Organising For Fighting Unions Rally

The Amicus Manchester Reps committee is working with other local trade unionists to hold a major rally in Manchester on 14th March. There will be a planning meeting on Thursday 22nd February – see below for details.
Supporters of the event so far include:

  • Geoff Brown, Secretary Manchester Trades Union Council (pc)
  • UCU City College Manchester Branch
  • Amicus Fujitsu Manchester Reps Committee
  • Sue Bond PCS Deputy President (pc)
  • Karen Reissman, chair of Unison Manchester Community and Mental Health Branch (pc)
  • Chris Riley, sacked GMB rep, JJB Sports (pc)
  • Manchester Amicus Unity Gazette
  • Jenny Lennox, NUJ Assistant Organiser, North of England and John4Leader campaign (pc)
  • Jimmy Thornton, TGWU branches 6/159 – 6/159A
  • Mac Andrassy, NUT rep, Counthill school, Oldham and Oldham NUT committee (pc)
  • Martin Jones, President Oldham NUT (pc)
  • Trade Unions For Refugees
  • Derek Fraser, President Rochdale NUT (pc)
  • Barry Conway, Secretary Bolton NUT (pc)
  • Wendy Ledgister & Rob Jackson, Chorlton Social Services UNISON (pc)
  • RMT Manchester Victoria branch

(pc = In a personal capacity)
Add yourself or your organisation as a supporter of the event, or get involved in other ways – contact manchesterfightingunions@yahoo.co.uk.
Venues
The Friends Meeting House is 6 Mount Street, Manchester, M2 5NS. Mount Street runs between Albert Square and Peter Street. It’s right behind Central Library, near the Town Hall. Map here.
The Mechanics Institute is the TUC building in Manchester. Its address is 103 Princess Street, Manchester, M1 6DD, but the entrance is actually on Major Street. It’s near Chorlton Street coach station and Chinatown. Map here.


‘Organising for Fighting Unions’ regional rally,
Wednesday 14th March, Mechanics’ Institute, Princess St, Manchester

Following the success of the national “Organising For Fighting Unions” conference in London last year, regional rallies are being set up around the country. There is a proposal to hold one in Manchester on the evening of Wednesday 14th March, and we would like to invite you to get involved.
There will be an initial planning meeting:
7pm, Thursday 22nd February
Friends Meeting House, Mount St, Manchester (behind the Central Library)

We hope that you and/or other representatives from your organisation can come along. If you or your organisation would like to add your name to the list of supporters for the rally itself, please get in touch. We will also be looking to raise money towards the cost of the event.
The original conference in London attracted over 800 people, mostly delegates from union bodies, the largest gathering of such a wide range of union activists in this country for years. The conference had four main themes:
Stop the privatisation of the NHS, education and housing
Support the Trade Union Freedom Bill
Defend pension rights
Discussion about political representation for trade unionists
You will find details below of the decisions of the conference.
Since the conference, Manchester has seen a ‘Public Services not Private Profit’ rally on 25th January supported by a broad range of unions. The strikes of PCS civil servants, UNISON Manchester mental health workers and Amicus Fujitsu workers included a joint strike rally on 31st January. The support and activity around these disputes are helping to revitalise the trade union movement in Manchester and we need to build on that. On Saturday 3rd March there is the TUC NHS Together Day of Action in support of the NHS. Unison Manchester Community and Health have initiated a Manchester demonstration for the day, in Albert Square at 12.00pm.
We’re pleased to report that Bob Crow, the RMT General Secretary, and Billy Hayes, the CWU General Secretary, have already confirmed they will speak at the Organising For Fighting Unions rally on 14th March, and we’re sure it will attract many more excellent contributors to a real discussion about how our movement can tackle the challenges faced by working people.
We do hope you will join us in this initiative.


The national “Organising For Fighting Union” conference in November agreed a Workers’ Charter (see below), elected a committee to continue the work of the conference and agreed four immediate campaigning priorities:

  1. To organise lobbies of MPs in favour of the Trade Union Freedom Bill. To support any group of workers who take action which is in defiance of the anti-union laws and call on their trade unions not to repudiate their action.
  2. To organise in support of the Public Services not Private Profit initiative.
  3. To campaign in defence of the NHS free of private finance initiatives and contracting out. To demand the TUC name a day for a national demonstration in defence of the NHS to take place early next year and, if they fail to do so, to support initiatives for a national demonstration from grassroots health activists.
  4. To organise a Trade Union Solidarity delegation to Venezuela

The Workers Charter:

  1. The right to a job that pays a living wage and gives us time with our families and communities. The automatic right to union recognition and full employment rights from the first day or work.
  2. The right to equal pay and conditions for women, ethnic minorities, youth, migrant and casual workers. The right to a living minimum wage.
  3. The right to free public healthcare, welfare and education, and to a liveable pension.
  4. The right to decent public housing or to private housing without crippling mortgages and rents.
  5. The right to public control of all vital public service and utilities.
  6. The right to protect our own health and safety and our environment from corporate greed.
  7. The right to express our personal identity free from discrimination.
  8. The right to strike in defence of our interests and to campaign for the repeal of the Tory anti-union laws, including support for the defiance of those laws. The right to be able to take secondary, solidarity strike action without the threat of legal action.
  9. The right to organise for the transfer of wealth and power from the haves to the have-nots, partly through severe taxation of multinational corporations or their dismantling.
  10. The right to unite with workers worldwide against corporate globalisation and war.
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Unite members across Fujitsu Services Limited in the UK have been taking industrial as part of their dispute over jobs, union recognition, pay and pensions. Action from 28 February has included 15 days of strikes and ongoing action short of strike.

INDUSTRIAL ACTION IS CURRENTLY SUSPENDED while members consider an offer from Fujitsu.

The national dispute follows the resolution of a local dispute in Manchester which included 12 strike days.

Further information is available here including events, pickets, a downloadable appeal for support leaflet and how to donate to our strike fund.

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