Unite members in the NHS in both Kent and Yorkshire are striking this week over being transferred into wholly owned subsidiaries. This is despite this practice of privatisation supposedly being ‘paused’. Health workers have won victories in Mid Yorkshire, Esk & Wear Valley and Wrightington Wigan and Leigh NHS Trusts and Unison members have now won a ballot to strike in Bolton.
The NSSN calls for support and solidarity to all these workers and their unions and supports the demand to end the transfers and all privatisation in the NHS and the bringing back to the NHS of all outsourced workers on direct National Health Service contracts and nationally agreed NHS pay- terms & conditions and pensions.
Two NHS trusts are defying a top national NHS body by forging ahead with their proposals to transfer estates and maintenance staff to wholly owned subsidiaries designed to avoid paying tax.
Unite the union confirmed today (Friday 21 September) that the bosses at the two trusts – York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust – were defying NHS Improvement which this week called for a pause in the creation of such subsidiaries, pending a review next month.
Unite estates’ members at both trusts will strike next week over the proposals to transfer them from the NHS ‘family’ to a subsidiary designed to avoid tax.
More than 50 estates’ members at East Kent will strike from 00:01 on Monday 24 September until 23:59 on Friday 28 September. At York, more than 200 estates and maintenance members will strike from 06.00 on Thursday 27 September to 05.59 on Saturday 29 September.
Unite, with 100,000 members in the health service, said that NHS Improvement, the body which oversees trusts, needed to exert its authority, otherwise it risked being viewed as ‘a toothless tiger unable to stand up to hardline trust bosses’.
Unite national officer for health Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe said: “These acts of defiance by these two trusts seriously undermine the credibility of NHS Improvement and, ultimately, do not reflect well on the health and social care secretary Matt Hancock who needs to get a grip of the situation.
“NHS Improvement will be seen as a toothless tiger if trusts treat its directives with contempt, as appears to be the case at East Kent and York.”
Unite lead officer for health in Yorkshire Chris Daly said: “I can confirm that the trust has told me that it is going ahead with this subsidiary – York Teaching Hospital Facilities Management LLP – which has been set up with the purpose to avoid tax.
“This is an act of arrogance considering the direction given by NHS Improvement this week that a pause needs to be instituted in setting up such subsidiaries, while a review takes place in October.
“This is a snub to NHS Improvement with its influential national remit.
“The trust has been without a permanent chief executive since May and this may explain some of the poor decision making currently taking place.
“There is still time for the trust to row back from its ill-considered proposal to transfer staff out of the NHS ‘family’.”
Unite regional officer for the Kent trust Michael Cott said: “Yesterday’s (Thursday 20 September) talks with the East Kent trust management ended with the trust saying it was still going ahead with the transfer to the subsidiary – 2together Support Solutions – from 1 October, despite being made aware of NHS Improvement’s ‘pause’ edict.
“This is very disappointing and flies in the face of the sensible advice from NHS Improvement.”
The industrial action will affect Kent and Canterbury Hospital, Canterbury; Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital, Margate; and William Harvey Hospital in Ashford.
Unite is concerned that trusts are forming these wholly owned subsidiary companies in England so that they can register for VAT exemption and compete on a level playing field with commercial competitors who register for VAT exemption for their work in the NHS, when NHS trusts can’t.
Tees Esk and Wear Valley NHS Trust has become the latest trust in a growing number that has decided to abandon plans to set up such a subsidiary.
Protest Tory Party Conference in Birmingham – this Saturday September 29 assemble 11am Victoria Square Facebook event
Video of NSSN TUC Rally on September 9th: ‘General Election to get Tories out!’
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
Get involved with Black History Month (20 Sept) – During Black History Month this October, get involved and support PCS by standing up to racism, challenging stereotypes and promoting equality. Black History Month (BHM) is an opportunity to focus on the achievements of black* people past and present and reflect on our path to race equality. In the UK it takes place in October each year read more
Civil service apprentices, PCS is the union for you (25 Sept) – If you are an apprentice in the civil service you have a right to join a union and PCS is the one for you because membership gives you training and development, support at work, job security, legal advice, the right to be represented by a rep and discounts and benefits. If you’re taking up an apprenticeship in the civil service join PCS as we are the union representing apprentices in government departments and related services. You can get 6 months’ free PCS membership as long as you have not had free membership before read more
RAIL UNION RMT announced today that is launching a campaign to save 51 London Overground ticket offices (25 Sept) – Arriva Rail London (ARL) and Transport for London (TfL) have launched a formal consultation on the proposed closures which ends on 11th October. The union will be leafleting stations with campaign postcards on the 3rd October as part of a day of action. A campaign page on the RMT website at http://bit.ly/2QNLYkE allows supporters to send an e-mail direct to London TravelWatch opposing the station closures. Proposed ticket offices to be closed are here
RMT members standing solid on Northern (22 Sept) – RMT members standing solid and determined again this morning in continuing fight for safety on Northern Rail after company collapse this week’s talks. General Secretary Mick Cash said; ” RMT members are standing solid, determined and united again this morning on Northern Rail in the continuing fight for safety, security and access on our trains and are angry and frustrated that the company collapsed this week’s ACAS talks rather than work out a deal read more
All Arriva Rail North Conductor, Conductor Instructor and Train Driver members are instructed to take action as follows: Not to book on for on for duty between:
- 00.01 hours and 23.59 hours on Saturday 29th September 2018
South Western Railway RMT members have has secured a rock-solid vote to continue with action in the rail safety dispute on South Western Railway after being forced to renew the mandate under the terms of the latest wave of Tory anti-union laws. Members have voted by an overwhelming 88% to continue with the current action in defence of safety, security and access on SWR despite the legal hurdles erected by the Tories 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 read more
RMT Arriva Rail North Dispute Fund – As you know, our guard members employed by Arriva Rail North have been taking strike action for nearly two years now in defence of the safety critical role of the guard. This strike action has been brilliantly supported but obviously has caused financial hardship for many of our members. The National Executive Committee has made some payments to our members via our National Dispute Fund, but has now asked me to write to all members inviting them if at all possible to contribute to the Arriva Rail North Dispute Fund. This Fund has been specifically set up for these members. Donations can be made as follows:
Account number: 20398721 Sort Code: 60-83-01
Please use your name/organisation name as payment reference or make a cheque payable to RMT National Dispute Fund and send it to the address below or payments can be made by phone via our RMT Helpline 0800 376 3706.
Vicky Thompson, Finance Manager, RMT, 39 Chalton Street, London NW1 1JD 020-7529-8843 read more
Eurostar staff to take further strike action over service meltdown and shocking working conditions – Rail union RMT confirmed today that Eurostar station staff based at St Pancras and Eurostar Train Managers will take strike for 48 hours in a dispute over shocking and dangerous working conditions resulting from repeated service failures and breakdowns. RMT members will not book on for any shifts that commence between: 00.01 hours on Sunday 30th September 2018 and 23.59 hours on Monday 1st October 2018 read more
Piccadilly Line tube drivers to strike in long-running dispute over breakdown in industrial relations – TUBE UNION RMT confirmed today that driver members on the Piccadilly Line will strike again later this month in a long-running dispute over the breakdown of industrial relations and a comprehensive failure by management to deliver on promised improvements following previous rounds of industrial action. As a result, members will take action by not booking on for any turns of duty as follows;
- Between 1200 hours on Wednesday 26th September and 1200 hours on Friday 28th September
- Between 2030 hours on Friday 28th September and 0130 hours on Saturday 29th September read more
BREAKING NEWS!! London bus company Metroline agrees bus driver can wear Rastafarian colours – Unite, which represents bus drivers, is celebrating victory after London bus company Metroline, bowed to union pressure and reversed its decision to bar its driver Marcia Carty from wearing a hair wrap which contained Rastafarian colours. Yesterday (Monday 24 September) Unite announced it was in the process of launching a major campaign against the religious and racial discrimination that Marcia Carty was facing. In response Metroline re-examined the case and altered its stance and decided that Marcia Carty would be allowed to work and drive her bus while wearing the hair wrap with the Rastafarian colours (of green, gold and red) on it.
Unite regional officer Russ Ball said: “Unite is very pleased that Metroline’s management has recognised that its policy was wrong and that it has now swiftly moved to resolve the situation. Unite will now hold negotiations with Metroline to resolve the other outstanding matters in the case and ensure that there are no similar problems in the future.”
London bus company Metroline to be target of major campaign after discriminating against their driver (24 Sept) – Unite the union, which represents bus drivers, is preparing to launch a major campaign in support of its member Marcia Carty who is suffering religious discrimination by her employer Metroline Travel. Marcia Carty a life-long Rastafarian, has been barred by Metroline’s managers from wearing a black hair wrap which also included the Rastafarian colours of red, gold and green, whilst at work. Metroline has sent her home without pay and has refused to pay her company sick pay when she was ill, for daring to continue to wear the wrap, despite head gear in colours outside their standard black and navy being permitted under their uniform policy. Unite delayed launching a campaign in support of Marcia until it had exhausted the company’s internal procedures. However earlier this month Metroline rejected Marcia’s grievance appeal against the company’s refusal to allow her to wear her head wrap. Metroline Travel is a major bus company in London operating routes, tendered by Transport for London (TfL) in north west London. It carries 18 per cent of London’s bus passengers, has nine bus garages and employs approaching 3,000 drivers. In the coming weeks Unite will be undertaking legal, industrial, community, social media and political campaigning to get the ban on Marcia’s choice of wrap overturned and secure her a full public apology from the company. The legal action being contemplated by Unite will target the managers directly responsible for the discrimination as well as Metroline read more
Unite launches campaign for period dignity (24th Sept) – Today (Monday 24 September) sees the national launch of Unite’s period dignity campaign with a photo-opportunity at 13:00 on the Unite stand at the Labour party conference in Liverpool. The multi-strand campaign, demanding that women and girls have period dignity, is calling for sanitary products in the workplace and places of education to be as normal as having access to toilet roll. The campaign is also calling for the government to deliver on its commitment to remove VAT on sanitary products as soon as possible read more
Workers at Hampshire cable company to strike over ‘paltry’ pay offer (24th Sept) – Workers at Prysmian Cables & Systems in Eastleigh, Hampshire, will hold four days of strike action in a dispute over a ‘paltry’ below inflation pay offer. Unite the union, which has 162 members at the Chickenhall Lane site, said the workers had rejected a two per cent pay offer for the year starting January 2018 – when the consumer price index (CPI) is currently running at 2.7 per cent. A work to rule will start tomorrow (Tuesday 25 September), including an overtime ban. 24 hour stoppages will start on Wednesday (26 September) and then on 3, 10 and 17 October read more
Unite and BFAWU
Hospitality Workers to Strike Together on Thursday October 4th – (Sept 20) – Workers from McDonald’s, Wetherspoons and TGI Fridays will strike on the same day on Thursday 4 October before coming together for a rally in Leicester Square. The workers will convene for a rally and photocall in Leicester Square at 11am. The strikers will be joined by a delegation of hospitality workers from four continents. In a historic move, hospitality workers in the McStrike, TGI Fridays Strike and SpoonStrike [JD Wetherspoon] are staging coordinated walkouts to highlight issues of low pay and insecure working in the UK hospitality industry. They are part of a growing movement of workers who face similar conditions of poverty pay, precarious contracts and lack of union recognition. Workers in two Wetherspoons pubs in Brighton, McDonalds in Brixton, Crayford, Cambridge and Watford, TGI Fridays workers in Milton Keynes, Covent Garden and Stratford in London will be going on strike read more on Fast Food Rights/Hungry for Justice website
Thousands of Glasgow council workers vote to strike over equal pay – A UNISON ballot of nearly 3,000 school learning support workers, school administration workers, early years nursery workers and other education staff has returned a 90% vote to take strike action over the council’s failure to reach agreement on a long standing equal pay dispute. In a second UNISON ballot of over 2,000 home carers, school cleaners, catering workers and other staff employed by Cordia 99% voted to strike. An incredible result. This follows a ballot last week by the GMB trade union of their members in Cordia which also returned a massive strike vote. Any strike action would hit schools, nurseries, home care, cleaning and catering services in the city read more
Strike fund donations to:
Sort code 60 83 01 A/c Number 20275789
Treasurer UNISON Glasgow City Branch
84 Bell Street, Glasgow, G1 1LQTel: 0141-552-7069
Bolton members vote to strike over pay equality – Industrial action vote follows offer of 2% – well below Agenda for Change agreement – for workers transferred to NHS subco. UNISON members at Royal Bolton Hospital have voted overwhelmingly in favour of taking industrial action over pay. 94% voted to take strike action, with a turnout of 65, well above the legal threshold for industrial action. The staff , who work in roles including cleaning, catering and portering are employed by Bolton iFM – a wholly-owned subsidiary of the trust. Staff have voted for strike action because they are not being paid the nationally-agreed wage increase for NHS staff that is worth nearly £2,000 this year for the lowest-paid workers – an increase of more than 10%. Bolton iFM has offered only 2% read more
Support Camden Traffic wardens, starting strike action on October 1st – traffic wardens in Camden working for NSL have voted by 92% to take strike action for an improved pay offer. Their strike begins with 5 days of action on 1 October. They are currently paid the London Living Wage, but their claim is to increase that to £11.15 an hour. NSL traffic wardens in Waltham Forest are already being paid £11.56 an hour. This is an overwhelmingly Black, low-paid workforce who often face racist abuse and physical attacks whilst carrying out their work. NSL paid their top director £708,000 last year, a 400% increase from 2015. That last year NSL made £2m in profit. Camden Council made £26m profit from parking services last year
Picket lines 7-10.30am at:
199 Belsize Road, Kilburn, NW6 4AA
Camden Car Pound, Regis Road, NW5 3EW
13-15 Guildford Street, WC1N 1DW
CCTV Holmes Road Depot, Holmes Road, NW5 3AP
For further information/queries please contact Camden UNISON on 020 7974 1633 or email [email protected]
Support the striking Birmingham home care workers – Please send messages of support and donations to Unison Birmingham branch, 46 The Priory Queensway Birmingham B4 7LR. Email [email protected] Facebook group – https://www.facebook.com/birminghamunison/
Grimethorpe dinner ladies strike over redundancy plan (12 Sept) – Dinner ladies and support staff are on strike at Ladywood Primary School. Dinner ladies and support staff have gone on strike over redundancy plans at a South Yorkshire school. Ladywood Primary School in Grimethorpe is planning to cut dinner ladies and use teaching assistants to supervise meals to save cash. Union Unison says it was given conflicting reasons for the changes. The school said it was not an easy proposal to put forward but it was “unable to operate within its budget” and had to review its staffing. The 20 dinner ladies, teaching assistants and higher level teaching assistants stopped work on Wednesday and plan another five days of action read more on BBC website
Prison safety (19 Sept) – POA National Chair: “Following the protest meetings on Friday 14th September 2018 and a meeting with Rory Stewart the Prisons Minister, meetings took place with Senior Members of HMPPS and members of the National Executive Committee to discuss ways to improve prison safety. The attached Joint Statement has been approved and sets out a number of agreed principles and a time scale for an action plan to improve the provision of PPE, address prison safety, security and reduce prison violence. The Executive recognise this is the first step in a process, that will require positive action at national and local level to ensure your workplace is safe, the levels of violence reduced and the provision of personal protective equipment is improved to assist in dealing with refractory prisoners. Further meetings with HMPPS are scheduled up to and including the 9th October 2018, to progress and agree where possible an action and implementation plan. The NEC will arrange for local POA Committees of affected branches to attend communication meetings to discuss the action plan and address concerns…” read more
Support FBU Merseyside’s campaign to stop the proposed downgrading of Liverpool City Centre fire station – follow @fbumerseyside on twitter Merseyside fire authority forced to postpone night closures
Strike ballots over pay open in colleges and universities – UCU members in 147 colleges in England and 147 UK universities are being balloted for strike action in a row over pay. The ballots open on Thursday 30 August and close on Friday 19 October. The dispute in universities has arisen after the universities’ representatives, the Universities and Colleges’ Employers Association (UCEA, made a final offer of 2% at the final pay talks in May. UCU said the offer does nothing to address the falling value of higher education pay, which has declined in real terms by 21% since 2009 read more
UCU & UCAC
Strike ballots over pay to open in Welsh colleges (21 Sept) – Staff in Welsh further education colleges are being balloted for strike action as part of a row over pay. The dispute has arisen after Collegau Cymru rejected the joint trade unions’ pay claim for a rise of 7.5% or £1,500, instead making a final offer of 1%. The unions said that the employers’ offer would do nothing to address the falling value of staff pay in further education, and that above-inflation pay rises are needed to ensure colleges can continue to recruit and retain staff. UCU and UCAC will begin balloting members at 12 colleges this week. The ballot dates are as follows:
UCU: Monday 24 September – Friday 19 October
UCAC: Thursday 28 September – Friday 26 October read more
UCAC website: http://www.athrawon.com/index.php?lang=cy
If you know your history … building a National Education Service (23 Sept) – Kevin Courtney has written in an article for the Conference bulletin of the Socialist Educational Association, ‘For Socialism and Education’, “These are not accidental failures. They are the products of austerity, and of an educational programme based on the core principles of neoliberalism – a marketised system, policed by a strong state” read more on blog of Martin Powell Davies NEU London Secretary (personal capacity)
A national EIS demonstration in support of our pay claim will take place in Glasgow on Saturday October 27th – As a union, we need a maximum display of our strength on the day. All members are urged to attend this event to send a clear message to Scottish Government and COSLA: Value Education Value Teachers! Read more
Recognition gained at Exeter Airport (19 Sept) – Prospect has now signed a recognition agreement with Exeter and Devon Airport for all Air Traffic Controllers and Assistants read more
Donate to the Picturehouse Cinema strike fund: https://www.crowdpac.co.uk/campaigns/250/picturehousestrike
London Uber Eats drivers took action on September 20th and protested outside the company’s HQ after pay was cut from £4.26/order minimum to £2.80
Rise of the Precarious Workers: National Demo October 30th 8am Transport for London, 197 Blackfriars Road SE1 8NJ Facebook event – They have killed our rights, but together, we are going to bring them back from the dead. On the eve of Halloween, The IWGB and other precarious workers will take to the streets of London to demand an end to the assault on their employment rights by bloodsucking bosses and a zombie government. On the day, the IWGB will be facing Uber at the Court of Appeal as part of the ongoing battle over workers’ rights. A victory would put us one step closer to ending the attack on our rights that so-called “gig economy” bosses are conducting with near impunity. This is not just about Uber drivers, but about all of us that are being forced into increasingly more precarious forms of work
New film by Mike Leigh: ‘Peterloo’ opens nationwide Thursday November 8th https://www.peterloo.movie/
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)
Blacklist Support Group update – 21st September 2018
Last week, John McDonnell announced that a public inquiry into blacklisting would form part of the first Queen’s Speech for an incoming Labour Government.
More from the TUC Congress
Righting working class miscarriages of Justice:
Working class miscarriages of justice: Ensuring they never happen again chaired by Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett. Speakers include: Sheila Coleman from the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, Chris Peace from Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign, Dave Smith from the Blacklist Support Campaign, Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance (COPS) and Terry Renshaw from Shrewsbury Picket.
Major Morning Star Article at TUC congress on the need for a radical manifesto for employment rights – including a public inquiry into blacklisting. Lee Fowler representing.
Great article in the Daily Mirror on the Spycops inquiry
Good luck to Kate Wilson in court on 3rd October exposing the human rights abuses of the undercover police officer Mark Kennedy
Major report published by Big Brother watch UK with article on blacklisting by Phil Chamberlain. John Bryan representing at the launch party.
Labour Party Conference
Kier are to build the new Durham County Council HQ. The 2 contractors bidding for Manchester City Council’s historic Town Hall renovation are Laing O’Rourke & Lendlease. Why can’t some Labour councillors understand the policy: No Public Contracts for Blacklist firms?
Roy Bentham will represent the Blacklist Support Group at this session at the parallel The World Transformed conference to the Labour Party’s.
Haldane Fringe meeting 6pm, Monday 24th Sept – The miners strike and undercover policing (flyer attached)
Tackling the Housing Crisis meeting – Unite the Union Holborn – 6pm Thursday 27th September. Speakers include: John McDonnell MP and blacklisted safety campaigner Tony O’Brien, whose book, ‘Tackling the Housing Crisis’, was published in July
BSG demonstrated at Royal Liverpool Hospital project when exposing Carillion back in 2015. There’s a public meeting over the embarrassing predicament the long from complete Hospital now finds itself. Roy Bentham will speak on behalf of the Blacklist Support Group.
An independent review is being carried out into the impact of policing on affected communities in Scotland during the 1984 to 1985 miners’ strike.
Launch of a major new oral history archive from post war construction workers covering building the new towns, the Southbank and the Barbican. Many blacklisted workers took part in the project. Prof. Linda Clarke (long time friend of the BSG) is the curator and project leader.
10th October @ Bishopsgate Centre
BBC story – Suicide risk for construction workers is 3 times the male average. One of the main reasons is precarious work. Top work Simon Pantry for representing.
No toilets? Seriously? Crossrail is a multi-billion pound publicly funded project. But watch out if you complain about it – Skanska & Costain have form on blacklisting workers who speak up about their safety concerns.
Gary Doolan R.I.P.
Blacklist Support Group send our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Gary Doolan, National Political Officer for GMB who has passed away. Gary always fought our corner; standing with us on pickets, protests and at the High Court. Gary also got us private meetings in parliament which led to the Labour manifesto pledging a public inquiry into blacklisting (under Ed Milliband). In his role as Labour Councillor in Islington, he took the £16m a year housing maintenance contract away from Kier because of their role in the blacklisting scandal. All the workers were taken back in-house. Islington were the first local authority in the country to publicly take that step. This is what solidarity looks like and what our movement should aspire to.
“There are times when doing the right thing is easy. There was no other way to deal with this, but to send a message loud and very clear to any contractor wishing to bid for work in our borough, in that those contractors who are guilty of blacklisting will be excluded from any tendering for work. Islington is the first local council that’s made this statement. If it’s right for one council to stand up for workers, it’s good enough for all the others to take the same stance. Perhaps that way blacklisting will finally be eradicated”. Gary Doolan R.I.P.
Blacklisted t-shirts available at: https://shop.hopenothate.org.uk/component/hikashop/product/78-blacklisted-t-shirt
Radio journalist stabbed to death in Somali read more on NUJ website
29 Protest Tory Party Conference in Birmingham – assemble 11am Victoria Square
17 National Unity Demonstration Against Fascism and Racism Central London
PHONE 07952 283 558
EMAIL mailto:[email protected]
TWITTER – https://twitter.com/NSSN_AntiCuts
ADDRESS NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE