Thursday 20 August 2009

Homeless charity making own staff homeless!

Congratulations to my UNISON colleagues working for Brighton Housing Trust, who took strike action yesterday against attempts by BHT management to slash their pay and other terms and conditions. Many staff face pay cuts of up to £300 per month.

The Chief Executive of BHT, ex 'rebel' Labour Councillor Andy Winter (a poacher turned gamekeeper if ever there was one) decided that he had pressing business in London rather than face the wrath of his workforce. On his watch BHT has gone from being an employer of choice in the voluntary sector to being known as an organisation which bullies it's staff. No word on whether he thinks HE should be due a pay cut.

Contrary to the claims that this is all about the credit crunch, the reality is that it is all about breaking one of the best-organised voluntary sector workforces in the area.

The workers have offered to suspend action if Winter withdraws the sackings and negotiates. But there will be more action if not.

This is one we have to win.

Monday 17 August 2009

Brighton Housing Trust - on strike this Wednesday!

Please support these workers in dispute. Please pass this on to friends and contacts, and please come to any of the advertised events if you can.


On Wednesday the 19th August, up to 125 Branch members employed by BHT will be taking strike action.

They have been forced to this last resort by an employer who is hell- bent on ripping up and imposing new Contracts of employment.

All staff will be removed from NJC Conditions of Service and will have working hours increased, for less pay!!!.

For half of our members, there will be a pay cut of up to £6,000.

This is not as bad as the original proposals to slash sick/maternity pay and other conditions, which UNISON successfully fought off.

Some of our members who work with homeless people will face the loss of their homes due to these proposals, Bluntly, BHT, once an “employer of choice”, has moved to one of the most heartless, aggressive and bullying organisations of the 80 the Branch has members within.

What You Can Do. On 19th August 2009, join one of the following events;

8-11am- Demonstration at 144 London Road (opposite Hobgoblin Pub)

11.30 -12noon- march from London Road to Barts Square (outside Brighton Town Hall), followed by a rally.

1.30pm- demonstration at Community Base, Queens Road.

Our members are low paid, facing large cuts in salary, and for some strike action losses will cause financial hardship. The Branch is appealing nationally for support, but if you want to make a contribution (cheques payable to Brighton & Hove UNISON) please send this to the Branch Office, Town Hall, Brighton, BN1 1JA.

What we Want.
Simply, a suspension, of the threat of dismissals, and talks, to reach a negotiated settlement – nothing more, nothing less.

On the 19th please, please turn up to support your colleagues in what is a key dispute for Brighton and Hove UNISON members.

Alex Knutsen
Branch Secretary

Friday 14 August 2009

Dry heave of the week

The latest in an occasional series. This one requires no comment from me....

Thursday 13 August 2009

Vestas Day of Action

Despite the end of the occupation a group of green, socialist and trade union campaigners were out leafleting on Wednesday teatime in Churchill Square as part of the national day of action in support of the Vestas workers. Among the questions we were asking -

  • How does a company which has taken taxpayer-funded subsidies in this country just decide to shut up shop and move to another one?
  • How can New Labour manage to nationalise the banks but not a factory employing 600 people in a small, fragile island economy?
  • Where is NuLab's "green energy strategy" now that it has sat back and watched the only factory making wind turbines in the UK close down?

It was a welcome outbreak of unity on the Brighton and Hove left...who knows what else we might find to agree on if we really put our minds to it......!

The campaign continues........

Thursday 6 August 2009

Save Vestas!


Workers at the country’s only wind turbine plant, Vestas on the Isle of Wight, have entered their third week of occupying their factory to stop it closing down and are now under threat of eviction. You can support them by taking part in the National Day of Action…

Wednesday, August 12
Rally 6pm
Churchill Square, Brighton

Email for more information