Bulletin 122 – 2012 just a taster of what 2013 will look like

It would be impossible to talk about every dispute that has happened in 2012. That alone tells THE story of the last 12 months…that is that workers are fighting back against this government and the employers.

A year ago this week, the NSSN called a lobby of the TUC’s Public Service Liaison Group as activists tried desperately to stop the leaders of Unison and the GMB in particular halting the momentum built up on the massive N30 pensions strike. We sang and shouted in the December 19 gloom and rain but they signed the government’s ‘heads of agreement’. To their eternal credit, PCS Left Unity organised a conference on January 7th of over 500 union activists across the left of the union movement. The NSSN swung all our forces behind this initiative. We believe that it led directly to the May 10 pension strike which saw PCS, Unite, UCU, ISU, NIPSA and the RMT strike together along with prison officers from the POA who bravely walked out on unofficial action. Also on the same day, over 30,000 police marched through London.

The pension strike might have been stalled but the sights and sounds of workers in the public sector fighting back has given other workers confidence and has again legitimised the idea that we can take action. Every week and almost every day we’ve seen strikes, protests and demonstrations. From Unilever to the Stobarts/Tesco drivers in Doncaster, workers have fought back. Some like the Sparks, the London bus workers and the Tesco drivers, have won something or everything…but they all showed that if you fight, you can win.

This has to be what we take from 2012. Particularly after Osborne’s 3rd Autumn Statement that confirmed that we are living in an age of austerity. The NSSN has tenaciously fought for the idea of the TUC and the unions calling mass co-ordinated strike action, up to and including a 24 hour general strike to defeat this government and their cuts. We took up to a 1000 union activists to Brighton to lobby the TUC conference in September to successfully build support for the POA’s motion on the general strike. We were outside the TUC general council again last week to raise the demand that we popularised on the 150,000 strong TUC demonstrations on October 20th.

This year, workers have confounded the pessimists and the cynics. They showed that they will fight. Let’s keep up the pressure so that we fight together….and win!

To all our members, supporters and affiliates….Merry Xmas and a happy New Year! To Cameron, Clegg & Osborne…be very afraid…our class is coming for you!


Ps. Keep Sat June 29th free in your diary – it’s the 7th annual national conference of the NSSN in the Camden Centre in London. See you all there!


It is with great sadness that we have to report the death of Robbie Segal. Robbie was a leading trade union activist in USDAW and the NSSN as well as the Socialist Party and a tireless fighter to democratise Usdaw and fight for workers rights internationally.

From Eric Segal I am reminded of a poem by Heinrich Heine:
I am the sword. I am the flame.
I lit the way for you when it was dark
And when the battle raged, I fought in front
In the first row…
We have no time for mourning
The trumpets sound anew
A new fight looms… ” More


“The dangerous hesitation at the top of the NUT makes clear just how important a role LANAC is going to have to play in organising from below to make sure Gove does not succeed in inflicting a major defeat on teachers.” Martin Powell-Davis NUT NEC & NSSN Steering Group. Update from the Local Associations National Action Campaign (LANAC). More

NUT & NASUWT anti academies strike in Derby today. Video


Union says London Underground drivers will strike on Boxing Day, January 18th and 25th in a row over Bank Holiday pay.


Bristol postal workers to strike again on Monday. 100 postal workers at the Royal Mail depot in Mead Street Bristol will be on strike on Monday 17 December 2012. More

Furious CWU members at maintenance and facilities firm Romec have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action following the company’s refusal to improve on a below-inflation pay offer of 1.5 per cent after giving managers a 15 per cent bonus on grounds that the company has met all of its targets. Condemned as “unbelievable hypocrisy”, assistant secretary Ray Ellis asked: “How can it be fair that they refuse to also reward our hard-working members who’ve actually done the work and created this success?”
Scottish delivery rip off shows need for public post!. More


GMB to conduct survey at East of England ambulance service over bullying at the trust after members report widespread problems. GMB very much hope that the new interim Chief Executive at East of England Ambulance Service will put the emphasis on the ‘Service’ part of the title of the Trust. More

GMB demo at Windsor on Tuesday 18th December over pay cuts and to seek support for living wage of £8.55 per hour. No other local authorities in the vicinity are moving away from the national agreement and regional pay was ruled out by the Deputy Prime Minister earlier this month says GMB. More

GMB to ballot for industrial action over evasion by Sodexo of legal consultation requirements for redundancies at Brighton & Sussex NHS trust
GMB members consider that Sodexo are deliberately avoiding their statutory obligation of having to undertake 90 days consultation with the unions on these job losses. More


Cuts to support for disabled people are ‘cruel and costly’. Cuts to dedicated support to help disabled people to live independent lives in their communities are “simply cruel” and will end up costing the taxpayer more. More

Ministers refuse to meet to discuss welfare plans. Two ministers in the Department for Work and Pensions have refused to meet PCS officials to discuss their plans for welfare and employment services. More

Defense Sector Group (DSg) members in MoD endorse industrial action strategy. Members in MoD have recently been consulted upon the Group Executive’s proposal to initiate industrial action through a statutory ballot. Members were asked two questions regarding the types of action they would be willing to undertake. More


Cleaners working for Churchill’s on the Tyne and Wear Metro will take a further 72 hours of strike action from Sunday 23rd December in their battle for pay and workplace justice. More

Rail workers at CrossCountry Trains will stage a 24-hour strike after a “comprehensive breakdown” in industrial relations, union bosses announced. More

RMT announces strike on Cross Country Trains from Penzance to Aberdeen over complete breakdown of industrial relations. Following a comprehensive breakdown in industrial relations between Cross Country Trains and RMT, the union has secured a yes vote from train managers, senior conductors and on board catering staff for both strike action and action short of a strike. The Cross Country service radiates out of Birmingham and covers much of England, major points in Scotland as well as Cardiff in Wales. More

RMT confirmed strike dates today after members voted overwhelmingly for strike action and for action short of a strike in a ballot of all First Scotrail members over the victimisation and dismissal of a member whose only “crime” was to assist a member of the public in ensuring they had the correct ticket for a journey in line with company policy. This is now suspended More

North London Rail Signallers’ strike over jobs attack. Following a 100% vote for action in a ballot for industrial action over Network Rail’s unacceptable plans to halve the number of Shift Signaller Managers working at West Hampstead, rail union RMT today confirmed strike action. More

RMT suspends Scottish ferries strike action after progress in talks. RMT confirmed that it has suspended a programme of strike action on northern isles ferry routes after progress in discussions with SERCO and as a gesture of good will to island communities. More

SIPTU members to ballot for industrial action at Bus Eireann. SIPTU Organiser, Willie Noone, has said that the decision by the management of Bus Eireann, within days of Christmas, to threaten staff with pay-cuts and major changes to their conditions of employment may result in industrial action at the CIE companies. More


The Unison branch at Caerphilly County Borough Council has announced a lunch time walkout and 5pm lobby of the Labour group meeting tomorrow, in response to the revelation that some 20 council bosses have awarded themselves massive pay rises of up to 30%. This comes at a time when most workers have had to endure a pay freeze for the next three years. Unison is calling for trade unionists and community members to join the protests. More


Two sisters strike update earlier this weeks strike was called off for talks but at present it looks like there will be a strike tomorrow of the 1,200 workers in Smethwick, West Brom & Wolverhampton. Video

When a deadline is not a deadline, One is NOT amusing! In the last week 250 workers from One Support, an arm of the One Housing Group (OHG) have had letters from their company asking them to sign a new contracts by the 20th Dec which would see cuts of up to £8,000 per worker. The implication was that if they didn’t sign, they would no longer have a job. NSSN report More & Housing workers report.

Isle of Man bus strike to go ahead. Bus drivers on the Isle of Man – employed by government-owned Bus Vannin – will begin a three-day strike on today after talks broke down. More
E.on Metering workers at energy giant E.on strike in a dispute over a sustained erosion to their pay, and terms and conditions. More & More

Welsh government take-over of Cardiff airport could herald ‘economic boost’.
The proposed purchase of Cardiff airport by the Welsh government could herald a significant economic boost for Wales, Unite said today (Tuesday 18 December). More

London cabbies and sacked workers deliver giant Christmas card. Sacked workers from LTI (London Taxi Company) and London cabbies dressed as Santa will deliver a giant Christmas card to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) offices in London and Birmingham urging the administrators to ‘make our Christmas and give us a future in 2013’. More

Struggling workers face £4.1 billion Christmas debt mountain. Rising prices and falling wages means eight in ten workers will struggle to meet the cost of Christmas this year, with 60 per cent cutting back and a fifth borrowing on average £700 to make ends meet over the festive season. More
Care Quality Commission needs to raise profile with public, says Unite. The Care Quality Commission (CQC), which regulates hospitals, care homes and GP practices, needs to make it easier for the public to raise concerns about poor service in the NHS, Unite, the largest union in the country, has said. More

A living wage? You can’t do it if you B&Q it. Workers at B&Q’s warehouse in Burton-on-Trent are preparing to hold a ballot for strike action over pay, with some workers on such low pay they cannot afford to put food on the table. More


GFTU courses open to all trade unionists. More

Other NEWS

Redundancy talks period to be cut from 90 to 45 days. The 90-day consultation period before large-scale redundancies can take place is to be cut to 45 days, under government plans. More

Calls to set deficit budgets: anger and passion at Birmingham council meeting. More

Local authority considers 83 per cent SP cut. A midlands council is consulting on the biggest ever cut to a local authority Supporting People budget. More

London council consults on rent rises. Southwark Council is consulting on recommendations which could see an average 4.85 per cent rise in council housing rents next financial year. More

Legal challenge launched against ‘unfair’ government disability test. This is a joint post from Patrick Lynch, Disabled People Against Cuts, Public Interest Lawyers and False Economy. An article about this legal action appears in the Guardian today:

A disabled man who was wrongly found fit for work under the government’s disability benefit assessment scheme is launching legal action to try and stop more disabled people being wrongly kicked off the social safety net.

Patrick Lynch, a former social care worker who was forced to quit work because of his impairments, is seeking a judicial review of the controversial disability benefit assessment scheme run by Atos.
London Metropolitan University recruitment for the next intake of part-time students for the Working Lives Professional Doctorate in Researching Work will be closing shortly. More

Steve A Blacklist protest
(Photo Andy Ford)


Crossrail – Yesterday around 40 NSSN supporters turned up at Department of Transport over the Crossrail sackings and trade union victimisation with the recent serious injuries, this has become even more vital. After not being allowed to go into the buiding or meet representatives of the DoT supporters blocked the road to bring the message to all those inside. REEL NEWS VIDEO & Photo

Steve Acheson, blacklisted electrician and leading lay activist in Unite, has been protesting outside the gates of Fiddlers Ferry power station for four years since he was sacked on the basis of the blacklist operating against construction industry trade unionists.

Show your solidarity with Steve, demand justice for Steve and all the blacklisted workers. What you can do
• Come to the montly protest, Fiddlers Ferry power station, Widnes, Cheshire.
• Send Steve a message of support – [email protected]
• Make a donation to the Fiddlers Ferry Hardship Fund

Justice for the Shrewsbury Pickets online a petition to secure the release of state information over the framing of building workers in the 1970’s.

Kazakhstan – International protestes took place over the Zhananzen massacre and Vadim Kuramshin support needed. More

Greek public sectors walk out over more cuts. More

Tunisia – Last weeks general strike was called off. More


20 Dec
Capita – hands of Barnet Services! 5pm Victoria St, SW1

12 Jan
Defend your home against bedroom tax. The Black-E, Liverpool.

21 Jan
LOBBY OF THE FIRE AUTHORITY at 2.00pm. The London region of the FBU will lobby of the next Fire Authority meeting – the London Fire Brigade headquarters at 169 Union Street, London SE1 0LL.

23 Jan
GMB protest over social dumping in Brussels.
26 Jan
Merseyside County Association of Trades Union Councils (MATUC) is organising a conference to be held at the Adelphi Hotel in Liverpool on 26 January 2013. The conference will look at organising a general strike in the NW region and the practicalities of organising the strike for regional trade unions and branches, trade union councils and activists for a general strike in 2013.

29 June
7th annual national conference of the NSSN in the Camden Centre in London.
Twitter NSSN_Anticuts
Facebook main group ‘National Shop Stewards Network’ & ‘Stop the cuts’
Website: www.shopstewards.net
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 07952 283 558
Post: NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9D
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