BFAWU supports WASPI

WASPI guide to stolen state pensions: did you know?

I will begin by showing my horror at a statement you made in the house regarding 50's women reaching 60 could always take up apprenticeships, this is distasteful and insulting, we women in our 60's have had a life of learning, not necessarily academia, passing exams, learning a trade, we have waded through everything that life has thrown at us, we've done our apprenticeship of life, what do we really need to learn, is it really necessary to begin learning a new trade at 60+? I will continue on the lines of learning, this idea that we women have to go on training courses, work experience in places like B & M working the same hours, doing the same job as paid workers, 'learning' what we already know, we have experience coming out of our ears, we could teach these youngsters who are in charge a thing or too, this is so degrading.


I am really concerned that women of the 50's are not being treated with the respect they so deserve, life was different when we were younger, we went straight into work, university was for the elite, the working class just got on with the shop jobs, low level office workers, factory workers (when this country actually manufactured goods) in the 70's we were strong enough to fight and achieve equal rights for semi-skilled women workers (still discrimination rears its ugly head 40 odd years later) When we married, we looked after the husband, we looked after the house and continued working until the children came along, we couldn't afford nannies, child care, we washed by hand until we could afford automatic washing machines. We took part-time jobs when the husband got home.


So, reading the above you can appreciate how difficult it would have been to enter into a workplace pension, we were not invited, we didn't earn enough. We didn't get promotion for the 'bosses jobs' they were for men, we knew our place. But that didn't matter because we'd paid our dues, we paid our contributions when we worked and our husbands paid their dues too to cover the time we were not earning enough to do so, this is what the National Insurance was about in those days, we paid in, we were policy holders, but it seems that now we reach our 60's the rug has been pulled from under our feet and we have a 6 YEAR delay before we can collect our pensions.


We are all in favor of equalization but you have to take it retrospectively, we weren't treated equally in our working life and we can't agree that to make things equal we have to suffer, in fact this is discrimination if one sector of the public is treated differently, we are being treated differently to the women who entered into pensionhood at the time it was agreed when we joined the scheme, we are being treated differently to men with an EXTRA 6 years to wait for our pension while they have and extra 1 year.


When we joined this compulsory scheme and became policy holders of this insurance, the rules were that we paid a percentage of our wages, our employers paid a percentage of our wages to government, and in return the contributions entitled us to a pension at 60 and other benefits.


The pension age was changed in the 1940's because government felt it was unfair on married men to wait until their spouse reached retirement age, especially as, in general, men married women several years their junior', still do, so nothing has changed on that score. Government also felt that women were, in general, more tired as they not only worked but also kept home, looked after the husband and the children. Men went to work, came home to a meal, the shopping, the washing, the ironing was all done, they could sit and read the newspaper while the wife either went off to work or continued their work in the home. Nothing had changed on this score, when we joined this insurance scheme, except the conservatives changed the rules and Ken Clarke refrained from making an announcement in 1993 because he felt “it would be unpopular with women” successive governments failed to communicate any changes with the policy holders, and policy holders were never given the chance to discuss the issue with the pension providers.


The Cridland report actually states that “What happened to 1950's women must never be repeated” Steve Webb a previous pensions minister realized the error and confronted David Cameron, to no avail, Ros Altmann another previous pensions minister said government had failed us 50's women, Richard Harrington another previous pensions minister said he “knows there is something wrong” there is a cross party committee who also think there is something wrong. Cridland and the Pensions Advisory Service both state that any changes to pension should be relayed to those affected and given 10 years notice for every year delay in paying pension. This wasn't the case when it comes to 50's women.


Being accused of 'breezing through like' by Stephen Crabb another previous pensions minister is yet another insult and when he continues to say we “should have checked our pension age” I ask, Why should we, the women's pension age of 60 was an ongoing law from the 1940's, the age women could retire when we joined the system was 60, why should we even question this? If we join computer insurance, we pay in and we expect to be paid out if there is an issue under the terms and conditions, what is different with the pension scheme we paid into?


Instead of insulting us by telling us there is a generous welfare system we can apply for if we don't have work, under the sanctioning rule of JSA/ESA/UC, hour upon hour of job search for jobs that we can't do as our bodies are giving up, jobs where we're unwanted because we've passed our sell by dates, or expecting us to take apprenticeships. Give us our pensions at the age agreed when we joined the scheme, we did our bit, our employers did their bit, now it’s time to honour your side of the agreement as we have done for 45 years and continue to do so for those of us lucky enough to still be employment. Some women have given 51 years of contributions to the system that they believed would provide them with a pension at the time agreed when they began paying. We're not asking for a handout, we are claiming what we have paid in, our right to a pension at the agreed age when we began paying.


It's strange because we hear varying stories of why we can't have our pension at 60, the European law for one, the UK had to equalize pension age, well this isn't true is it, because Poland have recently reduced women's pension age back to 60, we are free to choose our pension laws, affordably is another reason, yet we have already paid, our employers have already paid, and money can be found from the 'magic money tree' when it suits the government as has been demonstrated recently with money for HS2, Trident, DUP to name just three, oh and then we mustn't forget the conservatives fear of the 'sudden rise in life expectancy', which actually isn't happening at all, it is in decline. So there really are no reasons to deny us our pension at the agreed age of 60 when we joined the scheme.

 

I think you might also be forgetting the fact that women who married in the 70's were given, by their employers, the leaflet NI1 to read, it makes interesting reading as it explains that we had a choice of continuing to pay the standard rate which entitles us to pension at 60 in our right, or pay a significantly smaller amount and give up this right and wait until our husbands reached pension age before we could collect.

 

You may also be forgetting that these same women had to sign a contract to the effect of the above; I signed my CF9 to the affect that I would continue to pay the standard rate purely because of the pension issue. I kept my side of the contract; government is in breach of contract by delaying my pension 6 years.
Not only are government in breach of contract in respect of the above, but they are also in breach of contract and stand accused of mal-administration as they failed to notify those affected, although I receive my self-assessment in every location I have lived and national insurance demands too.

 I NEVER received any notification of any changes, and although government would like us believe that the change of pension age was announced in newspapers, I think they might be forgetting where these announcements were, they were buried in the financial pages of the broad sheet newspapers, tell me where these announcements were in the tabloids? We certainly never saw them, if we had, you can guarantee that we would have been hitting the streets in protest then, why do you think we have suddenly taken this issue to the streets?

 We were NEVER informed of any change, that's why. I know government would also like us to believe that they have made transitional changes, and they like to repeat the mantra that we only have an extra 18 months to wait for our pensions, this is certainly not true. This simply refers to the 2011 pension act, again no-one was informed of this either.


Bang to rights, the government has failed us women of the 50's. We are seeing such hardship in over 60's, women are going to foodbanks for crying out loud, these women have done the right thing, they've looked after their families, they've worked, they've paid their dues, is this really the right way to treat us? Women have become homeless, one woman living in a tent in her bedroom trying to keep warm last winter unable to afford any heating, fears for this coming winter.


We women of the 50's are hard workers, are reliable, volunteer, look after our own grandchildren, we're accused of job-blocking, as those of us who can, continue to work, while the youngsters cannot find work to feed their own families. Tell me is this right? We've paid our dues, let the youngsters stand on their own two feet, gain some self-respect from working to feed their families, to contribute to the health service, to their time of retirement or sickness.
We're not the baby boomers portrayed by government and the media, we've worked hard, we still do, in and out of the home, we care for our elderly parents, our siblings, our partners, we're not the scroungers we're portrayed to be, we've paid, you pay out.

 

Article by Trish Alderson

 


McDonalds Workers Take Historic Step In Fight For Fairness!

For far too long, workers in fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s have had to deal with unexplainably poor working conditions, drastic cuts to employee hours, and even bullying in the workplace – viewed by many as a punishmentfor joining a union. 

Trade unions, such as mine Baker’s, Food and Allies Workers Union (BFAWU), have worked  to support these brave workers in standing up and fighting back against McDonalds – a company which has let these workers down one too many times. 

Yet, despite all the attempts to change McDonald’s approach and help them become a fairer employer, nothing has been done on their side. Nothing has changed. Empty promises have been made. Yet nothing has been delivered. 

Now, workers feel there is no alternative but to take action against McDonald’s, expose the systematic and unfair treatment they have handed down to its employees over many, many years, and to fight for the rights they, and all fast food workers across the globe are entitled to. 

Last month, our union notified McDonald’s that workers from 2 of its stores - Crayford and Cambridge - will be balloted, with a view to authorise a strike.

Today, those very workers took an historic step – to announce their intention to strike for the first time in UK history, over the company’s failure to offer them acceptable working conditions, job security or even an affordable living wage.Results from the ballot today showed that 95.7 percent of the balloted McDonald’s workers, voted in favour of the strike. 

That’s certainly a statement of intent - and discontent – if there ever was one. And the voice of these workers is only going to get louder. 

The be-all and end-all is that McDonald’s have failed to deliver on the promises they made – they haven’t dealt with their grievances procedure properly, haven’t looked to seriously improve poor working conditions, and have failed to end the use of zero-hour contracts – something that was promised to workers just earlier this year!

Workers have the right to voice their concerns. Some workers are working full time and are still living in poverty. That’s the harsh reality of it. 

This ballot is all about fighting for a £10 per hour minimum wage, and the need for McDonald’s to recognise their worker’s right to form a trade union, as employees of the company. So far, they have chosen to ignore their workers by tightening their purse strings – filling their CEO’s pockets, at the expense of workers here in the UK and across the world. 

But this needs to change now. And change fast. 

There is growing global movement calling for the fair and decent treatment of workers. In the US for example, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) have shown the importance of collective action – with their ‘Fight for $15’ campaign having seen more than 10 million workers move towards a $15 minimum wage, and with 20 million workers in total having won wage increases since 2012.

Now,the BFAWU and our members will fight to achieve the same impressive results seen by our transatlantic colleagues – starting with the strike later this year.

This strike is a call for change. Our members demand to be listened too - they have a right to get their voice heard. Hopefully, senior figures at McDonald’s will be listening, because this voice is not going to go away, and this behaviour can go on no longer.

Ian Hodson (National President)

Twitter: @ianbfawu


BFAWU McDonalds Strike Press Release

PRESS RELEASE –
London, 18 August 2017
Today, McDonald’s UK workers have made an historic announcement - to strike for the first time in UK history, over the company’s failure to offer them acceptable working conditions, job security or even an affordable living wage.
In July, the Bakers’, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) notified McDonald’s that workers at 2 stores were to be balloted, with a view to authorise a strike later this year.

Results today showed that 95.7 percent of McDonald’s workers that have been balloted voted in favour of the strike at the ballot, paving way for them to voice their concerns about McDonald’s not dealing with their grievances, and failing to end the use of zero-hour contracts – something that was promised to workers earlier this year.
Workers have found themselves living on low wages - with no guarantee of hours. This has been viewed by some as punishment for joining a union, and has seen employees struggle to meet their rent payments - whilst some have even lost their homes. Now, workers feel as if they have no alternative but to take action - all in line with their basic workplace rights and company procedures.

This McDonald’s UK strike forms part of a growing global movement calling for the fair and decent treatment of workers.
Last month, the Bakers’, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU), notified McDonald’s of their decision to ballot McDonald’s employees at the Crayford and Cambridge stores.
Today, results from the ballot showed 95.7 percent of workers voted in favour of what will be the first strike by McDonald’s workers in UK history.
Workers are also calling for a fair £10 per hour minimum wage, less insecure working hours, acceptable working conditions and the recognition of their right to form a trade union as employees of the company.
Despite McDonald’s being one of the UK’s largest, most profitable, and globally recognised employers, its employees are subjected to difficult, yet avoidable working conditions - working on insecure zero-hour contracts for low-wages.
This historic strike forms part of a growing global workers movement for fairness. In the USA, McDonald's have come under significant pressure as part of the “Fight for $15” campaign – supported by the Service Employee’s International Union (SEIU). As a result of this campaign, more than 10 million workers in the U.S. are on a path to $15 an hour, and 20 million workers total have won wage increases since 2012.

Now, McDonald’s workers in the UK will fight to achieve the same impressive results seen by their transatlantic colleagues – starting with the strike later this year.
Ian Hodson, National President of the BFAWU:
“We, at the BFAWU, fully support the historic decision by these brave McDonald’s workers to stand up and fight back against McDonald’s – a company that has let them down one too many times.”
“McDonald’s has had countless opportunities to resolve grievances by offering workers a fair wage and acceptable working conditions. Instead, they have chosen to ignore their workers by tightening their purse strings – filling their CEO’s pockets, at the expense of workers here in the UK and across the world.”
“This is a call for change. Our members demand to be listened too - they have a right to get their voice heard. Hopefully, senior figures at McDonald’s will be listening, because this behaviour cannot go on any longer.”
Shen Batmaz, a McDonald’s worker at the Crayford store said:
“In spite of being a global giant and a household name, the conditions McDonald’s workers are subjected to across the world are simply not up to scratch. This strike in the UK is part of a global movement advocating for fair salaries and decent working conditions. McDonald’s should listen to all its employees around the world, and take immediate action.”

About BFAWU:

The Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) is the largest independent Trade Union in the food sector in the British Isles. The BFAWU works to ensure that employees are secure and safe in their workplace – and that they are paid an equitable wage for the work they do.
In the UK, the BFAWU have spearheaded the ‘Fast Food Rights’ campaign. This works to ensure that fast food workers have the right to a fair wage and decent working conditions across the country.

Contact:
Ian Hodson, BFAWU National President, +44 773 932 6010
Saagar Dattani, gplus europe: +44 770 214 3988


Film company looking for your stories of hardship

Award winning production company, Keo Films are making a documentary series for BBC 2 looking at the realities of life for many of Britain’s working population. These are unique and some would say, challenging times. Five years of ‘austerity’ have impacted on most of us, but has not yet beaten the British determination to keep going. For many of us the safety net of savings, jobs for life and financial stability is long gone and when the car breaks down, or our relationship falters or our health takes a turn for the worse, staying on top can become threatened in ways we never imagined would happen to us.

The company have asked that people contact them with their stories, stating:

"We’d like to talk to as wide a range of people as possible who are experiencing these types of challenges; families trying to keep up with rising house prices; single parents adjusting to becoming the main breadwinner after a relationship split; workers on zero hours contracts - often working two or three jobs to keep the family together, those managing debt, alongside those working for our public and voluntary services – anyone who wants a voice and would like to talk to us.  We are keen to shine a spotlight on a diverse range of professions from around the country, to highlight that living and working in the UK can be challenging for anyone, regardless of what job you do or what part of the country you live in. We want to capture the essence of the great British spirit.

We’d love to hear your story"

 

Please email them at: enquries@keofilms.com

or call 07465 728 720


BFAWU Press release regarding potential industrial action at McDonalds

London, 31 July 2017

UK McDonald's workers are set to strike over the company’s failure to deal with grievances related to drastic cuts to employee hours and bullying in the workplace - viewed by some as a punishment for joining a union.

Alongside this, workers are dissatisfied with McDonald’s for failing to deliver on the contracts they have been promised which were set to end the use of zero-hour terms. Attempting to live on low wages, with no guaranteed hours, has meant that some employees have found themselves unable to meet their rent payments and out of their homes as a result.

Many workers have said they feel they have no alternative but to take action due to this unfair treatment, and in line with their basic workplace rights and company procedures.

The Bakers’, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) have notified McDonald’s that 40 workers at 2 stores will be balloted, with a view to authorising a strike later this year.

The UK McDonald’s strike is part of a growing global movement advocating for the fair and decent treatment of workers.

Last Friday, the Bakers’, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU), notified McDonald’s of the BFAWU’s decision to ballot 40 McDonald’s employees at two London stores. The ballot – if successful – will authorise a strike amongst workers in London.

Workers will also be calling for a fair wage of £10 per hour, and the recognition of their right to form a trade union as employees of the company. Although McDonald’s are one of the UK’s largest employers, and most recognizable global corporations, employees are subjected to insecure, deliberately difficult, conditions - working full-time for low-wage salaries.

The strike forms part of a growing global workers movement fighting for fairness. In the USA, McDonald's have come under significant pressure as part of the “Fight for $15” campaign – supported by the Service Employee’s International Union (SEIU). More than 10 million workers in the USA find themselves currently on the path to $15 an hour as a result of the efforts of the campaign.

McDonald’s workers in the UK are now fighting to achieve the same impressive results as their transatlantic colleagues, starting with a fair, £10 an hour, wage and the right to form a trade union.

Tom Holliday, a McDonald’s worker at the Cambridge store said:

“McDonald’s is a multinational corporation with unacceptable working conditions. We are asking to be treated with dignity and to be paid a decent wage, and for our right to form a union to be recognized by our employer. McDonald’s must consider reinvesting its huge amount of net profits back into its work force. We believe it is our right to ask for a fair treatment for the hard work we perform.”

Shen Batmaz, a McDonald’s worker at the Crayford store said:

“In spite of being a global giant and a household name, the conditions McDonald’s workers are subjected to across the world are simply not up to scratch. This strike in the UK is part of a global movement advocating for fair salaries and decent working conditions. McDonald’s should listen to all its employees around the world, and take immediate action.”

About BFAWU:

The Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) is the largest independent Trade Union in the food sector in the British Isles. The BFAWU works to ensure that employees are secure and safe in their workplace – and that they are paid an equitable wage for the work they do.

In the UK, the BFAWU have spearheaded the ‘Fast Food Rights’ campaign. This works to ensure that fast food workers have the right to a fair wage and decent working conditions across the country.

Contact:

Benoit Roussel, gplus europe: +32 496 38 46 33

James English, gplus europe: +44 7747 300800


BFAWU Young Member addresses rally

On Saturday the 1st of July the "Not One Day More" march, organised by the People's Assembly, saw over one hundred thousand people on the streets of the capital calling for another General Election and for Theresa May to resign.

The march was addressed by many high profile campaigners, including John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn. Our union was very proud that Shen, one of  our young Fast Food members, was also invited to address the huge crowd. 
Click here to watch Shen's fantastic contribution.


Say No To More Austerity On July 1st!

On June 9th 2017, the Establishment and mainstream media were coming to terms with the fact that they had been given one almighty kick in the crotch. The General Election had not gone as planned. Fair enough, the Conservatives ran out as the largest party, but despite the backing of most of the media and a predicted landslide, they did not command a majority in the House of Commons.

Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party had stolen Conservative seats all over the country, had increased the Labour vote share and more importantly, had re-energised young people, who came out in their droves to vote. Make no mistake, the Conservative victory (if you can call it that) was a pyrrhic one. Under the current 'first past the post' system, no-one actually 'won' the election. In actual fact, the country had rejected Theresa May's self-proclaimed 'strong and stable leadership' and their manifesto had gone down like a plate of cold sick.

Theresa May called the election for numerous reasons. They say that it was about securing a stronger mandate from the electorate in order to be in a better position to negotiate Brexit. In reality, the Conservatives wanted to distract attention from allegations of electoral fraud during the 2015 General Election and they saw an opportunity to take advantage of the polls and destroy Labour once and for all. It had nothing to do with the 'national interest' and everything to do with the Conservatives holding onto power and rolling out further austerity, as the 'will of the people'.

However, it backfired. The election campaign exposed Theresa May for what she is; an incompetent, complacent, socially awkward, faux Christian; a bargain basement politician, who offered nothing other than meaningless slogans and mantras. A Poundland Thatcher, terrified of public, televised debate, who cares more for the interests of wealthy elites than ordinary people. The voters simply didn't like it, and the Commons majority secured by David Cameron in the previous General Election, disappeared.

Now, Theresa May has no mandate to roll out the Conservatives' manifesto, has no apparent policies and doesn't even appear to have a government. More tellingly, it would appear that the public has no confidence in her to handle Brexit.

All this being the case, the Peoples' Assembly have arranged a demonstration, scheduled for July 1st 2017 and have invited everyone and anyone to join in and send a message of protest against the possibility of a further five years of austerity, which the Conservatives have no mandate to force on us.

For the flyer and all the details, click here

For more information about the Peoples' Assembly, click here


Photographers challenged to look beyond so-called ‘red tape’ this Workers’ Memorial Day

A campaigning law firm has marked International Workers’ Memorial Day 2017 by launching a national photography competition to highlight, and defend, the vital protections which allow workers to return home safely at the end of each day.

Thompsons Solicitors’ “Focus: on safety at work” competition – which comes with the chance to win a share of £5,000 and feature in an exhibition at the People’s History Museum – challenges budding photographers to capture in an image why health and safety is so important in the workplace.

Participants will be asked to submit photos that illustrate why health and safety should not be considered a burden or “red tape”, but an essential protection for all.

The competition launch coincides with International Worker’s Memorial Day, a day which commemorates workers who have lost their lives as a result of dangerous working conditions, and draws attention to harmful practices in workplaces across the world.

“Critics like to dismiss health and safety as ‘red tape’, but it’s this so-called ‘red tape’ which is usually just planning and common sense that helps to make our workplaces safe and ensures that employees return home to their families at the end of the working day,” said Tom Jones, head of policy at Thompsons Solicitors.

“With a General Election going on and Brexit on the horizon, the basic building blocks that ensure a safe place of work are under threat as never before. As accident at work specialists, whether it’s the hazard of a trailing cable in an office, asbestos exposure in a store room or a truck reversing without thought, we see the  impact on individuals and their families when health and safety slips off the agenda.

“Thompsons is launching this competition, and later, an exhibition, to show what health and safety really means and how important it is day to day. We want budding photographers from across the UK to use their cameras and creativity to show why health and safety is not a burden, but something every worker deserves.”

The competition will run until 28 June, after which a panel of judges will decide the winners. Entrants should seek to capture an image which explores one or more of the following themes:

-       what ‘health and safety’ means to me;

-       why I think ‘health and safety’ is important;

-       why ‘health and safety’ is neither a burden, nor “red tape”

-       why I think ‘health and safety’ should be protected.

Photographs should be submitted at www.thompsons.law/focus.The winners of the competition will be awarded a share of £5,000, and have their artwork displayed at an exhibition in the People’s History Museum in Manchester. No participant should put themselves at risk of injury, prosecution or other detriment in pursuit of an entry. The full terms and conditions can be found at www.thompsons.law/focus.

 


BFAWU General Election Statement

Despite saying that there were would be no snap General Election after she became Prime Minister, Theresa May (in classic Tory-style) has now performed a u-turn and set the date for June 8th. Don’t be fooled by people saying that this is a ‘brave’ decision. It isn’t. For starters, the Crown Prosecution Service is currently investigating thirty cases of alleged cheating and expenses fraud by the Conservatives during the 2015 election. Secondly, the government’s Brexit ‘negotiations’ look set for disaster, with the UK set to gain nothing other than a break-up of the country, as Scotland and Northern Ireland pursue independence. In addition to that, having injected poison into the NHS since 2010, the Conservatives are seeking to put it out of it’s misery by way of full privatisation. If that wasn’t enough, the government’s program of austerity will continue to ruin the lives of the vulnerable and those at the bottom end of the pay-scale. If an election was held in 2020, it’s likely that the public backlash against them would be immense. Theresa May is hoping that she can avoid all that and blindside the public by taking advantage of the polls and a mainly sycophantic mainstream media by winning a General Election now. That way, she can secure her position and have free reign to lay waste to the country and make the rich even richer in process, claiming that it’s the ‘will of the people’. The Prime Minister is showing neither courage, nor leadership. Like David Cameron before her, she’s playing political games to cover her own backside and protect her party. Make no mistake; barring the well-heeled end of society, the welfare of the British people is way down her list of priorities.

 

People need to pause for a second and think very carefully about this election. The media are already going out of their way to say that it’s as good as won for Theresa May and that it’ll be a landslide victory. They’ll roll out polls saying that the Tories are way ahead and that Labour has no chance of winning. Anyone with any degree of common-sense should know that polls aren’t a reflection of public opinion, they’re designed to shape and influence it and must therefore be disregarded. The reality is that the millions of decent, fair-minded people in this country have been presented with a golden opportunity to achieve genuine, positive change and equality on a scale not seen on these shores for generations. The political and media establishment will (for the most part), steer clear of Labour’s policies because they don’t want the public to know what they are. They’ll play the man instead of the ball by painting Jeremy Corbyn as an unelectable leader of a ‘chaotic’ party. After June 8th, it’s unlikely that the British people will ever have another chance to give neo-liberalism and the greedy establishment the kicking that it so richly deserves.

 

Look at the policies and judge for yourselves. A minimum wage of £10 an hour, investing in and safeguarding the NHS and social care, renationalising the railways, scrapping zero-hours contracts, free school dinners for all children, a program of building affordable homes, strengthening workers’ rights, protecting small businesses, security for pensioners and the elderly, support for carers, a foreign policy based on peace rather than conflict, scrapping the ‘bedroom tax’, scrapping the Work Capability Assessment and Brexit negotiations with people at the heart of it, are all policies worth getting behind and voting for. Contrast that with what the Tories are offering. Their main pitch will be Brexit and they will use the tried and tested formula of tapping into people’s fears, insecurities and prejudices in order to secure votes. They will offer nothing for the NHS, nothing for young people, nothing for the disabled and nothing for schools. They will however, offer plenty for the wealthy in this country by way of tax cuts and will go above and beyond in terms of attacking Trade Unions and their members, who make up more than six million of the country’s workforce. They will hedge their bets that fear, division and hate will see them through, as people vote in terms of which demographic Sky News, the Daily Express, the Sun and the Daily Mail say they should despise the most, be it immigrants or the unemployed, rather than what will have the biggest positive or negative impact on their lives. As always, they will take the country’s elctorate for fools.

 

Jeremy Corbyn is a rare breed. He’s an honest and decent man in politics who can’t be bought and who time and again has been on the right side of history, be it on wars in the Middle East, the NHS and the economy. He has no fear of standing by his principles and is neither irrational, nor impulsive. In terms of electability, Corbyn has been winning elections since 1983, often with increased majorities. The Labour Party that he inherited as leader was broken and demoralised after the 2015 election. Under his leadership and despite the savagery of the UK’s right-wing press and media, Labour has performed solidly in council, Parliamentary and mayoral elections, with membership figures that place it as one of the largest political parties in Europe. Corbyn has also nurtured young talent within the party, with the likes of Angela Rayner, Richard Burgon, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Cat Smith doing an admirable job on the opposition front benches. The UK under Corbyn wouldn’t be a poodle for Donald Trump and the United States. The UK under Corbyn wouldn’t be a tax haven for the super-rich, nor would it be a prostitute for big business. The UK under Corbyn would be a society based on common values, social justice, peace and equality.

 

Don't be fooled by the smears, don't be conned by the Tories or those claiming to represent working class values. The working class has a party with working class values at its heart. Today's Labour Party will bring back an economy that works for all with re-investment, good jobs and fair pay. Don’t give Theresa May the blank cheque book she craves for her scorched Earth policies and don’t let the establishment keep the status quo any longer. Most of all, don’t squander this opportunity on June the 8th. Be brave, be bold and vote Labour.

Ian Hodson (National President)


Labour Party Pledge £10 An Hour Minumum Wage!

It's great news that a mainstream political party has recognised the importance of taking positive action to raise pay. Since 2008, politicians from all parties along with many in the media, have pushed the narrative that society will somehow improve by imposing austerity and blaming minority groups for the state of the country's finances. Sadly, many have fallen for this deception and the 'look over there' politics that has rose to prominence since the Conservatives returned to power in 2010.

Low pay and exploitative employment contracts are a blight on the economy and an insult to taxpayers, who have to foot the bill for in-work benefits whilst businesses and corporations count the profits. Labour's announcement that they will raise the minimum wage to £10 an hour in the event of a general election win in 2020 is very welcome and should be applauded by all in our society.

The BFAWU has long argued that rather than being used to fill the bank accounts of wealthy business owners through the use of in-work benefits, our taxes should be used to properly fund our NHS and other public services that we rely on. By raising the minimum wage to £10 an hour, we can take a giant stride towards making that a reality.

The introduction of a £10 an hour minimum wage would be a game-changer for millions of working people, who are struggling to make ends meet, many of whom work in the food industry.

The BFAWU fully supports this pledge by Labour and as one of the party's longest standing affiliates, we will continue to make the case for a Labour government in 2020.

Ian Hodson (BFAWU National President)