Today, we in the Green Party Trade Union Group (GPTU) are launching our campaign for “I Heart Unions” week which runs from the 8th to the 14th February. This week celebrates the brilliant work that Trade Unions do in workplaces up and down the country. Whether it’s getting colleagues together and taking industrial action to protect jobs and conditions or just everyday work that Trade Union Representatives do to help individual employees with workplace issues, unions play a vital role in our society. A recent example is where RMT representatives of TFL workers pushed TFL management to reinstate 60% of the jobs that the previous Mayor of London cut from underground stations, thus helping making our stations safer for staff and passengers. Trade Unions don’t just help those in employment. For example, the Unite union also help those who are unemployed with their Unite Community scheme.
For the launch of our Young Workers’ Month campaign back in November we talked about how unionised workplaces are more productive and workers in unions are paid better and generally have better conditions than non-unionised workplaces. We also shared pictures of Young Workers saying why unions are important to them.
For the “I Heart Unions” campaign we are hoping to be sharing short thirty-second videos every day from people stating why they love unions. Whether you’re retired, unemployed, a student or a worker of any age, please send us a video to the email address email@example.com or send one to us on twitter (@GreenPartyTU) with the hashtag #iheartunions.
So what are you waiting for? It’s time to spread some love for our brilliant Trade Unions. Solidarity and love to you all.
The Green Party Trade Union Group (GPTU) express complete solidarity and support for members of the RMT and TSSA unions having to take strike action today. Whilst this has caused a lot of disruption for commuters travelling into central London, the fact that 800 jobs in the last year have been lost (Source: TSSA) means that safety has been compromised to unacceptable levels. RMT AND TSSA union members have sadly had to take action since last night because the deal offered by TFL does not guarantee enough staffing levels to ensure a safely run tube and does not offer more staff in control rooms which are dangerously understaffed and in some cases empty.
With more than 80% of staff reportedly feeling more unsafe due to a sharp spike in abuse from passengers and a passenger survey reporting lack visibility of staff on platforms and stations (Source: TSSA), it is bizarre that London Mayor Sadiq Khan chooses to call the Strike today “Pointless”. Surely he should be focusing his attack on the government for cutting the funding that TFL is getting rather than turning his anger on staff who are doing their best in an awful situation.
A GPTU spokesperson, Lee Burkwood, said “I find it disheartening that a Labour mayor would choose to attack ordinary workers fighting for jobs and worker and customer safety. Sadiq got a lot of support from Trade Union members when he first ran to be Labour’s candidate for Mayor and this is how he repays them. Meanwhile I’m pleased to see the Green Party’s former Mayor candidate and current London AM Sian Berry express her support and solidarity with the staff. On a personal note I recently had to get help from staff at South Woodford station with a particular issue and they were absolutely brilliant yet clearly overworked as there were only two of them. So I completely empathise with many underground workers that have taken this action today.”
To find out more about why the strike is happening and what you can do to support the campaign for a TFL system that puts #SafetyFirst, please visit the RMT and TSSA websites.
We’re delighted to announce that the Green Party Trade Union Group will be at Latitude Festival (14th-17th July) for the first time in 2016, via the Workers’ Beer Company.
The Workers’ Beer Company was set up by Trade Unionists from the Battersea and Wandsworth Trades Council in 1986, to raise funds for striking miners and other workers in dispute. Today, still run by BWTUC, it operates at Glastonbury and Latitude as well as several Irish festivals and other individual events. It raises funds for Trade Union branches and the wider labour movement – and still prioritises trade union branches in the middle of disputes.
Our allocation is full this year, but if you’d be interested in coming to Latitude with GPTU next year, let us know (and join us if you’re not already a member!).
GPTU will have a strong presence at the 2016 Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival (15th-17th July) in Dorset, one of the most important events on the Trade Union movement’s calendar.
The festival is a celebration of Trade Unionism, and remembers the six Tolpuddle Martyrs, whose sacrifice is regarded as the birth of organised labour in Britain.
We are grateful to all Greens who can attend and help set up and run the Green Party / GPTU stall any time from the Friday afternoon (15th July) to the Sunday (17th July) – and more importantly, if any Greens would like to march under the GPTU banner on Sunday 17th July. If you’re going to be there, please let us know!