ConDems ratchet up class war – We need a GENERAL STRIKE!
The beginning of this month marks a step change in Con-Dem attacks on all workers. Class war has been ratcheted up, with the charge cynically led by Iain Duncan Smith (IDS) on £134,000 a year and living in a rent-free mansion. New Coalition welfare rules will see the poorest face swingeing cuts; the disabled penalised even more; and to top it all, cuts to housing benefit for the “crime” of having a so-called spare bedroom will kick in. If they get away with all this then the next step looks like being the freezing, or even cutting, of the minimum wage.
Meetings and protests have been getting off the ground all over the country like Hull, Swansea, Leeds and elsewhere. It feels a bit like the early days of the anti-poll tax campaign. Reminiscent also of the poll tax struggle, the biggest protest so far has taken place in Scotland, where last Saturday 5000 marched in Glasgow, and a further 2000 in Edinburgh demanding “Bin the bedroom tax”. The fighting spirit of all the angry demonstrators was not in any doubt.
But we have to ask – where is the fighting spirit of the leaders of our most powerful defence organisations the trade unions? What plans are they making? We have heard media reports of churches and voluntary bodies coming out against the changes, pleading the case not to penalise the poor. We have heard Labour front benchers criticise the changes, but at the same time remain welded to free market policies and steadfastly refuse to commit to reversing Tory cuts if they come to power.
In a meeting at the end of the Glasgow demo Rob Williams Chair of NSSN got a huge cheer when he demanded that the trade union leaders start organising now for a 24-hour general strike where everyone, both in the public and private sector can join together with community campaigners, the unemployed, students, disabled and pensioners in a day of mass action to demand these changes are immediately withdrawn. The government have done so many U-turns on various issues we have almost stopped counting! They could be beaten on this. The anti-poll tax struggle played a significant role in melting the iron lady Margaret Thatcher. The TUC and millions of workers could crumple these paper tigers Cameron and Clegg.
The TUC general council will be discussing the general strike at its next meeting on Wednesday 24th April. NSSN has called a lobby outside Congress House from 8.30am onwards, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3LS. We urge as many as possible to be there.
(LINDA Taffee NSSN National Sec )
Challenge IDS to live on £53 a week (over 400,000 names have signed & counting….!) but how about we lobby our leadership to NAME the day for a GENERAL STRIKE. It would be much more of a challenge against IDS and build our industrial campaign to fight ALL the cuts! NSSN to lobby TUC General Council on Wednesday April 24th – from 8.30am outside TUC Congress House, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3LS. Please also share the NSSN Press Release in response to the FT and others reporting on some unions discussing the need for a General strike and internal discussions beginning.
Also join us at the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) 7th national annual conference – 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. The entrance fee is £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 – This is the conference to organise the urgent fightback in the unions!
Weekend of strike action starts on 5 April (2 April) – A long weekend of industrial action by our members is taking place from 5 to 8 April. The government refuses to sit down and negotiate over its cuts to pay, pensions and working conditions, so we must act. These walkouts are the next steps in our three-month programme of industrial action and protests, which began with a national strike on budget day on 20 March . Further info and video.
Construction – There will be a meeting of the Scottish Rank and File this Saturday in the Iron Horse Bar, 115 West Nile Street, Glasgow at 10am. There will be discussion on the Crossrail Leverage Campaign, blacklisting, updates from the combine and our own priorities.
Workers at Merseyside Crane Building Services to strike over ‘insulting pay offer’ – Workers at American-owned Crane Building Services and Utilities in St. Helens will be taking part in strike action on Monday 1 April over an ‘insulting pay offer’. Over 50 members of Unite will be joining GMB members at the St. Helens-based company, which makes components for gas and water utilities, in a 48-hour stoppage from 22:00 on Monday 1 April until 22:00 on Wednesday 3 April. A further one-day strike action is planned for Monday 8 April. In addition, members are refusing to work overtime from Monday 1 April
Lib Dem minister to be lobbied over Agricultural Wages Board (3 April) – The Liberal Democrat minister for agriculture and food David Heath will be lobbied on Saturday (6 April), as Unite intensifies its campaign in the run-up to MPs voting on the future of the Agricultural Wages Board (AWB). Unite activists will be driving home their message for the AWB’s retention, which protects the incomes of 150,000 agricultural workers, when they lobby outside David Heath’s constituency surgery between 10am -11.30am on Saturday. The surgery will be held in The Library, Justice Lane, Frome, Somerset BA11 1BE
Industrial action suspended – drivers – Jubilee line – London Underground – From Bob Crow RMT General Secretary: “I write to advise members that all strike action that was due to commence next week has been suspended. Following talks with the company at ACAS, some progress has been made and your executive has decided to suspend this strike action. Therefore all Jubilee Line drivers at North Greenwich and Stratford Train Crew Depots are instructed to work normally. I would like to thank you and your colleagues for your resolve and support on this matter and I will update you further developments.”
RMT slams attack on offshore safety 25 years after Piper Alpha – Offshore union RMT today condemned the announcement of a “restructuring exercise” within the Health and Safety Executive which will see the creation of an “Energy Division”. Ever since the findings of Lord Cullen’s inquiry into the Piper Alpha disaster there has been a distinct division of the HSE devoted to the major hazard offshore oil and gas industry. The “Offshore Safety Division” (OSD) has had a strong influence in shaping and improving the safety performance of this industry, and given recent announcements of major investment and development in the sector it could reasonably be expected OSD would continue in that role. However, in a move which has surprised not only the trade unions, but the industry itself, the HSE has announced the Offshore Safety Division will become integrated into a newly created “Energy Division”
NUT / NASUWT
NUT & NASUWT agree joint strike strategy – NUT conference confirms joint campaign of strike action with NASUWT, starting with a North West strike on June 27th
Call to start campaign with national strike narrowly defeated at NUT Conference by Martin Powell Davis (NUT NEC & NSSN steering committee)
Lessons need to be learned from the Lakanal House fire – The Fire Brigades Union is urging fire authorities and the government to learn the lessons of the Lakanal House fire, while warning that cuts to the fire service will undermine efforts to prevent similar tragedies in the future. The union was responding to the coroner’s inquest verdict published today
BBC tour guides begin extended strike action.
BECTU report from BBC national protest last week & NUJ info on the dispute.
OTHER NEWS & CAMPAIGNS
Young protesters are currently occupying the offices of the Department of Employment & Learning on Adelaide Street, Belfast, in opposition to a planned cut to the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA). The proposed cuts will see around 4,500 students lose the payment. The activists from campaign group Youth Fight for Jobs & Education are demanding that Minister Stephen Farry agrees to a public debate about the impact of the cuts.
“Are you sick of Your Boss?” Youth Fight for Jobs says – Get involved in the campaign that says #enoughisenough to being messed around with your hours, to not getting proper breaks, to zero-hour contracts, to bullying management and low pay!
Counihan campaign against eviction & Housing 4 The Counihan’s Housing 4 All Documentary
Bedroom tax information as protests and plans to fight it continue – a pamplet on the Bedroom Tax by Communities against the Cuts in Brimingham
SUSSEX students – ‘We condemn the eviction of students occupying Sussex University in opposition to privatisation plans, including the use of up to 100 police, some in full riot gear, accompanied by vans, bailiffs and private security guards to remove protesters from their own campus’
££ ‘Lets focus on the real cheats!’
Blacklisting & Victimisation
URGENT DONATE to the Steve Acheson defence campaign – Steve Acheson, Unite member and blacklisted electrician was dismissed from an engineering project at a power station in Warrington in December 2008. Ever since he has made the 80 mile round trip every Friday, at his own expense, to peacefully protest at the terrible injustice of blacklisting and to expose this abhorrent practice to public view
International (See Labourstart)
Cyprus: “Working people pay high price for crisis of euro and capitalism” (31 March) – Interview with a Cypriot socialist
Diary (other events also see & update onto False Economy)
4 Organising Against Welfare Cut and the Bedroom Tax – Brighton Benefits Campaign Meeting – 7pm Under the Bridge Studios 7 Trafalgar Arches – Planning for a lobby of the council’s housing committee on 8th May
Defend Cllr Kevin Bennet (Fairfield and Howley) was the only councilor to vote against the £14 million in cuts Warrington Borough Council has planed to make in 2013. 6pm Warrington Town Hall
Axe the bedroom tax – Manor Estate Social Club, S2 Sheffiled 7pm.
6 No to Cuts and Privatisation in Sussex NHS Demonstration! – 11am outside the Royal Sussex County Hospital
No Bedroom Tax or Benefit caps! Counihan anti eviction campaign Whitehall 1pm
Bedroom Tax Protest, Newcastle Greys monument 1pm
5PCS Lunchtime walkouts and weekend of action
9 Fight the Bedroom tax – Waltham Forest TC 7.30pm Harmony Hall, E17
13 Who wants to evict a millionaire? UK Uncut
Lobby Coventry council – Oppose Evictions, council house Cov. 1pm
Birmingham Uncut Bedroom Tax protest
16 Sylvia Pankhurst Memorial Lecture – The 2013 lecture will take place on Friday 16 August 2013 at 7pm at Wortley Hall, near Sheffield
20 STOP THE CUTS/SCRAP THE BEDROOM TAX/PROTEST AS CLEGG VISITS THE LIBDEM CONFERENCE IN CARDIFF, Noon Mercure Cardiff Holland House
Leeds Fight the Bedroom Tax protest.
‘Spirit of 45’ screeing at RIO, London by Hackney & Islington TUSC 2pm
27 Unite exhibition to celebrate election of Liverpool 47, who would not vote or implement Tory cuts. They also built 5000 houses, froze rents and much more. Opened by Len McCluskey Unite, Tony Mulhearn & others!
28 – Workers Memorial Day
Sheffield – 12.30 P.M – International Workers` Memorial Day, the Sheffield Trades Union Council is once again organising an International Workers` Memorial Day Ceremony at the Workers` Memorial Tree which is situated in front of the Sheffield Town Hall.
Bolton – UNISON Bolton LG Branch have worked with Bolton Trades Council to organise an event on Sunday 28th April, 2013, International Workers Memorial Day. Assemble on the Town Hall Square for 11.30. There will be a piper, speakers and a minutes silence at 12.
1 International Workers day! Marches, protests and events everywhere
2 ‘The Thatcher years’ month long photographic exhibition charting the fightbacks against the last Tory government at Richmix, London by Dave Sinclair – 6-8pmFREE RSVP. Speakers include – Bob Crow RMT & Rob Williams NSSN. From 8-11pm Comedy/Films & more £!
12 Don’t Mention the 47 Documentary and discussion at Richmix, London (£7/4) plus other events that day including Unite Houisng workers, ‘How to stop the housing cuts & what are the alternatives?’ Radicals & Revolutionaires walk (£5/2) of the east end, ScriptReadEast themed on the Thatcher years (£4).
16 Fight the NHS cuts London march
29 7th annual conference of the NSSN
11am-5pm Camden Centre, Judd Street, London, WC1H 9JE
NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE
Secretary: Linda Taaffe Email: [email protected]
Phone: 07952 283 558
FACEBOOK STOP THE CUTS or NSSN Group