"A report from Deloitte puts the total annual cost of poor mental health to UK employers at £56 billion – that’s 25 per cent up on 2019. Test your knowledge of this growing issue with the HSE quiz".
Monday, October 31, 2022
"A report from Deloitte puts the total annual cost of poor mental health to UK employers at £56 billion – that’s 25 per cent up on 2019. Test your knowledge of this growing issue with the HSE quiz".
Sunday, October 30, 2022
UNISON branch to empty its office in Holloway Road then in the afternoon, I was a panel speaker at an informal feedback session in Newham to talk to Labour Union members on the recent Labour Party Conference in Liverpool.
Well done to Panel Chair (and organiser) Liz Booker and my fellow panelists Unmesh Desai (our local London Assembly member and GMB activist) and Rita Chadha (Community) for their excellent presentations. There was a wide range of people in the audience who challenged us with really good questions and comments. Local East Ham MP, Stephen Timms, spoke at the end with his thoughts on Conference and "recent" political events.
In my introductory remarks I described what I believe the unions want from the Labour Party (win power at Westminster to protect us from hostile judges and employers!) and also how I became a UNISON Labour Link delegate at the recent conference and what we did as delegates.
I told my very favourite quote from former TGWU union leader, Jack Jones, who when he was asked if could ever imagine the unions becoming divorced from the Labour Party, he replied "Divorce? Never. Murder, often"
After the feedback, we were split into 2 canvass teams and I went out in East Ham to speak to residents with Stephen and all the 3 local ward Councillor members. On the whole it was a very positive canvass and residents seemed pleased to see us coming to them, knocking on doors and speaking to them.
Saturday, October 29, 2022
Friday, October 28, 2022
Thursday, October 27, 2022
It’s time to take a stand for your pay, your colleagues and the NHS – every vote is needed.
Voting to take industrial action is a big step. But it’s time to take it. The public supports you - and so do your colleagues and your union.
Your pay matters. If we can’t make the government think again and negotiate with us, everyone loses- staff, patients and the NHS.
You can’t afford that. Make your vote count.
Vote YES for industrial action. Vote YES for the NHS.
UNISON’s industrial action ballot in the NHS in England opens on 27 October and closes on 25 November. Ballot papers will be sent by post to your home address. If you haven’t received a ballot paper call our ballot helpline free on 0800 0 857 857. Helpline will be open from 1 November until noon on 21 November.
Why vote yes?
More about voting Yes
Timetable for NHS pay industrial action ballot – England
Ballot opens – ballot papers posted out
Ballot hotline opens
Last date to join to guarantee a ballot paper
Ballot hotline closes at noon
Ballot closes: papers must be received by this date
Results issued, along with update on next steps
This is a fight we need to win – and we can only do it together. So, let’s get going and get out the vote!
Wednesday, October 26, 2022
"We invite you to the event
‘United Colours of Europe’
Saturday 5th November,2022
2pm – 6pm
Katherine Road Community Centre, 254 Katherine Road, E7 8PN
The aim of the event is to introduce different European communities to local residents,
to bring people together from different backgrounds!
- Formal speeches
- Interactive activities: workshops, information stalls, Arts and crafts for adults and kids, face painting
- Traditional dancing/singing
- Traditional food tasting.
Tuesday, October 25, 2022
Monday, October 24, 2022
Sunday, October 23, 2022
Saturday, October 22, 2022
Sharon Thompson, Birmingham’s Cabinet Member for Housing & Homelessness spoke on how the city is tacking standards in the private rented sector & extending licensing. Dr Jill Stewart, Senior Lecturer in Housing & Environmental Health, Middlesex University described the dreadful stats and limited law regarding housing standards.
Salma Hamid from the Birmingham Fair Housing Campaign gave a passionate speech on their campaigning & research on really poor standards in the private & public housing sectors for decent standards & their fight on behalf of tenants for decent rights.
Before lunch there was workshops on housing standards in Social Housing, PRS (Private rental sector) and Owner occupation. I moderated the workshop on Social Housing.
After lunch there was a talk by Cllr Kerrie Carmichael Leader Sandwell Council & Housing lead Cllr Charn Singh Padda on the difference a Labour council is making on housing standards, tackling homelessness, new homes & retrofitting despite challenges on funding.
Next was Martin Wicks, from Labour Campaign for Council Housing. Who made it clear what Council tenants such as himself expect Labour Councils and future Labour Governments to deliver upon housing standards. He is still waiting for a modern bathroom after many decades.
There was then a brief summary from the moderators of the workshops. I gave a summary of the lively and thoughtful one on Social Housing.
Final item was the launch of the West Midlands branch of the Labour Housing Group whose inaugural meeting takes place next month.
This was an excellent day. Many thanks to our speakers but also to our LHG Chair, Cllr John Cotton, and all the executive members of the LHG who have spend so much time and energy organising such events.
(Hat tip to Ross Houston for stealing some of his photos and comments from the @labourhousing twitter account)
Thursday, October 20, 2022
Wednesday, October 19, 2022
I am looking forward to this trade union Labour Party focused debate on 29 October (in personal capacity only). It was an amazing conference and while we should not be at all complacent, the Tories were (and still are) seemingly trying to do everything possible (despite the maths) to bring about a future Labour Government.
Tuesday, October 18, 2022
Sunday, October 16, 2022
"Not only did Truss trash the economy, she trashed the Tories’ own economic record of the last 12 years. But this isn’t about the Conservative party, this is about the country. We need grown ups in charge of the country. We need a general election".
Well said UNISON General Secretary Christina McAnea.
Friday, October 14, 2022
@unisontheunion, for C&P. From a national care service to fair pay for public service workers, as MP, I will continue to stand with Unison members for workers' rights".
Thursday, October 13, 2022
NHS Mental health Nurse and UNISON delegate, Gordon McKay gave a marvellous and passionate speech on the Health debate.
As posted here I spoke on the Climate change/environment debate on behalf of UNISON but by coincidence, Newham Labour member Ken Penton moved the motion while his colleague Luke Chartist (also a PPC) spoke. At the same time James Asser was on the NEC panel.
There was many good conference debates and Keir's speech went down so, so well. We are starting to believe we can win at the next General Election and he will be our Prime Minister. The Tories, of course, were helping by doing every single thing possible to make our conference successful with their ridiculous unfunded tax cuts which sent the pound plummeting and raised interest rates.
After conference finished I went to the UNISON reception, were our deputy leader, Angela Rayner (UNISON's own of course) came to see us and gave a great speech followed by Keir who also spoke very well and stayed chatting to delegates and enjoying the event far longer than his aides had wanted.
Only one more (half) day to go.
Wednesday, October 12, 2022
Tuesday, October 11, 2022
"Employment injury insurance for garment workers in Bangladesh:
Social protection in action
Join us for an investor webinar on 18 October at 3pm UK / 10am ET
IndustriALL Global Union and the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum will co-host a one-hour discussion of the recently launched Employment Injury Scheme (EIS) for ready-made garment workers in Bangladesh. In addition to presenting the pilot itself, the webinar will explore why garment and textile brands are participating, their role in funding it and the need for their continued involvement in the development of sustainable employment injury insurance.
Speakers include Primark and H&M, which are participating in the EIS pilot; the ILO, which supported the pilot’s design; and IndustriALL, which represents workers on the pilot’s tripartite committee. The webinar is aimed primarily at institutional investors interested in working towards a more sustainable garment industry built on respect for workers’ fundamental rights.
This event is part of a larger initiative spearheaded by IndustriALL on social protection for garment workers. Social protection, which can cover needs such as unemployment support, disability benefits and maternity protection, is an internationally recognized human right. During the Covid-19 pandemic, non-payment of wages due to brands’ cancellation of orders led to deepening poverty for millions of global supply chain workers because of the fundamental lack of social protection in producing countries. In several cases, this triggered large-scale protests and brought operational, legal and financial risks for sourcing brands.
Employment injury insurance is one of the most basic forms of social protection. The Bangladesh pilot, which involves the government, workers, employers and the ILO, is an example of what is possible in the realm of social protection and of how brands are already participating in the effort. The webinar follows on our earlier event in June (recording here), in which workers from Thailand provided testimony about the impact of wage theft on their lives. This next webinar will bring in brands’ views on the importance of social protection and what their role can be.
Please join us on 18 October. Register here
Anne Marie La Rosa, Senior Policy, Legal & Labour Rights Specialist, ILO
Christina Hajagos-Claussen, Director Textile & Garment Industry, IndustriALL Global Union
Leyla Ertur, Head of H&M Group Sustainability, H&M Group
Katharine Stewart, Group Corporate Responsibility Director, Primark
Liz Umlas, Senior Advisor, IndustriALL Global Union
Cllr John Gray, Vice Chair, LAPFF (moderator)
Monday, October 10, 2022
There was a number of excellent candidates who applied for the UNISON Labour Link nomination and Mete was successful following an application form and interview process. He is a superb candidate and I wish him all the luck in the forthcoming contest to be selected as the Labour PPC for Kensington in the next General Election.
Sunday, October 09, 2022
"The collective failure of society and government to protect children from criminal exploitation is contributing to a terrible toll of murdered youngsters, traumatised families and ruined lives...
Abusers seeking to lure children into running drugs thrive on the deprivation that so badly scars our society. So much of this vile criminal activity is linked to the supply of drugs along county lines, to suburban areas, as well as to market and coastal towns.
Here in London, we have lost so many children to grooming and exploitation and gang violence in pursuit of profit. Throughout 2021, 30 teenagers are reported to have been killed in London alone, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. Then there’s the abject devastation and misery for families of children caught up in the criminal justice system after being groomed and violated, with life chances lost and years wasted in prison.
Youth violence is on the rise, with the Metropolitan Police warning that England could see its highest number of deaths by knife crime in over a decade. The London borough of Newham, made up of our respective constituencies of West Ham and East Ham, has faced a terrible toll of murdered children and grieving families.
As Newham MPs, we have repeatedly raised cases of children whose lives have been ruined because of exploitation by gangs. It’s abundantly clear the current approach is failing vulnerable children across the country and devastating our communities. The under-funding of youth services over the last 12 years, along with the closure of hundreds of youth centres that provided safe spaces for children, has weakened communities’ ability to protect young people from harm.
Meanwhile, the cost of living crisis is increasing the risk to children from criminal exploitation. Experiences of child poverty increase the attraction of the “alternative economic model” that groomers offer.
An extraordinary rise in food bank use, a dire lack of adequate and affordable housing, poverty and racism, all increase children’s vulnerability to grooming. On a daily basis, many children today see their parents working several jobs and still struggling to pay rent and buy the basics. They can see that there is no money, and they are highly motivated to make this easier on their family in any way they can.
That’s why there must be no soft-touch approach when it comes to protecting children and young people from gang grooming. Existing policies are failing these children, who are not being identified or properly supported early enough.
As MPs for communities blighted by grooming, we are seeking support for a blueprint to overhaul the way public services protect child victims of criminal exploitation. At a recent conference, titled “Solving youth violence”, we sought to bring together those working in children’s services, as well as the police, charities and academics.
From our findings, we have produced a prospectus to improve protection for children from grooming, which we hope will open a debate. We will now present these findings in the Commons, with thanks to the chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, Diana Johnson MP.
We believe there must be an early warning system, covering all social media firms, from Twitter to Facebook, with the introduction of a legal duty on firms to report any suspicious activity linked to possible grooming to the police the moment they become aware of it.
It’s not too much to ask that children and young people receive the same level of legal protection as the financial sector, where banks have similar duties to report suspicions about money laundering.
We want to discuss so-called “burner phones”, temporary phones that are discarded soon after use, which have been routinely used in reported cases of grooming and child criminal exploitation by gangs. These unregistered phones are a core tool used for county lines groomers and exploiters to obstruct detection and investigation of their crimes and to escape justice. People buying a mobile phone should be required to provide their name, address and contact details before they can start using it.
Meanwhile, immense pressure on public services, schools and local authorities to fulfil their duties while under-resourced, weakens protection for vulnerable children. This means that cases of exploitation are often missed and that even when the right referrals are made early, the specialist support required cannot be provided by partner agencies in a timely or consistent manner.
These are just a few of the changes needed. The collective failure of society and government to protect children from criminal exploitation is contributing to a terrible toll of murdered youngsters, traumatised families and communities, and ruined lives. However, the new prime minister and her government now have the opportunity for a fresh start. Liz Truss could introduce these new protections for our children in a matter of weeks.
There can be no excuse for failing to act to protect our children.
Lyn Brown is the Labour MP for West Ham and Stephen Timms is the Labour MP for East Ham
Saturday, October 08, 2022
This was my introductory blurb. "Hello everyone and welcome to today’s webinar on labour standards in the rubber gloves industry .
It’s also difficult terrain for investors to navigate, due to differing accounts of the situation on the ground. Companies have tried to improve. On some key issues – such as the use of recruitment fees – a substantial amount of money has been spent seeking to provide redress. Yet workers, activists and unions continue to raise significant concerns.
In this webinar we will hear from a range of experts and organisations involved in improving standards in the rubber glove industry. In the first half we’ll be hearing about ongoing concerns relating to labour practices in the sector.
Anton Marcus –Trade Zones & General Services Employees Union
Andy Hall – migrant workers' rights advocate
Tom Grinter – IndustriALL
Then we’ll take some questions. You can put these either in the chat or use the Q&A function.
In the second half of the webinar we’ll focus on some of the policy responses, including public procurement, and the business-led initiative the Responsible Glove Alliance.Pauline Gothberg, Swedish County Councils and Regions
Nusrat Uddin, Wilson's solicitors
Anna Pienaar, Executive Director, Responsible Labor Initiative & Responsible Glove Alliance
Then we will have the opportunity for further questions.
To start us off, Tom Powdrill from PIRC is going to give a very brief introduction to its work on this topic...
(I am moderating another Labour Standards investor event on 18 October "LAPFF & IndustriALL Webinar: Employment injury insurance for garment workers in Bangladesh. Registration here)
Friday, October 07, 2022
But I felt a little better in the morning and tested negative for Covid in a lateral flow test (the first such test for ages). I am fully jabbed (4 injections and the 2022 flu jab).
It felt so strange to carry out this test again which I used to have so often.
So wait and see but it seems that I have the "Great British Common Cold". The first I think since before the start of the Covid pandemic. Which is interesting since I normally would have one or two per year but the Covid social distancing and hygiene measures seem to have protected me from Colds (lurgi)
"Day Nurse" tablets have worked so far and I will hit the "Night Nurse" later this evening but really pleased that I haven't got another bout of Covid (so far... fingers crossed).
Thursday, October 06, 2022
Check out and subscribe to the latest edition of Newham's Independent Community paper. Page 1 & 7.
"School turns to street art to mourn the Queen
The death of the Queen which led to a wave of sadness among many in Newham, particularly children, prompted Julie Carver, a teacher at Gainsborough School West Ham to organise a special artistic legacy for the monarch.
The day after the Queen died she contacted street artists MurWalls and asked for their help. The result was this mural of the Queen donated to the school by UK based Canadian artist Chris Levine is best known for his “Lightness of Being” a feted portrait of Queen Elizabeth II (1926-2022) with her eyes closed.
The school’s mural is a picture of the Queen with her eyes open and in Mr Levine’s distinctive style.
Children laid flowers at the mural and people were able to write messages of condolence in a book on a table draped in the Union Jack. MurWalls Ltd, Street Art since 2019, firstname.lastname@example.org"
Wednesday, October 05, 2022
UNISON Welfare will be launching the first phase of our Energy Support Fund at 11am on 5 October. Applications will be submitted online.
The Energy Support Fund will be a one-off payment of £200 to help members with the rising cost of fuel.
Members who wish to apply must meet the grant’s eligibility criteria. In this phase, we will be accepting the first 2000 applications.
To be eligible for the fund you must meet all of the following criteria:
- Must have 4 weeks of up-to-date membership as of 5 October.
- Must not have received a main grant since March 2022.
- Must not have more than £1,000 in savings or rolling bank balance.
- Must not have received more than £750 worth of grants if applying within first year of membership.
- Net household income of no more than £30k/year (£2,500/month).
- Monthly housing costs (made up of mortgage/rent plus any service charge & ground rent) make up at least 1/3 of net household income.
- Not in receipt of any means-tested benefits (excluding Child Benefit).
Members who do not meet the above criteria may be eligible to apply to future phases of the fund (if they meet the criteria). The second phase will launch in November.
Any queries regarding the Energy Support Fund should be emailed to email@example.com
Tuesday, October 04, 2022
This is photo from Tuesday morning (Day 3 of Labour Party Conference) of me giving a speech to Labour Conference as a UNISON Labour Link delegate. It was during the debate on Climate change. It was titled the "decarbonisation of public services". A bit of a mouthful but hopefully I got my point across. Many thanks to UNISON staff for speaker notes. Hat tip Julian Cooke for photo.
Conference, John Gray speaking for UNISON, the UK’s largest trade union. Conference let’s be clear we don’t need any persuading that climate change is real, is dangerous and is destructive.
We know that there are no jobs on a dead planet. And if the transition to net zero is not just, it is working people and their families who will suffer the worst consequences.
And Conference, the breadth of our public services means that UNISON members see the effects of climate change at work. Whether working for the Environment Agency and local government at the time of flooding, or NHS staff seeing the rise in air pollution and asthma.
And we all know the impacts of pollution and climate change fall more heavily on the disadvantaged.
Conference, last year, UNISON supported the UK and global trade union movement at the United Nations COP26 Conference. The global trade union movement had four clear demands:
1) Raise climate ambitions with Just Transition policies;
2) Respect and promote human and labour rights;
3) Provide climate finance for the Global South;
4) Funded plans that would achieve net zero.
Conference, trade unions must play a central role so that workers voices are at the table. That way we will deliver the policies and measures that ensure the transition is fair. This is a once in a generation challenge that we have to rise to. And as part of this endeavour We know that decarbonising public services is key.
Public Services, even excluding transport, represents around 8% of UK’s direct greenhouse gas emissions And that’s before you factor in procurement, construction and social housing impacts which make it much higher.
and enhanced waste collection and processing services.
I could give similar examples across the rest of the public sector but the Chair would agree that there isn’t enough time in this speech!
Conference, In the absence of a significant capital injection of funds, public services will only move slowly towards its decarbonisation targets, taking resources from already stretched budgets, with disastrous consequences.
So, Liz Truss, Your government needs to start the funding NOW! But also, I say to our Labour leadership Public Services must have a separate, significant additional climate and decarbonisation budget .And there must dialogue with trade unions on this issue NOW.
Conference, if we get this right with such ambitious plans Labour will win the next election. Thank You.
Monday, October 03, 2022
That’s why I’m standing to be Kensington’s next Labour MP. http://www.metecoban.com