Posted: July 25, 2016 Filed under: Uncategorized
Posted: March 27, 2016 Filed under: NHS
View story at Medium.com
Posted: March 27, 2016 Filed under: Supporting Actions of other groups
BAC’s went to support Bristol SolFed with an action against Jimmy’s Restaurant. We handed out information as to why we were there.
‘Three of our fellow workers in Brighton are owed wages from Jimmy’s. Brighton SolFed have handed them a demand letter, but Jimmy’s is still not paying up, so the workers have decided to escalate the dispute and have called for pickets of other Jimmy’s branches across the UK this weekend.’
After a heated discussion, Bristol SolFed decided we would stop the picket. The Manager said he would contact his bosses about the issue in Brighton & see if it could be resolved. If it doesn’t get resolved by mid week, we would go back & give out the same information on the 2nd April.
We went to support Bristol SolFed. “Three of our fellow workers in Brighton are owed wages from Jimmy’s. Brighton SolFed have handed them a demand letter, but Jimmy’s is still not paying up, so the workers have decided to escalate the dispute and have called for pickets of other Jimmy’s branches across the UK this weekend.” This is heated discussion with Managers.
After heated discussion with managers of Jimmy’s, we agreed to finish handing out information & if the issues around paying staff in Brighton hasn’t been resolved, we would be back next week.
Posted: January 20, 2016 Filed under: Uncategorized
The first thing an unemployed person must do is sign a Claimant Commitment. The DWP’s model document is just three pages long but contains nine threats of sanction as well as one threat of a fixed penalty fine and one of imprisonment. The document is 961 words long; 503 of those words are used to explain threats. The commitment is one-sided and contains no reciprocal commitments to support the claimant nor are there consequences for the DWP even if It fails to pay benefits on time. The Claimant Commitment sets the tone of the relationship as one where it is assumed that the claimant needs to be threatened into behaving responsibly. Benefit is paid because people are ill or unemployed.
The majority of unemployed people get into work within a few months and this has been the case whether sanctions existed or not. As a society we recognise that the constant use of threat is not a good way of motivating people and it would certainly not be tolerated in the workplace. So why is it applied to the people who have fallen on hard times? There is plenty of evidence that sanctions cause hardship, suffering and hunger.
Any human society should be disturbed by a statutory system that deliberately causes harm to another human being. It is disturbing that a welfare system, which gives provision for the weakest & most vulnerable, deliberately sets out to exploit a person’s vulnerability in order to achieve control and compliance.
Sanctions undermine the foundational principle of the welfare system. It is precisely because of the damage caused by poverty that the welfare state exists.
Impediments such as health conditions, caring responsibilities or even simple transport difficulties get in the way of full and unwavering compliance. A single minor mistake or misfortune will often result in a sanction, as JCB staff are encouraged to refer for a sanction “first-time every time”
The most common sanction
For a single failure to attend an appointment – quadrupled in severity from one week’s loss of benefit to four weeks’ loss of benefits. The punishment for missing a second appointment increased 6-fold from 2 weeks to13 weeks. The maximum loss of benefit was also increased 6-fold from 26 weeks to 156 weeks or 3 years.
Some sanctions (called intermediate level sanctions) assist in meeting off-flow targets directly.
Before an intermediate sanction is applied the person is first disqualified from benefits and removed from the benefit roll. The person may reapply for benefit before the sanction period is officially imposed. Because the first stage of this rather complicated process removes people from the benefit roll it increases the benefit off-flow that the DWP targets. There has been a 57% rise in these intermediate level sanctions over the past three years.
Sanction regimes reduce the number of people applying for benefits. The increasingly complicated set of conditions causes many people to make the judgement that rather than assisting in finding work, it would be a distraction
Hardship payments (can be claimed if one has been sanctioned).
Time limits apply, meaning that usually an appeal cannot be lodged after the crisis has subsided. Even if a benefits claimant is able to demonstrate that they cannot afford food due to being sanctioned, most people will still not become eligible for a hardship payment or loan for a further two weeks and, once eligible, it will take a further three days before payment actually arrives.
GPs are increasingly seeing people who are suffering serious consequences as a result of the current benefit sanctions system. Vulnerable people can be left with no money to pay for essentials (ie food & heating) and this can then have a damaging impact, not only on their physical & mental health, but also the health of family members, including the children who depend upon them.
This Government released its response to a major review of its policy on benefit sanctions this week. ((20th/21st Oct 2015)
The government was responding to the Work and Pensions Select Committee’s report, Benefit sanctions beyond the Oakley Review, which set out more than **24 recommendations for changes to benefit sanctions and the policies behind them.*’Accepted by Labour, Coalition and Conservative Governments, sanctions are a necessary part of that system and we keep them under regular review, making improvements where necessary. The DWP minister of state Lord Freud managed to avoid addressing any of the recommendations made in the report. ‘In response to the Select Committee I am announcing that we will be introducing a number of changes.’
(**None of these have yet been implemented, although 2 of the recommended changes are more urgent. #1. Set up “Broad Independent Review” “that should be established and report as soon as is practicable in the next Parliament.”
#25. Make Hardship Payments available from day one.
Here is the report in full.
Over the next few years Universal Credit (UC) will be rolled out which will combine six benefits into one. Alongside those who are out of work, those earning below a threshold level – normally set at £11,30057, and receiving UC, will become subject to conditionality and sanctions. The Resolution Foundation estimates this measure will bring an additional 1,200,000 people into conditionality.
Details of how this will operate have not yet been published, however it has been confirmed that, for the first time, Housing Benefit will be subject to sanction. The legal framework allows people to be instructed to do things like change jobs, attend training, or increase hours in order to earn more than the threshold income. Sanctions can then be imposed on those who do not comply with the requirements.
Here is the petition asking for the Government to look again at the twenty-six recommendations for changes to the current sanction policies
With thanks https://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/author/johnnyvoid/
Posted: January 2, 2016 Filed under: Local Campaigns, National Campaign, National Demo, Tolpuddle, Uncategorized
First Tuesday of the Month 8 pm The Ram Widcombe.
Come to the meeting with campaign ideas & ideas to change what needs to be changed!
Wishing you all a happy & productive 2016
I’ve tried to get these photos in order of action but i may not have been totally accurate. I’ve used some that you will have already seen but i’ve tried to put in ones that ended up on the cutting room floor! I know there will be people who will say what i’ve missed out, so do remind me & i’ll add them (& any photos you want me to add to the WordPress site, please send them to me. (via email@example.com)
Anyway, i would like to wish everyone a happy & productive 2016.
Students March for free education
Bath Students Against Fees and Cuts and their allies took once again to the streets of Bath for a Free Education march.
John, Barbara & I did a road trip. *Global Justice UK London Conference
Celia & I went to see UKIP in Bradford on Avon
Barbara went to Brussels TTIP
Monica, Dave P & Dave L went to London for the Anti Trident rally
Michael C was going off to Brazil for nearly 3 Months
Bath Against Cuts, Bath STW, 38 Degrees Bath, BSAFAC’s and Bath Unite Community, joined together to demonstrate against & support people against the unfair (& cruel) DWP Benefit Sanctions.
BAC’s & BSAFAC’s went to London for the age Against Racism Demo. A great day.
*No Human is illegal
Bath Students Against Fees And Cuts.
There were two protests at the Uni Campus. They claimed a victory with the living wage campaign (*campaigns for fair pay are on going)
Celia & I Bradford on Avon Railway Station handed out flyers to commuters about re nationalising the railways
Bath Stop the War had a ballot outside the Abbey. *In favour of Trident or not.
*great meeting at the Ram-incase you missed the end of the minutes.
The rest of the meeting was about Trident, The Labour Mug, IDS, Podemos & Dave rejoining Labour when they bring back Clause 4. Dave will also donate £1000 to them if they do. Laurel suggested that we perhaps should take a lead from Frankfurt (on our demo’s). ‘Police cars set alight in anti-austerity protest at new European Central Bank headquarters in Frankfurt, officials say.’ We all agreed.
Pre Election Political Campaign
Stalls Save our NHS/TTIP at Green Park Station & at Bath University
Haysfield School David Cameron & the egg
Peoples Assembly against Austerity Bristol.
The National Gallery (privatisation & Candy Udwin) & London Met Job cut
Tory HQ Budget Rally
Bath City buy out
Bristol’s Children’s community health services
Zero Hours Sports Direct
Swindon book fare
Stand Up to Racism Bristol
Greek Solidarity Benefit gig
Junior Doctors rally Bristol
Junior doctor’s strike action. (called off the evening before)
PONHS 16th Oct Public meeting Ben Howlett
Rally for free Education London
Supporting the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign
Scholarships For refugees
Climate Change Rally
Issues for Dec We didn’t have a room for our meeting… (it was funny though!)
17th December. The BANES Labour group submitted a motion re the implantation of the TU Bill
Lots to do, so get yourselves along to the next meeting The Ram Widcombe 8pm (in a room!)
Bring issues to put on the agenda.
See you there
Posted: November 9, 2015 Filed under: National Campaign | Tags: Anti Trade Union Bill, Supporting Unions
Trade Unions are part of stronger economies & more equal societies
The TU bill is an attack on our working conditions, our civil liberties, our human rights & so much more.
The Trade Union Bill
The proposals have been criticised by all the Trade Unions but also by Liberty, Amnesty International & the British Institute of Human Rights.
“It is hard to see the aim of this bill as anything but seeking to undermine the rights of all working people. We owe so many of our employment protections to trade unions and we join them in opposing this bill.”
*An attack on working people It will undermine ordinary people’s ability to organise together to protect their jobs, livelihoods and the quality of their working lives.”
*An attack on our civil liberties- The bill proposes huge restrictions on peaceful picketing and protests. The Bill has the potential to cause significant damage to fair and effective industrial relations in this country and would set a dangerous precedent for the wider curtailment of freedom of assembly and association.
Liberty’s briefing on the TU Bill
The right to freedom of assembly and association is the cornerstone of an open and free democracy. Most obviously, it allows us to participate in democracy by protecting the right to peaceful protest. But it also allows individuals to come together to develop, share, test and disseminate ideas about philosophy, politics, science, society, the arts. It allows political movements to begin and to grow and people to organise and campaign for a common cause. It is a close corollary of the right to freedom of expression, 1 conscience, 2 and private and family life, 3 which are also protected by the Convention.
We are all entitled to seek friendship, solidarity, support and comfort without the interference of the state. It is for each of us to decide with whom we want to share our time, our energy and our ideas as well as to have the power to decline to associate with someone or something. Every member of society is empowered to take to our shared streets to raise awareness or to ask peacefully for change. This essential freedom is the preserve of no creed, no political persuasion, no nationality. Instead, it sits at the heart of what it means to be free.
It attacks the capacity of unions to support green workplace projects – the energy and resource efficient workplaces that tackle environmental pollution and climate change. *hospitals and government departments face very different challenges from power stations and ports but they had one thing in common: employee involvement.
The Trade Union Bill will greatly reduce the ability of trade unions to fund campaign groups.
What the Conservatives are calling the Trade Union Bill is in a reality a threat to all of our rights at work. If it becomes law it will make the lives of all working people a lot tougher, giving a green light to bad bosses to behave badly by undermining the right to strike.
What are the government proposing?
They want to place extreme and severe restrictions on the right to strike (by allowing employers to use agency workers to replace striking workers, introduce industrial action ballot thresholds which would have made nearly half of all strikes since 1997 illegal and making extremely detailed, onerous requirements on taking industrial action even more complicated.)
Strangling people’s most powerful way of protecting their rights at work (by limiting the amount of time workplace representatives can spend on trade union activities and duties (called ‘facility time’) in the public sector, despite this time being agreed voluntarily between employers and trade unions. )
The Government want to
- Place extreme and severe restrictions on the right to strike
- Strangle the most powerful way you have of protecting your rights at work – your union – in red tape and costs
- Silence voices and stifle protest and picketing – for example, having to tell your employer what you’ll post on Facebook two weeks in advance or whether you intend to carry a banner or loudspeaker.
Every single one of us will have fewer rights at work, and less power in the workplace as the government stacks the scales against you.
However badly an employer may behave they will know that the government is on their side, not yours.
This is threat to all our rights at work; the safety of the rights we have now, and the rights we are still fighting for, such as ending zero hours contracts.
When people are organised in trade unions, they achieve better pay at work, fairer working conditions and have safer workplaces. In contrast, the undermining of trade unions in this country is associated with growing inequality, stagnating wages and increasing numbers in insecure work. Further tightening the shackles on trade unions through the Trade Union Bill threaten to make this worse. In short, being able to protect rights at work is good for people, good for the economy and good for society – and the best way to make this happen is to have stronger trade unions, not this Trade Union Bill.
This bill is bad for workers, bad for business, bad for Britain
Posted: November 8, 2015 Filed under: National Demo | Tags: cuts, Education, National Campaigns
Bath Against Cuts went with Bath Students Against Fees And Cuts & UCU Bath to the National demo for free education.
A big thank you to Unite Community Bristol Branch for the $ towards the coach.
On Wednesday, over ten thousand students marched through central London. The demonstration was called in opposition to the abolition of maintenance grants for the million poorest students, as well as mounting debt and increasing cuts.
Students also marched against the discrimination directed at international students, stopping outside the Home Office to make this point. Free education and living grants, funded by progressive taxation, was the ultimate demand of the demonstration. From beginning to end, the march was vibrant, loud and colourful and included many first time protesters.
One of my personal favourites from Wednesday.
Students from Brighton
UCU Bath out in force (& SP from Bristol)
We all marched through town & went past Parliament Square. We were then all forced into a kettle, by being made to walk down some narrow streets.
Once we reached the reached the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, we all stood around (with the Police on Horseback behind us & police surrounding the BIS). We stopped & were being told to leave (by Police Support officers). We could see there had been some altercation, as
Polystyrene & boards that had been smashed was all around the centre. We were being told that there was trouble brewing & that we should go. We didn’t leave for a while but slowly we were dispersed. I went up ahead to find out where everyone else was & we then walked away. As we left, riot police violently stormed the crowd. (We had been watching the Police (modern SPG) watching the Book Bloc for some time (the Police were to our left (& Book Block to our right)) The march ended with some very heavy handed & violent policing. (we saw this on a screen in the pub where we all met up). At least 18 protesters were violently arrested. It was very unnecessary for the aggressive response by the Police.
Many thanks to all who went on the demo & to Steve Philbey for these photos.