Lambeth UNISON supports the Palestinian’s right to exist!

Motion adopted at our Branch Committee 18 May 2021

This branch deplores the violence currently taking place in the Middle East, including the bombardment of Gaza by the Israeli Defence Force.

The context within which this violence is taking place is that of the continuing Israeli occupation of Palestine. 

We echo the view expressed by Labour Party Conference 2019 that an internationalist Labour Party has a special responsibility to redress the ongoing injustices against the Palestinian people, denied their right to self-determination during the British Mandate, because of the role Britain played as a colonial power during the 1948 Nakba when Palestinians were forcibly displaced from their homes.

We support the call from Labour Party Conference 2018 for a freeze of UK Government arms sales to Israel; and an immediate unconditional end to the illegal blockade and closure of Gaza.

We endorse the following demands supported by the Trades Union Congress in 2020;

  • respect for all Palestinian rights, including the right to collective self-determination and the right to return
  • an end to the illegal occupation and a halt to further annexation.
  • support for a just, comprehensive and lasting peace that is consistent with international law and based on a two-state solution, which must promote equality and respect for human and labour rights.

We call on the UK government to publicly support the same goals and to recognise the State of Palestine.

‘In addition, we welcome the recognition in the TUC Congress resolution that the Israeli government’s declared intention to annex great swathes of the West Bank would be “another significant step in the creation of a system of apartheid”

In February, Israel’s largest human rights group, B’Tselem, published its report  A regime of Jewish supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea: This is apartheid.

Human Rights Watch, one of the two most important global human rights monitoring bodies, released a report at the end of April that unequivocally declares Israel is guilty of the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution.

Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah are facing imminent forced evictions, which is part of the Israeli’s government’s ongoing plan to ethnically cleanse Palestinians from Jerusalem

UK trade policy and business should ensure Palestinian labour and human rights are protected and respected, and support an end to the occupation.

We further support Keir Starmer’s pledge, made in the Labour leadership election last year to put human rights at the heart of foreign policy and to review all UK arms sales and make us a force for international peace and justice.

We resolve;

  1. To support, and encourage our members to attend, local and national protests in support of a just peace in the Middle East;
  2. Reaffirm our branch’s continuing support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign and circulate information to members encouraging them to support BDS
  1. To send this motion, appropriately reworded, to the Regional Council;
  2. To refer this motion to UNISON Labour Link.

JOB ROLE: Private sector organiser

Lambeth UNISON are recruiting for a temporary private sector organiser for 21 hours a week.

Lambeth UNISON organises many public sector workers at Lambeth Council and at Lambeth College, but we also have members in many private sector work places including care homes, industrial laundries and security services. Our branch is committed to organising our members across these different industries.


The successful candidate will bring their experience and skills to the role and be able to develop and deliver recruitment and organising initiatives and campaigns, train and develop new stewards and undertake case work (representing workers at disciplinaries/grievances, etc).


You will have excellent presentation skills and communication skills, both face-to-face and on paper. A sound understanding of trade unions and their objectives is essential. Our Branch is committed to member led trade unionism, with our activity driven, shaped and controlled by members and activists. Your role will be to work with reps and members in private sector workplaces to build up organisation and member led activity. You do not need to have worked for a trade union before however the Branch would value skills and experience as a rank and file trade union and/or community activist.


You will be required to travel to workplaces across Lambeth and work hours which best allow you to access members


We understand that some candidates may need to slightly reduce or increase hours in order to fit with benefits stipulations. Please feel free to call the Branch Office if you would like to apply but may need to alter hours.


This role will be for an initial three months and then extended depending on assessments.

Pay

£16,000 per annum

How to apply
Please email us a statement that answers the following questions
What relevant experience and skills do you have?
What qualities does a trade union organiser need to have?
What kind of campaigns do you think are pertinent to private sector workers right now?
Email Ruth Cashman at rcashman@lambeth.gov.uk with the subject: Private sector organiser role application

About UNISON
UNISON is the UK’s leading public services trade union, with over 1.3 million members working in the public sector, private, voluntary and community sectors and in the energy services. Lambeth UNISON organises local authority, education and private sector workers across Lambeth.
UNISON is a dynamic, progressive union, committed to equality. We encourage men and women of all ages, Black and minority ethnic groups, disabled people, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to work with us.

Application deadline

4 June 2021 at 5pm

MEETING: Fighting local government cuts

We are bringing together activists across local government unions, community campaigns and the Labour Party to discuss how we can stop local government cuts and defend our communities.

Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP

Sean Fox, UNISON Chair of the National Joint Council Committee

Susan Matthews, Unite Branch Secretary and Executive Council member

Andy Prendergast, GMB Southern Region Lead Officer for Public Services

Duncan Morrison, Lewisham NEU Branch Secretary

Councillor James McAsh

Chaired by Ruth Cashman, Lambeth UNISON

The government must fund local councils properly for the first time in more than a decade in order to keep communities safe and rebuild the country after the pandemic. Unless ministers fix the current funding shortfall – estimated to be in the region of £10bn – there could be tens of thousands of job losses and catastrophic cuts to local services in England, according to the union.

Many of the people providing essential services throughout the pandemic – including social care, waste collection and environmental health workers – could soon be out of work, despite councils having a central role in keeping people safe in the months ahead.

TO REGISTER CLICK HERE https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/fighting-local-government-cuts-tickets-140255023551

Lambeth UNISON AGM – 3 March 2021

Lambeth UNISON AGM is being held online on 3 March 2021

The purpose of the AGM is to bring the branch committee and its officers to account:

  • to report on the branch’s finances;
  • to report on the branch’s activity during the past year;
  • to receive a report on the annual assessment.
     
    It is also to make decisions for Lambeth UNISON in 2021:
  • agree policies and plans for the year;
  • to elect branch officers and branch representatives to external bodies for the coming year
  • Elect conference delegates for Local Government Conference and National Delegate Conference
     
    This year there will be one AGM for all members and not a rolling AGM as we have had in previous years.
     

Do you want to write a motion for the AGM?

Motions at our AGM become branch policy and help guide us in campaigns we will run over the next 12 months.

For instance, we passed a motion at our 2019 AGM in support of school climate strikers and then we organised a delegation to go to their protest in central London in September. We passed a motion supporting the return of a Direct Labour Organisation (DLO) at the Council and we argued for it with senior managers, one is now being created.
Motions should be no more than 250 words (not including the title) and in numbered paragraphs
      .
Email motions to rcashman@lambeth.gov.uk copying in shannah@Lambeth.gov.uk

Do you want to stand for an elected officer position?

Nominations are now open for officer posts on our branch committee

Lambeth UNISON is run by a branch committee, made up of officers elected at AGM, convenors elected by members in each directorate of the council, and stewards elected by members in teams/workplaces.  The branch committee meets monthly and is the leadership of the branch. For an overview of the different roles and their responsibilities, please check out (https://www.unison.org.uk/about/our-organisation/activists/branch-roles/)

All officer posts are open for nominations. For information on how to nominate please read below.

Branch Secretary                In charge of day to day running of the branch, overall strategy, campaigns, etc (5 days facility agreed)
Assistant Branch Secretary     Currently three roles for overseeing policy, casework and campaigns
Branch Chair                        The branch chair facilitates branch and committee meetings, and may also be a senior negotiator.
Branch Vice Chair               Chairs meetings when the branch chair is unavailable
Branch Treasurer                 Responsible for finances in collaboration with the secretary
Deputy Branch Treasurer   Assists the branch treasurer
Publicity Officer                    Helps produce newsletters, manage social media accounts, press releases and so on.
Membership Officer             Assists with recruitment and retention, managing our membership database.
Health and Safety Officer##  Watch that badly fixed light! Is work making you stressed? Health and safety is the name of the game.
Environmental Officer         Helps keep the branch up to date on green issues and develops campaigns and policy (will be a very important role in years to come!)
Equality Officer                    Is responsible for equalities issues, assisting self-organised groups and being a union lead on equalities at work
International Officer            Keeps an eye on the news, is informed about international issues and feeds campaign ideas into the branch (e.g. anti-fascism in Brazil, solidarity with trade unionists in Colombia, anti-war campaigning in the Middle East)
Welfare Officer                     The lead person for assisting members with any welfare issues and providing access to UNISON’s welfare fund.
Learning Co-ordinator#      Works with employers and co-ordinates the work of union learning reps in supporting members with lifelong learning and skills for life
Education Officer                 Helps arrange training courses and education programmes for members, stewards, health and safety reps and branch officers.
Returning Officer                 Oversees elections for the AGM and any by elections that may be held for officer posts or convenor roles.
Branch Auditor                     Checks over our finances and ensures we have complied with UNISON regulations.
Deputy Branch Auditor       Helps the branch auditor carry out their duties
Young Members Officer**  Coordinates campaigning and organising work among younger members – are you under 27 and interested?
Labour Link Officer++         A crucial role in liaising with local Labour Parties and coordinating delegates from UNISON to Labour to advocate for our unions agenda.
** must be under 27 at end of their term of office (early 2022)  
++must be a Labour Party member who pays into the Affiliated Political Fund
# must be a trained ULR        (training provided)
## must be a trained safety rep (training provided)

All posts are open to job share 


To apply please email your name, membership number, employer and which role you are interested in standing for to JABlake@Lambeth.gov.uk copying in PDFitzgerald@lambeth.gov.uk. You will also need to find another member to second your nomination.

More details can be found on lambeth-unison.org or call Lambeth UNISON at 020 7926 2858 for more details or to answer any questions

Time Table for AGM

Monday 14 December 5pmDeadline for nomination of Branch Officers, Conference and other delegates
Monday 11 January 5pmDeadline for AGM Motions
Tuesday 12 JanuaryCirculation of motions and nominations received for AGM and reminder of dates
Monday 18 January 5pmCopy Deadline for Annual Report
Week 18-22 JanuaryLayout and printing of Annual Report
Monday 25 JanuaryCirculation of Annual Report (electronic)
Monday 8 February 5pmDeadline for amendments to motions for AGM
Monday 15 February 5pmDeadline for nominations for stewards
Tuesday 16 FebruaryFebruary Branch Committee – compositing of motions and amendments for AGM
Week of Monday 22 FebruaryElections for shop stewards etc. if required
Friday 26 FebruaryDeadline for Emergency Motions to AGM (motions will be accepted on issues after this date, contact branch secretaries for details)
Monday 1 MarchCopying of papers for AGM
Wednesday 3 MarchLambeth UNISON AGM

Lambeth UNISON update

Eamon Maguire, Lambeth UNISON Housing Convenor, Memorial Friday 20 November 11am-12noon

The memorial for Eamon Maguire is booked for Friday 20 November from 11-12noon. Council staff have time off agreed., subject to the needs of the service, so please tell your manager you would like to attend.

Eamon was an actor, a musician, a brilliant story teller, a historian, an officer of Lambeth Council, a convenor for UNISON and so much more. He will be terribly missed by his family and friends.

Due to COVID restrictions it is not possible to have the service in person so we will be holding it over MS Teams. You can download the app and use that or you can click on the link and join through your browser.

If you would like any remembrance to be read out or any photos of Eamon then please email them to shannah@lambeth.gov.uk. We will also be raising a collection in his memory.

Join on your computer or mobile app

Get in touch at shannah@lambeth.gov.uk for the link

Care4Calais winter appeal

From Tim O’Dell (Libraries)


Support Stand Up To Racism Care4Calais Winter Appeal 
For the last 5 years, the SUTR appeal has been critical to getting refugees through the cold winter months. This year we need your support more than ever.


Hundreds of refugees remain trapped at the border in Calais, Dunkirk and Belgium. There have been police raids on their settlements year-round, with harsh evictions taking place almost every day in the autumn. Tents have been taken or destroyed. Places where they slept have been fenced off. A cruel food ban also came into force in Calais which stopped volunteers from giving out meals in key streets.
Refugees have been forced to use dangerous routes at the hands of ruthless smugglers to get to Britain and make the asylum claims to which they are legally entitled. At least 6 people died at sea this year.
Those who get to the UK are treated no better. At least four asylum-seekers died in UK accommodation this year. The government also started using military barracks to house refugees, with reports describing the barracks in Kent as cramped and unsanitary.
The Home Office has tried deporting as many vulnerable refugees as it can in charter flights to other countries. There, people are left homeless with no access to help. Lawyers have been doing good work to stop many of these deportations, but they face repeated public attacks from the government.
Winter has come and the refugees once again face months in cold, rain and snow with no permanent shelter. This is the hostile environment governments want to create.
Don’t let the refugees freeze this winter. Your donations help Care4Calais supply tents, tarps, sleeping bags and blankets, as well as boots and warm clothing. They can pay for hot drinks and the daily services refugees need to survive, as well as support them once they get to the UK.
Financial donations are most useful. These mean Care4Calais can buy the supplies they need, when they need them. They also keep the vehicles on the road for distributions and keep the warehouse running.
DONATE
Download Winter Appeal Collection sheet:
winter-appeal-for-refugees-2020DOWNLOAD
Support Coats4Calaishere

Transgender awareness day – 20 November

Every year on 20th November the lives of trans and gender-diverse people reported murdered in the last 12 months are remembered.

In the past 12 months, at least 369 trans and gender-diverse people were reported killed globally, migrants and sex workers make up the majority of victims. It is important that these lives are remembered and celebrated.

A trade union organises workers regardless of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or disability because we believe that workers have more in common than divides them and our power comes from our collective strength.

For more please visit https://www.unison.org.uk/health-news/2019/10/transgender-day-remembrance-20-november/

What it means to be Black in Lambeth

Before me, my older sister worked in Lambeth and because of her I spent a great deal of time around Lambeth and Lambeth staff. Evenings of Black and white staff together – from the cleaners to directors – all with one thing in common, they were all Lambeth. I loved it and knew I was Lambeth at heart. I pursued every possibility of employment in the Borough. In October 2002 to my absolute delight I got a job in Central Rehousing Services. I now realise that I had unfortunately arrived at the tail end of an era of positive change for Black staff in Lambeth. Soon the Council entered a state of permanent restructuring and the unwilling exodus of many senior Black managers and many white colleagues who were no longer seen as fitting new Lambeth.

For the first few years I thoroughly enjoyed my employment and felt that I was able to positively contribute to effecting change for Lambeth residents. However, as the Council changed so too did my working life and my resolve to do what was necessary to challenge the devastating effects of restructures. The main purpose of many restructures seemed to be the removal of large numbers of staff, primarily Black staff.  In anger at the destruction of services to tenants and the loss of increasing numbers of respected colleagues, I became a Unison shop steward.

As members of staff we are able to identify inequality and injustice in our workplaces however, as a shop steward these are magnified because of representing numerous cases of staff subjected to unjust and unequal treatment. Only then did I recognise scale of the problems facing the Borough that I had longed to work for. It was also at this point that I started facing personal consequences for challenging institutional racism. Until 2007 my employment had been without blemish, even receiving an award at a staff conference. But following a contentious restructure which required forthright action to redress inequality, I found myself subject to the full force of the organisation’s wrath. I faced several years of continuous disciplinary action, including criminal prosecution on faked evidence. With resilience and a commitment to outlast those responsible, I am still here in Lambeth and they are gone. I recommend this course of action to all staff when faced with adversity!

As the daughter one of the first civil rights leaders in the United Kingdom I am only too aware of the way institutional racism works. For instance, my father, Michael X was directly responsible helping to bring about the very first race equality legislation but was ironically the first to be imprisoned under this legislation. This would mark the beginning of a long and concerted effort by the State to vilify and penalise Michael X for challenging the outright, violent racist attacks faced by the Windrush generation.

Ultimately, even after leaving the UK to escape State sponsored hate, the consequences of race hate followed, and Michael X was executed in Trinidad with the support and assistance of the British Privy Council.  But this was not the end. The State had not yet completed what it had set out to do. Information relating to a Black Civil Rights movement in the UK is notable only by its absence. The State erased our history and our children do not know and are not taught the history of their proud past and those who, along with Michael X, fought so we could have better lives.

My background prepared me for adversity and gave me an advantage – resilience and a profound understanding of how the system works to destabilise Black progression, while giving a false impression of cooperating in the fight for equality. I am also committed to ensuring that our history and presence in Lambeth is carved in stone.

I, along with my amazing UNISON colleagues have fought for the rights and continued presence of Black staff in Lambeth. We are not a minority! We are many and they are few, and though we struggle for equality Lambeth Black staff have demonstrated our power! That fighting spirit that kept our rebellious ancestors going for hundreds of years, courses through our veins!

To be Black in Lambeth means being alert to the possibility of recrimination for raising concerns generally, worse if our concerns relate to issues of race discrimination.

But together we know our collective POWER and are not afraid to assert it

To be Black in Lambeth means sitting in offices that are sometimes segregated along racial lines.

Yet our shared history in Lambeth is marked by our standing together at demonstrations and strike action for collective rights of ALL workers

To be Black in Lambeth means our white colleagues can work from home or Starbucks without having to plead and bargain for this right, as we have had to.

Through our lasting friendships we support each other emotionally and even financially in times of hardship

To be Black in Lambeth means being micromanaged so that even the time for toilet breaks are be monitored.

We won’t be worn down! Outside work we party together, attend weddings, special events and funerals of our colleagues, who are also friends

To be Black in Lambeth means knowing that the young white man who has arrived as an administrative officer will soon be our boss.

Yet we continue to hold Lambeth dear to our hearts and are committed to fighting for a better Lambeth. Our Lambeth that once saw better days and will again.

Solidarity with all those facing racist violence

BLACK LIVES MATTER. JUSTICE FOR GEORGE FLOYD
On Friday 11th September there will be a court hearing for the four officers charged with the murder of George Floyd.
Join Stand Up to Racism Southwark and Lambeth to stand in solidarity with all those demanding justice for George Floyd and the end to racist policing in the US and here in the UK.
In the UK, we demand the end of Stop and Search under Section 60, which is disproportionately used against black people.
There will be socially distanced protest with speakers followed by a Take the Knee.
WHERE: Outside the U.S. Embassy, Nine Elms SW11 7US
WHEN: Friday 11th September, 6pm
Petition to stop Section 60
Section 60 (S60) Gives Police the right to search people when they ‘believe’ them to be ‘potentially dangerous.’ Section 60 has been both overused and misused and is used to harass Black & Ethnic Minority people across the UK.
Official statistics show that Section 60 powers are disproportionately used against black people. A black person is 47 times more likely to be stopped and searched than a white person.
Section 60 searches have increased in the capital from 1,836 in 2017-18 to 9,599 in 2018-19
This is a fundamentally flawed law that discriminates against Black and Ethnic Minority People and must be scrapped
Stand up to Racism South London are campaigning to prohibit Section 60, suspicion-less stop and search. Lambeth and Southwark council report some of highest figures for stop and search in London and must be made accountable.
Neither the massive growth in section 60 searches nor the disproportionate focus on people from black and minority groups can be justified as an objective response to violent crime.

Solidarity with Tower Hamlets workers!

Tower Hamlets Council – which is a Labour run authority – is planning to ‘sack and re-engage’ its entire workforce in order to force them to accept worse terms and conditions.

‘Sack and re-engage’ is what Asda did to its workforce before Christmas. British Airways is doing it to its worekrs now. It is shocking to see a Labour run council deploy the same tactic.

The new plan, called Tower Rewards, includes:

– Out of hours pay is reduced
– Severance pay has been slashed
– Reduces the Flexi scheme
– Worsens pay for some grades
– Staff being asked to work anywhere in the borough with little notice whilst travel allowances are being cut.

There is an online rally being organised by Tower Hamlets UNISON on Friday 3 July at 11am – register online here https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/friday-3rd-monday-6th-tower-rewards-strike-virtual-picket-and-rally-tickets-110797373928
We will stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Tower Hamlets UNISON and other unions resisting this awful attack on their working conditions.