Thursday, 29 September 2016

This blog is now archived

The Merseyside ARMS committee has agreed that this blog and the North West ARMS blog are mostly duplicating each other. From now on, all posts and information for Merseyside ARMS will be on the North West ARMS blog. This blog will remain for information purposes but there will be no further updates.

Please click here for the ARMS North West blog.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Socialist Party Public Meeting Supporting Jeremy Corbyn

The Merseyside Socialist Party congratulates Jeremy Corbyn on being re-elected Labour Party leader. This victory confirms that, in spite of the sustained campaign of vilification against him spearheaded by 170 members of the Parliamentary Labour Party and the exclusion from the vote of thousands of genuine supporters – the Party is determined to shuffle off the remnants of Blairism. We believe Labour Party members should have the right to begin the process of holding MPs to account and replacing those who are implacably opposed to Corbyn with candidates who are prepared to fight for working class interests.

Come and hear Tony Mulhearn at next Tuesday's public meeting (27 September) at 7.30pm in The Liverpool Pub (upstairs), 14 James Street, Liverpool, L2 7PQ (next to James Street Mersey rail station).

Hear the story of the Liverpool 47 and what really happened in the 1980s as opposed to the continued distortions expressed by the opponents of both Jeremy Corbyn and Labour Party democracy.

Hear also Sarah Sachs-Eldridge, national organiser of the Socialist Party, explaining the Socialist Party's campaign for its right to affiliate to the Labour party and its demand for a democratic rewriting of Labour's constitution.

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For further information contact:

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Merseyside ARMS all members meeting

  • Date:  Thursday 29 September 2016.
  • Time:  11.00 to 14.00.
  • Place:  Robert Tressell Room, PCS Regional Office, 3rd Floor, Jack Jones House, 1 Islington, Liverpool L3 8EG
  • Guest speaker: Tony Mulhearn, co-author of Liverpool: A City That Dared To Fight, and also Liverpool Labour Party City Councillor in the 1980s.
  • Meeting open to:  Merseyside ARMS members - North West ARMs members and PCS branches are all very welcome as observers.
A unique opportunity to hear first-hand the experiences of the Liverpool Labour Council in the 1980s when tens of thousands of workers united to gain major concessions from an intransigent Tory Government.

Active in his trade union, the National Graphic Association, since starting work, Tony Mulhearn joined the Labour Party in Liverpool in 1963. He was Vice-President of the District Labour Party for 8 years, then its President for a further 5 years. Elected to the Liverpool City Council in 1984, he soon became a key figure in the council struggle, combining his position on the council with the presidency of the Liverpool District Labour Party, until his expulsion from the Labour Party after a Spanish Inquisition-style inquiry in 1986. Tony Mulhearn was one of the 47 councillors surcharged and disqualified from office by the unelected district auditor in March 1987. We hope that this account of Liverpool's struggle can play its part in the rearming of the British working class for the mighty battles to come.

Agenda
  1. Welcome (11.00-11.05) 
  2. Previous minutes (11.05-11.10) 
  3. Guest speaker – Tony Mulhearn, former Liverpool councillor (11.10-12.30) 
  4. Lunch (12.30-13.00) 
  5. Clara Paillard PCS NEC (13.00-13.30) 
  6. NW Regional Committee (13.30-13.40) 
  7. National Committee (13.40-13.45) 
  8. Finance (13.45-13.50) 
  9. Activities (13.50-13.55) 
  10. Close of meeting (13.55-14.00)

Thursday, 8 September 2016

TUC should speak for rank & file

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady calls for the Labour Party to look outward and deal with the Tories but she doesn’t identify the guilty party. Not a word of criticism of the Blairites who caused the divisions and chaos. She should declare that the rank and file Party members campaigning for socialist change are lions led by the Blairite donkeys of the PLP who are turning their fire on the leadership instead of organising to defeat the Tories. You can't be neutral in this situation; as the spokesperson for six million organised workers she should be demanding full support for Jeremy Corbyn whose policy is totally in accord with the TUC's policy of opposition to all austerity.

Tony Mulhearn ARMS Mersey

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Miners' pension fund demo

Further to the post here on 31 August about the ongoing theft from the miners' pension fund, here are details of a demo in Liverpool on the issue on 27 September. There's also a petition here.

Friday, 2 September 2016

TUSC meeting for Corbyn, Liverpool

TUSC continues to support the campaign to re-elect Jeremy Corbyn and to elect an anti-austerity Metro Mayor.

Roger Bannister will speak at a meeting in the Casa, Hope Street on Saturday 3 September 2016 at 12noon.

Roger, TUSC candidate for Liverpool mayor in May 2016, is hoping to meet Labour’s metro mayoral candidate Steve Rotheram to explore a meeting of minds on fighting cuts.

Steve is committed to building council housing, to social justice and standing up for ordinary people, which are policies that TUSC has advocated at elections on Merseyside for 6 years.

Roger Bannister said: 'I commend Merseyside and Halton’s Labour members for rejecting the austerity agenda defended by the likes of Joe Anderson. In May’s mayoral elections in Liverpool I argued for: no more cuts to council services, no cuts to our colleges, save Liverpool Women’s Hospital and other threatened NHS facilities, and to defend the Mersey rail train guards and their service. I won over 5% of the vote which is a firm basis to build on.'

All are welcome to attend and broaden the campaign for the socialist alternative.

A display of the 1983-1987 Socialist Council’s achievements will also be on display.

Tony Mulhearn
ARMS Mersey

Thursday, 1 September 2016

News updates - from the web

Our regular round up of relevant news items, by Steve Ion of ARMS Mersey.

One in ten over 65s in work - here.

Waspi: Jeremy Corbyn pledges support for pensioners - here.

Expats pensions possible impact - here.

Care home costs increase - here.

Potential plans to reform final salary pensions - here.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Miners pension fund fight

This petition calls upon the UK Government to review the mineworkers' pension fund to reduce the 50/50 share of the surplus that the Government takes from the system. It has been many years since the mineworkers and widows have had an increase in their pension (other than cost of living increases). They deserve a fair increase in their pension.

Since 1994, both Labour and Tory governments have taken from the surplus of the miners' pension fund at a rate of £1 million per day, making a total of £8 billion. The government must reduce the deduction from 50% of the surplus to a more reasonable percentage. 

Sign the petition here.

Monday, 29 August 2016

PCS Bulletin - help & support requested

The help of ARMS members is asked for the following campaigns:

  • Protect Chorley and South Ribble Hospital from Cuts and Privatisation
WE NEED YOUR HELP to demonstrate outside these hospitals for 1 hour from 10.00 a.m. on Saturday 17th September to protect your local A&E: 
Preston, Wigan, Bolton, Blackburn, Blackpool, Lancaster.

Our campaign was given the bad news that Chorley and South Ribble Accident and Emergency department will be closed until April 2017; we believe this is a move to close it indefinitely. The effect of this is rippling out to A&Es in other areas. This isn't good for other A&Es and the people they are intended to serve. It is having a negative effect on the North West Ambulance Service, some ambulances are queuing for hours to hand over sick or injured people.

Ask yourself these questions: If not me then who? If not now, then when? The NHS will survive as long as there are people willing to protect it. We are those people.

To help contact: Andrew Birchall on andrewbirchall3@gmail.com or mobile 0784 0202 084.

  • March for the Liverpool Women’s Hospital 
25th September 2016 – Assemble at the Women’s Hospital at midday and walk to the water front.

The Liverpool Women’s hospital is a 20 year old world class hospital on a good site. It’s the largest maternity hospital in Europe and cares for more than 50,000 patients a year. Its future is under threat because of inadequate maternity funding, lack of investment, funding problems for all the NHS and the rampant privatisation and market focus of the NHS.

Follow ‘Save Liverpool Women’s Hospital’ on Facebook, Save-Liverpool-Womens-Hospital or email SaveLWH@outlook.com.

  • Conservative Party Conference Demonstration 
Sunday, 2nd October 2016 – Assemble in Victoria Square, Birmingham, B1 1BD at 11.30 a.m.

Austerity has failed! Join the Midlands TUC’s march and rally to tell the Government that austerity isn’t working. Please let PCS NW know if you wish to attend. Please email: nwrc@pcs.org.uk

Thursday, 18 August 2016

News updates - from the web

A triple lock, yesterday
Our regular round up of relevant news items, by Steve Ion of ARMS Mersey. 

Over 60s cutting back to make ends meet - here.

Why we must stick with the triple lock - here

Annuity pensions cut again - here.

Lifetime ISA should not be used for pension - here.

WASPI campaign has no support from Government  - here.

UK firms paid five times more in dividends than into pensions - here.

Retired people spending less than £20 per week - here.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Zero hours contracts - a personal view

My grandfather was gassed aged 15 or 16 in the trenches during the First World War. The lifelong ill health that resulted made finding work hard but he never gave up trying. He'd go from his Kirkdale home to the Liverpool docks every day to try to get a single day's work. He never managed to because he refused to pay the foreman a bribe from the meagre wages that were on offer, partly on the principle that a man shouldn’t have to pay to get a day’s work, and partly because he had a family to keep. He died in his 40s during the Second World War from an illness related to his First World War injuries. 

What a way to treat an old soldier who had ruined his health for his country - and what a way to treat a worker. That's the world the Tories want to take us back to with their attacks on employment rights, with "no fault dismissals"; we have them already in the form of redundancy, but they actually want a US-style "hire and fire" regime because that’s a lot cheaper. Zero hours contracts take us precisely to what my grandfather had to face in his struggle to get just a single day’s work. 

This is even further than Mrs Thatcher dared go. We must not allow it.

Neville Grundy
Organiser
ARMS Mersey

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

NW Regional ARMS Committee Special General meeting

To: North West Regional ARMs Committee members and all ARMs members in the North West.

As you may be aware, following on from the 2016 ARMs Forum held in June, arrangements have now been put in place to hold elections for the ARMs National Committee.

The first step in this process (which is set out in detail on the PCS National ARMs web-page ( ARMS latest news - PCS ) will be for the NW Regional ARMS Committee to hold a Special General Meeting (to which all ARMs members in the North West are cordially invited) to consider putting forward nominations for the National Committee. Accordingly, the Special General Meeting will be held as follows:
  • Date: Wednesday 24th August 2016
  • Venue: PCS Regional Office, 3rd Floor, Jack Jones House, 1, Islington, Liverpool, L3 8EG
  • Time: 11:30 am – 2:00 pm
This is the first opportunity in over two years that members will be entitled to participate in the election process for the ARMs National Committee, so it is hoped that as many members as possible will be able to attend the meeting, As it is a special meeting, the question of nominations will be the only item on the agenda, so that the meeting will not be expected to last more than an hour, even though the meeting room has been booked for longer. Nominations are invited for the following National posts: Chairperson; Vice Chairperson/Editor; Secretary; Assistant Secretary/Organiser; Treasurer and Committee member (6 posts).

In order to facilitate debate at the meeting, any NW Regional ARMs member who wishes to submit nominations for the ARMs National Committee should send the details (via hard-copy or e-mail) to the NW ARMs Regional Secretary so as to reach him no later than 5:00 pm on Wednesday 17th August 2016.

Yours sincerely,

Phil Green
Secretary
PCS North West Regional ARMs Committee

E-mail: p.c.green@ukgateway.net
33 Cambridge Avenue
Churchtown
Southport PR9 9SA

Monday, 8 August 2016

John McDonnell’s plea to JC’s would be assassins

John's history underpins his loyalty to the working class and the ideas of socialism, but I was puzzled by his comments on BBC Radio's Today programme. He described the right wing MPs as nice people who should get behind Jeremy. John should know that they are behind him alright with daggers poised to plunge into his back. When asked was he in favour of re-selection he completely rejected the suggestion instead arguing that they could be persuaded to support a Corbyn-led party.

The right wing are desperate to preserve their influence, income and privileges which they see threatened by a rank and file who are supporting a radical leader and are rightly calling for control over their elected representatives, and that includes reselection. It’s called democratic accountability, a concept now described as 'bullying' by those hostile to JC.


John should be familiar with the truism: 'no ruling group has left the scene of history without a fight, and that means a fight with no holds barred.' When JC is re-elected as the leader, the truth of that axiom will be confirmed in spades.

Tony Mulhearn
ARMS  Mersey

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Jeremy Hunt: reveal your plans for the NHS


Health Minister Jeremy Hunt has a secret plan to force changes to local NHS services in order to cut costs. The changes, called "sustainability and transformation plans", are being kept secret. But they could mean cuts to hospital beds, local walk-in centres or family planning services near you.

Across England, these plans are being drawn up in the next few weeks. Because they're secret it's hard to say exactly which services near you are at risk. But the plans for one area have been leaked and show the scale of the threat: they include axing 500 hospital beds and some emergency ambulances. No wonder Jeremy Hunt doesn't want us to see them!

The best way to stop these cuts is to get them out in the open and demand the public has a say. So please can you sign the petition now, demanding that Jeremy Hunt publishes his plans for local NHS cuts? It only takes 30 seconds to add your name to the petition - here.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Corbyn providing an inspiration

To paraphrase a well-known old class fighter: ‘Let the ruling class and their Labour shadows in parliament tremble at the developing movement which will recreate a new mass party of the working class. We have nothing to lose but a fossilised right wing bureaucracy which has stripped working people of political representation for the last thirty years. All forces on the left are uniting to ensure the success of Jeremy Corbyn.’

St George’s plateau the scene of magnificent demos in 1911, 1926, 1983-87, last night witnessed the re-emergence of the spirit of workers who, given leadership, displayed magnificent energy in their quest for a just socialist society and see Corbyn as the leader that can achieve that objective. The ban on CLPs meeting should be lifted and the re-selection procedures be started immediately.

Tony Mulhearn
ARMS Mersey committee

Saturday, 30 July 2016

News updates - from the web

Our regular round up of relevant news items, by Steve Ion of ARMS Mersey. 

Ros Altmann's resignation letter in full - here.

Altmann: "I felt like I was in detention" - here.

Annuity rates on pension investment drop by 37% - here.

A new vaccine could reverse dementia - here.

Perception of downgrading importance of pensions by government - here.

Friday, 29 July 2016

MPA motion & Jeremy Corbyn rally in Liverpool


Motion on MP reselection to the Merseyside Pensioners Association

Proposed by ARMS committee member Tony Mulhearn and passed by the MPA. 
The Merseyside Pensioners' Association declares its continued support for Jeremy Corbyn and deplores the charges of bullying and intimidation falsely aimed at his supporters.

We applaud the conference decision of Unite the Union which recognises the right of party members to select candidates that reflect their views and supports the need for mandatory re-selection of Labour MPs with a view to selecting candidates who support a programme of opposition to the continuing savage cuts of the Tories.

We believe that in spite of assurances given that the triple lock will be protected we believe that pensioners' entitlements will be threatened by austerity supporters on both sides of the House and we need genuine anti-austerity MPs who will fight to defend the interests of the old and younger generations. 
Jeremy Corbyn Rally In Liverpool
  • Date: Monday 1 August 
  • Time: 7.00 pm 
  • Place: St George's Plateau, Liverpool 1 
Jeremy Corbyn MP will be speaking in Liverpool next Monday at 7.00 pm on St George's Plateau in front of St George's Hall in Liverpool city centre

Speakers include:
  • Jeremy Corbyn MP.
  • Cllr Alice Bennet.
  • Cllr Peter Mitchell.
  • Mel Walker.
  • Cllr Joann Kushner.
Come and join us to support Jeremy Corbyn in his campaign to be re-elected Labour Party Leader.

All welcome!

Saturday, 23 July 2016

HMRC cleaners strike 25 & 26 July

A message from Phil Dickens, HMRC PCS Union Representative

Next Monday and Tuesday (25 & 26 July) PCS members working for ISS as cleaners in HMRC buildings in Liverpool and Bootle are taking part in a 48 hour strike, following a unilateral decision by management to cut the hours of cleaning staff.

PCS has called for the actual Living Wage as defined by the Living Wage Foundation (LWF), currently £8.25 per hour outside London, to be paid to the cleaners. ISS is accredited by the LWF and claims to be a Living Wage employer. Yet to pay for the government's much lower 'national living wage' (NLW) of £7.20, it is imposing the cuts to HMRC cleaners' hours.

We believe that ISS, having turned a £250 million profit in 2015, can more than afford the real Living Wage. We also believe that HMRC, as the department responsible for implementing the government's NLW, ought to save itself embarrassment by ensuring that it is properly applied without shortcuts on its own estate.

Cleaners are clear that they want a wage they can live on without cuts and are willing to fight in order to get that. If this initial strike doesn't move ISS, they are willing to escalate their action. Please support them in every way you can:
Please attend picket lines (see below) if you can, and show your support for the lowest paid and most precarious section of the union's membership in HMRC.

More details about the campaign (including how you can support us through social media) can be found on-line here.

Support the pickets:

Bootle
  • Litherland House, Litherland Road, Bootle (map) – 7am to 9.30am
  • The Triad, Stanley Road, Bootle (map) – 7am to 12pm
Liverpool
  • Graeme House and Regian House, Derby Square, Liverpool (map) – 3pm to 5pm
  • Imperial Court, Exchange Street East, Liverpool (map) – 12.30pm to 2pm

Sunday, 17 July 2016

News updates - from the web

ARMS Mersey Group secretary Steve Ion's regular round-up of relevant news items.
  • Adult social care faces 1billion shortfall - here.
  • Joined-up health and social care - here.
  • Funding concerns of defined benefit pensions schemes - here.
  • Theresa May's husband works for investment firm whose major clients include Amazon and Starbucks - here.