Tuesday, October 2

Birmingham and Coventry NUJ - October Branch Meeting

Tuesday 16th October

The Weston Suite
Belgrade Theatre
Corporation Street
Assemble 6:15 for 6:30 pm start

Any apologies to branch chair:  alan.weaver1@ntlworld.com


1) Introduction by chair/those attending

2) Minutes of July meeting

3) Secretary/Treasurers reports

4) Branch reports

5) Up date on disputes

6) Any other business

Attached uncorrected minutes of September branch meeting.


Branch Member John O takes on 'Information Commissioner'

John O spent last Thursday and Friday at an Information Rights Tribunal hearing, where he was appealing a decision of the Information Commissioner, not to reveal in its' entirety an 'Immigration Blacklist' set up by the UK Border Agency that has been operating since February 2011.

The hearing was heavily balanced in favour of the 'Information Commissioner' as John O and his legal team were excluded from part of the hearing to allow the Foreign and Common Wealth Office to give their evidence to the Tribunal in secret.

There was no decision on the day and John O will have to wait until the tribunal hands it down.

Forthcoming legislation will allow the Government national and local where they have been taken to court to have the public/Journalists banned from all or part of the hearings.

UK Home Office Fights Ruling That It Must Disclose 'Immigration Blacklist'
The UK's Home Office [has appealed] against a decision of the Information Commissioner which requires it to disclose an 'immigration blacklist' of 44 countries to an immigration rights campaigner. Citizens of countries on the list face extra immigration checks and are required to provide more evidence in support of visa applications because of higher levels of immigration fraud among applications from those countries.

The immigration activist, John O, sought disclosure of the list because he argued that it was inherently unfair that people might be discriminated against on the basis that they came from a country which is on the list. He put in a 'freedom of information (FOI) request' to the government. The government is obliged to hand over information sought under an FOI request unless there are good reasons for keeping the information secret.

The UK government opposed John O's FOI request on the basis that to disclose the list would cause offence to the countries named on it and might lead to retaliatory action against British travellers. It might also lead to a worsening of diplomatic relations between the UK and countries named. It might even risk British contracts with the governments of named countries.
Read more: <http://www.workpermit.com/news/2012-09-28/uk-home-office-fights-ruling-that-it-must-disclose-immigration-blacklist>Workpermit.com, 28 September 2012


Yorkshire Will See Industrial Action this Friday
NUJ members working for Newsquest in York will be taking strike action on Friday, 5 October as management refused them a pay increase this year – it means that they have not had one in three of the past four years.
Read more here . . . .

Resolution on Safety of Journalists Adopted by UN Human Rights Council
The 21th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council has adopted a resolution calling for "States to promote a safe and enabling environment for journalists to perform their work independently and without undue interference".

Jim Boumelha, president of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) said:  "The resolution is a tremendous boost to our global campaign for the protection of journalists and we commend states which tabled and supported it, but states must now show their good faith by implementing in earnest the resolution and not leave it to gather dust on shelves in the halls of UN offices in Geneva."
Read More here . . . .


Minimum Wage Increase is Real Terms Pay Cut, Says TUC

Government plans to increase the minimum wage by 1.8 per cent for adult workers and freeze the rate for young workers will result in the lowest paid suffering a real terms pay cut, the TUC said today .

The TUC said that with inflation running at 2.9 per cent (RPI), around 940,000 people, two-thirds of whom are women, would see a further squeeze on their living standards, with young people being hit the hardest.

Commenting on the new rates, TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “While we are pleased that government has rejected the siren calls of some employers to freeze the minimum wage for adult workers and apprentices, these increases are still far below inflation and will leave the lowest paid facing a real terms cut.

“These new rates are a particular blow to younger people who will face the biggest hit on their living standards. There is no evidence that the minimum wage has had an adverse impact on young people’s employment so it is hard to see the logic behind their pay freeze.

“Today’s rate increases do not do enough to help hard-pressed families.  We need a bolder increase next year otherwise the real incomes of minimum wage workers will continue to fall, along with consumer demand.”
Tim Lezard - Union News, 1st October 2012


Remploy  [Bro Jonathan Peasley GMB union spoke at September meeting]

Lord Roberts of Llandudno  to ask Her Majesty’s Government how many Remploy factories have been closed as a result of their decision to withdraw their subsidy from Remploy.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): Of the 27 factories and associated business identified by the Remploy board for closure and the board’s subsequent announcement on 10 July 2012, five factories have closed and 19 factories have ceased trading.

By 14 September, 977 factory employees have been made redundant.

Those former Remploy employees who are disabled and were made compulsorily redundant can now receive support from the People Help and Support Package. This package includes personalised support and the Government have made £8 million available to fund this delivery across the UK.House of Lords: 1st October 2012


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