This week it was my pleasure to address striking workers at Hull City College. Members of the UCU Union were on the picket line over a pay offer that had been reneged on by the management as well as unfair and unwarranted observation procedures that could take place at a minutes notice, putting excess stress on workers who will rightly care about their jobs at a time of cuts to services.
Imagine my surprise to have received a veiled threat from Hull College Chief Executive, Gary Warke, who took it upon himself to accuse me of making political capital out of an issue which matters a lot to my constituents.
You can see Gary’s letter to me below.
Whilst Mr Warke may feel that he can bully and intimidate his staff at Hull City College, he cannot do it to me, an elected Member of Parliament. He might pay himself more than the Prime Minister whilst his staff are effectively on pay freezes, but not even the Prime Minister would dare to use threats on an elected MP. My constituents have a right to be represented, and that is what I did for them. I feel that as a result of Mr Warke’s unwarranted letter, I have had no choice but to take action and call for an investigation by the Chair of Governor’s. You can see my responses below.
I wrote to the Chair of Governors as you can see below.
The strike action was backed by an overwhelming majority, with 85% of members voting for strike action and a massive 95% voting for action short of a strike. This is a huge mandate for action and I feel it is my duty as a constituency MP to attend any such strike and support the actions of my constituents. As a Labour MP, I will always support worker’s rights, and I am proud to have been joined this week by Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Labour Party who gave his support to the campaign.
This week, every person in the United Kingdom will have the chance to vote in one way or another. Whether it is in Local Council elections, the London Mayoral race, the Greater London Assembly, Police and Crime Commissioner Elections or in one of the devolved legislatures, most voters will be able to have a say in their democratic process for the first time since last year’s General Election.
Elections are about choosing sides, and Labour is on the side of hard working people and is standing up for them, not just standing by. In the last year we have seen how the Tories have taken a pick-axe to public services, rolling back vital services across the country and taking much needed funding from those areas that need it the most, whilst piling money into rich areas.
It is not just public services that the Tories have targeted. They have also gone after the pounds in your pocket. Labour warned that there would be raids on hard working families and nowhere was this more blatant than the attempts to cut tax credits for those trying to make ends meet. George Osborne’s bid to take money out of hard working people’s pockets betray a man who has never had to struggle to put food on the table.
Local elections are all about making choices, and it is the choices that the Labour Party has made that matters. It was Labour who stood up, not stood by as it fought the Tories over the tax credit cuts. It was Labour who stood up, not stood by opposing cuts to Personal Independence Payments.
Whilst Labour is not in power in national government, we are still in power across a number of local councils and in Wales. Where Labour is in power, it is putting words into action by fighting to protect public services and standing up for local people. Labour understands the importance that local services have in communities up and down the country.
We will stand up against the unfair Tory cuts to protect the vital public services we all rely on. We will protect neighbourhood policing and oppose the vicious Tory cuts to the Police. And we will invest in the NHS to rescue it from Tory neglect, joining up services from home to hospital so it’s fit for the future.
We know how important it is to feel safe in your community. Tory cuts have meant fewer Bobbies on the beat and in Hull this has meant reported crime has sky rocketed under a Tory Government and the Tory Police and Crime Commissioner.
Labour will stand up for safer communities. Labour Councils and Police and Crime Commissioners will oppose deep Tory cuts to front-line officers to keep Bobbies on the beat. We will prioritise neighbourhood policing and bear down on crime and its causes.
The Tories’ cuts to the Police are putting the safety of our communities at risk. Over 18,000 officers and 5,000 Community Support Officers have already been lost. Further real terms cuts in funding risk making it harder to keep our streets safe just as violent crime is on the rise.
Labour’s Police and Crime Commissioner Candidate in Humberside, Keith Hunter, has over 30 years’ experience as a police officer knows what it takes to police at the highest level. Keith will show why it is important to elect a professional, not a politician, to protect the people who are policed by Humberside Police.
In Hull, the Labour Council led by Steve Brady has battled Tory Austerity and set a course to prosperity, attracting investment from world leading companies such as Siemens, brought the City of Culture to the city in 2017 as well as making sure that the City is prepared for the challenges of the 21st century.
When going to the polling station on Thursday, keep all of this in mind and vote for a party that has made standing up for hard working people its ambition.