The Glasgow care workers strike action is growing stronger and more solid. After taking two 48-hour strikes in January the around 400 Unison members involved have now just completed a 72-hour strike over the Valentine’s weekend. If Social Work bosses and the Labour administration thought the resolve of the workers could be broken, they couldn’t have been more wrong. In fact the mood has hardened even further. At a mass meeting on Sunday 16th February workers unanimously voted to escalate their action and intend to take a further three 72-hour strikes starting on March 7th and then continues for the next two weeks.
The mood of the meeting was one of anger and determination. Strikers have been encouraged by the many letters of support they have received from the families of residents along with the wider Trade Union movement. They feel that by clearly stating their intention to strike for a further three weekends they will send a message to management that they intend to fight this battle to a finish.
In addition, the members reported on the widespread poor practice that management have utilised in order to cover the strike days. Senior management from the wider residential sector have been drafted in to cover 12 hour shifts along with an army of agency staff from out with the council.
The members also expressed deep concern that on non-strike days, shifts, particularly night shifts, were running with too few staff for care and safety standards. This impacts on care but also on staff’s ability to take unpaid breaks away from the job during 12 hour shifts due to staffing/resident ratio’s falling below the required minimum. There is the concern that this will affect the quality of care provided as fatigue sets in later in the shift.
The Director of Social Work had attempted to by-pass the union by writing to all staff and threatening to put all workers who did not sign-up to attacks on terms and conditions on 45-day notice of termination of their contracts. These attacks include pay cuts for more than 300 of the just over 500 staff. Workers have been moved onto 12-hour shifts from 8 hours previously. The impact of the shift changes has strengthened the resolve of staff to fight these attacks.
Pressure is growing by the day on the Labour leadership of Glasgow City Council. The Glasgow Trades Council has written to all councillors accusing the council of anti-trade union tactics. They have called for negotiations with Unison to ensure there are no cuts to the living standards of the workers.
Glasgow Unison branch secretary Brian Smith “The council has tried to bully workers into agreeing wage cuts and changes. The strike action is being taken to force the council to reach a just settlement with our members.“
Messages of support should be sent to [email protected]
Donations to the strike fund should be made out to Unison, Glasgow City Branch, 84 Bell Street, Glasgow G1 1LQ
Get your trade union branch or trades council to affiliate to the NSSN – 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. Affiliation letter here
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]
The 8th Annual NSSN Conference will be on Saturday 5th July in Conway Hall – 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL – delegate/visitor fee £6 more here Latest! Ronnie Draper BFAWU bakers’ union general secretary to speak at NSSN conference!!
Defend Mark Harding – The RMT is defending its union activist Mark Harding, arrested on a picket line in the recent Tube Strike – the NSSN supported the protest yesterday outside Hammersmith Magistrate Court see photo
Key Northern Rail staff to strike tomorrow (25 Feb) – RMT Northern Rail maintenance driver members at Heaton (Newcastle) and Neville Hill (Leeds) Traincare Depots are to take 48 hours of strike action tomorrow, and will implement an on-going overtime ban from Friday, in a dispute over a re-grading exercise which has failed to recognise the complex and demanding role of this key group of staff and which has ignored the skills and hard work that they bring to the company read more
February edition of London Calling read here
Action for Rail
Join Action for Rail on 7 March (Feb 24) – Action for Rail and coalition partners are planning campaign actions along the East Coast Mainline on 7 March 2014, to coincide with the start of the Lib Dem Spring Conference in York read more
National Fast Food Rights Day of Action announced for March 29th to coincide with Youth Fight for Jobs campaign against zero-hour contracts BFAWU Youth Fight for Jobs Fast Food Rights
Fast-Food Rights Campaign Hits Scotland! – The Fast-Food Rights campaign spearheaded by the BFAWU has started to gain momentum throughout the UK and an event has been planned for Saturday, February 22nd in Glasgow read more
Strike action at Daiwa over low-pay imposition (21 Feb) – Twelve low-paid workers at the Wishaw based fishing rod manufacturer Daiwa Sports will take strike action next week over a long-standing pay dispute with local management. The assembly line workers, all women, have rejected Daiwa’s pay increase imposition of a below-inflation 1.5 per cent for 2013 and will now take to the picket line in a forty-eight hour action, starting 00.01 hours on Monday 24 February read more
Unite opens ballot for strike action for corrugated packaging industry (20 Feb) – Unite members in the corrugated packaging sector are voting on possible industrial action in a dispute over pay. Unite will be balloting over 2,000 members at about 50 sites in the UK, on whether to take strike action or industrial action, short of a strike over the 2.9 per cent pay offer made by the Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI) for September 2013 to September 2014 read more
Scottish referendum conference backs neither side (24 Feb) – Our members in Scotland have decided to back neither the ‘yes’ nor ‘no’ campaign in the country’s independence debate read more
Cable told come clean on Land Registry plans (20 Feb) – We are calling on business secretary Vince Cable to publish future plans for the Land Registry as the government lines it up for privatisation read more
EA 1,700 Job Cuts Still On (Feb 20) – EA managers say they are assessing implications of the effect of £130m new money on all of previously proposed 1,700 job cuts. Unions formed clear impression that it will be the Prime Minister who will make the final decisions on how this money is to be spent says GMB read more
Talks agreed on university pay (21 Feb) – Talks between the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) and UCU will take place before the 2014/15 bargaining round begins on Wednesday 26 March read more
SOAS staff back strike action (Feb 21) – UNISON members employed by ISS at SOAS have voted by 100% to take industrial action in their long-running dispute over terms and conditions. The strike will be held on Tuesday 4 and Wednesday 5 March 2014 read more
Telegraph & Argus gets its facts wrong (20 Feb) – An inaccurate story by the Telegraph & Argus on its staff’s one-day strike to defend local journalism and local jobs was in breach of the Editors’ Code of Practice, said the NUJ read more plus strike reports
Telefonica O2 pay offer rejected (21st Feb) – The CWU’s negotiating team have rejected a 2.35 per cent pay offer from mobile company Telefonica O2 for falling short of the union’s aspirations on pay read more
Students at University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) have also set up a petition to defend their lecturers threatened with redundancy sign here
POA launch mass March, Rally and Lobby of Parliament on 19th March 2014
The National Executive Committee is to begin a detailed campaign strategy commencing on the 19th March 2014 at the Central Methodist Hall, Westminster, London.
The launch and theme of our campaign leading up to the General Election in 2015 will be as follows;
68 is too late Pension Campaign.
Violence in the Workplace.
Privatisation of Public Services and Prisons.
Within these four elements lots of issues will develop in relation to budget cuts, prison closures, terms and conditions of employment, personal protective equipment, overcrowding and mental health issues. We are sure there are many other areas that will be expanded upon during the launch and debates.
Our intent is to bring our issues into the public domain to gain the general public’s support and ensure politicians of all political parties understand they need to make commitments in the Election Manifestos to ensure workers in the Criminal Justice System from prisons to our Secure Psychiatric Hospitals and the Immigration Services are treated fairly.
New dispute over zero-hour contracts, poverty pay and union recognition at the Royal Opera House – Independent Workers Union (IWGB) is stepping up its campaign for justice for outsourced workers at the Royal Opera House employed by contractors MITIE and the Company of Cooks Ltd. Porters and cleaners are set to ballot again for strike action, they are furious that having ended a dispute with MITIE on 3rd February 2014 which won them the London Living Wage, they have found themselves going for months paid-short in their wages. One shift alone being owed over four thousand pounds in pay since October 2013! Read more
Blacklisting & Victimisation
23rd February is the 5th anniversary of the ICO raid that discovered the illegal Consulting Association blacklist. Despite masses of documentary evidence not one of the company directors responsible for this human right scandal has been disciplined by their employer or suffered any legal penalty.
Blacklist Support Group commemorated the 5th anniversary by the following actions:
1. Attempted citizens arrest on Cullum McAlpine
First ever chairman of the Consulting Association at the Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd London offices which were the venue for the first Consulting Association meetings.
Full report with video, photos by Reel News – please circulate the video to all your contacts
If you like the video & pix – please get your union branch to subscribe to Reel News
2. Families Against Blacklisting
Joanne Fowler, wife of blacklisted electrician & safety rep Lee Fowler, has set up a group for partners of blacklisted workers to shared their experiences. Families Against Blacklisting
Please circulate the info: https://www.facebook.com/familiesagainstblacklist
Joanne Fowler said:
“The men are mates and they all talk to each other and support each other but who supports the wives and the kids? Don’t the wives have rights? Don’t the kids have rights?
The kids are being told, no you can’t have them trainers because daddy’s not working. Who supports them women that are running the home, working three jobs and still looking after the kids?
So lets set up something for the wives and the kids and all be part of it together.
I can’t imagine as a mother standing at the school gates as our kids are going in, talking about this sort of thing. That’s why we need a group for women – so we can talk to each other about how we feel because it must be bloody hard. I haven’t suffered that much but its hard enough but there must be women out there who are at their wits end and need somebody to talk to who understands how they feel.”
3. Blacklist Support Group Rally in Liverpool
Liverpool blacklisted workers commemorated the 5th anniversary with a Rally at the UNITE union office with a well-attended rally. Over 70 people turned up to hear:
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson explain plans to have blacklisting firms removed from public contracts and issues surrounding Alder Hey and the new Royal Liverpool Hospital.
Steve Acheson, BSG chair and Roy Bentham – BSG exec gave reports on the ongoing fight against blacklisting.
Sheila Coleman, Hillsborough Justice Campaign talking on police collusion.
David Whyte of Liverpool University will speak on the academic research into Blacklisting and the implications for safety on sites.
Liverpool Echo and Radio Merseyside also gave the campaign some welcome publicity
Well done Terry Brough and Roy Bentham for making the media take notice
New look blog. An online version of the Construction Rank & File magazine “SITE WORKER”. Please forward to all your relevant construction contacts and spread the word at your site or workplace. It has been changed from “Electricians Against the World” so that other trades can hopefully come on board and get involved with our Rank & File movement – http://siteworker.blogspot.co.uk/
International (also see Labourstart)
Korea: Free jailed trade unionists, stop anti-union acts read more
Diary (see & use false economy)
26 Salford protest against cuts – Salford councillors are planning to vote for a cut of £24.5m in funding for services. These cuts – if passed – will lead to the loss of 300 jobs and attacks on key frontline services like Mental Health Support, Welfare Rights and Debt Advice, Supported Tenancies, Children’s Centres, Care On Call, Early Intervention and Prevention and Passenger Transport to name just a few. These are services that help Salford’s most vulnerable people and any attack on them will mean an attack on the most vulnerable. For more information contact Salford City UNISON on 0161 794 7425
Southwark Trades council lobby of Southwark Council tax and budget meeting 6pm 160 Tooley St, SE1 download leaflet
27 Stop the Bloodbath Budget 3.30 – 6.30pm Cardiff City Hall
Protest Against Council Budget Cuts – 3pm Hove Town Hall. Demonstration outside Hove Town Hall where the Council Budget Setting meeting is taking place to protest millions of pounds being cut from the city budget. Called by B&H Unison
1 Miners’ Strike Commemoration will be held in Wakefield at the Red Shed, 18 Vicarage Street, Wakefield WF1 1QX. The Commemoration is to be held by the Wakefield Socialist History Group and takes place 30 years to the day since the NCB announced the closure of Cortonwood and the year-long dispute began.
Speakers include Granville Williams (from Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign), Ken Rowley (who was a NUM official at Selby during the strike and who served on the National Executive Committee of the NUM), Ken Capstick (previously Vice President of the NUM), Sally Kincaid (Divisional Secretary of Wakefield National Union of Teachers) and Christopher Emms (Chair, UNITE, Leeds Community Branch).
There will be sketches from the Red Shed Players, live music, a choir (“Free Range”). A free light buffet will be provided
6 New play about the Tolpuddle Martyrs to premiere at Hull Truck Theatre
Fresh from an acclaimed run at this Edinburgh Fringe, Townsend Productions are set to return at Hull Truck Theatre after last year’s Sold-out show with The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, with their latest production We Will Be Free on Thursday 6th March at 7.30 pm
Set in 1834 We Will Be Free follows the extraordinary true story of George and Betsy Loveless. He was a Methodist preacher and the leader of the six Dorsetshire farm labourers who were tried, convicted and condemned to harsh transportation by an oppressive Government for having the temerity to swear a secret oath and form a union to fight against a succession of wage cuts inflicted by the local landowner.
This vitally important story is told using the entertaining theatrical style developed through our production of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists; through Andy Vine’s powerful political cartoons and animation; through puppetry and the exquisite musical arrangements by revered folk singer and squeezebox player John Kirkpatrick, of the songs and rallying hymns of the Dorset labouring classes that resound down the years.
‘We Will Be Free’s’ excellent cast features former Sheffield university student Neil Gore (Song of Singapore, West End & Chichester Festival Theatre, Little Britain Live & The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists) and Charlotte Powell (The Tempest Orange Tree Theatre) ). At this year’s Edinburgh Fringe, we were nominated at The Stage Awards for Acting Excellence. The play is directed by Louise Townsend and Sheffield’s Richard Stone
The production will also feature songs from the highly acclaimed folk singer and squeezebox player, John Kirkpatrick. During his distinguished career John has worked with artists like Roy Bailey, John Tams, Richard Thompson, Martin Carthy and Steeleye Span. He is also a regular session musician and has played on numerous film sound tracks most recently the Oscar nominated Pirates – Adventures with Scientists, as well as in The Royal National Theatre Production of ‘Lark Rise To Candleford’.
The play has had the backing of the unions ACCORD, NASUWT, UNITE, SWTUC and SW Unison
Tickets can be purchased at the Box Office: Box Office – 01482 323638/www.hulltruck.co.uk
For more information visit www.townsendproductions.co.uk
Interviews are available with Neil Gore & Charlotte Powell call Louise Townsend (Producer/Director) 07949635910
6 RMT will be holding a joint meeting with the Merton and Sutton TUC in Carshalton at 8pm at the Carshalton Ex-services Club, West Street, Carshalton as both organisations step up the fight against savage fare increases and attacks on jobs and safety on the Thameslink and Southern rail services which ferry thousands of passengers through the area every day of the week
8 March & rally outside Lib Dem spring conference in York
Brighton Miners’ Strike 30 Year Anniversary Meeting – Friends Meeting House 1:30pm. An afternoon of music, politics, memories & laughs to mark 30 years since the Miners’ strike – Speakers include Bob Crow (RMT), Manuel Cortes (TSSA), Simon Weller (ASLEF) Terry Harrison from NUM and Liz French from Betteshanger Women Against Pit Closures as well as music and comedy
Tickets £5 waged £3 unwaged email [email protected] to get advanced tickets
12 Brighton Trades Union Council Annual General Meeting – 7:30pm King and Queen. All Trade Union members are welcome to attend the Brighton Trades Council AGM.
15 Fair Funding for Public Services – Join our march and rally: Liverpool City Centre. Called by Northwest Unison. For more info go to www.unisonnw.org
18 Waltham Forest Trades Council public meeting – ‘Fords – fighting to win’ – Last month Unite starting balloting over 5,000 Ford workers for strike action in a dispute over job security and pensions. The union is balloting Ford’s hourly paid workforce, who work mainly on the production line, across the company’s six UK sites including two site in Dagenham7.30 pm-9.30pm William Morris Community Centre, Greenleaf Road (off Hoe Street) Walthamstow, London E17 – http://community-languages.org.uk/waltham-forest-trades-council/
Speakers: Sheila Cohen author Notoriously Militant; John Cryer MP. As MP for Hornchurch from 1997 to 2005, John campaigned successfully to save the Ford plant at Dagenham, which employed many of his constituents. He is now MP for Leyton and Wanstead: and Rob Williams, former convenor at Visteon Swansea (a spin off from Fords), who also campaigned to keep the plant open. He is now involved in the fight for the Visteon pensions
29 Uniform Day
2 Visteon/Ford pensioners 5th anniversary march – 10.45 Assemble outside Unite House, Theobalds Road, Holborn, 11.00 Speeches, 11.30 March to Parliament Square, 12.30 Speeches and meet MP’s
28 Workers’ Memorial Day visit TUC website for info about events Hazards magazine
5 8th Annual NSSN Conference – Conway Hall – 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
12 Durham Miners Gala 2014 visit Durham Miners’ Association official website
18-20 Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival – Tolpuddle, near Dorchester, Dorset visit Tolpuddle Martyrs museum
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