Archive for November 19th, 2013

I wholeheartedly support the TUC’s day of action against black-listing. Nationwide the TUC is organising a whole series of events designed to shine a light on this disgraceful practice – one that has deprived thousands of people of their ability and right to make a living. It is outrageous that at least 2,700 people still do not know that they have been, or are, on such lists held by employers, and must submit a Freedom of Information request to find out. Nor can it be right that if they are successful in doing so and are finally awarded some compensation, there are likely to be a whole series of ‘gagging clauses’ designed to ensure their continuing silence.

Neither am I fooled by Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg’s attempt to link ‘blacklisting’ with the judicial inquiry launched by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, at so-called intimidation of irresponsible employers by trade unions such as Unite. Permanently ruining someone’s employment prospects cannot be linked with trades unionists protesting against powerful industry bosses who threaten Victorian style lock-outs.

Tower Hamlets was the first local authority to pledge not to award contracts to any company found guilty of black listing.  In so doing, we earned the praise of trade union leaders, such as Paul Kenny, General Secretary of the GMB, Len McCluskey, General Secretary of Unite, and Steve Murphy, General Secretary of the construction workers union, UCATT.    So this TUC initiative deserves our wholehearted support.

If you would like to take part in the events being organised or would simply like to know more, please visit this site.


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On Sunday 17th November, I spent a delightful afternoon attending Mass at the Lady Assumption Church in Bethnal Green. While faith communities are an important part of any borough, the fact that Tower Hamlets is home to a great number of diverse, prominent religious groups means the role they play here is particularly significant. It is always fascinating to see different religious group at work.

After the Mass, I gave a short speech to the forty or so residents who had attended about my priorities as Mayor. We had a lively Q&A session where residents expressed their concerns, including worries about the impact of government welfare reform and lack of affordable housing. I was really happy to hear how contented many residents were with the funds I have provided for the restoration of faith buildings.

I would like to sincerely thank both Father Tom and Father Justin and the residents who attended.

Photo: With Father Tom O’Brien


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