VIDEO: strike solidarity: CHEP, UCU and RMT

Images from the three strikes

Manchester TUC hosted a strike solidarity meeting with:

  • Gary Walker, Unite, on continuous strike at CHEP Trafford Park for 17 weeks
  • Alice Brockway, UCU, on strike at Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Dalbir Dhillon, RMT, who spoke about the campaign against the P&O sackings

You can donate to the CHEP strike fund via account 20217873. Sort code 60-83-01. Account name ‘UNITE 6/1 CHEP Manchester Branch’.

Video: solidarity with the CHEP strike

Unite members working at the CHEP pallet factory in Trafford Park have been on continuous strike over pay since 17 December. On 12 January Manchester TUC hosted an online solidarity meeting which was addressed by:

  • Gary Walker, striker
  • Ian McCluskey, Unite officer
  • Rebecca Long-Bailey MP
  • James Coffield, GMB rep, CHEP Pontefract

Watch clips from the meeting here:

Messages of support can be sent to ian.mccluskey@unitetheunion.org.

Donations to Unity Bank NW/1 Strike Fund. Account 20217873. Sort code 60-83-01.

You can visit their pickets 24 hours a day on weekdays at Village Way, Trafford Park, M17 1HR. The nearest Metrolink stop is Village.

Video: Pay (December 2021)

Image of notes and coins

Our December 2021 public meeting discussed pay. As inflation rises, zero hours contracts increase, some sectors see pay rises, and others see pay freezes/cuts, how can the trade union movement press for its members to be fairly paid?

Speakers included:

  • Rena Wood, Assistant Branch Secretary UNISON Manchester Local Government
  • Alex Kenny, NEU National Executive
  • Julie Wilkinson MMU UCU Branch Secretary

Video: Bullying at work (November 2021)

Image of workplace bullying and harassment policy

Our November 2021 public meeting discussed the issue of bullying at work.

Speakers included:

  • Peter Middleman, NW Regional Secretary for the NEU
  • Mary Sayer, Unite in schools coordinator
  • Nigel Flanagan, People’s Assembly

Video: Covid and returning to work (October 2021)

Image of a virus

Manchester TUC’s October 2021 meeting discussed Covid health and safety in the context of the return to the workplace for many workers post furlough, and after working from home guidelines had been watered down.

Guest speakers included:

  • Kate Bradley & Jason Tetley from Greater Manchester Law Centre
  • Councillor John Hughes, Gorton & Abbey Hey ward
  • Janet Newsham & Hilda Palmer from Greater Manchester Hazards Centre

Video: Public transport (June 2021)

Image of Unite Queen's Road banner

Our June public meeting discussed public transport.

Speakers:

  • Craig Johnstone, RMT Relief Regional Organiser (North)
  • Caroline Blase, journalist and activist with the Better Buses for Greater Manchester campaign

Video: Climate change (May 2021)

Crowd. Placard reads 'there is no planet B'

Our May public meeting discussed the Climate Emergency and the union response.

Speakers included:

  • Charlie Baker, Red Co-operative Ltd
  • Lydia Merryl, Environmental Officer, University of Manchester UCU and SERA rep on the Mayor’s Green 5 Year Plan Group
  • Martin Empson, GM Campaign against Climate Change
  • Chloe Jeffries, Climate Emergency Manchester

COP26: worker action for a just transition

Manchester COP26 demo. Trade union / workers bloc. Piccadilly Gardens, 11:30am Sat 6 Nov. Then joining the main demo in St Peter's Square. wemaketomorrow/action

The UK Government is hosting “COP26” – the UN global climate summit – in Glasgow this November. This summit is where world leaders will come together to decide our future. The global climate emergency is here and now, already exacerbating natural disasters and human inequalities and will shape the coming years. We urgently need action that reduces carbon emissions while protecting and creating good, green jobs and a more equal society. Yet despite the global trade union movement ensuring that previous COP summits have agreed to call for a “just transition” (i.e. one that protects workers and our communities) our government is not doing nearly enough. 

That is why many unions are supporting the call from the COP26 Coalition for trade unions and workers to join the global day of action for climate justice on Saturday November 6th. Because of Covid, the coalition is promoting regional demonstrations rather than everyone going to Glasgow. The coalition has designated Manchester as the main demonstration for the northwest of England. The Trade Union Caucus within the COP26 Coalition is working with unions and trades councils across the country to ensure there are big, united and powerful “Trade Union & Workers Blocs” (i.e. sections) on each demonstration.

Youth strikers are taking action on Friday 5th November and we are encouraging workers and unions to take whatever action they can in solidarity, whether that is action or discussion at workplaces or joining the youth strikers from 11am in St Peter’s Square.

[Note that the time above has changed!]

On Saturday 6th November the union/worker bloc will meet at 11:30am in Piccadilly Gardens before joining the main demonstration at noon in St Peter’s Square.

Image with text which reads:
Manchester COP26 demo
Trade union & workers bloc
Piccadilly Gardens
11:30 Sat 6 Nov
Before marching to join the main demo at St Peter's Square
wemaketomorrow.org/action

To build for the day of action on Saturday 6th November you can:

This is likely to be the biggest trade union climate mobilisation to date, putting our unions and workers at the heart of the fight for climate justice. Spread the word!

Rogue state: spying on and lying about campaigners

Banner reads Police Spies out of Lives

In a week shaped by popular and police responses to the murder of Sara Everard, Manchester TUC hosted a public meeting to discuss state action against campaigners and trade unionists.

The speakers were:

  • Terry Renshaw, one of the Shrewsbury 24, framed during the 1972 national builders’ strike
  • Karen Reissmann, the nurse and UNISON activist recently given a £10,000 fine by Greater Manchester Police for organising a small, safe, distanced, risk-assessed protest against the 1% pay proposal for NHS workers.
  • Lindsey from Police Spies Out of Lives (PSOOL), which is a campaigning support group working to achieve an end to the sexual and psychological abuse of campaigners and others by undercover police officers. They support the women affected by these issues to expose the immoral and unjustified practice of undercover relationships, and the institutional prejudices which have led to the abuse.
  • John Moloney, PCS Assistant General Secretary

Manchester TUC stands with those opposing gendered and police violence

Vigil at Clapham Common

We send our love and solidarity to the family and friends of Sarah Everard.

Sarah’s tragic murder has ignited widespread grief and anger because it connected with many women’s experience of violence from men and even more widespread sexual harassment. The fact that the alleged murderer was a serving police officer highlighted the connection between the ineffectiveness of the police in protecting women from violence and harassment and the widespread misogyny and violence of the police force itself. The police response to a peaceful, distanced, masked, outdoor vigil added fuel to the fire.

Everyone should be free to go about their lives without fear of harassment or violence and everyone should be free to express their grief and anger without fear of repression.

At a time when many millions are being forced into unsafe workplaces, including schools, it is unacceptable for the government and police to try to use the coronavirus pandemic as a pretext to ban responsible protest. Manchester TUC has been at the forefront of demanding more effective action to suppress the pandemic. No activity is completely risk-free, but outdoor protests where people are distanced and masked are extremely low risk, providing people do not share transport to get there and take other reasonable precautions. When the Health and Safety Executive report over 3,500 workplace outbreaks but no prosecutions, it is clear that enforcement priorities are about suppressing protest rather than promoting public health. This view is reinforced by the introduction of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which marks a dramatic increase in police powers against peaceful protesters and Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.

Manchester TUC stands in solidarity with those protesting against gendered and police violence and defending the right to protest. When women’s lives and our democratic freedoms are under threat, protest is ‘essential work’. We urge people to take distancing and other safety precautions seriously – disabled, poor, black and ethnic minority people are at higher risk from the coronavirus. To assist with keeping crowds spread out we will make our public address system available for these protests where practicable, as we did during the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020.