Bulletin 161: STRIKE to SAVE OUR NHS!


Before we start this weeks bulletin planned to coincide with the NHS protest in Manchester at Tory conference this weekend, we would like to extend our support to FBU in England & Wales, on their action against pension cuts yesterday, photos and more on our website now.

If the FBU dispute continues members and reps from all unions should provide guidance for workplaces and reps to demand an updated Risk Assessment. Is it safe to work or provide the services in these circumstances? See some RMTguidance here & see some myth busting ‘How generous are firefighters pensions’Read more


The National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) welcomes Sunday’s TUCdemonstration to defend the NHS and oppose the rest of the ConDem austerityoffensive. The NHS has the potential to be the issue that unites all those suffering under the brutal cuts into a mass movement that can confront this Government.

Already this year, mass action by the campaign to Save Lewisham Hospital, including a 25,000-strong demonstration and legal challenge, has thwarted health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s plans to scrap A&E and other key hospital services. In April, 50,000 marched against the threat of closure to Stafford hospital, almost the total population of the town!  Strike action by NHS staff at Mid Yorkshire Health Trust recently won important concessions on pay and redundancies. AtWhipps Cross in East London, the Unison health branch has organised protests and is ready to call strike action if necessary. Both of these latter struggles have been led by NSSN supporters.

In 2004 Tory cabinet minister Oliver Letwin boasted that “the NHS will not exist” within five years of a Conservative victory. In April 2013, the Health and Social Care Act opened the floodgates to the private sector. Since then nearly 200 contracts, worth £2.5 billion, have been offered to outsource NHS services. TheNHS is set to become a US-style state subsidised private healthcare market. In the US, 62% of the 900,000 personal bankruptcies a year are due to medical expenses.

The Daily Mirror recently revealed that a contract for NHS brain cancer treatment was handed to the world’s largest private hospital group, Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) that just happened to be a Tory Party donor. HCA was part of the ‘largest healthcare fraud’ according to the US Justice Department and in Tennessee paid doctors to refer patients to their facilities. Successive Tory, Labour and now Coalition governments have privatised and undermined the NHS. There is a scramble among the big health corporations to get their snouts in the trough.

But as welcome the mobilisation is, on its own it won’t be enough to force Cameron and co into the same kind of retreat they suffered on Syria, which showed once and for all how weak this government is.

The demonstration should be the public launch pad for mass strike action that would unite behind the trade unions all those suffering from NHS cuts, attacks on welfare, the hated bedroom tax, zero-hour contracts and the collapse in living standards because of the pay freeze.

We lobbied the TUC Congress earlier this month to call on the unions to organise a 24 hour general strike. But a strike this autumn that co-ordinated all those unions and workers currently in dispute – the teachers, firefighters, Royal mail workers, civil servants and lecturers along the many others taking action every day like the One Housing workers in London and the victorious Wigan Hovis strikers  – would be a massive step in this direction.

On Sunday we march together against the Tories but if we strike together in the numbers we saw on the 2million-strong N30 2011 pensions strike but this time keep it going and escalate it, we can claim a famous victory for all those suffering from these brutal cuts.

Get involved with the NSSN, come to our regional  Conferences, meet up and lets work together!

Oct 5 South West NSSN conference in Exeter (add yourself to the FB event)

Nov 23 Yorkshire NSSN conference in Leeds

Nov 30 Midlands NSSN conference – Unite offices in Broad Street, BirminghamFlyer can be downloaded here.

(Listings below mostly put together by Elenor Haven PCS & NSSN officer)


MORE Union News


Victory for striking Hovis workers! (Sep 24) – We are proud of the victory of the Hovis workers in Wigan in the BFAWU bakers union, which is affiliated to theNSSN read more. The Picket Line (Sep 19) – In light of the fact that Hovis(Premier Foods) had brought in strike breakers in an attempt to undermine the brave action being taken by BFAWU members at their Wigan bakery, it was very apt that we should receive the below verse from one of our retired members. Read more

Inline images 1

(Photo Steve Score from yesterdays strike) 


Strike demonstrates firefighterss anger & determination, says FBU’s Matt Wrack.Read more. 


RMT members working for Renokil Intial (East Midlands Trains) are taking strike action (20 September) – n their fight for a fair pay offer and real improvements in working conditions RMT members working for Rentokil Initial (East Midland Trains) will not book on for any shifts between:-

·       00:01 hours on Friday 27th Sept  and 23:59 hours on Saturday 28th September 2013.

RMT members working for ISS on London Underground will not be working overtime on Friday 27 Sep (Sept 20) – As part of their fight against the use of fingerprinting to book on for work RMT members working for ISSLondon Underground will be taking the following industrial action:

·       Not to work any overtime between 00:01 hours and 23:59 hours on Friday 27th Sept.

Unions step up fight on threat to isle of man ferry services (23 September) – Shipping union RMT today pledged support for a joint fight alongside sister union Nautilus and the local community over a renewed threat to Isle of Man ferry services. Read more

STRIKE ACTION SUSPENDED – VICTORIA LINE, LONDON UNDERGROUND (Sept 24) – I write to advise members that the strike action that was due to commence from 21:00 hours on Tuesday 24th September to 03:00 hours on Wednesday 25th Sept,has now been suspended to allow further negotiations to take place. Read more

RMT London – Refusal to work on Grounds of Health & Safety on day of FBUstrike . Read More


Probation service privatisation fuels total confusion (19 September)  UNISON, the UK’s largest union today hit out at the £450m probation privatisation package announced by Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, calling it “ill prepared” and likely to result in long-term damage to the service  read more

South Gloucestershire council staff vote to strike (Sept 20) – Council plans to cut pay, declare Saturday ‘a normal working day’ and change allowances for night working read more

UNISON ballots higher education members over miserly 1% pay offer (Sept 23) – Higher education members should shortly be receiving ballot papers on strike action over pay read more


Don’t Balls up by parroting Tory myths (24 Sept – PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka has warned shadow chancellor Ed Balls that he is on a hiding to nothing if he sticks to Conservative spending plans read more

Backing for legal aid campaign (19 September) – A campaign backed by PCS to oppose government plans to slash legal aid has been endorsed by leading trade unionists and pressure groups read more

Keep tax advice local – week of action, September 23-27 – PCS members in HMRC have called a week of action against plans to close 281 Enquiry Centres across the UK 23 – 27 September. Protests will take place:-

•Monday 23 September – North East, Yorkshire & pilot area.

•Tuesday 24 September – Scotland & Northern Ireland

•Wednesday 25 September – London/South East & South West

•Thursday 26 September – North West & Wales

•Friday 27 September – Eastern & Midlands


Unite urges action to avoid Grangemouth dispute (20 Sept) – Unite is urging Jim Ratcliffe, the majority owner of Ineos, to put an end to the “sinister” victimisation of Stevie Deans, the Unite senior shop steward at Grangemouth oil refinery in Scotland read more

University staff in strike ballot over ‘pay drought (24 Sept) – Unite said that its members’ real pay had been eroded by about 13 per cent since 2008 read more

Unite calls for flat rate NHS pay rise to help lower paid (24 Sept) – The annual pay rise for NHS workers should be a consolidated cash sum for all staff, which would benefit the lower paid, rather than a percentage increase, Unite, the country’s largest union, said today read more


Constructive Dialogue Delivers Progress In Wales – press release (19 Sept) – On 18th March 2013 the NUT and the NASUWT, in the face of the continuing relentless assault on the teaching profession, announced a programme of escalation of action which involved a rolling programme of strike action in England and Wales during this term read more

Also see regular updates from NSSN steering committee Martin Powell Davis updates on how strike action is being prepared. Brighton Breifing Read More


Napo members can be proud of yourselves! (Sept 20) – Well done and a huge thank you to branches and members for the magnificent work put in yesterday responding to Grayling’s announcement advertising Probation for Saleread more


Stop Probation Service Privatisation (Sept 20) – GMB Members In Probation Service Step Up Campaign In Protest At Privatisation read more


UCU HE are to be balloted for action over 1% pay offer. Ballot opens 25thSep. Vote Yes. Read more See Reel News Vote Yes for action video


Salami-slicing job cuts leave BBC too lean to be effective – (Sept 20) – TheNUJ has warned that a “shabby” agreement, which officials believe was drawn up to appease Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation just months before the phone hacking scandal broke, could leave the BBC “too lean to be effective” as a news operation read more

Other News

Yes, there is a Labour party conference conference on, no we’re not excited. BUT anything that’s agreed which can be put in place now with Labour Councils, then we will encourage and support. Unite policy director Steve Turner reminded voters that until 2015 and a Labour victory the Bedroom Tax was a “monstrous policy remains with people daily being hounded out of their homes and into debt.” So now those councils up and down the country can get together and agree insist on NO evictions, demand increases for DHP, reallocate rooms and STOP this continuing. Its really not that hard…

Your discretionary housing payment has run out – More evidence that evictions are on the horizon and the bedroom tax needs to be scrapped right away… read more

On probation: Dear Chris Grayling – Dear Mr Grayling.  This blog is not going to be full of hate, it won’t seek to discredit you at every opportunity but I just wanted to say a few things before you dismantle a service which has not only given me a career, it has also saved lives. read more

10,000 Cuts & Counting – Occupy London – On Saturday 28th Sept, the community will gather to demand an end to the government’s austerity assault which particularly affects disabled people read more

 Blacklisting / Victimisation 

GMB Hail Tower Hamlets On Blacklisting (Sept 19)- GMB Hail Unanimous Vote At Tower Hamlets Council To Deny Contracts To Companies Until They Compensate Workers They Blacklisted read more

1,108 Blacklisted By 9 Companies (Sept 24)- Nine Major Companies Put 1,108 Workers On Construction Blacklist Delegates To Labour Party Conference Told read more

Unite reps welcome any moves to drive out blacklisting employers and should table the issue with management to ensure that warm words  over blacklisting byHCA are translated into action.  Read more


European doctors send open letter on the effects of austerity on the health of people On January 31, doctors from Portugal, Spain, Ireland and Greece sent an open letter to European political leaders and health authorities in which they deplore the effects that financial and economic decisions adopted as a response to the economic crisis are having on the health of the populations of their countries. They call on immediate action to reverse this situation read more

UN derecognizes staff unions, refuses to negotiate On 11 July, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon derecognized the staff unions representing theorganization’s 65,000 staff, many working in dangerous locations and war zones. He now refuses to negotiate and instead offers only to “consult” on safety and security, welfare and conditions of service read more

After Rana Plaza, Tazreen Factory Fire Victims Struggle to Be Remembered – Hundreds of survivors of Bangladesh’s Tazreen factory fire, which claimed at least 112 lives, fail to secure medical and financial help in the shadow of the Rana Plaza collapse read more

Bangladesh garment workers stage biggest wage hike protest – (Reuters) – About 50,000 garment industry workers held their largest protest so far in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka to demand an increase of more than 1-1/2 times in the minimum wage, police and labor officials said on Saturday read more

Bangladeshi factory workers locked in on 19-hour shiftsRead more

Honduras: Rainforest certification provides cover for rights-busting company – protest now and help banana workers – Rainforest Alliance certification is supposed to provide a guarantee that goods are produced according to strict social standards that guarantee workers’ rights but the IUF has evidence that the certification is being used to undermine not advance workers’ rights read more

FIFA to discuss moving Qatar 2022 World Cup to winter months but remain silent on workers’ rights – read more


Diary (Also see  & use events on the False Economy website)


25 Future Directions lobby of Calderstones NHS trust more

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: LenMcCluskey, Tony Mulhearn, Felicity Dowling, Ted Knight & Kevin Bennett. Methodist Central Hall, Oldham St. Manchester. Tel: 0161-234-1896 e:james.thornton@unitetheunion.org.


1 Save Public Transport TSSA 1-2pm at Tory Party Conf

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

19 Bridgwater Trades Union Council 1913-2013 CENTENARY CELEBRATION

Join us for a march, with your branch banner, to a rally at Bridgwater Baptist Church, to commemorate the founding of the town’s organised trade union movement by local rail-workers in 1913 – 12.30pm: Assemble: Cranleigh Gardens,Bridgwater, TA6 5JS. 1pm: Banner parade and march  1.45-2.45: Rally, Baptist Church, St Mary Street, TA6 3EQ

Defend the Four – Celebration, London 5.30-7.30 Speaches/Film etc. More info –[email protected]

24 Brighton Benefits Campaign & Trades Council mtg: Zero hours and workfare – our employment rights under attack. Friends Meeting house, Ship Street, BN1 1AF


23 Yorkshire NSSN conference in Leeds

30 Midlands NSSN conference – Unite offices in Broad Street, Birmingham



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 Email: [email protected]

Phone: 07952 283 558

Post: NSSNPO Box 54498, London E10 9DE

For all press and media enquiries contact:

Secretary: Linda TaaffeEmail: lindataaffe66@btinternet.com

Phone: 07952 283 558

Regular reports and further information on our website – http://shopstewards.net/