Thursday, 1 April 2010


On Tuesday night Tooting MP Sadiq Khan, who is Minister of Transport and an UNISON member held a reception for local trade union members, Labour party supporters and constituents at the Atlee Room in the House of Commons.

There was a really good turn out with over 150 people attending. London UNISON Labour link sponsored the refreshments. Sadiq had invited Deputy Leader Harriet Harman MP, Home Secretary Alan Johnson MP and Youth Minister Dawn Butler MP as guest speakers.
John Gray was there as Vice-Chair of the London UNISON Labour Link committee and had brought with him two UNISON members from Notting Hill Housing Trust who had been on Strike earlier this month. Strike action is unheard of in our traditionally moderate sector yet members voted 93% in favour to protest at their treatment by the CEO who is trying to destroy family friendly policies at Notting Hill and slash basic staff terms and conditions while paying herself obscene amounts of money and perks (such as £11,000 per year car allowance).

This event followed on from last months successful meetings with Housing Minister John Healey and the reception given by Karen Buck MP (Westminster North) and Glenda Jackson MP (Hampstead and Highgate) at the House of Commons for UNISON members living in their constituencies. At this event both MPs had private discussions with the Strikers and will contacting Notting Hill senior management. The impact of these changes on the mainly female workforce was of major concern.Also at the reception was veteran Labour MP Dennis Skinner who also met up with the strikers and gave a cracking speech on the importance of the Labour movement for ordinary working people. Former MP and current Head of Diversity at Channel 4 Oona King was also had a meeting and was very supportive. Future lobbies are being planned with London Assembly members and Council leaders. There was a Q&A after each speech. John asked a question of Harriet and Alan about the situation at Notting Hill and the attacks by its management on equalities. We will be contacting their Parliamentary offices later today with follow up information.

We also discussed the issue with Sadiq (one of the Strikers is also his constituent) who also agreed to contact the organisation once we brief him properly.

On Monday we learnt from NHHT senior management that its Board have apparently “refused” to even let UNISON speak to them about its concerns and that they support the boycott of requests for mediation with ACAS! If this is true then you have to question why the NHHT Board is apparently so precious that they are not even willing to even listen to their own workforce express concerns that they are being discriminated against and exploited by their senior management. This is amazing and can only further damage the reputation and image of the wider sector in the eyes of many people.

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