349: Support strikes, stop union attacks, celebrate victories!

NSSN 349: Support the strikes, stop the union attacks, celebrate the victories!

This week’s NSSN bulletin opens with some long-running disputes by Unite, PCS and RMT members. We also include another attack on the POA and a fight in Northern Ireland against an attack on NIPSA, including two of its prominent members. We appeal for solidarity for all these struggles.

But to show that it’s possible to win significant victories, we include the successful legal action by PCS against the Government imposition of new inferior redundancy terms in the civil service and Unison’s defeat of their employment tribunal fees.

Low paid workers begin a two week strike across four London hospitals (24 July) – Pressure is growing on the private contractor Serco as hundreds of low paid workers at Barts Health NHS Trust prepare for a two week strike from tomorrow (Tuesday 25 July) in their continuing fight against low pay. Unite and Serco held face to face talks on Friday (21 July) but Serco was unable to make an offer that addressed the genuine concerns of all the workforce who have endured getting poorer year on year. Unite and Serco met once already at the company’s request at the beginning of July where the company refused to make a revised offer. Workers have already held a 48 hour strike from Tuesday 4 July and took seven days of action from Tuesday 11 July. Workers will now begin a 14 day strike and further strike action will also be planned for August and September unless Serco comes forward with a reasonable offer for the entire workforce read more

Please use this letter from the Unite branch in your union, trades council and Labour Party. It gives details on how to donate to the strike fund

Barts Health NHS Unite branch appeal letter - July 2017

Send messages of support and request strikers to speak at your meeting to the Unite branch secretary Len Hockey – [email protected]

Sign the online petition – www.change.org/p/pay-up-serco

Send messages of protest to Serco – [email protected]

Striking Mears workers involve tenants and shareholders in long running industrial dispute (24 July) – Striking workers at Mears in Manchester are widening their campaign activity to pressurise shareholders and win the hearts and minds of tenants affected by the dispute over pay differentials. The 170 workers employed by private contractor Mears and joint venture company Manchester Working (operated by Mears) are today undertaking their 31st day of strike action in a dispute which began in May read more   Donate to strike fund: UCATT UD.393 Manchester 1st Branch. Sort code 60-83-01 Acc.no 46034412

British Airways cabin crew extend strike action by a further two weeks (19 July) – Members of Unite working for British Airways’ mixed fleet today (Wednesday 19 July) announced a further 14 days of strike action amid warnings that the airline’s attempts to bribe people into not striking would fail. The news of the further strike action, running from 00:01 Wednesday 2 August to 23:59 Tuesday 15 August, comes on the first day of a 14 day strike and, in effect, means British Airways mixed fleet cabin crew will be on strike for the next four weeks. Today sees the 46th day of strike action in the dispute over pay and the sanctioning of striking workers. It follows a 16 day stoppage that ran from Saturday 1 July to Sunday 16 July read more

Mixed Fleet lobby of Parliament Feb 7
Mixed Fleet lobby of Parliament Feb 7

RMT Kirkdale picket line this morning as Merseyrail strike action “rock solid” (23 July) – General Secretary Mick Cash said; “The strike action on Merseyrail in defence of rail safety and access is rock solid again this morning as RMT sends out the clearest possible message that the fight to retain guards on trains goes on. “RMT members are standing up for the safety of passengers and that is what the strike action today is all about read more

Merseyrail Kirkdale picket
Merseyrail Kirkdale picket

Support PCS Sheffield Eastern Avenue jobcentre workers – PCS members have been on strike over plans to close the jobcentre. The last strike was from July 17-21. Messages of support should be sent to [email protected]. Donations to the PCS Fighting Fund should be sent PCS DWP Group, 3rd Floor, Town Centre House, Merrion Centre, Leeds, LS2 8LY or can be made online via the PCS website read full post on PCS website


Support POA as permanent injunction granted by high court (19 July) – The POA are disappointed but not entirely surprised by todays Judgement in granting a Permanent Injunction against the POA. Steve Gillan General Secretary of the POA said: “I suppose one day the Prison Service and Government will be dragged kicking and screaming into a modern era of employee relations rather than hiding behind restrictive anti-union laws such as Section 127 of the Criminal Justice Public Act 1994”.The POA has instructed its legal advisors due to the short time parameters to seek leave to appeal the decision read more

Lincoln Prison protest
Lincoln Prison protest

Support NIPSA from attack by Northern Ireland Civil Service – In the political vacuum created by the collapse of the Stormont Assembly, senior officials in the Northern Ireland Civil Service have sought to attack the rights of NIPSA Reps and NIPSA Members by:

  • Attempting to dictate who NIPSA can select as their representatives
  • Restricting the time NIPSA Reps can do Trade Union work

These officials have taken this action without political direction from elected MLAs, without any regard to previous agreements made between NIPSA and the NI Civil Service and without a care for the NIPSA members – ordinary workers – who will be most affected by these attacks. The purpose of this Facebook page is to highlight these attacks and build a campaign in support of NIPSA Reps so that we can properly defend our members

Send protests to [email protected]


Major PCS win as government defeated over redundancy cuts (18 Jul) – It was unlawful for the previous Tory government to exclude us from talks over its latest cuts to redundancy terms, the High Court has ruled today. It is a major blow for Theresa May’s weak and unstable government and further evidence of how the Tories treat their own workforce and other public servants with contempt. We successfully took a judicial review after being excluded from negotiations over changes to the civil service compensation scheme – which governs voluntary and compulsory redundancy terms. Civil servants made redundant in the last eight months could now have a claim for compensation after being left thousands of pounds worse off read more

Sheffield Eastern Avenue Job Centre picket June 2nd
Sheffield Eastern Avenue Job Centre picket June 2nd

UNISON legal victory sees employment tribunal fees scrapped (26 July) – Supreme Court verdict follows four-year fight by union and is a victory for everyone in work. Employment tribunal fees will be scrapped after UNISON won a landmark court victory against the government this morning. The Supreme Court – the UK’s highest court – has unanimously ruled that the government was acting unlawfully and unconstitutionally when it introduced the fees four years ago. From today, anyone who has been treated illegally or unfairly at work will no longer have to pay to take their employers to court – as a direct result of UNISON’s legal challenge.  The government will also have to refund more than £27m to the thousands of people charged for taking claims to tribunals since July 2013, when fees were introduced by then Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling read more


NSSN TUC Congress Rally in Brighton: ‘Fight together to scrap the 1% pay cap and get the Tories out!’ – 1pm Sunday September 10th in the Arundel Suite in the Holiday Inn, 137 King’s Rd BN1 2JF. Confirmed speakers: Mark Serwotka PCS General Secretary, Steve Gillan POA General Secretary, Ronnie Draper BFAWU General Secretary, Sean Hoyle RMT President and Amy Murphy USDAW Southern Division NEC member. Chaired by Janice Godrich PCS National President Facebook event

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

More RMT

RMT writes to train companies seeking talks on Guards (25 July) – Rail union RMT confirmed today that it has written to train operators where there are current or potential disputes over the threat to the role of the guard, and to passenger safety and access to services, following a meeting with Transport Secretary Chris Grayling last Friday. The current disputes are on Northern, Southern and Merseyrail. A dispute has been declared on Greater Anglia and ballot preparations are underway and the union has also set clear deadlines for assurances on the future role of the guard on South West Trains read more   Aslef Southern action suspended ahead of talks

RMT calls for Tube job cuts inquiry after regulator slaps improvement notice on LU following Canning Town death (24 July) – Tube union RMT today called for an independent inquiry into London Undergrounds disastrous stations job cuts programs ” Fit for the Future ” after the ORR – the government regulator – issue London Underground with a legal “improvement notice ” following the tragic death of a customer at Canning Town on the 29th of  January this year https://www.rmt.org.uk/news/rmt-calls-for-tube-job-cuts-inquiry/


More Unite

Unite warns HTC crane firm of raising industrial tensions in crane dispute (25 July) – Unite, UK’s largest construction union, has warned that the management of HTC Wolffkran is unnecessarily increasing industrial tensions, after the company issued a press release which distorted the information concerning the ongoing pay dispute read more

Unite serves notice of official strike action at Chivas Kilmalid (24 July) – The UK’s largest union has accused whisky makers at Chivas Kilmalid in Dumbarton of ignoring the voice of its workforce as it announced a day’s strike action on 7 August. Unite the union today (Monday 24 July) served notice on Chivas Kilmalid, for industrial action which will take place on 7 August, starting at 06:00 concluding at 07:30 on 8 August. This is, in addition, to the continuous ban on overtime which began on 19 July. Workers voted to reject the company’s four year deal of a pay offer of 1.5 per cent in year one, followed by an average of CPIH between 2017-2019 read more

Theatre staff at Warrington and Halton Hospital NHS Trust vote overwhelmingly for industrial action in four-year dispute (19 July) – Theatre staff, members of Unite the country’s largest union, employed by Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s Warrington Hospital, have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action over changes to their terms and conditions which could adversely affect patient care. Nearly 80 per cent of Unite members taking part in the industrial action ballot at the trust gave a massive 100 per cent backing in favour of strike action in a long-running dispute about new rotas for emergency night cover in theatres read more

Unite backs call to drive up standards and tackle safety on London’s buses (17 July) – The mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Transport for London (TfL) must implement the findings of the London Assembly transport committee report, Driven to distraction, as a matter of urgency to drive up safety and reduce the stress and fatigue of London’s 26,000 bus drivers. The call by London bus drivers’ union, Unite, follows today’s (Monday 17 July) publication of Driven to distraction, which identifies long shifts, inadequate breaks and irregular shift patterns as causing high levels of stress among the capital’s bus drivers read more

Bridgend Ford workers ballot over sourcing announcement read more

Support Mears Manchester housing workers on all out strike action read more

Support Bank of England staff to strike on 31 July, 1, 2 and 3 August – Photocall – WHEN: Monday 31 July 2017, 10-10:30am

WHERE: The Bank of England, Threadneedle Street, London EC2R 8AH

Staff at the Bank of England will start a four day strike on Monday 31 July 2017. The strikers will be holding a demonstration outside the bank’s London office at 10am on Monday (31 July) to mark the start of the strike over pay. Protestors will be wearing masks of Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England and holding placards and flags – ‘Bank of England staff want fair pay’. This is the first strike action at the bank in over 50 years. Unite members working in the maintenance, parlours and security departments will be taking four days of strike action on 31 July, 1, 2 and 3 August 2017 read more


More PCS

Met Police ballot wins improvements (26 Jul) – We have called off a strike ballot in the Metropolitan Police after securing improvements in staffing and workloads. Civilian staff who work in the Met’s 999 call centres were due to be asked to support strikes planned to coincide with the Notting Hill Carnival read more

31 July: pay up in HMRC – Our members in HMRC collect the taxes that fund vital services that millions of us rely on but, along with thousands of colleagues across the civil service, have seen their pay frozen or capped for years. The department is set to impose the annual 1% pay cap on HMRC this coming payday – 31 July – and we want to make an example of the government’s paymasters by getting as many of our HMRC members and supporters to hold a day of protest so show what another year of a pay cap will mean to them read more

PCS NEC decides to hold autumn consultative ballot on pay (25 Jul) – PCS members across the UK are suffering because of the 1% public sector pay cap and we want thousands of you to back our campaign to urge chancellor Philip Hammond to lift it in the autumn budget. Our national executive agreed when it met last week to hold a consultative ballot on pay in advance of the budget in November to ask members what action they would support, including industrial action, to break the cap and will agree timings when it next meets in September. Strong support for our campaign in the ballot will galvanise our campaign to break the 1% pay cap so that we can tell the chancellor in advance of the budget that PCS members need a pay rise. In the meantime we are supporting the TUC’s campaign of action on pay and are talking to other unions about coordinating campaign activities to mobilise members to break the cap. At the TUC Congress in September, PCS will be calling for a united campaign of activity across the public sector to break the pay cap, including a national demonstration and possible coordination of national strike action. We will also support a joint union pay demonstration in London on 12 October read more



Matt Wrack on firefighting and Grenfell (19 July) – The FBU’s general secretary, Matt Wrack’s speech at the Durham Miners’ Gala captures the feeling of the Fire Brigades Union in the aftermath of Grenfell. Watch Matt’s full speech here: https://youtu.be/vpJRjivXYNE



Postal workers walkout again – this time at Frinton Delivery Office in Essex on July 21st over dismissal of a colleague

Dismay and determination as BT pensions review formally announced (21 July) – A stark warning has been issued to BT that the CWU is resolute in its determination to defend members’ pensions in the wake of the company’s unwelcome but widely anticipated decision to trigger a review of the BT Pension Scheme (BTPS) read more


More Unison

Torfaen’s MP and AM join Bron Afon workers striking over pay cuts – STAFF at a Cwmbran housing association on strike over their pay being reduced by more than £3,000 per year were paid a visit by their local politicians read more in South Wales Argus

Durham Teaching assistants reject council’s offer to settle dispute –Durham County Council had voted to put a new proposal to Teaching Assistants. They say it was an improved offer and will see 78% of Teaching Assistants not losing money. However, the County Durham Teaching Assistants’ Activist Committee had serious concerns about the proposal for the following reasons: 22% of TAs are still facing a pay loss. They might have their pay protected for 2 years but they have already had 21 months of extreme stress not knowing if they can keep their homes or their jobs read more  https://www.facebook.com/TAsDurhamValueUs/

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



BFAWU will be joining the global day fast food workers’ day of action on September 4th

The Bakers Union Launches Important Campaign at Amazon.com to Fight for Workers’ Rights read more



RCN Westminster Pay Rally – Thursday July 27th 4pm Richmond Terrace, opposite Downing Street

Join the ‘Scrap the cap’ pay protests https://www.rcn.org.uk/nursingcounts/scrap-the-cap



Strike Action Looms Over Plan To Close 14 Children’s Centres and Cut 100 Jobs (July 25) – GMB members have been served their notice today – this is happening to some of the lowest paid employees of the council. GMB, the union for council workers, is to ballot members for industrial action over plans to shut 14 Coventry children’s centres with the loss of up to 100 jobs. Coventry City Council is currently consulting with staff and unions on proposed changes to how the authority delivers children’s services read more



Royal Opera House members seek 4% increase (18 July) – Rising inflation and high transport and travel costs in the capital explain BECTU’s claim for a 4% increase in basic pay at the Royal Opera House read more

Picturehouse workers strike again – BECTU members at five London sites were on strike again on 7 July as their battle to secure the Living Wage intensifies. Union members at the Ritzy in Brixton and at the Hackney Picturehouse, Picturehouse Central and East Dulwich Picturehouse downed tools ahead of the interim relief hearing in the Employment Tribunals in Croydon on Monday 10 July which will consider the circumstances of the dismissal of three BECTU representatives at the Ritzy cinema on 14 June read more    Sign the petition   Watch ReelNews video of the last Brixton strike whith speech by John McDonnell MP Labour Shadow Chancellor

Keep supporting the Picturehouse workers: read the latest on Brixton Ritzy Facebook Page and those of Hackney, Crouch End, Central, Duke of York Brighton and Dulwich East. Support the Picturehouse Strike Fund – donate now

West End theatre workers seek 9% pay rise (5 July) – Theatre workers in London’s commercial West End are seeking a 9% pay rise in the pay review due in October. The ambitious pay claim is justified, says BECTU, by “the steady increase in the cost of living with RPI currently standing at 3.7%, with an anticipation that it will continue to rise throughout the year.” The pay claim for 2017/18, submitted last month, comes as the previous three-year deal draws to a close read more



NUJ calls for review of pay and contracts at RTÉ (24 July) – Following the publication of high earning journalists and presenters at the BBC, the NUJ has called for an external review of employment contracts and practices at RTÉ read more



Teesside University bans UCU from meeting about professors’ futures (21 July) – UCU has been banned from attending a meeting at Teesside University at 12:30pm today (Friday) to discuss the fate of 27 professors at the university who were controversially told earlier this month that they would all have to reapply for their jobs read more

Sign petition: reinstate Indro Sen immediately – Indro Sen, a maths lecturer and trade union branch officer at the College of North West London (CNWL) has been dismissed for actions in assisting a former colleague at an employment tribunal case. He was voted by students as the most popular teacher, 2014-15. We demand that the College Governors and Senior Management Team reinstate Sen immediately sign here

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



SHAKE THE MAGIC MONEY TREE and SCRAP THE PAY CAP: Demonstration and rally – THURSDAY OCTOBER 12th. Assemble 5:30pm opposite Downing Street. March past Department for Health – Treasury – Department for Education – Home Office

Rally in Parliament SquareSupport the NUT London school strikes against cuts at Forest Hill in Lewisham read more



The IWGB takes Addison Lee to tribunal in employment status case (21 July) read more


United Voices of the World Union

BREAKING NEWS: Alba to be reinstated at the LSE! – UVW wins the final part of its 10 month dispute against Noonan and the LSE by winning a groundbreaking, precedent setting tribunal hearing today which declared Alba’s dismissal not only unlawful but profoundly and manifestly unfair.

NB: This is the 5th sacked cleaner we have got reinstated at the LSE in the last year read more


Other News

People’s Assembly national demonstration: PROTEST THE TORY PARTY CONFERENCE – Sunday 1st October in Manchester http://www.thepeoplesassembly.org.uk/manchester2



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)

Bam Ferrovial Kier – aka the blacklist consortium BFK – are being sentenced this Thursday at Southwark Crown court after being found guilty of the killing Rene Tkacik on #Crossrail – BFK would like to avoid all publicity. Rene’s family hope otherwise and their statement will be read out in court by campaigning lawyer Helen Clifford.

‪Vigil from 9am outside the court

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/




Israeli authorities must stop their routine abuse of journalists read more on NUJ website

UCU writes to Open University and Jo Johnson in protest at Cuban student ban read more






3 Burston Strike School Rally 2017 – Guest speakers already confirmed include John McDonnell MP, Len McCluskey, Unite General Secretary http://burstonstrikeschool.co.uk/rally2017/

10 NSSN rally at TUC Congress

30 Construction Safety Campaign (CSC) AGM is the 30th September – Ricky Tomlinson invited speaker



17 Protest the Tory Conference. Let’s get this party started Facebook event



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