Yesterday Newham Greens teamed up with the Friends of Queens Market to gather objection letters and leaflet for a public meeting (24th March) that will demand 100% social housing from the development of West Ham stadium.
We’ll have a stall next Saturday (21st) too – so do pop down to support this important local campaign between 12-2pm. The more the merrier!
This blogpost was written by Newham Green Party member Rachel Collinson who recently ventured up to Liverpool to participate in her first Green Party conference. Here is her take on Green politics in action.
Forget what you read in the snide newspaper reports about smells or rights for rodents or colouring in or magic: the gathering. Preposterous lies! I can tell you this, because I was there. As you might expect from the Greens; here is the real news – the facts the establishment don’t want you to know.
This is the only main UK party conference where YOU, the member, get to set and vote on policy. It is true democracy. And it was thrilling to be able to raise my voting card, along with the 1,300 other people there. One of the things I voted on, heart pounding, was what the Green Party’s response would be to potential coalition negotiations in the event of a hung parliament.
The result? A resounding NO to any agreement containing austerity policies. The Greens would only join a confidence and supply agreement if part of it including a commitment to increasing spending on the poor and taxing the super-rich to pay for it. I am proud to say that voting on this felt like part of making history.
Here, everybody is truly in it together
Other highlights for me included:
Forming a Christian Greens group and helping others to start similar faith groups within the Green Party
Attending the UK’s first ever political party conference event on intersex and trans issues
Giving a standing ovation to Amelia Womack’s barnstorming speech (see below)
Seeing the vast room full of young Greens doing a stirling job of fundraising
Joining in solidarity with the climate march on Saturday
Seeing the care and attention paid to including everybody.
And I mean everybody, from parents with young children, to non-members, to those angrily opposed, to non-binary gender folks, to the working class, to people with limited mobility; even waiting for a person with a stutter to make their contribution during a tense debate. And even those described by the Telegraph as the frizzy-haired do-gooders, like me.
Thanks, Telegraph. Remind me: which hair care brands are paying the wages of your journalists?
This week I found out some shocking statistics from TUC.
In East Ham 21.9% of all male employees and 29.2% of all female employees are being paid below the London Living Wage.
In West Ham, the numbers are even worse. 32.1% of all male employees and 34.2% of all female employees are being paid below the London Living Wage.
This is bad news for all local residents. But in particular, it shows that local women are getting a very raw deal. Tomorrow is International Women’s Day, and what these statistics show is that gender pay inequality is an issue in Newham, as it is in the rest of the world.
What is a Living Wage?
At the moment, the law has set the minimum hourly wage at £6.50 for employees aged over 21 years. However we believe this isn’t enough to meet the basic cost of living in the UK. The Living Wage Foundation suggest that everyone in Newham should be paid at least £9.15 per hour – however it is clear from the numbers above that this is not the case for a third of local workers across Newham.
A Living Wage is important and beneficial
Newham Green Party are campaigning for a Living Wage in Newham. We believe this will help ensure low paid workers earn enough to provide for themselves and their families, and this in turn will help people stay out of poverty. A Living Wage is also good for businesses; case studies have highlighted a positive impact on recruitment and retention, less absenteeism, better quality of work from staff, and more staff motivation. To find out more visit: http://www.livingwage.org.uk/
The Green Party of England and Wales is calling for the minimum wage to rise to £10 an hour by 2020. In an address to Greens’ autumn conference, party leader Natalie Bennett said Britain was a low-wage economy and people deserved “a decent return on their labour”
Newham needs a Living Wage.
It’s good for business, good for families, good for Newham!