Monthly Archives: May 2014

Unite Community – The Video

One of our Unite Community members has created a video showing some of the actions that Unite Community in the Region has been involved in which is worth a look. Hopefully this will be the first of many.

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Thank You – Banner target reached

We’re delighted to announce that thanks to the extraordinary generousity of branches and members, that we have now reached our fundraising target for the Unite Community – DMA banner.
Our banner will now take pride of place at this years Durham Miners’ Gala.’ – Joe Rollin

The new banner design:

Version2

Special thanks to the following branches for their donations.

NAG – NEYH ( NE/401/14 )
Hartlepool Geographical Branch ( NE/GEO/17 )
Co Durham & Darlington NHS Foundation Trust ( NE/408/32 )
Scarborough & East Coast Retired Members Branch ( NE/999/2 )
North East Mears (Sedgefield) Branch ( NE/407/22 )
Durham Geographical Branch ( NE/GEO/29 )
Wirral TUC
Leeds Geographical Branch (CHECK SECTOR) ( NE/GEO/11 )
Northern Powergrid ( NE/204/5 )
Bradford – CYW & Not for Profit Sectoral Branch ( NE/403/10 )
Hull Geographical Branch ( NE/GEO/25 )
Scunthorpe Steelworks Branch ( NE/205/3 )
SGI Sector – Sunderland Geographical Area ( NE/405/28 )
Nottinghamshire Retired Members ( EM/NGRM )
Middlesbrough & Stockton – RTC Sectoral ( NE/300/24 )
Birtley NE/0106 Branch
Cleveland Potash ( NE/405/29 )
Peterlee Area Geographical Branch ( NE/GEO/18 )
Castleford 2 ( NE/0207 )
Sheffield 2 ( NE/0824 )
South of Tyne and Wear Health Branch ( NE/408/25 )
Newcastle Area Retired Members Branch ( NE/999/4 )
Plaxton ( NE/200/5 )
Wirral ( NW/9515M )
Tyneside Safety Glass ( NE/202/68 )

2014 sees the 30th anniversary of the year-long National Miners’ Strike which changed and affected the working lives of thousands of people. In support of those affected by the Strike and to ensure future generations remember, we have commissioned a new banner to be made for the Durham Unite Community Centre.

It will be unveiled at the Durham Miners’ Association Headquarters, Redhills, Durham on Thursday, 10 July, 2014, at the premier of our play “were not going back”

Davy Hopper, general secretary of the Durham Miners’ Association said: “This banner will mark the 30th anniversary of our national strike – a strike which saw Thatcher try to rip the hearts out of our communities. Unfortunately for the Tories we are still here and still fighting – this banner will reflect that”

Barbara Jackson Unite community member, Sheffield Women Against Pit Closures & secretary to Orgreave Truth & Justice Campaign said: “The women were the heart and soul of the strike. Without the women the strike would not have lasted a year. You can’t kill the spirit so we are not defeated.”

Shocking rise in ESA sanctions – this is why we need to protest on 11th July

Durham Unite Community are holding a protest in defence of the welfare state and against Sanctions and Work Capability Assessments on the 11th July in Durham. Please see the flyer at the bottom of this post for full details.

This is why it’s so important that we step up our protests:-

The last year has seen a shocking increase in the number of claimants, many of them highly vulnerable and facing mental health issues, being sanctioned for the crime of being sick and unable to look for a job.

An excellent post on the Kittyjones blog reveals the shocking scale of the numbers:

The total number of adverse sanction decisions over the period 3 December 2012 to 31 December 2013 was 28,702:

5,889 were applied for failure to attend a mandatory interview and
22,814 were applied for failure to participate in work related activity

In addition, the statistics show that, of the 28,702 decisions:

13,994 were reviewed and in 8,508 cases, the decisions were overturned. This equals a “success” rate of nearly 61% and
331 cases were appealed, 90 of those (27%) were overturned on appeal

http://kittysjones.wordpress.com/2014/05/19/rising-esa-sanctions-punishing-the-vulnerable-for-being-vulnerable/

As many of these being sanctioned have mental health issues, there is no doubt that the number of appeals is lower than it could be, and that with the right support many more people could appeal against their benefit being stopped.

Unite have produced a guide to challenging JSA sanction decisions, which can be downloaded by clicking here. Please share it widely. If you contact the Community Support Centre we will also be able to help with appealing against ESA sanctions.

Sanctions demo - flyer

Download a copy of the demo flyer by clicking here.

Save the Durham Care Homes

The Durham People’s Assembly are continuing to campaign against the recent Council decision to close the 5 remaining Care Homes run by the Council in the County. Please see the following message for latest details and activities around the campaign.

Dear all.

Just a quick update on some developments regarding the campaign to stop the closures of the remaining council-run care homes.

Firstly, the tireless and inspirational campaigners in Stanhope are holding a protest on at Newtown House Sunday 18th May at 2pm. Please see the attached flyer for more information. Please make every effort you can to attend this demonstration and show your support.

newtonh House

Secondly, we are all going to protest at County Hall at 9am on Wednesday 21st May when the full council meets.

The Facebook event page is here: https://www.facebook.com/events/469579973187704/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Please share this on your page.

Finally, after our inquiries, Durham County Council has admitted that the information on its website regarding the role of full council in the Council’s decision-making procedure was misleading and have now removed it.

Kind regards,

Paul Simpson

Unite Community – May Newsletter

Durham Unite Community branch have produced a newsletter updating on our recent activities, and what we have got planned for the coming weeks and months:

Durham Community Branch – May Bulletin – final version

Durham Unite Community Branch Newsletter

Unite_CommunityLogo_HiRes

May bulletin of the Durham Unite Community branch

Latest News and Activities

Community Support Centre – This spring we have been busy maintaining the centre and answering enquires, organising training, and we have also organised a couple of protests and have been on a few e.g. the TUC organised demo in York on March 8th, which included a minibus going from our office .

Training – We’ve had a Union Learning representative training course, and we are also doing a TUC Discussion leaders course. A couple of new volunteers at the centre have attended a Welfare Advice training course.

There has been a lot of interest in different courses we have advertised on the Introduction leaflet for the Durham Community Support Centre, and we are looking to organise more, including some outreach work in other community centres not far from Durham City.

Leafleting and Publicity – We have been leafleting in a few areas, including Shotton, Blackhall, and Spennymoor and we will be doing lots more.

We have organised a great Banner making session in West Cornforth to design and raise money for a branch banner for us, and the efforts are going very well. The designs and cash are now in place, and our great 30th anniversary of the strike banner will, we believe, be launched in time for this year’s Durham Miners Gala.

We ran a successful stall at this years Newcastle MayDay festival on Saturday 3rd May, and will shortly be looking for volunteers to help run a stall on the day of this years Miners’ Gala

Protests and Demonstrations – We have organised a couple of protests against ATOS, Work Capability Assessments and benefit sanctions at Durham Job Centre, and we will be organising more in the future. We are also organising a large demonstration in defence of the Welfare State for the 11th July.

Other protests we have attended to show support include those against the cuts to services at Durham County Hall, and we were disappointed to see that the remaining care homes look set to be closed down in County Durham. We are working closely with the Durham people’s Assembly on this campaign, and wil be seeking to work closely with them on other campaigns in the future

Outlook – On a very positive note we are going to be out and about on the streets leafleting and continuing our political work, and the summer promises to be a very busy time for us.

The events around the 30th anniversary of the Miners’ Strike and at this year’s Durham Miners Gala offer an ideal opportunity to meet and discuss politics and our future efforts to build community fightback against the cuts. There will be at least a week long list of fantastic events, which we will advertise on our website.

All this work has seen an increase in our membership numbers, and with more activity we should shortly be in a position to become a fully recognised branch. Please help out in any way you can to recruit more members and playing an active role in building a fighting branch to defend our members so we can be a visible and active presence in our local community.

Solidarity forever!!

Dates for your Diary

7th May (Today) 1830 to 2000 – Don Watson will be at The People’s Bookshop in Durham to talk about his new book ‘No Justice Without A Struggle: The National Unemployed Workers’ Movement in the North East of England, 1920-1940′.

12th May – Durham People’s Assembly planning meeting

14th May 0700 onwards – Unite Community will be supporting PCS members on the picket at the Land Registry in Durham in protest about the proposed privatisation of that public service

14th June – Mass Picnic and Festival at Orgreave

21st June – People’s Assembly March, Rally and Concert in London

21st June – Durham Miners Hall 30th Anniversary of the Miners’ Strike event

11th July 1130 – 1330 – North East Demo in defence of the Welfare State, Durham

12th July – Durham Miners’ Gala

Any further events will be on our Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/durhamcsc?ref=hl

It’s also worth checking our website regularly for updates – https://durhamcsc.wordpress.com/

Please contact durhamcsc@gmail.com if you are able to attend any of these events or require any further information.

Initial design for banner

Following the excellent banner design session held last month, we now have an initial design for the new Durham Unite Community banner.

If you have any ideas. in particular for the wording around the wheel, please let us know at durhamcsc@gmail.com

Unite front (1)

We’re Not Going Back

July will see the opening of the great new play which Unite asked the Red Ladder Theatre Company to produce.

Here’s a great post from Boff’s Blog about the play

http://www.boffwhalley.com/were-not-going-back.php