164 – “We’re ALL under attack – so let’s strike together in November”

NSSN E-Bulletin 164 

“We’re ALL under attack – so let’s strike together in November” 

Last Saturday October 12th, I attended a Steering Committee meeting of the NSSN*, the National Shop Stewards Network, at the RMT’s National HQ. The Steering Committee brings together representatives from trade unions right across the public and private sector to discuss how we can support each other’s disputes, develop a network across the movement and provide individual stewards with support. As you would expect, everyone there wished teachers well for the regional strike action on Thursday this week.

The news that NHS workers might not even be paid their 1% pay award next year was just one example that was given of the attacks that keep coming from this Government. Instead of fighting our battles separately, it makes obvious sense to link up the different struggles through co-ordinated strike action.

It’s certainly not only teachers who are starting to organise against the attacks we face. It was reported that Probation Officers from NAPO recently held a mass Lobby of Parliament and are balloting for action against the effects of privatisation. Postal workers are doing the same. The RMT reported that they are engaged in a series of disputes against various employers nationally.

The UCU have just announced the result of their ballot on action over pay in higher education. 62% of votes were in favour of strike action and 77% for action short of strike action.

The timescale of the different disputes doesn’t mean that everyone will be ready to co-ordinate action immediately – but some will be. If plans are made, as they should be, an even stronger co-ordinated action would certainly be possible in 2014.

Teachers are already taking regional action and are awaiting confirmation of a date for national strike action in November. It is vital that we build on the momentum from those strikes – and what looks like a very strong turnout in London and elsewhere on Thursday – by naming that strike day. If we do, then other unions like the FBU, PCS, UCU and CWU could well be in a position to take action alongside us.


The NSSN Steering Committee met last Saturday and confirmed that the 8th Annual NSSN Conference will be on Saturday 5th July 2014 in London. NSSN Officers for the next year are:

Rob Williams (Chair) Katrine Williams (vice-Chair), Linda Taffe (Sec), Kevin Parslow (Assistant Sec) Elenor Haven (Treasurer), Dave Gorton & Alex Gordon (Communications). To contact the officers or send information to the bulletin E, website or for link ups – [email protected] (or call if its urgent).

Want to get more involved in the NSSN? Come to one of our regional Conferences. If there is not one in your area, get in touch to either assist in organising or have a speaker at one of your meetings or events. Contact Rob or Linda on [email protected]

November 23 Yorkshire NSSN conference – 10am-4pm, Cosmopolitan Hotel, 2 Lower Briggate, Leeds LS1 4AE

November 30 Midlands NSSN conference – Unite offices in Broad Street, Birmingham Flyer can be downloaded here

 Union News


Teachers’ unions rolling regional strikes continue this Thursday October 17th see here for strike details and photos from October 1st strike

Rallies and Marches 17 October:- There will be marches before each of these rallies. Please go to the rallies below if you possibly can. (In addition for details of locally-organised rallies that may be closer to you, go here )


Rally 11:00am to 12:00pm Durham Students’ Union, Dunelm House, New Elvet, Durham DH1 3AN. Assemble at Millennium Place in front of Gala Theatre, Durham DH1 1WA at 10:00am.


Rally 11am to 12:00pm The Bristol Hotel, The Harbourside,  Prince Street, Bristol, BS1 4QF. Assemble at College Green,  Bristol, BS1 5SP at 10:00am – march to the Bristol Hotel


Rally 11:45am Emmanuel Centre, Marsham Street, London, SW1P 3DW

Assemble at Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HY at 10:30am


Firefighters in England and Wales set Saturday 19 October as date for second pensions strike (October 11) – Firefighters in England and Wales will strike again over government attacks on pensions on Saturday 19 October the Fire Brigades Union has announced. The strike will last for five hours, between 6.30pm and 11.30pm on Saturday 19 October read more

Demonstrate on pensions and cuts (October 3) – The Fire Brigades Union has organised a national demonstration in London on Wednesday 16 October read more

National anti-cuts petition now online (October 14) – Ahead of the demonstration of firefighters and their supporters in London on Wednesday, the Fire Brigades Union has launched a national petition against cuts to fire and rescue services. You can sign the petition here


Royal Mail sold – industrial war is on (15th October) – “The privatisation battle is over – but the war to protect pay, jobs, terms and conditions is on,” was the fighting message from CWU deputy general secretary Dave Ward to hundreds of postal workers at an open-air meeting in north London this morning read more            video from protest at Stock Exchange

Urgent: Industrial action ballot – CWU final messages (10th October) – An urgent message from Dave Ward and Billy Hayes urging members to vote YES in the Royal Mail industrial action ballot which closes on Wednesday 16th October read more

Crown workers set for further action (9th October) – Thousands of Post Office counter staff will be taking industrial action next week as they step up their ongoing dispute over pay and job security. From Wednesday (16th October), workers will withdraw from selling financial services products including insurance, credit cards, HomePhone and other banking products read more


Unite response to Ineos statement (15 October) – Unite Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said: “Only hours before we re-enter crucial Acas talks, it is with great anger that we feel the need to counter blatant lies publicised by Ineos this morning (Tuesday 15th October). “The company has claimed Unite refused to engage in any discussions about protecting North Sea oil flows and security of supply for Scotland; this is utter nonsense

Unite serves notice of strike action to Ineos (11 October) – Unite has served notice of strike action to Ineos this afternoon (Friday 11 October) after the company refused further efforts to resolve a dispute over the treatment of a trade union representative and the use of agency workers. In fulfilling its statutory obligations Unite has provided Ineos with a seven day notice of a 48-hour strike, starting Sunday 20 October at 07.00 and ending Tuesday 22 October at 07.00. Read more

University staff vote ‘yes’ for strike action (14 October) – Unite members working in universities across the UK have voted ‘yes’ to strike action to end a five year pay drought that has seen their real pay shrink by 13 per cent. Unite will now meet to discuss next steps with other higher education unions following the strong mandate for industrial action it and the UCU received

Swissport workers from across the country vote for action (14 October) – Workers from the ground handling company Swissport based at Gatwick, Heathrow, Manchester and Stansted airports have overwhelmingly voted in favour of strike action in a dispute over pay. 94 per cent of workers balloted voted in favour of strike action read more


UCU members vote for strike action in national row over pay (10 October) – Members of UCU working in higher education have today voted in favour of strike action in UK universities in a row over pay. Over three-fifths (62%) of members who voted backed strike action and more than three-quarters (77%) voted for action short of a strike, which could include things like refusing to do unpaid overtime read more


Carmarthenshire Unison to fight job cuts (October 14) – Our branch committee has consistently warned our members that the cuts made by the Con-Dems and implemented by Labour Led Carmarthenshire County Council were the thin end of the wedge. The scale of the cuts (£30m over the next three years) recently announced by the council will have come as no shock to our members who read our regular newsletter and other information we produce read more


Mitie – First Great Western Cleaners strike for living wage (11 October) – Mitie – First Great Western cleaners on the picket line at Paddington this morning as 24 hours of strike action kicks off in the fight for pay and workplace justice read more

RMT to ballot for strike action across First Great Western (10 October) – Rail union RMT has confirmed that just a week after First Group secured a multi-million pound, two year roll-over of its Great Western franchise there is to be an industrial action ballot across all grades read more


Our Scotland, our services, our future (15 October) – A survey of members in Scotland reveals their thoughts on the future of public services, the Scottish Referendum and their terms and conditions. The findings give PCS clear guidance to carry on with the robust demands from both sides of the debate for a clear economic and industrial alternative to austerity and end to more of the same cuts and run down of public services read more

Brussels protest over jobs and safety fears (14 October) – We joined hundreds of protestors in Brussels today to call for an end to plans that threaten jobs and air safety. The demonstration was against proposed new cuts under the ‘single European sky’ (SES) initiative. Along with our colleagues in other unions affiliated to the European Transport Workers’ Federation, we fear new legislation will mean job cuts and privatisation.

Ministers duck grilling on flagship welfare plan (11 October) – Ministers refused to account for the “scandalous” amount of money wasted on the government’s flagship welfare plan. Despite being weeks in the making, no minster was “available” to be interviewed for a Radio 4 investigation into the problems dogging universal credit read more


Vote For Strike At Stansted Over Pay (October 15) – GMB Ground Handling Staff Employed By Swissport at Stansted Airport Vote For Strike Action In Pay Dispute. The outcome of the industrial action ballot is clear as 88% voted to take industrial action to secure a decent pay rise says GMB read more

Ballot For Strike Action In Ambulance Service (October 15) – GMB CEC Authority For Official Strike Ballot In England Ambulance Service Unless Progress Is Made Over 25% Cut In Sick Pay For 35,000 Staff. This moves us a step closer to a national dispute in the ambulance service in England as other unions are likely to adopt a similar stance read more

Other news

Support for Karen as she is faced with an eviction notice over the Bedroom Tax. Barnsley crown court 29th Oct.

Leeds hands off our homes survey read more

“The amount of tax lost through non-payment and avoidance increased last year to £35bn, according to official figures released on Friday.”. Read more

Show me the money? 3 minute short on how people in UK think wealth is distributed and the reality. Video

Council Tax summons – Unite community protest at Southwark courts as over 5,000 people in the borough alone have been sent court notices over non payment or arrears of council tax. A huge increase as council tax benefit was also cut this year. Overall its around 150k people who have been sent summons, based on a 1/3 of councils have responded to.

Blacklisting & Victimisation

Construction firms announce blacklisting compensation scheme – Victims vow to continue campaign and court cases (October 10) – The biggest blacklisting firms have today announced the proposal for an industry funded compensation scheme. In a press release today Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska and Vinci “all apologise for their involvement with the Consulting Association and the impact its database may have had on any individual construction worker”. The proposed scheme is being fronted by John Taylor, who was Chief Executive of ACAS until January 2013. The Blacklist Support Group’s statement can be read here

Some facebook groups of updates and info sharing:

Unite Scottish Rank & File  link here Sparks Against De-skilling: link here

Blacklist Support Group: link here Electricians j.i.b jobs: link here

Police Blacklisting Collusion Confirmed (October 14) – GMB Call For Interfering with Worker’s Union Rights to be Criminal Offence after IPCC Confirm Police Collusion with Blacklisting. Nothing less than prospect of prison will stop  this as denying workers their rights is now the norm in the low paid parts of the UK private sector says GMB more from GMB website

Unite says employer action welcome but give blacklisted workers their jobs back (10 October) – Unite has welcomed moves from construction employers to begin to take responsibility for their blacklisting activities, but urged the employers to involve unions and give blacklisted workers their jobs back more from Unite website

Defend the Four victory bash – After a momentous campaign lasting over 6 years 4 Unison members 2 now members of Unite have won a tremendous victory against the Unison Bureaucratic machine. Come and celebrate with them Suzanne Muna, Onay Kasab, Glen Kelly and Brian Debus ( &  Book Signing) 5pm onwards on Saturday 19 October at the Roxy Bar and Screen, 128-132 Borough High Street London SE1 1LB  (Next to Sainsbury’s)  At 6-15 pm to 7-15 pm  there will be a number of short speeches from the four and our supporters with a screening from a Reel News DVD of the campaign and special Guest Anti Duhring Battalion. From 7-15 let your hair down, if you have any. There will be – Cheap Food * Music-Hugo *Strictly Dancing?!

Zero hours row esculates as delivery drivers sacked – Protest at John Lewis Oxford St Saturday 5pm


International (also see Labourstart)

Colombia: Free Huber Ballesteros – On Sunday 25 August 2013, trade union leader Huber Ballesteros was arrested and imprisoned. At the time of his arrest he was organising mass strikes across the country. His arrest is a clear attempt by Colombian authorities to punish him for his trade union activities and has been condemned by the ETUC and the ITUC. His release must be secured to send a clear message to the Colombian authorities that persecuting trade unionists will not be accepted. Read more

Cuba Solidarity Campaign speaking tour – Tour Dates October 11-21 details here

Egypt: Mahalla workers’ victory a sign of future struggles (October 15) – Twenty three thousand workers at Egypt’s largest factory, Misr Spinning, in Mahalla al-Kubra, went on strike on 9 October. They demanded payment of their bonuses that were withheld by management of the state-owned company. Twelve thousand workers occupied the factory during the day, with 4,000 during the night. After three days, management caved in and workers returned to work with pay for the strike days read more

Belarus Trade union leader goes on hunger strike read more

Nigeria  Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has said there is no going back on the already four-month-old strike read more


Diary (see & use false economy) 

16 National FBU demonstration Westminster, London

17 NUT/NASUWT Regional Strike action and Rallies

Reel News post-teachers strike social and film, Grosvenor, Sidney St, Stockwell

18 Council tax Benefit cuts protest – Called by Unite community 9am Camberwell Green Magistrates court

19 FBU national Strike Read more & Sign the petition

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. Assemble: 12.30pm, 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 Roxy Bar & Screen, SE1 London 5pm, speeches/film 6.15-7.15pm [email protected]

Dublin Lock Out 100th anniversary Members of West Yorkshire Socialist Historians are organising a commemoration. 2pm at Red Shed (Wakefield Labour Club), Vicarage Street, Wakefield WF1. The main speaker is Marxist historian, D R O’Connor Lysaght. Entrance is free & sandwiches/snacks provided.

22 Re-launch of Exeter TUC Barnfield Theatre, Exeter EX1 1SN at 6pm (doors open 5.30pm). Guest speakers include Bob Crow (RMT) here

24 Brighton Benefits Campaign meeting against zero hours contracts  7.30pm Friends Meeting House, Ship Street, BN1 1AF

29 Protest at Barnsley court over Bedroom tax eviction court dates.



16 Moving Forward: Identifying and resisting the enemies of democracy in 2014. Conference organised by Searchlight Book places here

20 TUC Day of Action against Blacklisting: As part of the Day of Action there will be a Lobby of Parliament to put pressure on MPs to hold an inquiry. Assemble on Old Palace Yard opposite the Houses of Parliament at 13:00. read more

23 Yorkshire NSSN conference – 10am-4pm, Cosmopolitan Hotel, 2 Lower Briggate, Leeds LS1 4AE

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



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Phone: 07952283558

Post: NSSNPO Box 54498, London E10 9DE

For all press and media enquiries contact:

Secretary: Linda TaaffeEmail: [email protected]

Phone: 07952283558

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