363: Support Transport Strikes, Picturehouse workers & Mixed Fleet

This week’s bulletin headlines with some key disputes on the trains and buses in the UK and Ireland. Next week, RMT members will be on strike in five rail companies against Driver Only Operation (DOO). For the 3rd time, Southern Rail management have put a divisive offer to train drivers. We call on ASLEF members to again reject this offer and open the way to joint action with the RMT, who have now called strikes against DOO in five train operators. Busworkers in the North West have started series of 24 hour strikes and the planned action at Arriva North West buses next Wednesday will link up with the RMT DOO strikes on Merseyrail and Northern Rail/Arriva Trains North. And today, strike action begins on Iarnród Eritrean/Irish Rail. 

The NSSN also salutes the heroic struggle by Mixed Fleet cabin crew who after 85 days of strike action have forced a settlement from British Airways. We also highlight another long-running dispute by low-paid workers, this time by London cinema workers at Picturehouse.



RMT announces strike action in separate disputes over the attack on the role of the guard and the extension of Driver Only Operation – RAIL UNION RMT today confirmed strike action in November in separate disputes with train operating companies across the UK over attacks on the role of the safety-critical guard and the extension of Driver Only Operation in the name of increased profits. Members on Southern, Greater Anglia, South Western Railways and Island Line have been instructed to take action as follows:

Not to book on for any shifts between 00.01 hours on Wednesday 8th November and 23.59 hours on Thursday 9th November.

Members on Northern and Merseyrail have been instructed to take action as follows:

Not to book on for any shifts between 00.01 hours and 23.59 hours On Wednesday 8th November read more

Merseyrail Kirkdale picket
Merseyrail Kirkdale picket

RMT calls on Southern Rail staff to stand together and reject divisive and tainted company plan to destroy safety and access (24 Oct) – Rail union RMT today called on Southern Rail staff to continue to stand united and reject the latest company and government proposals to extend Driver Only Operation which would destroy the principles of safe operation and access to services for all. Staff on Southern Rail have stood together for nearly 20 months now in the teeth of attacks on the safety culture and have repeatedly rejected plans cobbled together by Southern/GTR, under the direction of the Government, which would give the green light to axing the second safety-critical member of staff from services at the whim of the bosses and which would leave disabled passengers stranded. RMT is calling on staff to maintain that sense of unity. In a letter to members today – below – RMT reveals that the latest tainted company deal on Southern Rail attempts to link the most blatant of attacks on safety to increased pay while rolling back the boundaries on Driver Only Operation on a scale not seen before in any of the earlier proposals. RMT is making it clear that the union will be campaigning for a rejection of the whole package read more

TSSA on RMT Industrial action over the future of the role of the train guard

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



Bus drivers demand pay hikes during day of strike action at Arriva North West and First Manchester (30 Oct) – Workers from Arriva North West and First Manchester walked out on Monday morning following two separate rows over pay…Employees from both companies are planning a further day of action on Monday November 6. Arriva workers looks set to follow this up with another strike on Wednesday November 8. Meanwhile First union members are planning strike action each Monday throughout November read more from Manchester Evening News

Arriva North West bus workers’ strikes over ‘inadequate’ pay set to run into November (27 Oct) – Bus passengers in the north west are set for disruption to their services, running until the end of November, after talks over ‘inadequate’ pay rates broke down yesterday, Unite said today (Friday 27 October). Over 2,000 bus drivers and engineering staff working for Arriva North West across 11 depots, who have already started a campaign of industrial action, will strike again for 24 hours on Monday (30 October) – and this will be followed by further five one-day strikes on 6, 8,13, 20 and 27 November. The Arriva bus depots affected are: Birkenhead, Bolton, Bootle, Green Lane (Stoneycroft), Macclesfield, Runcorn, St. Helens, Speke, Southport, Winsford and Wythenshaw read more

British Airways mixed fleet cabin crew overwhelmingly back pay deal and end long running dispute (31 Oct) – Cabin crew working for British Airways’ mixed fleet have overwhelmingly voted to accept a pay deal that brings their long running dispute to an end Unite announced today (Tuesday 31 October). 84 per cent backed the deal which was hammered out in talks between British Airways and their union Unite. As a result of the pay deal mixed fleet cabin crew are set to enjoy pay increases of at least £1,404 to £2,908 by March 2018 depending on experience and subject to inflation. The dispute saw mixed fleet cabin crew operating on long and short haul flights out of Heathrow take 85 days of industrial action earlier in the year. The deal sees travel concessions and entitlements to fully participate in the airline’s 2017 bonus scheme returned to cabin crew who took industrial action, in addition to guarantees that deductions will not be made to any applicable bonuses. Acceptance of the deal will see settlement in full for Unite’s legal action that it was pursuing on behalf of mixed fleet crew who had been sanctioned for taking industrial action by British Airways. Commenting Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “A great deal of credit should go to Unite members and their shop stewards in British Airways’ mixed fleet for their determination and solidarity in securing this settlement…” read more

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


Ireland: Iarnród Éireann/Irish Rail strike

Union Members at Iarnród Éireann announce a series of rolling 24 hour stoppages, starting November 1st. JOINT PRESS RELEASE from NBRU, SIPTU, UNITE, TSSA and TEEU

“Following a meeting this afternoon, the Trade Union Group representing all workers at Irish Rail, in pursuance of a long overdue flat pay award, have decided to serve notice on the Company for the following series of industrial actions: 24 hour Work Stoppage full withdrawal of labour and the placing of pickets on Wednesday November 1st, Tuesday November 7th, Tuesday November 14th, Thursday November 23rd and Friday December 8th. The Trade Union Group will conduct reviews on an ongoing basis and may decide to escalate the action by way of increased frequency and duration. The responsibility for this dispute lies squarely with the CEO and his management team at Irish Rail. The treatment meted out to staff over the last number of months, and in particular the debacle which occurred at the WRC last evening, has been nothing short of contemptuous and will make a resolution to this dispute even more difficult, if not now impossible read more



To coincide with Living Wage Week, all five London cinemas are on strike this Monday November 6th with picket lines from 4pm-8pm at Ritzy in Brixton, Hackney, Crouch End, Central and Dulwich East. There is also a demo outside the Ritzy in Brixton the day before, Sunday November 5th from 3pm-6pm

Picturehouse Central

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, Dulwich East and Duke of York Brighton




Support the Royal Mail workers: ‘Dispute postponed – not cancelled’ read more on CWU website

November 21st NSSN Solidarity Forum sends solidarity to CWU Royal Mail workers
November 21st NSSN Solidarity Forum sends solidarity to CWU Royal Mail workers


Defending the NHS

Saturday November 4 Health Campaigns Together Conference in London. The link for online booking is www.healthcampaignstogether.com  Lunch will be provided for all PRE-BOOKED delegates Early bird fee: £7.50 | After 31st October / On the door: £10 Concessions: £5 pre-booked (£7 on the door)  https://www.healthcampaignstogether.com/




NSSN news

There was an excellent NSSN Solidarity Forum on October 28th in Birmingham.

Over 80 union reps and members discussed how to build support for the increasing number of disputes, including the CWU in Royal Mail, Unite at Birmingham bins, PCS in DWP, BFAWU in McDonalds and the fight to scrap the public sector pay cap. We also heard from campaigners fighting to keep the Derby Women’s Centre open. If you want to organise a similar event in your area, email us via [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 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]

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Follow us on twitter via @NSSN_AntiCuts and Facebook




Union News

More Unite

Unite throws down gauntlet to austerity-obsessed Jersey government in pay row (31 Oct) – The austerity-obsessed Jersey government won’t be allowed to slash the wages of its workers, Unite said today (Tuesday 31 October). The modernisation programme of States of Jersey Government, the island’s largest employer, envisages that its workforce, such as teaching assistants, gardeners, road sweepers and nurses, could be faced with a pay freeze for the next three years and following that a reduction in pay of up £2,500 per year. Unite regional secretary for the south west (embracing the Channel Islands) Peter Hughes is flying to Jersey tomorrow (Wednesday 1 November) to put down a strong marker that Unite won’t tolerate swingeing cuts to its 2,500 members’ incomes, when he meets senior shop stewards tomorrow read more

Unite statement on the death of Derek Robinson (31 Oct) – Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “Unite sends its sincerest condolences to the family of Derek Robinson, following the news of his death. “Derek Robinson was a dedicated life-long trade unionist who fought, as convenor, for the rights and future of the then British Leyland workforce at the Longbridge plant in Birmingham during the 1970s…” read more

Capita staff start strike action over pensions (30 Oct) – Staff at Capita have started their industrial action in their pensions dispute with the outsourcing company.  Following the breakdown of talks at Acas, staff are taking part in nine days of industrial action. The dispute centres on Capita’s attempts to close the current defined benefit scheme and transfer staff to a defined contribution scheme. Unite members are taking nine continuous days of strike action which started on Saturday 28 October 2017 and ending on Sunday 5 November. Unite conducted an industrial action ballot following the proposal to close the current defined benefit scheme. In June Capita informed its employees of significant changes to the pension arrangements. Staff in the scheme will suffer a massive cut in their retirement income as a result of the proposals. Staff at Capita voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action in a ballot, calling on their employer to give them a decent pension. In the industrial action ballot 95 per cent of members voted for strike action, on a turnout of 72 per cent read more

Protest 8.30am on November 8th outside Fujitsu London HQ as workers fight gagging of reps – join the protest outside Fujitsu’s UK headquarters in London. At 10am on 8 November over 12,000 people will hear Fujitsu bosses Tatsuya Tanaka and Duncan Tait address the Fujitsu Forum trade fair in Munich. Fujitsu claims to be a responsible business which supports the UN Global Compact which requires businesses to uphold freedom of association and effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining, as well as eliminating discrimination. At the same time, Ian Allinson, the chair of the Unite union in Fujitsu UK, will be attending a final hearing over his redundancy at Fujitsu’s London head office – 22 Baker Street, W1U 3BW. Ian is one of several reps being unfairly targeted by the company. Employees are calling for Fujitsu to recognise their union for collective bargaining. This call has grown louder since the company unilaterally terminated their UK works council, Fujitsu Voice, before making huge job cuts Facebook event. Please join and advertise the social media Thunderclap: https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/63944-fujitsu-fightback. For more information on the campaign, see https://ouruniontest.wordpress.com/fujitsu-national-dispute/  read more

Support Birmingham binworkers – send messages of support via [email protected] and donations to Unite the Union, 9-17 Victoria St, West Bromwich B70 8HX

Support Argos warehouse workers – 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

Gig for the UNITE Barts strikers – All the performers are playing for free – so it would be good to have a decent sized crowd in! It’s taking place on Tuesday 14 November from 8.30pm onwards at the Rose & Crown, 53 Hoe Street Walthamstow London E17 4SA. Full details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/712830625576043/?active_tab=discussion



Support DWP strikes in Sheffield and Plymouth – Workers had already taken 26 days of strikes at Sheffield Eastern Avenue jobcentre but started indefinite action last Monday after DWP management announced that they intend to close it on November 17th.

Now PCS members at Plymouth Old Tree Court benefit centre have voted to strike on 6 November in protest at the plans to close the benefit centre. An overwhelming majority of members voted in favour of striking with 76.9% supporting the strike. The 230 members in the benefit centre however have been told they must relocate to another office in Plymouth. However, due to the geography and the transport connections of the area, a large number of members will not be able to relocate to the proposed new office as it is well outside reasonable daily travel from their homes. This has left a significant number of members at risk of redundancy.

As well as these two offices, there have also been strikes at Hoylake and Whitley Bay job centres as part of the PCS DWP Group’s strategy to defend offices, jobs and public service.

PCS DWP Group President Fran Heathcote said, “With strikes like these, PCS is showing DWP management and behind them the Tory Government, that we will fight these vindictive closures that are to the detriment of our members and claimants alike.”

To support these strikes and all others by PCS in DWP:-

Send messages of support to [email protected]. Donations should be sent to PCS DWP Group, 3rd floor, Town Centre House, Merrion Centre, Leeds, LS28LY.


PCS consultative pay ballot – the consultative ballot on the pay cap and whether members are prepared to take industrial action to protest against it, opened on October 9th and runs from Monday, 9 October to Monday, 6 November and you can vote by post, email or phone.

If you have not received a ballot paper in the post or received details of how to vote online to your personal email address by 20 October you should request a replacement ballot paper by emailing [email protected].

The ballot asks two questions:

Do you agree that the pay cap should be scrapped; and that funds should be made available to provide you with an above inflation pay rise?

If the government refuse to scrap the pay cap, are you prepared to take part in industrial action? Read more    Join PCS by 27 October to vote on pay

Second round of pay day protests send another clear message to the government (31 Oct) – Following the success of 29 September PCS members from across the UK were once again protesting at their workplaces to call on the government to scrap the 1% public sector pay cap and deliver fully-funded rises for all. The protests go hand in hand with the consultative ballot which is underway at present, asking PCS members if they agree that the public sector pay cap should be removed, and if they are prepared to take industrial action if it isn’t read more



Reduced fire crew sizes will put lives at risk (31 Oct) – The safety of firefighters in Tyne and Wear and the public they protect will be put at risk if plans are given the go-ahead to reduce the size of fire crews, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has warned today. Tyne and Wear Fire Authority have proposed cutting the number of firefighters who serve on fire stations with only one fire engine from five, to four read more

Firefighters call for cuts agenda to be dropped on anniversary of Cathedral Yard fire (27 Oct) – On the anniversary of the blaze that ripped through the historic Cathedral Yard area of Exeter last October, firefighters in the region are calling for an end to dangerous fire service cuts. The fire caused massive damage before being extinguished, and placed huge demands on the resources of the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service who sent 150 firefighters to put the fire out. Last Friday (20 Oct) Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Authority endorsed a draft Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP), the purpose of which the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) believes is to pave the way for more budget cuts.  The firefighters who responded to the Cathedral Yard fire and their colleagues are fearful that the lessons from this horrendous fire have not been learned, and that the destructive nature of such fires has yet to be fully appreciated read more

Quarter of firefighters axed as union warns of staffing crisis (26 Oct) – A Home Office report has revealed the number of firefighters employed by fire and rescue services has been reduced by nearly a quarter over the past decade. In 2017, 33,049 firefighters were working in the UK according to the report. This was a 4% decrease compared with the previous year (34,395 in 2016), a 17% decrease compared with five years ago (39,678 in 2012) and a 22% decrease compared with ten years ago (42,385 in 2007) read more



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



English college workers vote on employers’ pay offer (30 Oct) – UNISON recommends rejection of pay offer of 1% or £250 from Association of College in online ballot which runs until 17 November read more

Devon and Exeter hospital porters plan new action (26 Oct) – New November strike announced if hospital doesn’t withdraw threat to impose 12-hour shifts. UNISON porters at the Royal Devon and Exeter hospital say they will take three days of strike action in November in their dispute over management plans to impose 12-hour shifts on them. But they added that the move – which follows two days of successful action last weekend – will be lifted if management withdraws the threat. But despite talks being called at conciliation service ACAS, and meetings scheduled, the trust management has not responded to repeated calls to return to negotiations without the 12-hour shift plan. The strike action is scheduled to go ahead from 6pm on Friday 3 November until 6am on Monday 6 November

UNISON South West has also launched a Respect Our Porters campaign to support the workers concerned. You can show your support for these UNISON members by:

  • donating to the Royal Devon and Exeter health branch hardship fund (details below)
  • signing the online petition at http://unsn.uk/RespectOurPorters;
  • posting a solidarity message on social media with the campaign hashtag #RespectOurPorters;
  • downloading a poster and leaflet from the campaign page on the UNISON South West website.

Support the Royal Devon and Exeter porters by donating to their hardship fund.Send a cheque to the branch at: UNISON Office, Baker House
, Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Trust, Barrack Road, Exeter EX2 5DW. Or make a direct donation to the branch account

Account Name: UNISON Royal Devon and Exeter Health 10296 Branch

Account Number: 20323929 Sort Code: 60-83-01

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



Trouble Brewing at Carlsberg as GMB’s DHL Workers Gear up to Hit Drink Deliveries Before Christmas (Oct 30) – Workers facing brewers’ droop thanks to Draconian working conditions, says union. GMB, the union for DHL workers, says trouble is brewing for Carlsberg’s Christmas beer deliveries following a dispute over pay and conditions. DHL workers, who deal with deliveries from Carlsberg’s Leeds depot, are facing an uncertain future – and GMB is calling on the company to address the draconian working conditions placed upon their workforce read more

Strike Action Averted as Hinkley Point Workers Agree Improved Pay Deal (Oct 30) – Potential strike action among hundreds of construction workers building the new Hinkley Point nuclear power station has been averted after workers overwhelmingly voted for an improved pay deal read more

Hospital’s ‘VAT Scam’ Privatisation Plan Will ‘Crush’ Pay and Conditions For Staff Says GMB (Oct 30) – This is a race to the bottom and forcing more public sector workers to go to food banks is not the way to improve our NHS services says union. GMB, the union for NHS staff, says a hospital’s plan to privatise services will ‘crush’ pay and conditions for workers. On Friday, Airedale NHS Foundation Trust wrote to staff confirming its decision to set up a private company to run facilities, estates and purchasing at its hospital in Keighley. Airedale’s privatisation plan was described as a ‘VAT scam’ in Parliament by Keighley MP John Grogan read more



Right to protest threatened by wall of silence on police surveillance (30 Oct) – Since the exposure of Mark Kennedy as an undercover officer in the climate change movement in 2011, the spotlight should have been on undercover policing and getting to the bottom of its implications for the right to protest in the UK read more


United Voices of the World union

The fight continues for justice for Freddy and Angelica, the cleaners from Ecuador who work at HR Owen’s Ferrari and Maserati showrooms in South Kensington and were suspended after voting to strike for a living wage. The fabricated grounds of their suspension were in relation to alleged timekeeping issues which, needless to say, are completely false and malicious and had never been “an issue” before voting to strike. Still suspended and in defiance of such vile and unlawful acts of victimisation they will strike from 2pm-5pm on 11th November 2017. This will be the smallest strike in UK history measured by the number of workers but is far bigger in its significance Facebook event. To make a donation to their strike fund – https://www.uvwunion.org.uk/hr-owen/ UVW Facebook page



University of London In-House Now – Foundation Day Protest Tuesday November 21st – 6pm University of London, Senate House, Malet St, London, WC1E 7HU Facebook event



Other news

Grunwick Play ‘We Are the Lions Mr Manager’ – theatre company, Townsend Productions, has started touring again with a show about the Grunwick strike. It’s called ‘We Are the Lions Mr Manager’ tour dates





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)

Watch videos of speeches from the October 14th Public Meeting: ‘Who’s Watching Whom? The fight for justice, trade union and democratic rights for all’ in Coventry. The guest speakers included Ricky Tomlinson (Shrewsbury 24), Dave Smith (Author, Blacklisting), Helen Steel (McLibel & Undercover Police Inquiry), Chris Baugh (PCS Asst. General Secretary). It was sponsored by Unite Tom Mann branch and Coventry TUC


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/




Stop the Australian government’s assault on workers’ rights (31 Oct) – The Steering Committee of Workers Uniting, the global union created by Unite and the United Steelworkers, today issued the following statement:  On 25 October 2017, Australian Federal Police conducted a raid on the offices of the Australian Workers’ Union (AWU) read more on Unite website

Independent unions challenge the zero rights regime at Coca-Cola Amatil Indonesia read more






28 National Demonstration and Rally Barnsley Save Our NHS: fighting back to win. Assemble Barnsley Eastgate http://barnsley.streetmapof.co.uk/eastgate/ at 11.30. Speakers include: Justin Madders, Shadow Health Minister, Mike Forster, Hands Off HRI, Ellen King, Bassetlaw parents



4 Health Campaigns Together Conference in London. Early bird registration and travel concessions closes 23.30. 31st October. The link for online booking is www.healthcampaignstogether.com Lunch will be provided for all PRE-BOOKED delegates Early bird fee: £7.50 | After 31st October / On the door: £10 Concessions: £5 pre-booked (£7 on the door)

9 Digital automation: ‘post-capitalism’ or a new Lucas Plan? 7.15pm – London Action Resource Centre, 62 Fieldgate Street London E1. Free/donation www.breakingtheframe.org.uk

16 1917-2017 Russian Revolution: 100th anniversary celebratory meeting – 7pm Collegian Club, Gage St, Lancaster



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