NSSN 374: UCU vote to strike for 14 days to defend pensions


University pensions strike update: Universities to be hit with 14 strike days if USS row not resolved – from UCU website (22 Jan):

Universities face initial 14 days of escalating strike action if a row over changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) is not resolved.

Sixty-one universities would be hit with a wave of strikes and other forms of industrial action by UCU members expected to start on Thursday 22 February.

Other action would include union members working strictly to their contract, which would see them refusing to cover classes or reschedule classes lost on strike days as well as refusing to undertake any voluntary duties.

UCU said the first strikes would most likely start with a two-day walkout on 22 and 23 February. The action would then escalate to three-day, four-day and five-day walkouts in future weeks. Universities, such as Imperial and Edinburgh, with a reading week when action begins, would be allowed to start their action at a different time to maximise impact. The union said it would review its action and consider the next steps after those initial strike days if the dispute had not been resolved.

The planned action has been announced after UCU members overwhelmingly backed industrial action. Overall, 88% of members who voted backed strike action and 93% backed action short of a strike. The turnout was 58%. A full breakdown of the results by institution is available here.

UCU snip

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: ‘Universities will be hit with levels of strike action not seen before on UK campuses if a deal cannot be done over the future of USS pensions. Members have made it quite clear they are prepared to take action to defend their pensions and the universities need to work with us to avoid widespread disruption.

‘Even at this late stage we urge universities to work with us to reach an agreement that protects the defined benefit element of USS pensions.’

The latest round of talks on the future of USS are scheduled to finish tomorrow (Tuesday). Universities UK (UUK) wants to transform the scheme from a defined benefit scheme that gives a guaranteed retirement income to a defined contribution scheme where pension income is subject to changes in the stock market.

Independent modelling of the proposals show that a typical lecturer would lose £200,000 in retirement if the UUK plans were imposed. Last week the vice-chancellors of Warwick and Loughborough universities broke ranks to criticise UUK for failing to guarantee retirement incomes for USS members.

The union said it hoped that the overwhelming mandate for strike action would focus universities’ minds and that more vice-chancellors would publicly pressure UUK to agree a deal. UCU said it was happy for talks to be extended in an attempt to resolve the issue without strike action.

The union said that two rounds of cuts in USS benefits since 2011 have already left USS members with pensions worth less than those of school teachers and academics in the sector’s other pension scheme, the Teachers’ Pension Scheme.



Demonstrate to defend the NHS on February 3rd

‘NHS Winter Crisis’ day of action Saturday February 3rd: includes Emergency Demonstration in London (Assemble 12noon Gower Street WC16), coupled with regional action and demonstrations in response to winter crisis (also supporting NHS unions’ pay claim) – called by Health Campaigns Together and People’s Assembly

Feb 3 NHS DOA demo




Support Ian Allinson: ‘Discrimination’ of union reps sparks 11 days of strike action at Fujitsu in Manchester from January 24 More than 250 Unite members in Manchester have voted for 11 days of strike action at IT giant Fujitsu in one of the longest running industrial disputes in the UK. One of the features of this dispute has been a ‘victimisation culture’ of union reps, which has included the dismissal of Unite rep of 26 years standing Ian Allinson read more    Keep up to date with Unite: Our union in Fujitsu website

Ian Allinson protesting outside Fujitsu
Ian Allinson protesting outside Fujitsu

Joint strike rally: Fujitsu, Mears & First Bus Rusholme – 12.30pm Friday 26 January John Tocher room, Mechanics Institute, 103 Princess Street, Manchester, M1 6DD (entrance on Major St) Facebook event

Support Manchester Mears housing workerssend messages of support to Unite rep Colin Pitt: [email protected] and Unite regional officer [email protected] and post donations to: Unite House, Merchants Quay, Salford Quays, Salford M50 3SG

Support bus strikes at First Bus Rusholme in Manchester – Send messages of support and donations via Neil Clarke, [email protected] c/o Unite, Jack Jones House, 2 Churchill Way, Liverpool  L3 8EF



NSSN news

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Union News


RMT survey of Carillion members reveals 88% had not been contacted by liquidator (23 Jan) – RMT members employed by Carillion face uncertainty in the wake of the privateer’s collapse – due to government inaction – according to a recent survey carried out by the union read more   RMT on PWC announcement on Network Rail Carillion employees

RMT members take further strike action on DLR on over breakdown in industrial relations (18 Jan) – RMT cleaners, security staff and travel safe officers on Docklands Light Railway will be taking further strike action over a comprehensive breakdown in industrial relations. The workers are employed by contractor ISS on the KAD contract. The announcement comes in the wake of solid strike action taken by RMT members over New Year’s Eve. Regrettably, there has been no constructive progress made with the Company since then. The dispute has arisen over the failure to hold meaningful pay talks or provide a proper response to the union’s pay claim and the failure to resolve long standing issues. RMT members working for ISS (KAD Contract) are instructed to not to book on for any turns of duty that commence between:- 05:30 hours on Thursday 1st February 2018 and 05:29 hours on Saturday 3rd February 2018. Members are also instructed not to deviate from current valid approved risk assessments between 05:30 hours on Monday 5th February 2018 and 05:29 hours on Saturday 10th February 2018 read more

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



Next week’s strike at Cross Country called off (18 Jan) – TSSA reps at rail company Cross Country are expected to vote to call off strike action scheduled for next week after the company yesterday (weds) agreed to meet their demand for an equal pay rise for all its staff. Managers had voted to strike after some were offered only a 1% deal but others offered 3.3%. But a letter from the company HR director, Jo McPhail, yesterday assured TSSA it has now agreed all managers will receive a 3.3% rise, backdated to May 2017, in next month’s pay packet read more


More Unite

Gatwick airport passengers facing transport chaos due to Omni Serve pay shambles (23 Jan) – Bus drivers ferrying passengers to and from planes at Gatwick Airport started voting for strike action today (Tuesday 23 January) after their employer offered a 0 per cent pay increase. Unite today (Tuesday 23 January) begun balloting its members employed by Omni Serve who drive the ‘airside’ buses at Gatwick Airport. The ballot will close on Tuesday 6 February and if members support industrial action, strikes could begin by the end of next month. The workers have not received a pay increase for over three years. Negotiations for a pay increase for 2017 dragged on throughout last year with the company refusing to make an offer. An offer was finally made just before Christmas of a 0 per cent pay rise for 2017 and a below inflation increase of 2 per cent for 2018 read more

Essex concrete block company facing strike turmoil (22 Jan) – Tarmac Building Products Ltd is set to be hit by a series of strikes when members of Britain’s largest union, Unite start a programme of industrial action next week in a dispute over cuts to pay and two tier working. The Stanford Le Hope based company is intent on introducing inferior terms and conditions for new starters. This will create a two tier workforce as new starters will receive less pay than colleagues. Unite and Tarmac which produces concrete breeze blocks, attended talks organised by the conciliation service Acas before Christmas that stretched into the New Year. However no progress was made. Unite which represents 100 per cent of the workforce, had already held a ballot for strike action, which produced a huge yes vote. As the talks were making no progress Unite served notice for strike action. There will be a series of 24 hour strikes with the first scheduled for Tuesday 30 January, with further strikes on 6, 8, 20, 22 February and then on 20 and 22 March read more

Sellafield strikes suspended for now as talks agreed (19 Jan) – A strike by members of Unite scheduled for next Tuesday (23 January), which would have created widespread disruption at Sellafield, has been called off to allow for negotiations aimed at resolving the dispute over the victimisation of a trade union rep to take place. The strike involves workers at civil engineering company DSD Construction, who are undertaking work to improve security at the nuclear reprocessing site. The strike was called after Unite’s newly elected shop steward James Bainbridge was victimised and then dismissed and would have caused widespread disruption if it had gone ahead. DSD Construction has now agreed to enter into negotiations to seek a resolution. These talks will take place next Thursday (25 January). As a consequence the first strike which was scheduled to take place on Tuesday 23 January has been called off. The overtime ban due to begin next Tuesday has also been suspended. However if the talks do not bring a resolution to the dispute then the remaining strikes scheduled to begin on Thursday 1 February and Wednesday 7 February will go ahead read more

EDF Energy bosses branded as ‘hypocritical’ in smart meter vehicle tracking row (18 Jan) – EDF Energy bosses have been accused of hypocrisy over the introduction of a vehicle tracker system for workers installing smart meters, but ruling them out in their own company cars. Unite 270 meter installers and fixers, has called for a 24 hour strike at the energy giant on Monday 29 January, as it argues that the system does not just monitor where someone is, but also any lapses in driving performance which could lead to disciplinary action. However, Unite said managers were not prepared to have these devices fitted in their company cars, nor were they prepared to take part in random drug and alcohol tests, which are also part of the dispute. Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “What we have here is classic case of the bosses’ ‘them and us’ approach to employment relations which smacks of hypocrisy.” The strike, starting at 00.01 on 29 January, will hit the tight timetable for EDF Energy’s programme of smart meter installation across London, the south east and south west read more

Sparks set to fly as Crossrail electricians step up strike action (18 Jan) – The multi-billion pound Crossrail development is set for further delays as Unite, the UK’s construction union, has announced further strikes on the Woolwich section of the project, in an escalating dispute over the non-payment of industry standard project completion payments. The dispute involves 80 electricians who are employed by Balfour Beatty. Unite has announced four new 24 hour strike dates throughout February. The four strikes will take place on 7, 14, 21 and 28 of next month. Each strike will begin at 06:00 with picket lines in place. An initial 24 hour strike was held last week (Wednesday 10 January). This was the first time industrial action had occurred on Crossrail, causing widespread disruption at the Woolwich site and on other related sections of the project. The dispute is a result of workers seeking an improved second tier payment and a four week finishing bonus (which is payable when workers are made redundant) read more

Bromley’s outsourcing policy under the spotlight as workers for two contractors ballot for strike action (18 Jan) – Controversial outsourcing Bromley council faces strike action by workers at two of its contractors that could hit libraries and care services in the borough. The ballots for strike action by 36 workers at 14 libraries employed by Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL) and 20 care workers working for Certitude Support at the Astley day centre start next week. The ballots come as the whole question of the outsourcing of public services is being put under the microscope, following the Carillion debacle read more

Unite hails landmark ‘licence for London’ covering the capital’s 25,000 bus drivers (17 Jan) – Unite, the union representing London’s bus workers, hailed today’s (Wednesday 17 January) launch of a ‘licence for London’ covering the capital’s 25,000 bus workers as a win-win for passengers and bus drivers. The new ‘licence for London’ puts an end to the previous system where bus drivers moving from one bus company to another would be paid the lowest driving wage as if they were starting their careers, even though they might have driven for many years with another company. From now on drivers can start at a new company at a pay grade equivalent to their level of service and experience. The landmark deal has been brokered by Unite, the mayor of London, Transport for London (TfL), and the private bus companies who operate bus services in the capital on TfL’s behalf read more

Big cash pay-out for London construction workers (17 Jan) – Over 100 construction workers at three high profile projects across London have collectively secured an estimated £250,000 worth of holiday pay after a Unite organising campaign forced their employer to pay up. Over 150 construction workers working for Byrne Bros at construction projects including Westfield in White City, The International Quarter in Stratford and 100 Bishopsgate have secured payments of between £400 and £1,000 each with further back payments to follow after the workers joined forces to demand their full holiday entitlement. Workers were getting holiday pay based on 39 hours a week but in reality they often worked around 55 hours because they were compelled to work overtime on Saturdays. When the workers first approached Byrne Bros management they were ignored, until construction workers at different sites, backed by Unite,  joined forces and commenced a campaign which culminated in a collective grievance read more

Hackney schools face ‘dirty loos’ as cleaners to strike in holiday pay row – Six schools in Hackney will be left dirty and with rubbish piling up as cleaners gear up for five days of strike action in a dispute over the ‘outrageous’ failure to pay proper holiday rates. More than 40 school cleaners, members of Unite will strike for four days from 00.01 on Tuesday 30 January until 23.59 on Friday 2 February. There will be a further 24-hour strike from 00.01 on Monday 5 February read more



Complain now to DWP over pension inequality (23 Jan) – If you’re angry at the way 50s born women have been treated over their state pension make a formal complaint to the Department for Works and Pensions. PCS fully supports the Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) campaign fighting against the unfair treatment of women born in the 1950s (on or after 6 April 1950) through an increase to their state pension age.​​ The changes were drawn up with little or no personal notice, with a faster than promised implementation and without enough time for women born in the 1950s to make alternative plans read more

PCS calls on new CEO of DWP tech provider to recognise the union (22 Jan) – PCS is calling on Loveday Ryder, new chief executive of BPDTS, the company set up to provide IT support to the DWP, to recognise our union. Since it was created by the government as a GovCo, a company where the only or majority of the shares are in government hands, in 2016, BDPTS has refused to recognise PCS. This is despite PCS having long-standing recognition rights with the previous private contractor Hewlett Packard before the staff TUPE transferred to BPDTS read more

PCS welcomes Labour policy on privatisation and PFI (22 Jan) – PCS today (22) welcomed the commitment from Jon Trickett on behalf of the Labour party that Labour in government would take a new approach to PFI and the privatisation of government and public services. In the wake of the latest PFI disaster, last week’s collapse of Carillion, PCS called for all of the company’s public sector contracts to be taken in-house read more

Latest court closure plans another hammer blow to justice (18 Jan) – PCS says plans to close 9 more courts announced today are a further hammer blow to access to justice and will mean staff and the public travelling further, in more difficult circumstances at greater cost. The government has opened a 10-week consultation on its plans which will displace more than 130 staff and propose the closure of these courts

Support DWP strikes:

  • Send messages of support to [email protected]
  • Send donations to the strike fund to PCS DWP Group, 3rd Floor, Town Centre House, Merrion Centre, Leeds, LS2 8LY



Catch up on the latest with the CWU’s campaigns and disputes: Royal Mail Four Pillars, BT Pensions and Close the Gap/Justice for Agency Workers in BT

Holiday pay conundrum resolved at last in Telefonica (23 Jan) – Members in Telefonica are on course to finally start receiving holiday pay that truly reflects their actual earnings as a result of the company’s belated response to a three-and-half year old European Court of Justice ruling read more



Sign the petition against the Government reducing the Prison Officer Pension



Lives at risk in Merseyside as fire engines are cut back (19 Jan) – Lives are being put at risk in Merseyside because it will take firefighters far longer to arrive at emergencies due to a cut in the number of hours that fire engines are crewed, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has said today. The warning comes after Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service announced that fire engines at Eccleston and Crosby fire stations will no longer be staffed by wholetime fire crews between the hours 20:30 – 08:30. Instead, the engines will be transferred to the Retained Duty System whereby firefighters are called in from home to respond to emergencies within 30 minutes read more



Support the London strikes against academisation: A number of schools in Newham and Brent have been on strike against threats of academisation, including Avenue Primary, Royal Docks, Cumberland and Village primaries. The Village in Brent is on strike from January 30-Feb1 and the Avenue is out on January 31-Feb 1. You can tweet messages of support to @NUTLondonOffice


Tonyrefail School closed in strike over job losses (23 January) – Teachers are taking part in a three-day strike at a school in Rhondda Cynon Taf after some staff were told they would lose their jobs in a merger. Tonyrefail School is merging with Tonyrefail Primary to create a 3-18 school, but some staff have been left without jobs after having to reapply. Teachers’ Union NASUWT has organised the strike with four people still unsure if they will lose their jobs. The strike is taking place from 23-25 January and the school will be shut read more



GMB Sellafield Firefighters Strike (Jan 22) – GMB Sellafield firefighters to strike tomorrow over pay dispute. This is the first time Sellafield Firefighters have been involved in an industrial dispute which shows the depth of their feeling and despair says GMB. GMB, the union for Sellafield firefighters, has announced a 12 hour strike tomorrow [January 22, 2018] in a long running dispute in relation to the pay at Sellafield Nuclear Plant in West Cumbria. The firefighters will take industrial action from 06.00 hrs until 18.00 hrs. The strikes are the latest in the long-running dispute between the firefighters and Sellafield management read more

GMB members vote for strike action at Cammell Laird shipyard (15 Jan) – Our members have been backed into a corner by management and they feel this is the only way to protect their livelihoods. Members of GMB, the union for shipbuilders, have voted to take strike action at Cammell Laird Shipyard in dispute over pay and conditions. A total of 500 workers will walk out at the shipyard, in Birkenhead, on January 26 and 29 if no resolution is found. The strike is aimed at achieving a settlement to an ongoing dispute over the 2017 pay and conditions claim read more



Stop Picturehouse intimidation of legal strikes – Union members at five Picturehouse sites in London were on strike this weekend. The strikes, the first of the New Year, marked the continuation of the long running campaign for the Living Wage at the circuit. Members were on strike at the Brixton Ritzy and at Picturehouses in Crouch End, Central London, East Dulwich and Hackney on Saturday 20 January to Monday 22 January. The previous notice to the company setting out extensive strike action from 20 January to 2 February was amended to focus on strike action this coming weekend only. The change of plan is the union’s response to intimidatory letters to staff from cinema managers in which they set out an intention to force staff to turn up for work on strike days to work without pay. This situation could have arisen because strikes were scheduled to start during shifts, rather than at the start of a shift read more

Keep supporting the Picturehouse workers – they have voted by huge majorities to continue their action: read the latest on Brixton Ritzy Facebook Page and those of Hackney, Crouch End, Central, Dulwich East and Duke of York Brighton

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



Support the Swindon Newsquest strike – Messages of support and solidarity can be sent to: [email protected]. Tweet your support to @AdverStrike  #Cutsquest. Donations for the strike fund can be sent to: Unity Trust Bank, Account name:  NUJ Wiltshire Branch, Account number:  35016904 Bank sort code: 608301



Support the Birmingham Homecare Workers – last Saturday (January 20th) saw the first strike by Home Care workers take place in a dispute with the Council over proposed shift rotas and redundancies read more on Birmingham Unison website Facebook page

Support the Royal Devon and Exeter porters, who have taken strike action against the imposition of 12 hour shifts. Donate 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



McDonald’s set for more strikes as action spreads across Britain – read more from the Observer. 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



Strike and protest on January 25th to end outsourcing at University of London – Picket line from 2pm, Protest from 6pm. The University of London continues to deny the outsourced workers that keep the institution running the terms and conditions afforded to their colleagues that are directly employed by the university. Outsourced workers suffer from far worse pensions, holiday entitlements, sickness entitlements, and maternity and paternity leave than in-house employees read more in Facebook event


United Voices of the World union

The cleaners at Lee Hecht Harrison (LHH) are going on strike on 26th January in their fight for the London Living Wage of £10.20 per hour. They are currently only paid the minimum poverty wage of £7.50 per hour. Join us for a solidarity demo on the day of the strike between 4pm-7pm. LHH is a large company located in the heart of London’s financial district just next to Monument tube station. It outsources the cleaners to City Central Cleaning & Support Services Limited. The cleaners request for the LLW was rejected without explanation and despite LHH’s £2 million profit margin this year and its huge 132% increase in revenue. Consequently, the cleaners, members of UVW, voted to strike on 26th January, then 31st January and 1st February, then again for the third week in a row on 8th and 9th February. In response to the prospect of a strike the cleaners were unlawfully threatened potential dismissal if they went on strike for which they are currently taking their employer to court. UVW has also applied for statutory recognition at the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) read more



Blacklisting & Victimisation

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)

‘Carillion ruined my life by blacklisting me for raising health and safety concerns’ – Dave Smith Joint Secretary of the Blacklist Support Group in the Metro

Blacklisted t-shirts available at: https://shop.hopenothate.org.uk/component/hikashop/product/78-blacklisted-t-shirt

Book: http://newint.org/books/politics/blacklisted-secret-war/

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNcgrNs6pB8

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/groups/blacklistSG/

Blog: www.hazards.org/blacklistblog




Solidarity with the People of Turkey (SPOT) Stop the War Coalition (StWC) Statement: Oppose Turkey’s attack on Afrin

Stop Repression in Hong Kong and China please send solidarity







30 National Shop Stewards Network 2018 Annual Conference 11am-4.30pm Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, Holborn, London



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