NSSN 233: Solidarity to Northern Ireland March 13 strike!

This Friday March 13th, tens of thousands of public sector workers will be taking joint strike action in Northern Ireland. NIPSA, Unite, Unison, GMB and teachers’ union INTO will also be on strike. With transport workers on buses and trains also involved, it will have the feel of a 24 hour general strike. The NSSN sends our full support and solidarity to these workers and their unions. We call on trade unionists to send solidarity messages on social media with the hashtag #M13


NIPSA President Padraig Mulholland (in a personal capacity) says, “On Friday 13 March health, education, the civil service and public transport will be on strike in Northern Ireland. Tens of thousands of workers and young people will be fighting against the Northern Ireland Assembly to defend jobs, living standards and services. In all likelihood the strike will have the feel of a partial general strike. The die is cast for the 13th. The big question now is will the union leadership have the stomach to finish the fight or are they planning the strike to let off steam?

In Northern Ireland workers have very strong memories of the November 30 pensions sell out and they fear the same will happen again this time. Attempts to avoid a repeat of the sell-out and open up discussions on the next stages of the campaign against cuts have been rebuffed and the partnership-like relationship between some union leaders and the NI political parties is becoming an increasing stumbling block in conducting the struggle. At every point these leaders try to turn members away from getting stuck in to the local austerity political parties and try to shift the blame exclusively on to the soft target of the Tory party.  To protect the local parties and scale back the campaign they have tried to shift the discussion on further action from strike action towards action short of strike, such a step would wind down the campaign, break up the effective unity of the trade unions and send a clear message to workers that they are wasting their time.

What is needed instead is a clear programme that goes from strength to strength building up action with a combination of campaigning, action short of strike and sectorial strikes but crucially setting  dates for more all-member strike days. A key stage in the developing the campaign must be to break any cosy link between the political parties imposing the cuts and the union leaders and to put massive pressure on the austerity  parties in the run up to the elections on May 7.

All the barriers to winning the battle can be overcome if an honest debate is opened up in the unions and a clear programme of escalating action is outlined.”


Details of the events being held on 13th March 2015 are listed below:

  • BELFAST: Assemble Writers Square, 12.00 noon March off, 12.30 pm RALLY AT BELFAST CITY HALL, 1.00 pm
  • DERRY: March from Altnagelvin, 12.00 noon RALLY AT GUILDHALL SQUARE, 1.00 pm
  • STRABANE: Assemble Market Street, 12.00 noon – RALLY at Abercorn Square, 1.00 pm
  • ENNISKILLEN: Assemble Gaol Square, 12.30 pm – RALLY at the Diamond, 1.00 pm
  • OMAGH: Assemble Tyrone County Hospital, 12.30 pm – RALLY at the Courthouse, 1.00 pm
  • MAGHERAFELT: Assemble and Rally at The Diamond, 10.00 am
  • COOKSTOWN: Assemble and Rally at The Old Post Office, 12.00 noon
  • DUNGANNON: Assemble and Rally at South Tyrone Hospital, 2.00 pm
  • NEWRY: Assemble and Rally at Daisy Hill Hospital, 1.00 pm

NIPSA website    GMB website    Unison website    INTO website



Midlands NSSN Conference – 12noon-4pm Saturday March 14th 2015 Unite Offices, Birmingham B15 1AY download leaflet

Speakers:  Jane Nellist NUT national executive

Dave Pitt FBU Midlands regional chair

Helen Pattison Youth Fight for Jobs

Lee Cooper RMT Coventry no.1

Kevin Greenway PCS


‘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

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


Essex 999 control professionals set to strike for eight days (March 9) – Emergency 999 control operators have escalated strike action, to commence this week, up to eight days as Essex fire chiefs continue to ignore cost-neutral alternatives that could avert the industrial action. Not only will this be the longest strike to date but all the strikers are likely to be women. The professional control operators will walk out at 07:00 on Tuesday 10 March and not return until 07:00 on Wednesday 18 March. A new imposed shift system has seen some emergency control operators having to leave their jobs or drastically reduce their hours and pay, with many more considering their future with the Service read more

Essex FBU Hardship fund details: ‘Essex fire brigades union hardship fund’ Account no. 086001 20292568

Fire minister dodges firefighters at local government conference (March 10) – At the Local Government Association conference today, taking place in Gateshead, Westminster fire minister Penny Mordaunt once again refused to answer questions from firefighters over the sham ‘guarantee’ on pensions read more

March edition of Firefighter now online here

Firefighters shut down Westminster – Video and images from the Feb 25 Westminster rally here



Unite condemns Parcelforce over failure to deliver on pay (6 March) – Unite, is warning Parcelforce it risks sparking industrial action after management went ahead with a pay deal which had been overwhelmingly rejected by union members. As a result of a pay review bosses at the courier company, a subsidiary of Royal Mail, have acted unilaterally to implement a paltry 2.8 per cent increase dating back to July 2014. The union believes members are being “bullied” into accepting a derisory offer and intends to hold a ballot on a work to rule. Parcelforce employees are already paid less than Royal Mail workers and the proposed settlement would hit them even harder read more

Protest against Family Mosaic – Unite today protested that giant housing association Family Mosaic is holding the threat of homelessness over the heads of its own staff who work as support tenants and reside in Family Mosaic accommodation. As part of its response to cuts in funding from Hackney Council the association has told staff they may lose their homes by April. We will be protesting outside a housing event at which Family Mosaic is hosting a stall.

9.30am-11.00am Saturday 14th March 2015

First Steps Homes Show Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, Westminster

read more from Unite Housing Workers Branch (LE1111)



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

Maude accused of wasting MPs’ time (10 March) – Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude has been accused of wasting parliamentary time to rehash his union-busting agenda read more

For latest on National Gallery dispute against privatisation and the suspension of PCS rep Candy Udwin go to PCS Culture Group website and  follow @PCSCultureGroup @NGNotForSale #NationalGallery #ReinstateCandy on Twitter

‘Future of arts and culture’ conference – PCS are co-hosting a conference aiming to explore the impact of budget cuts on arts & culture and start an inclusive campaign to propose an Alternative Vision for the sector. The event is free; and takes place on Saturday 14 March 2015 from 12:00 noon; in Congress House, Great Russell Street, London WC1V 8HA. The event is jointly organised by Southern & Eastern Region TUC (SERTUC)’s Creative & Leisure Industries Committee (CLIC) and the PCS union; in partnership with Equity, BECTU, the Musicians Union, TSSA, UCU, Art not Oil, Reel News, Artists Assembly Against Austerity and the Art Party read more



RMT vote opens today over pay and conditions on Network Rail (9 March) – RMT has begun distributing ballot papers today to Network Rail members in Operations, Maintenance, Customer Services and associated grades over what the company says is its final pay offer. The union is recommending that members vote NO to reject the proposals which are summarised as follows read more

RMT protest outside Sodexo HQ 1, Southampton Row opposite Holborn tube against sacking of RMT rep Petrit Mihaj – Thursday 11am-1pm



Taking a message to the Leathersellers’ Company – think again, no academy! (March 5) – Hundreds of parents, students and striking staff gathered today to protest outside four Lewisham schools to protest, once again, against the threat of academisation. The focus today was on the battle to stop the Governors of the three Prendergast schools in the Leathersellers’ Federation pushing through an academy conversion against the wishes of the local community and without any serious attempt at consultation. See a video of the day here   read more from the blog of Martin Powell Davies Lewisham NUT & NEC

Asbestos – 9th March 2015 Letter to Nicky Morgan – After inexcusable delays, Christine Blower wrote to Nicky Morgan on 9 March 2015, calling for the immediate publication of the findings of the Government review of asbestos policy in schools and expressing deep concern that the Government seems intent on sweeping this sensitive issue under the carpet during the election campaign read more



Kier East Sussex Strike Suspended (March 11) – GMB suspend strike action for 13th/14th March at Kier East Sussex to allow more time for company to address workforce concerns. Should Kier not action proposals as soon as possible members have made it clear that they are prepared to take action on the other five days already notified to company read more

Strike ballot for Leeds milk delivery drivers (March 10) – GMB strike ballot between 16th and 23 March at north of England milk supplier over union rights and cuts in jobs and terms and conditions. In a consultative ballot last week 98% of drivers voted to take strike action to defend their jobs and trade union rights read more

Dates announced for Barking & Dagenham refuse collection strikes (March 9) – Members of the GMB union will walk out on Wednesday, March 18 until Friday, March 20 in response to Barking and Dagenham Council’s proposals to reduce overtime payment for visual safety checks from 30 to 15 minutes a day read more from Barking & Dagenham Post

ISS Strike Suspended To Consult On New Offer (March 6) – GMB suspend ISS Woolwich Hospital strike to consult members on inflation busting pay offer. If the deal is accepted the majority of members will have seen their pay rise from £7.10 to £7.72 per hour over the course of the dispute, a pay rise of 8.7% read more



Union achieves above-inflation pay offer from Steria UK (March 9) – Steria UK   Members working for outsourced business services provider Steria UK will begin voting this week on a pay deal raising salaries by 2.5 per cent read more



UCATT lobbies Yorkshire councils on Umbrella Companies (11 March) – Construction union UCATT have stepped up their campaign against umbrella companies in Yorkshire by contacting every council in the region about the problem. Rob Morris the UCATT Yorkshire Regional Secretary, has written to all council leaders in Yorkshire asking them to ban umbrella companies from all of their contracts. If a council did decide to bar workers being employed via umbrella companies it would mirror the decision of the Welsh Government which introduced a similar policy earlier this year read more

Lessons must be learned following Crossrail death (4 March) – Construction union UCATT are calling on the construction industry to learn lessons from the death of Rene Tkacik who was killed on the Crossrail project. Mr Tkacik was crushed to death by wet concrete on the 7th March 2014 while working for the Bam Ferrovial Kier joint venture on the Fisher Street tunnel near Holborn read more



Strike action ballot opens at University of Salford in row over sackings (5 March) – Two union members who opposed restructure were put on forced gardening leave, sacked and refused any appeal. Members of the University and College Union (UCU) at the University of Salford are being balloted for strike action in protest at the sacking of two union members. The ballot closes on Friday 27 March read more



Dispute continues over pay for Globe tour guides (March 11) – BECTU have issued Shakespeare’s Globe management with a letter giving seven days’ notice of intention to ballot BECTU members for industrial action, up to and including strike action read more

Ritzy Living Wage campaigners win TUC Youth Award (5 March) – The successful dispute by BECTU members over the Living Wage at the Ritzy Cinema Brixton has won the 2015 TUC Youth Campaign Award read more



Photographers’ council express concern over Alamy proposals (11 March) – The NUJ photographers’ council have received reports from members expressing dismay at the proposed changes to contracts for the photographic portal Alamy. Alamy has more than 50 million images, vectors and videos – making it the world’s largest stock photo collection and many contributors are NUJ members read more

ITV refuses to improve pay offer, yet pays out to shareholders (6 March) – ITV has announced it will pay a special dividend of £250m as its pre-tax profits rose 23 per cent year-on-year to £712m; but it refuses to increase its a pay deal for staff. Despite negotiations moving to the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, the broadcaster did not make a fresh offer beyond 2 per cent. Union members at ITV, the NUJ, Bectu and Unite, have voted in a consultative ballot to move to industrial action if the deal is not improved read more



PROTEST Friday 13 March 1pm! London Living Wage at the Royal College of Art Now! (March 4) – Outsourced workers at the Royal College of Art are earning poverty wages. In response to pressure from the IWGB the RCA has said it will pay the London Living Wage… in 6 months! Living in poverty for another half year simply is not acceptable. This is the first protest of the campaign and we need to send a clear message to the RCA: POVERTY PAY NO WAY! read more



Go to the new BFAWU website here

Global Fast Food workers day of action April 15

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

SERTUC’s East of England Trade Union Network has organised a public meeting in Bury St Edmonds on Sat March 28 to campaign for £10/hr minimum wage and to make this year’s May Day £10 min wage day details 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

New trade union courses at The College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (Cohenel)

Apply for the latest trade union courses at Cohenel in April 2015 here. We are currently recruitng for TUC union reps stage 1 and TUC union reps (employment law certificate stage 2), TUC union health and safety reps stage one and stage 2. We are also advertising the following courses:

Introduction to pensions 8th May 2015 (3 Fridays) – Pension provision in the UK has undergone major changes, some of which clearly impact on the opportunities for stable and comfortable retirement of any union member. This course will help you develop an understanding of jargon and inequality in pension provision, learn about the state provision of pensions, develop an awareness of occupational pension schemes and explore the regulatory framework that underpins this set-up.

Diploma in Employment law (Sept 2015) – This course will develop your understanding of current Employment Law relating to work, and includes modules on employment relations, equality law, work life balance/protecting workers, representation and union recognition, research, communication, problem solving and project writing.  We are offering this as an evening course only.

Diploma in Occupational Health and safety (Sept 2015) – This Diploma will help experienced safety reps develop their understanding of health and safety principle and practice.  The course gives an opportunity to question development and function of health and safety law, to build health and safety organisation within the workplace; tackle health, safety, welfare and environmental issues and undertake detailed project work; and develop key skills.

Do please circulate amongst other trade union colleagues. Please be aware we do also teach be-spoke courses for union branches and/or workplaces.

Best regards Jonathan Jeffries 02084423075



Blacklisting & Victimisation

Support GMB Anti-Blacklisting protest tour read more

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 AGM Report – new parliamentary report due and major battle on Crossrail brewing

The Blacklist Support Group bi-annual general meeting took place in Glasgow on Saturday 7th March 2015, chaired by Roy Bentham. Below is a summary of the main topics discussed:

  1. The meeting opened with a minutes silence for blacklisted scaffolder and Shrewsbury campaigner Mick Abbott and other comrades who have passed away recently.
  2. Treasurer’s Report was presented by Steve Kelly and agreed by the meeting. Two new auditors were elected.

The meeting passed a message of thanks to all those  individuals, union branches and organisations who have financially supported the campaign. Without your support the BSG would be unable to operate.

  1. Secretary’s Report was presented by Dave Smith

Six years of campaigning led by blacklisted workers themselves has resulted in a situation where a public inquiry into the national scandal is nearly within reach. We have been campaigning for this non-stop and everyone involved should be proud of what we have achieved so far. The publication of the ‘Blacklisted’ book at this time, is a conscious attempt to make blacklisting and surveillance by corporations and the police part of the General Election debate. The media coverage about undercover police spying on trade unions generated by the book has already caused waves. The book is very much a team effort by all those involved in the Blacklist Support Group – investigative journalists, trade unions, lawyers, politicians, social justice campaigners but mostly blacklisted construction workers. We thank you all.

The official book launch is not until Thursday 12th March in parliament – but the first people to see copies were the blacklisted workers at the BSG meeting. A copy of ‘Blacklisted’ was presented to George Tapp, for his services to the campaign. George was attending the meeting on crutches after he both his knee caps were fractured after he was dragged 100 yards down the road by a vehicle in Manchester during a protest against blacklisting. George told the meeting that he was still suffering complications because of his head trauma.

  1. Election of Committee

Brian Higgins, the Northampton based bricklayer with the largest blacklist file in the country had decided to stand down from the BSG committee but passed on his message of support. The meeting gave Brain an ovation for the hard work he has carried out in the fight against blacklisting for over 30 years, from the Laing’s Lock Out Committee to the tireless work in getting the issue raised in Europe and for his period on the national committee of the BSG.

The newly elected committee are: Steve Acheson, Steve Kelly, Dave Smith, Roy Bentham, Steve Kennedy, Stewart Hume

Auditors: Andy Wilkes, Steve Ballard

  1. Guest Speaker – Ian Davidson MP

Ian Davidson MP, chair of the Select Committee investigation into blacklisting praised the campaigning work of the BSG and said he supports the call for a full public inquiry into blacklisting as the only way of exposing the full extent of the conspiracy. He told the meeting that there will be a new report published before the General Election. The Select Committee has been provided with a vast amount of new documentation relating to blacklisting that is not currently in the public domain. This will be placed on the parliament website for all to see before the Election.

The BSG gave Davidson an ovation and want to put on record our sincere gratitude for the magnificent work that he has undertaken in parliament on behalf of blacklisted workers. The Select Committee investigation has brought blacklisting into the political mainstream and his role as chair was crucial in moving the story forward. The blacklisted workers present genuinely appreciate his efforts.

  1. Crossrail

Guest speaker Helen Clifford – from Leigh Day solicitors told the meeting about the Crossrail safety issues highlighted by the narrative verdict in the Corners Court inquest into the death of Rene Tkacik on Crossrail. A whistleblower has exposed the climate of fear on the project, where workers are worried of losing their job if they complain about safety issues but this evidence was not allowed in the inquest. The meeting endorsed the statement from London Hazards Centre

Dan Collins – a UNITE union member from London has been sacked from Crossrail after he raised safety concerns. Originally the Costain – Skanska joint venture agreed that he should be reinstated but the two blacklisting companies have both reneged on their promise.

The BSG AGM and the construction rank & file unanimously agreed to launch a national campaign to get Dan Collins reinstated on Crossrail and improve safety on the project by allowing proper involvement of the workers. We appeal to all our supporters to identify Crossrail, Costain & Skanska projects across the UK and organise local direct action protests. Flyer for us in the campaign is here. Post reports and pix of any actions on social media under the hashtag #crossfail





Planned Protests:

7am Wed 11th March – Bond Street tube

5:30pm Friday 13th March – Bond Street tube

6pm Wed 18 March – Construction News Awards – Hilton, Park Lane

  1. The meeting sent a message of support to the PCS union and victimised National Gallery rep Candy Unwin.
  2. We went to the pub – and raised a glass (or two) to absent friends.

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

Blog: www.hazards.org/blacklistblog

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



International (also see Labourstart)

Iran: Independent workers’ organisations statement about minimum wage read more



Diary (see & use false economy)


14 Midlands NSSN Conference – Unite Offices, Birmingham

28 SERTUC’s East of England Trade Union Network has organised a public meeting in Bury St Edmonds on to campaign for £10/hr minimum wage and to make this year’s May Day £10 min wage day details here



15 Global Fast Food workers day of action

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