234: ConDems raise minimum wage by 20p! Fight for £10Now April 15 global day of action!

NSSN 234: ConDems raise minimum wage by 20p! Fight for £10/hr on April 15 #globalfastfood rights day of action!

On April 15th, the National Shop Stewards Network will be taking part in the global day of action for fast-food workers. We are proud to be part of the ‘Fast Food Rights/Hungry for Justice’ campaign of the BFAWU bakers’ union along with John McDonnell MP, Youth Fight for Jobs, Unite the Resistance, Disabled People Against Cuts and others. The main themes of the UK protests will be: for a £10/hr minimum wage, scarp zero-hour contracts and join a union.

On Budget Day, this is the response from BFAWU President Ian Hodson to the miserly rise in the minimum wage by 20p per hour.

“How worried should we be by the government announcing an increase in the minimum wage by the princely, recession-busting sum of 20p? Lib-Dem Business Secretary, Vince Cable claimed that it would be too dangerous to go any higher and would risk creating unemployment yet in January, when the government’s propaganda machine set about creating a false ‘feel-good factor’ for us all, their sycophants in the press rolled out the mantra that the economy was now fixed and we were all better off. Indeed, on Thursday, Jan 16th, the Chancellor, George Osborne announced that the growth in the economy meant Britain could now afford a substantial increase in the minimum wage. In a bid to outflank Ed Miliband, the Tory dominated media had already reported that Osborne had thrown his weight behind a proposal that would raise the minimum wage from £6.31 to £7 an hour from October 2014; seven months before the general election. The move, which followed a lengthy debate in Conservative circles led by Osborne stooges Matt Hancock and Jo Johnson finally manifested itself in the government’s submission to the Low Pay Commission.

So does today’s March 17th decision signal the weakness of the British economy or the flakiness and spin at the heart of the Tory party? Clearly, the so-called green shoots of the ‘recovery’ are difficult to find for most people, with only those at the top benefiting as per usual; the richest by as much as 64%. In short, the Tories have managed to deliver for their donors tenfold, whilst handing out austerity for everybody else, underpinned by a culture of hate, division, fear and uncertainty. We now know that the Tories have even more spending cuts planned, which will involve ripping out another £70 billion out of the public sector. This will mean cuts to schools and the eventual privatisation of our NHS, as it simply won’t be able to survive with the level of cuts that they intend to put in place. It’s a clear strategy, designed to push us towards an American-style, insurance based system. For proof, you only need to look at the list of Conservative MPs with links to private health companies and the number of NHS contracts being issued to them.

The Tories have prioritised tax cuts for the richest, whilst trying to convince the rest of us that this will lead to a steady, bounteous, downward trickle of the riches, wine and roses. However, anyone with any sense knows that whilst the wealthiest in society will continue to fire the champagne corks at the sun and clink their flutes, those at the bottom end of the pay-scale will be lucky to get a few drops of the spit-back. Soon, the rich and powerful will be guarding their homes with state of the art, modern private security, whilst ordinary people will be forced to live in fear as police numbers are cut to their lowest ever levels as a consequence of the Tory agenda. It’s all the more ironic when you consider the relationship between Thatcher’s government and its vindictive, paranoid, payslip waving thugs-in-blue during the 1980s.

The question is why the government could afford a minimum wage of £7 an hour only two months ago, but can only stretch to a 20p increase now? David Cameron even had the gall to prance around the country in true Frances O’ Grady style, proclaiming that ‘Britain needed a pay rise’. I wonder how his chums in the city would react to a 20p increase? The crux of the matter is that the whole thing is pure spin of the most patronising and condescending fashion; probably written by Michael Green (or is that Sebastian Fox?) before he became an MP and changed his name to Grant Shapps.

Despite all this negativity, there is a ray of sunshine. On April 15th, low paid workers in the fast-food industry will be taking action across the world, demanding an end to poverty pay and the right to Trade Union recognition. It’s a movement of collectivism and common belief that has been steadily growing over the last twelve months or so, and that has already brought about some significant change and a major call for fair play and fair pay that is beginning to make the mainstream in this country. We believe that if MPs really want to represent their constituents properly, they should be screaming out demands for an increase in the minimum wage to at least £10 an hour. At the end of the day, they want our vote; let them earn it.”

A short animation including some researched facts can be found here:  http://fastfoodright-bakersunion.nationbuilder.com

Go to the new BFAWU website here

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

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




‘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


NIPSA Hails Support for Public Sector Workers’ Strike (March 13) – Brian Campfield, General Secretary of NIPSA, Northern Ireland’s largest public sector trade union has welcomed the massive support from public service workers and the community for today’s strike action and protests read more   For photos of the March 13 Northern Ireland strike, follow on #M13 on twitter



Mother’s day strike: Essex fire control operators fighting against women being forced out of the workplace (March 15) – Fire control operators in Essex were on strike throughout mother’s day this Sunday in a dispute which has forced women and mothers out of the workplace. Essex Country Fire and Rescue Service imposed a radically changed shift system that means control operators are forced to work 12 hour shifts, despite proposals from the FBU of cost neutral alternatives read more    Emergency control staff in parliament on budget day to raise Essex dispute with MPs

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



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

National Gallery staff stand strong (17 March) – The latest strikes at National Gallery on 14 and 15 March saw members in defiant mood after PCS received a threatening letter from the Gallery’s solicitors read more

National Gallery dispute: three strikes and they’re out (13 March) – The National Gallery faces seven more days of strikes as senior officials refuse to discuss our plans to avoid privatisation. Walkouts this Saturday and Sunday, and from Tuesday 24 to Saturday 28 March, are the third period of extended strike action in two months 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 Donate to the strike fund, using sort code 08/60/01 and account no: 20169002, or cheques to PCS Culture Media and Sport Association, c/o PCS North West Region, Jack Jones House,1 Islington, Liverpool L3 8EG •Write to the chair of trustees Mark Getty



Strike this weekend on Hull Trains in redundancy dispute (March 17) – RMT has confirmed that staff on Hull Trains will strike this weekend and through to Monday after voting 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. All staff affected have been instructed not to book on for any shifts that commence between:- 12:00 (midday) hours on Sunday 22nd March 2015 and 11:59 hours on Monday 23rd March 2015 read more

RMT prepares to ballot offshore members (March 17) – Offshore union RMT’s executive has endorsed the call from members to ballot for industrial action, targeting groups of workers in what the union sees as a rolling programme of action over a range of issues read more

RMT Pay Referendum: Have Your Say! (March 13) – Referendum papers have been sent to Network Rail members over the current pay offer for Operations, Maintenance, Customer Services and Bands 5 to 8 staff. The union is strongly recommending members vote NO to reject the company’s proposals as we believe they fall well short of our aspirations. Voting papers have already been despatched to your home addresses and the referendum will close on Tuesday 24th March 2015 read more

Thales Strike Ballot – Vote Yes (March 12) – the Company has been informed that a dispute situation now exists over the proposed changes to the Services organisation as part of the GTS Optimisation Programme read more



Campaign continues against sacking of workers on Crossrail for raising safety concerns (see Blacklisting section below) – Next protests: 6pm Wednesday March 18 Construction News Awards, Hilton Hotel, Park Lane, London and 6pm Thursday March 19 London Mayor’s People’s Question Time – Dominion Centre, Wood Green Haringey. There will be indefinite daily protests outside Bond St Crossrail site opposite tube station at 7.30am – email [email protected] if you can go/more info   Watch ReelNews VIDEO of March 13 Bond St/Oxford St protest    Download ‘Crossfail’ flyer

Unite paints Dulwich Picture Gallery victory as ‘a masterpiece of solidarity’ (16 March) – Attempts by the management of the Dulwich Picture Gallery to water down the visitor experience by axing 19 of the 36 gallery assistants have been brushed away. Unite said that attempts to get rid of the knowledgeable assistants at the world’s first purpose-built public art gallery and replacing them with apprentices on training rates would have much reduced the enjoyment of the estimated 140,000 visitors to the South London venue. The gallery assistants had sketched out a week of strike action from last Friday (13 March) before a deal was framed between the management and Unite which meant that the action was called off and the redundancies withdrawn read more

Angry strikers set to escalate dispute (March 13) – 250 Bridgwater fruit-juice makers resolve to see out their David and Goliath struggle against foreign-owned company to bitter end. Fifty Unite the Union demonstrators, a familiar sight at the Express Park roundabout at the north end of the Bristol Rd in Bridgwater for months now, were still in determined mood yesterday. This was their seventh 36-hour strike protest against plans by Refresco-Gerber to radically worsen pay and conditions at the factory, which produces household-name fruit juices. At least three more stoppages have been planned for the next two weeks



POA leadership are outraged at nil pay award for 80% of prison staff (March 12) – The initial reaction of the POA is one of outrage regarding a pay cut for the vast majority of their members read more



NUT’s ‘The Teacher magazine’ asks political parties what they stand for on education here



Barking And Dagenham Strike (March 16) – GMB strike in Barking and Dagenham on 18,19 & 20 March with a further two days on 7th & 8th April over £1,000 pay cut for refuse drivers. An overwhelming 75% of the local community support the decision of members to take strike action to defend their wages

Tata Steel Pensions Strike Ballot (March 13) – GMB to seek authority to ballot members over Tata Steel proposal to close pension scheme to future accrual. We feel we have no option but to consult our members and prepare to ballot for industrial action to defend their hard won pension rights read more



Community response to TATA steel proposal to close pension scheme (march 13) – Tata Steel proposal to close pension scheme brings steel unions ‘to brink of first national dispute in over 30 years 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



Workers at Sellafield to take industrial action in pay dispute (13 March) –Members of construction union UCATT employed at a company based at Sellafield in Cumbria are to undertake industrial action in a dispute over pay. The 43 workers are employed by Amec Foster Wheeler Nuclear they will begin a ban on weekend working from the 21st March 2015. The dispute has arisen after supervisors at the company were awarded a £1.75 an hour pay increase, while the rest of the workforce were subjected to a pay freeze. The vote in favour of industrial action was overwhelming with a 92% yes vote on a turnout of 88% read more



University of Salford redundancy dispute – A ballot for strike action at the University of Salford opened last week as a result of a dispute over the redundancy sackings of two UCU members in marketing and recruitment who were placed on gardening leave the day before a new restructure was announced and then subsequently dismissed without any due process in breach of local agreements and statutory obligations. Please send messages of support to the branch president Bernie Maguire [email protected]



UNISON strike ballot of members working for Barnet Council opens today (March 18) – The Trades Dispute with London Borough of Barnet is over staff remaining in employment with Barnet Council. The ballot is a direct response to the five commissioning projects agreed at the 3 March 2015 Full Council which would mean outsourcing the majority of the workforce into a variety of alternative delivery models read more



Check out the latest video for 13 March Royal College of Arts London Living Wage demo here



Other news

THE ACCIDENTAL ACTIVIST – After killing off Margaret Thatcher in the controversial comedy Maggie’s End, Ed Waugh presents an anti-cuts comedy that shows there is an alternative to austerity. The Accidental Activist will tour as follows (all shows start at 7.30pm):

Monday & Tuesday, April 27 & 28: The Stand Comedy Club, Newcastle (0191) 3009700

Thursday, April 30. The City Theatre, Durham, DH1 3RA (0191) 384 3515

Friday, May 1, Westovian Theatre, South Shields, NE33 2JS (0191) 454 4167

Saturday, May 2, The Dun Cow (Head of Steam), Sunderland, SR1 3HA

(0191)  567 2262 or 07854048155

Tickets at all venues cost only £10.

To reserve, call the above numbers.

Please pass this email to anyone who might be interested and consider putting it on social media.

If you’d like leaflets or posters please contact me, Ed.

Hopefully see you at the show


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 update – 16th March 2015

  1. ex-Undercover cop admits spying on trade unions.

On the same day that Teresa May announced a public inquiry into undercover policing, Peter Francis, ex-Special Demonstration Squad police officer turned whistleblower has admitted spying on several trade unions. This came in a written statement that was read out by John McDonnell MP during the parliamentary book launch event for the ‘Blacklisted’ book. This has created considerable media interest and outrage from trade unions. Politicians have so far kept very quiet on the matter.











BSG fully supports the Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance (COPS) and welcome the Teresa May announcement of a public inquiry into police spying. BSG demand that blacklisting is part of the inquiry, the full remit should only be decided after consultation with the victims of police spying. BSG also support the call for Peter Francis and other police whistleblowers to be exempted from the Official Secrets Act when they give evidence in court or in any public inquiry. The OSA is being used by the police in order to cover up the scandal.





  1. Crossrail safety sackings

Several workers have been seriously injured on Crossrail. One worker has been killed after being crush when a tonne of concrete fell on him. The inquest jury returned a narrative verdict that identifies a lack of a barrier as one of the contributory factors in his death. Yet union members who have raised safety concerns on the project have been dismissed. At the Bond Street station, the main contractors responsible for the dismissal are the blacklisting firms Costain and Skanska. Blacklist Support Group and Construction Rank & File have launched a campaign to get the sacked electrician reinstated. BSG appeal to as many supporters as possible to attend the protest this Wednesday evening against the Crossrail safety sackings. This is important.

6pm Wed 18th March

Construction News Awards

Hilton Hotel

Park Lane







  1. Blacklisted book in the Westminster and Scottish parliament – now making the media





Pix from book launch: https://www.flickr.com/photos/60718029@N06/sets/72157650928938818/


For more pix search: #blacklistedbook on social media


Motion Number: S4M-12653 submitted to the Scottish Parliament by Neil Findlay MSP

Date Lodged: 12/03/2015

Title: Launch of ‘Blacklisted’ the Book

Motion Text:

That the Parliament welcomes the launch on 12 March 2015 in the House of Commons of the book, Blacklisted, by Dave Smith and Phil Chamberlain; notes that the book exposes what it argues is an illegal blacklisting scandal orchestrated by some of the largest multinational construction companies in the UK; understands that it uncovers previously unseen documentary evidence about the role of undercover police spying units in colluding with this and exposes the way in which ordinary men and women were believed to be systematically denied employment simply for standing up for their basic rights, and further understands that across Scotland and the rest of the UK these companies are still being awarded publicly-funded contracts despite never admitting wrongdoing nor apologising and paying compensation to the workers affected.


  1. Teeside action to defend collective bargaining agreements




  1. Welsh Assembly moves to ban umbrella companies on public contracts



  1. AOB


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N- 9BnbYzBpM&list=PL9lNl_udnEC2dzRVOp_NHirrRus4WN9ob&index=3Video:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlCa8yQmZ70

Blog: www.hazards.org/blacklistblog

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


STOP PRESS!!! Dave Smith, an engineer and UCATT safety rep, was forced to leave the construction industry after he was placed on the Consulting Association blacklist for complaining about unpaid wages and raising concerns about safety issues such as asbestos and overflowing toilets on building sites under the control of different Carillion Group companies in the 1990s. But yesterday he lost his test case in the Court of Appeal after judges ruled he was not protected by UK employment law because was on site via an employment agency and not directly by the company that blacklisted him Read more on Union Solidarity International website



International (also see Labourstart)

Brazilian water worker sacked: urgent solidarity needed read here

Kenya: Truckers held at gunpoint for protesting over 24 hour shifts read here

Sri Lanka: Affiliate to Tamil Solidarity read here



Diary (see & use false economy)


21 Stand Up To Racism National Demonstration – Assemble 12pm BBC Portland Place London W1A 1AA (nearest tube Oxford Circus). Rally Trafalgar Square more details here

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

18 1pm Wakefield Socialist History Group meeting on DEMOCRACY AND THE MEDIA: STRUGGLES FOR MEDIA PLURALISM PAST AND PRESENT – speakers: Don Mort, NUJ “Chapel Rep” for the Yorkshire Weekly Newspaper Group and Granville Williams, member of the National Council of the Campaign for Broadcasting Freedom. We will also be showing Lindsay Anderson’s great 1952 documentary “Wakefield Express.” Admission is free and there is a free light buffet.

28 International Workers Memorial Day



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




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