Cambridge Action Against Sanctions #No2Sanctions

On Thursday Cambridge Unite Community Branch will take part in a national day of actions to highlight the continuing cruelty of Benefit Sanctions imposed on those on welfare.
Thousands have committed suicide or died after having their benefits sanctioned or by being wrongly deemed fit for work by private companies employed by the DWP.
The action on Thursday will begin outside the Cambridge Job-Centre on Chesterton Road at 12noon where Unite members will read just a few of the names of those who have died because of hardship created by benefit sanctions, not to mention the thousands every week who live hand to mouth to trying to survive similarly hit by sanctions.
At 1pm the demonstration will move to Bridge Street bridge where a banner will be dropped (‘BENEFIT SANCTIONS KILL’) facing Quayside reminding tourists and residents of the extreme despair and poverty being imposed by this Tory Government.
James Youd Unite Community Branch Secretary said,
“The film I, Daniel Blake by Ken Loach has reminded people how callous and cruel the use of benefit sanctions is. The appalling damage the ‘fit for work assessments’ do to genuinely disabled people, who are judged not to be by private companies with targets to meet and profits to be made, all at the expense of those already suffering from ill health or life-time disabilities. For doing what? None of these disabled and ill people bankrupted the country as the greedy financiers did, yet they are paying the price because the Tories want to punish those with nothing and reward the 1%. A humane society is one where we must not stand for this level of injustice, we at Unite are not going to sit and watch it happen. In the words of Ken Loach it is a conscious cruelty and those implementing it should know the consequences of their actions.”

Unite Union’s Regional Chair Jim Kelly in Cambridge for Len McCluskey General Secretary Campaign | Thursday 26th

Today (Thursday 26th) the Chair of the London and Eastern Region of Unite Jim Kelly will be in Cambridge to campaign for the re-election of General Secretary Len McCluskey.

Len McCluskey has served as Unite General Secretary since 2011, since then the union has grown to be the biggest in UK and Ireland with over 1.5 million members.
Under Len’s leadership a strike support fund was launched to give further support to members who take strike action which he has backed 100%, he has led campaigns for better pay, supported workplace representatives and shop stewards, he’s led successful disputes with multinationals and been at the forefront of defending public services against ideological austerity by the Coalition and Tory governments.
As Chair of London and Eastern Jim Kelly is the most senior lay elected member in the largest region of Unite representing around 400,000 members.
In Cambridge Unite members work in a whole range across the 20 sectors of Unite. From bus drivers to medical staff at Addenbrookes, researchers at NIAB  to College Porters. Marshall’s, Cambridge University Press and Cambridge University workers are all represented by Unite.
Unite also has an active Community Branch in Cambridge which McCluskey launched to bring those pensioners, students, disabled unemployed and under-employed into the Union. The branch campaigns for council housing, against benefit sanctions and for better public services.
There will be a campaign photo call with Unite members and Jim Kelly at 6pm at the Box Cafe, Norfolk Street, Cambridge.
Jim Kelly will be in Cambridge and available for interview from 4.30-6pm in the CB1 area of the city to talk about the work of Unite and on behalf of Len McCluskey’s campaign.
At 6.30-7.45pm There will be a hustings for Unite Members in the Box Cafe with Jim Kelly and Manchester based Ian Allinson which will be chaired by Labour Councillor and Unite Member Nigel Gawthrope.
Find out more about Len’s record and his plans Re-elect Len McCluskey

If you would like an interview or to come to the rally or Hustings, please email or call.
James Youd
Cambridge Unite the Union Community &
East Chesterton Labour Party

March for Affordable Homes in Cambridge | Nov 14 Demonstration & Petition


Housing Petition

Housing in Cambridge is in crisis. Yet the government is determined to make it worse with the ‘Right-to-buy 2’, meaning Cambridge City Council being forced to sell up to 25% of its council housing. We need action now!

Click to view and download poster.
Click to view and download poster.

We call on the UK Treasury, the Department for Local Government and Communities and the Prime Minister to:

Stop the passage of the Housing Bill and the damage it will do to the City Councils Housing Stock potentially forcing them to sell 25% of all such housing as it becomes vacant, with monies compensating ‘Housing Associations’ sold properties.

Allow Cambridge City Council to borrow against their Council Housing Stock of an estimated £1.4 Billion to build new council housing needed to accommodate those on middle and low incomes.

Sign the petition here

Join us Marching for Affordable and Social Housing in Cambridge

11156138_10153898371918782_4792829483349894534_nWe will be marching from Regents Terrace, Parkers Piece at 11.30am on Saturday the 14th of November to the Guildhall in defence of Council Housing and demanding the council be allowed to borrow against their council housing stock in invest in much needed new Council Housing.

The facebook event is here

Front side leaflet.
Front side leaflet.
Back side of leaflet.
Back side of leaflet.

Supported by: Cambridge City City Council Labour Group.

Unite Community Condemns Death by Police

11Unite Community have issued a condemnation of the shooting by police of a man in St Neots

Cambridgeshire Unite Community said,
“The use of firearms against members of the public in our community is shocking. We completely condemn this shooting and though we understand the IPCC are investigating we shall be calling for complete transparency as to what really happened. Knowing people in the Campaign Against Police Violence who have seen the death of people like Charles de Menezes at Stockwell Tube who was shot and the death of Sean Rigg in a South London Police cell, this is a disgraceful act with a Cambridgeshire citizen dying from a police firearm. It is a disgrace to the Cambridgeshire Constabulary. Graham Bright the PCC, the chief constable must also condemn this action and take disciplinary measures against those who authorised the use of a gun and the officer who shot the man dead. This is state murder and must be treated in law as such.”

Social Housing – Not Social Cleansing | Demo Saturday 1st August Haart Mill Road

Letting agents in Cambridge are ripping off tenants charging massive fees for tenancy agreements. These include extras for more than one person, meaning couples or families pay more for the same house. Fees for getting a guarantor (these are required for those on low wages who are suffering from preposterous rents), fees to extend an existing contract. And same of the worst charge for letters, phone calls and even texts. One agent even charges ex-tenants for getting overpaid rent returned! We believe this is disgraceful and will be demonstrating outside Haart on Mill Road from 12.30pm on Saturday 1st of August. This is the start of our campaign.

Dozens turn up for Belvoir protest

Around 40 people made it on Saturday (23r May) to demonstrate against Belvoir after having sent their tenants an email prior to the general election threatening them if they voted Labour with ‘Homelessness‘!

Sweeny1Members and supporters were also protesting against the obscene agent fees and Belvoir’s policy of encouraging by-to let investors to buy up houses and rent out individual rooms at excessive prices, one room in Chesterton they are currently advertising for is £795 for a room in a house share!

Cllr Kevin Price head of Housing, Cambridge City Council addresses the demo.
Cllr Kevin Price head of Housing, Cambridge City Council addresses the demo.


Newly elected MP Daniel Zeicher did not manage to make the demo as he had a prior commitment but sent the demo his best wishes and the following statement was read on his behalf,

“Cambridge is a city where nearly half the residents rent their homes, which is not surprising when the average terraced house now costs a staggering £445,000.

As MP housing is one of my top priorities and I will be working closely with Cambridge City Council which is building council homes, press for more and fight ill-thought out Conservative plans to sell off housing association stock.

I was deeply shocked when during the election campaign Belvoir lettings emailed tenants to say Labour’s policies would be  “extremely detrimental”, when our policies are designed to stand up for people renting their homes by guaranteeing longer term tenancies with predictable rents and banning rip-off letting agent fees on tenants.

People renting in Cambridge who want a place to call home can be assured that they have an MP who is on their side.” ​

Richard Allday of Unite executive addresses the rally.



Thanks to Charlotte Bence and Richard Allday from Unite London and Eastern for supporting us also.


Statement on Cambridge Housing Crisis

IMAG0107The housing crisis in Cambridge is out of all control. Private rents rocket as incomes fall in real terms. With 7,000 people on the councils housing waiting list getting a secure council home is a dream for many people on low and medium incomes. Meanwhile Cambridge has become a byword for an unsustainable housing bubble, the £413,383 average cost to buy a house in Cambridge is 17.5 times the average wage in the city. For all but the wealthiest or thrifty this is something most simply can never conceive of.

The Cambridge Property Exhibition is showing two figures up to Cambridge’s citizens. Mimicking the London style property shows that advertise safe investments for millionaires abroad leaving the ordinary people priced out. Unite the Union believes housing should be a basic right, not a tradable asset for the rich to profiteer off the rest of society. Yet this government has presided over a massive expansion of exactly that. We now know that one third of all houses sold off by the right to buy are now in the hands of greedy landlords renting them out at two to three times what council tenants pay. This Exhibition is a deliberate provocation by the estate agents, banks and lawyers against the citizens of Cambridge. That is why we say no more.
Cambridge Unite Community along with others is demanding everyone should have a roof over their head at a real affordable price.
We demand:
A rolling program of council house building until the waiting list of is cut to zero
A ban on rogue letting agents charging fees to tenants
Rent controls linked to incomes
A council home for everyone that needs one
A stop to property developers building unsustain unaffordable houses
A ban on estate agents advertising houses outside the city

About us – Cambridge Unite Community

Unite Cambridge Community Union is part of a national network of groups that form part of the Unite trade union. We are a campaigning organisation, which believes in solidarity and direct action:

Pay, Working Conditions, Incomes, Housing, Health, Benefits, Education and Legal Services are all under attack.

We are fighting back and offer active support to people in low-paid jobs, volunteers, interns, apprentices, people who have problems with their employers, or their landlords, or who are facing eviction, or are having probFeatured imagelems obtaining the benefits they are entitled to receive.

Organising and activism are at the centre of strong communities, which is why Unite’s community membership provides a way people can find and use their political voice. Whether it is taking a stand against a service closure or coming together to fight low-pay, zero hours contracts, rent increases, evictions or improving our environment, as a community member, Unite will be on your side.


Find us on Facebook: Unite Cambridge Community branch


Unite’s Community Union Membership is open to all not in permanent full-time employment.

The Community Union exists to bring the benefit of trade union membership to people who are not in permanent full-time paid employment. These include, legal support, debt counselling, welfare benefit entitlement check. Free personal accident cover.

Read more about Unite on the Unite website: