7 Jan 2017

Estate campaigner forum - shout out for local campaigners

Sian  Berry (Green AM) is hosting a major event - a forum and workshop in London’s Living Room at the top of City Hall on Friday 10 February.

It will bring together campaigners who are trying to save the estates where they live from demolition to make plans and respond together to the Mayor’s ‘useless’ new estate guidance.

Do you know any estate campaigners in your area we should invite?

Sian has been visiting threatened estates across London since before being elected, but there are inevitably local campaigns we have not heard from yet. If you know of any groups in your area, please email Sian so she can invite them to the event.

Just send their name, estate/campaign and email to sianberrylondon@gmail.com and we’ll do the rest!

 We can’t fit in everyone who is simply interested in the issue, just because of space, but active campaigners and Greens who are advising local campaigns on this are very welcome indeed.

3 Jan 2017

The People's Assembly Against Austerity: It's Our NHS - National Demonstration 4 March/People's Question Time/I, Daniel Blake community screenings/


TUESDAY, 3 JANUARY 2017



From everyone at the People's Assembly we hope you have a fantastic break and we look forward to working with everyone again in 2017. 


  Make a donation here.

I, Daniel Blake community screenings

The People's Assembly is also pleased to announce the first of many community Screenings of Ken Loach's powerful, must-see inditement of Britains benefits system, 'I, Daniel Blake'. Get along to a screening near you or organise a showing yourself.
Manchester: Tuesday 24 January

Folkestone: Thursday 26 January

South London: Friday 27 January

Rhyl North Wales: Friday 27 January
South East Cornwall: Saturday 28 January

York: Tuesday 31 January

North Hertfordshire: Tuesday 7 February
Eastbourne: Wednesday 8 February
Kings Lynn: Friday 10 February

For more info about the screenings and to book your place, click here
Coming up (dates tbc) in, Bristol, Oxford, Swindon, Milton Keynes, North London, Brighton and multiple locations across Scotland and Northern Ireland. If you want to find out more information about a screening or you want to set up your own, please contact, office@thepeoplesassemblu.org.uk 


People's Question Time: Brexit - What are our demands?

We will be touring the country with a series of Question Time events around Brexit. This tour will be launched in London on Thursday 19 January. In increasing uncertainty about what Brexit will mean for us, we will be developing a series of key demands to put to the Government so that Brexit is negotiated in the interests of the majority and not the bankers and bosses. 

If you're in London please come along, if not, you will be able to watch it live on our Facebook page. We will be announcing a series of new dates early in the new year. 
 
The People’s Question Time: Brexit – What Are Our Demands?
7pmThursday 19 January, St Pancras Church, Euston Road, NW1 2BA. Register your place

Panel includes: 
Emily Thornberry MP, Shadow Foreign Secretary, Amelia Womack, Deputy Leader, Green Party, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary, National Union of Teachers, Lindsey German, People's Assembly, Malia Bouattia, NUS President, Steve Turner, Assistant General Secretary, UNITE

Click here for more info

It's Our NHS - National Demonstration 4 March

The People's Assembly has joined forces with Health Campaigns Together to organise a major national demonstration in defence of our NHS. 




Click here for more info

SATURDAY 4 MARCH, 12pm TAVISTOCK SQUARE 
Check out the facebook event and get inviting and sharing. Use the hashtag #ournhs 


Don't for forget if you can afford to help in any way please donate what you can:

  Make a donation here.


Unite the Union General Secretary Elections

We want to also give a special mention to an important election coming up in the UK's biggest trade union UNITE. Len McCluskey who has been UNITE's General Secretary since 2011 has triggered an early election which will take place in early 2017. 

UNITE has been central to the anti-austerity movement and one of the founding members of the People's Assembly. Without the national support of UNITE it would have been impossible to build the broad coalition against austerity we have today. It's for this reason that the right wing media and establishment will throw their weight behind trying to undermine the work that Len and UNITE have done. They will do all they can to make sure the right take hold of one of the most influential trade unions we have. 

If you are a member please make sure you vote. You can also become a member and vote as long as you join before 1 January. If you are unemployed, or unable to join a workplace union, UNITE have a special community membership. Details here

Solidarity!

The People's Assembly Against Austerity
http://www.thepeoplesassembly.org.uk/

12 Dec 2016

Ken Montague


Ken Montague, a well known and respected local Brent activist who had recently moved to Brighton, died on Friday not quite a month after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. 
In perhaps his last email to friends and comrades after the diagnosis Ken finished by saying, 'Please pass on the word to those that need to know and say that I am relying on you to keep up the fight for better and more sustainable world. My only regret is that I'm bailing out so early. In comradeship, Ken' (Martin Francis)

We regret to announce the death of Ken Montague, known to many of us as a socialist, climate change activist and member of the UCU London Retired Members branch. His contribution will be sorely missed. We send our condolences to his comrades, friends and family.
Merilyn Moos, vice chair of the retired members branch, who knew Ken for many years, has written this obituary.
I knew Ken as a comrade and friend from when we were in our early 20s. His sudden death, at 70, is a terrible blow, politically and personally.

Ken became an FE lecturer, first in what was then Kilburn Polytechnic (where I taught), then at Barnet. Before he retired, he did some part-time teaching at Middlesex. His main area was literature but he was deeply involved in Media Studies. His students loved him, especially those he took on annual pilgrimages to Cannes so that they could witness the iniquities but also the ‘alternative reality’ of the film industry for themselves. He was the Branch Secretary for what I suspect he felt was far too long, fighting the college management’s petty vindictiveness as well as the grander issues of conditions and pay. One of the crucial (and ultimately successful) campaigns he was crucially involved in was for the reinstatement of John Fernandes, a black lecturer at the College of North West London who was being dismissed for revealing the racist content of essays by police cadets whom he taught.
He was a member of IS, (International Socialists) then SW (Socialist Workers Party), an organisation which, with a couple of outs and ins, he remained a member of for all his life. He was passionate about his politics but never became a hack nor did he become bureaucratically compromised, retaining a fundamental commitment to grassroots struggle all his life.

The first massive class struggle I remember him in was at Grunwicks. He was the Secretary of Barnet Trades Council at the time and was on the Grunwick strike committee. From the beginning he stressed the importance, especially given the concealed racism, of solidarity between white, male, manual workers and Asian women and was vociferous in demanding, mass pickets to shut down Grunwick. As Ken wrote in SW: ’There was lots of talk of support from the top of the unions but it was mostly just talk.’ Indeed, as I remember vividly the turning point in the dispute came when, after a few weeks of mass pickets, the TUC (in the figure of Jack Dromey, then of Brent Trades Council, and indeed, Scargill,) marched us away from the gates. Ken would not have been in agreement with that.

Ken continued to be active, campaigning for example for the Respect candidate in Brent in a number of elections. But his next major and long-term involvement was over climate change, which, in recent years, including campaigning against fracking. He emphasised throughout the importance of trade union support and organisation. He was instrumental in setting up the Campaign against Climate Change Trade Union Group (CACCTU) and became its Secretary. He took a leading part in organising and promulgating the influential ‘One Million Climate Jobs’ booklet and campaign, both in Britain and internationally (supported by Jeremy Corbyn though one wouldn’t know it).

Last year he attended the Paris Climate talks as part of the Global Climate Jobs movement. Global Climate Jobs is the network of all the national climate campaigns, which he was instrumental in setting up. The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) held an alternative summit in Paris, attended by approx 40 climate jobs activists from 20 countries, which launched a Global Climate Jobs campaign. Ken always emphasised the crucial role of trade unions.


As he wrote afterwards about Paris:
It is clear that the leaders of all the countries in the world have failed us. They did so because nowhere did we have the political and social power to make them take decisive action on climate… We have to mobilise... After all, we need cuts of 80% in global emissions, as soon as possible.
We have to fight to leave the coal, gas and oil in the soil, he said. So we need to replace fossil fuels almost entirely with renewable energy. Ken could always be found doing the organising, writing and distributing the leaflets, speaking at meetings and rallies (which he didn’t enjoy), making the contacts, arguing with rank and file trade unionists - but never claiming the lime light.

The last event he was organising was the Conference 
Climate Refugees, The Climate Crisis & Population Displacement. Building A Trade Union & Civil Society Response (to be held on Saturday 11 February 10pm - 5pm, NUT, Hamilton House) Let’s support it.
Ken died too young and we shall all miss him.


Pete Murry, fellow UCU member and Brent Green Party and London Green Party TU Liaision Offcer, Secretary of Green Left wrote: 

For much of his life Ken lived in Cricklewood and was active in many local campaigns against, council and goverment cuts, against racism and against war. He was the founder and backbone of the Brent Campaign Against Climate Change and a key organiser in Campaign Against Climate Change nationally and its Trade Union group. It was an honour to have worked with him on these campaigns and as a fellow UCU member.

2 Dec 2016

Letters in support of Indro Sen, pp the Greens and London Retired Members of the University and College Union,

As Trade Union Liaison Officer for the London Federation of Green Parties and for Brent Green Party, I was shocked to learn of the suspension of Indro Sen as a lecturer at the College of North West London. It is suggested that this is because of his strong opposition to a proposed merger with City and Westminster College, and his support at an employment tribunal of a sacked colleague’s claim of unfair dismissal and victimisation.

Both of these are actions which it is entirely proper for a University and College Union Branch Secretary to carry out. If Indro Sen’s suspension is a result of his performing the legitimate duties of a UCU Officer, then he himself seems to be threatened with unfair treatment and victimisation.

As a former Lecturer in the College and a retired member of UCU , I am saddened that the College, which provides a valued service to the communities of North West London., and Brent in particular, might bring itself into disrepute because of its treatment of Indro Sen. I am sure that members and supporters of the Green Party, UCU members , and the local communities will support my call for the immediate and full reinstatement of Indro Sen as a lecturer at the College and no further interference with his activities as UCU Branch Secretary.

Yours sincerely,
 Peter Murry 

Trade Union Liaison Officer for the London Federation of Green Parties and for Brent Green Party

[for the attention of the Principal and Chair of Governors, College of North West London]
Sir / Madam

I am writing on behalf of the London Retired Members of the University and College Union, to protest at the suspension of Indro Sen as a lecturer at the College of North West London. We have been led to believe that this is because of his opposition to a proposed merger with City and Westminster College, and his support at an employment tribunal of a sacked colleague’s claim of unfair dismissal and victimisation.

It seems to us that Mr Sen is himself being victimised for carrying out his legitimate duties as a branch secretary of our trade union. This unfair treatment threatens the good name of a college that provides valuable service to the people in North West London. We would like to add our name to the protests that you have already received from his colleagues, his students and the wider community. We shall support the inevitable public demonstrations to demand both the reinstatement of Mr Sen and end of this ill omened merger.

Please reconsider before further damage is done to your reputation.

Yours faithfully
Dr Steve Cushion


1 Dec 2016

NO SUSPENSION NO VICTIMISATION at the College of NW LONDON: DEFEND SEN AND DEFEND GOOD MATHS TEACHING

NO SUSPENSION NO VICTIMISATION
DEFEND SEN AND DEFEND GOOD MATHS TEACHING

Dear Students
UCU branch at the college is sorry to inform you that:
·         Sen, one of your favourite teacher, was suspended and is threatened with dismissal from your College by Senior Management on 11 October 2016. Since then, Sen has been prevented from doing the thing he loves the most: teaching maths
UCU Branch at CNWL believe that his suspension and threatened dismissal is linked with
·         his strong opposition to our College closing through a proposed merger with City and Westminster College. He led a campaign in 2013 that successfully stopped our College closing down through a merger with City of Westminster College
and
·         his support at an employment tribunal of a sacked colleague’s claim of unfair dismissal and victimisation case against some College Senior Managers
You can show your support for Sen by:
1.     signing the ‘DEFEND SEN AND DEFEND GOOD MATHS TEACHING”, petition.
2.     Using your LEARNER VOICE power to get him back in the classroom where he belongs.
3.     Sending him a MESSAGE OF SUPPORT at senkingsland@hotmail.com
as he is missing his classes and missing teaching maths

 You will be shocked to hear Sen has been suspended and threatened with dismissal.  See the press coverage below.

The branch believes the additional reasons for this desperate action are in the leaflets attached 

We are in the process of organising a public meeting in January and will let you know the venue. Please indicate if you will be able to attend when we let you know the dates.
Also, any donations are welcome.

Regards
Colin Purkey on behalf of branch committee: Wapal Worrell, Colin Purkey, Bernie Driscoll, Angela McGrady, Shelley Bennet, Julia Collins, Julian Holt, Catherine Lemmon, Isabelle Rahman



Please send your messages of support for the branch to:


Messages of support to Sen at:

senkingsland@Hotmail.com

Messages of protest with copies to Colin.Purkey and senkingsland@hotmail.com to:

Andy.Cole@cnwl.ac.uk -- Principal

Judith.Williams@cnwl.ac.uk - chair of governors

Unions call for strike action as member suspended from Brent college

Unions call for strike action as member suspended from Brent college 

10:10 01 December 2016

Indro Sen has been suspended from CNWL
Union chiefs at a Brent college are calling for strike action over the suspension of one of its members.
The University College Union (UCU) branch committee at the College of NorthWest London, is balloting members in support of Indra Sen, a maths teacher and union branch secretary.Mr Sen, an opponent of CNWL plans to merge with Westminster College, was suspended in October while representing a former CNWL employee at an employment tribunal.
Colin Purkey, branch chairman of the UCU, said: “The Branch has recommended escalating strike action to compel management to lift the suspension and threat of dismissal.
“We believe it is no coincidence that Sen was suspended just prior to the management of CNWL announcing its intention to merge with City of Westminster College.
Sen has defended us and our college over the years and now it is our turn to defend our Sen and defend our college.”
The Times reported the major outcry in 2013 when plans were announced for CNWL, which has campus’ in Wembley Park and Dudden Hill Lane, to be merged with The City of Westminster College.
Mr Sen said: “Regardless that I am suspended, if the merger goes ahead students will suffer. They will have to travel much further. This site will become an annex out of Westminster. This college has served this community for many years. It is so important for our students who come from such varied backgrounds. They need something like this. We can’t see its independence being surrendered.
A spokesman for CNWL said merger plans were back on track. He added: “Full statements were issued to staff about collaboration plans in October 2015 when they were first made, and regularly since. The proposal to work towards to a merger with City of Westminster College was made in October 2016 with open meetings and written communications provided to all staff.
“Both colleges’ governing bodies are working through the merger proposal and will finalise a decision on taking this forward in December, with a view to merger being completed in August 2017.
“The college did receive notification from UCU over an intention to ballot members on strike action regarding the suspension of Mr Sen.”