NSSN 399: Support the striking Birmingham home care workers


The NSSN sends solidarity to Birmingham Council Unison members, who are stepping up their action. This report is from a Birmingham NSSN supporter:-

Birmingham home care workers are starting 14 days of discontinuous strike action on 9 August in protest at the Labour council’s attempts to create a completely part-time workforce which would mean that many workers would be unable to pay household bills. If the workers don’t accept either 14, 21 or 22.75 hours contracts they will be made compulsorily redundant. Senior Unison steward Mandy Buckley initially drew up alternative rotas for the staff but senior management refused them because in Mandy’s words ‘they gave us too much control’.

Birmingham homecare strike

To rub salt into the wound the council are spending £12 million on consultants to investigate ways of merging their function with those of the NHS. This, along with making workers an offer they can’t accept are a crude attempt to privatise the service and begin charging service users. The money the council are spending on consultants would run the entire service for 3 years!

Birmingham’s Blairite council are no doubt smarting over their humiliating defeat last summer at the hands of the city’s bin workers, represented by Unite. No doubt they thought that they would easily beat a group of women workers who work in isolation from each other, who see their job as a vocation and had no tradition of industrial action. How wrong they were, the workers voted 97.3% to strike on a 58% turnout!

Mandy reported that the mood had hardened and that the few people who worked at the beginning of the industrial action will now join the strike. ‘My members are solid’ she said.

Unison nationally have given £5,000 to the strike fund and these workers deserve the support of the whole trade union movement. They are holding a strike rally in Victoria Square outside Birmingham Council House in the city centre from 12 noon until 2.30pm on Saturday August 11.

Please send messages of support and donations to Unison Birmingham branch, 46 The Priory Queensway Birmingham  B4 7LR. Email [email protected]

Unison: Birmingham City Council cuts care workers’ hours at the expense of local people


More Unison

BREAKING NEWS!! Mid Yorkshire NHS 3 day strike called from 6am on Monday 20th = UNISON has informed the Trust that following their refusal to sign a joint statement with the union committing themselves to no transfer of staff out of the NHS and no two tier workforce, we are lifting our suspended strike action and announcing a three day strike starting at 6am on Monday 20th August. Send messages of support and donations to [email protected] UNISON Office, Pinderfields Hospital, Aberford Road, Wakefield, WF2 0ED

Higher education members to be balloted on strike action (3 Aug) – National pay offer rejected by two thirds of members in recent consultation. UNISON’s Higher Education Service Group Executive (HESGE) is to organise a national industrial action ballot after over two thirds of those members who voted in a recent branch consultation, rejected the national pay offer. The ballot, taking place in the autumn, will call on members to vote to take strike action to improve the current pay offer and seek to co-ordinate strikes with other HE unions read more



NSSN news


NSSN TUC Congress Rally Sunday September 9th in Manchester

In the year of the 150th anniversary of the TUC, the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) will again be organising a rally before the start of TUC Congress.

It will be from 1pm on Sunday September 9th in the Manchester Mechanics Institute/Conference Centre, Princess Street, M1 6DD. More details will follow.


Leaders from fighting unions will be speaking alongside rank & file union reps and activists, including those who have been taking action.

The NSSN has a proud record of supporting workers and building solidarity. We also have a history of fighting for the biggest co-ordination of action across the unions to take on Tory austerity and the bosses’ offensive.

There is a union letter here and please share the Facebook event


Get your trade union branch or trades council to affiliate to the NSSN – it only costs £50. Already affiliated? Please think about renewing it. Also, many of our supporters pay a few pounds a month. You can set up a similar standing order to ‘National Shop Stewards Network’, HSBC – sort code 40-06-41, account number 90143790. Our address is NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE

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]

Follow us on twitter via @NSSN_AntiCuts and Facebook



Oppose the far-right – solidarity to Bookmarks bookshop

The NSSN sends solidarity to Bookmarks socialist bookshop in London, which was targeted by the far-right last Saturday. There is a solidarity event at Bookmarks, the Trades Union Congress official bookseller, this Saturday from 2pm.

Fortunately, no-one was injured but it follows on from the attack on members of the RMT after the demonstration by the ‘Democratic Football Lads Alliance’ on July 14th in London. These included the union’s assistant general secretary Steve Hedley.

These incidents show the true anti-union character of far-right organisations. The NSSN will work with unions and anti-racist organisations against racist division that only benefits the employers and the Establishment. We believe that the unions have to play the leading role in building the mass campaign that is necessary.    




Union News


Gosport MoD workers launch legal battle over working weeks’ theft (7 Aug) – Unite has launched legal action on behalf of a group of low paid workers employed at Ministry of Defence establishments in the Gosport area who have had their working year unilaterally cut by their employer ESS, part of the Compass Group. The mainly low paid, part-time and female staff were informed last year that their working year was to cut by two weeks (when they would be unpaid) and they were expected to sign a letter to say they have ‘volunteered’ to accept the change read more

Manchester Metrolink tram workers accept three year pay deal (7 Aug) – Drivers working for Greater Manchester’s Metrolink have accepted a ‘very good’ three year pay deal, Unite announced today (Tuesday 7 August). Unite hailed the package as ‘a great achievement’ which will see grade three drivers – those with more than 18 months experience – being paid £30,000 from January this year and £33,000 by January 2019. More than 340 Unite members working for Metrolink Manchester voted overwhelmingly to accept the deal which is 3.7 per cent backdated to January 2018; 10 per cent from January 2019; and the retail price index (RPI) from January 2020 read more

Talks with Sainsbury’s over ‘sign or be sacked’ contract row (6 Aug) – Unite is due to hold talks with Sainsbury’s bosses on Wednesday (8 August) over a collective grievance by the union’s members in the long-running ‘sign or be sacked’ contracts’ row affecting 123,000 workers. Unite is taking legal steps to protect its 11,000 members who have been told by Sainsbury’s they have to sign the new contracts by 23 September – or face the sack. Unite said the dispute stems from the firm’s proposal to increase pay to £9.20 an hour for workers at Sainsbury’s 1,400 stores from September, which would be eroded by ‘strings’ such as removing premium pay for Sunday working. The normal current rate is £8.00 an hour. Unite has also lodged a protective award with an employment tribunal in relation to the consultation process read more

Government ‘washes hands’ on umbrella company misery, says Unite (6 Aug) – Unite has accused the government of washing its hands of thousands of workers who are experiencing the misery of being paid via an umbrella company. There has been a huge surge in the number of workers forced to be employed via umbrella companies in recent years. The highest proliferation of workers employed via umbrella companies is in the construction industry but workers in the NHS, local government, road haulage, education and warehouse/logistics are also affected read more

Strikes suspended as Sheffield tram drivers to vote on new pay offer (3 Aug) – The strikes planned in the Sheffield supertram pay dispute have been suspended, as the 200 drivers and conductors vote on a revised pay offer read more

Leicester victory over ‘tax avoiding’ NHS hived-off company (1 Aug) – Unite, has hailed victory at the NHS trust in Leicester which has now abandoned its plan to set up a wholly owned subsidiary to avoid paying tax read more

Sunderland crane workers to take strike action over ‘inadequate’ pay offer – Workers at a leading crane manufacturer in Sunderland will be striking for two days next month in a dispute over an ‘inadequate’ pay offer. The 28 skilled crane assemblers at Liebherr Sunderland Works will strike from 19:59 on Thursday 9 August until 23:59 on Friday 10 August. The action will be repeated on 16/17 August. The workers have already started an overtime ban. Unite will be coordinating the industrial action with the GMB union which also has members at the Deptford Terrace site read more

Unite members strike on Total’s oil and gas offshore platforms – Unite the union has today (5 July) announced a series of strike days on the North Sea oil and gas platforms operated by Total E&P. Following the overwhelming mandate for industrial action, there will be a series of 24 hour and 12 hour stoppages on the three platforms affected (Alwyn, Dunbar and Elgin), all of which will be forced to cease production. There will also be a continuous ban on overtime commencing at 00.01 hours on 23 July. The dispute concerns the company’s wage review and its plans to force workers to increase their offshore working time. A report by Robert Gordon University identified that workers on three-week, equal-time rotas were nearly twice as likely to experience ill health as those on two-on-two-off shifts. The three on/three off rota pattern is now worked by 56 per cent of the workforce offshore, compared with just 17 per cent working the same pattern in 2007.

24 Hour Stoppages

  • Starting at 06.00 hours on 23 July, 6 August and 20 August.

12 Hour Stoppages

  • Starting at 12.00 hours on 30 July and 13 August read more

Unite HCA Strike – Solid Support – The strike at the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) has been solidly supported across all workplaces, with solidarity provided across the trade union and labour movement. Reps will now put plans for a second phase of action out to members, aiming to escalate not just strike action but other protests too. See the picket line video here. The action at the HCA (which incorporates Homes England and the Regulator of Social Housing) arose from a dispute over pay, the gender pay gap, and issues over pay progression. Pictures from the picket lines in London, Birmingham and Manchester are available here. For details of how to give solidarity/donations, go to Unite Housing workers branch website   HCA: 13% real terms pay cut for staff – ‘generous’ pay at top

Support Ian Allinson: Protesters accuse Fujitsu of victimising whistleblowers read more. Keep up to date with Unite: Our union in Fujitsu website



RMT confirms further phase of strike action by key group of staff at London Underground’s Ruislip Depot (8 Aug) – TUBE UNION RMT has confirmed a further round of strike action by transplant train maintenance and stores staff at London Underground’s Ruislip Depot with two forty eight hour strikes from the 22nd August and through the following Bank Holiday weekend as management continue to fail to make any progress with the union on the issues at the heart of the disputes. The strike action is over disputes about pay parity and payments associated with train preparation based on the duties staff undertake in their role. The escalation of the action coincides with a major programme of track works over the bank holiday weekend including joint Ballast Track Replacement (BTR) works at Wimbledon with Network Rail. ‎BTR forms the bulk of the TransPlant’s workload and has to be supported by a fleet of TransPlant engineering vehicles from Ruislip Depot and the operational staff to accompany it. The two groups of staff in dispute at Ruislip depot will take strike action as follows-


Wednesday 22/08/18 07:00 – 07:00 Friday 24/08/18


Friday 24/08/18 19:00 -19:00 Sunday 26/08/18 read more

BREAKING NEWS!! RMT suspends this Saturday’s strike action on South Western Railway to allow for further talks around the guard guarantee (9 Aug)   RMT confirms further strike action goes ahead on South Western Railway as company walks away from talks on Guard safety guarantee – RAIL UNION RMT confirmed that the next phase of strike action will go ahead exactly as planned in the dispute over rail safety and the axing of guards on South Western Railway as the company walked away from talks this week that could have secured a deal that underpins the guard guarantee. RMT members will take further strike action as follows by not booking on for any shifts between;

0001 Hours and 2359 Hours on Saturday 11th August 2018

0001 Hours and 2359 Hours on Saturday 18th August 2018

0001 Hours on Friday 31st August 2018 and 2359 Hours on Saturday 1st September 2018 read more    RMT sets out catalogue of safety abuses during recent South Western Railway strike days

RMT South West Railway Waterloo picket July 26
RMT South West Railway Waterloo picket July 26

Joint statement from RMT, Merseytravel and the Metro Mayor on the Merseyrail guards’ dispute

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



The National Shop Stewards Network gives full support and solidarity to the PCS whose members voted by a massive 86% majority to take strike action against the Tory government’s 1% pay cap. Unfortunately, they just missed out on the undemocratic turnout threshold stipulated in the latest anti-union Trade Union Act

NEC statement following the PCS pay ballot (25 Jul) – The PCS national executive committee met on 24 July to discuss the outcome of the pay ballot and made a number of key decisions to continue the pay campaign in 2018 and 2019. The NEC shared the real sense of disappointment that the turnout did not meet the 50% threshold which is required for a legal strike. But also had a great sense of pride at the magnificent effort of our members, reps and staff, to deliver the largest percentage vote for industrial action, and turnout in the union’s history. The NEC is determined that the government’s pay policy cannot, and will not go unchallenged. PCS members still deserve a pay rise, and the campaign for pay justice will continue. The ballot result will be used to grow stronger, building our membership and organisation, and ensure that we can beat the 50% turnout threshold read more including a video from PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka

Vote no to oppose MOJ attacks on your contract (8 Aug) – PCS is balloting members from next week (15) over Ministry of Justice plans to cut their terms and conditions in exchange for an average 11% pay rise over 5 years, for which no extra government money has been made available. Under the MOJ’s modernising employment proposition staff would work longer hours and have their terms and conditions cut in exchange for the pay increase read more



FBU to consult on ending all non-contractual work over 2% pay settlement (27 July) – Firefighters and emergency control operators have been offered a 2% increase in pay from its national employers. The Fire Brigades Union has said the offer fails to address the need for a significant increase in pay in the fire service following eight years of pay restraint. It says it will now consider ending all non-contractual work and will consult with members. A statement from the FBUs executive council released today (27 July) says that the pay offer “fails to take account of the fact that FBU members have already significantly expanded the work and activity undertaken in the service, in most cases without any appropriate payment read more



Increase in the amount of teenagers going hungry during the summer holidays (1 Aug) – A snapshot survey of 657 secondary teachers by the National Education Union shows the growing concern amongst teachers that young people are not getting enough food to eat over the summer holidays read more



Last Saturday, postal workers walked out in Plymouth as did their colleagues in Sunderland yesterday. The NSSN sends solidarity to both sets of workers

Plymouth Royal Mail workers walk out (4 Aug) – Royal Mail workers in the West Park Delivery Office have gone on strike today – meaning that many people across Plymouth won’t have receive their post or parcels. Thousands of homes across Plymouth in the PL5 and PL6 postcodes will have not had any deliveries this morning…According to the Royal Mail’s Union the strike is over “allegations of bullying and harassment” read more



We’ve got beef with McDonald’s – if you’ve been #McBurned, speak up – Last year, we successfully organised a series of UK-wide #McStrikes in response to McDonald’s record of offering low wages and zero hour contracts. This gained national attention and our ongoing Fast Food Rights campaign continues to turn up the heat on fast food giants who are letting poor terms and conditions and inadequate workplace safety measures become the status quo. As part of our organising work with members, we identified a genuine risk to McDonald’s workers of suffering avoidable burns injuries, and wanted to help them to take action. We want workers to know that burns are not, and should never be, ‘part and parcel’ of the job. That’s why we’ve launched the new McBurned campaign with Thompsons Solicitors. If you have been burned while working at McDonald’s, we’re encouraging you to speak up – confidentially – and to consider making a personal injury claim. You can read more about the campaign in this factsheet. Keep sending solidarity to the McStrikers in the BFAWU, post cheques to BFAWU, Stanborough House, Great North Road, Welwyn Garden City, Herts AL8 7TA and donate to the strike fund. Also help the fund by buying a #McStrike t-shirt. More info on the Fast Food Rights/Hungry for Justice website



Refuse Worker Deaths Shoot Up (Aug 6) – Despite their highly hazardous work, dedicated refuse workers have seen their pay plummet in real terms since 2011 says GMB Union. Deaths among refuse workers have shot up 50% according to the latest HSE figures – at the same time staff face 1,000 instances of dangerous driving every single day, GMB union has revealed. At least 12 people died in the waste sector last year – up from 8 the year before read more

26 Hour Paramedic Strike (Aug 3) – Why won’t NWAS meet with us, what are they so afraid of asks GMB? GMB’s North West Ambulance Service paramedics will stage a 26 hour strike this weekend over long-running pay dispute, the union has announced. Ambulance staff across the region – which covers Lancashire, Cumbria, Cheshire, Merseyside and Greater Manchester – will walk out for 26 hours from 6am on Saturday to 8am on Sunday read more

GMB industrial action at Budweiser brewery after worker sacked for raising health and safety concerns (Aug 3) – GMB members at AB-In-Bev are set to take  industrial action in solidarity with their former colleague Paul Morley. GMB members will take industrial action at the Budweiser brewery after a worker was sacked for raising health and safety concerns. Members at AB-InBev Brewery, in Salmesbury, Preston, will commence a continuous overtime ban on August 13 as part of the fight to have their colleague reinstated read more



Reunification campaign gathers strength (30 July) – Last week ended with something of a flourish media wise, as the Government’s announcement on their ill-judged decision to ‘Carry on Regardless’ with their ‘Marketisation’ of the Probation Service was given full exposure by Napo and senior Labour Party representatives on a number of major broadcasting and radio channels read more



BFI urged to stop using Picturehouse venues during LFF (30 July) – BECTU is appealing to the BFI to stop using Picturehouse venues for screenings during this year’s London Film Festival. The move comes after the Employment Tribunals finding that Picturehouse did unfairly dismiss union representatives from the Ritzy last year and that the individuals’ union activity played a part in management’s decision to dismiss. The BFI has a long-standing recognition agreement with both BECTU and Unite and adopted the Living Wage as a key benchmark for staff salaries following talks with the unions several years ago read more. Read the latest about the Picturehouse dispute 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


Mandate (Ireland)

Mandate General Secretary calls on Lloyds Pharmacy management to prevent further strikes (27 July) – The General Secretary of Mandate Trade Union, John Douglas, has written to Lloyds Pharmacy’s Managing Director, Paul Reilly, calling on him to avoid “further damage” to the company and prevent future industrial action by simply agreeing to a meeting with the workers’ representatives read more


IALPA (Ireland)

Ryanair pilots give notice of fifth one-day strike (2 Aug) – Fórsa has today (Thursday) given notice that directly-employed Irish-based Ryanair pilots will stage a further one-day strike commencing at 1am on Friday 10th August. This will be the fifth one-day strike by directly-employed Irish-based Ryanair pilots since 12th July. For over a month, the union has said that industrial action is likely to continue until there is substantial movement on the pilots’ reasonable demands for an agreement on a fair and transparent approach to base transfers and related matters read more

Support the Ryanair strikes: 100 Ryanair pilots on strike in Dublin, 100 pilot jobs in Dublin threatened (30 July) – a striking coincidence! Ryanair announced cuts to 20% of its Dublin-based fleet this winter and possibly the dismissal of 100 pilots and 200 cabin crew in the weeks to come. This decision comes in the immediate aftermath of a series of one-day strikes by Irish based pilots and further industrial action across Europe. It will fuel frustration among its workforce even further and risks exposing Ryanair passengers to ever more uncertainty about their travel plans over the summer. Rather than responding in a positive manner to its crew’s demands for fair and decent working conditions (this dispute is not about pay), Ryanair has determined to take a decision that has significant potential to harm even more of their customers read more



IWGB to face government in landmark case to extend rights of outsourced workers (Aug 7) – High Court gives union permission to judicially review CAC’s refusal to hear application for trade union recognition. Case could open the door for 3.3 million outsourced workers throughout the UK to negotiate directly with their de-facto employer. IWGB is launching crowdfunding appeal, backed by the Good Law Project, to cover potential legal liabilities that could reach the hundreds of thousands of pounds read more


United Voices of the World

Support the 3 migrant worker strikes! – Cleaners organised in the United Voices of the World (UVW) trade union have this week started strike action over pay and unfair working conditions at the Ministry of Justice and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea – this week’s action started yesterday Tuesday 7th and will continue today Wednesday 8th and Thursday 9th of August. The union’s members in Health Care America are also in dispute and are looking to join the action. The cleaners are mostly Portuguese and Spanish speaking Latin Americans and Africans from Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador, Guinea Bissau and Sao Tome & Principe

NSSN supporting August 7th MOJ picket
NSSN supporting August 7th MOJ picket

These are some of this week’s strike activities –

Wednesday 8th:

8am – 11am – picket Kensington town hall

12pm – 2pm – picket Ministry of Justice HQ, 102 Petty France

Thursday 9th:

8am – 11am – picket Kensington town hall

12pm – 2pm – picket Ministry of Justice HQ, 102 Petty France

5pm – 6pm – Protest and closing rally at Ministry of Justice HQ, 102 Petty France


Please make a donation to their strike fund if you can https://www.uvwunion.org.uk/current-campaigns/

Strike event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/396125807545212/ Facebook event



Other news

Please donate to the film ‘THE PLAN’ about the Lucas Plan – Less than 10 days left on this crowd funding drive to finish film The Plan which documents a unique labour tactic (write your own alternative corporate plan!) in late 70s during the economic struggle brought about by automation, industry consolidation, and information and communication technologies (ICTs).  This film is part of three parallel projects resulting in 1) this forthcoming new film 2) new historical archives and newly available documentation, 3) a 40th Anniversary conference which launched an on-going UK wide organizing network connecting green bottom-up technology and community/workplace plans, green jobs, just transition and demilitarization.  The film director’s previous work ‘Year of the Beaver’ is also a careful exposition of early labour resistance to technology driven modernisation during the 1977 Grunwick Strike.  We’re also looking for people who want to set up a showing at their local cinema.  Feel free to forward on this email to your own contacts…

Support at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-plan-community/#/

There’s a huge amount of interest and anticipation for the film. This week we’ve received support from Labour’s Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, John McDonnell MP “The story of the Lucas Plan is a truly inspirational one reminding us all how workers are the real experts. I had the great pleasure of working with Mike Cooley (one of the Lucas Aerospace shop stewards) at the Greater London Council, including on the London Industrial Strategy, after he was sacked by Lucas. At a time when there has never been greater need for workers to be involved in the transition to a sustainable economy, the challenge for all of us in the labour movement is to learn from and build on the experiences of the Lucas Plan.”

The film aims to capture that experience and the experience of a whole host of Alternative Plans that emerged in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The link below features a clip from THE PLAN of Hilary Wainwright, who worked for the radical Labour Greater London Council’s Popular Planning Unit and local residents creating a People’s Plan for London’s Royal Docks:




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)

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




Spain: Support Carlos Naranjo reinstatement! Enough of repression union in Ford-Valencia! Read and share leaflet and letter demanding reinstatement and email to [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] and copies to [email protected]   

Striking Portuguese dockers show the way forward read more

Bangladesh: NUJ joins calls for immediate release of photojournalist Shahidul Alam read more







2 Annual Burston Strike School Commemoration 9am-6pm Church Green, Norfolk, Burston, near Diss, Norfolk details

9 NSSN TUC Rally in Manchester from 1pm Facebook event



PHONE 07952 283 558

EMAIL mailto:[email protected]


TWITTER – https://twitter.com/NSSN_AntiCuts


ADDRESS NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE