LUS attended the Social Security Summit convened by Unite Community and PCS in Birmingham on 31st October. Keynote speakers included Unite Assistant General Secretary Steve Turner and PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka.
Their presence was an indication of the importance both unions are placing on the need to build stronger links with unemployed people in the fight against the £12 billion cuts to the welfare budget.
The meeting was well attended by hundreds of delegates from all over the country. The proposed cuts to working tax credits was seen as a major potential campaign that could link unemployed and employed workers.
Mark Serwotka stressed the need for all trades unions to make the issue of benefits cuts to the unemployed a high-priority issue on the TUC agenda. Colin Hampton from TUC Unemployed Workers Centres stressed that a major way of doing this was to promote the Welfare Charter and get it endorsed at every level of the trades union movement. He said that the new developments within the Labour Party made it more inclined to support such initiatives. He therefore urged trades unions to take advantage of this to add momentum to the campaign.
Paula Peters from DPAC said that her organisation was launching a ‘No More Claimant Deaths’ campaign alongside Black triangle in Scotland, following the large numbers of suicides and other deaths linked to Work capability Assessments. They are lobbying Jeremy Corbyn to devote a whole PM’s question session to this issue.
The Welfare Charter, a series of demands to make life better for all types of benefits claimants, was launched at a fringe meeting at the TUC Congress this week (Sept. 14). It is supported by, amongst others, Unite Community, PCS, The Unemployed Centres Combine and London Unemployed Strategies (LUS). For the full Charter, click on the link below:
We want everybody to endorse and promote the Charter and get it circulated as widely as possible. LUS wants to start up support/campaign groups all over London run by and for unemployed people, aimed at getting their full rights both as they stand now, and as they can be in the future if the Charter demands are won. If you are living in London, are unemployed or underemployed and want to help build up a group in your area, please contact Nick at LUS: firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7467 1283/07530 001653