Ninety years ago today, millions of workers were taking part in the General Strike to defend the miners from a brutal Tory government. The NSSN along with militant unions has championed the idea of generalised strike action to face down Tory austerity and their planned anti-union laws. PCS National Vice-President John McInally celebrates the 1926 General Strike and draws out the lessons for today’s generation of trade union fighters:-
“The 90th anniversary of the general strike of 1926 allows us to reflect on the potential of the working class through their own organisations – the trade unions – to organise and fight back against attacks on their terms and conditions.
But the current generation of conservative union leaders will also no doubt use this anniversary to expound a defeatist narrative, best expressed at the 2012 TUC Congress during a debate on the feasibility of calling a general strike, that “..we tried that once and it didn’t work”. This cynical, ignorant statement seeks to re-write history as a series of defeats to prove industrial action is pointless and that gains made through generations of struggle were actually gifted to us by a munificent ruling class.
In fact in 1972 the very threat of a general strike forced the government to resurrect archaic legal procedures in order to release jailed Dockers from Pentonville prison. In 2011 public sector workers saw a glimpse of their massive latent strength during the two million strong N30 pensions strike that was sold out by cynical “leaders” who choreographed a “settlement” with Tory ministers that robbed them of pension rights. The 1984-85 Miners strike is also cited as “proof” that struggle is useless and only “diplomatic” entreaties can restrain the bosses from implementing the worst aspects of a never-ending race to the bottom. But with solidarity action from the rest of the union movement, Thatcher could have been defeated then.
Leadership now as then is critical. In 1926, the Daily Mail accurately described the general strike as a “revolutionary move” but with the purpose of frightening the Labour Party and union leaders, which it did.
Jeremy Hunt’s imposition of unacceptable contracts on junior doctors is a key stage in privatising our National Health Service and he seeks to intimidate them but also warn off right-wing union leaders by claiming the strikers aim to overthrow the government.
My union PCS along with the Fire Brigades Union called on the TUC general council to call a day of action in support of the junior doctors. The TUC must, as a matter of priority, reconsider their decision not to support this call.
The real lesson of the general strike is not that we can’t win but with determined leadership, workers can secure priceless victories.”
BMA Junior Doctors dispute – BMA website: coverage of most last week’s strike
The NSSN has produced a model motion that can be used in unions at all levels and trades council here
EMERGENCY DEMO! NHS BURSARIES: VOTE IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS! Today Wednesday May 4th – 12pm Parliament Square https://www.facebook.com/events/1110885192264890/
Nationalise Tata – support the Steelworkers
For latest developments, follow Facebook group
Blacklisted workers win massive pay-out from construction bosses but fight for justice goes on – see Blacklist Support Group report below
Back striking Amgueddfa Cymru/National Museum Wales staff (26 April) – PCS members at Amgueddfa Cymru/National Museum Wales are escalating their 2-year dispute over removal of extra payments for weekend working with further action this week and all-out action from bank holiday Monday, as well as a strike rally read more Make a contribution to the hardship fund:
Bank: Unity Trust Bank
Account name: PCS Amgueddfa Cymru 107006 Branch Hardship Fund
Account number: 20364700
Sort code: 60-83-01
Or via PayPal: http://bit.ly/26eNhvq
Stop the sackings of union reps at London Met – #savelondonmet #saveourreps Yesterday (April 30) our branch chair Mark Campbell and secretary David Hardman were made redundant in what is an outrageous attack on their strenuous and tireless trade union activities defending jobs and education at London Met read more Sign petition Open solidarity meeting (for those in London): Wed 4 May, 6pm. The Henry Thomas Room (TG-30), The Tower Building, London Metropolitan University,Holloway Road, London N7 8DB
Support Simon O’Hara — Teachers at Small Heath School in Birmingham are continuing to take action to support Simon who remains suspended. You are encouraged to send messages of support to David Room at [email protected] https://www.facebook.com/Reinstate-Simon-OHara-1090494714318024/
Save Pent Valley School in Folkestone https://www.facebook.com/groups/1696643377239906/
Reinstate Clive Walder
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
NSSN / Kill the Bill news
This year’s annual NSSN conference – our 10th – will be on Saturday July 2nd in Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL – 11am-4.30pm. Conference fee is £6 each. Please put in your diaries!! www.facebook.com/events/1361018323924300/ – confirmed speakers: Ronnie Draper BFAWU General Secretary, Janice Godrich PCS President, Chris Baugh PCS Assistant General Secretary
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
Tube Lines staff ballot over Night Tube pay (3 May) – Tube union RMT confirmed today that a ballot for action involving nearly 1500 Tube Lines maintenance and engineering staff over Night Tube pay and pensions will open today – Tuesday 3rd May – and close on Tuesday 24th May 2016. The dispute is over the companies refusal to discuss outstanding pensions issues until after the eventual launch of the Night Tube operation. There are also major unresolved issues over Night Tube staffing arrangements and a threat to undermine PRP agreements through Tube Lines refusing to base budgets on the negotiated levels of Performance Related Pay read more
Southern management walk out of talks (29 April) – Southern management walk out of talks and issue further threatening letter to guards. Southern Rail management have today walked out of talks around the guards safety-dispute across the franchise and have ratcheted up the temperature by issuing a threatening letter to staff asking them to sign an undertaking that they will take no further strike action and threatening sanctions if they refuse read more
RMT prepares to ballot Southern GTR station staff (28 April) – RMT begins preparations for ballot of Southern GTR station staff over ticket office closures, job cuts and lone working. RAIL UNION RMT confirmed today that it has begun preparations for a ballot of station staff across Southern GTR for industrial action in response to a direct threat to services, jobs and staff safety from the company’s plans to close and downgrade ticket offices read more
HCA Unite members vote for strike action (May 3) – Unite members at the Homes and Communities Agency have voted in favour of strike action. Members are angry that once again their call for a fairer allocation of the pay settlement is being refused, this time on the grounds that it would cause extra work for HR staff read more
Offshore oil: Operation Woodgroup – 9am May 31 outside Wood Group, 15 Justice Mill Lane, AB11 6EQ Aberdeen. Protest against Woodgroup and their nefarious and unscrupulous current employment tactics . The protest has been taken up by the nationals an various reporters and internet sources and we expect good coverage and a good turnout. We will issue a list of demands to Woodgroup prior to the protest https://www.facebook.com/events/1718391818440264/
Reach Out Recovery: Reinstate Alison Morris – Victimisation at Reach Out Recovery. Alison Morris, Team Leader with years of exemplary experience in the field of substance misuse treatment, was summarily dismissed from her job at Reach Out Recovery on 11th April 2016. Alison, an accredited Health and Safety Rep for Unite the Union, was wrongly accused of misleading Senior Management over the intentions of a Fire Officer following a joint inspection of the city centre base in Birmingham on 27th January read more
Bullying claims as drivers at building supply giant hold strike ballot in pay dispute (3 May) – Drivers working for landscape products group Marshalls started voting today (Tuesday 3 May) for industrial action in an overtime pay dispute, amid claims that a manager swore at a group of drivers over participating in the ballot. A total of 110 drivers, members of Unite, the country’s largest union, are voting on whether to take strike action and/or industrial action short of a strike. The ballot closes on Tuesday 17 May read more
Tips victory must be honoured in law to ensure employers accept it, Unite warns (2 May) – The surest way to eliminate confusion about tips is to state it clearly in law that money left by customers for waiting staff must go to waiting staff, said the union representing waiting staff, Unite. The call came as the government produced its long-awaited response to the inquiry into abuses within the hospitality sector, launched in the wake of the relentless campaign by the union and its members to expose the tipping scams used by some high street chain read more
Honda warned over workers’ treatment at Swindon plant (28 April) – Unite has told the car manufacturer Honda it is “treating employees with contempt” and risks a total breakdown in relations read more
No library closures in Greenwich – Unite the Union is leading the fight to defend public services in Greenwich. If the Council gets its way, this will be a library closure, impacting not just on library workers but the much wider community. It will also signal an intensification of cuts in Greenwich. Over the next couple of months, the Council will make a decision about the future of the library. That is why we now need to step up the pressure. We have organised 3 lobbies. All will take place at the Town Hall:-
20th April – Lobby of Council Cabinet 6pm
18th May – Lobby of Annual Council Meeting 6pm
19th May – Lobby of Council Cabinet 6pm (Unite will be addressing this meeting which will make the decision on the future of the Mobile Library)
Unite Construction Rank & File National Meeting: Saturday 14th May 2016, Methodist Central Hall Manchester 12 – 3pm GMB: Engineering Construction Protest 7 April
GMB Ballot Greenwich School Support Staff (April 28) – GMB To Ballot Support Staff Members At The John Roan School In Greenwich For Industrial Action. Answers needed over unexplained £438,000 deficit and refusal to consult in a full and meaningful manner says GMB read more
Firefighters’ union appalled at former TUC chief’s joint article with Cameron (28 April) – Responding to the joint article on the EU referendum in the Guardian from former TUC general secretary Brendan Barber and David Cameron, Fire Brigades Union (FBU) leader Matt Wrack said: “This is appalling. The former general secretary of the TUC has lined up with a Tory prime minister to support Cameron’s case for a ‘Remain’ vote…” read more
Sedgehill: the disastrous result of imposing ‘regime change’ on a community school (May 2) – Friday’s final release of the Ofsted Inspection Report into Sedgehill School, labelling it ‘inadequate’ in every category, is the sad culmination of eighteen months of destructive political interference that has dealt a severe blow to what had been a thriving comprehensive school read more
BFAWU / Fast Food Rights
Sign the petition: Raise the minimum wage to £10 for all workers details on BFAWU website
‘How we defeated zero hours contracts’: Forum with New Zealand & UK fast food workers – 3pm, SOAS, University of London, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, WC1H 0XG London https://www.facebook.com/events/496421810566280/
Tragedy occurs on Workers’ Memorial Day (28 April) – The ongoing dangers in the construction industry have been tragically highlighted today (April 28th) following the death of a work on the New Queensferry Crossing on the Forth. It is understood that a 60 year old worker was killed after he was hit by the boom of a crane he was directing. The worker suffered severe blood loss, he was taken off site but could not be resuscitated read more
Local Government Pension Scheme – Please Sign The Parliamentary Petition here
Mandate / SIPTU (Ireland)
Support the Luas workers. Support Group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/533923853456339/
United Voices of the World
Reinstate ‘The Topshop 2’ & demand a Living Wage – National May 14 Topshop demo for living wage and trade union rights and against Philip Green https://www.facebook.com/events/1322096334470799/
Sign the petition: Conduct an inquiry into the Police’s actions at the Orgreave miners’ strike 1984 here
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 – 3rd May 2016
- High Court
Construction firms pay out millions to settle more blacklisting claims but the fight for justice continues.
Blacklist Support Group would like to pay tribute to the tremendous campaign by the families and supporters of the 96 football fans who lost their lives at Hillsborough. Their 27 year campaign for justice has finally been vindicated in court with the verdict of unlawful killing. The Hillsborough campaigns are an inspiration to millions around the world and prove that when we are steadfast in our fight for the truth, even the rich and powerful will be brought to account in the end.
- Third elected MSP found on blacklist
Academic who criticized Police Scotland is on blacklist – but his file has been destroyed
- Workers Memorial Day
- Scottish Labour Election Manifesto:
“A Scottish Labour Government will stand up for citizens’ individual rights and protect the Human Rights Act. We will right the wrongs for the people denied that basic human right to work — a Scottish Labour Government will deliver a full inquiry into the practice of blacklisting trade unionists in Scotland”.
- ‘Blacklisted’ is shortlisted for the Bread & Roses book award 2016
Sat 7th May at London Radical Bookfair
- Strikes & Protests
Solidarity with scaffs and labourers striking for one rate for the job at the Polmadie waste-to-energy site, Glasgow. Next 48 hour strike Tuesday 3 May
NG Bailey – direct employment
Victimized union activists:
- Undercover police
Donate to ReelNews – http://reelnews.co.uk/donationssubscriptions/
PepsiCo complicit in ongoing rights violations at Indian warehouse supplier read more
Uzbekistan: Defend human rights activist Uktam Pardaev read more
USA: Farmworkers blacklisted for speaking out: Tell Senator Jackson and tobacco companies we won’t stand for retaliation read more
Diary (see & use false economy)
2 10th annual NSSN Conference in Conway Hall, London https://www.facebook.com/events/1361018323924300/
9 Durham Miners’ Gala http://www.durhamminers.org/gala
15-17 Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival http://www.tolpuddlemartyrs.org.uk/
PHONE 07952 283 558
EMAIL mailto:[email protected]
TWITTER – https://twitter.com/NSSN_AntiCuts
ADDRESS NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE