Archive | December, 2018

About bloody time

13 Dec

At Monday’s meeting Newham Council passed a motion which, after a lengthy preamble, concluded

this Council commits to become an accredited Living Wage & Unison Ethical Care Charter Employer in the next financial year, ensuring that all directly employed staff, and all staff employed by contractors who work for Newham Council receive at least the London Living Wage.

This was followed by a lot of self-congratulatory tweeting

Mas Patel:


SUCCESS: Our people’s motion that @NewhamLondon become a #LivingWage borough has just been passed unanimously by Newham Cllrs.

We WILL become an accredited @LivingWageUK borough. Great work by @GMBLondonRegion, @NewhamCitizens, @telcocitizens & @fgslabour members!

Huge thanks to all at @GMB_union @GMBLondonRegion for your invaluable help. @NewhamLondon workers will get the #LivingWage thanks to the #PeoplesMotion

Rohit Das Gupta:

By becoming a living wage employer and its binding plan to implementation the council will be joining our neighbouring east London boroughs in a commitment to putting the scourge of economic injustice and inequality at the heart of our campaigning #LivingWage

Pushpa Makwana:

Mayor of Newham @rokhsanafiaz announces @NewhamLondon commitment to be an accredited London Living Wage employer. A fair wage for a fair day’s work. Xmas pay for underpaid staff.

Of course, it really is good news and worth celebrating.

But you have to wonder why it has taken a 100% Labour council so long to get round to doing it. The accredited living wage employer scheme has been running since 2011. And in 2013 Ed Miliband spoke at Newham Dockside, calling for central and local government to challenge low pay and enforce a living wage with contractors.

Sadly, the “Labour” administration at the time wasn’t interested. And no-one on the back benches dared to challenge them.

East Ham re-booting

4 Dec


After close to two years of inactivity it looks like efforts to revive East Ham Constituency Labour Party (CLP) are finally underway.

Despite being one of the safest Labour seats in the country, the East Ham party has been in ‘special measures’ since early 2017, when the last general committee (GC) meeting broke down in ‘acrimonious circumstances.’

Since then there has been a General Election and elections for a new Mayor and councillors. Also huge disputes and lack of records over which organisations were affiliated and entitled to take part in a Mayoral candidate trigger ballot, as well as allegations of non-resident members.

Most of the ten branch parties (one per ward) don’t meet regularly and there were no East Ham delegates at party conference. Regular and necessary business, like the re-run trigger ballot meetings and candidate selection meetings for the local elections earlier this year were supervised by officials from Labour’s London regional office. As an aside, none of this happens in West Ham, where all CLP and branch meetings take place regularly and on time.

London regional officers are again involved. 

All of the ten ward branches have had an AGM scheduled and members have been notified. Little Ilford and East Ham South met last week; East Ham North meets tonight; East Ham Central and Boleyn tomorrow. Wall End and Manor Park will meet on Thursday.

Beckton and Royal Docks branches met last night and, according to its new Twitter account, it was the first time in five years Royal Docks Labour Party had met!

Word so far is of well-attended meetings, with over 35 members at Little Ilford. Also the word is of well-behaved meetings. Royal Docks branch elected completely new officers, including, for the first time ever, a woman! The ward is unique in Newham in being represented by three male councillors, despite party rules that normally forbid this. 

Once the new officers – chair, vice-chair secretary, treasurer – and GC delegates are elected it clears the way for the CLP to hold its own AGM and elect officers. Separately, officers are contacting affiliated organisations – trade union branches and socialist societies – to identify their delegates.

London region will continue to supervise, which will impact on efforts to select Parliamentary candidates and support Council by-elections elsewhere in the capital, but this is good news for local members who have been deprived of any way to participate in party affairs.