Thursday, 31 October 2013

Supreme Court dismisses the Government’s Appeal on the “Back to Work” Regulations!

We are publishing a recent press release issued by Public Interest Lawyers (PIL) concerning the recent decision by the supreme court to dismiss the Government's appeal on the 'Back-to-Work' Regulations.

Today in a landmark decision the Supreme Court has dismissed the Government’s appeal against the Court of Appeal’s unanimous findings in February that the Regulations[1] under which most of the Government’s “Back to Work” schemes were created were unlawful and should be quashed.
The original case was brought by our clients Cait Reilly, who was made to stack shelves in Poundland for two weeks[2], and Jamie Wilson, who was stripped of his Jobseeker’s allowance for 6 months after refusing to participate in a scheme[3] which required him to work 30 hours a week for six months for free.
In an important judgment the Supreme Court held that:
  1. The Court of Appeal had been right to quash the Regulations on the basis that the Secretary of State, Iain Duncan Smith, has acted beyond the powers given to him by Parliament by failing to provide, any detail about the various “Back to Work” schemes in the Regulations. (paras
  2. On the facts of Jamie Wilson’s case he had, in any event, been provided with invalid notice under the Regulations as the DWP failed to specify the details of what he was required to do by way of participation in the Back to Work Scheme. In line with standard notices issued at that time he was merely informed that he had to do perform “any activities” requested of him by the private provider, Ingeus. (paras 43-52)
In relation to a cross-appeal brought by the Claimants, the Court found that:
  1. Although the Government does not have a duty to publish a policy about each of its Back to Work schemes, it is under a duty as a matter of fairness to provide jobseekers with enough information about the relevant scheme so that they can make informed and meaningful representations as to whether a scheme is appropriate before a decision is made. This information must, of course, be provided before any notice requiring a jobseeker to participate on a particular scheme is served. Any failure to provide adequate information is likely to invalidate any notice given making it unlawful for the DWP to require a person to participate on a scheme and impose benefits sanction if they do not participate. As a result of this finding we will be seeking the full repayment of benefits unlawfully stripped from our client Jamie Wilson. (paras 58 – 75)
  2. That the imposition of the work condition in this case does not fall within the ambit of Article 4 of the ECHR which protects the right of individuals to be free from forced labour. (paras 76-90)
The judgment of the Supreme Court has been complicated because in March 2013 the Government rushed emergency legislation - The Jobseekers (Back to Work Act) 2013 - through parliament. This Act retrospectively amended the law and effectively overturned the Court of Appeal’s judgment. The Supreme Court was moved to comment in its judgment that this placed the Government in the “rather unattractive” position of “taking up court time and public money to establish that a regulation is valid, when it has already taken up Parliamentary time to enact legislation which retrospectively validates the Regulation” (para 40).
Public Interest Lawyers have already issued judicial review proceedings challenging the legality of the retrospective legislation which we will now seek to expedite.[4]
Notwithstanding the above, the findings of the Supreme Court on the Claimants’ cross appeal were not academic. The requirement on the DWP to provide jobseekers with adequate information about the schemes has far reaching implications as all jobseekers who, like Jamie, were not provided with adequate information will able to seek the repayment of their benefits. We will also be considering carefully whether we will appeal the Court’s finding on Article 4 ECHR to the European Court of Human Rights. 
Following the judgment, Cait Reilly stated:
“I am really pleased with today’s judgment which I hope will serve to improve the current system and assist jobseekers who have been unfairly stripped of their benefits. I brought these proceedings because I knew that there was something wrong when I was stopped from doing voluntary work in a local museum and instead forced to work for Poundland for free. I have been fortunate enough to find work in a Supermarket but I know how difficult it can be. It must be time for the Government to rethink its strategy and actually do something constructive to help lift people out of unemployment and poverty.” 
Phil Shiner, head of Public Interest Lawyers said:
“Once again the Department for Work and Pension’s flagship Back to Work schemes have been found wanting. Today’s ruling from the Supreme Court is of huge constitutional and practical significance. My firm will now get on with challenging, by judicial review, the retrospective legislation which was shamefully rushed through Parliament by Iain Duncan Smith in March of this year.” 

Another View on Grangemouth from Tony Gosling

Re: Stevie Deans, as Tony I think said, the police investigation came up with nothing. However, after resigning yesturday, the police are now going through his emails that show he was using company time to do Labour Party business - though why that is a police matter seems extraordinary. So what, sackable offence to be doing something other than your actual work you are paid to do, but how is it breaking the law?

Unite are accused of messing up, but they already capitulated some days before the company announced it was closing. They called off the strike over Dean's victimisation, as they described it. The Scottish Socialist Party: 'After talks broke down at [mediation service] Acas, the company said they intended to "go over the heads of the union" straight to the workers to ask them to sign up to new contracts on worse terms by 6pm on Monday 21 October. Unite and the shop stewards called on workers to refuse to sign and over 70% of trade union members at the site supported the union's call. This indicates that pressure from the shop floor and the stewards changed the union's direction at this stage.'

I don't blame Unite here. They were powerless. What happened at Grangemouth was that the employer went on strike, and it looks like they manipulated a situation over Deans (knowing the union would hold a strike-ballot over their dialogue with him which the union intepreted as victimisation, suddenly presenting the workers with a fait-accomplie over the workers pay and conditions having walked away from ACAS mediation and planning for the cold-shot down in an orchestrated way over many months). SSP again: 'There is clear evidence that Ineos, in all likelihood in conjunction with the UK government, had been preparing for a confrontation with the union. The stockpiling and the importation of fuel to mitigate the impact of the strike and the inevitable shutdown of the plant were at an advanced stage, even before the strike was announced. This alongside an attempt to decapitate the union leadership at the plant indicated the lengths the company was prepared to go to.'

'In the run-up to the 48-hour strike Ineos announced they were going to put the plant into a prolonged "cold shutdown" rather than a short hot shutdown. In other words, a signal that they intended to keep the plant closed, effectively a lockout of the workers.'

In the run-up to the strike Ineos was claiming the plant was "in financial distress" and losing £10 million a month. SSP: 'Unite, however, asked Richard Murphy, an accountant and a campaigner against corporate tax-dodging to review Ineos' public accounts, which themselves will not tell the true story. Murphy found Ineos Chemicals Grangemouth Ltd has added one-off measures to make the accounts look bad, including a write-off in the valuation of the petrochemical plant - in other words it was worthless. The same petrochemical plant that is now described as having a bright future of at least 15 to 20 years.  Ineos which is particularly opaque and labyrinthine through the deliberate use of sub companies, including the use of off-shore tax havens to hide profits and avoid tax. Already in 2010 Ineos moved its headquarters from Britain to Switzerland to cut its tax bill.'

'Murphy found that Ineos' accounts imply that they expect to make £500 million from Grangemouth alone by 2017 and that operating profits grew by 56% last year. Murphy says that Grangemouth chemicals made £7 million profit last year and £6 million the year before.'

"Unlike any other company they decided to factor in investment as a loss", said Murphy. "They are using accounting rules I don't recognise. They are using numbers I can't find in any actual published accounts." Ineos internationally also made a profit of over £2 billion in 2012.

As part of the deal Ineos will be bailed out to the tune of £134 million in Scottish and UK government grants and loan guarantees. The company claims it needs this to ensure a £300 million investment at Grangemouth over the next few years.

The reality of a billionaire hedge-fund owner holding a whole country's fuel supply to ransom is thought-provoking in the midst of a situation where there is much talk of nationalisation of the energy market in the UK.

In terms of the workers, perhaps the worst concession Unite have agreed to in backing down has been that they have also signed away an agreement that allowed for full time union representation on site.

Another important issue is the ethics of Ineos' new business strategy for the Grangemouth plant. The new investment is to build a new gas processing factory and tankers to ship shale gas from the States, where the dash for shale-gas without environmental controls has wrought massive impacts on the water-courses and local communities' health, not-to-mention the massive effects of global warming from methane gas released into the air. If this was a nationalised plant, maybe through a campaign of public information disclosing theses facts the utilisation of this gas would not be sanctioned.

The case for nationalisation and how the UK's membership of the EU prevents that, as well as the issue of labour flexibility in the global competitive race to the bottom has been eloquently described by former national president of the RMT Alex Gordon in Tuesday's edition of the Morning Star. I don't agree with everything he says, but do about nationalisation of public utilities (and industries/sectors in national strategic interest) and leaving the EU to have to do so. Read below:

To Fight Austerity we must quit the EU, by Alex Gordon
Tuesday 29th, Morning Star

Reciting Reactionary Rhetoric

Socialist Party Scotland Cheer-leading to the Grangemouth Abyss  
LEN McCluskey and Unite have delivered us glorious disaster in their handling of the Grangemouth dispute last weekend.  Last Friday on Any Questions on Radio Four Bob Crow of the RMT said that this would not mean the end of trade unionism as we know it.  On the 29th, October after a long silence the Socialist Party Scotland issued a long-winded rationalisation for the delivery of a serious disaster for the British trade union movement – perhaps the most significant defeat since the collapse of the miners strike in 1985.  
Could it have been different?  Will this be a turning point for trade union rights?  Will Len McCluskey become another dishevelled Arthur Scargill figure in the 21st century – a tired and forlorn politics?  
The Grangemouth débâcle beautifully underlines the hopeless reactionary rhetoric of British trade unionism and what has come to called the left in Britain.  Practically the whole of the left in this country and particularly the British trade unions are ruled by a reactionary instinct.  Analysing the Grangemouth failure the Socialist Party Scotland declares [29th, Oct. 2013]: 
'In the absence of a fighting strategy by Unite to save the plant, including the occupation of the site and the building of a mass campaign across Scotland to demand that the Scottish/ UK governments nationalise Grangemouth, the pressure proved too great for the shop stewards to resist.'  
The left in Britain, as represented by the trade unions, protest movements and left parties, has long been a reactionary force in so far as it has always tended to react to an agenda set by the establishment, the government or the employers.  It does not have an agenda or serious strategy of its own.  Thus when the current coalition government enforced cuts the left because it has no plan of its own is forced to go on the defensive and fight the cuts with umpteen fragmented organisations – this Pavlovian Dog reaction by the Socialist Party resulted in the disintegration of the National Shop Stewards Network [NSSN] in 2011.  This automatic and mechanical quality of the British left stems from something special detected in some of the north European organised working class by such writers as Ignazio Silone and George Orwell:  Silone in his book 'School for Dictators' links it to 'Zumarcherien' (a marching together approach to class war) – a kind of mechanical politics of the German and British worker founded in the kind of work in big factories – Silone uses this concept of the north European worker as automaton to explain the better performance of the Spanish and Catalan workers in resisting the imposition of Fascism in 1936:  the Spaniards with their different cultural and political background rooted in the peasant and the artisan were better able to use their initiative and trade unions to challenge authoritarian regimes than those left-wing parties and trade unions with a more Prussian and Germanic mentality in north Europe.  
Today, the Socialist Party Scotland explanation to what went wrong at Grangemouth is to blame the Labour Party  and Ed Miliband personally: 
'This shows yet again that today Labour does not support workers in struggle and that Unite should come out clearly in favour of a new mass workers' party, public ownership and a real political alternative to the austerity agenda.'  
This statement is an example, yet again, of the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of the British left and our national trade unions.  The Socialist Party Scotland is reassuring: 
'Socialist Party Scotland completely rejects the idea put about by the crowing capitalist media that the union has been smashed at Grangemouth.  Unite has made a big mistake in singing up to a three-year no-strike deal at Grangemouth... Against the backdrop of a no-strike agreement it is vital that Unite rebuilds its strength and its membership at Grangemouth...'  
This is voice of despair, the voice of the politics of the automaton of the unthinking 'mass-party man' steeped in a kind of Prussian totalitarian mind-set to which Orwell and Silone often referred.  These people have yet to learn the lessons of Arthur Scargill and the defeat of the miners in 1985:  Thatcher then had a transformation strategy then in the Ridley plan, and Scargill and the miners were fighting to defend the pits and save the status quo, essentially a conservative position which Scargill fought tactically.  Today the battle at Grangemouth was a tactical from the beginning and it was one that Unite couldn't win.  Wee must wait to see if the Socialist Party continues to back Len McCluskey in future.  Over two years ago Bob Crow the RMT leader and a political crony of the Social Party was treated to a fish and chip lunch by the Financial Times famous 'Lunch with the FT' column and he declared that the flat fish 'haliburt is good for your brains', well the British left is desparately short on brains so perhaps the Socialist Party and McCluskey should stuff themselves with haliburt in future.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Warrington Bus Company Strike

ALONGSIDE the numerous national strikes taking place over the next few weeks by university staff, firefighters, postal workers and others, please also note the important dispute below in Warrington and attend the workers' picket lines if you can.

Unite the Union members at Network Warrington bus company are striking against a pay freeze. They have announced a further 3 days’ strike action after rejecting the ‘insulting’ offers of management. 
On the company board sit several leading Labour councillors, whose main action seems to be to denigrate the union and help management enforce the pay freeze! 
In contrast, suspended Labour councillor Kevin Bennett is speaking up for the workers. Kevin says:
'On Monday 28th October, at a packed meeting of over 100 employees, the latest offer was emphatically rejected by the members. A spokesperson for Unite the Union told me that 'there are untruths being put out by senior managers and board members that there were only 30 members at the meeting, this is a lie, Unite the Union and it's members are playing strictly by the rules, which is more than can be said for the senior management.' 
The Unite spokesperson also said that 'although the Chief Executive and the board are saying there's no money, but yet another accountant has been appointed, where are they getting the money to pay for this? 
Unite members have agreed to further action that will result in three consecutive days of strike action on 13th, 14th and 15th November. It has also been alleged that Ms. Slavin, who has stood in for Mr. Squires as Chief Executive of Network Warrington since his departure, has warned the board that if she is not made Chief Executive officially she will resign.
Join the picket lines on 13-15 November, at the Network Warrington depot, Wilderspool Causeway, Warrington town centre.

Charlie Pottin's Comment on the historic takeover of the NSSN

CHARLIE Pottin's comment below on the Socialist Party coup inside the National Shop Stewards Network [NSSN] in 2011, that resulted in the departure of the syndicalists and independent socialists 19th, February 2011.  It now seems that the results of this historic takeover by the Socialist Party has ultimately led to the folly of the the Grangemouth massacre of trade union rights in which the NSSN has ended up on the losing side and which may have lasting detrimental consequences for the British trade union movement:
Charlie Pottinssaid...
I don't know about all 89 who voted against the SP resolution reconvening at the pub, I was a delegate from Brent TUC and voted against (as mandated) but didn't know about the meeting afterwards so didn't attend.
Remembering how the SP walked out of the Socialist Alliance when the SWP got a majority, I found it ironic that they charged others with wanting to take their ball away when they didn't like a decision. I was also amused to hear an SP member in Unison complain that the SWP and others had backed a "Labour Party supporter" in preference to him in union elections, when exactly the same charge could be levelled at the SP members in my own union, Unite, who voted for Len McCluskey rather than Jerry Hicks. I remarked on this to Jerry when I saw him later in the meeting, I think he too had found it amusing.
Anyway, the SP's move seems to have gone as I anticipated, despite their success in mobilising an overwhelming vote majority, they are left holding a hollow victory. Instead of creating a unified anti-cuts movement under their leadership they have succeeded in splitting the National Shop Stewards Network.
It will be ironic if the SWP who were the main butts of their denunciations are the only ones to stay. And if after such fierce denunciation they can try to erect some facade of unity for the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (assuming that's still on).
Meanwhile back on the cuts front I am sure a united movement is emerging in each locality, usually centred on trades councils and community campaigners, and from what I can see, SP members and SWPers alike are like the rest of us, being drawn into working class activity without worrying about the empire-building rivalry which pre-occupies leaders of sects.

Assassination & the British National Character

CONSIDERING the failed attempt by Guy Fawkes and his fellow Catholics to assassinate King James I, and blow up the House of Lords, puts me in mind of a dispute over 'national character' between the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein (who studied aeronautics at Manchester University) and a colleague Norman Malcolm as the war with Germany approached in 1939. 

A newspaper vendor's sign announced that the British had attempted to assassinate Hitler, and Wittgenstein commented that he would not be surprised if it were true.  Norman Malcolm demurred claiming such an act was incompatible with British 'national character', Wittgenstein reacted angrily to this 'primitive remark', and said:
'... what is the use of studying philosophy if all that it does for you is to enable you to talk with some plausibility about some abstruse questions of logic, etc., & if it does not make you more conscientious than any... journalist in the use of the DANGEROUS  phrases such people use for their own ends.'

Wittgenstein was concerned about jingoism and as he was a fan of the cinema at that time this caused him a problem because it was the custom then to play the national anthem at the end of the film, at which point the audience was expected to rise to their feet and stand respectfully still.  This was a ceremony that Wittgenstein could not abide, and he would dash out of the cinema before it could strike up.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Trashing Tradition: Halloween eclipses Guy Fawkes

GUY Fawkes is under attack from American cultural imperialism!  That at least is the view expressed in the International Herald Tribune [IHT] today by Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura.  I've not seen any Penny-for-the-Guy folk trying to get us to copper-up our loose change for their image of Guy Fawkes for years, and they don't seem to come around to our houses anymore. 

The journalist de Freytas-Tamura makes the point in today's IHT:
'Much to the consternation of some Halloween, with all its silliness, is eclipsing Guy Fawkes Day, the 400-year-old ur-English festival that falls five days after Halloween.'

The writer continues:
'Normally marked by bonfires and fireworks, the celebration commemorates the execution of Guy Fawkes, a Catholic, a member of the failed plot in 1605 to assassinate King James I and blow up the House of Lords.'

Perhaps Halloween provides commerce with more opportunities to make money these days with health and safety representing more of a threat from the Guy Fawkes celebrations.   Yet, for centuries we in Britain marked the death of Guy Fawkes by burning his effigy, and more recently by eating parkin, warming-up sausages and baking spuds in the embers of the bonfires.  Of course, the building of bonfire was always part of the street gangs that use to operate in our towns, cities and villages. 

The Guy Fawkes historian and author, James Sharpe said:
'I find it rather sad that Guy Fawkes Day is edged out by Halloween.'
and he added:
'I would say it's because of U.S. cultural imperialism.  It was something unique in England, and even celebrated in the American colonies in the 18th century - it's a pity that it's gone.'

It may be pointed out that the Irish and Scots can point to older Halloween traditions such as jack-o'-lantern that was originally squash, not a pumpkin, and apple-bobbing began as a matchmaking ritual, people wearing costumes to ward off evil spirits etc.  Halloween was, it seems, an ancient Celtic celebration in Ireland and Scotland, exported to America through the immigrants.  But commerce is everything these days, and there is money to be made out of selling Halloween costumes it seems.

Tolerance & 'Safer Space Policy'

Northern Voices' Welcomes New Tolerant Approach by Manchester Anarchist Bookfair.

LAST December, a person with jewish ancestory, Barry Woodling, was expelled from the Manchester & Salford Bookfair this was done on the spurious pretext that he was 'anti-semite'.  This act carried out by someone calling himself 'Veg' brought the anarchist movement and this bookfair into disrepute and very nearly led to the owners of the venue banning future anarchist bookfairs.  Following this incident the regional organisation the Northern Anarchist Network issued a Burnley declaration condemning this kind of intollerance and censorious behaviour which is all too prevalent on parts of the British left.  Over one hundred and fifty people from all sections of the liberal/ left signed this declaration supporting Barry Woodling and disapproving of the actions of some so-called 'anarchists'.  In an earlier associated incident at the London Anarchist Bookfair, a bookseller had been attacked by a dozen members of the Anarchist Federation [AF] and trade union books were stolen.  Since then three trade union branches and one trade union council has condemned the violence and theft of trade union literature associated with these incidents.  It is now with immense pleasure that Northern Voices welcomes the new 'Safer Spaces Policy' announced by the organisers of the Manchester Anarchist Bookfair.

Safer Spaces Policy

We want the Manchester & Salford Anarchist Bookfair to be a space where everyone can feel safe and have adapted the safer spaces policy of the OK Cafe/ 1in12 Club.

Photo by Iain Broadley
·Everyone has an equal right to be heard and an equal responsibility to listen (people who are used to talking may feel the benefit of listening more, and vice versa).
·Respect and look after the building as a physical space and a resource for all.
·However strongly you feel about a particular topic, resist abusive discussions.
·Any behaviour – physical or verbal – that harms others, or makes existing power imbalances worse, is not welcome.
·Identify your own privileges – the things that sometimes give you an easier ride than others – and actively challenge them.
·Be aware of the range of different identities (gender, race, orientation, class) that people may have, and avoid making generalisations, or assumptions about people.
·Be aware that anyone in the space could be a survivor of a particular form of oppression, for example, violence or racism.
·If someone is feeling uncomfortable, do not hesitate to raise this, if you think it would be appropriate to do so.
·It is everyone’s responsibility to challenge prejudice & oppression, and if we ignore it we are allowing it to happen.
This list does not cover everything and it is up to all of us to help create a space where everyone feels safe and included.
If you do have any issues or concerns please contact the Manchester & Salford Anarchist Bookfair Organisers.

Expelled Labour MP, Eric Joyce, Makes Allegations Against Unite & Labour Party

FALKIRK MP Eric Joyce has said Labour is protecting the position of the Unite union organiser, Stevie Deans, at the centre of a selection row because it 'fears' the organisation’s leadership.  Stevie Deans has been accused of trying to rig the selection of the next Labour candidate in Falkirk.  But Mr Joyce said Mr Deans remained party chairman in the constituency.

Mr Deans has now resigned from his job at the Grangemouth oil refinery, where he was facing a separate inquiry.  Unite previously voted for strike action over his treatment, which led to last week’s shutdown of the plant.

Mr Deans, the convener of the union in Scotland, worked at Grangemouth for about 25 years. Before resigning, he had been suspended by Ineos over claims he had used company time for union business.
Ineos, which runs the oil refinery and petrochemical works, had been expected to reveal the outcome of a disciplinary case against him on Tuesday.

Separately, Mr Deans was accused of trying to rig the selection of a parliamentary candidate in his role as chairman of the Labour Party in the Falkirk constituency.  It was claimed he had signed up dozens of new members for Labour, promising the recruits that Unite would pay their membership fees on the understanding they would back the union’s choice in the contest to select someone to replace Mr Joyce.

Labour decided in September that no individual or organisation had broken rules after evidence of wrongdoing was withdrawn.  But Mr Joyce, who lost the Labour whip and agreed to stand down following his conviction for assault in a House of Commons bar, told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme:
'The Labour Party, because it won’t allow people to elect a new chair, is effectively keeping Deans in place, and I think it’s to some degree because of a substantial amount of fear inside the Labour Party of the Unite leadership.'

Mr Joyce said Unite’s primary objective was moving Labour to the left rather than protecting workers’ interests.  But the union’s chief of staff, Andrew Murray, told Today Mr Joyce had given a 'wrong reading' of the situation.  He added that there was 'no evidence' that 'anything untoward' had taken place.

Day of Action Against the Blacklist

TUC has called a national Day of Action on Blacklisting on Wednesday November 20th (flyer attached)

Blacklist Support Group is officially supporting the event
Official TUC events:
Westminster - 1pm at College Green (opp. parliament) with 4 General Secretaries and front bench Labour MPs speaking (flyer attached)
Holyrood - 12pm STUC protest followed by 1pm film show inside parliament with Neil Findlay MSP 
Cardiff - Jane Hutt (Welsh Finance Minister) is speaking at WTUC event - details tbc 
The unions will be building for the Day of Action by encouraging groups of workers to attend from large construction sites and laying on transport in some cases. We encourage all blacklisted workers and supporters to participate in events - wear your BLACKLISTED T-shirts and bring blacklist banners. Good visuals make the newspapers. 
If your union branch or Trades Council has a local event planned, please forward the details and we will circulate via the email and facebook page.
BSG expects to have speakers at each event and are arguing that every platform should have numerous blacklisted workers speaking.
Nothing about us - without us.

What Went on with Man in George Tapp Case?

NORTHERN Voices this morning rang the Greater Manchester Police Press Office to ascertain what had happen to the man, named in the Manchester Evening News as Micheal Collins, who was scheduled to appear in Manchester Magistrates Court on Monday the 21st, October.  The police Press Office told us today that they weren't privy to information regarding court appearances, but the Manchestester Magistrates Court ought to know the outcome and gave us the telephone number.  The Voices has attempted several calls to the Magistrates Court this morning, but has yet has not been able to get a response.  We would welcome any information regarding the outcome of this hearing which may have been a committal proceeding.  Previous to this hearing George Tapp has told us that he was not required to attend the Court for this hearing.

We are giving this report because we note that there has been a large number of page-viewing on our previous George Tapp postings in the last day or so.

Monday, 28 October 2013

BYRONIC BLAST from 'Better to have loved...'

Gerry O' Gorman's Rock Band: Homage to Burnley Clarets   
THIS Thursday, 'Gerry O & the Flat Back 4's' will be rendering eleven songs inspired by the fans and players of Burnley the Burnley Mechanics Theatre starting at 7.15pm.  Gerry O' Gorman,  told Northern Voices that he is looking forward to the gig as he has supported the Burnley Clarets since he was a lad living in Bacup and first went to Turf Moor in 1968.   

Now living in Castleton, Rochdale, Gerry contacted the Voices having located issues of significant interest to him on this Blog such as the Sophie Lancaster case, Cyril Smith and the problems in the building trade such as the blacklist.  This Thursday he will play and sing alongside Tom O' Gorman and James Gansler as The Flat Back 4's – a band specially put together for Thursday's concert.  
The versions of songs are based on songs that sounded over the years on the Longside terrace of Turf Moor.  In this work is a bit of Rock n'Roll Byron commemorating the romantic poet's Rochdale links and 'The Night I Met PJ' – put together after Gerry met the 1960's legend PJ Proby in Bury.  
Gerry told the Rossendale Free Press: 
'I wrote the “Better to have loved..."  because I'm a songwriter, musician and Claret's fan who wanted to try to convey some of the drama and emotion in following a team like Burnley, who are often the underdog and rarely win any trophies but retain an incredibly loyal, optimistic set of fans.'  
The gig is on Thursday, October 31st, from 7,15pm.  Tickets cost £10 with some concessions, and are available by calling 01282 664400.  Gerry's CD 'Better to Have Loved...' is available via:  

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Grangemouth: The Surreal Cheer Of Defeat

IT was like a scene out of a film by the Spanish surrealist anarchist film maker Luis Buñuel such as 'The Phantom of Liberty' in which the Spanish citizens being executed in Madrid by a French firing squad on May 2nd in the famous Goya portrait, during the war with the French shout 'Viva la Tyrany' - that was what happened yesterday when the staff at Grangemouth cheered the management decision to re-open the plant and save their jobs and lose all their trade union rights.  This, it seems, could now be a watershed moment for the whole of the British trade union movement as it throws into doubt the ability of the trade unions in this country to defend their own members.

We must wait and see what the ultimate consequences are, but it should challenge the British left and the trade unions to question their overall strategy in so far as they have one.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Jerry Hicks now accuses Unite leadership of 'acting like donkeys'

The material below is the full contents of an e-mail denouncing the Unite leadership handling of the Grangemouth dispute, which we publish here without comment purely for the information of our readership:
Jerry Hicks was runner up in Unites General Secretary election in 2013 when receiving 36% nearly 80,000 votes. He is considered by many as being the only alternative voice inside Unite.
Jerry Hicks was unlawfully sacked by Rolls Royce in 2005. He is on the now infamous illegal blacklist of workers.
Unite is the biggest union in the UK with 1.3 million members and the biggest single donator to the Labour Party.
He can be contacted on 078 178 279 12 or email

Grangemouth - ‘Botched from the very beginning and ending in surrender’.
When faced with yet another outrageous bullying exploitative boss, this time at Grangemouth in Scotland, Unite’s top leadership displays its abject failure. But where did Ineos get their confidence? And in a Union where all its officials are appointed, who would dare to speak out?
The members of Unite have been superb, doing all that was asked of them, acting like lions, while they have been let down by the Unions top leadership acting like donkeys.
Unite’s failure stems from not having the correct industrial and political strategy. This led to the prospective parliamentary candidate selection debacle at Falkirk. Where despite Labour being given members’ [£millions] money hand over fist and unconditionally. The man Unite gave £10,000s to become Labour leader, Ed Miliband, treated them with complete and utter contempt.
This led Ineos to believe it could attack the Unite convener at Grangemouth. Which led to the Grangemouth ‘dispute’, which led to the biggest most powerful union in the country sending the worst of all signals to all employers and the Con Dem government alike - threaten us [Unite] and we will cave in.
Unite should have an avowed intention to campaign for and to demand public ownership of utilities, transport, health, education and all energy supplies.
Unite should end immediately its disastrous ‘reclaim Labour’ and with it the infantile, unfunny comic capers of infiltration through recruiting members to the Labour party.
Unite should have only one relationship with Labour - “You follow our policies then you get our support”, and that goes for any party on the left.
With these things, members will be clear what their union stands for. Employers, Con Dems and Labour will know what to expect.
In my view then, the chances of winning disputes will increase as will the numbers of people wanting to join a principled, fighting, effective union - Where survival doesn’t have to mean surrender.

Waving White Flag at Grangemouth?

ON the 23rd October,  Philip Stott of Socialist Party Scotland (CWI) wrote on the Socialist Party website a post entitled 'Grangemouth: a fight we can't afford to lose'.  Today Len McCluskey  who the Socialist Party backed for leadership of Unite is waving the White Flag of surrender.  McCluskey  is now quoted as saying:  'There is nothing humiliating about negotiating plans to ensure jobs and communities are safe'.

This is despite the campaign of marching together culminating in a Unite rally on the 20th, October in which Philip Scott on the The Socialist website writes hundreds of union members showed the 'determination of workers not to accept the bullying tactics of Ineos and its billionaire owner Jim Ratcliffe' and the dispaching of paid Unite activists and organisers to Grangemouth in the last few days. 

If this is a defeat for Unite it will come at a bad time for British trade unionism and should encourage a rethink on trade union strategy in future. 


Oh, What A Blow That Plegate Policeman Gave Me!

Police Federation More Fearsome than the TUC
THE Northern Voices Blog has tried to show that the police, spearheaded by the Police Federation, often operate as an elite interest group rather like a trade union or masonic order.  The part played by the Police Federation in the 'Plebgate' saga has been a lovely illustration of what goes on among the circulation of elites in British politics.  The coppers concerned about cuts in their profession tried to show in the Mitchell plebgate affair that they could inflict pain upon the government, and they have shown in that case and in the way they seemed to hold back during the town centre riots of 2011 that they can inflict damage and remind the politicians of their worth.  As Private Eye often reminds us most politicians are nervous of taking on the police because many politicians have skeletons in their cupboards which the police can use against them.  

The problem in this case is that the Police Federation has broken the fundamental rule 'don't get caught'.   Mr Mitchell took the precaution of using a tape recorder to keep a record of his conversations with the three distinguished representatives of the Police Federation, and now he has them 'bang to rights'.  
Because the Socialist World Web (Fourth International) has below produced an intellengent and well considered report on the 'Plebgate' case and the Police Federation, and the infantile nature of some parties on the British left such as the SWP, I believe it needs wider circulation through our  NV Blog: 

NONE were more enthusiastic at the outbreak of this “anti-toff” populism than the pseudo-left, with the Socialist Workers Party presenting Mitchell’s resignation as a triumph.

In fact, the entire affair was a set-up. Moreover, the exposure of this set-up has owed nothing to any official investigation, as the parliamentary parties fell over themselves to assuage the police.

It was a Channel 4 Dispatches in December that showed that CCTV footage from Downing Street did not support the police version of events, and that the “eye-witness statement” turned out to be from a police officer from the same Metropolitan Police unit as the diplomatic protection squad, who was not even in London at the time.

Only then, and with great reluctance, was it finally agreed that there should be a further investigation into the events.

According to the Sunday Times, a whistle-blower from within the Metropolitan Police confirmed that a conspiracy was hatched among police officers to frame up Mitchell, which included fabricating evidence. At the time, the Police Federation was running a high-level public campaign insisting that government austerity must not be applied to the police, who should be ring-fenced from the cuts taking place elsewhere in the public sector. The attack on Mitchell was intended as a demonstration to the government of police power and the political damage it could cause.

One year on, evidence of a police conspiracy continues to go unpunished. A police-led investigation into the three officers involved in the October 12 meeting has decided no disciplinary measures will be taken. The inquiry by West Mercia police concluded that while the public statements made by the three officers after the meeting could be seen as “ambiguous or misleading”, they did not deliberately lie so there is no case to answer.

This is despite Mitchell having made a secret tape of the discussions—the transcript of which is now available—that makes clear that they did lie about the content of the discussion.
This transparent whitewash has occasioned a protest by the usually compliant Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). The IPCC has covered over numerous instances of police abuse, including murder. As is usual, the IPCC had been content to allow the police force to investigate itself over the Mitchell affair, choosing only to “supervise” the West Mercia inquiry.

A statement by IPCC Deputy Chairwoman Deborah Glass challenged the police decision, stating that the meeting raised an “issue of honesty and integrity, not merely naive or poor professional judgment.”

“In my view, the evidence is such that a panel should determine whether the three officers gave a false account of the meeting in a deliberate attempt to support their MPS colleague and discredit Mr Mitchell, in pursuit of a wider agenda”, she wrote.

The response of Head of the Association of Chief Police Officers Hugh Orde was to demand the abolition of the IPCC.

It has now been revealed by the IPCC that the conclusions of the West Mercia inquiry were watered down, reportedly after the intervention of senior police chiefs. In a letter, Glass stated that the first report submitted to the IPCC in July concluded “that there was a case to answer for misconduct, although their final report, submitted in August, did not.”

Despite the furore, the only action that is being proposed is that the police representatives involved should apologise to Mitchell.

As to the events of September 19, 2012, although eight people have so far been arrested, including five serving police officers, the Crown Prosecution Service has yet to decide on the central allegation of a conspiracy to depose Mitchell.

Nor are there any answers as to who leaked information to The Sun and the Daily Telegraph, or who organised “witnesses” to make lying accounts.

“Plebgate” does more than prove that nothing has changed following the exposure of criminal activity—involving bribery and corruption—between police and the Murdoch press as was revealed in the News of the World phone-hacking scandal. The scandal testifies to the enormous powers accrued by the police over the last decades.

The assault on democratic rights under the guise of the “war on terror” and preserving “law and order” means the police are ever more nakedly a law unto themselves.  Empowered to mete out punishment and abuse against workers and youth as a matter of routine, free from any accountability, they felt no compunction against the set-up of a serving MP.  Many others lower down the social hierarchy suffer far worse fates than the career destruction—including being beaten and murdered—at the hands of this wholly corrupt and purposefully unaccountable mechanism of state repression.
From Socialist World Web (Fourth International)

Thursday, 24 October 2013

European Parliament votes for draft Data Protection Directive

THE European parliament has voted in favour of an amendment in the draft Data Protection Directive which would make blacklisting on the basis of trade union activity a breach of EU law.
Labour MEPs managed to secure support for an amendment that states personal data cannot be used to put workers on a blacklist.
Glenis Willmott MEP, Labour's leader in Europe, added: 
'Although we've always known blacklisting is illegal, so far none of the companies involved has been punished. Now the law is absolutely clear - using information on employees' political beliefs or trade union membership to blacklist them is illegal, and governments must adopt appropriate sanctions to enforce this.'
Claude Moraes, Labour's European spokesperson on justice and civil liberties, added:
'Within this new legal framework on data protection we have managed to ensure information on someone's trade union membership and activities is classed as extra sensitive data and therefore warrants greater protection. This amendment will ensure there is no doubt it is against the law to use this information to draw-up a blacklist, or to share a blacklist to help vet potential employees.'
Labour MEPs press release:
Brian Higgins - blacklisted bricklayer - spokesperson for the Blacklist Support Group said:
'This is a tremendous breakthrough for the fight against blacklisting in the construction industry and industry in general. It lays the legislative foundation and gives us the opportunity to put pressure on the UK government to bring in legislation which will deter any further blacklisting by making this a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment for those employers who engage in this vile practice.
'Hopefully, this will eventually mean no more workers or their families will have to suffer the living social and economic hell of blacklisting and the deliberate denial of so many human rights and freedoms which go with this. They can join a union and organise to protect themselves and their wages and working conditions and improve these on occasion without the fear of a dreaded blacklist hanging over them.
'I and all others involved in the fight against blacklisting say a huge thank you to Labour MEPs Glenis, Willmott, Stephen Hughes and all the other MEPs and support workers involved in this superb achievement which will benefit all workers' employment rights Europe wide. No mean feat.'
Brian Higgins was the first blacklisted worker to raise the issue with Glenis Willmot and other MEPs. Brian led the Blacklist Support Group delegation to Brussels in 2011 which met EU Commissioner Andor with the assistance of Stephen Hughes MEP (pic attached) which resulted in the first questions asked about blacklisting in the european parliament. 

Police showed 'Poor judgement' not misconduct

THOSE of us who want to retain our confidence in the British police despite all the evidence to the contrary can now fall back on the claim by the three Police Federation officers that they merely 'showed poor judgement in speaking to the media after meeting Mr Mitchell (the conservative minister who had to resign in the Plebgate case).'  After hearing their evidence before the Home Affairs Select Committee yesterday the committee chair Keith Vaz said that their evidence had been 'most unsatisfactory'.

Chief inspector Jerry Reakes-Williams, who wrote the initial report on the conduct of the three Police Federation officers, told the committee that Mr Mitchell deserved an apology. "Whatever the rights and wrongs of this case, you have to take in consideration the impact on Mr Mitchell and his family," he told the MPs.  But Mr Reakes-Williams added:  'I do not consider, on the balance of probabilities that the officers have lied, but misled... I do not think it was a deliberate attempt to mislead the public, but I do think the public was misled.'

So there you have it British policemen do not tell ordinary lies like the rest of us, they simply mislead folk.  The IPCC (Indendent Police Complaints Commission) chair Deborah Glass is less convinced and said she was 'absolutely astonished' that the officers had not been found guilty of gross misconduct.

Unite to make concessions at Grangemouth?

NEWS this morning suggests that the union UNITE is willing to make concessions over the 'survival plan' set out by the bosses at Grangemouth, Ineos, which will see changes to workers' terms and conditions.  This news will upset the National Shop Stewards Network which today congratulated the 'Unite members and their shop stewards at Grangemouth for their refusal to be bullied'.  In a statement today the National Shop Stewards Network [NSSN] said:  'The announcement by Ineos that they intend to pullout of the Grangemouth petrochemical site with the threatened loss of up to 800 jobs is an act of corporate vandalism.'

Alas, it seems they [the NSSN] spoke too soon as the union Unite is now seemingly clamouring to do a deal with Ineos.  It doesn't seem that the union has the guts to organise an occupation of the plant or put it under workers' control as may have happened in the 1970s. 

Because the NSSN is a front for the Socialist Party, and that party ideologically is mired in the the 'marching together' school of politics that dates back to the middle of the last century with calls for endless nationalisation of everything, the best and most forward looking elements of the NSSN left that organisation three years ago when the Socialist Party forced out the then independent-minded chairman, Dave Chapple, the independent socialists and the young syndicalists leaving a claque orchestrated by ageing trots such as Linda Taaffe and Bill Mullins, supported by Alex Gordon of the RMT.  These people have now led the NSSN over a cliff at Grangemouth and now vainly 'Call on the Scottish government and UK governments to immediately bring Grangemouth into democratic public ownership to secure jobs and investment. To also support public ownership with majority participation by workers and the trade unions in the running of the plant.'  Some hopes!

This merely illustrates that the British left have no real program or strategy for social change beyond a trip down memory lane back to the ideas of Old Labour of the last century.  God Help Us!

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Rochdale Adult Care Crisis?

RECENTLY a senior figure at Rochdale MBC told me that though there may be problems with the grooming of teenage girls in Rochdale, in the area of Rochdale Adult Social Care the situation was much better than it had been.  Last month we heard a coroner's report about an elderly woman who may have been starve to death while in care in Rochdale, and now today's Rochdale Observer carries a front page story entitled 'SHAME OF CARE HOME STAFF WHO ABUSED PATIENT'.

The Rochdale Ob. (23rd, Oct. 2013) states:
'CARE home staff abused a frail pensioner by giving here repeated overdoses of sedatives, an inquiry has ruled.'

This happened at Carders Court care home in Castleton when 85-year-old Barbara Oldham was given regular doses of the drug Promazine, which is used to treat severely agitated behaviour.  The hearing found that the excessive medication amounted to 'physical abuse'.  Barbara Oldham's son said that 'It reduced me to tears... (when) she was sat in the chair and could not lift her hear', he added that when he challenged the staff they said 'she was sleepy, (but) I know the difference between being sleepy and drugged - and my mum had been drugged.' 

Mr. Oldham is now seeking legal advice with a view to taking action against Bupa, which runs Carders Court.  Vivienne Birch, director of partnerships for Bupa Care Services said:
'We are sorry that Mrs Oldham's care did not meet our usual high standard.  The health and well-being of our residents is our absolute priority.  As a result, the care home has taken action to prevent this happening again...  Staff have also been given extra training to ensure that they fully document the reasons why a PRN medication has been administered.'

Let's hope so!

Westminister Wit or Wanker & 'Made in Chelsea' Comment

THE housing chief of a flagship Conservative borough has stepped down after comparing social housing tenants to the ‘Made in Chelsea brigade’.
Jonathan Glanz, cabinet member for housing at Westminster Council, stepped down after comments on a Conservative blog which said social housing tenants lived in houses usually only available to the very rich.
‘Trust funds are often associated with the Made in Chelsea brigade, the young people portrayed in the ITV television series who spend their days dining out and sipping champagne on London’s King’s Road,’ he wrote.
‘It may be a stretch but in some ways, their fortunes are not entirely dissimilar to some of the benefits enjoyed by social housing tenants in some of country’s most expensive areas.’

Philippa Roe, leader of the council, said they had agreed that Mr Glanz should step aside from his cabinet position.
‘I recognise that in Mr Glanz’s recent article about social housing tenants, his intention was to raise a serious point about the cost of housing in central London but I also recognise that his comments, as reported, may have caused offence,’ she said.
‘Many social housing tenants face significant financial pressures and are in no way comparable to those portrayed in Made in Chelsea.’

Mr Glanz has so far been unavailable for comment.

Bristol Radical History Group & James Connolly

James Connolly Songs of Freedom
Time: Mat Callahan,
Singer/songwriter Mat Callahan (San Francisco, USA) performs Songs of Freedom, a celebration of the life and work of James Connolly, the Irish revolutionary socialist who participated in the Dublin Lockout of 1913 and was martyred by the British government for his role in the Easter Rising of 1916. Connolly's role in both events was of crucial importance making it especially important that his collection Songs of Freedom, originally published in 1907 and unseen for almost a century, has been recently reprinted. Mat will speak about Connolly and the project to rejuvenate his songs, followed by performing a selection of his revolutionary ballads.
Mat is joined by two Bristolian singer-song writing legends; Blizzard ‘An acoustic rapper, beguiling of lyric and intricate of instrumentation, mashing Folk and Hip Hop like the long-lost cousins they are’ and the Commander ‘Feeding the blood-lust of the masses during peace time’
More at:
This is a must see and once only gig....
See you there...


Monday, 21 October 2013

British Building Trade: Another Blacklist!

THE Information Commissioner's Office has confirmed that they hold documents relating to another blacklist in the construction industry. The confirmation comes in a letter to Ian Davidson MP, chair of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee investigation into blacklisting from ICO Deputy Commissioner David Smith (attached). 

The letter states that the ICO hold information including:
'faxes to and from Hayden Young Limited which contain the names of what appear to be individual construction workers and their NI numbers, a list of nine contact names and addresses of what appear to be individual managers within different construction companies and a small sample of names and national insurance numbers of individual construction workers on what are termed the Pfizers, Royal Opera House and Jubilee Line lists.' 
The possible existence of this new blacklist (separate to the Consulting Association blacklist currently in the news) was originally raised by whistleblower Alan Wainwright during evidence to the Scottish Affairs Select Committee in November 2012. Alan Wainwright is an ex-senior manager at Hayden Young (now Balfour Beatty Engineering Services), Carillion and EMCOR (Drake and Sculls). Wainwright told MPs that a list of names and personal details of 500 workers from three major projects; Pfizers (in Kent), Royal Opera House and Jubilee Line had been circulated to a group of senior labour managers in August 2000 by the then Personnel Director of Emcor, Sheila Knight. Prior to working for EMCOR, Sheila Knight was Deputy Director of ACAS and currently acts as a consultant providing expert advice and teaching workshops for Human Resources managers. 
This letter to Ian Davidson MP is the first time that the ICO has confirmed that the Sheila Knight blacklist exists. Alongside the Economic League blacklist, the Consulting Association blacklist, the Sheila Knight blacklist is now the third blacklist confirmed to exist in the construction industry. 
The name and personal details of Frank Morris, the UNITE shop steward at the centre of the year long Crossrail blacklisting dispute appears on this newly discovered blacklist as he was apprentice for Drake and Sculls (Emcor) on the Jubilee Line Extension when Sheila Knight was head of Personnel at the company. Blacklist Support Group believe it is information from this blacklist that was used to remove Frank Morris from the Crossrail project back in September 2012.
ICO Deputy Director David Smith gave evidence to the Select Committee investigation in October 2012 and admitted that the organisation only seized 5% of the paperwork in the Consulting Association offices at the time, leaving behind the entire list of environmental activists that have now been destroyed. Given that the ICO failed to tell MPs that they held this additional blacklist and also failed to mention that they held documents proving that senior police officers attended the secret Consulting Association blacklist meetings, the Blacklist Support Group questions whether the ICO is the correct organisation to be carrying out any further investigations into blacklisting and are calling for a fully independent public inquiry.
Quotes from blacklisted workers:
Quote from Jill Fisher - one of the few female construction workers on the blacklist:
'I was in my early twenties and had just finished my apprenticeship when I worked at the a Royal Opera House. I had virtually nothing to do with the union but was dismissed for no fault of my own. It was the start of the building boom but I found it impossible to get a decent job. In the end it took me years, besides hard work and a lot of money to retrain as an engineer.
I have now found out that my name is on two blacklists which were circulated among the senior HR managers of all the big electrical firms. Is it any wonder I couldn't find a job? These people tried to sabotage my working life and deserve to be punished for their actions.'

Steve Kelly - co-chair of the Blacklist Support Group (BSG) - blacklisted electrician & shop steward on the Jubilee Line Extension:
'How much more do building workers have to suffer? We now hear that there were 3 blacklists in total and many of us are on all of them: this is outrageous!   Blacklisted 3 times; more personal information, more spying, more police collusion, more investigating us and our families. Where will this all end?  Maybe we should sling in the towel and declare ourselves unemployable for the next 20 years til we retire! The damage caused, stress on our families gets worse by the day. Enough is enough, no more pussy footing around, we demand a public inquiry now! We demand jobs on building sites!' 
Steve Acheson - co-chair of the BSG - blacklisted electrician - won an Employment Tribunal because of his unfair dismissal for health and safety reasons on the Pfizers project in Kent:
'Along with 240 other workers, I was sacked and placed on a blacklist for raising health and safety concerns at Pfizers in 2000. The ensuing years my family life was wrecked. Those wretches who conspired against so many thousands of decent workers scandalised our industry with their hypocrisy towards real health and safety and their belated disingenuous apology is merely a means of self preservation. If there be any justice in the world, each and every conspirator should receive a custodial sentence.'  

Further Update on London Anarchist Bookfair & the NAN Stall

LAST Friday we put out the following stop press on this Blog:
'Unfortunately, owing to illness, it may not be possible to open the NAN bookstall at this year's London Anarchist Bookfair. But the current printed issue of NORTHERN VOICES No.14, is still available for sale at all our usual outlets in the North of England and beyond - see below.'  

As things turned out on the day of the Bookfair a loyal supporter of the Northern Anarchist Network (NAN) from South Sheilds, Dave Douglass, a former miner, stepped-in and opened the NAN stall at the London Anarchist Bookfair and was later joined by Barry Woodling from Manchester.  Considering the history of attacks by certain so-called left-wing anarchist political groups on both Northern Voices and NAN publications including the theft of trade union literature last year by members of a specific 'anarchist federation' [AF] this was a noble action by our comrades from the northern regions.  At present the people responsible for the theft of this trade union literature have been condemned by a total of three trade union branches in the north of England and the matter is still ongoing within trade union bodies associated to the TUC.  The people concerned with leading last year's attack have been notified by letter of the consequences of their actions but have so far refused to respond.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Police watchdog says Special Branch colluded in blacklisting!

               Blacklisted worker Frank Morris

We are publishing in full the latest mailing for the Blacklist Support Group.

1. Blacklist Compensation Scheme

No compensation scheme can be signed off without the agreement of blacklisted workers. And our only concern is to get the best possible settlement for blacklisted workers and fight to fully expose the conspiracy. Without our agreement, there will be no deal. And BSG will not agree to anything without fully consulting every blacklisted worker involved with the campaign. Despite announcing the proposals in the press, no-one from the compensation scheme has so far contacted the Blacklist Support Group to discuss the issue but we will be part of the talks soon enough. From the discussions that have taken place, the following items have been raised:
  • Every individual on the blacklist should be compensated regardless of dates or circumstances
  • If a blacklisted worker has died - then their widows or children should be entitled to compensation
  • No gagging clause - we still want a public inquiry
  • A matrix should be used to calculate compensation based upon multiple factors (rather than a schedule of financial loss, which is virtually impossible to calculate over so many years)
  • Guaranteed jobs for blacklisted workers on major projects
This is our starting point. If after negotiations, no deal is good enough, then we will be going back to the High Court.

2. Police Collusion

3. Blacklist debate in parliament today

Glenda Jackson MP managed to secure an adjournment debate and got one and a half hours debate on the floor of the House of Commons. Multiple calls for a public inquiry. Conservative Stephen McPartland MP said he will help set up a cross party group of MPs on the issue.

4. Crossrail Blacklist Victory Party
That's the way to celebrate a victory. Absolute banging night out. People came from as far away as USA, Scotland, Wales, Liverpool, Manchester to have a dance and raise a glass to Frank Morris.

Absolute bloody hero. Great work Frank Morris - thanks for the party

5. Mark Thomas
TV comedian and activist Mark Thomas has just found out he is also on the blacklist. Get that man a Blacklisted T-shirt fast

6.Steve Acheson Appeal Fund - this is to save Steve's home
Please send those donations to Fiddlers FERRY HARDSHIP FUND, C/O Warrington Trades Council, 6 Red Gables, Pepper Street, WA4 4SB. Many thanks.