NHS15 Model Motion

Dear Union Rep,

Please see the attached motion I would like to be discussed and passed in the local branch at the earliest available opportunity. Please can you inform me of the details of the next branch meeting and how members can get involved locally?

In Solidarity,

Rhea Solstice

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This Branch recognises the enormous contribution made by public sector workers during the Covid 19 Pandemic. Healthcare workers mostly on Agenda for Change terms and conditions have not had a substantial pay rise for over 10 years. With inflation taken into account, many are 20% worse off in real terms now than they were a decade ago. As a result many healthcare workers are struggling to make ends meet and professions such as nursing are suffering problems in recruitment and retention leading to risks to patient safety.

Our current pay deal, due to run until 2021 does not reverse this trend. It awarded the majority of workers only 1.65% in April 2020. During the pandemic, healthcare workers have proven our real worth. We are indispensable to society, yet we are chronically low paid.

We demand:

  • An immediate reopening of pay talks.
  • A 15% pay increase for all NHS staff and those health workers contracted out, as a step towards clawing back our decade of lost wages. 
  • The reinstatement of annual increments. 
  • The pay increase is paid from 1st December 2020 and does not wait until the 1st April 2021. 
  • It must be fully funded by the UK government.
  • This Government acknowledges the race pay gap by having a Person of Colour on all interview panels by 1st December 2020.

This branch agrees to:

  • Give official backing, support and publicity to all local socially distanced protests on the national day of action on 12th September.
  • Start preparing members to ballot for industrial action.
  • Coordinate with other health trade union branches and organise mass on-line meetings to allow members to debate and discuss how to win the pay campaign.

We call on our union to:

  • Begin to organise their members and provide trainings for their members to feel confident to campaign. 
  • Coordinate between healthcare workers unions and with workers fighting for pay rises across the public sector, including calling mass on-line meetings for health worker members. 
  • Engage in campaign of mass action including lobbying, socially distanced protests, mass rallies – socially distanced and on-line and a national petition to build support for the above demands. 
  • Support our outsourced colleagues to be brought back onto Agenda For Change.
  •  Initiate a ballot for industrial action over pay. 
  • Contact the Trade Union Congress and all its affiliates for solidarity and support.

Unite Calls on Government to Extend Ban on Evictions

Housing Campaigners from Unite the Union, Cambridge Labour and Acorn renters union will demonstrate outside the county court on East Road Cambridge from 12pm this Saturday 22nd August to demand the government extends the Evictions Ban.
The ban on evictions was introduced by the government as part of a raft of measures to protect people during lockdown, it is due to end on Sunday and campaigners worry it will lead to a thousands of tenants being evicted who may have fallen into rent arrears!
James Youd from Unite said,
“Shelter estimate that 227,000 tenants have fallen into rent arrears because of Coronavirus and the economic toll it has taken. It is wrong to put those struggling on Furlough and job insecurity at the mercy of landlords, who’s main motivation may not always be the welfare of their tenants. A guarantee that people won’t be evicted is needed now!The government must intervene now and extend the evictions ban for at least a year. Meanwhile, instead of deregulation of planning to give developers even more of a free pass to act socially irresponsibly and seek to avoid obligations to the community, we need a massive program of Council House building like the one our Labour council are doing here in Cambridge. But we need direct government investment in these, not just putting this wholly on councils. We need sites with 100% council housing and growth that delivers for the needs of Cambridge and our community, not for London commuters to have a bolt hole.”
He added,
“People in Cambridge are spending sometimes as much as 40% of their income on rents. In the long term we need these to be lowered and for the City Council to get the powers of rent control. We will continue to fight for genuinely affordable housing for all and build on the work the council has done during lockdown of ensuring the homeless were given accommodation.”
Daniel Zeichner Labour MP for Cambridge also supported the campaign, as has the Labour Party nationally.
He said,
“We have a health crisis, a jobs crisis, an education crisis and an environmental crisis. Why on earth would the government want to add a homelessness crisis to that list? They have fair warning. With the furlough scheme coming to an end, it is clear we need emergency legislation to ensure no one will lose their home because of coronavirus. We need rapid changes to our broken housing system that will protect tenants, and an end to no-fault evictions. We also need a plan for those struggling with mortgage payments.”

Labour Executive Councillor for Housing on Cambridge City Council Richard Johnson added, 

“I am deeply concerned the Government have indicated they will not be extending the ban on evictions.

“Before the Government legislated for the ban, Labour’s city council took the proactive step in confirming eviction action would be suspended should a tenant be in direct or indirect financial hardship because of coronavirus.

“Even if the ban were to be lifted, our position will remain unchanged until further notice. No-one should be at risk of losing their home because of reasons beyond their control during this extremely challenging period.

“The country is in a deep recession, COVID-19 cases are beginning to rise again, and the furlough scheme is due to end in October. This is no time to pull the plug on protections for tenants. Robert Jenrick must extend the eviction ban now.

“However, if anyone renting does find themselves with an eviction notice, I would encourage them to get in touch with the council’s Housing Advice Team as they may be able to help.”

Info

For non-council tenants, the city council’s Housing Advice Service has a range of support options for those who are at risk of becoming homeless. The council have a statutory duty to help in many cases. Information can be found here: https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/get-help-to-avoid-becoming-homeless 

Unite Launches Cambridge Community Clothes Bank

Clothes-BankCambridge Unite Community Branch has repurposed the Community Wardrobe as the Cambridge Community Clothes Bank giving free clothing for children and adults during the current Coronavirus pandemic in the UK.
The Cambridge Community Clothes Bank is a practical way of giving solidarity to those who have been left unemployed, Furloughed or on a reduced income as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic and lockdown.
Working with the City Council, Community Food Hubs and the mutual aid groups Unite members will be able to supply clothes on demand. These will be ironed and then bagged up using gloves and sent to the appropriate local hub for those who need it to collect or with the help of the mutual aid groups delivered. All necessary precautions including using gloves to handle the clothes will be adhered to.
The Community Clothes Bank has already been operating out of the Trumpington hub and over the next few days will be rolled out to the entire city.
As the posters says, all you need to do is call or email us and we can source and provide the clothes. We have plenty of clothes at present but as and when needed we will be putting out calls for specific items.
Branch Chair May Shafi said,
“We know that the economic impact of this pandemic will be catastrophic for many. Many workers have already been made redundant, others will be nervously awaiting their fate as the government ends furlough before the economy is ready! They have children at home to feed and clothe and all to often on much reduced incomes. Even some on the 80% furlough pay are struggling as the government ignored calls for a rent waiver and bills still have to be paid. That is why we are launching our Coronavirus Cambridge Community Clothes Bank.
People who need clothes for themselves or their families can just phone, text or email us. All contact will be confidential, the clothes will be ironed by our members wearing protection. The required clothes will then be delivered to a one of the community hubs for collection or delivery can be arranged.
We are working in partnership with the mutual aid groups, community hubs and the city council to make this work for those who need it.”
James Youd, Unite Branch Secretary said,
“Nationally Unite has been working with government and businesses to ensure schemes like ‘furlough’ were established to stop mass 1930’s style unemployment. We have also intervened to stop unnecessary redundancies and stood up to a minority of employers who are using this crisis to cut hard won terms and conditions. Now on the ground in the community we are helping those workers and their families in solidarity.
We know a second wave could be economically far more damaging than the initial lockdown and even more would very sadly die. That is why it is vitally important the government only reopens the economy safely and with a track, trace and isolate program that actually works. In the meantime Unite will be working for a fairer economy and society when we do emerge from this dreadful pandemic. We will also be urging everyone to go to the TUC website and join the Union best representing your work.”
Notes to editors
This project is being run by Cambridge Unite Community Branch but we are being assisted to provide support by Cambridge City Council and the local mutual aid groups.

Cambridge University and Colleges – Here is what Cambridge Needs from you!

cambridgeThis is the copy of a piece which has been sent to Varsity for publication.

As the comment piece the other day was from two students, brought here by Cambridge University, as someone born and raised in Cambridge, the son of a graduate of Queens, but now as a carer and trade unionist and a graduate of nowhere, I would like to tell the University and the colleges what we as a city now need.

We are the most unequal city because of the University of Cambridge. It has created a bubble of inflated living costs and a huge service and hospitality economy to service the wealth of university and it’s offshoots. Now all that is in tatters, those who migrated here from Greece and Spain during the crash of 2008 in hope of a better future who service our bars and restaurants, many of them now realise a future in Cambridge is grim. When the university decided to move the whole of the next academic year online it killed the livelihoods of thousands of workers and businesses. But it can be remedied. The furlough scheme has shown what as a socialist I have always known, that government intervention can work. The combined assets of the university and it’s colleges is almost £21bn. If only the fellows of Trinity were to order it, those jobs and businesses can be saved, I am certain the collective effort of the university and all 31 colleges. What I am talking about is a no-strings attached grant to all those now going through hardship. 100% wages for those not able to work and the complete suspension of rents and grants to businesses to keep them viable until we fully unlock. From the statement of the University I would expect that to run until the 21/22 academic year.

Cambridge is not going to recover or close the gaps of COVID19 with that help alone. The expected mortality rate between Newnham and King’s Hedges is 10 years! This is not just about the haves and the haves not in our city – it is about the cleaners of the Old Schools or college bursars who have to commute into our great city simply because of the lack of affordable and social housing. St Ives, Ely, Haverhill, Huntingdon. Many born here find once they grow up they simply cannot afford to live. Nurses at our city’s great hospital can commute from as far as Bedford and King’s Lynn. How is this in any way fair, while we invite 20,000 students to live in the centre of our city who have often have no relationship to it but high academic achievement? So we are asking for a long term strategy, governed by those who we elect on our City Council. That is, we desperately need council housing. There are over 3000 on the council’s housing register waiting. We know housing is not a question of need but means. The recent development in Trumpington shows that we cannot leave the market to provide housing. We don’t need any luxury apartments and million pound houses so outsiders can have a weekend bolthole! Unfortunately Eddington too University though lovely, has proven that you cannot be trusted to adequately house your staff at an affordable price, rent rises and insecure tenancy’s should not be a thing we need to live with. Housing is a human right.

At the North East Fringe development site we have a new opportunity. We now know that Cambridge City and South Cambs think we can build sustainably 8,000 houses. But the people of Cambridge will always see it as town-vs-gown unless you can do this. Help our councils through no strings attached grants achieve 50% council housing. 4,000 new council homes. Mainly for your workers and the people who service our students when they come back next Autumn. As a charitable institution this is simply doing the right thing by the city in which you reside. 

Going forward where isolation and social distancing is ended please be more respectful to the city and its civic institutions. The city council does great work in trying to remedy the symptoms of inequality. Respect it and the democratic decisions it makes, don’t try and use your power to undermine or overrule it! All workers now deserve a recognition of the real living wage and the right to collectively bargain through trade unions such as mine, Unite. You have often disrespected businesses pleading against rent rises. This in turn has led to them shutting and much suffering. This is not necessary, you have much wealth and don’t have to inflict such pain. 

This is by no way everything, but it is some of the way you can help the city that without which you would not exist. It is a good start and a new way of working in which the public and your students will demand that we don’t go back to the bad old ways!

And one more thing, recognise UCU you might just need them when COVID is gone! No going back.

James Youd, Secretary Unite the Union LE00003 Cambridge Community, Cambridge born and bred, carer for my partner, Unite LE Political Committee (personal capacity).

Motion on Montreal Square CCLP

0_unite-at-montreal-squareWe are pleased to announce the following motion brought by Cambridge Unite Community Branch was passed last night at the Cambridge Constituency Labour Party GC meeting:

“Cambridge Labour Party, internally and publicly
elected officials support the Montreal Square Residents Campaign in their
opposition to the demolition of their homes by Cambridge Housing Society and the
redevelopment of the site. Labour Party policy is only to permit redevelopment of
Social Housing where there is a democratic mandate from the residents to do so. In
the case of the 18 houses on Montreal Square and the opposition of residents this is
clearly not the case. Therefore Cambridge CLP must stand with the residents in
defence of their community and their homes.”

Statement of Solidarity | Cllr Kevin Blencowe

“Cambridge Unite Community Branch as an affiliated Trade Union Branch to Cambridge Constituency Labour Party would like to show to you Cllr Kevin Blencowe our immense gratitude for your 25 years of service to our party and to the people of Petersfield.

Having served as a councillor for Petersfield since 1994 when Labour ran the council first under Simon SedgwickJell, Kevin Southernwood than Ruth Bagnall the first female leader of Cambridge City Council. Then through 14 years of misrule by the LibDems when Labour were in opposition, for your 6 full electoral terms and 2 partial ones we show you as a fellow member of our movement and party our utmost respect and admiration.

You have served diligently on the executive of the City Council since Labour won back control in 2014 and there is no doubt that your commitment and energy helped bring about that election of Labour as a majority party on the council for the first time since since 1999.

The time and energy you have put in to help Cambridge as a city to become a more equal and just community is testament to your pursuit of these socialist values, not just for the residents you have for so long represented but for all the residents of our city. We would like to share with you our solidarity and great thanks to you for all these efforts and achievements. Comrades, one to another.

What is troubling is that your time as a councillor has been cut short not by the fair electoral rejection of the residents who so admire you. On the contrary it is a small minority of those you should be able to call comrades! We hope this unprecedented deselection will not go unchallenged and that you should be able to seek justice against it.”

Cambridge Needs a Pay Rise | March & Rally 18th Nov

November-18-leaflet (2)This Saturday in Cambridge workers from across the public and private sectors will join forces to March through the city’s streets to demand an end to the Public Sector Pay Cap and a £10 Minimum Wage.

Cambridge Trades Council has organised the event to highlight the squeeze the pay cap and the high cost of living is having on workers across the city.

The event will begin on Parkers Piece at 11.30am where people will gather for the march which will be followed by a rally at Little St Mary’s Church on Trumpington Street.

Addressing the rally will Richard Allday from the Unite Executive, Daniel Zeicnher MP, Laurie Heseldon SERTUC, Council Leader Lewis Herbert and Jo Rust from Unison among others.

jo-rustJo, who represents NHS staff in Cambridgeshire said,

“I see daily the struggle our hard working members are facing. I heard recently of NHS staff who can’t afford to visit the hairdressers any more, because their wages haven’t kept pace with the cost of living. In Cambridge you have the added burden of the high cost of actually living in the city. And many of the workers I see, just can’t afford to do that, instead facing a lengthy and costly commute.
If the government can find money to bribe the DUP then they can find the money to give our workers a pay rise. Money earned by Unison members goes back into the local economy. It doesn’t get spent on stocks and share in the city of London. It doesn’t get put into an offshore bank account to earn interest, it goes into the shops, into the services and so into the pockets of us all.
It makes sense to give ordinary people a pay rise because they spend it and so grow our economy. Our members must not continue to bear the brunt of a failed economic plan and the must be given a pay rise now.”
The Trades Council along with affiliated unions also want to see action to see an end the scourge of Zero-Hours contracts and homes ordinary people can afford to live in.


Cllr Lewis Herbert Said,

lewis“The City Council supports the Trades Council campaign for an end to the Pay Cap, Real Jobs, a £10PH minimum and affordable homes for every Cambridge resident. The City Council is pledged to pay all it’s workers £10 an hour by 2018, we are calling on businesses and central government to do likewise to ensure people have the bare minimum needed to live in our great city.”