Save Union Learning!

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The government has decided to scrap Union Learning Fund from March 2021. In 2019–20, the ULF was worth £12m. It supported more than 200,000 learners in workplaces across England – both union members and non-members.

This decision will effectively end union-brokered skills training and will undermine key government skills and retraining priorities at a crucial moment for our economy. UNISON and her sister unions believe this decision is counterproductive and must be reversed.  

Please sign the petition to stop the government attack on our education.

https://covunisonlearning.wordpress.com/

Solidarity Message sent to Tower Hamlets UNISON this week

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Dear Tower Hamlets UNISON

We are writing on behalf of Coventry City UNISON branch to express our support and solidarity for your campaign against the imposition of Tower Rewards. It is an outrage that you are having to take industrial action to fight against this, when public sector workers have given so much to keep services going during the Covid-19 crisis.

It is even worse when you consider that this is a Labour council carrying out these attacks – we would like to see all Labour public representatives up and down the country, whether MPs, MEPs or Cllrs to publicly express their solidarity with Tower Hamlets UNISON members and to help the union defeat these plans.

We will publicise your campaign amongst our members to ensure they are kept up to date as no doubt other branches will be facing similar attacks in the future.

Black Lives Matter

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UNISON is proud to support and to have, in a small way, assisted the Black Lives Matter movement here in Coventry. 

The horrific death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the reality of police brutality in both the US and UK and the continued hostility of some politicians, the far-right and sections of the media have demonstrated that the scourge of racism remains deeply engrained in our society and that a lot remains to be achieved. 

UNISON has supported, participated in, and spoken at the inspiring protests here Coventry. We stand in solidarity with them. We are keenly aware that black people have been disproportionately hit by COVID-19.

Locally we have witnessed the death of Darren Cumberbatch who died after police restrained him. As reported by the Coventry Telegraph ‘An inquest jury ruled last June that the actions of police officers – including baton strikes, other physical strikes, multiple punches, stamps, tasers, and handcuffs – were a contributing factor to his death’, yet only last week, a whole year later, did any review findings get released. 

We believe that there should be no complacency. It is great that Coventry City Council has made some strong statements in support of Black Lives Matter and that Council staff have been invited to include a positive statement on email signatures for example. Yet huge issues must be addressed. It is still too often the case that colleagues who are not white British origin end up in the lower-paid and/or temporary jobs, miss out on promotion, and are the first to be selected for redundancy or redeployment. This is institutional racism. It has not been resolved. It must stop. 

In our Trade Unions, too few non-white British origin people are stewards or officers, many do not join in the first place and many fundamental issues are yet to be addressed. This can and must change. In the US trade unionists organised solidarity with protests and built the mass campaign for Black Lives Matter. The fight against racism is a fight for every trade union activist and member, not a select few. 

Equality is a high priority in our negotiating and campaigning work. People have the right to be treated with dignity and respect at work, to do their job to the best of their ability, free from discrimination and harassment.

In these challenging times for all, we can take inspiration and hope from the growth of a new generation of anti-racist fighters who are now demanding action, not words or more enquiries.

As trade unionists, we also believe that a fight against racism will create more energy and enthusiasm for a fight against attempts to cut jobs and services to pay for the post COVID-19 economic crisis. Racism in our society comes from the top. Just look at the grim track record of Boris Johnson. Racism is engrained deeply in a history of rapacious greed by those who seek to govern us. We can unite to build solidarity between black and white people and build a better future for us all.

#BlacklivesMatter #JusticeforGeorgeFloyd

For more info on local campaigns visit Stand up to Racism Coventry on Facebook

SUTR Coventry Facebook

See the Coventry City UNISON statement on our website Statement

Coventry City UNISON statement – #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd

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Like millions of people around the world, we have looked on with revulsion and anger at the brutal racist murder of 46 year old George Floyd in Minneapolis, USA.

His last words of ‘I Can’t Breathe’ are not only heart-breaking but reminiscent of previous acts of murder and violence against black people in the US.

We condemn the actions of President Donald Trump in mobilising the National Guard against protestors and stand in defence of the democratic rights of ordinary Americans to protest peacefully and hold demonstrations. 

In this situation we send our solidarity and support to union members in the United States who are standing in solidarity with protestors and against police violence.

Minneapolis has a proud union and history and Members of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1005 representing bus drivers have refused to transport police officers to the demonstration in an act of incredible solidarity.

As one bus driver and trade unionist commented

“As a transit worker and union member I refuse to transport my class and radical youth to jail. An injury to one is an injury to all. The police murdered George Floyd and the protest against it is completely justified and should continue until their demands are met.”

Another example are tech workers at Facebook who have taken action against what they see as inaction by Mark Zuckerburg regarding inflammatory posts being published on the platform. 

Racism is an everyday reality for many Americans. There are have been already over 100,000 Covid-19 deaths in the US and over 40 million are claiming unemployment benefit. The scourge of racism, extreme exploitation and economic injustice go hand in hand in the richest country in the world.

There have already been protests here in the UK, and we stand in solidarity with them. BAME people have been disproportionately hit by Covid-19 and locally we have seen the death of Darren Cumberbatch who died after police restrained him. 

Coventry City UNISON are committed to showing solidarity against racism and all forms of division. 

Solidarity to protests around the world. An injury to one, is an injury to all. 

#JusticeforGeorgeFloyd

Climate change – an open letter to Cllr George Duggins, Leader, Coventry City Council

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Dear Councillor Duggins,

Climate change – An Open Letter

UNISON is writing to you to ask for your support for the Global Climate Action taking place on Friday 20th September.

Around the world people are committing to take action against climate change and in support of a sustainable future, popularised by Greta Thunberg.

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) recently passed a motion supporting a 30 minute protest and locally unions are organising for this to happen. 

UNISON, with other unions, are calling for members to gather at 12.30 in Broadgate and we would urge the Council to help publicise this and to join the Global Day of Action, and make it clear staff are being encouraged to attend and to ensure attendance is facilitated by managers, subject to service needs. We would also encourage you to consider ‘sounding the alarm’ in Council Buildings at some point on Friday morning, to remind people of the protest and raise awareness of the situation facing the climate.

UNISON would also ask, on behalf of young people who may wish to join in the demonstrations, that the council work pro-actively with schools to allow students to show their concerns about their future without fear of reprisal.

UNISON looks forward to your response and would be happy to meet discuss this email.

Yours Sincerely

Sarah

Sarah Feeney

Branch Secretary

UNISON Coventry City Branch

PRESS RELEASE – Coventry Trade Unions build support for 20 September Climate Day of Action

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Actions against Climate Change have escalated across the world, including the huge international movement of students, led by Greta Thunberg, which have led the way.  Trade unions across Coventry have pledged to support and join the protests planned in Coventry on Friday September 20th,  at the start of a week-long Climate Action Week. 

The UK government has a target of net zero carbon emissions by the year 2050 but is not expected to reach that target. It is right that this massive global crisis has been met by protests and strikes of school students, young people and many others around the planet. These demonstrations have shown the anger that exists and the desire for action and change.

Coventry TUC, with Coventry City UNISON, will be coordinating trade union support on the day. Unions will be urging members to show solidarity with local environmental activist organisations such as Coventry Extinction Rebellion and Coventry Climate Action Network (CAN) as well as organising their own protests in their workplaces or, where they can, join the activities in the City Centre.

The recent TUC Congress, representing over 6 million workers across the UK, voted to support a 30-minute protest to coincide with the 20 September activities. In support of this it was agreed that local unions will call on members to gather in Broadgate at 12.30pm on the Friday September 20th to join with climate activists and demonstrate their support for urgent action on Climate Change 

Jane Nellist, President of Coventry TUC said:

“The future of our planet is at risk. The evidence is clear – since 1988 just 100 companies have been responsible for 71% of all emissions internationally. Governments must act to change that. The planet is more important than profits for the rich!

To stop climate change, we urgently need a society run in the interests of people and the environment. 

We wholeheartedly support the campaigns to achieve this and urge all trade union members and communities to participate in whatever way they can.”

Chris Burrow, for Coventry City UNISON, one of the unions initiating the support, said: 

Every Coventry Worker needs Trade unions to fight the huge threat caused by climate change.

In local workplaces this summer the effects of climate change have been widely felt by Coventry workers. Despite the increase in heatwaves we still have no maximum workplace temperature. 

All workers, whether office based or outdoors, have the right to work in decent and safe conditions whatever the weather. Workplaces should have safe temperatures for work, and protection available against extremes of weather.  

Climate Change is a workplace issue in Coventry as well as a global issue everywhere that stems from a profit driven economic system. That is why we are making this one of our very highest campaign priorities’.

ENDS

Global environmental crisis and 20th September protests – Coventry City Motion passed on August 15th

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Global environmental crisis and 20th September protests

Motion passed at Coventry City UNISON August branch committee

This branch notes

The existence of a global environmental crisis. Extremes in weather are increasing. The 10 hottest years on record in this country have taken place since 2003 and reflects the process of global warming.

The UK government has a target of net zero carbon emissions by the year 2050 but is not expected to reach that target. The global crisis has been met by protests and strikes of school students and young people around the planet.

Popularised by Greta Thunberg, these demonstrations have shown the anger that exists for the future of the planet and the desire for action and change. A Global Strike has been called for 20th September.

The branch further notes

That climate change is a workplace issue. The recent heatwave exposed once again the lack of a maximum workplace temperature. All workers, whether office based or outdoors, have the right to work in decent and safe conditions whatever the weather. Workplaces should have safe temperatures for work, and protection available against extremes of weather.

The branch believes

That climate change is caused by a profit driven economic system – capitalism. Under this system profit will always come first, before the needs of the planet, and ordinary people around the world.

This branch resolves

  • To support and take part in protests on 20th September and to contact other trade unions in the city, school student groups etc to co-ordinate and to organise lunch time protests where we have members.
  • To encourage and facilitate discussion amongst our membership about how the climate crisis can be stopped as well as calling on Coventry City Council @coventrycc to declare a Climate Emergency.
  • To support changes to the law regarding a maximum workplace temperature, and to build up our union organisation in the workplaces by encouraging more Health and Safety reps to ensure that all workers are carrying out their duties in safe conditions.
  • To forward this to other bodies of our union and the wider labour movement as appropriate, as well as public communications.