Thursday, 26 February 2015

Make Birmingham a Living Wage City: Citizens UK Birmingham and Midlands TUC visit living wage employers

The Midlands TUC and Citizens UK Birmingham have joined forces in response to the revelation Birmingham Northfield is the top living wage blackspots in the country with 53.4 per cent of the jobs based there paying less than the living wage.

On Thursday afternoon, campaigners will be visiting employers in Birmingham City Centre to present a ‘thank you’ card for paying the Living Wage. Chocolate and campaign speech bubbles will also be presented to staff as part of the campaign to encourage more employers to commit to paying the Living Wage.

Midlands TUC Regional Secretary, Lee Barron, said:

“The appalling Birmingham living wage statistics revealed during Fair Pay Fortnight demonstrates the urgent need to make Birmingham a “Living Wage City. It is simply unacceptable that so many brummies, and people right across the Midlands, are not earning at least the Living Wage.

That is why it is right to give credit to those Birmingham employers who have committed to working with staff and unions to pay their workforce the Living Wage, and we will work with others to urge more employers to follow suit.

“The number of living wage employers is growing rapidly and unions are playing their part in encouraging more employers to sign up and pay it. But we need to see a far wider commitment to pay the living wage from government, employers and modern wages councils – to drive up productivity and set higher minimum rates in industries where employers can afford to pay their staff more.”

Citizens UK Birmingham Organiser, Becca Kirkpatrick  said: 

“Citizens UK shares the TUC’s aspiration to make Birmingham a Living Wage city. Though there is much to do, Birmingham City Council, KPMG, Unity Trust Bank and others have already shown great leadership in helping to increase the number of accredited Living Wage employers here.

More employers every week are discovering that the Living Wage is not only good for the wellbeing of their staff and their families, it’s good for business too. We believe that everybody deserves to earn a Living Wage, and we will organise with our partners all year round to persuade more employers to pay it."

Friday, 20 February 2015

Graph of the week - Tax Revenues by Country

With all the controversy about tax avoidance and evasion we thought it would be interesting to see how the UK’s tax revenue compared with other countries.

So we went to the OECD website, found some data for 2013, downloaded it, and then did a graph.

The graph above shows the tax revenue in dollars per capita. The UK is highlighted in blue. It shows that relative to other countries the per capita tax revenue is low. The graph shows that comparatively speaking the UK is not a high tax country in terms of tax revenue. So it's no wonder we are seeing such savage cuts to public services.

It is not possible to say conclusively that this because of tax avoidance and evasion, but it does leave you wondering.....

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Graph of the week: Percentage of electorate voting for MPs

The data for the graph above came from the Electoral Commission website here and shows that not one MP was elected with over 50 per cent of the electorate (not just those voting).

The range goes from 17.6 per cent at the bottom to 46.1 per cent at the top. We're not claiming this means any MP does not have a democratic mandate – democracy is decided by those who turn up. But it certainly does put into context the Conservative party’s proposals to change the laws around strike ballots so that they will only be valid if 40 per cent of affected union members vote for it. Only 38 out of 650 MPs were elected by over 40 per cent of their electorate.

Aside from the obvious muzzling of workers with genuine disputes, this effectively means we would have two classes of democracy: one premier class of democracy for MPs where those who don’t vote don’t count; and a second class form for workers fighting for their rights where non-voters count as a vote against.

This is profoundly anti-democratic.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

UNISON Joins Campaign to save 190 Lollipop Wardens

UNISON campaigners have teamed up with joined Jack Dromey MP, the GMB and Unite to save Birmingham’s valuable school crossing wardens.

190 jobs are at risk due to Government cuts to Birmingham City Council, which is having to find hundreds of millions of pounds in savings next year alone. Jack Dromey MP, along with UNISON, GMB and Unite, are calling on Birmingham City Council to protect the roles along with the city’s children.

UNISON NEC member and local Labour candidate Mary Locke braved the freezing conditions to speak to parents in one Birmingham school about the proposed cuts.

Mary said:

We are fighting to protect our wardens because they protect our children. They play a crucial role in not only keeping our children safe in and out of school, but in educating the many students they see every day in the importance of road safety. They do a fantastic job and I am proud to represent UNISON in challenging the Council to rethink this decision.

Mark New, Regional Organiser, added:

“I would like to thank Jack Dromey MP, the GMB and Unite for the terrific partnership working that this campaign has benefited from. We must not forget that we are facing this problem in the first place because this Tory Government is punishing Birmingham with excessively heavy cuts, but we must challenge Birmingham City Council to make the right decision in not putting a price on our children’s’ safety.”

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

National Voter Registration Drive 2015

UNISON young members say why its important for young people to vote.

UNISON is supporting the 2015 National voter registration drive taking place this week . Our aim is to encourage  as many members as possible to register to vote in the 2015 general election.

Ravi Subramanian, UNISON West Midlands Regional Secretary said:

"This Year the UK has a big decision to make, who do you want to run this country for the next 5 years?

On May 7th every vote will count and everyone needs to make there voices heard. The first step is to make sure that as many people as possible are on the electoral register"

More information on registering to vote or to check if you are registered can be found at