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Community Issue 23 | New Year 2013

stronger together

Winning with a smile

Labour students join Community in victorious by-election campaigns

stronger together INSIDE … News

Tata Steel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 MP’s legal loan sharks victory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Save Ayresome Industries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Fighting for Remploy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Community and TNT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Labour Students . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Fair Work Commission . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Movement For Change training . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 President’s regional roadshow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Community welcomes John Park . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Tulip success . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Firth Rixson victory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5


On the road to Downing Street . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6


Residential courses for branch officials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

Youth unemployment

Getting Europe Working . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 MP and Community get 45 young people jobs . . . . . . . . . 9


Bookies not bouncers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Communitas training for Remploy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Torbay social enterprise . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Percy Middlesbrough . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Northern Ireland Region . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Working Together for Risk Prevention . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

If you have any comments or suggestions for the next edition please contact the editor on or on 020 7420 4000 Stronger Together. Autumn 2012 Editorial Office: 67/68 Long Acre, Covent Garden, WC2E 9FA Tel: 020 7420 4000 email: Cover photo: Jess Hurd Printed by The College Hill Press

Happy New Year Dear member, Happy New Year and welcome to the latest edition of Stronger Together. January is a time when we can focus on the challenges that are ahead. Last year the government proved that they are determined to dismantle your rights at work. With their recent “shares for rights” proposals they have shown that they have no real understanding of modern workplaces. I’m a great believer in working in partnership with employers. At Community we know that when we work together for growth we can all share in success. But we also know when we need to stand up for equality and fairness at work, as our recent victories in disputes at Tulip in Dukinfield and Clarks in Street demonstrate. The Chancellor’s proposal of slashing of employment rights under the guise of “employee ownership” will take the relationship between employees and employers back to Victorian times. These Tory-led attacks on workers are not what people want. November saw Labour win six crucial by-elections and raise its share of the votes in all the seats it contested. Community members campaigned hard in all these by-elections and it is clear that the fightback to return a Labour government is well on its way. In the last year our union has achieved so much from new members joining us in new sectors such as TNT and logistics as well as successful grassroots campaigns in our communities. We have a great opportunity to build on our achievements for 2013 and show what we can achieve through effective organisation and collective strength. Yours in Unity General Secretary Michael J. Leahy OBE

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news ‘Devastating’ steel job cuts show need for urgent action on economy TATA STEEL announced plans to cut 900 jobs from its UK plants in November, with almost 600 due to go from its Port Talbot site in Wales. Community General Secretary Michael Leahy said: “This news is devastating for many of our members and their families. Sadly, these potential job losses are symptomatic of the continuing failure of the Government’s economic policy and yet another reason why we are calling on the British government to take urgent action to stimulate economic growth and help revive the manufacturing sector. “This announcement comes after a four-year long downturn in the UK and European steel industry, where the fall in UK steel demand has been steeper than in any other major European economy. “This is why we need faster investment in infrastructure programmes and community benefit clauses in UK procurement just as France and Germany do to support their own manufacturing industry “We welcome the continued commitment from Tata Steel to invest in its UK and European business and the announcement that Blast Furnace 4 will be restarted in the coming months, together with the job creation in Llanwern. “However, our focus in the coming weeks will, of course, be on those most affected by today’s announcement.” Community representatives met Tata in late December and discussions to ensure the best outcomes for those affected are continuing.

Stella Creasy (centre) joins a protest outside a payday loan shop

Community MP urges swift action on legal loan sharks FOLLOWING THE government’s U-turn on setting a cap on exorbitant interest charged by loan sharks, Community MP Stella Creasy has called on the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to bring in the changes as soon as possible. Stella Creasy’s campaign has played a key role in persuading the government to give the new Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) the power to cap credit costs from 2014. Parliament approved the new laws on 10 December, but Stella, Labour and Co-operative MP for Walthamstow, wants the OFT to act in the meantime. “As energy bills and travel costs continue to rise it is vital that we close the window of opportunity that will exist until the FCA takes

Campaign to save Ayresome Industries COMMUNITY MEMBERS, local politicians and workers have launched a campaign to save Ayresome Industries from closure as part of the latest round of budget cuts recently announced by Middlesbrough Mayor Ray Mallon. Ayresome Industries provides employment for 37 disabled workers making window units and industrial brushes and handling ­confidential waste. Tom Blenkinsop, Labour MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, and Anna Turley, Labour and Co-operative candidate for Redcar, are supporting the ‘Save Ayresome Industries’ campaign organised by Community which represents many of the workers there. Tom Blenkinsop said: “This is an important

campaign that needs as much support as possible. Specialist disability employment is vital and in the North East alone 67% of disabled people at working age are either unemployed or inactive. The closure of Ayresome Industries would only add to this figure.” At the time of going to press the outcome was still uncertain.

over regulation for legal loan sharks,” she said. She is urging members of the public to write to their MPs calling for action now. Community sponsored a 30-page pack which campaigners used when picketing loan shops and offering would-be borrowers information about credit unions. Loan sharks typically charge £25 for every £100 borrowed per month on a “payday loan”. If the borrower fails to pay off the loan they soon face soaring interest equivalent to as much as 2,000% a year. One in three payday loans is taken out to pay another payday loan. Over one million people take out four million loans a year.

STILL FIGHTING FOR REMPLOY THE DECEMBER announcement by the Government that a further 875 Remploy workers will lose their jobs was condemned as unnecessary and short-sighted by Community. Community believes that Remploy and other supported employment businesses providing vital employment opportunities for disabled people can have a sustainable future with the right procurement policies and effective political will. Community will continue to fight for investment to be targeted towards finding new owners for the factories.

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Successful first year for Community at TNT COMMUNITY’S FIRST year at TNT was a success as membership continued to grow. In December national reps of TNT Post UK met at Earls Barton to hear Bill Lambe

and Les Bayliss (above) report on the outcome of wage negotiations for 2013. Consultation meetings and a ballot of members take place at all depots in January. Bill Lambe, National

Officer for Logistics and Distribution, said: “Our TNT Post UK members will, for the first time, have a say on management proposals. We are confident of a successful conclusion.”

Wanted: your ideas on fairness at work Partnership with Labour Students off to a flying start THOUSANDS OF students from all across the country took to the streets of London on 21 November to protest at the government’s attacks on education in a demonstration organised by the National Union of Students. Members of Labour Students, the student wing of the Labour Party, were out in force and

were joined in solidarity by Community. With many Labour Students members active within our union, they were proud to carry Community flag (above). Labour Students signed a p ­ artnership agreement with Community in December and will be working on building new campaigns with us throughout 2013.

CONFEDERATION OF British Industry President Sir Roger Carr told its annual conference that big business had to do more to act as a role model and repair its reputation in society after years of “bad behaviour”. He said it had been a case of “fairness forgotten” in a number of sectors. The majority of working people agree. In a recent poll conducted by Unions 21, more than half of over 1,000 workers questioned felt that issues of unfairness are more often avoided than acknowledged and resolved in their workplace. It has been a case of “fairness forgotten” not only in the boardroom but throughout management. Unions 21 is an organisation, supported by Community, that facilitates discussion of the future of trade unions. Seven of ten respondents to its survey thought that employers had more power than employees. One in ten thought employers had “all of the power”, compared with only 1% who thought that employees had “all of the power”.

This is bad for workers and bad for business. Unfair treatment breeds disengagement and falls in productivity, putting the recovery at risk. Employees who believe they are being treated unfairly have less positive perceptions of their employer, including willingness to recommend them as a good place to work, or to recommend them to customers. Workers responding to the survey set out their priorities for unions, rating job security, pay and protection from bad employers as the top three issues they want unions to focus on. Unions 21 has launched the Fair Work Commission to bring together new ideas on how employers, unions and Government should respond. ■■ Community members are invited to submit their own views at The results of the Fair Work Commission will be discussed at the Unions 21 annual conference in March.

MOVEMENT FOR CHANGE BUILDS COMMUNITIES UNION MEMBERS from across the UK have taken part in an intensive training course in the core skills of community organising. A dozen activists (right) from the Labour Campaign Network travelled to Northern College, Barnsley, for a residential weekend led by a team of professional community organisers from Movement for Change. Participants learned about building

4 Community  New Year 2013

community relationships, campaign strategy and tactics and created their own leadership development plan. Barry McComish from Cumbernauld, who is a member of the Labour Campaign Network, said: “Not only did the weekend enhance the tools I regularly use an activist, it gave me the confidence to go out and tackle the issues important to me and my community.”

PRESIDENT’S REGIONAL ROADSHOW COMMUNITY PRESIDENT Sue Mather took to the road to visit workplaces across all regions in recent months. “I would like to thank everyone in the regions for their hospitality during my visits,” she said. “I really enjoyed my tours and it was an excellent way of seeing how diverse our union is. Meeting everyone and in particular visiting the supported workplaces enabled me to appreciate how valuable the union’s support is and how much disabled people can achieve when given the opportunity.” qq Sue Mather visits Tata Steel in Hartlepool

Community welcomes John Park as Strategy and Policy Director

LABOUR MSP John Park (right) has returned to his trade union roots to take on a new role at Community. John became a union member at 15, was the youngest ever full-time convenor in Rosyth Dockyard at 24 – representing over 3,000 manual workers – and was Assistant General Secretary of the STUC before entering parliament in 2007. “I really enjoyed my time in the Scottish Parliament and I hope I managed to make a difference on issues such as the living wage, apprenticeships and expanding opportunities for disabled workers,” he said. “I’m looking forward to this new challenge with Community. With the coalition making a mess of the economy, workers need modern trade union representation more than ever now and I know that Community are best placed to deliver that. “These are challenging times for the trade union movement, but Community’s record of supporting our members is second to none and we should look to the future with confidence, optimism and determination.”

Community members bring home the bacon AFTER NINE weeks of targeted industrial action Community members at Tulip Fresh Foods, Dukinfield, have settled their dispute with the pork products company. The issue of bonus payments in the cutting department was resolved after significant concessions by the company. A working party was established to make recommendations for a bonus payment mechanism for the Conduit Street site and the issue of bank holiday working was addressed. It

was also agreed that any 2013 pay increase would apply to bonuses as well as base rate. Community member­ ship increased fivefold during the dispute. Campaign Manager Chris Ambrose commented: “This campaign has been a model of its kind. Great teamwork; fantastic commitment from our reps and members; an outcome voted for overwhelmingly by ballot and a large increase in membership. We now have a solid foundation on which to build.”

Record compensation for members after marathon litigation PERSISTENT WORK by Community’s lawyers has won over £686,000 compensation for 10 members who suffered vibration white finger while working for Rotherham steel company Firth Rixson. Members in three of the last four cases accepted £140,000 each after the company had increased its offers in order to settle the claims before they came to trial. This ended actions the union has pursued for members since 1996.

Highest ever

Personal injury lawyer Simon Allen of Russell Jones & Walker, who acted for Community, said: “We have recovered £686,911 for the 10 claimants. These are amongst, if not the highest, awards for vibration injury ever made in the English courts. “Although the litigation is the longest piece of litigation that I have been involved in, it is remarkably satisfying to achieve such settlements for your welldeserving members.” The case began in 1996 when branch secretary Don Billard invited Mr Allen to talk to members in Rotherham working at Firth Rixson about vibration injury which is caused by continuous use of hand-held machinery. The union then took up claims made by 19 members against the firm and obtained expert medical and engineering evidence in support of the action. Mr Allen commented: “The cases proceeded to trial which was rather surprising in light of the engineering evidence which showed that your members were exposed to significant levels of vibration from a number of tasks they did during the course of employment.” All the cases were settled during the first three days of the hearing in February

2006 except one which went to trial and resulted in the award of £125,000 after Community’s lawyers had successfully argued that this member’s carpal tunnel syndrome – a condition that causes pain, numbness and tingling in the hand and fingers – was related to vibration. However, the matter did not rest there, since the company did not stop the high levels of vibration suffered by its employees and the condition of a number of members worsened. So the union’s lawyers began a second action in Sheffield County Court on behalf of nine of the original members plus a new claim by another member. In 2009 four members settled their claims for sums ranging from £5,000 to £30,000 – £62,500 in all. Five of the other six subsequently lost their jobs and, as Mr Allen pointed out: “These cases were then of a significantly higher value.” After a meeting where the company offered settlements of only £20,000 to £30,000 for these members, the union proceed towards a trial which was scheduled for November 2010.

Much improved

Before the trial started two members accepted much improved settlements of £84,411 and £105,000. Following further negotiations, the final four members accepted new offers from the company – £140,000 for three members, and £15,000 for the fourth. “This is the single largest piece of litigation ever run by the Sheffield office, and I suspect this firm, for a member of the union,” added Mr Allen. “My view is that these will not be the last of the Firth Rixson cases. If they continue to expose your members to vibration, as I believe they still do, then further claims will arise in the future.”

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On the road to Downing NEW MPS for the steel towns of Corby, Middlesbrough and Rotherham took their seats in Parliament in November, after Labour won six by-elections in England and Wales. Community member Andy Sawford set the tone on in Corby on 16 November by winning Labour’s first by-election seat from the Tories since 1997. This success was followed up on November 29 when Community member Sarah Champion held Rotherham. Labour also won the by-elections in Manchester Central, Cardiff South & Penarth, Croydon North and Middlesbrough in a month that saw the party increase its share of the vote in all the seats contested. Andy Sawford (below), who was Chief Executive of the Local Government Information Unit until the election, won the crucial marginal of Corby & East Northampton with a majority of nearly 8,000 over the Conservative and a swing to Labour

of 9.8%, while the Lib Dems lost their deposit in fourth place. Labour leader Ed Miliband came to the constituency to congratulate him in person, saying: “You have knocked on thousands of doors in this constituency and you have listened to what people want to hear and what they want from a local MP.”

Invest in manufacturing

In his maiden speech to Parliament Mr Sawford recalled Corby’s steel-making heritage and called for investment in manufacturing. “Today Corby’s steel tubes can be found at the Olympic Park and seen on everything from the Wembley Arch to the Millennium

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Wheel across the river from this House. “Tata is still a major local employer and I support its call for a level playing field on energy prices – which it tells me are much cheaper in continental Europe – and, crucially, for investment in infrastructure to boost demand. “These are key issues for manufacturing industry in the UK. “I want to see more action to create jobs, such as a one-off tax on bankers’ bonuses to pay for a real jobs guarantee for young people.”

Represent members’ views

Sarah Champion became Rotherham’s first woman MP as she won with a 4,000 majority over UKIP, with the Tories in fifth place and the Lib Dems again losing their deposit in eighth place. Ms Champion, who was Chief Executive of Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice in Rotherham, said: “Cameron’s Tories have shown what they think of Rotherham, and today this result tells David Cameron what Rotherham thinks of the Tories.” “I can’t define my thanks to our members for enabling me to take on this work and give me a platform to represent their views in this environment, but I equally pay recognition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband and Sarah to the determination of our union leadership Champion campaigning in Rotherham in seeking to believe in recalling a time when Right: Campaigning for Andy Sawford the Labour party fought to empower working people in their c­ ommunities.” Community Campaign Manager John Paul McHugh, a few days ago I heard; who worked hard for both At a Labour Party eve12ntwa the year of elections successful candidates, a staff member say 20 incresdible one. With London commented: “Community and for us it’s been an tions, PCC and seven and Labour understand the Mayor, GLA, local elec of work for us to do. needs of our members and by-elections, there’s beents ahalotve put an impressive 6,417 their families. We will not More than 65 studen ctions since August. Ge tting stand aside and aside and hour s into the six by-eleout of a suitcase and calling watch them being attacked. up in the dark, livingbeen no barrier for students who “I genuinely feel we are on an air bed “home” has rt of the fir st gain from the the right road. It was a breath have wanted to be a pa since 1997. of fresh air to walk the streets Tories in a by-election unity’s support that we’ve been with the candidates. It’s been with Comm mbers and with Community’s “They concentrated on to turn out suc h nu to mobilise even larger e abl the issues that matter for e support that we will be ablpa our members, with pledges, ign for Labour candidates cam to ple peo of ers mb nu 15 which included protecting UK in the run up to the 20 the n dow d an up the local hospital, backing a General Election. bankers’ bonus tax to pay for credibly proud and excited Labour Students are in ion a jobs guarantee for young amme of work with a un to carry on our progrtm bour La a people, keeping police on our ng ni ur ent to ret that shares our commi pin th wi streets, protecting the industrial hip ers rtn pa r s ou government and underCamp capacity of our steel works and . ork etw N n aig Community’s Labour seeing you on a few doorsteps ensuring the most vulnerable We look forward to in our communities have a clear soon! Labour champion.”

Lauren Crowley Officer, Labour Students Campaigns and Member ship



Everyone’s a winner COMMUNITY IS inviting branch officials to come on residential courses designed to help represent members more effectively. The branch officials’ education programme consists of two week-long residential courses at The Grange, Earls Barton, Northamptonshire. It is a rolling programme with the Introductory (Stage One) Course and the Advanced (Stage Two) Course taking part in the first then second part of the year respectively. The courses are designed around the needs of Community branch officials and workplace representatives. They will help them to develop the knowledge and skills to assist in representing members effectively. Dates for the Introductory Course: 21-25 January; 4-8 March; 8-12 April. When you have completed this course you will be eligible for the Advanced Course on one of the following dates: 3-7 June; 9-13 September; 7-11 October A member may wish to attend the second part of the programme a reasonable time after the first. The union provides accommodation and pays travel

and out-of-pocket expenses. All Community branch officials at recognised workplaces should have the right to attend these courses under both local agreements and legal rights that cover paid time off for appropriate training. Roy Rickhuss, National Officer with Responsibility for Education, commented: “Part of the thinking behind having a rolling programme was to work with the employers not against them. “If a company is having particular pressures at a particular time we can understand that. So perhaps a member can’t get to go on a certain week due to pressures at work. No one will be more aware of that kind of situation than the workforce themselves. That’s OK; there are other dates to go for. “But if a member is refused again and again for seemingly no valid reason we may need to support them in getting paid release. Because we believe in educating our branch officials to a professional standard, we invest a lot of resources into this accredited programme. In return we expect employers to play their part and grant them paid release. “In the long term, gaining these skills can only improve industrial relations at the workplace. Because in education, everyone’s a winner.”

‘ON THIS COURSE I HAVE MET SOME GREAT PEOPLE AND LEARNT A LOT’ To: Community member s From: Labour S tudents

Amar Singh Rana, Branch Secretary at Wolverhampton Pressings, found last year’s branch officials’ programme really valuable: “I first got involved in the union when I could see some members needed representing and I thought, well ‘if not me, who?’. Coming on this course I have met some great people and learnt a lot. “I was particularly interested in the role of the ULR (union learning rep) which, to be honest, I wasn’t really aware of. “The ‘community’ ethos of this union also part of why I chose to get involved. I am very active in my own community, in trying to help people, as the same principles of workplace union activism and solidarity – protecting the weakest – works in neighbourhoods too. “It was great to meet up with Roy

Rickhuss and discuss openly and frankly about dealing with workplace issues both at branch and national level. I am aware of other unions but I don’t think any would give you the opportunity of such high quality training in employment issues.” Roy Rickhuss added: “Branch officials like Rana are the heart and soul of this union. I started my working life in the independent steel sector in the Midlands, so I know Wolverhampton well. “The spark for me in really getting involved in the union was my first education course as a lay rep. In particular, I would like younger reps to come to the fore and develop the skills to support themselves and their members. That’s where the future of Community lies. Our education programme can be the foundations of that future.”

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youth unemployment Glenis Willmott, Labour’s leader in the European Parliament and Member of the European Parliament for the East Midlands, says we need to help elect Labour MEPs to combat youth unemployment

We must get Europe working LAST NOVEMBER workers across Europe staged a series of strikes and protests against the crippling austerity measures being imposed across the continent. The action was a show of solidarity against high unemployment, swingeing cuts to public services, tax hikes and the targeting of workers’ rights by governments that refuse to acknowledge that there is any other way. With the right in ascendency and dominating the European Commission and Parliament, it is no surprise that we see the same dogmatic policies being implemented in response to the economic crisis across Europe as we see here in the UK. Austerity is the only game in town, even though it is resulting in an EU unemployment rate of more than 10%, and a youth unemployment rate of more than 23%. In the UK more than one million young people are unemployed. In countries like Spain and Greece, the picture is even worse, with a quarter of Greeks and Spaniards out of work and a youth unemployment rate of more than 54%. This is nothing short of a social catastrophe. Last month the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) group in the European Parliament, which includes Labour MEPs, held the first of a series of Relaunching Europe events as part of its fight back against austerity. Over 300, mainly young, people attended

8 Community  New Year 2013

the Getting Europe Working: Youth Unemployment Summit at Nottingham University’s East Midlands Conference Centre. The stories they told were often depressing: the young woman who was told at her Mansfield primary school that people like her didn’t go to university; the law graduate told by the job centre that she should give up her position as a local councillor; and the Oxford graduate who had not been able to find full-time work two years after leaving university. But the conference also showed the resilience, courage and resourcefulness of ordinary people under the most difficult circumstances. And Social Democrat politicians ready to listen, ready to challenge old beliefs and address new problems. Above all,

The conference showed the resilience, courage and resourcefulness of ordinary people under the most difficult circumstances. And Social Democrat politicians ready to listen, ready to challenge old beliefs and address new problems

young people, eager, willing, ready to work and to contribute in so many ways, but urgently in need of a new climate in which they can thrive. Labour MEPs and their socialist allies in the European Parliament have been campaigning for a European Youth Jobs Guarantee. And in December the Commission announced a package of measures which would ensure that every young person gets a quality offer of employment or training after leaving school or becoming unemployed to tackle the EU’s crippling youth unemployment problem. We have welcomed this as a step in the right direction, but we need a wider EU jobs and growth strategy as an alternative to the failed austerity policies being pursued by conservative governments across Europe. This is not the Europe we want; but we can change it. The S&D group is currently in a minority in the Parliament – making up just 189 out of a total of 754 MEPs. And just 13 out of 73 UK representatives in the Parliament are Labour MEPs; partly as a result of protest votes at the last European elections in 2009 which saw 13 UKIP and two BNP MEPs elected. If we want Labour MEPs who will invest in jobs and growth, and work alongside trade unions to create opportunities for young (and older) workers, we need to work together to make sure we get them elected in 2014.

With youth unemployment at sky-high levels, MPs and unions must ask themselves what they can do to help young people find jobs, says Wolverhampton South East MP Pat McFadden


Pat McFadden in his Wolverhampton constituency

An MP and Community help 45 young people to find jobs OF COURSE, real answers to this lie in national and indeed international policy to get growth moving and give employers confidence to start hiring again. But even without that there are things we can do. My Wolverhampton South East constituency has about 4,500 people out of work – around 12% of the working age population. 1,500 of them are under 25. My great fear about this recession is that we see a repeat of the situation when I was growing up in the 1980s, when people left school, didn’t find work and found themselves unemployed for years, sometimes permanently. We have to do everything we can to avoid another lost generation of young unemployed. In Wolverhampton I asked local employers to offer work experience places lasting six to eight weeks to young unemployed people. The idea was to give young people enough time with a potential employer to get to know the firm or organisation and to get used to the discipline of work. Participation was voluntary on the young person’s part. Although jobs were not guaranteed, I asked all employers taking part to at least give the young person an assessment and a reference at the end. Forty employers in both public and private sectors offered around 200 places in total. These varied from places in the local hospital to engineering factories and local music venues. With the aid of Community all of the placements were put together in a brochure and sent to every household in my constituency which had young residents. The booklet also contained details of how to apply and where to go for further information. Six months on, the results of the scheme are in. 157 young people took up places and of these, 45 got jobs – a success rate of 29%. This success rate is well above other work experience schemes in the area because of the active signing up of local employers and because the booklet sponsored by Community

got the information to the young people in a user-friendly way. Rachel Jones of Angel Springs, one of the employers who took part, said: “Angel Springs have employed a number of staff through the local work placement scheme initiated by Pat McFadden. “Over the last year I have found this to be a very useful and rewarding way of recruiting. Staff that I have employed through the scheme would generally be candidates that I would not have normally considered taking on in the past just from looking at their CV. “I have been pleasantly surprised by the amount of young people who are really just looking for an opportunity and are willing to work hard to get there. They just need to be given a chance.” So the lesson of this scheme is clear. Not only did it help young people find work but it also helped some young people who might not normally have come through the usual recruitment procedures. This scheme shows what a local MP and an active trade union can do together to increase opportunity for local young people. I want to thank Community for helping 45 unemployed young people in Wolverhampton a job through sponsorship of this scheme.

I had been applying for almost anything and everything to gain interviews, being involved in programmes, work experiences and voluntary work. After a stressful nine months, I attended a jobs fair in Wolverhampton where I met and spoke to a lot of people about what options and opportunities there were to help people into the future of finding work and developing a career. I spoke to Angel Springs who advised about the work placement programme they were involved in with local MP Pat McFadden. They offered me an eight-week place involving training in all areas of the business. During the eight weeks I gained experience in sales, customer services, administration and accounts. I also went out with

a driver for the day and had training in the cooler refurbishment and distribution areas. I enjoyed and felt I did well at the route calling section and after the eight weeks I was offered a permanent position within the team as an order management executive. I am so glad that I tried the work placement scheme, as I would probably not have even got an interview before due to the lack of experience on my CV. I really feel that I now have the opportunity of not just a job but a career with Angel and would recommend that other people looking for a job go down the same path as me as there are lots of opportunities out there. Amy Wells

The Midlands TUC and Dudley College Students Union organised a youth unemployment summit at the new Evolve Theatre in Dudley in November. Participants included Labour MPs John Spellar, Ian Austin and Pat McFadden. Gavin Miller of Community was one of several trade union speakers. Wolverhampton and the Black Country have some of the highest rates of youth unemployment in the country and unemployment in manufacturing for youth workers in the region is continuing to rise.

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How Community contributed to the BBC’s boost for ‘bookies not bouncers’ campaign IN NOVEMBER the real world of betting shops was exposed in an edition of Panorama on BBC One. Reporting by Panorama’s undercover team confirmed that violence and frustration, linked fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs), are increasing in high street betting shops. Community worked closely with the makers of the programme to expose the everyday anti-social behaviour and verbal and physical abuse which staff are exposed to. So we would like to thank members for your taking part in our recent survey that helped us work with Panorama. The information you have given us will shape the issues we talk about with the media, the public and politicians over the

The 2013 Community diary is now available to members. This year’s diary includes an updated section on Your Rights At Work as well as all the usual helpful information. The diary will not be sent out automatically to members this year. If you wish to receive a free copy then you should telephone the diary order line on 020 7420 4004 or email diary@ with your full name, first line of address, postcode and Community union membership number. A diary will then be posted to your home address.

coming months. You’ve told us clearly that you want to be “bookies not bouncers” and we are launching our new campaign based on your ideas and concerns. From your feedback we will be calling for the following: ●● No increase in FOBT numbers in UK betting shops ●● An end to late night opening ●● More powers to local on licensing and enforcement ●● A zero-tolerance policy towards verbal and physical abuse of betting shop staff ●● An end to the practice of mandatory single staffing in betting shops.

As part of this campaign we will need your voice. We need members to speak to their colleagues about joining Community. We also want members to come forward and speak to politicians about your experiences of working life in a betting shop. The first meeting was with Harriet Harman MP, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party and Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, and Clive Efford MP at the House of Commons in November. Community Organiser Ryan Slaughter was there as well as union betting representative Mick Wearmouth and Adrian Parkinson of the Community Union Labour Campaign Network (LCN) and a former betting industry senior machines manager.

Colin of Communitas organises vital training for Remploy COLIN DAWS of Communitas has been visiting Remploy at Bolton for the last four years. Having worked for the organisation before, Remploy was close to his heart and Colin knew that there were issues about training provision. He was determined to give help and support wherever he could and looked to find suitable training providers to work with the employees. Colin employed Bolton College to offer training and subsequently both Skills for Life and IT training (in the form of ECDL – the internationally recognised European Computer Driving Licence) were made available to Remploy employees. During 2011 all staff at Remploy were informed that the site was under threat of closure.

10 Community  New Year 2013

After liaison through Communitas, the Community Union branch and Remploy, towards the end of September 2011 Communitas began onsite Information Advice and Guidance sessions (IAGs). In total, 31 Remploy staff took up the training offered by Communitas at the Remploy site. Fourteen of these undertook IT training for beginners, four worked at Level 1, seven at Level 2 and eight embarked on Level 3 training. It is the intention and ambition of all Communitas project officers to give help and support in whatever form they can, especially in redundancy situations. This support may come in the form of a listening ear, or in the context of training and qualifications.

Heather Ford, a Remploy staff member, completed the Level 1 unit – Word processing – of an ITQ qualification Thanks to funds such as the Union Learning Fund, this work is not only made possible, but encouraged, and Communitas endeavours to provide support not only to its own union members but also to the wider community to encourage and promote lifelong learning opportunities.

No funding, so Torbay three set up their own social enterprise … THREEDevon Community members who were faced with the closure of their social enterprise workplace have set up their own operation which was launched in November. Earlier in the year the social enterprise Pluss, which supports thousands of disabled people each year to achieve work and a career, announced that its site in Torbay would be closing because the local authority had withdrawn funding. This was a blow to members at one of our supported workplaces. But, undeterred by the pending redundancies, Steve Straughan, Mel Mort and Richard Smith decided that, although

there was no funding, there was still a demand for the service they provided. They used their skills and knowledge to set up a social enterprise that recycles electrical goods. On 9 November they launched Wee Sortit in Torbay and Community was delighted to attend to show its support and wish these members success for the future. “This is the first time that NLBD members have responded like this when their factory closes,” said Deputy General Secretary Joe Mann. “It is a really positive response and shows the real value that comes from supported employment places.”

… AND COMMUNITY HELPS GEOFF AND ANNE DO THE SAME IN MIDDLESBROUGH FORMER STEELWORKER Geoff Hood, a member of Community for 25 years, and his wife Anne (above) have set up Percy Middlesbrough, a not-for-profit organisation that recycles waste materials donated by local businesses and turns them into resources for art and crafts sessions in schools and groups. Geoff was a member of Lackenby 5 branch and worked at the Teesside Beam Mill and has retained his union membership. He and Anne recently applied through Community’s Benevolent Fund for financial assistance and were awarded £2,000 that will help them with pay for a storage container. “Businesses can cut costs and engage with the local community by donating excess and clean waste products to Percy Middlesbrough, which puts them to


AS A newly accredited Regional Representative for Community in Northern Ireland, I can report an excellent first year. People go about their lives, earning a living, doing the best they can, in challenging economic circumstances; made worse by a government that just doesn’t get that austerity isn’t working. Austerity impacts on the lives of our members here, just as does elsewhere in the UK, through funding-cuts, and increased workplace insecurity; adding to the usual ever-present workplace issues of dealing with proposed redundancies, individual grievances and pay restraint. That’s where the Regional Representative comes in. My brief is to support our members in Northern Ireland, in all parts (from Belfast to Derry/Londonderry and back again). It has been a busy and constructive first year. I have accompanied members in redundancy meetings, supported members in grievance-related

Protesting against austerity in Belfast hearings and encouraged members facing the challenge of restructuring. I have to say, I’ve found it really rewarding and complementary to my day (!) job as a church minister, people helping people after all … Supporting, encouraging, organising and recruiting members. Building our union. Such an important lesson. I do love the role, and I am enthused by it, but what really pleases me is seeing new staff join our union, as they recognise that they really are stronger together. That’s our union in Northern Ireland, bringing people together, uniting them in common cause – now that is a good news story, and Regional Reps are doing all they can to keep this good news coming … Rev Chris Wilson, Regional Representative, Northern Ireland

good use in a wide variety of art, craft and play purposes,” says Anne Hood who works in local education and is also a school governor. Percy Middlesbrough can use cardboard tubes, cut plastic, containers, paper off cuts, ribbon and string. The arts, craft and educational resource centre is similar to Teesside Play and Education Resource Centre which shut in 2006. “It’s fantastic to be opening a new scrapstore in Middlesbrough,” said Anne. “The nearest similar facility is 65 miles away but to succeed we need the ongoing support of local and national businesses to provide us with suitable materials for redistribution.” There are 90 scrapstores throughout the UK supported by major businesses who donate waste goods for recycling.

Community reps – working together for risk prevention COMMUNITY’S Yorkshire & Humberside Region 3 organised a health and safety event at its office in November. It kept Community reps up to date on the latest legislation and discussed the current Europe-wide “Working together for risk prevention” campaign. Thirty reps attended the event which was led by Robert Sneddon, Community’s Health, Safety and Environment Officer. The theme for this year’s campaign event, which is supported by the Health and Safety

Executive and TUC, is “Working together for risk prevention”. Each delegate was given an information pack full of literature about the campaign, along with a Community Health, Safety and the Environment booklet designed for union safety reps. The majority said they were interested in attending a regional health and safety forum where they would be given the opportunity to share best practice and keep up to date on any new legislation that is published in 2013.

Community  New Year 2013 


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licence as a direct result of injury, illness or disability;* qq Legal support – advice and representation against prosecution for Road Traffic Offences whilst driving an official vehicle on duty.*

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it represents great value for peace of mind. Payment can be taken with your member contribution by check-off for TNT Post members or by direct debit for any other members.

*Subject to terms and conditions – ask your local Community rep for details or visit our website

12 Community  New Year 2013

Stronger Together • Community • New Year 2013 • No 23  
Stronger Together • Community • New Year 2013 • No 23  

Magazine for members of UK trade union Community