For the second time in a month, London Underground’s four unions and up to 20,000 of their members are preparing to lock-down London in defiance of Tory Mayor Boris Johnson. RMT, Aslef, TSSA and Unite have rejected management’s latest “rehash” of destructive plans for night service, staff restructuring and pay.
NSSN steering committee member John Reid, who is on the RMT’s ruling Council of Executives, said, “All four unions are united as London is brought to a standstill. The strike is due to London Underground management’s intransigence over jobs, work-life balance, forced unsocial hours and ripping up agreements.”
The NSSN gives full support to these workers and their unions. Hopefully their action will give all workers confidence in face of the offensive from the employers and their Tory government.
NSSN ‘KillTheBill rally & lobby of TUC Congress 1pm-3.30pm Sunday September 13th in Brighton – The NSSN are pleased to announce that General Secretaries Mark Serwotka PCS and Mick Cash RMT will be speaking at our #KillTheBill rally at this year’s TUC Congress in Brighton.
The rally will be part of a lobby called by the NSSN. We will be calling on the TUC and its affiliated trade unions to organise a demonstration when the Tories debate their trade union bill in Parliament. The lobby will also push for preparations to begin for mass co-ordinated strike action if the laws are passed and against the Tories’ brutal cuts.
It will be in the Grand Hotel from 1pm-3.30pm in the Charlotte Room 97-99 King’s Rd BN1 2FW (next to the Brighton conference Centre).
Email us on [email protected] if you want to attend and need transport.
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]
RMT names new strike dates on First Great Western (3 August) – RAIL UNION RMT today confirmed further strike dates and action short of a strike in the dispute with First Great Western as the company continues to fail to meet the core issues impacting on staff and passengers from the introduction of the new fleet of Hitachi inter-city trains read more
RMT rejects latest Night Tube offer strike action goes ahead (3 August) – TUBE UNION RMT has confirmed that it has rejected the re-packaged offer from London Underground over the Night Tube in a meeting at ACAS this afternoon. As a result the strike action scheduled to begin on Wednesday afternoon goes ahead as planned across all grades and all lines. RMT reps were furious when they examined the details of the current proposals earlier today only to find that they are a re-hash of previous plans and would continue along the course of smashing up long-standing agreements and destroying work/life balance in the interests of delivering the Mayor’s ill-conceived Night Tube vanity project. The union has said that it is prepared to continue talking read more TSSA: Boris is Blamed for Tube Strike
Another Phoenix steward sacked – last week, we reported on a protest in Canary Wharf after electrical contractor Phoenix sacked a newly elected Unite steward for requesting that workers be moved onto direct employment as set out in the JIB agreement. The protest was successful in getting the steward reinstated. However, last Friday another Unite rep was sacked by Phoenix on a central London site who also threatened to sue Unite over the Canary Wharf protest! The NSSN pledges our support to these workers and Unite and will join any protest action that is called
Sellafield construction workers start work to rule over health and safety concerns (31 July) – Over 1,200 construction workers involved in the decommissioning and renewal project at Sellafield in Cumbria have begun a work to rule and overtime ban in a campaign to improve health and safety and productivity. The members of Britain’s largest union, Unite began the action short of strike at 05:30 hours today (Friday 31 July) following a continued refusal by Sellafield Ltd and the group of sub-contractor companies to facilitate a full-time union convenor on the site read more
Councils quizzed in dispute over ‘undercutting’ pay rates at Teesside energy-from-waste plant (31 July) – Local authorities are being asked to say how much they are paying to use the energy-from-waste plant being built at the Wilton complex on Teesside in a bid to prove that the cash-rich employer can pay the national rates of pay to workers. The survey of councils across the UK by Unite, the country’s largest union, has been prompted by serious concerns about the employment and recruitment practices at the construction project, a joint venture between Sita and Sembcorp. The focus of the dispute is that the project 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 read more
Alarm bells ring over future of housing staff pensions (30 July) – The increased contributions to the pension fund for social housing staff should not be used as an excuse for housing association bosses to provide inferior pension provision for employees. Unite, the country’s largest union, fears that housing association executives will opt for less generous pension schemes, following the latest contribution increases that associations pay into the Social Housing Pension Scheme (SHPS). The SHPS is currently grappling with a £1.32bn deficit. Unite, which has 10,000 members in the housing sector, reiterated its commitment “to fight for good quality pensions that will provide a decent income for our housing members in their retirement” read more
Detrimental Nestlé pension changes should be put ‘on hold’, until fund is valued (29 July) – Changes to the Nestlé pension scheme that could mean that 7,600 workers losing thousands of pounds in retirement income should be put ‘on hold’ until a proper valuation of the scheme in December. Unite, the country’s largest union, and the GMB union are ‘totally opposed’ to Nestlé’s plans to close the defined benefit scheme, currently offered on a career average basis, and replace it with a defined contribution or ‘money purchase’ scheme read more GMB: Put Nestle Pension Changes On Hold
National Museum Wales strike Museum workers walkout at 15% pay cut (3 August) – PCS members at all seven sites of National Museums Wales took strike action last Saturday in protest at management’s plans to remove the premium payments for staff working at weekends. All ‘front of house’ staff have to work some weekends and the removal of these unsocial hours payments could mean a 15% cut in the take home pay of the lowest paid employees read more
PCS condemns National Gallery’s Securitas contract (31 July) – The National Gallery has today announced the appointment of private security firm Securitas to manage some visitor-facing and security staff services. PCS members at the gallery have so far taken more than 50 days of strike action against the privatisation plans and victimisation of lead rep Candy Udwin. Members are due to launch a series of strikes next week ahead of an all-out stoppage from mid-August read more All out strike announced by National Gallery staff
Pay-off cap: yet another attack on public sector (31 July) – PCS has condemned government plans to get rid of staff on the cheap by starting a consultation on plans to cap civil service pay-offs at £95,000. In typical fashion the government has today started a consultation at a time of year in which such exercises receive a low response time and has pre-judged the outcome by publicly annoucing that six-figure payouts in the civil service, NHS and local authorities are to be banned in law read more
Blackpool fights back against nursery cuts (July 29) – UNISON Blackpool is fighting back against plans to close the last two council-run nurseries in the town. A march and rally on 27 July followed protests last week against the council’s plans to close its final nurseries, in Grange Park and Talbot and Brunswick read more
BREAKING NEWS!! Gunstones workers win dispute – more news to come: follow #Gunstones on twitter
Firefighters in Essex are planning to strike next Thursday (6th August) in protest at further cuts to firefighter jobs which the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) says are set to decimate the county’s fire and rescue services. Essex County Fire and Rescue Service (ECFRS) have already suffered some extremely severe budget cuts. These new proposed cuts will mean that another 187 jobs could go, shrinking the number of firefighters overall from 656 to 477, a 25% reduction read more
August edition of FireFighter available here
POA announce strike ballot at Ashworth high-security psychiatric hospital – the union is balloting members from August 5-19 after two members were sacked. More info to follow
‘Great news’ Guardian US secures union recognition (30 July) – the editorial staff working for Guardian US have voted unanimously for union representation and recognition. The News Media Guild and its members will continue to work with the editor and company to secure a long-term, sustainable future read more
Rio members win legally binding agreement (31 July) – In March, BECTU members at the Rio Centre (Dalston) Limited went to the CAC (Central Arbitration Committee) and formally won the right to collective union representation for their chosen bargaining unit, covering all staff with the exception of the Chief Executive read more
Latest edition of NUT The Teacher magazine read here
Legal Aid strikes – follow #legalaid on twitter for updates
Barristers and solicitors across UK are supporting direct action, arguing cuts will lead to miscarriages of justice and drop in quality of representation
United Voices of the World
Reinstate the Sotheby’s 2! – Two of the Sotheby’s four have been reinstated. However, Sotheby’s and Servest are continuing to victimise Percy and Barbara, UVW shop-stewards on the malicious grounds that they are “inciting violence” and are “deliberately trying to harm Sotheby’s”. We will not accept this divide and rule strategy. The fight continues! www.facebook.com/events/1649707638598100/
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)
It’s all kicking off this week – Blacklist Support Group update 29 July 2015
- Pitchford Inquiry into undercover policing – an opportunity for justice or potential cover up?
Below are various press articles and comments from blacklisted workers, unions and other victims of undercover political policing in response to the start of the Pitchford inquiry
Below is the initial response from Blacklist Support Group:
“The opening remarks from Lord Justice Pitchford is a now available on the website especially set up for the public inquiry. The public inquiry is of course to be welcomed and hopefully will uncover the truth behind some of the most shameful elements of British secret state operations against its own citizens. However Pitchford’s remarks and the Terms of Reference published by Teresa May, leave cause for concern.
- Spying on trade unions and proven police collusion in blacklisting is not mentioned once. Although social justice campaigns are included. We will need to argue that trade unions fall into this category.
- The document stresses that only covert spying by police will be investigated. This leaves a huge gaping hole in the area of corporate spying on activists. The state is not neutral but is always on the side of big business against trade unions. Police and corporate surveillance are completely intertwined with sharing of intelligence standard operating procedure. Some state spying may have actually been out-sourced to private companies. Is this going to be off limits? Will blacklisting fall through the net?
- ‘Neither Confirm Nor Deny’ has been the response from the police to every attempt to pry open their dirty secrets. In addition they have refused to disclose evidence on the same basis claiming ‘national security’ or ‘ongoing investigations’ as the reasons. Continued use of this position by the police would make the entire inquiry a farce. Pitchford makes no mention of this but does talk about having to hear some evidence in secret and keeping identity confidential. Clarity on this issue is essential.
- Immunity from prosecution under the Official Secrets Act for whistleblowers will be crucial if the true extent of police operations are to be fully investigated. Without this, the inquiry is going nowhere. Pitchford does mention evidence given not being used to bring subsequent criminal charges – but this could apply to undercover officers who were involved in serious criminal activity such as sexual assault, arson or terrorism. It is not clear at all from the documentation so far released whether Peter Francis, the primary whistleblower will be protected.
- The Child Sex Abuse inquiry has set up a panel to hear and assess the evidence. The final report will be a collective response. In addition, an advisory panel made up of victims of abuse has also been established to assist in guiding the direction of the inquiry. No such equivalent structures have even been mooted by the Home Office or Pitchford. With the full PR machinery of the state at the disposal of the police, it is easy to see how the inquiry may cover areas which paint the police in a good light but completely ignore other areas.
- For the Pitchford inquiry to have any credibility, it will need to leave no stone unturned. There will be a period of lobbying and submissions by lawyers in the next few months. BSG and unions will be directly involved in that process. Which direction Pitchford will take is far from certain. One path may lead to groundbreaking insights into the anti-democratic operations of the secret state. A different path could result in another good old fashioned establishment cover up”.
- High Court orders Blacklisting firms to disclose evidence (previously hidden)
We also name the senior managers actively involved in blacklisting union members in the building industry. Many of these wretches have now moved to top HR jobs in the NHS, Universities, Lottery, Jockey Club and the off-shore sector. Do you recognise any of the names?
- VICTORY – sacked UNITE rep reinstated after direct action picket line
Graeme Boxall, the UNITE shop steward sacked at the Morgan Stanley HQ in Canary Wharf on Friday has been re-employed. Graeme was dismissed immediately after he requested direct employment for the electricians he represents but following a picket line this morning, negotiations took place between UNITE official Guy Langston and Lee Crompton Phoenix Managing Director. The outcome was that the sacked steward is now re-employed and the union will participate in continuing talks with the company about the direct employment issue.
Police threatened to arrest pickets and managers tried to intimidate the pickets by waving paperwork in front of them saying, “you are on private property and this is document is a High Court injunction which bans this protest”
The rank and file sparks reply was, “so what?”
Following the successful re-employment, protests have now been suspended to allow the union to negotiate the outstanding issues. Graeme Boxall commented: “I would like to say a massive ‘Thank You’ to all those who came down to support me today. I would especially like to thank the vast majority of construction workers on site who showed such solidarity by respecting the picket line, despite all the intimidation from the police and senior managers. Millions of workers are being denied their basic employment rights by the use of zero hours contracts, employment agencies and umbrella scams. But we don’t have to passively accept these abuses. Today has proved that if we fight back, we can win”.
- Pay The Rate – Teesside Construction Activists
The ongoing 16 week dispute in Redcar, Teesside is going to kick off big time. The national collective bargaining agreement is being ignored by major companies on the site who are exploiting workers by paying them less than the nationally agreed rates of pay, lodge and travel. We are not prepared to see any workers exploited, whether they are from Canterbury or Croatia.
This could spread like wildfire into a national wildcat strike. COBRA will have to meet if workers on power stations across the country follow the lead of the Teesside construction activists.
Reel News produce the first major video of the dispute: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgbSOxf4gTE
If you want to show solidarity – contact Teesside construction Activists via FB: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Teesside-Construction-Activists/429641457200160?fref=nf
- Blacklisting in the Labour Party leadership election
Jeremy Corbyn’s official flyer for the Labour Party leadership election (attached) specifically calls for compensation for the thousands of blacklisted workers and a full transparent public inquiry.
The flyer also calls for justice on Orgreave & Shrewsbury Pickets. For a number of years, Jeremy Corbyn attended Blacklist Support Group events in his own Islington constituency and in parliament. If any of the other candidates have official flyers that support blacklisted workers, we will be very interested in seeing them.
- Reel News
Everyone involved in Reel News deserves an award for all the hard work they are putting in to tell the stories the mainstream media are ignoring. We could not do what we do without the work they do – they are an integral part of the rank and file blacklisting campaign. Please get your union branch to subscribe or make a sizable donation to keep this essential trade union based indymedia collective afloat.
- Happy holidays – enjoy the sunshine
Blacklisted book http://newint.org/books/politics/blacklisted-secret-war/
International (also see Labourstart)
USA: Fast Food workers win wage increase in Los Angeles and New York read more
Myanmar: Management at Bagan Hotel River View responds to international campaign with new rights abuses read more
Diary (see & use false economy)
9 In 1905 the whole of Britain was made aware of the conditions of miners and their families living in colliery-owned housing. In the village of Kinsley, near Hemsworth in West Yorkshire, over a hundred families were evicted from their homes in a dispute between the miners and coal-owners. On Sunday 9 August, “Wakefield Socialist History Group” are holding a commemorative guided walk. It starts at 2pm at the winding wheel outside Fitzwilliam Railway Station (WF9 5DA). The guide is local socialist historian John Gill.
The route goes via Fitzwilliam Country Park and ends with a pint at the Kinsley Hotel. There is no charge and all are welcome –including dog walkers! For more information contact Group Convenor, Alan Stewart on 07931927451
6 Burston Strike School Rally – Church Green, Burston, near Diss, Norfolk IP22 5TP https://burstonstrikeschool.wordpress.com/the-rally/
13 NSSN rally & lobby of TUC Congress in Brighton 1pm-3.30pm Grand Hotel
PHONE 07952 283 558
EMAIL mailto:[email protected]
TWITTER – https://twitter.com/NSSN_AntiCuts
ADDRESS NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE