No back to school – until it’s safe

Bristol Trades Union Council is calling for all to support this meeting.

Early in April the National Education Union (NEU) outlined their five tests that the Government should meet before widening the opening of schools. Unlike the Governments current strategy the meeting of the NEU’s tests would create the necessary confidence amongst parents and staff that schools are being opened in a way that is safe and doesn’t endanger educators, school children, workers and the NHS.

The NEU five tests are –

Test 1 : Much lower numbers of Covid-19 cases
Test 2 : A national plan for social distancing
Test 3 : Testing, testing, testing!
Test 4 : Whole school strategy
Test 5 : Protection for the vulnerable

Details about the NEU five tests can be found at NEU five tests for Government before schools can re-open

Further details of the meeting and how to join the meeting can be found on this Facebook event page No back to school – until its safe

The meeting is hosted by Bristol Corona Crisis – People Before Profit Network, Bristol NEU and South Glos. Young Educator Network.

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Safe reopening of schools

The infection rate in the UK is creeping back up and is close to the point where the coronavirus could again start spreading rapidly.

The coronavirus “R-number” is now between 0.7 and 1.0, we have been told repeatedly over the last few weeks that it needs to be kept below one in order to stay in control of the virus and protect people’s lives and the NHS.

We still don’t know the effect of the changes to lockdown recently announced by the government.

The government hasn’t revealed it’s models on how many black and Asian staff are likely to die as a result of the lifting of the Covid-19 lockdown.

With all these unknowns the government is insisting that schools re-open for certain cohorts in just over two weeks time.

During their discussions with the government the unions working in education have put forward proposals that will reopen schools is a way that is safe for children, staff, their families and the wider community. The unions have backed up these discussions by issuing a joint statement on the safe reopening of schools.

Bristol Trades Union Council expresses its full support for this statement and expresses it’s solidarity with the nine unions involved.

The BMA has also thrown it’s weight behind the unions when it said that “the number of coronavirus infections remained too high to allow them [schools] to run safely”.

Bristol Trades Union Council says schools should open but only when it is safe to do so. No worker should have to work in unsafe conditions. We urge all workers to join a union to protect their health, safety and conditions.

The statement released by the unions can be found here Education unions’ statement on the safe reopening of schools

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Celebrate May Day – Make a video

Key Workers

This May Day our usual planned events can no longer take place, but it’s more important than ever to mark the contribution that workers make every day.

The TUC are leading an online action to show our support for all frontline workers in this difficult time.

Visit the TUC website at May Day 2020 for full details.

Unless explicitly stated otherwise any commercial advertisements appearing on this page aren’t endorsed or supported by Bristol Trades Union Council.

People’s Assembly – May Day Special!!

Bristol People's Assembly - May Day Special!!

You can’t get more local than this. Join the People’s Assembly for an upbeat celebration on May Day – Friday 1 May, 19:00-20:00.

Laura Pidcock will be joined by special guests to celebrate the day.

Guests will include :
Jeremy Corbyn
Maxine Peake
Gerry Potter
& Lowkey

For full details visit People’s Assembly Facebook page

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Bristol International Workers Memorial Day 2020 – report

We didn’t march in 2020 because of the Coronavirus pandemic, the above pictures were from the Bristol International Workers’ Memorial Day ceremony back in 2018. In 2020 we held a virtual commemoration whether we were at work, in our homes or in an open space all keeping at a safe distance. We also joined in the National one minute’s silence when we paid tribute to the sacrifice made by so many workers during the pandemic, to remember those who’ve sadly lost their lives, and to thank all those who continue to do vital work at great risk whether they work in the NHS, care homes, delivering food and essential supplies, keeping our food shops open, our buses and trains running and our post delivered.

It’s normal at Bristol IWMD ceremonies at Castle Park it’s normal to have a few speakers. We’ve asked some of Bristol’s trade unionists to pen a few words on what IWMD means to them.

 

Jim Whelan (Chair Unite Bristol Transport & Food branch (SW/001823)) wrote this –

“The last few weeks have shown how important health & safety reps and shop stewards are in their workplaces, fighting for better safety standards at a time when employers want to use the crisis to worsen them.Workers whose terms and conditions have been eroded over recent decades, and who have been forced in to insecure employment, are now recognised as frontline workers that society depends on. Those who were considered the bottom of the heap have been shown to be the people who can help us beat the virus.

Unfortunately in the parcel industry, we have suffered losses due to COVID-19, and the thoughts of all parcel workers are with their families and friends. We’ve also seen a massive increase in workload as a lot of shopping has moved online, leading to more residential parcel deliveries. At the same time, we health & safety reps have had to fight for PPE, and the introduction of social distancing.

At UPS we have involved all our members in making constructive proposals to improve health & safety in the current crisis, and despite management dragging their feet, we have now ensured all UPS workers in the UK have access to facemarks, gloves, and hand sanitiser, every driver is now able to wash their hands while out on the road, we have reached a national agreement that vans are disinfected every day, and the cleaning of buildings has been enhanced.

Workers organising together have won these gains. We can’t rely on governments and lawyers to make us safe, we must do it ourselves through our unions.

The health and safety of frontline workers (including my workmates) is top of the news agenda every day now, and Workers Memorial Day is our opportunity to show that organised workers can deliver this for themselves.

Click on any of the pictures below to start a slide show of the complete set.

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Bristol International Workers Memorial Day 2020

Remember COVID-19 dead this
International Workers’ Memorial Day
April 28th 2020

Every year on April 28th, all around the world, the trade union movement unites to mark International Workers’ Memorial Day (#IWMD20). We remember those who have lost their lives at work, or from work-related injury and diseases. We renew our efforts to organise collectively to prevent more deaths, injuries and disease as a result of work.

Workers Memorial Day is commemorated throughout the world and is officially recognised by the UK Government. We remember those we have lost. We fight in their memory.

During the current pandemic a heart-breaking number of workers have died from coronavirus; this is a tragedy felt deeply by us all. Too many of our friends and colleagues have fallen ill, lost their lives or continue to be put at risk at work every day. Many more will be grieving the loss of loved ones.

The coronavirus pandemic affects every worker regardless of sector or locality. Tens of thousands of workers worldwide have died. More have fallen ill or continue to go to work risking their lives. Many workers are still attending work ill-equipped and without necessary safety measures in place. We could not have a starker reminder of the important role of trade union health and safety reps in saving and protecting workers’ lives, than the current crisis we are living through.

While we may not be able to attend the memorial events which usually take place on IWMD, as public gatherings around the world are not advised or allowed, there are many ways trade union members can take part in our collective day of remembrance and solidarity.

IWMD 2020 Minutes SilenceWherever you are at 11am on Tuesday 28th April 2020, take part in the minute’s silence. It will be a moment to pay tribute to the sacrifice made by so many workers during the pandemic, to remember those who’ve sadly lost their lives, and to thank all those who continue to do vital work at great risk. The initiative is supported by the government, and reps may wish to request employers to mark it, by asking the workforce to cease work for one minute at 11am. Help spread the word about the minute’s silence, by encouraging as many friends and colleagues as possible to take part, whether in their workplace or at home.


The South West TUC are holding a Facebook live meeting at 10:30 on the 28th where they are going to try and link Zoom speakers to a Facebook Live session. It will end with the minute’s silence at 11:00. Details can be found on the South West TUC Facebook page.

As so many of us are working from home or not working at all, Bristol Trades Union Council is asking you to campaign collectively by posing in your workplace, home or open space with one of the posters that can be found on at the bottom of this page or you could pose with a poster containing your own message. Please get a family member to take a photograph and send to Bristol TUC and we’ll post all received photographs on our website.

Here’s a sample photo so you’ll get an idea of what we’re looking for. Note the scruffy bloke with his hair standing on end is our Communications officer, let’s hope he wears something smarter and combs his hair on the day!

BTUC Communications Officer

The suggested posters can be downloaded by selecting one or more of the links below

Remember The Dead
Fight For The Living
Support Our NHS Workers
Thanks Care Workers
Cheers Drive
Solidarity With Shop Workers
Solidarity With Transport Drivers
Thanks Postal Workers
Thanks
Write your own message

More events are listed in the comments section.

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St Mungo’s workers to strike

Unite supporting St Mungo workers

Hundreds of members of staff working for the homeless charity, St Mungo’s, are set to strike on 16th, 17th, 18th March 2020 after voting by 83.7 per cent for action in a dispute over the reinstatement of ‘race to the bottom’ terms and conditions and a punitive sickness policy.

After more than a year having their demands ignored, the St Mungo’s staff have no choice but to take National Action, including in Bristol.

Unite members will be picketing St Mungo’s offices on

1 New Street, Bristol, BS2 9DX
16th, 17th, 18th March 2020
between 7.30am – 10.00am

Please bring your banners.

Further details about the dispute can be found by following this link
Unite calls for St Mungo’s CEO to step down

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