As our supporters attempt to wind down and use the holiday season to recharge their batteries, we’ll be faced with a barrage of newspaper articles and TV programmes reviewing 2013. (Though we are aware there are strikes over the period, including FBU, Unite St Mungos and more). No doubt, the Tory media will be proclaiming an economic recovery and pointing to the relative lack of trade union strikes and protests as proof that the good times are back.
Just last week saw young people take to the streets in ‘cops of campus’ responding to brutal attacks by the police in recent weeks. “These attacks are nothing more than politically motivated attempts to undermine the right to protest and shut down any dissent against the Government’s plans to further privatise and run down education” argues PCS young members network. They continue, ‘Students are facing persecution for daring to stand by trade unions in defence of their education. Now trade unionists from across the TUC (and internationally) should be supporting the students, as their fight against repression is our fight.”
However, regular readers of this e-bulletin will know the real situation – of an unfolding catastrophe facing working-class people and their families. Jobs, pay, pensions are all under attack, with the growing numbers of food banks and pay-day loan companies revealing the continuing squeeze on living standards alongside record levels of zero-hour contracts and part-time working.
Our supporters will also know that to conclude that there is an ‘industrial peace’ in this country is to totally misread the situation and not see the many disputes that take place every week. There is huge anger and frustration but as of yet no mass outlet. But it could have been different.
2013 was the year of the huge NHS demonstrations in Lewisham, Stafford and Manchester. It was the year of victories – against blacklisting on Crossrail and zero-hour contracts in Hovis in Wigan. The NSSN lobbied the TUC Congress in September to again call for a 24 hour general strike to unite all workers against Cameron’s brutal cuts. We didn’t get it but we saw an autumn of discontent of striking education workers in the schools and colleges, fire-fighters, probation workers and different departments of civil servants. With the London tubeworkers now in the line of fire in the New Year, we repeat: name the date for us to strike together!
The cold cruelty of Ineos boss Jim Ratcliffe in Grangemouth showed once and for all that workers and their whole communities can be held to ransom in this period. We surely have to raise the demand of nationalisation to stop these threats. Our movement has to digest the lessons to be prepared for the scale of action necessary to defeat these oligarchs, now and in the future.
Margaret Thatcher would have no doubt approved of Ratcliffe. But her death this year should remind us that she also once thought that she was invincible….and then she dreamt up the poll tax – and we all know what happened next!
Season’s greetings from the NSSN…see you in 2014!!
Rob Williams NSSN national chair
Ps. From Occupy Wall St: FACT: Anti-austerity & anti-government protests have taken place in 84 countries since 2008, countries comprising 91.4% of world population
Your New Year’s resolution – I want to get more involved in the NSSN!
Brilliant! Then we’d love you to work with us, in your union branch, local community and on some of the regional or national initiatives we support. Anything you can assist with or would like to develop? Give us a shout. Contact details at the bottom of this bulletin.
Get your trade union branch or trades council to affiliate – it only costs £50. Already affiliated? Please think about renewing it. Also, many of our supporters pay a few pounds a month. You can set up a similar standing order to ‘National Shop Stewards Network’, HSNC – sort code 40-06-41, account number 90143790. Our address is NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE.
And if you can, 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]
January 18 2014 Southern NSSN conference (hosted by UNITE Bracknell) ‘Building the Fightback against Austerity’ – 2pm to 5pm, Priestwood Community Centre, Bracknell read more
The 8th Annual NSSN Conference will be on Saturday 5th July 2014 in Conway Hall – 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
Every Job Matters – The Truth Is Here (16 December) – Every Job Matters – Defending London Underground Jobs – If anyone is in any doubt how the proposed changes will be bad for all station staff should look at the attached pdf. It clearly demonstrates how exactly different grades will be affected. No one escapes. Check out the attached file and see for yourself. Please print and display at your workplace read more from RMT London Calling
RMT to ballot station & platform staff on West Anglia route (11 December) – Rail union RMT confirmed that is will begin balloting staff from today on Greater Anglia’s West Anglia route for both strike action and action short of a strike in a dispute over the ripping up of agreed procedures as the company try to bulldoze through the removal of station cleaners posts read more
Our vision: invest in culture (16 December) – We called for increased investment in culture at the launch of our ‘Alternative vision’ for the sector. Our vision was launched at parliament last Wednesday (11 December) to an audience drawn from people and organisations interested in opposing the government’s cuts. It opens the debate on the future of the UK’s cultural policies and how to safeguard access to the arts and culture sector for the next generation read more
State surveillance, counter-terror powers and global strategies (16 December) – On Tuesday 10 December 2013, at a public meeting held in the NUJ headquarters, a range of speakers addressed the manifold issues arising from state surveillance. It was argued that these could not be considered in isolation from the prevailing escalation in counter-terror powers and global securitization read more
Video update on pensions campaign ahead of fifth and sixth strike last weekend see here
Members have been informed of the result of the ballot for industrial action short of a strike. That ballot was in addition to the previous ballot for strike action which did not include control members.
As the person authorised to make the call for industrial action, I now confirm that this discontinuous industrial action will commence and terminate at the times and on the dates specified below:
Commencing 24th December 2013 from 19:00 hours until 24th December 2013 at midnight (00:00 on 25th December 2013) – strike action (firefighters in England and Wales), industrial action short of a strike, namely a refusal to undertake voluntary overtime (firefighters in Scotland and control members in England, Wales and Scotland).
Commencing 27th December 2013 from 19:00 hours until 29th December 2013 at 19:00 hours – industrial action short of a strike, namely a refusal to undertake voluntary overtime (firefighters in England, Wales and Scotland).
Commencing 31st December 2013 from 18:30 hours until 1st January 2014 at 00:30 hours – strike action (firefighters in England and Wales).
Commencing 3rd January 2014 from 06:30 hours until 3rd January 2014 at 08:30 hours – strike action (firefighters in England and Wales).
UPS parcel strike on ‘busiest day of the year’, as rep is sacked (12 December) – Staff at UPS Parcels in central London will strike again on Friday, 20 December – the busiest day of the year – in the dispute over unreasonable workloads and alleged bullying. The second day of strike action by 120 drivers and loaders in Camden, the biggest UPS depot in Europe, follows the hardline Regis Street management sacking a Unite shop steward read more
BREAKING NEWS!! UPS parcel strike called off, as rep is reinstated (17 Dec) – Staff at UPS Parcels in central London have called off their strike on Friday (20 December), after it was agreed that the conciliation service, Acas would broker talks in the New Year over unreasonable workloads and alleged bullying. Talks between Unite, the country’s largest union, and the management yesterday (Monday 16 Monday) also saw the reinstatement of the sacked UPS steward. Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “After the management agreed to reinstate our shop steward, who, in our view, was unfairly dismissed, Unite has called off Friday’s strike at UPS’ Camden depot. “Both parties have agreed to go to Acas early in the New Year to resolve the ongoing dispute. The reinstatement of our steward is a victory for worker solidarity – and we will be going into the Acas talks in a positive frame of mind. The 120 Camden drivers and loaders work at the biggest UPS depot in Europe
Hardline St Mungo’s managers herald a bleak midwinter for Hitchin’s homeless (16 December) – The hardline stance of St Mungo’s management will mean that the homeless of Hitchin face a bleak midwinter over the Christmas and New Year period. Because the management refuses to align the pay and conditions of the five project workers with the rest of the workforce, the staff at the 17-bed Nightingale Road hostel will reluctantly strike over 12 days this Christmas. Unite LE1111 Housing workers members at St Mungos Hitchin staff will strike from 15.00 on Sunday 22 December to 15.00 on Friday 3 January. This follows a week-long strike earlier this month read more
Worcestershire aerospace workers to strike over pay next week (12 December) – About 300 workers at the Mettis Aerospace plant in Redditch, Worcestershire are due to go on strike for 24 hours next Wednesday (18 December) over a ‘completely inadequate’ pay offer read more
MPs Debate Visteon in Parliament (December 12) – A packed public gallery of ex-Ford Visteon Pensioners saw over 22 MPs from all parties discuss the collapse of the Visteon Pension Plan in the house of commons on Dec 12th. MPs unanimously backed a motion urging Ford to “recognise a duty of care to its former employees and should make good the pension losses suffered by those worst affected without the need for legal action” see Parliamentary debate here – Visteon pensioners will be protesting outside Ford HQ in Brentwood in Essex this Wednesday December 18th from 7am Visteon Pension Action Group (VPAG) website
Unite secures 1,000 permanent contracts for temporary workers at BMW More
Protect Teachers and Defend Education – Dispute update – unions stand firm – As you know, the NUT and NASUWT postponed the national strike action before the end of this term in order to enter talks with Mr. Gove. We said then that without sufficient progress, a national strike in England and Wales would be held, not later than 13 February 2014. Michael Gove’s prevarication and game playing have meant that so far no talks have been held. However, dates have now been set for meetings on 13 and 16 December. These meetings represent an opportunity which he must take in order to resolve our dispute. The NUT will protect members and defend education. This may require further strike action by members read more
GMB Royal College Demo (December 16) – GMB Demo At Royal College (RCOG) On Tuesday 17th December Over Cuts In Terms And Conditions And A Refusal To Negotiate With GMB. As a result of re-evaluation of jobs some of RCOG’s highly skilled researchers face an average £7,000 cut in pay while one workers faces loss of £21,000 per year says GMB read more
POA launch mass March, Rally and Lobby of Parliament on 19th March 2014 read moreI
Members of construction union UCATT, based at the Tata Steel works in Scunthorpe, will take strike action tomorrow (Tuesday 17th December).
The refractory workers who are employed by Tube City to undertake the maintenance of the furnaces and refractory work on torpedoes, ladles and vessels, at the steel works, are going on strike after the company refused to offer a pay increase.
The workers voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action with 86% of those voting supporting industrial action. The strike will be from 6am to 10pm on the 17th December and further industrial action, during the same hours, will take place on December 28th. More
Blacklisting & Victimisation
Blacklist Support Group Update
1. Select Committee investigation into blacklisting continues
Pat Swift – evidence session to Scottish Affairs Select Committee
2pm Wed 18th December
Committee Room 6, Houses of Parliament, Westminster
Pat Swift is a proven Blacklister and has been called to give evidence to the Scottish Affairs Select Committee investigation into blacklisting at the Westminster parliament.
Pat Swift was main contact with the Consulting Association blacklist from the construction firm BAM Nuttall. He was also the HR manager for the BFK consortium on Crossrail where Frank Morris was dismissed after becoming the first union rep on the project.
This wretch actually used to taunt protesters and take photos of us at the Westbourne Park picket line when Frank Morris was unemployed and fighting for his reinstatement. Let’s hope the MPs put him to the sword. This is open to the public – Beer afterwards if anyone fancies coming down
2. Blacklist Compensation Fund
The employers proposals for a Blacklist Compensation Scheme which has gained masses of publicity in the press falls a million miles short of what is required. The list of shortcomings would fill a page alone. To date not a single person has been offered a single penny in compensation and during negotiations the lawyers for the blacklisting companies made it clear that under their proposals the majority of those on the list would only receive £1000.
The Blacklist Support Group (BSG) along with the 3 main trade unions UNITE, UCATT & GMB have unanimously rejected the scheme. The legal teams involved in the High Court blacklisting cases are now collectively drawing up an alternative set of proposals – BSG, UNITE, UCATT & GMB have co-signed a letter saying we are only prepared to negotiate once our proposals have been submitted.
BSG big issues:
- Jobs for blacklisted workers – if the firms have genuinely turned over a new leaf, then positive action recruitment for blacklisted workers on major projects would prove it
- Every single person on the blacklist to receive compensation regardless of how many pages or dates etc..
- Compensation to fully reflect the crime and the human rights violation – poke your £1000
- No gagging clause – we want full disclosure of documents and a fully independent public inquiry
There are a lot more issues but these are the key ones for us.
3. Undercover cops collusion with blacklisting
BSG has put in an official complaint to the IPCC about the police collusion in blacklisting. We are the only organisation to have done this.
The police have now admitted to our lawyers that senior officers from an undercover police unit called NETCU attended the Consulting Association meetings. Other undercover police posed as construction workers and attended our picket lines, campaigning activities and even chaired some meetings. These are the very same undercover police officers who spied on the Lawrence family and had long term sexually relationships with female activists they were sent to spy on. Many of the environmental and anti-racist activists spied on by the undercover police also appear on the blacklist. Our repeated attempts for various documents to be released under FOI requests have been turned down by the authorities including the Met Police.
Operation Herne has been set up as an internal police inquiry to investigate the role of undercover police spying on activists; blacklisting is part of that investigation. The Lawrence family and the other groups involved are all boycotting Operation Herne and demanding a fully independent public inquiry instead. Blacklist Support Group is supporting that demand. The launch meeting for the campaign is being held on:
4. Request for information on a blacklisting manager
John Edwards – former head of security at Carillion – has been identified in parliament as attending Consulting Association meetings as late as 2008. Does anyone know him or his whereabouts?
5. Shrewsbury Pickets
Well done to the Shrewsbury pickets for handing in a petition to Downing Street today calling for the release of all government papers linked to their case. The original conspiracy trial saw building workers including Des Warren and Ricky Tomlinson sent to prison for conspiracy – they have always argued their innocence and accused the state of being in collusion with the building employers to target peaceful trade union picketing.
40 years after the original trial, the Home Secretary is still refusing to release the papers on the grounds of national security. Covering up the involvement of the security services more like it. Shrewsbury pickets were all blacklisted for their trade union activity – they are genuine heroes of the working class movement – we saute you.
6. Steve Acheson Defence Fund
Blacklisting is not just about politics, it is about how it affected our families.
This week is the 5th anniversary of Steve Acheson’s dismissal from Fiddlers ferry due to the blacklist – he is still protesting outside the main gates.
The appeal to save Steve Acheson’s home from repossession after years of unemployment due to blacklisting is now just a few hundred ponds short of reaching its target of £25,000 demanded by the bank. Anyone wishing to make a final Xmas donation:
Cheques please payable to “Fiddlers Ferry Hardship Fund” to Warrington Trades Council, 6 Red Gables, Warrington WA4 4SB. Thank you to all who have contributed so far.
Everyone involved with the Defence Fund should be congratulated – There are many people involved but special mention to Andy, Jason, Kevin & Stewart. Top work fellas – they have saved a family home. Blacklist Support Group video: blog: facebook:
International (also see Labourstart)
Two years since Zhanaozen massacre – fight for justice and freedom in Kazakhstan – Panel discussion and cultural evening hosted by Campaign Kazakhstan: Tuesday, 17 December, 7pm -8.30 (Doors open at 6.30)
Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3GA
Join ‘Campaign Kazakhstan’ and ‘Article 19’ for an evening of discussion, music, poetry and films dedicated to the struggle against dictatorship in Kazakhstan FREE – Donations welcome. Drinks and refreshments available before and after the event.
KOREA (South) The nation’s rail services are again feeling the strain on this fourth day of a walkout by members of the Railway Workers’ Union. MORE 10,000 striking workers rallied against rail privatisation in front of Seoul Station on 14 December.
Ireland – Left warns of permanent austerity over Irelandss phoney ‘End to Bailout’. More
New Zealand – Strike kaupapa for disability care home workers. More
Italy – The five day strike which paralysed Genoa. More
Germany – Over 4000 school students struck for refugee rights in Hamburg.
Diary (see & use false economy)
16 Women against the cuts in Kirklees more from PCS
18 Southern NSSN conference (hosted by UNITE Bracknell) ‘Building the Fightback against Austerity’ – 2pm to 5pm, Priestwood Community Centre, Bracknell
25 Anti Academies Alliance meeting “Campaigning against forced academies”, Saturday 25 January, 1-4pm, Central London venue, plus AAA AGM and Steering Committee – contact http://antiacademies.org.uk/ for further info.
Already in Cardiff, details are emerging of brutal cuts planned for jobs and services in the city. Cardiff Council is pushing ahead with plans to close the STAR centre in Splott and a nursery will shut unless the plans are halted. Join the protest and urge the Council to refuse to pass on the Tory cuts onto jobs and services, and instead take the road cut by Poplar, Clay Cross and Liverpool in the past – the path advocated by rebel councillors in Southampton, Hull, Warrington and elsewhere today. Contact Ross with details of any other cuts planned via Facebook message or at 07772215281 or on [email protected].
RMT member P Mihaj vs Sodexo Ltd 9am London Holborn on unfair dismissal on Trade Union grounds.
Stop the Bloodbath Budget 3.30 – 6.30pm Cardiff City Hall
29th Uniform Day
5 8th Annual NSSN Conference – Conway Hall – 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
PHONE 07952 283 558
EMAIL [email protected]
ADDRESS NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE