6.30pm, Thursday 30 October 2014
The National Pensioners Convention invites Brighton & Hove residents over 50 to come along to question parliamentary candidates from three political parties on any issues of concern. Labour will be represented by socialist and trades unionist Nancy Platts – Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Brighton Kemp Town & Peacehaven. Also present will be the Tory candidate for Brighton Pavilion and the Green candidate for Kemp Town. The meeting will be chaired by Andy Winter of BHT.
8pm, Saturday 1 November 2014
“I can’t express enough my admiration for Owen Gower’s remarkable film. It moved and inspired me and it renewed the anger we rightly felt at the British state’s waging of a civil war against the miners, their families and communities. What’s extraordinary is that it reclaims such vital memory and places it in the present-day. The same principles are still to be fought for. Everyone – not only in Britain – should see this superb film.” John Pilger, journalist
Remembering the 1889 Dock Strike
2.30pm – 6pm, Saturday 25 October 2014
All are welcome to attend this public meeting organised by the Hastings Branch of Unite the union to remember the 1889 London Dock Strike. Together with the Matchwomen’s and Gas Workers’ strikes, the 1889 Dock Strike made trades unionism a mass movement of the working class by extending unions to unskilled workers. Speakers will include Louise Raw, author of “Striking a Light“, and Terry McCarthy, author of “The Great London Dock Strike 1889” and a former Director of the National Museum of Labour History. There will be plenty of time for debate plus the organisers have promised that anyone who can sing can contribute! If you aren’t familiar with the White Rock Hotel, it’s easily found on the seafront adjacent to the White Rock Theatre, opposite Hastings Pier. More information is available from firstname.lastname@example.org .
7.30pm, Wednesday 29 October 2014
Hear former Health Secretary and Camden Labour MP Frank Dobson, together with local nurse Laura Mofatt at this public meeting hosted by Hassocks and Hurstpierpoint Labour Party, and chaired by Purna Sen – Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Brighton Pavilion. Laura Moffatt started out as a nurse, became a Crawley Labour councillor and then Crawley’s Labour MP from 1997-2010, before deciding to return to nursing. Laura says: “Having spent 13 years in Parliament supporting the Labour Government to rebuild our NHS, I have returned to Nursing Practice and can now see first hand the destruction and waste of the Tories reorganisation. Every day I see that this top-down ‘reform’ benefits few apart from the private health industry.” Adastra Hall is only a 10-15 minute walk from Hassocks railway station, so this public meeting can be easily reached from all over Sussex. All are welcome but you may want to arrive early to enjoy the refreshments and grab a seat.
This post lists Sussex and London actions to support through to Monday 20 October, so do keep scrolling down!
Support striking NHS staff – Monday 13 October 2014
Members of GMB, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), Unite the Union and UNISON working in the health sector are striking from 7am – 11am in protest at a third year without a pay rise. They will be joined by PCS members working in the NHS Pensions Agency. Following this NHS staff will only work their contracted hours throughout 13-17 October 2014.
This is the first industrial action over NHS workers’ pay in over three decades and the first in the entire 133 year history of the RCM. Quite rightly, NHS workers are seething over low pay as their pay has been frozen for four years while they see MPs now being awarded an independent pay rise they were denied. How can MPs be given 11% on top of already high salaries while NHS staff are denied a 1% increase for mostly low paid jobs?
1 in 5 NHS workers have taken second jobs and half say they can’t get through to the end of the month without relying on debt. Two thirds of NHS workers have cut back on food, 51% have reduced their energy usage, 44% have cut back on transport, 80% went without holidays and 90% had to cut back on leisure activities. Shocked? This is unsurprising when UNISON calculates that there has been a 8-12% real-terms fall in NHS salary levels since 2010 and no above-inflation pay rise since 2009. If you need to hear more, NHS workers have explained why they are striking and UNISON members have a bit more to say.
We encourage everyone to send messages of support to members in all the unions involved in the week of action, either as individuals or from your own union branch, workplace, Labour Party branch or other labour movement organisation. Those on twitter can tweet support to: @GMBPressOffice, @unisontweets, @unitetheunion, and @MidwivesRCM .
We condemn the Coalition’s plan to use army and police vehicles in place of ambulances during the strike, in London and other parts of the country although not, so far, in Sussex. Emergency service workers are always prepared to make adequate cover arrangements during industrial action but the government has ignored the possibility of talks in order to spread alarm and so distract from its own poverty pay agenda.
Please support health workers at local Sussex pickets from 7am-11am, which have so far been advertised at these Sussex NHS facilities:
Princess Royal Hospital, Haywards Heath
Brighton General Hospital, south entrance
Lanchaster House, Trafalgar Place, Brighton - home to Brighton and Hove CCG
St Richards Hospital, Chichester
Aldrington House, Hove
Millview Hospital, also known as Hove Polyclinic
Hill Rise, Newhaven
Langley Green Hospital, Crawley
Eastbourne DGH, psychiatric unit
This is unlikely to be a comprehensive list. We expect that there will also be pickets at other Sussex NHS facilities, such as at the Conquest Hospital in Hastings
Unite the union has made a range of strike materials available online
Tuesday 14 October 2014 – Support SERCO workers striking in Mid-Sussex
Please show solidarity with refuse, recycling and street cleansing workers who voted by over 80% to reject another derisory 1% pay offer from this private company operating a highly profitable contract for public services, paid for by the taxpayer. Please support pickets expected to be outside the SERCO depot in Haywards Heath throughout the day. This dispute is separate to the suspended national action by local government workers, so please don’t forget to support these workers when they strike on Tuesday.
We encourage everyone to send messages of support to members of the GMB’s Sussex Branch, either as individuals or from your own union branch, workplace, Labour Party branch or other labour movement organisation. Those on twitter can tweet support to @GMBSussexBranch and @GMBSouthern .
3.15pm, Tuesday 14 October – Support Hove lobby to stop the privatisation of B&H NHS services
Sussex County Cricket Ground, Eaton Road, Hove BN3 3AN
People in Brighton & Hove are asked to support the lobby of the Health & WellBeing Board from 3.15pm outside Sussex County Cricket Ground. It’s not too late to write to councillors to protest against these plans. UNISON has provided specimen text to send.
This meeting will make key recommendations to Brighton & Hove councillors regarding totally unnecessary plans from the Green and Tory Groups to privatise two local NHS services – the ICES community equipment store, which provides vital equipment to assist in the care of patients at home, and the Substance Misuse Service, which has done so much to reduce deaths and treat alcohol and drug addiction in the city. Please come along to show your opposition to any privatisation of NHS services.
Wednesday 15 October – Support striking civil servants
As PCS members take strike action, please show solidarity at local picket lines. These are likely to be outside job centres, DWP offices, tax offices, courts and other public offices where many PCS members work. Officially labelled “civil servants”, PCS members are mainly low paid and are struggling to survive after a seven year pay freeze.
PCS has contributed to The Great Pay Robbery booklet recently published by the Trade Union Coordinating Group. This booklet examines the factors which are contributing to the squeeze on real incomes of the majority of earners, and recommends what can be done to remedy this. Did you know that some PCS members have seen their take home pay plummet 20% in real terms as a result of pay constraint and additional pension contributions? Meanwhile, the collective wealth of the 1,000 wealthiest Britons rose by £70 billion in the last year alone – enough to give every working person in the UK a £2,000 pay rise.
We encourage everyone to send messages of support to PCS members, either as individuals or from your own union branch, workplace, Labour Party branch or other labour movement organisation. Those on twitter can tweet support to @pcs_union and @PCS_Brighton among other PCS accounts, or email your message to email@example.com .
7.30pm, Wednesday 15 October - Oppose £235m West Sussex NHS contract being awarded to BUPA
St Paul’s Church, Northgate, Chichester
Discuss opposition to the privatisation of musculoskeletal services by West Sussex CCG, which risks future NHS services at Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, including Worthing and Chichester hospitals.
Speakers include Sian Rabi-Laleh – UNISON National Officer for Health, Dr Lucy Reynolds, who has campaigned for years nationally against the destruction of the NHS, and well-known local campaigner Margaret Guest – Chair of Don’t Cut Us Out, which fought social care cuts and privatisation in West Sussex. Join the fight against fragmentation and privatisation of our NHS before it is too late.
The importance of stopping each and every privatisation from our NHS is demonstrated by the Mirror’s live counter which lets you see just how much public NHS money is going in to private hands.
3.15pm, Thursday 16 October – Support Hove lobby to stop the privatisation of B&H NHS services
Hove Town Hall, Norton Road, Hove BN3 4AH
People in Brighton & Hove are asked to support the lobby of the City Council’s Policy & Resources Committee which will decide upon the proposed privatisation of local ICES community equipment store, which provides vital equipment to assist in the care of patients at home, and the Substance Misuse Service, which has done so much to reduce deaths and treat alcohol and drugs addiction in the city. Please come along to show your opposition to any privatisation of NHS services. Assemble from 3.15pm outside Hove Town Hall. It’s not too late to write to councillors to protest against these plans. UNISON has provided specimen text to send.
As the bin dispute rumbles on in Brighton & Hove, please continue to support bin lorry drivers demanding fair recognition for their skills and qualifications, in the face of a Council led and managed by people seemingly unable and unwilling to recognise and resolve the separate complaints of its workforce.
We encourage everyone to send messages of support to members of the GMB’s Sussex Branch, either as individuals or from your own union branch, workplace, Labour Party branch or other labour movement organisation. Those on twitter can tweet support to @GMBSussexBranch .
Saturday 18 October 2014 – Britain Needs a Pay Rise!
Join the national TUC march and demo in London. Full information is available from the event website.
Transport options, including coaches and a train from Eastbourne, plus many coaches from Crawley, Hastings, Horsham, Lewes and Worthing are all listed on the TUC’s Rough Economy website. Tickets (£12 waged, £6 unwaged) can still be booked on the Brighton to Victoria train organised by Brighton and Hove District Trades Council.
Monday 20 October 2014 – Support Striking NHS Radiographers
Don’t forget to support our NHS radiographers whose late ballot meant that they cannot strike with other NHS workers on 13 October. We encourage everyone to send messages of support to members of the Society of Radiographers, either as individuals or from your own union branch, workplace, Labour Party branch or other labour movement organisation. Those on twitter can tweet support to @SCoRMembers .
Laura Watson, ECP, speaks at next Brighton & Hove LRC meeting
7.30pm, Tuesday 7 October 2014
The Mesmerist, 1-3 Prince Albert Street, Brighton BN1 1HE
On Tuesday 7 October, Brighton & Hove LRC will be in the ground floor meeting room of The Mesmerist, for a friendly and informal chat with Laura Watson, spokeswoman for the English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP). The ECP is a self-help network of sex workers of different nationalities and backgrounds, working in different areas of the sex industry – both on the streets and indoors. The ECP campaigns to end the criminalisation of sex workers – which undermines safety – and for housing, higher benefits, wages and other resources – to enable sex workers to get out of prostitution if they want to. The ECP also provides daily support and information to sex workers on legal, discrimination, health and other issues.
In July 2014, the French Senate rejected proposals to criminalise sex workers’ clients after in-depth consultations found that people were alarmed about the danger this caused to sex workers. The Senate Select Committee received compelling evidence that sex workers’ clients, anxious about being fined, could force sex workers into isolation where they would be at increased risk of violence. Further, the French police association said that criminalising clients would make it more difficult to dismantle pimping networks as clients would not dare to speak out.
STRASS, the French Union of Sex Workers commented: “the Senate Select Committee has taken the time to organise real hearings, to listen to all points of view, including those of national and international health and human rights organisations and considered the evidence of the negative impact of the criminalisation of clients of sex workers. Above all, the Senate Select Committee has taken into account the voices of those first concerned, sex workers themselves.”
In December 2013, Canada’s Supreme Court annulled prostitution laws which were “dangerous” for sex workers and infringed their constitutional rights. Beverley McLachlin, President of the Supreme Court, wrote: “Parliament has the power to regulate the damage caused, but not at the cost of the health, security and life of a prostitute”.
Currently buying and selling sex in Great Britain is legal but “pimping” and the ownership or running of brothels are illegal. Recently the debate around prostitution in the UK has been dominated by moralists who fail to engage with sex workers. Consequently, a UK parliamentary investigation has proposed to follow the Nordic model where buying sex is a criminal act. Now UK sex workers are protesting.
Sex workers have fought tirelessly against criminalisation proposals in every country where this dangerous approach has threatened safety and livelihoods. UK politicians still supporting the failed Nordic Model must consider the mounting evidence against it. If you are thinking of contacting your MP or Labour candidate, take a look at “Hands Off Our Clients” campaign of the ICRSE – a pan-European organisation of sex workers. Or consider the July 2014 report from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) which reaffirms that criminalisation of sex work is an obstacle to HIV prevention. Also in July 2014, The Lancet published “calls for the decriminalisation of sex work, in the global effort to tackle the HIV/AIDS epidemic“.
In 2003, the New Zealand Prostitution Act decriminalized prostitution “while not endorsing or morally sanctioning prostitution or its use”. A framework was created to safeguard the human rights of sex workers, protect them from exploitation, promote sex workers’ welfare and occupational health & safety, as well as public health, and to prohibit the prostitution of under 18s. This is a model the UK should adopt.
New Zealand allowed up to four people to work together from premises with each sex worker keeping control over their own earnings. If more than four people work, an “operator” must obtain a licence from the local authority. Importantly, New Zealand has reinforced offences against compelling anyone into prostitution, gave sex workers the specific right to refuse any client, and gave local authorities powers to inspect premises on health and safety grounds. Five years after decriminalisation was introduced, New Zealand’s Review Committee reported that there had been no increase in prostitution, and that sex workers were more able to report violence and leave prostitution.
Supporting human rights and workers’ rights for sex workers has been shown to be a better basis than criminalisation for any serious change to prostitution law and policy. It removes prostitution from the criminal law, allows people to work together collectively, and distinguishes between violence and consenting sex. Crucially, it has been shown to improve sex workers’ working conditions, while making it easier for those who want to get out, to do so.
Come along on Tuesday 7 October to discuss these issues with Brighton & Hove LRC and the English Collective of Prostitutes. Afterwards, you might like to consider the ECP’s recommendations for changes in law and policy and to sign the ECP’s pledge to decriminalise sex work for safety’s sake - and ask your MP and Labour candidates to do the same.
B&H LRC’s last meeting in 2014 will be on Tuesday 2 December. More news of this meeting is available in our events listings.
Two important events in Brighton & Hove on 24 & 27 September 2014:
FBU Ring of Fire Tour
12noon, Saturday 27 September 2014
New Road, Brighton BN1 1UF
East Sussex Fire Authority has passed cuts which will see Hove firestation downgraded with the likely loss of fire appliances and the firefighters who crew those engines. West Sussex also wants to make even more cuts this year, which will hit vital fire prevention and community services. Incremental cuts made in different authorities decimate the ability of fire and rescue services to respond to regional and national emergencies, like the floods experienced across the South earlier this year, or major fires like that at Eastbourne Pier. These cuts are a false economy.
Come along on Saturday 27 September to show firefighters your support and to add your voice to those campaigning to Save Our Fire Service in East Sussex and Brighton & Hove, and to Stop Cuts to West Sussex Fire & Rescue Services. Find out what you can do to fight these dangerous cuts and have a good time!
Pledge To Save The NHS
7.30pm, Wednesday 24 September 2014
BHASVIC, Dyke Road, Hove BN3 6EG
More and more NHS services are being privatised without thought to the impact on wider services. Jobs and services are being cut at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, in West Sussex and all over the country, while Brighton & Hove’s Green-led Council is pushing through privatisation of important community NHS assets. Nationally the Coalition has undermined health workers’ morale with insulting and divisive pay offers, to the extent that NHS staff are to strike over pay for the first time in 32 years, and almost 78% of health workers have no confidence in That Tory Hunt.
It is vital that Labour has pledged to repeal the Coalition’s health “reforms”, to keep the NHS free at the point of use funded by general taxation, and to bring care within a national health and care service. But this is not enough. Urge your MP and all election candidates to sign this pledge to save the NHS plus the 5 key pledges from the People’s March for the NHS. Hear the 999 Call for the NHS! Now is the time for us all to take action to defend the NHS.
2pm – 4.30pm Saturday 13 September 2014
Refreshments available from 1.30pm
The Brighthelm Centre, North Road, Brighton BN1 1YD
Download our poster for this public meeting:
Join peace campaigner Jeremy Corbyn MP, activist, RAF veteran, survivor of the Great Depression, author of Harry’s Last Stand and top tweeter Harry Leslie Smith, former Head of Human Rights at the Commonwealth Secretariat and now Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Brighton Pavilion Purna Sen and Labour CND vice-Chair Joy Hurcombe to discuss the urgent need for the UK to adopt a progressive foreign policy.
As conflicts escalate all over the Middle East, the Coalition’s dire new terror alerts suggest that the UK will mark the centenary of World War One by further limiting the rights and freedoms that those before us fought and died for. Meanwhile, World War Two is an ever-present in our cultural life and we continue to feel the reach of the cold war in the Ukraine and elsewhere. Despite protests all over Britain and worldwide, why the different responses to the humanitarian crises of the Palestinians in Gaza and the Yazidis in Iraq?
Death and destruction are the only certainties of war. As millions in Britain and overseas exist on or below the breadline due to austerity policies, why do politicians continue to waste billions on war and weapons, such as Trident? We ask why Britain has not signed-up to the Hiroshima Peace Declaration and why our nation’s wealth is not put to better use by investing in jobs, homes, the NHS, and the environment.
On 31 July 1914, Labour leaders Keir Hardie and Arthur Henderson issued their Appeal to the British Working Class. The parties to conflict may change but the principles remain as true today as they did then:
“…act promptly and vigorously in the interests of peace. You have never been consulted about this war. Whatever may be the rights and wrongs of the sudden crushing attack made by the militarist empire of Austria upon Serbia, it is certain that the workers of all countries likely to be drawn into the conflict must strain every nerve to prevent their governments from committing them to war. Everywhere Socialists and the organised forces of Labour are taking this course. Everywhere vehement protests are made against the greed and intrigues of militarists and armament mongers… Hold vast demonstrations against war, in London and in every industrial centre. Compel those of the governing class and their Press, who are eager to commit you to co-operate with Russian despotism, to keep silence and respect the decision of the overwhelming majority of the people, who will have neither part nor lot in such infamy… Workers!- stand together , therefore, for peace.”
Solidarity with Firefighters’ strikes
12pm – 2pm and 10.59pm – 11.59pm
Daily: Saturday 9 – Saturday 16 August 2014
Support FBU pickets at firestations across Sussex
Defend Firefighters against “No Job, No Pension”
Watch this short FBU film summarising the issues that have led firefighters to take strike action over the last eleven months against Coalition attacks on firefighters’ pensions and the reckless cuts to the Fire & Rescue Service – happening nationwide, not just in Sussex. Please stand together with firefighters as they take action again this week.
Over the last fortnight in Sussex we have seen storms, flash floods, travel chaos, many fires including the devastating blaze on Eastbourne Pier, and the tail-end of hurricane Bertha. Meanwhile, in its drive to force through an increase to firefighters’ retirement age from 55 to 60, the Coalition plans to reduce a key firefighter fitness standard from 42 to 35 VO2. Such a drop in fitness of nearly 20% will put everyone’s lives at risk in the emergency situations when we most rely on our rescue services. Do we want to test whether crews of 60 year old firefighters could have coped with the last fortnight in Sussex?
Although public sympathy for firefighters undoubtedly caused Cameron to appoint his third Fire Minister in four years, Tory MP Penny Morduant has carried on as before by cancelling talks with the FBU rather than continuing a constructive dialogue to avert strikes this week. On a recent visit to Sussex the new Fire Minister’s priority was to view street art rather than meet firefighters just across the road at Brighton’s Preston Circus firestation.
It is only natural for some spirits to drop after 11 months in dispute with this callous Coalition. So please show firefighters your support by standing with them on FBU picket lines at local firestations, sending solidarity messages and posting support on social media. Firefighters are there for all of us, providing fire and rescue services in the most dangerous of conditions, whenever needed. This is routine for firefighters, who are deeply committed to their local communities and do not take strike action lightly: “People do not become firefighters to become rich…(but) to serve the public, to put other people first, to risk their lives to save others” Simon Herbert, Chair, East Sussex FBU.
This week, please make an effort to show firefighters your appreciation and support. If you cannot attend either the lunchtime or late night pickets at local firestations, please ensure that you have supported the new FBU campaign Justice for our Firefighters by signing the petition calling on East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service to pay the compensation due to the families of Brighton firefighters Brian Wembridge and Geoff Wicker, who were killed at Marlie Farm in 2006. It is nothing short of a scandal that East Sussex Fire Authority members allow ESFRS management to continue to contest this case despite damning court judgements.
Remember, an attack on workers’ pensions is always the first step of a government preparing to sell-off a public asset, as private companies do not want the open-ended liability of paying staff pensions. Cutting a service to the bone is the second step – in an attempt to persuade people that the service could be better run privately. We are seeing continued huge cuts to Fire Services around Sussex and across the country. The FBU estimates that 6,000 firefighter posts have been lost in the UK since 2007 which jeopardise the Fire Service’s ability to deal with floods and all major incidents.
Please support firefighters’ picket lines during these eight days of strikes between Saturday 9 and 16 August 2014. Please sign the petitions to stop the cuts to the UK’s Fire Services and to stop the attacks on firefighters’ pensions. The Fire Service is facing huge cuts under the Coalition. We must stand together with firefighters now to defend our Fire Service.