When we arrived in Bournemouth, I really felt like just getting my shoes off and feeling the sand between my toes and listen to the waves rush towards me.. But me and 8 other members, mostly reps, of our Unite LE1111 branch chose to join the NSSN rally & lobby the TUC for co-ordinated action.(Have a look at the short but excellent video of the indoor rally and outdoor protest, well worth watching & SHARING (Click here to the Video)
It’s not that we haven’t got enough to do, but it’s precisely because we have so much on fighting dispute after dispute, that we needed to be there. Step back into the bigger picture. Our members at One Housing were on their 3rd round of strike action against pay cuts. We had another final day of picketing on the Monday, plus a huge list of other campaigns, disputes and tasks to follow up let alone consider some domestics.. (If you keep the curtains closed, you can can’t see the bills or mess)
Yet we had the convenors of 3 workplaces, 2 of whom had taken strike action this year and a 3rd who’d won a pay rise, yes really a RISE! A vocal new rep from Equinox was also in the delegation, & she lead many chants for a general strike and to fight cuts. This is despite all sorts of obstacles being thrown at the reps and campaign there.
ALL the cuts are not necessary, and money seemed to appear each time we or anyone else fought with concessions were dripping down. Being there reminded us that it wasn’t and is not just us who thinks we should fight, or are fighting. So instead of the glittering sea, we sat under the chandeliers of a swish hotel on the seafront, and once the rally began, I knew it was the right place to be.
Martin Powell Davis (NUT NEC personal capacity) opened the NSSN rally; “It was a real privilege for me to be the opening speaker today at a rally addressed by leading members of some of the most determined trade unions in Britain.” Martin went onto report how his union was going to respond to the growing attacks from employers with action on the 1 and 17 October regionally strikes & national strike planned before the end of this term. He strongly argued for this to be coordinated with outer trade unions (Read more)
Teresa McKay, Unite member and Ipswich TUC highlighted the “21st century outrage of child poverty, where in one of the richest countries in the world, one in three British children live in poverty, many go hungry. Eight out of ten children in poverty have one parent in work, which shows the urgent need for a living wage. Mothers in Britain are more likely to poor than anywhere else in Europe”.
This was in stark contrast to those with the money who were robbing us on a daily basis profits were soaring and the tax evasion was just beyond criminal. Linda Taaffe, chair of the NSSN added. “If the minimum wage had kept up with the rise of the FTSE share index, it would now be £19 an hour”. Just imagine..
Ronnie Draper from the Bakers union began with a report on the campaign by his members in Hovis against Zero hour contracts, they had balloted, took strike action and WON! This second stage ofindustrial action was against use of agency labour, setting one set of low paid workers against worker in an increasingly desperate climate.
The Bakers union had gone deeper than directly responding to the TUC and put out a consultative ballot its membership, so far 74% voted in favour of a general strike! Challenging those in the TUC who were saying the discussion over the general strike was over he said “We tried it once, but it didn’t work. Well if my parents had said that, I wouldn’t be here today,” . He added the need for working class political representation, and with a sparkle in his eye (& to chuckles to ended) “we need a workers party that’s not 50 shades of blue’.
Members of the Prison officers Association (POA), were also on the platform, they had moved last year’s motion at the TUC for a general strike and took action last week over closures and overcrowding: “Since 1994 we have not been allowed to take lawful action. Our mantra is, if our members want to take action, we will.” Steve Gillan of the POA continued, “ I was proud to stand with brave prison officers outside prisons on unofficial action.”
Dave Smith spoke on behalf of the Blacklist Support Group sharing the fantastic news against blacklisting. Dave noted the importance of that victory in the Crossrail campaign for the whole trade union movement. It was a Rank & File campaign that then was then finally supported and fully resourced Unite. Working together they beat the blacklist. Dave also thanked the NSSN for the support from day one, as NSSN shared regular news on the campaign & quite literally stood shoulder to shoulder at protests outside Westbourne Park, other venues & blocking roads to demand justice.
Dave Smith reported that the TUC supported a day of action on blacklisting, November 20th however he added, “Instead of taking action for a few thousand workers, why not take action for millions?!”
Reflecting on the role of the NSSN & the indoor rally, PCS president Janice Godrich, said it had“become a regular event at the TUC, setting the tone and a fighting agenda to turn words into action. (It) allows people to express solidarity, and ensure the TU movement takes a robust stand against austerity agenda & does not shy away from taking action”.
Inside congress that day, Bob Crow, RMT proposed motion 54 , which was carried overwhelmingly. (A video of the full debate is archived on the TUC website) “Congress believes it is incumbent upon us to do all within our power to fight back and believes that the consideration of the practicalities of a general strike should remain”. The motion continued:
“A mid-week day of action and protest, coupled with the General Council assisting in coordinating any strike action on that day, would have a significant and different impact to those called on a Saturday. Congress agrees to hold what could be the first of a series of mid-week days of action involving communities throughout the country and for the General Council to urgently consult affiliates on the timing of such a day of action”.
The NUT and NASUWT have already pencilled in a date for national action in November. National action is ongoing in the PCS, the FBU voting by 78% for national strike action and CWU members in Royal Mail balloting against the effects of privatisation, “an army is being prepared for action”.
We can be scattered and left isolated in one dispute or another or we can move together and begin to express the power we collectively hold. It is a question of leadership, one at the tops of the TUC and some other key trade unionists that has been vacillating whilst workers and the wider community have been subjected to a suffocating onslaught. When we chanted outside ‘TUC get off your knees, call a general strike’ some delegates may have sniggered at the short but potent slogan. But this year the TUC general secretary did not walk then to the press and say it was never going to happen… For them, and all of us, its time to step up.
(Arti NSSN steering committee & UNITE LE1111)
Thanks to EVERYONE involved in organising & attending the lobby at the TUC and importantly throughout the year in the workplaces and community.
We will continue with this campaign, as it’s far from a ‘diversion’ of the work of trade unionists but the ‘one direction’ we need to urgently move to.Please do continue to spread the campaign and also become actively involved in the NSSN network. We welcome your reports, supporting protests, picket lines and sharing tactics on how to win and anything else you feel we could do to build & equip the trade union movement to carry out its role in fighting austerity.
NSSN Regional Conferences:
Oct 5 South West NSSN conference in Exeter
Nov 23 Yorkshire NSSN conference in Leeds
Nov 30 Midlands NSSN conference – Unite offices in Broad Street, Birmingham
Latest News (just some highlights this week because of the TUC and our lobby, so please keep looking at our website, facebook group & twitter feed)
CWU on Royal Mail IPO announcement – “betrayal of the British public” (12th Sep)
The government has today (Thursday) announced that it is pressing ahead with plans to privatise Royal Mail at the very same time that 125,000 postal workers are voting on strike action. CWU says the plans to sell are a betrayal of the British public – 70% of whom are against privatisation according to a Sunday Times poll at the weekend – read more
Wigan bakers begin second 7 day strike (Sep 11)
Hundreds of bakers in Wigan, Lancashire, are mounting a second 7-day strike against casualisation and need your support with messages, donations, and on the forthcoming demonstration – read more
Workers at Liverpool metal treatment factory strike again to win pay rise (11 Sep)
Workers at King & Fowler in Liverpool will be taking further strike action tomorrow (Thurs 12 Sept) in a dispute over pay.
Over 40 Unite members at the company, which is a global supplier to the aerospace industry, will commence strike action at 23:00 on Thursday 12 September until 07:00 on Monday 16 September. This is the fourth stoppage at the factory. An overtime ban started on Friday 23 August – read more
Yes To Strike At Stirling Council (Sep 11)
GMB Scotland Members In Stirling Council Vote To Take Strike Action In Dispute Over Pay Cuts. The reality for some groups of GMB members is a 4.5% drop in pay, a drop of more than £1,700 a year says GMB – read more
Yorkshire Ambulance protest against cuts on September 24 (Sep 11)
We have another protest planned for Tuesday 24th September at 8-30 am outside Cutler’s Hall Church Street Sheffield S1 1HG. This is a trust board meeting and once again we will be looking at getting people in to ask questions. The petition and the postcard side of the campaign are going well.
Following the protest we will be looking at organising meetings with members in the local areas to discuss the plan for re-balloting for industrial action.
The proposal to cut unsociable hours payments for all Ambulance Staff in England whilst being a cruel attack upon workers will of course play a role in our dispute here in Yorkshire. We are also considering a leaflet campaign in the surrounding neighbourhoods of trust board members. In Solidarity Steve Miller Unite EC
NUT & NASUWT confirm autumn strikes (Sep 5)
As a further step in the dispute over pay, pensions, working conditions and jobs, the NUT and NASUWT have announced today (5 Sep) dates for regional rolling strike action in England that will take place in October.
Get ready to take action:
1st October – Eastern, Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside Government regions.
17th October – North East Government region, Cumbria, London, South East and South West Government regions – read more
Unite urges KNDL to get serious or face further strikes (10 September)
Unite, has warned of further strike action at KNDL (Kuehne + Nagel Drinks Logistics) as workers prepare to take 24-hour strike action tomorrow (Wed 11 Sep) meaning significant disruption to almost 30,000 drinking establishments across the UK – read more
Firefighters call national demonstration and rally on pensions and cuts (Sep 5)
The Fire Brigades Union has said it will hold a national demonstration and rally in Westminster on 16 October 2013. As well as the ongoing campaign against attacks on pensions – and the prospect of mass sackings as firefighters expected to work until 60 fail fitness tests as they age – firefighters are currently engaged in campaigns against cuts to the fire and rescue service across the UK – read more
Prison officers take action against prison closures & overcrowding (Sep 5)
Around 100 POA members at HMP Leeds held a gate meeting this morning, Thursday 5th September, to discuss yesterday’s announcement of the government regarding the prison estate including the news that 4 prisons will close by the end of the financial year. The four prisons are HMPs Northallerton, Blundeston, Dorchester and Reading – Read more
International (See labourstart)
Protests in Turkey: Solidarity appeal from Day-Mer (Sep 12
The following is a statement from Day-Mer, a Turkish and Kurdish community organisation based in London. DAY-MER was set up on 11 November 1989 to work with and on behalf of Turkish and Kurdish people living and working in London to help them solve their problems and promote their cultural, economic, social and democratic rights; to strengthen solidarity among themselves as well as local people; and to help their integration into the society.
We condemn the police violence that has caused the death of Ahmet Atakan from Hatay, Armutlu-Turkey – read more
Chile 40th anniversary of the bloody overthrow of Allende government – read more
14 NUT Rallies for Education London and Nottingham
22 September Demo at the Labour Party Conference, Brighton Centre/Seafront – Details to TBC ‘Lest They Forget’ organising meeting to be arranged shortly
28 NUT Rallies for Education Cambridge and Exeter
29 National TUC Demonstration to save our NHS at Tory party Conference
30 Manchester Unite local government branch is hosting a showing of the exhibition about Liverpool’s socialist council 1983-87. Speakers include: Len McCluskey, Tony Mulhearn, Felicity Dowling, Ted Knight & Kevin Bennett. Methodist Central Hall, Oldham St. Manchester. Tel: 0161-234-1896 e:james.thornton@
5 South West NSSN conference in Exeter
UKUNCUT resist legal aid cuts
12 National anti-fascist demonstration in Liverpool – Assemble 12 noon, Myrtle Street (top of Hardman Street) Liverpool 7. March sets off a 1pm and ends with a rally: The Pier Head Liverpool
16 National FBU demonstration in Westminster, London
23 Yorkshire NSSN conference in Leeds
30 Midlands NSSN conference – Unite offices in Broad Street, Birmingham
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 07952 283 558
Post: NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE
For all press and media enquiries contact:
Secretary: Linda Taaffe
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 07952 283 558