NSSN 359 Postal workers’ Yes vote, rail, and tube action, NSSN solidarity forum

The full version of this week’s NSSN e-bulletin no.359 can be viewed here -this week’s highlights include news, protests, solidarity campaigns against victimisation, strikes and industrial action ballots involving BFAWU, Unite, RMT, ASLEF, PCS, Unison, GMB, CWU, NUJ, BECTU, FBU, BALPA, NEU, NIPSA, UVW and IWGB as well as international reports plus much more


CWU – Record ‘yes’ vote and threshold-smashing turnout

With a resounding 89% yes vote on a 74% turnout, postal workers have sent a message to Royal Mail that they are no longer prepared to take attacks on pensions, pay, working hours and job security.

As Communication Workers Union CWU general secretary Dave Ward says:

“The CWU have tapped into a mood amongst workers across the UK. Our members are prepared to stand up and fight to protect their terms and conditions and we will do everything within our means to defend them.”

The postal workers’ ballot result is not only a huge demonstration of workers’ anger at the direction Royal Mail is taking them in but also an enormous kick in the teeth for the Tories’ anti-union laws. As the NSSN has said, despite some naysayers in our own movement, the legislation can be overcome either by positive campaigning and determined leadership or, as will almost inevitably happen on other occasions, by workers brushing aside class laws that stand in their way.

We congratulate our affiliates, the CWU, on their determination to defend members and a campaign with an excellent initiative that saw an estimated 1200 mass membership meetings being held on one day.

Should Royal Mail refuse to listen to members, NSSN supporters throughout the trade union movement will stand four-square with our colleagues in any strike action the CWU executive calls.

RMT – Action in rail safety disputes rock solid

Strike action over rail safety and the role of the guard in four separate disputes on Northern,‎ Southern, Merseyrail and Greater Anglia is absolutely rock solid right across the country after the first of this week’s two strikes (3rd and 5th October).

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:

“RMT members are standing absolutely rock solid and united this morning in these four separate disputes as they make the case for safe, secure and accessible rail service for all. The public and workplace support right across the country for our train guards is nothing short of fantastic as we mount picketing operations at all key locations…

“RMT will not stand back while the guards, front-line staff when it ‎comes to safety, security and access, are thrown off Britain’s trains for political and financial reasons.”

In further news, the RMT also announced that members on South Western Railway had voted overwhelmingly for strike action over the threat to guards.

ASLEF – Tube strike on Thursday suspended

ASLEF has suspended its strike action on London Underground on Thursday.

Finn Brennan, ASLEF’s organiser on London Underground, said: “I am pleased to say that our negotiating team believes they we have made sufficient progress in talks at ACAS to recommend to the ASLEF executive committee that the strike called for Thursday be suspended.

‘We have always been prepared to keep talking to resolve this dispute but ASLEF always has, and always will, insist that management stick to agreements they make with us.

‘Our ballot remains live and we will not hesitate to call action in the future if needed to ensure all the commitments made are fully delivered.”

National Shop Stewards Network Solidarity Forum – 1pm-4pm Saturday October 21st Birmingham and Midland Institute, 9 Margaret St, Birmingham B3 3BS – Speakers from across the public and private sector including Howard Beckett, Unite assistant general secretary; Richard Beddows, Birmingham Unite bin workers convenor; Paul Reilly, RMT national executive committee; Jane Nellist, NEU (previously NUT) national executive committee; Rob Williams, NSSN chair. For more info email: [email protected]  Facebook event

Rodney Bickerstaffe

The NSSN sends its condolences to the family and friends of former NUPE/UNISON general secretary and National Pensioners’ Convention president, Rodney Bickerstaffe, who has passed away at the early age of 72 this week.

NSSN news

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


Britain still needs a pay rise – TUC Parliamentary Lobby and Rally

Date:  Tuesday 17 October

NEW TIME!!: 6.30pm

Venue: Parliament Square   https://www.tuc.org.uk/events/britain-still-needs-pay-rise-rally-fair-pay-public-servants

There is a London feeder march which is assembling at 5:30pm opposite Downing Street

Scottish ‘Pay Up Now’ march & rally Edinburgh 11.30am Saturday October 7th Johnston Terrace read more on Unison Scotland website

Local ‘Britain still needs a pay rise’ events here



Eastern Avenue strike results in promise of talks (25 Sep) – As members at the jobcentre in Sheffield took their fifth week of strike action last week senior management has agreed to meet with reps read more

How you can help:

  • Support the picket lines at 19 Eastern Avenue, Sheffield S2 2FZ
  • Send messages of support to [email protected]
  • Make a donation for this and all strikes to defend jobcentres and DWP offices to our fighting fund online or by cheque to PCS DWP Group, 3rd Floor, Town Centre House, Merrion Centre, Leeds LS2 8LY For all strikes to defend jobcentres and DWP offices



National dispute fund (DOO disputes) – If you would like to donate to the RMT National Dispute Fund which makes payments to support their striking members taking part in National DOO disputes then you can donate via PayPal using the donate button below or make a cheque payable to RMT National Dispute Fund and send it to the address below. Alternatively, you can ring their Freephone helpline on 0800 376 3706 who will be happy to process a credit card payment for you, or, if you would like to pay via internet banking, please email [email protected] for further details. Vicky Thompson, Finance Manager RMT, 39 Chalton Street, London NW1 1JD. Tel: 020-7529-8843

Demo: Justice for Tube cleaners – end outsourcing DEMONSTRATION, THURSDAY 12 OCTOBER 9:00, Thursday 12 October Where: City Hall, The Queen’s Walk, SE1 2AA – London Underground has recently consolidated its major cleaning contracts into a single contract, predictably sold to the lowest bidder, American firm ABM. As with previous cleaning contracts, the main contractor, ABM, will outsource a significant proportion of the work to labour supply agencies such as AGS People, who pressure cleaners into registering as “self-employed”, or “limited liability companies” of one person, in order to avoid upholding their statutory rights. Cleaners have no company sick pay, and unlike other Tube staff, do not have travel passes to allow them to freely use the system they help run read more   Facebook event

Strike action on Stagecoach South West Buses Members on Stagecoach South West buses will be mounting a major programme of strike action in a fight for pay and workplace justice.

Exeter, Torquay and Barnstaple members are being instructed not to book on for any shifts that commence between:-


  • 04:00 on Friday 13th October 2017 and 03:59 hours on Saturday 14th October 2017.
  • 04:00 on Tuesday 17th October 2017 and 03:59 hours on Wednesday 18th October 2017.
  • 04:00 on Monday 30th October 2017 and 03:59 hours on Tuesday 31st October 2017.


This follows a vote of over 78% of members for strike action whilst nearly 90% voted for action short of a strike in a recent ballot, highlighting the anger amongst staff and their determination to secure a fair deal. Read more



100 per cent vote for strike action at Manchester Airport (28 Sept) – Low paid cleaners at Manchester Airport employed by Mitie Cleaning and Environmental services have voted solidly in favour of strike action in their campaign for fair pay following a two year pay freeze. The workers who are currently being paid just the minimum wage (£7.50) are demanding a significant increase just above the living wage ( currently at £8.45) and an extra £1 an hour backdated to April 2016. On a turnout of 73 per cent, 100 per cent of the workers who took part in the ballot voted for strike action. If the strike goes ahead the stoppage would bring cleaning services at Britain’s third busiest airport to a virtual standstill putting its reputation as the UK’s best airport at risk read more

Unite secures High Court ruling halting Birmingham refuse worker redundancies – Unite called on Birmingham city council to honour the Acas agreement and resolve the Birmingham bin dispute after the High Court ruled in the union’s favour. Send messages of support via [email protected] and donations to Unite the Union, 9-17 Victoria St, West Bromwich B70 8HX

First Manchester buses on strike every Monday during October at Bolton and Rusholme depots – A major bus drivers’ strike is set to cause disruption to passengers during EVERY MONDAY of October read more from Manchester Evening News

Support striking British airways Mixed Fleet cabin crew read more. Donate to hardship fund – account name: Mixed Fleet Branch, sort code: 60-83-01 account number: 20376387 ref: MFU or make cheques out to Mixed Fleet Branch and post along with messages of support to: Unite the Union, 99 New Road, Harlington UB3 5BQ. Send messages of protest to BA CEO Alex Cruz [email protected]. Follow @MFUnite on twitter

Support Argos warehouse workers – Unite members completed a 3 week strike on August 15 in Basildon in Essex, Bridgwater in Somerset, Castleford (West Yorkshire) and Heywood (Greater Manchester) and joined by workers at the Barton Business Park, Burton-on-Trent read more   Please send messages of support to [email protected]. Strike fund donations should be made payable to Unite the Union and sent to Paula Hutchinson, 37 Camden Road, Airedale, Castleford, WF10 3LY



Tulip Workers vote Unanimously for Industrial Action After Pay Row and Health and Safety Cuts – the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) and Leicester Socialist Party attended an emergency branch meeting today for workers from Tulip, a food processing plant in Coalville. The members present voted unanimously to ballot for industrial action due to a series of abuses by their employers. This was after talks between Tulip and the Bakers’ Union (BFAWU) broke down read more from Leicester Socialist Party

Support the McDonalds workers who went on strike in Cambridge and Crayford on September 4th the NSSN was proud to support the historic strike by the BFAWU bakers union, the first in McDonalds in the UK on a global day of action by fast food workers. NSSN chair Rob Williams spoke on the Crayford picket and then again at the solidarity protest outside Parliament to give our solidarity and support to these exploited workers. Keep sending solidarity to the BFAWU, donate to the strike fund and also help the fund by buying a #McStrike t-shirt. More info on the Fast Food Rights/Hungry for Justice website



Derby Teaching Assistants update – IMPORTANT SCHOOL SUPPORT STAFF UPDATE: The People of Derby Deserve Better. Negotiations between Derby City Council and UNISON to end the long running schools disputes have ended after the council refused to make any offer on any area of the dispute. The council has not resolved any of these issues. read more   www.facebook.com/UnisonDerbyCityBranch

Durham Teaching Assistants: New year, same old deal – read more    For more info: 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



GMB Members Employed by Sellafield Limited in Cumbria to Strike in Dispute Over Pay (Sept 26) – Members just want a fair pay rise, an end to the upstairs downstairs culture and a leadership that can deliver vision, growth and jobs for Sellafield and the surrounding areas says GMB. GMB, the union for nuclear members, has confirmed that its 3,000 members working at Sellafield Limited, in Cumbria, will go on strike tomorrow. The 24-hour industrial action begins at 6.01am on Wednesday September 27and ends at 5.59am on Thursday 28 September 2017 read more

Unions to ballot for strike action at Hinkley Point as pay offer rejected (Sept 21) – Construction workers employed at Hinkley Point have overwhelmingly rejected a pay offer in the longstanding dispute over pay and bonuses on the project. The unions concerned, GMB and Unite, will now go ahead with notifying the companies concerned of their intention of holding an industrial action ballot and then progress to ballot members for strike action read more



Picturehouse workers strike for 8 days of strike action at venues during the BFI London Film Festival – staff at the Hackney and Central cinemas will strike from 5pm on 6-8 October and from 11-15 October. (From Hackney Facebook page) “We will be outside the opening night event of the London Film festival in Leicester square on October 4th from 1730-1900. We will be picketing our work places each evening for the rest of the strike days. You can join our picket lines at Hackney and Central cinemas from 5pm on 6th-8th October and from 11th-15th October. The London Film Festival will make a lot of money for Cineworld at a time when many are taking part in a boycott of our cinemas. It is also a very clear message from the BFI and the Industry as a whole that they are willing to turn a blind eye to low pay and the sackings of trade union representatives. In short we feel the BFI has betrayed us” read more from the Guardian

Donate to the strike fund: https://www.crowdpac.co.uk/campaigns/250/picturehousestrike

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.



NUJ victory on equal pay for journalists in World Service and Monitoring (26 Sept) – After years of campaigning for pay parity for journalists in the World Service and Monitoring, the NUJ today welcomed the findings of the BBC’s pay review which will see significant pay rises for the vast majority of journalistic staff in the services read more



NEU national lobby of Parliament October 24th against school funding cuts – on Tuesday 24 October the National Education Union will hold a mass lobby of Parliament to protest against education funding cuts. MPs will be asked to put pressure on the Chancellor to find the funding needed to reverse the cuts and invest in our children and young people, a month before he is set to deliver his budget statement read more



BALPA consulting members on way forward in Thomas Cook (27 Sept) – BALPA General Secretary, Brian Strutton, said: “BALPA has suspended the strike plan for Friday while we consult with members on escalating the strikes to eight days in October. Alternatively, there is the option of arbitration, but at the moment Thomas Cook has not indicated they would be prepared to accept this as a means of resolving their dispute with their pilots.” Read more



Read on page 5 of ‘NIPSA News’ how NIPSA is fighting to defend the facility time of leading elected lay reps, including President Carmel Gates and Maria Morgan




United Voices of the World union

UVW members who clean and polish the Ferrari and Maserati showrooms in South Kensington are set to strike for a living wage. They are currently paid the minimum, poverty wage. Following a Yes vote an indefinite strike is expected to commence on 9th October. Please make a donation to their strike fund if you can – https://www.uvwunion.org.uk/hr-owen/ UVW Facebook page



Other news


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)

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/




Egypt: Free jailed union leaders read more

Germany: support the strike at read more. Please send messages of solidarity to: [email protected] (copy to [email protected]) and/or the Facebook page of the solidarity alliance https://www.facebook.com/ver.di.charite.buendnis/






17 Britain still needs a pay rise: TUC Parliamentary Lobby and Rally, 6.30pm for the rally (which follows a Parliamentary Lobby), Parliament Square   https://www.tuc.org.uk/events/rally-and-lobby-parliament-fair-pay-public-servants

21 National Shop Stewards Network Solidarity Forum – 12noon-4pm Saturday October 21st Birmingham and Midland Institute, 9 Margaret St, Birmingham B3 3BS

Stand up to Racism national conference: ‘Confronting The Rise In Racism’ – 10.30am – 4.30pm Friends Meeting House, Euston Road, London, NW1 2BJ www.standuptoracism.org.uk/stand-racism-national-conference



PHONE 07952 283 558

EMAIL mailto:[email protected]


TWITTER – https://twitter.com/NSSN_AntiCuts


ADDRESS NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE