• Hands off our holidays: Don’t let Boris and Gove scrap our working time rights
    The PM needs to face down a ministerial plot to scrap the Working Time Directive in the UK, or millions of workers could lose their paid holidays, or face even longer working weeks. No-one voted for Brexit to lose out on holidays, or to hand power over to bad bosses. The Sunday Times and Sun have reported plans by ministers – including Michael Gove and Boris Johnson – to scrap the Working Time Directive after Brexit. That law underpins our rights to reasonable hours, breaks and holidays. It’s long been a target of the hard right, who want to give bosses even more power over workers. Losing the protections of the directive means 7 million workers could lose rights to paid holidays (4.7 million of them women, and many on zero-hours or part-time contracts). Even more could be forced by bosses to work more than 48 hours a week. Others could lose guaranteed lunch and rest breaks. We had holiday rights before the EU, but not to the same levels - the Working Time Directive gave nearly five million women paid holidays for the first time. This is a straight-up attack on our rights at work. The Prime Minister promised that our working rights would be protected after Brexit. Now is the time for her to keep her word, not give in to hard-Brexit extremists in her own cabinet. If she won’t stick to her promises now, millions will find work less worker-friendly after Brexit. And it’ll open the floodgates for the hard-brexiteers to cut back even more of our employment rights as they seek to make Britain a low regulation tax haven.
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    Created by TUC Campaigns Picture
  • Campaign against school cuts
    The Institute for Fiscal Studies has shown that new spending proposals will still mean real-terms cuts to per pupil funding of 4.6 per cent between 2015 and 2020. This means that with the best will in the world, the new National Funding Formula is unable to deliver a fair, equitable and transparent funding system that both protects per pupil funding for all schools while provided significant uplift for those schools in historically under-funded areas. We are calling on the Secretary of State for Education and the Chancellor of the Exchequer to: • Immediately reverse cuts to school budgets that have taken place since 2015 • Protect per pupil funding in real terms over the lifetime of this parliament • Provide the additional funding needed to implement a school funding formula that increases funding for schools in comparatively poorly funded areas of England without cutting funding per pupil for schools in any other part of the country, so that no school loses out.
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  • Parliament must clean up its act - recognise Unite, the union for MPs' and Peers' staff
    Harassment and bullying, including sexual harassment, makes the lives of workers a misery. Staff working for our legislators have a right to dignity at work too, and Parliament must send a clear signal that it will clean up its act. Unions help make workplaces safe and put power in the hands of staff. Recognising Unite will give staff a powerful voice who will fight for them. Recently, the Prime Minister met with Unite’s parliamentary and constituency branch. Now she, and all party leaders must call on IPSA to recognise the union of hundreds of staff working for our MPs and Peers. Max Freedman, chair of Unite’s parliamentary and constituency branch said: “The Prime Minister has agreed to consider the branch’s call for formal union recognition. Unite has emphasised the need for the voice of staff to be amplified in the discussion of new processes and in eliminating the culture of bullying and harassment.” Parliament cannot set itself apart from other workplaces. It must provide a safe working environment for employees. It’s time to recognise Unite.
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  • Pay the Real Living Wage!
    The Real Living Wage (RLW) is defined by The Methodist Church as: “the minimum hourly wage necessary for one person’s basic needs (such as food, clothing, utilities, transport, health care, and recreation) for an extended period of time, assuming that person works 40 hours a week and has no additional income.” The RLW is presently £8.75/hr. We note that MHA employs 6,500 staff and made an operating surplus of £7.3 million in 2016. We demand that MHA pay at least the RLW to all staff and seek RLW Accreditation. If you are a member of the Greater Manchester Methodist Synod and wish to share your position and the church you represent then please do post this in the comments!
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  • End long-hours culture in UK Film & TV Industries
    Long-hours culture in film and tv bad for business, it affects safety and workers’ health and wellbeing. BECTU is launching a detailed report, based on research among workers in the UK film and TV industry making the case about how the long-hours culture in this industry is damaging productivity and driving valuable skills out of a very important part of the UK economy. By calling on industry bodies to work with the union and it’s members on this issue, we can build a stronger, healthier entertainment industry together. “It's become standard practice and this obsessive culture of if you aren't putting in the hours, you aren't working hard enough. It's stupid and reckless and it's killing people. I do not wish for this to be standard practice.”
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  • All working mums and dads should get the same parents’ rights from day one
    Mums and dads in insecure work (agency work, zero hours contracts etc.) are not entitled to the full range of employment rights that help working parents, such as the right to time off for dependants, the right to unpaid parental leave and the right to request flexible work. In the UK, the range of different rights to which individuals are entitled varies substantially depending on whether they qualify as an “employee”, a “worker” or as “self-employed”. This means an agency worker mum who works alongside a mum on a permanent “employee” contract might not be entitled to the same rights, even though they are both parents! Many of these rights also require an individual to be have been working for their employer for a six month or year period before they can qualify to use the right. Mums and dads in insecure employment are more likely to change jobs regularly, creating another hurdle for them to overcome before they can quality to use their employment rights. Almost half of young mums and dads are struggling to juggle work and childcare. Young dads also face particular challenges as they want more time to spend with their families, but too many workplaces are stuck in the past. Over the last few decades, we’ve seen improvements in the employment rights of working parents. But there’s still a long way to go. A good starting point is that all mums and dads, including zero-hours contracts workers, agency workers and those in casual work, should benefit from the same decent floor of rights currently enjoyed by employees. Too many workplaces still expect parents to forget about their kids as soon as they walk in the door. But working together, we can change that.
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  • Protect Greenwich Dance
    Greenwich Dance plays a vital role in the dance ecology of this country, and the decision of Arts Council England directly affects their capacity to continue operating in the future. This has a massive ramification for the professional freelance independent dance community based in London and beyond. This statement has been initiated by a body of freelance artists acting independently of Greenwich Dance as an organisation. We seek to strengthen Greenwich Dance’s case when applying for alternative funding streams and aim to lobby for their future support as the organisation which is best placed to provide much needed critical support for the independent dance sector in England. A large portion of Greenwich Dance’s focus is on creating quality dance engagements for the local community and for non-professional dancers; however this statement focuses on their artist development support and provision for the continued enabling of professional dance work. Greenwich Dance provide a range of tailored support and employment for a diverse body of artists, from recent graduates to established artists and dance companies including performers, teachers, producers, technicians, accompanists/musicians, mentors, facilitators, dance companies and choreographers. The shape of this support includes affordable professional classes (with live music), subsidised studio and office space, set and equipment storage, meeting rooms, teaching work, performance opportunities, associate artist relationships, work-in-progress sharings, feedback and post show discourse, assistance with applications, technical support, marketing advice and advocacy. Consequently, the artists they engage are enabled to realise a range of projects, training, practices, research and touring productions, in London, nationally and internationally. Greenwich Dance identify early potential and demonstrate a commitment to continued support, as a result they have kick-started the careers of many of our most celebrated dance artists and this work contributes significantly to the artistic and economic value of the arts sector. Greenwich Dance fundamentally understand that effective artist support is more than a set of easily quantifiable structures or visible schemes. Instead they give importance to working with artists in a responsive and bespoke way which enables a wealth of dynamic, long-lasting and often pioneering relationships. They have spent 25 years developing a culture within the organisation that understands the strength and value of attending to the ‘how’ of its many artist centric operations. It is the open door, the welcome, the listening, the quality of feedback and the personal human-scale nature of the place which has enabled incredible work to be fostered and makes many of us consider it a home for our respective practices. Greenwich Dance’s professional classes for contemporary dance artists encompass the broad range of current practices and approaches that are being engaged in across the dance scene at any given time. The breadth of those classes means that Greenwich Dance is the studio of choice for many of the contemporary dancers and teachers who are based in or visiting London. The ability of dance artists to live, train and work in London is already pushed to breaking point and the opportunities for surviving as an artist in the city are increasingly reduced to those with the ability to self-subsidise the work they do. Taking away the support that Greenwich Dance provide is like putting up yet another obstacle for people from low income backgrounds to succeed in our industry. The cut to Greenwich Dance’s funding to help independent artists in London and the recent Arts Council devolution of funds towards the regions, appears to be an encouragement for the workforce to leave the city. However this is unsustainable for dancers to manage without continued professional classes outside the capital and without any onus on dance organisations in these areas to provide them. London continues to provide the majority of employment, and unless better opportunities are created for the independent sector outside the city, dancers will be reluctant to move. While we appreciate that an increased level of financial support directly to dance companies will help sustain their practices, we are concerned that the needs and value of the independent sector have been overlooked. Furthermore, both dance companies and independent artists need an organisation like Greenwich Dance to co-ordinate, advise, advocate and partner on projects. Removing funding from Greenwich Dance leaves an unbalanced ecology. Greenwich Dance applied for an incredibly small amount of funding when viewed against the other NPO’s, yet the potential impact and breadth of their investment, through the hundreds of artists they engage cannot be overestimated. The funding cut you have made is a deep wound currently felt by the entire professional freelance independent dance community and evidence that you value their contribution to the dance industry is desperately sought. We hope this statement brings greater clarity to the essential role that Greenwich Dance plays in this equation and makes visible the number of people who are impacted by decisions about its future. Photo credit Chris Nash.
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  • Theresa May: Stop cutting public servants' pay
    I'm a firefighter, based in Plymouth. Like my colleagues and everyone who works in the public sector, the government has been actively holding down my pay for 7 years. That's 7 years in which our pay has risen by less than inflation - or not risen at all. But prices haven't stopped rising in that time, and inflation means my wages are worth over £2,000 less than they were when the coalition government started in 2010. The General Election sent a very clear message to Theresa May that voters are concerned about the future of our public services and the value that we place on staff delivering those services. A recent poll showed more than three quarters of voters support a public sector pay rise, even if it means paying higher taxes (including 68% of Mrs May's own Conservative voters). We work hard in the Fire Service and we care deeply about the job we do, helping keep people safe. It's an ethos shared by teachers, hospital staff, council workers, and the millions of others who make our public services work. It's why we went into public service in the first place. But as year on year of pay cuts bite, more and more people are leaving public service. From hospitals, to schools and prisons, we're increasingly finding it hard to recruit and retain staff. I believe all public servants deserve more than another five years of pay cuts. We know the public support us. We're calling on Mrs May to show leadership and stop this unfair policy now.
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    Created by Mark Hunt, Firefighter Picture
  • Keep Uber’s drivers and passengers safe
    Last year GMB won a landmark employment tribunal against Uber, which ruled that its drivers were not self-employed contractors but employed workers - and were therefore entitled to the national minimum wage, sickness and holiday pay. This important case has major implications for more than 30,000 drivers across England and Wales. Many of our drivers are working long hours for less than national minimum wage in order to try and make ends meet. Drivers working excessive hours is bad for drivers, bad for passengers and bad for Londoners. Uber refuses to accept they're an employer and has appealed. That means they still refuse to pay their drivers a living wage, give paid rest breaks or abide by laws that limit the number of hours they work. It's wrong for Uber not to live up to its responsibilities, and none of us wants worn-out drivers on our roads. Transport for London (TfL) is in charge of renewing Uber’s 5 year license to operate in London, and they're going to make a decision on it this summer. Today, GMB, the union for Uber drivers, has called on TfL not to renew the license unless Uber guarantee safe working practices and basic employment rights. Together we can remind TfL of their obligations to all Londoners and not just to Uber's powerful lobbyists. Sign the petition to tell TfL to keep Uber drivers and passengers safe.
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  • Give VFX professionals proper credit on the movies they help create
    Imagine the Planet of the Apes without the apes, the Jungle Book with no jungle, or Transformers that don't transform? Visual effects artists bring our favourite movies to life. For too long now, the film studios have been short-changing visual effects artists and facilities when it comes to recognising and recording the VFX artistry. Again and again, the big studios have refused to credit all of the people working on VFX for their films. Talented professionals go uncredited even though they may end up working for months or even years on these stunning and profitable films. Often, less than half of the people who worked on the visual effects will get a mention in the credits - even on many VFX-led blockbusters. In this modern digital era of filmmaking, ensuring that everyone in vfx gets credited adds virtually nothing to the overall budget. BECTU, the union for everyone working in visual effects is pushing for credit rights to be a mandatory part of new contracts. Sign this petition and tell: - Jim Gianopulos - Chair and CEO of Paramount Pictures, - Anthony Vinciquerra - Chair and CEO of Sony Pictures, - Donna Langley - Chair of Universal Pictures, - Sean Bailey - President of Motion Picture Production, Walt Disney Pictures, - Kevin Tsujihara - Chair and CEO, Warner Bros. Pictures - Stacey Snider - Chair and CEO of 20th Century Fox It's time for the big movie studios to give credit where credit's due and respect VFX artists.
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  • Local News Matters: address the local media crisis
    Quality journalism is at the heart of a healthy democracy. It helps to keep people informed, combat fake news, hold those in power to account and promotes community engagement. Yet the local media industry is in crisis today. More than 300 local newspapers have been closed in the past decade and more than half of all parliamentary constituencies do not have a dedicated daily local newspaper. Most local newspapers are owned by big business. Four companies - Trinity Mirror, Johnston Press, Newsquest and Tindle Newspapers - own nearly three-quarters of all local newspapers. This market domination has allowed these companies to generate profits and offer executives bumper pay packets while cutting journalists’ jobs and freezing wages. The BBC has also been slashing budgets, axing jobs and drawing up plans to shut local BBC offices while at the same time using £8m per year of licence-fee payers' money to prop up private media companies. This situation can't carry on. Local communities deserve better. Now is the time to take action and demand that the government launches a public inquiry to examine the local media crisis. We need investment in quality local journalism and sustainable business models. We must reclaim a vital, vigorous local media that is owned and operated in the public interest and located in the communities it serves.
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  • Pay the rate: Stop Danish construction firms undercutting UK pay rates
    Two Danish-owned firms working on major energy construction projects in the UK are exploiting migrant workers by employing them for 61% less pay than existing industry collective agreements. The companies are constructing a number of energy from waste projects in the UK (including in Rotherham and Sandwich in Kent), which are being financed by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, the investment arm of Pension Denmark. Construction workers should be paid at least is £16.97 an hour with a bonus of £2.37 an hour.an hour under the National Agreement for the Engineering Construction Industry (NAECI). This reflects the difficulty and skill involved in these roles. Yet skilled non-UK workers on projects run by Babcock & Wilcox Vølund and Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor A/S reportedly are only paid the national minimum wage of £7.20 an hour. Engineering construction workers and their unions Unite and GMB want these workers to get the going rate for their work. Allowing this exploitation undermines all other construction workers in the UK. Employers mustn't get away with using loopholes to avoid basic standards. Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor A/S are also refusing to recognise or allow unions access to all their UK projects. Unite and GMB believe both companies are in breach of Pension Denmark's Corporate Social Responsibility Policy by failing to ensure their supply chains comply with local and international regulations. These include ILO Conventions on freedom of association, the right to organise, and the right to collective bargaining. The UK’s Modern Slavery Act is also relevant here, with sections on transparency in the supply chain, social dumping, and exploitation relating to Non- UK contractors. Paying their employees wages so far below recognised pay structures, and still clawing back costs for accommodation allowance and return travel costs, are exploitative practices we don’t want to see becoming the norm in the UK. The Danish Government must take responsibility for these companies and immediately conduct an investigation into how they are operating in the UK.
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