Friday, June 15, 2007

We Have Moved

We have moved to

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Postal Workers Back Strike Action

Results announced at our annual conference in Bournemouth:

Royal Mail Pay:Yes: 66,064 (77.5%)No: 19,199
Post Office Ltd (Counters):Yes: 2740 (73%)No: 993
Cash In Transit:Yes: 545 (66%)No: 283

Postal workers have voted strongly in favour of taking industrial action over pay, in what would be the first national postal strike since 1996.

The CWU is in dispute with the Royal Mail over its 2.5% pay offer. A series of walkouts will now be held by about 130,000 CWU members unless new talks can lead to a breakthrough in the dispute.

Deputy General Secretary, Dave Ward, said:"This yes vote shows absolutely clearly that Royal Mail workers have rejected the compeny's business plan, the company's leadership amd the unacceptable pay offer. Royal Mail leaders say they listen to people; this is the clearest message they have ever had. Royal Mail has to listem and return to serious negotiations."

Migrant Workers To Vote On Strike Action At Roadchef Services On M3 At Winchester Over Withdrawal Of Essential Transport To Work

Roadchef’s withdraws five times a day staff transport costing £150,000 per annum to M3 service station with motorway only access and no public transport links
7 Jun 2007

Roadchef's withdraws five times a day staff transport costing £150,000 per annum to M3 service station with motorway only access and no public transport links

GMB Southern Region has given permission for an industrial action ballot to be held for GMB members employed by Roadchef on the service station between junctions 8 and 9 north of Winchester. The dispute is over the withdrawal of coach transport to and from the site for staff from June 9th 2007.

The coach travels from Southampton and picks up at Eastleigh and Winchester to the service station north and the service station south and then back to Southampton. It takes an hour to travel from Southampton to the service station south. There is no interchange between the service station north and the service station south and the only access to these two service stations is from the motorway and there is no public transport links whatsoever. The service operates five times a day at 6 a.m., 9 a.m., 2 p.m., 10.p.m. from Southampton and 7 p.m.from service station north back to Southampton. The service is used by over 90% of the 80 staff who are mainly migrant workforce who are mainly from Polandand Portugal. The overwhelming majority of these staff are GMB members. The company has had difficulty recruiting staff to work at this remote service station and had to lay on transport to attract a workforce.

The employers have been threatening to withdraw the service on the grounds that it is costing them too much since February of this year. The staffs have been in a state of uncertainty for almost five months. On the 17th May 2007 the company have given formal notice that the transport service will be withdrawn as of the 9th June 2007. After that date staff will have to make their own arrangements to get to work. Management have offered staff £5.80 a day towards the cost of travelling over 70 miles round trip each day on the motorway. The only way staff can get to work is by road transport and 90% of the staff do not own cars and could not afford to buy and run them since they are low paid workers.

Negotiations between the company and GMB at local level have failed to reach agreement and the union faced with the unilateral withdrawal of the service on 9th June are now proceeding to an industrial action ballot to secure the reinstatement of the essential staff transport. This is because members who are unable to get to work will be deemed to have dismissed themselves.

Gary Cook, GMB Organiser said, "This is a cowardly attack by an already profitable company on some of the most vulnerable workers in the UK on the grounds of reducing the cost of an essential transport service just to boost profits. GMB will defend our members and we will respond to this attack. GMB will get overwhelming support from our members for action to solve their problem of getting to and from work.

GMB want to meet the owners Delek to sort out this problem. We want them to maintain the transport service until we arrive at a solution."

Friday, June 01, 2007

Save Gloucester Mail Centre - Demo
March & Rally
Saturday 23rd June 2007

Preparations are well underway to hold a March and Rally through Gloucester on Saturday 23rd June. This will be along the lines of The Coventry rally, that some members attended recently.

The route and meeting place are still under discussion with the Police and Highways Authority.
he start time is most likely to be around 1pm, allowing as many people to attend as possible.

A list of speakers are being contacted to speak at the Rally, which is likely to be in Gloucester Docks.

All of the details will be made available here as they are confirmed. -

LATEST - Confirmed speakers -Billy Hayes CWU General Secretary
Kevin Beazer - CWU South West Regional SecretaryParmjit Dhanda MP (Gloucester)David Drew MP (Stroud)Trevor Hall TGWU (Unite) Industrial Organiser.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Royal Mail Offer Rejected And Postal Strike Ballot To Go Ahead

The Communication Workers Union’s executive has formally rejected what Royal Mail describes as their full and final offer on pay. The talks around pay include the future of the industry and the impact of competition and automation.

In 2006 Royal Mail and CWU agreed a joint approach to deal with the impact of competition and automation. A centre piece of the agreement was Royal Mail’s commitment to negotiate change, whilst focusing on higher basic pay and permanently raising the value and status of jobs by April 2007.

Deputy General Secretary Postal, Dave Ward said “Royal Mail has abandoned our agreed approach in favour of a short sighted Business Plan that amounts to a cost cutting frenzy, reductions in pay and a defeatist attitude towards competition. This Business Plan is designed to fail and demonstrates a real lack of vision by the people running the company”.

Royal Mail’s business plan will result in 40,000 job losses, attacks on pension arrangements, closures of mail centres and delivery offices and a reduction in pay for postal workers to ‘the market rate’. It will also result in a reduction and decrease in quality of service for the public.

Royal Mail claim that postal workers are overpaid by 30%.

The union is continuing with its ballot for industrial action.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Iraqi Oil Workers to Strike Over Privatisation Law

Iraq’s largest oil workers’ trade union will strike this Thursday, inprotest at the controversial oil law currently being considered by the Iraqi parliament. The move threatens to stop all exports from the oil-rich country.The oil law proposes giving multinational companies the primary role indeveloping Iraq’s huge untapped oilfields, under contracts lasting up to30 years.

Oil production in Iraq, like in most of the Middle East, hasbeen in the public sector since the 1970s.The Union, representing 26,000 oil workers, has held three previous strikes since 2003, each time stopping exports, for up to two days at atime.

The announcement of the strike has spurred negotiations with the Ministry of Oil, which are ongoing. Imad Abdul-Hussain, Federation Deputy Chair of the IFOU said: "The central government must be in total ownership and complete control of production and the export of oil". He warned against the controversial Production Sharing Agreements favoured by foreign companies, saying other forms of co-operation with foreign companies would be acceptable but not at the level of control and profiteering indicated in thecurrent Oil Law.

Federation President Hassan Jumaa Awad al Assadi said: ‘The oil law does not represent the aspirations of the Iraqi people. It will let the foreign oil companies into the oil sector and enact privatisation under so called production sharing agreements. The federation calls for not passing the oil law, because it does not serve the interests of the Iraqi people."

The Union is not alone in its’ condemnation of the current oil law. Opponents of the law also include all of Iraq’s other trade unions, a number of political parties, and a group of over 60 senior Iraqi oil experts. Hassan Jumaa went on to say: "The federation calls on all unions in the world to support our demands and to put pressure on governments and the oil companies not to enter the Iraqi oil fields."

Union members are also demanding an improved salary structure and a distribution of land for building homes. Ewa Jasiewicz of Naftana – the UK Support Committee for the IFOU said:‘The Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions, like any union, has the right toengage in collective bargaining over issues important to their members. In this case, the issue of who controls Iraq’s oil and the economic future of the country is an issue which is important to all Iraqis. The Union has repeatedly called for civil society inclusion in the drafting of the oil law and has been ignored. They are now asserting their right to have a voice in the decision making process affecting their industry and Iraq’s economic future – their courage and commitment to democracy should be supported’.

Instead of the union’s participation being welcomed, leaders have been accused of jeopardizing security and threatened with legal action. Farouq Al-Asadi, the Federation's Secretary said: ‘The Oil Minister chooses to forget that the right to strike is guaranteed by the constitution - we have chosen the legal path’. Union leaders have already received a number of death threats which they are taking seriously.

"As soon as the federation called for the strike,many of our members and officials were physically threatened by parties active in the political process, with the aim of thwarting the strike and undermining the message of the strike organisers."

Hassan Jumaa Awad Al Assadi, President of the Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions
00964 7801 001 196 or 00964 7804 114 619

Sami Ramadani, lecturer and writer and member of Naftana – UK SupportCommittee for the IFOU 0044 7863 138 748

Ewa Jasiewicz, Naftana UK Support Group for the IFOU and Hands Off IraqiOil Campaign 0044 7749 421 576

The IFOU is an independent trade union representing workers across 4 southern provinces in Iraq: Misan, Dhi Qar, Basra and Mauthanna in nine oil and gas related companies.The Union has been organizing since April 2003 and has stopped oil exports and production over wages and workers rights in the past. It has also held protests against oil smuggling, former regime bosses and what the union sees as the deliberate neglect and degradation of the industryin order to justify private investment.

Union members have carried out reconstruction work on drilling rigs,port equipment, pipelines and refineries since the invasion with minimal, mostly local resources.The Union is not linked to any political party in Iraq but has memberswhich belong to various parties.The Union enjoys the support of trade unions and civil society organizations around the world including the International Confederationof Energy, Mining and General Workers Union (ICEM), the AFL-CIO in the US, and the Trade Unions Congress (TUC) in the UK including the NUJ and TGWU. The union is partnered with UK development charity War on Want, the 3 milllion strong US Labor Against War in the USA, and Italian NGOUn Ponte Per.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Sign the e-petition against Regional Fire Controls

Below is the link to the e-petition against the government's move to Regional Fire Controls.
Please take the time to sign it.

Monday, May 07, 2007

International Labor Delegation to Israel and Palestine, April 2007
Conclusions and Recommendations

The delegation members have discussed and adopted the following points as a working paper that will guide our common effort to improve the conditions of local and migrant, Palestinian and Israeli, Arab and Jewish workers.

1. In the last of week of April 2007, an international labor delegation of seven members visited Israel and Palestine, meeting the key players in the field of employment in Israel's agricultural sector. The delegation was initiated and organized by the independent workers' association WAC-Maan, operating in Israel mainly with Arab workers. The delegation's aim was to create pressure toward ending the violation of labor rights in this field. It proceeded in the best spirit of working-class solidarity, adopting the slogan: "An injury to one is an injury to all".

2. We met representatives of the Israeli government, including the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Labor; that of Agriculture; the parliamentary committee on migrant workers; the General Federation of Israeli Trade Unions (Histadrut); Kav La'Oved and the Hotline for Migrant Workers (NGO’s), academic figures; the Thai Embassy to Israel; Israeli farmers; Arab workers organized by WAC and Thai workers working on Israeli farms. In its visit to the West Bank, the delegation met the PA Minister of Labor, the General Secretary of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions, the Director of the Democracy and Workers' Rights Center and several union representatives in Ramallah and Abu Dis.

3. The delegation members received a first-hand understanding of the labor market in Israel and Palestine in the farm sector. These wide- ranging meetings led us to conclude that workers' conditions in Israel's agricultural sector are characterized by extreme exploitation; on many occasions they contravene both Israeli and international law, especially ILO conventions C111 and C100 and the UN Convention to Protect All Migrant Workers and their Families (1990). This situation contributes to extreme poverty, a high unemployment level among Palestinian workers, modern types of slavery practiced against Thai migrant workers, a lack of job opportunities for Arab women in Israel and a growing situation of anarchy in the labor market as a whole.

4. These key problems have to be dealt with as follows:

• The closure policy which Israel imposes on the Palestinian workers in the West Bank and Gaza should be lifted at once. The 15,000 Palestinian laborers who worked on Israeli farms until 1993 should be allowed to return to their jobs, in order to alleviate the social catastrophe in these two areas.
• More than 26,000 migrant workers from Thailand pay between $6,000 and $9,000 for a permit to come to Israel and work on farms. They receive salaries equivalent to 60% of Israel's minimum wage. These practices should be stopped by both the government of Israel and its Thai counterpart.
• Arab women in Israel suffer from a low level of participation in the labor force (only 17%). Only if they work, however, can the society emerge from chronic poverty. Arab women are willing to work on Israeli farms, but the presence of indebted, exploited workers from Thailand makes it impossible to compete for jobs.
• To fight the anarchy in the Israeli labor market, the authorities should stop allowing manpower companies and subcontractors to employ workers without giving them full social rights. Labor organizations must give workers—all workers—the support net they need to fight for their rights. Only workers' organizations can bring the needed change.

5. The Israeli and Thai governments have been negotiating an agreement that will end the huge admission fees paid by Thai workers who travel to Israel. We learned that nothing has come of these talks (despite Israeli Government decision No. 4024 from July 31, 2005). It is the responsibility of both governments, through their employment offices, to take control of this process, guaranteeing that this new type of slave trade is stopped and that workers' rights are not violated.

6. Coming from trade unions and labor organizations, we, the undersigned delegates, unite in our commitment to make this visit a starting point for an international campaign supporting this country's workers – Palestinian and Israeli, Arab and Jewish, local and migrant – in their fight for dignity and full social rights.

7. We will work, each in his/her country, to present the findings of the visit and to help create better awareness concerning the situation of workers in Israel and Palestine. We shall seek support for the effort by local trade unions and NGO’s to overcome national borders and help the workers achieve unity in the fight for their rights.

8. We shall involve other farm laborers' unions worldwide, especially in areas where Israeli farm products are sold, to end the violation of workers' rights in Israel's agricultural sector. Israel must be pressured to abide by the international conventions concerning migrant workers, Palestinian workers and local Arab and Jewish workers.

9. International and regional labor institutions and trade union organizations—such as the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-CSI-IGB) and the International Federation of Farm workers (IUF) —should be updated on the conclusions of this delegation. We see ourselves as forerunners of a more widely representative delegation of farm workers' unions, which will mobilize the huge moral and political clout of the international labor movement.


Cecilia Sanz Fernandez - General Secretary of the Farm Workers Union in Spain (affiliated to the CCOO)
Antonio Perianes Pedrero, Farm Workers Union in Spain (affiliated to the CCOO) Andalucia Province
Endy Hagen - member of the German Trade Union Ver.di F.B.8
Hartwig Otto - member of the German Trade Union Ver.di F.B.8
Melody Gonzalez – representing the Coalition of Imokelli Workers (CIW), based in Miami, Florida.
Junia Lek Ympersrt - leader of the Thai Labor Campaign (TLC)
Issam Wahba – Head of Education and PR Dep. In the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions in Nablus PGFTU

The delegation's visit was organized and coordinated by WAC-Ma'an. WAC's National Coordinator Assaf Adiv and Roni Ben Efrat – Head of International Relations Department. WAC will conduct the ongoing network.

Assaf Adiv, National Coordinator – WAC-Ma'an