Socialist bookshop calls for solidarity following Nazi attack

Bookmarks bookshop in Bloomsbury, central London, has called on supporters to attend a solidarity event following an attack by far
right thugs.
Twelve men invaded the shop last Saturday, destroying displays, wrecking books and chanting Alt-right slogans. One was wearing a Donald Trump mask.
Since the attack Bookmarks the socialist bookshop has received messages of support from leading figures in the trade union and labour movements and thousands of activists from around the world.
Those tweeting their support include singer and activist Billy Bragg, Rupa Huq MP, historian Louise Raw and Guardian columnist Owen Jones.… Read on ...

What is wrong with using Amazon?

Amazon are Union Busters

Amazon have a little-reported, but undeniable record of preventing their work force from unionising. In 2001, Amazon.co.uk hired a US management consultancy organisation, The Burke Group, to assist in defeating a campaign by the Graphical, Paper and Media Union (GPMU, now part of Unite the Union) to achieve recognition in the Milton Keynes distribution depot. It was alleged that the company sacked four union members during the 2001 recognition drive and held a series of captive meetings with employees.… Read on ...

Take a Stand Against Racism : July 14 2018

Resolution of the UCU London Retired Members Branch – 29th June 2018

UCU Retired Branch notes the fifteen thousand strong demonstration of the far right wing on June 9th in central London which chanted racist and islamophobic hate messages, made Hitler salutes, violently took over a tourist bus, attacked and injured police and attempted to break the gates of Downing Street. We recognise that there is a dangerous far right mass movement growing, which unites elements of UKIP, the EDL, its former leader Tommy Robinson, the BNP and the expanding Democratic Football Lads Alliance.

Read on ...

Statement on events at UCU Congress

We UCU elected delegates voted repeatedly in line with the advice of our Congress Business Committee to hear motions criticising the General Secretary which were in order. Unfortunately the General Secretary and a narrow majority of the National Executive Committee refused to accept the right of Congress to debate these motions. We believe the union members have the right to hold our most senior elected officials to account. This is a basic democratic right in all trade union and representative systems (e.g., Parliament).Read on ...

Stop British Corporations from Celebrating Human Rights Abusers

For several years the Horse Show has provided a platform for the Bahrain royal family – guilty of violently suppressing pro-democracy protests at home – by inviting them as guests of honour; accepting their financial support; displaying Bahrain signage; and naming events after members of the Bahrain royal family, no questions asked. Photographs of the King of Bahrain sat alongside the Queen at the event are trumpeted both within and outside Bahrain as evidence of acceptance by the international community.… Read on ...

Deportations Crisis – One step forward, much more needed

The Home Secretary’s statement in Parliament yesterday is good as far as it goes. She promises:

  • A new taskforce dedicated to helping those affected
  • Plans to work with departments across government to gather evidence on behalf of immigrants – documentation for every year is usually expected, such as bank statements or payslips
  • A pledge that all cases will be resolved in two weeks
  • All fees for new documentation waived so people are not “out of pocket” – normally £229
  • A new website will be set up with information and a direct contact point

This is the very least they could do.… Read on ...

ESOL and the Older Immigrant

Given the rise of Islamaphobia and other forms of racism, this branch calls for the Government to immediately fund free ESOL classes in FE colleges and elsewhere within the public sector. While the facilities to learn to speak English should be the right of all migrants, we are especially concerned with the older non-English speaker who is likely to be especially isolated and disadvantaged.

Motion from the UCU London Retired Members branch, passed at the National Pensioners Convention, London Region AGMRead on ...

Deportations

As part of the growing racist atmosphere, we note the recent increase in deportations, particularly of retired people from the Caribbean. We shall support and encourage campaigns against deportations both at a local and national level, working where possible with other trade unions trades councils and the TUC. We welcome the initiative from Caribbean Labour Solidarity to initiate such a campaign in London.

Sign the petition…

Read on ...

Petition: To impose an immediate two-way arms embargo between the UK and Israel

Trading arms with Israel makes the UK complicit in Israel’s continuing violations of human rights and international law.

On the 30th March 2018, Israel murdered 15 and injured 1,500 Palestinians, who protested the occupation and siege on Gaza.

The Israeli assault on Gaza in July-August 2014, in which 2,205 Palestinians (including 521 children) were killed, was only one example of Israel’s acts of violence against the Palestinian people. Yet UK-made weapons and military technologies continue to be sold to and used by the occupying Israeli forces.… Read on ...

Women and Housing, how the Gender Pay Gap and Gender Pension Gap affects housing for women.

In 1983,9.8% of single women took out mortgages against the view that the mortgage world is a man’s world. In 2017,62% of first time buyers were women compared to 38% of men.
The Sex Discrimination Act of 1975 finally outlawed discrimination against women seeking to obtain goods,facilities or services,including loans or credit.
Until then women seeking a mortgage were asked for male guarantors but even with the act women were still viewed as a financial risk until the 1980’s when the government urged banks to lend more to stimulate growth leading to a lending boom which some women could tap into if they had the money and a decent salary.… Read on ...

A modest success…

… but one that proves the value of solidarity – so thanks to all of you who signed the petition

Deportation-threat academics allowed to stay in UK

Two Durham University academics, members of UCU, and their daughter who were ordered to leave the UK within 14 days have been told they can stay in the UK.
Dr Ernesto Schwartz-Marin, Dr Arely Cruz-Santiago and 11-year-old Camila faced leaving the country by Saturday 24 March.
The Home Office said the couple breached rules by spending too much time abroad during their visa period.… Read on ...

Help University of London outsourced workers fight for equality – donate to the strike fund

Over 100 University of London cleaners, porters, security officers, gardeners and others are preparing for the biggest-ever outsourced workers strike in UK higher education, and they need your help.

These workers, who are demanding for an end to outsourcing, an end to zero-hours and for pay rises, are close to a historic victory that could end years of discrimination at the university.

After a near-unanimous ballot in favour of strike action, the IWGB has announced strikes for 25 and 26 April.… Read on ...

Education Demo #2, 14th March

Following a very successful demonstration on February 28th, when 5,000 staff and students in Further and Higher Education marched, London Region UCU has called a second demonstration to Parliament within the fourth week of USS strikes.

More details here…Read on ...

Yiddish Glory: The Lost Songs of WWII

Six Degrees Records has just released Yiddish Glory: The Lost Songs of WWII. On this collection of Yiddish music from the Second World War some very talented modern musicians perform previously unheard songs that call for the defeat of fascism and revenge on the Nazi oppressors.

In the manuscript department of the Ukrainian National Library, archivists found a number of sealed boxes. They contained hand-written Yiddish documents dating back to 1947. Upon examination, it turned out that the pages contained thousands of songs, written by Yiddish-speaking Jews in Ukraine during World War II.… Read on ...

Friends and colleagues call for justice for Giulio two years on

Friends and colleagues of murdered Cambridge PhD student Giulio Regeni gathered to protest at the Egyptian embassy with campaigners from Amnesty International and the UCU union on 2 February, marking the second anniversary of the discovery of his body. This protest followed a vigil of around 150 people in Cambridge on the anniversary of Giulio’s disappearance.

Giulio’s friend, journalist Laurie Blair spoke at the protest:
“We, the friends of Giulio Regeni, will not forget about him.… Read on ...

Foreign Parts. German and Austrian Actors on the British Stage 1933-1960

Review of Richard Dove’s ‘Foreign Parts. German and Austrian Actors on the British Stage 1933-1960’, Leganda, by Merilyn Moos

This is a detailed study of five German and Austrian actors who fled Nazism: Lucie Mannheim, Gerhard Hinze, Friedrich Valk and Lilly Kahn, banned from the German stage either for being Communists or Jews, who came to Britain. Dove discusses their roles pre- and post- exile and successfully sheds light on many of the wider issues surrounding becoming a refugee from Nazism.… Read on ...

Racism is on the rise across Europe

In Britain, politicians and the media scapegoat migrants and refugees. They are blamed for lowering wages and inadequate public services, when, in reality, the blame lies with austerity.

EU nationals are used as bargaining chips in Brexit negotiations. Black and Asian people continue to face discrimination and everyday institutional racism.

Of all the countries in Europe, Britain took in the lowest number of asylum seekers by head of population: less than 0.1% .compared to, for example, Sweden with almost 2% and Austria with 1%.… Read on ...

Save Kensington and Chelsea College

Things are looking up in the campaign to Save Kensington and Chelsea College, as these two reports from FE Week show:

Milton promises to find ‘the right solution’ for ‘precious’ Kensington and Chelsea College

The furore surrounding the future of a west London college in the shadow of the Grenfell Tower has made it to the House of Commons, after the skills minister promised to find the “right solution” for a “precious” community asset today.… Read on ...

Bexley/Greenwich Against Road Crossings (BARC)

Campaign to oppose Thames bridges at Gallions Reach and Belvedere –we may just have a victory!
BARC is a local community group formed in opposition to the building of large ‘road’ bridges planned in South-East London. In 2015 Transport for London (TfL) and Bexley Council wanted to build new tolled road bridges across the Thames at Gallions Reach and Belvedere – two large residential areas in South-East London. These were not intended to be ‘cozy’ little crossings for local traffic: the Belvedere bridge was to be 4 lanes and more akin to an urban motorway than a picturesque route across the Thames.… Read on ...

Early Day Motion on Bahrain

SENTENCES HANDED DOWN TO RELATIVES OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER MR ALWADAEI AND SITUATION IN BAHRAIN

This is the title of Early Day Motion 509 that we would like to urge your MP to sign. It can be read here on the Parliament website…

And here is the page through which anyone who needs to can find their MP’s contact details https://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/

If you would like to have a model letter to send you MP, can we suggest the following:
I write to express concern for the treatment of prominent UK-based Bahraini activist and Director of Advocacy at the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei and that of his family, and urge you to sign EDM 509 to draw the government’s attention to the matter.Read on ...

Do Not Let Afrin Become Another Kobane

Urgent Statement by academics and activists

We, the undersigned academics and human rights activists, insist that the leaders of Russia, Iran, and the U.S. ensure that the sovereignty of Syrian borders is not breached by Turkey and that the people of Afrin in Syria, be allowed to live in peace.

Afrin, whose population is predominantly Kurdish, is one of the most stable and secure regions in Syria. With very little international aid, Afrin has taken in so many Syrian refugees in the last five years that its population has doubled to 400,000.… Read on ...

HAITI : Caribbean Dignity Unbowed.

Release from the University of the West Indies – Office of Professor Hilary Beckles – Historian – Vice Chancellor

The democratic, nation-building debt the American nation owes the Caribbean, and the Haitian nation in particular that resides at its core, is not expected to be repaid but must be respected. Any nation without a nominal notion of its own making can never comprehend the forces that fashion it origins.

Haiti’s Caribbean vision illuminated America’s way out of its colonial darkness.… Read on ...

NHS IN CRISIS – FIX IT NOW

March and Demonstration
12pm, Saturday 3 February 
Assemble Gower Street Central London WC16

The NHS Winter Crisis has now descended into a perpetual year round  crisis. A crisis that has brought staff to their knees and patients languishing and even dying in overcrowded waiting rooms and hospital corridors.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

It is time this Government stops blaming patients, nurses, doctors, immigrants, flu and the elderly for their shortcomings. It’s time they start listening to the country who is sick of empty promises from the mouths of cowardly politicians. … Read on ...

Cat-Gut Jim the Fiddler

Ned Corvan’s Life & Songs 
By Dave Harker 
Wisecrack Publications,
2017, £20.00
ISBN 978-0995741812

The mid-nineteenth century is both very near and very remote, as we realise in this study of Ned Corvan (sometimes spelt Corven). The society depicted here is only two lifespans away – my grandmother (who went into the mill aged eight – factory at 6.00 a.m., school in the afternoon) was born into the world of Corvan’s children. Yet the differences, in physical experience and in ways of thinking, are immense.… Read on ...

16 days in 16 ways

16 days of activism against gender based violence is an international campaign that organises at all levels, including the United Nations, Governments, NGOs and trade unions.

It’s initiated by The Centre for Women’s Global Leadership, a feminist human rights organisation. The activism period is 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) – 10 December (International Human Rights Day).

UCU is supporting this campaign and will be using this period to focus on our priorities and suggest 16 ways in which branches and members can get involved.

Read on ...

Strike for USS

UCU’s higher education committee has agreed to launch an industrial action ballot in the dispute over the future of USS. They have said serious and sustained industrial action is required in the face of damaging proposals from the employers which would effectively destroy the pension scheme.

  • USS pensions already LOWER than school teachers and ‘new’ university academics
  • employers can afford to pay more but REFUSE
  • latest proposals end guaranteed pensions and REDUCE retirement income for all.
Read on ...