Friday, 15 November 2013

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First Class Conference 2013 - Pt 4

After this we moved to the afternoon sessions where I attended one titled, How far is too far? Freedom of the Press and Social Media. Here we heard from Brian Cathcart (Hacked Off), Clive Lewis (NUJ, PPC for Norwich South), Caroline Criado-Perez (journalist, feminist activist), Tom Watson MP. Anyone who knows me, will know that I have a lot of opinion in this area so was very excited to be a part of this discussion. 
Brian CathcartProf Brian Cathcart started the talks, explaining the process of the recent Leveson enquiry. Leveson found that newspapers were guilty of wreaking havoc in the lives of ordinary people and that the entire industry was routinely serving their own interests rather than those of the public. Brian explained Leveson's recommendations which did not receive a lot of media attention. one of the recommendations for press regulation which the media begged Cameron not to do, so he came up with a Royal Charter which is not going to have an effect on the way in which these large media organisations will conduct. Showing a right wing Government backing down to their friend's demands but allowing corruption and dirty tactics by Murdoch and his money bag friends.
NUJ LogoWe then heard from Clive Lewis, a man with a direct approach and a clear message. He spoke about his delight in the closure of NoW but concerns of NI's other movements. He said that reform in this area is long overdue, there should be press freedom but with this comes power and responsibility, if free press run as a herd, people will get trampled, which is what is happening now. Clive also spoke about an opportunity for a clause that allows journalists to opt out of stories where the practice is not what they condone, like phone hacking.
CarolineCaroline Criado-Perez has been a trending name on Twitter this year. She started with the good intention to get a woman on British currency, other than the Queen. She succeeded to do this and instead of congratulated, she was punished, not just by men scared of a strong woman, but by many man and women. Caroline spoke about the messages she received and lack of legal or corporate help she received. Caroline explained how she thought on what to do regarding this. Where they practising their right to free speech or should she not retaliate and 'feed the trolls'? Caroline told stories tat she has learnt from this by meeting others and shared about how black women get told by the police to stop speaking out against racism, girls who fall under pressure and delete their Twitter account 2 weeks after joining Uni at a time when social connection is needed most. Caroline pushed that police should prosecute against these online messages more and shouldn't only investigate when there is media attention. She said social media companies should listen more to the users and change the blocking rules. Caroline ended by encouraging us to challenge misogyny, bring back woman in the curriculum, especially where there are no women in the key stage 4 history subject and we should make women as relevant as men in public life.
Tom Watson MPFinally we heard from Tom Watson who was very brief but powerful in speaking. He criticised the institutions who should protect the public but intact failed like in the sad Downer case. Murdoch acts distance from these issues and passes ownership which keeps getting passed and no one is found responsible for such disgusting acts to our own nation. The Tories allowed Murdoch and his staff to think they were above the law. Tom ended by reading facts on where trust has been lost from the public. Politicians, utility companies, unions and so much more need to rebuild this trust before there is too much corrosion on society. Tom explained we must be a part of this rebuilding of trust and not back down.
This is where I had to leave to make sure I could get back to my family and see my daughter before bed time, because before all politics trade union activity and power to the people, my priorities start at home, as I believe they should for us all. he day inspired me, the speakers educated and empowered me. Class has brought a new opportunity for ALL members of society to come together and be a part of policy making for the Labour party. We keep talking about rebuilding the links between unions and the Labour party, we ll here is our opportunity. Trade unions built the labour party so we should be sending a member of every branch of ever union to every Labour event or meeting to have OUR say. Many union issues all lead back to politics and we need to be more active in politics, so where better to start than the political party our brothers and sisters made many years ago. I do not believe it is about Labour rebuilding the links with unions, I believe it is about unions being more involved in Labour activity, leading to stronger union activity in the Labour policies.


Dan Lewis
CWU BFS Rep + Communications Officer

twitter.com/think_become


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First Class Conference 2013 - Pt 3

There were several sessions to attend in the morning, I spent a long time deciding which to attend, but with consideration of which will best benefit me and my branch, I finally decided. In the morning I attended Roots of Equality: collective bargaining, trade union freedom & a more equal society. The session involved talks from keynote speakers and influential figures in the labour movement discussing their take on "A Political Economy for Today".
In the morning session I heard from Professor Keith Ewing (King's College, London), Rachel Harrison (GMB), John Hendy QC, Ian Lavery MP, Frances O'Grady (TUC) and this was chaired by Stephen Cavalier (Thompsons Solicitors). 
Ian LaveryFirst up was Ian Lavery, this man is down to earth, a man who in my eyes is a man of the people, hungry for a better society and fairer country. Ian in simple terms explained collective bargaining, which for me was great as I didn't have a great understanding of it. Basically it's where we find a collective benefit, like the living wage and apply it for all. He explained that there are levels to this, previously unions would go to the top and be able to have influence, but the Tories have changed this and caused a lack of ownership where no one can make a decision. Ian said collective bargaining is about fighting for the voice of the people.
Ian believes is that there is one way forward which is strengthening the union links. He said unions were pouring money into Labour and asked what were we getting for it? The link needs to be updated because problems faced in 1906are still being faced today and we can continue to fight them.
Ian's main points were that we need to strengthen the union-Labour links, be bold and attractive to new members, be representative of ALL people and show ordinary people we have policies for them and we will make a change together.
Keith EwingProfessor Keith Ewing was next. He started by stating that there is a crisis in our movement and if we are not in collective bargaining then 'what are we doing'? He said that we can become a protest movement but there is not much future in that, going on to say that the 1930's has so many compelling parallels to today, with this in mind, our problems today are not any harder than they were back then. Keith talked about that in the 1930's we had a Government department to look after the interests of working people, in America they have this and we should today in the UK to stimulate demand, leading to an increase in job growth and more. We need an uplift for everybody and institutions to to facilitate this like joint industrial councils.
John HendyNext up was John Hendy, who spoke on the right to collective bargaining, this right being a human right. John started with the fact that 82% of workers in the 80's had collective bargaining and today, it is only 28% which shows the destruction Thatcher put in place. John taught us that the collective bargaining decline shows a rise in economic inequality and an increase will clearly bring back equality in the economy and workplace, The Government disregard this right to collective bargaining and we need to uphold this right. To aid this, we need to specify the level at which this collective bargaining takes place, other countries used it to get out of depressions and we must do this along with a fair wages resolution. John credited the wages council from 1909 in that we should have on today. John ended simply by saying we need the right to collective action to have the right to collective bargaining.
Rachel HarrisonNext up was Rachel Harrison, who I was looking forward to hearing from as she is a strong young member's officer in the GMB from Yorkshire. Rachel gave us many facts and figures revealing the truths to youth employment and unemployment.
She started by telling us that the UK is the 3rd most unequal society and more than 13million are considered to be below the poverty line. Working people Are on average £1500 worse off than when the coalition came into power, wages increased by measly 6% since then and people don't have a route out of poverty through work, these people are deciding between heating and eating and our Prime Minister responded by saying that we should wear more jumpers. Intervention by government is essential to mount pressure on the energy cartels, bills have gone up by £300 on average since the coalition came into power.
The right to buy is leading to those in social housing being labelled as poor and the bedroom tax doesn't offer people an alternative as there are no other homes and taxes the people who already don't have money. Young people are bearing the brunt of this recession and young workers being paid the least at the same time. Employment in the service sector is where young are found with no union representation or job security. The Government are failing our young and taking away their futures. Cameron has announced to take away young people's benefits because he believes young want to be on the dole, but the reality is they have no choice. Rachel made a great pout in her summary that trade union membership is being considered as a luxury and it shouldn't, it should be a necessity. This should be promoted to our young and they should be encouraged to be union members making a difference to the suffering they are under because of this poor Government's decisions.
Frances OGradyTo round off the speakers in this session we heard again from Frances O'Grady, who started by commending the work of the TUC in the Olympics, where all workers, including cleaners and security were paid a living wage or more. She noted that this wasn't mentioned by many large media organisations. Frances encouraged collective bargaining and explained how people are knackered, have no job satisfaction and can't get contracts or control for their jobs. People care about pay, job safety, learning, creating a career and not just about having a job. Frances encouraged us to be a democratic voice on the inside and start collectively bargaining on pay, holidays, training and everything that we negotiate. Frances continued the point that there is no ownership of issues that we raise on worker's rights and we need to look beyond the enterprises to fix this, some employers are paying the living wage but cutting other benefits to do so. By taking collective bargaining to the Government, we can attack these issues and make sure collective bargaining produces a fair and equal workplace of all.
This session ended with questions and answers leading to some small debate around the issues and points raised.
Ken LivingstoneAfter lunch we joined for a chance to hear Sabby Dhalu (UAF), Ken Livingstone, Francesca Martinez (comedian, People's Assembly activist), Councillor Laura Pidcock and Mick Whelan (ASLEF) present the policy they would implement to solve the living standards crisis - delegates then voted on the one they think should be adopted. The one that received most votes was from Mick Whelan, arguing that we should nationalise the railways and bring back British Rail. I thought this was a great choice, especially as I unfortunately had to leave the Class Conference early because of works on Virgin's west coast line between Crewe and Liverpool which made the price of the ticket which was being advertised at under half the price it was bought at even more painful.


Dan Lewis
CWU BFS Rep + Communications Officer

twitter.com/think_become



Facebook.com/CWUBootleFS
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0151 966 2420


First Class Conference 2013 - Pt 2


Doreen MasseyDoreen Massey made me smile, because she spoke about a great thing that has been lost so much, which is common sense. Doreen said we need to bring common sense back. Corporate greed is wrong, this is common sense. We need a political economy that challenges commonsense. We are always answering their questions and account for our policies on their terms. The Tories should be on the defensive, they caused the crisis. Let's turn the tables Doreen said. Let's ask them what the economy is for and what we want it to provide. Their political economy has failed, let's put that to them. We need to put our policies into a bigger vision. What she spoke, was as she said, Common Sense.
Doreen spoke about economy being a part of our society and that it is not a beast outside of it. We need to defend the public sector as it is a part of our society and economy. 
Doreen was introduced and she immediately for attending on crutches, but the chair rightly said that no apology was necessary and that the conference was grateful for her attendance under the circumstances. Doreen, spoke about taxation and its purpose. This meaning - collecting money for the good - collective provision - for example when she recently needed A+ E services. She said that she is happy to pay her taxes like we should be, even proud. This is something that I can say I am proud of, that I am a contributing member of society. Doreen used this point to say that we must challenge the way we think about the economy, challenge the terms of debate and she ended by encouraging us to say something different that will wake people up.
By this point my 4am wake-up call felt years away, I was fired with thoughts and inspired to do more in society. I thought, "What a start to a day" and it got better, it got so much better. In his casual way, to the rostrum came Mr Len McCluskey, Unite General Secretary. The Daily Mail currently seems to "love" Len at the moment, as you are probably aware, relating to Grangemouth. Len has been made out to be a monster, called a 'baron' and disrespected by many media organisations. I believe Len has maybe been aggressive and shown no sign of backing down when others thought he should have, but I believe unions in the UK need to do so more, I think unions need to exercise their strength when necessary, and at this time for the Grangemouth staff, this was necessary. Big businesses should not be able to play with people's jobs and when running power stations, should not have the ability to just shut down, with a nationally owned power station, this would not happen.
Len McCluskyLen's arrival brought a large round of applause and a very warm welcome. Len made his thank you's and made it clear that Unite is proud to be a large supporter of Class and that he does not want people to be afraid to challenge Unite over any issues at the conference because of this matter. He then took a breath and moved on to Grangemouth. He said showing the power of privatisation and effect it can have on a country, shows the fight trade unions go through constantly. We can say that the ruling elite are starting to get the message, especially after examples like Grangemouth. Conservative ideology will take us back to the 70's, the 1870's. There are some things too important to be left to the market; even john major says there is something in the energy price rises. More people want control on energy prices, rent prices and financial institutions, Len said: let's bring more back into public ownership, we are a community not a market place. He believes, if we challenge the market we will have to fight every step of the way. Len then pointed out that Unite are being attacked because they are a threat and they will carry on making sure bad bosses have no place to hide.
Len finished by saying, a progressive political economy needs strong trade unions; he is calling all to support Unite and other unions.


Dan Lewis
CWU BFS Rep + Communications Officer

twitter.com/think_become


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First Class Conference 2013 - Pt 1


TUC FrontageSaturday 2nd November was the day of the first ever Class Conference (class.org.uk/conference) which I attended in London at the TUC Congress House.
The Centre for Labour and Social Studies (Class) is a new thinktank established in 2012 to act as a centre for left debate and discussion. Originating in the labour movement, Class works with a broad coalition of supporters, academics and experts to develop and advance alternative policies for today.
I found out about Class earlier this year when they held a talk + debate evening in Liverpool, unfortunately I was unable to attend but kept up to date with their newsletters. I like the idea that it is run to get the views of the voters and take them to create policies that will shape a future society.
The conference was a very busy day with a lot going on. It started with a welcome from the chair and a small talk about the political economy today.
Frances OGradyThen we heard from Frances O'Grady, TUC General Secretary. Since I first saw her speak at the CWU Conference 2013, I have followed her and agree with a lot of her views. Frances started by welcoming us all to the TUC Congress House, especially CWU colleagues and she called for solidarity with comrades in Grangemouth. Frances spoke about how she was disturbed to hear about Murdoch press hacking union leader's phones but she is confident backed by her knowledge that "Trade Unionists do not tolerate bullying from ANYONE"!!
Frances then went on to the subject of austerity, commenting on the ease of politicians who have safe seats to complain about workers who are losing their jobs. Frances explained the benefits for big business' and lack of support for the working people who get called scroungers by dirty media companies and politicians. The subject of energy companies was  received with applause in Frances reassuring the support for energy company regulation calling them cartels and led to say that there should be more regulation in other areas including financial organisations.
I liked that last week in Prime Minister's questions, Cameron kept asking for economy based questions. I personally believe we need action not questions, and Frances did this, like any great leader would. She said Living standards need to improve, and to do this we need to re-distribute money and re-distribute power, by creating good, well skilled  and well paid jobs, we need to focus on creating an active industrial policy, including a state investment bank to support industries like low carbon technologies of tomorrow. A lot of this I agree with, I am partially torn in that I work for a bank, on the site that once was the national Girobank (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Girobank). I have a lot of opinion on this matter, but will explain this another time.
Frances finished by saying we need to be bold about ownership and how we should do this, not letting things like the Royal Mail being sold off to happen, which was known in Congress House as selling Tenners for Fivers.
Frances started the conference off well with a large round of applause and smiling faces. 
Angela EagleWe then heard from Angela Eagle, MP for Wallasey and Chair of Labour National Policy Forum. Angela went strait into a great speech that had me stopping my note taking because I was deep in concentration listening. So apologies if I miss anything. Angela said we need to look at the context in which we are doing our work, it is easier for the tories to destroy progress than it is for us to build a civilised society. This is happening now, especially with how the right own so many media outlets, which makes winning the war easier for them. This is what we need to challenge, at a time when the left across Europe are struggling. Angela explained that we need to think about why we aren't getting votes and renew and rebuild our ability to deliver prosperity through the 21st century, by ensuring we use the potential out there for good. We then heard Angela speak about the danger of runaway climate change and it's need for being tackled as a major problem. I enjoyed hearing Angela's thoughts on a new economy that works for all, where we have new economics including equality and renewable energy and the need for a new society, one that is equal and that equality, being a big benefit. 
A view that I highly agree with is that we have to tackle the causes and not the symptoms of problems in society. I feel this is something a very right wing media has had a big effect on, regularly we will see headlines for articles about problems in society and they often slate other's solutions. In a good left wing view, we should be creating solutions and rebuilding society rather than just making a show of the problems. Angela said to do all of this we also need stronger union activity, unions need to modernise and be more involved in all areas of their membership and their communities.
The next subject Angela covered was the growing corporate tax avoidance, this is something that also needs tackling and is a bigger problem than what we know about. Too much light is put on benefit fraud, over corporate tax avoidance.
I had to start a round of applause when Angela said that the likes of Russell Brand need not encourage people not to vote. She shares my views that this will not help society or politics. I was so frustrated seeing Russell Brand (http://youtu.be/lLYcn3PuTTk) on Newsnight recently encouraging people not to vote.  There a lot of people in society who will vote and these people will not want to benefit the working people who would not vote and we would end up in a terrible place. I agree that people are fed up and we do need a revolution or big change, but I do not think not voting will help society at all. If we want to make change, let's do it through the structure that is in place and change that if necessary. Angela explained that many are cynical and disengaged with politics, which is where Russell has definitely caught a nerve. Angela said we need to inspire people to get involved and be empowered. We need to spread democracy in schools and the workplace (More applause). An Empowering model is needed, we are not all in it for ourselves, and we need to empower people to dream of change.

Dan Lewis
CWU BFS Rep + Communications Officer

twitter.com/think_become



Facebook.com/CWUBootleFS
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4North@CWUBootleFS.com

0151 966 2420


IIRSM

I went to a Health and Safety Meeting on the 26th September in the House Of Lords, as a member of the International Institute of Risk  and Safety Management we hold regular meetings and training programmes.


Lord Mckenzie of Luton Shadow Spokesperson ( work and Pensions 2010) welcomed us and thanked everybody for all their work in Health and Safety and that within Health and Safety we are one big team  not only in the UK but internationally as well.


The keynote speaker started talking about the Asbestos the chronic health risks it can lead to like lung cancer /mesothelioma cancer  and any other lung diseases. They have a compensation scheme where people who suffer from this and family members who suffer as well though washing the work clothes and even the children when their dads give them a hug. The only industry that uses asbestos now is in the nuclear industry for lining the containers.


The Health and Safety act is 40 years old next year and is still relevant today as it was all these years ago and will be in the future with to date regulations  within the act. Professor lofstedt has said this in his updated report to the government this year.


The members who attended the meeting  have a mixture of years of experience  from 40 years to just a few years like myself. To full timers and part timers as health and safety practitioners.
We all have experience that can help our fellow practitioners  in the long run so that is why these events are so important.


Part of the meeting was a tour of Westminster The House of Lords and The House of Parliament .Very interesting a lot of walking a must do if you go to London just wear comfy shoes . Its like a little village in side. Every person should see it as it is the centre that runs the country after all.


They reminded us to make sure that people should report all accidents as the rules are changing on the 1st October this year. So please report any accidents or near misses to your manager and the nearest first aiders and your Union Health and Safety Reps/Officer.
Beverley Kenyon
Alan Kennedy
Joe Gormley

Anyone who  like to become one you are welcome to contact me.



Beverley Kenyon DIP HSWE
CWU Health and Safety Officer
Swiss Post Representative
twitter.com/ladykenyon2011



Facebook.com/CWUBootleFS
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0151 966 2420


Live and Not Die

On the 18th September I went to the Live and Not Die Annual Conference in Bolton.


Dr David Sowerby was the keyed note speaker  On The Challenges by Occupation ILL Health.
Not the James Bond film If only it was ! It was held by the North West Regional Association Of Occupational Health and Safety Group. Their aim is to work towards a Healthier working Environment.


The event went through Health motivation which means  the driving force behind the way in which someone strives to achieve a Health and Safety goal. Lack of motivation is caused by management commitment,over familiarisation with the task,fatigue. Stress is the most common one now. Other issues that were covered are Musculoskeletal issues and  Occupation  Health Helplines. Musculoskeletal is any issue that affects young people now more than ever through new technology and everybody has DSE in work put at home we do not. For example a laptop does not mean you use it on your lap and texting is the biggest cause now. So more new employees have this health problem before they enter within their employment.


I  did  this subject for my main project on this subject for my diploma this year.


Santander and Swiss Post  both have employees helplines and programmes remember to use them they are a useful tool to use. A lot of smaller companies do not have them.

If you have any  Health and Safety issues please contact the union office or myself directly.



Beverley Kenyon DIP HSWE
CWU Health and Safety Officer
Swiss Post Representative
twitter.com/ladykenyon2011




Facebook.com/CWUBootleFS
Twitter.com/CWUBootleFS
4North@CWUBootleFS.com


0151 966 2420