Wednesday, March 25, 2015

News round-up

 Barking & Dagenham bin strike
STRIKING refuse collectors in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham are planning strike action on 18th, 19th and 20th March with a further two days on 7th and 8th April over a £1,000 pay cut for refuse drivers.
An overwhelming 75 per cent of the local community support the decision of members to take strike action to defend their wages says their union, GMB.
Keith Williams, GMB Senior Organiser said “Local residents were asked to respond to an independent online survey conducted by the Barking & Dagenham Post on Barking & Dagenham Council’s decision to cut pay of refuse/ cleansing drivers by £1,000 a year.
“An overwhelming 75 per cent of the local community support the decision of GMB members to take strike action to defend their wages.
“The residents have spoken and this shows the high esteem that they hold for the council employees who do such a valuable role in the community where they all live and serve.
“The Council should now listen to the public and do the right thing and reverse their arbitrary decision to cut the wages of GMB members by £1,000.”

 Domestic workers fight modern slavery

DOMESTIC workers donning suffragette costume staged a demonstration outside Parliament on Tuesday 17th March as MPs debated the crunch amendment to the Modern Slavery Bill, which reinstates the right of domestic workers to change employers.
Migrant Domestic Workers, part of Justice 4 Domestic Workers (J4DW) and the giant union Unite, as well as Kalayaan and Anti-Slavery International opposed the introduction of the tied visa system three years ago, which ties migrant domestic workers to their employer – a “form of modern day slavery”.
The tied visa system means migrant domestic workers are more fearful, more vulnerable to exploitation, and their right to legal redress has effectively been taken away, along with their status as a worker in their own right recognition so hard-fought for over decades and won from the Labour party with cross-party support in 1998.
But the House of Lords last month passed an amendment to the Modern Slavery bill which now allows domestic workers to change employers once in Britain and renew their visas, if in work.

Met chief wants CCTV in every home

METROPOLITAN Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan Howe has called on all householders and businesses to install CCTV cameras in their homes and premises to help the police catch burglars.
He has even suggested the cameras be set at head height rather than higher up because pictures of tops of heads are not so good at capturing facial identities.
Civil rights campaigners are alarmed that this could be the final step towards the dystopian society portrayed in George Orwell’s 1984. And although the cameras would be there ostensibly to catch illegal intruders, they could also be used to monitor people in their own homes.
Hogan-Howe said in an interview with LBC radio that civilians should set up closed-circuit television (CCTV) in their homes to aid police by giving footage to match the 12 million images of criminal suspects and offenders the city has on record.
Hogan-Howe explained. “Taking the tops of their heads is not that helpful for facial recognition which relies on the eyes and the configuration of the area around the nose and the mouth. So we're trying to get people to, ideally, add a camera at face level.
“If anyone listening has a business, think about installing a new one; they're relatively cheap.”
Meanwhile David Cameron has expressed his intention to ban communication services like Snapchat, WhatsApp and iMessage if they continue to be encrypted from the security services. Under new surveillance plans private CCTV is completely unregulated.
Recommending greater use of CCTV to gather more images of people's faces “often innocent people’s faces” undermines the security of each and every one of us said Renate Samson of the pressure group Big Brother Watch.
Labour Party MP and committee chair Andrew Miller, speaking to a House of Commons committee, said: “We were alarmed to discover that the police have begun uploading custody photographs of people to the police national database and using facial recognition software without any regulatory oversight. Some of the people had not even been charged.”

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