Monday, June 2

Cradley Heath Chainmakers Festival

Saturday 7th June 2014  -  11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Bearmore Mound Playing Fields, Cradley Heath, West Midlands B64 6DU

This will be the 10th celebration that celebrates the achievements of 800 women Chainmakers who fought to establish a minimum wage for their labour in 1910, following a 10 week strike. The local employers sought to deny them their rights but were met with forceful opposition. The strike was led by trade unionist Mary Macarthur, who founded the National Federation of Women Workers and later stood for Parliament as a Labour candidate.
More details/full programme <>   here . . . .

"Rouse, Ye Women": The Cradley Heath Chain Makers' Strike, 1910
During the 19th century the Black Country, in particular the Cradley Heath area, became the centre for chain making in Britain. Heavy to medium chains were produced by men in factories, however the smaller chains (often known as 'hand-hammered' or 'country-work' chains) were often hand-worked by women or children in small cramped forges in outbuildings next to the home. The work was hot, physically demanding and poorly paid. Like other homeworking, chainmaking was an example of a "sweated" trade, where workers (often women) were paid a pittance to produce cheap goods at home.

At the start of the 20th century the campaign to end the exploitation of "sweated" labour gained increasing popular support. In 1909 the Liberal government passed the Trade Boards Act to set up regulatory boards to establish and enforce minimum rates of pay for workers in four of the most exploited industries - chain-making, box-making, lace-making and the production of ready-made clothing. In the Spring of 1910, the Chain Trade Board announced a minimum wage for hand-hammered chain-workers of two and a half pence an hour - for many women this was nearly double the existing rate. At the end of the Trade Board's consultation period in August 1910, many employers refused to pay the increase. In response, the women's union, the National Federation of Women Workers (NFWW), called a strike.

The strike lasted 10 weeks and attracted immense popular support from all sections of society - nearly £4,000 of donations were received by the end of the dispute from individual workers, trade unions, politicians, members of the aristocracy, business community and the clergy. The founder of the NFWW, Mary Macarthur, used mass meetings and the media - including the new medium of cinema - to bring the situation of the striking women to a wider audience and the strike became an international cause célèbre. Within a month 60% of employers had signed the 'White List' and agreed to pay the minimum rate, the dispute finally ended on 22 October when the last employer signed the list.
Source for this text: Modern Records Centre, Warwick

Tuesday, April 29

Calling Notice: Birmingham & Coventry NUJ May Branch Meeting

Tuesday 13th May 2014
Carrs Lane Church Centre
Carrs Lane
B4 7SX
6:00 pm for 6:30 start

Any apologies to branch chair:


1) Introduction by chair/those attending

2) Minutes of February meeting

3) Secretary/Treasurers reports

4) Branch reports

5) Up date on disputes

6) Any other business

Chris Morley - Walking the Walk for NUJ Charity

I've always enjoyed a physical challenge and taking on a long distance trek definitely appealed. So having a go at the Big Daddy of them all, the Pennine Way, seemed like a good idea, especially as it takes in the site of the legendary Kinder Mass Trespass protest at Malham Moor. This was the inspiration for breaking the restricted access to the countryside by the land owners and helped us achieve the "right to roam".

Throughout my membership, I have witnessed the great work the NUJ's charities have done for journalists and their dependants who have fallen on hard times. And in the last decade, those hard times have got very tough indeed for some.

But NUJ Extra has had notable successes in protecting the most vulnerable and supporting them in the hour of their greatest need. As a full-time official, I have seen the power of having that tenuous safety net - enough to keep journalists in a job when otherwise they would have had to throw in the towel and rely on benefits.

So if you support the NUJ and believe journalists and their families should be able to call on a helping hand in times of need, could you show your support by supporting me on my trek through May 2014?

If you can, please donate via the NUJ Extra page on the NUJ website. Just go to and you can give with Gift Aid to maximise the amount received.


Thursday, April 17

Midland News Association Announces 76 job losses

NUJ members have reacted with shock at an announcement by Midland News Association, publisher of the Express and Star and Shropshire Star, that it plans to cut 76 jobs, 12 in editorial and that its daily titles will switch to overnight production.

A letter from Phil Inman, Claverley Group chief executive, said:

    "The Express & Star and Shropshire Newspapers have strong futures where they will remain the leading publishers in their markets but we must consider new ways of operating that better reflect the change in people's lives. This will necessitate significant investment to strengthen the digital operation… Although the exact number of job losses is still under discussion and numbers may change we consider that 76 of the workforce (overall including Express & Star, Shropshire Newspapers and MNA) could be potentially redundant."

He said the plans to move to overnight publication would require changes to working hours  and shift patterns for news editors, sub-editors and drivers and potential moves to "continental style shifts" for print production staff.

There will now be a 45-day consultation period on the company's proposals.

Chris Morley, Northern and Midlands organiser:

    "There is great shock at the timing of this announcement, although our members had been fearful something like this was not far away This is a huge blow, not just in the numbers of people who may lose their jobs but also to quality journalism.

    "The two daily papers in Wolverhampton and Shropshire have been the lonely standard bearers for same-day regional newspaper news and sport and had been very successful in that over many years. But repeated deep cuts to editorial numbers have critically weakened what they have been able to offer readers by badly overstretching staff.

    "The NUJ calls on the company to open talks with unions to find a sustainable way forward. This must be done in a way staff are reassured that directors will not take the discredited path to a cycle of cuts to the core business and then more cuts that drives away still yet more readers and advertisers.

    "Any change from same-day publication will require major changes to the way staff work. If the proposals are to be implemented, to work they need to be with the agreement of staff - not by the company putting a gun to employees' heads."

The union is now in discussion with the chapeIs involved.

Tuesday, March 25

Calling notice: Coventry & Birmingham Branch Meeting April 2014

Tuesday 8 th April 2014
Kahawa Cafe
163 New Union Street
6:00 pm for 6:30 start

Any apologies to branch chair:


1) Introduction by chair/those attending

2) Minutes of March meeting

3) Secretary/Treasurers reports

4) Branch reports

5) Up date on disputes

6) Any other business

Item in this message:

Stand Up For Education  -  Rally to Defend Teachers

Fair Pay Fortnight - West Midlands Wage Summit

Benefits Street or Scapegoat Street

What all journalists need to know about the Defamation Act 2013


Stand Up For Education  -  Rally to Defend Teachers

Birmingham   -  Wednesday  26th march 2014
11:30 am to 12:4 5 pm
Victoria Square
B1 1BD

The NUT needs your support to defend education and protect teachers. There is a national strike planned for This Wednesday March 26. there will be Picket Lines across Birmingham schools followed by a rally in Victoria Square @ 11:30am

Striking Against:

    Excessive workload and bureaucracy
    Performance related pay
    Unfair pension changes

Pay: Destroying the national pay framework means tat in every school head teachers and governors have to worry about developing a pay system instead of focusing onf teaching and learning.

Workload: Government policies mean that far too much time is spent on bureaucratic box-ticking that stops teachers focusing on teaching.

Pensions: The NUT recognises that other workers are having their pensions squeezed. We believe that this is wrong too - everyone should be entitled to  a decent standard of living in retirement.


EDM 1207: Wage Levels And The TUC's Fair Pay Fortnight Campaign
That this House notes that living standards have been under pressure since the recession of 2008-09 and despite the recent recovery in growth are not yet picking up, and that real wages for the average full-time worker have fallen by £2,800 since 2009; further notes that the reason for the squeeze, the longest since the 1870s, is weak wage growth; further notes that even on the more optimistic forecasts, real wages for those in the middle and below will not return to their 2008 levels until around 2020, and that whilst more people are now in work and unemployment is falling, too many of the new jobs are low paid, insecure and precarious; believes that a real, sustainable recovery which benefits ordinary people will require real wages to rise, and that this would not only relieve some of the strains on living standards but provide a solid underpinning for rising household spending and economic growth; and therefore strongly agrees with the TUC that Britain needs a pay rise, and supports the TUC's Fair Pay Fortnight campaign beginning on 24 March 2014.

Sponsors: Lavery, Ian/ Morris, Grahame M / Mearns, Ian / Sheridan, Jim / Cryer, John / Clark, Katy   -   House of Commons: <>  20.03.2014

Fair Pay Fortnight - West Midlands Wage Summit

Friday 4th April 2014 - 18:30 to 20:30
Birmingham City Council Chamber
Town Hall
Victoria Square
Birmingham, B3 3DQ
Costs:  Free

About this event:  Working people in the UK are seeing their living standards squeezed harder and harder every year. The cost of energy, food and housing is soaring but pay isn't keeping up. On average, workers in the West Midlands have lost more than £2,500 since 2009 and many people are trapped in low-paid and insecure jobs.

Chair Rob Johnston Midlands TUC Regional Secretary

Joe Morgan GMB Regional Secretary

Cllr Stewart Stacey Birmingham City Council

David Gardner KPMG, Director of Public Policy

Jack Dromey Erdington MP & Shadow Police Minister

Mark New  UNISON West Midlands Regional Organiser

Further speakers to be confirmed

A media campaign action will also be held at 12 noon outside Birmingham Town hall on 4 April

Inquiries/Further Information:
Michelle Kesterton <>


Benefits Street or Scapegoat Street

Public Meeting

2:30pm Saturday 5th April

The Priory Rooms, Bull Street (off Corporation Street), Birmingham, B4 6AF

Chris Baugh, Assistant General Secretary, PCS
Robert Punton, Disabled Peoples Against the Cuts
Sandra Kane, Birmingham Benefit Justice Campaign

Organised by the Public and Commercial Services Union PCS


What all Journalists Need to Know About the Defamation Act 2013

This event is for NUJ members only

The Defamation Act 2013 is now in force and has introduced major changes which affect how journalists work.

Tamsin Allen and Athalie Matthews of Bindmans LLP will guide members through the changes. They will discuss:

    what constitutes defamation;
    what constitutes publication to third parties;
    the various forms that defamation can take;
    and the new defences introduced by the Act.

There will be time for questions and answers.

We expect places at the seminar will be in high demand, they will be allocated on a strictly first-come-first-served basis.

Wednesday 16 April 2014 / Headland House, 308-312 Gray's Inn Rd, London

Further details / contact information


Friday, March 7

Birmingham & Coventry NUJ Branch Meeting March 2014

Tuesday 11th March 2014
Carrs Lane Church Centre
Carrs Lane
B4 7SX
6:00 pm for 6:30 start

Any apologies to branch chair:


1) Introduction by chair/those attending

2) Minutes of February meeting

3) Secretary/Treasurers reports

4) Branch reports

5) Up date on disputes

6) Any other business

Item in this message:
-  State of the Union
-  Migrant Workers in Qatar & the 2022 World Cup
-  Rally and Demo Marking UN Anti-Racism Day


State of the Union               
All figures are as at the last day of September each year
In the last five  financial years membership has declined by 5,680                               
    Membership        Year on year decline    Paying membership
2013    29,506        1513        25,189
2012    31,019        2053        25,987
2011    33,072        763          26,458
2010    33,835        1351        27,130
2009    35,186                        28,337

2013    Surplus  for year       £1,752,260
2012    Deficit for year      - £3,959,872
2011    Surplus  for year      £682,897
2010    Deficit for year      - £313,082
2009    Deficit for year     - £2,855,922

2013    Amount of general fund at end of year   - £2,071,601
2012    Amount of general fund at end of year   - £3,823,960
2011    Amount of general fund at end of year     £135,912
2010    Amount of general fund at end of year     £546,985
2009    Amount of general fund at end of year   - £223,903

NUJ: Annual return for the years ended 30th September 2009/2013 as filed with the 'Certification Officer', available <>  here . . . .


EDM 1095: Migrant Workers in Qatar & the 2022 World Cup
That this House notes that since Qatar won the bid to host the 2022 World Cup the country has experienced a construction boom; further notes that in the last two years hundreds of Indian and Nepalese migrant workers have died working on construction projects in Qatar; moreover is extremely concerned that in the build-up to 2022 hundreds more migrant workers will die due to unsafe working conditions; and calls on the Government, the international community and FIFA to act to urge Qatar in the strongest possible terms to drastically improve working conditions, review the migrant worker sponsorship scheme and properly compensate the families of migrant workers who have been injured or killed.

Sponsors: Mann, John / Betts, Clive / Durkan, Mark / Ritchie, Margaret / Russell, Bob
<>   House of Commons: 24.02.2014


Rally and Demo Marking UN Anti-Racism Day

Assemble 11:00am, Saturday 22nd March 2014

London: Parade from the Mandela Statue in Parliament Square to rally at Trafalgar Square

Organized by TUC & Unite

Transport from Birmingham:

8:15 am, Iron Man, Birmingham Town Hall, Victoria Square

Tickets £5 unwaged, £10 waged, £20 solidarity

To buy/book tickets call 07974 131966

UN Anti-Racism day
A day of action has been called for across Europe on 22 March to coincide with UN Anti-racism Day. With eyes on the European elections in May parties in most countries of the right, centre and even the traditional left are allowing politics and the media to be dominated by racism and xenophobia. Islamophobia and anti-Semitism and the scapegoating of minorities - immigrants, Roma, Black and Asian communities - have become the norm. In Britain the fascist and far right are seeking gains, but there is an even greater immediate threat.

No to Scapegoating Immigrants
That is the increasing tendency of mainstream political parties to tail-end the right-wing, populist UKIP. They are out-vying each other in calls for draconian 'anti-immigration' policies and generally promoting a 'Little Englander' anti-foreign, anti-European mentality, most recently seen with the hostility and racism whipped up towards the projected arrival of Bulgarian and Romanian migrant workers.

No to Islamophobia
In particular, it has become acceptable to promote fear and hatred of Muslim people and Islam as a religion. This racism creates a climate of Islamophobia, leading directly to more attacks on the Muslim population, including murder and violent attacks on mosques.

Remember Mandela - YES to diversity
In remembering Nelson Mandela we too should cherish "the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and equal opportunities." UN Anti-racism Day commemorates the victims of the Sharpeville massacre in 1960, when 69 peaceful demonstrators against apartheid were killed by South African police forces.

Many organisations and communities have come together to call for this parade and rally. Join us in rejecting racism and showing that migrants are welcome. Let's celebrate diversity by expressing our cultures and identities. Let's demonstrate our confidence in a future free of scapegoating, racism and hatred.

Tuesday, February 18

People's Assembly Public Meeting 6th March 7pm Coventry

The People's Assembly Public Meeting Thursday 6th March 7 pm
 Methodist Central Hall
Coventry City Centre CV1 2HA
Main Speaker : Owen Jones (Author of Chavs :the demonisation of the Working Class')
Other speakers include Disabled People Against Cuts, Defend George Elliot Hospital Campaign, sacked union activists, Anti Bedroom Tax and more.

Atos Demonstrations in Birmingham and Coventry

Demonstration at Coventry Assessment Centre, Cofa Court, St Patricks Rd, Coventry CV1 2HJ ( from 10am) Wednesday 19th February

Birmingham Assessment Centre, Five Ways House, Islington Row Middleway, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 1SL
from 8am