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Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Victory for Land Registry Office workers - video

This was a tremendous campaign. A tribute to the fortitude and determination of workers fighting for a worthy cause. The TUC needs to emulate the campaigning activity of these PCS members and of the PCS leadership. Then the Tories could be swept into the dustbin of history.

Click here for a short video about their campaign and how they defeated privatisation.

Tony Mulhearn

News updates - from the web

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

Labour pledge £155 per week for women hit by pension age changes - here.

Labour states the Autumn Statement ignores the sick and old - here.

Pension age may be set to rise again - here.

Elderly care close to collapse - here.

Huge rise in hospital beds in England taken up by people with malnutrition - here.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Jo's amazing life - a message from Brendan Cox

Dear friends,

As you may have seen in the news, the trial finished earlier today and the defendant has been found guilty. Our priority now is to try and focus on Jo’s amazing life and not the manner of her death. That’s why I spoke in court today about who Jo was and what she meant to us - you can read the full statement here.

And that’s also why we are also asking people to watch and share a short film about Jo made by one of her closest friends: view the film here. Please share it with your friends and family to remember Jo’s life and work.

As I said in court today, the killing of Jo was a political act. But in the history of such acts it was perhaps the most incompetent and self-defeating. An act driven by hatred which instead has created an outpouring of love. An act designed to drive communities apart which has instead pulled them together. An act designed to silence a voice which instead has allowed millions of others to hear it.

In the weeks ahead I will be remembering Jo for her energy, passion and love. In the months and years ahead I look forward to working with you all to keep her ideas, values and passions alive.

With thanks as ever for your love and support,


Thursday, 24 November 2016

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

The vanity of the Fox

£20 cover price - £3.59 if
you shop around
Vanity publishing is one thing, but vanity management is something else, as civil servants in the DIT can confirm:

"Disturbing revelations emerge from a survey of civil servants working in Liam Fox's Department for International Trade.

"It was no surprise the mandarins found Fox a tetchy boss. But more worryingly, they said he had told them that if they wanted to understand the exciting possibilities of the modern world, they had to read Rising Tides: Facing the Challenges of the New Era by, er, one Liam Fox.

"Worse still, they didn't just have to read it - Fox wanted them to buy it too! If all 2,000 of the department's civil servants were to shell out, they would more than double Fox's sales. Between publication in 2013 and this year, Rising Tides has sold a measly 1,876 copies in the English-speaking world"

Pinched from Private Eye, 25 November.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

News updates - from the web

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

Cold weather payments how to qualify - here.

The state of social care in the UK - here.

1 in 8 older people in England find essential, everyday tasks difficult - here.

Potential prevention for Alzheimers - here.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

UK's violations of the UN disability convention

How it was reported months ago
Our government is on the back foot, acutely embarrassed after a United Nation's report concluded that the UK is guilty of "grave or systematic violations" of the UN’s disability convention. Changes (wrongly called 'reforms' by the media) to the welfare system - partly due to austerity measures and partly to the Tories' deep-seated loathing of paying money to people they consider to be 'shirkers' - are the reason for this assessment.

Predictably, the Tories have resorted to pompous, but meaningless, huffing and puffing, declaring that the report was "patronising and offensive". This would be almost laughable, seeing that MPs voted themselves massive pay rises while cutting disability benefits, if the consequences weren't so serious.

To read more, here is what the Independent had to say, and here are the views of the Disability News Service.

Neville Grundy
ARMS Mersey

Friday, 11 November 2016

Support the EHRC demo, Liverpool - 16 November

Please note: this event has been cancelled and therefore so has the leafleting.

Next Wednesday 16/11/16 (the 2nd day of the 2 day EHRC strike), the EHRC intend to hold a training seminar in Liverpool for all its employees from across the country. Obviously we have told our members, along with Unite members, not to attend this seminar.

Having said that, it would be remiss of us not to remind those EHRC employees who do attend what's going on back at their offices (or - hopefully - not as the case may be). It's our intention to leaflet this seminar. The details of our leafleting are:
  • Date: Wednesday, 16 November 2016
  • Time: 11:15 until around 12:15
  • Venue: ACC Liverpool, Kings Dock, Liverpool, L3 4FP
Please attend - the more the merrier. We have been told that EHRC members on strike that day cannot leaflet because it could compromise them, so let's show the EHRC how we stand together ... You never know: it may help them with their team building exercises!!

Paula Wood
PCS North West Regional Secretary

Thursday, 10 November 2016

ARMS at ACAS demo, Manchester

PCS held a small protest today outside ACAS in Manchester where ACAS chair Sir Brendan Barber and chief executive officer Ann Sharpe were meeting staff to talk about the office closures.

Jacquie Hadfield of ARMS Greater Manchester adds: "Small but beautifully formed. Lots of people took time to talk to us and take leaflets. The irony of ACAS forcing staff to move without proper consultation was not lost on people. We have had enough of cuts to vital services like ACAS, the EHRC and the NHS. Keep services local."

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Stop ACAS office closures

Please come tomorrow (10 November) to the protest against proposed closure at ACAS, Piccadilly Gate, Store Street, Manchester, M1 2WD. We will have the ARMS banner and leaflets to hand out. The office is being visited by the ACAS Chair, Sir Brendan Barber. We will be there to meet him from 9.15am until about 10.00am.

Triple lock under threat

This motion will be discussed at the next Merseyside ARMS meeting.

This organisation condemns the growing campaign to end the triple lock which protects the already inadequate State Pension spearheaded by the appalling Ian Duncan Smith.

The Tories are determined to penalise Pensioners on the spurious and dishonest grounds that pensioners are being protected at the expense of the younger generation.

This is a complete falsehood designed to distract from the real causes of the economic crisis which was the massive miss-selling of mortgages and criminal marketing policies, with bankers being guilt of the worst excesses of de-regulated capitalism. And scandalously they continue to pile up wealth at the expense of the disabled, working poor and those who did not cause the crisis in the first place.

British pensions are amongst the lowest in Western Europe, thousands die each year from hypothermia because they can’t afford adequate heating, with hundreds of thousands denied care because of the callous cuts policies of Duncan Smith’s government.

Pensioners are entitled to live their lives without hardship and worry.

We reject any attack by this Tory government and we call on the whole anti-austerity movement to join us in a mass campaign to protect our pensioners as part of a determined campaign to bring an end to the continuing programme of austerity being perpetrated by the this fat cats’ government.

Tony Mulhearn

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

News updates - from the web

Our regular round up of relevant news items, selected by Steve Ion of NW ARMS
  • National Pensioners Convention triple lock protest - here.
  • Alzheimers treatment within reach - here.
  • Squalor in rented accommodation - here.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Words are not enough

Mere words will not force a Tory retreat. The cant, hypocrisy and callousness of the Tories is displayed by just two of its latest measures.
  1. The cuts in benefit entitlement to the unfortunate which will plunge thousands of families into even deeper poverty. The phoney mantra that work should pay more than benefits is deployed to depict the workless as scroungers, the oldest slander in the book. 
  2. The rejection of the Orgreave campaigners for a public enquiry into the behaviour of the police. This is a monumental cover-up designed to protect those who gave the police the order to smash the miners by any means necessary, including the use of army detachments. The revolting spectacle of heavily protected police being unleashed with military precision on miners dressed in summer tops and trainers will live in infamy in this country’s history. 
But words of condemnation are not enough. We need a powerful mass movement to defeat a Tory party bankrolled by hedge fund managers, private equity spivs, rack renting landlords and international tax dodgers. As a first step Labour councils should refuse to implement any more draconic Tory cuts. Secondly, give full backing for the Orgreave campaigners in their fight for justice.

Tony Mulhearn

Friday, 4 November 2016

Call to PCS: Save Chorley A&E demo

Saturday 26 November has been chosen as the date when PCS branches and groups will be asked to support the weekly Save Chorley A&E demo between 10.00 am and 11.00 am. The more PCS people, banners and flags the better. What's happening to Chorley Hospital now can happen anywhere else soon, and probably will.

The demo is at the hospital entrance on Euxton Lane, the B5252. Sat Nav: PR7 1PP.

For drivers, there is free parking in a lay-by about a quarter of a mile west of the entrance.

P.S. (4 hours later): please read this article in today's Liverpool Echo stating that A&E departments may be downgraded and hospitals merged in Merseyside, according to a leaked NHS report.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

White poppies for peace

The white poppy dates back to 1934. It expressed the fear that was steadily growing between the wars that the First World War was likely to be followed by an even worse war; the sad fact is there hasn't been a year without war since 'the war to end wars' a hundred years ago.

There are three elements to the meaning of white poppies:
  • Remembrance for all victims of war. 
  • A commitment to work for a world where conflicts are resolved without violence and with justice. 
  • A challenge to attempts to glamorise or celebrate war.
Throughout history there always have been non-combatant deaths in war, but in modern warfare, most casualties are civilians. The red poppy specifically commemorates British and Commonwealth military casualties, but the white poppy commemorates all victims of war. Some people wear both. 

They are distributed by the Peace Pledge Union (PPU). You can get white poppies:
Neville Grundy

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Support PCS members in Bootle ACAS

You may or may not be aware of Acas' decision to close their Bootle office. There are 50+ employees at the office whose fate is yet to be decided. One thing we can do now is let members of the Acas board know what we think about this decision. We will protect PCS members. We want to keep jobs in Bootle.

We want to ask Sir Brendan and Ann Sharp some key questions and make them accountable for their actions. We are therefore looking to organise a welcoming committee in Bootle on Wednesday 2 November.

Our intelligence tells us that they are arriving by train at around 1:30 this means we need to be in place at 1:30, his meeting begins at 2:00 (these times are subject to change - we will let you know asap if they do). We are looking to meet outside the main entrance of Redgrave Court, Merton Road, Bootle, L20 7HS. Please come along to support workers at Acas. Let Sir Brendan Barbor and Ann Sharp know that in this region we stick together.

Looking forward to your support on Wednesday.

Paula Wood
PCS North West Regional Secretary