- Boris out! Fight together for a General Election to get all the Tories out
- Support the strikes
- Why unions should support the September 20th climate strike
This year’s TUC Congress in Brighton takes place in the aftermath of the Tory leadership contest. It’s already clear that Boris Johnson will act in the interests of big business not workers and their families. We need to mobilise for a general election that can oust this weak and divided government. Workers are showing on a daily basis in the increasing number of disputes that they are prepared to fight, particularly if a lead is given.
TUC Congress must be a council of war to set out a strategy of collective action across the labour and trade union movement to resist the bosses’ offensive and force out their Tory government.
Also, just 12 days after TUC Congress starts, there will be the September 20th global climate strike. Unions need to relate to this movement on a programme of public ownership to re-tool industry for green jobs without loss of employment, pay and pensions.
The annual public NSSN Rally on Sunday September 8th will as usual be held just before the start of TUC Congress. It is open to TUC delegates but also anyone involved in the trade union, anti-cuts and climate change movements. Come and hear leaders of militant unions alongside union reps and members involved in some of the increasing number of industrial disputes.
Confirmed speakers so far: Amy Murphy USDAW President, Dave Ward CWU General Secretary, Ronnie Draper BFAWU General Secretary, Mick Cash RMT General Secretary, Steve Gillan POA General Secretary plus union reps leading disputes
NSSN Rally at TUC Congress in Brighton on Sunday September 8th. It will be from 1pm in the Holiday Inn Kings Rd, BN1 2JF. All welcome. Facebook event
Support these indefinite industrial actions:-
Support the Bradford health strike against ‘backdoor privatisation’ – URGENT NEWS:- UNISON Bradford Health branch members working within Estates & Facilities at Bradford Teaching Hospitals Trust voted overwhelmingly yesterday to take continual and indefinite strike action in response to plans which involve their transfer out of the NHS into a private limited company. UNISON members want to remain employed within the NHS and are preparing to mount sustained industrial action to defend themselves and the NHS from privatisation.
If you have not yet made a donation towards the strike fund please make your payment as follows
Send a bank transfer to:
Name: Unity Trust
Sort Code: 608301, Account Number: 49021215
Send a cheque to:
Bradford Health Services Branch, Unison Office, Field House, Bradford Royal Infirmary, Duckworth Lane, Bradford BD9 6RJ
You can also make a donation via the branch go fund me page by clicking this link. These funds will help support the lowest paid staff in the NHS in their long battle against privatisation and to remain 100% NHS
Unite and GMB
Support the Harland & Wolff occupation – renationalise to #SaveOurShipyard! The NSSN gives our full solidarity and support to the workers in the Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast, in Unite and the GMB, who have gone into occupation to fight to secure their future. We support their call to re-nationalise the shipyard to save jobs. 10 years ago, Belfast Visteon workers occupied their plant when the company went into administration. They fought for their jobs alongside their brothers and sisters in Enfield and Basildon but won enhanced redundancy when facing mere statutory terms. In 1971, workers in Upper Clydeside Shipbuilders in Glasgow undertook a working occupation, supported by a demonstration of 80,000 trade unionists and forced a Tory government to intervene to keep the yards open.
Follow #SaveOurShipyard on social media and send messages of support via twitter to @UniteunionNI and @GMBNI
Unite: Boris Johnson urged to step in or risk betraying Harland and Wolff workers read more
GMB vows to carry on Harland & Wolff fight after administrators called in read more
Five protests planned as Bromley library workers strike enters third month (9 Aug) – Five more demonstrations are planned this month by Bromley library workers who are entering the third month of strike action against their controversial employer social enterprise leisure services’ giant Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL). Unite represents the 50 Bromley library staff who have been on strike continuously since 6 June over staffing and other issues specifically relating to GLL’s stewardship of Bromley’s 14 libraries. The demonstrations, outlined below, are all at GLL-run sites, except the one at SportsAid.
14 August – 10.00 to 12.00 – Crystal Palace sports centre, Ledrington Road, SE19 2BB
19 August – 12.00 to 14.00 – SportsAid, 21 Bloomsbury Square, WC1B 3HF
21 August – 10.00 to 11.00 – Islington tennis club, Market Road, N7 9PC, which will be followed by a protest at Sobell leisure centre, Hornsey Road, Islington N7 7NY between 14.00 -15.00
27 August – 10.00 to 12.00 – Sutcliffe Park, Kidbrooke Park Road, Eltham SE9 5LW.
Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “The determination and fortitude of our members to defend the library service in Bromley should be applauded by everyone…”
Sign the petition to defend Bromley Library Service Call and support the indefinite strike. Please send messages of support and any financial assistance via Unite regional officer Onay Kasab [email protected]
BEIS contractor strike still strong into 4th week of indefinite action (6 Aug) – A lively picket line greeted visitors to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy as caterers and cleaners by contractors entered their fourth week of continuous strike action over pay. The contracted out workers employed by Aramark and ISS at BEIS in London have been locked in a 9-month battle over the London Living Wage and poor working conditions read more
You can support the workers on social media using the hashtags: #LivingWage #PCSstrike
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
Stop the pensions robbery, reduce contributions by 2% (9 Aug) – PCS is demanding the government takes urgent action to give tens of thousands of civil servants the pensions reductions they are owed. Changes made by the government to civil service pensions in 2015 meant that everyone had to work longer to get their pension, pay more and then get less on retirement. At the time the government promised that in 4 years it would do a pension valuation and if members had overpaid, they would get that money back. The valuation done last year showed that members have massively overpaid read more
Stockport Universal Credit centre workers set to strike (9 Aug) – PCS members fighting to improve their Universal Credit service centre are set to strike following a huge vote in favour of action. Staffing on Universal Credit at Millennium House in Stockport has been in decline since its introduction in 2016/17. Despite existing staff being switched to UC to support hard-pressed members and further staff from the remaining legacy command incoming in September, we believe this is not going to tackle the problem of increasing workloads and the demands placed upon staff. We therefore believe action is needed to make important changes for members and this was supported in the ballot which closed today with a 71.4% turnout, members voted 91.9% in favour of strike action and 95% in favour of action short of strike read more
DVSA IT workers to strike for 1 month (9 Aug) – PCS members working in IT support across the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, are to strike for 4 weeks from 22 August, along with colleagues who support people wishing to become approved driving instructors. PCS informed management of the intention to strike yesterday in a long-running dispute over working practices and restructures. Our members being called out on strike, are members of IT, including front line user services impacting on IT systems and incident management and members who deliver the processes for those who wish to become driving instructors. They work in Nottingham and Swansea read more
HMRC cleaners to take further action after ISS refuses talks (8 Aug) – PCS members working for outsourcing giant ISS, cleaning HMRC buildings in Bootle and Liverpool, will be taking three more days of strike action, from Monday (12). The latest action follows the well-supported two-day strike in July, which forced ISS not just to bring in cleaners from other sites, but to actually bring in more cleaners than they normally employ in Bootle
Picket lines will be held on all three days at:
The Triad, Stanley Road, Bootle
Imperial Court, Exchange Street East, Liverpool
Regian House, James Street, Liverpool.
Additionally a strike rally will take place at 12.30pm on Tuesday (13), at the Victoria Monument, Derby Square, Liverpool.
Still time to vote in ballot over impact of DWP office closure (2 Aug) – DWP staff facing the closure of their south west London office in just over 5 months and who could be made compulsorily redundant still have time to vote in a ballot for strike action. Staff at Balham benefit centre have been told that their office is due to close on 31 December because the building’s landlord wants to redevelop the site and DWP is committed to moving all processing work outside of London. The department has also announced that 130 staff at the benefit centre have been declared ‘unassigned’ and now formally at risk of redundancy. This is a disastrous decision for PCS members at Balham as few, if any of them, will be able to move with their work. It makes no sense for the department either, as it will lose all the knowledge and experience that the Balham staff will have accrued over the years. PCS is committed to campaigning to save the jobs of our members in Balham and we are therefore running a strike ballot until noon on 13 August read more
RMT announces further strike action by rail renewals workers at Clarke Chapman Facilities Management (12 Aug) – Rail union RMT has announced further strike action by members employed by rail renewals contractor Clarke Chapman Facilities Management in their fight for pay justice. Clarke Chapman Facilities Management are a contractor carrying out work across the UK for Network Rail. Previous strike action on the weekend of 27th and 28th July resulted in all the contractor’s scheduled work being cancelled. RMT members employed by Clarke Chapman Facilities Management are instructed to take the following strike action:
- 48 hour strike action commencing at 00:01 hours on Saturday 24th August 2019 until 23:59 hours on Sunday 25th August 2019.
- 48 hour strike action commencing at 00:01 hours on Saturday 31st August 2019 until 23:59 hours on Sunday 1st September 2019.
Additionally, the continuous overtime and rest day working ban remains in force until further notice read more
RMT to hold series of protests on day rail fares increases is announced (9 Aug) – Rail union RMT will holding a series of protests on Wednesday 14th August, the day that the increase in rail fares on Britain’s railways is announced. In London a demonstration will take place at Kings Cross Station; other locations include Birmingham, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Manchester and Bristol. In total over 30 stations will see RMT activists and supporters calling for a publicly owned and nationally integrated railway, which is not focused on draining profits from the system, and would mean revenue could be reinvested in the network and make fares affordable for all read more
RMT members standing firm again this morning on third day of action in fight for workplace justice on East Midlands Trains (3 Aug) – RAIL UNION RMT said that members on East Midlands Trains are standing firm again this morning on a third day of industrial action as Stagecoach attack pay and working conditions before the Government ban them from the railways in the wake of the pensions row read more RMT announces additional East Midlands Trains strike as Stagecoach cut and run from last rail franchises
Rail union RMT has confirmed that industrial action will go ahead tonight on Cross Country after the company imposed changes to company-wide agreements with the union after holding negotiations outside of the collective bargaining agreement (1 Aug) – RMT members working for Cross Country have been instructed not to work any rest-days or non-contractual overtime from 23:59 Hours on Thursday 1 August 2019 until 23:59 Hours on Tuesday 6th August 2019 read more
Lothian Buses deal agreed as Unite calls off strike (10 Aug) – Unite the union has confirmed that its 1,700-strong membership have agreed to the additional proposals brought forward by Lothian Buses to end the long running dispute. On a 67 per cent turnout 75.5 per cent of Unite members voted to agree the proposals which focus on improving the workplace culture. The agreement includes the appointment of an independent officer from the City of Edinburgh council to address the issues of ‘behaviours and trust’, and covers other workplace issues affecting the conditions of our members such as length of shifts and the types of buses drive read more
Latest talks in Lincolnshire health visitors’ pay dispute break down due to council ‘intransigence’, says Unite (9 Aug) – The latest round of talks to resolve the health visitors’ pay dispute broke down this afternoon (Friday 9 August) due to Lincolnshire county council’s ‘intransigence’, Unite said. Unite said that its 58 health visitor members will now hold two 48 hour strikes on 15-16 August and 19-20 August. – on top of the nine days of strike action already taken. The strikes will start at 00:01. The health visitors are on the NHS Agenda for Change pay scales, but have had no increases in pay since being transferred to the local authority which has different pay rates – even though both council and NHS employees have received wage awards, these health visitors have not read more
There will be a public rally in support of the health visitors on Saturday 17th August 2019 at 11 am. We will assemble at Exchequer Gate in Lincoln, LN2 1PZ. Speakers will include Karen Lee MP & Paresh Patel – Unite East Midlands Regional Secretary + others tbc. There is a link to the Facebook event which will be updated with details here
Gatwick security guards dispute suspended after improved pay offer (7 Aug) – Strikes by security workers at Gatwick airport have been suspended after an improved pay offer was made. The 130 members of Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, who are employed by ICTS (UK) to scan passengers’ luggage for explosive materials and other dangerous and prohibited materials, were due to stage a 48 hour strike from 06:00 on Saturday 10 August until 06:00 on Monday 12 August with a further four day strike called to begin on Tuesday 20 August. Following extremely productive pay talks held today (Wednesday 7 August) a dramatically improved pay offer has been made. The workers will now be balloted on the improved offer with a recommendation to accept. As part of the pay talks ICTS (UK) has made a commitment to become a fully accredited real living wage employer, the first company at Gatwick airport to make this breakthrough read more
Tuesday’s Heathrow strike suspended as workers vote on improved pay offer (5 Aug) – A strike by more than 4,000 workers at Heathrow due to start tomorrow (Tuesday 6 August) at 00:01 and finish at 23:59 has been suspended while the workforce votes on an improved pay offer, Unite said today (Monday 5 August). Unite said it would not be revealing the details of the improved offer until its members involved in the ongoing pay dispute have had an opportunity to consider and vote on the new package. However, Unite said that the strikes already announced for Friday 23 August and Saturday 24 August remained on the table until the result of the ballot was known. Unite will not be commenting further until its members have considered the improved offer read more
Joint statement regarding proposed industrial action by repairs and maintenance service at Newham council (5 Aug) – Proposed industrial action by operatives from Newham council’s repairs and maintenance service (RMS) who are members of the Unite trade union has been suspended. Following constructive discussion at the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas), Unite has agreed to suspend industrial action after Newham council agreed to withdraw its proposed replacement pay structure. Unite and the council will work now work with Acas to replace the pay structure for RMS operatives. The proposal was the subject of consultation with local shop stewards and was being worked through collaboratively. Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “We are very happy to confirm that we have agreed to suspend the strike action that was due to begin on 2 August. We believe that the employer is now fully aware of our concerns following the session at Acas. “The approach that has been agreed, whereby any current proposal is scrapped was welcomed by a mass meeting of our members.” Read more
Second pay victory for contract workers at Ford Dagenham notched up by Unite (5 Aug) – A second pay victory for contract workers employed at Ford Dagenham has been notched up by Unite. More than 300 workers assembling engines, employed by Lineside Logistics at the Dagenham plant, have overwhelmingly voted to accept a one year three per cent pay deal backdated to 1 July 2019. There are also additional financial improvements to terms and conditions, including £25 a week extra for first aiders and a new attendance bonus scheme. This latest pay victory follows a three per cent pay deal for 150 cleaners employed by Hamton Environmental cleaning contractors at Ford Dagenham which Unite negotiated earlier this year read more
Unite secures victory for ‘stolen weeks’ ESS MoD workers in Hampshire (5 Aug) – Unite has secured victory after a two year struggle for a group of low paid workers employed by the sub-contractor ESS, part of the multi-million pound Compass group, following the ‘theft’ of their working weeks. In 2017, ESS ‘stole’ up to two working weeks from the workers who were employed as cleaners, mess hands and housekeepers (most of whom were paid the minimum wage) on Ministry of Defence establishments in the Gosport area including Fort Blockhouse read more
St Mungo’s urged to investigate allegation of trade union victimisation (1 Aug) – Unite is today (1 August) urging Robert Napier, the chair of the board of the homeless charity St Mungo’s, to carry out an immediate investigation into an allegation of victimisation of a lead Unite representative. The call comes in response to emails, obtained under a subject access request, which make reference to the trade union activities of Unite’s lead trade union representative, Aftaar Malik. One of the emails includes the threatening line: ‘He [Malik] will make a pretty poor martyr.’ The email follows an incident where Malik was ‘left humiliated’ after being aggressively asked to leave a Managers Forum meeting. Details of who sent the emails have been heavily redacted by the employer. Unite is still waiting for a response to an email sent on 30 July asking Mr Napier to uncover who wrote the email and the intention behind it. However, Unite strongly suspects that St Mungo’s chief executive Howard Sinclair, is behind the threat to make a ‘martry’ of Malik, from the following line in the email: “I explained at the Managers Forum why he was asked to leave”. And Sinclair’s comment at the Forum meeting where he told attendees that Malik had been instructed to leave the meeting. Unite which will begin balloting over 500 members at the charity for strike action from Monday 5 August, is profoundly concerned that the lead rep is being targeted for his trade union activities in the run up to the union’s industrial action ballot read more
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 Unite: Potential British Steel buyers must talk to us about securing a long-term future
Workers at Luton Airport step up action with 49 day strike – Security guards employed by London Luton Airport will take strike action through most of June and July in a dispute over ‘heavy-handed’ changes to working time. The workers will begin their fourth period of strike action today (Wednesday 5 June) from 04:30 through to Tuesday 23 July at 20:59. Unite is meeting the airport with Acas next Wednesday (12 June) to try to resolve the dispute. London Luton Airport is imposing a new shift pattern affecting around 120 security guards which means the workforce will have to work an extra 15 days a year. Workers say the new shift pattern is taking a heavy toll on their well-being read more
Drug and alcohol rehabilitation staff to strike this month (9 Aug) – Staff employed by Addaction are to strike on Friday 23 August because their employer has failed to keep its promise to pay them NHS rates for the job. The 31 staff are members of the union and provide a drug and alcohol rehabilitation service that is commissioned by Wigan Borough Council. They were employed directly by the NHS previously but their new employer is refusing to pay them the nationally agreed pay rise for NHS staff. This will cost employees as much as £1,000 per year over the course of the three-year pay deal. The strike notice follows an overwhelming vote for industrial action, with all respondents voting strike and a turnout of well over 80% read more
Landmark UNISON case confirms minimum annual leave for all workers (6 Aug) – Court of Appeal ruling has implications for hundreds of thousands of employees. UNISON today secured a victory at the Court of Appeal affecting hundreds of thousands of employees working part-time and irregular hours or patterns. Harpur Trust v Brazel & UNISON clarifies the legal position ensuring all workers are entitled to a minimum of 28 days paid annual leave, even if they do not get given work or paid for parts of the year. In addition, this leave must be paid at the rate of a normal week’s pay, or based on the average payment for the preceding 12 weeks if pay is irregular read more
Outsourced NHS staff in Blackpool and St Helens strike over pay and conditions (31 Aug) – Compass employees demand pay parity, while staff in Liverpool celebrate their own victory. Staff employed by the private contractor Compass who work at Blackpool NHS Teaching Hospitals, St Helens Hospital and Whiston Hospital are striking today (Wednesday). The move is in protest at their employer’s failure to match NHS pay rates and working conditions, says UNISON read more
Asda forced worker to choose: stop caring for disabled son or lose job (12 Aug) – Asda bosses are forcing workers to choose between caring for their families or losing their jobs in the run up the Christmas. The supermarket giant has told employees they must sign the so-called ‘flexible’ Contract 6 which means they will no longer be paid for any breaks and be forced to work bank holidays and weekends. If they don’t sign, they will be sacked on November 2 – exactly 12 weeks yesterday – in the run up to Christmas. Many GMB members have now been left with a choice – stop being able to look after their vulnerable relatives or lose their job read more
Mass Asda protest over ‘punitive’ contract as GMB registers official dispute (2 Aug) – GMB is staging a mass protest after Asda attempted to impose ‘punitive’ contracts on staff. Asda workers from across the country will gather at City Square, in Leeds City Centre, at 12noon on August 14, 2019 read more
John Lennon Airport staff vote to strike (8 Aug) – Liverpool’s John Lennon airport is set for Bank Holiday gridlock after GMB members voted to strike. Around 200 workers on the Swissport EasyJet and Swissport Mainline contracts voted overwhelmingly for industrial action over health and safety issues, working practices, pay and the company’s breach of the recognition agreement. The strikes will take place as follows:
Thursday 22nd August 2019 between 04.00 and 20.00
Saturday 24th August 2019 between 04.00 and 20.00
Thursday 29th August 2019 between 04.00 and 20.00
Further dates are expected to follow, and workers will be under a continuous overtime ban read more
Hull: Karro Food meat processors strike against poverty pay (6 Aug) from Janet Gibson, Hull NSSN – a Karro Food pork processing plant in Hull that hasn’t witnessed a strike in 30 years is now seeing a section of workers roll out strikes each Monday, organised by general union GMB. This low-paid workforce has had enough! Read more
Support the strikes at Shirley Delivery Office in Solihull over the sacking of a postman with medically diagnosed anxiety and depression – CWU members are on strike. This is from the CWU website in May when the strike ballot was launched
Stop “painful” hold up of improving our pensions, firefighters say (8 Aug) – The government must stop holding up pension improvements for firefighters and other public sector workers, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has said, demanding that the cost of ending discriminatory pension practices does not impact on the valuation of pensions. A cost-control mechanism, which would have improved public sector pensions, was paused in January, as the Treasury claimed that the cost of remedying discriminatory pension arrangements would impact the pension valuations. The pause has been imposed on all public service pensions and has withheld improved benefits from hundreds of thousands of workers. The cost of these improvements to pensions were passed on to employers in April, but the benefits to employees are still being withheld read more
Union slams Heathrow strike-breaking scheme (2 Aug) – Striking Heathrow firefighters are being undercut by a privatised strike-breaking outfit from Surrey County Council, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has learned. The FBU has slammed the “backhanded” method of strike-breaking, warning that replacement crews will not be sufficiently trained for airport or airplane fires. The strike-breaking unit, South East Business Services, was set up by Surrey County Council over four years ago as a separate local authority trading company. Some firefighters initially signed up to the unit, which came with a £3,000 pay package, but pulled out upon learning that the unit was set up to provide strike cover. Firefighters in Surrey are not generally trained to provide airport or airplane fire cover, which requires specialist skills. The FBU believes the strike breaking plan is badly thought out and could risk public safety at Heathrow Airport read more
Northern Ireland fire cuts “a template for disaster” (2 Aug) – The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has slammed “outrageous” cuts to the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS), after management proposed reducing fire cover in some areas, while cutting emergency resources in Belfast. The cuts are intended to make up a £3.26M shortfall in NIFRS’s revenue budget, following years of reductions from £81.6M in 2011/12 to £74.1M in 2019/20 read more
TSSA tells ScotRail Bosses “We won’t be driving trains” (8 Aug) – TSSA announced today (Thursday) that their Driver Team Managers (DTMs) will stop driving trains from Thursday 22nd August in Action Short of Strike Action and warned ScotRail that strike dates will follow. The dispute centres on ScotRail’s decision to force 50 managers to cover train driving shifts in addition to their own duties, leaving them overstretched and stressed out. The company failed to consult with the TSSA which represents the Driver Team Managers (DTMs) and staff voted in July for industrial action. In a meeting this week TSSA members decided to refuse to drive trains, to work rest days, overtime or “on call” shifts and to refuse to cover lieu days. This will leave ScotRail without sufficient cover for their understaffed driver team and lead to train cancellation read more
Support strikes at Peacehaven Community School in east Sussex against academisation – Send messages of support to: Phil Clarke 07709696561 [email protected] and Jack Tyler 01444 894500 [email protected] Hands Off Peacehaven Community School Facebook group
Support sacked Sandwell College lecturer Dave Muritu read more
Museum of London staff balloted on industrial action (12 Aug) – Prospect members set for vote on action over pay. Prospect is to ballot its members in the Museum of London on industrial action after the museum imposed a below-inflation pay rise of 1.5%. This is the latest in a series of below-inflation pay rises which have left workers in the Museum of London with a 9% real terms pay cut since 2014. Over this time the gap between the highest and the lowest paid in the organisation has grown. The director’s salary increased in real terms by 5% including bonus last year and the number of employees earning over £100k a year has doubled. The ballot of members affected opens on 12 August and closes on 2 September read more
Science Museum Group staff announce strike date over pay (9 Aug) – Prospect union members in the Science Museum Group (SMG) are to take industrial action this summer over an ongoing pay dispute. The action will be in two stages:
24-29 August 2019 – action short of strike including work-to-rule and the withdrawal of good will.
30 August 2019 – 24 hours strike.
The action is taking place after SMG failed to come up with an improved offer after imposing a below-inflation pay rise of 1.5% for most staff earlier this year – the latest in a series of below-inflation pay rises which have left workers across the sector with a 13% real terms pay cut since 2010. Members voted to reject that deal and subsequently voted overwhelmingly for industrial action read more
Support the pay action by NIPSA members in the civil service – after the successful strike on July 26th, action short of strike started on July 29th read more
UK Ryanair pilots set strike dates (7 Aug) – The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) has today set strike dates for UK-based Ryanair pilots following an industrial action ballot which closed today. The ballot saw 80% vote in favour of strike action on a 72% turnout. The BALPA National Executive Council (NEC) met today and authorised the strike action. BALPA members in Ryanair will be asked to take strike action as follows:
From 0001 on 22nd August until 2359 on 23rd August
From 0001 on 2nd September until 2359 on 4th September read more
200th anniversary of Peterloo
This weekend August 16-18, there will be a number of events to mark the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre in Manchester, which was a pivotal event in the early history of the trade union movement in the UK. This will culminate in a march on Sunday 18 August 11.30am at Whitworth Park – 316 Oxford Road, M13 9 Facebook event
This is an article by Kevin Parslow, NSSN Assistant Secretary and descendant of a Peterloo protester:-
On Friday 16 August, the bicentenary of the ‘Peterloo Massacre’ will be commemorated in Manchester. At least 18 people, including children, died as a result of their injuries on that day and hundreds were injured. They were mown down by the local yeomanry and Hussars, called in by the Manchester authorities to disperse violently a peaceful demonstration of tens of thousands of mainly working-class people.
The Tory government and their followers in Manchester feared a revolution would break out as a result of the demo. This was because the anger and desperation of workers and families were boiling over. They were experiencing the second recession since the end of the wars with France at the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815. For some, government-sponsored mass emigration to the Americas or Australia was the only solution, but for many, fighting back was necessary. They had had enough of petitioning the Prince Regent and the government, who ignored their pleas.
In recent years, it has often been commented that we are witnessing the slowest period of wage growth since the Napoleonic wars. In 1818, an upturn in the economy gave workers in the North-West an opportunity to try and recoup some of their losses. Trade unions, even though banned by the Combination Acts, mushroomed in numbers. A strike wave of spinners and weavers, mainly working from their own homes on piece rates, broke out. Some gains were made but most returned to work without any extra money.
Often workers turn to the political front when thwarted industrially. The beginning of 1819 saw radical leader Henry ‘Orator’ Hunt speak at big meetings in Manchester and Stockport. At Stockport, the authorities were beaten back when they tried to break up the assembly. Hunt was invited back to speak at Manchester on Monday 9 August but an event on this date was banned by the authorities on the grounds it was calling for an election of a representative to parliament. (Manchester, already a sizeable town, had no MPs of its own while there were many ‘rotten boroughs’ in the pockets of the aristocracy and big landowners.)
So the meeting was rearranged for the following Monday with a less confrontational title. Despite this, the authorities prepared to break up the assembled masses. They mobilized both regular forces and the part-time yeomanry, mainly small businessmen. Those workers and their families who came into the town, from all round what is now Greater Manchester and further beyond, were unarmed and unprepared for the violence that ensued.
Allegedly, the Riot Act was read but no one heard it. A warrant was issued for the arrest of Hunt and others. No sooner had Hunt begun to speak than special constables cleared a path for the Yeomanry to attack, followed a few minutes later by the Hussars. Workers fled the field, if they could, into the town to save their lives. The whole massacre, dubbed ‘Peterloo’ by the press within days in a sarcastic echo of Waterloo, was over in 30 minutes, leaving a human trail of destruction. What medical facilities that existed overflowed with casualties; some protesters limped back to their towns the next day or later.
Ostensibly called to fight for democratic reform, the protest was overwhelmingly working-class. The largest section of the meeting was the handloom weavers; at least 40% of the casualties were from this occupation. Their motivation to attend was not solely to get a wider franchise but to elect MPs who they thought would represent their interests and improve their lives.
The lesson from Peterloo is that this can only be gained by organizing as a class. The middle-class reform leaders were frightened by the terror of the government and their allies, but equally worried by the movement of workers they had brought forth. Some recoiled at the power of the state and the ‘Six Acts’ of anti-democratic measures introduced. It would be left to the working class to fight for serious change through the formation of strong trade unions and later independent political representation, starting with the Chartists in 1838, the first working-class party in the world. This struggle is yet to be won but the lessons of Peterloo are that workers must organize and struggle themselves to win their demands.
NSSN Assistant Secretary
Events coming up
Friday 16 August Commemoration – very few tickets left, available from https://peterloo1819.co.uk/event/from-the-crowd/
Saturday 17 August ‘Illegal picnic’ organized by the Peterloo Memorial campaign. Details http://www.peterloomassacre.org/news.html
Sunday 18 August Greater Manchester TUC ‘March for Democracy’. The RMT and other organisations will assemble in Whitworth Park: https://www.rmt.org.uk/about/policies/political-circulars-and-submissions/peterloo-march-for-democracy-sunday-18-august-2019/
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)
Undercover Policing and the Trade Unions conference: Saturday 16th November 2019 – jointly organized by the Blacklist Support Group
A major trade union conference ‘Undercover Policing and the Trade Unions: The Political and The Personal’ is taking place at the University of Greenwich on Saturday 16th November 2019. The event is jointly organised by the Blacklist Support Group and our sister campaigns Police Spies Out of Lives and the Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance (COPS). The conference is officially supported by UNITE the Union.
Amongst other issues, the conference will cover undercover police infiltration of trade unions, police collusion in blacklisting, the human rights violations against female activists by the British state and ongoing corporate surveillance of union activists. The speakers will include spied on activists, blacklisted union members, lawyers, politicians, investigative journalists and artists. See the attached documents for more information.
Attendance is free but registration is essential. Please raise the issue at your union committee and encourage people to apply for a space online via: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/undercover-policing-and-trade-unions-the-political-and-the-personal-tickets-64167284074
Affiliate to the Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance (COPs) and to send representatives from your trade union branch/organisation to our Trade Union Conference on Saturday November 16th at University of Greenwich, Stephen Lawrence Building, Old Naval College, 30 Park Row, London, SE10 9LS.
Return Address: Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance (COPS), c/o 5 Caledonian Road, London, N1 9DX
Blacklisted t-shirts available at: https://shop.hopenothate.org.uk/component/hikashop/product/78-blacklisted-t-shirt
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