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Sharokh Zamani is an Iranian labor activist who was sentenced 11 years in prison for his peaceful activism. He is being kept in the infamously horrible Rajai-Shahr prison, where he has taken a lead in staging protest hunger strikes from Ward 12, along with other prisoners, against the neglect and brutality of their jailers. The last hunger strike he took part in ended in October 2014. Earlier that year, he sent the following letter to Dr. Ahmad Shaheed (UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran) and Navi Pillay (UN High Commissioner for Human Rights):
Dear Mr. Ahmad Shaheed and Mrs. Navi Pillay:
Listen to my cry against injustice!
I am Shahrokh Zamani, a trade unionist living in Tehran for the past 30 years. I was arrested by armed intelligence agents when I went to Tabriz to visit my parents on June 8, 2011 without any proof or judicial order. I was subjected to psychological and physical torture while being held in solitary confinement. I was insulted and threatened with death and even rape [if I did not] confess to what the interrogator dictated. I did not answer any questions [and instead] demanded to be tried in a court in presence of my lawyer and jury. I went on hunger strike for 32 days and lost 28 kilograms of my weight.
I was tried by Judge Hamlbar in Branch Number 1 of the Revolutionary Court of Tabriz without any evidence, and sentenced to 11 years in prison. In the issued verdict, the judge himself has confessed that I have denied the charges during the investigation process; as such, he is to be held accountable for the reasoning [behind the imposition] of this heavy sentence. The verdict was confirmed by Judge Imani in Branch 6 of the Appeals Court of the East Azerbaijan Province, which is known as the Confirmation Branch. Branch 29 of the Supreme Court, which is known as the Intelligence Branch, also confirmed the sentence. Mr. Pour Faridi, who was my lawyer at the time, asked the judge of the Appeals Court to show at least one acceptable proof [that could support] the issued sentence. A judge of the Supreme Court had told my mother that there is no evidence according to which a sentence of even one day in prison could be issued.
According to Article 22 of the internal bylaws of the prisons, any military, judicial or intelligence body is expressly forbidden from interfering in the internal issues of the prisons. However, there are intelligence offices in all prisons, such as Ward 209 in Evin Prison, Ward 37 in Tabriz Central Prison, and Ward 8 of the IRGC in Rajaei Shahr Prison, which are controlling and monitoring the political prisoners on a daily basis. By the order of the intelligence officers, I was transferred to different wards in Tabriz Central Prison such as Quarantine; Ward 12, where the dangerous prisoners are kept; and Ward 15, which is known as the Methadone Ward, and is where the prisoners suffering from HIV, hepatitis and gangrene [are housed]. Then I was exiled to the Yazd Prison, and afterwards to the Rajaei Shahr Prison in Karaj. Finally, and despite the internal bylaws of the prisons which requires the separation of prisoners according to their crimes, I was exiled to the Ghezel Hesar Prison, where the drug-related prisoners are kept.
I was the representative of the political prisoners of Ward 12 of Rajaei Shahr Prison, trying to defend the rights of the prisoners, and complaining to the authorities about the closing of the only library of the prison, the increase in the spread of dangerous electrical noises, and the beating of prisoners. I asked the authorities to respect the prisoners’ rights in accordance with the internal bylaws of the prisons through a letter.
None of these prisons have the least legal standards, and the prisoners are deprived of their rights such as the right to nutrition; health care; education; sport; and contact with their families through telephone calls, prison visits, furloughs and letters. Further, the prisoners are subjected to systematic mental and physical torture. Despite Article 3 of the internal bylaws of the prisons, which says the aim of imprisonment is pedagogy, those chosen as the authorities of the prisons are the most violent and illiterate people, who consider the torturing of prisoners to be a key to heaven.
As a trade unionist, I have been arrested and imprisoned illegally and have been exiled to one of the worst prisons in Iran, which is comparable to the prisons of the Middle Ages. Ghezel Hesar Prison has 10 independent wards with a [maximum] capacity of 7000 prisoners; however, there are 20,000-38,000 prisoners there. At the moment there are 21 to 22 thousand prisoners in this prison, including 3000 death row prisoners, 7000 prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment, and nearly the same number sentenced to 15 years in prison. There are 10 to 20 prisoners hanged every month. Most of the issued sentences are [based on confessions extracted] under torture and in the absence of a lawyer and jury. From the time a prisoner enters the prison, he has to be naked in 3 different points in front of 2 or 3 cameras. Between 9 and 16 prisoners are kept in rooms measuring 7.5 square meters. In Ward 3, which is known as the best one, there are only 5 bathrooms which are usable only for 40 minutes to 2 hours a day for 160 to 200 prisoners.
There is no water between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. on most days. There is no proper health care system. Each prisoner is taken to the clinic once a month, and the doctors there always give some pills without examining them. The food is made of soybeans intended for animal feed, and is of such poor quality that most prisoners prefer to be hungry and not eat the food. Those who want to buy food from the restaurant have to pay 17,000 Tomans for the same chicken that is sold for 6,000 Tomans outside the prison. The bad financial condition of the prisoners makes them deal drugs and cigarettes – where it is forbidden – telephone cards, calling times etc. There is no book in the prison to read. In a place called Dar-Al-Koran, the prisoners are forced to learn Arabic and memorize the Koran, and are misused as finks. The other prisoners have renamed it Dar-Al-Sheytan (the Home of the Devil), since the prisoners are humiliated there and forced to spy on the other prisoners.
Any objection [to these conditions] will result solitary confinement, cutting the hairs, being beaten, and lashes on the soles of the feet. The prisoners are thrown in the pool and then tortured with electric shocks. Mr. Shirazi, who is responsible for the Quarantine, and his entire family, including his daughters, sons, and daughter-in-law, work in the prison as well, and are used to insult the prisoners’ families, in addition to beating the prisoners.
There are lot of prisoners suffering from HIV, hepatitis and gangrene. In Ward 1, there are 6,000 prisoners, only 400 of whom are healthy while the others are suffering from HIV, gangrene and tuberculosis. Sixty-five to seventy prisoners have died during the past four months. During the first week of the Iranian New Year, four prisoners died as a result of not having been transferred to the hospital.
In Ward 4, which is known as the Workhouse Ward, there are 15 prisoners whose HIV test was positive.
This was a summary of the situation of the prison where I am being kept.
Dear Mr. Ahmad Shaheed and Mrs. Navi Pillay;
I have been on hunger strike for the past 33 days in protest of being exiled to Ghezel Hesar Prison. I have lost 20 kilograms of my weight. Despite writing 12 letters to the authorities of Ghezel Hesar Prison asking them to return me to the political ward of the Rajaei Shahr Prison, I have not received any answer yet. Considering the authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran are responsible for any mental and physical harm [that might come to me], I urge you to dispatch a commission of inquiry and put pressure on the Islamic Republic to fulfill their obligations according to their own laws and return me to the political ward.
I thank you for all your efforts.
April 7, 2014
UPDATE: JULY 10, 2014--It is over 40 days since Reza began his hunger strike. His situation took a turn for the worse on Monday night, July 7 when he collapsed unconscious. He was taken to the infirmary of Rajai-Shahr Prison. His cellmates report that he was returned to his cell without having regained consciousness. The deliber--and ILLEGAL--medical neglect of Iran's prisoners of conscience thus continues. Please take ALL of the Actions below, the life of a good and brave man hangs in the balance!
Reza Shahabi is an Iranian labor activist and the board member of SWTSBC, the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company. He was also previously in charge of the labor committee of Human Rights Activists in Iran. Reza Shahabi has been in prison since June 2009 and was sentenced to six years in jail for his labor activities. Later, the court of appeals changed the sentence to four years in prison, five years being banned from any union activities and a fine of 70 million rials.
Formerly imprisoned in Evin Prison's Ward 350, on June 1, 2014 Reza Shahabi--along with six other Iranian prisoners of conscience--was transferred ward to the notorious Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj. He immediately launched a protest hunger strike. This sort of "internal exile" within Iran's prison system, although common with prisoners of conscience, is actually illegal under Iranian prison regulations.
Reza Shahabi has undergone other prison hunger strikes in the past to protest mistreatment at the hands of his jailers, including deliberate medical neglect. He is suffering from neck and spine complications that may lead to paralysis.
He is in urgent need of medical treatment, including surgery on his spine, which he cannot obtain inside the prison. He was apparently promised that he would receive the surgical treatment on 19 March. However, hours before when his surgery was scheduled, he was returned to prison and has not been transferred back to hospital since. The same situation happened on 15 December 2012, when he was forcibly returned to prison before he could be adequately examined by doctors, leading him to start a hunger strike. He stopped it on 7 January 2013, only after he was granted medical leave, which ended on 15 April 2013.
Hospital doctors have written, at least once, to the prison administration and the office of the Prosecutor of Tehran of their diagnosis that Reza Shahabi requires specialized medical care outside prison. They have emphasized that without this treatment he faces a real risk of suffering paralysis on the left side of his body.
On July 3, Amnesty International Iran provided the following urgent update: "He has lost 15 kg. of his weight and is almost unable to walk on his own. He requires help from the other prisoners to be able to even go to the bathroom. 3 days ago he passed out and he does not get proper medical care either inside prison or in an outside hospital." It should be noted that according to Iran's prison regulations, if adequate medical care cannot be provided within prison facilities, it is required to make provisions for outside hospitalization.
On Monday 30th of June, the very day that he passed out, other prisoners took him to the clinic and the clinic did not accept him. The "doctor" had said Reza has to end the strike or he will get no medical care.
May 7, 2014--Two leading workers’ rights activists, arrested by security forces in Tehran at an International Labor Day gathering on May 1, 2014, remain in prison.
Jafaar Azimzadeh, president of the Free Workers Union of Iran, and Jamil Mohammadi, a member of the same organization, have been transferred to Evin’s Ward 209 for interrogations, according to the Free Workers Union of Iran.
More than 25 workers were attacked and taken into custody on Thursday, May 1, during a peaceful gathering in front of the Labor Ministry and the Azadi Square bus station. A number of workers, including Ebrahim Madadi, a Tehran Bus Workers Union board member, and Reza Nematipour, a worker at the bus company, were severely beaten by security forces at the gathering.
An eyewitness told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that all the detainees were taken to Evin Prison and kept in the courtyard, while their families waited outside the main gate. “Finally several hours later at 10 pm all the workers belonging to the Tehran Bus Company were released,” he said. However, Azimzadeh and Mohammadi are still being held at Evin.
Many workers’ organizations had announced their intention to hold a peaceful gathering in front of the Labor Ministry and the Azadi Square bus station at 10 am on May 1 several days in advance. Yet security forces and plainclothes agents who had surrounded the Labor Ministry since earlier that morning attacked the workers.
The violent assault took place on the same day that President Hassan Rouhani gave a speech at Azadi Stadium, in which he stated “Workers, through their free associations, should be able to voice their concerns to Labor Ministry officials in a more comfortable and clear manner.”
Mansour Osanloo, a prominent labor activist, told the Campaign that according to his sources in Tehran, more than 100 workers left the stadium in protest against Rouhani’s speech, which did not include any mention of wage increases or other legitimate labor demands.
Last March, the Supreme Labor Council approved a 25% increase in the minimum wage, even though the official inflation rate announced by the Central Bank is 35%.
More than 40,000 workers signed a letter addressed to the Minister of Labor insisting that the increase was unfair and unreasonable. When their letter remained unanswered, labor groups decided to hold the Labor Day protest.
It is unjust to force humans to work for social security.
It is unjust to make single mothers work for social security.
Such a policy does not take into account the current underperforming economy and mismanagement by governments.
Such a policy fails to take into account the cost that volunteer workers will need to pay for transport, clothing, shoes and other equipment.
It fails to address the opportunity costs and potential lost of income carried by individuals forced to work on a "voluntary" basis. Person who are unemployed could have spent time and money looking for real employment and getting involved in education and training.
In the case of single mothers who have been forced onto new start, being forced to "work" for the social security payments would mean money and time which could have been spent on the home and children will be transferred to third parties (who are not in need of the mother's care).
I believe Britain is being over-run with people from different countries. I'm not preaching racist hate, and I'm not in any way saying non British are bad people but i believe we need to make britian, BRITIAN again.
Bring back UK peoples jobs! Bring back English rights and make britain british once again!
Please listen to our thoughts and act as appropriate or the british public will be forced to take action and stand to be counted to stop the influx of crime, and the government caring more for other countries and not ours! Act now!!
Two Iranian Kurdish labor activists, Afshin Nedimi and Mehrdar Sabori, visited Iraqi Kurdistan in October 2013. Kurdish labor organizations state that both men mysteriously disappeared when they returned to Iranian Kurdistan from Iraqi Kurdistan.
It became clear on November 18 that Iran’s intelligence agency had arrested the two labor activists. The two men were members of a Kurdish labor organization, visited Iraqi Kurdistan to find work.
Kurdish cultural, political, human rights and other activists are singled out by the Intelligence Ministry, Revolutionary Guards and other repressive organs of the Islamic Republic of Iran for especially harsh persecutions, including imprisonment, torture, and death sentences after flagrantly unfair trials.
The internationally famous 'Gay Village' in Manchester is facing many difficulties as an area and its legacy is under threat.
Respondents are encouraged to sign this petition and state their concerns about the famous 'gay area' and to suggest the support that they believe it needs.
Supporting this petition is to request support from leaders and organizations that can help the LGBTQ community evolve and overcome difficulties faced within this area.
The infamous headline in Manchester Evening News in April 2013 prophesied the death of the Gay Village 'within five years', was made. Yet this ongoing struggle has been years in the making and is a sign of a long term lack of investment or strategy.
Notably there has been an absence of an online consultation of LGBTQ residents of Manchester, despite these requests for a think tank and inclusive public dialogue
Signing this petition is to agree that somehow LGBTQ is disempowered in being self-defining and changes for the safety and evolution of the Gay Village are needed to protect its future.
In signing the petition also add your areas of concern and your voice to what the Village needs to become.
Your primary concerns might include:
• The overall demise and decline of the area which concerns you for the Gay Villages future
• The lack of investment into the Gay Village, despite it being an area that needs support, funding and consideration of improving the area with Heritage and Arts and Culture funding and representation
• The failure of the Pride model to put reasonable or fair investment back into the Gay Village, recent years 'donations' to charity barely exceeding 5%
• A desire to see more ‘alternatives’ to a drinking culture in terms of possible community space, arts centre, museum, performance space, market, encouraging community and activities, markets and support for small businesses
• The licensing concerns of takeaways, irresponsible bar and door policies, taxis and the restrictions put upon bars wishing to individuate their businesses
• Concerns of safety and crime within the Village, though a challenge for the whole city centre, consideration of safety is needed to prevent hate crimes, becoming the victim of crime, to make a realistic and 'safe' drug policy, to keep all people safe and reduce the exploitation of homeless, sex workers and vulnerable people
• Poor Leadership and evidenced strategies from an individual in the Council's LGBT Lead, e.g. after the EMRO debate and its procedural homophobia
• Wasteland and unoccupied buildings that could be of cultural benefit. Business rents that exclude pioneering enterprise and penalize business and free enterprise
• An absence of a Community Model for business and improving the Village
• Representation needs to be enhanced to be inclusive of the many voices of the LGBTQ and community projects and premises that are used to benefit the Village and are unrelated to alcohol
For those who wish to go into detail please share this online questionnaire designed to gather more detail upon LGBTQ Manchester's opinions in the absence of such official research - http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FPZGYQQ
Labour-run Durham County Council has for 30 years been paying clothing allowances to its Chair and Vice Chair.
This now amounts to £12860 a year plus National Insurance costs to the Council. For 30 years this has always been paid to Labour Councillors.
This money would be far better spent on protecting frontline services.
Paper copies of this petition can be printed off from www.markwilkes.mycouncillor.org.uk
Paper copies can be returned for free to FREEPOST, DLD, RRSZ-ZHTA-CATA, 55A OLD ELVET, DH1 3HN
Please support the CAMBRIDGE CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE ‘BEDROOM TAX’
Cambridge Labour campaigners are working with local tenant representatives and other Cambridge and community organisations to reverse the unjust and damaging Coalition Government ‘Bedroom Tax’ which threatens over 700 local Cambridge families in council rented or housing association homes from April 2013.
Cambridge families with a spare room, and often little money, will be hit a massive financial penalty of £700 a year or being forced to move out of their homes from April, including 600 council tenants and well over 100 Housing Association tenants too.
Money that many badly need for their astronomic winter energy bills or basics like food, and higher bills than larger families next door with the same housing.
Many families with disabled members will also be hit.
Perhaps the many Tory and LibDem MPs with spare bedrooms will also offer to pay this tax instead. We doubt it though.
Help us reverse the iniquitous new tax.
Please SIGN OUR PETITION to Coalition Ministers and local MPs ONLINE of if we call on you and back our campaign against this LibDem and Tory plan to hurt hundreds of the least well off families in Cambridge.
WHAT IS CONTINUITY OF CARE??
- during pregnancy (antenatal care)
- during labour and birth (intrapartum care)
- after birth of your baby (postnatal care)
Seeing the same caregiver or small group of caregivers throughout pregnancy, labour and birth and afterwards is called continuity of care.
WHY PROVIDE CONTINUITY OF MIDWIFERY CARE?
Midwifery continuity models are popular with women, provide improved birth and satisfaction outcomes, are cost-effective and are common overseas. For these reasons Australian governments are committed to increasing women's access to these models as outlined in the National Maternity Services Plan and actioned by the Queensland Government with the commitment to provide 10% of public birth care in these models. Continuity models also have advantages in the development and retention of a skilled workforce which is responsive to day-to-day demand.
MIDWIFERY CONTINUITY MODELS
These models provide each woman with care from a known midwife/s, usually to 6 weeks postpartum. To meet the needs of women and be sustainable for midwives, continuity models are innovative and flexible in relation to place of care in widwives' working arrangements. Women with any level of complexity of care, and midwives consult and refer to guidelines and clinical need.
Ocean Bowling is threatened with closure following an application on behalf of Marks & Spencer.
For more information please see: http://www.bexhillobserver.net/news/bexhill-news/bowlers-protest-against-the-possible-closure-of-town-s-10-pin-lanes-1-3681260
Or email: email@example.com
Do you want to prevent a strike? Do you think that tutorial sizes are too large? Are more TAs needed in our labs? Do you support fair wages, working conditions, and benefits for your TA's, instructors, and invigilators?
Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 3903 -- representing teaching assistants, contract professors, graduate assistants, lab assistants, exam invigilators, and writing ...instructors -- are currently in collective bargaining with the University administration. Their demands include:
• smaller tutorial and lab sizes to improve the quality of undergraduate education
• maintaining financial support for underfunded graduate students
• job security for academic workers
• affordable education
As undergraduate students, we understand that the quality of education we receive in our classrooms depends on the working conditions of those instructing us. Our tutorials are too large, our labs are understaffed, and poverty-line wages keep our instructors from being able to fully commit to our education. We also understand that these conditions are the same ones that will be experienced by many current undergraduate students who, in the near future, will be applying to graduate school. As fellow students, we need to support members of CUPE 3903 in their efforts to make the York University a better place for all of us to study and work at.
Our TAs, instructors, lab assistants, exam invigilators, and writing instructors continue to ask for a reasonable and equitable contract. They continue to bargain in good faith, with every effort being made to prevent a strike. Unfortunately, the University administration has been unwilling to agree to a fair contract, and its disregard has led members of the union to vote 66% in favour of a strike mandate.
The employer is forcing a strike to occur by refusing to bargain with academic workers, and offer semi-decent wages and job security. This move has placed the entire University community in a precarious position.
Clearly, the University administration can no longer claim to have the best interests of students in mind.
Join this group and help towards preventing a strike by forcing the York University administration to give a fair contract for our teaching assistants, instructors, contract professors and other academic workers. The admin is forcing the current strike.
This Facebook group, built by the "Students in Support of CUPE 3903" campaign, will serve two purposes in the coming weeks:
- We will be giving immediate bargaining and strike updates on the state of negotiations. These updates will additionally serve to update members of the University community about class cancellations, about how to deal with specific issues pertaining to a potential strike (such as procedures for assignments), and about potential avenues for acquiring tuition rebates from the University in the case that a strike should occur.
- We will be organizing student support campaigns for members of CUPE 3903 who continue to strive to reach a fair deal with the York University administration, despite the latter's decision to walk away from negotiations and refuse to give workers a fair deal.
Support the undergraduate campaign to stop the York admin from causing another strike!
Organizations/Student Groups that have signed on:
New Democrats of York University
Afghan-Iranian Youth Network
Health as a Bridge to Peace at YorkU
Sociology Undergraduate Students Association
York University Free Press (YUFP)
Sexuality Studies Association at YorkU
1 in 10 Canadians in the workforce who are employed are working in what would be considered temporary job.
Between 1989 and 1994, the number of Canadians employed on a temporary basis increased by 21 per cent, from 799,000 to 970,000 workers.
Seventy-five per cent of temporary jobs last less than six months and as a result, many temporary workers are excluded from various legal protections and employee benefits.
Temporary agents are not paid for days away from the job due to sickness, statutory holidays, bereavement or vacation leave, nor are they entitled to severance pay upon termination of their employment.
Employers are not required to pay unemployment insurance premiums or Canada/Quebec Pension Plan premiums on behalf of these workers.
Temporary employment is an important issue with substantial policy implications. Too many workers today are unable to string together enough temporary jobs in a year to provide them with an adequate income or security. Moving from one contract to the next, many individuals are left with only part-time work and irregular hours, and rarely with any of the non-wage benefits like pensions or unemployment insurance.
Clearly the emergence of these new forms of employment has implications for a wide range of policies and programs.
In short, temporary employment in some of its current forms is eroding the economic security of Canadian families.
We, the silent majority of downtrodden trade unionist and disillusioned labour activists request the Secretary General of the TUC to take note of this petition of the union and labour supporters.
We request that you hand this petition to all trade union leaders in Great Britain in the hope of stopping funding to the labour party and the money diverted to form a true socialist political party.
WHAT IS A LIVING WAGE?
The Living Wage is the minimum hourly rate someone has to earn to afford everyday basics like housing, food, childcare, etc. It is based on an example of a typical couple working full time with two children in paid childcare. It assumes the couple have one pre-school child and another in primary school. Importantly it also assumes they get all the benefits and tax credits they are eligible for, including 80% of their childcare costs. Outside of London the current rate is £7.20. There is no perfect way to calculate a minimum but the Living Wage is enough to protect 90% of working age households. Outside of London the Living Wage is calculated by the Centre for Social Policy at Loughbourgh University. The Centre has developed a methodology to set and up rate a Living Wage outside London, based on its Minimum Income Standard Research.
The research is based on in-depth focus group discussions across the UK with people from different sections of society to discuss and agree what is needed for an adequate standard of living. They agreed the standard below which families should not fall below. Researchers then calculated how much this standard of living cost on average in the UK, using chain store prices. The headline figure was then adjusted to reflect the variations in housing costs around the UK. You can read more about how the Living Wage is calculated at www.minimumincomestandard.org
WHY SHOULD BANGOR UNIVERSITY INTRODUCE A LIVING WAGE?
If you work full time in our University or Student Union you ought not to be poor.
Low paid Staff often have to work long hours or work several jobs to make ends meet. This means they have to choose between living in poverty and spending less time with their families.
Research suggests that to provide the basics for a family of 2 children, someone working 40 hours a week would need to earn £8.30 an hour in London and £7.20 an hour elsewhere.
To earn enough to support their family at the National Minimum Wage someone would need to work 56 hours a week in London and 48 hours a week outside of London.
The University can pay a living wage if it chooses to. It is a question of priorities and whether it believes that paying its staff a decent wage is important. It would also cost the university very little; our research through FOI requests suggest it would cost £2406 for directly employed staff, and contractors would be cost neutral, if the university made the Living Wage a condition before awarding its contracts.
One in five children currently grows up in poverty despite living in a family where their parent or parents work. This is nearly two million children, roughly double the number of children living in poverty in in-work families in 1979.
Paying the Living Wage will reduce poverty, household debt, stress and illness and improve family life for university staff.
It also means greater productivity and improved quality of service from more motivated staff. It is also more efficient for the university with staff staying in their jobs for longer, saving on the recruitment and training costs.
Paying the Living Wage is the right thing to do. Everyone should be able to afford what it costs to live and to bring up a family.
If you are a student at any University, you will already know the amount of effort that your tutors put in to get you the mark you want.
What you may forget, however, is the amount of effort the University's staff put in to make sure our seminar rooms, lecture theatres and recreational spaces are clean and safe for both work and societies.
From cleaners to security guards to admin staff, the amount of leg work that goes into keeping a university functioning is colossal. With fees set to triple in the next academic year, many universities are still not paying these staff a living wage. To the point, the University of Leicester still has 595 staff who it does not pay the living wage.
The living wage is both a figure and a set of principles:
• If you work full time in our University/Student Union you ought not to be poor.
• Low paid Staff often have to work long hours or work several jobs to make ends meet. This means they have to choose between living in poverty and spending less time with their families.
• Research suggests that to provide the basics for a family of 2 children, someone working 40 hours a week would need to earn £8.30 an hour in London and £7.20 an hour elsewhere.
• To earn enough to support their family at the National Minimum Wage someone would need to work 56 hours a week in London and 48 hours a week outside of London.
• The University can pay a living wage if it chooses to. It is a question of priorities and whether it believes that paying its staff a decent wage is important. You need to consider what you would say if asked by the University “what wouldn’t you prioritise?”.
• One in five children currently grows up in poverty despite living in a family where their parent or parents work. This is nearly two million children, roughly double the number of children living in poverty in in-work families in 1979.
• Paying the Living Wage will reduce poverty, household debt, stress and illness and improve family life for university staff.
• It also means greater productivity and improved quality of service from more motivated staff. It is also more efficient for the university with staff staying in their jobs for longer, saving on the recruitment and training costs.
• Paying the Living Wage is the right thing to do. Everyone should be able to afford what it costs to live and to bring up a family
17. Save Our Valley
*This is an online version of a petition launched on 5th October 2011, by Hangleton & Knoll Councillor, Brian Fitch.*
Did you know that Brighton & Hove’s Green Council plans to allow a local green open space, Toads Hole Valley, to be concreted over and developed into Housing?
Due to changes to the planning law by the Coalition Government, a host of safeguards have been removed & replaced with a ‘presumption to build’. Gone, for example, are rules which prioritised brown-field sites first for development.
In light of these changes, the Green Council have perversely decided to give developers the green light to concrete over green space & build housing on Toads Hole Valley.
We are deeply opposed to these planning changes, as well as the Green Council’s plans to give the go-ahead for Toads Hole Valley to be concreted & built on.
That is why we are campaigning for Brighton & Hove’s Green Council to reverse their decision.
The Tory-led Government are forcing the NHS to make £20 billion cuts. As a result, waiting times are already increasing, including in Brighton & Hove.
While slashing NHS budgets, the Tory-led Government are planning a top-down restructure of the NHS. This is despite promising not to do so before they were elected.
As well as these changes having no mandate, they will bring more bureaucracy, waste and private competition to the NHS.
Join us in our fight to save the NHS and to keep it a public service organisation, not a free market.
Nature of this Petition:
We the undersigned oppose the cuts in doorstep bin collections at farm, rural, outlying and hard to reach properties, resulting from the Special Meeting of the Council Cabinet on 26th January 2011, because of the negative disruption, cost and littering it causes to residents and all affected neighbours.
We call upon the Council to:
Reverse its decision to end doorstep bin collections. Also to continue doorstep bin collections at these properties, until and unless there has been fair, fully costed and wide ranging consultations with all residents who could be directly and indirectly affected.
THIS SUCCESSFUL CAMPAIGN IS NOW CLOSED.
THE PETITION WITH 1,900+ SIGNATURES WAS HANDED INTO THE COUNCIL ON MONDAY 5 SEPT AND the council voted unanimously to overturn the cuts in bin collections at the full Council meeting on Wed 28th Sept 2011
PREVIOUS RESIDENTS MEETING ATTENDED BY 100 PEOPLE ON 10th AUG AND EVEN MORE PEOPLE ON 31 AUG.
Public Meeting Press Release – August 2011
IN THE NEWS
Good news for rural properties in Rossendale
Threatened bin collections in Rossendale saved
'Laughing stock' Rossendale bin collection plans scrapped
Doorstep rubbish collections scrapped after 130 years
Council announces new plans subject to feedback being received
Lancashire Telegraph - Residents' fury at meeting over rural bin collections axe
ROSSENDALE MP Jake Berry Bin collection proposals are total rubbish Aug 9 2011
Lancashire Telegraph - Residents hit back as 700 Rossendale homes lose bin collections
Granada Reports - Rossendale Bins Anger
Channel 4 News - Rossendale scrapping doorstep bin collections
The Telegraph –Rural households denied home bin collections to cut costs
Express - Outrage of the families forced to empty their own dustbins
This petition opposes the cutbacks in household doorstep bin collections. These are being imposed in Rossendale by the council, without consultation or regard for the high cost and negative impact on residents.
Residents affected by the cutbacks pay high Council tax and have a basic right to have household waste collected from their properties. People living in rural areas are being unfairly discriminated against. These are valid reasons why cuts in front line services are not merited.
These cutbacks in front line services are likely to be just the first step. There is real concern that the council will go further in the future by having more residents handle and transfer smelly household waste to central collection points.
Thousands of residents from 700 properties in farm, rural, outlying and hard to reach parts of Rossendale who are having their bin collections axed and will have to take their rubbish up to two miles to their nearest collection point, known as a ‘dump site’.
Thousands of additional properties are affected and residents are opposed to the cuts in front line services and imposition of unwanted ‘rubbish dump sites’ nearby to their homes, to be used for dropping waste for storage and collection.
Waste has to be at the rubbish dump site by 7am on the day of the collection, but cannot be dropped off the night before, meaning residents have to get up at dawn to get there. There are widespread concerns that rubbish will unnecessarily blight residents around the collection points.
Rossendale Council claim they will save £75,800 by binning collections at farms and rural locations, however this figure is unsubstantiated and likely to be significantly overstated when the true costs of setting up the dump sites, changes to staffing practices and provision of car boot liners are taken into account.
Those affected by the cuts say they are being ‘short changed’ after handing over thousands in council tax every year. Many of the rural properties pay council tax of more than £2,000 per year but the council is cutting services with no redress for residents.
A council decision to introduce recycling to around 700 properties was initially taken by the previous Conservative council. However the current Labour controlled council is going further with cuts in front line services and seems uninterested in reversing that decision. Residents are supportive of recycling and are awaiting proposals from the council on a recycling scheme.
The council is claiming that consultations are taking place, but from the outset, continuation of front line collection services has never been an option. Many of the affected residents have not been fairly consulted and have raised concerns to councillors. There is a lot of ill feeling about the way this is being handled by the council. The council is attempting to claim that residents are readily accepting these cuts in front line services and impositions of dump sites, but there is little evidence of this and Councillors are coming forward to acknowledge that there has been an unfair lack of proper consultation before any decisions were taken.
Residents are in the process of organising further meetings. Check back here for details.
Please support your neighbours in opposing the cutbacks by signing this petition and inform everyone you know who has an interest.
In the UK, 11 babies are stillborn every day. And shocking new research, published last month in The Lancet, found Britain is ranked second from bottom: 33 out of 35 countries in the developed world for stillbirth rates. Countries like Australia – which have invested heavily in research – have managed to bring their rates down. In the UK, they have remained the same for the past 10 years. This is simply not acceptable.
Which is why Grazia has today joined forces with the stillbirth and neonatal death charity, Sands, to demand change.
We want the government to fund research to discover what is causing these babies to die, and to develop new ways of screening pregnancies to find out which babies are at risk of stillbirth… and save their lives before it is too late.
Whether this is a scan in the third trimester or even the introduction of hand held scanners to detect babies’ movements, what is key is funding for this vital research to be carried out.
Doctors can screen for other problems in pregnancy such as Down’s syndrome, because the research has been done to find out how to predict which babies are at risk. Research into cot death has reduced deaths by 70% in the last 20 years. Stillbirth is now 10 times more common than cot death.
Chief executive Neal Long says, ‘With 11 babies dying every day, it’s a national scandal which has persisted for far too long. Most stillborn babies have no abnormalities and no clear reason why they died. Early delivery could potentially save the lives of many of these babies. We know that the antenatal screening techniques used today just aren’t accurate enough to pick out these at-risk babies, so many otherwise perfect babies are missed, and tragically they die.’
Experts argue that a significant proportion of these deaths could be avoided if mothers received better care during pregnancy and labour. But current routine antenatal screening methods, measuring baby’s growth with a tape measure and scanning at 12 and 20 weeks, aren’t working when it comes to preventing many stillbirths.
Causes of stillbirth can be anything from an infection through to problems with the placenta. Grazia editor-in-chief Jane Bruton says, ‘It’s shocking how many women are going through the pain and devastation of stillbirth every day. We believe research needs to be urgently carried out to discover how improved screening for pregnant women could help reduce the UK’s rates... and save more women from the trauma of losing their child.’
Now you can join the campaign to help, by signing our petition. ‘The support of Grazia readers will really make a huge difference’ adds Long. `The Government listens to public opinion and we need them to know that people value the lives of these precious babies. We urge you to sign our petition and help get the research that is so desperately needed.’
To Rob Ford and the Toronto City Councillors,
We, the residents and the workers of Toronto Community
Housing Corporation (TCHC), and their supporters, are
demanding a halt to the privatization the TCHC.
Privatization of the TCHC would place our community in
the hands of big business profiteers who would likely
increase rent, neglect their obligations to repairs and layoff
maintenance staff as to increase their profits. Furthermore,
privatization can mean the widespread destruction of our
housing to build condo or other commercial enterprises.
Canadians have a right to affordable and quality housing.
This means that beyond just preventing privatizations, we
need a massive increase in funding to public housing. We
must end repair backlogs, decrease rent rates, provide
adequate subsidies to those in need and massively expand
the TCHC. The expansion of housing would provide
tremendous employment, particularly for local youth, and
must be paid at union wages.
In light of the recent scandal, we believe that TCHC
tenants are best able to end corruption or any abuses of
power thought direct democratic control. No to corporate
ownership! For democratic tenants control of the TCHC!
The Benefit cuts, the needless spending on unwanted things with our tax money, the privatization of our public sectors, the cuts on our council, the outright breach of human rights and the government smiling as they do so.
David Cameron stated that he would not cancel the EMA (Education Maintenance Allowance)
David Cameron stated that family allowance would not be affected and it was safe under a Conservative administration
George Osborne and David Cameron both denied that they had any plans to raise VAT and that the Labour party was trying to “scare” the electorate (Evening Standard, 2010)
The Conservative party said there would be no major top down reforms of the NHS in this parliament (Lansley, 2009)
Nick Clegg stated unequivocally that he and all 57 MP’s would vote against ANY increase in tuition fees (Libdem manifesto, 2010)
The Conservative party policy stated that failures in the penal system and law and order was due to Labour’s failed policies and anyone convicted of a knife crime would go to prison and more prison places would be made available (Conservative Manifesto, p57)
George Osborne stated that Labour had not regulated the banks enough and no one working in a Bank that had been saved by the state should get more than a £2,000 cash bonus (Conservative Party website, 2009)
Bonfire of the quangos. To get rid of quangos to make them more efficient, accountable and more cost effective (Cameron, 2009)
David Cameron now says EMA’s don’t work and is scrapping them, always quoting one survey supporting this view that 9 out of 10 students would still do the course even if the EMA was withdrawn, ignoring other evidence and a larger body of evidence that suggests EMA significantly increases the chances of students starting and finishing the courses in higher education
Family allowance is cut for a section of the population
VAT increased to 20% and no statement to state if this is permanent or not.
The largest most far reaching reforms of the NHS have been announced since 1945, costing several billions of pounds at a time the government is strapped for cash. Causing uncertainty in the service and without a consensus or rolling the changes out giving evidence the changes are working – THIS FAR REACHING REFORM WAS NOT IN THE MANIFESTO
Tuition fees increased by up to 300%, although with some progressive safeguards, these could easily be over turned at any time by future administrations
Kenneth Clarke has announced the biggest turn around in prison and law and order policy known in the UK. People voted for the Conservative Party to be strong on law and order and to build more prisons. They have announced a closure of 3,000 prison places. fewer people to be sent to prison and declaring that prison does not work and then cutting the police budgets.
George Osborne we now know in recent negotiations tried to water down EU recommendations for regulating the banks. There will be no limitations on bonuses (Monbiot, 2011)
The bonfire of the quangos was more like a child’s sparkler. They failed to understand that many of the quangos actually do something and there is no one else to do it. The restructuring was announced without any research into who will carry out the functions after the restructuring or how much it will cost. It could well cost more than it did before the reforms. The House of Lords, the biggest quango in our country has been bolstered by the Conservative party with a massive new intake to increase support for the coalition. There is no timetable for reform of the upper house.
The Village Street Party is a wonderful celebration of equality, taking place once a year during Pride weekend in its natural home, the St. James’s Street area, Brighton’s ‘Gay Village’.
It is an event that we should be proud of - it is fun, it unites communities, supports local LGBT groups and businesses, and showcases the area to the thousands of tourists our city attracts for Pride.
We are therefore deeply concerned that the Green Party councillors for Queen’s Park ward have been pushing to move the Street Party from the Village and exclude the LGBT community from any ‘consultation.'
Attempting to cut the Gay Village out of the celebrations for Pride weekend is barmy and would never work.
Last year's street party went well. It made money and there was a prompt clean-up after. This year we hope the event will build and diversify during the day with the Women's Performance group in New Steine and a community picnic in Dorset Gardens.
Both the police and the Council are happy for the event to continue where it is, and organisers remain committed to working with all stakeholder groups - including local residents - to ensure that we produce best possible event for all concerned.
The community has worked hard over the years to make this event the success it is and we sincerely hope it continues to thrive for many years to come.
Please sign this petition if you would like to see the Village Street Party remain in the St. James's Street area.
East Kilbride SNP is backing calls for a Fuel Duty Regulator to tackle constant escalations in fuel prices.
The SNP has been campaigning for a Fuel Duty Regulator ever since 2005, when Alex Salmond moved an amendment to the Labour Government's Budget Bill. The SNP conducts this campaign in partnership with Plaid Cymru, its Welsh counterpart.
Before the 2010 election, the Tories and LibDems also called for action on fuel prices, but, since coming to office, have failed to act. Even worse, the coalition not only allowed Labour's planned Fuel Duty increases to go ahead, but added another 2.5 pence in VAT.
Before these increases, in a review of fuel prices in Europe in December 2010, the AA reported that the price of diesel in the UK is second only to that of Norway.
However, Norway, unlike Scotland, has control of its own oil and has much higher incomes than Scotland.
The Road haulage Association (RHA) supports the campaign for a Fuel Duty Regulator.
Speaking in support of a recent SNP/Plaid Cymru motion submitted to the Westminster Parliament, Phil Flanders, Director of the RHA’s Scotland and Northern Ireland Region, said:
“We have always supported the SNP’s proposals for a fuel duty regulator in order to bring stability to the costs of a haulage business where fuel can account for around 40% of running costs at today’s prices.
"Help is urgently needed for all hauliers and particularly those further from their market such as those in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland."
Speaking in support of the petition, Linda Fabiani, SNP MSP for Central Scotland, said:
“Under both Labour and the coalition, Westminster has let Scotland down over soaring fuel prices. Indeed, both governments made matters worse by taking windfall tax benefits from soaring oil prices.
“It is simply unacceptable that in energy-rich Scotland, motorists and businesses are facing pump prices of up to £1.40 a litre, the vast majority of which goes to the London Treasury.
“These record fuel costs put huge pressure on vital sectors of the Scottish economy and risk choking the recovery that Scotland needs to provide long-term jobs in our communities.”
“In the past year alone, fuel prices have gone up by at least 14% and in the last 28 months there have been 8 fuel duty hikes amounting, on their own, to a 25% increase."
"This petition is an important part of the campaign to reverse that trend and I urge you to sign it."
Labour in and out of government has long supported the shooting industry. This support of bloodsports continues despite defeat at the general election. At the last Labour Party conference a Labour spokesman again pledged Labour support for the gamebird industry and all the horrors that go with it.
For thirteen years the Labour Party in government gave active and sustained support to the gamebird industry, endorsing barbaric bloodsports and the medieval snaring and persecution of our wildlife.
Huge numbers of people across the country have long been appalled by Labour's support of shooting and cited it as a reason they left the Labour Party or no longer vote for it.
Support for killing sentient creatures for fun and persecuting our wildlife is incompatible with progressive ideals and values of compassion and decency.
In the early 1960′s, the US government, concerned about Soviet expansion in the Indian Ocean, asked the British government to find an uninhabited island where the US could build a naval base. Returning the favour, the US would be willing to give $14 million in research and development fees for Britain’s Polaris missile program.
The first island located was Aldabra, near Madagascar. Aldabra fitted the bill in terms of it’s location and vitally it was uninhabited. However, the island was a breeding ground for a rare species of tortoise and their mating habits may have been affected by a military base. Looking for an alternative, the US decided on Diego Garcia, the largest island in the Chagos Archipelago. This had the benefit of leaving tortoise mating undisturbed but the island was home to 1,800 Chagossians, or Ilois, who had inhabited the islands for over 200 years.
The Chagossians were employed, grew their own food and fished and had built their own stores and a church. However, the courtesy for tortoises evidently didn’t apply to human beings. The government soon began a campaign to deal with the “population problem” to “maintain the pretense there [are] no permanent inhabitants.” This appalling attitude persisted and rather than seeing Diego Garcia as the society it was, it was regarded as a nuisance, summed up by the British diplomat Dennis Greenhill who said: “unfortunately along with the birds go some few Tarzans or Man Fridays whose origins are obscure and who are hopefully being wished on to Mauritius.”
They were “wished on to Mauritius”, as well as the Seychelles and the UK. This began in 1968 when residents who left Diego Garcia merely to visit Mauritius were refused return to the island. They were stranded in Mauritius, without any assistance in resettling or any compensation. To this day, the Chagossians in Mauritius still live in poverty. Soon after, the Americans began to arrive and the rest of the indigenous population were forced to leave. Only allowed to take clothes, their homes and possessions had to be abandoned and their pets were killed amidst threats that if they did not leave, they would otherwise be “bombed” and wouldn’t “be fed any longer.” All this was with the full knowledge and approval of Harold Wilson, Roy Jenkins and Denis Healey.
The inhumane treatment was compounded by the compensation later given to the Mauritius government. The £1.4 million only covered the debts incurred from resettlement and when it was dealt out to 595 Chagossian families, it was years later and significantly reduced by inflation. Another £6 million was paid in compensation but when the Chagossians claimed for it, they were required to endorse a renunciation form, written in English though they speak Creole, that forfeited their right to return home. This wasn’t even translated for them.
Injustice after injustice, finally in 2000 it was ruled that the forced removal was illegal and the right to return to the outer Chagos Islands was returned. This slight progress was then reneged when Jack Straw issued two Orders in Council in 2004 and the right to return was take away again. Even as soon as April this year, the Foreign Office proposed plans for a Marine Protected Area in the Chagos Archipelago that erects a barrier to any return to the islands. The outright dismissal of their rights continues.
That’s the story. Tragic, inhumane and unlawful. We desperately have to make amends and the best place to begin is by changing our policy on Chagos and campaigning for their right to return. To achieve this, we need your support.
Across the developed world people are talking about the ‘Living Wage’. Labour’s Prospective Candidate for Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley in the 2011 Scottish Parliament election, Matt McLaughlin wants to see a Scotland which is built on a Living Wage economy.
A Living Wage (currently set at £7.15per hour) means much more to workers than a better hourly rate. ‘Living Wage Workers’ are less dependent on benefits, live in better housing, eat healthier food and have confidence that they can heat their homes in the winter. Living Wage Workers children do better at school and have healthier lifestyles.
Despite all of the talk about economic pressures, Scotland can still achieve a Living Wage economy and in doing so our people, our communities and our economy will benefit. Back Matt's campaign for a LIVING WAGE.
Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, has announced that 145 pedestrian crossings across London will be removed.
One of those crossings is on Lewisham Way, the removal of which will make crossing the road to St. John's station and St. John's medical centre more hazardous for pedestrians, especially older people, people in wheel chairs and parents with prams.
We are petitioning the Mayor of London to reverse this decision and keep this much used crossing.
In March 2010, the Labour Health Secretary, Andy Burnham MP, announced that the Labour Government was approving plans for a complete rebuild of the Liverpool Royal Hospital, at a total investment of £451million.
But on 18 May 2010, the Liverpool Echo reported that the Tory / Lib Dem government was reviewing those plans. They are now under threat, and there is a chance that the Tories and Liberal Democrats might cut the investment altogether.
Liverpool needs a modern NHS, and a Royal hospital fit for the 21st Century. Sign our petition, and demand that the Tory and Liberal Democrat government protects this investment.