439: Support the South London Unite strikes in Woolwich & Bromley

We headline this week’s NSSN bulletin with two Unite disputes in South London. Woolwich Ferry workers are in the middle of 10 days of strikes while library staff in Bromley will be going on infinite strike action from June 6th. Please give your solidarity and send messages of support and any financial assistance via Unite regional officer Onay Kasab [email protected]

Woolwich Ferry strike May 17

Woolwich Ferry staff 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 read more

NSSN supporting Unite Bromley library strike April 2018
NSSN supporting Unite Bromley library strike April 2018

Bromley library workers to strike on 6 June in staffing and pay dispute (28 May) – Bromley library workers will strike continuously from Thursday 6 June to demand full staffing of Bromley’s libraries. The strike is also part of a campaign by Unite to give a big pay boost to workers employed by social enterprise leisure services’ giant Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL). The 50 library staff, who are employed by GLL, voted by 98 per cent to strike on pay and also on issues specifically relating over  the running of Bromley’s 14 libraries. The Bromley dispute relates to GLL bosses not filling vacant posts; asking staff to be managers without paying the proper rate for the job; and failing to pay wages owed. Unite is seeking a six per cent increase in basic pay from April 2019 for its hundreds of  members working for GLL in more than 140  leisure centres and libraries in 16 London boroughs, as well as in Belfast. Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “The near unanimous vote for strike action by our Bromley library members sends a strong message to GLL bosses that: ‘Enough is enough’. Our members will walk out on 6 June and strike until a settlement is reached – this action will lead to the closure of the borough’s 14 libraries…” read more



NSSN news

May’s gone – now get rid of ALL the Tories! Come to 2019 NSSN Conference in London on July 6th

This year’s National Shop Stewards Network Conference takes place as the Tory crisis reaches a new stage with the resignation of Theresa May. But no Tory prime minister will act in the interests of workers – we need a general election to get rid of them all and their vicious austerity and anti-union laws. And if necessary, the labour and trade union movement must mobilise to fight for it.

Themes for discussion in the main sessions and workshops will include: Brexit – what’s the way forward for workers?; Housing; Climate Change and the unions, Winning ballots for action; Brexit and Migrant workers; Organising young Workers and Unionising in Private Contractors

Book your place today!

2019 NSSN Conference – 11am-4.30pm Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL – Saturday July 6th. Attendance fee £6. Pay on the day or you can send us a cheque: make out to ‘National Shop Stewards Network’ and post to NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE. You can register in advance by emailing [email protected]

Please use this letter in your union and trades council to help us finance the conference and affiliate to the NSSN Facebook event

NSSN 2019 snip


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




Union News

More Unite

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

Bring British Steel into public ownership to avoid an industrial catastrophe, demands Unite – The government must bring British Steel into public ownership to avoid an economic and industrial catastrophe the UK and Ireland’s largest union, Unite said today (Wednesday 22 May) after it emerged the steelmaker is going into official receivership read more

North West Walkers’ crisp strike suspended as Eddie Stobart makes concessions (28 May) – Unite has suspended strikes due to begin at the end of this week, on the North West Walkers’, crisps contract, as the worker’s employer Eddie Stobart, has agreed to recognise the union and to undertake further talks on outstanding matters. The first strike of the workers who are based in Warrington, was due to begin this Friday (31 May) until Tuesday 4 June, with a further strike from Friday 7 June until Tuesday 11 June, which would have resulted in a crisps’ famine in the North West. The dispute was a result of Eddie Stobart refusing to recognise Unite, following the Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment regulations (TUPE) transfer of the lorry drivers from Walkers last year. Since that time Eddie Stobart had refused to enter into negotiations on pay and conditions with Unite read more

Manchester Metrolink strike called off as workers balloted on new pay offer (28 May) – The strike next month by more than 200 workers on Greater Manchester’s Metrolink tram and light railway system has been called off, while the workers are balloted on a new pay offer, Unite said today (Tuesday 28 May). The workers, who cover three different groups – customer support who check tickets, engineering and business support – had been scheduled to strike on Friday 7 June until Monday 10 June during the Parklife Festival. But following talks over the bank holiday weekend between Unite and the employer Keolis Amey Metrolink Ltd, which runs Metrolink on behalf of Transport for Greater Manchester, a new package covering pay and employment conditions was hammered out. Unite’s members will now be balloted on the proposals, with a recommendation to accept. The result of the ballot will be known at the end of next week read more

Unite ballots members at Scottish Borders council (28 May) – Unite the union has today (28 May) confirmed that its membership in the roads department at Scottish Borders council (SBC) are to be balloted for industrial action from the 4 of June and closing on 25 June. The ballot comes in response to a series of detrimental changes being imposed by SBC to terms and conditions which includes a reduction in pension accrual as a result of cuts to pensionable overtime rates, and the removal of paid travel time. If the ballot is successful, then strike action is expected to take place from mid-July 2019 to mid-October 2019 in addition to a possible overtime ban and call-out ban during the same period. Unite has strongly criticised SBC on there being no meaningful consultation or negotiation prior to the announcement on these imposed changes on the 15 April. The changes came into effect on 1 May. Around 60 Unite members are to be impacted by the changes to long established contractual arrangements. In the event that these changes are not reversed then Unite will act to pursue claims for illegal deduction of wages read more

Industrial action dates announced for Aberdeen Airport (24 May) – Unite the union has today (24 May) announced dates for industrial action at Aberdeen Airport following the closing of talks by AGS on pensions and pay. The dates are 7 and 10 June between 04:00 hours until 16:00 at exactly the same time industrial action is set to take place at Glasgow Airport. The airport is part of AGS Airports Limited group, which also owns Glasgow and Southampton airports. Aberdeen Airport increased its after tax profits from £10.7 million in 2016 to £19.1 million in 2017. The dispute centres on AGS closing the consultation process on pensions today as it looks to close the defined benefit pension scheme, which broke an Acas agreement made in 2016 to keep the scheme open to existing members. In April, Unite members at Aberdeen Airport supported strike action by 88.3 per cent on a 79.5 per cent turnout over the 2019 pay claim and the proposals to close the final salary pension scheme read more

Wrexham Children’s Nursery Staff to Strike (23 May) – Nursery workers at Peter Pan Children’s Nursery in Wrexham have unanimously voted for strike action over their employer’s refusal to recognise Unite the Union, to negotiate employees terms and conditions including pay. The members of Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union, have voted unanimously to take strike action over a 3 day period following SHAP Limited, the owners of the nursery, refusing to negotiate with Unite read more

Determined Sellafield nuclear workers’ industrial action continues – The confidence and determination of the low-paid Mitie workers at the Sellafield nuclear site in Cumbria is rising with every day on strike and with every gesture of solidarity from other workers. They are fighting not just for a substantial wage rise but also to have their union, Unite, recognised. After three ten-day strikes, a meeting attended by about 100 of the 180 strikers voted to escalate the fight with a two-week strike from 2 June. At a meeting in Carlisle called by Cumbria Unite Community branch to organise solidarity, Mitie worker Debbie Matthews and Unite organiser Michelle Smith revealed the dirty, dangerous and bullying reality behind the glossy, hi-tech image of the biggest industrial site in the country. “We work in the same environment as the skilled workers but without the training and protection. I’ve had to clear out cupboards containing used protective masks and I worked in a building full of asbestos. Even some of the Sellafield direct workers haven’t had hot water to shower or wash their hands after the toilet.” Read more

Kirkby factory workers walk out over unfair dismissal – On 20 May I attended the picket line for an unfair dismissal at Colloids factory in Kirkby. A Unite the Union shop steward claims he was singled out and targeted for unfair dismissal. He said that he was sacked for not wearing personal protective clothing while entering the shop floor to hand in a sick note 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:



RAIL UNION RMT said today that it is winning battles across the country in the fight to smash the pay gap imposed on rail workers by Tory Transport Secretary Chris Grayling last year (24 May) – Back in August 2018 Grayling announced to a huge fanfare that he was going to try and impose a pay norm on rail workers that would restrict pay increases to the lesser Consumer Prices Index (CPI) in a break from the higher Retail Prices Index (RPI) which includes housing costs. This week RMT confirmed a two year pay deal for the biggest single group of rail staff, nearly 20,000 members on Network Rail, that will match the RPI figure for the next two years alongside a continuation of job protection measures. The Network Rail workforce joins staff at train operating companies across the country who through militant and campaigning industrial trade unionism have also smashed their way through the Government pay cap outlined by Grayling read more

Rail workers vote to strike against TfW outsourcing (May 23) – RMT members in train fleet maintenance in Wales are planning to begin industrial action this June against a threat to their job security, pensions, pay and terms and conditions. A resounding 98% voted in favour of strike action on an 80% turnout, which should give confidence to union members everywhere that with the right approach it is possible to defeat the Tory anti-union laws. Members will begin an overtime ban on June 3rd and the first 48-hour strike on June 8th because new franchise holders Transport for Wales wants to transfer the workforce to contractors, especially Stadler and Spanish firm Construcciones y Auxiliar Ferrocarriles (CAF) read more



Hospital Staff Set to Strike Over Unfair Pay – Staff employed by the multinational outsourcing company ISS at Liverpool Royal and Broad Green hospitals are planning to take strike action from Thursday 30 May. The staff work as catering, cleaning and portering staff and most are paid only the minimum wage rate of £8.21 an hour.  The lowest rate for NHS staff is £9.03 an hour and the difference of 82p an hour is worth some £1600 a year for full-time staff. UNISON members will be among the estimated 500 union members taking strike action later this month.  In a strike ballot, 98% of UNISON members voted in favour of taking strike action.  If necessary, further strikes and overtime bans will take place throughout June read more



Further strike action at DWP Universal Credit sites (28 May) – Large and lively picket lines have marked the start of a 2-day strike by PCS members at Walsall and Wolverhampton Universal Credit service centres taking action today (May 28) and tomorrow in their fight for more staff and better working conditions. Today’s strike has been very well supported by members and the local community, other trade unions and the local trades council, as well as PCS national president Fran Heathcote who was at the Wolverhampton picket line. Local BBC news visited the picket line at Walsall. The strikes follow two previous days of strike action in March. Since then DWP has refused to meet the demands of the members, forcing members into taking further strike action today. The strike action will have a serious impact on other DWP Universal Credit sites and DWP should now come to the negotiating table prepared to seriously address the concerns of the members.

PCS has five key demands:

  • 5,000 new staff, permanency for fixed term staff
  • Limit the number of phone calls per case manager
  • Limit the size of the national telephony hub
  • Improve consultation
  • A quality-focused approach – no more management by statistics read more



Strike ballot opens as Nottingham College threatens to impose new contracts (28 May) – UCU members at Nottingham College are being balloted for industrial action as part of a dispute over contracts the college is threatening to impose on staff. UCU has accused the college of holding staff to ransom after it announced plans to dismiss anyone refusing to sign up to new contracts. The proposals would leave over 80 staff more than £1,000 worse off, and comes despite staff not receiving a pay rise since 2010. The new contracts would also see staff lose up to eight days’ holiday, as well as cuts to sick pay and the removal of workload protections. Staff staged protests over the plans at the college’s sites in Stapleford, Clarendon, Basford and the city centre last week read more



SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability) national crisis march – Thursday may 30th – assembling at 12noon at Downing Street and then a rally in Parliament Square Facebook event

NEU strike at Harbinger Primary School in Tower Hamlets on the 6th June

Boycott High Stakes Summative Testing in Primary Schools read more about this campaign



Royal Mail Fleet members voting on 11.8% pay deal (May 24) – Ballot papers have been sent out to some 750 Royal Mail vehicle repair and maintenance workers, with a letter urging them to vote ‘Yes’ to a negotiated agreement raising basic rates by 11.8 per cent – taking account of pay supplement consolidation. The substantial wage increase – which comes on top of the Royal Mail Group-wide 2 per cent rise that came in last month and is the largest ever offered to RM Motor transport grades – is linked to changes in contracted hours, which will mean that Saturday will become a rostered duty day, rather than a voluntary overtime day read more



POA leaders back Corbyn after EU elections (28 May) – The POA National Chair Mark Fairhurst and General Secretary Steve Gillan are backing Jeremy Corbyn Labour Leader and his Shadow Cabinet to come through the setback of the EU elections as Labour are the only party that can provide a Brexit that protects and enhances workers’ rights. Insecurity at work, employer abuses of open labour markets and bad jobs, a failed industrial strategy, lack of investment and austerity driven cuts in prisons, schools, hospitals and transport to name a few should shame this Government. A General Election is needed and for this to occur there needs to be a united Labour Party with no sideshows. The POA are not affiliated to the Labour Party and we recognise that our members may support other parties but there can be no doubt that a Labour Government under Jeremy Corbyn will get rid of the draconian legislation that prevents the POA from taking legitimate industrial action and treat our members with respect at work. That is why the POA leadership endorsed Mr Corbyn in the first place not once but twice. We are also delighted to have two Honorary Life Members in the Shadow Cabinet John McDonnell and Ian Lavery. We want to see them in Government as soon as possible read more



‘Time for Better Pay’ petition closes 10 June – Usdaw pushes for more signatures (28 May) – Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw launched the ‘Time for Better Pay’ petition on the .gov website, which currently has 38,000 signatures, to express the deep concerns we share about the pay and rights of a growing number of workers who find themselves in increasingly insecure employment. The petition, which closes on Monday 10 June 2019, can be accessed at: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/T4BP Usdaw is asking members and all who agree that workers deserve better pay and rights to sign the petition and share it with friends, family and colleagues read more



Deliveroo riders take action in North London for just wages and working conditions (26 May) – Deliveroo drivers, and the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) London branch took spontaneous action at the Deliveroo Editions kitchen in Swiss Cottage on Saturday, May 25 and Sunday, May 26. Drivers are working under terrible conditions, with low pay and no security. It is an untenable situation that demands change. In a meeting last week drivers from Swiss Cottage voted on the following demands:

  • £4 per drop
  • £8 per double drop
  • Maximum 2 mile radius for deliveries, including double deliveries
  • Maximum 5 minutes waiting time – Restaurants call the drivers only when deliveries are ready.
  • All delivery zones should be free zones read more





Other news

Trump Out! To join protests all around the country against the state visit of US President Donald Trump follow these hashtags on twitter #stoptrumpism #resist #4june #carnivalofresistance #togetheragainsttrump #stoptrump

London demonstration on Tuesday June 4th: Together Against Trump – Stop the State Visit Demonstration assemble 11am Trafalgar Square

Protest in Portsmouth on Wednesday 5th June: 11am to 2pm, Guildhall Square, Portsmouth. End Austerity, War, Racism & Climate Change – Trump Out, May Out, General Election Now!




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)

Lucy Parker’s film is now complete! Premiere at Sheffield Docs Fest in June

City Projects has been working with Lucy Parker for over 4 years and we are very excited to announce that her film Solidarity is complete!

Lucy Parker’s debut feature-length film will have its World Premiere at Sheffield Doc/Fest.

The Premiere is on Saturday 8th June at 11.15am, and there is an additional screening on Sunday 9th June at 11.30am, both at the Light Cinema, Sheffield. There will be a Q&A at both screenings.

Tickets and info here

BFI’s Georgia Korossi has chosen Solidarity as one of 10 films to look out for at the festival (read the review here)

Thanks to all of you who have taken part, donated or helped out in any way with the film. We are really looking forward to sharing it with you.

We hope some of you will be able to make it, and if not we’ll keep you up to date with further screenings around the UK.



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





Nigeria: last week, we carried an appeal about the arrest of Abiodun Bamigboye (Abbey Trotsky), acting national chairperson of SPN, and sacked worker Azeez Arowosegbe. This is the latest update:-

Abiodun and Azeez alongside comrades of DSM and SPN from Osun and Oyo Statse, honoured the invitation of the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG), in charge of Zone 2 (Osun, Oyo and Ondo States), over the odious petition written by management of Sumal Foods Company.

As against the 8.00 a.m. appointment, the AIG attended to us around 1.45 p.m., more than five and half hours after. Sumal’s team was led by its Human Resource Manager, and included compromised union officers from Food, Beverage and Tobacco (FOBTOB) union. From the onset, it was obvious the police authority has been compromised by the Sumal management. In fact, before the arrival of the AIG, various background meetings were already holding between Sumal reps and police officers. In fact, there was hostility towards us, as against what transpired yesterday. Also, at the office of the AIG, comrade Abbey Trotsky, alongside comrades that accompanied him to the meeting were not allowed to sit, save for our lawyer, while officials of Sumal were given reverent treatment. The lawyer of Sumal, who gave the company’s side, portrayed Comrade Abbey Trotsky as an interloper who incited workers against the management. He also expressed the fear of the company that a new struggle is on the horizon and the basis of their petition is to behead this struggle early enough, and Comrade Abbey Trotsky is seen as central to this. Comrade Abbey Trotsky gave a vivid account of what transpired: the fact that it was the workers that invited him, based on his activist role in the state and flowing from rotten role of official in-house union leaders, who denied the casual workers. He actually intervened based on the demand of workers, who had no platform to represent them. He subsequently negotiated on behalf of workers and Sumal management, alongside Oyo State government officials who acknowledged his role in resolving the issues.

Despite all the facts stated, the police authority, including the AIG, was hell-bent in defending the Sumal management, even when it was clear its case was bad. The AIG also acknowledged that he has been bombarded with lots of protest messages. We want to use this medium to appreciate all comrades, supporters and friends who have piled pressure on the police authority.

As things stand now, the police have again invited Comrade Abbey Trotsky on Tuesday 5th June 2019. They also threatened to charge Abbey to court if necessary. This is aimed at extracting a rotten compromise from him. We see this new invitation as another attempt to wear Abbey Trotsky and the organisation out, and to get a rotten compromise from him. This, aside shows the classical relationship between the state (represented by the police) and the capitalist class (the Sumal Company) against the working people, it also shows the rotten and corrupt nature of the Nigerian Police. For instance, immediately after the meeting with the AIG, several cartons of biscuits were offloaded by police men from the vehicles that brought Sumal reps. One can only imagine how much must have exchanged hands, given the fact that the Sumal management at a point even tried to bribe Comrade Abbey Trotsky, an offer he rejected. In fact, some of casual workers’ representatives, elected to represent the workers, were bought over by the Sumal management, and are now being used as informants against Abbey Trotsky. The rotten role of the compromised FOBTOB union officials also explained in practical terms, what Leon Trotsky said about the leadership of the working people being the problem of the working people.

Given the huge financial backbone of Sumal, which rakes in billions of naira monthly and its connection to political power, we know we are against a formidable representative of the capitalist class. But we know that with support of the working people and activists, we can defeat them, and lay a basis for victory for workers against terrible working conditions. This is why we are calling for more solidarity supports. We shall roll out series of actions between now and Tuesday when Comrade Trotsky will appear again at the Police headquarters. We call for your supports.

Keep calling and sending messages to the following phone numbers and e-mail address:

(1) Frank MBA (Police PPRO, Force Headquarters): ++234 8038375844

(2) DSP Ajisebutu Adekunle (Police PRO, Oyo State Command): ++234 8036536581.

E-mail: [email protected]

(3) DPO Iyaganku: ++234 8060681112.

(4) Shina Olukolu, Oyo State Commissioner of Police: ++234 234 8038467592







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

13 Durham Miners Gala https://www.durhamminers.org/gala

19-21 Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival https://www.tolpuddlemartyrs.org.uk/festival



8 NSSN TUC Rally Brighton



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