NSSN 223: Season’s greetings – the year that was 2014

It’s time to say goodbye to 2014. It was the year the trade union movement had to tragically say farewell to a genuine giant, Bob Crow. The NSSN salutes his memory and those of many other fallen comrades who have left us this year.

The year started with Bob’s union, the RMT standing up to the Tory bully Boris Johnson by stopping London in defence of Tube ticket offices. How apt that 2015 could start with thousands of London busworkers striking for one rate of pay across the different bus operators.

We’ve seen many disputes from the heroic marathon struggle of the Doncaster CareUK workers to the 10-day strike at Defence Support Group and the tenacious battle against blacklisting. We’ve seen workers taste victory at HTC cranes, Visteon pensions, JLR and of course St Mungo’s Broadway. This was also the year of Fast Food Rights and £10Now.

But 2014 could have been much better. On July 10th, over a million public sector workers went on strike together against the ConDems’ pay freeze. October could have seen many more walk out together but the local government unions pulled their action. But hundreds of thousands of NHS workers, civil servants and firefighters have been on strike on pay and pensions with further action likely in the next few weeks.

We are now in the run-up to the General Election. The NSSN will continue to call for mass co-ordinated action against Osborne’s brutal cuts offensive, which have now been escalated. Our movement has to send all those who harbour ambitions of government office the clear message that austerity will be resisted.

As we enter our 9th year, the NSSN will remain the sender of support and solidarity to all those who want to fight the cuts and victimisation, those who fight back against the employer and those like PCS who are fighting the biggest single attack on a trade union since the NUM had to face down Thatcher 30 years ago.

To all our supporters and affiliates – season’s greetings!


VIDEO: NSSN message to the TUC general council “It’s time to resist Osborne’s escalation of the cuts!” Here



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

Download the new ‘Join the NSSN’ leaflet here

Midlands NSSN Conference – Saturday March 14th 2015 Unite Offices, Birmingham download leaflet

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


Pensions dispute continues following debate (Dec 17) – Following the recent parliamentary debate and vote in the House of Commons over the 2015 Firefighters’ Pension Scheme Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, has reiterated that the trade dispute is not over. In an all members circular Matt Wrack writes: “Nothing in the debate or vote in the House of Commons alters the lawful status of our trade dispute – including whatever further industrial action is called read more & watch Parliamentary debate here

Firefighters lost around £600 of pay due to the recent 4-day 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



Wabtec Doncaster industrial action has been suspended (Dec 12) – Further to my previous correspondence, dated 25th November 2014, where I advised you of the ballot result, I write to you again to advise you that there have been fresh developments. Talks have taken place and the company has tabled an improved offer read more

RMT News November / December 2015 Edition here



Unite calls for Acas talks to avoid airport ground handler strike (17 Dec) – Unite called on airport ground handling company dnata to avoid the threat of a two-day strike next week by entering into talks at the conciliation service Acas to resolve a dispute over a ‘divisive’ pay offer. The call comes as Unite announced that ground and cargo handlers working for the company at Heathrow, Manchester and Gatwick had overwhelmingly backed strike action in a ballot by 83 per cent. Anger has mounted at dnata over the imposition of a pay offer which sees supervisors get 4.5 per cent – double the 2.25 per cent of other staff read more

Ex-Tesco drivers stage Yorkshire demos over ‘unfair dismissals’ (16 Dec) – Former drivers, who used to work on the Tesco distribution contract in Doncaster, will be continuing their fight against their ‘unfair dismissal’ by Eddie Stobart Ltd (ESL) with demonstrations outside Tesco stores and Stobart depots across Yorkshire tomorrow (Wednesday 17 December). The drivers, who were dismissed nearly two years ago, maintain that ESL and Tesco had together agreed to make 184 drivers redundant well before the workers had been consulted. The employment tribunal hearing the case is set to reconvene on 12 January 2015 when senior Tesco managers will be questioned over the process of transferring the drivers from Tesco to ESL in August 2012 read more

Shelter strike suspended following breakthrough in talks (15 Dec) – A three-day strike starting tomorrow (Tuesday 16 December) at the housing charity Shelter has been suspended following talks at ACAS, Britain’s largest union, Unite announced today (Monday 15 December). A fresh offer was made by Shelter management which includes improved rates of pay for new starters and the withdrawal of controversial proposals to review existing staff pay in 2015. The new offer will be put to members in a ballot read more

Pathology sell-off sparks strike action ballot at London’s leading hospitals (11 Dec) – Pathology staff at three of London’s largest NHS hospitals are being balloted for strike action from today (Thursday 11 December) over the looming transfer threat to Serco-linked private healthcare firm Viapath. Unite, Britain’s biggest union, warned that the transfer of more than 700 NHS laboratory staff from Guy’s, St Thomas’ and Kings College hospitals to private firm Viapath on 1 January 2015 is a ‘patient safety timebomb’, that marks the full-scale privatisation of the hospitals’ pathology services. The ballot of Unite members closes on 22 December setting the stage for strike action by the end of the month read more

T.Clarkes anti-union Romford sackings – 11 workers including 2 stewards were made redundant on 11th December at the Volks Fitzpatrick site in Romford by T Clarke. There has not been any meaningful consultation with the stewards or Unite officers. The job still had a few months to go and Clarkes have other sites that are looking for labour a massive site in Canon Street, we are sure agency labour is being used on these sites. T Clarke is saying they have no other work and cannot transfer the workers. We all know the real reason Clarkes do not want union members or an organised work force on their company. These same workers won their jobs in September after setting up a Unite union shop in response to the umbrella scam



Get involved in GMB’s campaign for £10 per hour at Next, which has been linking up with Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott Tour supporting Next workers see GMB website for details of protests in your area

Northern Ireland Water Dispute Over Pensions (Dec 17) – last ditch talks with minister today to avert industrial action by GMB members in Northern Ireland Water from Dec 22nd over changes to the pension scheme. Proposals will mean that all workers pay more and most will need to work for more years for less than under the current pensions scheme read more

Last Ditch Talks To Avert Xmas ISS Strikes (Dec 16) – last ditch talks on Thurs 18th Dec to avert further two day strike by ISS Staff at Woolwich Hospital in dispute over two tier workforce. Members have made it clear that if their demands aren’t met then they will be taking another two days of strike action over Christmas says GMB. GMB, the union for health service workers, warned that last ditch talks on Thursday 18th December between GMB, ISS and the NHS Trust must make progress to resolve the long running dispute over the two tier workforce for over 200 members employed by ISS at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich to avert further strike action on 25th and 26th December read more

Barking & Dagenham Council £2,000 Pay Cut Threat (Dec 16) – GMB members hold Santa demo at Barking & Dagenham Council cabinet meeting to stop £2,000 pay cut for refuse & street cleaning service. The need for the council to make cuts is the result of Tory policies and GMB is calling on Barking & Dagenham councillors not to carry out Tory led cuts to the detriment of working people read more



Lambeth College strike update: Rally 17th December, Clapham (Dec 16) – Today saw the start of 3 more days of strike action in Lambeth College UCU’s campaign against new contracts with worse conditions. Today striking workers from the Defence Support Group spoke at our rally; find out more about their campaign by following @DSGstrike on Twitter.The branch has called a mass lunchtime rally‎ at 12pm, jointly with Unison, this Wednesday 17th December, outside the Clapham Centre, to mark the end of this term’s industrial action and to mobilise for next term. Comedian Jeremy Hardy has confirmed attendance read more



Garston Contact Centre staff set to strike again (17 Dec) – PCS members at Garston contact centre in Liverpool are taking action on Monday in protest again the closure of their office. Ninety-five per cent of PCS members at Garston contact centre supported 2 one-day strikes on 16 May and 23 June to fight the proposed closure of their office and the forced transfer of all staff to either Bootle or Birkenhead. On both days about 30 pickets, including ordinary members formed lively picket lines. Members then took a further five days of strike action from Monday, 13 October to Friday, 17 October. Again the picket lines were extremely well supported. Now members at Garston have voted for another 2 days of strike action to put more pressure on DWP management. The strikes will take place on Monday (22 December) and 2 January read more

PCS protects: pay your subs by direct debit (15 Dec) – We need all our members’ help to continue our work campaigning against the cuts and fighting for their rights by signing up to pay PCS subs by direct debit. Tory ministers are determined to stop union subs being paid direct from salaries in as many government departments as possible before the general election in May. Even if your employer has already stopped the system known as check-off, it is not too late for you to sign up for direct debit and stay protected at work. If your membership has lapsed you no longer have a voice at work and your PCS reps will no longer be able to represent you when you need it read more

Campaign steps up to stop gallery sell-off (11 Dec) – Our campaign to stop privatisation at London’s National Gallery is being stepped up after bosses confirmed they plan to go ahead. The gallery could be hit by strikes during the busy Christmas and New Year break and we will hold a protest in Trafalgar Square at 6pm on Wednesday 17 December. We had been in talks aimed at keeping the 400 staff – including attendants who look after the paintings and help visitors – in-house, but senior managers pulled the plug read more



Police staff set to strike over pay on 22 December (Dec 10) – UNISON police staff members working for forces in England and Wales* will stage a 24-hour strike starting at 00.01 hours on Monday 22 December. This is in support of a campaign to re-open pay talks to improve the employers’ 1% pay offer for 2014. This will be followed by four weeks of action short of strike action, from Monday 5 January 2015 to Sunday 1 February 2015, in the form of a ban on voluntary overtime. UNISON members in the police service work in jobs such as 999 call takers, police community support officers, scenes of crime officers, fingerprint experts, financial investigators, detention officers, crime reduction officers, crime analysts, enquiry desk officers, trainers, criminal justice clerks, and a wide range of vital operational and organisational support roles. 60% voted yes for industrial action and 80% for action short of strike action in a ballot which closed on 2 December 2014 read more


BFAWU / Fast Food Rights

See video of lobby of Parliament on November 21st in support of Ian Mearns MP’s private member’s bill on zero-hour contracts here

Write to your MP to support Ian Mearns’s EDM 573 – young workers and level of national minimum wage 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

From PCS website: Buy Still the Enemy Within on DVD now (10 Dec) – Still the Enemy Within, which is funded by unions including PCS, and tells the story of the Miners’ Strike from the communities’ perspective is out now on DVD details here


TUC DIPLOMA EMPLOYMENT LAW COURSE at the WEA starting January 2015 at Light Project International

1st Floor, Orkney House 195-199 Caledonian Road London N1 0AF

(The Light Project Pro International is located at the junction of Caledonian Road and Copenhagen Street and is a 10/15 minutes’ walk from King’s Cross Station, and also close to Caledonian Road & Barnsbury London Overground Station, and Caledonian Road Underground and on 17, 19 and 259 bus routes)


36 day course, one day a week, Fridays, over 3 terms – 9.30a.m – 4.30pm

Term 1 9th JANUARY – 27th MARCH 2015

Term 2 1st MAY – 17th JULY 2015

Term 3 18th SEPTEMBER – 4th DECEMBER 2015

To apply please fill in the application form overleaf and return to

Monica Gort, WEA London Region, 4 Luke Street, London EC2A 4XW

For further information please contact Monica on 0207 426 1976

or [email protected]


Blacklisting & Victimisation

Blacklist Support Group financial appeal: the Blacklist support group is desperately short of funds, to continue the incredible work in 2015 we need more finance, would you please consider making a donation, raise it at your branches and trade councils . Please make cheques payable to Joint sites committee and send to 70 Darnay Rise Chelmsford Essex CM1 4XA. Please forward onto your contacts many thanks Steve Kelly (JSC Treasurer)

New Site Worker blogpost on agency employment at Heathrow – http://siteworker.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/pitfalls-of-being-employed-by-iis.html?m=1#more


Season Greetings from the Blacklist Support Group

CHRISTMAS ON THE BLACKLIST by Time Served J.I.B. Electrician

I stood up for my rights,

My workmates and my brothers,

On bleak construction sites,

I always shone a light,

For safety, and for others,

All these working men,

Have sisters, have mothers,

No work, my back a knife,

What will I tell the missus,

I’m blacklisted for life,

And not just for Christmas.


Wednesday 17th December 2014 – End of Year Day Out


9:30am – Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand, London

High Court blacklisting trial continues


4:30pm – Committee Room 17, Houses of Parliament, Westminster

Blacklist Support Group update meeting


7pm – The Westminster Arms, Storey’s Gate, Westminster

End of year beer & craic



Attached Xmas cards designed by Art Against Blacklisting and Neil Findlay MSP


A big festive thank you to everyone who has supported the Blacklist Support Group over the past 5 years.

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

Blog: www.hazards.org/blacklistblog

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



International (also see Labourstart)

Belgium: RMT pledges full support for general strike in Belgium read more from RMT website

Philippines sugar organizer murdered read more

Turkey: Dear Friend,

I am writing to ask for support in reinstating 8 Ulker Workers who have been sacked by their employees for changing their union.

9 workers employed at a Ulker factory in Istanbul were dismissed on October 27, 2014 after they chose to resign from their existing union Özgıda-İş (Food and Tobacco  Industry workers’ union of Turkey affiliated with Hak-İş Confederation) and join Gıda-İş( Food industry workers’ union of Turkey affiliated with DİSK Confederation). 8 of these dismissed workers are picketing in front of the factory at Topkapı-İstanbul for 48 days and call on Ulker Company to immediately reinstate them and respect their rights of freedom of association. Ulker employees are organized by Özgıda-İş for 35 years. Some workers have decided to change their union membership as they believe Özgıda-İş union cannot defend and improve their rights at workplace. 35 years ago, workers were organized by Gıda-İş and some women members led a strike back then.  There are 3 types of employment at Ulker’s operations: permanent employees, subcontractors, and subcontractors of subcontractors. 2/3 of the total workforce is subcontractors. Workers work 12 hours a day for 6 days a week and 4 hours of daily overtime is compulsory.  They are paid only a bit higher than minimum wage. Because of long working hours and low salaries, around 100 workers at Topkapı-İstanbul factory get a regular physiological support. Many workers suffer from musculoskeletal diseases. Most of the workers hide their health problems as they fear to be dismissed. Percentage of women workers at the production is very low, almost none but this information requires verification.

Ulker CEO’s will be in London this week looking at their new company. While they are in UK we want to raise the issue and inform the workers here at United Biscuits what they can expect after being taken over by Ulker. Reports suggests that since Ulker’s take over on November 3rd, they have sacked 200 workers in the Glasgow factory and have plans to further sack 700 workers in Liverpool to move production abroad.

In solidarity,

Oktay Sahbaz

Day-mer Community Centre


Diary (see & use false economy)





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ADDRESS NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE