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St.Paul’s Protest Camp 30th November 2011 National Day of Action Page 1/2 Women Lead the Way Page 1 Page 2

Ohio Voters repeal European Social anti collective Charter bargaining law Page 4 Page 3

United Campaign UPDATE

FOR TRADE UNION FREEDOM

Issue 20 Winter 2011 FREE

Day of action A historic great occasion ......

day of action 30th november 2011 The Tory led Government were spoiling for a fight. Ministers threatened to withdraw their improved offer. No central talks had taken place since November

whilst bosses and big businesses pocket our money. Massaging the figures

The Department for Education said 62 per cent of England’s 21,700 state schools were closed, with another 14 per cent partly shut. In Scotland, 98 per cent of Cameron called the strike was “a damp squib’’. They hoped that an- council-run schools were closed, ti union feeling would provide them in Wales 80 per cent and in Northern Ireland just more than half. with an opportunity to introduce Ask any parent or teacher if that more anti union laws... can possibly be true! But a opinion poll commissioned by the BBC had told us that 61% of the About 79,000 NHS workers went on strike in England, according to population supported the public sector strike on 30 November. Tens the Department of Health – but Unison put the figure at more of thousands joined rallies around than 400,000 across the UK. The the UK. department said its figure equated to 14.5 per cent of staff in The Unions said that up to 2m acute hospitals, ambulance servstruck. There were up to 1.75m on strike during the 1926 general strike ices and NHS Direct, the teleand 1.5m workers didn’t turn up for phone advice line. work on 22 January 1979. The Local Government AssociaWe can only hope the Government and employers negotiate properly, but the right to strike remains an absolute necessity in the face of intransigence and the prospect of worsening pay and pensions for all,

tion said about a third of council staff in England and Wales were not in work, equating to about 670,000. No local authority worker believes this is remotely near the true figure.

St pauls protest camp To continue Well into the new year The camps at St Paul’s in London and elsewhere in the UK will continue into the New Year and they are having an effect. The response of the Church has been torn between ‘the Tory party at prayer’ faction and those who prefer to follow the actions of Jesus in defending the poor and weak.


Issue 20

Winter 2011

FOR TRADE UNION FREEDOM

30th november National day Of action

Women lead the way..... by john usher, director, united campaign It was a historic Day of Action in many Midwife Yolande van-de-l'Isle went ways, not least due to the participaon strike for the first time. The tion by and impact on women. proposed changes will mean she There were more women taking part in has to work years longer for the same pension. "I didn't ever strike action on 30 November than expect to ever be doing this in my ever before. The BBC poll indicated whole working life. As a midwife greater sympathy for the industrial you want to do the best job that action among women - at 67% you can. When you're a little old compared with men, at 55%. lady of 65 how can you be giving And there’s more. The impact of your best to all the women you are Osborne’s Autumn statement will see looking after?" she said.” women bearing the brunt – nearly But the media still managed to find three quarters – of the cuts on tax credits and cap on public sector pay those who preferred to blame the strikers for being selfish rather than House of Commons researchers say. the greedy bankers who caused That’s £1.73 billion out of the pockets of women to pay to fill the deficit and the mess in the first place. There’s enable the rich – like Osborne and his a lot of work to win over hearts and minds and to stop multi-millionaire chums in Cabinet to Government exploiting the divisive get a lot richer. feelings of many in the private This only came out after the Day of sector. Action. Not surprising that women are leading the way.

St. Paul’s Protest Camp Cont’d..... Members of Occupy movement celebrate the "reopening" of the UBS building in London as a discussion venue.

The Occupy movement continued to acquire momentum as protesters from camps across the country converged in London to begin shaping a national campaign. Tanya Paton of Occupy London said: "Groups are coming together for the first time; the movement is becoming stronger throughout the UK. We are sharing ways to overcome problems and work together to build and define a national campaign." Among other camps represented were supporters from Newcastle upon Tyne, Bath, Brighton, Bristol, Liverpool, Sheffield, Norwich and Cardiff. Visitors to the building were designated "friends" or "guests" to help reconcile its status as a squatted building, and the protesters' aim was to make the building a public space. The new site will be opened and available for those that has lost community and youth clubs centres due to government spending cuts.


d define

to help

Issue 20

Winter 2011

FOR TRADE UNION FREEDOM

Union wins by oldFashioned "don't get Mad get organised"

…That’s what The Financial Times

Washington Bureau Chief concluded, when voters in the US State of Ohio voted overwhelmingly to strike down a law that restricted public workers’ rights to bargain collectively. The bill was passed by the State legislature in March on a wave of enthusiasm from the recently elected Republicans. Unions’ mounted a petition to defeat the law, bringing it to a referendum held in November. The Republican Governor championed the law as a tool for cities to cut costs. Failure for the unions would have brought the loss of most of their bargaining rights and the right to strike, but would also have called into question their ability to have any political voice. Governor Kasich congratulated the winners and said he would assess the situation before proposing any new legislation. “It’s time to pause,” he said. “The people have spoken clearly.” The unions fought hard - harder than their opponents - observers said, because its stakes were higher. They poured about $30 million into the campaign, said Melissa Fazekas, spokeswoman for the group opposing the new law.

They had about 17,000 volunteers out over the weekend before the referendum knocking on doors to persuade residents to go out and vote. “What we were actually fighting for was our livelihood,” said Monty Blanton, a retired state employee and union worker who said he spent 14 hours a day knocking on doors in southeast Ohio in the last month. “We’ve been to places you had to get to with a four-wheel drive.”

The Labour Party here might learn from the fact that basic trade union rights and, in particular, the right to collective bargaining is a cause that can be won in the face of a massive media and right wing campaign against it. The election in Ohio also provided an opportunity for the president’s network of supporters, Obama for America, to test its organizational ability and revive its enthusiasm after a bleak year for Democratic activists. Volunteers for the president’s re-election campaign fanned out across the state for weeks, urging voters to stand against the new law limiting collective bargaining.

T fou he u ha n rd ght h ions er op tha ard po n ne the nts ir


Issue 20

Winter 2011

FOR TRADE UNION FREEDOM

18th October marked the 50th anniversary of the European social charter It has been 50 years since the European Social Charter was adopted. This anniversary has been marked by the Council of Europe in different ways during the course of the year.

showing how they implement the Charter’s provisions in law and practice. Compliance is monitored by the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR), composed of 15 independent, impartial members. Certain NGO’s have the right to make a complaint to the Committee if they feel a country is not respecting the Treaty.

The Charter guarantees social and economic human rights in the areas of housing, health, education, employment, social and legal protection, free movement of persons and non-discrimination. As well as laying out these rights, the Charter established a supervisory mechanism guaranteeing their respect by participating countries. Individual countries have to submit an annual report

The Charter and the UK There are clear examples of progress achieved through the implementation of the Social Charter in the UK. In terms of employment, a number of key provisions of our Employment legislation

are said to stem from monitoring reports of the Charter. These include the prohibition of dismissal on the grounds of trade union membership, the confidentiality of trade union membership, the introduction of a statutory procedure for trade union recognition and employment protection for the first twelve weeks for striking workers. However, the UK continues to fail to comply with many provisions of the Charter even some of those mentioned above. The UK’s anti-union laws have been regularly condemned by the ECSR as being non-compliant with Article 5 and 6 of the

Charter which protect trade union rights, including the right to collectively bargain and the right to strike. The United Campaign is trying to encourage an Early Day Motion, which states as follows:That this House endorses the declaration of the Council of Europe on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the European Social Charter underlining the particular relevance of social rights and the need for their guarantee in times of economic difficulties and encouraging States Parties to bring their domestic situations into conformity with the Charter. A letter to all affiliates urging them to support the EDM by encouraging their MP to sign the EDM will be sent out in the New Year. For more information about the European Social Charter: http://www.coe.int/T/DGHL /Monitoring/SocialCharter

JOIN THE CAMPAIGN FOR TRADE UNION FREEDOM The United Campaign is financed solely by supporters fees from trade union bodies and individuals. By becoming a supporter you or your organisation show your agreement with the call to repeal the anti-trade union laws, and aid the Campaign’s fight. Please make cheques payable to United Campaign, and send to the United Campaign Secretary, 39 Chalton Street, London, NW1 1JD. Donations are gratefully received.

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Winter Newsletter 2011