Trade Union Focus July 2017

Welcome to your quarterly update dedicated to War on Want’s trade union affiliates and supporters. As Brexit negotiations start, trade campaigning continues apace and we have new materials for you to take action on transparency and democracy. Meanwhile, our work on Palestine has already delivered results and as the debate continues on the use of zero hours contracts our campaign to Stand With Migrant Workers is picking up speed.


Deadly Investments

War on Want’s new report, Deadly Investments: UK bank complicity in Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people, exposes the business relationship between UK banks and financial institutions, and 19 companies known to supply Israel with weapons and technology used in the abuse of Palestinian human rights, including war crimes.

The report comes hot on the heels of UN guidance to the banking sector, published this month, clarifying that banks and financial institutions have responsibilities to “avoid causing or contributing to adverse human rights impacts” and “to prevent or mitigate adverse human rights impacts that are directly linked to their operations, products or services by their business relationships”. Read More


The Taylor review 

Len McLuskey, General Secretary of War on Want affiliate Unite the union said: “Workplace insecurity is being super-charged not by gig-working alone, but by the deliberate and bogus use of self-employment, the continuing use of zero hours contracts and the misuse of agency working where there ought to be permanent employment".

The ‘Taylor Review On Modern Employment Practices’ to give it its full title, offered a chance to address the abuse of workers on precarious contracts. But Owen Espley, War on Want senior campaigner finds instead that Taylor’s recommendations are: “toothless and will do little to end the exploitation and abuse of workers. For the most marginalised, women and migrant workers, this report is a missed opportunity to end the unfair employment practices that blight their lives”.

To be clear, there’s nothing modern about exploitation.


Stand With Migrant Workers - End Precarious Contracts

On Saturday 15 July 2017, striking workers from St Barts hospital organised a demonstration and rally. War on Want as well as local community groups came out to support the largely black and migrant workers who are striking for a 30p per hour pay rise. They are employed by Serco, a multinational that profits from the privatisation of the NHS. See more pictures here

Get involved with the campaign, we have leaflets, fliers, badges and stickers – download or order resources here


iStreetWatch – tackle workplace discrimination

War on Want is working with the Migrants' Rights Network to help spread the word about iStreetWatch. - an online platform that collects reports to monitor racist and xenophobic incidents across the UK. Spreading the word about iStreetWatch is one way that trade unionists can demonstrate that trade unions take a strong stand against such incidents.

Migrant, Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) and women workers often face the worst terms of employment through zero-hour contracts, agency work and employment with outsourced companies. iStreetWatch helps to make discrimination visible in a way that means even where a victim of abuse doesn’t want to raise a grievance or report it to the police, it doesn’t go un-noted. 

Please stand with migrant workers and spread the word about iStreetWatch in your workplace, in your trade union branch and within your community. You can access iStreetWatch here:


Kept in the dark – why chlorination chicken is Fox’s favourite recipe

Brexit negotiations are now underway, and the Department for International Trade has confirmed that the trade bill is a priority for government when it returns in September. Controversial trade deals TTIP and CETA were negotiated in secret with parliamentarians denied access to key documents, and with freedom of information requests on critical public interest issues like the NHS refused.

Experience has shown that without absolute transparency and scrutiny, negotiators will trade away social, health and environmental protections – including food safety - and our public services. Working with allies, we have come up with five minimum requirements, reflected in Early Day Motion 128 to ensure transparency and democracy. You can read our latest briefing here  and take action here


It’s conference season….

This summer we have been at PCS, GMB, Unison, and Tolpuddle. We’ll be at the TUC Congress in Brighton in September with a fringe meeting on precarious contracts.  If you are going to TUC as a delegate or visitor, do come and say hello and take away some of our amazing materials and get involved.


Want to be part of the success story?

You can affiliate to us at branch, regional and national level and have a real say in our future. It’s easy to affiliate and you can set up a direct debit with just one click.

You can also book a speaker or order free materials for your meetings from our website.


Thank you for your support,

Jackie Simpkins

Trade Unions Officer


P.S. If you have any comments you can contact me at

War on Want fights against the root causes of poverty and human rights violations, as part of the worldwide movement for global justice. Learn more about War on Want here, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.





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Join the conversation

Stand with #migrant workers striking to be bought back in house! @IWGBUoL #uolbackinhouse 7 hours 5 min ago
Workers @UoLondon are saying #UoLBackinhouse They want equality with in-house staff #EndPrecariousContracts 7 hours 38 min ago
We'll be joining @IWGBUoL to demand @UoLondon bring their staff back in house! Outsourcing is both a cause and an e… 8 hours 41 min ago