Janine's blog

TUC Blog: Trade Union Freedom Bill

Submitted by Janine on Thu, 14/09/2006 - 09:55

By guest blogger Maria Exall

The Monday evening fringe meeting organised by the United Campaign for the Repeal of the Anti-Union Laws and the Institute of Employment Rights on the Trade Union Freedom Bill was packed. Over 200 delegates and visitors met to hear the latest reportback on the Trade Union Freedom Bill campaign.

TUC Blog: Held Captive While The Enemy Invaded

Submitted by Janine on Tue, 12/09/2006 - 21:21

I have spent today held captive by a ballot box. I was appointed as a scrutineer for the General Council election, which entails sitting next to a box all morning, counting votes for about an hour-and-a-half, then being banned from Congress floor and penned in by bodyguards for four hours to prevent you telling anyone the result (which you will have to read to the end of this blog entry to find out).

TUC Blog: It's Trade Unionism, Captain, But Not As We Know It

Submitted by Janine on Tue, 12/09/2006 - 20:37

Yesterday, a posse of RMT activists came down from London to make a noise about East London Line privatisation. Wearing T-shirts, holding a big banner and handing out leaflets and stickers and helped for a while by TSSA delegates, they succeeded in making sure that everyone at the Congress now knows about the issue. In the evening, they went to Ken Livingstone's reception to point out to his guests that he is attacking workers and passengers by privatising the line, and is pretty much unfit to be a guest at a trade union event.

TUC Blog: Monday afternoon – the Muslim Council of Britain

Submitted by Janine on Tue, 12/09/2006 - 16:05

Dr. Abdul Bari, new leader of the Muslim Council of Britain gave a speech to Congress on Monday afternoon, and the General Council presented us with a joint statement with the Muslim Council of Britain. There was no opportunity to propose amendments to it, just a take-it-or-leave-it vote, and little time to explain or organise around what was wrong with the statement.

TUC Blog: Monday afternoon part one - NHS, Barber speaks, Organising

Submitted by Janine on Tue, 12/09/2006 - 00:38

The debate on the National Health Service (click here and scroll down to C9 to read the composite) was similarly to the debates on Pensions and on Public Services - plenty of anger at what the government is doing to the NHS, rather less on strategy or definite proposals for action. Still, at least the TUC has called a Lobby of Parliament on 25th October. It will be down to rank-and-file activists to build this to its full potential.

TUC Blog: Monday morning – Pensions and Public Services

Submitted by Janine on Mon, 11/09/2006 - 20:59

After the formalities and back-slapping that mark the start of Congress, the first big debate was on Pensions. As I reported yesterday, we had a long and uncontroversial composite motion on the subject.

Paul Kenny from the GMB moved the composite, and other speakers included Janice Godrich, PCS President, the CWU’s Tony Kearns. One of the best was from Steve Kemp of the National Union of Mineworkers, who stuck the boot into the government, the bosses and pensioner poverty.

TUC Blog: Assaults At Work

Submitted by Janine on Mon, 11/09/2006 - 14:05

Monday morning, first session, and that Booth woman is up at the microphone opening her gob already! NASUWT and PCS moved a resolution deploring violence against public service workers and calling on the TUC to set up a national register of assaults. Several union delegates spoke on the subject, probably the best being Matt Wrack of the Fire Brigades Union.

Here's what I got up and said ...

Justice for Janine?

Submitted by Janine on Fri, 08/09/2006 - 16:48

Just as I am getting back on my feet after my horrific injury last year, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority has bowled me over by turning down my claim.

They reckon that what happened to me was an accident rather than a crime. Obviously, the CICA thinks it knows better than both the police, who defined the incident as an assault and gave me a crime number, and Victim Support, who have been giving me support as a victim of crime.

Jemima Khan: Poverty Tourist

Submitted by Janine on Wed, 06/09/2006 - 15:30

Pass the sick bag. In a horribly creepy interview in the Sunday Times, Jasper Gerard not only drools all over the page, but falls over himself in praise of Jemima's concern for the poor.

Poverty's so distressing darling. What the poor need is a dose of pity from a rich globe-trotter with more money than she knows what to do with. Jemima's cure for poverty is capitalism, which helps “if it is not exploitative”. Much in the same way that illness helps if it doesn't make you unwell.

Hackney Council: Seeing Through The P.R.

Submitted by Janine on Tue, 05/09/2006 - 07:59

If you believe the propaganda department of Hackney Council, you'd think we live under the most generous and enlightened administration on the planet. Awash we are with fantastic new services. How will we ever find the time to enjoy them all or the means to thank our leaders as fullsomely as they deserve?!

What's more, it seems this is all due to the charm, vision and all-round good-bloke-ness of Mayor Jules Pipe, a man in receipt of a PR makeover that could almost make you think that directly-elected mayors are all about personalities rather than politics.

Mad Idea

Submitted by Janine on Mon, 04/09/2006 - 23:07

City & Hackney Mental Health Trust wants to become a foundation trust. And as a service user, it wants my opinion on the idea.

I'll certainly give it that. Mental health services here - as everywhere else no doubt - are horribly underfunded, leaving poeple waiting six months or more for a first appointment. I can think of things that the trust does need, more money for starters, but becoming a foundation is the one thing that will make it worse not better.

It's enough to drive you over the edge.

Hate The Rich

Submitted by Janine on Sun, 03/09/2006 - 16:59

In May 1919, the Ministry of Labour reported a Home Office survey listing causes of revolutionary feeling amongst the working class. The top six?

  1. high prices
  2. bad housing
  3. hatred of the rich
  4. education
  5. leadership
  6. unemployment

I wonder what a similar survey might come up with today. Admittedly, they might find it harder to find 'revolutionary feeling' to identify the causes of. But 'hatred of the rich' would still score pretty well, I reckon, with today's fat cats taking the place of the post-WW1 profiteers.

Books books books

Submitted by Janine on Sat, 02/09/2006 - 13:20

There a books Q&A doing the rounds of bloggers at the moment, and I've been tagged by Volty over at Shiraz Socialist. So here goes ...

1. One book that changed your life.

It was a song that changed my life (Going Underground by The Jam) rather than a book. But 'Ten Days That Shook the World' by John Read certainly improved it, as did 'Is The Future Female?' by Lynne Segal.

2. One book that you've read more than once.

Let Samina Altaf and her children stay

Submitted by Janine on Fri, 01/09/2006 - 20:54

I'm happy to carry out a request from this campaign to publicise their case. Below is an extract from a press release advertising a press conference that has now happened. This case is, however, still ongoing, and your support would be most appreciated.




Shoplifting, Prison and Drugs

Submitted by Janine on Wed, 30/08/2006 - 16:45

Last week, a report suggested that shoplifters should not be sent to prison.

Sounds sensible to me. I can't see that the general public needs 'protecting' from a serious and imminent threat from shoplifters, and prison is more effective at turning shoplifters into burglars or multi-functional criminals than into 'reformed characters'.

More Outdoor Play Places - NOW!

Submitted by Janine on Tue, 29/08/2006 - 19:14

CBBC Newsround is running an on-line survey asking whether there are enough places to play outdoors.

Obviously, the answer is 'No'!

The government goes on and on about childhood obesity, but its 'solution' is to lecture ordinary people about our lifestyle habits but stop short of providing the facilities necessary for kids to stay healthy. And as for all those playing fields that have been sold off ...

Vote here.

ASLEF strikes on Midland Mainline and Gatwick Express

Submitted by Janine on Fri, 18/08/2006 - 10:07

Train drivers on Midland Mainline are to strike for six successive Fridays over the issue of management's treatment of medically-restricted drivers and ill-health severance.

With a 95.7% ballot majority (135 votes for; just 6 against), ASLEF has named strike dates on Fridays 25th August and 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th September 2006.

It's a timely reminder that recent(ish) legislation in the form of the Disability Discrimination Act is not giving full protection to workers whose health deteriorates and that we still need industrial action to enforce our rights.

Today's quiz question

Submitted by Janine on Thu, 10/08/2006 - 13:36

Is Hugo Chavez:

(a) the President of Venezuela?; or

(b) the real leader of the Arab people?

According to George Galloway at last Saturday's anti-war march, the answer is (b).

Workers' Liberty and Socialist Appeal / Hands Off Venezuela have had interesting debates as to whether Chavez is a friend of the workers. But at least both of us know which country he's in charge of.

Really, sometimes the combination of naff politics and a demagogic speaking style leads you to say the most ridiculous things.

Nazi Scumbag Loses Appeal Against Expulsion From RMT

Submitted by Janine on Sun, 06/08/2006 - 20:07

RMT press release

FAR RIGHT activist Patrick Harrington has failed in his bid to have the Certification Officer overturn his expulsion from RMT for misconduct under the union's rules.

The Assistant Certification Officer yesterday dismissed three complaints that the union had breached its rules as having been brought out of time.

The union's Annual General Meeting in June 2005 had unanimously upheld the June 2003 decision by an RMT disciplinary hearing that Mr Harrington had deceived the union by applying for membership under a false name.

Packed Meeting Pledges to Fight Privatisation

Submitted by Janine on Fri, 28/07/2006 - 21:35

I have written this report for the Hackney TUC website, but it is currently under hack attack, so I'm posting it here. This is my report with the Hackney TUC's President's hat on. You'll have to wait for my personal opinions on some of the issues discussed until I get back from my holiday in the Isle of Wight in a week or so's time!

Global unions launch UN complaint over Iranian repression

Submitted by Janine on Fri, 28/07/2006 - 11:47

This press release was issued on 25th July. I am glad to say that my own union, RMT has circulated and supported it. While we oppose a war against Iran, this can not become an excuse to prettify the regime or for trade unions to forget that their basic duty of solidarity is towards workers, against whichever regime is oppressing them.

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