N14 workers in Europe take action against austerity – TUC name the day for a general strike in Britain!
Many thanks for this report from Alex Gordon President of the RMT:On 14 November workers are taking coordinated, general strike action in Spain, Portugal, Greece and Italy for the first time as part of a European TUC ‘Day of Action and Solidarity’.
Mass demonstrations against austerity will be held in France and significantly in Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Romania – countries the media tell us threw off the shackles of socialism to embrace ‘free market’ capitalism.
These levels of industrial action have not been seen since World War 2 when trade unions in Britain and countries liberated from Nazi occupation fought to establish welfare and social rights for working people to ensure there would be no return to mass unemployment and poverty of the 1930s.
The social gains the post-war generation won through class struggle included universal education, access to health care, housing, justice, employment and state pensions – all based on strong trade unions.
These gains are now being destroyed across the EU by politicians in thrall to neoliberal orthodoxies and unaccountable EU institutions controlled by banks and corporations.
They aim to cutwages drastically and reduce the ‘social wage’ in the 27 EU member states, using EU austerity to make European firms ‘competitive’ in world markets.
Right-wing economic policies of wage reductions to ‘compete’ with so-called emerging economies of China, India and Brazil are creating organised resistance from the working class, threatening the stability of the EU and capitalist institutions. EU austerity is ensuring economic stagnation and depression.
The reasons private sector workers are joining the revolt against EU policies are obvious. Last week Ford Motors unveiled plans to close three factories, including Southampton, Dagenham and Genk in Belgium, to stem losses of £1.8bn by moving production to Turkey – a plant built with £81m of EU grants. Last weekend 20,000 people demonstrated in Genk against the destruction of 10,000 jobs that means the de-industrialisation of their region.
The only booming economy in the EU27 is Germany’s. The single European currency (the Euro) was intended to achieve a ‘Europe of the Regions’ – industrial production centred on Germany and low wage agriculture, tourism and service industry jobs elsewhere.
In Britain, after the London Olympics bonanza for building firms, construction is falling off a cliff. According to HSE in 2012 half the number of cranes were put up compared to 2011.
The Office for National Statistics reports construction output for the 3rd quarter of 2012 lower than the 2008/9 recession and its lowest since 1999. Infrastructure spending is down 11.3 per cent and commercial construction down 17.4 per cent on a year ago.
Far from taking up the ‘slack’ from the UK government’s 750,000 public sector job cuts, last week Balfour Beatty and Morgan Sindall posted profit warnings revealing their reliance on public sector construction contracts.
Now George Osborne is demanding cash from occupational pension funds for infrastructure investment to ‘kick-start’ the economic recovery. Yet this cash – our cash – will be used to fund projects that create few jobs, skills or training for the nearly 3m officially unemployed in Britain today.
Instead, as with the Stratford Olympic site and the current Crossrail construction in London, these infrastructure projects will be run by blacklisting companies and union-busters and will use ‘social dumping ‘ to provide the cheapest labour on the world market to boost profits of the likes of Balfour Beatty.
The NSSN supports the magnificent fight against blacklisting by Crossrail union reps and calls for all jobs to be union-organised jobs, with collective agreements covering rates of pay, training, recruitment of local labour and site safety.
The N14 general strikes and protests across the EU will not be resolved by the ETUC’s feeble call for a “social compact for Europe with a proper social dialogue, an economic policy that fosters quality jobs, and economic solidarity”.
As RMT points out, the EU cannot be reformed. The organised working class must break the EU, or the EU will smash the historic social gains made by the working class. The choice is socialism or barbarism.
In Britain on N14 the NSSN calls on all trade unionists to demand our trades union leaders name an early date in 2013 to call a general strike in Britain and carry out this year’s TUC Congress policy.
A general strike in Britain is an act of self defence against Cameron, Clegg, Osborne and Cable and a massive symbol of solidarity with trades unionists and workers in Europe fighting EU austerity.
Alex Gordon, RMT president, 13 November 2012
The NSSN fully supports the strikes and protests in Europe today as part of the ETUC day of action. For UK solidarity protests see ‘INTERNATIONAL’ & ‘DIARY’ below.
We also give full support to any UK action on Wednesday N14, including the protest to demand the reinstatement of the sacked 28 Crossrail workers – 7am Oxford Street entrance of Tottenham Court Rd Crossrail site
Next NSSN Meetings:
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, Lee Barron CWU Midlands regional secretary, Kevin Greenway PCS national executive Dave Auger UNISON Nick Harrison FBU & workshops! More
24 Nov YORKSHIRE & HUMBERSIDE NSSN Conference 10am-4pm. Leeds, Cosmopolitan Hotel, 2 Lower Briggate, LS1 4AE. Contact Kevin Pattison 07962867034. More
24 Nov Next NW shop stewards network meeting 1-3pm, Manchester
“We are delighted to report that the Bakers Union BFAWU has agreed at its national executive to affiliate to the NSSN. We look forward to working even closer with this fighting union and its members.’ More
Countrywide day of protest on November 30th
Tens of thousands of PCS members are being urged to take Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude at his word by staging 15-minute protests against plans to rip up working conditions in the civil service and related organisations. More
A halt to any further prison sell-offs and an independent review is urgently required, as the government announces that four more prisons will be handed to private companies.
Of the eight institutions under consideration, Northumberland, and Moorland, Hatfield and Lindholme near Doncaster are to be privatised, while Coldingley, Durham and Onley will remain in the public sector. More
POA react with anger to prison sell-off. More
Doncaster sacked drivers go to war with TESCOs! More
ACAS talks to resolve Doncaster Tesco drivers’ dispute – More
Why we need to Defend the Agricultural Wages Board, Unite lobbied Parliament on Monday 12 November – Angry agricultural workers bring Farmageddon to Parliament. More
LE1111 branch has issued a statement about the Homes and Community Agencies plan to impose a new recognition agreement reducing the number of staff reps recognised. More
Commenting on David Cameron’s announcement that 400 primary schools will be forced to become academies, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“There is no evidence to show that academy status in primary schools will bring any educational benefits. Despite this the coalition government is pressing ahead regardless, removing schools from their local authority and handing them over to unelected sponsors. More
NUT & NASUWT strike continues at Stratford Academy – This week’s two-day action has seen the strike grow stronger. On the picket line on Thursday, staff from other unions in the school expressed their support. Green Street support striking teachers at Stratford Academy. – Thurs, 15 Nov, Clapton FC., Upton lane, 6.30pm. Send your messages of support to NUT rep Steve Charles [email protected] . More
Martin Powell-Davies, member of the NUT Executive for Inner London covers some particularly important issues for London teachers: a) The pensions increases that will particularly hit London teachers next April (see excel file attachment as well) b) On-going strike action at Stratford Academy c) The Mayor’s plans to massively expand ‘free schools’ in the capital d) Various upcoming NUT events to bring to your members’ attention Blog.
Further strike action on First Devon and Cornwall buses this Thursday as RMT steps up fight for pay justice on First Devon and Cornwall buses in a continuing dispute over pay.
Scottish signallers step up strike action in long-running rosters dispute
RMT confirmed today that signallers in the Stirling area will be on strike again later this week in a long-running dispute over rosters.
RMT, along with fellow trade unionists and MP’s, will be demonstrating outside Kings Cross station on Sunday 18th November at 11.00 to Mark the 25th anniversary of the Kings Cross fire and to highlight the continued need for a fully staffed and safe tube network. More
RMT notified the Government that it will be petitioning the European Commission over breaches of the Consolidated Directive on Public Procurement (2004) over the planned award of an extension to the current West Coast Main Line contract to Virgin Rail Group. “The Government’s botched handling of the West Coast franchise still leaves 3200 jobs, and many more with supporting contractors, hanging in the balance only weeks away from the contracts end because of the Tories ideological objection to going the safe and simple route of renationalisation.
“The Government’s botched handling of the West Coast franchise still leaves 3200 jobs, and many more with supporting contractors, hanging in the balance only weeks away from the contracts end because of the Tories ideological objection to going the safe and simple route of renationalisation.
Unmanned stations make commuting a huge problem for women. It’s a workers and community issue!
CWU has been informed by Virgin Media that the company intends to de-recognise its trade unions – by far the biggest of which is CWU. All members of Virgin Media staff who are part of the Access Division workforce – mostly engineers -will be balloted in a self-proclaimed ‘referendum’ which opens today (Wednesday November 7) and closes on November 16. CWU was informed in a shock phone call on Friday afternoon and all staff received letters to their homes on Saturday explaining the company’s intentions, with just days until the referendum opened. Outraged by Virgin Media’s decision to de-recognise trade unions? Watch John East as he explains the situation More
NUJ says BBC must halt journalism job cuts as management crisis continues
The NUJ is demanding a moratorium on journalism job cuts at the BBC. General secretary Michelle Stanistreet declared that the current management crisis should be a wake-up call to the BBC. “It needs to take the opportunity to halt the assault on frontline journalism and put in place measures to shore up news and current affairs before it is too late. More
ASLEF have rejected LU offer & are balloting for strike action on Boxing Day.
The government is still planning to change firefighters’ pensions. Its current proposals affect how much firefighters will pay, the age we work to and how much we get during retirement. The Fire Brigades Union has commissioned the independent polling organisation YouGov to survey members about these changes. The union wants members’ views on the changes. All of responses are private and confidential. The data will only be analysed at an aggregated level and no individuals can be identified. Please complete the survey here
FBU anti cuts adverts ‘sparks’ debate!
More than 60,000 posts in England have gone or at risk. More
CONSTRUCTION & BLACKLISTING
Amendment of section 47 of the Health and Safety at Work Act, which has been added at the last minute to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill. – e-petitions
Early Day Motion on blacklisting in Contruction.
Please fill out your details on the model letter below and print and send to your local MP:-
Dear Insert Name of MP
Early Day Motion 609
As a UK construction worker and one of your constituents, I am writing to draw your attention to Early Day Motion 609 on Blacklisting proposed by Steve Rotherham MP on the 19th October 2012.
I believe that blacklisting is abhorrent and that those companies found to have been involved in encouraging the surveillance and exclusion of workers, simply for undertaking legitimate Trade Union activities, should be suitably punished and excluded from future projects funded by the public sector.
I am therefore writing to you as my MP to request that you lend your support to the motion.
Scottish Blacklisting meeting – Saturday 17th November, 10.30am at the STUC, 333 Woodlands Road, Glasgow.
If you or you know anyone who may have been blacklisted, spread the word and come along. There will be lawyers in attendance to give advice. Also, the blacklist doesn’t just contain files on Unite members. If you know anyone who is or was a member of UCATT, GMB or any other construction union, let them know about this meeting too.
Reel News and Blacklist Support Group present: Blacklisted 2012
Demonstration at the Hydro at the SSEC in Glasgow, Thursday 15th November at 7.00am.
FIGHTING NHS & COUNCIL CUTS
Unite, Unison and GMB lobbied Bromley Council on Monday 12 November against attacks on National Terms and Conditions and to support victimised outsourced Veolia binworkers.
Glenn Kelly, staff-side secretary said, “Despite the excellent lobby, the Tory council voted to opt out of the national terms and conditions for the council workforce. They then hope to get the staff to voluntarily sign up to it! As I told them at a recent meeting turkeys don’t vote for Christmas. Our next stage of campaign is to launch a mass refusal to sign up to the new contract and collect them to deliver as a Christmas gift to the council with our card. As predicted, the council voted through opting out of national terms and conditions through a vote in the council chamber but forcing it through is an entirely different matter.”
Gloucestershire NHS campaigners have been celebrating victory as Gloucestershire Primary Care Trust (PCT) has announced that the county’s eight community hospitals and health services (including 3000 nurses and other health workers) will remain in the NHS – reversing an earlier decision to outsource services. The transfer was halted earlier this year after a High Court challenge by 76-year old Michael Lloyd of Stroud which forced the Primary Care Trust to go back to the drawing board. More
Berkshire – Defend Our Community Services PUBLIC MEETING, on 19th November, 7.30 pm at Coopers Hill. The meeting is called as part of the Save Heatherwood Hospital campaign to Save Our Services at Heatherwood Hospital. The Shaping the Future Consultation proposes to close three major services at the hospital, we are campaigning for residents to vote NO -NO – NO to these proposals. Join us at the Bandstand in Bracknell on Saturday 10th November 12pm to 1pm and Friday 16th 12pm to 1pm.
Labour must refuse to implement ConDem cuts! UP to 300 jobs could be slashed at Southampton City Council Join the protest & deputation to full council meeting, 1pm Wed 14 Nov, Civic Centre, Sir James Matthews Building, Above Bar Street, Southampton
Policy and Campaigns Officer for the Northern TUC Neil Foster on the false economy that is regional pay: There are a number of different ways that Treasury proposals for regional or local pay in the public sector pay would be bad for people working in the private as well as public sector. Their work showed that it could cost the UK economy as much as £9.7bn each year. At best, it would cost us all £2.7bn every 12 months. More
Swansea Trades Council fights NHS cuts – : Swansea Trades Council & Swansea Anti-Cuts Campaign lobby of NHS ‘engagement’ over health cuts. 6pm Grand Theatre. More
Lewisham NHS meeting and campaign update- Last Thursday, hundreds of residents and workers of Lewisham mobilised in an impressive show of strength to protest against the threats to their National Health Services. More
Demonstration at the Southern General Hospital on Friday 16th at 7.00am.
Belgium March over closure of Fords: On Sunday 11 November, more than 20,000 people attended a demonstration. More
Namibia protests. More
Barcelona bus workers start 2 week discontinuous strike over wage cuts
Bangladesh Tank-lorry workers on strike in Sylhet [NewAge] 2012-11-13 4 more labour news stories from Bangladesh today
Honduras Doctors on strike again [Prensa Latina] 2012-11-13
Namibia Health workers could strike [New Era] 2012-11-12
Revolt in Renault Turkey. More
N14 European day of action – In solidarity with workers in Greece, Portugal & Spain who are staging an International General Strike this Wednesday 14th November, local activists & trade unionists as well as workers from other European countries who live & work in Bristol, are holding a solidarity protest near the statue of Neptune at 5pm. All Welcome!
Wednesday at 5:00pm Neptune’s Statue, Bristol City Centre (opposite Hippodrome)
Oxford trades council is staging a lunchtime protest in the Cornmarket 12 noon to 1pm [email protected]
Coalition of Resistance rally “Europe against austerity” 5pm Smith Square London
ETUC list of actions taking place across Europe More
100-plus jobs set to go as edge-of-Norwich firm plans to out-source its work to China – Business – E www.edp24.co.uk
LondonIWW: in New Pay Dispute | http://iww.org.uk | http://ow.ly/fdKj4
Birmingham city council faces £757m bill to settle equal pay claims http://gu.com/p/3bn5g/tf
Activists set up camp in Starbucks
Activists from campaigning group UK Uncut will transform at least 20 branches of coffee shop giant Starbucks into refuges, homeless shelters and crèches.
Public meeting over Carillion – Broad Eye Building, Stafford College, Earl Street, Stafford ST16 2QR – 6:00pm until 8:00pm Speakers Carole Vallelly – Swindon Hospital GMB, Dave Smith – Blacklist Support Group.
14th November will see the first coordinated European general strike in history, with general strikes in Spain, Portugal, Greece, Malta and Cyprus – and significant strikes in France and Italy.
General Strike in Southern Europe: Irish Solidarity Rally 1pm Central Bank Plaza
Midday protest, Manchester city centre, in solidarity with 14th November general strikes, called by GMATUC
In Glasgow George Square for an evening rally. There are actions being planned for throughout the day. More
7am MASS PICKET OF CROSSRAIL . Oxford Street Crossrail Site (opp. 100 Club). Video
Oxford trades council is staging a lunchtime protest in the Cornmarket 12 noon to 1pm [email protected]
Coalition of Resistance demonstration and rally “Europe against austerity” 5pm Smith Square London and towns and cities across the UK.
Greenwich NSSN meeting over NHS cuts.
‘Save Our Fire Stations’ public meeting7.30pm. Peckham & Southwark both earmarked for closure. Speakers from London FBU 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. 07812 063 409. [email protected]
On the tenth anniversary of the national Fire Brigades Union (FBU) dispute, a benefit event will be held on Friday 16 November at the Tabernacle, Notting Hill, London W11 with the Men They Couldn’t Hang, Tymon Dogg, Take the 5th (Clash tribute group), FBU general secretary Matt Wrack and other special guests. More
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.
Scottish Rank & File blacklisting Meeting. STUC, 333 Woodlands, Glasgow. 10.30
Kings Lynn trades council final Women for Change lecture – 11.30am Kings Lynn with Cristel Amiss from the Crossroads Women’s Centre in Camden [email protected]
RMT 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
Defend Our Community Services PUBLIC MEETING, on 19th November , 7.30 pm at Coopers Hill, Reading.
SAVE Newcastle Libraries: public meeting at St John’s Church hall, nr Central Station, at 7pm.
NUS Demo Educate, Employ, Empower Central London
Bromley trades council AGM – 6pm HG Wells Centre, St Marks Road
YORKSHIRE & HUMBERSIDE NSSN Conference 10am-4pm. Leeds, Cosmopolitan Hotel, 2 Lower Briggate, LS1 4AE. Contact Kevin Pattison 07962867034.
STUC Anti-Racism March – Assemble 10.30am at Glasgow Green. March goes through Merchant City, past George Square and up to Rally at Glasgow Film Theatre. Join Alan/Karen with branch banner and leaflets (including flyers for MacLean Commemoration).
Construction Safety Campaign AGM 11am to 3.00pm 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.
PCS forum to expand on the alternatives to the austerity agenda 7pm London with Mark Serwotka PCS, Dexter Whitfield author, Nick Wrack TUSC. [email protected]
Clydebank Trade Union Council Public Meeting. Free Tuition, Free Bus Passes, Free Prescriptions – Can We Afford Them? The Hub Community Centre, Kilbowie Road, Clydebank
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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