Mesothelioma Action Day in London 2016

Phil did it… He Topped Last Year!

 The London Hazards Centre Asbestos Support Awareness Group is really taking shape, as this event proved!

 

The day started with Frances O’Grady releasing doves in memory of the victims of asbestos past and present, reminding us that this is an ongoing fight.  Then we went inside the TUC headquarters to start interacting with the speakers.  This is where it started getting really good.  This year there were new speakers and people who had appeared at previous events, brought out new ideas and new plans of attack, to use in the fight against asbestos.

Powerful speakers against asbestos

There was almost too much good stuff.  The speakers brought so much to the table this year, that I’m going to have to be very brief or this blog post could quite easily turn into a book!

Speakers at the London Action Day against Mesothelioma 2016

Hugh Robertson is the senior policy officer at the TUC.  Hugh is very clued up on occupational diseases and his contribution was very informative.

Linda Reinstein ADAO. USA.  Linda is very well respected around the world for activist activities in the fight against asbestos and the LHC are behind her all the way.  Linda made an excellent presentation,Linda Reinstein Presentation for lhc.org.uk.

Dr Peter Szlosarek Consultant St Bartholomew’s.   Dr Peter added so much to this event, which everyone appreciated.  Dr Szlosarek has kindly let us share his presentation slides they can be found here. AMD2016 Peter Szlosarek

I’m a handyman for a london council, Dr Szlosarek is such a good communicator I genuinely felt I had a grasp on complex Molecular Oncology.

Every one appreciated his excellent contribution and we all wish him and, his patients well. His research is to laymen like myself mind boggling. It’s fair to say everyone at this event had total respect for Peter and the work he is doing.

Harminder Bains   Is a much liked and respected friend to all of us at the lhc (London Hazards Centre)  If you click on Harminder’s name you will be taken to a page which shares the story of Keith Winton and his wife Susan.  Like many videos related to the sufferers of asbestos related illness it is very moving and it is also a testament to Harminder Bains passion for justice.

Mavis Nye needs no introduction to people in the fight against asbestos Mavis is the Meso Warrior.  Ray Nye is just as deeply involved in this fight and I’d like to share Ray’s Story on this post today.  Just a little personal note on this, meeting Mavis and Ray is always a pleasure.

This video is so moving. Please leave a comment after you’ve watched this.

Other notable speakers

Edward Beek

Susan Murray (Unite)

David Trigg Derbyshire Asbestos Support Team

Tony Lennon President of SERTUC (Bectu)  Gave a top notch talk.  That opened people’s eyes to just how varied the job types of people, at risk of exposure to asbestos are, and how; just earning a few pounds can cost a life.  His stories on film crews and location shoots certainly opened new trains of thought in my mind.

Sarah Lyons, NUT / asbestos in schools.  This is scary stuff and extremely disturbing.  The risk to school children of asbestos related illness is a national disgrace in my book, and anyone who holds or has held a senior position in the Department for Education have a lot of questions to answer in my book.  Here are the slides from Sarah’s presentation.

Gill Reed  Speaking on asbestos exposure in Brent.  This event was the first time I’d personally met Gill and her talk was yet another eye opener in a day full of stories and reports that make you go “what” that is happening now!  Gills presentation can be found here.AMD2016 Gill Reed

The acting chair of the London Hazards Asbestos Group closed the event, and on his behalf I would like to say sorry to all the people who contributed but were not thanked… The gentleman from the Maritime workers union Nautilus, springs to mind, I never caught his name in my notes.  Any and all omissions are down to me.  There were new faces that I never had a chance to chat to.

I will close this post with a quick thank you to Gareth Beaton from the Fire Brigade Union who spoke for firefighters.

I think that like many people on the day he received as much as he gave.  Like the previous lhc ation day People shared stories and information.  If knowledge is power then all the attendees left just a little bit more powerful than when they arrived, I certainly hope so.

Thank you to everyone involved.

 

SERTUC AGM

LHC stall

LHC stall

Running a popular stall

London Hazards  Stall at the SERTUC AGM 2016.  We were there promoting the London  hazards  workers memorial day event and also encouraging TU’s to join our campaign we had a very positive reception from delegates at the AGM

Mesothelioma Day 2016 A date for your diary

Click below for the  update on the...

LHC Mesothelioma Action Day 

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More details will follow soon as they are confirmed.  The event is shaping up though to look as if it will be even better than last years mesothelioma action day.

So far as I understand it Linda Reinstein, President and CEO, ADAO, Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, has confirmed that she will be with us again!  

Mavis Nye will also be joining us with her husband Ray  

Phil (Lewis) has mentioned more speakers I will add them in a later post, as he confirms more details.

This is an event to pencil in your diary, the London Hazards Centres involvement in aiding and offering advice to people suffering from the blight of Mesothelioma is getting stronger and more effective; Phillip Lewis is totally committed to making the asbestos arm of the lhc as effective as it can possibly be; as is all the team at the London Hazards Centre and their many friends plus the professionals who contribute their time and expertise to help us.

Meso day London 2016

Mesothelioma day 2016 advanced notice

International Workers Memorial Day

This is an event for every worker. If you can attend, please do!

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The London Hazards Centre is part of one of our city's most important events of the year from a worker's point of view. 

IWMD which stands for "International Workers Memorial Day"  happens on the 28th of April and it is truly International.

Workers all around the world remember the dead and fight for the living.  The details are below.

IWMD 2016

WILL YOU BE THERE?

The speakers this year are excellent, I've been fortunate enough to hear some of them before, Frances O'Grady of the TUC is always worth listening too. I'm looking forward to hearing from John McDonnell the Shadow Chancellor, who I haven't heard personally .  Len McCluskey is another always worth listening too!  

Will you be there?  Let us know on our facebook page...

Want free and confidential advice on health & safety?

Are you worried about a health and safety issue at work or at home? If you are, give the London Hazards Centre a call on our confidential telephone advice line for up-to-date information to help you sort out your problem.

Call 0207 527 5107 on a Monday or Tuesday between 10:30 am – 3:30 pm. If the advisers are busy, please leave a message and they will call you back.

Happy Christmas from the London Hazards Centre Team

Merry Xmas

Merry Christmas

Happy Christmas from everyone at the London Hazards Centre, the team were guests at a do held by Leigh Day at the Barbican Centre, for which we all say thank you.  It was a great evening.  

One of our team was missing Caroline who to put it mildly was busy!  The reason for that is a totally different post and I'll defer to Caroline's wishes.  

This is a simple post  just to wish our friends Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year!

We have a lot in the pipe line; now it is time to recharge and come back next year ready for action!​

Happy Christmas

Take Care & Best Wishes

London fire service cuts and longer response times will cost lives

On the same day that Parliament was debating the Conservative government’s proposal to launch air strikes in Syria, across the Thames in City Hall, the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) were discussing cutting the London Fire Brigade budget by £6.4 million.

On the 2nd December 2015, around 250 people – over half of which were fire-fighters – turned out to protest at the cuts being imposed by Conservative Mayor Boris Johnson. Cuts that will endanger lives because of increased response times. How do you permanently remove 13 fire engines as proposed by London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson without affecting response times?

The proposed cuts come on top of last years reductions in the frontline of London Fire Brigade that saw10 stations closed and 14 fire engines taken out of service. Protesters outside City Hall listened to a number of speakers before the LFEPA meeting got underway.

George Binette, from Camden Unison, spoke about the recent fire in Camden Road where an elderly man died. Camden’s fire engines had been called to a huge blaze in the Finchley Road, which meant fire engines from further afield were called to the Camden Road fire. George said “the first engine arrived after 13.2 minutes, over twice the target time.”

When George Galloway spoke he said it “it was obscene that fire-fighters have to take to the streets to defend services, at the same time that Britain is taken into another war”.

Laurie Heselden, SERTUC Campaigns Officer, spoke of the need to organise against the cuts to London’s fire service, and said “London is a world class city that deserves world class services”.

Andrew Dismore, Labour London Assembly Member on the LFEPA, told the protestors that he would be moving an amendment that doesn’t involve cuts and will see the return of 13 fire engines. Fiona Twycross, also an Assembly Member and on the LFEPA, congratulated everyone for turning out to defend the London fire service and welcomed the recent decision of the FBU to affiliate to the Labour Party.

Ian Leahair, London Region FBU Executive Council member, spoke of the overwhelming opposition (94%) of Londoners to cuts in the fire service and said “if the cuts go-ahead fire-fighters will not be able to cope”.

Since August 2013 twenty-seven fire engines have been taken out of service. Fourteen of them permanently removed from service in January 2014. This leaves thirteen fire engines temporarily taken out of service. It was the future of these engines that would be at the heart of the discussion at the LFEPA meeting.

With the speeches over, a large number of the protestors entered City Hall to sit in the public area of the assembly room to listen to the LFEPA meeting.

There were two options being discussed that would permanently take out of service 10 or 13 engines, along with the amendment from Andrew Dismore that sought to put the13 fire engines back in service. Representatives from the FBU stated their case and urged the LFEPA to support the option that would incorporate the Andrew Dismore amendment as it protected front line services. The London Fire Commissioner had reported that response times had increased since the engines had been taken out of service, but said they still remained within their target times of 6 minutes for the first appliance and 8 minutes for the second.

The attitude of several of the Tory members of the LFEPA was evidently very bad. They had a sneering, contemptuous attitude and were impolite in their responses. Nevertheless, the amendment from Andrew Dismore and the Labour Group to reinstate the 13 fire engines was carried, and will now appear as ‘Option A’ in the public consultation that started on the 07 December 2015 and ends on 31 January 2016. Option B proposes to permanently remove the 13 fire engines and reinvest some of the savings into increasing the staff available to crew fire rescue units.

Everyone needs to get behind Option A and stop the run-down of the London Fire Brigade. Increased response times will cost lives as in the Camden fire on the 26 October 2015. Follow his link to the London Fire Brigade website where you can take part in the consultation http://www.london-fire.gov.uk/consultation-2016-2017.asp

Migrant domestic workers take campaign to end ‘tied visa’ slavery to Commons

Migrant domestic workers in Commons plan the end of modern slavery

Over 70 supporters of the Justice for Domestic Workers (J4DW) campaign packed into a House of Commons committee room on 1st December 2015 to hear the latest news on what is being done to establish proper rights for migrant domestic workers. The meeting was sponsored by Fiona Mactaggart MP and organised by J4DW, Kalayaan and Unite the Union.

Despite the Modern Slavery Act introduced in March 2015, around 16,000 migrant domestic workers remain ‘tied’ to their employers by immigration rules with no rights whatsoever. Health & safety and other basic labour rights are non-existent. Many domestic workers are trafficked and have to endure physical and mental abuse.

Diana Holland, Unite Assistant General Secretary, chaired the meeting. She said “the impact of the new tied visa must be exposed” and called for the Conservative government to ratify ILO Convention 189. In 2012 the Conservative led coalition introduced a new visa that removed the right of migrant domestic workers to change employers – resulting in increased levels of abuse. ILO Convention 189 – Domestic Workers Convention – sets out clear terms and conditions of employment including a minimum wage, weekly rest times and right to join a trade union.

Fiona Mactaggart, chair of the All-Parliamentary Group on Human Trafficking, spoke next. She said modern slavery could be ended if domestic workers “had the power to withdraw their labour”. Kate Roberts from Kalayaan gave an overview of the current situation and how the situation dramatically worsened with the introduction of the tied visa. Kalayaan is a London based charity that gives practical advice and support to migrant domestic workers. Kate described how domestic workers would have to break immigration law to escape from an abusive employer. She went on to say that the Immigration Bill, currently making its way through parliament, incorporates section 53 of the Modern Slavery Act, which does not offer protection for trafficked workers that have escaped.

James Ewins (Barrister) spoke on the review he has undertaken for the Home Office on the Overseas Domestic Worker Visa. He explained that he could not go into detail because the review had not been released yet for the public.

Marissa Begonia from J4DW read out an email from an ‘undocumented’ domestic worker that really spelt out the terrible plight of migrant domestic workers. Karin Pape, European Coordinator for the International Domestic Workers Federation (IDWF) said “why should domestic workers not have protection from abuse, harassment and violence … why should they not enjoy labour rights such as regulated working time and rest”. Sarbjit Johal from J4DW described the poor background of many migrant domestic workers, often in debt and with dependants to provide for. Many were working for rich families and diplomats in slave-like conditions. Their passports are often taken from them.

ILO Convention 189 was referred to many times during the meeting. So too was the ‘tied visa’ introduced by the Tory – led coalition in 2012. The Cameron government has shamefully refused to ratify ILO Convention 189 that would give migrant domestic workers fair terms of employment and protect their human rights. It makes a mockery of the government’s commitment to combating slavery in the UK.

As the meeting listened to first hand accounts of exploitation, abuse and denial of freedom, the question on everyone’s lips was, how can this be happening in 21st century Britain? The meeting drew to a close with an almost tangible steely determination amongst participants to step-up the campaign to fight for the rights of migrant domestic workers. Chair Diana Holland declared the meeting a relaunch of the campaign and called for everyone to redouble their efforts by getting behind the struggle being led by domestic workers themselves – to press the government to ratify ILO Convention 189 and reinstate the Overseas Domestic Worker Visa.

Contacts:

www.j4dw.org
www.kalayaan.org.uk
www.unitetheunion.org

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