E-Equality Newsletter No. 11 Aug 07

  • Young Reps’ Project
  • Campaign Against Remploy Factory Closures
  • TUC LGBT Conference celebrates its 10th anniversary
  • Unite the Union urges members to “Join the Party!”
  • Equality and Discrimination Law News
  • Other News
  • Events and Training

Young Reps’ Project

The Unite Amicus Young Reps’ Project was launched this month following a decision by the NEC to put resources into explaining to young members how the union works and how they can get more involved by becoming a Unite work place rep.

Signing up to the Unite Young Members’ Network will mean a monthly Action newsletter highlighting all the campaigns, events and activities that young members will want to get involved in, and ensure young members are invited to attend young members’ union meetings and summer outward bound courses.

Graham Goddard, Deputy General Secretary, who will be heading up the Project, says “In September I will be writing to all young members encouraging them to join our Young Members’ Network. This is a very important project as we need to get more young people joining the union and becoming involved and active in the union to ensure our future success”.

An important part of this project is for senior workplace representatives to mentor young members to encourage them to become involved in the union. Graham will be writing to all workplace reps to tell you about the Project and ask you to nominate young members from your workplace to attend the weekend seminars later in the year.

Young Members’ Regional Seminars will be held over October, November and December. The Seminars will tackle the important issues of globalisation, skills and training, young workers’ pay and age discrimination. There will be a focus on organising young people and apprentices, how to engage young people to join the union and negotiating in the workplace.

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.

If you are a young member and interested in attending one of the Regional Seminars please contact Bridget Clemson or telephone 0207 4208923.

Campaign Against Remploy Factory Closures

Unite, GMB and Community are on a campaign to stop the dreadful closures of Remploy factories and fight to save workers, jobs and sites following the announcement in June of the proposal to close 44 Remploy Factories with the loss of 2,550 jobs. A coach will be touring the country, starting in Aberdeen on 28 August, travelling through England , Scotland and Wales calling at all Remploy factory sites and holding public meetings that are earmarked for closure. Unite, Amicus and GMB are calling on the whole of the trade union movement to give the campaign 100% backing.

Contact Kevin Hepworth, Unite Amicus Regional Officer on to find out when the Remploy campaign is in your region.

TUC LGBT Conference celebrates its 10th anniversary

The TUC LGBT Conference in June saw several hundred LGBT workers gather at Congress celebrating the 10 th anniversary of this Conference. Unite Amicus had a full delegation to the Conference and many of the delegates stayed on to join the London Pride march on Saturday, 30 June.

Amongst the many Unite Amicus speakers, Adam Umney, Chair of the union’s national LGBT Committee, spoke on Unite Amicus’s motion on the inclusion of voluntary questions within the 2011 Census that would allow people to identify if they are Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual or Trans. This is important as the Census is the primary means of assessing the social and civil condition of the UK population. Adam also spoke on the union’s amendment on the importance of the trade union movement raising awareness of LGBT rights and developing access to support and guidance services appropriate to the requirements of the LGBT Community.

Adam was successfully elected to the TUC LGBT Committee, along with Unite Amicus delegates Tamsin Piper and Nigel Marley.

Speakers to the Conference included Angela Eagle, MP, Brendan Barber, TUC General Secretary and Trevor Phillips, chair of the Commission of Equality and Human Rights. Brendan Barber used his speech to reflect the progress that had been made since the first Conference was held 10 years ago, but warned that much more needed to be done to secure LGBT equality, both in the UK and internationally.

Unite the Union urges members to “Join the Party!”
Unite Amicus section – is working to create a Labour Party that works for our union members, because ‘Together we’re stronger’.

The recent Unite Policy Conference saw the launch of a major recruitment drive to get more union members involved with shaping the future of the Labour Party. The event was well attended by delegates to the conference and a wide number of workplace materials were distributed. Speakers at the launch included General Secretary Derek Simpson, National Political Officer Mike Griffiths and two of the co-chairs of the Unite Amicus Parliamentary Group, David Crausby MP and Lindsay Hoyle MP.

Strong political activity is at the heart of ensuring that future policies of a Labour Government answer the needs and beliefs of union members. But being a member of both Unite and the Labour Party is the key to increasing the influence members of the new union have over the future direction of the Labour Party.

With the Labour Party we have a stronger, fairer society. But Labour can and should do more. Trade union members should not forget that the Labour Party was created over 100 years ago to promote the values and aspirations of trade union members. Political decisions impact upon union members on a daily basis, whether they be on pensions, employment policy, schools or the NHS.

There has never been a more important and instrumental time for union members to join the Labour Party and be part of shaping a future Labour Party Government that really represents ordinary trade union members.

Join in & Join up to the Labour Party today

Equality and Discrimination Law News

Clean Sweep for Unite Amicus Members at Employment Tribunal

National Cleaning Contractor, Mitie, was left feeling not so mighty when four Unite Amicus Section members took them to the cleaners at a recent Employment Tribunal in early July. The four women members, assisted by their regional officer, attempted to raise a grievance with their employer over male cleaners receiving more pay than them.

Despite a formal grievance and Unite Amicus sending Mitie an equal pay questionnaire, along with a written request for a meeting to hear the union members’ grievance, Mitie did almost nothing to resolve the issue.

Rowley Ashworth Solicitors presented the union case and the Tribunal found in favour, awarding our members a back-dated pay rise and increased the award by 40% for the failure to address our members’ grievance via the proper procedure. This should serve as a salutary lesson not only to Mitie, but to other employers that union members’ grievances should be taken seriously and that it is necessary to comply with equal pay legislation.

Bishop found guilty of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation

The Bishop of Hereford was found guilty of discrimination last month on the grounds of sexual orientation for his refusal to appoint a gay youth worker.

“The respondents discriminated against the claimant on the grounds of sexual orientation,” said the judgement.

Mr Reaney, who had already worked in two other Anglican dioceses, where he had been praised for his achievements, said he was delighted.

He said the case “demonstrated to many lesbian and gay Christians working for God within the Church of England that they are entitled to fair and respectful treatment”.

Other News

Unite Amicus activist Lorene Fabian awarded the TUC’s Women’s Gold Badge

Congratulations to Lorene Fabian, chair of the Unite Amicus National Women’s Committee, who has been awarded the TUC’s Women’s Gold Badge this year. Lorene will be presented with her award at this year’s Congress in September. Her award is given after many years of dedicated work campaigning on women’s issues on behalf of the union.

Lil-Lets petition

Unite members who’d worked hard for sanitary product manufacturer Lil-Lets were devastated when the Birmingham factory finally closed on 29 June 2007, with 150 workers at losing their jobs.

Unite condemned Lil-Lets for the treatment of its loyal workforce. Lil-Lets is now owned by the private equity firm Electra.

Lil-Lets, one of Britain ‘s largest producers of women’s sanitary products announced six months ago, whilst still owned by Accantia Health & Beauty Ltd, that it was closing its UK operations and moving operations to Taiwan and South Africa . This decision was made despite the company making excellent profits in the UK.

This petition is open to union members and non-union members alike to sign.

Final EOC report warns that sex equality still generations away

The EOC has published its final report prior to its amalgamation into the Commission for Equality and Human Rights in October this year. The report warns that gender equality is still generations away and calls for urgent action to close persistent gaps within ten years. Examples of inequality include:

• The “power gap” for women in Parliament which will take 200 years to close.

• The “pensions’ gap” will take 45 years to equalise – retired women’s income is currently 40% less than men’s.

• The “part-time” pay gap will take 25 years to close. Women working part-time earn 38% less per hour than men working full-time. Full time female employees earn 17% less per hour than men.

For more details of the Report

Prime Minister Establishes New Government Equalities Office

The Prime Minister announced the establishment of a new Government Equalities Office in July to strengthen the Government’s ability to deliver across the entire equalities agenda. The new office will be located and supported by the Department of Work and Pensions, with the Women and Equalities Unit transferring to the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG). Race and faith issues are to remain located in the DCLG

New Cabinet Minister for Women announces ending violence against women is a priority

The Rt Hon Harriet Harman QC MP, the new Cabinet Minister for Women, has announced that ending violence against women is one of her top priorities, alongside more spport for carers and empowering Black and Asian women. The Minister also committed to improve the treatment of women offenders, many of whom themselves have experienced violence and abuse.

Ask your MP to sign Amnesty International’s petition to end violence against women

More households have become poor in the last 15 years

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has published a report on Poverty and Wealth in Britain which reveals that over the past 15 years, more households have become poor, although fewer are very poor. Additionally, those already wealthy have tended to become disproportionately wealthier. In some cities there are now areas where over half of all households are breadline poor. The full report is available here.

Exploitation rife in manufacture of merchandise for 2008 Beijing Olympic Games

Merchandise for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games is being made in Chinese factories where child labour and exploitation are rife. Research undertaken by Playfair 08 and Labour Behind the Label, found evidence of children as young as 12 working in factories making Olympic bags, headgear, stationery and other products. Adults working alongside them were paid just 14p per hour and made to work 15 hours a day, 7 days per week.

Following the publicity in the media, there were suggestions that the Beijing Olympics Organising Committee was planning to cancel the contracts of the factories concerned. But the TUC and Labour Behind the Label responded that this wasn’t the solution and that terminating the contracts would “add insult to injury”. Instead the Chinese Government needs to stamp out the abuses in the factories, increase pay and reduce working hours.

The TUC, trade unions and campaigners are now calling on the organisers of London 2012 to make sure that their own licensed goods are not produced by exploiting workers’ rights

Breakthrough Generations: the UK study of the causes of breast cancer

Breakthrough Breast Cancer is currently undertaking a very large national cohort study of the causes of breast cancer. The study will include over 100,000 women in the UK and will follow-up these women for decades to come. Each participant is being asked to complete a questionnaire asking about factors that might affect the risk of breast cancer, and also asked if she would be willing to give a blood sample for analysis of hormonal and genetic factors that may have an effect on breast cancer risk.

If you are over 18 and would like to participate then call 0870 2424485, leave your contact details and you will then be contacted.

Events and Training

March with a message for Labour

Join the Unite demonstration for better rights for working people. Get involved – bring the whole family and help send our message to Labour!

The rally and demonstration takes place on Sunday 23rd September 2007 at 1.00pm in Bournemouth’s Meyrick Park .

It will be a family-friendly event and we are encouraging our members to come along with their partners and children to help us send our message to Labour.

Children’s entertainment will include a bouncy castle, a clown and face painters.

Both Unite General Secretaries and union activists will speak at the rally.

More details and how to get involved

Pride Events 2007

Unite will be attending many Pride events this summer to recruit more members to the union within the lesbian, gay bisexual and trans community. Pride takes place all round the country and can involve a parade, march, rally, arts events and other activities for people who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans.

More information on LGBT rights, campaigning and Pride events are available here.
Manchester Pride 25 August

Contact Sarah Holden if you would like to get involved in the Unite Amicus section pride celebrations on 25 August in Manchester or 17-27 August – Manchester Pride 10 Day Festival Sarah can be contacted on sarah.holden@unitetheunioncom

Cardiff Mardi-Gras – 1 September

Come and celebrate with Unite Amicus at the Cardiff Mardi-Gras on 1 September. Contact – Andrea Jones

North West Region LGBT Committee Meeting

The next North West regional LGBT committee meeting, at which all LGBT members are welcome, is being held on 18th August from 6.00 p.m. at Manchester . For venue details and to confirm attendance please contact Sarah Holden on 0161 798 8976

LGBT Activists’ Course, Friday 2 November-Sunday 4 November

Unite Amicus is running an LGBT Activists Weekend Course in November. If you are a Unite Amicus LGBT member or rep and would like to attend please e-mail Jo Ferry on or telephone 020 8462 7755 ext 499.

Equality Meetings in the East Midland Region

Saturday 18th August – Regional Women’s’ Committee

Saturday 22nd September – BME Meeting.

If you would like to attend telephone or e-mail Rose Mooney on Tel 01332 548422

This year Banana Link is teaming up with a float at the Notting Hill Carnival to raise awareness of and support for Caribbean and Fairtrade bananas. As the biggest celebration of Caribbean culture in Europe , the Carnival is a natural means of celebrating bananas as a vital source of livelihood for thousands of small banana farmers and communities in the Caribbean .

This years’ Carnival coincides with current EPA negotiations between the EU and ACP countries, which threaten the future survival of the Caribbean banana industry. The only guarantee for the future of small banana farmers is a continued commitment by consumers and retailers to buying Fairtrade and Caribbean bananas. For more information on the EPA negotiations please visit

If you would be interested in volunteering with Banana Link to hand out stickers and other information during the Carnival on the 26th and 27th August, please email or call them on 01603 765670

Visit the Support Caribbean Bananas page at

14/15 September – Welsh Women’s Aid Annual Conference, Wrexham

21 September – Joint Unite AMICUS/TGWU pan equality meeting at Transport House, Cardiff . Guest speaker Natasha Hurst from the Equal at Work Project.

If you are a member in the Welsh region and interested in attending either of the above events contact Andrea Jones.

South West training day on Globalisation

The South West is holding a Regional Day School in Bristol on organising the union’s response to Globalisation on Wednesday 19 September. If you are a member in the South West and you would like to attend contact Rebecca Whitwood or telephone 01275 370 000

Skills for a better future in Cornwall – workshop event, Friday 21 September 2007

If you would like to attend the above event contact Andy Moss, unionlearn Project Assistant, South West Region – or telephone 0117 947 0521

Unionlearn – Pay and grading structures: understanding equal pay issues – 22/23 November 2007 and 21/22 January 2008, Congress House

For more information contact Martin Hegarty or telephone 020 7079 6946

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