284: Education unions must organise against Tory academies plan

Overnight, the Tories have announced plans to put every school in England into academy status. This is an emergency statement from NSSN supporters in the NUT:-

The government’s announcement that all schools in England are to become academies is a declaration of war on comprehensive public education and national pay and conditions for teachers and support staff.

It exposes the academy project for the wholesale privatisation it is and nothing to do with tailored school improvement. Only last week Ofsted reprimanded seven Multi Academy Trusts for poor performance. The Socialist Party has regularly detailed the higher exclusion rates, poorer employment conditions, narrower curriculums and myriad of other issues in academies.

The policy would remove any democratic accountability parents, teachers and communities have. Limited as it is, we still have the opportunity to elect the councillors responsible for local authority schools but not when it comes to academies.


As NUT deputy general secretary Kevin Courtney said: “The government’s ultimate agenda is the privatisation of education, with schools run for profit.”

This is why the education unions must respond with determined action to defeat this agenda. An emergency meeting between the teaching unions must be organised and the question of national strike action must be on the table.

Yesterday’s strike by sixth form teachers over funding showed the anger and willingness to fight of NUT members. The government tried to get the strike stopped in the high court but lost. If we can have a legal national dispute in sixth form why not on academisation?

This is part of an all out assault on our profession and education in general. There are live disputes across further education; primary teachers are discussing boycotting standardised tests; and reductions in funding are to be met by campaigns to stop cuts in schools. The NUT and other education unions should bring these different strands together in a national demonstration in defence of education in the summer term.

The government has tried to ‘go nuclear’ with the junior doctors but it is in danger of overreaching with the austerity and privatisation it is pushing through. Now is the time for the trade union movement to put this government in its place.

If you’re in London on Wednesday 16th March – Budget Day – be at the Old Parcel Yard outside parliament at 6pm for the TUCG’s protest against the Trade Union Bill, where NUT general secretary Christine Blower will be one of the speakers. It will be our first chance to protest against the academies announcement.

NUT: Schools in England to be forced to become academies


Video of anti-blacklisting occupation of Skanska HQ

The offices of Swedish construction company Skanska were occupied on Monday March 14th by the Blacklist Support Group, supported by the NSSN. Skanska, who are facing charges of illegal conspiracy to blacklist in the High Court, have spent more money than any other company on blacklisting – in 2008-09 they spent over £28,000, or nearly 13,000 workers checked Skanska in human rights blacklisting scandal Skanska in human rights blacklisting scandal


TUCG #KillTheBill lobby of Parliament March 16 – The NSSN is supporting the protest called by the Trade Union Co-ordinating Group of unions (TUCG) when the Trade Union Bill gets to its Report Stage today at 6pm on Budget Day Wednesday 16th March, when Osborne will announce yet more cuts. We believe that the two things are linked because the Tories understand that the unions with over 6 million members are still the major obstacle to their vicious austerity. The protest will be at Old Palace Yard opposite Parliament http://www.tucg.org.uk/

kill the bill march 16


BMA Junior Doctors dispute – Junior Doctors started the first of three more 48-hour strikes on March 9th after the Tories announced their plan to impose the new contract. BMA website – Junior doctors: 48 hour industrial action begins in England  For info on picket lines, strike rallies etc follow #JuniorDoctorsStrike #NotSafeNotFair #JuniorDoctors on twitter

The next planned dates of industrial action are:

6 – 8 April: Emergency care only between 8am on Wednesday 6 April and 8am on Friday 8 April (48 hours)

26 – 28 April: Emergency care only between 8am on Tuesday 26 April and 8am on Thursday 28 April (48 hours)

The NSSN will continue our support for the BMA and their members and we specifically call for the TUC and the trade unions, particularly in health, to approach the People’s Assembly to turn their demonstration on April 16th into a TUC and union-led mass mobilisation to defend the NHS and support the BMA and the junior doctors as well as defending NHS bursaries. This could really build confidence about co-ordinated industrial action across the health service.

To assist in this, we have produced a model motion that can be used in unions at all levels and trades council here




The academy threat to Small Heath School has been withdrawn – now lift the suspensions! — Teachers at Small Heath School in Birmingham have voted to continue their strike action. They have now taken 20 days of strike action. But despite eleven hours of meetings with management and the council in February, two NUT reps remain suspended. You are encouraged to send messages of support to David Room at [email protected]. A petition to defend the two reps, including Simon O’Hara and to say ‘no to academisation’ of Small Heath School has attracted nearly 3000 signatures – please add your signature sign here

NUT wins court case to go ahead with sixth form college strike (14 March) – The Governments challenge to the NUT’s 6th form College strike has been defeated today in the High Court. The strike action will now be going ahead on Tuesday 15 March read more




Reinstate Clive Walder

The NSSN is delighted to announce that John Vasey a sacked CWU postal rep in Wakefield, West Yorkshire has finally been reinstated by Royal Mail (see CWU website). We now demand that Clive Walder gets his job back at British Telecom.

Clive Walder, a longstanding leading rep in the CWU had an appeal against unfair dismissal rejected by British Telecom on 9 November, confirming his sacking after 38 years of service. Clive is chair of the CWU Birmingham, Black Country & Worcester branch.

Clive worked in a BT call centre and was dismissed after an aggressive customer reported him to management just 33 seconds into a phone call. The decision was made without taking stress into account despite the local CWU branch reporting that 7% of staff at the call centre leave their jobs each month, some walking out mid shift. Management took the decision without consulting any medical advice or taking into account any mitigation.

Clive is a NSSN steering committee member and we will be supporting the campaign protesting the sacking and campaigning for his reinstatement.

Contact Clive to send messages of support and invite him to your union branch, shop stewards committee, trades council etc – [email protected] 07771931185

North London says: ‘Hands off our Crowns’


NSSN / Kill the Bill news

The 10th annual NSSN conference will on Saturday July 2nd 2016 in Conway Hall, London. Please put in your new diaries!!

kill the bill 5 feb 2016_Page_1

Report from Yorkshire NSSN Conference on March 5th here


The last two pink NSSN ‘£10 Now’ t-shirts are available for £8. Both are women’s large sizes. First come first served! Order by emailing [email protected]

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 attached and here

Download the ‘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]


More Union News


Port workers rally ahead of strike over shift change cuts (14 March) – Members of the UK’s largest union, Unite, at the Port of Grangemouth will rally this evening (Monday 14 March) before joining night shift colleagues on the picket line as a two week strike over the imposition of shift changes, affecting pay by up to £1,800 a year, gets under way. The fortnight of strikes will start tomorrow morning (Tuesday 15 March) at 00.01 hours and run until 00.01 hours on Tuesday 29 March, following which a complete ban on overtime will commence, after 100 per cent of Unite members in the port operatives division voted for strikes on a 97 per cent turnout read more

Co-op’s drivers vote to strike over transfer of 87 drivers to controversial haulier Eddie Stobart (14 March) – Co-op drivers have voted overwhelmingly for industrial action over the proposal to transfer 87 drivers in the Midlands to controversial haulier Eddie Stobart Ltd (ESL). Because of the implications for future outsourcing by the Co-op group, Unite, the country’s largest union, held the ballot for strike action and/or industrial action short of a strike of more than 700 of its driver members. Today, the ballot results showed that 77 per cent had voted for strike action and 84 per cent in favour of industrial action short of a strike. The Co-op driver members balloted are based at Birtley, Newcastle; Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland; Castlewood, north Derbyshire; Coventry; Inverness; Newhouse, Lanarkshire; Plymouth and Thurrock in Essex read more



Hospital Workers Strike 21 March (March 15) – Hospital Workers To Strike At Maudsley, Lambeth, Lewisham And Bethlem Hospitals On Monday 21st March For A Living Wage, Sick Pay And Unsocial Hours Payments. With a profit of $1.4bn, American multinational outsourcing provider Aramark can well afford to pay their staff a proper wage says GMB. GMB, the union for staff in the health service, will hold a strike at four South London Hospitals on Monday 21st March for 175 members working as cleaners and hostesses for private contractor Aramark read more



Glasgow school janitors to strike for three days this week – UNISON members employed by Cordia as school janitors in primary schools, ASL schools and nurseries will strike for three days next week in a dispute over pay. There are over 130 school janitors in UNISON membership. Cordia, an ALEO of Glasgow City Council, is refusing to pay a Working Context and Demands Payment to school janitors and is using spurious arguments to justify not making this payment read more  Glasgow Unison Facebook page



RMT hails Tyne & Wear Metro victory (14 March) – RMT hails victory in battle for public ownership as Tyne and Wear Metro set to be brought back in house. Transport union RMT today hailed a massive victory in the battle for public ownership as Nexus confirmed this morning that Deutsche Bahn will have their contract for the Tyne and Wear Metro ripped up with the service being taken into direct public control from April next year read more

Piccadilly Line strike dates confirmed (March 12) – RMT has instructed all Train Operators and Instructor Operators to take strike action as follows:

Not to book on for shifts after 21:00 hours Wednesday 23rd March 2016 until 20:59 hours Thursday 24th March 2016.

Not to book on for shifts after 12:00 hours on Tuesday 19th April 2016 until 11:59 hours Wednesday 20th April 2016 and again after 12:00 hours on Thursday 21st April 2016 until 11:59 hours on Friday 22nd April 2016.

The union remains available for talks but if no progress is made, further action will be called beyond those dates in due course. 85% voted for strike action with an even larger number voting for action short of a strike read more



VTEC: Ballot for industral action (11 March) – ASLEF is balloting members on Virgin Trains East Coast for industrial action in respect of the following issues: progress towards reaching agreement on a revised Professional Drivers Agreement; progress towards reaching agreement on proposals to address the end of contracting out of the additional state pension; the company’s application of pension restructuring premiums on promotional moves read more

Strike on Trans Pennine Express (10 March) – ASLEF drivers at TPE have voted to go on strike because of management’s failure to abide by agreements read more



PCS condemns cuts to the civil service compensation scheme (11 March) – Our national executive has made decisions on campaigning against the government’s proposed cuts to the civil service compensation scheme, including lobbying MPs. The Treasury has launched a “consultation on reforms to public sector exit payments” and the Cabinet Office has followed this with a “consultation on reform of the civil service compensation scheme.” The current civil service redundancy scheme was introduced in December 2010 read more



MPs call for negotiated settlement at ENO (March 8) – Alison McGovern MP (left), the Chair of the Performers Alliance All Party Parliamentary Group, is writing to Culture Secretary John Whittingdale and Arts Council England CEO Darren Henley calling on them to give public support to a negotiated settlement to the ENO dispute. The ENO chorus is threatened with job losses and cuts in earnings of up to 40% and have voted in favour of strike action read more



Boris Johnson labelled a disgrace after third fatal fire as he pushes through further cuts (10 March) – A 60 year old man has died as a result of a fire at his home in Lewisham, south London, a stones throw away from the closed Downham fire station – one of 10 fire stations the mayor closed in 2014. The news comes just as Boris Johnson has axed 13 fire engines from the capital, despite objections from the fire authority which runs the brigade read more



Construction unions disgusted by paltry pay offer (10 March) – Unions representing workers employed under the largest collective agreement in the construction industry have described the employer’s paltry pay offer as “insulting”. Pay talks for the Construction Industry Joint Council (CIJC) which covers the pay and conditions of around 500,000 construction workers, were held on Wednesday 9th March. The unions involved UCATT, Unite and the GMB, were especially shocked that employers offered a paltry 3.5% increase spread over two years. Especially as the CIJC has far lower pay rates and benefits than all the other construction industrial agreements read more



NPS Job Evaluation and E3 – Napo expresses its concern over outcomes and subsequent communications read more



Other News

National Demo: Refugees Welcome Here: Stand up to racism Islamophobia anti-Semitism & fascism! UN Anti-racism day demonstration Sat 19 Mar 2016 London #M19 read more



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)

Blacklist Support Group Update – 15th March 2016

  1. Skanska HQ occupied – the dirty dozen representing

Reel News Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEGngBmHKaA – please circulate / share this video far and wide



The next date in the High Court is Thurs 7th April – expect lots of movement behind the scenes between now and then. The Skanska occupation was the BSG input into the discussions.


  1. Blacklist firm thrown off another public contracts – more councils should follow this excellent example.

Is a blacklist firm delivering public services for your council, university or hospital trust?



  1. Undercover police spying on activists

Helen Steel – flies to Australia to expose the undercover cop that abused her 25 years ago – absolutely heroic and BSG are very proud to count Helen as one of us.






https://radio.abc.net.au/programitem/perLaOV4n3?play=true (starts at 1hr)


  1. Pitchford public inquiry into undercover policing

The police have put in submissions to the Pitchford inquiry arguing that they can ‘Neither Confirm Nor Deny’ whether any of the exposed spycops were in fact police officers – even when they have been outed in the press and the Met have paid compensation to their victims!! The police submissions also argue that large parts of the public inquiry should be heard in secret. Hardly a ‘public’ inquiry! BSG and the other core participants are arguing that all of the hearings should be in public and that the Police should be forced to disclose all of the police files and release the cover names of  everyone of the undercover police spies that targeted unions, justice campaigns, and democratic peaceful political groups.




Tues 22nd March (9am) – PItchford inquiry protest “Release the Names – Open the Files”  https://www.facebook.com/events/191551901215476/


  1. Dates for the diary

Wed 16th March (6pm) – Kill the TU Bill protest at Westminster

Sat 19th March – Construction Safety Campaign AGM at Conway Hall, Holborn

Tues 22nd March (9am) – PItchford inquiry  “Release the Names – Open the Files” protest

Thurs 7th April – Blacklisting High Court latest hearing


  1. In other news

John McDonnell interview in the Liverpool Echo – talking about the Blacklist Support Group – including a big shout out to Roy Bentham



German state media ARD runs blacklisting story on TV news – Mickey Guyll representing



Battersea crane disaster – 10 year wait for justice



HSE reduces safety inspections in construction – with quotes from the inspirational Louise Taggart from FACK



Congratulations to Helen Clifford – Personal Injury Lawyer of the Year.
Helen has spoken at Blacklist Support Group meetings, participated in the Frank Morris dispute and the Rene Tkacik Crossrail death inquest.


Bus drivers sacked after exposing safety concerns on new London Boris buses



Atlanco Rimec agency blacklisting exposed

Dutch TV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HctuiVm_BhI&feature=share


Ex-MI5 boss says private firms are now spying just the same as security services



Keep the faith

Blacklisted book http://newint.org/books/politics/blacklisted-secret-war/

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

Blog: www.hazards.org/blacklistblog

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

Donate to ReelNews – http://reelnews.co.uk/donationssubscriptions/




Mineworkers’ protests shake Chinese leaders read more

Colombia: Free academic and unionist Miguel Ángel Beltrán read more

USA: Workers want a union but Trump refuses recognition at Las Vegas Hotel read more


Diary (see & use false economy)








16 March for Homes, Health, Jobs, Education | End Austerity Now

Assemble: 1pm, Gower Street / Euston Road, London NW1 http://www.thepeoplesassembly.org.uk/hhje



2 10th annual NSSN Conference in Conway Hall, London




PHONE 07952 283 558

EMAIL mailto:[email protected]


TWITTER – https://twitter.com/NSSN_AntiCuts


ADDRESS NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE