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

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.

Solidarity with the #ManchesterBusStrike

Picture of Queen's Road bus garage with strikers outside and campaign hashtags

Manchester TUC hosted a public meeting to build solidarity with the indefinite strike by bus workers at Go Ahead North West’s Queen’s Road bus garage in Cheetham Hill. For more information about the dispute and how to support it see our #NoGo page which is frequently updated.

The speakers at the online public meeting were:

  • Pat Gleave, Unite branch secretary, Queen’s Road bus garage
  • Dr Jackie Applebee, Doctors in Unite
  • Ian May, London RATP bus striker and Unite rep
  • Mx Dennis Queen, Manchester Disabled People Against Cuts
  • Rebecca Long-Bailey MP
  • Dave Roberts, Unite Regional Officer

No to #FireAndRehire

No fire & rehire

Manchester TUC hosted a public meeting to discuss #FireAndRehire, addressed by Rebecca Long-Bailey MP, Sarah Glenister from the Institute of Employment Rights, Paul Whiteside from GMB at British Gas, Colin Hayden from Unite at Go North West buses and Henry Fowler from Strike Map UK. Watch videos of some of their contributions.

May be an image of text that says "X FIRE & REHIRE"

Watch Sarah Glenister below. The IER produced a report on fire and rehire, and their website includes a video of Jo Seery providing tips to trade unions on fighting fire and rehire.

Watch Colin Hayden from Unite at Go North West buses below.

Watch Henry Fowler from Strike Map UK below.

Manchester TUC’s annual general meeting

Sharon Graham speaking

On 20 January 2021 Manchester TUC held its Annual General Meeting. Speakers included:

  • Sharon Graham, Unite executive officer leading organising and leverage
  • Colin Hayden, Unite branch chair at Go Northwest Queen’s Road bus depot, and Lawrence Chapple-Gill, Regional Coordinating Officer
  • Mark Porter, Unite convenor, Rolls Royce Barnoldswick
  • Daniel Kebede, Vice President of the National Education Union

The meeting also elected officers, the executive committee and other roles for the coming year – see Who’s who? for more details.

Zero Covid: a strategy for near-elimination of the virus

Richard Burgon MP with the caption Zero Covid: a strategy for near-elimination of the virus

Manchester TUC hosted a public meeting to discuss the Zero Covid strategy for near-elimination of the virus and how we campaign for it.

For months now Independent SAGE, the Hazards Campaign and others have been arguing for a Zero Covid strategy, now also backed the the Campaign Group of Labour MPs, the People’s Assembly and the Zero Covid campaign.

Instead of continuing on/off partial lockdowns until (hopefully) vaccines can suppress the pandemic, we could save lives and livelihoods now with tried and tested public health measures.

A Zero Covid strategy means suppressing the virus to a low level (Independent SAGE estimate 5000 cases per day), replacing the broken test and trace system with an effective public sector Find, Test, Trace, Isolate and Support system, closing workplaces until they are certified as Covid Safe, and providing the money and resources to enable all this to work.

The speakers at the meeting were:

  • Julie Wilkinson, University & College Union, Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Janet Newsham, Hazards Campaign
  • John Rees, People’s Assembly
  • Richard Burgon MP
  • Dr Emma Runswick, British Medical Association (personal capacity) and Zero Covid campaign

For more information, see:

Doctors’ union backs workplace campaigns for public health

At today’s #McrWontPayForTheCrisis demonstration organised by the People’s Assembly, Emma Runswick of the BMA doctors’ union invited people to get in touch if they are campaigning for public health measures in their workplace, such as adequate sick leave, sick pay or isolation policies.

The BMA doctors are ready to write to employers or if necessary the local press to support such public health campaigns which are needed to get the virus back under control, get the NHS working again, and save lives.

Fighting for jobs amid Covid and a slump

Fighting for jobs amid Covid and recession

Below you can watch the video of a meeting Manchester TUC hosted on On 16 September 2020. The speakers were:

  • Cristina Petrella, PCS senior rep at Tate Commerce, where workers are on indefinite strike over jobs
  • John McDonnell MP on the economic and political context
  • Ian Allinson, Manchester TUC President, on organising around redundancies

You can donate to the PCS Tate strike here, follow them on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

You can find out more about the USDAW campaign by Debenhams workers via Facebook.

You can find out more about the campaign against Go Ahead North West’s plans to fire and rehire staff at the Queen’s Road garage on worse contracts via Facebook.

More about the campaign against the Co-op’s plans to cut jobs and sell its insurance business to Markerstudy, who plan to derecognise Unite, can be found here.

The future of mental health in Manchester

On 19 August Manchester TUC hosted a discussion, prompted by an open letter about the proposed redevelopment of the Park House psychiatric hospital in north Manchester.

You can watch the video of the discussion, which omits some contributors who did not wish to be included.