Jordan from UNISON Voluntary orgs branch for joining us). 

A pretty positive response apart from one resident who was very angry that he had not been able to move from his overcrowded flat and blamed the Council for this failure. I tried to explain that we have a massive housing shortage in Newham and we need a change of Government to solve this crisis but I knew he was so angry that he would not listen. 

Today after picking up our new GTVO leaflets from printers the West Ham candidates myself, John Whitworth and Charlene Mclean had a last week of election planning meeting then I went to pick Lyn up for the PWCTE session. 

This was another great canvassing session (with Cara the Labour attack dog) and I was very impressed with one street where they had so many pro Ukraine leaflets in their windows. They had also raised money for War relief charities. Well done! 

In the afternoon I had the joy of Labour Group officers then a very good training on Election Day and "The Count". 

Friday, April 29, 2022

Vote Sonya for UNISON London Local Government & Julie and Anette for London Health - your ONEUNISON "Cost of Living" campaigners


We have really important elections in UNISON just starting. From yesterday, ballot papers would have started to drop through the letter boxes of Local Government, Health and other service Groups up and down the country. Soon there will also be electronic ballots sent to your email address. 

While some positions were uncontested or not contested, in London we have a battle for the London General Local Government seat & Health seats. 

Sonya is the lead in London Local Government for our campaign on the "Cost of Living crisis" while Julie and Anette lead for Health workers. Tell us what is the impact on you and your family of this crisis. 

Check out here what you can do to help our campaign Please share this material. 

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Workers Memorial Day 2022: UNISON Community Activists Remember the Dead and Fight for the Living


This morning at 11am in Three Mills Green, Stratford, London, E3 at the "Clasping Hands" statue, we remembered those who had died at work due to accidents and work related ill heath. More deaths each year than resulting from war. 

The UNISON national officer for Community (Housing associations and voluntary sector), Andrew Dobbie, gave us a passionate and eloquent historical explanation of what actually near this spot in 1901. When 3 workers sacrificed their lives in a doomed attempt to rescue a colleague from the bottom of a underground shaft filled with poisonous fumes. 

It was great to have a Clarion Health & Safety officer present as well as L&Q representative, UNISON member Cllr John Whitworth and Unite rep John Saunders. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Penycoddiau & Moel Arthur Walk Easter 2022


Off message - During Easter Gill and I went to North Wales to see my Mum and our family. We went on some wonderful walks

This 7.5 mile circular orange walk "Penycoddiau & Moel Arthur" from our ancient (make sure you buy the modern version) "North Wales, Snowden and Offa's Dyke" Pathfinder guide was fantastic. 

As a young boy we use to go for family sledging down the steep slopes of Moel Arthur in winter and later on, as a teenager I would walk and wild camp along these Clwydian Hills with friends, when I was in the ATC (Air Force cadets) practicing for Duke of Edinburgh awards expeditions. 

There are two fairly steep climbs near the start and then near the end but the rest of the walk is along ridgetops and fairly level trackways with glorious views first of the Wirral then the Vale of Clwyd. 

Check out the wild hill forts, the spring blossom and the peace and quiet. 

The bottom picture of the collage is mine and the top suggested by Google. Not sure which one I prefer? Both lovely. You can see other photos from this walk here on my Facebook page

UNISON Health Conference: Day 2 PM - "inflation busting pay award"


Check out this report in

"The afternoon session of Day 2 of UNISON Health Conference concentrated on pay, terms and conditions. Conference agreed motions on moving to a 35 hour week and to campaign for an increase in mileage allowances for those required to use their car at work as fuel prices rocket. It is a fact that people are not now just paying to go to work but actually paying to do their work and are suffering real financial hardship as what they can claim for mileage allowance is now failing to meet the cost of petrol at the pumps. Conference further agreed to work with employers to develop an ethical on-call arrangement that ensures proper work-life balance and that all groups of staff are treated fairly. Conference also passed a motion to campaign against rogue employers who are trying to drive down Bank rates of pay below Agenda for Change rates while throwing money at agencies where the vast majority of money goes to private profit for big companies and not into workers pay packets.

Finally Conference agreed following a thoughtful debate to reinforce its position to this year which would include specific proposals to drive low pay out of the NHS and to support a flat rate principle as a key long term objective so as not only to win decent pay for all NHS staff but to ensure the gap between the lowest and highest paid does not widen as our union supports a One Team approach that equally values all of our members.. Card vote result the next morning was in favour".

Gordon McKay Health NEC member (and NHS Nurse)

Hat tip picture Katrina Murray on debate over pay

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

UNISON Health Conference: Day 2 AM "This is what solidarity looks like" ONEUNISON.ORG

Check out

"Health Group Conference began its second day with an emotional and powerful speech from Iryna Shvets of the Ukrainian Health Workers Union of Ukraine describing the attacks on bombing of over fifty hospitals in Ukraine, including maternity and children's hospitals. She also spoke of her thanks to UNISON for the financial and practical support we have gave such as the donation of ten ambulances from London Ambulance Branch.

A statement on the situation on Ukraine was then made by Gordon McKay on behalf of the Service Group Executive condemning Putin’s invasion, calling for an immediate ceasefire and supporting sanctions against Russia.

The mornings motions concentrated on staffing issues and the longest debate of Conference so far was on staffing levels showing the importance of the issue for UNISON members as workloads increase, waiting lists lengthen and people are becoming more ill but staff numbers fall and patient safety and well-being is put at risk. Emphasis was placed on the importance of safe staffing right across the workforce, nursing, AHP’s, ancillary, administration and technical as UNISON recognises the importance of the contribution of all our members to a world class service.

Conference also agreed to campaign for improved to Nursing, Midwifery and AHP training programmes particularly for HealthCare Support Workers by abolishing tuition fees for the education programmes. On training and development Conference agreed to campaign for equal access to training and development for all NHS staff. The NHS has a dedicated staff group who deserve to be offered training to allow them to provide care, to those who need it, at their highest potential".

Gordon McKay

Canning Town South, West Ham & Canning Town North Sunday Canvass


A busy day on Sunday. Starting off with canvass in Canning Town South in the morning. We meet outside Morrisons. Our MP Lyn Brown, was there and gave a quick, no nonsense speech to activists about how important it is to get a good result on May 5, to encourage the Tories to get rid of Boris as our Prime Minister. The canvass itself went well and again, we were picking up support from working class voters, who had previously been against Labour, because of Boris and his "lock down" parties. 

Next we went to my ward, West Ham, to canvass next to the station, led by Lyn and my colleague Cllr (and candidate) John Whitworth. Again, pretty positive and one resident even remembered me speaking to him in 2018. I did not go down well with another resident, who came to the door and I genuinely thought he was under 18 and asked to speak to his parents. He told me he was 28! but Lyn was at hand to rescue the situation and he did sort of agree to vote Labour. 

At 4pm I cycled over to Canning Town North for their canvass of a large L&Q Housing Association estate which I had never been to before. While waiting to start, I had a "row" with an obnoxious fellow cyclist, who decided to give those of us waiting, the benefit of his views on the many failings of the Labour Party (which is fair enough) while interrupting and over talking any attempt to respond to his strident views. When he decided to criticise Angela Rayner MP as being arrogant etc I felt I had to intervene and we had some interesting "exchanges". 

The canvass itself went well with lots of positive support and loyalty for Labour. Our Mayoral Candidate, Rokhsana Fiaz, and all three Councillor candidates were there. One resident worked for an organisation that had actually sacked Boris in a previous job. 

I had another "difficult" conversation with a resident who declared she has never voted Labour and never would because we were all a "disgrace".  To which I said fair enough, but we don't want any votes from people who are personally abusive, so please do not vote for us. 

The majority reaction in all 3 wards was supportive of Labour. I did not come across any evidence of opposition parties canvassing or even leafleting in any of these wards which I genuinely believe is a shame. 

Monday, April 25, 2022

"Health members energised on the first day of Health Conference and inspired by Christina McAnea"

Hat tip James Anthony at Photo Katrina Murray

"The first day of health conference started with a real buzz, health workers together in the real world for the first time in 3 years. Whatever else happens in this conference this week, I’m sure activists will go back to the branches with a bit more energy for the work ahead.

Conference chairing

The morning session was ably chaired by Wilma Brown, Vice Chair of the service group executive, with this afternoon chaired by Roz Normal, Chair of the SGE. This is the first time our conference hasn’t been chaired by the president or vice president. With the current president embroiled in controversy, with feelings running high, it was fear that their chairing of the conference risked being divisive at a time that it’s vital that we come together.

Health, safety and wellbeing

The first motion of the conference from the Health Executive was on protecting health workers from the staffing and workload crisis. In moving the motion, Eddie Woolley, one of the West Midlands reps on the SGE, made it clear that the crisis started before the pandemic which has in many ways exposed long established issues. Instead, he put the blame firmly on the Government.

The debates following focused on the health and wellbeing of health staff. Pat Heron spoke with her usual passion both about mental health, and the importance of health and safety reps in making departments safe from a mental wellbeing perspective.

The ambulance sector’s motion highlighted the particular struggle they are facing, both from understaffing and underfunding of the service and ambulances backing up outside accident and emergency departments.

‘Long COVID’ is going to be with us for years to come. The motion from the disabled promotes the current range of resources for branches to bargain for the right reasonable adjustments and support is given to those with post COVID19 syndrome.

A speaker from the private sector highlighted the importance of health and wellbeing in the private sector, where lack of trade union recognition leaves staff more vulnerable. Vital that we have a focus on organising in these workplaces.


Finishing the morning was a vital debate about organising young workers, particularly how we get more young members active in our health branches and the wider SGE. An excellent speech from Elliot from the National Young Members Forum highlighting what young members identified they need, such as training and buddying/mentoring systems.

General Secretaries address

This afternoon was somewhat of a homecoming for Christina McAnea, as she addressed conference and had a standing ovation before she even spoke. Christina is well known and liked here, having spent many years as Head of Health.

Her speech covered a wide range of issues starting off with our opposition to Putin’s war in Ukraine, and how we stand in solidarity with Ukraine and particularly Ukrainian health workers and their unions. She paid tribute to the health workers struggle during COVID, but also our branches and activists who have gone above and beyond to support members in these difficult times. She took aim at the Prime Minister and Chancellor for taking NHS workers for granted, when the NI increase, not doing anything about soring utility bills, and failing to increase our pay is their political choice. Pointing out that the cost of delivering a decent pay rise for all of the public sector is the same as the billions wasted on unusable PPE and fraudulently claimed by often fake companies for COVID grants. It was a fantastic speech and really inspiring for delegates.


Next, we went on to key equality motions. The first motion from the women’s committee was strong motion on domestic violence as a workplace issue. UNISON’s promoted amendment in the domestic abuse bill following work we did with Jess Phillips MP. Need for cultural shift to tackle misogyny, patriarchy and violence against women and girls.

Shockingly a survey done by the UNISON Nursing committee and the Nursing Times found that 60% of nurses had experienced sexual harassment at work. The debate included some terrible examples on this but also practical ways we can work with employers to tackle this.

Motions were than debated on racism in the NHS and specifically on the disproportionate impact of COVID on Black NHS staff. COVID certainly highlighted that racism is a life and death issue and shows why our anti-racism work is so important. There are a lot of tools available to branches and employers, but we all need to do more to use these to rid our employers of racism.

Shockingly 40% of NHS Trusts don’t have a reasonable adjustment policy, so the motion on the workplace disability equality standard is really important. 2 years after the WDES has been introduce, too little has been changed and more progress is needed.

Wrapping up the equality section was a motion from LGBT+ on equality training. This is so important to take forward the equality agenda. During COVID this training has all moved online and become a tick box exercise, the motion called for the return of interactive training whether that’s in person or online.

Greener NHS

We heard that the NHS is a major contributor to climate change (5% of UK emissions), and we have a key responsibility to make sure as the NHS de-carbonises that we play our part. Delegates talked about the importance of tackling climate change, but also making sure we are actively involved to ensure that changes don’t hit our members the hardest.

The delegate from the Science, Therapies and Technical staff group talked about the key report UNISON published at COP26 last year which highlighted the investment that public services need in order to decarbonise. Sandra from the Northern Region highlighted the size of the NHS work force and the emissions caused by getting to work alone (20million tonnes of carbon emissions in the English NHS alone). Their motion on green travel plans covered not only commuting but driving for work and look at lower emissions options and pool cars".

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Elwy Valley Walk

Off message but over Easter, Gill and I went back to North Wales to see my Mum for her 81st birthday (our Christmas visit has also been cancelled when we caught Covid) and visit other family members. 

During the day we would go for walks and this 5 mile circular in the Elwy Valley was marvellous. Plenty of up and down's, great views and hardly any other walkers. 

Unfortunately the modern Ordinance Survey Pathfinder guide  for the area does not appear to have this walk listed in it anymore. Check out this link on the my OS website "route" for a map of walk but watch out that the right of way footpaths have been slightly changed for parts of the route, so follow what the actual signs indicate rather than your GPS. 

Start in the public car park by the old bridge in Llanfair Talhaiarn. The guidebook warns that you should not attempt this walk in misty weather. We finished the walk with an outdoor drink at the Black Lion. The food looked lovely. Next time. I will post and link further photos on Facebook

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Out and about for Labour in Little Ilford


I joined this afternoon a really great canvass session in Little Ilford, Newham. The reception on the doorstep was overwhelmingly positive. Residents do express their views on what they think is wrong and could be improved, which is why it is so important to have local ward Councillor Candidates with you. East Ham MP, Stephen Timms was also part of a campaign team. 

Afterwards, some of us went to the Golden Fleece pub in Manor Park and by coincidence met up with a number of  Labour activists and supporters, who were enjoying a family birthday celebration in the garden. 

Friday, April 22, 2022

Fighting for the NHS: Your London UNISON Health campaign team

On Monday UNISON Health Conference starts and next Thursday 28 April ballot papers will start to drop through the home letter boxes of all UNISON members. It is the start of our biannual National Service Group Executive (SGE) elections. 

Here in London, the local Health Campaign team standing for election are Julie, Annette and Beatrice (I believe Beatrice has been elected unopposed). I hope health members will consider voting for them. I will post other recommendations for other regions and Service Groups in the coming days. 

Thursday, April 21, 2022

ONEUNISON - Taking on the Cost of Living Crisis

Check out this new campaigning website by UNISON activists which was launched this week alongside a survey of members on the cost of living crisis. 

"ONEUNISON is a group of UNISON activists who are focusing on the real issues that matter to members...

bills, bills, bills

The cost of living crisis is hitting members hard, especially those from under-represented groups, and we want to speak with one voice on this important issue. We are campaigning for the government to end the cost of living crisis.

Let us know how much your income is being squeezed using the form above and ask your UNISON friends to do the same. We’ll then let you know who your local campaign team is and how you can help".

Check out the website (and survey) here. Sign up for  updates and information on this campaigns and your local campaign teams.


Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Shop at a Co-op with your blue membership card? Look out for your ballot and vote #YesToMotion9 🗳️

(as a regular shopper at the co-op, co-operative party member and a proud Labour and Co-op Candidate in the local Council elections next month you can hazard a guess which way I will be voting on motion 9) 

Dear John,

Do you regularly shop at a Co-op using a blue membership card?

If so, that means you are a member of the Co-operative Group – and as a member, you may receive a voting pack by email or post this week to take part in their annual members' vote.

Every year, Co-operative Group members vote at their AGM on whether to continue the partnership between the Co-operative Group and the Co-operative Party. If you receive a ballot by email or post this week, vote Yes to Motion 9 to ensure our historic and successful partnership continues.

Unsure if you are eligible to vote? You can check if you have met the qualifying criteria on the Co-operative Group's website.



For more than 100 years, the Co-operative Party and the co-operative movement have worked hand in hand to build a society where power and wealth are shared. Today, that work still continues through our partnerships with the various co-operative retail societies.

From standing up for shopworkers to promoting fairtrade and fair tax, together the Co-operative Party and the Co-operative Group are a powerful force for positive change. But to keep delivering on behalf of the co-operative movement, we need your support.

If you have received a ballot, you have until midday on the 16th of May to cast your vote.

If you're voting #YesToMotion9, you can help us now by sharing the news on social media! Just use the buttons below.






If you have any questions about the Party's work over the past year, you can find out more online at or email us at
Voting only takes a few minutes but it means the world.

Yours in co-operation,

Joe Fortune
General Secretary
Co-operative Party