“We’re Yorkshire folk, we’re like a dog with a bone. We won’t give up, we’ll never surrender.” This is how Doncaster Care UK shop steward Roger Hutt expressed the sheer working-class determination of the fifty-odd Unison members at the strikers’ meeting held last night at the end of the latest two weeks strike action.
Having now taken 48 days of strike action in their battle against 35% cuts in terms and conditions as a result of the privatisation of the Supported Living Service for Adults with Learning Difficulties, these former NHS staff voted unanimously to take another three weeks strike action.
Just as 30 years ago the miners fought for a year to try to save the coal industry, now Doncaster Care UK workers, including some ex-miners, see their fight as primarily about trying to save the NHS from cuts and privatisation.
Their confidence has been boosted by the national media coverage resulting from the Observer front page and special report articles on the dispute and the role of private equity companies in the care sector.
Care UK is owned by Bridgepoint, a private equity firm that also owns Oasis Dental, Pret a Manger and Fat Face. In 2012 Bridgepoint’s highest paid director got £1.1 million and they paid out £14 million in bonuses.
Public funds account for 88% of Care UK’s revenues yet they have not paid a penny in corporation tax since being bought by Bridgepoint in 2010. The debt used to buy health firms is set against profits, often via big intercompany loans with high interest rates, which means that huge profits are hidden as operating losses are declared.
In 1993, the private sector provided only 5% of state funded domiciliary services, that figure had risen to 89% by 2012 as local councils have cut services and outsourced them to the private sector. Private care companies like Care UK make their profits by slashing wages and conditions, and by cutting standards of training and care.
It is estimated that 150,000 care workers are paid less than the minimum wage and 307,000 are on zero-hour contracts. That’s why the Doncaster Care UK workers’ strike is so important. If they win a substantial pay rise and the Living Wage for new staff in Doncaster, such a victory would inspire thousands of care workers to join a union and fight for a decent living wage.
Unison must seize this opportunity by declaring war on Care UK across the country and mobilising its resources to back the strikers. Likewise trade unionists and socialists in every city and town should prepare now to answer the strikers’ call for pickets and protests at every Care UK office and Bridgepoint owned company.
Messages of support or donations should be sent to: Yvonne Butcher, branch secretary Doncaster District and Bassetlaw Health Branch, 20511 UNISON Office – Jenkinson House, White Rose Way, Doncaster DN4 5GJ
NSSN rally & lobby of TUC Conference on September 7th in Liverpool – The 2014 NSSN conference agreed that the Network will hold a public rally at the TUC Congress in Liverpool to lobby delegates to keep up the pressure for further co-ordinated strikes – 2pm Sunday September 7th in Jury’s Hotel opposite Echo Arena conference centre in Albert Dock. PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka is one of the confirmed speakers alongside Ronnie Draper BFAWU General Secretary and Steve Gillan POA General Secretary. Download NSSN leaflet
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]
Minister walks away from talks – strikes now certain (Aug 8) – Firefighters in England and Wales will be on strike for three hours every day from tomorrow (Saturday) after Fire Minister Penny Mordaunt cancelled the talks due to be held yesterday, which might have found a solution to the long-running dispute over firefighters’ pensions. Strikes will take place each day from Saturday 9 August until Saturday 16 August, between 12 pm and 2 pm and between 10.59pm and 11.59pm read more
Unite hails EDF Energy ‘great pay victory’ (7 Aug) – The pay settlement for nearly 500 workers at EDF Energy, achieved after three days of strike action, has been hailed as ‘a great victory’ by Unite. As well as the strikes, the workers, who install meters and deal with alleged electricity theft, in the London, south eastern, south west and eastern regions also staged selective industrial action in the three-pronged dispute. Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “This is a great victory for Unite members at EDF Energy. The improved offer is the result of our members standing together and taking strike action and threatening more action, if an improved offer was not delivered.” read more
Pay win for Land Registry staff (7 Aug) – We have secured another major win in the Land Registry by defeating its attempt to apply the pay freeze to progression. Agency bosses have confirmed they will not appeal a tribunal ruling in a case we brought against the move and now around 1,500 workers will benefit. Last month we heard we had successfully seen off a bid to privatise the Land Registry read more
Solid turn out as RMT continues Sodexo fight (Aug 12) – Campaigners and trade unionist fighting the victimisation and dismissal of RMT union activist Petrit Mihaj took the fight against global union-busters Sodexo to the front door of the company’s London headquarters this morning with a solid and lively turn out distributing hundreds of leaflets to members of the public as the campaign for Petrit’s reinstatement builds throughout the trade union movement read more
RMT workers strike on Friday in ISS for 48 hours (Aug 12) – Low paid workers employed by ISS on their lucrative East Coast Mainline Contract entered into their latest round of strike action starting on Friday 8th August 2014 for 24 hours, coupled to a 48 hour strike being planned later in the month. For over 2 years now members of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers have been locked in a head on battle with rogue employer ISS in a fight for a living wage to bring them out of the poverty line. These workers are paid the National Minimum Wage by ISS yet the company will be creaming profit off the back of a poorly paid workforce who they treat with contempt and disdain. Morale amongst the members is good, despite having had no pay rise since 2011. However it appears that the company’s arrogance shows no bounds as their attitude has been to cancel meetings that are in place to address the issue at a moment’s notice and expecting the workers and the union to accept this. Picket lines will be in force at Kings Cross, Newcastle and Edinburgh Waverley on the strike days. Come along and stand shoulder to shoulder with the ISS workers in their fight to bring themselves out of poverty. The next round of Industrial Action is planned for 48 hours commencing Friday 15th August – Richie Veitch RMT Edinburgh branch more on RMT website
St Pancras Eurostar cleaners to strike again (Aug 12) – Cleaners working on the St Pancras station and Eurostar contracts for high-profile facilities company Interserve will be striking again this week for forty eight hours in a fight over massive job cuts and workplace justice read more
ISS East Coast cleaner’s rock-solid in strike action (Aug 8) – RMT cleaners working for ISS on the East Coast contract are out in force on picket lines this morning as they strike for pay justice. The ISS workers have been battling for decent levels of pay in a long running campaign with the wealthy company refusing to grant any increase since 2011, a position the union has described as “simply disgraceful and based on nothing but pure greed.” read more
Action for Rail national day of action Tuesday August 19 – ‘All on board for public ownership’ read more & details of stations where protests are taking place
Strike action step closer in Food Standards Agency (Aug 12) – Meat hygiene inspectors, vets and support staff employed by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action, over a long running pay dispute. The action by UNISON members will affect more than 130 slaughterhouses in England, Wales and Scotland, hitting meat supplies to butchers and supermarkets. 63% voted in favour of the action, over the FSA’s decision to impose a 0.75% pay offer read more
Wincanton Chippenham Abba protest over pay (Aug) – GMB “ABBA” protest on 13th August at Wincanton Chippenham over Swindon Agency Workers underpaid by £2 Per Hour by use of Swedish Derogation. Words of Mamma Mia perfectly sum up their position with Wincanton –“I’ve been cheated by you since I don’t know when, So I made up my mind, it must come to an end” read more
Support the locked-out Greyhound Workers – The workers have been locked out at the waste disposal company since 17th June. Management at the company is attempting to force workers to accept wage cuts of up to 35% and has employed strike-breakers to carry out waste collections during the dispute. SIPTU has 78 members in the company which has a contract to collect household waste for Dublin City Council read more Send messages of support and donations via www.facebook.com/greyhoundworkers
National Rally at Parliament – Members’ Voices – 3 September
Napo is organising a national rally of Parliament from 2pm to 3.30pm on Wednesday 3 September. Branches have been asked to organise delegations. Contact your Branch now if you are able to be there. Most crucially we are calling on members to write to their MP over the summer (or better still visit them in their constituency) urging them to attend and hear from frontline Probation staff about the chaos that is TR.
Ask your MP to sign EDM 111 calling for the government to assess the risk to public safety of the new probation service and halt the process of privatisation read more
Zero Hours Contracts – Whose Side Are You On? We live in the sixth richest economy in the world. You could be forgiven for thinking that his should mean a fair, decent society that leaves no-one behind and provides opportunities for all. However, what we have in the UK is a society whereby the top 1% hold 24% of the total wealth and the top 10% control 40% of the wealth see BFAWU video
VIDEO: $15 NOW & Fast Food Rights Campaign – Campaign against low pay to sweep across the Atlantic, as union organises UK Fast Food workers see video of press conference with Ronnie Draper BFAWU, John McDonnell MP and Gionger Jentzen Seattle $15Now
Fast Food Rights: upcoming plans and ‘activists’ pack – at the last Fast Food Rights campaign planning meeting on 25 June, the campaign decided on a plan of action for the months to come. This followed the global day of action that saw protests across Britain as well as in over 30 other countries on 15 May in solidarity with US fast food strikes. The next national Fast Food Rights days of action will take place on the day of the next US fast food strike. Dates are still being confirmed, but this will be late August/ early September. As soon as details are confirmed we will announce them read more from Fast Food Rights
Blacklisting & Victimisation
Blacklist Support Group update – 6th Aug 2014
1. Islington Council boot out Kier from housing contract because of blacklisting – well done Cllr Gary Doolan and Chris Clarke for representing
Cambridge City Council also voted to ban blacklisting firms from contracts last week – well done Cllr Sue Birtles for moving the resolution
2. Compensation Scheme
Only 60 people have even bothered to request a form from the bosses blacklist compensation scheme. Lets hope the number stays low – the wretches are trying to buy people off with a few quid to avoid the public humiliation of a High Court trial and the larger compensation payments that will be imposed when they are found guilty. At present the entire payouts in the compensation scheme are based upon a minor breach of the Data Protection Act. As the High Court trial progresses and seperate Human Rights claims are won, the compensation payments are almost certainly going to increase. Blacklist Support Group suggest that everyone boycotts the bosses scheme and holds tight until proper figures are agreed that genuinely compensate for years of financial hardship, hurt to feelings and human rights violations. Anyone accepting a few pounds now could be seriously selling themselves short. MPs at the Select Committee were scathing about the compensation scheme (see below)
Most importantly, what the bosses scheme fails to offer are jobs for blacklisted workers. Even if someone accepts a few pounds compensation, if they can never work on a major project in the industry again, then there is no real justice. We want compensation for everyone on the blacklist and a positive action jobs scheme including retraining packages for those struggling to find work.
3. Select Committee investigation into blacklisting – press coverage
Full video footage of the blacklist bosses woeful evidence session at the Select Committee: http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=15832
4. Public Inquiry on blacklisting – press coverage
Cameron says ‘NO’
Labour Policy Forum says ‘YES’
The Labour Party national policy forum has agreed the following wording on blacklisting:
“If the current Government will not launch a full inquiry into the disgraceful practice of blacklisting in the construction industry the next Labour Government will. This inquiry will be transparent and public to ensure the truth is set out”
Blacklist Support Group issued the following statement:
“The Labour Party pledge to hold a “”transparent and public” inquiry into blacklisting should be applauded by everyone fighting for justice on this human rights conspiracy.
We have been calling for this for many years – Fair play to them. A big thank you to all those who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make this happen”.
There is still an urgent need to apply pressure on the Labour Party to make sure an unequivocal commitment to a fully independent Leveson style public inquiry on blacklisting appears in the General Election manifesto. The continued revelations in the media about undercover police officers spying on grieving families of murder victims and peaceful democratic activists make a public inquiry even more important.
If any group is organising a fringe meeting at TUC or Labour Party conferences in September, Blacklist Support Group would be very happy to supply a speaker if any slots are available.
5. Government Carr Inquiry into trade union leverage campaigns decides no case to answer
6. Construction Rank & File national meeting
Saturday 9th August
Red Lion Square
(Nearest tube: Holborn)
Discussing blacklisting, umbrella scams, JIB pay dispute, deskilling – Good luck to all those in attendance
7. Blacklisting is a global phenomenon – International Union Rights magazine special edition on blacklisting
Full magazine now available: http://www.ictur.org/pdf/IUR211.pdf
Please support the work of ICTUR by ordering copies of their magazine by contacting [email protected]
8. Requests from film-makers & journalists
Lucy Parker is a film maker and particularly interested in talking to women on the blacklist or wives / partners of blacklisted building workers: [email protected]
Drew Natterjack is a journalist looking to talk to people from the Bristol area who were blacklisted: [email protected]
LONDON HAZARDS MAGAZINE AUGUST 2014 issue.
To all London Hazards Supporters
We are pleased to report that London Hazards August issue is now available. We have as usual some important and relevant articles contributed by specialists in their fields on a whole range of topical subjects.
1. Asbestos in schools more than 75% of our schools contain it. read its problem and its threats.
2. International Workers Memorial Day 28th April. 2014 Demo outside Qatar Embassy London and the rally at Tower Hill.
3. Mesothilioma Day London and the Launch of a London Asbestos support group to help families and victims.
4. Safety in Laboratories.
5. Affiliation to London Hazards and appeal for help.
6. Turkish Mining disaster over 300 miners were killed.
7. M&S saleswoman exposed to Asbestos wins case.
8. Crossrail a culture of fear and spying.
9. Blacklisting updates.
10. Want to help London Hazards buy a raffle ticket you could win £1000. towards your 2015 summer holiday.
Please let me know or Paul at our office 0207 527 5107 email – [email protected] how many copies you would like for your organisation / site / office / housing estate / schools.
Thank you for your continued support Pete Farrell Chair of London Hazards
International (also see Labourstart)
IFJ launches Solidarity Appeal for journalists in Gaza (12 Aug) – The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is appealing to journalists across the world to contribute to a special solidarity appeal set up to provide financial aid to journalists in Gaza who are desperately in need of help.
Donations can be sent to the IFJ International Safety Fund on the following account:
The Safety Fund
a/c BE64 2100 7857 0052
Swift Code: GEBABEBB
BNP PARIBAS FORTIS BANK, Rond Point Schuman 10, 1040 Brussels
Online secure donations can also be made through PayPal on the IFJ safety website
Please indicate in your communication: “IFJ Gaza Solidarity Appeal” read more on NUJ website
Swaziland: Prime Minister threatens to strangle trade union leaders read more
Diary (see & use false economy)
13 ACT-UP London meeting – 6:30 pm at Ron Todd House, 33-37 Moreland St, London EC1 (hosted by UNITE London & Eastern Region LGBT Committee)
18 Let’s Talk About Gay Sex and Drugs is an open communication forum for anyone to attend and speak about how they perceive sex and drug use amongst the modern gay community – 6 pm at Manbar, 79 Charing Cross Rd, London WC2 – hosted by Patrick Cash – QX magazine in association with David Stuart of 56 Dean Street (56 DS will be on site offering free STI testing upstairs). Supported by QX, Attitude Magazine and UNITE London & Eastern Region LGBT Committee. Attached is a photograph of Theo Gordon speaking at the previous event taken by UNITE London & Eastern Region LGBT Committee member Manu Valcarce.
3 Leeds Youth Fight for Jobs branch meeting
6 Anti-Austerity March and Rally in Manchester – assemble 11am Castlefield Arena
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
5 Leeds Youth Fight for Jobs branch meeting
3 Leeds Youth Fight for Jobs branch meeting
PHONE 07952 283 558
EMAIL mailto:[email protected]
TWITTER – https://twitter.com/NSSN_AntiCuts
ADDRESS NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE