Come to the NSSN Conference on July 5th “Strike together for a pay rise”
Its official – Unison’s local government workers have voted to strike on July 10th against the ConDem pay freeze (read here). This raises the prospect of well over a million public sector workers striking together in a ‘Coalition of the Willing’ unions that could also include Unite, GMB, PCS and the NUT. It is possible that the FBU, who were again on strike last Saturday could also take part on the biggest day of co-ordinated strike action since N30 2011.
That 2-million strong strike against the Government’s attacks on public sector workers’ pensions was arguably the biggest single day of strike action since the 1926 General strike. It could and should have been the platform for the decisive action that could have won a victory on pensions which would have blown a hole in Cameron’s austerity offensive.
Instead, particularly the leaders of Unison and the GMB with the support of the TUC and its then general secretary the now Sir Brendan Barber stopped the struggle in its tracks. Undoubtedly, that loss of momentum only emboldened the ConDems to unleash the most vicious package of cuts since the 1920s. The NSSN along with militant unions like the RMT, PCS and POA attempted to build rank and file pressure to maintain this action.
Nevertheless, in the process, the ConDems have created a huge anger and frustration that would make the July 10th strike the most popular thing the unions could ever do.
This is the lesson of the tube strikes which had massive public support for the RMT because in the midst of all political parties signed up to austerity, workers want to see someone fighting back. That is why the unions should organise public strike rallies on July 10 to bring behind them all those suffering from these brutal cuts.The N30 demonstrations that took place in virtually every town and city were massive and these could be bigger.
But the main lesson that has to be learnt from N30 is that they have to be the start not the end of sustained action that takes in all the public sector and spreads to the private sector and even those workers currently not organised in the unions. Just over the last months we have seen a rash of disputes from workers in Doncaster Care UK and Safety Glass in Tyneside to One Housing and the indefinite strike in Lambeth College. These along with the big protests by the legal profession against the cuts to legal aid, the protests and stoppages by construction workers and the people that were attracted to Saturday’s Peoples Assembly march show the potential that the unions could realise if they put themselves at the head of this movement. The 750,000-strong TUC demonstration on March 26th in 2011 as well as the mass mobilisation of N30 that year shows once and for all the authority that the unions have when they act decisively.
The 8th annual NSSN conference is meeting on July 5, five days before the pay strike. I appeal to all activists in the trade union and anti-cuts movements to come along to discuss how to build the biggest strike possible on July 10 and how to sustain it into the autumn and beyond to win what could be a decisive victory against this fat cat government.
Rob Williams NSSN national chair
Come to the 8th Annual NSSN Conference on Saturday July 5th – ‘What recovery? We want our share! Fight Together for a Pay Rise! – Break the pay freeze, fight for a real living wage, oppose zero-hour contracts, fight for PAYE’. Leaflet – http://www.scribd.com/doc/221151679/NSSN-2014-conference-leaflet
It will be on from 11am-5pm in Conway Hall – 25 Red Lion Square, Holborn, London WC1R 4RL – delegate/visitor fee £6. Confirmed speakers include Ronnie Draper BFAWU bakers’ union General Secretary, POA General Secretary Steve Gillan, Janice Godrich PCS President and Peter Pinkney RMT President…plus a speaker from the victorious Seattle $15Now campaign!!
Confirmed workshops include:-
Fast food rights/zero-hour contracts/living wage/$15Now
Fighting NHS cuts
Construction: fighting the umbrella scam and blacklisting
Political representation for workers after the Collins Review
Housing workers fighting back
Email us now if you want to come as well as if you want leaflets – [email protected].
If you want to put yourself forward for the NSSN steering committee, email us by 12noon on Thursday July 3rd
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’, HSBC – 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]
N Ireland government’s offer of 55-retirement age means Westminster must change course on pensions, firefighters say (June 20) – The Fire Brigades Union has this week welcomed an offer from the government in N Ireland that would allow firefighters to retire at 55 without financial penalty read more
Heathrow transport staff strike again this weekend (June 20) – Heathrow transport staff strike again this weekend as Terminal Five station closes and bosses jack up attacks. Strike action in a dispute on Heathrow Express over jobs and safety this morning led to the closure of the prestige transport hub at Terminal Five as the company management sank to new lows in their bullying and attacks on individual staff fighting to stop the halving of safety-critical numbers in a £6 million cuts assault read more
LUL Sodexo staff balloted in union victimisation dispute (17 June) – Staff working for London Underground caterers Sodexo are to be balloted for both strike action and action short of a strike over the victimisation and dismissal of union activist Petrit Mihaj. Petrit has been a major force in building union organisation on the LUL Sodexo depot catering contract and has been instrumental in securing union recognition and delivering improvements in pay and conditions and effective representation of staff. RMT is in no doubt that it is as a result of his high-profile union activities that Petrit has now been singled out, victimised and dismissed read more
Sainsbury’s drivers on Merseyside to walk-out in pensions row tomorrow (19 June) – Nearly 200 drivers at the Sainsbury’s distribution centre at Haydock on Merseyside will walk-out for two hours tomorrow (Friday 20 June) in a dispute which could see some of them lose tens of thousands of pounds from their pension pots read more
Pathologists at Northampton General Hospital vote ‘yes’ for strike action (18 June) – A hospital trust at the centre of a year-long dispute over plans to slash out-of-hours payments by 80 per cent is spending up to £1 million a year on eight agency biomedical scientists– more than double any potential cost saving read more
London social care workers in strike ballot over low pay (17 June) – Workers at London social care charity, Look Ahead are being balloted for strike action this week over proposed pay cuts of 14 per cent read more
Gateshead glass workers on week-long strike over ‘paltry’ pay offer (17 June) – Workers at two sites of a Gateshead company, which makes laminated glass, are on strike this week over ‘a paltry and insulting’ pay offer. About 112 employees at Tyneside Safety Glass started their seven days of strike action yesterday (Monday 16 June) at the Kingsway and 7th Avenue sites on the Team Valley Industrial Estate read more see video
OHG Summary Dismissal of Bryan Kennedy On Tuesday 17th June – Bryan Kennedy was summarily dismissed from OHG. Many of the original ‘charges’ have been dropped and those that exist are highly questionable with limited evidence. This adds to our belief that Bryan had been suspended, now sacked, for his role as a Unite convenor. Bryan will be appealing and we will be sending further information over the coming days. The branch officer at One Housing Group was suspended immediately before a negotiation meeting in which the union would have raised the prolonged six-year pay freeze imposed on staff, but not for the top executives. He was sacked yesterday read more
Support the EDF workers – striking again! (June 17) – Unite has come up with this new way to describe the energy company which has failed to honour an agreement made back in 2011. Incredibly, the multi million profit making company now claims that when it signed a pay deal with the Unite trade union in 2011, it had failed to do the sums and consequently realised that it could not afford the associated pension costs! read more
HMRC rolling action starts (23 June) – A week of rolling action across HMRC begins today with members in Scotland and northern England holding a 1-day strike against job cuts, office closures and privatisation. Members have been pushed to breaking point. Despite our best efforts to get HMRC to see sense they are continuing with their despised performance management system, office closure plans, privatisation and job cuts agenda read more
Land Registry petition tops 100,000 (20 June) – More than 100,000 people have signed a petition calling on the government not to sell off the Land Registry read more
Landslide ballot result rejects Shared Services Privatisation (June 19) – PCS has announced the result of its ballot of members for industrial action including strike action in protest against the privatisation of shared services at Newport and Bootle. The result, on a 47% turn-out, was an astounding 93% in favour of strike action with just 7% voting No. The MoJ’s decision over whether to retain SSC in the civil service or outsource to one of two private sector “framework” providers (German company Arvato or the French Steria) is due to be made this coming Monday morning (23 June). The union will be writing to MoJ today to ask them to reflect on the clear feeling of PCS members… We are also in discussion with colleagues in NAPO (probation workers) and POA (prison officers) unions and PCS Home Office Group about the impact on their members; they are hugely supportive as it reflects their similar fights against the government’s privatisation programme
UCU / Unison Lambeth College strike
Unison call three day strike this week Tuesday-Thursday – The college’s Unison branch is coming out next week for three days from Tuesday as part of their programme of escalating action. There will be a joint union rally outside the Clapham campus on Tuesday at 11am
Lambeth College blog http://lambethcollegestrike.wordpress.com/
Glyndŵr staff vote to strike over job losses (17 June) – Staff at Glyndŵr University have overwhelmingly voted in favour of industrial action in a dispute over job losses. Of those who took part, 84% of UCU members voted in favour of industrial action. The ballot was well supported by staff, with 57% of those eligible to vote, voting. The senior management of the Wrexham-based university has proposed a restructure which would cut up to 60 posts read more
Rotherham School 2 Further Strike Days (June 19) – GMB members further two days of strike action at Abbey Special School in Rotherham over jobs, health & safety and pupil behaviour read more
Ritzy Brixton Cinema workers were on strike again last Saturday – for more info https://www.facebook.com/RitzyLivingWage
Pressure mounts on Picturehouse to return to pay talks as worker strike again – Senior executives at Picturehouse Cinemas, owners of the Ritzy in South London, are coming under increasing pressure to return to pay talks after they walked away from negotiations on 3 June read more
BECTU cinema workers rally Thursday 17th July 1pm BFI South Bank to 4pm GLA Tower Bridge – Front of house staff across Odeon, Cineworld, Curzon and Everyman are joining the Ritzy cinema workers on a Cinema Workers Rally through the West End ending with speeches outside the GLA. Cinema staff and their supporters across the entertainment industry are marching in support of the Living Wage for cinema workers nationally and calling for a boycott of Picturehouse cinemas. Ritzy staff are currently taking strike action in their bid to secure the London Living Wage from the hugely profitable multi-national Cineworld. Curzon staff are currently in negotiation for the same. Both campaigns have taken on a growing significance both nationally and in the capital as austerity continues to impact harshly on low-paid workers
Social worker power forces partial government U-turn (June 23) – Proposals to allow local authorities in England to privatise child protection services have been abandoned. But outsourcing remains a threat. UNISON members in social work responded in their hundreds to UNISON’s call to action when the government moved to allow privatisation of children’s social work, including child protection read now
Blacklisting & Victimisation
Blacklist Support Group Update 20th June 2014
1. George Tapp – NOT GUILTY VERDICT
Michael Collins the driver who drove through a blacklisting protest outside the Manchester City Training ground fracturing both knee caps of ex-Salford Labour councillor George Tapp has been found not guilty in Manchester Crown Court
2. High Court halts firms insulting compensation scheme
The firms insulting compensation scheme that would see the vast majority of blacklisted workers receiving little more than a weeks wages in compensation, so long as we agreed to withdraw all our court claims has been temporarily kicked into touch by the High Court. The firms announced the scheme last year but 9 months later have still not made any real movement on their insulting offer. The entire scheme is a cheap publicity stunt intended to divert attention away from the High Court case.
The firms had intended to launch the scheme unilaterally without the support of any of the unions, the Blacklist Support Group or any of the lawyers involved in the High Court case. They were even granted a secret court order which meant that the ICO could supply them with the current addresses of the people they blacklisted. The High Court has thrown this nonsense out and said that it should all be dealt with on the same date in the High Court hearings and not as some stand alone PR trick.
Even if some people on the blacklist are only interested in financial compensation, the current scheme as it stands is nowhere near adequate. people will end up receiving considerably more than the pittance currently being suggested by the firms.
BSG positions is:
Everyone on the Consulting Association blacklist should be entitled to compensation regardless of how much is written on the files or the dates.
Widows or children should be compensated if the blacklisted worker has passed away.
Compensation should be set at a level that genuinely compensates for the human rights violations carried out by the firms.
Any scheme should provide jobs or retraining for blacklisted workers – a few quid means nothing if people still cant find gainful employment because of blacklisting.
3. Blacklisting High Court claim – 10th July
The postponed High Court case is back on track in 3 weeks time.
Blacklist Support Group protest
9:30am Thursday 10th July 2014
Royal Courts of Justice
(nearest tube: Holborn or Temple)
When the court case is finished for the day, there will be an update on the progress of the campaign for all those present.
Guney Clark & Ryan solicitors, UNITE, GMB and UCATT are all part of the joint court case with their own legal representation.
4. Human Rights
Last week, lawyers on behalf of the UK government intervened in the Smith v Carillion court case. In the original Employment Tribunal, the company admitted that their managers were responsible for adding information to his blacklist file due to his union activities. Smith lost because he was an agency worker and therefore not protected by UK law.
John Hendy QC, David Renton and Declan Owens from the Free Representation Unit are now appealing to the Court of Appeal arguing that blacklisting is a breach of human rights and should protect everyone not just direct employees. They are asking for a “Declaration of non-compatibility” which is a legal way of saying that UK law doesn’t comply with human rights. Lawyers for the UK government admit that Smith’s human rights have been breached but will be arguing against him in court.
This week, a complaint was submitted to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasburg in the case of Smith v Schal International (a wholly owned subsidiary of Carillion) relating to blacklisting the UCATT safety rep on a building site in Brentwood in 1999. This is the 2nd blacklisting case that has been sent to the ECHR, the first was for Terry Brough, a UCATT bricklayer from the North West.
5. Blacklisting speakers this week:
RMT Conference in Bristol
Mon 23rd – Shrewsbury Pickets
Tues 24th – Blacklist Support Group
Speakers Forum Stage, Green Futures at Glastonbury Festival
Thur 26th 6pm-8pm – Blacklisting Special with Reel News with Shaun Dey & Dave Smith
Sat 3:15pm – “A flavour of the Green Futures Field” with Merrick Badger
International (also see Labourstart)
Peru/Argentina: Play fair LATAM – we don’t want to be afraid to fly with you read more
Maldives: No place for human rights at Sheraton Maldives private island resort read more
Spain: Congratulations to Coca-Cola Spanish workers for their determined fight! On June 13 Spain’s High Court ordered the Spanish Coca-Cola Bottler CCIP to reverse its decision to fire 1,190 workers as a result of their plans to close 4 plants
Germany: Act now to support German Autogrill workers in fight for basic pay read more
Diary (see & use false economy)
11 Trade unionists in Lincoln will gather next week to remember the thirtieth anniversary of the Miners’ Strike with a public rally. The meeting will be addressed by Mel Hepworth, a striking Yorkshire miner at the time, and Brenda, an activist involved in the Women Against Pit Closures movement.
Nick Parker, Secretary of Lincoln & District TUC, said “We are proud to be hosting this event to remember what was the most significant industrial dispute in modern British history. “For nearly a year, one of the most active and well-organised trade unions in the country pitted itself in a fight to defend jobs and entire communities against a Tory government that wanted to crush our movement and any opposition to its policies of austerity. I think there’s a lot of lessons for the present day.” Lincoln & District TUC is hosting the event, which is open to members of the public. It is from 7pm at Lincoln Labour Club, 32 Newland, Lincoln
13 Hands off London Transport day of action – To link up with the RMT’s national organising day on Bob Crow’s birthday, the Hands Off London Transport campaign is organising leafleting of the public and other action to raise awareness of the harmful effects of Tube cuts http://handsofflondontransport.wordpress.com/2014/05/21/holt-day-of-action-13-june/#more-224
14 Orgreave mass picket and festival on 30th anniversary of Miners’ Strike – 11am-7pm Catcliffe Recreation Ground S60 5TZ
21 “No to Austerity” demo at the BBC, 21st June….No More Austerity – Demand the Alternative National Demonstration + Free Festival, Sat 21 June 2014 – Assemble 1pm BBC HQ, Portland Place London W1 1AA Then march to Parliament
Hurrah for the Luddites: challenging the myths about Luddism – 2-4pm at the Red Shed, Vicarage Street, Wakefield WF1.
The event is about seeing the Luddites in their proper historical context. Contrary to myth, they weren’t a bunch of head bangers. Luddism was a genuine social movement made up of normal working people fighting for justice. They had immense support, were well organised and for a time were immensely successful. Come along and hear more about the true Luddites!
Ken Rowley: Ken is a former Vice President of the National Union of Mineworkers. He is a member of the Wakefield Socialist History Group. He has spoken widely on the Luddites and their West Yorkshire connections to both the University of the Third Age and to local history groups.
Shaun Cohen: Shaun is a member of the Ford-Maguire Society. The Society is named after two notable Leeds socialist pioneers Isabella Ford and Tom Maguire. Shaun’s particular interest is the radical history of Leeds. He has researched widely into the Luddite revolutionary tradition.
Admission to the event is free and there will be a free buffet.
Convenor, Wakefield Socialist History Group
4 London Hazards —– Mesothelioma Day July 4th
Thousands die in the UK every year from exposure to asbestos, mainly construction workers but increasingly in schools now teachers and pupils. We want to establish a London Asbestos Support Group to help victims and families. Please come and support this event. Refreshments will be supplied, specialist speakers from the schools asbestos campaigns and Guys Hospital specialists are just some of the campaigners who will contribute to the discussion on how to make this happen
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 here
18-20 Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival – Tolpuddle, near Dorchester, Dorset visit Tolpuddle Martyrs museum here
6 Featherstone Massacre Commemoration. We will be meeting at the Bradley Arms, North Featherstone at 2pm. There will then be a graveside commemoration followed by a guided walk led by local socialist historian John Gill.
If you would like to get involved (or if you would like to speak at the commemoration) please get in touch.
We are also looking to organise an event about the First World War later in the year…this is likely to be on a Saturday afternoon in November. Again if you are interested in speaking -or can recommend a speaker- please get in touch.
Convenor, Wakefield Socialist History Group
18 TUC demonstration in London – ‘Britain Needs a Pay Rise’. It will begin with a march through central London, culminating in a rally in Hyde Park read more here
PHONE 07952 283 558
EMAIL mailto:[email protected]
TWITTER – https://twitter.com/NSSN_AntiCuts
ADDRESS NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE