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Saturday, 30 July 2016

News updates - from the web

Our regular round up of relevant news items, by Steve Ion of NW ARMS. 

  • Ros Altmann's resignation letter in full - here.
  • Altmann: "I felt like I was in detention" - here.
  • Annuity rates on pension investment drop by 37% - here.
  • A new vaccine could reverse dementia - here.
  • Perception of downgrading importance of pensions by government - here.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

HMRC cleaners strike 25 & 26 July

A message from Phil Dickens, HMRC PCS Union Representative

Next Monday and Tuesday (25 & 26 July) PCS members working for ISS as cleaners in HMRC buildings in Liverpool and Bootle are taking part in a 48 hour strike, following a unilateral decision by management to cut the hours of cleaning staff.

PCS has called for the actual Living Wage as defined by the Living Wage Foundation (LWF), currently £8.25 per hour outside London, to be paid to the cleaners. ISS is accredited by the LWF and claims to be a Living Wage employer. Yet to pay for the government's much lower 'national living wage' (NLW) of £7.20, it is imposing the cuts to HMRC cleaners' hours.

We believe that ISS, having turned a £250 million profit in 2015, can more than afford the real Living Wage. We also believe that HMRC, as the department responsible for implementing the government's NLW, ought to save itself embarrassment by ensuring that it is properly applied without shortcuts on its own estate.

Cleaners are clear that they want a wage they can live on without cuts and are willing to fight in order to get that. If this initial strike doesn't move ISS, they are willing to escalate their action. Please support them in every way you can:
Please attend picket lines (see below) if you can, and show your support for the lowest paid and most precarious section of the union's membership in HMRC.

More details about the campaign (including how you can support us through social media) can be found on-line here.

Support the pickets:

  • Litherland House, Litherland Road, Bootle (map) – 7am to 9.30am
  • The Triad, Stanley Road, Bootle (map) – 7am to 12pm
  • Graeme House and Regian House, Derby Square, Liverpool (map) – 3pm to 5pm
  • Imperial Court, Exchange Street East, Liverpool (map) – 12.30pm to 2pm

Sunday, 17 July 2016

News updates - from the web

ARMS NW committee member Steve Ion's regular round-up of relevant news items.
  • Adult social care faces 1billion shortfall - here.
  • Joined-up health and social care - here.
  • Funding concerns of defined benefit pensions schemes - here.
  • Theresa May's husband works for investment firm whose major clients include Amazon and Starbucks - here.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Business Writer In Aspic

Tony McDonough writes what appears to be a 1980s composite editorial straight from the pages of the Murdoch Press, the Daily Mail, the Express and the then Liverpool Echo. He asserts Eagle can take Labour back to the fabled 'middle ground'; he doesn’t mention she and her allies lost Labour the last two elections and during the Blair years attracted the lowest ever turnout in a general election and bequeathed in Iraq the most toxic legacy since Ramsey MacDonald joined the Tories in 1931.

Aping the worst features of political analysis he dismisses Corbyn as being 'grumpy' and more of a comedian than a leader.

He then regurgitates the old false calumnies that Labour in the 1980s destroyed Liverpool's economic credibility. Is he not aware that under a Liberal/Tory coalition locally and Thatcher nationally 65% of Liverpool's economy had collapsed? These were the dark days the socialist council inherited. We refused to impose further suffering on the city. We cancelled redundancies, built houses, created jobs, opened nursery classes, etc.

Tony claims he mistakenly supported the left in the 80s. Is he suggesting that we should have implemented the draconic cuts demanded by Thatcher and worsened the plight of thousands of Liverpool’s citizens.

I look forward to his reply.

Tony Mulhearn.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Petition for a conference to defend Jeremy Corbyn

The nine month nascent civil war in the Labour Party has been escalated in earnest. The majority of the Parliamentary Labour Party has never accepted Jeremy Corbyn’s democratic election as leader and is now determined to get rid of him by any means necessary.

This is not, as they claim, because Jeremy Corbyn is unelectable but because they fear he could win a general election. Blair himself said that Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister would "be a very dangerous experiment"; an experiment his acolytes are determined to prevent. Jeremy Corbyn was thrust into power by an uprising against austerity. If he was to win a general election the 1% are terrified that the hopes of millions of working class people would be raised and, as a result, that government would be pressurised to take radical measures which would threaten their system and gargantuan profits.
Now that war has been declared by the PLP, the worst possible response would be to capitulate. It is much to Jeremy Corbyn’s credit that he has so far stood firm. Now the labour movement, together with all those who are opposed to austerity, needs to mobilise to support Jeremy against the Blairite onslaught.

Petition here.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Witch hunting by our 'free' press

The spectacle of a media pack in full blood-thirsty pursuit of Jeremy Corbyn has provoked the question, particularly from younger observers of the current events, why does the media behave in this crazed, irrational, fashion?

Against Corbyn are Rupert Murdoch (The Scum), Paul Dacre (Daily Mail), Daily Express, The Telegraph, The Times, The Observer, even the so-called Labour paper the Mirror, with Kevin Maguire the ‘radical’ journalist joining the chorus against JC. All of these papers, like Corbyn’s would be assassins, have belched out the lying narrative since day one of the crisis that 'austerity is necessary'. That is austerity for the poor, and increasing wealth for the financial spivs who created the crisis. ITV, Sky news and BBC’s 'Flagship' programmes like Newsnight, and their number one Torquemada Laura Kuenssberg attempt to give some 'intellectual' heft to the hysteria. The component parts of this congealed instrument of hatred far from being irrational are bent on destroying JC politically and socially because he represents a challenge to their wealth and privilege. Jeremy must trust the massive support he enjoys, make no more concessions to the closet Tories and stand firm for a socialist future.

Tony Mulhearn
committee member

Sunday, 3 July 2016

News updates - from the web

ARMS North West Committee member Steve Ion's regular round-up of relevant news items.

  • Pensions timebomb faced by UK firms is frightening - here.
  • Media turns Nazi after EU vote: "stop older people voting" - here.
  • WASPI update - here.
  • 9 things you might not know about older people in the UK - here.
  • Why it’s lazy, misleading and wrong to blame older people for Brexit - here.
  • Sign of the times: people have to work longer - here.