Gerry Kelly R.I.P.

Sad news that blacklisted union activist, socialist and musician, Gerry Kelly has passed away. As a young construction union activist from Birmingham in the 1970s, Gerry was involved in disputes in the midlands and London. After finding it difficult to get work he retrained as a teacher and was active in the NUT, becoming a well known socialist figure in his adopted Waltham Forest. After the Consulting Association blacklist was exposed he spoke on behalf of the Blacklist Support Group at union meetings in East London. Gerry was also a musician, recently being a songwriter and occasional guitarist for The Fred Hampton Appreciation Society, the London soul band named after the murdered Black Panther.

Save our Square

Last Thursday 11th February campaigners form Save our Square, and others, attended the live-streamed Mayor’s Question Time at City Hall. We swarmed there like bees! We did this because the WF Planning Committee passed new plans for the town square, which includes constructing 2 monster blocks of 34 and 26 storeys, with over 500 flats – but none of them affordable for the 9000 on the housing waiting list, the low paid or even for teachers and nurses. They are just a profit-making venture for a South African investment company.

The next stage is for the plans to go the GLA to be approved – or not – by the mayor.… Read on ...

“Waltham Forest United for PPE” Campaign: Press Release

Revelations that more than 200 health and social care workers have died as a result of contracting the Covid-19 virus has prompted a number of campaign groups and individuals in Waltham Forest to come together to demand that essential workers are provided with Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) as a matter of course.

The campaign was initiated by WF Trades Council – which represents union members in the borough. It has been joined by representatives of political and community organisations – such as the WF Mutual Aid groups, the Waltham Forest Workers’ Coronavirus Support Group and Leyton & Wanstead Labour Party – as well as concerned individuals.… Read on ...

Shut The Sites

Following Boris Johnson’s speech calling on the construction industry to return to work, workers have released a video on social media that calls the government strategy social murder. The video was produced by the grassroots Shut The Sitescampaign, which is calling for the closure of all non-essential building sites and for all workers to be paid irrespective of whether they are employees, self-employed or agency workers. The video has contributions from 5 construction workers and a 9 year old daughter of a building worker being forced back onto site, but also features:

  • Professor Steve Tombs from the Open University who describing the new return to work strategy says “the government must know that construction workers are exposed to and unwitting carriers of coronavirus.
Read on ...

Overcrowding on trains and Tube today

In the light of the crowds we have seen packed on station platforms, commuter services, and the Tube in London, Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers’ trade union, said today:

‘Today was, sadly, a day every ASLEF member could see coming. Photos are emerging all over social media of Tube trains and commuter services packed with people unable to socially distance in line with government recommendations.

‘People are getting understandably angry. I am, too. But I’ll tell you whose fault it isn’t. First, those who are travelling on these services. Nobody, considering the risk to which they are exposing themselves, and their loved ones, would travel on these services if they didn’t feel they had to, either through economic necessity or because they are key workers.… Read on ...


Education unions’ statement on the safe reopening of schools
Unions with members in the education sector are today (Wednesday) publishing a joint statement on the safe reopening of schools.
Today’s statement follows a longer statement to the Secretary of State on Friday (8 May), which set out in full detail the principles and tests necessary for the safe reopening of schools. It is signed by AEP, GMB, NAHT, NASUWT, NEU, NSEAD, Prospect, UNISON and Unite.
Full text of today’s statement:

“We all want schools to re-open, but that should only happen when it is safe to do so. The government is showing a lack of understanding about the dangers of the spread of coronavirus within schools, and outwards from schools to parents, sibling and relatives, and to the wider community.… Read on ...