What We Want

I thought the pay
Was quite OK
When I first came through the door
Then I paid my rent
And it was spent
And now I want some more

The company's board
Say they can't afford
They've got no more to give
But like Olly Twist
More than subsist
I want enough to live

Women's Cancers and Work: what trade unions can do

Each year, there are over 55,000 new diagnoses of breast cancer in the UK, 3,000 new diagnoses of cervical cancer, over 7,000 of ovarian cancer, over 9,000 of uterine cancer, and over 1,000 of vulval cancer. Nearly 12,000 UK women die each year from breast cancer, over 4,000 from ovarian cancer, over 2,000 from uterine cancer, nearly 500 from vulval cancer, and nearly 900 from cervical cancer. 

1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer during their lifetime. Think of all the women you know: one in eight of them. Think of all the women in your workplace and in your trade union: one in eight of them.

Research has linked 4-5% of breast cancer cases to shift work, due to circadian (body clock) disruption and exposure to artificial light at night. Studies have shown that breast cancer risk is 21% higher in women who have ever experienced circadian disruption, mainly through night work, compared with those who have not. Exposure to certain substances at work also increases the risk of breast and other women's cancers.

Guest post: Veronica writes from her bed ...

The first of what I hope will be a regular feature, this guest post is from Veronica.

I just wanted to say how very much I am enjoying your blog.

I was diagnosed with grade 3 invasive ductal cancer in my left breast on 13 October so your story and experience are similar to mine - although I have just completed four cycles of pre-surgery chemotherapy which has been every bit as vile and debilitating as I feared. I am typing this from bed fully eight days after the last treatment and very annoyed not to be able to muster the energy for a gig tonight for which we bought tickets ages ago.

You don’t notice a lump growing in a big breast, do you, until it’s a real problem? I had the sentinel lymph node biopsy op on 4 November though and fortunately that was clear so I feel I have dodged a very big bullet.

Measuring Up to be Microwaved

Yesterday was my radiotherapy booking-in appointment. So, off I went to the basement of Bart's hospital to be fitted and measured.

Some more forms to fill in and consents to be signed - this time, consenting to have permanent marks made on my body. Until now, I have avoided having tattoos: it just doesn't appeal to me, though I've sometimes thought I might take it up in later life. Never did I consider that the design would be three small dots. But there you go: I'll think of it as abstract art.

Strip to the waist again, and put on this gown. I share the waiting area with a hairless woman and her two kids, a young adult daughter and a teenage-ish son. She's having radiotherapy to her brain. I ponder on how lucky I am.

Then it's off to the radiotherapy room, past a door marked "Mould Room": I think I'll stay out of there.

My team of three radiotherapists - two women and a man - are all friendly and kind. When I mention I'm a poet, they ask for an ode, and the only one that comes to mind is Jeremy Hunt. Really, you can't go wrong  having a go at Jeremy Hunt to NHS staff. My joke about sending my tumour to the USA goes down well too. "We've got a comedian here", they advise colleagues.

Cuckoo?

Bird sings at midnight
Climate change, light pollution 
Or just a daft cock?

RMT Disability in the Workplace training, Doncaster NEC

20/11/2017 - 14:00

RMT's first ever week-long training course on Disability in the Workplace for union reps and activists, held at the union's National Education Centre in Doncaster. Designed and delivered by Janine.

Open to all RMT members and fully funded, with accommodation provided and travel reimbursed.

If you would like to attend, please contact your branch secretary,

Rachel

In memory of a young friend ...

There's chaos at the centre of the classroom
a big huddle, loud voices
Teenagers talking politics
Rachel making choices
Labour member, Corbynista
Feminist fighter, socialist sister
Equality champion, bigotry battler
Opposing racism, Black Lives Matter
Canvasser and whistle-blower
Demonstrator, meeting-goer

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