NSSN 216: FBU escalate pension strikes

Firefighters in the FBU union are due to strike for four days over pension cuts. The strike marks a big escalation in the dispute, as up until now the walkouts – since September 2013 – have lasted between two and 24 hours. This is from Salford FBU rep Paul Davies.

“We’re very, very angry and disappointed about the way negotiations have gone. Not on the FBU’s part – it’s done a really good job at putting the case across and explaining why we need a revised offer. It’s the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

Nothing’s changed from the start, there’s no bend or give from them. If you’re a firefighter now you’re going to have to work until you’re 60 instead of 55.

The threat of being dismissed on the grounds of capability if you don’t reach the required fitness standards is still in place. A firefighter in his mid to late 50s is going to have to pass the same medical and have the same level of fitness as a 19-year-old. There’s going to be a lot of firefighters who are not going to meet the required standards and will be out of a job.

It’s also about the contributions going up – we’ll pay more in and get less out.

This four day strike can’t come too soon. The fire brigades could barely cope when we went out for four or eight hours. With this four day one, they’re really going to struggle. I just hope that the various chief fire officers around the country can put pressure on the DCLG to get back round the table.

Pensions aren’t the only issue. The cuts seem to be never ending. In the last couple of weeks four or five appliances have been cut in Greater Manchester.

My station, Salford, has just lost a fire engine. We’re now down to one pump. The neighbouring station in Moss Side has lost a fire engine as well. The chief fire officer is saying that it’s because we’re taking action short of strike action, that they can’t crew those appliances because we won’t do overtime in the district. But it’s nothing to do with us not doing the overtime. He’s not recruited for five years. He’s not got enough staff to crew those appliances because of the cuts.

The pay’s not going up, the pension contributions are going up, and the jobs are going. There’s no good news in the fire service really.

The obvious thing is to coordinate with the NHS staff: two of the emergency services on strike at the same time. Either that or a longer FBU strike. An eight day strike is what a lot of people have been talking about because then we’re all hit the same, all the watches lose out.”

Firefighters will lose around £600 of pay due to the strike. The National Shop Stewards Network appeals for hardship collections to be taken to local fire stations in support of the dispute. The national FBU hardship fund bank account details are: Sort code 08-60-01 Account number 20034726 FBU solidarity & financial appeal

Fire strikes escalate: Firefighters in England call four days of strike action to protect pensions and public safety (Oct 24) read more from FBU website

Latest firefighters’ strike averted in Wales – possibility of pension breakthrough means no strike action called for Welsh Firefighters (Oct 28) read more from FBU website

Matt Wrack video   Sign FBU pension petition



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]



Union News


POA members at Ashworth, Broadmoor and Rampton High Secure Psychiatric hospitals took strike action on 24th October – for strike photos on twitter follow #POA #NHSpay @hhpoachair



Unite members at St Mungo’s Broadway call new 10-day strike from November 5th

St Mungo’s 7-day strike – read strike report from Unite LE1111 website 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 and #StMungosFraudway on twitter for latest info plus Unite LE1111 website http://www.housingworkers.org.uk/

To get a Unite member from the strike to speak at your union branch meeting, shop stewards committee, trades council etc email – [email protected]    Download collection sheet here

Thomson Airways’ Christmas flight disruption on cards, as strike vote announced in pay dispute (27 Oct) – A possible strike over below inflation pay rises involving cabin crew and pilot roster crew controllers at Thomson Airways could herald passenger disruption in the run-up to Christmas, Unite, the country’s largest union, warned today (Monday 27 October). About 30 crew controllers and their assistants, who arrange cabin crew and pilot rosters to Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regulations to cover for sick colleagues and any unforeseen circumstances, will be balloted from 19 November for strike action in a dispute over pay. The ballot closes on 10 December. Unite announced the ballot on the eve of tomorrow’s (Tuesday 28 October) extraordinary annual general meeting of the airline’s parent company, TUI, in the German city of Hanover read more

Half-term library use in Greenwich due to be hit by library staff strike (23 Oct) – Greenwich libraries face the prospect of severe disruption or closure when staff strike for two days next week, when libraries are particularly busy because of school half-term, in the dispute over staff cuts and pay. The strikes on 30 and 31 October, follow the completely solid strike on 14 October when 86 senior library assistants and library assistants, members of Unite, the country’s largest union, walked out. Only one of the borough’s 12 libraries was able to open on 14 October. The crux of the dispute is the behaviour of Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL), the social enterprise company, awarded the contract in 2012 by Greenwich council to run the borough’s library service. GLL has said that it will not replicate any pay rises that are awarded to local government workers, which was previously the case until a change in the law read more



See Blacklisting section for ‘Crocodile Tears’ Tour

Continuous strike action at Sheffield Recycling (Oct 29) – GMB Changes Date For Continuous Strike To 1st November At Sheffield Recycling Centres In Dispute On Pay, Facilities And Bullying. GMB members being bullied by managers want a fair share of cash in 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. GMB members employed by the Green Company, running five recycling centres as a subcontractor to Veolia for Sheffield City Council, have reissued notice that they will take continuous strike action from 1st November in a dispute over pay, facilities and how the contract is managed. Continuous strike was due to start on Wednesday 29th October. This follows 9 days of strike action that commenced on 1st October.The recent strikes took place on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th October.  Note GMB have had to reissue the notice for continuous strike action to commence on Saturday 1st November instead of Wednesday 30th. This is because a challenge by the company was launched because 2 sacked workers jobs were left on the notice read more

Brussels Meeting On ISS Woolwich Dispute (Oct 28) – Brussels meeting on 29th October to update EU trade unions on ISS dispute at Woolwich Hospital over two tier workforce. We will go ahead with further strikes if promised meeting is a stalling tactic as only more money on the table will solve this dispute EU colleagues will be told by GMB read more



Public and David Attenborough show support for PCS Kew campaign (23 Oct) – A packed public meeting heard that funding cuts at Kew Gardens need to be reversed to protect its scientific expertise and the jobs of the dedicated staff 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



Over 50 MP’s sign motion against Northern and Trans-Pennine Express rail cuts & lobby of Parliament on November 4th (24 Oct) – Rail union RMT today confirmed today that over 50 MP’s have now signed Early Day Motion 174 against cuts to rail jobs and services bound up in the Government’s proposals for the future of the Northern and Trans-Pennine Express franchises as the organisation gears up for the lobby of parliament on November 4th read more

Protest to defend Sodexo worker – Friday Oct 31 9.30am outside Ealing Magistrates Court – Mo Aslam up on a trumped up charge of assaulting a Sodexho manager – 3rd Sodexho rep to be victimised in the last 6 months. Outside Ealing magistrates at 9.30am Friday 31st. Support MO against this union busting multinational



Welsh NHS strike date set for Monday 10 November (Oct 27) – UNISON confirms that its members working in the NHS in Wales will stage a half day stoppage between 8.30am and 12pm on Monday 10 November. This will be followed by four days of action short of strike action between Tuesday 11 and Friday 14 November when members will work to rule by ensuring they take their breaks and work to their contracted hours. A strong 77% voted yes for industrial action and 90% to action short of strike action in a ballot which closed on 20 October read more

National meeting called to campaign for a REJECT vote of the Local Government pay offer by Reclaim the Union – 2-4pm Saturday 8th November Room B04 Birkbeck University, 43 Gordon Square, WC1H 0PD

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 assessment boycott set for 6 November in pensions row (27 Oct) – UCU members in 69 UK universities will begin an assessment boycott on Thursday 6 November. The assessment boycott will stop students being set coursework or receiving formal marks and feedback, as well as halting exams. The union said it had announced the action after talks between UCU and the employers’ representatives last week had failed to provide a guarantee the employers were making any effort to protect the pensions of members of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) read more



Crane drivers vote overwhelmingly for strike action as construction sites face shutdown (Oct 28) – UCATT members at HTC Plant Limited have voted overwhelmingly for strike action in a dispute over pay. The 180 plus crane drivers had a vote of 94% in favour of strike action and 94.6% in favour of industrial action short of strike action. The turnout was in excess of 80%. UCATT is now in consultation with its activists at the company and the exact dates and nature of the industrial action will be announced by the end of the week read more



Ritzy job cuts prompt ballot for strike action (Oct 28) – Union members at the Ritzy cinema will ballot for strike action over management’s decision to announce large scale redundancies just six weeks after an agreement was reached to settle the long-running pay dispute read more

Ritzy Living Wage: Picturehouse Cinemas’ redundancy plan after living wage won (Oct 24) – We are utterly dismayed and saddened by the brutality which was thrown at us yesterday by Picturehouse Cinemas. In what can only be described as a cynical attempt to ‘improve customer service’, they plan to axe the positions of 2 managers, ALL 8 supervisors, 3 technical staff, numerous Front Of House and numerous Bar staff. The announcement of a ‘consultation’ period regarding these redundancies will start from the 3rd of November for a minimum of 30 days. It is anticipated that the redundancies will occur within a period of 90 days beginning towards the end of November. We have been told that our positions will be ‘renamed’ and that a yet undisclosed ‘pool’ of people will interview us and consider us for our existing jobs. The selection criteria proposed will be based on performance, skills, qualifications, attendance and our discipline currently kept on individual employee files. Redundancy payments will be in line with statutory levels. Whilst there is no evidence of financial problems at the site, in fact we regularly come number 1 in monthly profits, the company propose that lowering it’s workforce by a quarter will improve the cinematic experience which a skeleton number of staff are already working incredibly hard to deliver. NO OTHER site in the company is facing redundancies and NO OTHER site is subject to these dramatic changes. This is nothing short of a scandalous provocation which is set out to undermine a years worth of hard work to gain a bare minimum wage rise, nothing short of backhanded corruption of statistics, nothing short of pure vindictive retaliation because we the workers showed that with determination and collectivity, we could effect change to make our lives that tiny bit more comfortable.

Picturehouses have backtracked and are behaving against what they agreed to at ACAS and the documents attached bring into question their ethics and honesty both as a company and our employers. We call on you to show solidarity with us by emailing [email protected] and [email protected] to make complaints about the appalling way the company are treating us. These are the company directors who couldn’t even be bothered to show up yesterday to tell us this news face to face.

You can also send messages via Twitter – @picturehouses FB – www.facebook.com/RitzyLivingWage

Ritzy Cinema Workers will fight this callous act of retribution and we will update you accordingly SOLIDARITY!



NUT holds Supply Teacher Lobby of Parliament (Oct 28) – Today’s Lobby of Parliament brought supply teachers from across England and Wales to Westminster to explain to MPs about how agencies are ripping-off education budgets – and supply teachers read more on blog of Martin Powell-Davies NUT NEC



Read report of NAPO’s AGM here



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]


BFAWU / Fast Food Rights

November 21st – BFAWU lobby of Parliament to support private members bill by Ian Mearns MP on zero-hour contracts

BFAWU’s Foodworker magazine read here

Reports of Fast Food Rights protests on Youth Fight for Jobs website   and Fast Food Rights website

Please send details of any local actions to [email protected] / [email protected]   see BFAWU video



Other news

Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign: IPCC demo in London 14 November – 2nd anniversary of the South Yorkshire Police ‘s self-referral to the IPCC is 14/11 and we plan to have a 50 seater coach to take us to their head office in High Holborn, London , Friday 14/11 , picking up at the White Bear, Barnsley, 7.30 am and then the Showroom 8am, getting to London mid-day

Still Ragged – 100 Years of the Ragged Trousered Philanthropists – ‘Still Ragged’ is a 75 minute documentary about Robert Tressell’s ‘The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists’, published in 1914. The film charters the impact of the book on people’s lives and it’s continual relevance today, as well as the fascinating origin of the manuscript. The film features Ricky Tomlinson, Dennis Skinner MP, Tom Watson MP as well as playwrites, singers and other fans of the book telling how Tressell’s work has influenced them personally and politically. “The new documentary film Still Ragged is an elegant celebration of the centenary of the book’s first publication.” details here

Sign the petition to Save our Surrey Care Homes – Please click here: http://petitions.surreycc.gov.uk/SaveCareHomes/



Blacklisting & Victimisation

Blacklist Support Group update – 27th October

  1. Recent press coverage from High Court etc….





  1. Crocodile Tears Tour

The GMB union are targeting the senior managers named in parliament as the “main contacts” at the blacklisting companies. This is a tour around every part of the UK – please check to see when they visit your area. Everyone is welcome to attend – bring your banners and t-shirts – Any blacklisted workers in attendance can virtually guarantee to make the local media.





This week (all protests start at 11am) :

Tues 28th October

Paul McCreath,

HR Director,

Kier Group:

Tempsford Hall,



SG19 2BD


Tues 28th October

Kathy Almansoor,

Group Employee Relations Manager,

Kier Group:

Tempsford Hall,




Glasgow 29th October

Gerry Harvey,

HR Development Director at Balfour Beatty Engineering Services:

Lumina Building,

40 Ainslie Road,

Hillngton Park,


Aberdeen 30th October

Kevin Gorman,

Vice President HR,

Harland Group:

Ocean Spirit House,

33 Waterloo Quay,

Aberdeen AB11 5BS.



Dundee City Council

5:30pm Monday 27th October

Demo is against the decision taken to make blacklisting firm BAM the preferred bidder for the V&A project. This campaign has been led by Francie Graham and Stuert Merchant, 2 retired blacklisted electricians from Dundee.



  1. ‘Boys on the Blacklist’ pamphlet out now

Many workers complained and campaigned against blacklisting for decades but it was the dispute at Manchester Royal Infirmary that finally lifted the lid on the Consulting Association. A new pamphlet by Tameside TUC tells the story of how the blacklist was uncovered.



  1. Construction national rank & file meeting

1-4pm 15th November 2014

Newcastle Labour Club



  1. Police finally admit and compensate for undercover spying on activists





Events about undercover police spying on activists:




  1. North Sea safety

After all the pleas and hand wringing about helicopter safety in the North Sea – the powers that be decide there is no need for a public inquiry.



  1. Umbrella companies exposed by Daily Mirror



  1. Theatre

United We Stand – play about the Shrewsbury Pickets on tour now: http://www.townsendproductions.org.uk/productions/united-we-stand

Mark Thomas award winning show Cuckooed about corporate spying on tour now: http://www.markthomasinfo.co.uk/section_gigs/

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlCa8yQmZ70

Blog: www.hazards.org/blacklistblog

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/groups/blacklistSG/



International (also see Labourstart)

USA: Zara must respect workers’ rights read more



Diary (see & use false economy)


30 Don’t privatise adult social care – lobby Warrington council! Thursday 30 October at 18:00–18:30, Warrington Town Hall , Sankey Street, WA1 1UH



5 Leeds Youth Fight for Jobs branch meeting

15 National construction rank and file meeting – at Newcastle Labour Club

Unite the Resistance conference

11 Leazes Park Road, Newcastle. NE1 4PF 1.00pm until 4.00pm

19 National student demonstration for free education and against austerity – assemble at Malet Street, London WC1E 7HZ 12noon

21 BFAWU lobby of Parliament

22 Yorkshire NSSN Conference – Cosmopolitan Hotel Lower Briggate, Leeds, LS1 4AE



1 Trade Unions Against TTIP – A Campaign for Trade Union Freedom meeting mobilising trade unionists for the campaign against TTIP, CETA, TISA and the new generation of “trade” treaties. 6pm Diskus Suite, Unite House, 128 Theobalds Road, London, WC1X 8TN https://www.facebook.com/events/728967470486256/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming

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