Monday, March 26

Solidarity with Port Workers in New Zealand

The International Transport Workers' Federation is calling for global solidarity with port workers in New Zealand.

All we're asking you to do is take 30 seconds and send off your message to the Mayor of Auckland.

We're convinced that if he gets enough messages, he'll intervene, replace members of the port's board who have pushed for the lock-out of workers, and move to resolve the dispute.

Click here to send your message of Support

Every message we can send increases the chances that this will happen, and that workers will be able to go back to their jobs.

Please forward this message to your fellow union members. Let's build this campaign!

From: LabourStart

Sunday, March 25

Sri Lanka Targets Journalists in Smear Campaign

Freedom House condemns the Sri Lankan government's smear campaign, which accused journalists and human rights advocates of being "traitors" for supporting a recent UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution calling for an investigation into the country's past human rights abuses. The campaign, broadcast over state television, accuses journalists of aiding the Tamil Tiger rebels and Sri Lankan minister Mervyn Silva publicly named individuals and threatened to break their limbs.

Intimidation has been ongoing since January 2012, but escalated after the adoption of the UNHRC resolution on March 22, which called for a credible investigation into atrocities committed during and after Sri Lanka's decades-long civil war. The deliberation and passage sparked anti-US and anti-resolution protests, and led to threats against well-known journalists and human rights defenders both within Sri Lanka and abroad, including Poddala Jayantha, Sunanda Deshapriya, Nimalka Fernando and Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu. The Free Media Movement, a local organization, said that some of the individuals identified in prior state broadcasts have been violently attacked.

Sri Lanka is rated Not Free in Freedom House's Freedom of the Press 2011 report. Despite nominal constitutional guarantees of freedom of expression, journalists have been harassed and accused of treason under antiquated laws that are frequently employed to shield the government from criticism.

For more information go here . . . .

Wednesday, March 14

Calling Notice Birmingham and Coventry March Branch Meeting

Tuesday 27th March 2012
Red Peppers Restaurant & Bar
117 Wharfside Street
The Mailbox
Birmingham B1 1RF
Meet 18:00 for 18:30 start

Light refreshments will be served

Agenda: New Brooms - Willing to Sweep Clean

Following on from branch AGM this meeting will attempt to progress the ideas raised and discussed for the future of the branch; what can we achieve and how to progress our activities and campaigns.

Communication with members, how we keep in touch with the MoCs / FoCs who do not come to the branch. Must be lonely out there...........

Recruitment: AGM elected a small volunteer group to concentrate on bringing new members to the branch; we need to have a plan so we know what we may be able to accomplish!

Do we really need our over formal meetings, should we minimize the rituals and concentrate on what we can do/should/could be doing?

Does meeting in pubs keep members away, would the branch be more user friendly if we met in an alcohol free environment?

Should we have a branch campaign diary to focus our work for the year, given that these things are always fluid?

Your views on above do not require you to attend the branch meeting, any thoughts/comments/what would make branch meetings more attractive for you, Email.

Thursday, March 8

Greetings for International Women's Day

"I demand the independence of woman, her right to support herself; to live for herself; to love whomever she pleases, or as many as she pleases. I demand freedom for both sexes, freedom of action, freedom in love and freedom in motherhood."
Emma Goldman / June 27 1869 - May 14 1940

International Women's Day (8 March) is an occasion marked by women's groups around the world. This date is also commemorated at the United Nations and is designated in many countries as a national holiday. When women on all continents, often divided by national boundaries and by ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic and political differences, come together to celebrate their Day, they can look back to a tradition that represents at least nine decades of struggle for equality, justice, peace and development.

Monday, March 5

Women in Retirement one-day conference

NUJ nationally is supporting this conference

[ Poor, lonely and cold: life in Britain for the over-60s: The future for many of the country's older people is bleak, according to the Age UK report Agenda for Later Life, to be published this week. Sixteen per cent, or 1.8 million, of people over state pension age are living in poverty; 3.3 million are unable to *warm their homes (an increase of more than half a million in the past two years); and 800,000 are not receiving the care they need. Read more here . .]

The National Pensioners Convention (NPC) Women’s Working Party is staging a “Women in Retirement” conference aimed at working age women as well as older women; to look at issues of pensions, the ageing society and social care.

Saturday 24 March 2012
11:00 am - 3:30pm
Unison Centre
24 Livery Street,

Tickets £5: To book please Email NPC office / Email:

Please note if you wish to attend NUJ branch will pay cost of admission and reasonable travel costs to confirm contact:

*Winter Fuel Payment – winter 2011/2012 and winter 2012/2013
If you have never received a Winter Fuel Payment before and born on or before:

5th January 1951 you can still claim for winter 2011/2012 but you must download form and return to Department of Works and Pensions before 30/03/2012
Download 'Winter Fuel Payment claim form' (PDF, 215K)

For winter 2012/2013 you will qualify if born on or before July 1951
Full information here . . . .

End the Care Crisis - Lobby of Parliament
Tuesday 6th march 2012
We are entering a key time for our social care system. Our social care system is broken. It cannot cope with a rapidly ageing population and positive impact of people living longer with illness and disability.

Those who use our social care system can no longer tolerate a social care system which leaves many with no support and others with poor quality services. The public are angry that they can face huge care charges and end up losing all their savings or being forced to sell their home.

We know that the Government is due to announce their plans to reform social care in April 2012. It is really important that we make sure MPs and ministers act now to reform our social care system ensuring a fair and sustainable care system which delivers dignity, independence and peace of mind for older and disabled people and their families. Failure to act will lead to more of the cuts, neglect and abuse in social care, at great cost to our economy, public services and society.

Thursday, March 1

Rights of disabled people may be at risk, says Human Rights Committee

The Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) today publishes its Report on the implementation of the right of disabled people to independent living in the context of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) which was ratified by the UK in 2009. The Report draws attention to a number of significant human rights issues especially that which relates to independent living.

The right to independent living does not exist as a freestanding right in UK law. Although it is protected and promoted to some extent by a matrix of rights, the Committee believes that this is not enough. It argues that the Government and other interested parties should immediately assess the need for, and feasibility of, legislation to establish independent living as a freestanding right. In addition, the Committee concludes that the UNCRPD is hard law, not soft law, and that the Government should fulfil their obligations under the Convention on that basis, and counter any public perception that it is soft law.

Dr Hywel Francis MP, Chair of the Committee, said:
"We are concerned to learn that the right of disabled people to independent living may be at risk through the cumulative impact of current reforms. Even though the UK ratified the UNCPRD in 2009 with cross-party support, the Government is unable to demonstrate that sufficient regard has been paid to the Convention in the development of policy with direct relevance to the lives of disabled people. The right to independent living in UK law may need to be strengthened further, and we call on the Government and other interested organisations to consider the need for a freestanding right to independent living in UK law."
Read the report at The Joint Committee of Human Rights

 Note: Independent living refers to disabled people having the same level of choice, control and freedom in their daily lives as any other person.