Branch News

Branch support for locked-out Mayr-Melnhof Packaging workers

At our April meeting, the branch voted in favour of making a donation to Unite members at Mayr-Melnhof Packaging, who have been locked out by the company for almost 2 months.

Unite is to take legal action against the Austrian owned company over the unlawful dismissal of its workforce and closure of the site in Bootle, Liverpool. The latest update on the dispute from the union is available for branch members to read here.

The donation has now been sent off and a message of support for the workers sent on behalf of the branch. Sogat Process Chapel replied, saying “thanks for your support, its great to know people haven’t forgotten about us.”

If any members wish to send individual donations to support the workers, they can send cheques to Sogat Process Chapel c/o Phil Morgan, 2 Chantry Court, Forge Street, Crewe, Cheshire CW1 2DL.

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Social next week for interns and branch members

The union branch will be holding an interns social from 5:30pm this Tuesday 3 April in the back room of the Sports and Social on the Parliamentary Estate.

It will be branch members and interns only as we’ll be putting money towards drinks for people, so please RSVP to our Social Secretary at

Hope to see you there!

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LGBT Parliament – ParliOut AGM today

ParliOut AGM

March 22nd at 18:30 Conference Room E – 7 Millbank

Dear ParliOut Member,

You are invited to the AGM of ParliOut on 22nd March 2012.

The committee would like to hear your thoughts on the past 10 months (since the last AGM) and any ideas for future events. It would be great if you could answer these quick questions prior to the AGM or think about them for the meeting:

  1. Out of 10, how would you rate ParliOut’s work in the past 12 months?
  2. What do you think has been ParliOut’s greatest success or most enjoyable event during this period and why?
  3. What do you think has been ParliOut’s greatest difficulty or least enjoyable event during this period and why?
  4. Are there any specific topics you would like ParliOut’s meetings to address in the coming 12 months?
  5. Are there any new areas or initiatives you would like ParliOut to undertake in the coming 12 months?

The AGM is also a chance to get involved with the ParliOut committee by becoming a committee member for the coming year. Please see the attached Terms of Reference for details of how to nominate yourself.

Daniel and Jean are current co-chairs so members who can’t attend but would like to be nominated as potential committee members can submit their requests to them.

The current responsibilities of Committee members include communication, event organisation, coordination of the Advice and Guidance Service and relationship management with external organisations and the ParliOut Advisory Board.

We would really value your feedback and ideas at the AGM and would like to thank members in advance for their constructive comments and for supporting the meeting in a positive way.

We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible on 22nd.

All the best,

The ParliOut Committee

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Taking on the Media Barons – TUC, NUJ and CPBF Conference


How can we make the media fair for all?

 TUC, NUJ and CPBF Conference

Saturday 17 March

Congress House, Great Russell Street London WC1B 3LS – contact Stuart Watkin on if you’d like to attend.




10am – 10.10am

Frances O’Grady -TUC Deputy General Secretary


Session 1

10.10am – 11am Keynote address and Q&A

Rt Hon Harriet Harman QC MP – Labour Deputy Leader and Shadow Cabinet member for Culture, Media and Sport

Question and Answers


Session 2

11am – 12noon The state of the media today

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary – journalism and the media barons

Luke Crawley  BECTU Assistant General Secretary – the broadcasting dimension

Jim Broumelha  International Federation of Journalists – an international perspective

Pete Lazenby  NUJ – what’s happening to local news

Natalie Fenton – local media and democracy

Chair of session: Frances O’Grady


Session 3

12 noon – 1pm Why ownership matters

Granville Williams – Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom

Tony Burke – Assistant General Secretary Unite 

Richard Bagley – Morning Star 

Avaaz –- Michael Calderbank people against Murdoch

Chair: Joy Johnson


LUNCH BREAK  1pm – 1.45pm


Session 4

1.45pm – 2.45pm

Leveson  – the story so far

Dan Sabbagh – The Guardian

David Sherborne – QC Leveson Inquiry (tbc)

Thais Portilho-Shrimpton – Hacked off 

John Hendy QC – NUJ QC to the Leveson Inquiry

Chair: Kevin Maguire (tbc)


Session 5

2.45pm – 3.45pm

Regulatory reform what is to be done?

Tom O’Malley –  The historical context 

James  Curran – CCMR proposals

Chris Frost – NUJ Ethics Council

Seamus Dooley – NUJ Ireland

Natalie Fenton – chair


Concluding remarks

Michelle Stanistreet NUJ

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Union branch welcomes positive changes in IPSA’s latest review of expenses scheme

Yesterday IPSA published their review of the expenses scheme, with some very positive changes for staff that the union branch has been lobbying hard for over recent years. The full scheme is available here and IPSA’s summary of the changes is available here, but in terms of staff wins we are looking at:

  • The Staffing Expenditure budget limit has been increased to £137,200 for non-London Area MPs and £144,000 for London Area MPs, incorporating a 5% supplement for London Area MPs to reflect higher salary ranges for staff based in London. IPSA’s Estimate is subject to approval by the Speaker’s Committee for IPSA.
  • New and more flexible job descriptions for staff members will be available, and the redundancy package for staff on IPSA’s contracts has been doubled from the statutory minimum.
  • Office cost and travel claims can now be made for staff members who live more than 20 miles from the constituency of the MP who employs them.
  • The Winding-Up budgets have been increased to £56,250 for London Area MPs and £53,150 for non-London Area MPs.
  • MPs’ staff can claim the cost of a railcard where it represents value for money on their parliamentary-related journeys.  Continue reading
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MPs’ staff invited to House of Commons diversity scheme launch event this Thursday

Diversity and Inclusion Scheme launch event

Diversity and Inclusion Scheme launch event

In case some of you haven’t seen it on the intranet:

All Members and Members’ staff are invited to attend the launch of the new Diversity and Inclusion Scheme on Thursday 1 March at 1.30pm in the Attlee Suite, Portcullis House.

Equality, diversity and inclusion are very important. The House Service has made significant progress in these areas in the last three years, but there is more to do. The new Diversity and Inclusion Scheme, approved by the Commission in January, is part of a strategy to help everyone understand what a mature, responsible organisation can do to bring about the kind of equal treatment that is at the heart of its values.

The launch is on Thursday 1 March from 1.30-3.30pm in the Attlee Suite on the 1st floor of Portcullis House. The formal opening will take place at 2pm. The event will be introduced by Mr Speaker and by the Clerk of the House and Chief Executive.

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Branch Secretary quoted in Mirror article on MPs ‘pricing poor students out of politics’ with internships

Branch secretary Louise Haigh accused many MPs of flouting the law by not paying the minimum wage in a recent article on Parliamentary internships in the Daily Mirror. The article is available here and reproduced below:

MPs are discriminating against poorer students because it’s only rich kids who can afford to work for them for nothing.

Almost 800 youngsters were signed up as “interns” last year, says the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. Many put in a full working week carrying out research, handling constituents’ sensitive problems and even acting as office managers. Continue reading

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Reminder: two quick surveys for MPs staff to fill out

Just a reminder about 2 surveys MPs’ staff have been asked to fill out recently.

House of Commons Survey of Services 2012

By now you should have received an email to your parliamentary email address asking you to express your views on the services provided to you by the House of Commons Service. The 3 February deadline is coming up, so we encourage you to take part if you haven’t already done so. It takes about 10 minutes and is a good way to give feedback on the services provided to MPs’ staff, particularly in the context of the budget cuts going through as part of the House of Commons Saving programme.

If you work for an MP but did not receive an email on 23 January, do not hold a email address, or if you would prefer to complete the survey by telephone interview, please call the external research agency SPA Future Thinking’s Survey Manager on 0207 219 2306. Continue reading

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Branch Chair gives evidence to the House of Commons Procedure Committee inquiry on sitting hours

On Wednesday 11 January Branch Chair Max Freedman gave evidence to the House of Commons Procedure Committee’s inquiry into sittings of the House. The uncorrected evidence is available here and the audio is available here. There’s no visual this time as the Committee room wasn’t equipped with it.

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Unions 21 event – 17th January

Message from Unions 21:

Policy in the pub –
CHAIR: Michael White, Assistant Editor, The Guardian



WHEN? 6.30pm-8.30pm, TUESDAY 17 JANUARY

WHERE? THE BARLEY MOW (pub), 104 Horseferry Road, Westminster, London, SW1P 2EE

5-10 Mins walking distance from Parliament


SPEAKERS: In addition to the 2 minute policy pitches there will be an introduction by Sue Ferns (Chair of Unions21) and John Slinger (Editor of Pragmatic Radicalism). Winner announced by Tom Wilson, Director of unionlearn.
See our website for updates on people presenting policy ideas on the night…
Further info at at and the Facebook event page is:

For more information on our successful Labour Party Conference fringe event at and

Please feel free to send this to anyone you think might be interested in participating or attending. We’re on Twitter @PragRad #TopOfThePolicies. Please spread the word.

Best wishes,
Jenny Simms

Director – Unions 21

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