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. Afrin is now surrounded by enemies: Turkish-supported jihadi groups, al Qaeda, and Turkey.… 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. This is the debt President Trump’s America owes Toussaint L’Ouverture’s Haiti. It’s a debt of philosophical clarity and political maturity. It’s a debt of how to rise to its best human potential.… 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. The Tories must heed the call of the public, staff and patients alike who demand that the NHS is not only funded properly but brought back into public hands away from the waste and demands of shareholders and bankers’ bonuses.… 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.

Dave Harker, who regrets that “today most north-east children have to follow the ‘National Curriculum’ and focus on the history and culture of London”, has rescued from oblivion a remarkable figure.… 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. We particularly want to encourage branches to raise the model policies on sexual harassment and domestic abuse.

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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.

Message from UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt

Since the result of UCU’s ballot in which 86.6% of members said they would be prepared to take industrial action to defend pensions, I have been trying my best to reach agreement with your employers on a way forward for our University Superannuation Scheme (USS) pension fund.

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‘Unfinished Portrait’ by Miriam Frank

Miriam Frank’s mother fled Germany to escape the Nazis. This is a story of how Miriam’s mother was forced to move from one country after another as fascism came biting at her heels; mother and daughter moved from Spain to France, finally ending up in New Zealand via Mexico. Miriam was born into exile. Even when theoretically settled in New Zealand, Miriam found an emotional chasm between her and the other girls, though many became her friends. Finally Miriam came to Britain where she worked as a doctor and anaesthetist.

In this book, Miriam is hunting memories, especially of her relationship with her mother, who had been deeply involved in the literary world as well as for a time being a Communist.Read on ...

The expulsion of Moshe Machover from the Labour Party

“This branch deplores the decision to expel Emeritus Professor and distinguished mathematician Moshe Machover from the Labour Party for alleged ‘anti-semitism’.
Moshe is an Israeli citizen of Jewish heritage who has been a life-long critic of Zionism and of Israel which he has defined as a ‘settler/colon state’.
He is a life-long socialist and committed opponent of all forms of racism.
We consider this expulsion to be an example of attempts to re-define anti-semitism so as to include all critics of Zionism and of Israel.
We call on UCU members in the Labour Party to support the demand for Moshe’s expulsion to be rescinded.”… Read on ...

Defend USS Pensions

Currently, there is a consultation of UCU members in pre-92 universities on their willingness to undertake industrial action to stop the destruction of the USS pension scheme. Carlo Morelli and Marion Hersh, members of the UCU Joint Negotiating Committee for USS,  make the case for voting YES for action to defend pensions.

THE THREAT

USS is consulting with employers and has suggested closing the Defined Benefits (DB) pension scheme and replacing it by a fully Defined Contributions (DC) scheme or significantly reducing the threshold e.g. to £15,000, with pension on salaries above that in the DC scheme.

This would be a real disaster for all USS members. … Read on ...