NSSN 239: Workers Memorial Day April 28

Worldwide some 1 million workers lose their lives in workplace accidents and ill health through exposure to dangerous substances every year, more than lose their lives through war!  It’s almost 2 years since the world witnessed the collapse of the factory in Bangladesh and over 1200 lives lost. Some of the companies who were only too keen to use slave labour, turned a blind eye to dangerous and appalling conditions, have still to pay any compensation to help those affected. In fact one of those workers was arrested outside one of these companies whilst protesting.

It’s nearly a year since 301 Miners lost their lives in an explosion in Soma Turkey, after the once state owned mines were privatised and safety standards ignored. KESK, the public sector trade union, stated those that pursue privatisation policies… who threaten workers lives to reduce costs… are the culprits of the Soma massacre and must be held accountable.

We see the same happening worldwide. In Qatar, the richest state in the world, we are witnessing a slaughter on the building sites there. It is estimated 2000 construction workers could lose their lives before a ball is even kicked in the world cup.  Workers there work under a ‘Kafala system’ slavery. Passports are confiscated so they are unable to leave the country. They arrive in debt having paid a £1000 fee to be allowed to work in Qatar. They live in abject poverty, wages can be as little as 45p an hour, pay goes missing. Through fear and intimidation many are literally worked to death in the heat and long hours. We intend to protest again outside the Qatari Embassy this IWMD 28th April 12.30–1pm 1, Audley St, WIK 1NB. Tubes  Hyde Park/ Green Park.  No blood stained stadiums.

London Hazards with the support of the Construction Safety Campaign are setting up a London Asbestos Support Group, which will help and give advice to families and sufferers. Mesothelioma Day Friday 3rd of July will be marked at Leigh Day Solicitors Priory House from noon onwards where experts / campaigners / families will speak out. Thousands die in the UK every year from exposure, mainly construction workers. Yet they’ve for known decades it killed workers in fact in the 1920’s insurance companies refused life insurance for asbestos workers.

The Tory led coalition has led attack after attack against Health & Safety laws. Cameron’s stated aim is to kill off Health and safety culture. A message to their friends in industry, these laws are there to protect lives, not to hinder profits as this coalition believes.

International Workers Memorial Day (IWMD) states “Remember the dead, fight for the living.” It means fighting for a full public enquiry into Blacklisting! Those who speak out about Safety, be it on Crossrail, in care homes and the NHS. We demand full protection for whistle blowers. Attacks are being driven under the name of fighting austerity worldwide! This is their crisis they created it. No to austerity, build resistance, defend worker’s rights and an end to the Anti-Trade Union laws.

Pete Farrell – Construction Safety Campaign / London Hazards www.lhc.org.uk


There are a number of IWMD events taking place all over the country on April 28. Find out where one is in your area on TUC website.

International Workers Memorial Day 2015 London Tower Hill Rally and Memorial from 10.30am. Speakers: Gail Cartmail Unite Assistant General Secretary, Brian Rye National Secretary UCATT, family of Rene Tkacik Crossrail worker, Stephen Timms Shadow employment secretary and speakers from London Hazards and Construction Safety Campaign.




‘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 and Ronnie Draper BFAWU General Secretary. Download updated 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

Scotland Unite & Unison

Please support Dundee porters: [email protected] Donations to Unite, 110 Blackness Road, Dundee DD1 5PB (cheques to Unite). Facebook: Support Ninewells Porters

Please support Glasgow Homeless case workers: email [email protected] Cheques to Glasgow City Unison 84 Bell Street, Glasgow G1 1LQ. Facebook: Glasgow Homeless Caseworkers strike



Fox’s Biscuits strike suspended as new pay offer is made (21 April) – The strike at Fox’s Biscuits in Batley, west Yorkshire by engineering workers today and on Thursday has been suspended for a vote on a new pay offer to take place, Unite said today (Tuesday 21 April). The 42 engineers were due to have staged stoppages for six hours from 04.00-10.00 today and on Thursday over the pay issue, but these have been suspended for the pay vote.  The engineers at the Wellington Street site were angry at the original one per cent offer for the year, starting on 1 August 2014, with a further two per cent from 1 August this year. Now a new offer, based on a one year deal, has been made read more

Cuts to Bradford bus services prompt 48-hour strike (20 April) – Thousands of Bradford bus users will be hit by a 48-hour strike on 27 and 28 April in a dispute where First West Yorkshire has been accused of allowing services ‘to wither on the vine’. The 380 bus drivers, members of Unite based at the First Bradford depot, Bowling Back Lane, Bradford, BD4 8SP will walk out at 01.30 on Monday 27 April. The strike will end at 01.29 on 29 April. Unite accuses the company of running the bus depot down with the intention of closing it in the future. The union said also that there were allegations of bullying and harassment on a daily basis. The main issue in dispute is the transfer of part of the 576 bus service from Bradford to Halifax with the loss of eight jobs when it will be operated by the Halifax depot read more

Second wave of strikes over Bromley council’s mass privatisation (20 April) – Bromley council’s plans to carry out a mass privatisation of services are being challenged by members of Unite with a second wave of strikes. The selected strikes from 27 April to 19 May dovetail with the stand of the council’s Labour group which has accused the Conservative-dominated authority of being ‘openly committed to being a ‘commissioning council’ and to reducing the number of council employees from 4,000 to 300’ read more

Sellafield workers back strike action (16 April) – Unite construction members employed at Sellafield Contractor Group Limited in West Cumbria have overwhelmingly backed industrial action in a dispute over the company’s refusal to allow a full time union shop steward and a more proactive remit for the site’s health and safety committee. The presence of a union representative, including safety representation is essential at the Sellafield nuclear site in Cumbria – to work together with the workforce and the company – keeping employees, the public and the site safe and secure. Over 1,200 Unite members voted 98 per cent in support of industrial action. Workers will decide what type of industrial action they will take at a meeting next week (Tuesday 21 April) read more

Critical spotlight on employment practices at Teesside energy-from-waste plant (16 April) – Serious concerns about the employment and recruitment practices at the energy-from-waste plant being built at the Wilton complex on Teesside have been expressed by Unite. The crux of the dispute is that the construction project, a joint venture between Sita and Sembcorp, is being built outside of the terms of all the national agreements (CIJC and NAECI) for the construction industry which have been in place for more than 30 years…there also appears to be a high number of agency labour onsite operating through umbrella companies who are employed with no employment rights. A public meeting called by Construction Activists Committee on Teesside will be held on Saturday (18 April) at Majuba car park in Redcar TS10 5BJ starting at 10.00 for an update on the current situation. Officers from Unite, the GMB and UCATT will be in attendance read more  See photos from the protest here   read more form GMB website

Four day strike at Northampton packaging firm suspended (15 April) – The four day strike at corrugated packaging company Smurfit Kappa in Northampton, due to start on Friday (17 April), has been suspended. This is to allow the appeals of the two sacked senior stewards, members of Unite to be heard on Friday. There will then be a mass meeting of Unite’s 108 members on Sunday (19 April) to discuss the outcome of the appeals read more



Download NSSN leaflet supporting PCS from the government’s attacks: ‘Stop the union busters!’ here  MARK Serwotka PCS General Secretary to speak at NSSN conference on July 4th

Help halt National Gallery privatisation as new 5-day strike starts (17 April) – Ahead of the latest strike action against privatisation by PCS members at the National Gallery we’re asking supporters to help halt the plans by writing to director Nicholas Penny. Our members are striking for 5 days from Monday (20-24 April) against the privatisation of 400 visitor services jobs at the National Gallery with a further strike on 1 May, including a rally at 2pm. Members have already taken 17 days’ action and there is a hardship fund collection day on 24 April to help raise money for our strike. The timing of the attempted privatisation has made it an election issue as tendering is due to start just 2 days before the general election. PCS has called for a moratorium as we believe a new government and the new director – Dr Penny is due to leave in August – should have a chance to review the proposals…In a cynical attempt to intimidate PCS members working in the National Gallery, a key local PCS rep Candy Udwin was suspended just before the dispute began in February. Her unjustifiable suspension has already attracted widespread public and media attention, and the group office has received both messages of support and financial donations from the public as well as from PCS members, which have been passed to the campaign’s hardship fund. PCS is urging people to sign a statement to reinstate Candy which has already been signed by thousands of supporters. As part of the campaign we are also asking people to upload photographs to Twitter, holding #ReinstateCandy posters, to download and use. These are then being added to a photostream on Facebook read more

Armed forces pensions administrators in 5-day strike (April 15) – PCS members working on IT contracts and pensions administration for billion dollar company Computer Sciences Corporation are striking for 5 days over pay from Monday. Staff working for the US multinational are involved in a long-running pay dispute over pay and voted overwhelmingly – 80% on a 96% turnout – to take a week of action starting on 20 April. Our members work on IT contracts and pensions administration for the armed forces read more

Low paid Windsor wardens vote for action (15 April) – Low paid staff who work at one of the Queen’s palaces have voted overwhelmingly for industrial action. In a ballot of 76 of the wardens at Windsor Castle, 84% voted for action on a turnout of 82%. Starting on as little as £14,400, in the last few years they have been asked to carry out extra duties for no additional pay, at the same time as suffering Treasury-imposed pay cuts. This includes giving tours of the castle that visitors pay extra for. Non-strike industrial action, including withdrawal of this goodwill, could start from the end of April read more



RMT confirms balloting timetable for Network Rail (21 April) – The largest rail union, RMT, today confirmed the timetable for a ballot of Network Rail members for both strike action and action short of a strike in the current dispute over pay. Notice will be served on Network Rail today with the ballot papers going out next Tuesday for return by the 12th May. Any action would require a further seven days’ notice. RMT has rejected the latest pay proposals as falling well short of what is required to maintain the living standards, the job security and the working conditions for nearly 16,000 staff across NR operations and maintenance. The move to a ballot comes after an earlier offer was rejected by a massive 93% on a 56% turn out in a referendum vote. Since then, intensive talks through ACAS have failed to produce enough movement from Network Rail leaving the union with no alternative but to move to a national industrial action vote read more

RMT kicks off latest phase of Northern/TPE Campaign (21 April) see photos here

May Day Demo for Sacked Sodexo Rep Petrit Mihaj (supported by NAPO) read more   Download RMT/NAPO leaflet



Barking and Dagenham Strikes Go Ahead (April 21) – No talks took place at ACAS on Tues 21st April on further 10 days of strike by Barking and Dagenham refuse drivers in pay and safety dispute. This must be a massive disappointment to the residents of Barking and Dagenham that the council they elected does not seem interested in bringing this dispute to an end says GMB. Barking and Dagenham managers today refused to meet with GMB for talks at ACAS on Tuesday 21st April. The managers attended at ACAS but refused to sit in the same room as GMB and their own employees at ACAS. The talks has been called to avert a further 10 days of strike action by over 100 GMB members employed as bin lorry drivers for Barking & Dagenham Council Environmental Services in a dispute over a £1,000 a year cut in contractual pay arising from the council cutting corners on the safety of refuse vehicles. GMB has given notice of two days strike from 6am on Thursday 23rd April until 10pm on Friday 24th April and a further 8 days from 6am on Friday 1st to 10pm on Friday 8th May. Members have already taken five days of strike action on 18/19/20 March and on 7/8 April in this dispute read more

NHS Northern Ireland pay dispute (April 21) – GMB NHS members in Northern Ireland to take action from 27th April in pay dispute. For the NHS there has been no movement by the Minister or Department on dealing with the issue of pay for NHS workers in Northern Ireland – unlike the position in the other three nations says GMB read more

Nuneaton School Support Staff Strikes (April 20) – GMB Nuneaton school support staff strike on 21 and 22 April after 96% vote for action over job losses and changes to conditions. Members are angry and upset that the fundamental issues they have with the Academy’s proposals have still not been addressed after 9 months. GMB, the union for school support staff at the Nuneaton Academy will take strike action on Tuesday 21st and Wednesday 22nd April in a long running dispute over job losses and contractual changes. The strike is from 12 noon to 2.30pm on Tuesday and then again on Wednesday 7am – 10am outside school read more

Reigate protest on holiday pay (April 20) – GMB refuse staff demo at Reigate and Banstead Council on Friday 24th April over failure to include overtime in holiday pay in line with EAT decision. If negotiations are not successful members will want Regional Committee to give permission for a ballot for industrial action says GMB. GMB members employed as refuse workers at Reigate and Banstead Council will hold a protest demonstration from 3.30pm on Friday 24th April outside Reigate and Banstead Town Hall, Castlefield Road, Reigate over the failure to pay the correct holiday pay to these staff read more

Worksop Strike on 21st April (April 16) – GMB Members in Worksop Firm to strike again on Tuesday 21st April in pay dispute. Members want a fair days pay for a fair days work as many have to rely on benefits to top up their pay which is outrageous and unacceptable says GMB. Over 30 GMB members employed by US owned Cinch Connectivity Solutions in Worksop in Nottinghamshire will take a second day of strike action on Tuesday 21st April from 7 am until 4 pm in an attempt to secure an improved pay offer in negotiations in a dispute over pay. This will be followed by an ongoing overtime ban from Wednesday 22nd April read more



Job cuts paused as Sodexo and MoJ argue the toss over EVR (April 21) – Yesterday’s meeting between Sodexo bosses and the probation unions which was diplomatically described in the joint statement that followed as a ‘full and frank’ discussion, paved the way for an announcement that will be issued formally tomorrow morning by CRC Chiefs. This confirms our expectation that Sodexo have signalled a pause to the job cuts programme pending further considerations and their upcoming meeting with the MoJ contractor read more

Probation unions threaten strikes over job cuts April 17) – On 16th April, the Probation trade unions, Napo, Unison and GMB warned the permanent secretary Ursula Brennan that members may be forced to ballot for strike action if she did not intervene over plans by the French multinational Sodexo to axe up to 46% of its staff in the 6 Community Rehabilitation Companies it took over on the 1st February 2015. Sodexo announced recently that 500+ jobs are at risk across its contract as it plans to replace highly skilled staff with biometric machines and mass call centres to supervise offenders in the community. The unions, who strongly oppose the massive job cuts have also warned the permanent secretary that unless Enhanced Voluntary Redundancy agreements reached with Ministers last year were honoured in full, their members would be  looking to ballot for strike action read more



UNISON probation members urged to vote Yes to strike action (April 20) – Probation members in England and Wales are being asked to vote for strike action – and vote yes to action short of a strike – in a ballot opening on 1 May and closing on 20 May. This will cover both members working for the National Probation Service and the new, outsourced “community rehabilitation companies”. If members have not received a ballot paper, or need a replacement, a ballot helpline will be open from 8-15 May on 0800 0 857 857 (textphone: 0800 0 967 968) read more

Health workers vote for strike ballot if move to a seven-day NHS is paid for by cutting staff pay (May 14) – Hundreds of thousands of healthcare workers, including nurses, paramedics, porters, cleaners, cooks, therapists and health care assistants will be balloted for industrial action if a move towards a seven-day NHS means cutting unsocial hours payments. Delegates at UNISON’s annual health care conference in Liverpool today (Tuesday) gave an overwhelming ‘yes’ vote to an industrial action ballot if any government tried to remove unsocial hours payments read more



Video | Pension and general election update (May 17) – As the general election approaches and the 2015 Firefighters’ Pension Scheme is imposed Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, gives a detailed update to all firefighters on pensions changes, the ongoing campaign,where they can find vital information and attacks the Conservative party for trying to stop firefighters fighting for their service here



Product placement on BBC World News is creeping commercialisation and must be stopped (17 April) – The NUJ has branded the plans by BBC World News, the global news channel, as creeping commercialisation that should have no place on a public service broadcaster read more



CWU safeguards jobs in major BTMSL site move (April 16) – BT Tower After lengthy negotiations, CWU has succeeded in guaranteeing job security for members at BT Managed Service Ltd (BTMSL) affected by a major move to new premises hundreds of miles away – and compensation or improved terms for those affected read more

Pay rise for BT members (April 15) – BT Members in BT will receive a 2.5% pay rise, backdated to 1 April 2015, which should be paid in this month’s salaries. The pay rise is part of a three-year deal struck last year by the CWU’s negotiating team covering engineering, contact centre and support staff. However, the deal included a clause that either the company or the union could re-open negotiations if the Retail Price Index (RPI) in February 2015 was either above 3% or below 2%. RPI in February was reported at 1% and therefore BT did invoke the clause and a review took place with the CWU read more



Join the ‘No Academies at Prendergast’ march in Lewisham on Saturday April 25 – The official ‘consultation’ period over the plans to turn the three Prendergast schools into academies is now underway. Parents, staff and students have already shown their strong opposition to these damaging proposals. Now it’s essential to maintain the pressure on the Governing Board. That’s why another protest march has been organised on Saturday. The demonstration is assembling on Hilly Fields by Prendergast school’s top-site at midday and then marching to a rally at Cornmill Gardens, by Prendergast Vale school in Lewisham. Please be there and bring your friends and family too! read more from blog of Martin Powell Davies Lewisham NUT & NEC



Strike action at Dundee University over job losses (21 April) – Members of UCU at the University of Dundee will be taking strike action on Tuesday 28 April and Tuesday 5 May 2015 in a row over job losses. As well as going on strike, UCU members at the university will refuse to participate in the university’s redundancy process, which they say is flawed. As part of their action, union members will also ignore ‘excellence review’ forms sent out by the university which they say are a mechanism to make them compete with one another to keep their own jobs read more



‘Disgrace’ as G4S guards handcuffed to prisoners handed redundancy notices (18 April) – Justice services union, Community, calls for urgent review of the Scottish Government’s procurement practices. G4S guards were shocked to be handed redundancy notices while they were handcuffed to prisoners who were being escorted on hospital visits. Community, which represents the guards, said that workers were given the choice of redundancy or cuts to pay and hours that would cost more than £4000 a year as G4S tried to save money on a ‘loss leader’ contract, which was signed in 2011. The trade union is calling on the Scottish Government to urgently review its procurement practices read more

Steel unions set date for industrial action ballot (13 April) – Unions intend to open Tata industrial action ballot on 6 May. Steel unions Community, Unite, GMB and UCATT have announced that Wednesday 6th May is the date they intend to open an industrial action ballot over Tata Steel’s proposal to close the British Steel Pension Scheme. The ballot is expected to end on Friday 29th May. The unions are continuing to take legal advice and make preparations to ensure that the ballot meets all legal requirements and cannot be challenged by Tata read more



Royal College of Art protest April 22 for London Living Wage – The Royal College of Art is still not paying its outsourced workers the London Living Wage. Although they have agreed to implement the uplift in September, they are asking outsourced workers to continue living in poverty until then. This protest is to say that that is not OK! Details here



For reports from the April 15 Fast Food Rights global day of action – follow the following twitter hashtags: #fastfoodglobal #April15 #10Now #joinaunion #strikefastfood

A short animation including some researched facts can be found 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]

BFAWU bakers’ union General Secretary Ronnie Draper to speak at NSSN conference on July 4th



Other news

United We Stand

On Tuesday 5th May at 7.30pm, at the invitation of Bristol Community Unite, Townsend Productions will be performing United We Stand – a hard-hitting new play about the Shrewsbury 24 written by Neil Gore. The performance will take place in the Polish Club (50 St Paul’s Road, Bristol BS8 1LP). Tickets will be available at the door (£10 waged, £3 unwaged). Any profits from ticket sales are going to the Shrewsbury 24 Campaign.

Bristol Community Unite would like to urge members to take the rare opportunity to see this performance by a touring theatre group whose previous work has included a much-acclaimed dramatisation of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists. United We Stand takes us back to 1972, when tens of thousands of building workers won the first national strike in the industry for better pay and conditions. ‘Flying pickets’ left the contractors reeling. The Tory government and the large building companies wanted revenge, and the ‘Shrewsbury 24’ were put on trial in the following year.

The play focuses on the events that led to the imprisonment of building workers Des Warren and Eric Tomlinson (Ricky Tomlinson of ‘The Royle Family’). It reflects the great tide of anger, which rocked the very foundations of the established political elite, examines the extraordinary political will of all the participants and shares the anguish of falling prey to a flagrant miscarriage of justice.

With today’s government still refusing to release official documents dealing with the frame-up of the Shrewsbury 24, and the stench of blacklisting in the construction industry growing by the day, United We Stand brings forward a class-struggle message which is more relevant now than ever before.

All profits from this performance will be donated to the Shrewsbury 24 Campaign.

Fraternally, Giles Shorter (Industrial Liaison Officer, Bristol Community Unite


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. An anti-cuts comedy featuring sketches, songs and stand-up will tour the North East in the run up to the General Election more info



Blacklisting & Victimisation

Buy the book ‘Blacklisted: The Secret War between Big Business and Union Activists’ Author: Dave Smith and Phil Chamberlain. Blacklisted tells the controversial story of the illegal strategies that transnational construction companies used to keep union activists away from work. See the official trailer from ReelNews

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)


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: Transport and public sector workers take national strike action on April 22

Germany: On Monday 27th and Tuesday 28th of April there will be a warning strike at the Charité university hospital in Berlin, one of largest hospital groups in Europe and also one of the biggest employers in Berlin with over 13,000 working in its four campuses. The workers are demanding more staff and especially an improved patient-nurses ratio. This will be the first strike action ever taken in Germany for such a demand and this dispute also plays an important political role as working conditions in hospitals are bad. This dispute has been going on for more than two years with management using delaying tactics.

The workers at the Charité support the demand of the trade union ver.di for a law which regulates the number of nurses which have to work in hospitals, but under the leadership of a combative trade union branch they don’t want to wait for legislation, but want a collective bargaining agreement on the issue now. We ask you to send a short solidarity message to the workers. Please send messages to [email protected]




Diary (see & use false economy)


28 International Workers Memorial Day



1 May Day (events will be taking place between May 1-4) London May Day rally & demonstration: May 1 assemble 12noon Clerkenwell Green download leaflet



20 People’s Assembly anti-austerity demonstration in London details here



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

11 Durham Miners’ Gala details here

17-19 Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival details here




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