UCATT Midlands Region in national day of action against umbrella companies
UCATT Midlands Region activists and organisers demonstrated outside the Pebble Mill development in Birmingham on Wednesday 26th November as part of a national day of action in protest at construction workers being forced to work via umbrella companies. Being paid through an umbrella company is costing workers up to £100 a week.
(See photographs of the demonstrations around the country at http://www.ucatt.org.uk/umbrella-company-day-action)
UCATT activist is Highly Commended at TUC Organising Awards Event
UCATT shop steward Jason McInerney was highly commended for his organising activities by the TUC at an awards ceremony at Aston Villa Football Club in Birmingham on 28 November.
UCATT Midlands Regional Organiser Sharon Harding nominated Jason after he led a successful recognition campaign at the Wolverhampton-based social housing provider Bromford Housing Group shortly after he was elected as a UCATT shop steward. Due to his hard work the union doubled the size of its membership at the organisation and gained recognition.
UCATT Midlands Region organisers and activists with Jason McInerney at the TUC Organising Awards
TUC Assistant General Secretary visits Nottingham Tram Project with UCATT
In November, TUC Assistant General Secretary Assistant Paul Novak paid a visit to the Nottingham Tram Project in order learn more about successful joint working between the main contractors, Taylor Woodrow (part of VINCI) and Alstom, and UCATT – including an agreement to protect workers from pay roll fees. Although the project has over-run, the project is nearing completion (June 2015) and employed and trained over 1,500 operatives at its peak.
Working with the contractors and Labour councillors in Nottingham City Council, the main client, UCATT was able to secure the following:
Agreement for pay roll fees (+£20 per week) not to be deducted from workers’ pay;
Involvement in daily site inductions to the workforce;
Unrestricted access to site canteens and members; and
Regular meetings with HR and management set up to resolve members’ issues.
“The pay roll fees agreement on the tram project is welcomed and is something UCATT and the TUC believe should be rolled out across other projects, particularly public contracts, where such practices exist,” said Midlands Acting Regional Secretary Shaun Lee. “Nevertheless, promoting direct employment, with proper contracts and terms and conditions, is something that should always be facilitated first, equipping projects with reliable and experienced workers.”
TUC Assistant General Secretary Paul Nowak (left) joins TUC Midlands Regional Secretary Lee Barron (third from left), UCATT Midlands Acting Regional Secretary Shaun Lee (fourth from left), UCATT Midlands Regional Organiser Andy Johnston and UCATT members working on the tram project in Beeston near Nottingham.
UCATT and TUC join forces during Young Workers’ Month in Chesterfield
Some 25 young people including apprentices and students joined UCATT and the TUC at a joint event at Chesterfield College on 7 November, organised as part of Young Workers’ Month. Events ran throughout the month, highlighting issues that young workers face and promoting union membership to young people.
UCATT Midlands Acting Regional Secretary Shaun Lee and UCATT National Youth & Apprentices Organiser Keir Morrison took part in the event alongside Midlands TUC Regional Secretary Lee Barron, the Labour MP for Derby North, Chris Williamson, and Chesterfield College NUS President Cathy Taylor.
“We aimed to engage with as many students, learners, trainees and apprentices as possible,” said Keir. “The event, which also coincided with Living Wage Week, had three main themes – an apprentice Living Wage rate, votes for 16-year olds and zero-hours contracts. It was very successful and we recruited several new young members.”
For more information about TUC Young Workers Months see: http://www.tuc.org.uk/about-tuc/young-workers/young-workers-month
From left to right: Midlands TUC Regional Secretary Lee Barron, Labour MP for Derby North Chris Williamson, UCATT apprentice Danny Baker, Chesterfield College NUS President Cathy Taylor, UCATT Midlands Acting Regional Secretary Shaun Lee and UCATT Youth & Apprentices Organiser Keir Morrison.
UCATT Midlands Region confirms its “target seat” strategy
UCATT’s Midlands Regional Council has selected Erewash in the East Midlands and Cannock Chase in the West Midlands as its target seats in the forthcoming general election.
The union will be supporting Labour’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidates (PPCs) Catherine Atkinson (Erewash) and Janos Toth (Cannock Chase) in their bids to take both these seats from the Conservatives. The Tory MP in Erewash, Jessica Lee, announced that she will step down before the next election and Labour needs a swing of just 2.6% to overturn a 2,501 majority.
In Cannock Chase, Tory MP Aidan Burley is also standing down. Labour needs a swing of 3.5% to overturn a 3,195 majority and win the seat.