E-Equality Newsletter No. 12 October 2007

  • Young Reps’ Project – first weekend seminar held in Dublin
  • Unite calls on Government to do more to tackle child poverty
  • Stopping the Far Right – new pamphlet produced
  • Women’s No Pay Day – 30th October
  • UN Day for the elimination of violence against women – 25th November
  • Send us your collective agreements
  • Equality and Discrimination Law News
  • Other News
  • Events and Training

Young Reps’ Project – first weekend seminar held in Dublin

The first weekend young members’ seminar was held in Dublin on 12-14 October. Young members in the Irish region came together to learn about organising, negotiating, dignity at work and getting involved in union campaigns.

Graham Goddard, Deputy General Secretary commented “the seminar was a big success – we had positive feedback that the participants found the course both interesting and stimulating and as a result we now have a number of young members who want to become representatives and get involved in campaigning for the union”

It is not too late to attend a course, so if you would like to come along, complete and send in the application which is available at http://www.amicustheunion.org/default.aspx?page=7151 or telephone Bridget Clemson on 020 7420 8923

Also, if you are an existing workplace rep we would encourage you to become a young rep’s mentor and talk to young members in your workplace about attending one of the seminars. The mentors’ application is available at the same webpage.

Although, some of the courses are now full there are still places left on the courses below:-

9-11 November 2007, Leicester
16-18 November 2007, Glasgow
30 Nov – 2 December 2007, Cardiff
30 Nov – 2 December 2007, Bristol

Joining the Young Members’ Network is easy and can be done on-line. To join the Young Members’ Network you must be a member of the Unite Amicus section and under 27.

Unite calls on Government to do more to tackle child poverty

Unite is joining forces with the Fawcett Society and Oxfam, in conjunction with the influential Women’s Budget Group to organise a high profile campaign on ending child poverty focusing around women’s income.

Siobhan Endean Head of Equality of Unite will be launching the union’s campaign to End Child Poverty at the forthcoming Finance sector equality conference on 23 rd November.

If you are a work place rep in the finance sector and would like to attend the conference, please email Maria Meagher

Siobhan commented “Child poverty is a major indicator of social exclusion and deprivation in the UK . There are proven links between child poverty and low wages for women, and a political commitment from the Prime Minister that he considers this a priority issue.

Our focus will be to campaign to end the gender pay gap, to increase the national minimum wage, to provide employment rights for temporary and agency workers, to increase and improve the operation of tax credits and statutory maternity pay, and to improve the provision of child care.

The key message of the campaign to members in the finance sector would be in order to end child poverty, we need to campaign for better wages and equal pay for women and working parents.

The Government must spend more to end child poverty if it is to reach its target of halving it by 2010.

The TUC described as “desperately disappointing” the funding announced in the pre-Budget report and comprehensive spending review (CSR) to take only 100,000 children out of poverty.

It called on the government to commit £4bn and said “decisive action” was needed if the total of 3.8 million children living in poverty is to be halved in the next three years.

Stopping the Far Right – new pamphlet produced

Unite has joined forces with the Young Fabians and Searchlight to produce a Fabian pamphlet on stopping the far right. This pamphlet provides a detailed analysis of the successful campaign to defeat the BNP in elections being led by Searchlight. Our union’s participation in this campaign has been significant in delivering resources where necessary, supporting our members who participate and in many cases leading the campaigns to defeat the BNP. This pamphlet explains why our union’s support for the campaign against the far right is so important. It is also hoped that this pamphlet will inform the new generation of young activists that are developing through our union’s young reps project.

You can download a copy of the pamphlet here…

Women’s No Pay Day – 30th October

The 17% pay gap between women and men is the equivalent of men getting paid all year and women working for nothing from October 30th – every year!

Fawcett has declared Tuesday October 30th Women’s No Pay Day .

We will be working with Fawcett to campaign in the run-up to October 30th to demand stronger action from the Government on the pay gap that rips off women.

Your voice adds power to the campaign, so please take one of the supporter actions.

Two-minute action
Half-an-hour action
One-day action

UN Day for the elimination of violence against women – 25th November

Did you know that one in four British women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime? The estimated total cost of domestic violence to society in monetary terms is £23 billion per annum. This figure includes an estimated £3.1 billion as the cost to the state and £1.3 billion as the cost to employers and the human suffering cost of £17 billion.

Unite is campaigning to ensure that all employers take the issue of domestic violence seriously. There are many measures that our employers can take to ensure employees fleeing violent homes and safe when they come to work.

One survivor said;

“I think even just a poster in the canteen would make me know that I wasn’t going to be completely off the wall. If I knew somebody cared enough to hang a poster like that, I would have felt a little better about saying something, in my present job.”

If our members are confident that their employer and their union will be supportive, they are much more likely to break the silence that surrounds survivors of domestic violence, and there are many practical things that employers can do to ensure employee safety from a violent partner.

Paying employees in cash for a period of time can assist survivors of domestic violence while they move house and set up new bank accounts.

  • Transferring employees to new work locations so that they are safer travelling to and from work.
  • Ensuring employee confidential details of home addresses and phone numbers are not disclosed.
  • Providing support services and counselling, and allowing time off for employees to enable them to attend court hearings, social services and medical appointments.

All these issues and more are highlighted in the Unite negotiators guide on women’s wellbeing in the work place. If you would like to mark the 25 th November by raising the issue of domestic violence with your employer you can download the negotiators guide by going to our website

There is also a free online resource from Women’s Aid for women living with domestic violence. Available in eleven community languages, the survivors handbook provides practical support and information for women experiencing abuse and provides simple and accessible guidance on every aspect of seeking support. www.womensaid.org.uk/survivors-handbook

Share your collective agreements and policies

Unite has established through Labour Research Department a data base of collective agreements on terms and conditions which can be found here (the user name is Amicus and the password rd2002)

This database is dependent on workplace representatives submitting new agreements and policies to LRD and this can be done by sending the details to pay@lrd.org.uk . Alternatively, you can use the form that is included in the briefing pages in the Activist. It would also be helpful if you could also send a copy to your full time official.

Equality and Discrimination Law News

Employment tribunal cases rise by 15%

The number of cases brought to employment tribunals in Great Britain in 2006/7 rose by 15% from 115,039 to 132,577.

• 972 were age discrimination claims
• 44,013 were equal pay claims
• 28,153 were sex discrimination claims (a large number of which were in conjunction with equal pay claims)
• 3,780 were race discrimination claims
• 5,533 were for disability discrimination claims
• 44,491 were for unfair dismissal

The significant reason for the increase in employment tribunal claims was the 155% increase in equal pay claims, the majority of which have been brought against Local Authorities and the NHS.

EDF and JUSTICE leaflet on ‘Multidimensional Discrimination’

The Equality and Diversity Forum and JUSTICE have produced a leaflet about multidimensional discrimination. The leaflet by Gay Moon, EDF’s Legal Policy Advisor, explains the current legal position on multiple, and intersectional, discrimination and sets out the case for a change in the law in the forthcoming single Equality Act so as to facilitate discrimination claims based on more than one ground.

Click here for link

Unions and the Disability Equality Duty

The TUC has published a briefing on the powers available to unions in enforcing the Disability Equality Duty on employers liable to it. This is a supplement to the Advice for Unions on the 2006 Public Sector Disability Equality Duty (revised edition, June 2006), with advice prepared by experts at the Disability Rights Commission on how the law can be used by trade unions to strengthen their negotiating position with employers subject to the Disability Equality Duty

The advice is available at http://www.tuc.org.uk/equality/tuc-13721-f0.cfm

Other News

Unite activist wins Mary Seacole Award

Congratulations to Mandy Amin, the chair of the East Midlands Regional BME Committee, who has been awarded the Mary Seacole award. Mandy works as a Health Visitor/Community Practice Teacher at Hinckley and Bosworth PCT. Her development award will be used to look at how to implement Equality and Diversity schemes in the workplace, by developing a teaching and assessment tool.

Unite Activist is awarded the TUC Women’s Gold Badge

Congratulations to Lorene Fabian, Chair of the Unite Amicus section National Women’s Committee on being awarded the TUC women’s Gold badge, which is the highest honour within the trade union movement. Lorene works as an education tutor at Dunstable College and has supported the development of many women work place reps within our union through trade union education. The union is also very proud that Lorene will be the chair of the TUC women’s Conference in Eastbourne next year.

RSA signs Unite Equal Pay Charter

The new head of HR for Royal and Sun Alliance signed the Unite Equal Pay Charter at the RSA Unite Conference in September.

Graham Goddard, Deputy General Secretary commented “Congratulations to Royal Sun Alliance on signing up to the unite equal pay charter. We are now working with the company to work towards closing the 41% pay gap in the finance sector”.

Guatemalan Banana Union Leader Murdered

Masked gunmen murdered Guatemalan union leader Marco Tulio RamÍrez Portela early in the morning of September 23 as he was leaving his home for work. Marco Tulio was secretary of sports and culture of the banana workers union SITRAP, which organises Del Monte workers. His brother, Noé Antonio RamÍrez Portela, is the union general secretary.

Tulio’s murder follows a pattern of rising anti-union violence and institutional impunity in Guatemala . In July, the SITRABI headquarters was raided by uniformed soldiers using official vehicles, who demanded information on union officers and members. The union filed a full report with the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Special Unit for Crimes against Unionists and Journalists.

The IUF has called on the Guatemalan government to immediately undertake a full and open investigation into this latest union assassination. You can support the struggle against immunity – visit http://www.iuf.org/cgi-bin/campaigns/show_campaign.cgi?c=309 to send a message to the authorities.

Please also copy messages to:

Ministro de Gobernación, Carlos Vielman
Procurador de Derechos Humanos, Dr. Sergio Morales
Ministerio Público – Fiscal General, Sr. Juan Luis Florido
OACNUDH – Oficina del Alto Comisionado de Naciones Unidas por los Derechos Humanos en Guatemala

Copies of all messages will be automatically forwarded to SITRABI.

In solidarity,
Banana Link
The Banana Link Team

Equalities and Human Rights Commission opens

The Equalities and Human Rights Commission opened on 1 October 2007.

It replaces the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE), the Disability Rights Commission (DRC) and the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), as well as enforcing legislation protecting people from discrimination on the grounds of age, religion and belief, sexual orientation and transgender status and promoting compliance with the Human Rights Act.

The CRE, DRC and EOC are now closed. Material from their organisational websites has been transferred to the new Commission’s website at www.equalityhumanrights.com

Commencement of legislation on religious hatred

Incitement to religious hatred became a criminal offence in England and Wales on 1 October with the commencement of the Racial and Religious Hatred Act.

Click here for announcement

The Government has also announced its intention to include a criminal offence of incitement to homophobic hatred in the new Criminal Justice & Immigration Bill. Justice Secretary Jack Straw made the announcement during the Second Reading debate of the Bill in October.

National Minimum Wage increase with effect from 1 October

There are three levels of minimum wage, and the new rates from 1st October 2007 are:

  • £5.52 per hour for workers aged 22 years and older
  • A development rate of £4.60 per hour for workers aged 18-21 inclusive
  • £3.40 per hour for all workers under the age of 18, who are no longer of compulsory school age

Government releases £500 million to local authorities for equal pay

Following extensive lobbying by Unite and other trade unions the Government has released £500 million to 46 local authorities to fund equal pay. This is viewed as a significant breakthrough in the long-running battle for equal pay for women in local authorities. Siobhan Endean, Unite Head of Equality said; “This is a significant step towards meeting the additional funding needed to deliver fair pay for women working in local government. Equal pay should not be a choice between job security and pay justice, our union will continue the campaign to ensure all employees in local government have decent pay and conditions.”

ACAS e-learning module on Age Discrimination

ACAS has issued a new e-learning module on Age Discrimination. If you are interested in completing this module go to the ACAS websites at – www.acas.org.uk

Health and safety and disability equality

The Health and Safety Executive says its new ‘health and safety for disabled people and their employers’ web resource ‘promotes good practice in disability equality at work and health and safety risk assessment.’ HSE says the micro site provides: An introduction to disability discrimination and health and safety law; advice for people doing health and safety risk assessments; advice for disabled people; and links to further sources of information, including grants. The site has been developed jointly by HSE and the Disability Rights Commission (DRC).

• HSE safety and disability equality micro site .

Holiday Pay

Acas has issued a new Advice Leaflet on Holidays and Holiday Pay following the increase in statutory holiday entitlement

Minimum annual holiday entitlement has increased to 4.8 weeks (and on 1st April 2009, it increases to 5.6 weeks – intended to reflect 20 days plus 8 days’ bank holiday).

£50 million investment in community cohesion

Communities Secretary Hazel Blears has announced a ten-point action plan to promote community cohesion including £50million investment.

This is part of the Government’s response to the 10-month review by the Commission on Integration and Cohesion which looked at the major challenges Britain faces in responding to increasing change in local communities.

New data out this week confirmed the Commission’s finding that the national picture is a positive one. It showed that 81% of people feel that individuals from different backgrounds get on well in their area, 85% of people feel they belong strongly to Britain and 77% feel they belong strongly to their neighbourhood.

Our Shared Futures – The Commission’s final report was published on June 14 2007 and can be found at http://www.integrationandcohesion.org.uk/

Dignity at Work

Unite is launching a new campaign in the Not for Profit sector with the aim of combating all forms of bullying, harassment and unacceptable behaviour in the workplace. With the support of the Dignity at Work Partnership between the union and the Government, Unite has been encouraging organisations in taking a zero tolerant approach to all forms of bullying and harassment.

To find out more details about the Dignity at Work Project see – http://www.dignityatwork.org/

Events and Training

NHS Demonstration – Saturday 3 November

Join the national demonstration to celebrate and defend the NHS on Saturday, 3 November in central London . The NHS Together unions are asking people across the UK to turn out in force to celebrate the many successes of the NHS and call for a robust defence of its core values.

More information on how to get involved is available at – http://www.amicustheunion.org/default.aspx?page=4456

South West and North LGBT meetings – Saturday 1 December

The South West Regional LGBT Unite (Amicus Section) and Unions Out West meeting is being held on Saturday the 1st December 2007 at 1.30-4.00 at the NASUWT office at 2 Marlborough Court, Manaton Close, Matford Business Park, Exeter, EX2 8PF.

If you would like to attend contact Dorothy Fogg, South West Regional Officer on  .

The North West LGBT committee meeting is also meeting on 1 December in Manchester . If you would like to attend e-mail Sarah Holden on

Disability Champions’ Courses

There are a number of Disability Champions’ Courses coming up over the next few months.

  • East Riding College , Hull 5 Mondays from 5th Nov 2007
  • College of NE London 3 days Nov 5th to 7th Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday
  • Park Lane College , Leeds 5 Wednesdays from 9th Jan 2008
  • Dearne Valley College , Rotherham 5 Mondays from 21st Feb 2008
  • College of NE London 3 days Feb 27th to 29th 2008 Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday
  • Belfast Institute 5 Tuesdays from 1st Apr 2008
  • Park Lane College , Leeds 5 Wednesdays from 9th Apr 2008

If you would like to attend see the Disability Champions website at www.disabilitychampions.com .
London Regional Equality Meetings

4 December 2007 – 7pm NUT HQ Hamilton House London Region Black and Ethnic Minority Committee (all members of this equality welcome – contact Marcia Yeboah/Sarah Cook on 020 7780 4106 or marcia.yeboah@unitetheunion.com )

15 January 2008 – 7pm NUT HQ Hamilton House, London Region Disability Committee (all members of this equality welcome – contact Marcia Yeboah/Sarah Cook on 0207 780 4106 or marcia.yeboah@unitetheunion.com

22 November 2007- NHS/Non-Profit Sector Reps Study Day on Dealing with Mental Health Issues at Work and Mental Health Awareness (contact Marcia Yeboah on 0207 780 4106)
East Midland ‘s Regional Equality Meetings

17th November 2007 , Leicester – Women’s Committee Meeting
19th January 2008 – BME Forum – venue to be confirmed.

E-mail Rose Mooney on rose.mooney@unitetheunion.com if you would like to attend.

Scotland Regional Council Equalities Conference
Wednesday 28 November 2007 John Smith House, Glasgow

The conference is aimed at all trade unionists, whether work place reps, shop stewards, ordinary union members, both men and women.

Please direct any enquiries in relation to the event to Gillian McKay 17 South Tay St, Dundee DD1 1NR or email Gillian.mckay@unitetheunion.com

World Aids Day – 1 December

Around forty million people are living with HIV throughout the world – and that number increases in every region every day. In the UK alone, more than 60,000 people are living with HIV and more than 7,000 more are diagnosed every year. Ignorance and prejudice are fuelling the spread of a preventable disease.

World AIDS Day, 1 December is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV and AIDS. More information on the Day is available at http://www.worldaidsday.org/index.asp

World Disability Day – 3 December

World Disability Day on 3 December is a day to celebrate the achievements of disabled people and to campaign for improvements in rights for disabled people throughout the world. Only 50% of disabled people of working age are in employment in this country, compared to 81% of non-disabled people and many disabled people who do work find they are confined to jobs for which they are over-qualified and have no hope of progressing. And remember many people develop a disability whilst they are at work so it can affect anyone.

It is important that Amicus Representatives ensure that employers are complying with the Disability Discrimination Act, have a comprehensive and effective equal opportunities policy that covers disability and that disabled members are aware of their rights at work.

More information on Negotiating on Disability Equality is available at – http://www.amicustheunion.org/Default.aspx?page=3983 or contact your Regional Office or Officer.

Charter for Women Conference

Saturday 9 February 2008
10.30 am to 4.30pm at the Black Country Living Museum
Tipton Road , Dudley, West Midlands DY1 4SQ

The Charter for Women was launched at a fringe meeting at the TUC Women’s Conference in March 2003. Its aim is to revitalise the socialist feminist movement in the UK and to connect the struggle against women’s oppression in society with the campaigns of working women and their trade unions.

MailScanner has detected a possible fraud attempt from “” claiming to be Click here for an application form

Access Requirements: Please indicate if you have any particular requirements, e.g. documents in Braille/large print, BSL interpreter/wheelchair access/induction loop Please return your completed form and delegation fee of £22 by 21 January (cheques payable to “A Charter for Women”). Please note that we may not be able to guarantee you a place after this date as only 100 places are available and these will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. You will receive confirmation that a place has been reserved for you before the conference.

The delegation fee includes lunch. Application forms and payment to be returned to Debbie Lemon, Equality & Training, NASUWT, Hillscourt Education Centre, Rednal, Birmingham, B45 8RS. Email debbie.lemon@mail.nasuwt.org.uk . Telephone: 0121 453 6150.

How to get there: the nearest train station to the Black Country Living Museum ( Tipton Road , Dudley, West Midlands DY1 4SQ, 0121 557 9643) is Tipton, on the Birmingham to Wolverhampton line. The nearest Intercity station is Sandwell and Dudley. The Museum is situated on the A4037, 3 miles from junction 2 on the M5, and 5 miles from J10 on the M6.

IRS Equality Law Conference

Update on Equality Law: Are We Catching Up? – a conference
Wednesday 5 December 2007 – 9.30am-4.30pm – at the UCU Conference Centre, Britannia Street, London WC1 organised by The Institute of Employment Rights.

Cost – IER subscribers and members £75.00
Trade unions £90.00
Commercial £220.00
The cost of the conference does not include lunch.

The equality department cannot fund reps and members to attend this Conference.

For more details and application form:

Phelim MacCafferty
Projects and Events Officer
Institute of Employment Rights
179 Preston Road
Brighton East Sussex
t: 01273 330819
e: phelim@ier.org.uk

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