Exclusion and life below the poverty line. 

Hi folks, I’m writing an extra blog in response to feedback given to me on my Facebook page and Twitter account. I put out the question ‘Would anyone like an extra blog per week, something a bit different to the posts about the demos’. The response was unanimous. A big yes, if I have the time so here it is. 
One subject that I am constantly reminded about is exclusion.

 I know that this will also be familiar to my readers also, but at times it can be blatantly obvious, and at other times not so obvious. 

Before I start writing further, I should explain my position to anyone that isn’t aware. I have no magic money tree, I’m just like you, like millions of people living in the uk. 

I’m a single parent, I live way below the poverty line and have had first hand experience of the DWP system and illness. LIfe isn’t easy for most of us, but I’m not complaining even though I should complain more. I have a wonderful daughter and amazing friends. At times I must try their patience. 
Exclusion comes in many forms, and anyone living in poverty wether it be relative poverty or absolute poverty will experience this, although the severity of it does differ. To put it bluntly the less money that you have, the less you can do. 

I hear friends talk about trips out, I’m sure that you do too, it’s lovely to hear about their adventures, but a the same time it serves as a reminder that apart from local free days out in reality its not an option. 
The  other week I had to pay for a school trip for my daughter. Parents will be familiar with this scenario. The children are excited about the prospect of a day out with their friends, whilst we go into a state of dread and panic worrying about how we are going to pay for this. Many children don’t go, their parents keep them at home. And the school system punishes the child for having time off school. They won’t get their 100% attendance award, a punishment on top of their missed day out. 
As an adult being poor also excludes you from trips to the nearest biggest town, clothes shopping, doing what I call ‘big shops’ yes, Peter Kay is correct in stating that we say these things. I also say ‘big light’. I’m a northern lass and proud of it. Bus fare in my area is very expensive, so the only option is to walk unless you are lucky enough to have a bike. 
Trips to the Cinema, or ‘Pictures’ as I still call it are totally out of the question, going out for a drink is also and having a meal in a restaurant is the stuff of dreams. And yes we do dream about being able to do these things. 
A trip to the Supermarket, if it’s in walking distance becomes an obstacle course in itself. For many people, especially those living in rural areas, there isn’t any choice in where they shop. So they time it for when the yellow stickers go on the food. Believe me it can be a challenge trying to get the bargains that have been reduced, but when you do you hold onto them like they are gold, afterall they can keep a family from hunger for the week. 

It’s not just about material things though, although they do matter. Alongside this comes the loneliness, the isolation and the knowledge that you are ‘different’ than others around you. Taking part in something positive to do can stop a person from spiriling down into the depths of depression. But we just have to accept that we can’t do these things even though we would like to. And small things do matter. 
Friends become fewer, opportunities become fewer and health often becomes worse. 

With a poor diet, illness often accompanies it. It’s no surprise that there has been a return of victorian illnesses such as Rickets in children because children just don’t get access to a varied diet, and the sunlight that’s needed to prevent this. 

Adults and children have to deal with illnesses such as depression, anemia, insomnia, hypothermia, malnutrition, anxiety and many more besides. Whilst the government is busy selling off the NHS to the likes of Richard Branson, the demand is getting higher. We won’t be able to afford medical insurance it’s not an option. 


Why am I writing this you may ask? Everyone must know all this? The reality is, no not everyone does know this. The Tory Party is aware of this but choose for their selfish reasons to ignore it and make it purposely worse. There’s no use in asking for them to be sympathetic. They re created this cruelty in a very conscious way. 

I’m writing this to raise awareness, for people to be a little more understanding of each other. 

The next time a child’s parent’s can’t pay a school trip, don’t criticise and moan about it, instead understand the reasons why they can’t pay. No parent actually wants to exclude them from a school trip, and if a child gets a subsidised place, good on them, don’t hold it against that child or parent. It takes a lot to admit to a school that they can’t afford to pay for a school trip. 

If a child arrives at school in a less than pristine uniform show compassion instead of criticism. Ask the school if they can start a school uniform clothes bank. Some schools already have these. 

If a friend can’t join you for a night out, or a trip to the cinema, don’t show off about it in front of them, nor should you talk about them behind their backs. Instead ask them how they are feeling and be a good friend. 

If a person is hungry show them where the nearest food bank is, or offer compassion. Compassion costs nothing. If you can buy them a sandwich then that might just make them feel human again. Giving someone hope will also do this. 

People shouldn’t be tossed aside because they supposedly dont ‘fit in’. Everyone is important, and so are their right to a decent standard of living. 

More and more people are excluded from housing, vulnerable people left on the streets to beg whilst low funded organisations try and help them, try to keep them safe and feed them. The government has completely absolved themselves from any responsibility, nor do they care about how many people die as a result. 
People are made to feel worthless, subhuman and unimportant by the DWP system of sanctioning and failed medicals which are still being conducted by the likes of Atos. People are dying everyday as a result, but the government just shrug their shoulders and look the other way. 

A WASPI lady committed suicide after the general election because she felt stressed, unworthy and unwanted. Isolated at a time when she should have been enjoying her retirement. Once again the government don’t care. 
On Friday I had to travel to Manchester, something that I don’t do as regularly as I used to. I had to use the public loos and I started a conversation with two young homeless women. They were lovely women, bright, bubbly and friendly. They told me about their life on the streets, and the difficulties they face every day. Both told me that they had been begging all morning and hadn’t got any money, they needed a pound so I gave it to them. They also needed a hairbrush so I gave them mine. I got hugs from them, and smiles that I haven’t seen for a long time. I couldn’t change their situation, but a little bit of kindness gave them hope that people do care. And thats all it takes sometimes. 
In an ideal world we would have a society that wouldn’t exclude anyone, where everyone would have a home, money in their pocket, food and have the support that they need. It’s called socialism and this country is crying out for it. 

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Thursdays demo. Emotional and tiring.

Thursday as you know is our weekly demonstration day. Every week for over two years we have been helping and advising claimants outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre and if you scroll back you can read some of the heartbreaking stories that we have heard.

Earlier this year we saw the need to hand food parcels out to claimants, its an idea that I wish we had started a long time ago. Its proven to be essential, and Ive no doubt that they have enabled claimants to keep going. When you are sanctioned or waiting for an ESA appeal to go through you become very hungry, and these food parcels contain some good nutritious food that is quickly and easily cooked. Many thanks to Pauline for helping us with these and to everyone else who has donated. We rely on your donations because I, myself am on such a low income that I’m struggling myself and the other campaigners are managing on limited incomes.

Thursday was a cold day, and it reminded me that we are heading towards winter. Its cold on the streets and in homes that people can’t afford to heat. So we will have to start stocking up on hand warmers, gloves, fingerless gloves, hats and scarfs. I’m well aware that many people die through hypothermia as well as malnutrition and hunger.

Here’s an example of the claimants that we helped. Remember this is only in the space of two hours.

Claimant sanctioned but forced to go into the Jobcentre every day. They were using the library to do this but the DWP decided that they wanted to drag him in everyday. He was completing his job search correctly. Advice, support, solidarity and a food parcel given.

Woman with a new born baby forced to go into the Jobcentre to show that she actually has a baby. The birth certificate isn’t good enough anymore and they like to remind you that they are there watching. And yes, she was already claiming and had applied for everything that she was entitled to.

ESA claimant who was appealing their failed medical decision, told by their advisor that they have to claim JSA whilst awaiting their appeal decision. By doing this they are then declaring themselves fit for work, and the advisor is knowingly committing fraud. But they need money to live on and its a no win situation. The appeal rate was taken away in April therefore claimants are left with no choice but to claim it. Food parcel given.

Universal credit claimant who had lost their job suffering from extreme anxiety due to the thought of having to go through the system again. They hate Universal Credit they feel that its taken their life away and any choices that they might have had. Food parcel given due to their income being that low that they cant afford to buy food and keep a house going at the same time. Awful.

ESA claimant who failed their medical but have been refused the option of being able to claim JSA because they are too sick. They are left with no income at all and no hope. Food parcel given and signposted to other organisations locally.

Young man sanctioned on Universal Credit. He was very quiet and I could see very depressed. He also has a girlfriend and baby at home. They get child benefit but everything else had been stopped. Advice given, a shoulder to cry on, signposted and two food parcels given. Poor lad, he’s so young and hes got no hope. The government has taken any hope that he might have had away.

Two men that we have been helping for a few weeks now. They are living at the travel lodge. They have become part of the team, they are fantastic. We sorted out kettle cook food, due to them not being allowed to cook in the travel lodge. One of these men has been struggling to get his ESA payment as described in my previous blogs. But he had some good news. He might be getting somewhere permanent to live in the near future. Hopefully we will hear some good news regarding that next week.

We saw quite a few older people having to use the Jobcentre, people that would have been retiring in the past. I find this very sad to see. How on earth will they be able to find a job? The jobs aren’t out there and this makes me angry.

These are just a few of the issues that we had to deal with on Thursday. Its shocking but I shall continue to campaign for these people and help them. They need the help because the Jobcentre doesn’t offer them any advice nor do they signpost them.

Many thanks to the new people who turned up to help. I really appreciate it. Its a tough job and its a full time job for myself.

Campaigning doesn’t just stop outside the Jobcentre on Thursdays. It involves alot of work, meetings, research and everything else that goes along with that. I am ashamed to say that I am struggling at the moment and my morale was at an all time low this week. No money and Teresa May’s speeches at the Tory Party Conference did nothing to help my morale. I fear we are heading into very dark times and its a tad scary.

I also have activities planned for later this month as well as our annual Christmas demonstration which will have a Charles Dickens theme this year.

Please donate if you can. If you cant then please share this blog.
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What is poverty? And does it define us?

This is a question that I get asked often. People ask me if I can define it. In reality  its very difficult to define. There are three definitions of poverty in common usage, those being absolute poverty, relative poverty and social exclusion.

Absolute poverty defined as having the lack of sufficient resources with which to meet basic needs. Relative poverty defines income or resources in relation to the average income. But how does poverty define us?

According to the Joseph Rowntree foundation there are more than a million people living in poverty in the UK. I’m sure that figure is lower than the actual figure due to the level of people finding themselves without work etc rising everyday. They say that 184,5000 households have experienced a level of poverty that has left them with no choice but to resort to charities for essential things and shelter. The Joseph Rowntree foundation also say that three quarters of people living in poverty go without meals and half cant afford to heat their homes. These are some very basic statistics, but how what does living in poverty mean to those living in poverty?

I live in poverty, I’m not ashamed to say it. I don’t think that it has ever left my side except for a very brief moment a long time ago. So I can say this out of experience. I live in an area that is one of the poorest in the country, and a lot of my neighbours live in some kind of poverty.

Poverty can be very restricting and isolating. It defines how you can travel and relate to others.   Socialisation is limited to mainly your local surroundings or your own home. Public transport is expensive and is often off limits. Walking distance is often as far as you can go. So you often only see your local area and your own home, and slowly you begin to isolate yourself. You might  stop talking to people because you feel ashamed that you are poor and you certainly don’t want to be reminded that you are. You avoid people and places, its easier that way because it numbs the pain. This very often starts a cycle of depression and illness, often from a very young age.

The media bombards the public with advertisements and television programmes promoting a richer, happier lifestyle. They also promote the scrounger rhetoric with programmes such as Benefit Street. Discrimination against the poorest in society has never been this bad. Names such as scrounger, fraudster, single parent, immigrant are thrown everywhere with such hatred and disgust. I see this a lot whist helping claimants, no one bothers to ask what their story is, they are given a label.

When you live in poverty debt becomes your worst enemy. High rents, the bedroom tax, council tax, sanctions, benefit delays, low wages all ensure this. Charity shops become your best friend that’s if you can afford them. Food and heating becomes a priority, often its a choice either heating or eating. Its a tough choice because both are equally important.

Poverty defines your every move, children grow up knowing no different but the gap becomes clearer the older they get. They will soon be growing up to accept name calling and discrimination, after all the media have done an extremely good job of turning neighbour against neighbour. People cant just snap out of it and find a job that doesn’t exist.

Everyday I’m reminded of the film Cathy come home. I have a daughter who lives with her partner and children in a privately rented house. The house is very damp, it floods all the time, but the landlord refuses to help. She cant move because she cant afford to pay the £1000 deposit upfront, she doesn’t have a guarantor and she owes rent from her previous sub standard flat which was a housing association flat. She manages, keeps the damp to a liveable level. She lives in relative poverty.  She says that she is lucky to have a home, and she is right, but no one should have to live like this. Sadly its not unusual, its commonplace but it shouldn’t be.

People are trying to get by, its not easy and the unemployed and the working are stuck in the same situation. I say that we will soon be back to the 1930s poverty levels, but I fear that it will be more like 19th century poverty levels. Poverty does indeed define us, we might try to deny this, but it has defined my life and it will continue to do so.

I urge the public to use compassion and kindness instead of hatred and discrimination. After all this can happen to anyone and everyone is three pay slips away from being in the same position.


 

 

 

100,000 strong march in Manchester. And a visit to Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre from Natalie Bennett Green Party leader. 

On Sunday I marched alongside 100,000 other people to protest about the Tory Party’s war against the poor and the audacity that they have holding their annual conference in Manchester. 

It was an amazing day. I regularly take places on marches and did join the last march that was held when the Tory party came to town. It’s very important for us to let them see our disgust at them being there. 

Manchester city council is a labour controlled council and the Tories do like to come and rub our noses in it. I also suspect that there is an element of coming to gloat, to see what damage they are doing and to remind us of who is “boss”. The arrogance that they have us astonishing but not unexpected. Whilst they engage in childish name calling and jeering we still remain respectful with our heads held high. Folk aren’t happy and they can see this. 

We held  the big March on Sunday then the fantastic DPAC let their presence known yesterday. This group consists of very disabled people and volunteers who take them to events. I am in awe of this group of amazing people. Today there was a blocking of the area near the Tory party conference centre by people campaigning on behalf of the NHS. Mostly doctors, nurses, medical students and campaigners. Again amazing work. 

Today Natalie Bennett attended Ashton under lyne Jobcentre to show her support of our campaign which has been constant now for 14 months. Her speech was fantastic and regardless of political persuasion it was great to hear. We needed the morale boost. We work very hard campaigning and to be recognised for that was great. Her support is much needed. 

I invited the local press and our local Labour Party but not one attended. One labour councillors stood across the road for a few minutes but refused to stand with us. We are supposed to be in unity at this moment in time to fight against this oppressive government. I suspect work still needs to be done within local authorities. Thank you to local Labour Party members who couldn’t attend but have shown their support.

I also invited the local press to attend. They never showed up either. Very strange. But we are used to that. 

After a great weekend and an extra day outside the Jobcentre we are tired but it is all worthwhile. The support from the claimants inside the Jobcentre was great. They were listening to Natalie speak and felt supported. At one point they wanted us to be louder but we were unable to be. 

We will continue with our weekly demonstrations outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre. Our demonstrations are a political anyone can join us as long as they are not violent or abusive. Please come and join us. 

Thanks to everyone for attending and showing your support. 

We are getting low on leaflets so any donations would be most gratefully received.

Many thanks to everyone who has sent their best wishes to my daughter. She has had her biopsy operation and we are now awaiting the results of this.  

    
    
    
    
    
 

A year outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre.

Today we celebrated a full year of demonstrations outside the Jobcentre every Thursday. It’s been an amazing year, one that has shown that a smaller protest can and is effective.

We started our Jobcentre demonstrations last year when we were disgusted to hear that a young pregnant girl was sanctioned for attending her workfare interview and telling them that she was pregnant. We decided that as a group Tameside Against The Cuts would take a stand. Not only was this sanction illegal it put the life of the young girl and her unborn baby at risk. It highlighted to us that the situation regarding sanctioning was far worse than we could imagine. 

Armed with a banner that we had previously used at other demonstrations and some cardboard placards we decided that a weekly demonstration was needed to highlight this issue. We had no other resources except our knowledge as a group of how the system worked, and what could be done to help others. 

It proved to be more popular than we thought. We were inundated with requests for help, and the situation for the people using Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre was pretty dire. It seemed that all rules regarding sanctioning were being ignored and they were a law unto themselves. So we continued. Within the first few months of demonstrating we heard of suicides and such desperate cases that we couldn’t believe it. We knew that this Tory government could be cruel but the levels of cruelty that they would go to seemed unreal. 

We produced our own leaflet. It was very basic but it did the job. We have since improved on this first leaflet and are now I think on our 3rd or 4th edition. This leaflet informs claimants of their legal rights and how to fight a sanction, also how to cope whilst you are sanctioned. This has proven to be very popular and has been reproduced by several other groups around the country. The input of Boycott Workfare whom we work very closely with has enabled us to produced a very clear step by step guide on the back of our leaflet. So many thanks to them. 

I only ever thought that there would be a few of us stood outside the Jobcentre but I was wrong. Instead of the number diminishing they are increasing. People from all walks of life join us and from all over the country. We really appreciate this. People are seeing that they system is very wrong and it needs changing. 

I was told a while ago that our demonstrations wouldn’t achieve anything. We were just wasting our time they said.. They were very wrong. Our demonstration has helped to highlight the issue of sanctioning to a huge extent. We have been part of the sanctions debate in parliament, we helped to make 2 dispatches programmes highlighting the horrors of sanctioning. This blog has become a massive success and is talked about all over the place, even in other countries. As a result I now have regular features in The Morning Star newspaper. In fact our demonstrations themselves have been praised and discussed amongst many groups up and down the country. And they use ours as an example of positive action. 

Why have we been successful? I think this is because of a good combination of many different types of people. We all have our own political beliefs but we join together on these issues. We welcome everyone who comes in peace, we aren’t abusive and we respect everyone. Hard to do sometimes when someone is shouting at you “get a job”. It’s all down to good teamwork.

What support do we get? We get lots of support from the community, Unite in the community have been fantastic as have The Green Party. Many of us are members of both. However we do have to produce most things ourselves which can be hard work sometimes. 

Are we going to continue? Yes we are. For as long as the evil sanctioning regime exists we will be there. We have become to be of great support to claimants entering the Jobcentre and have helped to prevent 3 suicides to our knowledge.. 

Thank you so much for your continued support. See you outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre next week! 

  
We don’t receive funding for any of the work that we do. We would really appreciate any donations to help us to continue with our actions and our blog.

Please donate to help keep our campaign going. We work very hard at this and it has become more or less a full time job for me.

Why do sick notes go missing?Aggressive G4S security amongst other issues.

Whilst I was handing leaflets out i was asked to go and speak to a man who was stood round the corner. This happens quite a lot because they feel that they can’t be seen talking to us.Why? The fear of sanction and discrimination by DWP staff members. The threat of a sanction is enough for anyone to comply with their wishes. So i went over and spoke to this man.
He was in a very agitated state, he was very articulate but also very angry. He told me that he had worked all of hi life and had had an accident requiring several painful operations on his knee.He had received a letter from the eSa department to remind him to send his sick note in, but they didn’t include an envelope. So thats what he was there for. He asked to speak to an advisor but was stopped by a G4S security guard. given an envelope and was told to leave the building. he was shocked, all he wanted to do was to speak to a front desk advisor.
He came outside with the envelope and realised that it was the wrong envelope. The G4S security guard had given him the wrong envelope.. so he questioned this and was welcomed with a tough thats all your getting response. We helped him but this left me with these questions;
G4S security guards are not trained benefit advisors and should not be handling any personal information or handing out advice. The are not fully trained security guards therefore have no right to do so. Why are they being allowed to do this?
How many sick notes go missing in this way? These payments are a lifeline for ESA claimants and it shouldn’t be happening.
Is this a tactic deployed by the DWP deliberately or is it simply the DWP allowing unqualified G4S guards dish out advice ensuring that mistakes are made and wrong advice given?
Answers on a postcard please, although I will be enquiring bout this and monitoring this situation.

A young girl with her mother stopped us. She was shaking with fear and close to having a panic attack. She is on ESA for severe anxiety and the Jobcentre have felt that it is right to force her into the Jobcentre for an interview. I looked at the letter and she did need to attend, however she was far too ill to go in on her own so we advised her mum to go in with her. She is clearly not ready for work. No one should have to feel this scared of a building and the people inside. Its disgusting and we need to stop this. The government have created two monsters. The DWP and Jobcentre plus. Both equally evil.
I hope that she managed to recover from this ordeal.

This week G4S decided to be rather aggressive and have it seems taken ten paces back in their attitude. A young woman rushed out of the building wanting to speak to us. She said that she was sat waiting for her appointment and a G4S security guard was shouting “Im going to snap the strings on that guitar if they don’t shut up” she said that he was very menacing in manner and she was scared of him. She said that she would make a complaint lets hope that she does. Threats of violence should always be taken seriously. Our crime was to be playing songs of peace on a guitar played by a woman who is no threat at all. Shocking.

Events this week.

Wednesday 5pm Market street manchester a demonstration in light of the budget. I will be speaking t this event and will be announcing my own budget.

Tomorrow (Sunday) Greek solidarity demonstration 1pm Piccadilly gardens Manchester.

11th July Manchester’s March for the homeless 12.00 Piccadilly gardens manchester.

If you would like to donate to this blog to keep it going my Paypal add is seercharlotte@gmail.com this is not just a few hours writing its become more and more full time as time has gone on and any donations are more than welcome to keep it going. Rather than have to put ads on here which Im against doing. Many thanks

Another pregnant lady sanctioned and an altercation with a PCS union rep.

Im late in writing my blog this week due to unforeseen illness, but here it is.
Thursday was certainly an eventful day. The weather was lovely for a change and we were all in good spirits. That was blighted though for reasons that I will explain.
The first incident occurred when a lady who was heavily pregnant informed me that both herself and her boyfriend had been sanctioned on their joint claim. The reason why? Because Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre had refused to transfer their claim to a Jobcentre nearer their home in Bury.They couldn’t afford the Tram fare to Ashton so got sanctioned. They had lived in Ashton but had since moved. Thankfully the had applied for hardship payments but these go nowhere when you have a child to support as well. I advised her on what to do and to say and she went into the Jobcentre. A little while later she returned after speaking to an advisor who had agreed to transfer the claim and lift the sanction. They will receive a proper payment the week coming. She said I don’t know if its because you lot are stood outside but they seemed nicer today than they have ever been. She also said that she had seen a different advisor this time. I hope that all goes well for them, she’s had very tough time and this certainly shouldn’t be happening.

Our next incident occurred a little while later. We were all in good spirits. A friend had travelled to meet us and he was playing a little music. We are not a violent group of people and we are peace loving. We are at the Jobcentre to help people and have done so since August. We know that the Jobcentre staff are under enormous pressure and some are unhappy in their work. Whilst I don’t condone their actions at all I understand the culture of fear that runs through their offices. If indeed they wanted to join us on our protests we would welcome them. They know this and were told this at a previous meeting that was held in the Jobcentre last year between ourselves and them.
We were stood outside peacefully holding our placards and listening to the music when a lady burst through the Jobcentre doors with a G4S security guard. She made a beeline for me and she was very aggressive verbally and with her body language. She informed me that she was a PCS union rep and did not like a placard that we were using. The placard concerned has been used nearly every week since August and no one has ever taken offence to it. By then a crowd of 5 people had gathered round peacefully to hear what she was saying. She went on to say that she did not like the fact that a member of our group had recycled a PCS placard picked up on the anti austerity march in manchester in 2014. What is ridiculous is the fact the most of the PCS logo was covered by a stick and there was already notes on it stating that it was not being used as a PCS placard. The G4S security guard was stood behind her about 2 feet away smiling. He certainly didn’t feel threatened by the situation. She went on to say that we cannot use this placard. We pointed out to her that it had indeed been used since August at this Jobcentre and Stockport Jobcentre and no one had taken offence to it. The member concerned said that he would tackle this officially, but she then became abusive towards him.
I myself am a union member and I have never seen behaviour like this before. After many many months of peaceful protests she had taken it upon herself to try and disrupt the peaceful relationship that we now have with the Jobcentre, the police and the PCS union.
She then went on to phone the police which was uncalled for. A PCOS attended as we were packing up. He informed us that she had thought our behaviour was threatening and intimidating!! We informed him that it was actually not the case and it was the union rep who was threatening and intimidating. We advised the police officer to go inside and advise her about her behaviour because it was her uncalled for actions that started this whole chain of events.
What is quite ironic is that 40% of Jobcentre workers wages are so low that they themselves will qualify to claim universal credit. They might need our help one day. I think that the union rep should remember this. She should also remember the resolution that was made at their recent conference. A motion was passed to;
Raise the profile of the Governments war upon the poor,
Encourage campaign activity with local groups on this issue,
Support initiatives that seek to undermine and expose the draconian sanctions regime that exists in Jobcentres,
Actively support staff who are targeted with discipliners and reduced box markings for using their discretion when considering decision maker and sanction referrals.
Surely they should be supporting us and showing us some kind of comradeship rather than being abusive? Maybe she thought better or maybe she wasn’t aware of her unions own actions. We certainly are.
We all left shocked that this had indeed happened, but determined and resolved to attend again next week as usual. We are there to help and support people and come in peace. Is that so hard for people to understand?

Events coming up next week.
Tameside against the cuts strategy meeting, Tuesday 12 noon. Meet in Ikea Ashton Under lyne to discuss our strategies and actions for the coming year. Please attend.

Please if you can donate to keep this blog going. I would like to carry on blogging. My paypal add is seercharlotte@gmail.com

Can I state that this persons attitude is not representative of the whole of the PCS union. Many of which I know and who also think that her actions were uncalled for. In times of austerity we need to support each other and not become divided.