Bulletin 139 – Time to get your diaries out..

Photo Neil C
Photo Neil C

We’re supposed to be in the age of declining unions but if the TUC calls a 24 hour general strike, the young, the unorganised and the unemployed will join the unions.” RMT General Secretary Bob Crow closed the NSSN lobby of today’s (April 24th) TUC General Council, which saw up to 200 union member and activists chant Name the date for a general strike!”

It was apt that POA prison officers’ union leader Steve Gillan also addressed the lobby. It was his union’s motion 5 to last September’s TUC conference that called on the unions to consider the “practicalities of a general strike” as part of the campaign to resist the ConDems’ austerity offensive. That successful resolution, backed by a 1000-strong NSSN lobby of TUC conference was the source of today’s meeting which considered submissions on the general strike form each union. Left-wing lawyers Keith Ewing and John Hendy put forward their opinion to the General Council that a strike against austerity could be legal. In Bob Crow’s words, “We’ve all had lawyers come to union executives telling us why a strike is illegal, this must be the first time lawyers have been arguing to the unions that a strike is legal!” The NSSN welcomes this legal opinion and encourages the TUC to explore it but every union has an issue that they could ballot their members on – redundancies, pay freeze and cuts, pensions, privatisation etc which could be co-ordinated like the N30 2011 pensions strike.

Photo Neil C
Photo Neil C

For 90 minutes before the meeting many speakers from union leaderships to shop stewards and anti-cuts campaigners spelled out why this mass action is not only practical but necessary and would be overwhelmingly popular. We had been lifted by the vote at last week’s Scottish TUC conference calling for a one day general strike and the strong reaffirmation by CWU conference on Monday of the union’s support for a general strike. We read out messages from the BFAWU Bakers Union general secretary Ronnie Draper confirming his union’s support as well as the PCS DWP group leadership, meeting in Leeds to discuss the next action in their union’s national industrial action campaign.

But if the union leaders needed one last statistic from the mountain that has built up over the last few years of vicious austerity, just this morning it was announced that 350,000 people have used food banks on at least 3 occasions over the last year – many of them working! The estimated 50,000 who marched in defence of Stafford hospital last Saturday, almost the entire town’s population, show that people are ready for the fight but are looking for a lead.

This is where the TUC and the unions must step in. Name a date so it can be built like the massive N30 pensions strike and put this hated bosses’ government on notice that a real mass resistance to their cuts is coming.

It appears that in today’s meeting, the TUC today agreed to organise a meeting of those unions currently in live disputes or preparing to ballot to try and co-ordinate strikes to the maximum amount. With an inadequate final pay offer of 1% for local government workers on the back of a 3 year pay freeze, when inflation is nearly 3%, there is clearly the potential for a day of strike action involving millions of workers, particularly if this is opened up to workers in dispute in the private sector as well.


Join us at the NSSN 7th national annual conference – for trade unionists and anti cuts activists who support NO cuts and challenge the implementation of cuts by whatever council try to implement them.

 11am-5pm, Saturday June 29th, Camden Centre, Judd Street, London, WC1H 9JE – initial speakers confirmed: union general secretaries Mark Serwotka PCS, Billy Hayes CWU and Steve Gillan POA. We have also booked space for workshops, smaller group discussions on key issues and methods for organising.

BOOK NOW £6. Cheques can be made payable to ‘National Shop Stewards Network’ – either email [email protected] or reply to PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE Leaflet & letter for union branches, shop stewards committees, trades councils, anti-cuts campaigns.

Thanks to several branches and trades councils for affiliating. !



PCS Group Executives are meeting to discuss departmental industrial action as the national campaign continues

Yesterday, April 23rd saw spontaneous unofficial walkouts by PCS members in HMRC against attacks to their annual leave entitlement.


Stock tube drivers on Hammersmith and City, Metropolitan and Circle lines to be balloted for action over attack on working conditions  – RMT confirmed today that it is to ballot driver members at a range of depots serving the Hammersmith and City, Metropolitan and Circle Lines for industrial action in a dispute arising from the introduction of the new S Stock fleet.

RMT confirmed that cleaners working for Danish multi-national ISS on London Underground are to be balloted for strike action and action short of a strike in a dispute over pay and workplace justice

New ‘London Calling’ RMT April Newsletter – includes update on 33 sacked Trainspeople agency workers – come to their protest on Friday May 3rd at 8am – District line entrance Edgware Road


Unite in Amsterdam to protest against BAM blacklisting on Crossrail – Unite, Britain’s biggest union, will be in Amsterdam outside the AGM of Dutch firm, Royal BAM to protest against the blacklisting and victimisation of trade unionists working on Crossrail by its British subsidiary, BAM Nuttall. The Unite delegation will include blacklisted Unite member Steve Acheson and Unite shop steward Frank Morris.

See Reel News video on Unite Crossrail protests last week at construction awards dinners & at Westbourne Park after assault on Frank Morris

HSBC First Direct slashes 2,000 jobs  – Unite has expressed fury over HSBC’s decision to slash over 2,000 jobs at the bank. The union has not ruled out balloting it members for industrial action over the company’s behaviour

Strike action ballot at Carling plant goes ahead – Employees at Molson Coors in Burton-on-Trent are being balloted on strike action, as the 455-strong workforce face being sacked after 14 June and reinstated on inferior pay and conditions

Fight the Ford Closure (April 19) – Ford’s closure plans have angered workers in East London. Workers from Ford’s Dagenham Stamping & Tooling Operations plant finished their night shift and descended on Ford’s UK headquarters as Unite convenors from around the country met management on 18 April for a Ford National Joint Negotiating Committee (FNJNC). A consultative ballot for strike action gained an 81% yes vote from the Unite tool makers at the plant, since Fords announced the closure of the plant and a strike ballot is now proceeding.

Bromley workers blackmailed into signing new contracts. “The threat to sack these workers by the close of play on Tuesday (23 April) unless they sign the new contracts (or face the so-called ‘dismissal and re-engagement’ process) smacks of blackmail. 

“Workers should not be penalised for valiantly upholding the principle and reality of agreements negotiated nationally.


GMB is to undertake a consultative ballot of members working as porters at the Eastbourne District General Hospital (EDGH) to seek support for industrial action (April 23) – This is after the Chief Executive Darren Grayson failed to enter meaningful discussion over the implementation of new shift patterns for porters at the hospital

GMB & UNITE workers  at Kiln struck over cuts to holidays. (Peterborough)


Post Office staff on for more strikes  – The dispute over closures, franchising, jobs and pay in the Post Office is ramping up as the CWU has today (Monday) served notice for a third round of strike action set to take place from 1pm on Monday April 29 following no attempt by the Post Office to resolve the dispute

CWU submits claim for recognition at Virgin Media  – Following last year’s shock decision by Virgin Media to derecognise all trade unions, the CWU has submitted a claim for recognition for a specific group of engineers. After a heated debate at CWU conference yesterday (Tuesday) the union wrote to Virgin Media lodging a formal request for recognition under Trade Union laws

CWU annual conference overwhelmingly voted to continue support for a 24 hour General strike.


Mr Gove leave our pay, pensions and conditions aloneDownload NUT News Act now – email your MP This week the Government has intensified its attacks on teachers.

•Michael Gove confirmed his intention to dismantle our pay scales and impose PRP on every teacher

•He has made it clear that he wants to extend the school day and the school year

Read Martin Powell Davies’s blog on these attacks – NUT NEC & NSSN steering committee

Blacklisting & Victimisation

There will be a meeting of the Scottish Rank and File next Saturday 27th April in John Smith House at 12.30pm, immediately following the branch meeting. There will be a presentation by Roz Foyer on the leverage campaign for Crossrail and how we can target companies here in Scotland.

Blacklisting Debate at Scottish Parliament May 2nd debate on the 2nd May

International (See Labourstart)

Ireland – Union rank and file rejects rotten “Croke Park 2” deal (20 April)

Hong kong Dockers strike.

Bangladesh garment workers factory collapse kills 96

Slovenia Workers strike at Subsidary of Foundry MLM

Chilean Coldeco contract workers block access to Copper mines

French bus drivers set to strike over new uniforms.


DIARY other events also see & update onto False Economy

25 Reel News special report on Spain The Grosvenor 7.30pm

27  Unite exhibition to celebrate election of Liverpool 47, who would not vote or implement Thatcher cuts instead they also built 5,000 houses, froze rents and developed services & so much more. Opened by Len McCluskey, Unite, Tony Mulhearn & others.

March to Save Ealing A & E 11.30 at Ealing Hospital, UB1 3EU

Derby Trades Council annual Silk Mill March & Rally. 10.30am

Teesside Mayday March 11am

28 Workers Memorial Day Mourn for the Dead FIGHT FOR THE LIVING

Sheffield 12.30pm, the Sheffield Trades Union Council is organising an IWMD Ceremony at the Workers` Memorial Tree which is situated in front of the Sheffield Town Hall.

Bolton UNISON Bolton LG Branch has worked with Bolton Trades Council Assemble on the Town Hall Square for 11.30. There will be a piper, speakers and a minutes silence at 12.

Workers’ Memorial Day April 28th – to find about events all over the UK

Birmingham & Solihull – Sunday 28th April at 12.30pm In The Grounds of St Philips Cathedral, Colmore Row, Birmingham, B3 2QB

Scottish events


1 International Workers day! Marches, protests and events everywhere

Belfast events celebrating May Day and the Dublin Lock-out

London May Day march and rally takes place on Wednesday, May 1st.  We assemble at Clerkenwell Green, EC1 at 12:00 and march to Trafalgar Square, where the rally starts at 13:00.  Speakers will include Paul Nowak from the TUC and Tony Benn.  The event is organised by the London May Day Organising Committee.

 ACTION for Rail protest Portsmouth Harbour 5pm

2 ‘The Thatcher years’ month long anti austerity festival opens with an photographic exhibition by Dave Sinclair, charting some of the fightback against Thatcher. (Richmix, E1 London– 6-8pm FREE [email protected]). Speakers include: Bob Crow RMT, Suz Muna Unite & Rob Williams NSSN. From 8-11pm celebrating Mayday – ‘Housing4All’ Counihan Campaign, ‘Have I got Tax for you’ pilot & Q & A plus more satire with Flood Theatre & a dodgy mayor! (Tickets £7/£4)

4 Cardiff TC Mayday Rally & March

Swansea TC May day rally Noon. Defend Public Services & Scrap the bedroom tax

5 Ipswich Trades Council May Day Festival12 noon with Tony Lennon SERTUC, Peter Kavanagh Unite, Paul Moffatt CWU, Nancy Taaffe NSSN.

7 Dying for the Vote suffragette Emily Wilding Davison Centenary exhibition in Ewell, Surrey to 27 July Irene [email protected].

12 Don’t Mention the 47 Documentary & discussion at Richmix, London (£7/4) plus other events that day including Unite Housing workers, ‘How to stop the housing cuts & what are the alternatives?Radicals & Revolutionaries walk (£5/£2) of the East End, ScriptReadEast (£4).

18 Fight the NHS cuts London march [email protected]


22 People’s Assembly – Central Hall Westminster, Storey’s Gate, London, Westminster, London SW1H 9NH

29 7th annual conference of the NSSN

11am-5pm Camden Centre, Judd Street, London, WC1H 9JE

BOOK NOW £6. Cheques can be made payable to ‘National Shop Stewards Network’ – either email [email protected] or reply to PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE Leaflet & letter for union branches, shop stewards committees, trades councils, anti-cuts campaigns.



[email protected]


Secretary: Linda TaaffeEmail: [email protected]

Phone: 07952 283 558


NSSNPO Box 54498, London E10 9DE