John Kelly

Please see the message below from Karen Reay, regional secretary. Our condolences to John’s family and friends

Hi
It is with deep sadness that I have to inform you of the death of John Kelly after a short illness.
John was a well-respected Activist and member of the Regional Committee, RTC RISC, Disability Committee and Branch Secretary of the NE/GEO/29 Branch.
Further details will follow in due course.
Kind regards
Karen
Karen H. Reay
Regional Secretary
North East, Yorkshire & Humberside
Unite the Union

Barnsley Anti-racism Football tournament

This story by Nick Stevens originally appeared on Hope Not Hate.

Some of the teams on show. Photo: Mark Harvey

Some of the teams on show. Photo: Mark Harvey

It’s fair to say that we at HOPE not hate have written extensively over the years about the relationship between organised football violence and the growth and movements of the far-right scene in the UK. That being the case, it is always a delight when we can write about the opposite: a positive story about the impact of ‘the beautiful game’, and its role in bringing people together.

And so was the case in Barnsley on Saturday 16th January, as 16 teams from across Yorkshire, and even as far afield as London and Leicester, came together for a 5-a-side ‘Anti-Racism Tournament’ organised by Unite the Union, with backing from Show Racism The Red Card and Barnsley FC Community Support Trust.

HOPE not hate was delighted to be invited to the fantastic, diverse, event in a freezing sports hall next to Barnsley football ground in the middle of the South Yorkshire town. The ground itself is situated in a residential area, and walking around, one really gets the sense of the unifying properties of the world’s most popular sport, as the game becomes a catalyst for a community to come together.

As teams such as ‘Yorkshire St Pauli’, ‘Barnsley ESOL’ and ‘Manchester Refugee Support’ clashed in their various groups, the viewing gallery and seating area was packed with people determined to stand in solidarity with those that some see fit to demonise and scapegoat.

Being as they were only 5 minutes long, and with 3 matches being played at once, the games themselves were played at a whirlwind pace, with some fantastic individual and team skill on show. Whilst we got a stitch just watching, the boundless levels of energy from all involved needs to be commended, as does the organisation of the day itself, which was superb. Also, a big thank you to the caterers who put on a great spread to keep the teams full of vitality.

In the end, Manchester Refugee Support emerged victorious, so congratulations to them!

DCC United put on a solid display. Photo: Mark Harvey

DCC United put on a solid display. Photo: Mark Harvey

Spot the ball, answers on a postcard. Photo: Mark Harvey

Spot the ball, answers on a postcard. Photo: Mark Harvey

 

Holocaust Memorial Day

Please find attached information regarding this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day Event, hosted by Teesside University and the Centre for Fascist, Anti-Fascist and Post-Fascist Studies in partnership with Middlesbrough Council.

 

HMD 2016 Don’t Stand By, 27th January 2016, Teesside University

If you would like to book a place at the event please click on the ‘booking required’ section on the flyer to be taken to the booking page.

For more information please email arts@tees.ac.uk.

HMD 16 Programme

HMD 16 Flyer

Christmas Opening

Durham Community Support Centre will re-open after Christmas on 6th January 2016. We are open tomorrow, Christmas Eve

We would like to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year.Christmas owls

Unite says “King Coal” Is Not A Lost Cause

King Coal’ has a future as a UK producer, despite ministerial short-sightedness, driven by treasury cuts, Unite, the country’s largest union, said today (Thursday 17 December).

And coal’s importance cannot be underestimated when there are big questions about the country’s energy security in the decades ahead.

Unite said that the closure tomorrow (Friday 18 December) of Britain’s last deep pit coal mine at Kellingley colliery, near Castleford, was yet another glaring example of the government’s short-termism in its overall energy policy.

Unite has repeatedly warned that industry, commerce and consumers face higher UK electricity prices and the prospect of the lights going out in the years ahead, because power reserves are so slim, especially during cold weather ‘snaps’.

Unite national officer for the coal sector, John Allott said: “Coal was responsible for kick-starting the Industrial Revolution 250 years ago and generating much of the country’s energy needs since then.

“The closure of Kellingley colliery is a sad end to the proud history of deep mining coal production in the UK.

“There is a future for coal in the UK and it is not a lost cause. We urge the government to turn more attention to surface mining and its future development and creation of much-needed employment. 

“We are sitting on a sea of coal that ministers now seem to have discarded in their energy calculations, despite the fact that we are living in an increasingly insecure world where oil and gas imports could be under threat.

“The last straw was the jettisoning of the £1bn carbon capture and storage (CCS) competition by chancellor George Osborne last month that would have given coal a real future, while keeping carbon emissions within EU limits. This technology is already used effectively in Canada and Sweden.

“Energy and climate change secretary Amber Rudd does not seem to have a grip of her portfolio and appears to be rudderless under the weight of treasury pressure. Coal is a victim – as are the dedicated workers at Kellingley – of this policy of drift, cutbacks and short-sightedness.   

“Currently 31 per cent of electricity comes from coal burning power stations, but a third of this is expected to close by next year and by 2023 the National Grid expects all power stations to close leaving a gaping hole in the UK’s capacity to keep the lights on.

“When the sun is not shining, the wind is not blowing and there is peak demand, we need other affordable, reliable and secure sources of UK energy supply.”

Unite’s policy is keep UK coal production alive, utilising CCS technology to keep coal as an integral part of a UK coherent energy policy.

Sports Direct Latest

Mike Ashley has agreed to review the terms and conditions of agency staff working at Sports Direct. You can read about it  here

But- Unite fear that this may be little more than a publicity stunt

A review by Mike Ashley into the use agency workers at Sports Direct will be nothing more than a public relations stunt if it fails to end ‘Victorian’ work practices at the retailer’s Shirebrook warehouse, Britain’s largest union Unite warned today (Friday 18 December).
The review announced by the Sports Direct board today, follows a Guardian investigation which found that extra, unpaid time taken for “rigorous” compulsory searches meant workers were paid less than the minimum wage.
Likening working conditions in the warehouse to a ‘gulag’, the investigation also found that workers were being ‘docked’ wages for arriving as little as a minute late to work.
Unite regional officer Luke Primarolo said: “Shameful ‘Victorian’ work practices have no place in modern Britain and this review should not deter HMRC from investigating the non-payment of the minimum wage to agency workers at Sports Direct.
“Unite has repeatedly raised concerns with the board and Mike Ashley directly about the use of ‘Victorian’ work practices. We look forward to participating fully with Mike Ashley’s review and to working with Sports Direct to eradicate the mistreatment of workers at its Shirebrook warehouse.
“If his review is to be taken seriously then it has to have concrete outcomes, such as restoring dignity at work by moving agency staff at Best Connection and Transline workers onto permanent contracts.
“A failure to do so will do nothing to restore investor and customer confidence and leave the board open to accusations of doing nothing more than engaging in a public relations stunt.”
 

Orgreave Justice Fight Continues

Mark Metcalf, Friday, December 18th, 2015 – UniteLive

Unite has backed the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign (OTJC) since its inception over three years ago. One of the campaign stalwarts is Unite industrial organiser Joe Rollin from Barnsley.

Joe is now urging “trade unionists to back the events we are planning, which are intended to demonstrate to the home secretary Theresa May that there is popular support for a public inquiry or Hillsborough-style independent panel into events at Orgreave in 1984. ”On Tuesday (December 15) the OTJC treasurer Chris Peace and Mike McColgan presented its 86-page legal submission to Theresa May. She had indicated her willingness to consider an inquiry request following widespread media coverage in June of the OTJC’s condemnation of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) decision not to conduct a full investigation.The IPCC had taken over two-and-a-half years to conduct an initial investigation only to conclude that it didn’t have the resources to conduct a full-scale investigation. The police watchdog indicated that it had been unable to get to the truth as it could not locate a series of important documents, including the police operational orders that were drawn up in advance of June 18, 1984.At the Battle of Orgreave that day, 95 miners were arrested after thousands of police officers – many in riot gear, with others on horseback – brutally assaulted miners participating in a year-long strike aimed at defending jobs and mining communities.

When the cases came to court they were all abandoned after the evidence by South Yorkshire Police (SYP) was heavily discredited and later the force made out of court settlements to 39 miners. Yet no police officers were ever charged of any offence despite clear evidence of assault, perjury, perverting the course of justice and misconduct in a public offence.

According to former printworker Joe this has left, “a legacy of mistrust within mining communities of the police and it is one of reasons I joined the OTJC.”

The OTJC legal submission has been prepared voluntarily by four barristers, including Michael Mansfield QC and Gareth Pierce, both of whom represented miners at the original trial.

“We have worked closely with the legal team and I’m very proud of everyone involved. There is some quite sensitive material within our submission but in addition to written testimonies we have also included lots of photographs to back up each section,” says Joe.

The submission was presented after the OTJC met with May in July. Joe says the meeting was “very positive. Now I hope the home secretary will see how strong the case is for either a public inquiry or an independent panel similar to one that investigated the Hillsborough disaster.”

Joe and the campaign won’t though be sitting waiting for May to contact them. “Ever since SYP referred themselves in November 2012 to the IPCC over Orgreave we have constantly sought to show that there is popular support for our cause.

“By adopting a very professional attitude we have won over many sections of the press, even those who aren’t on our side have adopted a position of respect, and the events we’ve organised have been well backed.

“Unite has supported the campaign and many Unite members have attended previous events. In the New Year we are planning some very imaginative events and we want them involved again. So watch this space because this important struggle continues.”

Get involved with the Orgreave justice campaign here