GPTU support TSSA and RMT unions taking strike action over safety concerns.

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.

Green Party Trade Union Group show support for Post Office workers on strike.

The Green Party Trade Union Group (GPTU) unequivocally support the Post Office workers who went out on strike today. Thousands of Post Office workers have been walking out on strike from workplaces across the country in response to continuing attacks by company chiefs on their job security and pensions. 

The Christmas walkouts follow previous Days of Action earlier this month and in October and September, and have been forced on the union by the company’s continuing refusal to negotiate with the CWU on their plans to close branches across the country and make sweeping changes to pensions. CWU are calling on the Post Office management to pause its closure and privatisation programme and commit to meeting with other key stakeholders and construct a lasting vision of the Post Office that serves its staff and customers alike.

A GPTU Spokesperson, Lee Burkwood has said this. “When the previous Coalition government proposed privatising the Post Office, The Green Party spoke out against this. Sadly, what we feared about job losses and branch closures is coming true. Profit for the shareholders is the main aim now, rather than providing a universal post service and having secure jobs and decent conditions for staff. We urge the management to listen to the concerns of Post Office staff to prevent further walkouts. Unlike the Conservative Party, we do not believe the Post Office staff on strike are showing contempt for other workers. Indeed we believe it’s the Post Office management who have shown contempt for its employees.”

Another crucial point to make is that not only will this affect staff but also members of our community such as the disabled and elderly who rely on the Post Office as a form of social interaction and to access vital services like banking and posting letters. 
To find out how to support the staff on strike, please visit http://www.cwu.org

Green Party Trade Union Group launch campaign for Young Workers Month

739844_1053342461355880_1861173796112610886_oImagine waking up one morning and getting a text from your employer saying that you didn’t have work that day. Well for over 300,000 young workers this is sadly too often the case.

According to the latest statistics from the ONS, workers between the ages of 16-24 make up 36% of zero-hour contracts. That means many young workers are not guaranteed the basic rights at work that a lot of people take for granted such as paid holiday, sick leave and maternity/paternity leave.

With youth unemployment at 624,000 more needs to be done to get young people into work. However with a significant level of young workers in zero hour contracts and an average wage for young workers being £6,700 less then the average salary of all workers (£27,600), this is where trade unions need to come in. Workers that are members of Trade Unions get 14.1% more on average than non-unionised workers. Indeed a young worker we spoke to said this about how their union helped them in the workplace.

Paul Valentine, Equity Branch Secretary and Young Greens executive member, said: “Unions are vital in the workplace. My union, Equity, actively campaigns for equality and diversity, and has had great success in getting Young Workers like myself onto contracts, when previously we would have been unpaid. Our ‘Professionally Made, Professionally Made’ campaign has been vital in securing us wages in an ever squeezed arts sector. ”

As part of young workers month, the Green Party Trade Union Group are doing our bit to encourage young people to join trade unions. Only 585,000 young workers out of 3.9 million are members of a trade union, so this is a very important campaign. With the Tory government renewing their attack on workers with the pernicious Trade Union bill now being enforced, the importance of collectively standing up for our rights at work has never been more important.

So as part of our campaign we are asking people to send a photo of themselves with a sheet of paper having written down why they believe unions are important for young workers with the hashtag #YWM16 as we will be sharing this on social media. If you’d like to take part, send us your picture to info@gptu.greenparty.org.uk or tweet us @GreenPartyTU.

NB: All the figures above can be found at www.gov.uk and www.ons.gov.uk

GPTU October Newsletter

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It’s been a while since our last mailout, but it’s been a busy couple of months!

 

Next GPTU committee meeting – WEDNESDAY 26th October, 7pm

Our next GPTU Committee meeting will be held next WEDNESDAY 26th October at 7pm. We will be meeting in Central London and members can also participate online via Google Hangouts.

All of our committee meetings are open to GPTU members. We will be discussing our campaigning over the next few months in the run-up to Spring Conference – so if you’d like to get involved or if you have any ideas, please come along!

Check this page for meeting venue and Google Hangouts details very soon, or get in touch to find out more.

 

Green Party at TUC Congress 2016

The Green Party, and the Green Party Trade Union Group, made an impact at this year’s Trades Union Congress in Brighton, promoting the Green Party and its policies for workers’ rights and Trade Unions.

Green Party co-Leader Jonathan Bartley spoke at the Congress and spoke about both the importance of Trade Unions, and about his wish to work with them to secure a progressive alliance for electoral reform.

Read more

 

Green Party unanimously opposes Trade Union Act and calls for new rights for unions to access workplaces

GPTU made an enormous splash at Green Party Autumn Conference, getting its two policies – which were ranked at the top of the agenda in 1st and 5th place – passed unaminously by Green Party members.

This means that the Green Party has overwhelmingly backed proposals to stand against the Conservatives’ Trade Union Act and to give Trade Unions new rights to access workplaces.

Read more

 

We hope to see you on Wednesday, or at another event very soon!

In solidarity,

The GPTU Committee

GPTU backs RMT workers in Southern dispute

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Greens standing with striking RMT guards at Brighton Station earlier this year

The Green Party Trade Union Group (GPTU) are backing current RMT industrial action over driver-only trains. RMT have been taking strike action over a plan by Southern to move guards off of trains, risking passenger safety.

GPTU Co-chair Clare Keogh has said this. “The way Southern are risking passenger safety with this move, whilst offering cash bribes to their workers to get them off strike and bullying them on social media is nothing short of disgraceful. The fact there is disruption to passenger services is down to Southern conducting a money-saving exercise and risking the safety of their customers. This is yet more proof that privatisation has been a disaster for our railways.”

GPTU welcomes the fact that there were talks today between RMT and Southern Rail after Charles Horton said yesterday that he can guarantee a second member of staff on all Southern services. Sadly the talks broke down this morning after he backtracked on these assurances. The programme of industrial action will continue to go ahead.

Whilst the Tories appear to stand behind the company, the Green Party will stand fully behind workers fighting to protect safety in their workplaces as they have been doing for years. Having previously joined RMT workers on picket lines, Green Party members will continue to do all we can to show our solidarity in their dispute.

Indeed we welcome the fact that our co-leader Caroline Lucas has been invited to speak at a rally on the 1st November on this very issue. The protest assembles outside Parliament from 12:30pm and the rally is in Committee Room 10 from 2pm.

Green Party makes an impact at Trades Union Congress 2016

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TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady with Green Party Trade Union Group activists at TUC Congress

The Green Party, and the Green Party Trade Union Group, made an impact at this year’s Trades Union Congress in Brighton, promoting the Green Party and its policies for workers’ rights and Trade Unions.

GPTU activists promoted the two new GPTU policies passed at the Green Party’s Autumn Conference, as well as its wider efforts to support the Trade Union movement and put workers’ rights at the top of the agenda.

Green Party co-Leader Jonathan Bartley, who spoke at a TUC Congress Fringe meeting, said at the beginning of the Congress:

“Trade unions have a vital role to play in giving people a voice in modern Britain. That’s why we stand with them against attacks from this Government and pledge our continued opposition to the Trade Union Act.

“We are especially keen to involve Trade Unions in discussion and debate about the potential for some kind of one off progressive alliance to secure voting reform, thereby paving the way for government that reflects the value of effective Trade Unions.”

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Green Party Co-Leader Jonathan Bartley with Green Party Trade Union Group activists at TUC Congress

GPTU support Unite London bus workers’ dispute

GPTU logo - vertical - RGB - green backgroundThe Green Party Trade Union Group (GPTU) unequivocally supports members of Unite the union in Tower Transit buses, who are staging a 24 hour strike today. They are angry because a lack of consultation over roster changes which are leaving them out of pocket, as well as the non-payment of correct rest day working rates. It is the second stoppage in a dispute involving over 1,000 drivers, engineers and controllers at three depots across the Capital.

A previous 24 hour strike on Friday 26 August led to services operating out of the Atlas Road bus depot in Park Royal, the Westbourne Park bus garage and the Lea interchange bus depot being dramatically reduced with 28 bus routes affected. Talks broke down yesterday at the conciliation service Acas as the management refused to budge on basic things such as a single collective bargaining forum for Unite members and trade union representation for individual members.

Kieron Merrett, the Green Party’s Trade Union Liaison Officer said:

“This strike could have been avoided had the management made genuine but basic changes to unfair practices at Tower Transit. If workers were properly consulted in changes to their pay and conditions, Unite members would not have needed to take industrial action.

“The Green Party fully supports workers in dispute to improve their terms and conditions . We are calling for legislative changes to enable more workers to get organised in Trade Unions like the Unite members in Tower Transit, including opposing the Tories’ Trade Union Act. The best way to improve the position of working people is to enable them to get organised.”

 

Green Party unanimously opposes Trade Union Act and calls for new rights for unions to access workplaces

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GPTU Co-Chair Clare Keogh moves GPTU’s motion on a statutory right of access to workplaces for Trade Unions

Greens have unanimously backed proposals to stand against the Conservatives’ Trade Union Act and to give Trade Unions new rights to access workplaces, at their Autumn Conference in Birmingham.

The proposals, put forward by the Green Party Trade Union Group (GPTU), aim to combat increasing exploitation of workers. They come after efforts by outgoing Leader Natalie Bennett and new co-Leader Jonathan Bartley to draw attention to abuses of workers at firms such as Deliveroo.

The first successful proposal pledges to join in direct action against the Trade Union Act as it comes into force, a move first called for by Green Party MP and co-Leader Caroline Lucas, whilst the second calls for a new statutory right of access for Trade Unions to enter unorganised workplaces and speak to workers.

Kieron Merrett, the Green Party’s Trade Union Liaison Officer, said:

“In the Green Party, we know that the best way to stop abuse and exploitation in the workplace is to enable workers to get organised in Trade Unions, so they can make their own claims and campaign for their own improvements in pay and conditions.

“But legislation in the UK is infamously restrictive, making it harder for Trade Unions to access the most vulnerable workers. That’s why the Green Party has pledged to join in direct action against the Trade Union Act as it comes into force, and to call for new rights for Trade Union representatives to access workplaces and organise the most vulnerable workers.

“The Green Party has confirmed that, to promote equality and protect workers, we need to support the Trade Union Movement and enable it to do what it does best.”

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GPTU committee member Paul Valentine moves GPTU’s motion on opposition to the Conservatives’ Trade Union Act

Clare Keogh, Co-Chair of the Green Party Trade Union Group, said:

“Many workers are now employed in new types of workplaces without any history of unionisation – particularly young workers and migrants. It’s no coincidence that these are the workplaces where the worst abuses are taking place.

“To put a stop to this, legislation and government action simply aren’t enough – workers must be organised in Trade Unions. It’s much more difficult to undo unionisation in the workplace than it is to repeal legislation in Parliament.

“I’m delighted that the Green Party has given unanimous support to our proposals. Not only do Greens fully support the Trade Union movement, but there are also many active Trade Unionists in our party. We are the party for working people!”

Autumn Conference newsletter

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Dear GPTU member,

Autumn Conference is upon us! If you’re going to be in Birmingham this weekend, look out for GPTU and the various activities we’ve got planned.

 

GPTU motions to Autumn Conference

GPTU has two motions at Green Party Conference. These are on Opposing the Conservatives’ Trade Union Act (numbered C1 in the Final Agenda) and Statutory Access to Workplaces for Trade Unions (numbered C5).

Read more about GPTU’s motions C1 and C5 and why Greens should support them at Autumn Conference:

We need the support of all Green Trade Unionists to get these motions passed! Here’s what you can do to support:

  • Come to the workshops and bring your comrades! These are on FRIDAY 2nd September, 14:45-16:00, in room WG05. This is your chance to debate the motions in more detail and show your support.
  • Motion C1 (Trade Union Act) will be debated in plenary on SATURDAY, immediately after Deputy Leader’s speech at 10:30. Come along to voice your support or simply vote in favour of the motion!
  • The plenary debate on C5 (Access to workplaces) may be on SATURDAY during the 10:30-12:30 session after Deputy Leader’s speech, or on SUNDAY during the 10:30-1200 session. Come along to support the motion!

 

Competition for GPTU members!

We’ll be running a competition for all GPTU members – including anyone who joins up during Conference. Exclusive prize to be won! To enter the competition, we’ll be asking GPTU members to show their support for the Trade Union Movement and have their picture shared on social media as a Green Trade Unionist. We want the world to see just how many committed Trade Unionists there are at Green Party Conference!

We’ll have brand new GPTU badges on sale – or you can get one free badge for participating in the competition.

Come along and speak to us at the GPTU stall if you’d like to get more information on anything we’re doing or just want to get more involved.

 

GPTU meeting for all members – FRIDAY 2nd Sep, 18:30, Seminar Room

GPTU’s meeting for all members will be held on Friday 2nd Sep at 18:30 in the Seminar Room. We will be debating GPTU’s campaigning over the next few months and how we can involve local parties across the country.

If you’d like to meet the GPTU committee, get involved, or simply hear about what’s going on, now is your chance! If your Trade Union has an upcoming dispute that you’d like GPTU to support, please come along and let us know. We’ll be bringing along wine and nibbles for those who come along.

You can join the meeting via Google Hangouts if you’re not attending Conference. Get in touch with us to find out the details.

 

We’re looking forward to seeing you there!

In solidarity,
GPTU committee

Green Trade Unionists pledge support for Deliveroo workers

DeliverooStrikeProtest11-8-16-11The Green Party Trade Union Group (GPTU) cautiously welcomes the deal that Deliveroo Couriers have recently reached with the company. They are now not being forced to accept the new conditions of their employment which would have been £3.75 for each delivery. Depending on how many deliveries they made in a hour, this could have effectively meant that certain employees were not going to be paid at least the legal minimum wage. The result shows that collective action taken by workers is extremely important and one of the reasons every worker in Britain should be part of a Trade Union or at least be willing to collectively take action in the face of injustice.

However there is a long way to go. The current wages of £7 an hour plus £1 for every delivery isn’t good enough. Every worker deserves a wage they can live on. That means that every Deliveroo workers should be paid at least what the Living Wage is. This would be £8.25 an hour or £9.40 an hour if they work in London. Deliveroo should also offer their workers benefits such as a decent pension, regular breaks, holiday pay, sick pay and maternity/paternity pay.

The fight for fairer conditions isn’t over and the Green Party are ready to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Deliveroo workers should they take further action. As one Deliveroo employee said “They are not changing their strategy,” They are signing up new drivers on the new contracts at £3.75 per delivery all the time. It is just a game.”