Jude's weekly update

07 December 2014

It's been a great week & historic in many senses - the short update is: Cammell Laird's fight for justice, TTIP, ConflictMinerals, South Tyneside College & new kit! For those curious, here's the full update:

Monday started the week off in historic fashion as the GMB's Eddie Marnell came to the Petitions Committee to speak for his own experience and the other Cammell Laird strikers. It was extremely moving: here's Eddie https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQuQ8jyOrmQ & my intervention https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2LC1uPGLwU After 30 years of fighting for justice, Eddie was extremely moved that the Chair of the Committee recognised the need for an official apology. We are now working on the UK government! Also on the agenda, we looked at the campaign for equal treatment for foreign lecturers in Italy - for more info: https://davidpetrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/press-arts-27-nov-3-dec-20141.pdf I passed quickly to a reception of the US ambassadors to the EU and UK - in which all the emphasis was on getting a quick TTIP (not necessarily a good TTIP)

On Tuesday - or TTIP day as it became known - there was a hearing on the social aspects of TTIP in the morning (see my call for enforceable labour rights here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mb_VPH0BApQ )... I had to rush out to get the Eurostar to London for a series of meetings on TTIP in Westminster with Shadow Trade Minister Ian Murray MP, John Healey MP and to address a packed room for the Trade Union Group of MPs meeting on TTIP with Unite the union & the GMB. It was great to see so many MPs there & we had a great debate.

Wednesday brought a really interesting exchange with the UK Science Council (together with Theresa Griffin MEP), in which we discussed the key importance of industrial policy and vocational eduction, plus the future of science in policy making an issue we have been raising actively (https://www.theparliamentmagazine.eu/articles/news/meps-question-axing-key-science-role ).  I was into a monitoring group on the EU-Canada #CETA agreement... to hear the latest from the Commission. There focus was on ISDS unsurprisingly with 5 governments currently saying they won't sign the agreement if ISDS is included. Straight from there we went into the International Trade Committee to question Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström for the first time officially... I raised transparency in services offers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oISf0HEfXjU She said all the right things about transparency but didn't promise to publish EU offers which is what the public want to see! I'll keep pushing for it.... Into the industry, research and energy committee at the end of the day, I got the chance to ask Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete a question about the place of #CCS in the EU's developing #EnergyUnion https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnTthDkJuro  - his answer was very hopeful https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQXj8_hm0qQ

Before heading back to the North East, Thursday morning was focused on Conflict Minerals - & saw a debate with the Italian Trade Minister Calenda (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQMcwVfvPaI ) and a EP hearing (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37zrqGy7BAU ). We've had hundreds of emails about this issue and I raised the demand for binding EU rules on both occasions. I was delighted to be able escape the EP building to talk about the work of Newcastle Futures in a Eurocities event on unemployment before heading back in to question the Colombian government on the human rights situation and peace process. A cup of tea in the office & our first video Q&A reply (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVE844Htyfc ) & it was off to the airport for us!

On Friday, I had a great morning being quizzed by students from South Tyneside College (brilliant questions on everything from Ukraine to immigration to our expenses!)... and then headed to a @NorthernTUC summit on Zero Hours Contracts (http://www.theadvertiserseries.co.uk/news/11647403.Talks_to_tackle_zero_hours_economy ) & ended the day in the LabourNorth Regional Board... phew!

Today, I headed in crisp winter sunshine to UCATT's North East Regional Council for a discussion about all things European - TTIP to REFIT! And then chaired a section of the Regional Women's Conference which was a great exchange on Labour's manifesto & the campaigning efforts needed to bring a Labour government in next May.

Quite a week! Time for a day off to get our Christmas tree.
More next week which is looking pretty full... looking forward to Christmas!

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