The NSSN headlines this week’s bulletin by marking and celebrating International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8th. We have articles by two of our supporters who have a proud record of trade union struggle. Tessa Warrington was until recently a PCS rep and Keishia Taylor is a member of UCU and is currently on strike against the employers’ attacks on the USS pension scheme. For IWD events go to the TUC website or follow #IWD2018 #IWD18 #IWD on twitter
“The #MeToo movement has revealed the endemic nature of sexual harassment in Hollywood and the entertainment industry. It has given confidence to many working class women who are now beginning to stand up and speak out about similar harassment in the workplace.
Women workers, especially in bars, restaurants and hotels, face daily sexual harassment but rarely speak out for fear of losing their jobs. It cannot be left up to brave individuals to put their heads above the parapet. The scale of the #MeToo phenomenon demonstrates the potential for a united women’s movement but this unity must be built in the workplace and community not just on social media.
Organised in trade unions, these women together with their male worker colleagues would have the power to fight against the threat of both their own harassment and assault as well as the power imbalance between workers and bosses created by the capitalist system.
The NSSN celebrates International Women’s Day this year by urging its supporters – both unions and activists – to redouble their efforts to eradicate sexual harassment in the workplace. Organising women on a fighting programme can win both at work and in society more widely, just as the Ford Dagenham strikers did 50 years ago this year; a struggle that ultimately lead to the introduction of the Equal Pay Act in 1970.”
“Women bear the brunt of austerity, particularly in terms of precarious and low paid work, cuts to services, reduction of economic independence, and sexual harassment, so it is vital that women get active in unions to lead struggles for our needs and fight for equality. Through unions we raise confidence about what is possible, build solidarity between workers, and mobilise to defend and improve our working conditions. I am currently taking part in the UCU strike to save USS pensions, which has seen a huge influx of (particularly young and female) new members inspired to fight for their rights and amazing solidarity from students and unions and rank & file organisations such as the NSSN. Women are short-changed on pensions, but standing united, we are winning better conditions for everyone.”
Keishia Taylor UCU University College London
Picturehouse members on International Women’s Day Strike at 4 London cinemas – This International Women’s Day we’re on strike! BECTU members at Hackney, East Dulwich and Crouch End Picturehouses, will be joining their colleagues at Picturehouse Central to protest and celebrate! We’ve been striking for 17 months, for demands including a Living Wage, sick pay, and company maternity and paternity pay. Picturehouse are still refusing to pay us enough to live on, enough to raise our families. So we strike! If our demands were rolled out across the economy, it would be women who would predominantly benefit. Because here, and all over the world, it is women who are paid the least, and work in the poorest conditions. Low pay is a feminist issue read more.
Donate to the Picturehouse Cinema strike fund: https://www.crowdpac.co.uk/campaigns/250/picturehousestrike
The National Shop Stewards Network is fully backing University and College Union (UCU) members in 61 universities who are taking strike action to defend their USS pension rights. Last Wednesday they were joined by fellow UCU members at 15 colleges in Further Education, starting action on pay. All this action shows the potential for co-ordinated strikes across the public sector on pay and any attacks on pension rights.
Lecturers are now into the 3rd week of continuing and escalating their action.
The next strike days are:
Week three – Monday 5, Tuesday 6, Wednesday 7 and Thursday 8 March (four days)
Week four – Monday 12, Tuesday 13, Wednesday 14, Thursday 15 and Friday 16 March (five days)
Wednesday 7 March – Students and Staff United: Protest at the ‘Office for Students’ (called by London UCU) – 1pm 15-17 Furnival St, London EC4A 1AB Facebook event
Wednesday 14 March – Defend Education: March for Pensions and Pay (Hosted by UCU London Region) – 12pm Malet Street, London, WC1E 7 Facebook event
Strikes at 15 colleges in row over pay – Members of UCU at 14 colleges went on strike on 28 February & 1 March in an ongoing row over pay. On the Wednesday staff at Sunderland College also walked out. The colleges affected are here
Advanced notice: the 2018 National Shop Stewards Network Annual Conference will be from 11am-4.30pm on Saturday June 30th in Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, Holborn, London. It is open to all trade union and anti-cuts campaigners
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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RMT to hold Nationalise Northlink public meeting on Shetland (6 Mar) – Scottish ferries union, RMT, will be holding a public meeting on Shetland calling for the nationalisation of Northlink’s lifeline ferry services. The meeting will take place on Fri 16 March, from 19:00 at Shetland Hotel (St. Catherine Suite South), Holmsgarth Road, Lerwick, ZE1 0PW. RMT Regional Organiser Gordon Martin will put the positive case for nationalising NorthLink read more
RMT to lobby German embassy over profits rip-off throwing Guards off Northern Rail trains (6 Mar) – RAIL UNION RMT will be holding a lobby outside the German Embassy in London, on the first anniversary of Northern members striking to save the role of the safety critical role of a guard, before handing over a letter to the ambassador about the dispute. The protest will take place on Tues 13th March at 12.30am at the German Embassy, 23 Belgrave Square, London, SW1X 8PZ read more
RMT strike action on Northern and Merseyrail “united and determined” this morning in fight for guards and rail safety (3 March) – General Secretary Mick Cash said; “Our members on both Northern and Merseyrail stand united and determined this morning in these two separate disputes which are about putting public safety before private profit read more
RMT calls further strike action on Southern Rail in Britain’s longest running industrial dispute – RAIL UNION RMT confirmed today (22 Feb) that guards and driver members on Southern Rail will take further strike action in the on-going dispute in defence of the role of the guard, the extension of DOO and the guarantee of a second safety-critical member of staff on Southern services. RMT’s NEC has considered this matter again today and due to the failure of both the Government and GTR to make any serious efforts to resolve the dispute it has instructed Southern guards and driver members not to book on for any shifts that commence between 0001 and 2359 on Monday 12 March 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
BREAKING NEWS!! 500 construction workers at Hinkley C continue strike over pay dispute – HINKLEY construction workers are continuing their sit-in protest today as a row over pay heads into a second day. Around 500 construction workers have withdrawn their labour and are protesting by sitting in the canteen at the new nuclear power station. According to Unite the Union, the workers were told on Thursday during the working day to return to their lodgings. The union’s members were due to work the weekend and were available to work; although were instructed not to report for work due to the red weather warnings. On their return to site this week they were advised via text that they would not be paid Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the union says it ‘continues to seek an acceptable and negotiated settlement to these issues’ read more in Bridgewater Mercury Unite statement on Hinkley Point
Car workers unite to stop Melrose’s debt-fuelled GKN takeover (6 Mar) –
WHAT: Workers from Jaguar Land Rover join GKN workers to say ‘stop the GKN takeover’
WHERE: GKN Driveline Birmingham, Chester Road, Erdington, Birmingham B24 0QY
WHEN: Wednesday 7 March 2018, 12:30
Unite members from Jaguar Land Rover and other car makers will be joining GKN Driveline workers in a show of solidarity tomorrow (Wednesday 7 March) to unfurl a banner calling on Theresa May’s government to block Melrose’s debt-fuelled takeover bid of the British-based engineering firm read more
EDF Energy ‘hypocritical’ smart meter vehicle tracking row will hit the national installation programme, warns Unite (2 March) – Further strike action by EDF Energy smart meter installers in London over the imposition of tracker devices in vehicles will seriously hamper the company’s 2020 installation target, Unite has warned. Unite, which represents the 60 meter installers and fixers, called on the company ‘to step on the accelerator’ and settle the dispute otherwise there will be 72 hours of strike action, starting on Tuesday 6 March. There have already been five days of strikes read more
Bromley library staff and care workers vote for action amid outsourcing chaos – Unite warned of possible strike action hitting services run for Bromley council by two contractors today (Thursday 22 February), after library staff and care workers overwhelmingly backed action in two separate strike ballots. 100 per cent of library staff working for Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL) across the London borough’s 14 libraries backed strike action on a turnout of 87 per cent in a dispute over staffing, pay and time off for union duties. Meanwhile, care workers working for Certitude Support at the Astley day centre backed action by 70 per cent in a dispute over pay, health and safety and union recognition. Commenting Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “What we are seeing in Bromley is outsourcing chaos. There have been continual problems since Bromley’s libraries were privatised and Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL) took over from the council.” Read more
6 March PCS rally – report gives latest reason for government to act on pay (6 Mar) – Ahead of our parliamentary rally on pay this evening (6 March), which we want you to invite your MP to, we’re launching a report which shows the devastating impact of the cuts on government departments and our members’ pay. Our rally, from 6-8pm in committee room 12 of the House of Commons, is the latest event in our pay campaign. We want you to complete our e-action to urge your MP to attend our rally, to add their voice to our pay claim and commit to lobby ministers to end the pay cap and fully fund above inflation increases. Speakers at the rally, including our general secretary Mark Serwotka and shadow chancellor John McDonnell, will make the case for fully-funded, above inflation pay rises across the public sector read more
Urge your MP to join March 6 PCS pay rally – PCS is urging all our members and supporters to tell their MP to back our campaign for a proper pay rise and attend our public sector pay rally in parliament on 6 March. The rally, from 6-8pm in committee room 12 of the House of Commons, is the latest event in our pay campaign. We want you to complete our e-action to urge your MP to attend our rally, to add their voice to our pay claim and commit to lobby ministers to end the pay cap and fully fund above inflation increases. Speakers at the rally include:
PCS president Janice Godrich (chair of rally)
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey
Louise Regan, NEU president
Chris Stephens MP, chair PCS parliamentary group, SNP TU spokesperson
Faiza Shaheen, director Class think-tank
Ian Lavery MP, shadow minister for trade unions and civil society read more
Facebook Live 13 March – ask Mark Serwotka and John McDonnell (5 Mar) – There is just over a week to go until our fourth Facebook Live event and we need your questions to help make it a success. Our general secretary Mark Serwotka will be joined for the event, due to start at 7pm on 13 March, by shadow chancellor John McDonnell as they give their response to that day’s chancellor’s spring statement read more
Strike threat looms at Acas (2 Mar) – Conciliation officers at Acas who are PCS members are being balloted for strike action and action short of strike following the imposition of changes by Acas management to the conciliation service. In January, PCS won an employment appeals tribunal ruling that Acas must consult PCS about these changes. The imposed changes include the downgrading of conciliation work and the closure of the Acas office in Liverpool read more
DWP compulsory redundancies: send PCS e-letter to permanent secretary – PCS is calling on all DWP members in the Department for Work and Pensions to send an e-letter to permanent secretary Peter Schofield to support 2 of our members at Plymouth Benefit Centre who are needlessly facing compulsory redundancy. Bizarrely the office that these two members – who are administrative officer grade staff – work in is not actually closing. However, the work that they do is moving to another location that is outside their mobility and the DWP claims that it can find no other AO work in Plymouth for these staff to do. Help support the campaign by registering your protest against this shameful decision by sending an e-letter to the DWP permanent secretary Peter Schofield read more
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
Dismay at Telefonica move on sick pay (March 2) – The CWU has expressed its outright dismay at Telefonica’s decision to impose a vicious attack on sick pay for new starters without providing the opportunity for negotiation on proposals the CWU believes are more worthy of a ‘bargain basement’ employer than a leading telecommunications company read more
Breakthrough on BTPFS security pay (Feb 28) – Concerted pressure from the CWU has resulted in an all new pay structure being agreed for security staff in BT buildings – at a stroke addressing long-standing union concerns about previously largely non-existent pay progression opportunities read more
Support striking waste transfer station workers in Hull – Staff at a waste transfer plant at Hull have gone on strike. A dozen lorry drivers employed by the FCC Group intend to spend a week on the picket line outside the company’s Wilmington facility off Stoneferry Road read more from Hull Daily Mail
Local government pay consultation – Members in schools and local authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are being consulted on two-year pay offer read more
70 Jobs Axed At Severfield (Mar 6) – GMB slams ‘devastating’ decision to axe 70 jobs at Severfield. GMB is working closely with the affected membership to mitigate compulsory job losses and to secure the best possible deal through the consultation period read more
Sign the petition against the Government reducing the Prison Officer Pension
Anger as public denied consultation on Isle of Wight fire service cuts (2 March) – The public is being denied the right to have a say on proposed changes to the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service that the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) say are a threat to public safety. Managers at the service have proposed measures that would include a reduction in the number of firefighters who serve in a crew from five to four. This is a threat to both the public and firefighters as a crew of five is needed in order to follow safe working procedures to tackle blazes and rescue people. It means fire victims will have to wait longer to be rescued. Eight wholetime firefighter posts and five retained posts are also under threat that would devastate the small brigade as it constitutes 15% of the entire firefighting workforce read more
Sign petition: Stop West Midlands Firefighters being taken away from the frontline! #FiredUp – Recent events such as the fire at Grenfell Tower and terrorist attacks across the country have shown that when you need the fire service, you need them quickly. But now, councillors in the West Midlands want to use flexible contracts to make firefighters undertake non-emergency work such as transporting people from hospital and picking up people who fall in their home. This will involve frontline firefighters and their emergency vehicles. Our message is clear; if firefighters are tied up with non-emergency work then they cannot be there for you and your family in your time of desperate need: This is unacceptable
Support the London teachers’ strikes: three schools in Newham were on strike again recently against threats of academisation: Avenue Primary, Cumberland and for the first time, Keir Hardie. There was a tremendous strike demonstration and rally to East Ham Town Hall. As a result of the campaign, Newham Councillors overwhelmingly voted for a motion which opposes academisation, ends all support for it and backs binding parental and staff ballots
Please support other London teachers who have been on strike over the last few weeks such as the Village in Brent and the City of London Academy in Bermondsey
You can tweet messages of support to @NUTLondonOffice
United Voices of the World union
Cleaners at the Daily Mail – all of whom are migrant workers and members of UVW – are set to strike over poverty wages! – They are demanding the London Living Wage of £10.20 p/hour! Stay tuned for strike dates www.uvwunion.org.uk. Sign the petition: Pay the Living Wage to migrant cleaners at the Daily Mail
Tuesday March 6th 6.30pm The Brewery 52 Chiswell St, EC1Y 4SD London – Guess who’s coming to dinner. The IWGB! Graduation protest: As University of London Vice Chancellor Sir Adrian Smith sits down for this year’s graduation dinner at “one of London’s finest venues”, we want to make sure he remembers the outsourced workers that keep the university running day after day. That’s why we will be making sure he gets an IWGB welcome to the venue that will be holding this dinner: the Grade II listed “The Brewery” read more
IWGB wins first ever union recognition ruling against a “gig economy” company (March 1) – Declaration by Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) is the culmination of a campaign that first secured worker rights for The Doctor’s Laboratory’s (TDL) couriers in June 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
Blacklist Support Group update – 6th March 2018
- Model Blacklisting working group resolution which can be presented to all CLP’s passed at Liverpool Wavertree CLP last month.
Model resolution (please amend as required):
This CLP notes Liverpool City Council’s ill-fated relationship with two of the most prolific Consulting Association blacklisters – namely Carillion and Laing O’Rourke, which has been brought into even sharper focus by the recent collapse of Carillion.
The CLP shares the Blacklist Support Group’s dismay that these rogue contractors have been securing public contracts within our city, thereby rendering the Cabinet’s motion, passed in 2013, meaningless. It also contravenes the ethos of the document referred to as the ‘Workers Charter’
The CLP therefore resolves to remind the Council that blacklisting was and still is an unacceptable practice, which cannot be condoned. We therefore urge that those companies who were members of the clandestine organisation, the Consulting Association, and any others found to be engaging in blacklisting, be removed forthwith from the approved list for future construction work procured by the Council.
Since these discredited contractors have continued to be awarded work in the city, this CLP calls for a working group to be set up, comprising two elected members of the Blacklist Support Group and the appropriate cabinet council members, to monitor this process of disengagement.
Roy Bentham, blacklisted carpenter from Liverpool and BSG joint secretary noted:
“It’s a groundbreaking motion which sailed through a vote our CLP and it recognised the need for change within planning and the procurement processes. Carillion was a Grenfell moment within the construction industry and we can act as a vanguard against unethical companies with this resolution.
The old model was broken and we need to face upto that.. Its now up to us fix it with the firm implementation of the workers charter. There can be no other way”.
- Spycops – Serious concern over ongoing delaying tactics at inquiry into undercover political policing
- Was my friend an undercover police officer?
Shocking revelations here too
- Mark Constantine introduced our session at the Lush Summit 2018 by saying, “Spycops is THE most important campaign in the UK today”
- BSG out in force with banners and showing support for the Keep NHS public day on Saturday 3rd March and RMT train drivers strike too
- Big feature article on John McDonnell in the FT on Friday 1st March. Both joint secretary’s Dave Smith and Roy Bentham contributed to the article of one of our founder members.
McDonnell lists his hobby in Who’s Who as “fermenting the downfall of capitalism”.
“Our objectives are socialist. That means an irreversible shift in the balance of power and wealth in favour of working people,” he explains.
Dave Smith, head of the Blacklist Support Group, says he would often encounter McDonnell at a picket at 6.30am: “When no one else was prepared to talk to us he was there . . . representing working people fighting for justice.”
Royston Bentham, a blacklisted construction worker from Liverpool, says McDonnell sometimes visits Anfield: “People come over all the time and shake his hand and chant his name in the pub . . . he has been through the bad times in the Labour Party and is now on the cusp of something big.”
- BSG member Jack Fawbert scribes another brilliant piece on his Blacklisting experiences here
- Mears dispute has been won by the brothers and sisters emphatically up in Manchester.
We send our solidarity upto the Nw on a magnificent victory
- And finally we stand shoulder to shoulder with our UCU comrades striking for pay and pensions in education and the Crossrail electricians in dispute with Balfour Beatty. They have our full support in their struggles..
Blacklisted t-shirts available at: https://shop.hopenothate.org.uk/component/hikashop/product/78-blacklisted-t-shirt
Historic teacher strike shuts down West Virginia read more
6 PCS pay rally in Parliament
17 National Marches against Racism in London, Glasgow and Cardiff Facebook event
12 TUC demonstration ‘A new deal for working people’ https://www.tuc.org.uk/events/new-deal-working-people-tuc-march-rally
30 National Shop Stewards Network 2018 Annual Conference 11am-4.30pm Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, Holborn, London
NHS 70th anniversary rally
PHONE 07952 283 558
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ADDRESS NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE