Saturday, 28 April 2012

North Lincolnshire Worker's Memorial Day

Yesterday saw the third Worker's Memorial Day event in North Lincolnshire. I was originally involved in trying to set the event up and tried to steer it away from looking like a civic event. Unfortunately I was unsuccessful and the event has now become too official with invites being sent out. This can lead to people feeling they are not wanted and it would be better if the Trade Unions could get together and organise this important day in a way that focuses on the families of the bereaved.
In fact it was noticeable yesterday that the families had very little presence and this has to improve as this day should be for them.
I am not unduly criticising the council for any of this and I would hope they would listen to any constructive suggestions. In fact without the involvement of Cllr Len Foster the whole event in North Lincolnshire may never have got off the ground.
 Over in North East Lincolnshire three events are held in the space of a few hours. This has been organised by Nobby Styles who works tirelessly for months and gets the support of the families and union branches in the area.
On March 8th this year representatives of 6 trade unions got together for a meeting with MP Nic Dakin to discuss the economic climate and various other political issues. If we can do that we should be capable of getting the same group together to thrash out a plan to put to the council on how to make Worker's Memorial Day a success.

We should look towards:
  • more involvement of the families of the bereaved
  • ensure the event takes place on April 28th
  • ensure the families are the centre of the event with them laying their wreaths first
  • ensure there is a speaker who will focus on the important health and safety issues
  • use the event to promote better health and safety
  • set up a fund from donations to use if the families are facing hardship

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Justice for Brough

Hidden behind the publicity about Tory MPs trying to secure future constituency votes when they oppose the Government on the effects VAT will have on the East Yorkshire mobile home industry is the fight to keep BAE Systems at Brough open.
Last September the company announced a massive redundancy programme. This included the ending of manufacturing at the Brough site, where the Hawk aircraft is built, with the loss of 899 jobs.

BAE Brough workers will demonstrate at the company’s shareholder AGM at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in Westminster, London on Wednesday 2 May. Transport for this demo has been arranged by Unite North East, Yorkshire and Humberside Region and got the full support from the Regional Committee this week.

BAE is legally obliged to consult meaningfully with a view to reaching agreement over redundancies. Unite has done this in the past over major reductions and closure, but this time BAE has pulled the plug on talks.

Unite to save Brough on Wednesday 2 May and call for the consultation to be re-opened!

How you can help

Email Ian King to urge him to reopen consultation at Brough –
Join the demonstration on 2 May

Send a message of support to the Brough site by emailing: or 

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Let's Party Like it's 1948

All union branches and trade councils should support this venture. Instead of waiting for the youth of today to approach us we should go to them and ask what we can do to help.

Let’s go on a journey back in time to the year 1948…

Britain was emerging from a World War and had a huge national debt. Much bigger than the one we face today. Did we see painful cut backs and austerity measures?
No, quite the opposite. We saw the birth of our National Health Service and the Welfare State. The UK was the first country to make health care, social care and financial security accessible to all.

1948 saw the launch of ground-breaking new laws designed to protect and care for everybody in our society, including universal unemployment benefits, universal child benefits, disability benefits, rights to housing and the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

1948 – a year when the Olympics were last in town and – at last – the people of Britain were looking forward to the future.
Britain back then really was ‘all in this together’. The future looked better than the past. So, we partied in the streets and dreamt of what we could achieve as people and as a country.

Fast forward to 2012 and things feel rather different. The government is not playing fair: its spending cuts are the deepest for decades and it's cheating ordinary people by forcing them to suffer for an economic crisis they didn’t cause.

The unwanted are being forced to move away from their communities due to profit hungry landlords taking advantage of a housing crisis and raising rents out of all proportion. This social cleansing is impacting upon the education of children and will create even further division in our society.

The government is also lying: it actively enables big business to dodge tax and slashes tax rates for the wealthy. Right now, for us, for ordinary people in this country, the future’s not what it used to be.

So now is the time to party like it was 1948. Street parties are going to be all the rage for the Queen’s Jubilee. But let’s make ours have a twist.

On Saturday 26th May join UK Uncut’s Great British Street Party to demand that we keep our public services, our rights and our welfare system and to celebrate a new future that isn’t dictated to us by a handful of millionaires but decided by us all – together.

Hold a street party where you live to celebrate the services that are under attack and resist their closure. Hold it in the road, the high street or on a roundabout and reclaim your future.

Over the next few weeks, a group of volunteers will be touring the country to help deliver skill shares on direct action, communications and legal rights that will help to prepare you and your friends/family/neighbours to pull off a massive street party that inspires everyone in your region to resist the cuts and celebrate our future.

The future’s not what it used to be – let’s get it back.

See you on the streets!

Friday, 20 April 2012

Multi-Cultural Mela North East Lincolnshire

Communities Together event:
Multi Cultural Mini Mela Festival
Bank Holiday SUNDAY 3RD June 2012,

Live Bands, Entertainment, Stalls & Food for sale.

Enjoy the vibrant and varied entertainment

Sample different cuisine and watch cooking demonstrations

Children’s entertainment and play areas provided

Look around a variety of stalls and take part in workshops

This is the 1st ‘Multi-Cultural Mela’ in North East Lincs which will be a celebration event with several high profile performers including Indian Elvis who will be singing not only Elvis songs but also songs from other artists Bob Marley, Neil Diamond, Tom Jones, Cliff Richards and more.
We also have the Sikh Martial Arts Display (Gatka) and Scottish Pipe band.
There will also be stalls selling all different types of food, e.g. Chinese, Indian, burgers and pancakes.
We plan to hold various workshops e.g. wearing of Sari, Bollywood dancing, and Cookery demonstrations. Mela celebrations take place all over the world but in NEL we are holding a Multi-Cultural Mela.
Come and join us!!

Friday, 13 April 2012

Relighting Redcar Blast Furnace Will be a Tribute to Geoff Waterfield

Sahaviriya Steel Industries’ (SSI) decision to restart its blast furnace this weekend at its north east England site in Teesside is welcome news for the UK Steel Industry. The first steel slabs are likely to be produced over the next three days.
This shows that there is a future for Steel in this country and if we ever get a government that will invest in manufacturing and construction sectors that future could and should be bright.
The town of Redcar will be lifted by this announcement but unfortunately one person is not around to see the restarting of a furnace he campaigned passionately to save.
Geoff Waterfield sadly passed away last August after leading a long running campaign to save the industry he had worked all his life for.
He will be represented by his partner Sheryl Petite at the ceremony witnessing what Geoff always believed would happen.
The furnace was mothballed in February 2010 ashamedly under the watch of a Labour Government who were intent upon bailing out bankers whilst ignoring the pleas of a  staple industry.
This did not deter the trade unions and the Teesside community who together launched a campaign that Geoff led and involved support from the remaining steelworks throughout the country. This was evident at Scunthorpe where Unite reps were influential in the decision to pledge industrial action in order to persuade the owners to sit down and talk to prospective buyers.
Hopefully this will now lead to a more united front by the steel unions who have been weakened in the past by the perpetual struggle for survival that has pitted plant against plant and worker against worker.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

One Sheffield Many Cultures

One Sheffield Many Cultures  are seeking support from trade unions and other similar organisations for
its second multicultural festival in Barkers Pool Sheffield on Saturday 19 May 2012.

The festival theme is 'Celebrating Multicultural' Sheffield, and will feature music and dance by school students from across the city. The event will be opened by the new Lord Mayor, Cllr John Campbell.

OSMC promotes the unity of the city. The events and publicity organised by OSMC celebrate the contribution by people from all communities and backgrounds to the well being of Sheffield.

They also celebrate Sheffield’s proud tradition of opposition to racism, bigotry and prejudice. They urge people from all walks of life in the city to speak with one voice in support of One Sheffield Many Cultures.

OSMC supporters include: Sheffield Faith Leaders, Islamic Society of Britain, Hope Not Hate, Sheffield BME Network, The Northern Refugee Centre, Unite Against Fascism, and Love Music Hate Racism.

OSMC is also requesting trade unions, faith groups and others for donations towards the cost of the festival. We are anticipating that the cost of the event will be about £3500.

Donors will get city wide publicity and also a stall on the day.

Please contact if you would like further information about OSMC.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Celebrate Working Class History

Luddite Memorial
The world’s only memorial to the Luddites is being built in the Yorkshire heartland of the Luddite Uprising of 200 years ago and will be unveiled next month.
The tumultuous events of April 1812 are to be remembered in a new park being created in Liversedge by Spen Valley Civic Society within yards of the inn where the Luddites swore their secret oaths and plotted against mill owners.

The centrepiece of the new park will be an imposing sculpture depicting a cropper in defiant pose, with a small child tugging at his leather apron, funded by Kirklees Area Committee.
There will be an accompanying information board and plaque telling the story of the local area and of the croppers, whose livelihoods were put at risk by increasing mechanisation in mills.

The croppers would use hand-held shears to trim the nap from cloth, but a machine could do the work of four men.
They met at the Shears pub in Halifax Road to plot their campaign against mill owners and on April 12, 1812, a band of 150 Luddites attacked Cartwright Mills at Rawfolds with hammers and axes. Two men were shot and the attack was repulsed.

Escaping Luddites may well have fled past the site of the new Liversedge Sparrow Park, which the Civic Society has created from a plot of derelict land.
The mortally wounded men were taken by the military to the Old Yew Tree and then the Star at Roberttown where they died, some say after being tortured by the local vicar to name their compatriots.
The Spen Valley Civic Society some four years ago were reminded by one of its members that 2012 was not only the year of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics but the 200th anniversary of the Luddite Uprising in Spen Valley.

Having researched the subject in depth, it was apparent that there did not appear to be any memorial in the country to these events which not only affected Yorkshire but other counties such as Nottinghamshire, Lancashire and Cheshire.

The society has created Sparrow Park – funded by Veolia Environmental Trust – on a small piece of land it acquired at the junction of Halifax Road and Knowler Hill, Liversedge.

Society chairman, Max Rathmell said: “Ned Ludd would be delighted to hear that the working class struggle began 200 years ago is to be commemorated in the heart of the district where his followers caused so much pain and grief to the authorities.
“The design of the sculpture shows the croppers defiance, but without the stereotyping of them being armed. We wanted a child to be an integral part of the statue to show they were ordinary family men.
“The artwork will dignify the defeat of the Luddites in their unequal contest with the mill owners and the army whom they fought for the right to work and feed their families.”

The unveiling will take place on Saturday, April 14, at 11.30am.