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Monday, 30 January 2017

Trump - join the resistance!

All forces opposing bigotry, bullying, narrow-mindedness, misogyny, unbridled capitalism, racism, a myopic view of the world, laced with phoney promises to desperate workless victims of neo-liberalism, must unite to send a clear thunderous message to Trump that there will be ongoing resistance by millions to his reactionary policies.

Tony Mulhearn, ARMS NW.

Three things you can do straight away:
  • Tell Trump: with the Muslim ban, Trump has shown that our worst fears about him are true. Add your voice to this open letter to him, then spread it far and wide. Click here.
  • Tell Parliament: no state visit for Trump. More than 1.4 million have signed this petition. Not keen on the wording, but it is the main petition on the subject. Click here.
  • Tell Theresa May to demand an end to Trump's Muslim ban. Click here.
"We in Britain have an obligation and a responsibility to make crystal clear to President Trump that this ban is a mistake - and to urge him to put it right." - Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

NW Job Centres on the hit list

These are the DWP job centres in the NW ARMS area that will definitely close, or are under consideration for closure. I think it's accurate, but if you see any errors, please mention them in the comments box below and I'll amend the list accordingly.
  1. Bolton Farnworth
  2. Colne
  3. Darwen
  4. Hoylake
  5. Liverpool Aintree
  6. Liverpool Edge Hill
  7. Liverpool Norris Green
  8. Liverpool Wavertree
  9. Liverpool Williamson Square
  10. Manchester Longsight
  11. Newton-le-Willows
  12. Preston Friargate
  13. Wilmslow
  14. Winsford
  15. Wythenshawe
N.B. Stocklund House in Castle Street, Carlisle, is also on the list, but is not in our area.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Demand an inquiry into the Trident misfire

A Trident missile (picture
'borrowed' from Greenpeace)
News continues to emerge about the Trident Missile crisis, with a missile self-destructing after going drastically off course and heading towards the United States. The misfire took place just weeks before the parliamentary debate and vote on government plans to replace the Trident nuclear weapons system; knowledge of this malfunction may have affected the vote.

MPs questioned Defence Secretary Michael Fallon in parliament, but he failed to answer a single question, choosing instead to continue the cover-up. At the same time the US administration was briefing CNN with details of the misfire.

The decision not to make details of the test public is in contrast to other tests, where dignitaries have been invited to observe and video footage has been released. Government embarrassment, not national security, is therefore clearly the reason for the cover-up.

Now May has been forced top acknowledge the misfire, but simply declares that she has "faith" in our nuclear weapons. This is not good enough.

Caroline Lucas MP has tabled an Early Day Motion calling for an inquiry. You can ask your MP to sign EDM 877 on the Trident missile test - click here.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

No to racist neo-liberal politics!

North West ARMS congratulates the thousands in Liverpool and the millions internationally who demonstrated against arch-capitalist Trump and all his reactionary works. In opposing Trump they expressed their desire for a better society rid of prejudice and hate. This noble objective inspired the women who blazed this trail of opposition to the most appalling figure ever to occupy the White House.

The leaders of the Trade Union and Labour Movement should take a leaf out of their book and start organising seriously now against a Tory government which uses similar racist sentiments to blame immigration for pressure on public services in order to divert blame from the real cause which is their programme of savage cuts.

Tony Mulhearn

Friday, 20 January 2017

Defend Our NHS demo, Liverpool

There is a national event in London on 28 January, but locally Defend Our NHS have organised a HOWL and protest in Liverpool city centre on the same day:
  • Saturday 28 January 2017.
  • 12.00 midday.
  • Outside Primark, 48-56 Church Street, Liverpool L1 3AY.
If you can't attend, why not do a THUNDERCLAP and share your outrage at these attacks on our NHS? Details here.

Please tell PCS ARMS NW if there are any other Save the NHS demos on the North West so that they can be publicised on this blog.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

"She only makes the teas ..."

The government has published a list of the strangest excuses given by employers for failing to pay the National Minimum Wage (NMW).

The list was published last week to coincide with a new awareness campaign to encourage workers to check their pay to ensure they are receiving at least the statutory minimum ahead of the national minimum and national living wages rising on 1 April 2017.

The list of excuses included the following:
  • The employee wasn’t a good worker so I didn’t think they deserved to be paid the NMW.
  • I thought it was OK to pay foreign workers below the NMW as they aren’t British.
  • The employee didn’t deserve the NMW because she only makes the teas and sweeps the floors.
  • I’ve got an agreement with my workers that I won’t pay them the NMW; they understand and they even signed a contract to this effect.
  • My workers like to think of themselves as being self-employed and the NMW doesn’t apply to people who work for themselves.
  • My workers are often just on standby when there are no customers in the shop; I only pay them for when they’re actually serving someone.
  • My employee is still learning so they aren’t entitled to the NMW.
  • The NMW doesn’t apply to my business.
By law, all workers must be paid at least £7.20 an hour if they are aged 25 years and over, or the National Minimum Wage rate relevant to their age if they are younger. From 1 April 2017, the NMW rate will increase to:
  • £3.50 per hour for apprentices (an increase of 10p)
  • £4.05 per hour for 16 to 17 year olds (an increase of 5p)
  • £5.60 per hour for 18 to 20 year olds (an increase of 5p)
  • £7.05 per hour for 21 to 24 year olds (an increase of 10p)
The National Living Wage rate will increase to £7.50 per hour for those aged 25 and over.

Jo Seery of Thompsons Solicitors said: "Workers have been entitled to the National Minimum Wage for more than 17 years so there is no excuse for employers to pay below the legal entitlement. Yet according to the National Audit office, some 58,000 workers in 2015-2016 were underpaid the National Minimum Wage. This compares with just 3 out of 700 employers who were prosecuted for failing to pay the National Minimum Wage. In response the Government has launched a £1.7 million advertisement campaign to raise awareness but it needs to take immediate action to ensure the law is properly enforced."

'Borrowed' from Thompsons Solicitors newsletter 18 January 2017.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

EHRC picket 18 January - call for support

PCS is in dispute alongside colleagues in Unite after Equality and Human Rights Commission were told to expect budget cuts of 25%, on top of the 70% cut since 2010. Nineteen of the first 26 posts due to be axed are held by staff in the three lowest paid grades, meaning the government body responsible for protecting vulnerable workers is itself disproportionately targeting older, ethnic minority and disabled staff.

The commission's new structure would mean fewer caseworkers supporting victims of discrimination and the closure of offices in Birmingham, Leeds, Edinburgh and Newcastle. There will also be the loss of the conciliation service and grants programme. This is undermining the EHRC's statuary responsibilities to encourage equality and diversity, eliminate discrimination and protect the human rights of everyone in Britain.

PCS members have been supporting staff on the picket lines during their strike action. We ask for your support for the next day of action on Wednesday 18.1.17. If you can, please come along to the picket line on Corporation Street/Cross Street opposite Next, Arndale House, Manchester M4 3AQ between 7.00am and 10.15am.

Kind regards

Donna Henners
Band 2 Organising Officer
0151 298 3900

Monday, 9 January 2017

Defend The Women's Hospital

A call for support from TUSC:

The Women's Hospital remains under serious threat. The assurances given by Mayor Anderson at a previous meeting that the Women’s would be protected need to be reaffirmed. The privateers and Tory agents in the NHS continue to sharpen their knives and spread confusion.

TUSC supports the call for a mass presence at the lobby of the extraordinary City Council Health and Wellbeing Committee meeting tomorrow Tuesday 10 January in Cunard Building. Now the proposals have been announced the fight really begins. Please assemble from 4.30pm onwards. A strong lobby, supported by your placards and banners will underline the magnificent support which exists for the present Women’s Hospital.

Roger Bannister, TUSC candidate for Liverpool mayor in May 2016, says "It is clear that, at this critical juncture, the Campaign to save the Women’s needs maximum support, and this I unequivocally pledge."

For further information, contact:
  • Daren Ireland on 07787128498
  • Dave Walsh on 07969511796
  • Tony Mulhearn on 07939098455

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Next NW ARMS Regional meeting

The NW committee holds meetings around the region to increase accessibility for all members. All meetings are open to any members who wish to attend.

The next meeting is in Preston:
  • Wednesday 11 January 2017.
  • 11:30 am to 2:30 pm.
  • The Disability Equality North West office, 103-104 Church Street, Preston, PR1 3BS.
All members are welcome to attend, especially those from the Lancashire area, as we will be seeking to form a Lancashire ARMs Group in the near future.