NSSN 336: London NHS workers walk off the job to win!


Too many in the union movement are pointing to the new Tory Trade Union Act with its undemocratic industrial action ballot thresholds to argue that action is now virtually impossible.

But it’s clear from the events of last week at the Royal London Hospital, that workers are ready to defend their rights. That was the unmistakable message from the 160 domestic staff who walked off the floor at the hospital which is part of Barts NHS Trust, on 6 April.

Their new employer, the privateer vulture contractor Serco, thought it could set the tone for workplace relations by withdrawing the 15 minute paid morning tea break on its first day. But Serco had another thing coming! By 4.30pm Serco said it was going to ‘consult’ on the plan and would hold off. Workers will now need to organise to make this retreat permanent.

Last year at Whipps Cross Hospital (also part of Barts Trust) Unite union members won a fantastic victory ending zero-hour contracts and winning a 20% pay rise for low-paid workers, bringing them up to the London Living Wage under contractors Carillion. Carillion was then dismissed and the contract given to Serco.

Serco now seems to be labouring under the impression that it can just roll back these gains. At Whipps this vicious profiteer is looking to make cuts to hours, pay and jobs.

But Unite the Union, where NSSN steering committee member Len Hockey is the branch secretary, has been building on the victory to show what’s possible.

Unite has been building across Barts Trust, organising a pay campaign which, given the pay freeze in the NHS, is a big issue for all health workers. 500 new members have joined the union in recent months. The news that nurses’ union RCN is also considering a strike ballot over pay is a further indication of the readiness to fight among health workers.

Unite has submitted a 30p an hour pay increase claim to Serco from 1 April. The failed attack on the domestics’ tea breaks was possibly an early test of whether workers and union would fight. Serco, while acknowledging the pay claim, has not yet responded, and the union branch is looking to ballot for strike action, subject to agreement at an upcoming branch meeting.

The communities-led NHS demonstration on 4 March was fantastic. Another massive march, called by the TUC and mobilised for by all trade unions and by the Labour leadership, would give confidence to all workers fighting for our NHS.

Send messages of support to Len Hockey at [email protected]

NSSN Health Banner v3

The NSSN is very grateful to Len’s Unite Barts Health LE/7384L branch for making a donation that has allowed us to purchase a new NHS banner. Let us know if you want to use it for any protests in your area


NSSN news

Trade Union Act came into force on March 1st – TUC call a special conference

The Tories have confirmed that their anti-union laws, incorporated in the Trade Union Act, including new undemocratic industrial action ballot thresholds will come into force on March 1st. The NSSN calls on the TUC to implement the policy passed at last September’s TUC Congress which was moved by the RMT which includes:

“Congress believes the General Council needs to convene an urgent conference of affiliates to provide a practical forum, including workshops, as to how to best coordinate our legal and industrial response to the Act in line with policy already set by Congress.”

and an amendment from the FBU:

“Congress should discuss all options for challenging the new legislation. This should include stepping up the campaign to scrap the Act and other anti-union legislation as well as the practical steps to be taken to support any unions and groups of workers threatened by this anti-worker legislation.”


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 Facebook event

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


RMT responds to total chaos at Brighton Station last night and news of a new pay bonanza in the Southern Rail boardroom (10 April) – General Secretary Mick Cash said; “Brighton station was reduced to total chaos last night after the City marathon due to a wholesale management failure and the news today that there’s a continuing pay bonanza in the Southern boardroom will unleash a fresh tidal wave of anger read more

RMT strike action in three separate disputes over rail safety “rock solid with morale high” this morning (10 April) – General Secretary Mick Cash said; “RMT can report that support for all three strikes today is rock solid with pickets out in force and morale high as our members on Southern, Northern and Merseyrail continue the fight for rail safety” read more

National Protest Against Driver Only Operation – 12noon Wednesday 26th April, Old Palace Yard, opposite Parliament, London, SW1P 3 Facebook event

Victoria Picket on RMT April 8th joint strike against DOO
Victoria Picket on RMT April 8th joint strike against DOO

Sign the petition: Defend the London Bridge Three – London Underground senior managers are seeking to lie and mislead the public over the events surrounding the punitive disciplinary sanctions handed down to the London Bridge 3. Their colleague, who was pregnant, was assaulted by a fare evader on November 16. She requested assistance via connect radio and this has been confirmed by the CSS who took the radio call. London Underground are lying when they say this CSA was not assaulted read more   RMT ballot for action opens over “London Bridge Three



More strikes at Fujitsu as ‘pay and pensions’ dispute hots up (10 April) – Unite members working for the IT giant Fujitsu will strike for a further four days at sites across the UK in their long-running dispute over plans to axe one in five jobs and pension cuts. Workers at Basingstoke, Belfast, Birmingham, Bracknell, Crewe, Edinburgh, London, Manchester, Stevenage, Wakefield and Warrington will strike for 24 hours from 00.01 on Thursday 13 April and Monday 24 April. There will also be a 48-hour strike starting at 00.01 on Thursday 20 April. The dispute centres on pay, pensions, job security and union recognition – and takes place against a background of Fujitsu’s plans to axe and offshore 1,800 jobs in the UK read more  Send a message of support to [email protected] or Unite the Union, Fujitsu MAN34, Central Park, Northampton Road, Manchester, M40 5BP

Donations payable to “Manchester IT Workers Group” can be sent c/o John Wood, 50 Brooklyn Street, Crewe, CW2 7JF. Or transfer online to Account: 00980539, Sort Code: 30-91-48 and email [email protected] with details. Follow and promote the campaign on social media using #FujitsuFightback. www.facebook.com/uniteatfujitsu  www.twitter.com/unitefujitsu   picket line details

Mixed Fleet cabin crew re-ballot: 90% vote for more strikes!! Keep supporting the workers! – Send messages of support and donations (make cheques out to Unite the Union and write ‘Mixed Fleet Hardship Fund’ on the back) to: Unite the Union, Ron Todd House, 33-37 Moreland Street, London EC1V 8BB. Tweet support to @MFUnite

More Woolwich Ferry strikes announced in ‘bullying culture’ dispute (6 April) – Travellers using the Woolwich Ferry face two-days of disruption later this month, as new strikes are announced in the long-running dispute over a bullying culture, and health and safety issues. Unite, the country’s largest union, said today (Thursday 6 April) that talks had stalled because an intransigent management had failed to make sufficient progress into a number of serious allegations, including a case of sexual harassment. The union has told Briggs Marine Contractors Ltd, which runs the service on behalf of Transport for London (TfL), that its members will strike for 24 hours from 00.01 on Tuesday 18 April and Friday 21 April read more

BMW workers announce eight 24 hour strikes over ‘pension robbery’ (5 April) – A series of eight 24 hour strikes combined with an overtime ban and work to rule, involving up to 3,500 BMW workers making engines and the iconic Mini and Rolls-Royce motorcars will start on Wednesday 19 April, Britain’s largest union Unite, announced today (Wednesday 5 April). The walkouts over BMW’s plans to close the final salary pension scheme will be the first ever by BMW’s UK workforce and follows a 93 per cent vote in favour of strike action by workers at the German carmaker’s sites at Cowley, Goodwood, Hams Hall and Swindon. It is expected that production will be significantly disrupted by the action, which involves workers from across the four sites who are members of BMW (UK) operations pension scheme. The 24 hour stoppages stretching over five weeks across all four sites are scheduled as follows:

Wednesday 19 April – workers at Cowley, Hams Hall and Swindon strike

Sunday 23 April – workers at Cowley and Swindon strike

Wednesday 3 May – workers at Hams Hall strike

Friday 5 May – workers at Rolls-Royce at Goodwood strike

Tuesday 16 May – workers at Cowley, Goodwood, Hams Hall and Swindon strike

Thursday 18 May – workers at Cowley, Goodwood, Hams Hall and Swindon strike

Sunday 21 May – workers at Cowley and Swindon strike

Wednesday 24 May – workers at Goodwood and Hams Hall strike read more


Irish Bus Éireann transport strike – for latest updates after 19 days of strike action see websites of National Bus & Railworkers’ Union, TSSA, Unite and SIPTU



Don’t cut workers’ rights – support Acas staff (7 Apr) – Staff at public body Acas, facing job losses and service cuts, need your support – back them by writing to management and the government. In October, 2016, Acas, which facilitates conciliation between employers and employees to help prevent or resolve workplace problems, announced plans to close its office in Bootle, Merseyside, close its help line in 7 offices and downgrade some conciliation work read more

Pay campaign steps up after Treasury refuses to lift cap (6 Apr) – We are stepping up our pay campaign after the Treasury rejected our submission claiming the 1% cap protects public sector jobs. On 31 March thousands of members turned out to support our call for a rise of 5% or £1,200. From Oban to Exeter, Lochinver to London and Aberdeen to Cardiff, we held events in hundreds of branches across many different employer groups. Earlier that month we sent a detailed submission to the Treasury, arguing that since 2010 the value of civil service pay had fallen by at least 8%, further than in the private sector and the rest of the public sector. Minister David Gauke has responded by claiming that while “the government truly values the important work that civil servants undertake”, there is a “trade-off between pay and jobs in many public services” read more

Landmark court ruling on discrimination (5 Apr) – We have won a major victory for those challenging discrimination in the workplace with a ruling from the highest court in the UK. In our case against the Home Office, judges in the Supreme Court today unanimously agreed a group of civil servants did not have to show the reason why they were disadvantaged when they applied for promotion. We successfully argued that, under the Equality Act, when workers face indirect discrimination as a result of policies and procedures they do not need to prove why they were individually affected. The legislation is designed to root out not just more overt forms of direct discrimination but also practices that less obviously disadvantage certain groups read more



Unison to ballot Scottish local government members in fight for fair pay (10 April) – UNISON members have instructed their trade union to ballot 70,000 local government members across every local authority in Scotland on industrial action. The decision was announced at UNISON’s local government committee meeting today (Monday) following a consultative ballot which saw 77.6 per cent vote to reject the employers’ pay offer read more

Derby Teaching Assistants have ended their 10-month dispute against 23% pay cuts after members voted to accept a new offer from the council. Their colleagues in Durham who have also been taking action against similar attacks marched on March 25th

Donate to Derby hardship fund here

Derby Unison branch Facebook page here

Donate to the Durham TAs’ fund here

Durham TAs Facebook page here

Support ongoing Glasgow Unison janitors’ dispute – Facebook group and website

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



The Fast Food Rights campaign are calling for ‘Fight for £10 – May Day Pay Day’ marches this May Day – contact Gareth Lane [email protected] for info

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   BFAWU Statement On Samworth Brothers’ Sacking Of Kumaran Bose



Strike ballot at Manchester Metropolitan University (5 April) – UCU members at Manchester Metropolitan University are to be balloted for industrial action at both the Manchester and Crewe campuses in a row over compulsory redundancies as a result of the closure of the Crewe site. Members will be asked if they are prepared to take strike action. The ballot opens tomorrow and closes on Monday 8 May read more

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



March & rally for Forest Hill School: No to teachers redundancies – assemble from 11.30am Saturday 22 April, Mountsfield Park, Catford, Lewsiham SE6 1AN

Our children deserve better – we have to stop school cuts (4 April) – Our schools are under serious threat. In response, a growing campaign of parents, school leaders, staff and their trade unions is demanding ‘fair funding for all schools’. The campaign must succeed. If not, our children’s education will be damaged by cuts to the curriculum, rising class sizes and cuts to teaching and support staff posts which will further worsen the pressures on an already overstretched school workforce. Six school trade unions are backing the www.schoolcuts.org.uk website that shows how schools right across the SERTUC region (and beyond!) will be hit. It’s not just London boroughs that face real terms cuts of over 10%, so do Authorities like Luton, Southend and Brighton read more



Next Picturehouse strike this Saturday April 15th at six cinemas: Brixton Ritzy, Hackney, Crouch End, Central, Duke of York Brighton and Dulwich East     Support the Picturehouse Strike Fund – donate now


United Voices of the World union (UVW)

Please consider making a donation to LSE cleaners’ strike fund – http://www.uvwunion.org.uk/justiceforlsecleaners/

Website: www.uvwunion.org.uk   Facebook: www.facebook.com/uvwunion   Twitter: @UVWunion



Other News

International Workers Memorial Day (April 28) and May Day are coming up over the next weeks – send us your event and we’ll publicise it. Here  are events in London, South and East of England (SERTUC)

Support the Irish anti-water charge protestors who are facing trial for a protest in Jobstown. Join the protest outside the Irish Embassy in London on the first day of the trial on Monday April 24th at 2pm – 7 Grosvenor Pl, Belgravia SW1X 7HR

Please send messages of protest:  https://sites.google.com/view/jobstownnotguilty/     https://www.facebook.com/Jobstown-Not-Guilty-1056889327677242/



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.

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)

Silent vigil outside Crossrail prosecution over death of Rene Tkacik – Westminster magistrates court Wednesday 12th of April at 2pm nearest tube Edgware Road NW1 5BR – organised by Construction Safety Campaign supported by London Hazards Centre

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/




Stand with Rajendra – demand action on chrysotile asbestos now read more







1 11th annual NSSN Conference 11am in Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL



PHONE 07952 283 558

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ADDRESS NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE