Wednesday, November 27

EDM 795: Defence of Public Interest and the Prosecution of Journalists
That this House recognises the need for journalists to pursue difficult stories in the public interest without fear of prosecution; is concerned about the situation facing journalists who have been arrested and charged in relation to charges of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office; believes that such charges, levied against individuals who had no role in the authorisation of payments nor responsibility for a workplace culture where such payments were institutionalised and where trade union recognition was not allowed, do nothing to tackle the real issue of corporate responsibility for any alleged wrongdoing; regrets that it is ordinary working journalists who are being targeted, whilst senior executives and the companies themselves escape blame; further regrets that to discount the public interest defence in bringing legal proceedings sets a very damaging precedent for the industry; and therefore calls on the Director of Public Prosecutions to ensure that a consistent and fair approach is taken in regard to such cases.

Sponsors: Mitchell, Austin / McDonnell, John / Leech, John / Llwyd, Elfyn

<>  House of Commons: 26.11.2013


Winter Deaths of Old Age Pensioners

Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the number of “excess winter deaths” in England and Wales rose by 29% compared with the previous year.

The majority of these deaths were among pensioners – with over-75s accounting for 25,600 winter-related deaths in 2012/13.

Early Day Motion 804: Excess Winter Deaths
That this House is ashamed and appalled by the massive increase in excess winter deaths last winter in England and Wales as detailed by the Office of National Statistics; notes that an estimated additional 31,100 people died, up 29 per cent over the previous year, most of these the frail and elderly; believes that these sad and unnecessary deaths were largely caused by cold and lack of heating, a consequence of this Government's austerity programme and the lack of regulation of the rapacious energy companies; contrasts this massive surge in fatalities with the ballooning profits of the big six energy companies, up 77 per cent in one year; and demands an emergency national insulation programme, a boost to the state pension, a nationally co-ordinated programme through local authorities to identify those most vulnerable to the cold, the immediate freezing of energy prices and a programme to bring energy supply into public ownership so that this avoidable tragedy is not repeated this winter and in the following years.

Primary sponsor: Galloway, George        <>  House of Commons: 26.11.2013

Put your MP to work demand they sign EDMs 795/804
Early Day Motions are very good ways of raising issues in parliament, which may not get debated in normal sittings of parliament.
You can contact your MP for free, through: WriteToThem.Com

Friday, November 22

People's Assembly - Hands Off Our Unions - Defend The Right To Resist

This petition is supported by the NUJ, please add your name and circulate

The People's Assembly has launched this statement with a letter to the Guardian following the governments recent attacks on the trade unions. Add your name below:

The government's announcement of an inquiry into trade union tactics is further proof of its determination to undermine the right to protest against its austerity programme.

David Cameron's speech at the recent Lord Mayor's banquet has revealed the government is determined that there will be no end to austerity.

The trade union's customary right to strike and the right to protest are fundamental liberties that have already been significantly restricted by anti-union laws and other legislation. This inquiry is a new Tory-Lib Dem assault on the unions, demonstrated by the fact that the appointed chairman is the former QC for British Airways who led the attack on Unite the Union during the previous dispute between Unite and BA in 2011.

As millions of people face falling real wages, unemployment, part time or casualised low paid work, and the rapid destruction or privatisation of the welfare state they stand in need of trade union organisation and the right to protest more than ever.

We pledge ourselves to resist this attack. The right to protest is a fundamental civil liberty. The right to join an effective trade union is the product of generations of working class resistance. We have no intention of relinquishing it to a Government with no interests in the needs of working people.

Initial signatories:

Len McCluskey, Unite the Union, Mark Serwotka, Public and Commercial Services Union, Christine Blower, National Union of Teachers, Michelle Stanistreet, National Union of Journalists, Manuel Cortes, Transport Salaried Staffs' Association, Billy Hayes, Communication Workers Union, Matt Wrack, Firebrigades Union, Mick Whelan, Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen, Ian Lawrence, NAPO, Tony Benn, Maxine Peake, Actress, Sam Fairbairn, Secretary, The People's Assembly, Steve Turner, Unite the Union & Chair, The People's Assembly, Romayne Phoenix, Co-chair, The People's Assembly, Owen Jones, Journalist & The People's Assembly, Jeremy Corbyn MP, John McDonnell MP, Caroline Lucas MP, Murad Qureshi, London Assembly Member, Cllr Rania Khan, Mark Steel, Comedian, Francesca Martinez, Comedian, Roger Lloyd Pack, Actor, Carolyn Jones, Institute of Employment Rights, Andrew Murray, Unite the Union, Dave Smith, Blacklist Support Group, Kevin Courtney, NUT Deputy General Secretary, Zita Holborne, Black Activists Rising Against Cuts, Lindsey German, Stop the War Coalition, Kate Hudson, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Lee Jasper, Black Activists Rising Against Cuts, Aaron Keily, Black Students Officer, NUS, Alex Kenny, NUT national executive, John Rees, Counterfire, Paul Mackney, former General Secretary, UCU, Salma Yaqoob, James Meadway, Senior Economist, New Economics Foundation, John Hilary, War on Want, Rob Griffiths, Communist Party of Britain, Hilary Wainwright, Red Pepper, Andrew Burgin, Left Unity, Roy Bailey, singer / songwriter, Mark Barratt, Occupy campaigner, Clare Solomon, former president, ULU, Fred Le-Plat, Socialist Resistance

You can add your name here:

Monday, November 18

Demonstration Against Blacklisting of Trade Union Members

Called by Trades Union Congress (TUC) - Supported by NUJ

Own up, clean up, pay up:

Wednesday 20 November at 11:00 am to 12:00 Noon

Carillion Plc
Birch Street

GMB Birmingham & West Midlands Region are organising a demonstration outside Carillion's, the contractors head office in Wolverhampton next Wednesday. This is to show our disgust at their part in Blacklisting Trade Union Members, Representatives and Health and Safety Representatives.

Blacklisting came to light when in 2009 when the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) seized a Consulting Association database of 3,213 construction workers and environmental activists used by 44 companies to vet new recruits and keep out of employment trade union and health and safety activists. These ordinary hard working people were prevented from working and providing for their families for years, we want Carillion to recognise that, we need your help to show them how annoyed we are.

Please spare an hour or so and come along to offer your support.

From: Dave Dutton BTUC <>

TUC campaign against blacklisting visit:

For more information about GMB Actions against Blacklisting

Friday, November 8

Early Day Motion 686: Sanctions At Sparkhill Jobcentre In Birmingham
That this House notes with concern reports that Sparkhill Jobcentre in Birmingham hands out unusually high levels of sanctions; further notes reports that people have inappropriately been given jobseeker's directions, which are supposed to be only for people with a history of non-compliance;

further notes that the practice of making people attend 8:15 am appointments and then sanctioning them for a few minutes' lateness was stopped after it generated negative publicity;

calls on the Government to fully investigate reports of unfair practices at this jobcentre;

draws to the Government's attention cases from around the country of people being sanctioned, even though they informed their jobcentre that they needed to rearrange an appointment to attend a job interview, training appointment or family funeral;

urges the Government to consider how people who want to work are supposed to travel to job interviews, maintain a smart appearance or even feed themselves if the income they rely on to survive is removed for such reasons;

and calls on the Government to use all effective means possible to dramatically reduce the inappropriate use of an increasingly oppressive sanctions regime that seeks to penalise rather than encourage an effective route back into work.

Sponsors:  Godsiff, Roger   -   <>   House of Commons: 06.11.2013
Freedom of Expression And Democracy in the Digital Age

- Opportunities, rights, responsibilities

 In his keynote speech at the Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Media and Information Society today, the Commissioner highlighted restrictions to media freedom on grounds of national security as particularly serious ones, following the recent disclosure of the US and UK mass surveillance programmes.

"Spying on individuals on a massive scale, without strict legal rules and democratic oversight, can have adverse effects on freedom of expression by provoking a chilling effect on investigative journalists and activists who might fear exposing their sources."

The Commissioner stressed that we must ensure that media freedom applies to the new, digital environment where bloggers, activists and ordinary citizens have joined journalists in reporting in the public interest. "Maintaining an open Internet, without undue restrictions by the authorities (or the private industry) is therefore an important dimension of my work on freedom of expression".

Nils Muiznieks, EU Commissioner for Human Rights, <>  Belgrade, 7/11/2013 -