Join the discussion – you can comment below each post

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Demo Wirral TUC demo 18 December

Wirral Trades Union Council demands a Labour council that will:
  • Stop secret plotting.
  • Reverse NHS cuts and privatisation.
  • Prevent austerity killing vulnerable people.
  • Halt the devastation of fire and emergency services.

PROTEST at the Wirral Cabinet Meeting:
Date: Monday 18th December.
Time: 9.00am.
Place: Wallasey Town Hall, Brighton Street, Wallasey, CH44 8ED.

  • Stem the decline in support for our children now.
  • Provide fully funded children's and women's aid services.
  • Include effective prevention and early intervention.
  • Guarantee no detriment to any to any other services.
  • Merseyside has lost 1000 police officers since 2010.
Fight the Tories - campaign publicly with other Labour authorities.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Blairism lurks behind Jeremy

Someone's not looking very happy
Some Labour supporters have charged advocates of democratisation of the Labour Party, including mandatory reselection, as being ‘obsessed’ with holding MPs to account. We socialists argue that it’s not an ‘obsession’ but is a fundamental prerequisite of building a Party capable of securing the election of and sustaining a Corbyn-led Labour government.

The fundamental contradictions facing the Labour Party are:
  • It is led by Jeremy Corbyn with the support of the overwhelming majority of the 600,000 members making a break with the policies of austerity advocated by the Blairites. 
  • The Party machine and the Parliamentary Labour Party is still controlled by a right wing which colonised the Party, particularly during the Blair and Mandelson years, who adhered to free market capitalism, the maintenance of austerity and shackling the trade unions. 
It would be an error to imagine that, because of JC’s popularity, they have changed their outlook. The present rules and constitution make it very difficult for the mass party membership to exercise control and accountability over their elected representatives. The solution is for the party rule book to return the power to the membership by democratising its structures.

To bring this about rules changes should include:
  1. A procedure of mandatory reselection of elected representatives before each election to allow the members to judge the performance of MPs and Councillors and to decide whether to readopt or select an alternative. 
  2. The formulation of policy to be determined by the Party membership via the vehicle of a City or District Labour representing all Labour movement organisations which would be binding on elected councillors and MPs. As it was under the rule book of 1985 which was ripped up by the Neil Kinnock-led administration. A key clause was: the DLP will ‘…..formulate an electoral programme and to compile a panel of candidates.’ This rule involved all sections of the Labour Movement in the decision-making process, a concept now alien to the right wing who are determined to hang on to control from the top. 
These proposals will open the discussion on how to forge a Labour Party capable of not only securing the election of a Corbyn-led government but to sustain it in the face of a ferocious campaign of opposition from the capitalists and their media.

Tony Mulhearn
Merseyside ARMS

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Ban the Hunt!

A nurse practices her greeting
for the Health Secretary
A message from Wirral TUC:

Come and greet Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt when he visits Liverpool to address the annual conference of the Royal College of General Practitioners.

Date: Thursday, 12 October 2017.
Time: 8:00 am.
Place: Arena and Convention Centre, Kings Dock, Liverpool, L3 4FP - main entrance, between the conference centre and the Jury’s Inn Hotel.

We need as many people as possible for a short period to welcome Mr Hunt and to leaflet delegates going into the meeting. Bring banners, placards, etc.

Friday, 29 September 2017

“A half-truth is the most cowardly of lies.” *

Theresa May recently stated that a police officer who joined the force in 2010 is now 32%, or £9000, better off. Private Eye has analysed this assertion and has - astonishingly - discovered that you have to take it with a large dose of salt. She had omitted to include the following information (an oversight, no doubt):
  • These figures ignore inflation.
  • They include yearly increments, which are not pay rises as such.
  • The date of 2010 allows her to exclude those who joined after 2013 when the starting rate for police constables was slashed from £24,204 to £19,773, with corresponding incremental reductions.
Consequently the pay of the post-2013 intake is thousands of pounds lower than that of the recruits of 2010. As the Eye drily observes, this claim "comes straight from the Department for Misinformation."

Q: Who was the Home Secretary responsible for cutting police starting rates in 2013? 
A: Theresa May.

* Mark Twain.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

News updates - from the web

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

Working beyond seventy - here.

Expats get their pensions upgraded as if they were still in the UK after Brexit - here.

Waspi women 'won't go away' - here.

70 year old baristas: what happened to retiring early due to the benefits of new technology? - here.

Are older workers filling gaps in job markets left by migrant labour returning to their own countries? - here.

Half of new build retirement homes sell at a loss - here.

Do combined library and children's centres benefit all generations? - here.

Pet power in old age - here.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

News updates - from the web

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

Virtual reality game and dementia - here.

Home cafre advice - here.

Studying yoga could help ward of atrophy - here.

Get people out of hospital or get your funds cut - here.

Disabled still being refused access on buses - here.

High intensity training for older people - here.

Tory solution for unaffordable care? No care - here.

A third of older people don't use computers - here.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Solidarity with rail workers

Figures from RAIB (the Rail Accident Investigation Branch) show that 80% of the deaths and the most serious injuries in the last six years occurred on DOO (driver-only operated) trains, even though such trains account for only 30% of all trains in the UK. 

Solidarity with rail workers on strike for safety today.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Support privatised workers - sick pay rights removed

Important news from Unite:

ISS facilities staff provide vital services to the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen Hospitals, cleaning our hospital wards, transporting patients around hospital departments and cooking for patients, visitors and staff. Yet when they are ill and unable to come to work, they are being denied access to a fair sick pay scheme unlike that available to NHS workers and ISS workers at other trusts.

The Royal Liverpool & Broadgreen University Hospitals Trust outsourced the facilities management to ISS. The staff went from being NHS staff, to contractors on inferior terms and conditions. Their sick pay was reduced to 12 days, meaning that those who are the most seriously ill and most in need of time away from work - workers suffering from illnesses like cancer, heart problems, or physical injuries - are the people who are faced with the difficult decision of either working when unfit to do so, or facing severe financial difficulties due to not being paid.

The time has come to say 'enough is enough'. ISS workers are understandably upset at being treated as second-class workers within the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen hospitals.

A collective grievance containing over 270 names was submitted to management calling for the full sick pay scheme to be reinstated. However, ISS management have repeatedly ignored all attempts to discuss this issue with Unite officials and to bring this to a resolution. We will not allow the fight for fairness to be ignored and call on the communities of Liverpool to support the ISS workers;

Please support our campaign for a fair sick pay scheme for ISS workers:
  • Sign our petition calling on ISS to negotiate with the staff and their reps.
  • Contact your MP or councillor to ask them to support our campaign.
  • Spread the word: ask your friends and family to support the campaign.
Click here for the petition, which you can print off. Completed forms can be either scanned or photographed and e-mailed to Irene Emery at Unite ( or posted addressed to Irene or Dave Kelly at:

Unite the Union, Jack Jones House, 2 Churchill Way, Liverpool, L3 8EF

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

31 August pay protests across the North West

PCS members in the Home Office, Ministry of Justice and Revenue and Customs are gearing up for our payday protest on 31 August to put pressure on management and the government to scrap the 1% public sector pay cap. 
Please do your best to turn up and show your support.

Home Office
◈ Liverpool
Protest from 12.45pm outside the main entrance of the Capital Building in Old Hall Street and by Disclosure and Barring Service members at 12pm outside Shannon Court on Princess Parade. MPs
◈ Southport
Petition signing activities at the passport office, Trafalgar Road, Birkdale.

Revenue and Customs
◈ Bootle and Netherton:
Members’ meeting at 12.15pm at ‘The Jollys’ on Marsh Lane, for staff in The Triad and Litherland House with NEC speaker Clara Paillard.
Members’ meeting at 1pm in the car park at St Johns House.
Members’ meeting at 1.45pm at Santander Social Club for staff at Comben House.
◈ Liverpool
Protest from 1pm at the Victoria Monument, Derby Square in the city centre.
◈ Manchester/Salford
Joint protests/photo opportunities by R&C Greater Manchester branch and Salford Revenue branch at 1pm outside Crazy Pedro’s in Bridge Street and at 5pm outside The Egerton Arms in Gore Street.

◈ Lancashire and Cumbria
Burnley County Court, Reedley MC and Blackburn County are planning to hold a lunchtime photo op/protest.
◈ Manchester
Lunchtime protest outside Manchester CJC at 1pm, photo ops at Manchester Minshull Street and Asylum Immigration Chambers.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Hitler: Nazi or Alt-Right?

Heather Heyer, murdered in Charlottesville
I recently looked up the term 'Alt-Right' as I wasn't certain what it meant. Obviously I realised it had something to do with Far Right politics, but what did it mean specifically? It turns out it is short for Alternative Right, which, according to Wikipedia, is 'a loosely defined group of people with far-right ideologies who reject mainstream conservatism in favor [sic] of white nationalism, principally in the United States, but also to a lesser degree in Canada and Europe'. The term is attributed to Richard Spencer, an American white supremacist who is president of the National Policy Institute, a white nationalist think tank.

The recent events in Charlottesville in Virginia, where Heather Heyer was killed and nineteen others injured by a murderous 20-year old bigot deliberately driving a car into a crowd of people, show us that the street thugs are not so mealy-mouthed about describing themselves. Swastikas, Hitler T-shirts and placards, KKK outfits, Confederate flags, flaming torches, Nazi salutes and chanted Nazi slogans could leave no one in any doubt about their political role models.

In the face of such overt demonstrations of their allegiances, why does the media use the term Alt-Right? This is a euphemism coined by those who seek to intellectualise Far Right hatred with the aim of bestowing upon it some utterly fraudulent respectability. The pseudo-science of racial biology has long been abandoned, not for politically correct reasons, but because there was simply no scientific evidence to support it.

Similarly, Far Right injunctions against homosexuality have no rational basis and are justified with reference to the Old Testament. This is despite the instruction in the New Testament to "Love your enemy", but bigots who base their prejudice upon religion tend to ignore inconvenient Biblical directives. Whatever other qualities the Old Testament may have for believers, it cannot be viewed as a scientific treatise.

It is clear that attempts to justify Far Right politics will fail any genuine rational examination, but that is irrelevant to those who are determined to believe what they want to believe, especially when it reinforces their pre-existing prejudices.

By using the term Alt-Right, the media is inadvertently granting the Far Right precisely the element of respectability that the promoters of the phrase wanted to achieve. It is a euphemism that obscures the reality of a world view based on hatred. Except that their actions and attitudes are so vile, one could almost feel pity for anyone who has become enveloped by such a loathsome mindset, but we must never forget they have a choice: there was no predestination that made being a bigot inevitable. As Charlottesville has shown us, some people, faced with the same environment, have come to different conclusions.

Let's call them what they are: Nazis, fascists, racists, anti-Semites, Islamophobes, homophobes, white supremacists, misogynists and thugs. It's not as though we're short of accurate terms.

Neville Grundy
ARMS Mersey

Monday, 7 August 2017

AI: servant or master?

What technological future awaits us?
Silicon Valley - the road to Armageddon or Utopia? The future is violent revolt or harmonious use of AI [artificial intelligence] depending on who you speak to as revealed by the BBC’s 'Silicon Valley'. AI can be used to diagnose disease from a CT scan in a fraction of a second. Uber can drive impoverished taxi drivers to suicide. Airbnb claim to help people earn money while they travel abroad, with catastrophic effects on working class rents in Barcelona. The Industrial Revolution was nothing compared to what is coming, says one tech genius whose software could replace doctors. 

One idealistic nerd predicts a life of leisure for the masses who will be paid a decent income for not working while new technology will create the necessary wealth to fund it. The key question is the ownership of these wonders. It is certain that Dystopia await us if they remain in private hands. Ultimately on the basis of capitalism the rule of the market will apply to AI: deliver the highest rewards to shareholders, and if that means dispensing with millions of workers’ labour then so be it. This programme provided further evidence that Socialism cannot be postponed much longer.

Tony Mulhearn

Friday, 4 August 2017

News updates - from the web

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

UK downsizing boom - here.

Social care being sidelined - here.

Help to keep your brain active: throw the crosswords away and learn French instead - here.

Age UK free service help with older people claiming missing benefits - here.

Only 10% of councils have elderly housing policy in place - here.

The govt has got it wrong on pensions - here.

Yoga could help stave off dementia - here.

Nurse shortages causing hospital discharge delays for the elderly - here.

Rise in life expectancy has stalled - here.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Women's pensions stolen to fund spivs' tax cuts

PM Theresa May and Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson,
facing the rigours of austerity with brave smiles.
Two significant stories are linked. 

The Tories have filched £4.2bn from state pensions and other benefits. The household incomes for women aged 60 to 62 has fallen by at least £32 per week on average. This thieves' kitchen masquerading as the government use this loot to fund the tax cuts to the hedge fund managers and assorted financial spivs who bankroll the Tory Party. They make the mafia look like a boy scout troop.

Len McCluskey’s call for Labour councils to set legal no cuts budgets and end austerity should be acted on immediately. Let’s hear no more excuses from TU leaders who have argued that councillors have 'no choice' but to slash millions from social provision. Action is called for now.

Tony Mulhearn
ARMS Mersey

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Unite Against Fascism - oppose the EDL in Rochdale

This Saturday - 29 July

Meet at 12.30 pm on Saturday at Yorkshire Street near Poundworld, Rochdale OL16 1JW.

A week after the fascists of Britain First demonstrated in Rochdale, another group of Nazis - the EDL - will be making an incursion into the town this Saturday, 29th July.

Unite Against Fascism, trades unionists and others will be protesting for the second week running, to send a clear message to the EDL that they are not welcome in Rochdale.

The EDL is a fascist organisation. Their founder, who goes under the alias 'Tommy Robinson', was a member of the British National Party. Other leading EDL figures have also been members of the BNP.

Join us on Saturday 29 July at 12.30 pm in Rochdale town centre to show for the second time in a week that fascists are not welcome in Rochdale.

For more details, please contact

Unaffordable justice is no justice at all

No one should underestimate the significance of this week's Employment Tribunal (ET) fees victory in the Supreme Court. The highest court in the land has taken a nasty piece of anti-worker legislation and completely ripped it to shreds. The Government has no way of wriggling off this particular hook, so they are trying to sound magnanimous in defeat, when in reality they have no choice. The scheme has been stopped with immediate effect and fees paid to date are to be refunded at an estimated cost of £27 million.

After the introduction of the fees, ET cases dropped by nearly 70% and, regrettably, many working people couldn't afford to uphold their rights at work. It is extremely unlikely that there will be any remedy for such people whose grievances remain unresolved.

The ostensible aim of the fees regime was to deter frivolous or vexatious claims. While I'm sure there have always been such claims, the experiences of reps who have dealt with ETs is that most were genuine. Any trade union rep who has dealt with personal cases will on occasions have been in the position of having to tell a disgruntled union member that, whether we like it or not, the employer is entitled to take the action in question. Everyone knows that employers have the right to discipline or dismiss staff for inefficiency or misconduct, and sometimes the role of a rep can be little more than ensuring that the employer follows correct procedures. When they do, then there is usually no point in going to an ET, which is intended to deal with discrimination and unfair dismissal.

And this is the key point: if an employer goes by the book, there is little a rep can do other than argue for mitigation as part of a damage limitation exercise. It does no one any good to take a hopeless case to an ET: it merely raises false hopes in the member, and wastes both the rep's and the tribunal's time. Charlie Mullins, an employer with 300 staff, complained on Radio 4 that the Supreme Court decision will open the floodgates. However, he has been in business for 31 years and has in all that time had one ET taken out against him: with tribunal fees only payable for 4 years, one claim in the other 27 is more of a trickle than a flood. Mullins is a Tory donor, so perhaps he feels he's not getting his money's worth.

The Government must have known how uncommon vexatious claims are - they are one of the biggest employers in the land, after all - so why did they introduce these fees? I can see no other reason than to remove a 'burden on business' by putting a price on employees' rights, but without any corresponding measures to deal with unreasonable or malicious actions by employers. While employment rights hadn't in themselves been abolished, ET fees discouraged workers from exercising them. It is a measure of how out of touch successive governments are that they do not understand that sums like £1200 are simply not available to many people - for many MPs that's considerably less than they may spend on a night out. Or, alternatively, they simply didn't care.

There will always be people who will abuse whatever system is in place, whether it be tax, social security benefits or MPs' expenses. Imposing penalties on the innocent majority ostensibly to deter the minority is unjust and - when applied to ETs - now unlawful. No one should ever have to pay crippling fees just to access basic justice.

Justice is not the prerogative solely of the rich and the powerful: it belongs to everyone.

Neville Grundy
ARMS Merseyside

Afterthought: ET fees were introduced by the Coalition. What now of the LibDems' claim that their presence in Government moderated the worst Tory excesses?

Thursday, 20 July 2017

PCS court victory - the General Secretary's view

PCS has won a highly significant judicial review ruling that our exclusion from the negotiations over the civil service redundancy scheme was "unlawful". 

Last year the government proposed to cut redundancy pay by around 30%. With thousands of civil service jobs under threat, PCS campaigned against the cuts to these payments. Before negotiations started, the Cabinet Office took the unprecedented step of asking all unions to agree, in advance, that these cuts would form the basis of the final agreement. By far the largest civil service union, PCS refused to agree these preconditions, and was excluded from the talks.

A number of smaller civil service unions agreed to the preconditions and talks went ahead. In September 2016, the Cabinet Office made an offer, which PCS members voted by 96% to reject. The government imposed the new terms in November 2016.

On Tuesday 18 July the court ruled that our exclusion from the negotiations was "unlawful". Further details of the case are reported on our website. The Court is expected to rule this week on the remedy of the case, which will determine whether the current scheme will stand or will be quashed.

Mark Serwotka
General Secretary

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Driving trains is so easy 'a woman could do it'

Pauline Cawood (left) with Ruth Kelly in
2008 (picture from ASLEF website)
During a government discussion about train strikes, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond asked why there aren't more women train drivers, seeing that the job is so simple that "even they can do it". Apparently even the prime minister took him to task over the comments.

Pauline Cawood, an ASLEF official who has been a train driver since 1998, said it was an "old-fashioned, sexist comment. He ought to be ashamed of himself. Women are just as capable as men at driving trains."

In 2008 Ruth Kelly, at the time Transport Secretary, accepted an offer by Pauline to ride in her cab to learn about trains first hand. Afterwards she commented: "I really enjoyed it. I was struck by the level of training involved and the concentration required."

Labour MP Jess Phillips said: "Philip Hammond has disgraced himself with this remark, as well as managing to insult half the country's population," adding later on Twitter: "People will say it's nothing, just a joke. Women were entirely missing from his industrial strategy & his budgets make poor women poorer. The two things are connected. It's not a joke when a women's worth and value changes our economics."

It is interesting that at a time when the RMT is campaigning for passenger safety, a senior Tory can happily indulge in cheap, sexist jibes to try to belittle the skills and professional abilities of people who routinely take responsibility for the lives and safety of hundreds of people.

The RMT is lobbying Merseytravel at Mann Island Pier Head on Monday 17 July over driver only trains. Assemble at 12.30pm. Send a message to Labour councillors that their first responsibility is to support the trade union and public demand for safety before profit. More details here.

News just received: RMT's meeting with Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram over the Merseyrail guards' dispute, which was due to take place Monday 17 July, has been rescheduled for Monday 24 July‎. The lobby is also postponed, new details will published when known.
Hammond's sole professional experience of transport was 17 months as Secretary of State for Transport under David Cameron. He is not known ever to have driven a train bigger than a Hornby Dublo.

Neville Grundy

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Oppose Driver-Only Trains, Tory/Council Cuts and sign RMT petition

TUSC (Trade Union & Socialist Coalition) news release:

Support the RMT's call to lobby Merseytravel at Mann Island on Monday 17 July at 1pm, gather at 12.30 p.m.

Late news (added 16.7.17): RMT's meeting with Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram over the Merseyrail guards' dispute, which was due to take place Monday 17 July, has been rescheduled for Monday 24 July‎. The lobby is also postponed, new details will published when known.

The general election result reflected a popular surge in support for Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity alternative. It has sent out the clearest possible message that the British people have rejected the Tory programme of cuts, austerity, privatisation and division and there is no mandate for diluting safety on our transport services by imposing driver-only trains.

Labour's city region mayor and Labour Councillors on Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Transport Committee should immediately lift the threat to guards on Merseyrail trains and stand firm in the face of any opposition they may incur from the Department of Transport.

TUSC decided not to stand candidates in the general election and to campaign for a Jeremy Corbyn-led government, but the Blairites have not gone away. They are preparing to mount another attack on JC and his supporters; they are especially strong amongst Labour councillors who continue to implement cuts.

TUSC will campaign for the Tories to be forced out of government before the next set of local elections in May 2018, and for Labour councils to stop implementing cuts even if the Tories are clinging on. TUSC calls on Labour Party members to deselect any Labour councillor who intend to continue making cuts, and to replace them with candidates willing to defend local public services.

P.S. Please sign the RMT letter to lobby your local MP about driver-only operation trains - link here.
For further information contact: 
Daren Ireland on 07787128498 ~ Dave Walsh on 07969511796 ~ Tony Mulhearn on 07939098455

Unite Building Members Start Month of Strikes

Unite members formerly employed by Manchester City Council's direct works department, now outsourced to the private company Mears, are about to start a month long strike over pay and conditions.

Full details are contained in Unite's press release - click here.

This is an incredibly important strike by workers involved in a crucial industry. It is vitally important that all unions in Manchester rally in solidarity with them. The union asks all delegates to send messages of solidarity to these workers in their struggle and to support the strike in any way they can.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Blairites: "Do as we say, not as we do!"

Full marks to Jeremy for personally backing a rule change that will allow new Labour Party members to participate in selection meetings. Previously only those who joined before summer of 2015 were allowed a vote.

The Whingeing Tendency are in full cry. The democratic decision of the Wavertree members to elect an EC of their choice has been greeted with horror by the Blairites. Yvette Cooper has described the eminently reasonable suggestion for Luciana Berger to 'get on board' as intimidation.

These sensitive souls seem to forget their diatribe of hate, and sabotage against JC and calls for many of his supporters to be expelled. Caroline Flint, apparently suffering from amnesia, called for talk of reselection to be abandoned as being a distraction when Labour should be concentrating on fighting the Tories who are 'in disarray'. Even right wing BBC hack Andrew Neil reminded her that the Blairites had done exactly that after Cameron and Co resigned. Instead of attacking the Tories they turned their fire on the democratically elected leader.

The fantastic reception for JC at Durham and the clear hostility to the Blairites indicated massive support for empowering the members to select the candidates of their choice.

Tony Mulhearn

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Serwotka's Call to ARMS

Merseyside ARMS declares its full support for the call of Mark Sewotka for a 1-day general strike of all Public Sectors Workers to break the pay cap being maintained by this illegitimate Tory government.

Mark made the call to great applause at the Tories Out demo on July 1st 2017.

Tony Mulhearn

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Grenfell Tower - lessons from 1980s Liverpool

Flats in Croxteth, Liverpool,
being demolished
Amid the righteous grief, anger and calls for criminal investigation, Guardian writer Simon Jenkins, not usually a friend of Militant Liverpool, in a searing piece attacking the architects of the disaster, made this significant observation: 'Besides, people are entitled to the city they want. When in the 1980's Liverpool's Militant movement asked Everton's inhabitants what should be done with their towers, the reply was pull them down and give us back the streets. It was done.'

Proof, if any further was needed, that a council that listens to communities and meets their aspirations usually clashes with vested interests who are interested only in the bottom line and how much profit they can deliver to their big shareholders. Hence the outpouring of abuse against that socialist council by the political representatives of corporate Britain.

The public enquiry proposed by Teresa May should be treated with utmost scepticism unless it includes tenants, trade unions and anti-cuts campaigners with the power to interview all those whose decisions determined safety factors, including any sub-contractors who, to escape their responsibilities, no longer trade. Anything less is unacceptable.

Tony Mulhearn
P.S. This was sent to me for the blog on 16 June, but owing to illness, I failed to publish it at the time. The argument remains valid. Apologies, Neville Grundy.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Sign up for the ARMS North West newsletter

Issue number 7 - July 2017
The North West ARMS committee publishes by e-mail a newsletter 4 or 5 times per year giving news of ARMS activities in the North West and other relevant information. The most recent edition covers the following activities, all of which involved NW ARMS members:
  • The recent London anti-austerity demo.
  • Picket at the Sheffield Jobcentre strike against Eastern Avenue office closure. 
  • ARMS presence at PCS national conference.
  • Margaret Greenwood MP for Wirral West was guest speaker at ARMS Mersey meeting in June.
  • Andrew Gwynne MP to address Manchester ARMS meeting on 14 July - details here.
  • The ARMS national forum held in Liverpool in June.
If you do not currently receive our newsletter, please send us your name and the e-mail address that you wish us to use and we will add you to our mailing list. Our contact details are here.

Your information will not be passed on to anyone else.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Standing up to the wreckers

Now in a strong position after 2 leadership
victories and a great election result
Well done Jeremy Corbyn for standing up to the Blairite wreckers by removing three from the shadow cabinet after breaking the whip on the single market! Once again, they manoeuvre when the Tories are on the run - just like they did when they started the coup against JC the weekend after Cameron resigned.

The Blairites continue to reveal their true role even after JC's great election result. They have not changed their spots. The membership will take note and act accordingly when empowered to trigger the re-selection process and replace them with true working class fighters.

Tony Mulhearn

Thursday, 29 June 2017

News updates - from the web

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

Older adults are good Samaritans to strangers - here.

Triple lock to stay - here.

Voting patterns between young and old - here.

A useful explanation of what the dementia tax actually is - here.

A useful explanation of what would happen if the triple lock was scrapped - here.

Free Gardening Guide - here.

General election - older age issues not being mentioned - here.

Charities gagged by law - here.

Labour's pledge for pensioners - here.

Election manifestos on social care - here.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

The latest terrorist atrocity

A personal view.

There's politics, and there's fanaticism. I want the world to be a better place for the majority, which is why - one way or another - I've been politically active in my own very small way for most of my adult life.

I cannot understand driving vehicles into strangers, or stabbing people you do not know. I do not see how anyone can be brought to believe these are justifiable actions.

There are terrible injustices in the world that should be rectified, but killing random strangers will not do anything for them. We must not be selective in our condemnation: far more innocent civilians have died in attacks in the Middle East in recent weeks: for instance, at the same time as the latest attack in London, dozens of civilians were killed in Mosul while fleeing a district held by Da'esh. Their lives are not worth less than our own fellow citizens.

These fanatics want the majority in the UK to revile the Muslim people who have chosen to make this country their home - not forgetting that some Muslims in this country are second generation or more: this is the land of their birth just as much as it is mine. The killers are deliberately trying to stoke Islamophobia. They want us to stop living alongside the Muslims in our midst and instead turn against and revile them. They hope that our Muslim neighbours will then be provoked into joining Jihad. They are deluded, but that alone won't stop them. The sight of a bishop, a rabbi and a Muslim cleric standing side by side after the Manchester killings will not make them think twice.

The correct response is obvious: we do not rise to the bait. We stand by all members of our communities who share our abhorrence of such directionless violence - regardless of faith or ethnic origin. It won't be easy, and our own white fanatics will be making racist capital out of what has just happened. It is the duty of all decent people not to let them dictate our responses to these atrocities.

Neville Grundy

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Manchester TUC Pensioners: Election Rally

The Tory Manifesto is 'a triple whammy for pensioners' pledging to:
  • End the triple lock.
  • End the winter fuel payment as a universal benefit.
  • Raise threshold for paying for social care from £23,250 to £100,000, removing any cap.
All while promising further tax cuts for the rich. Join the rally:

Date: Thursday 1 June 2017
Time: 1.00 pm
Place: Outside Manchester Town Hall

More info from: 
Chair: Tommy Walsh, 47 Dermot Murphy Close, Withington Manchester M20 IFQ
Secretary: John Johnston, 23 Saxon Street, Burnley, Lancashire BB10 1AE,
01282 703053, 07597904701

Friday, 26 May 2017

Forgotten has-been attacks Corbyn

BBC 'flagship' programme Newsnight revealed its anti-Corbyn desperation by giving free marketeer and Iraq-war defender ex-Blairite Home Secretary Charles Clarke a platform to attack Jeremy Corbyn over his so-called 'politicising' of the Manchester catastrophe. How they tracked Clarke down remains a mystery as he is the invisible man of British politics, but the use of the tax-payers resources is unlimited when it comes to attacking JC.

This is precisely the time when serious analysis is required to identify the why and the how such a dehumanised monster has been resourced and trained to inflict such horror on the innocent. Naturally, Blairite Labour MPs, Farron and the Tories have joined in the condemnation of JC. They fear their role in reckless Middle East interventions and their protection of the brutal regime of Saudi Arabia which nurtures terrorism will be exposed. They will become more desperate as the polls show the gap narrowing between Jeremy and May.

Tony Mulhearn
Organiser, ARMS Merseyside

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

PCS conference pays respects to victims of Manchester terror attack

There was a minute's silence at the start of PCS conference yesterday to remember those killed in the attack at the Manchester Arena on Monday night. At least 22 people, many of them children, were killed and dozens more injured as they left a concert at the venue. Our president Janice Godrich shared our union's thoughts on the attack in a statement she read to delegates:

"Our thoughts are with the victims of this horrific attack and their families, those who have lost friends and loved ones, and with all those affected by such sickening violence. We utterly condemn this abhorrent attack against innocent people, many of whom were young children. Today, we grieve for those who have lost their lives so tragically.

"We pay tribute to the dedicated emergency services and public sector workers who responded so selflessly and professionally last night, and who continue to work tirelessly to keep us safe at all times. Our union stands in solidarity with the people of Manchester against such appalling violence, and for peace and unity. We reject absolutely the hate and division that drive terrorist attacks like this, and reject all forms of prejudice and intolerance peddled by a violent minority in the aftermath of such incidents.

"We are strongest when we come together and we urge our members to take part in memorial events and to express their sympathy with the victims and their families."

From the PCS national website.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

MPA endorses pro-NHS candidate

MPA also deplores political divisions arising from thwarted Westminster ambitions

The MPA (Merseyside Pensioners Association) has agreed to adopt Margaret Greenwood as meriting maximum support in her campaign to be re-elected as the MP for Wirral West. We recognise her staunch stance to keep the NHS wholly publicly owned and her unequivocal support for Jeremy Corbyn.

We also deplore the intemperate language of Mayor Anderson in attacking Dan Cardin as PPC for Walton. Mr Cardin was selected in accordance with Labour Party procedure which, prior to the result, was not questioned by the Mayor.

To declare that Unite General Secretary is a bully and declaring he will not work with the candidate for whom he claims to have 'nothing but contempt' is not appropriate language from someone who occupies the lofty position of Liverpool's Mayor. His declaration that he wanted to be an MP to carry the fight to the Tories in Westminster is hardly consistent with granting the freedom of the city to Tory grandee Michael Heseltine who enthusiastically supports continuing austerity and anti-trade union laws. This is in addition to carrying out the most draconian cuts in Liverpool’s history without organising any serious opposition.

The MPA hopes that Mr Anderson’s stance will reinvigorate the anti-austerity movement which is campaigning for a Corbyn victory while the mayor agonises over a thwarted Parliamentary ambition.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Reminder - next NW ARMS meeting

Details of the next meeting of PCS North West ARMS:
  • Wed 31 May.
  • Midday.
  • Robert Tressell room, PCS, 3rd floor, Jack Jones House, Islington, Liverpool, L3 8EG.
Our guest speaker will be Paula Woods (PCS NW Regional Secretary)


Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Unite Against Fascism on Merseyside

Provocatively - given the long and proud history of anti-fascism on Merseyside, especially recently - the EDL have announced that they are coming to Liverpool on 3 June.

This counter-demonstration is being supported by Liverpool city councillors, and the following unions: CWU, FBU, GMT, NUT, PCS, Unison and Unite. Other individuals, groups and organisations have also expressed support, including Michelle Hayward, Chair, Merseyside Jewish Representative Council, Steve Rotheram new Mayor of Liverpool City Region; Theresa Griffin MEP; George Howarth MP; and Howard Gayle. This list is very incomplete, and will become more so as more people sign up.
PCS has a long proud record of anti-racism

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Nearly half of new jobs created in the NW since 2011 insecure, finds TUC

Nearly half of (47%) jobs created in the North West since 2011 have been in insecure work, according to new analysis recently published by the TUC. The analysis shows that between 2011 and 2016 employment in the region grew by 197,503. And that 93,517 of these were in insecure jobs - work without guaranteed hours or baseline employment rights.

The TUC estimates that there are now 339,608 people now work in insecure jobs in the region - up from 246,091 in 2011. That represents 1 in 10 workers in the North West. The TUC says this is being driven mainly by traditional industries - such as education, restaurant work and residential social care - rather than newer sectors.

The study, commissioned by the TUC from the Learning and Work Institute, defines insecure work as seasonal, casual, temporary or agency work, those on zero-hours contracts and low-paid self-employed workers.

The TUC says these contract types leave working people in the position where:
  • Their wages can fluctuate without warning
  • They find it hard to get their basic employment rights respected
  • They miss out on key protections like sick pay; and
  • They are at the mercy of bosses who can withdraw their hours or even take them off the job with no notice.
The TUC is today launching a new initiative for workers in the North West to share their experiences of insecure work anonymously. The findings of the survey will be presented in May. The TUC estimates that the rise in insecure work since 2006 is costing the UK exchequer £4bn year, with the government collecting billions less in tax revenues.

TUC Regional Secretary for the North West Lynn Collins said: "Insecure working in the North West has shot up in recent years. People need jobs they can live on. But if you don't know how much work you will have from one day to the next, making ends meet can be nightmare.

"Too many bosses in our region are getting away with shady employment practices. That's why we are asking people who feel vulnerable at work to share their stories confidentially with us. We need to keep the pressure up on government to improve protections for working people. Every day unions expose bad working conditions and win important victories for workers across the country."

Friday, 12 May 2017

Corbyn's Fighting Stance

This is the spirit that will defeat the Tories, the political wing of the hedge fund managers:

"Don’t wake on up on 9 June to see celebrations from the tax cheats, the press barons, the greedy bankers, Philip Green, the Southern Rail directors and crooked financiers that take our wealth, who have got away with it because the party they own, the Conservative party, has won." Jeremy Corbyn - when launching his manifesto. 

Right-wing Labour MPs who continue to snipe at Corbyn should be given notice: support JC’s fighting stance or get out now.

Tony Mulhearn

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

RMT - DOO trains talks collapse

Talks aimed at ending the Merseyrail guards' dispute collapsed yesterday when the company flatly refused to discuss the RMT's compromise solution to the issue of Driver Only Operation (DOO) trains.

Arguments that DOO trains are just as safe simply do not stand up to scrutiny. Figures from RAIB (the Rail Accident Investigation Branch) show that 80% of the deaths and the most serious injuries in the last six years occurred on DOO trains, even though such trains account for only 30% of all trains in the UK. If technology such as CCTV is beneficial, it should be operated by a crew member who can give it their full attention, not someone who needs to concentrate on staying on the correct side of a red signal.

Roger Bannister, TUSC Liverpool region mayoral candidate, condemns Labour councillors for their complicity in the cavalier attitude of the company. He is also appalled by Steve Rotheram's failure to intervene to support the RMT in their objective of ensuring the safety of the travelling public. This can only be seen as a clear sign that he will preside over guards being withdrawn. Roger calls for continuing support for the rail union’s determination to protect all passengers.

Roger will be addressing a pre-election public meeting on Tuesday 2 May at 7.30 pm in the Liverpool pub, James Street, Liverpool, L2 7NS.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Blair: the dangerous con artist

Blair's biographer Tom Bower starts from the assumption that 'Blair was nothing more than a gameshow con artist.' But Blair doesn't play it for laughs; he loves dictators, anti-trade union laws, starting wars, and then picking up a fortune from the consequences of the chaos he creates. 

The ruling class keep this bloke on the back-burner to be wheeled out from time to time and given mass coverage to undermine Jeremy Corbyn. 70% of the public believe he should be on trial for war crimes. Incredibly this Labour traitor is still a member of the Labour Party. Why aren't the 170 back stabbers and Tom Watson demanding his expulsion?

Saturday, 22 April 2017

MPA calls for a socialist Labour manifesto

The following statement was agreed by the Merseyside Pensioners' Association (MPA) at its meeting on Wednesday 19 April 2017.

This MPA regards the general election called for June 8 2017 as an opportunity to get rid of the Tory government once and for all. We call on Jeremy Corbyn to fight the election on the policies which propelled him to the leadership.

We call on him to continue to fight for

a) The complete public ownership of the NHS

b) The nationalisation of rail, energy, the Post Office as the first step of moving toward socialism

c) Support for a crash council house building programme

d) The repeal of the Tory anti-trade union legislation

e) The retention of the triple lock to protect pensions

We call for the organisation of mass rallies throughout the country, beginning in Liverpool, to mobilise maximum support for a Corbyn victory. This will be essential to combat the poisonous anti-Corbyn media campaign which will take place.

We also declare that those Blairite MPs who continue to undermine Jeremy's leadership will be acting as agents of the Tory government and will be guilty of treachery to the working class.

We resolve to apply all our energies to ensure a Corbyn victory.

Friday, 21 April 2017

We need a government to help us realise our potential

Rebecca Long-Bailey MP
Rebecca Long-Bailey, Labour MP for Salford and Eccles and Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy impressed Greater Manchester ARMS members at their meeting last month.

At our meeting, Rebecca Long-Bailey spoke about decent pensions, social care, WASPI issues, PIP, benefit sanctions and expectations on staff regarding sanctions, the importance of trade unions and retired members campaigning. Here is her response to the announcement of the general election, which covers much of the same ground.

The media has been busy destroying Jeremy Corbyn's reputation. Time to ignore them and vote for the best policies for the NHS, the homeless, to get rid of food banks, to get rid of cuts in education, cuts in care, cuts in public sector pay, closure of job centres, cuts in benefits, ever increasing pension age etc. In my view that can only be a Jeremy Corbyn led government.

Jacquie Hadfield

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Useless politics?

Tony Mulhearn of ARMS responds to a letter in the Liverpool Echo dismissive of Labour's record in Liverpool in the 1980s.

It was noticeable that your correspondent made no effort to challenge the argument that parents are getting ripped off by the travel companies, also that he/she decides to remain anonymous (Useless Politics 17/4/2017). As for public ownership of ice cream vans, that’s a ridiculous notion. Who suggested that?

Before dismissing the politics of the 80s as being prehistoric, he/she should check out what was achieved in the 80s in the fields of housing, jobs, services, nursery schools, apprenticeships, not to mention the millions won back from the government. Somewhat different from his idol Mayor Joe who, it is claimed, has done more than us for the city he loves. Does that include slashing £349m from the city’s provision for the neediest whilst facilitating the needs of Peel Holdings and Everton Football Club when they are big and ugly enough to fend for themselves?

As for my writing a positive letter about the city, I’ve written plenty of those. But I’m not blind to what life is like for thousands as revealed in the excellent piece by Liam Thorpe (Echo 17/4/17) in which he highlights the atrocious living conditions of people living in Kensington, two miles from our wonderful waterfront. It is the job of our elected leaders to fight government cuts and campaign for the resources to remedy the blight revealed by Liam.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Launch of ARMS national blog

The ARMS national committee has launched a national blog to provide information about ARMS that will be of interest to all current ARMS members, prospective members and PCS representatives who wish to find out more about ARMS. The site will be regularly updated with topical news stories and information about ARMS members’ activities.

ARMS has webpages on the PCS national website (links on the right), but this is the first national site devoted entirely to ARMS. As with most blogs, including this one, you are able to comment on whatever is posted. To see the blog, click here, or use the link on the right.

You can follow both the new national blog and this one by inserting your e-mail address in the 'Follow is by e-mail' box, and adding both sites to your 'favourites' list.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

When thieves fall out

I'm curious about the cause of the blood-letting between Liverpool Labour councillors and Metro Mayor candidate Steve Rotheram as they both embrace the insane strategy of carrying through Tory cuts as the best way of defending the city. Why then are Labour Councillors refusing to distribute election literature for Labour's Metro Mayor candidate?

It appears that Rotheram's reference to the damage wreaked on Liverpool by Thatcher has triggered unease among Labour councillors on the grounds it will remind people of the campaign to defend the city spearheaded by the socialist council in the 1980s. Councillor Steve Mumby is quoted as bleating that he 'can’t think of anything more damaging than to put out a leaflet evoking the 80s which will remind people of Militant.' His anxiety is justified. The more the younger generation learn about the magnificent campaign of resistance to Thatcher spearheaded by the 47 the more they will question the role of Labour Councillors and MPs who meekly accept Tory cuts without any semblance of a fight-back.

This follows on from an incident in the local Garston and Halewood Labour Party, when a resolution supporting the RMT's campaign against driver only trains was ruled out of order on the grounds that it would embarrass Rotheram. This is another reason for supporting TUSC’s Roger Bannister, the only anti-austerity pro-RMT Metro Mayor candidate.

Tony Mulhearn

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Lancashire anti-fracking campaigners lose High Court action

In recent months, the Lancashire anti-fracking campaign has been actively supported by PCS ARMS members from our Manchester group, while our Mersey group listened in shock last month to local anti-fracking campaigners who were guest speakers at their AGM. The meeting passed a motion of opposition to fracking.

Today, campaigners fighting a Government decision to give the go-ahead for a fracking site at Preston New Road in Lancashire have lost their High Court action. This had followed the secretary of state's overturning of Lancashire County Council's refusal to grant permission to extract shale gas at the site in 2015 on the grounds of noise and traffic impact. Developer Cuadrilla appealed to the secretary of state who subsequently ruled in their favour.

In response to the court ruling, the Preston New Road Action Group said it would seek further legal advice on its options and was determined not to give up. Claire Stephenson, a member of the group, said: "Justice and democracy have not been observed in Lancashire. We are truly dismayed at this decision."

Elisabeth Whitebread, Greenpeace UK Energy Campaigner, said: "Lancashire said No to fracking from the start but the government overruled local people and the local council. In this legal challenge Preston New Road Action Group has represented thousands of people. Ordinary members of the community have been peacefully opposing fracking for six years and they won't stop now.

"Lancashire needs clean, reliable energy, innovation and job creation, not disruptive drilling, noise, air and light pollution. Our government should listen to the public, stop prioritising fracking, and instead support cutting edge renewables and battery storage, which can meet our energy needs."

Fracking caused two minor earthquakes in the Fylde coast area in 2011, and local residents and campaigners believe there is much worse environmental damage to come. They feel that the decision to overrule the council's refusal of planning permission is an affront to local democracy. The government talks of handing power back from the centre, but retains its right of veto when local decisions stand in the way of big profits.

The frack-free Lancs website is here.

Friday, 7 April 2017

Merseyrail strike 8 April - RMT statement

We are fighting to keep the guarantee of a guard on every train. We do not want to be striking today [8 April] but we are fighting to keep the guarantee of a guard on every train. At the moment you are guaranteed, in addition to the driver, a second safety critical member of staff to protect your safety and act in emergencies. The guard's training and competencies are so important for passenger safety that the guard must be on every train.

In a report produced for Merseytravel in April 2014, Future Merseyrail Rolling Stock - what passengers want, the factor which emerged as by far the most important to improve from the passenger perspective was personal security on the train, which reached an index of 180 (compared to 100 which signifies the average relative importance).

Guards' duties include protecting you and the train, safely securing the doors and dealing with emergencies such as derailments, evacuation, fires and driver incapacity. In fact, guards have extensive training and retraining in 35 areas of safety competency. They are also required to hold detailed knowledge of the routes they work and have an understanding of signalling systems. This knowledge has to be refreshed every two years with stringent exams.

We do not want to be out on strike today but Merseytravel are refusing to recognise that the cost of the new trains cannot be met by removing the very staff that passengers value the most. We have highlighted the enormous profits Serco and the Dutch state-owned Merseyrail are making out of this contract - 25% of the passenger revenue last year alone. With profits of £14 million this would more than cover the cost of retaining guards on the trains.

In his letter to Mayor Joe Anderson, RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: "…there is an opportunity for both having modern new trains and keeping a guard on the train yet the company have refused point blank to agree to this. It seems that the company position is that the new trains will be paid for by passengers losing their guards and our members losing their jobs while the company lose nothing, instead carrying on making a huge profit - with much of these profits going to Dutch state owned Abellio."

The people of Liverpool deserve to know whether Liverpool's politicians will side with the private operators SERCO and Dutch state-owned Abellio, who own Merseyrail, or with the passengers and the unions who wish to keep the guarantee of a guard on their trains.

Please support the RMT campaign. Click here to find out how you can help make Merseytravel see sense and keep the guard on the train and keep the train safe.

This is what can happen on a DOO train...

"Witnesses described scenes of ‘sheer terror and panic’ and said people were forced to ‘jump on the tracks’ after smoke started filling an Overground train at Dalston Kingsland station."
Evening Standard, 8 February 2017 - full article here.

This was a Driver Only Operated train. A guard on the train would have ensured this was dealt with safely and calmly and the train evacuated in a controlled orderly way.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

NHS Protest 'In The Spirit Of The Suffragettes'

Taken from a press release by the Merseyside Pensioners Association:

On Tuesday April 11 The Merseyside Pensioners Association (MPA) will be leading a chorus of protest in the spirit of the suffragettes before the meeting of the Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

The MPA is calling on all Merseysiders who are alarmed at continuing cuts in NHS services to join them in the protest. Please assemble with your banners and posters outside the Lewis's building, Renshaw Street at 1.30pm.

Chair of the MPA Julie Lyon-Taylor said "Liverpool NHS bosses have given themselves a 50% pay increase as a reward for running down our precious NHS and pensioners are blamed for using too many beds. The reality is that social care has been slashed by the government and many pensioners can't be sent home because there is no care for them in the community. Everyone is suffering because of privatisation and budget cuts. The CCG are a law unto themselves. It is clear in Liverpool they can do as they please and believe they do not answer to anyone. We are determined to raise the issue of the salary increases at the meeting".

Pensioners decided to protest following the outrageous revelation that the CCG chairman Nadim Fazlani got a £50,000 rise. Most of the pay rises relate to the 2014-15 financial year when the chair's salary rose from approximately £105,000 to £155,000. Deputy CCG chairman Prof Maureen Williams saw an increase of at least a third, from £70,000-£75,000 to £100,000 while the chief officer and chief finance officer both received rises of about 15%.

Keep our NHS Public!

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Events in the North West around May Day

North East Lancashire May Day event

Assemble at the Town Hall, Manchester Road, Burnley, at 11:30am on Monday 1st May for a march through the town to a rally in Towneley Park.

The Manchester May Day Festival

We're live on Eventbrite now for two great evenings of entertainment at the Manchester Mechanics Institute. Tickets are free or donation for unwaged and £5 for waged. Booking is essential as places are limited.

On Saturday 29th April from 19.30 we've got our music night. We start straight after the May Day rally so make sure you stick around.

09.30 Tony Harper - Tony is a local singer songwriter with an Americana/ Folk feel focussing on contemporary and traditional songs of resistance.

20.00 Claire Mooney - A favourite of the Manchester May Day Festival and sponsored by the Musician's Union, Claire’s music is defined by her passion and her politics. She writes of protest, peace, justice, love and life in an enthralling blend of passionate, playful and political songs.
21.00 Quiet Loner – Songwriter in residence at the People's History Museum Matt Hill is an understated yet powerful solo performer delivering a live show that is emotional, political, occasionally angry but nearly always gentle and human

22.00 Honeyfeet Duo - Ríoghnach Connolly & Ellis Davies – We are very pleased to announce that Honeyfeet Duo are joining us at the Manchester May Day Festival this year. Ríoghnach Connolly is a force of nature, a singer of great versatility and soul. Her style is her own, and you can hear this as she wraps her vocal chords around a jazz take on a folk tune, or when leading an electro-hip-hop group onstage. Here, she'll be joined by Ellis Davies, as they sing the music of Honeyfeet in a stripped back format, along with the traditional Irish music and sean nós with which she grew up.

Book your tickets here now!

On Sunday 30th April from 19.00, we've got an evening of comedy, poetry and fun and we're pleased to announce a great line-up.

19.00 Annette Fagan. If you saw her at Unison's Mental Health and Community Branch celebration, you'll want to see her again. If you missed her make sure you see her this time! Annette will present a unique celebration of African-Caribbean Comedy at this years festival in a bold and innovative way using both theatre-style shows and street theatre

20.00 Gerry Potter. Manchester based Poet, director, actor, author of the hit play Miracle, and both creator and destroyer of the infamous gingham diva, Chloe Poems. A favourite son of both Manchester and his home town Liverpool, he has a reputation for putting his Scouse voice on the line and is strong on poetry and strong on the causes of poetryism.

20.30 Keri Leigh. Also based in Manchester, Kerry Leigh is FUNNY. She writes all her own comedy material and does all her own washing. She has hosted Laughing Cows Comedy since 2004 through several pregnancies, one marriage, and two anaphylactic shocks.

Get your tickets here. Our line up isn’t complete yet: see our Facebook page here for more info.

Annette Wright
Organiser, Manchester TUC

International Workers Memorial Day, Liverpool

The Bob Tressell Festival - Friday 28th April 2017.

This year our commemoration will take place at 11:30am on the South Piazza of Georges Dock Building, Pier Head, Liverpool L3 1DD (corner of Mann Island and the Strand).

Every year more people are killed at work than in wars. Most don't die of mystery ailments, or in tragic "accidents". They die because an employer decided their employees' safety just wasn't that important a priority. International Workers' Memorial Day (IWMD) commemorates these workers. Speakers to include representatives from local Trade Unions, LTUC and Asbestos Campaigners.

For more information, please contact Merseyside Asbestos Victims Support Group, 0151 236 1895.

Festival details here.

Salford May Day 2017

150 years of unity in the community. Parade from 1pm to 3pm.

May Day is a day where Communities come together to celebrate their diversity all around the world. Here in Salford, the role for organising May Day has been traditionally done by Salford Trades Union Council (est. 1866) and this year we want to spread the message of Unity in the Community.

We'd like to invite all community groups to join us on the annual May Day parade on Monday 1st May. Please bring banners and flags to make it as colourful as possible.

Guest Speakers Bishop of Manchester; Mayor of Salford, Paul Dennett; Rebecca Long Bailey MP and Republic of Swing samba band leading the parade.

Assemble: 1pm at The Sacred Trinity Church, Chapel Street, M3 5BZ.
End rally: Bexley Square, Chapel Street, 2.30pm.