NSSN 231: Firefighters take over Westminster after Tory pension lies

It was like Paris or Rome rather than London. Thousands of FBU members converged on Westminster for a strike rally on February 24th as firefighters in England went on a 24-hour strike in their continuing action over pensions. The Methodist Central Hall was packed to the rafters and overflowing, with many locked out to hear the union’s general secretary Matt Wrack warn Cameron and his Fire Minister Penny Mordaunt that action will continue if the guarantee that she gave in Parliament before Christmas that firefighters that fail fitness tests won’t be forced out of the service on reduced pensions isn’t confirmed in law.

This ‘guarantee’ has been rejected by fire chiefs. That’s why many FBU members wore Pinocchio noses in the rally. As firefighters spilled out of the rally they went on an impromptu march around Parliament Square and in front of the House of Commons and then to Downing Street. If Cameron was listening, he would have heard shouts of “Liar liar” and “Get the Tories out!”

This dispute has just had a huge boost. It’s going nowhere until that promise is made good. The NSSN will continue to give our support and solidarity to the FBU and its members, Solidarity to the firefighters!

See FBU photo

See FBU website for more information and coverage of yesterday’s demo

Essex firefighters to strike March 1-2 over cuts read more




‘Stop the union-busters!’ Advanced notice: this year’s NSSN conference, our 9th, will be on Saturday July 4th in Conway Hall in London. Confirmed speakers include Mark Serwotka PCS General Secretary download leaflet

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


Strike ballot as Tory-run Bromley council plans to dramatically slash its workforce (25 Feb) – Unite is balloting its members at Tory-controlled Bromley council for strike action over the authority’s plans to slash its directly employed workforce from 3,000 to just 300 as part of its privatisation drive. Unite accused the council of wanting ‘to privatise everything it does not have a legal duty to provide directly’. Unite has about 400 members working for the council – from childcare staff to library assistants, but will only be balloting those directly employed by the council who number about 100, and not those already working for private companies on the council’s behalf. The ballot for strike action opens on 11 March and closes 27 March read more

Kent newsprint firm ‘brutally’ sacks 234 workers today (24 Feb) – Unite will be seeking legal advice, following the ‘brutal’ decision to sack 234 workers at Aylesford Newsprint in Kent today (Tuesday 24 February) – just one day after it was announced that the company was going into administration. Unite hit out at the decision of the administrators KPMG to sack 234 employees without even bothering to meaningfully engage in consultations read more

Unprecedented week-long strikes announced in Amey highways dispute (23 Feb) – Unite, is urging Amey to return to the negotiating table in order to halt an unprecedented week of strikes over pay and collective bargaining. The company, which manages 30,000 miles of highway across the UK – gritting roads and maintaining crash barriers – is under pressure to honour existing collective agreements and give workers a decent pay rise, as Unite announced a seven day strike for early next month (from 06:00 on Monday 2 March). Unite members with Amey at four depots in Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Buckinghamshire are today (Monday 23 February 2015) staging their fourth planned 24-hour strike after talks brought insufficient movement on pay read more



Download new NSSN leaflet supporting PCS from the government’s attacks: ‘Stop the union busters!’ here

Support grows for National Gallery action (23 Feb) – Support is growing for our campaign against privatisation at the National Gallery as our latest strike enters day two. This morning’s picket line was visited by bakers’ union general secretary Ronnie Draper and author Owen Jones. There are picket lines outside the gallery between 9am and 11am every morning and there will be a rally and march from 1pm this Thursday read more

Information staff to stage second walk-out (20 Feb) – Staff at the Information Commissioner’s Office are to hold a three day strike over pay. The strike on 26 and 27 February and 2 March follows a two day strike on 3 and 4 February which was solidly supported by around 95% of members and disrupted the ICO’s helpline, casework services and external speaking engagements. Around 20 PCS members staffed picket lines at the ICO’s main office in Wilmslow on both days. PCS members are striking to demand fair pay for all staff after three senior executives were awarded average increases of 11% read more



Nine to one vote for action on Hull Trains (25 Feb) – RMT has confirmed that staff on Hull Trains have voted by more than nine to one for both strike action and action short of a strike in a dispute over the totally unwarranted redundancy of a staff member who the union believes is being forced out of the company by underhand means for challenging a senior manager who was verbally abusing a colleague read more

RMT protests on last day of East Coast Main Line (24 Feb) – Rail union RMT has organised a series of protests along the East Coast Main Line to mark the final day of its operation in the public sector as the Government dumps it back into the laps of the private-sector from the 1st of March, despite its financial and performance success as a public service and in the face of two previous, grotesque private failures that took the inter-city route to the brink of collapse. The protests, on Saturday 28th February, will take place as follows:

Kings Cross, London – 09.00 – 10.00hrs

Edinburgh Waverley – 08.00 – 09.00hrs

Doncaster – 09.00 – 10.00hrs read more

Company tries to gag union at Edinburgh Waverley (23 Feb) – RMT said today that the company has tried to ban the distribution of fact sheets for the public and staff as the union continues balloting Cross Country staff at Edinburgh Waverley for both strike action and action short of a strike over the wholly unjustified dismissal of union member Charlie Letham read more



Northern Ireland members vote to strike (Feb 25) – UNISON members in health and social services and in schools and education facilities throughout Northern Ireland have voted in favour of strike action. Members in health and social services voted 81% in favour of strike action and 91.8% in favour of other industrial action. Members in education voted 75% in favour of strike action and 84% in favour of other industrial action. Unions across the public services are currently balloting for strike action in response to service cuts and job losses across the sector, and UNISON is the first to declare read more

Barnet Care Workers take strike action 24 & 25 February (Feb 19) – Unison members working for Your Choice Barnet (YCB) have just announced their next strike dates as being 24 & 25 February. This takes place in the middle of the TUC Fair Pay fortnight. This will make a total of 8 days of strike action since the dispute began. This is in a bid to reverse the harsh 9.5% pay cut imposed on them by their employer read more  To follow on twitter: #YCB



Strike Looms At Keir East Sussex (Feb 25) – GMB call for last ditch talks to avert strike at Keir East Sussex after members vote for action over failure to address workforce concerns. Official ballot result shows the workforce has reached breaking point and there is a lot pent up anger and frustration at the attitude of the company read more

Teesside Protest on Jobs Discrimination (Feb 23) – GMB protest over discrimination against local construction workers for jobs on new Teesside SITA energy from waste power station. SITA is discriminating against local workers giving them no chance to get up to three quarters of the 400 jobs on the site at the construction phase of the job says GMB read more



Strike days set at College of North West London – UCU members at the College of North West London are to taking  two days of strike action next week. The strike is against the college policy of achieving greater casualisation through compulsory redundancies which has led to UCU activist Michael Starrs being made redundant. The branch is demanding this policy is dropped and Michael is reinstated. Please send messages of support to: [email protected]

University of Bristol: reinstate Alison Hayman – University of Bristol UCU have launched a campaign to reinstate a lecturer sacked for failing to secure what the employer regarded as sufficient grant income. Read more about her story here and sign the petition in support of the campaign



‘To no one will we sell Justice’ – protest at Grayling’s Global Law Summit (Feb 24) – Several hundred lawyers, campaigners and trade unionists, including  Napo members, braved the cold to welcome Justice Alliance ‘Relay for Rights’ marchers outside Houses of Parliament on Monday 23 February read more



IWGB to strike at Bloomberg – Monday 23rd, 24th, 25th February. Rally at 12pm, Picket lines form at 7am – Location: Bloomberg Headquarters, 50 Finsbury Square, London EC2A 1PQ read more



Watch BFAWU animation‘£10 per hour isn’t pie in the sky’

Watch Claire Laker Mansfield Youth Fight for Jobs on Sky News on why the Government needs to do more to create jobs to let young people live a “dignified existence” here

Reports of Fast Food Rights protests on Youth Fight for Jobs and Fast Food Rights websites See NSSN photo of Manchester Feb 21 protest here

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




Other news

38 Degrees Save our NHS day! – On Saturday 28th February, 38 Degrees members across the country are hitting the streets to collect signatures for our local Save our NHS petition read more from 38 Degrees?


Welfare Conference – unions at the heart of the Welfare State

TUC National Unemployed Workers Centres Consultative Committee

Friday, February 27, 2015 from 11:00 AM to 5:30 PM (GMT)

Trade Union Congress

23-28 Great Russell Street

WC1B 3LS London More


Brighton Trades Council notices:-

Monday 2nd March 1pm A demo outside Maximus Brighton

In conjunction with the DPAC national day of action against the cruell and unfair assessment system

West Lees House, 21 – 35 Dyke Road, Brighton

(north Of The Clock Tower Next To The Old Jobcentre.)

5th March 8pm Rock against the fees.

Benefit night for Free Education Brighton. Latest Music Bar

14th March 10am Women’s History Festival

Brighthelm Centre

Join us for this one-day festival of talks, workshops, guided walks and exhibitions to celebrate women’s lives, struggles and achievements. There will be activities for children throughout the day.


24th March 7pm Friends Meeting House People’s Debate for the NHS General election candidates for Brighton Pavillion answer questions from the public on the NHS

18th April Protest against the EDL March in Brighton More details to follow but please keep the date for a massive show of anti-fascist solidarity


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)

Blacklist Support Group update – 21st Feb 2015 (updated)

  1. Crossrail – Whitechapel protest & Coroners Court vigil

Last week Crossrail sacked an electrician and a UNITE member after he had raised concerns about.  Last Monday saw a rank & file protest calling for his reinstatement. It was a real victory.


Crossrail Safety Day – Monday 23rd Feb

7:30am – Whitechapel tube

protest over sacking of another Unite member for raising safety concerns at the Crossrail Whitechapel site, last Wednesday.

9:15am – St Pancras Coroners Court

Silent vigil for Rene Tkacik before the start of inquest for worker killed on Crossrail – organised by the Construction Safety Campaign with the support of Rene’s family.

ITV News coverage of vigil    NSSN photo of Whitechapel protest    NSSN photo of coroners court vigil   For more; follow #Crossrail on twitter

  1. Call for anyone blacklisted to join the High Court litigation ASAP



  1. ‘Blacklisted’ book

UNITE London Contracting Branch – the largest construction union branch in the UK – has purchased a bulk order of 100 books, to be distributed to members working on London building sites. Bulk discounts available for any union branches.


  1. Blacklist Support Group AGM

Saturday 7th March 2015


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

Blog: www.hazards.org/blacklistblog

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



International (also see Labourstart)

Maldives: Sheraton workers deliver Shame on Sheraton message read more


Diary (see & use false economy)


28 Wakefield Socialist History Group have an event this Saturday (28 Feb) 1-4pm at Red Shed, Vicarage Street, Wakefield, West Yorkshire (by rear entrance to Trinity Walk shopping centre).




The speakers are:


Felicity Dowling (National Speaker with Left Unity; one of surcharged 47 Liverpool councillors; member of Cheshire NUT)

Liz Kitching (campaigner with Hands off Our Homes, Defend our Council Housing and also National Campaign for Benefit Justice)

Karen Fletcher (Secretary, Barnsley Against the Bedroom Tax)

Kevin Feintuck (rank and file housing worker, Sheffield)

Ian Brooke (housing worker and lead Unison steward)

Cllr Hilary Mitchell (Wakefield Labour Councillor)


Chair is Kitty Rees

Free admission and free light buffet.



6 Yorkshire-wide Free Education March – assemble 12.30pm at Parkinson steps, Leeds University more info here

14 Midlands NSSN Conference – Unite Offices, Birmingham



28 International Workers Memorial Day



4 ‘Stop the union-busters!’ 9th annual NSSN conference – Conway Hall in London




PHONE 07952 283 558

EMAIL mailto:[email protected]


TWITTER – https://twitter.com/NSSN_AntiCuts


ADDRESS NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE