The Trade Union Bill

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The Trade Union Bill is an unapologetic attack on the unions. The Bill consists of a number of draconian restrictions on how Trade Unions can function.

Many employees may be unaware of the benefits of the unions. People often turn to unions in times of trouble. At the prospect of unfair dismissal, disciplinary procedures, harassment or discrimination, the unions are often the only people both able and willing to intervene. We have many progressive and much needed employment laws but these laws are not always upheld. Individual workers are helpless against massive corporations with their authority and financial backing. When employees unite they are able to show their true value to a company. Labour withdrawal through strike action is a vital tool in exerting union power.

Even workers who have never belonged to a union have benefited from their achievements for workers’ rights. We need the unions to demand and enforce sick pay, holiday pay, lunch breaks etc. This is demonstrated by the fact that higher unionised workplaces benefits tend to exceed those of other sectors. With the Tory’s destruction of the welfare state, job security is even more important than ever.

Jeremy Hunt told his party that he wants low paid people in the UK to work as hard as the Chinese. China is a country which faces allegations of poor working conditions, forced labour  and even child labour  – hardly something to aspire to. The truth is that asking Brits to work longer will exacerbate our problem of work related stress, fatigue and depression. This will increase the burden on our already overstretched NHS.

In Surrey alone, unions are active and progressive. This summer saw a dispute between Abellio Surrey and its bus drivers. The company threatened to disregard agreements over pay and conditions, Unite were able to resolve the issue without strike action.  With the increased privatisation and budget cuts, doctors, nurses, teachers and other public sector workers are in desperate need of their rights to industrial action.

Despite the efforts of Green MP Caroline Lucas and others who contested it, The Trade Union bill passed the second reading last week. We need to make our voices heard and let Downing Street know the workers of Surrey will not let their rights be eroded.

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The Trade Union Bill

Motorists, Cyclists and Pedestrians – an unnecessary rivalry.

I often hear negative comments from motorists and pedestrians about cyclists and vice-versa. The truth is that many confrontations are due to the lack of adequate space for everyone involved, cyclists are forced to ‘compete’ for space with motorists or pedestrians.

For example on Hersham Road in Walton the pavement is divided between cyclists and pedestrians. However, whilst the cycle path remains the same width the pavement fluctuates, leaving many sections of the pavement where the only feasible option for pedestrians is to walk on the cycle path.

At most traffic lights in the constituency motorists would assume pedestrians have puffin crossing, indicating when it is safe to cross. However there are numerous examples of where there is no red/green man display, pedestrians are forced to use the traffic lights to guess when will be safe to cross.

There are many roundabouts in the area that can only be described as chaotic. The roundabout adjoining Queens Road, Westcar Lane, West Grove, and Queensway has no traffic calming measures. This means that motorists often approach the roundabout in excess of the 40 Mph speed limit (from the main A244 road) causing numerous collisions and near misses. What’s more is that there is nowhere safe for pedestrians to cross.

Scilly Isles roundabout in Esher has similar problems. Pedestrians find it almost impossible to cross, and cyclists are not catered for. The Cyclist’s Touring Club website describes how there are cycle lanes on the roads but these stop well before the roundabout. These interrupted cycle paths are typical of the area.

Busy roundabouts need adequate pedestrian crossings. Visibility is often difficult as pedestrians cannot always anticipate when a car will exit the roundabout. Motorists are often pre-occupied looking to the right when entering a roundabout and fail to spot pedestrians waiting to cross or cyclists entering the roundabout.

We all know that the last thing that motorists want is to injure pedestrians or cyclists, equally it is not pedestrians’ or cyclists’ intensions to endanger themselves by catching motorists off guard. The vast majority of road users want to obey the rules, and ought to be assured that other road users are sufficiently catered for.

It is great when people choose to walk or cycle but in encouraging them to do this, we have a responsibility to ensure this is feasible from a safety point of view. However many issues pedestrians face, the risks increase exponentially for many with mobility issues or sensory disabilities. Road layout planning needs to take into account that many pedestrians cannot run out of the way of vehicles or be expected to listen or look to the distance to predict when is safe to cross.

The Green Party are the only party wanting to put local people at the heart of town planning. We want to make sure everyone that uses the road gets a say. If you elect Green councillors we will come up with sensible solutions that work for everyone.

Click here to take a look at the amazing transport achievements of Green led Brighton Council.

Motorists, Cyclists and Pedestrians – an unnecessary rivalry.

Green Party Leads the Way for Young Families

The Green Party wants to make life easier for families. The gender pay gap in this country is often exacerbated by women taking time off or working part time during pregnancy and raising children. We don’t think that women’s careers should suffer because of their decision to have a family. Families should be celebrated.

The Green Party would:

  1. Ensure that the laws to prevent discrimination on the grounds of pregnancy and maternity are properly enforced.
  2. Reverse cuts to legal aid
  3. Scrap new fees for employment tribunal claims
  4. Introduce a system of parental leave in which: Every employee is eligible for parental leave after 3 months service. Each parent will be entitled to one month of post-natal leave immediately after the birth or adoption of a child. A further 22 months of paid leave will be available, with arrangements for sharing between parents.Parental leave is paid at at least 90% of regular pay, up to a reasonable maximum. There is no loss of job rights.The cost of parental leave for small firms is covered through taxation.
  5. Provide funds to enable the self-employed to claim the rights to maternity and parental leave, based upon their average income and hours worked.

We believe parents know best when it comes to childcare. If parents feel that it is right to go back to work, this decision must be made affordable for them. Their minds should be at rest that their children are being well looked after with quality care. Equally, it is a respectable and noble decision to choose to take a career break to bring up children.

The Green Party would:

  • Provide a free, universal, voluntary and flexible system of good quality early education for children from one until school starting age
  • Childcare should not only focus on costs and allowing parents to work; this policy will provide high quality early education in recognition of early years as a critical developmental phase for children
  • Improve the status of childminding as a profession, in terms of training and pay, while maintaining affordability
  • Properly fund children’s and family centres and ensure outreach to socially excluded families
Green Party Leads the Way for Young Families

Esher and Walton – Green Party – Local candidates

Meet your local Green Party candidates. We are courageous, we are not afraid to stand up for what is right. We are caring, we want to listen to residents of Elmbridge and protect our most vulnerable. We are principled, we will oppose corruption on a local and national scale. We are: Nick Davis for Oatlands Park, Olivia Palmer for Hersham South, Dan Fleming for Hersham North, Laura Harmour for Esher, and Finula Farruggia for Thames Ditton.

We look forward to working with you and for you, for the common good.

#Community

  • The Green Party will listen to the needs of local people, local charities, and local businesses.
  • The Green Party will introduce local healthcare facilities.
  • The Green Party will champion community based help and services for older and vulnerable people.

#GreenBelt

  • The Green Party will protect trees, parks, commons & other green spaces.
  • The Green Party will reclaim green belt by opposing the expansion of Cranmere School.

#BetterTransport

  • The Green Party will fight for better and more affordable public transport.
  • The Green Party will introduce safer crossings for pedestrians and join up the cycle routes.
  • The Green Party will ensure that there are distinct safe spaces for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists.

#VoteGreen2015

Esher and Walton – Green Party – Local candidates

Esher and Walton – Green Party Candidate – Olivia Palmer

Olivia Palmer is the Green Party parliamentary candidate for Esher and Walton, and the local council candidate for Hersham South.

Olivia Palmer lives and works in Walton-on-Thames. She currently works for a community housing group and has previously been involved with a number of charities. Olivia has an undergraduate degree in Philosophy and Human Rights and a masters’ degree in Human Rights and International Relations.

I want to fight for social justice and equality; equal rights for people of all genders, races, religions, sexualities and economic status’. I believe we can achieve this through a democratic Britain, a Britain where the people who govern represent all of us instead of just the 1%.

I joined the Green Party because they are the only party that is against austerity, the only party that doesn’t think that we all should suffer for the actions of a few.

Esher and Walton is a beautiful leafy constituency in which I am proud and privileged to live and work. We need to protect our trees and green spaces, our parks, commons and heaths. We need to protect our air quality against ever increasing traffic and our riverside homes from the risk of devastating floods like we saw last year. We need to protect our older population, our disabled people and our poorer residents against unfair cuts to our much needed public services. Despite its overall wealth, Esher and Walton is home to some people living in poverty. I want to make sure that these vulnerable groups do not get left behind.

I will work to ensure our money is spent on things the community need and want: better and more affordable public transport, increased and safer routes for cyclists and pedestrians, local healthcare facilities, community based help and services for older and vulnerable people.

Esher and Walton – Green Party Candidate – Olivia Palmer