See NSSN video taken on Saturday’s TUC ‘Britain Needs a Pay Rise’ demonstration’
St Mungo’s strike by Unite members
Two hundred striking homelessness workers gathered outside St Mungo’s Broadway head office on the first day of a seven day strike. The strike follows imposed changes by a new management team at the charity. Spirits were high and there was a mood of determination as strikers chanted “the workers united will never be defeated”. Earlier that morning workers had staged nineteen workplace pickets.
Speaking at the rally Unite convenor Adam Lambert reported that, in last minute talks at ACAS, management had conceded they were wrong to impose changes but did not offer to do anything about it; Unite negotiators were given nothing to take back to members and no willingness to compromise was evident.
Peter Kavanagh, Unite Regional Secretary, pledged the union’s absolute support for the strike including financial assistance. He underlined that there was no contradiction between workers getting decent conditions and a top class service for homeless people: quite the opposite. He told strikers that their role was to mitigate one of the worst crimes of capitalism; homelessness. Speakers included Rob Williams of the NSSN, Sally Kosky Unite National Officer, Nicky Marcus Unite Regional Officer and St Mungo’s reps.
A visiting sandwich seller, not wanting to cross a picket line, stuck a Unite flag in his trolley before making his rounds of the office; a reminder of the strike to anyone working in the block.
Pickets have boosted by overwhelming support from passers-by. St Mungo’s volunteers refused to cross picket lines, understanding that decent services to the homeless are threatened by the new chief executive Howard Sinclair. Some St Mungo’s donors approached pickets to express their shock at the actions of the new management team. Later in the day strikers decided to pay an impromptu visit to the nearby offices of Shepherds Bush Housing Association where St Mungos Broadway Board Chair, Paul Doe, is Chief Executive. Setting off behind the NSSN banner 150 strikers held a noisy protest.
On the first strike day, management made no attempt to follow up their admission that they had acted wrongly with any specific proposals. Instead they emailed a series of legal threats to Unite representatives. On the second day, Chief Executive Howard Sinclair visited a picket in Hackney and told them he would not give in to their demands if they struck for twenty days. In an earlier magazine interview he explained that he took a wolf mask to union negotiations: it seems this sums up his approach to relations with his staff!
Strikers marched at the head of the “Britain Deserves a pay Rise” demonstration behind the Unite Housing Workers banner. They gave out thousands of leaflets and collected money for the strike. Jeremy Corbyn MP and others pledged to help. They also met Care UK strikers. Owned by Bridgepoint capital, Care UK has been driving down wages of care workers and competing for NHS contracts by cutting pay and conditions. Howard Sinclair’s £5000 pay cuts for new starters and his talk of working with private contractors such as Serco point to a comparable commercialised future for St Mungos Broadway. Along with a massive pay off for the previous Chief Executive and a new dictatorial management culture these moves anger staff. They point out that they are particularly ill-conceived for an organisation which hopes for donations based on the good will of members of the public.
Unite branch secretary Suzanne Muna commented:
“Unite is campaigning to defend standards of pay and service standards in the sector. We appeal to responsible employers to talk to us about a national agreement such as already exists in Scotland to prevent a competitive race to the bottom”.
Unite reps have found the task of reviewing hardship claims from strikers a harrowing experience as they bring home the desperate conditions faced by many workers even before the strike. Striking is not easy for workers with housing costs and family commitments but they are determined to save an organisation they are deeply committed to, and they have no intention of being walked over.
Please donate to the campaign as follows:
- By BACS: Account Name: Unite Housing Workers Branch LE1111, Account No: 20040639, Sort Code: 08-60-01.
- By cheque made out to the Unite Housing Workers Branch LE1111, Unite LE1111, and sent to PO Box 66701, London E11 9FB.
Follow @SMBUnite and @UniteHousing on twitter for latest info plus Unite LE1111 website http://www.housingworkers.org.uk/
The famous pink NSSN £10 minimum wage t-shirts are still available. Email us to order – £8 each. We have the following sizes: women – small, medium, large, XL and men – small, medium, large, XL, XXL
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
Yorkshire NSSN Conference – Saturday November 22nd Cosmopolitan Hotel Lower Briggate, Leeds, Yorkshire LS1 4AE
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]
POA members at Ashworth, Broadmoor and Rampton to strike on 24th October 2014 (16 Oct) – The POA have called strike action for 24th October 2014 at its High Secure Psychiatric hospitals after its membership voted overwhelmingly to take action at Ashworth, Broadmoor and Rampton in relation to the Coalition Government failing to fulfil the NHS Pay Review Body recommendations. The POA membership were balloted on strike action where 78% of its members voted in favour of such action. Further, 91.3% of members voted for action short of strike action. The strike will be between 7.00am and 11.00am and there will be a further continuous open ended work to rule, which is short of strike action read more
Society of Radiographers
SoR Strike: Was it all worth it? (21 Oct) – Yesterday’s four-hour strike has proved an incredible success, says Paul Moloney, the Society’s Trade Union and industrial Relations Manager. A quick look at social media shows that members from across the UK supported the strike with enthusiasm and great good humour. There were picket lines from Dundee to Plymouth and everywhere in between, with members at all levels – who work in diagnostic imaging and radiotherapy – taking part read more See strike photos from all around the country on twitter via @SCoRMembers
Dairylea Dunker takes biscuit in EDF Energy disciplinary row (20 Oct) – The case of the Dairylea Dunker is centre stage in a row about the increasing number of spurious disciplinary cases being generated by EDF Energy bosses. Unite is threatening industrial action, unless a driver sacked for allegedly driving while eating a Dairylea Dunker is reinstated at a disciplinary appeal hearing in Bexleyheath tomorrow (Tuesday 21 October). Unite said that in the last year there had been about 20 disciplinary cases in the metering section where the union has about 500 members
JIB/SJIB Wage Rise Accepted New Siteworker blogpost
Further Strikes At ISS In Woolwich Hospital (Oct 20) – GMB reps at ISS at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Woolwich meet to fix further dates for strikes in dispute over two tier workforce in NHS. Members want an end to the two- tier workforce within the hospital with the same pay rates and weekend enhancements and unsocial hours rates as directly employed staff says GMB. GMB representatives of members employed by contractor ISS at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich will meet to fix further dates for strike action in a dispute over a two tier workforce in the NHS. This follows a 24 hours strike on 8th October. Over 200 GMB members are employed by ISS at the hospital as cleaners, security, ward hostesses, caterers, on the switchboard and as porters. Members want the same pay rates and weekend enhancements and unsocial hours rates as the staff directly employed by the Trust read more
Leicestershire Strike by 280 Members (Oct 20) – 280 GMB members at Meggitt Polymers and Composites near Loughborough 24 Hour Strike from Tues 21st Oct over unilateral cuts to terms and conditions. Members want to give a clear message to management that they will not tolerate any further detriment to their terms and conditions read more
4 More Strike Days At Sheffield Recycling (Oct 17) – GMB further four day strike on 18th, 19th, 25th and 26th Oct at Sheffield Recycling Centres in dispute on pay, facilities and way centres are managed. GMB members want a fair share of the money allocated for this vital service plus a decent toilet in the winter, somewhere to wash and a bit of honesty which isn’t a lot to ask for says GMB read more
Tata Steel unions Unite, Community & GMB respond to Tata Steel’s sale of its Long Products business (15 Oct) – The trade unions within Tata Steel – Community, Unite and GMB – are disappointed by today’s announcement. Tata Steel has failed to consult at all with the trade unions before making this move, which could have serious consequences for employees and contractors right across Tata Steel, not just within the Long Products business that it wants to sell. The unions have been treated with contempt in this process as the level of consultation that we would expect ahead of such a major strategic announcement has not taken place. We were made aware of this fait accompli two days ago which is neither within the spirit nor the letter of longstanding Information and Consultation or European Works Council agreements. We have no comment to make about the potential buyer, the Klesch Group, as at this stage we are opposed to the principle of the sale read more
Financial appeal: Week of successful strike action at Garston comes to an end (17 Oct) – Members at Garston contact centre in Liverpool have completed a week’s strike action over office closure plans. The week’s strike action ran from Monday 13 October to Friday 17 October and followed on from two 1-day strikes on 16 May and 23 June. Members have been protesting against the proposed closure of their office and the forced transfer of all staff to Bootle read more Please send donations to – Mr A. Campbell. 67A Garston Old Road, Liverpool L19 9AD. Made payments out to – PCS DWP Liverpool branch hardship fund
Strike ballot opens today for Waterloo Station cleaners (22 Oct) – Cleaners employed by Interserve, looking after the busy and internationally famous Waterloo Station in London, are to be balloted for strike action over a comprehensive breakdown in industrial relations relating to a whole range of fundamental issues read more
Arriva Trains Wales conductors to strike again (20 Oct) – Following 24 hours of rock solid action earlier this month, which led to serious disruption to services, Arriva Trains Wales conductors working out of three key depots are to take a further 48 hours of strike action this week over the victimisation and dismissal of two union members through an outright abuse by the company of the sickness absence policy. In a further escalation, RMT is also bringing in a ban on rest day working through into next month along with a withdrawal of goodwill and a refusal to work outside of boundaries and terms and conditions read more
Reclaim the Union meeting – Following the Unison leadership’s decision to reverse it’s original rejection of the pay offer from the local government employers activists in Unison Local Government are calling a national meeting to discuss the direction of the pay dispute and it’s implication for the future direction of the union. The meeting is open to all Unison Local Government activists.
Saturday 8th November, 2-4 PM. Rooms B04, Birkbeck University, 43 Gordon Square. Wc1H 0PD
NHS workers in Wales vote to strike over pay (Oct 20) – UNISON’s NHS workers in Wales have voted overwhelmingly to take strike action over this year’s pay offer, in a formal ballot that closed today. Nurses, occupational therapists, porters, paramedics, medical secretaries, cooks and healthcare assistants were among those balloted in response to the decision by the Welsh health minister to ignore the NHS Pay Review recommendations for a 1% pay rise read more
Care UK workers call for funds – Care UK strikers in Doncaster have launched a new appeal for solidarity funds. The workers – who were transferred from the NHS to private company Care UK – will have been on strike for a total of 90 days. 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. Make cheques out to ‘Doncaster, District and Bassetlaw Health Branch’.
University staff vote overwhelmingly for industrial action in pensions row (20 Oct) – Staff have overwhelmingly backed plans for industrial action at 69 UK universities in a row over changes to pensions. In the ballot, 78% of members of the University and College Union (UCU) who voted, voted for strike action and 87% voted for action short of a strike, which could include a marking boycott. The turnout of 45% was the highest in a national higher education ballot since UCU was formed in 2006 read more
All members circular: Pensions, delay after delay – the long wait for a response from DCLG (Oct 16) – Dear Brother/Sister, The Executive Council yesterday discussed the ongoing pension dispute. There is understandable frustration across the union at the numerous delays from DCLG in announcing whether they are in a position to provide revised proposals on pensions or not read more
Support locked-out Buckinghamshire fire-fighters – During the recent action by the FBU in England & Wales when fire-fighters took action for periods of two and one hours over 8 days, Buckinghamshire Fire Authority docked wages for the whole shifts. To contribute to Bucks FBU hardship fund:-
Account No: 71603124
Sort Code: 40-33-33
Bucks FBU Hardship Fund
Also, email Complaints to Bucks FRS – [email protected]
Last-ditch talks to avoid Post Office Christmas strike (Oct 17) – Post Office “Next week, POL management will have a last chance to avoid a pre-Christmas strike and I strongly urge them to seize it,” CWU national officer Andy Furey said this morning (Friday), after feedback from yesterday’s national reps’ briefing indicated mounting anger among Admin and Supply Chain members over pay read more
BFAWU / Fast Food Rights
BFAWU’s Foodworker magazine read here
The ‘Still the Enemy Within’ documentary film about the 1984-85 Miners’ Strike is showing this autumn – for details – http://the-enemy-within.org.uk/events/
Blacklisting & Victimisation
Blacklist Support Group update – 13th October
From GMB website “Crocodile Tears tour” here
- High Court
The High Court Blacklisting Group Litigation show trial was back at the Royal Courts of Justice on Thursday. The lively protest outside the court was joined by Steve Rotheram MP, National Shop Stewards Network, Unite the Resistance and social justice activist Caroline Murphy.
With 17 wigs including a gaggle of QCs, 20+ solicitors, company spies and dozens of blacklisted workers wearing very visible BLACKLISTED t-shirts, the public gallery was packed. Just in case anyone was in any doubt about the political importance of the trial, at least 2 members of the Labour Party NEC were in attendance. The case was transferred in the afternoon to a courtroom twice the size as elderly blacklisted workers have to stand throughout the morning session in a courtroom that was much too small.
The day was fairly procedural, the main topic of argument being the refusal by the firms to disclose any evidence. The firms have 13 years of minutes, correspondence and invoices from the Consulting Association but to date have refused to disclose a single document. In previous legal proceedings, some of the firms have actually argued that the minutes do not even exist. Much of the evidence was destroyed immediately after the ICO raid in 2009. The firms are attempting every possible delaying tactic in order to not have to disclose the documents they hold. The reason is clear, as Hugh Tomlinson QC told the court, this would provide “smoking gun” evidence of the unlawful conspiracy. Master Leslie ruled that both sides should present a report to the court by December 3rd indicating what documents they are prepared to disclose and what they are not prepared to disclose.
Lead Counsel for the blacklisted workers: Hugh Tomlinson QC, John Hendy QC, Guy Vassal-Adams, John Samson. There are now around 400 blacklisted claimants against 33 respondent companies. It was revealed in court that many of the claims for loss of earnings are in excess of £330,000 – final settlement would be likely to also include an additional payment to cover defamation, hurt to feelings, human rights violations.
The next trial date was set for 17th December and another for Feb 2015 (tbc).
- Laing O’Rourke protest
Blacklisted workers assaulted during peaceful protest at Laing O’Rourke
Video reportage from Reel News: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mdqRxxpTE8
- GMB Crocodile Tears Tour
GMB union have launched a tour targeting the HR professionals and industrial relations managers who were the ‘main contacts’ between the Consulting Association and the blacklisting firms.
Check out when they are in your area and make sure you get down there to join the fun. They’ve got a real crocodile (maybe)
The Chartered Institute of Personell and Development (CIPD) is the professional body for HR in the UK. 61 leading academics involved in teaching and research of employment relations have sent a letter of complaint to the CIPD about the lack of disciplinary action taken against the CIPD members named in parliamant as personally involved in blacklisting.
Blacklist Support Group send a message of thanks to Professor Jane Holgate and the other signatories for organsing this open letter (below):
To: Mr Peter Cheese
Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development
151 The Broadway, London, SW19 1JQ
15 October 2014
Most of the signatories below teach in the area of HRM and many are
professional/academic members of CIPD (others are CIPD members and HR
practitioners, or retired CIPD members) and we would like to raise a
concern we have about HR professionals who have been implicated in
blacklisting practices against workers in the construction industry.
We understand that 34 HR professionals have been named in Parliament as
being the managers who used the blacklist on a day-to-day basis and that
some of these may be CIPD members.
We also believe that you, as chief executive of the CIPD, have also
given evidence to the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee
inquiry into blacklisting where you told the committee that, if asked,
you would reveal which of the blacklisters were members of the
professional body. We understand that the trade union the GMB have
written to you about this but have yet to receive a response.
We are concerned that blacklisting is not only discriminatory due to
trade union activities or because of individuals raising health and
safety concerns, but that it has destroyed the careers and livelihoods
of a considerable number of workers: this is unacceptable behaviour and
not worthy of any HR professional and which seriously contravenes the
CIPD’s own professional code of conduct. Further, as academics, we all
teach on or are responsible for CIPD programmes which put an emphasis on
ethical practice and the core issue here is that seemingly members of
the association have contravened the right to freedom of association,
one of ILO’s core labour standards.
The Scottish Affairs Committee has said companies that have been caught
blacklisting should undertake a process of ‘self-cleaning’; we believe
this should also apply to the CIPD if we are to maintain credibility as
a professional organization.
We would therefore request that you launch an investigation into whether
any of the people included in the list below are current or former
members of CIPD.
If this is found to be the case they should be expelled from CIPD
membership. Further we would ask that there is full disclosure of any
investigation (who carried out the investigation, who was investigated
and who refused to participate and whether or not sanctions were
applied) and that this is made publicly available to CIPD members.
We would appreciate a speedy response to our letter.
Professor Jane Holgate, University of Leeds (and others)
International (also see Labourstart)
Turkey: we have received this model motion from Day-Mer, an organisation of Turkish & Kurdish workers in the UK and SPOT (Solidarity with People of Turkey). It relates to the oppression of Kurdish refugees (and their supporters, including trade unionists) who have fled from Kobane in Syria, which is under attack from ISIS.
(Union Branch/National Executives of……..) notes:
- The honourable resistance of Kurdish people against ISIS in Kobane on the Turkish border with Syria.
- That trade unionists and other protesters in Turkey have been physically attacked for supporting the Kurdish resistance in Kobane.
- That Kurdish refugees fleeing into Turkey have been attacked by the Turkish authorities.
- That oppression by the Turkish government against Kurds inside Turkey has increased in response to protests in support of the Kurdish people in Kobane.
(Union Branch/National Executives of……..) believes: That the Kurdish and Turkish Community here in the UK and trade unions in Turkey supporting the resistance in Kobane and fighting for the unity of Turkish and Kurdish workers deserve our support.
(Union Branch/National Executives of…….) agrees to:
- Inform and update its members on the developments in Turkey and Kobane through SPOT and Day-Mer.
- Send a message of support to the Confederation of Public Workers Union in Turkey (KESK) who have been taking action in support of the Kurdish people in Kobane.
- Consider sending a delegation to Turkey to observe and report on developments.
- Sponsor a meeting with Day-Mer at Westminster to highlight the issue of Kobane and the Kurdish people in Turkey. See FBU statement
Diary (see & use false economy)
5 Leeds Youth Fight for Jobs branch meeting
15 National construction rank and file meeting – at Newcastle Labour Club
11 Leazes Park Road, Newcastle. NE1 4PF 1.00pm until 4.00pm
21 BFAWU lobby of Parliament
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