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Thursday, 28 February 2013

Avoiding another Mid Staffs

 

The TUC welcomed the independent review into the scandal at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust and said there must never be a repeat of the neglect that took place.
The tragedy was made worse by management failure, inadequate regulation and a culture of bullying, the TUC said, adding that spending cuts and the massive NHS reorganisation risked recreating the conditions that led to the scandal.
Full TUC reaction @
http://www.tuc.org.uk/industrial/tuc-21893-f0.cfm

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Save the Elephants

Elephants are incredibly intelligent, family-oriented animals, who have been known to mourn the deaths of their loved ones and demonstrate compassion toward strangers. But thanks to increased ivory demand in China and elsewhere, they're being slaughtered by the hundreds.

In January, hundreds of pieces of elephant ivory were seized at Kenya's main port. And those are just the smugglers who got caught. Who knows how many elephants have been murdered for their tusks in the last few years alone?

The rise in poaching is not only an environmental or animal welfare issue; it's also an economic one. Diminishing numbers of elephants in Kenya means a loss of revenue from tourists who travel to the country to see the elephants.

At the current poaching rates, conservationists wonder if there is any hope for saving elephants as a species. It is vital that Kenya step up protection efforts for elephants immediately. Ask the Kenyan government to draft new legislation to take steps to address poaching in their country -- before the elephants are gone forever.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Angela Merkel on Cyprus

Chancellor Merkel was right to point on a recent visit to Ankara  that whilst the EU favours a closer cooperation between the 27 member states and Turkey the fact that PM Erdogan refuses to allow freedom of movement for ships registered by the Republic of Cyprus means that the talks for accession cannot continue. You can not want to join a club but change its rules before you even join? Time for some serious thinking on both sides I think!

Monday, 25 February 2013

Peter Woodward





Peter on the far right after a few kebabs..

Was great to link up with old and new friends at Peter Woodward's leaving party on Friday which took place in a pub on the green pastures of Streatham.

Sad to see him go after so many years but also happy that he will now have time to rest and avoid the stress that inevitably comes from being in office. Peter was Chair of Lambeth Branch for 10 years and he did a great job.  We also worked together to inject a level of reality into the branch by strengthening the links with the local Labour party which I called Lamb Politic when I was Secretary.

I am not going to say that I will personally miss him as I will be seeing him socially as we have been friends since 1989 ( and we are only in our later 30s!!) lol

Have a good retirement Peter and behave if you can!

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Even IMF doubts the cuts

 

Earlier in January, comments by IMF chief economist Olivier Blanchard on the need to ease austerity measures were cited by the TUC as further evidence that government strategy was failing.
The Chancellor's self-defeating austerity programme was causing so much damage that even his favourite economic institution was now telling him to think again, the TUC said.
More on this @
http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-21852-f0.cfm

Friday, 22 February 2013

Cheap labour, low productivity trap

 

The recent fall in productivity could become a permanent feature of the UK economy unless we see a significant boost to demand and a return to growth, the TUC has warned in its latest economic report.
According to the study, weak demand as a result of stagnant wages is preventing higher productivity firms from hiring, and limiting employment growth to lower productivity sectors.
Summary details @
http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-21892-f0.cfm

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Branch autonomy

I have been involved with the politics of UK Trade Unions for 25 years now and held several senior positions within NALGO and Unison.

One argument from some quarters is that local branch autonomy should prevail over regional or national control. So there are those who think that a branch with, for example, 3,000 members should be able to determine what they do, when and how often they do it or who they allow to come in. I have never agreed with this and always insisted that an individual branch should be able to determine its own day to day business but the line must be drawn when it comes to following national policies and procedures. A branch with 3,000 members is only as strong as a union with 1.3 million and if they want to change or influence policy they have a perfect opportunity  when national conference takes place to try and do so. There have been many examples when I did not agree with what national conference decided but as  branch Secretary I followed and implemented those decisions.

There are also those who don't like who their regional support officers are and would wish to distance themselves from them. That is a huge mistake and it gives out the wrong signal. Regional staff who are there to do a job should be extensively involved and indeed asked to do the work that they are employed to do and not told not to attend meetings??

Austerity still not working

GDP figures published on 25 January showing that the UK economy contracted by 0.3 per cent in the last quarter of 2012 were evidence that austerity has failed completely, the TUC said.

'The Chancellor's austerity plan has pushed the UK economy to the brink of an unprecedented triple-dip recession', said Frances O'Grady. 'We are now mid-way through the coalition's term of office and its economic strategy has been a complete disaster.'
Read the TUC response @
http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-21864-f0.cfm

Monday, 18 February 2013

No time for lunch

No time for lunch

A BBC poll showing that more than half of employees regularly work through their lunch breaks underlined the extent of Britain's long hours culture, the TUC has said in response. Far too many employees were failing to take their break because they had too much work to do.
Details @
http://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace/tuc-21901-f0.cfm

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Matschie's tree kangaroo

New Guinea is home to 9 species of tree kangaroo, all of which are endangered. Thanks to poaching and habitat destruction, they might soon all be extinct.

One species, the Matschie's tree kangaroo, is in particular danger due to its lush, soft fur, which makes it especially attractive to local hunters. In addition, oil drilling, logging, and rainforest clearing means that every year, more and more of the kangaroo's habitat vanishes.

But it's not too late. The people of Yawan, a village in New Guinea, have set aside 400 square kilometers for the Matschie's preservation. One Care2 member, Tom, started a petition to ask the Prime Minister of New Guinea to further help save the Matschie's tree kangaroo. Will you join him?

Friday, 15 February 2013

Proper hours' day - TUC

 

If staff who regularly work unpaid overtime did all their extra hours from the start of the year they would not get paid until 1 March, the day the TUC has named as Work Your Proper Hours Day.
Now in its ninth year, Work Your Proper Hours Day is a light-hearted campaign that celebrates the unsung - and unrewarded - hours that staff put in to help their employer and boost the UK economy.
Further information @
http://www.tuc.org.uk/industrial/tuc-21876-f0.cfm

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Working time warning TUC

 

Ahead of the Prime Minister's speech on Europe, the TUC said the government should abandon its obsession with the Working Time Directive, which guarantees millions of people a paid holiday and stops dangerous work being done by exhausted people.
'Forcing people to work longer hours is not the answer', said Frances O'Grady. 'Instead of tilting at the windmill of the Working Time Directive, the Prime Minister should be taking steps to raise UK productivity through more investment in training, jobs, infrastructure and a better work-life balance.'
Further information @
http://www.tuc.org.uk/international/tuc-21828-f0.cfm

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Tory Euro threat to rights - TUC

 

Workplace rights are the real target of the Tories' new strategy on Europe, the TUC warned as the initial hype over David Cameron's promise of an 'in-out' EU referendum by the end of 2017 started to fade.
Speaking at the European TUC's 40th anniversary conference in Madrid, TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said that rights such as paid holidays, health and safety, protection when a business is sold off, and equal treatment for part-time workers and women are at risk as Britain sought to renegotiate its relationship with the EU.
More on this story @
http://www.tuc.org.uk/international/tuc-21871-f0.cfm

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

A Future for Families

 

The next major campaign event in the TUC's Future That Works series will take place on 13 March at the Emmanuel Centre in Marsham Street, Westminster.
The rally will be called A future for families, a future that works and it will both highlight our alternative to cuts and form our contribution to the European TUC's Day of Action against austerity.
The TUC will also be represented at a Europe-wide rally in Brussels on 14 March - the eve of the European Spring Summit. The purpose of this event is to bring all the national events and initiatives together.
Information and online registration @
www.tuc.org.uk/afutureforfamilies

Monday, 11 February 2013

Turkish and Greek Cypriot community leaders in talks

UK Cypriots and Turkish Cypriot trades unions push for bi-communal action to reunite Cyprus

Turkish Cypriot trades union leaders from occupied northern Cyprus met with the President and members of the Executive Council of the UK Cypriots’ Federation in London Thursday evening. The convivial meeting at the bi-communal Cypriot Community Centre in Haringey, confirmed a shared vision of a free, united Cyprus and unanimous support for co-ordinated action by Greek- and Turkish-Cypriot communities everywhere, aimed at an end of Turkey’s military occupation and the country’s reunification.

The trades unions delegation was on a four day visit to London, meeting British politicians and trades unions, UK Cypriot community groups and other civic society organisations. Sener Elcil Hassan, General Secretary of ‘Cyprus Turkish Teachers Trade Union’ (Turkish Cypriot Primary teachers’ union) (KTOS), said that the visit aimed to inform UK politicians and other influential groups of the many difficulties faced by the Turkish Cypriot community in occupied Cyprus, to highlight Turkey’s deliberate “imposition of demographic changes” on the island and to demand that the Cyprus issue becomes a top priority of the international community.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

London Unison and Regional AGM results

Interesting to see the results for the key positions at Regional Council AGM. I can understand how the 'organised' middle to right of the road wing keep wining against the 'soft  mixed with some hard left' but what does not make sense is the fact that the current administration keeps increasing their vote?

I personally think that Marsha and Phoebe are more charismatic and would, on balance, come up with better policies so I can't figure out why they lose elections in such a big way? I was Regional Finance Convenor myself for 6 years and when I lost to John of the Gray there was a 3 vote difference so I have no idea what has changed in the last 5 years? Should the left be looking into this in a more serious way? Or would their great leader Jon of the Rogers explain the phenomenon on the relationship between the positioning of the Moon and the planet Uranus?

Friday, 8 February 2013

Time to reform Parliament?

Its obvious that the current system we have in Parliament allows for career politicians and opportunist to take over the system. We have a generation of new arrivals who have been groomed to simply be MPs and have very little other life experience. Many have never had a real job so how the hell they can represent us I do not know. They are full of hot air and some have been caught out because they have been hypocrites. There are some good ones amongst them but they are very few in number.

So what should we do? We need to bring in reforms to encourage people who want to change the world rather than change their bank balance. Cut salaries down to 25k annually and reduce the number of MPs by at least one third. We then abolish any hereditary titles in the house of Lards and replace that with an upper house of elected representatives. Bring the era of career politicians to an end otherwise they will continue taking us for a ride! Its the only way to have an impact. Cut their pay and they will soon be looking for a job in the banking system where they belong.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Pensions seminars

 

The TUC is organising two seminars on the subject of workplace pensions over the coming months.
The first will be held in the Bloomsbury Hotel on Great Russell St, London, on Tuesday 5 February on the subject of 'sharing risk in workplace pensions'. The second will be held at Congress House on Wednesday 15 May on the subject of the 'governance gap'.
Register for the first seminar @
http://tucpensions1.eventbrite.com

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Living standards: squeezed further

 

Inflation figures published in December - showing that CPI remained at 2.7 per cent and RPI fell marginally to 3 per cent in November - indicated the continuing pressure on people's living standards, the TUC said.
With the Office for Budget Responsibility not expecting real wage growth until 2014 and further cuts to in-work benefits due in April, 2013 looked like another tough year for working families, the TUC suggested.
Earlier in the month, the TUC reacted with anger to Eurostat figures showing that UK living standards dropped from fourth to sixth highest in Europe during 2011.
TUC on inflation figures @
http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-21778-f0.cfm

Monday, 4 February 2013

Dirty politics

Another scandal about a dishonest politician. One who insisted that he did not do anything wrong and said that a jury would not find him guilty who is now publicly accepting that he had not told the truth? And they want to know why people are fed up with politicians? The media is as much to blame for this. They banish them for a year or two then they bring them back. I don't need to go into details here we all know who they are and the same will happen with Hulme today. He will be put aside for a year then allowed to return to inflict more of his morality on us!! Stop voting for these people!

Friday, 1 February 2013

Six Bulls Saved From Agriculture Fair


Success The "Running of the Bulls" in Toronto was canceled after protests from animal rights activists. Officials planned to force the 2,000-pound animals to run through the streets surrounded on either side by handlers on horseback and a screaming crowd. Luckily, the bulls received a last minute reprieve.