Tuesday, 21 March 2017

My fight with self harm, medication


Finding "me time" was something my counsellor kept asking me in the 30 plus sessions we had. I'd agree and promise myself to make time, just as I advise other activists to do in order they look after themselves. 

It's still a challenge finding time, it's hard  turning off, but now I know my limitations and the risks if I don't. 

The other week I woke up and experienced a strange feeling. It's hard to explain but I felt free, what was it that made feel this? I suddenly realised it had been a while since I had thoughts of self harm. I hadn't noticed, the nearest similar feeling is when you are grieving and suddenly you realise the pain is less and you feel guilty. I'm probably not explaining myself, but for a while it was liberating. 

Negative feelings and thoughts are not only depressing they drain energy and attack your ability to remain positive. It has been a struggle I've battled for many years but at least now I feel I'm more honest about myself. 

Today I was checking some emails and it was a year ago I when had my mental health breakdown. 

A year of my life, what a lot has happened. 

Since I first went public about my mental health I've spoken to so many people who have disclosed their own personal demons. We talk compare notes, discuss treatments such as counselling and medication. The more I talk to others the more I'm convinced the well know phrase "1 in 4 " people experience mental health problems is probably more like "2 in 4".  

Stigma, is still a big concern, whilst I was aware of it for others it wasn't until I went public that I experienced some pretty nasty and prejudicial comments from people I'd not expect. But that is life, my friends and comrades in DPAC expose on a daily basis the level of hate crime and institutional discrimination in the workplace and our communities. 

Challenging prejudice is  part of my daily life and it looks like it's getting worse. Austerity is still being promoted. It's brutality will continue to unleashed unless we all manage to sort ourselves out. 

I do have hope and belief that with hard work and an end to sectarianism grassroots can mobilise a sustainable opposition to Austerity. 

My next personal challenge is medication. I want to come off it, I hate taking the stuff, but I know I'll have to prepare a plan. This is a big deal for me, so I want to get it right. 

To my friends and comrades don't worry about me. I keeping busy, learning each day how to cope and how to better deal with those powerful negative self harming thoughts when they do come in waves. 

Anyway enough of that,  it's depot Wednesday another early start. 

Wishing you all good mental health 

Solidarity 
John 



Friday, 10 March 2017

Scream 2 - No not the movie "Derby TAs"'


Earlier this week I wrote about my anger & frustration at hearing the personal stories of the Derby TAs at our AGM. 

Last night we had some more Derby TAs speak at Barnet Trades Council AGM. 

We heard another heartbreaking account of the brutal savagery of the 25% pay cut by Labour controlled Derby City Council. Like many others I have read about the Derby TAs on social media, watched some excellent film footage by Reel News, but nothing quite prepares you for when you meet and hear their harrowing stories. The pay cut is literally destroying their lives. The knock impact on their personal lives family and friends is devastating and cruel. 

I felt ashamed on Tuesday at our AGM and again last night at our Barnet Trades Council AGM. 

I'm in the Labour Party and the targeted cruelty is completely unacceptable. I have a little experience of negotiations, which can be difficult and at times intimidating but the all out confrontational bullying being adopted by the Leader of the Labour Party in Derby is bringing the reputation of the Labour Party into disrepute.

He should be removed immediately. 

So there we have it. 

Brutal austerity attacks on low paid female staff imposed not by a right wing Tory Council but a right wing Labour Council. 

Something has to be done and it is beholden to all Labour Party members to condemn Derby City Council by saying publicly "Not in our name".

We all need to discuss Derby TAs in our local Labour Party meetings, trade union meetings and send messages of support to Derby City UNISON and email the Leader of Derby City Council. 

In the meantime Derby need help. 

They need: 

1. Help to build a national profile in the media and to other grassroots workers. 

2. Financial help. 

3. National rally in Derby, if they call it, we need to turn up with "banners held high"

4. Labour Party members to put pressure on Derby City Council.

I've lost my voice so my screaming is not as loud as it could be but I am
ANGRY and so should all of us at this disgraceful attack. 

I've organised workers for over 30 years, we cannot let this brutal attack succeed, the future of trade unionism hangs in the balance. I believe we can win but we all have to get "stuck in"

Solidarity Derby TAs, hope to see some of you in Durham Rally on 25 March. 

John Burgess a very very angry Labour Party member and grassroots unison rep. 


Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Derby Teaching Assistants- Why I'm furious & you should be to










I am so bloody angry I could scream in fact I am screaming.

Today we had our Barnet UNISON AGM and we had a delegation of Derby Teaching Assistants to speak about the devastating 25% cut imposed on 2,700 low paid school workers by Labour run Derby City Council.

The first speaker started off well but when she started to describe what the cut is doing to her and her families lives she was in tears.

She is losing £400 a month.

She is working 50 hours a week for less pay.

The Council has £186 million in reserves.

They were all sacked and re-engaged.

We all told her her she was brave and there was nothing wrong crying. Indeed many of us were in tears and some of us were seething with anger.

This is not a right wing Tory Council this is a Labour Council in a Labour heartland.

Does this heartbreaking story sound familiar?

It should because in another Labour heartland Labour run Durham County Council are doing the same thing!

25% pay cut.

Jeremy has tried to speak to both Labour Leaders, but they persist in this inhumane cruel decision that is destroying lives of low paid female workers.

This is not the vision of a Labour government under Jeremy Corbyn, it is the politics of the right wing of Labour. If you don't believe me ask the Former Care UK 90 Day  Strikers about the lack of support from Labour MPs for their campaign.

The Labour Party is the biggest political party in Western Europe yet still grassroots are not being heard.

I fear that if grassroots members and potential Labour voters continue to suffer under Labour controlled Councils then it will become impossible to win a general election.

But back to the Derby TAs.

They are now on indefinite strike action. They need donations and messages of support. Please seek them out and do what you can.

We can not let such a devastating attack on workers go without a fight.

We had a bucket donation and have sent several donations.

I look forward to seeing them again.

Our branch gave them a standing ovation.

Solidarity to Derby TAs