Category Archives: Union Business

Union Business

NO TO SECRET COURTS

At Watford Employment Tribunal this last Tuesday (16th December 2014) I arrived in my capacity as General Secretary of the Employees Representatives union in order to observe an Employment Tribunal “preliminary hearing” being conducted on behalf of one of our members by our Executive Director Barry Blakesley.

When I arrived a lady official of the ET told me I was not allowed to enter as the proceeding was private hearing.

The case was very important from the public interest point of view, as our member is asserting a link between his dismissal and his conscientious completion of various safety checks.

I find it absolutely intolerable that the ET system is being closed down to eliminate public oversight.

The President of the Employment Tribunals should explain this & other similar decisions.

William J Spring BA (UK) MA (Ontario) PGCE

General Secretary Employees Representatives

London 18th December 2014

INVITATION to ER members, friends and supporters – 24th July 2014

INVITATION to ER members, friends and supporters to

The Windsor Castle 23 Francis Street, Victoria, London, SW1P 1DN

Thursday July 24th 2014 from 1530 to hear General Secretary’s report on the accounts for the year 1st January 2013 until December 31st 2013 as lodged with the Certification Officer.

 

+ observations on the struggle against unscrupulous managements.

 

Other ER officers & members will also address the meeting.

 

A tab will be on the bar, when declared open by the GS but no alcoholic drinks may be served until the conclusion of formal business in accord with union rule 15 (see below)

 

William Spring General Secretary

 

Tel: 07988874778

02083761454

Email: ws@employeesrepresentatives.com

RSVP

Rule 15: All officers of the Union at every level agree to avoid drugs and alcohol during business hours and whilst conducting formal business

YARL’S WOOD BRITAIN’S BAGRAM

Employees Representatives is an independent union representing public service workers in the London area, (a core group of which are bus drivers).

But we occasionally act on a pro bono basis – i.e. for free, as we have done in this case.

Wen Jia Sun is regarded by us as an honorary member of this union, & we have fought for her, I representing her @ Heythrop College before the Jesuits, & Barry Blakesley ER Executive Director acting as her McKenzie friend in the High Court.

Please support our campaign to get her out of Yarl’s Wood, so she is able (after a suitable convalescence, as she has been seriously traumatised by this experience) to resume her studies in Law.

To want to study in England is not a crime!!

Shame on the Colleges of Birkbeck & Heythrop who have allowed this student to fall among thieves!!!

William Spring

Tel 07988874778

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June 10 2014 I visited Yarls’ Wood IRC (Immigration & Removal Centre) near Bedford. This time I got in. The week before I was refused entry as I had forgotten to bring my passport & photo ID was needed.

Instead I presented my old codgers Boris Freedom Pass, which has my photograph on it, but was told it was not accepted.

However yesterday, in my successful break in, I noted outside the door of the Visitor Centre was a statement saying a Freedom Pass is acceptable!!

Yarls’ Wood holds 900 inmates, mostly women, & all intended for eventual deportation. With a colourful history, of riots, hunger strikes, & suicides, back in 2002, when operated by Group 4, it was burned to the ground.

Now SERCO run it.

Recently the UK Government recently barred Rashida Manjoo, UN special rapporteur on violence against women, from visiting the facility.

She had wanted to look at violence against women as perpetrated or condoned by state authorities.

The SERCO link makes it deniable, an ALMO, an arms length management organisation.

Beware of ALMOs!!

I was visiting Jia.

She is a young, very intelligent, and very pretty Chinese woman of good family.

The reason she is stuck in Yarl’s Wood is to do with Boris Johnson, who recently proclaimed Chinese students were welcome in UK.

Jia believed this, still, against all odds believes it.

Because she believed that a University education in London was a good thing she left Beijing to study theology @ Heythrop College.

This was her first mistake.

Heythrop is a Roman Catholic college run by Jesuits.

But a few years ago Heythrop became part of the University of London so “British values” (as expounded by Nick Clegg) took over, such as tolerance, gender equality etc.

LGBTs comprise a significant group in the College & hold regular meetings under the vigilant eyes of the Jesuits.

After rebuffing lesbian advances, the next thing she found herself on a charge of making noise @ night.

A full disciplinary was held and I entered the scene as a trade unionist to represent her.

I gazed across the table at a gaggle of Jesuits.

I said “where are the witnesses?”.

There aren’t any replied the Jesuits. Rather there are, but we can’t disclose their identities.

. “So you don’t have a case “ I rep[lied.

I later wrote to the Principal that Jesus had a better trial than Jia.

At least he knew his accusers. Charges were dropped & Jia remained in her accommodation for the rest of the academic year.

At the end of that year she took her first year exams in Theology and Heythrop said she could go on into her second year.

But then the College changed its mind.

I advised her to bring some sort of action v Heythrop but she refused.

She didn’t want to hang around where she wasn’t wanted and she already had her eyes on another course, @ Birkbeck where she was accepted unconditionally to study Law.

She needed an electronic reference number called a CAS number.

The University of London could probably have just updated the CAS number she was originally issued with but they didn’t.

Her CAS number was cancelled & she paid Birkbeck £10 for a new one but Birkbeck refused to issue it, claiming her English qualification was out of date which is why she’s in Yarl’s Wood

Acting in person she sought judicial review.

I saw her arguing her case very fluently but his Lordship declined to give her the order she wanted, mainly because she hadn’t written everything down in her pleadings.
She implored the Court to order Birkbeck to issue her with a CAS number. And one ground she cited was that it would place her visa (chronologically dated until 2015) in question.

On May 29th she was arrested @ her lodgings in Earls Court.

Stripped and bundled into a SERCO van she first went to Colnbrook, near London Airport.

Later she was transferred.

A painful experience. She told me how she was held down by men wearing masks, resembling Blackwater employees.

On another occasion she was forced to kneel down before a female white officer, who told her “the way you walk annoys me.”” “dress up in other clothes.” “You deserve to be here.”

Her internet access is also frequently disabled, to stop her accessing web sites of law firms.

Her health has deteriorated. “I have a high temperature. I was beaten. I can’t hear myself …”

WHO IS TO BLAME FOR THIS SCANDAL.

1. BORIS JOHNSON who will not support persecuted Christian Chinese students
2. The Papal Nuncio who won’t support them either
3. The Chinese Embassy who refuse to act on Jia’s behalf
4. The Birkbeck & Heythrop Colleges of the University of London
5. The High Court which refused to grant relief but instead handed her over to her torturers.
ALSO JIA – she is too clever by half, the damming disqualification for anyone wanting to be a UK Prime Minister!!

Yarl’s Wood is Britain’s Bagram.

Bagram is an airbase in Afghanistan where the vilest tortures were carried out on Afghans by NATO forces.

Yet UK Govt Ministers visited Bagram while victims were being tortured to death only a few yards away from them.

ends

Annual Report

Employees Representatives ER started off just over a year ago September 1st 2011 when the bank account opened @ GHIB.
Here is a provisional annual report to members.
A more substantial report to members will be issued post June 2013 by which time our accounts should have been approved by the Certification Officer, the Government official responsible for regulating trade unions.
Very little membership growth was recorded in the first three months September to December 2011 largely because there was no printed material.
With the production & printing of the first – and so far only piece of publicity, a leaflet entitled MORE FOR LESS – growth accelerated in our core constituency of public service workers within the M25.
We now feel the need to update our promotional material so a new leaflet – a simple hand bill – will be produced shortly, explaining why an independent union for London bus workers is so essential.
The main function of our union is to assist members facing problems @ work.
To put it another way – the question we have for those in another union is this: does your union pass the deep shit test?
Will they help you if you’re in deep shit @ work?  If not you’re in the wrong union!!
If your union fades out if you are facing a work related problem then cash in your policy & look for alternative cover.
Being in a union is a form of insurance but if the policy doesn’t pay out when there’s a claim you should switch.
We can assure members we are available 24/7.
But one specific company Sovereign prevents us from entering the Harrow and Edgware yards to discuss general issues with the work force.
We enter for disciplinaries etc of course, no company can stop that, but people need continued accessible service, and we think it intolerable for one favoured union to have an office in the yard while in our case access to members is limited.
We believe this problem has been caused by Unite.
We believe Unite pressured on Sovereign to stop us entering the 2 yards in question.
Consequently we have put in a complaint v the behaviour of Unite @ Sovereign Harrow to the Certification Officer
But we need a Unite member to volunteer to press the button to start up this process.
Please call us if you can help: we are appalled by the disgraceful underhanded uncomradely behaviour of Unite @ Sovereign Harrow, their making common cause with management to try and shut us out of the yard. Where is the solidarity in this?
In addition to the Sovereign-Unite Harrow problem there have been other difficulties for us in the last year also impeding growth and development:
 We had difficulty in getting our web site www.employeesrepresentatives.com up and running on account of an opposing claim to ownership. This was finally resolved through our lawyer Radhanika Baddevithana of rbs solicitors – see www.rbssolicitors.com     But time was lost on this problem.  We are busy updating the web site &  you can also follow us on Twitter @ employees_reps
The Strike: this put us into problems as we were not a party to the dispute and did not want to see members fired or disciplined on account of somebody else’s argument.  We know some members joined the strike, which was their right, but they did so against our advice. However Unite, although putting pressure on drivers not in Unite to strike, using the catchphrase “solidarity” were not so anxious to pay out strike pay to non Unite members  who joined the strike, in the same cause “solidarity”!!
Solidarity is a one way street with Unite!
Our feeling about the strike is that it was a pre arranged set up: there was something abnormal about it.
First Boris said there was no more money, then when the strike approached he brought some money out of the hat – not enough, but enough to take away the basis of the strike, as the remaining issues could have been bridged by negotiation without anyone losing a day’s pay.  Unite rejected the offer and went ahead with the strike but then Boris came up with an even better offer for some drivers, more than even Unite had demanded!
What a strange way of running a transport system or a negotiating process! Wouldn’t it have saved drivers and the public a lot of inconvenience if Boris had simply agreed with the original demand?  A GLA enquiry should be conducted by the GLA Transport Committee as to why the strike happened when Boris already had the cash in contingency funds to head it off.
Another problem is lack of personnel.
At the moment Barry Blakesley and I do the representations but both of us are golden oldies, so we need younger members to emerge to take over the reins of the union for the next stage of our consolidation and to provide effective representation whenever the co- Directors aren’t available.
Business: we are always busy with representations, @ company level or @ ETs, the EAT, the Court of Appeal or before the Strasbourg Court. In addition we represent members in criminal cases!!
This variety of case work reflects the variety of our membership across London.
Publicity: we haven’t put out a single advert so far, although we are thinking of advertising on Radio Focus, but we do get occasional bits of free publicity by sending out news stories!
Press TV gave us coverage over our discovery that Nat West bank (the clearing bank for GHIB) was discriminating against Muslim drivers and sitting on their funds and not transmitting them on to us!!
To see the clip go to our web site.
After that I had a fairly disastrous interview on LBC. They called me to talk about the strike but zeroed in immediately into a demand to know how many members we had!!
If we have as many members as Unite we’ll tell you and in any case we provide membership details to the Certification Officer, along with our accounts by June 2013.
Our objective is to provide a personalised and efficient representational service to members, and we are available 24/7.
Also to act as a pressure group pushing for more humane conditions in the London bus industry.
Report written by William J Spring Executive Director
Tel 02083761454
07988874778
Endorsed by Barry Blakesley Co-Executive Director