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Britain Needs A Pay Rise!


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

Bzumtt9IAAAa4HWMembers 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.

UNISON no pay cuts, save our NHS

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:

GMB Here Angry FightingRoyal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton

Princess Royal Hospital, Haywards Heath

Brighton General Hospital, south entrance

Crawley Hospital

Lanchaster House, Trafalgar Place, Brighton - home to Brighton and Hove CCG

Worthing Hospital

St Richards Hospital, Chichester

Aldrington House, Hove


Millview Hospital, also known as Hove Polyclinic

Hill Rise, Newhaven

Uckfield Hospital

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

untitledSPlease 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

GMB Southern NHS bannerPeople 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


PCS banner at Bob Crow funeral_03.14 cropAs 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 .


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.

Bevan quote

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.

Unison protest against the NHS changes


IMAG075516, 17 & 20 October – Support Brighton & Hove Cityclean workers

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.

GB workers deserve better pay

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 .




Sex Workers Need Workers’ Rights not Criminalisation!


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

Sex Workers Rights Are Human Rights

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.

ECP logo

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.”

No woman is safe if prostitutes aren't safe

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.

ECP demo with Thierry


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“.

Hands Off Our Clients_ICRSE

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.

Safety for Sex Workers

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.




Outlaw Poverty Not Prostitutes

Save our NHS & Fire Service


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.

Preston Circus_12.08.14_1


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!

Hastings crop


Pledge To Save The NHS

7.30pm, Wednesday 24 September 2014

BHASVIC, Dyke Road, Hove BN3 6EG

Pledge to Save the NHS

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.

Unison protest against the NHS changes

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.

 5 key pledges

War, Peace and Internationalism


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.

Not Trident placards

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?

Brighton Against the Occupation

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.

People not Trident

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:

Keir Hardie speaking in Trafalgar Square, 1914

Keir Hardie speaking in Trafalgar Square, 1914

 “…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.”

Lest we forget

Support our Firefighters!


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”

 Hastings solidarity picket

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.

Hove picket crop

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?

Old age firefighter

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.

Preston Circus picket line_up

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.

Lone picket at Battle Firestation

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. 

Hastings crop

We are all human!

(c) Alice Bell

(c) Alice Bell

Fight prejudice and hatred.

Demand equality.

Celebrate diversity.

Have fun!

At Brighton Pride on Saturday 2 August 2014 and everyday.

Linda Taylor waves LRC flag

LGBT Pride: Civil Rights or Consumerism?


Brighton & Hove LRC meeting

7.30pm, Tuesday 29 July 2014

The Mesmerist, 1-3 Prince Albert Street, Brighton BN1 1HE

Pride car in park

Led by local LGBT activist, socialist and NUT member Simeon Elliott, consider whether the civil rights and health priorities of LGBT people in Brighton & Hove continue to be represented at LGBT Pride, or if there is a conflict between business, alcohol consumption and health & wellbeing outcomes for people attending Pride.  Does Pride represent the interests of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered citizens equally, or has the relative prosperity of some LGBT people resulted in business turning Pride into a commodity it sells for profit?  If so, how can Pride re-focus its priorities on the promotion of social justice and civil rights for all?

Hilton sponsors Pride

Brighton & Hove LRC meets every other month for a friendly discussion around a table, normally in a pub room.  This will be our first meeting in the ground floor meeting room of The Mesmerist, which is very close to Brighton Town Hall, being just five minutes walk further down Prince Albert Street from the Friends’ Meeting House.  All welcome at these friendly and informal meetings.

Simeon Elliott start2

B&H LRC’s remaining meetings in 2014 will be on Tuesday 7 October and Tuesday 2 December.  More news of those meetings will be available soon via our events listings.


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