In Memory of Tony Carter

Dear all

After his passing on 21st March our dear friend and comrade Tony Carter will be laid to rest tomorrow. Below is a tribute to him by Ian Beeby on behalf of the Cambridge & District Trades Council.  We have also created a page on our website to pay tribute to Tony which you can view here –   if you would like to add to this including any photos you may have of Tony please email me and we will gladly add them.

Our love , best wishes and Solidarity go to Sylvia & all his family in this difficult time.

Tony Carter

I first met Tony back in the early 80’s, yes about 40 years ago. It was a meeting of the Trade Council, but back then we used to meet in Alex Wood Hall. In those days members would read or fiddle with newspapers like the guardian instead of their mobiles. There were at least 30 members present. Even then I remember Tony raising his hand and getting up to speak for several minutes about various issues all which escape me now. As a new member and only dealing with agriculture most of it went over my head as it was more about “City” issues and therefore had little relevance to me.

I then re-joined the Trade Council about 20 years ago when we used to meet at the USSC.  Again, Tony was there but this time with Sylvia. Tony was still doing his speeches, but these now made a lot more sense to me. I do recall him speaking several times about “academies” and how he was the only one at St Bede’s school on the Board to oppose academies. The Board then started a campaign to get Tony removed as the Council rep, which I recall was the reason why Tony was on the Board of Governors.

Through the years as I got more involved with the Trade Council, I got to know Tony & Sylvia a lot better. After attending meetings together, he would inform me of things he had done in the past. Frequently on returning from SERTUC as we were walking past a fire station, he would tell me about, after a SERTUC meeting, he came across the Firemen taking industrial action and then joined and stayed on their picket for some considerable time.  On the way back from the County Association meetings held in Peterborough, for which he had been a delegate and Chair for over 30 years, as we approached the traffic lights at Milton Sylvia  and I would say “ what idiot bought a job lot of traffic lights, probably on the cheap, and put them up at such daft places just to get rid of them?”.  Afterwards over a “juice” and socialising I would then discuss many different issues with them like their holidays and family and general chit chat.

Tony ended up in Barton Branch, part of Unite where he served as a very outspoken member who would always let everyone else know his views and opinions on every topic. For the record Tony was a Unite, or as he would often say, T & G member for 53 years.  He was an active shop steward in the dairy industry and a member of the Dairy National Negotiating Committee. He also sat on SERTUC and its EXEC for many years.  As a City and County Councillor he is most remembered for the cycle bridge that is named after him and the then County Transport and Highways chief (Brian Oldridge).

Tony could be relied on for not only attending and being a banner carrier for the many rallies and disputes around the County and Country but was keen to engage with the public and others about the reason we were marching or demonstrating putting his points politely but with conviction.


Finally, on behalf of the T & G, Unite, the Trade Council and County we send Sylvia and family our deepest sympathies and best wishes for the future, and thanks for sharing her husband with us.


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