Fighting £37m Bolton Council Cuts

Gleeful conservatives win vote to cut £37,000,000

Bolton Full Council Meeting on the 17th February 2021 voted to cut £37 million pounds in the coming financial year

Click here to see Bolton Council’s budget report and click here to see the latest council meeting.

One after another, Councillors stated “these are savage cuts, these are devastating cuts, we don’t want faceless bureaucrats in here running our council, it is our role to run this town”…it certainly can be interpreted that it is far better that they cut services and sack workers rather than some faceless bureaucrat! The councillors who voted for these cuts or abstained were only interested in protecting their own positions.

HOW DID MY COUNCILLOR VOTE? Click here

If you live in Bolton the we are asking asking you to write to your local ward councillors, of which there are 3 in each ward, and to hold them to account.
 
As a union member, please play your part to challenge these cuts. 

We are stronger when we challenge together and when we resist together.

Please find attached a pro forma letter, to either use in its entirety or in part and a link below to find out who your councillor is.

Find your local councillors – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

If you do not live in Bolton, then you can use part of the letter to write to the Leader of the council, Councillor David Greenhalgh. You can outline your concerns about the cuts to services this council provides.

david.greenhalgh@bolton.gov.uk

Iternational Workers Memorial Day, zoom meeting 28th April

Every year more people are killed at work than in wars. Most don’t die of mystery ailments, or in tragic “accidents”. They die because an employer decided their safety just wasn’t that important a priority. International Workers’ Memorial Day (IWMD) 28 April commemorates those workers.

At 7:30pm on the 28th April Bolton TUC will remember those that have lost their lives or have suffered life changing injuries and disease at work

Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

Bolton TUC have contact all 3 Bolton MP’s outlining our concerns regarding the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill published last week as we see it as a blatant attempt to create an authoritarian police state.

Not only does this Bill contain numerous threats to the right to peaceful protest and access to the countryside, criminalise the Gypsy and Traveller communities’ way of life, as well as a whole host of expansive policing powers, but it is being rushed through parliament during a pandemic and before civil society and the public have been able to fully understand its profound implications.  

Contained within this 307 page bill are plans to:

  1. Introduce draconian new police powers allowing them to decide where, when and how citizens are allowed to protest and have their voices heard;
  1. Increase penalties for those breaching police conditions on protests and the ease with which they can be found to have done so;
  1. Create a new trespass offence that criminalises the way of life of nomadic Gypsy and Traveller communities, this whilst the government manifestly fails to provide adequate sites and permitted stopping places, and has implications for the public’s right to protest, access to the countryside and people experiencing homelessness.
  1. Among other things, the police, crime, sentencing and courts bill will give Priti Patel powers to create laws to define “serious disruption” to communities and organisations, which police can then rely on to impose conditions on protests.

This is a huge bill, both in length and in potential consequences – for people calling for social change facing greater criminalisation by the state, for Gypsy and Traveller communities facing threats to their way of life, and for anyone who values freedom of expression and the right to make yourself heard against the powerful.

Just this weekend we saw that police have more than enough powers at their disposal at the Clapham vigil where instead of standing in solidarity and assuring women that they will strive to make the world a safer place, they apparently chose the Iron fist of repression.

Many trade unionists have experienced the hard edge of police power and are confident that the police and courts have all the power they need.

For a country that so often prides itself on its civil liberties, this Bill represents an attack on some of the most fundamental rights of citizens, in particular those from marginalised communities, and is being driven through at a time and in a way where those who will be subject to its provisions are least able to respond.

BTUC urge members of the public to contact their MP calling upon them to oppose the bill and call upon the government to fundamentally rethink its approach.

Protest & Vigil a democratic right

Bolton TUC condemns acts of physical, emotional and financial abuse against women.  Women may not often be abducted by strangers but they are frequently the victims of sexism, harassment and assault.

We send our deepest condolences to the friends and family of Sarah Everard and our solidarity to those who seek to hold vigils to remember her.  These vigils should not be seen as a challenge by the police but instead the beginning of the healing process which we hope will demand a better world for all victims.

We call upon the police to work with those who seek to hold a socially distanced vigil which can only help the fight against women’s oppression and that of our right to protest generally.

West Yorkshire musician set for March launch of Winter Hill Trespass song

Johnny Campbell, a West Yorkshire based folk musician is set to release a song called “Winter Hill Trespass” about the dramatic events of September 1896, when thousands of Bolton people took part Britain’s biggest ever rights of way dispute in defiance of wealthy landowner, Colonel Ainsworth.  

Johnny is preparing for a limited edition release on the 16th March of his ‘Winter Hill Trespass’ song on vinyl single format. There will also be a limited edition collection of merchandise including vinyl, tea towel, t-shirt which will be supported by a Kickstarter campaign.

Johnny Campbell said: “it’s really important for us to celebrate the history of ordinary people. Their struggles, fights, battles lost and won have helped to shape the world around us today. So much of ordinary people’s everyday life has been forgotten and lost. We often hear about the history of the wealthy and powerful, but for me that is the history of the 1%. I want songs that tell the history of the 99%, the history of ordinary people, it’s a powerful history that we need to keep alive. Most people today, still have more in common with a Boltonian mill worker in the 1890s than with a wealthy landowner”.

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, Johnny Campbell has toured extensively, playing in a range of locations including the Faroe Islands and Norway. In common with many other musicians, over the past year, Johnny has been limited to performing and sharing his music online. He is hoping that once Covid restrictions are lifted he will be able to perform in Bolton as part of the Winter Hill 125 celebrations.

More information about Johnny Campbell, his music and how to order copies of his single is available on line via:

Website: www.johnnycampbell.co.uk

Patreon: www.patreon.com/johnnycampbell

Uber drivers win ‘historic’ gig-economy ruling

Morning Star Friday, February 19, 2021

TENS OF THOUSANDS of Uber private-hire drivers are in line for substantial compensation after the Supreme Court finally confirmed they are workers, not self-employed contractors.

Today’s unanimous decision by six judges — the fourth ruling against Uber in as many years — means the app’s drivers are entitled to holiday pay, a guaranteed minimum wage and breaks.

But it also has major implications for workers across the gig economy who have been forced to accept bogus self-employed status.

Hailing the “historic” win, the GMB union’s Mick Rix told Uber to “stop wasting time and money pursuing lost legal causes and do what’s right by the drivers who prop up [your] empire.”

“This has been a gruelling four-year legal battle for our members — but it’s ended in a historic win,” said national officer Mr Rix.

Lawyers Leigh Day, which represented GMB, calculated that “tens of thousands” of Uber drivers could be entitled to an average of £12,000 each.

“Uber has consistently suggested that the rulings only affect two drivers, but Leigh Day will be claiming compensation on behalf of the thousands of drivers who have joined its claim,” said Leigh Day partner Nigel McKay.

Uber took its case to the Supreme Court despite losing the initial employment tribunal case in 2016, an employment appeal tribunal in 2017 and at the Court of Appeal in 2018.

In today’s ruling, Lord Justice Leggatt argued the “remuneration paid to drivers for the work they do” was fixed by Uber and that the contractual terms on which drivers perform their services were “dictated” by the company.

“I think it clear that the employment tribunal was entitled to find that the claimant drivers were ‘workers’,” he said.

The ruling also rejected Uber’s claim that they should be paid only for time they spent with a paying customer in their vehicle.

Mark Cairns, an Uber driver in London for five years, said: “It’s been a long time coming but I’m delighted that we’ve finally got the victory we deserve.

“At the very least, we should have the same rights as any other workers and I’m very glad I’m part of the claim.”

James Farrar, one of the original tribunal claimants and now general secretary of the App Drivers and Couriers Union, predicted that the ruling would “fundamentally re-order the gig economy.”

“Uber drivers are cruelly sold a false dream of endless flexibility and entrepreneurial freedom. The reality has been illegally low pay, dangerously long hours and intense digital surveillance,” he said.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady described the ruling as “an important win for gig-economy workers and for common decency. Sham self-employment exploits people and lets companies dodge paying their fair share of tax.

“Unions will continue to expose nasty schemes that try and cheat workers out of the minimum wage and holiday pay.

“But we also need the government to step up to the plate. Ministers must use the much-delayed employment Bill to reform the law around worker status.”

STUC general secretary Roz Foyer described the outcome as “a win-win for workers and local economies” but warned that “as we speak, app giants will be formulating plans to have legislation changed, as they did in California last year.”

Labour shadow employment rights secretary Andy McDonald MP said the ruling was “testament to the hard work of the ADCU and GMB trade unions and drivers who have brought about this action.

“The Supreme Court has sent a very clear message that companies should not game the system by undercutting the rights of their employees,” Mr McDonald said.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan, welcoming the “landmark ruling,” said that gig-economy workers deserved “the same rights as other workers.

“Today is yet another reminder of the huge force for good that trade unions play in our society,” he added.