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« Return of Fake Charities website | Main | Letter of the week! »

There is power in a union

Further to my post on Monday, here is the cover of the January issue of Club Journal, the monthly newspaper for members of the Working Men's Clubs and Institute Union.

The report reads:

The Union has teamed up with the campaigning organisation Save Our Pubs & Clubs (SOPAC) to step up pressure on the Government to review the smoking ban.

Recent decisions in Denmark and Holland have seen rules relaxed for small bar owners and a recent phone-in on BBC Radio Five Live confirms that the issue is not dead.

General Secretary Mick McGhasham attended a meeting at Westminster recently with Greg Knight, Brian Binley and David Nuttall, all MPs who tried their best to get the Government to allow clubs and pubs to have a smokinq room

The campaign will focus on the ffects that the ban has had on member clubs and pubs - the loss of community networking opportunities for the elderly and ex-servicemen, the failure of the previous government to honour its promise for a formal review of the legislation, and the need for a more balanced approach to the issue of smoking in public places.

SOPAC propose to undertake a social impact study on the effects of the smoking ban as a way to open the debate and reinvigorate the issue and they hope the campaign will focus on clubs and pubs being allowed a separate smoking room with appropriate ventilation.

The Union General Secretary emphasised that, along with below-cost supermarket alcohol pricing and excessive reglation, the smoking ban has been a key part in the demise of clubs.

The Union feels that only by joining other organisations and groups with a similar desire to save clubs will it be in a position to help the many failing clubs in membership.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group is also planning a campaign, along with other groups in Parliament representing similar organisations, to rally support and lobby government to take some positive action to help clubs stay open.

Reader Comments (12)

Simon, can I draw your attention to an article in the Yorkshire Post re. Working mens club owners and landlords call for smoking ban change.

January 14, 2011 at 16:03 | Unregistered CommenterSheila

I have worked behind the bar in an South Essex working mans club for 12 years and have just been given 4 weeks notice along with 2 other staff.
The trade has disappeared since the smoking ban and the club now only opens a couple of times a week. We used to have thousands coming through the doors and special events were always fully booked. There are no special events now, the pool and darts team have disbanded and we are lucky to get a handful of people in. The smokers did still come along just after the ban, but now they don't. The teams couldn't play pool or darts when members were disappearing outside in the street to smoke and the crowds were broken up resulting in even non-smokers staying away.
The ladies that came in would not go outside if they smoked as they would be standing on a corner of a main road. Most of the ladies were of an older generation that thought standing on street corners was wrong.
This spiteful ban has broken up communities and wrecked lives.
I don't see myself getting another bar job as most of the locals are either closed or struggling for trade.

January 14, 2011 at 19:34 | Unregistered CommenterMaureen

That is very interesting, Maureen. It is a 'bird's eye' view. I can certainly see similar 'layings off' and 'curtailed hours' at work in my locals (one a pubco and the other a franchise).

Perhaps many of us do not see the importance of the CIU commitment. The CIU is in contact with, maybe, a hundred thousand individuals. If the CIU were to propose a petition to Parliament, re the promised review of the smoking ban, and get over 100 000 signatures, then it would be hard for Parliament to refuse such a review. We must be aware that it is not only the actual employees of the CIU affiliated clubs, but also the relatives and friends of these employees, along with the club members, and their friends and relatives. It ought to be very easy to get 100 000 signatures.

The importance of the CIU commitment cannot be over-emphasised. At last, we have a potent force on our side.

And yet, the acquisition of the signatures ought not to be rushed. Cameron and Clegg should be made aware of the petition which is on its way before the Health Dept can introduce their latest idiotic ideas (hiding plain packages behind plain curtains). The message from the CIU should be simple – “We have nothing to lose. You have already devastated the finances of our clubs. We wish you to reverse this process. Give us a chance. Allow us to have smoking rooms. Most of our employees are smokers, and those who are not do not mind. We have adequate air conditioning. What is the problem?”

The CIU can tell Cameron that it is organising a petition – that is all that needs to be said. “Dear Mr Cameron. We are organising a petition requesting a review of the smoking ban. As soon as we are satisfied that we can get no more signatures, we will present it to you. Our petition will request that Parliament review the smoking ban with a view to allowing private clubs such as ours to make out own rules.”

It can be done, and it is of the greatest importance that it should be done, if we are going to succeed in our quest to REFUSE TO ACCEPT THAT WE DO ANY HARM TO ANYONE BY SMOKING IN THEIR PRESENCE.

That is of the greatest importance.

January 15, 2011 at 2:35 | Unregistered CommenterJunican

I agree with Junican - we have a potent force on side because the CIU is an homogeneous group without conflicting interests.

January 16, 2011 at 15:02 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce

This move by the CIU is immensely encouraging, of course. But one thing worries me: the fact that Cameron (even if - on the most generous of asumptions -sympathetic to such a compromise) will have to weigh the 'political' advantages of granting the CIU's most reasonable request against the manifest disadvantage of alienating the combined forces of the Health Lobby AND the intransigent majority of Lib Dems.

Since Cameron is clearly more likely to act from considerations of Expediency rather than Principle, the immediate outcome looks far from promising. A (perceived) 'change' in attitude on the part of The Public is - as I see it - absolutely VITAL to our success: so long as the Antis' natural sympathisers within the Establishment can delude themselves that Joe Public is wholeheartedly-in-support-of -the-Ban, then so long will the entreaties of the CIU and everyone else fall on deaf ears.

We can only hope that recent developments of this kind - especially if given rather more balanced coverage by the MSM than we have recently come to expect - will have the positive effect we all desire, and help to unermine what has (effectively) been a programme of Perception MIS-Management by our antagonists.

January 16, 2011 at 21:54 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Interesting report on bbc radio sussex this morning, discussing the plight of social clubs, starnge for the bbc the smoking ban is mentioned, has interviews with representatives of the RoyalBritish Legion and the CIU.

Can be found here about 1hr24mins in.....

I hope that things are starting to change!!

January 17, 2011 at 13:12 | Unregistered CommenterCarl

Interesting, Carl, that the success of the Legion branch which was bucking the trend was attributed to attracting the young - I'd hazard partly because the young don't mind having to go outside for a smoke.

As an aside, during the Big Freeze, my local news reported that three people had been killed when the roof of a pub smoking shelter collapsed under the weight of snow. Pity we can't hold the government responsible for insisting on what must be relatively flimsy structures.

January 17, 2011 at 19:21 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce

"three people had been killed when the roof of a pub smoking shelter collapsed......."

Government Spokesman: "Whilst we deeply regret the deaths of these people - indeeed, of any people - this tragic incident only serves to highlight the many dangers inherent in smoking, some of them wholly unpredictable. Which is why the Government is urgently considering whether or not further measures need to be taken......................................"

January 18, 2011 at 11:26 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Maureen -

Thanks for that post. My heart goes out to you - it really does. The lack of simple foresight (if such it be) shown by these people is quite absurd. The lack of simple humanity is quite monstrous. A kind of Cyber-Morality seems to taking over the governance of our Fair Land.

January 18, 2011 at 13:22 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Recent reports suggest that an amendment to the Greek smoking ban is imminent. Aparantly you will be able to buy a licence to smoke indoors, this will raise over £50 million Euros for the failing Greek economy. So much for the health approach, its ok to smoke indoors if your willing to pay for it.

Sean Spillane

January 18, 2011 at 15:00 | Unregistered CommenterSean Spillane

"its ok to smoke indoors if your willing to pay for it."

Or 'pollute' the atmosphere with CO2 - if you're willing to buy some 'protection' (aka 'carbon credits') from the Mob.

January 18, 2011 at 18:25 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Allowing "smoking rooms" will kill 90% of the smaller pubs. - because they are to small for smoking rooms. So simple. People who vote for smoking rooms in clubs/pubs, vote for killing thousands of good running pubs who would cuatomers to the smooking rooms.

Ours small pubs and bars have no possibility for smoking rooms - so no one should have smooking rooms.

Why change a sucessful law?

October 11, 2011 at 0:50 | Unregistered CommenterMeran

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