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
The first national conference of this kind for many years was held at the TUC last month.The day was well-attended by trades unionists both employed and unemployed from all over the country. Key points of consensus emerged from the day about the basic elements of a National Welfare Charter. These included:
- An end to the current sanctions regime
- No more Work Capability Assessments
- An unconditional Citizens Income for all
- Trades union rights and representation for the unemployed
- Campaign for a minimum wage of at least £10 per hour to include apprenticeships and other types of training
- Scrap Workfare – voluntary work should be completely voluntary and not substitute for jobs that should be paid at least the minimum wage
These and other demands arising from the Conference will be developed into a Charter, to be promoted through trades unions, the Labour Party, mass media and other means in the run-up to the General Election. The next open organising committee will be at the Unite Holborn HQ on 25th March at 1.00 pm.
LONDON UNEMPLOYED STRATEGIES has been organising a series of ‘Stand Up For Your Rights’ sessions throughout December for claimants in Southwark.
Topics covered included how to make the Claimant Commitment work for you, sanctions and how to avoid them, and the value of joining a claimants support group and/or trades union. The sessions were well-attended and lively, with claimants sharing their experiences and voicing their concerns about how the system is failing them. There were also some examples of good practice at the Jobcentre which we will try to extend and make more consistent.
LUS will continue these sessions in the new year, to build up a claimants support and action group for the whole of Southwark. This is a practice we hope to extend throughout London, so that each borough has its own group.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE SOUTHWARK GROUP, OR IF YOU WANT TO SET UP ONE IN YOUR OWN BOROUGH, PLEASE CONTACT NICK ON email@example.com or on 020 7467 1283/07530 001653
FOR FULL REPORT CLICK ON THIS LINK BELOW:
LUS intends to act on the findings and recommendations in this report with any supporters who want to work with us –
does that include YOU?
Read it and let us know if you want to get involved.