“The good news is going to keep coming,” said David Cameron last week in the Commons about the economy. Well, for workers there has been nothing but an avalanche of despair as factories are threatened with closure and companies go into administration. We carry below a report of the campaign at Ford’s Transit plant in Southampton, as the company announced its closure and transfer its work to a newer and lower wage cost plant in Turkey. Bigger profits for Ford, dole queues for workers! This was combined with the announcement of the closure of its stamping plant at Dagenham. Following on from this was the announcement that 150 workers at Manganese Bronze, which makes London black cabs, were being made redundant by the receiver after being placed in administration. Some of them barricaded themselves in the factory in protest. Doncaster Unite workers TUPED by Tesco are also on strike now over 90 day notices. Now, 6,000 jobs are in danger as Comet, the retail chain, looks to go into receivership too. 30 stores close every day in Britain at the moment; where will staff get jobs now?
The economic downturn is not just a temporary phenomenon; the director general of bosses’ organisation the CBI, warns in a report of a “new normal” of lacklustre growth and predicted a long haul out of recession. No “good news” there then.
The NSSN call for a 24-hour general strike is not just aimed at the public sector and the effects of the cuts; it must encompass the private sector too and raise demands about how to fight the recession. Such a strike could raise demands to save every job and workers could discuss how to prevent the bosses asset stripping. Inevitably, there will be calls to occupy plants threatened with closure and even nationalisation of threatened industries. This could spread like wildfire in a period of continual austerity for workers, even given the despair engendered by redundancies. That could quickly turn to anger and action.
On 14 November, there will be general strikes in many European countries. The NSSN understands some unions in Britain will co-ordinate as many live disputes as possible to take action on the same day. This is a step forward in the campaign to build massive opposition to the ConDem government and the bosses’ system of misery for 99%. We will continue to press for the unions to name a date on which we can all come out and show our opposition.
See new video from Reel News on a general strike & share:
NSSN meetings to build for a 24 hour General strike
We have had 7 meetings and some conferences in part of the process of building for a general strike, reports to a few are below.
An excellent meeting by the North-West Shop Stewards Network in Manchester on Saturday brought together stewards and members across Greater Manchester and Lancashire from Unite, UCU, NUM, Unison and BFAWU. The main discussion on “next steps towards a one-day general strike” affirmed widespread support for the demand that the TUC name the date now for a well-prepared 24-hour strike. It agreed to meet monthly, next meeting Sat 24 November 1-3pm & a resolution on next steps towards the general strike. More
The NSSN conference in Glasgow on 27th October heard uplifting reports from an array of trade unionists from the public and private sector on the theme of fighting the austerity onslaught and building towards a 24-hour general strike. Shop stewards and trade union activists from Unison, Unite, EIS, Usdaw and PCS attended from a range of sectors including local government, the NHS, education, construction, retail and the civil service. Brian Smith, secretary of Glasgow City Unison and speaking on a personal capacity, reported that the branch committee meeting of 50 shop stewards unanimously supported a resolution backing a one-day strike across the economy and which called on the STUC to coordinate this action. This motion will now be debated by the Unison Scottish council on December 1st.
LONDON over 60 trade unionists attended a meeting which heard Chris Baugh, Assistant General Secretary of PCs and Steve Hedley, AGS of the RMT, speak on how to build support for a general strike. Suzanne Muna spoke on the campaign her branch has launched on sector standards in the third sector of housing. There were important contributions from sacked electrician Frank Morris and cleaners at ULU, the venue for the meeting, who have launched a living wage campaign.
Next NSSN Meeting:
8 NOV Gloucester NSSN Defend the NHS – Fight Consortium pay. 7.30pm Barton & Tredworth Community Centre, 199 Barton Street, Gloucester GL1 4HR.
17 Nov MIDLANDS NSSN Conference Unite offices, 211 Broad Street, Birmingham, B15 1AY. 12.00-16.00. Speakers include Joe Simpson, Assistant General Secretary POA
24 Nov YORKSHIRE & HUMBERSIDE NSSN Conference 10am-4pm. Leeds, Cosmopolitan Hotel, 2 Lower Briggate, LS1 4AE. Contact Kevin Pattison 07962867034.
RMT cleaners on four major rail cleaning contracts take strike action for forty eight hours this Friday and Saturday in four separate disputes over pay and conditions. “Each one of these four separate disputes has the same issue at its core – greedy private contractors who seek to exploit their workforce and offer poverty pay while creaming off fat profits for the company shareholders.” More
Security and safety staff employed by STM Security Group on London Overground services will be taking both strike action and action short of a strike this Saturday in a dispute over bullying and an attempt to impose new terms and conditions. More
A NEW wave of tube strike action and overtime bans on the Northern Line this weekend and has raised new safety fears as the Emergency Response Unit join with fellow Tube Lines staff in support of a long-running dispute over pensions and benefits justice. RMT RAIL reps will meet today to discuss a new campaign of action over safety after a series of recent incidents shone the spotlight on the real impact of job losses, financial cuts and the use of external private contractors and, specifically, on the Amey Colas Joint Venture (ACJV). More
SERCO will be begin balloting for strike action on the Northern Isles ferry services in Scotland after the company reneged on previous commitments, ripped up normal consultation procedures and announced that it is to press on with a programme of cuts to jobs and services. More
Pensions bill denounced at its second reading in parliament. “The Prison Officers Association predicts that the cost of medical retirements will outweigh any savings gained as a result of the increased pension age. The same information came from the Royal College of Nursing with regards to nurses and paramedics and from the National Union of Teachers with regards to teachers teaching at 68.” MORE & Campaign 68 is too late!
Cleaners and maintenance staff at one of the country’s most prestigious museums will strike on Monday against plans to privatise their work, the Public and Commercial Services union and Unite announce. More
The Tory-led government slashed more than 60,000 civil service jobs in its first two years in office as part of a ‘political smash and grab’ on our public services. More
Solidarity with Ford workers – Defend every job: News of Ford’s plans to close the Transit plant in Southampton has hit workers and the city like a bombshell. 500 Ford workers’ and 450 contractors’ jobs are under threat. The unions must demand that if Ford is unwilling to maintain production in Southampton and Dagenham and protect skilled jobs and manufacturing, they should be nationalised. More
Unite members waved union placards on the picket line saying ‘Tesco – every sacking helps’ as 186 Tesco drivers in Doncaster started a three day strike on Wednesday 31st October against job losses and wage cuts. Tesco, not content with £3.8 billion profit last year, transferred their Doncaster transport workforce in August to Eddie Stobart Ltd (ESL) to cut costs. Then ESL, who’s own drivers are on £2-50 an hour less than the Tesco drivers, on 5 September issued notice of termination of employment, with no promise that the drivers will be re-employed once the 90-days are up. More & Short Video Interview with Rep.
North East trust plans to sack 5,400 health staff in sick pay dispute. Hospital wards could close and operations cancelled if the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust carries out its threat to sack its 5,400 staff in a dispute over sick pay for employees. The trust’s staff have been told they will be dismissed on 31 March 2013 and reengaged on inferior terms and conditions. More
There are just days to stop the abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board in England and Wales (AWB) – the last bulwark against 150,000 people working on the land sliding into poverty. A team of irate ‘badgers’ – another countryside community to suffer ill treatment at the hands of the government – will be protesting at a meeting of the AWB board at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in Smith Square, London SW1P 3HA at 9.30am on Friday 2 Nov. More
PWC, the administrators appointed by the makers of the iconic black cab Manganese Bronze, has sacked 156 workers. Unite has demanded that PWC re-instates the workers and has questioned how PWC can treat the company as a going concern with virtually no staff. Workers took direct action yesterday and occupied the factory. Talks with the Unite union have resumed this morning. The union Unite has called for the workers to be reinstated and demanded the government steps in to save the iconic firm. More
Unite Housing workers fight the race to the bottom – As reported last week Unite nationally are now leading a campaign with upported housing workers workers to fight the race to the bottom. Join the start of the online campaign against the race to the bottom – More
Mid Yorks hospital picket ‘bigger than #N30 strike’ UNISON says plans for ‘downbanding’ NHS staff could mean pay cuts of between £1500 and £3000 in the middle of a pay freeze and recession. Speaking to UnionNews on the picket line at Pinderfields Hospital, branch secretary, Adrian O’Malley, said: “There’s lots of support for the action we’re taking today. More
Barnet council recommends backing in-house bid. More
750 job cuts at Rotherham Hospital. More
Unison & Unite Bromley council: Bromley Councillors debated the proposal to remove staff from the national and regional collective bargaining arrangements. Drop your plans or face a strike! Next Full council 12th Nov More
Unison is opposing salary and staff reductions planned by Metropolitan housing association. More
A film made for UNISON earlier this year is about the impact of the three-year local government pay freeze on workers who were low-paid and comment on a general strike.
Fire Brigades Union members are lobbying MPs in defence of the fire and rescue service on Wednesday 7 November. FBU members and officials are assembling at the Central Hall, Westminster at 11.30. More
GMB shop stewards representing gas workers from all main gas distribution companies meeting in London warned that proposals from Office of the Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) to cut funding for gas distribution by 20% will lead to huge gas explosions and a loss of life if not changed. More
WHERES THE MONEY? As we keep arguing, there is NO need for cuts! More
The first NHS hospital to be run by a private company reveals losses of £4.1m in the firm’s first six months in charge were almost double those forecast. More
Emergency Public meetings are going on across the UK over cuts in the NHS, we really do need a general strike to stop this robbery and murder!
Hardest Hit report highlights that disabled people are twice as likely to live in poverty and even a small loss of income can tip people with a disability into greater dependence on health and social care services or friends and family.
False Economy Report on Legal Aid cuts and its consequences from Hackney Law Centre.
Police admit ‘kettling’ tactic at protests in students’ trial. More
Frank Morris continues to picket at Westborne park over the sacking of 28 workers. The company has now suggested they will offer everyone bar Frank there jobs back! Some background to the dispute. The union is asking people to protest by emailing the employers at [email protected]. Donations to ‘Joint Sites Committee’ send to: 70 Darnay Rise Chelmsford CM1 4XA.
CWU members in Coventry held a protest over increasingly oppressive management which led to an unofficial walkout over the sacking of a member.
Blacklisting campaign Transport union RMT today demanded action against a trade union blacklisting website which is actively targeting activists at all levels – even including volunteer union learning reps whose “crime” is helping colleagues acquire skills, training and education. The blacklisting site – makes no bones about its intentions. Scandal over blacklist ‘big as Leveson’ More & More
South African Miners Appeal – PLEASE urgently raise funds and support for this rank and file campaign. Miners have been murdered and a strike committee has been formed across SA to fight for pay rises and against the attacks. More & Updates:
Greece Unions call 48-hour general strike.
As part of European wide ‘Stand up for Journalism’ day, the NUJ will be handing in a letter of protest to the Turkish consulate at 3pm on Monday 5 November.
The ORR oversees all safety issues on the railways. UNITE reps have been dismissed and blacklisted for raising safety concerns and joining a union. 1 Kemble St, WC2B 4AN
Croydon trades council Save our NHS campaign 7.30pm Ruskin House contact Roy Aird [email protected]
Stop the Privatization Of Sussex University Services Campaign Meeting
1:00pm Arts A5, Sussex University
Save our NHS Nottingham 6pm Boat & Horses.
Anti-Workfare Picket of Superdrug Meet Midday at the Clock Tower
JUSTICE FOR CLEANERS Protest at the Tower of London on Saturday 3rd November at 1pm. Please come and support the cleaners there, who are employed by the arrogant, scumbag-cleaning contractor MITIE. 1:00pm at Tower of London
Leeds city centre 12.30 Art gallery headrow, Leeds. West Yorkshire FBU stop the cuts.
East Kent Keep Our NHS Public (KONP) Meeting 6.30pm Whitstable Labour Club.
Former Fords workers, spun-off to Visteon, are still fighting Ford for pension justice. Lobby of Bridgend Ford plant by Visteon ex-workers from Swansea: 1.30.
Week long action against ATOS in Cardiff.
Defend the NHS General Meeting King & Queen 6.30pm
7th Nov FBU lobby parliament
Gloucester NSSN Defend the NHS – Fight Consortium pay. 7.30pm Barton & Tredworth Community Centre, 199 Barton Street, Gloucester GL1 4HR.
6 pm -8pm. Public meeting: Save Lewisham Hospital’s A&E, maternity and surgical units threatened with closure: Lessoff Auditorium, Lewisham Hospital, Lewisham High Street, SE13 6LH. Speakers: Heidi Alexander MP, Dr Louise Irvine (Lewisham GP, BMA, and Keep our NHS Public), Eileen Smith (Save Our Local Hospitals, Greenwich), Mike Davey (Lewisham Unison), Steve Bullock (Mayor, unconfirmed). More
How Clay Cross council fought the government-housing act in 1972. Clay Cross Social Club. https://www.facebook.com/events/291772047595145/
SAVE OUR A&Es – WIGAN PUBLIC MEETING 11:00am at Wigan Town Hall
NW Anticuts campaign 7.30 Unite NW offices
Fire Service cuts campaign 4.30 Unison Offices, Birmingham[email protected]
EUROPEAN DAY OF ACTION AGAINST AUSTERITY. This will see strikes in at least 3 countries and co-ordinated action elsewhere!
‘Save Our Fire Stations’ public meeting7.30pm. . Peckham and Southwark both earmarked for closure. Speakers from London Fire Brigade Union and Dave Lewis, Secretary of local tenants association where a fire in 2009 killed 6 people. Supported by Southwark Save Our Services campaign. Called by Southwark Socialists. For more information phone 07812 063 409. Petition available [email protected]
MIDLANDS NSSN Conference Unite offices, 211 Broad Street, Birmingham, B15 1AY. 12.00-16.00. Speakers include Joe Simpson, Assistant General Secretary POA
Brighton Reclaim the Night. More
RMT demonstration to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Kings Cross fire and to highlight the continued need for a full staffed and safe tube network. 11am outside Kings Cross station
NUS Demo Educate, Employ, Empower Central London
YORKSHIRE & HUMBERSIDE NSSN Conference 10am-4pm. Leeds, Cosmopolitan Hotel, 2 Lower Briggate, LS1 4AE. Contact Kevin Pattison 07962867034.
Construction Safety Campaign National Meeting & AGM. Affiliates and supporters of the CSC are invited to attend. 11.00am to 3.00pm. Venue: Doncaster Trades, 19 South Mall Second Floor, Frenchgate Centre, Doncaster, South Yorkshire DN1 1LL
Scotland Commemoration in Glasgow of Red Clydesider John Maclean. Assemble 1pm at Eastwood Cemetery for graveside oration, march MacLean’s Cairn at Shawbridge.
Facebook main group ‘National Shop Stewards Network’ & ‘Stop the cuts’
New website: www.shopstewards.net
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 07952 283 558
Post: NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9D
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