The marvellous display of working class solidarity we witnessed during the huge strike of July 10 has, as we predicted, given renewed confidence to whole layers of the trade union movement.
J10 saw the big guns move into action – government workers, schoolworkers, firefighters – but this week sees some of the smaller sections of our movement continue or announce their intention to start strike action, as well as healthworkers moving onto the scene.
Unite members at the 5 Argos warehouses at Basildon in Essex, Bridgewater in Somerset, MagnaPark in Lutterworth, Haywood near Manchester and Castleford in Yorkshire started a 7 day strike at the weekend over imposed new working patterns and forced changes to terms and conditions, changes that come with the threat of the sack if not signed up to.
Following two separate days of action, workers are now ramping up the pressure. This coming weekend sees Argos launch their new catalogue with new product lines – a crucial time for the business.
NSSN supporters and local trade union activists in the areas concerned are urged to visit the picket lines. We are also urging supporters to email the distribution director, Phil Hull, to tell him to treat his staff properly (phil.hu[email protected]).
Meat hygiene workers to ballot
Unison members in the Food Standards Agency (FSA) are to be balloted for industrial action on pay in the coming weeks, after the employer imposed a 0.75% rise.
Workers would understandably be angered at this paltry offer at any time but are even more incensed as it sits alongside a flawed performance-related pay system that automatically fails 15% of the workforce.
These workers operate in some of the most awful working conditions in the country. Meat hygiene inspectors work covered in blood and faeces in order to protect the public and safeguard animal welfare. They face bullying and harassment on a daily basis, threats of physical violence and an employer that does not support them or back them up against food business operators.
London Overground ballot
Security and safety staff employed by STM Security Group on the London Overground contract will be balloted for industrial action in a fight over pay and working conditions. The RMT has been forced to call the ballot as members are angry about a below inflation pay offer, a heavy handed approach to sickness, failure to make progress on the introduction of a full sick pay scheme, abuse of the disciplinary procedures and failure to improve staff travel facilities.
Northampton hospital lock-out continues
As Unison, Unite and GMB announce they are to ballot its 300,000 NHS members in England for strike action, the NSSN pays tribute again to the biomedical staff at Northampton General Hospital who have been locked out of their workplace since June 26 for refusing to sign new contracts that would see them forced to double their night time shifts from seven days in 14 weeks to 14 days in 14 weeks, while out-of-hours payments are slashed by 80 per cent.
Unite is also seeking an injunction against the trust for using agency staff during an Industrial dispute.
North West Ambulance workers vote for action
News is just coming though that paramedics and other ambulance staff across the North West of England, organised by GMB, have voted by a massive 94% for industrial action in their dispute over cover and allowances.
NHS strike ballot
The national health ballot is in response to the Government’s decision to deny 60% of NHS staff and 70% of nurses a pay rise for the next two years. The unions say a yes vote will lead to stoppages in early October, followed by further strikes and action short of a strike over the autumn and winter.
The NSSN calls urgently on the unions involved to seek to coordinate action in the health service with that being taken in local and national government … and others. J10 must not be allowed to become another false start in a coordinated battle against austerity and for a pay rise.
Workers will support – and, indeed, join – unions seen as fighting for them. For many workers, their last hope of any of the major political parties offering them a lifeline disappeared last weekend when Labour’s national policy forum voted overwhelmingly to maintain spending (cutting!) plans if elected next year. It is time for the trade union movement to step boldly forward and fight all cuts.
NSSN Conference Videos and photos
All strike together & Memoriam for Bob Crow – http://shopstewards.net/2014/07/video-all-strike-together-memorium-for-bob-crow/
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, LondonE10 9DE.
Affiliation letter here – http://shopstewards.net/2014/02/nssn-affiliation-letter/
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]