NSSN 315: Durham teaching assistants strike back!

Teaching assistants in Durham in Unison and ATL have started their first 48-hour strike today to prevent pay cuts of up to 23%. TAs in Derby have recently been taking strike action against similar cuts to pay.


This is an excerpt from the blog Lions of Durham

“This is not action we are taking lightly but we have been forced into it by the Council’s refusal to discuss an alternative to imposing 23% pay cuts for working the same hours or 10% pay cut for working an ADDITIONAL 175.5 hours a year (many TAs are unable to work the extra hours or have not been offered them).

Teaching Assistants are already low paid (particularly in County Durham) and we simply cannot afford to continue in our jobs while losing up to £4,600 a year. Our jobs will not have changed when we return to work in January: we will still be expected to mark, to plan, to support and, yes, to TEACH.

Durham County Council like to refer to us as ‘non-teaching staff’ but anyone who has worked in a school or had a child in school knows that Teaching Assistants teach all of the time. Many years ago, we were Teaching Assistants; now we are Assistant Teachers. We teach 1:1, small groups, large groups and whole classes. When we teach whole classes, we mostly do it without any support (whereas teachers have a TA to support them).

But we are not complaining, we love our jobs and have always been prepared to do whatever is needed to support the teachers, the children and their families. This has involved huge amounts of unpaid overtime spent planning, marking, preparing resources, taking children on trips, going on residentials but, again, we have never questioned this or expected to be paid overtime as we accepted it as part of our jobs.

So, Durham County Council, who do you think is going to lose out the most if you plough ahead with these morally unjustifiable pay cuts? Is it the Teaching Assistants or the children of County Durham?”

A lobby will take place at Durham County Hall at 9am on Wednesday 9 November and then a rally at the Miners Association, Redhills, at noon

Unison: National hardship fund for Durham dispute

Donate to the Durham TAs’ fund here

Durham TAs Facebook page here

Donate to Derby hardship fund here

Derby Unison branch Facebook page here


‘It’s Our NHS’ – National Demonstration to defend the NHS in London on March 4th 2017called by ‘Health Campaigns Together’ an umbrella organisation of different local campaigns against NHS cuts https://www.facebook.com/events/1771664639725061/ http://www.healthcampaignstogether.com/index.php


NSSN news

Early notice – the 11th annual NSSN Conference will be on Saturday July 1st 2017 from 11am in Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL. It is open to all trade union and anti-cuts campaigners

This is a video of the NSSN TUC Congress Rally on 11 September – Tories Out! Keep Corbyn!

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 is below

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]


Union News


The NSSN calls on all our supporters and affiliates to support RMT members who are in dispute with Southern Rail – the next strike dates are: Tuesday 22nd November to Wednesday 23rd November, Tuesday 6th December to Thursday 8th December, Thursday 22nd December to Saturday 24th December and Saturday 31st December 2016 to Monday 2nd January 2017 read more here   and here  . Please send messages of support and donations to the RMT – [email protected] RMT Unity House 39 Chalton Street London NW1 1JD

Update: ASLEF on Southern dispute

RMT lobby of Parliament November 1st
RMT lobby of Parliament November 1st

RMT today Day of Action for “Safer Scottish Trains” this Wednesday November 9th (Nov 7) – RMT members and supporters from the community will be handing out postcards to members of the public urging them to endorse the campaign and to take up the issues with their local politicians read more

RMT’s “port of shame” protest in Aberdeen this morning (4 Nov) – “Port of Shame” protest in Aberdeen this morning demanding action over the poverty pay scandal on Serco/Seatruck Northern Isles services read more

Balloting underway in two disputes on London Underground (2 Nov) – ballot papers in two separate disputes on London Underground will be arriving with members this week with voting closing on Tuesday 15th November read more



Sign petition to support the Kinsley School cleaners in Wakefield on indefinite strike since September 6th sign here   Facebook Group  Donate to strike fund – send to Wakefield Unison, 18 Gills Yard, Wakefield WF1 3BZ



Newsquest south London staff back, but on a work to rule – Journalists on Newsquest south London titles returned to their office following ten days’ strike action and will be working to rule. The dispute followed the company putting all but a handful of the 29 staff at risk of redundancy and proposed a “restructure” resulting in 12 reporters covering news, sport and leisure across 11 newspapers and associated websites under a single content editor read more  To send messages of support and donations to the hardship fund, email Bernard Roche at [email protected] noting the amount and send the money to Account number 20143387 Sort code 608301

Meeting: Violence, lies and cover-up: Nick Jones on the Battle of Orgreave 6.30pm Tuesday 8 November in The London Welsh Centre, 157-163 Gray’s Inn Rd, London WC1X 8UE



BREAKING NEWS!! Insult to civil servants as ministers impose cuts (8 Nov) – The need to vote yes in our ballot against the latest plans to cut redundancy pay has become even more important as ministers insist they will impose new terms. In a despicable act of bad faith, the government has said the reduced terms for the civil service compensation scheme will come into effect tomorrow. As by far the largest union in the civil service, we had asked the Cabinet Office to allow us time to organise a ballot, which opened yesterday and closes on 28 November. We had already been debarred from talks after we refused to accept the outrageous conditions that we must first sign up to the detrimental changes. We are urging members to vote yes in the ballot to reject the deep cuts to redundancy terms and register disgust at the way the government has managed the process read more

PCS CSCS ballot: vote yes to show Cabinet Office your disgust at disregarding members’ views (3 Nov) – PCS is urging members to vote ‘yes’ in a ballot starting on Monday (7 November) on the Cabinet Office’s planned deep cuts to civil service redundancy terms to register their disgust at government refusal to extend an arbitrary deadline for unions to respond. We are running the ballot from 7-28 November of 160,000 members affected by the Cabinet Office’s ‘offer’ on the Civil Service Compensation Scheme which will see deep cuts to redundancy terms across the civil service read more

Support the EHRC strikes on 9 and 16 November (7 Nov) – Support PCS and Unite members at the government’s equality watchdog striking on Wednesday (9 November) and 16 November over cuts that PCS says would make it impossible for the agency to function read more read more.  Send messages of support to to [email protected]

Sign the petition to end privatisation at the Imperial War Museums sign here



BREAKING NEWS!! BMW strike action moves a step closer as car workers massively back action in consultative ballot (8 Nov) – Production of the iconic Mini and prestigious Rolls-Royce motor car could be disrupted in the coming months after BMW group car workers massively backed industrial action in a consultative ballot over plans to rush through the closure of their final salary pension scheme. The warning from Britain’s largest union, Unite came as its members at BMW voted by 96 per cent for strike action in the consultative ballot over plans which could see workers losing tens of thousands of pounds a year in retirement income read more

BREAKING NEWS!! Weymouth bus drivers to strike on 16 November in long-running pay dispute (8 Nov) – Weymouth bus drivers will strike for 24 hours on Wednesday 16 November in their five-month long pay dispute. Recently, more than 70 bus drivers in Weymouth and Bridport, members of Unite, the country’s largest union, voted overwhelmingly to turn down the latest pay offer from First Hampshire & Dorset Ltd. The 24-hour stoppage will start at 04.30 on 16 November read more

BREAKING NEWS!! Breakfast cereals’ production could be hit by industrial action after rep with ‘unblemished’ record sacked (8 Nov) – Production of some of the nation’s favourite breakfast cereals could be hit by possible industrial action, unless a union rep working for Cereal Partners in Trowbridge, Wiltshire with an ‘unblemished’ 18-year work record is not reinstated. Unite, the country’s largest union, said that its members were prepared to take industrial action, which could hit the production of such cereals as Shredded Wheat and Shreddies, unless Justin Beckett is given his job back read more

Online construction Rank & File Siteworker bulletin here

Manchester Fujitsu strike for job security, pay and pensions ‘strongly supported’, says Unite (7 Nov) – The two-day strike at IT giant Fujitsu in Manchester, which started earlier today (Monday 7 November), has been strongly supported by about 300 workers in the continuing dispute over pay, pensions and job security. To drive home their concerns, the strikers, members of Unite, the country’s largest union, are leafleting existing and prospective customers in Salford’s ‘media city’, including ITV and BBC. The 48-hour stoppage started at 00:01 today and follows on from a 24-hour strike last Tuesday (1 November) – and the union warned that further strikes were on the cards, unless management agreed to constructive talks read more

AWE workers to strike over threat to pension scheme (4 Nov) – Workers at AWE Plc – the Atomic Weapons Establishment – will stage a 24-hour strike on Monday (14 November) in the dispute over the threat to close the defined benefit pension scheme and substitute it with an inferior alternative. Six hundred employees, members of Unite, the UK’s largest union, voted overwhelmingly for strike action at the AWE’s two sites at Aldermaston and Burghfield in Berkshire. There will also be a continuous overtime ban; a work to rule; and withdrawal of goodwill from Tuesday 15 November due to the company’s decision to close the scheme on 31 December this year read more

‘Subtle blacklisting’ claim as Crossrail firm fails to recognise elected reps (3 Nov) – The failure of a construction company to recognise the elected officials of workers on Europe largest rail infrastructure project in central London has been branded ‘a subtle form of blacklisting’ by Unite, the country’s largest union. Unite is angry that bosses at Laing O’Rourke are not recognising the election of shop steward Terry Wilson and health & safety rep Martyn Prue who are electricians working at the Crossrail Tottenham Court Road project read more



UCATT Scotland stages major demonstration outside blacklisting constructor Laing O’Rourke’s Dumfries hospital project (3 Nov) – UCATT has begun a series of protests at a major hospital project in Dumfries in Scotland. The first protest was held this morning (November 3rd) outside the site read more



Pensions talk forbidden following ballot notice as Diageo crackdown on workers (2 Nov) – GMB Scotland has today (Wednesday 2 November) condemned Diageo after management moved to crackdown on balloting trade union members from discussing the defence of their pension schemes. Ahead of a two week industrial action ballot, stunned workplace representatives were told by management they are now forbidden from on-site discussions regarding the dispute over cuts to pensions read more



POA threat of action forces NOMS to agree to immediate negotiations to resolve concerns regarding Health and Safety (1 Nov) read more  and more



London NUT demonstration ‘Invest don’t cut!’ – assemble 5pm Thursday November 17 in Whitehall opposite Downing Street for march to Department of Education and rally at 6.30pm in Emmanuel Centre in Marsham Street

Support Simon O’Hara — victimised teacher at Small Heath School in Birmingham



Reinstate Kumaran Bose – sacked by Samworths! The NSSN is supporting the BFAWU’s campaign in support of Kumaran Bose who was dismissed for speaking out and for organising a union in his workplace read more    Facebook group



Strike ballot at University of Aberdeen in row over job losses (3 Nov) – Members of UCU Scotland at the University of Aberdeen are being balloted for strike action in a row over job losses. The row centres on planned cuts that have resulted in 15 members of staff in the school of medicine, medical science and nutrition being told they are at risk of redundancy. The ballot closes on Monday 21 November read more

Support the reinstatement of London Met union reps: Mark Campbell and David Hardman https://uculondonmet.wordpress.com/



Reinstate Clive Walder – Clive Walder, a longstanding leading rep in the CWU was sacked last November after 38 years of service with British Telecom. 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


Nationalise Tata – support the Steelworkers

For latest developments, follow Facebook group



Hackney Picturehouse cinema workers were on strike again on November 4thHackney Facebook Page

Brixton Facebook Page    Support the Picturehouse Strike Fund – donate now


BMA Junior Doctors

Please sign this petition to support the junior doctors 


BURSARY OR BUST: Continuing the fight to save NHS bursaries https://www.facebook.com/NHSbursarycutsforum/



Deliveroo Campaign Public Meeting – 8 November 7pm Marchmont Street Community Centre, 62 Marchmont St, WC1N 1AB London Facebook event   IWGB on Radio 4 last week on the Gig Economy!


United Voices of the World

Trade union victimisation: Topshop cleaners have been sacked! Support UVW’s legal proceedings – Two cleaners at billionaire BHS buster Philip Green’s flagship brand Topshop have been sacked for campaigning for a living wage. Susana was summarily sacked this month by Topshop’s contractor Britannia Services Group, under pressure from Topshop and the Arcadia Group of which Topshop is the flagship brand. She was sacked for having held a placard saying “Topshop shame on you” during a protest for a living wage outside the store. Another cleaner at Topshop, Carolina, who is Susana’s best friend, and was also a campaigner for the living wage has also beeen sacked for the same reason. The Topshop Two, as they are known, are both single mums from Ecuador who had cleaned Topshop’s falgship store for 9 years between them. Susana had worked there for 7 of those years and was the longest serving cleaner there

Their union UVW have started legal proceedings on their behalf for trade union victimisation. However, legal fees can cost several thousand pounds for two big claims like this and UVW runs on a shoe string budget. Therefore, if you would like to contribute towards the legal fees of the Topshop Two’s Tribunal claims then please do so via paypal by following this link  http://www.uvwunion.org.uk/emergency-appeal (you’ll see the button at the bottom of the page) or just by transferring directly to UVW’s bank account: The Co-operative Bank Account title: United Voices of the World Sort code: 08-92-99 Account: 65755617

Read more on United Voices of the World Facebook Group and Websiteincluding photos from the November 5th John Lewis protest!



Other News

BOOK NOW for a conference celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Lucas Plan! – Leading figures from the left, trade union, environmental and peace movements are coming together at a conference on November 26th with a fresh perspective on tackling current crises, using the ideas of socially useful production pioneered in the Lucas Plan. The Plan, produced by workers at the Lucas Aerospace arms company, showed how jobs could be saved by converting to make products that answer a social need, rather than weapons. To book for the conference, visit www.lucasplan.org.uk/tickets.  See www.lucasplan.org.uk

Read report of Bromley TUC’s Convoy to Calais 2016 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 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)

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/




London protest: Defend Peace & Democracy in Turkey – Saturday  November 12th 2pm Parliament Square https://www.facebook.com/events/1166956366716734/   Turkey: People’s Democratic Party leaders arrested  SPOT Facebook

Iran: Freedom for teacher union leader Esmail Abdi read more


Diary (see & use false economy)




19 NUS/UCU United for Education national demonstration in London read more




4 ‘It’s Our NHS’ – National Demonstration to defend the NHS in London on March 4th 2017 – called by ‘Health Campaigns Together’ an umbrella organisation of different local campaigns against NHS cuts https://www.facebook.com/events/1771664639725061/  http://www.healthcampaignstogether.com/index.php

With Banners Held High – all day workshops, debates, exhibition gig in Wakefield in support of causes such as Justice for Mineworkers and Orgreave Truth & Justice Campaign https://webmail.123-reg.co.uk/appsuite/#!!&app=io.ox/mail&folder=default0//NNIS%5B



PHONE 07952 283 558

EMAIL mailto:[email protected]


TWITTER – https://twitter.com/NSSN_AntiCuts


ADDRESS NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE