Thursday, 24 March 2016

OFF THE BOOKS, major companies outsource their workforce

OFF THE BOOKS, Major companies outsource their workforce 

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has published a report (1) exposing the global supply chains of 50 major companies who hold a combined wealth of $3.4 trillion, equivalent to that of 100 nations. 

What is revealed is that they directly employ just six per cent of the 125 million workers who produce and distribute their products. This allows the companies to have at their disposal a massive convenient workforce that they can exploit such that workers don't even get paid their moderate minimum wage demands of $117 a month in Phnom Penh; $250 in Jakarta and $345 in Manila. 

Many of those who are exploited work in the farming, agriculture and food sectors. 

Food and general retailer Carrefour directly employs 380,000 workers but also has 1.1 million supply chain workers. In 2004 The Guardian uncovered a prawn farming company in Carrefour's supply chain that had links to slave labour in Burma. Carrefour dropped the supplier but previous company audits had failed to uncover any problems. Coca-Cola plays a significant role across the agriculture supply chain. It has set targets' for workers' rights across its operations. It claims to conduct 2,000 annual independent audits. Not one is publicly disclosed. 

Primark undertook two audits at the Rana Plaza textile factory complex in Bangladesh but failed to spot the safety problems that caused the building to collapse killing over 1,100 people. It would have been more except banking employees, who worked in the complex had refused to work there; using their collective power as trade unionists to stop themselves being slaughtered. 

Clearly, as the TUC’s Owen Tudor has noted in response to a new report from Sheffield University (2), audits exist as a means of "giving rich multinational enterprises cover for their activities, 'showing' consumers in the West that the goods they sell have been ethically produced." 

Tudor contends that the only real way to audit a workplace is by the workforce day by day. For that to happen workers' need the power and experience of an independent trade union. That is not going to be easily achievable as in 58 per cent of countries across the globe groups of workers are excluded from labour law, 70 per cent of countries have workers who have no right to strike and 60 per cent of countries deny or restrict workers collective bargaining rights. 

Consequently, when workers take action they need international support. US restaurant company Phillips Seafood processes seafood products, including  Indonesian crabmeat. This is produced at the company factory in Lampung, Indonesia where 60 per cent of the majority female workforce have no permanent jobs and rely on text messages to find out if they are working. In autumn 2015, 205 long serving employees had their jobs outsourced to private homes at much reduced pay rates. 

With the assistance of the IUF these workers have been heroically fighting for their jobs back and the ending of outsourcing. The company has even tried to set up a management union, a move that appears to have badly backfired. 

Trade unionists are asked to send a message to Phillips Seafood (4) by accessing

1) SCANDAL - Inside the global supply chains of 50 top companies - a Frontlines Report 2016

4) For more on Phillips Seaford go to:-

Unite the Union make holiday pay breakthrough at Forestry Commission

Monday, 21 March 2016

LGBT activist and communist Mark Ashton added to Rebel Road site,%20Unite%20Belfast%20Office


Taken from Big Issue North magazine of 21-27 March, please buy a copy when you see a seller. 

Sensory therapy said to be highly effective 

NHS insists current guidelines are best 
Could a combination of home adaptations and therapy at a young age help reduce the numbers of people with autism who need to be housed in institutions as they grow older? That’s the question a Leeds disabled organisation and a severely autistic teenager’s parents want investigated by the NHS. 
The Access Committee for Leeds (ACL) is an unfunded body run by volunteer advocates that campaigns on behalf of disabled adults, carers and older people, and helps them apply for local authority disabled facilities grants (DFG) to allow for housing adaptations. 
One of the families ACL has assisted is the Shepherds in Tingley, Wakefield. Paula and Lee’s oldest daughter Katlyn, aged 15, is severely autistic, creating difficulties in processing sensory information such as textures, sounds, smells, tastes, movement and brightness. Ordinary situations can overwhelm the teenager and make family life difficult. 
“My daughter gets very frustrated, has a very high pain threshold, can self harm and be very destructive,” said Paula. “At one stage we had to move all the furniture out of her room. As she grew into a strong young woman we feared we wouldn’t be able to handle her physically, especially as the biggest issue we face is getting her into the bathroom. Obviously all this can frighten her younger sister.” 
Coming home 
A £40,000 DFG award allowed the Shepherds to install a new, highly colourful bedroom,
an indestructible wet room with a steel toilet and a spare bedroom where Katlyn can obtain specialist support from an integrated therapist. 
According to Lee, a builder: “The new facilities have made it possible for us to reduce from six to five nights the amount of time Katlyn is away from home at a specialist residential school in Boston Spa. Her teachers tell us how much she looks forward to coming home, she seems to enjoy her bedroom and her sister is glad to have her around. We are all very pleased.” 
Tim McSharry, an ACL volunteer, said: “Over the years by working closely with local councillors and child and adolescent mental health services we have successfully assisted families in similar situations. 
“We have found there is an instant improvement for parents being able to cope with their child. 

“But it seems that in years three and four after the adaptations – and just as adulthood approaches – the benefits diminish. Where it proves impossible to cope then it means the autistic young person leaves home permanently.” 
ACL believes it is better to postpone for as long as possible the moment when those with autism need to be housed in an institution. “It makes sense to try and keep an autistic young person surrounded for as long as possible by the people who love them. 
“Additionally, there is also a strong financial benefit to society as the residential costs start from £3,500 and rise to £10,000 a week,” said McSharry. 
ACL wants to persuade the NHS to fund sensory integration therapy for children with autism. This
is practised by occupational therapists, who use play activities to try to alter the reaction of the brain to touch, sound, sight and movement. 
But its attempts to secure this therapy for families, including the Shepherds, have not been successful. 
“We are disappointed,” said Paula. “Teachers at the school Katlyn attends have told us that they have children there who are receiving home- based integrated therapy.
It seems that the behaviour and general wellbeing of those getting extra help has improved immeasurably. We’d like Katlyn to receive some additional support.” 
Around 1 per cent of people in the UK have autism. Last week the charity Autistica warned that people with autism die on average 16 years earlier than those without, calling it “an enormous hidden crisis”. 
Better use of information 
According to ACL a new study led by occupational therapists at Philadelphia’s Jefferson School of Health Professions has backed their belief that sensory integration therapy improves the daily functions of people with autism. Thirty- two children aged four to eight with autism were divided into two groups over a 10-week period. One group received three hours per week of sensory integration therapy. 
Assessors, who did not know who was in which group, met with parents beforehand to set improvements goals, such as a child who hates touching food being able to move towards comfortably eating a meal. 
The researchers said children who received sensory integration therapy scored significantly higher in reaching those goals. Lead researcher Roseann Schaaf claimed: “By changing how sensations are processed by the brain, we help children with autism make better use of the information they receive and help them better participate in everyday tasks.” 
McSharry said: “This study is very interesting and we would like – and have tried to get – the NHS locally to fund a pilot study along similar lines here by paying for integrated therapy for people such as Katlyn. 
“If we can help autistic children better participate now in everyday tasks this should pave the way for them to stay out of institutions for a longer time when they become adults. 
“We would know if this was the case if the NHS continued to observe those young
people who have received therapy as they move through adulthood.” 
However, local NHS bodies have dismissed the idea of going ahead with their own study. 
Specialist clinicians 
Jane Mischenko, lead commissioner, children and maternity services at Leeds South and East Clinical Commissioning Group – which buys healthcare services in the area – said: “We have taken advice from specialist clinicians and are reassured that the care and support provided for children with autism and their families is within the latest guidance. If the guidance changes we would review the services we commission.” 
She denied the CCG was reluctant to be involved in a new study due to its cost. 
A spokesperson for Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust – which provides healthcare for children with autism, said: “We are always open to new ideas... but the trust is confident that it offers the best current clinical practice. 
“By providing goal-orientated support to young people and their families, linked specifically to the needs of the individuals concerned, the trust is ensuring that children with autism in Leeds will be able to participate in daily life.” 

Friday, 18 March 2016

Why Mark Jenner may have spied on Colin Roach Centre? - The Hackney Community Defence peoples' account of Hackney anti-poll tax demonstration in 1990

This gives an example of the marvellous work undertaken by Hackney Community
Defence Association and perhaps gives an understanding of why Mark Jenner was
employed to spy on the organisation. 

Rank and file or broad left booklet - is this amongst the reasons why Mark Jenner spied on the Colin Roach Centre?

Mark Jenner of the Special Demonstration Squad was secretary of the DEFEND BRIAN HIGGINS CAMPAIGN.
The Colin Roach Centre published this booklet by Brian and parts of it were cited in an unsuccessful
libel attack by a UCATT official. Parts of this booklet were also found in the blacklisting files of the Consulting Association when it was raided and closed down in 2009. Clearly the state thought it was important and it is reproduced here for anyone who is interested. It is not intended to enter into debate on the contents of the booklet itself.