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Blogs by the 38 Degrees team, volunteers and members.

TTIP – Day of action

July 9th, 2014 by

This Saturday, July 12th, there are events happening across the country to protest TTIP – the Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership. They’ve been organised by our friends over at World Development Movement, in collaboration with loads of other UK organisations who have major concerns about the negative effects of  TTIP.

There are 16 events happening all across the UK, and they’ll be a great way to raise awareness about the dangers of TTIP. There are lots of amazing events planned. There’s a People vs Corporations football match in Swindon, a boxing match between corporate interests and citizens rights in Brighton, a demonstration outside the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, and loads more.

Check out the list below to find out the nearest event to you:

London

Where: Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, 1 Victoria Street, SW1H  0ET

What time: 12:00

More information here.

Cambridge

Where: Outside Cambridge Guildhall, Market Square, Cambridge, CB2 3QJ

What time: 12:00

More information here.

Manchester

Where: Outside BHS, Market Street, Manchester

What time: 12:00-15:00

More information here.

York

Where: Kings Square, York

When: 12:00 – 15:00

More information here.

Nottingham

Where: Old Market Square, Nottingham

When: 11:00 – 13:oo

More information here.

Edinburgh

Where: The bottom of the Mound, next to the National Gallery, Princes Street, Edinburgh

When: 2pm

More information here.

Glasgow

Where: Hillhead Library, 348 Byres Road, G12 8AP Glasgow, United Kingdom

When: 11:00 – 13:00

More information here.

Brighton

Where: Opposite the Theatre Royal, New Road, Brighton

When: 11:00 – 13:00

More information here.

Bexhill and Hastings

Where: Outside HSBC on Devonshire Road

When: 11:00

More information contact Christina at luceys@talktalk.net

Derby

Where: The Spot, Wilmot St, Derby DE1 2JW

When: 11:00

More information here.

Sheffield

Where: Steps of Sheffield Town Hall, Pinstone St, S1 2HH

When:11:45am

More information here.

Swindon

Where: Crumpled Waterfall, Canal Walk, Swindon

When: 11:00-13:00

For more information contact Kate at peoplesassemblyswindon@gmx.co.uk

Norwich

Where: Friends Meeting House, Upper Goat Lane, Norwich, NR2 1EW

When: 14:00-16:00

For more information contact Chris Keene at ckeene107@gmail.com or Lesley Grahame at lesley7railway@yahoo.co.uk

Reading

Where: Outside Boots, Broad Street, Reading

When: 10:30am

For more information contact Jackie at jackioversby@yahoo.co.uk

Dublin

Where: The Greenhouse, 17 St Andrew Street, Dublin

When: 11:00

More information here.

Birmingham

Where: Outside the Council House, Victoria Square, Birmingham

When: 14:00

More information here.

 

 

 

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Save Jarrow NHS walk-in centre

July 9th, 2014 by

38 Degrees member Julie has started a Campaigns by You petition to protect Jarrow’s NHS walk-in centre. It’s facing closure, but she thinks its an essential local service because it was used by more than 27,000 people last year.

The decision’s being made next month, and the GPs making the decision say they’ll consult local people. The more of us that speak out now, the more chance we have of influencing them.

So if you agree with Julie, please sign the petition here.

Here’s what Julie says:

“The Walk In Centre is easily accessible and an excellent service. Local people are very concerned at the prospect of losing this local facility and feel the District Hospital in South Shields as an alternative is out of the way. Waiting two weeks to see a GP is not an option for worried parents with poorly kids, the elderly, and vulnerable patients.”

If you disagree with Julie’s campaign, or there’s another issue close to your heart, you can start your own campaign here: https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/visit-cby

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A Sainsbury’s in Hampstead?

July 9th, 2014 by

38 Degrees member Jessica has started a petition on Campaigns By You against Sainsbury’s opening a store on South End Green in Hampstead – as four local independent shops will be lost to an “identikit chain store”.

Jessica is handing in the petition to Sainsbury’s tomorrow morning at their AGM and the more of us that sign, the greater impact it will have. Click here to sign her petition if you agree.

Jessica says:

“The loss of these independent local shops will mean that social contact will be reduced. It is widely recognised that small independent shops make up the heart of a thriving community. The importance of this cannot be underestimated for people who are less mobile, such as the elderly.”

Click here to sign her petition if you agree that Sainsbury’s shouldn’t build a store in Hampstead.

If you disagree with Jessica’s campaign, or there’s another issue close to your heart, you can start your own campaign here: https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/visit-cby

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The MP committee on our Recall of MPs Bill

July 9th, 2014 by

On Monday the committee of MPs met to scrutinise our Recall of MPs Bill, which 38 Degrees members paid for. It was a really fascinating discussion. And there were lots of really helpful suggestions for how we can improve the Bill.

Here are a few photographs of the event:

Recall committee meeting

Recall committee meeting

Recall committee meeting

Recall committee meeting

Recall committee meeting

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Recall of MPs Bill Briefing

July 9th, 2014 by

On Monday a committee of MPs came together to scrutinise the Recall of MPs Bill that 38 Degrees members paid for.

To read the briefing that helped inform the debate please click here.

In this briefing you will find:

    • Foreword – written by the Rt Hon David Davis MP, Chair of the Backbench Initiative on the Recall of MPs Bill
    • The draft Recall of MPs Bill
    • The process and further explanation of the draft
    • Recall of MPs Bill
    • The results of the consultation with over 30,000 members of 38 Degrees

Recall committee meeting

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Bees 1: Syngenta 0

July 4th, 2014 by

Wonderful news, we’ve protected our bees! Yesterday Syngenta withdrew their controversial application to allow their banned bee-killer pesticides back on UK fields.

Owen Paterson, the environment minister, sided with Syngenta. But the decision was deemed so toxic that it was brought all the way up to the Prime Minister and his cabinet to discuss.

The day before the big meeting, the huge people-powered petition signed by over 200,000 of us was delivered to the PM’s desk. [2] And on the morning of the meeting, hundreds of us swarmed on Downing St to confront the ministers as they arrived. [3]

Dressed as bee-keepers, bees and pesticides, and with a host of other campaign organisations we chanted at the top of our voices and left the ministers in no doubt that we expected them to put our bees before Syngenta’s profits. Alongside 38 Degrees members, a huge range of campaign organisations came along. Buglife, Client Earth, Environmental Justice Foundation, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Natural Beekeeping Trust, Pesticide Action Network and the Soil Association all joined the campaign.

And it worked! The government stalled and didn’t announce a decision, forcing Syngenta to back down. Syngenta had said that unless a decision was made by the beginning of July, it would be too late to use the pesticides this year.

38 Degrees members have a great history of protecting our countryside and wildlife. From campaigning for the European ban in the first place, through to stopping our forests from being sold off, we have shown we’re prepared to organise both online and in person to make change happen.

We have a small and nimble staff team which means we can move quickly to launch campaigns like this to protect our bees, and 38 Degrees is 100% funded by its members. Lots and lots of people chipping in a small amount soon adds up, and means that together we can take on goliath companies like Syngenta and win!

We still need to keep our eyes peeled. Syngenta have said they’re going to re-apply next year. And our so-called environment minister still doesn’t back the ban or believe the science. But, for this summer at least, our bees will be buzzing around our fields and gardens, safe from any new Syngenta pesticides.

 

 

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TTIP – Don’t let corporations sue the government

July 3rd, 2014 by

Do you want to live in a world in which multinational corporations can sue the UK government for raising the minimum wage? [1] Or how about a world where big tobacco companies can sue the UK for billions of pounds for introducing a plain cigarette packaging law? [2]

Scarily, this could happen if TTIP – the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – is passed. It’s basically a Christmas wish-list for big businesses – one with no benefit to ordinary people. Right now, the negotiations are going on behind closed doors. But the devastating consequences will affect us all. We have an opportunity – but only for the next 48 hours – to stop one of the worst parts of the deal.

Thanks to massive people-powered campaigns across Europe, the TTIP negotiating team opened a consultation on the Investor-To-State Dispute Settlement – ISDS. It’s a complex name that covers up a nasty rule that’ll let corporations sue our government for putting their duty to ordinary people before businesses’ profits. [3]

Together, 38 Degrees members are doing all we can to get ISDS dropped from the deal – but the consultation closes in just 48 hours time. This is the first time ordinary people like us will have a chance to have a say on any part of TTIP.  So we’re making sure the negotiating team gets the message loud and clear – we don’t want big businesses to dictate laws to our government.

There are only two days left. And the negotiating team has only really heard from shady lobbyists so far. So if you want to tell them why the deal is terrible for ordinary people, you can send a message to the consultation here.
When thousands of us feed into consultations, we’re too powerful to ignore. Thousands of us participating in consultations like this creates waves. And the thousands of 38 Degrees members submitting to the EU consultation today definitely can’t be ignored. 38 Degrees members crashed the EU’s website with the weight of their opinion.

The TTIP team is vulnerable right now. Just this month the US embassy in Berlin offered grants of $20,000 for campaigns in support of TTIP! So this is a perfect time to show how much opposition there is. And we’ll be in good company – we’ll be joining hundreds of thousands of voices across Europe who have already spoken out against the deal.

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Tesco’s AGM last week: Amy’s action

July 3rd, 2014 by

This blog post has been written by Amy, a former Tesco employee and 38 Degrees member, who has started the campaign to make Tesco pay the Living Wage.

I went to the Tesco AGM to raise the issue of a Living Wage.

Over 32,500 people had already signed mine & ShareAction’s petition on Campaigns By You calling on Tesco CEO Philip Clarke to ‘pay fair’. As nervous as I was, knowing thousands of people were standing behind me I felt ready to take on the retail giant.

I began the day digging out my smart jacket from Year 11 and removing the name tag my mother had sewn in. Once at the AGM I spoke to a lot of journalists before I was escorted into the AGM. After what seemed like an age of angry questions from shareholders to the Board, it was finally time to ask my own question.

CBY Tesco shareholder action

“Good morning, my name is Amy Bradley. I am here as a proxy for Ian Langrish.

I worked at Tesco for the past seven years, and I’m grateful for the opportunities and training I was given to progress from a Saturday till girl to a service manager.

Today I am here to ask Tesco directors to make sure all staff receive enough take home pay to meet their basic needs. While I was lucky to advance to a level of pay that meant I had enough to get by, many of my colleagues in Oxfordshire struggled.

I’m still in contact with lots of people who became good friends in my Tesco years. I’m here today for them. I believe Tesco could and should commit to becoming a Living Wage employer.

This would make such a difference to everyone at Tesco’s, not just those who are paid the least. It would help make Tesco a stronger business and certainly make you a leader for other supermarkets to follow.

More than 30,000 of Tesco’s customers, staff and community members agree with me on this. I would like to present a petition with these 30,000 signatures. I have them here with me. Could I give this to you immediately after the meeting?

I know Tesco offers many benefits and has responded by stating that you pay Living Wage rates when these are included in the calculation. Benefits are certainly appreciated, but most of Tesco’s staff benefits don’t help people to pay their rent and bills.

I hope you are listening. Will you commit to a meeting with investors and with Citizens UK to discuss how Tesco could take a lead within retail on the Living Wage?”

Sadly the Chairman of the Board wheeled out Tesco’s standard reply, that when all staff perks are taken into account they ‘top up’ to a Living Wage. As I mentioned in my question, this is a misguided (and misleading!) view of what the Living Wage is about – it is a benchmark to allow people to meet their daily and weekly living costs. ‘Topping up’ wages with benefits like pension contributions – whilst good – do not contribute to paying the rent or heating your house. They should be in addition, not a substitute to a fair wage.

Luckily, post AGM, I was able to have a productive chat with Tesco CEO Philip Clarke who did agree to meet with campaigners to, at least, discuss the issue of a Living Wage.

It’s a long way from agreeing to ‘pay fair’, but it is a start – and hope for the thousands of people standing alongside me to demand that all staff, including contract cleaners and security guards, earn a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.

Now, we just need to nail down a commitment for when this meeting can take place and keep the pressure up on Tesco to deliver substantial answers. I’ll keep you posted on next steps!

CBY Tesco shareholder action

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Save our antibiotics

July 2nd, 2014 by

The rise of antibiotic resistant superbugs is one of the most serious health problems the world faces. And it’s happening right now.

“If we fail to act, we are looking at an almost unthinkable scenario where antibiotics no longer work and we are cast back into the dark ages of medicine.” This is what David Cameron said today, as he announced the UK will lead a global effort to develop new drugs.

The resistance crisis is caused mainly by overuse in human medicine, but also in factory farming. It’s crucial we develop new drugs. But also protect the ones we currently have. And we can’t do that if antibiotics are routinely given to animals – which leads to resistance – which passes to humans.

The extent to which antimicrobial resistance (AMR) originating in farm animals is contributing to antimicrobial resistance in humans is disputed by some, but the World Health Organisation has said (2011):

‘Resistance [in the foodborne zoonotic bacteria salmonella and campylobacter] is clearly linked to antibiotic use in food animals, and foodborne diseases caused by such resistant bacteria are well documented in people. Of special concern is resistance to so-called critically important antibiotics for human medicine. … Antibiotic resistance … has been associated with more frequent and longer hospitalization, longer illness, a higher risk of invasive infection and a twofold increase in the risk of death …’

and the European Food Safety Authority has said (2008):

‘Resistant [bacteria] involved in human disease are mostly spread through foods. With regards to salmonella, contaminated poultry meat, eggs, pork and beef are prominent in this regard. For campylobacter, contaminated poultry meat is prominent. Cattle are a major reservoir for E coli [verotoxigenic Escherichia coli] and resistant strains may colonize humans via contaminated meat of bovine origin more commonly than from other foods. Animal-derived products remain a potential source of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Food-associated MRSA, therefore, may be an emerging problem.’

Other European countries like Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands, have already acted and have banned or phased out the routine use of antibiotics in farming. Together we can make sure the UK follows their lead. The Alliance of Antibiotics have started a petition on Campaigns By You to force the government to take action, you can sign the petition here.

“Intensive livestock farming systems rely on routinely giving animals antibiotics, often when no disease is present, just to ensure they survive the squalid, overcrowded, and stressful conditions in which they are kept. But this puts human health at risk.”
Alison Craig, of the Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics

But big intensive farming companies and big pharmaceutical companies will be lobbying the government to try and prevent them from taking action. 38 Degrees members have a strong track record of standing up to big business and protecting our NHS. So let’s make sure people-power drowns out their lobbying.

Together we can force the government to ban or phase out the routine preventative use of antibiotics in farming.

The Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics is an alliance of health, medical, environmental and animal welfare groups working to stop the over-use of antibiotics in animal farming. It was founded by the Soil Association, Compassion in World Farming, and Sustain in 2009, and is supported by the Jeremy Coller Foundation. Its vision is a world in which human and animal health and well-being are protected by food and farming systems that do not rely routinely on antibiotics and related drugs.

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Land Registry petition hand-in this morning

July 2nd, 2014 by

This morning, 38 Degrees members and campaigners to stop the privatisatation of the Land Registry – from high street solicitors to the PCS Union – got together to hand in our 100,000 signature petition.

We gathered outside the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills at 11am with placards, a big ‘Keep the Land Registry Public’ banner, and lots of energy!

Land Registry petition hand-in

Representatives from Michael Fallon’s office – the minister this petition is addressed to – and the Department for Business came out to collect the petition.

Unfortunately neither Michael Fallon MP or Vince Cable MP, the two ministers working on plans to privatise the Land Registry, could make it. We were told they both had ‘important ministerial business’ to do.

It was leaked last weekend that the government will scrap their plans for privatisation – but ministers haven’t confirmed it yet.

Land Registry petition hand-in

So this petition hand-in was 38 Degrees members taking one last chance to hammer the message home – that we want to keep the Land Registry public.

If you haven’t yet, you can still sign the petition here.

Land Registry petition hand-in

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