Thursday, 21 September 2017

Eastbourne Labour Party will be presenting the first showing of this acclaimed documentary film about Labour and trade union stalwart Dennis Skinner MP at the Curzon on Saturday 30th September. The event has been sponsored by the Trades Council, Unison East Sussex Hospitals branch and Usdaw Sussex.

Tickets are £6 with £5 for concessions, and can be booked in advance through Eventbrite by clicking here.

You can find out more about the film at the filmmakers' website by clicking here  and there is a trailer for the film viewable on YouTube by clicking here.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Come and See us at Eastbourne Pride!

We will be proudly supporting Eastbourne Pride/Mardi Gras tomorrow- come and visit our stall at Princes Park.

Pride, and the LGBT+ campaigns led by trade unions and others are just as needed now as they ever were- see the TUC's "The Cost of being Out at Work" here.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Next Trades Council Meeting: 4th July

The next meeting of the Eastbourne Trades Council will be at 7.30pm, Tuesday 4th July, at the View Hotel (formerly T&G/Unite Centre) , Grand Parade, Eastbourne. All local trade unionists (including retired trade unionists) are invited.
1. Introductions and apologies for absence
2. Approval of any new affiliations.
3. Minutes of previous meeting (January) and matters arising (draft minutes from the AGM will also be available)
4. Treasurer's Report and Bank Mandate action
5. ELECTION UPDATE: how the result of the general election affects campigning in Eastbourne and beyond, including relations with Stephen Lloyd MP
6. SUMMER CAMPAIGNS: To receive updates on ongoing campaigns and activity from affiliates- please bring any information and/or details of action we can help with!7. Reclaim May Day- reports, lessons learnt and future plans?
8. Summer newsletter
9. Any other business

Retail and Hospitality Campaigns Successes

Usdaw has negotiated a significant pay rise for all retail staff in Tesco, taking the basic hourly rate to £8.42 over the next two years.

The deal includes improvements to maternity and new starters pay and a partial consolidation of premium pay into the hourly rate. The first stage of the pay increase will be paid from November.

Usdaw national office Pauline Foulkes said:
“Tesco’s recent difficulties are a matter of public record and the staff have played a big... part in helping turn the company around. Last year they received a one-off 5% bonus in recognition of that.
Meanwhile, Unite campaigners yesterday handed a petition to business secretary Greg Clark urging him to release the government report into tips for restaurant staff. The petition calls on the business secretary to give staff 100 per cent of their tips with complete control over how they are shared out, ban bogus "tronc" schemes and make the code of best practice mandatory.

The 2015 tipping abuse scandal sparked outrage, leading to a huge public backlash, after it emerged that restaurants, including Pizza Express, Bill’s and Strada were pocketing tips and service charge payments intended for staff. The consultation for submissions closed a year ago yet the report is nowhere to be seen. The petition will be delivered to the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in Victoria Street at 1pm today.

The union has been forefront in exposing the rip-off culture that has seen restaurant bosses creaming off money left for tips that customers thought were going to cash-strapped staff.   The two-month long government consultation was launched on 2 May 2016, after an eight month review into the dubious tipping practices of some of the UK’s most popular restaurant chains, first exposed by Unite at Pizza Express in the summer of 2015.

Not about pay- about SAFETY!

ASLEF members are to be balloted for strike action on Southern Rail – just as RMT members announced a new strike date on the same company.

Responding to Southern Rail’s comments about the union’s ballot for industrial action ASLEF General Secretary Mick Whelan said:

"It is no surprise that the management of Britain’s worst performing train company is disingenuous and deceitful when it comes to industrial relations and the honouring of ...agreements." Mick added, "our ballot reflects a complete loss of faith and trust in Southern Rail as the company has shown no respect for agreements we spent years negotiating. We are balloting because of the company’s inept attempt to conflate pay and changes to working practices."   He concluded, "I again give notice to the government and the rail industry that if any train driver is verbally abused, threatened or attacked as a result of the lies peddled by Southern Rail, we reserve the right to do whatever is necessary to protect our members, on Southern or nationally."
Keep up to date with the latest on the dispute from ASLEF at

RMT confirmed that guards and drivers on Southern Rail will strike again for 24 hours between 0001 hours and 2359 hours on Monday 10th July 2017 in the on-going disputes over the safety impact of the extension of Driver Only Operation and the removal of guards from services.

Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary, said:
“RMT members on Southern Rail have been fighting for safety and access for well over a year now.   The franchise continues to lurch from crisis to crisis as the real impact of hacking back on safety and access hits home. We have seen absolute chaos at Victoria and East Croydon this week in the hot weather which has reinforced the need for safety critical staff on our trains and platforms. The Government cannot spin their way out of this chaotic situation which is wholly of their making.   It is now down to Southern/GTR, and the contract holders in the minority Government, to face up to their responsibilities and engage in genuine and serious talks that address our issues.” 

Happy Birthday NHS

The NHS has its birthday on the 5th July, and members of the East Sussex Save our NHS Campaign will be out in the town centre collecting signatures for birthday cards from the public which will be delivered to the DGH on the 5th July. 

The NHS IS NOT FAILING- IT IS BEING FAILED. It is only the dedication of the NHS staff that stops the NHS from failing. These cards will also say thankyou to those staff.

You can sign a card and help collecting signatures on:

Friday June 30th 12pm-2pm
Sunday July 2nd 12pm-2pm

both at Bankers Corner in Terminus Road (map)

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Back and Marching on May Day!

After nearly 30 years, we brought back the May Day union parade today- marching through Eastbourne to a rally at the Wish Tower slopes. Our banner proudly joined by NUT, RMT, Unite and Musicians' Union, plus East Sussex Co-operative Party and Workers' Memorial Day.

Setting off from NUT HQ
Dave Brinson, Trades Council and NUT Secretary compered the proceedings, noting that it was nearly 30 years since we'd had a May Day march in Eastbourne.  Paul Howard of Eastbourne People's Assembly (also an NUT member) spoke about the campaign against Austerity, and linked up the effects of this on a range of services.

Len Caine at the centre of our banner
Lucette Davies, a journalist and NUJ member  spoke about the newly formed East Sussex Save the NHS campaign, and how the STP plans are the latest attempt by the Government to run down NHS services to soften them up for full-on privatisation. She urged trade unionists to support the local campaigns.  There was a shout out for the Save the DGH campaign too- with stalwart committee members Jake Lambert and Lee Comfort in the crowd.

Line up at the Lawns!
Keith Mitchell of East Sussex Coastway RMT talked about the ongoing struggle from his members against Driver Only Operation and the removal of a safety critical member of on-board staff.  He contrasted the two days of training for the new, cheaper On Board Supervisors, compared with the months of training and then year of probation for the properly trained and licensed conductors.  He also raised the scandal of disabled passengers potentially having to request assistance 24 hours in advance if they want to travel from unmanned stations- scandalous and potentially illegal under Equality Act 2010.

Finally, Betty Gallacher, veteran Unite activist and Chair of Bourne Out LGBT spoke about her years of campaigning for equality work as the first female union secretary on London Transport buses, and then as Convenor of 6 major garages. Betty has organised the Eastbourne Mardi Gras festival which will be Eastbourne's first Pride in July.  Local trade unionists are urged to support and attend a celebration of diversity.

The sun came out for our picnic afterwards, too. A big thank you to those who braved early rain to join us. Let's make it bigger and better next year!

It was great to get such comprehensive coverage from the Eastbourne Buzz news website- Sharon and Dave came with us all the way on the march.  Watch their report below- and please share!

Friday, 28 April 2017

Today is Workers Memorial Day

Every year more people are killed at work than in wars. Most don't die of mystery ailments, or in tragic "accidents". They die because an employer decided their safety just wasn't that important a priority. Workers’ Memorial Day (WMD) commemorates those workers.

Eastbourne TUC's new
Workers Memorial Day banner
Workers' Memorial Day is held on 28 April every year, all over the world workers and their representatives conduct events, demonstrations, vigils and a whole host of other activities to mark the day.

The day is also intended to serve as a rallying cry to “remember the dead, but fight for the living”.

In 2017 International Workers’ Memorial Day will have the theme Good health and safety for all workers whoever they are and will focus on inequalities in occupational health and the role unions play in narrowing the inequalities gap. The TUC will particularly want to focus on the hidden and new GIG economies, the risks faced by migrant workers and the issues of gender and class.

Workers’ Memorial Day is not just symbolic- it is a time to remember real working people in our local area who have died as a result of accidents or illnesses caused at work.
On 28th April- we urge you to remember:-
ROY TRUNDELL (Eastbourne Buses employee-  killed in a workplace accident in  2008)
CLIVE BECK  (former  Ratton School teacher- died of Mesothelioma. The shelves in his school cupboard were made of asbestos.)
BOB TOLLY (Eastbourne gas fitter- died 2006, also of Mesotheleoma. Exposed to asbestos during his working life. )  
SIMON JONES  (Student killed by a Crane at Shoreham Port, on his first day.)
GEOFF WICKER and BRIAN WEMBRIDGE (East Sussex firefighters killed in action fighting a blaze at a firework factory- Lewes)
Eastbourne will have our Workers’ Memorial Day banner and information at the May Day March.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Join Us on May Day

May 1st 2017 sees us return to an old local Trades Council traditon- a march and rally with our banners to celebrate International Workers’ Day. All local trade unionists are encouraged to join us- and bring your Union banners and flags to celebrate the work of trade unions in Eastbourne and worldwide.

We will assemble at Hyde Gardens at 11.00am on Monday May 1st (Bank Holiday) and then parade through town centre to the Wish Tower Slopes.

There will be a short rally at the slopes, where we will hear from local union campaigns, including the anti-cuts and NHS campaigns. Please then stay and enjoy a picnic with trade union brothers and sisters from across the town- we will provide some supplies!

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

AGM 2017- priorities ahead!

A good turnout at the 2017 AGM saw trade unionists discuss the challenges facing the movement in the coming year.

Guest speaker Bob Ellis, head teacher of Seaford Head School and an activist in school leaders' union ASCL, spoke about the FlatCashEd campaign by East Sussex head teachers and governors against the massive funding cuts facing schools in our area. The title refers to the government's pledge to protect school funding at 2015 cash levels only- no funding for additional wage, national insurance or utility bills.

Lucette Davies spoke about the new East Sussex Save the NHS campaign- seeking to bring local campaigners together, particularly to campaign against the implications of the so-called Sustainability and Transformation Plans that seek to cut billions from the NHS.

The officers elected for 2017-18 were Chair: Valerie Thomas (NASUWT), Vice-Chair: Mick Litchfield (TSSA), Secretary: Dave Brinson (NUT), Assistant Secretary: Chrissie Parsons (Unison) and Treasurer: Gordon Dyer (Unite the Union)

The Len Caine Award was presented to Keith Mitchell of the RMT. Keith has worked tirelessly to support his members in Eastbourne, in a year that has seen considerable hardship and struggle to defend passenger safety through the vital safety-critical guard on our trains. The meeting sent solidarity to RMT members, and saluted Keith's energy and commitment to his members.