Tributes to Jo Robbins


Our dearest friend, comrade and sister, Jo Robbins passed away July 11th 2020 after a long and courageous battle against cancer. She was a socialist who worked tirelessly for equality, peace and justice.  For as long as many of us can remember Jo has been present as an activist on the left in Cambridge unstintingly supporting all manner of campaigns and actions, particularly working hard for decent housing for all, anti-war, anti-racism and feminist causes. Whether it was the latest campaign she was devoted to as a Unite Community member or responding to a call out for attendance and solidarity from others she could be relied upon to be there, arriving stylishly on her latest cool bike with a smile that could brighten up the dullest of days. Jo will be sorely missed, but she has left a lasting legacy through her love, determination and positive action to make the world a better place for all.

Jill Eastland – EC Member, Peter Monaghan – Co-Chair

On behalf of Cambridge Trades Council

STATEMENTS FROM UNITE COMMUNITY                        Tuesday 14 July 2020

“On Saturday July 11 we lost a great comrade, sister, socialist, trade-unionist and feminist, Jo Robbins” Jo was a valued founder member and organiser for Unite Community. I had only met Jo a few times in the past 3 years . She encouraged me in the branch, which lacked at the time women’s participation. She was comradely, kind and approachable, qualities which I will remember.

On behalf of Unite Community Cambridge, we pay tribute to Jo and extend our most sincere condolences to James and everyone mourning the loss of our sister, and comrade. Solidarity and Peace always.

May Shafi Chair

“Jo & James Youd, were a united strength of force.  When they were told Jo had cancer, we were all so shocked but watched with admiration how James stepped up the fight. Jo fought with everything and James fought at her side the whole time. We are so sad to announce Jo passed away but she did so, wrapped in James’ arms and love. James, we love you and we are here for you. Rest in peace and power, Jo”

(Dan & Carla friends of Jo and James)


Our sympathy goes out to her partner, James Youd, her comrade in arms. 

Message From James –

“Thanks to David Maher, Mark and Alex Collis for organising Jo Robbins funeral next week. So it will begin at 2.30pm at the Church of the Good Shepherd Arbury on Monday 27th July then over to the Cambridge Crematorium for 4pm where Alex will give the committal. Those of you I have already invited are the limited 30 who can come into the church itself. There will also be room for around the same number to sit in the church garden during the service and a pa will broadcast the service which you will be able to watch on zoom too. There is limited capacity for both and the wake at the Haymakers will also be limited to 30 people but some have said they won’t make that which allows others to come instead. Please message me if you wish to sit outside and I will try and accommodate you. My force of nature will get the send off she deserves!”

For those who wish to watch the service online

Please click the link below to join the webinar:

Passcode: 880553


Cambridge Trades Council YouTube Channel

Hi all

Please see our Trades Council YouTube channel. Cambridge & District Trades Council delegate and UNITE member, Arsalan Ghani gave an introduction to the Indian Farmer’s Strike at our March 2021 meeting. Arsalan explained how the privatisation of the farming industry, which has worsened under the Modi government, is leading to a situation of destitution for farmers and the communities which rely on them.

Here’s the link:

Please consider subscribing to our channel. More content will be coming.

Cambridge and District Trades Council Condemns the Actions of the Metropolitan Police

Cambridge Trade Council today totally condemns the unnecessary actions
of the Met Police, 13th March at Clapham Common in London. It is totally
unacceptable that grieving women were prevented from holding a peaceful
and socially distanced protest. In Cambridge and throughout the country
vigils were held to show respect for women and grief in memory of Sarah
Everard. The aggressive and disgraceful approach by the police in breaking
up a peaceful vigil, has left women feeling betrayed by the very institution
they should be able to put their trust in. They can no longer trust the police
to protect them and to keep them safe.
May Shafi, Equalities Officer for Cambridge Trade Council said, “male
violence against women, BAME, LGBT, and disabled people must stop. The
pandemic has seen reported cases of the increase of domestic abuse in the
home, and now women no longer feel safe on our streets”. She went on to
say, “this is alarming and these institutional and systematic failings should be
put right immediately”. This government, instead of empowering the perpetrators by these systematic failings, must give women the safety and justice
they have an inalienable human right to.
This Trades Council strongly opposes the Home Secretary’s draconian measures in The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. Why should police
powers be increased to handle peaceful protests? It does not make sense
unless the real reason behind these measures is to restrict trade unions public campaigning and to bring all protests to an eventual halt! What happened
on the vigil on Saturday, went against the Human rights Act in the way in
which women were mishandled by the police.
The Home Secretary should instead be focusing on police powers
being regularly assessed and checked so that they are not being misused
and there can be no repeat of Clapham Common. This trades council opposes any changes to the law that threatens the right to protest. Do we live
in a democracy or not? The Metropolitan police should be held to account
and not the public! The Home Secretary should now be focusing on the safety of women in public places and how to rebuild women’s confidence in the
agency of law and order that has failed them.
We oppose the discriminatory proposal of giving men a curfew time
from 6 pm. We do not support all men being punished. All men are not the
perpetrators of violence against women and therefore we condemn this proposal. We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters of the trade union
movement, who are campaigning actively to protect all women and the injustices they suffer due to the financial cutbacks and the structural inequalities
which they experience every day.
We stand with and support the TUC Statement from 12 March 2021, calling
on Ministers to meet their 5 pledges in helping to combat male violence
against women. We also support and stand with Unite the Union’s statement
of 13 March 2021 to keep police powers in check and support our right to
peaceful protests!
It is a woman’s ‘inalienable’ right to live in freedom, to breathe, to be
safe and to have access to justice and equality. So why are they still struggling on our streets today, in the 21st century? This pandemic has seen an
INCREASE in reported domestic abuse cases, an INCREASE in rates of financial hardship and an INCREASE in the rates of suicides and murders of
WE MUST STOP MALE VIOLENCE NOW! We call on the Government
to scrap the new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill and allow the
right to protest. It is through protest and highlighting issues that we will be
helping to save women’s lives.
For further information please contact
May Shafi Equalities Officer- Women’s Lead
Cambridge & District Trades Council
15 March 2021

International Womens Day 2021


Cambridge & District Trades Council
On International Women’s Day
Invites all Sisters of the TU Movement
Monday 8th March
Zoom from 1pm to 3pm

Come together Sisters and share your experiences during this pandemic

How did you cope at home, working, schooling, caring ?

As Unions – how did we support you? Could we have done better and how?

Going forward- what lessons as Women have we learned from this pandemic

and How can we as Sisters of the Trade Union Movement support the movement in the future ?

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 857 8905 7879
Passcode: 277026

With Solidarity, Comradeship and Sisterhood

May Shafi –  Equalities Officer – Women’s Lead


Pay Rise For Key Workers update

Hi All
On Tuesday evening we held our meeting to support a pay rise for Key Workers. Unfortunately, the MP we had invited to listen to his
constituents, Conservative Anthony Browne Cambs Sth., had to withdraw on the day due to emergency dental surgery. We decided to go ahead despite this and record the meeting to send to him requesting a written response. As part of that response we have asked for a direct yes or no to signing an open letter to the Chancellor supporting a pay rise for Key Workers. We have also issued a press release and we will update everyone once we receive a response. Many thanks for all those that took part especially the Key Workers who gave their testimonies. Here is a link to the meeting if you would like to view it (approx. 20 mins long)
In Solidarity
Pete M Chair