Remploy rally in York
HUNDREDS of trade unionists braved the weather and took to the streets of York last Saturday to demonstrate against Government plans to close a local Remploy factory, job centres and post offices.
These are the three most important issues facing workers in the area. The unions GMB Unite, Community, PCS and CWU organised the protest to call on the Government to rethink its policies on welfare reform, the employment of disabled people and the provision of our Royal Mail Services.
North Yorkshire has seen the closure of 22 post offices and hundreds of job cuts, including the loss of 50 disabled workers’ jobs at York’s Remploy factory.
The campaigners also protested at proposals to close and privatise job centres.
York Labour MP Hugh Bayley joined trade union members on the march from Museum Gardens to a rally at the Royal York Hotel.
Speakers included GMB general secretary Paul Kenny, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka, CWU general secretary Billy Hayes, GMB manufacturing national secretary Phil Davies, Unite national secretary Julia Long, GMB regional secretary for Yorkshire Tim Roache, GMB national Remploy convenor Less Woodward and Hugh Bayley MP.
“The closure of Remploy York on the 6th March 2008 effectively blocked opportunity for disabled people in the York and surrounding areas to find sustainable work,” said Paul Kenny. “GMB will not allow this is important issue to be forgot or ignored.
“The voice of disabled workers will get louder and louder as time goes on and GMB will make sure it is listened to by Government and Councils alike.”
Mark Serwotka said: “In these uncertain times, the closure of job centres in and around York will make it more difficult to find work and restrict access to an essential service when it is needed the most.
“Added to this is the privatisation of parts of Jobcentre Plus, which will see a workforce who have consistently outperformed the private sector, replaced by a private sector ethos that is governed by the profits of the few rather than the needs of the many.”
Billy Hayes said: “The closure of local post offices will mean that disabled people, the old and the vulnerable will have to travel long distances to use basic facilities.”
Julia Long said: “As a union representing disabled people, Unite has a duty to ensure that the Government listens to and meets their needs.
“Key in this is to ensure that there are jobs for disabled workers now and in generations to come. “Despite the promises, the closure of factory after factory over the past year has not helped our disabled members into mainstream jobs. We will not allow this to continue to happen and our members to be sold short.”
PCS signs new recognition agreement
PCS last week signed a trade union recognition agreement with the Training and Development Agency for Schools. The agreement was signed by PCS senior national officer, John Hickey, and the TDA’s chief executive, Graham Holley.
The Training and Development Agency for Schools develops standards and training for teachers and the whole school workforce.
In line with the Lyons Review, the TDA is planning to relocate to central Manchester by April 2010 with a planned transitional move to another building in central Manchester taking place between April 2009 and March 2010. alarmed
The transition and eventual relocation has concerned staff for some time and they have become even more alarmed as the organisation has driven the move forward despite the current economic crisis.
The union believes that the economic situation has changed so radically over the last few months that the costs to the tax-payer of such a move (part of the 2004 Lyons Review) require serious scrutiny.
PCS has written to the minister for children, schools and families, Ed Balls, requesting a review.
PCS, whilst eager to begin negotiating with the TDA on the whole gamut of workforce matters, will be taking forward immediately members concerns over their planned relocation.
John Bramson, branch secretary at the agency said, “It is really exciting for all of us in the TDA; we have worked hard to establish this union in the organisation in a time of great change and uncertainty; we now have the opportunity to build a fruitful relationship between staff and management through the strong backing of the union.”