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June, 2012:

March for a Future That Works, 20 October

Day of Action: 20 October, 2012









The TUC has named Saturday 20 October as the date for a major demonstration in London when unions, workers and campaign groups will join together to call for a Future that Works. The event, which aims to build on the huge success of last year’s March for the Alternative, will begin with a march through central London and end with a rally in Hyde Park. The aim is to highlight the failures of government austerity and call for economic policies that work.

UCU South West Region will be promoting, participating in and supporting this event and I will post details of transport and organising events as they come available. Two websites that will be central to this event are: and Please take a look.

If you want to get involved in this please contact your UCU branch secretary or get in touch with me, Dave O’Toole

Protest against the EDL Bristol 14 July


 The English Defence League (EDL) is a far-right street protest movement which opposes what it considers to be a spread of Islamism, Sharia law and Islamic extremism in the United Kingdom. At many of their demonstrations, EDL members have clashed with counter-demonstrators, including supporters of Unite Against Fascism (UAF). Members of the EDL have been implicated in acts of violence during rallies held by trade unions, socialist groups and anti-racist organisations.

The aims of the EDL run directly counter to the principles of trade unionism and all trade unionists should oppose them.  Mike Gurney of Unite Against Fascism (UAF) writes urging support in opposing the intentions of the EDL to march in Bristol. Contact Mike or get in touch with your UCU branch secretary to attend this march.

 “Dear All

The English Defence League are once again trying to rear their racist heads in the South West. They are holding a march in Bristol on Saturday 14th July.

We Are Bristol and Bristol Unite Against Fascism have called for a march and rally in the city on Saturday 14 July to oppose the planned demonstration by the EDL.

The racist thugs of the EDL have announced plans to come to town that Saturday — despite the city hosting Bristol Pride event organised by the LGBT community for the people of the South West.

We Are Bristol have called a march and rally, “Celebrating diversity — Resisting racism and fascism”, to show the EDL that they are not welcome. The details for the counter demonstration are: Saturday 14 July. Assemble at 11am, Fountains, Bristol City Centre.

The EDL in the South West and beyond are mobilizing for this – however recently their numbers at protests have been low and they have been outnumbered by anti-racists. Hopefully in Bristol they will be outnumbered and demoralized.

Are you interested in travelling up to Bristol for the counter demo? If you are then please email back so that we can arrange to travel up in a group.

Mike Gurney

Exeter UAF (”

They CAN’T do THAT, can they?

Asked on the phone: “How can I recruit people to the union? What should I tell them?” I found myself later emailing the caller “10 reasons to join UCU”. But for me the ONE, main reason to belong to any union is to work collectively, with others, to enforce any rights that you may have and to establish new ones.

I have often been asked: “Can they DO that?” My response is often an unspoken: “Well, they’ve done it anyway, haven’t they.” Sometime the meaning behind the question is put a little more plainly: “Surely there’s a law that say they can’t do that.” And often, yes, there is.

But, for example, in 2010-2011 from the 5,000 cases where it was upheld that the claimant had been unfairly dismissed, only 8 orders for reinstatement or re-engagement were made. Most of the others will have received financial compensation. But the average award for unfair dismissal was just a little bit more than 2 months’ salary and only around 60% of these awards were ever paid.

So I was particularly struck by a blog post which was passed to me which argues organisation in the work place over litigation in the courts. David Renton is a historian and political activist and a barrister at Garden Court chambers. He maintains a blog called “Struck Out” in which he writes about the Employment Tribunal.

David argues in an article on his blog that although legal rights are valuable the best place to enforce those rights is in the workplace and not in the court.

“Often when people organise they find that managers will concede rights, knowing that these are rights set out in law.”

” Managers don’t like it when they are confronted by campaigns involving large groups of workers. “

“Sometimes, the threat of a Tribunal claim can be the most effective means of concentrating a manager’s mind – especially where the managers checks with their employer’s solicitor and the message comes back that the right exists, and a Tribunal is likely to enforce it. [so] threatening litigation can be effective, so long as the workers involved understand that the threat is part of negotiations, and that (if you want to win) the beginning of the process is organising.”

David’s article, which also lists and explains five of your rights in law, is here:

NB – This blog has been marked private. However David’s book is available here:

Struck Out: Why Employment Tribunals Fail Workers and What Can be Done
David Renton