NSSN 436: Pay rise victory for privatised NHS workers

From the GMB website: Striking NHS catering workers at two hospitals have won a huge victory today [Friday May 3, 2019] after a £1.2 billion outsourcing giant agreed a wage rise.

The low-paid workers – mainly women working in the kitchens at Doncaster Royal Infirmary and Bassetlaw hospital – had been on strike since May 1 after French company Sodexo refused to match the pay rise other members of staff across the hospitals have received.

But today, Sodexo bosses agreed to pay the award in full and backdate it to April last year.

The agreement is a big win for the joint union effort between GMB and Unison.

Doncaster picket line
Doncaster picket line

Sodexo made £65 million in profits in the year to August 2018 – and their directors trousered more than £5 million.

In the year to August 2017, the company coughed up £21million to shareholders.

Stacey Booth, GMB Regional Organiser, said: “Sodexo underestimated the strength of feeling amongst their workers. Members were adamant until they received a promise the company would pay up the action would continue. Today, their persistence has paid off and we are pleased to announce that Sodexo have agreed in conjunction with the trust to pay the award in full and backdated. It’s a yes from us – and now our members can get back to work and get porridge back on the hospital members. This is a fantastic win for members but one they should never have had to fight. This sends a strong message GMB will not lie down in the face of corporate greed. We hope that the relationship with Sodexo will be much more constructive going forward.”

Read more on GMB and Unison websites



NSSN news

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Union News


National pay campaign: Ballot results and the next steps in the pay campaign (3 May) – The result of our ballot for industrial action over pay was a 78.9% ‘yes’ vote for strike action and a 91.3% ‘yes’ vote for action short of a strike. Although this result shows clear support for our campaign, as the turnout was 47.7% we have fallen just short of the statutory threshold of 50%.  This means we cannot take industrial action. The failure to reach the threshold for lawful industrial action is disappointing, but many areas of the union achieved fantastic results.  The turnout overall was up 6% from the last ballot in 2018 read more

BEIS outsourced workers strike back! (cleaners and caterers) – We are ON! On Friday 3 May ISS cleaners employed at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in Whitehall overwhelming voted for strike action. Together with their colleagues in catering (employed by Aramark) they are striking for 4 days calling for the London Living Wage and an end to exploitative outsourcing. This will be 7th day strikers have taken action and are now ramping up that action in a 4 day walkout. Disgracefully, the Department responsible for the minimum wage and workers rights, refuses to pay their support staff a liveable wage, despite confirming to their Union (PCS Union) they could afford to do so in 2017 Facebook event

Second day of Interserve strike remains solid (2 May) – Members working for Interserve at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have taken their second day of strike action in their dispute with the outsourcing company. The first day of strike action yesterday (01) saw 100% of members walk out over the company’s refusal to negotiate on redundancies, contractual changes to pay dates, and attacks on holiday pay and sick pay. Our members working for Interserve provide services including facilities management, messengers, print room, porterage and cleaning. The second day of action again saw 100% turnout and there was support on the picket line from several other trade unions, PCS national executive committee members and the PCS members at the FCO itself, who presented the strikers with a £50 collection read more. Urge your MP to sign early day motion 2346 in support of the strike which calls on ministers to intervene to secure jobs and to seriously consider bringing lnterserve contracts back in-house as a priority.

Send a message of support to [email protected]. Donate to the strike fund



Support the Swindon Honda workers – watch video of the March 30th demonstration against the planned closure of the plant

Low paid Liverpool hospital workers vote ‘massively’ for strike action in pay parity dispute (8 May) – Unite members employed by cleaning contractor ISS at the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen hospitals have overwhelmingly voted for strike action in a dispute over pay parity, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, Unite announced today (Wednesday 8 May). Delivering a ‘massive’ message to bosses, 99.5 per cent of Unite members voted for strike action and 100 per cent for action short of strike on a turnout of 81 per cent. The staff, predominately women, are angry that ISS, a multibillion pound global outsourcing giant, is not paying them the agreed national pay uplift for NHS workers. ISS employs hospital cleaners, porters and domestic staff at the two Liverpool hospitals, many of whom are paid hourly and earn the minimum wage. Unite is pressing for pay parity in line with directly employed NHS and other contracted colleagues doing the same job at the Women’s and Walton hospitals who received 11.4 per cent. The outsourcing company is also under fire from Unite over its plans to withhold up to a week’s pay from workers after introducing a new payroll system for its workers, including hourly paid workers. The move has prompted demonstrations and condemnation from political figures read more

Sellafield set for further strikes in Mitie dispute as Unite leader warns company over ‘bullying and harassment’ (8 May) – Unite has upped the ante in its dispute over poverty pay at Sellafield with troubled outsourcer Mitie by announcing a further 10 days of action beginning on Sunday 19 May ending on Wednesday 29 May. The 180 Unite members are currently taking 10 days of industrial action, which began on Saturday 4 May ending on Monday 13 May. This is the second period of strikes following six days of action which ended on Monday 29 April. Meanwhile, responding to the bullying and harassment by Mitie managers of the striking workers, Unite general secretary Len McCluskey used a video message to warn if Mitie continues to “harass and bully our members taking legitimate strike action, the whole of Unite will come down on your heads.” The dispute is a result of low paid staff employed by Mitie on the Sellafield contract, including security guards, cleaners, catering, vending, laundry and environmental operatives rejecting the company’s pay offer which would see workers being paid just £8.21 per hour read more

Woolwich Ferry staff to strike for 10 days in Groundhog Day safety dispute, says Unite – Workers, who operate the Woolwich Ferry used by an estimated 2.6 million passengers a year, are to strike for 10 days in a dispute over pay, health & safety, and lack of staffing. The 31 workers, members of Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, who are employed by Briggs Marine Contractors Ltd, voted unanimously for strike action. The 24 hour strike dates are: 17, 20, 24, 28, and 31 May. This will be followed by five days in June on 3, 7, 10, 14 and 17 June. All stoppages will start at 00:01. The key issues in the dispute are the refusal to grant a six per cent pay increase for the year starting January 2019; the imposition of new duties; failure to deal with safety concerns; and lack of an adequate number of staff to operate the service. Two years ago, there was an acrimonious and long-running dispute at the ferry with the same employer, which runs the service on behalf of Transport for London (TfL), over a bullying culture and health & safety issues. Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “The travelling public, who use the ferry, may well think Groundhog Day has arrived with yet another dispute with the management at Briggs Marine Contractors Ltd…” read more

Support the strike at Angus council – the strike action includes a ban on overtime and work to rule, will take place from April until late June 2019. The first days of industrial action will take place from 00:01 hours on 8 April 2019 concluding at 23:59 hours on 12th April 2019. A series of 48 hour stoppages will commence at 00:01 hours on:

  • 6, 13, 20, 27 May 2019
  • 3, 10, 17, 24 June 2019 read more



RMT to hold events in Swansea, Plymouth and London on Monday in support of “Bring Back The Buffet” campaign on GWR (8 May) – RAIL UNION RMT has confirmed that it will be holding events at Swansea, Plymouth and London Paddington stations at 7am on Monday the 13th of May in support of a union campaign to Bring Back The Buffet on Great Western Railway services. Great Western Railway (GWR) has removed the buffet car from all of its new Intercity Express Trains, which serve routes from London to Wales and the South West – a move which RMT always argued was a retrograde step. There removal has impacted on the passenger experience by removing the option of a proper catering service. The buffet car also acts as a point of safety and contact. The events on Monday 13th May will link up workers along the GWR routes who are demanding that the buffet car be reinstated and that the staff who work in the catering grades are properly valued and respected. RMT will be rolling out the #BringBackTheBuffet campaign on a national basis with GWR the starting point for a national drive that will put rail catering, and rail catering staff, centre stage read more

RMT taxi driver protests to continue in Birmingham as council scrap planned talks (7 May) – RMT taxi drivers will be protesting again in Birmingham today and for the foreseeable future after the Council scrapped planned talks aimed at reaching a solution to the long going row over the bulldozing through of policies that would decimate the licensed taxi trade in the City and the standards of living of those involved in it. For the last two weeks, RMT members who are taxi drivers in Birmingham have been engaged in protest action in an attempt to persuade the City Council to re-open talks on how the financial impact of the councils policies could be mitigated so that the taxi drivers would not be plunged into greater financial hardship read more

Over a thousand key London Underground staff to strike over safety-critical cuts – TUBE UNION RMT confirmed today (2 May) that over a thousand key London Underground maintenance and engineering staff will strike for three days in a dispute over the hacking back of train preparation and inspection schedules which the union warns would have a devastating impact on both service reliability and public safety. The announcement follows a nine to one vote for action. ‎Staff will take strike action as follows: Not to book on for any shifts between 07:00 on Friday 17th May until 07:00 Monday 20th May 2019 read more



TSSA and HS2 Ltd Sign Union Recognition Agreement (3 May) – HS2 Ltd and the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) have signed a ground-breaking recognition agreement. This represents the first time HS2 Ltd has put formal recognition in place for a union for the 1,200 people directly employed by the company. The union agreement was signed by HS2 Chief Executive Mark Thurston, HR Director Neil Hayward and TSSA General Secretary Manuel Cortes who were joined by some of the young apprentices being trained by HS2 Ltd read more


More Unison

Bangor University staff celebrate victory in pensions dispute (7 May) – Management had planned to cut pension benefits by up to 12% for support staff before UNISON campaign. Support staff at Bangor University have declared victory after a UNISON-organised campaign convinced management to rethink plans to downgrade the workers’ pensions. A Hands off our Pensions rally was scheduled to be held at noon today, as the university’s executive committee was meeting to decide whether to go ahead with cuts to pension benefits of up to 12% for clerical workers, IT and lab staff, cleaners, caterers, security staff and other low-paid staff read more

Sandwell Council staff celebrate victory in grading dispute (3 May) – Members in UNISON and Unite had voted 100% to take industrial action before council re-graded them. UNISON members at Sandwell Council have claimed victory after securing a substantial wage rise following a dispute over job grading. The 20 customer service assistants, together with 14 colleagues in Unite, were due to begin industrial action next week in a row over a job evaluation process that failed to take into account the work the staff undertook. But the industrial action was called off on 1 May, after members accepted a new offer from the council. The workers have now been re-graded, as of 1 May, meaning that those earning between £19,000 to £20,000 a year will eventually see their pay increase by £4,000 per annum, with two days additional leave read more

AFG workers set to begin seven-day strike (3 May) – Company has rejected UNISON’s offer of serious talks over cutting carers’ sleep-in shift payments. Over 650 UNISON members employed by the Alternative Futures Group (AFG) begin seven days of strike action on Tuesday over cuts to their income. AFG has cut back care support workers’ pay for sleep-in shifts. This will cost some staff as much as £2,000 per year. The care support workers are only paid at the level of the minimum wage for their regular hours and many are now struggling to stay in the care sector due to not being paid adequately at night. UNISON has offered to meet with AFG for negotiations aimed at averting the strike, but the company has rejected this. Staff have received great support, with a public petition amassing more than 13,000 signatures read more

Support the striking Birmingham homecare 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/



John Roan Strike May 14 picket line: Revoke The Academy Order! – Come down and support NEU staff are on strike defending our community school from the DFE handing it over to a private business through the governments unjust forced academisation policy.  (Followed by a trip to London and Lobby of the DFE to take our message direct) Facebook event



Strikes on at West Thames College this week (7 May) – UCU members at West Thames College will be on Tuesday and Wednesday (7 and 8 May) in a row over pay after talks broke down. Staff will be on picket lines from 8am on both days outside the London Road entrances to the college’s Isleworth campus. The dispute centres on the failure of colleges to make a decent pay offer to staff who have seen the value of their pay decline by 25% in the past decade. In the recent ballot 100% of UCU members at West Thames College who voted backed strike action. The union said further strikes were planned if the college refused to make a decent offer and that it could not hide behind government cuts if it wanted to avoid further disruption. UCU said the college should follow the lead of the Capital City College Group which recently agreed a 5% pay deal for its 1,700 staff in London read more



EIS Suspends Strike Action on 8 May to Allow Constructive pay Talks to Progress – The EIS-FELA Executive met on 3rd May and gave approval for the suspension of industrial action, scheduled to take place on Wednesday, 8th May, in Scotland’s college sector. Members of the EIS-FELA have already taken four days of strike action and continue to implement a programme of action short of a strike in a dispute over a fair cost-of-living pay increase. This move came after progress was made in lengthy pay talks which took place on Thursday, 2nd May 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



HIAL talks break down after company fails to come up with improved offer (3 May) – After a number of meetings between HIAL, Prospect and ACAS to resolve the ongoing pay dispute, no new proposals have been tabled by HIAL and talks have broken down read more



#REUNIFY PROBATION – Napo is campaigning for:

  • The reunification of the Probation Service
  • Bring back Probation into public ownership
  • Develop local probation services that can function as a non-departmental body and respond with flexibility to local needs
  • Increase the use of third sector organisations to make available local services read more



2018-19 Pay Offer – Executive Committee Recommend Rejection (3 May) – Further to earlier NIPSA communications I can advise NIPSA has received the following pay offer effective from 1 August 2018.  The offer is set out here



Uber drivers plan national shutdown on 8 May before Uber IPO (3 May) – Uber drivers will log off the app and stage protests in London, Birmingham, Nottingham and Glasgow ahead of the minicab firm’s stock market flotation the following day. The drivers, who are part of the United Private Hire Drivers Branch (UPHD) of the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB), will observe a 9 hour boycott of the app between 7am and 4pm. Uber drivers will be on strike and leading demonstrations across the world on 8 May in the lead up to Uber’s Initial Public Offering (IPO). UPHD calls on the public to not cross the digital picket line by using the app to book Uber services during these times. Drivers are protesting against the IPO which will lead to large payouts for executives and venture capitalist investors, despite failures to resolve pay issues for drivers. With an expected valuation of $100 billion, Uber’s founder, venture capitalists and management will become fabulously wealthy overnight. Uber’s founder stands to personally gain $9 billion read more




Other news




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





Turkey: Solidarity with Evrensel Newspaper – Evrensel provides critical coverage on a wide range of issues within Turkey and across the globe. It currently faces immense financial pressure and targeted prosecutions against editors and journalists in a government tactic to close down one of the last remaining independent news platforms. Since the coup attempt in 2016, at least 170 media outlets and printing houses have been forcibly closed in Turkey and an estimated 90 percent of the country’s media is under government influence. The newspaper has been targeted by the Turkish authorities for its critical coverage and is undergoing legal challenges under presences of defamation and insulting of the President. Evrensel’s existence is under threat. There is an attempt, through costly legal proceedings, to destroy the paper economically and shut it down without enforcing an outright ban – another method of providing the illusion of freedom within the country. These attacks makes our solidarity and support all the more important. On May 10, help raise Evrensel out of financial dysphoria by coming down to a night of solidarity, music and food.


(Cafe Life) North London Community House

22 Moorefield Road, Tottenham, London N17 6PY

Time and Date:

Friday May 10, 7.00pm

Ticket Price: Waged £20, Unwaged £10

Further donations are welcome and desperately needed Facebook event








6 NSSN Conference Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL Facebook event



8 NSSN TUC Rally Brighton



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