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.

Black Lives Matter at work

Manchester TUC hosted a discussion about how, in the context of the wave of anger at the murder of George Floyd, which prompted many employers to issue anti-racist statements, people can act in workplaces to force lasting change.

The speakers were:

  • Sohayalla Wilson, Unite, Manchester City Council
  • Ian Taylor, Communication Workers Union

Watch the video of the discussion here:

The breakout groups were not recorded, but participants in some of them made notes. The same document includes information from the zoom chat box.

Manchester TUC says Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter protest

Manchester Trades Union Council stands in solidarity with the family of George Floyd and with those protesting against this latest horrific example of racist police violence.

Black and ethnic minority communities in Britain, as in the US, have been affected disproportionately by the current Covid 19 crisis. This is the result of a number of factors including poverty, inadequate housing, institutional racism in the healthcare system, and the high proportion of black and ethnic minority people employed in essential frontline services such as the NHS, social care and public transport. Members of some communities have been the victims of racist physical and verbal abuse as a result of both fear and malicious reporting.

We recognise that the rage over George Floyd’s murder is increased by the disproportionate impact on black and ethnic minority people of the US government’s economic and health responses to the Covid 19 pandemic, leading to many avoidable deaths and mass unemployment. We oppose the violence being used against protesters by the state and white supremacist gangs and support the calls to stop the export of crowd control weapons to the USA.

In spite of the Covid 19 crisis and the clearly disproportionate burden placed on black and ethnic minority workers the government shows little or no signs of wishing to pull back from the “hostile environment” policy including charges for healthcare, tightening up and introducing further racist immigration rules.

Black and ethnic minority people have been targeted disproportionately by the police over alleged or actual breaches of the lockdown regulations, including well-publicised incidents in Manchester, such as a black man in Fallowfield who was arrested and threatened with pepper spray while delivering food to vulnerable family members and Desmond Mombeyarara being tasered in front of his young child. British police behaviour (including arrests, holding people close together for hours) at some of the protests in solidarity with George Floyd made distancing much more difficult rather than facilitating safe protest. The contrasts between this, the failure to take action over the assault on rail worker Belly Mujinga, and the treatment of Dominic Cummings are stark.

We encourage people to take part in protests against racism and police violence, and to show solidarity with the struggles in the USA and around the world. The coronavirus legislation must not be used to curtail the right to protest, however we urge people to take distancing and other precautions very seriously – black and ethnic minority people are at higher risk from Covid 19 and Black Lives Matter whether it comes to violence or the coronavirus. To assist with keeping crowds spread out we will make our public address system available for these protests where practicable.

We express our commitment to the struggle against racial injustice here and internationally and our solidarity with all those in the frontline of that struggle, as trade unionists and as human beings.