Monday, 30 September 2013

Save our NHS March at the Tory Party Conference in Manchester

Members of Bridgwater Trades union Council and North Somerset UNISON attended this weekend's march in Manchester where 50,000 people marched against the cuts and privatisation of our NHS.

One of the highlights was The Farm doing All Together Now - here's a link to the video:

The Manchester Evening News also gave the march some great coverage -

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Bridgwater Trades Council & Postal Workers support Firefighters

Workers Solidarity

Members of Bridgwater Trades Union Council, along with Bridgwater postal workers supported local firefighters on their picket line on Wednesday 25th   September, and are proud to offer 100% solidarity in their continuing fight to protect pensions. The solid support for the strike shown by firefighters across England and Wales demonstrates their anger and determination to keep a fair, safe and workable pensions scheme
The government’s proposed changes to firefighters’ pension rights are unsafe, unfair and unworkable, and will result in firefighters’ health and public safety being put at risk, as firefighters are forced to work longer, for a lower pension.

The general public appreciate the hazardous work done by firefighters, and their courage. It’s a pity the government doesn’t. They must ditch these ridiculous proposals and get back into talks with the Fire Brigades Union.

Said Trades Council Secretary Dave Chapple: “The government’s attack on firefighters’  pensions is the same attack being made by government right across the public sector, as they try  to recover the costs of the bank crash from the pockets of tomorrow’s pensioners. It is an assault on workers, their future and the vital public services they deliver. "

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Bridgwater Trades Union Council 1913-2013 CENTENARY CELEBRATION SATURDAY 19TH OCTOBER

Join us for a march, with your branch banner, to a rally at Bridgwater Baptist Church, to commemorate the founding of the town’s organised trade union movement by local rail-workers in 1913

12.30pm: Assemble: Cranleigh Gardens, Bridgwater, TA6 5JS
1pm: Banner parade and march  
1.45-2.45: Rally, Baptist Church, St Mary Street, TA6 3EQ
  • Rosemary Eaton, Minister, Bridgwater Baptist Church
  • Nigel Costley, Secretary, South West TUC
  • Rosie McGregor, White Horse(Wiltshire) Trades Union Council
  • Bob Crow,  General Secretary, RMT
3.15 – 4.15pm: Ships, Bricks & Cellophane: a radical view and discussion of Bridgwater’s political and industrial history, with Dave Chapple, postman and secretary of Bridgwater Trades Union Council

Further information: Dave Chapple:  0777 6304 276

“A red ship in a sea of blue!”
Bridgwater Trades Union Council was founded on June 22nd 1913 after a march of over 2,000 workers from Bridgwater and Highbridge proudly wound its way through Eastover, Fore St and High Street to a rally at the Town Hall.

This new West Country trades council was founded by the Bridgwater and Highbridge Branches of the National Union of Railwaymen (NUR). The NUR itself had only just been established: a historic joining of several railway unions, including the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants (ASRS)

In the militant years before World War One, the new NUR was hailed as a significant step towards achieving a single, strong, industrial union for the whole rail industry-then, as now, privately owned and run. Today’s RMT continues that militant NUR tradition!

In 1913, Bridgwater had NUR, ASLEF, RCA and AEU members working at both Bridgwater North Station (Somerset & Dorset) and the Great Western Railway (GWR): (a goods station at Bailey Street, the carriage works at Colley Lane, and the Bridgwater docks and wharves.)

Highbridge had double the number of Bridgwater’s rail workers: 900 at the huge Walrow carriage, repair and engine works: the engineering headquarters of the Somerset and Dorset Railway.

The Brick and Tile industry was still dominant in Bridgwater, and workers from Ben Tillett’s Dock, Wharf, Riverside and General Labourer’s Union-a forerunner of Unite- were there on the day, with the bakers, printers, tailors, the various building trade unions, the Engineers (AEU), agricultural workers, Co-op workers, and, perhaps, the National Union of Seamen.

Our 2013 centenary celebration also commemorates 100 years of working-class political and industrial organisation: Bridgwater as “a red ship on a sea of blue”: defiance of hostile employers and a counterweight to Conservatism! Bridgwater Trades Council is still fighting the cause of the Bridgwater working-class, so come and join us on October 19th!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

"Definitely undefeated!"

After nine days of strike action postal
workers at the Royal Mail
 Delivery Office in Friarn Street Bridgwater have voted to end their summer-long dispute about oppressive managers and working conditions.
This follows a mass meeting of workers last night where a proposed agreement was endorsed by a 3:1 majority.
Bristol CWU Branch Secretary David Wilshire said:
“Following lengthy and difficult negotiations an agreement has been accepted that places the Union back at the centre of all decisions that are made in Royal Mail Bridgwater.  
Crucially it states that future changes will not be made until agreement is reached.
 In addition Royal Mail must realise that unless the management of the office seriously improves in the near future more disputes are inevitable.”
On the basis of the vote taken yesterday evening the planned week of strike action that was scheduled to take place for a week commencing 9 September 2013 has been cancelled.
Dave Chapple, Bristol CWU Branch Chair and Bridgwater Rep said:
"110 postmen and women have sustained what is possibly-that epic Burslem struggle apart- the longest and most bitter official dispute in a Royal Mail Delivery Office for 20 years. What were we up against? First, up to 150 Royal Mail managers breaking our every picket line; second, our so-called free country's laws that makes solidarity strikes illegal. Had it not been for the amazing financial support from CWU Branches and other trades unionists nationwide, we would have struggled. Thanks to all those who supported us, we remain defiant and definitely undefeated!" 
For further information please contact :
David Wilshire on 07909 525740 
or Dave Chapple on 0777 6304 276