Wednesday, February 25, 2009

New Regional Office

The phone number for the new Regional Office is:

01444 894500

As ever you can still contact WSTA on 01403 258222

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Work related stress

There is a reluctance to attribute absences from work to "work-related stress". People feel that employers do not need to know about mental health problems when they are considering who to promote in the future!

However, as John Illingworth pointed out at the West Sussex Teachers' Association Reps training course. "If employees put work related stress as a reason for absence, employers are bound by law to seek ways of reducing that stress." A recent court case saw a Leicestershire teacher receiving a six figure sum in compensation because the employer had failed in the "duty of care" by ignoring stress in the workplace.

We say this not to encourage the "compensation culture" but to warn employers that they need to change their ways. Piling more and more stress on teachers as a short term fix to problems like OFSTED will have long term consequences for the morale of the teachers and the number of teachers leaving the profession.

Fight youth unemployment

In June thousands of young school-leavers will be facing the harsh reality of capitalism - no jobs and no incentive to learn. For many of them this will exacerbate their disaffection. If you think we have disaffected youth now - you ain't seen nothing yet.

Jobs are being cut left, right and centre. More than three million are expected to be unemployed by the end of 2009. Young people are among the first to be thrown on the scrapheap. Even when the economy was growing, most of us had low paid, insecure jobs. Now we are facing a future of mass unemployment. The government has bailed out the bankers to the tune of £550 billion - we demand a bailout for the rest of us!
We are fighting for a future. We demand:

* The right to a decent job for all, with a living wage of at least £8 an hour.
* No to cheap labour apprenticeships! For all apprenticeships to pay at least the minimum wages, with a job guaranteed at the end.
* No to university fees. Support the Campaign to Defeat Fees.

For full demands see below

While some bank managers are even daring to demand their usual multi-million Christmas bonuses - paid for by tax-payers - Woolworths have given the legal minimum in redundancy pay for those who have lost their jobs so far - a few hundred pounds for many young workers. The story is the same in every sector- whether it is car workers sent home on 30% of pay or BT staff losing their jobs - it is workers who are being expected to pay for the recession.

This is a global crisis. Governments the world over have acted to try and save capitalism, especially by shoring up the banking systems. But this has not been done for the benefit of the majority of the population. These bailed-out banks have made job cuts, and in the case of Northern Rock are the most likely to evict homeowners behind on their mortgage payments.

We are organising a protest at the G20 to highlight our opposition to international efforts to attempt to make workers pay for the bosses' crisis. We demand urgent action to stop the threat of unemployment, to prevent job losses and to create useful jobs for those who've lost theirs. We are holding a conference to launch the campaign on 4 April.

The government is currently campaigning to keep British bosses' right to make us work more than 48 hours a week, longer than any other EU country. So while millions are on the dole - the rest of us have to work 'til we drop! We demand that the work is shared out - with the immediate implementation of a 35-hour week - without loss of pay.

Large-scale government action should be taken to alleviate unemployment and the threat of job losses. There is an urgent need for more social workers, nurses and teachers. Just a fraction of the money used to bail out the banks could take hundreds of thousands off the dole queues and train them to carry out vital public services.

Five million people want decent public housing, but there is virtually none to be had. But currently there are enough bricks sitting idle to rebuild Nottingham, and building workers are losing their jobs by the thousand! Why couldn't the two be combined in a major, publicly owned, house building programme?

A government programme of investment into these vital areas, reversing cuts from the last few decades, could see millions of jobs created and improve the living conditions of the majority of the population.

When industries threaten closure we demand that they open their books to the workforce so we can see where the profits of the last decade have gone. Where companies threaten closure they should be nationalised under democratic workers' control.

Under New Labour young people who lose their jobs face grim prospects. At £60.50 a week, Job Seekers Allowance is not enough to survive on, with the added insult that, along with many other benefits, under-25s receive a lower rate. You don't get a discount on gas bills or rent if you're under 25, why should benefits be any lower? Without a serious programme of job creation, unemployed workers will be forced to fulfil pointless courses to supposedly make them fitter for jobs that don't exist. University is unaffordable, with graduate debts running into tens of thousands of pounds. Modern apprenticeships can pay less than even Job Seekers Allowance, with no guarantee of a job at the end.

Help build the Youth Fight for Jobs campaign in your workplace, school or college. Get in touch for assistance, leaflets, posters, model trade union resolutions and other campaigning material.

For a list of sponsors see here

* The right to a decent job for all.
* We won't pay for the bosses' crisis!
* No to job losses. Open the account books to let workers see where the profits have gone.
* Bail out workers not bosses. Nationalise big industries threatening closure or large-scale job losses.
* For fighting trade unions, involving young workers and the unemployed.
* For training linked to decent jobs.
* No to cheap labour apprenticeships! For all apprenticeships to pay at least the minimum wage, with a job guaranteed at the end.
* No to university fees. Support the Campaign to Defeat Fees.
* No to bullying management. For decent working conditions.
* For a living minimum wage of at least £8 an hour for all. No youth exemptions.
* Share out the work. For a 35 hour working week with no loss of pay.
* For government investment in socially useful jobs. For a massive public programme of house building, renovation and infrastructure projects. No to profiteering private companies running these projects

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Construction site walkouts

The construction site walkouts have shown that when workers have really had enough, the anti-union laws demanding ballots are quickly ignored! Of course, the tabloid coverage suggested that this was driven by racist ‘anti-foreigner’ views.

The demands agreed at the mass meeting in Lincolnshiretoday were:

·          No victimisation of workers taking solidarity action.

·          All workers in UK to be covered by the national agreements.

·          Union controlled registering of unemployed and locally skilled union members, with nominating rights as work becomes available.

·          Government and employer investment in proper training / apprenticeships for new generation of construction workers - fight for a future for young people.

·          All Immigrant labour to be unionised.

·          Trade Union assistance for immigrant workers - including interpreters - and access to Trade Union advice - to promote active integrated Trade Union Members.

·          Build links with construction trade unions on the continent.