Friday, June 21

Unison to Judicially Review 'Brutal' Employment Tribunal Fees
News that Unison has applied for Judicial Review of the Government's controversial plans to introduce fees in the Employment Tribunal has gone viral in the Labour Law community.  A key theme in the application is access to justice for working people, particularly women. Unison has described the proposed fees of up to£1000 for individuals to bring a claim and have that claim determined in the Employment Tribunals as "brutal".

In summary, the basis of the legal argument is four-fold:

    The fees make it difficult, to the point of impossibility, to enforce workers' rights under European Community law.

    There are no fees for enforcing domestic rights at a First Tier Tribunal - which is at a similar level to the Employment Tribunals - so the proposed fees offend against the principle of equivalence.

    There was no adequate assessment of the proposed fees system by the Government in accordance with the Government's Public Sector Equality Duty (introduced by the previous Labour Government).

    The fees are indirectly discriminatory; that is although apparently neutral in expression or written form, the effect in practice would place women at a particular disadvantage, including in the application of the scheme for the partial remission of the fees.

Read more: <>  Lauren Godfrey, UK Human Rights Blog, 21/06/13

Tuesday, June 18

Police had 'No power' to take 'Kettled' Woman's Details                 BBC News, 18/06/13
Police officers who took the personal details of a woman "kettled" during a trade union rally in 2011 acted unlawfully, the High Court has ruled. The court ordered the Metropolitan Police to delete records of Susannah Mengesha and film and photographs taken of her at the demo. Her details were taken while she was contained by police while a legal observer during the London protest. A judge ruled officers had no powers to film her or take her name and address.
Ms Mengesha, a law graduate, was part of a group of protesters who were contained by police near London's Piccadilly Circus for two hours on 30 November 2011 at a trade union march against public sector pension cuts. Police said the "kettle" - which involves police forming a barrier around protesters to keep them within a fixed area - was "necessitated by a reasonably apprehended imminent breach of the peace". Before being allowed to leave, police filmed Ms Mengehsa and made her hand over personal information.
Read the full article BBC News, 18/06/13

Susannah Mengesha Claimant V Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis
Full judgement can be downloaded from <> here . . . . .
Early Day Motion 253: No More Page 3 Campaign
That this House is concerned about the strong link between the portrayal of women as sexual objects and attitudes that underpin violence and discrimination against women and girls; notes that this has been demonstrated by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women and in a Government-commissioned Sexualisation of Young People Review; applauds the work of the No More Page 3 campaign; observes that The Sun newspaper is available across the parliamentary estate in at least eight locations; further notes that if someone is looking at page 3 of The Sun others can be subjected to it whether they like it or not; and calls on the House of Commons Administration Committee to take the necessary steps to prevent the House stocking The Sun newspaper until it removes the Page 3 feature.

Primary sponsor: Lucas, Caroline  - <>  House of Commons: Date tabled: 17.06.2013


EDM 256: End Trade of Conflict Minerals in the European Union
That this House notes that the European Union (EU) has opened a public consultation on a possible EU initiative on conflict minerals; applauds the hard work of UK non-governmental organisations (NGOs), notably Global Witness, Christian Aid and Save the Congo, as well as Congolese NGOs, particularly ASSODIP, CREDDHO, OGP and CENADEP, for their campaign work to end the international trade of minerals that funds conflict in Congo; recalls the central role played by the UK in clamping down on blood diamonds which funded brutal wars in Angola, DRC, Liberia, Sierra Leone and elsewhere; urges the EU Commission to ensure that the initiative is mandatory, based on the Organisation for Economic, Co-operation and Development's Due Diligence Guidance, applies to all segments in the supply chain and focuses on the 3T's (tungsten, tantalum and tin) and gold but that may be extended to any natural resource funding conflict; and further urges the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Chancellor of the Exchequer to pledge UK support for EU, legally-binding legislation to ensure that natural resources traded by companies and individuals in the UK are sourced responsibly and have not funded conflict or human rights abuses in foreign countries.

Sponsors: Hain, Peter/ Bayley, Hugh - <>  House of Commons: 17.06.2013


Early Day Motion 261: World Health Organisation Report On Iraq
That this House is deeply concerned that a World Health Organisation (WHO) report into the catastrophic health effects of the war in Iraq has still not been published; understand that the report was commissioned to gauge the effect of toxic war pollutants on the population which appears to have resulted in sterility, repeated miscarriages, stillbirths and severe birth defects which are still increasing in frequency; notes that the report was due to be published in November 2012; further notes that 58 scientists, health professionals and human rights activists from around the world have called for its immediate publication; and calls on the Government to put pressure on the WHO to publish the report immediately and to make it available to the House.

Primary sponsor: Galloway, George - <> House of Commons: 17.06.2013


Wednesday, June 12

Early Day Motion 234: Closure Of Public Service Broadcaster In Greece
That this House condemns the decision of the Greek government to shut down the public broadcasting organisation ERT's three television stations, radio and regional radio stations, satellite emissions and internet portal which together employ approximately 2,700 people; notes that the decision was taken without democratic debate in the Greek parliament; further notes that whilst it will re-open this will be on the basis of significantly reduced staffing levels; regrets that employees at ERT were given very little notice when the government shut off its transmitters; believes that Greece needs a reliable news source given the desperate time for the country, the economic situation and rise of dangerous far-right groups; therefore sends its support and solidarity to all the journalists who have been treated in this disgraceful way; and calls on the Greek government to reverse this damaging decision.

Sponsors: Clark, Katy/ Corbyn, Jeremy /Hancock, Mike / Hopkins, Kelvin / Russell, Bob

<>  House of Commons: 12.06.2013

Early Day Motion 232: Protests In Turkey
That this House notes that despite the impression given by the mass media that the events in Turkey are subsiding, thenews from many in Turkey remains worrying; further notes that the Turkish government appears intent on suppressing widespread democratic protests by brute force; believes that hand picked groups are being depicted as representatives of the protestors in order to give the impression that they are trying to bring about a negotiated solution; further notes that the police attacks using water cannons and tear gas continue unabated in many provinces as well as Istanbul and that there are already nearly 600 injured in hospitals, some of them critically; and calls on the Government to make representations to the Turkish government on its handling of the protests as a matter of urgency.

Sponsors: Corbyn, Jeremy/ Hopkins, Kelvin/ Russell, Bob

<>  House of Commons: 12.06.2013


Early Day Motion 217: Living Wage For Barbican Cleaners
That this House notes that the cleaners employed by MITIE, under contract at the Barbican Centre, are paid below the London Living Wage; urges the Corporation of the City of London which owns the Barbican Centre to take appropriate steps to raise the wages of its cleaners to the rate recommended by the Greater London Authority as the London Living Wage of £8.55 per hour; further notes that the cleaners at the Barbican Centre have raised serious complaints at their treatment; and expects the cleaners to be treated with respect and dignity at work.

Sponsors: Corbyn, Jeremy /  Caton, Martin / Clark, Katy / Cryer, John / Lavery, Ian / McDonnell, John  -  <>   House of Commons: 11.06.2013


Early Day Motion 219: Gay-To-Straight Conversion Therapy in the UK
That this House believes that being lesbian, gay or bisexual is not a disease or illness and that therapy which attempts to cure or change a person's sexual orientation is both ineffective and potentially extremely harmful; notes that a 2009 survey of 1,300 British psychiatrists, therapists and psychoanalysts revealed over 200 had attempted to change at least one patient's sexuality (BMC Psychiatry, 9:11, 26 March 2009); further notes than an undercover investigation in 2010 (The Independent, 1 February 2010) found one psychotherapist claimed most of her clients were forwarded to her from her local GP; further notes that the Department of Health does not condone the concept of therapists offering cures for homosexuality and recognises that the practice may well cause significant harm to some patients; is deeply concerned that nothing currently prevents conversion therapists from freely operating in Britain or practising in the psychotherapy sector; and therefore calls on the Government to investigate any NHS links with conversion therapists, ensuring that NHS medical professionals cannot inflict this cruel treatment on their patients and to take steps to ban conversion therapy for under-18s.

Sponsors: Osborne, Sandra / Betts, Clive / Blunt, Crispin / Gilbert, Stephen / McDonnell, John / Williams, Stephen   -  <>  House of Commons: 11.06.2013

Tuesday, June 4

Understanding Gezi Park, the AKP, and the Turkish Protest Movement

Public Meeting 
Friday 7 June 2013
6.45pm - 8.15pm
274 Moseley Road, Highgate, Birmingham, B12 0BS (opposite Old Fire Station)

Main speaker: Turkish journalist and NUJ activist Ozen Sengulen

Meeting is kindly hosted by community advocacy service 'United We Stand'

Enquiries/further information
Özen Sengülen <>

Reminder NUJ June Branch Meeting

Wednesday 12th June 2013
Kahawa Cafe
163 New Union Street
6:00 pm for 6:30 start

Any apologies to branch chair:

Topics in this message:
Don't let the Racists Divide us - Support Unite Against Fascism
UN Committee Against Torture Strongly Critical of UK Human Rights
Understanding Gezi Park, the AKP, and the Turkish Protest Movement


Don't let the Racists Divide us - Support Unite Against Fascism (UAF)

We must never let the politics of hate divide us. Creating more good quality jobs and affordable homes is the best way to give ordinary working people hope for the future and to tackle the root causes of fear and insecurity that the likes of the EDL and BNP feed on.'
Frances O'Grady, TUC General Secretary

Unite Against Fascism has launched a campaign - Don't let the racists divide us - to organise a nationwide response to the attempts by the racist and fascist English Defence League (EDL) and British National Party (BNP) to exploit the tragic death of Lee Rigby by whipping  up racism and hatred. This is a cynical attempt to pursue their own agenda directed against Black, Asian and especially Muslim communities.

Since the day of Lee Rigby's death there has been a severe spike in Islamophobic attacks and a wave of assaults on Mosques. Muslim communities are experiencing verbal abuse, women's headscarves have been torn off as well as more serious threats and violent attacks. Racists are simply stepping up their campaign.

Last Saturday, Unite Against Fascism organized counter demonstration against a number of planned demonstrations by the EDL and BNP, in Coventry, London Leeds, Glasgow and successfully stopped the EDL and BNP from marching.

In Coventry, there were a variety of speakers at the counter demonstration at Broadgate which included representatives from the Warwick & Coventry Student Unions, Unite, NUT, Unison, PCS & Coventry Trade Union Council. As well as observing a minutes silence for Lee Rigby, speakers spoke about the need to work in unity to ensure the proud anti racist tradition in Coventry. The small number of EDL supporters who did turn up were not able to do much in the face of the strength of UAF opposition.

In Light of the above as Equality officer, I would like to table a motion, at this months branch meeting, that the NUJ Birmingham and Coventry Branch 'Affiliate to Unite Against Fascism', cost £50 for one year.

Eleanor Lisney <<>>

Unite Against Fascism Website


UN Committee Against Torture Strongly Critical of UK Human Rights
Concluding observations on the fifth periodic report of the United Kingdom, adopted by the UN Committee against Torture report at its fiftieth session (6-31 May 2013). The report notes 36 areas of serious concern and in its' conclusion, 'invites the State party to ratify the core United Nations human rights treaties to which it is not yet a party, namely the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families and the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.'
Read the full report <>  here . . . .

Saturday, June 1

Special seminar on tax for the self-employed


Tax and tax-related matters are often a headache, particularly if you are a freelance, self-employed or do a mixture of contract work and freelance.
Getting it wrong can also be expensive.
To help, the NUJ has invited accountancy firm HW Fisher to put on a special evening seminar on tax for the self-employed and staff who have recently become freelance.Their specialist Authors and Journalist Team also run a free tax helpline for members on 020 7874 7876 and offer  free one-hour face-to-face consultations.
The seminar will give an introduction to taxation. It will cover National Insurance for the self-employed, setting up in business, self-assessment, allowable expenses, operating via a limited company and tax enquiries and how to avoid them.  The final hour will be devoted to  a Questions and Answer session.
The seminar will take place on Monday, 1 July from 5:30 to 8pm at Headland House, 308-312 Gray's Inn Road, London WC1X 8DP
To register contact
Places will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. The seminar is free to members and £15 to non-members.