Archive for December, 2013


 

Low paid staff have very bad working conditions here – zero hours contracts, no travel time paid – while boss has luxury boats and cars:

UNISON has launched a campaign against Hampshire and Dorset-based ‘Scrooge employer’ Apex Care, which is refusing to pay the national minimum wage. The company has also imposed punitive charges and sanctions on its hardworking, low-paid female staff who are delivering vital care to some of the most vulnerable in the community. Apex Companions Ltd (trading as Apex Care) has a contract with Hampshire County Council to provide domiciliary care in a number of towns and districts across the county.

UNISON regional organiser Peter Terry said: “This company is funded by Hampshire taxpayers. When I met with its managing director Malcolm Patrick last month, he seemed wholly unconcerned that his staff were being paid less than the minimum wage – he claimed he couldn’t afford it!

“But he can afford his luxury boats and new cars – no doubt paid for from his business Apex Care, a business that is funded by and profits from the public sector.”

Staff in Apex Care’s Winchester domiciliary care team are all on zero-hours contracts and do not receive any pay for time spent working for the employer other than for ‘contact time’, they are not paid for travel between appointments. This brings their hourly rate well below the minimum wage. Although this unlawful practice has been brought to its attention by UNISON, Apex Care is continuing to refuse to pay its staff for any time between homecare visits, resulting in staff receiving as little as £3.50 per hour for a morning shift of more than five hours.

The national minimum wage is currently £6.31 for staff who are 21 or more years of age. In April this year, the employer introduced a new scheme for paying these zero-hours staff where they are paid only by the minute – although contracts state that they are paid according to the agreed rotas, which are by the quarter hour. The employer also levies punitive, sky-high charges on employees – such as a £7 charge for a £20 advance to buy petrol for a company-provided vehicle. These charges for a loan of just £20 for a period of one week until payday equates to an annual percentage rate of more than 17,000%.

The work that Apex Care staff at Winchester undertake for the county council can’t be undertaken without a vehicle. Very few staff on or below the minimum wage can afford to own their own car, so Apex’s answer to this is to lease vehicles to their low-paid staff so that they can do their work. This lease costs staff £128 per month from their already meagre wages. One member of staff recently suffered a £500 excess charge directly deducted from her wages, without notice, for being involved in a no-fault accident, leaving her almost nothing to live on for the whole month ahead.

Apex also refuses to compensate staff for the actual mileage covered in their work and instead pays them only for the Googled distance between locations. Apex also refuses to pay its staff who use their own vehicles the recommended HMRC mileage rate of 45p per mile.

Staff at Winchester – 90% of whom are UNISON members – feel so strongly about all of these issues that they have told their union that they are prepared to be balloted on taking industrial action should the employer refuse make them a fair offer to settle their complaints.
UNISON has called on Apex to:

– pay staff no less than the national minimum wage during travel time and to issue new contracts that include a reasonable number of minimum guaranteed hours of work per week; – have no more than one split shift per day per member of staff; – ensure all staff receive itemised pay slips that clearly indicate all hours worked and the applicable rate of pay; – introduce a fair and transparent pay structure;

– allow staff the option to remove Apex logos from lease vehicles and for staff to be given option to be released from existing leases without penalty.

More than a month after submitting these demands, Apex has failed to address any of these issues. Mr Terry stated: “The ongoing refusal of Apex to pay their staff no less than the national minimum wage and Hampshire County Council’s failure to ensure Apex abides by the law is disgraceful.”

 


 Labour will freeze energy bills until 2017

Published October 27, 2013 | By admin

Labour campaigners in Winchester were out on doorsteps last Saturday in Winnall with local Labour Councillors Janet Berry and Chris Pines, as well as candidates Clive Gosling [St. John & All Saints – Winnall & Highcliffe] and Andy Adams [St. Luke’s – Stanmore] asking local people to sign Labour’s petition calling for a freeze on gas and electricity bills.

Energy Bills 1

 

Local Party Secretary, Patrick Davies, who was Labour’s candidate at the last General Election, welcomed Ed Miliband’s pledge that Labour will freeze energy bills until the start of 2017.  On the campaign trail

“This freeze is now urgent as one of the big companies is increasing energy prices by 8.2% adding over £100 a year to the annual bill. Prices have risen faster than wages in 38 of the 39 months that David Cameron has been in Downing Street and energy bills have already gone up by almost £300. When the price of energy increases energy companies pass this on but when it drops consumers don’t see their bills fall.  When Labour wins the next election we will freeze prices until the start of 2017. This will save a typical household £120 a year.”

Full details of the campaign to freeze energy prices can be found here – http://action.labour.org.uk/page/s/energy-calculator

                

 

 Labour on the streets with plan to freeze local energy bills.

Published December 18, 2013 | By admin

 

Labour campaigners were out in Winchester High Street on Saturday afternoon with local Labour Councillors Janet Berry and Chris Pines asking local people to sign Labour’s petition calling for a freeze on gas and electricity bills. They were joined by Anneliese Dodds, Labour’s lead candidate in next year’s European Elections.

Local Party Secretary, Patrick Davies, who was Labour’s candidate at the last General Election, welcomed Ed Miliband’s pledge that Labour will freeze energy bills until the start of 2017. “This is in stark contrast to the pathetic attempts by the Lib Dems and the Tories in the present government who seem helpless to deal with the problem”.

Anneliese pointed out that energy bills were going up by £120 this winter alone, “never mind the £300 that bills have gone up by since the government got into power. Labour’s price freeze would save money for households and businesses and our plans to reset the energy market would stop these companies from overcharging people in the future,” she said.

Janet explained how she was told at the last Council meeting that a freeze now on gas and electricity prices would save the Council more than £106,000, which could otherwise be spent on local services.

Hundreds of local people signed Labour’s national petition during the afternoon.

              

 

 

The coming Corporatocracy and the death of democracy

Posted: December 17, 2013 by rainbowwarriorlizzie in Uncategorized

In Solidarity! xx 🙂

Politics and Insights

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“Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.”
Benito Mussolini.

“The real corruption that has eaten into the heart of British public life is the tightening corporate grip on government and public institutions – not just by lobbyists, but by the politicians, civil servants, bankers and corporate advisers who increasingly swap jobs, favours and insider information, and inevitably come to see their interests as mutual and interchangeable… Corporate and financial power have merged into the state.”Seumus Milne.

The Conservative privatisation programme has been an unmitigated failure. We have witnessed scandalous price rigging, and massive job losses, decreased standards in service delivery and a disempowerment of our Unions. But then the Tories will always swing policy towards benefiting private companies and not the public, as we know. In Britain, privatisation was primarily driven by Tory ideological motives, to “roll…

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The just world fallacy

Posted: December 17, 2013 by rainbowwarriorlizzie in Uncategorized

In solidarity! xx 🙂

Politics and Insights

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The Tories now deem anything that criticises them as “abusive”. Ordinary campaigners are labelled “extremists” and pointing out flaws, errors and consequences of Tory policy is called “scaremongering”.

Language and psychology are a powerful tool, because this kind of use “pre-programs” and sets the terms of any discussion or debate. It also informs you what you may think, or at least what you need to circumnavigate first in order to state your own account or present your case. This isn’t simply name-calling or propaganda: it’s a deplorable and tyrannical silencing technique.

The government have gathered together a Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) – it is a part of the Cabinet Office – which is comprised of both behavioural psychologists and economists, who apply positivist (pseudo) psychological techniques to social policy. The approach is not much different to the techniques of persuasion used in the shady end of the advertising industry.  They produce

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CHRISTMAS & NEW YEAR BENEFIT PAYMENTS 15/12/2013

Posted: December 15, 2013 by rainbowwarriorlizzie in Uncategorized

Here are the Christmas and New Year payments…

There are different dates for Christmas and New Year…

Payment Due Dates:

24th December (Christmas Eve)

25th December (Christmas Day)

26th December (Boxing Day)

Payment to be made on 23rd December.

27th December & 30th December (Northern Ireland Only)

Payments to be made on 23rd December.

New Year Payments Due

1st January 2014 to be paid on 31st December 2013.

2nd January 2014 (Scotland Only) to be paid on
31st December 2013.

Here is the gov link

https://www.gov.uk/how-to-have-your-benefits-paid


reserver_headerD

Reserve a Place for a Homeless Person at Crisis at Christmas

We have just spent £21.84 out of our benefit to Reserve a  Christmas Place…Please if you can afford to Reserve a Place for a Homeless Person, then please do. This is a very worthwhile charity who work with the thousands upon thousands of Homeless People which is ever growing with the Housing Benefit Caps and Bedroom Tax. Especially at sthis time year when the cold is coming in, with weather warning taking place at present for the coldest Britain on record.

Bless you and Thank you for your support.

Ben’s story

When you’re homeless, Christmas can be the toughest time of all for someone like Ben, for him Crisis at
Christmas was a lifesaver. The odds were stacked against him from the start. He was shunted from foster
home to care home and then went from one insecure job to the next – until, aged just 27, he found himself
on the street last winter.“The cold just sinks into you,” he remembers. “I was struggling even to walk. My
body was proper giving up on me.”On Christmas Eve, Ben met someone who told him about Crisis at
Christmas. Your gift could give someone like Ben the warmest welcome they could hope for, a hearty
Christmas dinner, good company and friendly faces, and the chance to take advantage of a whole range
of services to help with housing, gaining skills and finding work.“I wouldn’t have had a Christmas if it
wasn’t for Crisis.”Please reserve a place for someone like Ben. Thank you.

reserve now

 

One place at Crisis at Christmas provides…

  • welcoming support from people who really care
  • three nutritious, hot meals including Christmas dinner
  • the chance to shower and change clothes, have a haircut and get a health check
  • expert advice on life-changing issues like housing and employment
  • an introduction to Crisis year-round services for training and support for the future

It’s a gift that always changes lives, and often saves them

Please reserve as many places as you can this year

Watch this video to see how your support helps

Your most recent gifts:
£87.36 gift from Mandi Eagle
£43.68 gift from anonymous
£43.68 gift from Anita English We hope life improves for you in the future
£21.84 gift from Andrew Luce Have a very good Christmas – may it help be the start of a new life
£43.68 gift from anonymous
£43.68 gift from anonymous
£43.68 gift from anonymous Merry Christmas I wish you the very best for the new year
£21.84 gift from anonymous Enjoy!
£43.68 gift from anonymous
£21.84 gift from Carol Barr Hope you have a happy Christmas and a happy healthy new year
£87.36 gift from Mandi Eagle
£43.68 gift from anonymous
£43.68 gift from Anita English We hope life improves for you in the future
£21.84 gift from Andrew Luce Have a very good Christmas – may it help be the start of a new life
£43.68 gift from anonymous
£43.68 gift from anonymous
£43.68 gift from anonymous Merry Christmas I wish you the very best for the new year
£21.84 gift from anonymous Enjoy!
£43.68 gift from anonymous
£21.84 gift from Carol Barr Hope you have a happy Christmas and a happy healthy new year
£87.36 gift from Mandi Eagle
£43.68 gift from anonymous
£43.68 gift from Anita English We hope life improves for you in the future
£21.84 gift from Andrew Luce Have a very good


Homelessness ends here Find out how



 

Monday 9 December 2013

Watch Live Watch From Start

Wilson Room Meeting started at 4.31pm. Ended at 6.53pm

Department for Work and Pensions Annual Report and Accounts Witnesses

  1. Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith MP, Secretary of State, Lord Freud, Minister for Welfare Reform, Howard Shiplee CBE, Universal Credit Director General, and Mike Driver, Finance Director General, Department for Work and Pensions

 

Visit the Committee’s homepage

 


Tesco has offered to pay all work experience candidates referred to the supermarket through Jobcentre Plus and give them a job at the end of their placement if they do well, in a move designed to curb the growing anger towards the company over unpaid placements.

Candidates will have the choice of remaining on JSA benefits, paid at a little over £50 a week for under-25s, or taking up the paid placement with a job at the end of it, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.
Candidates will have the choice of remaining on JSA benefits, paid at a little
over £50 a week for under-25’s, or taking up the paid placement with a job at
the end of it, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.
 
Louisa Peacock

By  12:16PM GMT 21 Feb 2012

Comments186 Comments

The UK’s biggest supermarket has announced it will offer all Jobseekers Allowance work experience candidates a paid four-week placement with the company and a guaranteed job at the end of the scheme, provided they complete the placement successfully.

Candidates will have the choice of remaining on JSA benefits, paid at a little over £50 a week for under-25′s, or taking up the paid placement with a job at the end of it, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

Richard Brasher, chief executive of Tesco UK, said: “We know it is difficult for young people to give up benefits for a short-term placement with no permanent job at the end of it. So this guarantee that a job will be available provided the placement is completed satisfactorily, should be a major confidence boost for young people wanting to enter work on a permanent basis.”

When Tesco began offering work experience to Jobcentre Plus jobseekers last May, as part of the Government’s new work academy scheme, it pledged to create 3,000 placements. It has completed 1,500 placements to date and said the remaining 1,500 candidates will be offered the choice of staying on their benefits or taking up the paid placement.

Tesco recruits about 7,000 people each year in its stores nationwide and now 1,500 of those jobs will come from the Jobcentre route. The jobs are not extra to any recruitment plans the company has.

The placements were part of a Government welfare scheme aimed at encouraging business to provide unpaid work placements, to improve jobseekers’ skills and make them more “job ready”. It is voluntary, but if applicants pull out, there is a threat they will lose their JSA payments.

The job advert which sparked the Twitter row

Tesco said it continued to seek reassurances from the Government that if jobseekers dropped out of the work experience scheme, they would not lose their benefits. The supermarket has only ever taken part in the voluntary programme and not the “mandatory work activity” scheme which is more controversial.

A statement on Tuesday said: “Tesco has suggested to the Department of Work and Pensions that, to avoid any misunderstanding about the voluntary nature of the scheme, the risk of losing benefits that currently eists should be removed.”

The Tesco jobs row kicked off on social media site Twitter last week. Campaign activists used the site to rally support to boycott Tesco and raise awareness over the scheme, which they claim equates to “slave labour” as employers receive four weeks of unpaid labour.

The British Chambers of Commerce today urged the Government and employers not to let the debate on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook drive policy decisions on tackling youth unemployment.

A petition to abolish all welfare work experience schemes in the UK, run by campaign group Unfair Workfare, has attracted more than 7,000 signatures to date.

One of the commenters, markmason33 & bryterlayter to  Andrew_Ck (2 years ago) made a list of companies engaged in this “work experience” scheme.

The devil is in the detail here Tesco are offering a job at the end of a four week for under 25’s on what is called the work experience program.

They are not however  offering a single penny or the guarantee of a job for those on the work program which is completely different and is for older or longer unemployed people.

So Tesco are still conservative with the truth and in any case you the tax payer are still paying for this and all these other companies to sponge of the state. 

The list is as follows:

a4e
Alpha Stream – Kent
Asda
ATS
BHS – British Home Stores [1]
Boots
Burger King
Burton
Age Concern
Argos
Asian Star Community Radio LTD
Barnardos
Bookers Wholesale
Carillion – Kent
British Heart Foundation
Capability Scotland
Cancer Research
DB Accident Repair – Kent
DC Cleaning Sussex
Diamond Glass Medway – Kent
Dorothy Perkins [1]
Envirostream – Kent
Evans [1]
Finsbury Park Business Forum
F&S Interiors – Kent
Go Response – Kent
Helen & Douglas House Hospice – Maidenhead
HMV [3]
Holiday Inn
Holland & Barrett
Gorgie City Farm
Greggs the bakers
JA Glover – Kent
Jessup Electrical Wholesale Ltd – Kent
JJ Vickers & Sons Ltd – Kent
Kennedy Scott
Kent Flooring Supplies – Kent
Kent Space – Kent
Maplin – have tweeted that they have withdrawn, awaiting statement
Matalan – have suspended workfare. Keep up the pressure for them to drop it!
Mayhem Paintball – Kent
McDonald’s
Medway Council
Medway Tyres – Kent
Miss Selfridge
Mr Gleam – Sussex
Newham Council
Newhaven Community Development
Olympic Glass – Kent
Omnico Plastics Ltd – Kent
Outfit [1]
Payless – Kent
PDSA
Pizza Hut
Plumbase – Kent
Poundland
Poundstretcher
PPDG
Primark
Process Plant Services Ltd – Kent
RBLI
Regency Guillotine – Kent
Richmond Fellowship
Romney Resource Kent
Royal Mail
RNR Performance Cars – Kent
Saffron Acres Project
Salvation Army
Savers
SERCO
Scout Enterprises
Servest – Kent, London
SHOC Slough Homeless
Signs & Imaging Ltd – Kent
Slough Library
Slough Furniture Project
Southern Membranes Ltd – Kent
Southern Metal Services – Kent
southern Roofing & Building Supplies – Kent
Stephens Fresh Food – Kent
Superdrug
Swan Lifeline – Windsor
Tesco
Topman [1]
Topshop [1]
The Range – Sussex
Town and Country Cleaners Kent
Wallis [1]
Westvic Enamellers – Kent
WHSmith
Whittingtons Silk Flower & Plant Centre – Kent
Wilkinsons

ENERGY PRICES, MP consults residents on Labour’s price freeze

Posted: December 3, 2013 by rainbowwarriorlizzie in Uncategorized