The NSSN sends solidarity to the CWU and its members in Royal Mail. Just after our weekly bulletin went out last Tuesday, postal service management notified workers that the Saturday letter delivery would be temporarily stopped. The CWU immediately warned members that this move, coming with no consultation with the union, could become permanent and threaten some 20,000 jobs.
The CWU immediately mobilised members in opposition to this decision, calling a series of postal executives, Facebook Live and workplace report backs. They had the option on the table of naming dates of strike action, invoking the mandate of their successful re-run ballot. This was needed after an unelected High Court judge ruled out their original vote last November, despite smashing the undemocratic voting thresholds in the Tory anti-union Trade Union Act. No wonder the union felt it couldn’t trust Royal Mail bosses!
We are pleased to report that last Friday, management ‘clarified’ that this decision was temporary and that any deployment of workers would be voluntary. They have been forced back.
Posties have shown, like many other workers during this pandemic, that they are playing a vital role. The whole labour and trade union movement must stand ready to give our full support to them and the CWU should Royal Mail management go on the offensive again. This episode shows again why we need Royal Mail to be brought back into public ownership.
Listen to live Facebook statement from CWU general secretary Dave Ward and deputy general secretary postal Terry Pullinger
CWU shock and disgust at high-handed Openreach missive on annual leave (May 1) – The CWU has expressed its anger and dismay at Openreach’s astonishing decision to announce unagreed changes to its approach to annual leave in a heavy handed communiqué to staff who are working flat out to keep the country’s vital communication infrastructure up and running read more
The NSSN is continuing to report on how workers are organising during the coronavirus pandemic. The NSSN is opening up our weekly email bulletin, website and social media platforms of Facebook and twitter to provide a public forum for workers during the Coronavirus/COVID-19 crisis. We want to be a place where we can all share queries and experiences that workers are facing in their workplaces. These include reports of action taken by workers to defend themselves from their employers.
You can read about many of these actions in our weekly bulletin and out social media groups, especially our Facebook group: NSSN – defend workers’ rights under Coronavirus.
You can also send the NSSN your reports and queries via our website, twitter – @NSSN_AntiCuts and email – [email protected]
Watch ReelNews video: Nurses block Westminster Bridge demanding proper PPE on International Workers Memorial Day
We welcome the information being sent to union members concerning the spread of coronavirus, including the TUC, Unison, Prospect, Unite, RMT, PCS, ASLEF, TSSA, CWU, EIS, UCU, Mandate, NUJ, NIPSA, FBU, POA, NEU, NASUWT, BFAWU, RCN and the GMB.
But it is absolutely vital that unions retain their ability to organise and act independently in defence of their members and workers generally. This includes the right of unions to take industrial action. We are already aware of workers being forced to take unofficial action on health and safety grounds. We also believe that unions should have oversight of any government bans on protests and picketing. This is the same Tory government that tabled more new anti-union laws in December’s Queens Speech last December and cannot be trusted.
We believe that it is essential that workers are protected during this worrying period and are not impacted, whether in terms of their safety as well as their pay and employment rights. The Tory government have announced measures that if implemented would include some workers receive 80% of their wages. However, we believe that no worker should pay the price for any spread of the virus. Any worker who is required not to attend work or is unable to do so because of childcare or transport closures should receive full pay and not be forced to take annual leave. But unions have to remain vigilant that any government payments actually happen and also covers all workers, including those in precarious employment such as zero-hour contracts and in the gig economy.
We have drafted this model motion which we’ve made into a bulletin that can be downloaded and printed off to be distributed. Feel free to use in your union and trades council, in totality or partially to highlight the issues that need to be addressed.
Keep an eye out for other Facebook and social media groups and pages that are being created. The Coronavirus Support Group for Workers has been set up on Facebook and is a useful forum.
USA: Sign Fight for $15 petition: Tell McDonald’s: Give your workers paid sick leave NOW
Sign Waltham Forest Trades Union Council petition to Barts NHS Trust: for adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) for all NHS staff particularly at Whipps Cross hospital.
Sign petition: To Welsh Government – For an immediate 10% pay rise for health, care and key workers. Sponsored by Cardiff County Trades Union Council, Swansea Trades Council, Caerphilly Trades Council
Union Coronavirus resources
Most TUC-affiliated unions have dedicated sections or pages of their websites to coronavirus/Covid-19 advice. Here are those where such information is available without entering special member portals. We will keep updating them
BECTU Sector of Prospect
College of Podiatry
National Society for Education in Art and Design (NSEAD)
Fight victimisation of union reps
Since the new year, a whole number of union reps and members have been sacked, suspended or disciplined. This is becoming a pattern. So much for ‘all being in this together’ during the coronavirus pandemic”. This comes on the back of the Tories’ planned new anti-union laws.
The NSSN will continue to highlight every such case and build support and solidarity so that these workers and others get their jobs back. Please send a message of support to those being attacked and invite them to your union branch and trades council. Keep letting us know about any other acts of union victimisation and we’ll publicise.
Clara Paillard PCS victory – We are delighted to announce that the threat of dismissal has been lifted and Clara, PCS president in the Culture sector, is ‘back at work’ (although from home during the current pandemic).
Reinstate Percy Yunganina UVW union – Percy is a cleaner at King’s college with 5 years on the job, and a UVW executive committee member, who’s just been sacked after a disciplinary hearing he refused to attend due to observing the government’s social distancing guidelines but which King’s College proceeded with anyway in his absence without even letting him know or inviting him to attend via phone. The hearing would have had 8 people cramped together in a small room in complete disregard of the government’s instructions about social distancing. Percy has explained the reaons for not attending and asked for the decision to be overturned and the hearing to be reconvened via phone or in person after Lockdown. However, King’s have scandalously refused this request and have insisted on upholding his dismissal which now leaves Percy out of work and out of pocket in the middle of a pandemic! He will formally appeal but it could take months to hear and deliver an outcome. We will also take King’s to tribunal but that could take over a year. This is utterly shameless conduct by King’s HR team, led by Nigel Smith, the Head of People Services. They need to be held to account. Everyone deserves the right to a fair hearing and should not have that right denied them for respecting the government’s public health guidelines about social distancing. Please repost this and write to Nigel Smith at the following address telling him to reinstate Percy – [email protected]
Sign the petition: Reinstate Ezra Christian RMT – We, the undersigned, are appalled at the treatment and summary dismissal of our Bakerloo Line colleague Ezra Christian. Ezra has been treated very harshly and does not deserve to be sacked. We call on London Underground to do the right thing in this case and Reinstate Ezra back into London Underground Employment immediately
Reinstate Clive Walder Unite: the campaign continues – Unfortunately, we have to inform you that the appeal by Unite against Clive’s dismissal by National Express in Birmingham was unsuccessful. In the hearing on 5 March, the company downgraded his offence from gross misconduct to misconduct and altered the penalty from summary dismissal to dismissal with four weeks’ notice. We believe dismissal is totally disproportionate and Clive should be reinstated. Clive and his union Unite the union will shortly decide the next steps in his campaign against his sacking. Clive would like to thank all those who have expressed solidarity with him, including supporters of the National Shop Stewards Network who took part in the protest leafleting of his workplace before the appeal hearing. It was successful enough for National Express to report it to the Unite full time official. Please continue to send protest emails to [email protected]. The NSSN has produced a flyer which can be downloaded and printed off to give to National Express employees and customers in support of Clive. We are appealing to our supporters to take photos of any solidarity protests and post on social media
Support Danyal Aziz Unite – Daniel was a Unite rep at London City Airport, who was recently sacked. Labour MP Sam Tarry has tabled a Parliamentary Early Day Motion in support of Danyal. Email your local MP to get them to sign the EDM
Defend Paul Williams PCS – Stop the victimisation of senior PCS rep Paul Williams – Paul Williams has a long and proud history of defending his colleagues at the Department for Transport, and predecessor departments, for nearly 40 years but as a result of his union activities is facing compulsory redundancy even though there are vacancies at his grade read more
Support Tony Smith Unison – Tony Smith one of the leaders of the successful FCC dispute which won sick pay for nearly 2,500 workers is being victimised. charged with gross misconduct over health and safety charges, his hearing is on Thursday. Please send messages of support to Hull Trades Council c/o [email protected]
Sign the petition: Reinstate UNISON rep Peter Moorhead and stop victimising trade unionists at Alternative Futures Group (AFG)
Support the ASDA workers and reinstate Michael Hunnum – 12,000 workers faced being sacked before Christmas by scrooge bosses ASDA, who are now owned by US superstore giant Walmart. This threat hanging over them was unless they agree to the new ‘Contract 6’ which will see them lose all their paid breaks and forced to work bank holidays. The same employer is sacking North East GMB member Michael Hunnam. Michael’s fight is part of the same struggle to resist the offensive of the ASDA bosses. Michael’s supporters believe that his determined opposition to Contract 6 is what has put him in the ASDA firing line. Support the ASDA workers and reinstate Michael!
Defend Moe Unite – support Moe Muhsin Manir, a hardworking Unite rep on London buses, working for Abellio. We are delighted to report that Moe is back at work. We will keep everyone up to date on any developments. Moe would like to thank everyone who sent support and solidarity.
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. Feel free to use this affiliation letter
Date for your diary: 2020 NSSN Conference Saturday July 4th 11am-4.30pm Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, Holborn, London WC1R 4RL
This leaflet advertising the 2020 NSSN Conference can be downloaded and printed off
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
Watch NSSN TUC Rally video
RMT calls on London Mayor to meet cleaners (5 May) – RMT calls on London Mayor Sadiq Khan to meet delegation of “amazing” tube cleaners as new survey shows majority of cleaners believe their employer is putting profit before safety during coronavirus crisis. TUBE UNION RMT has today called on London Mayor Sadiq Khan to personally meet, via video conferencing, a delegation of tube cleaners to discuss their employment concerns as a new survey shows a majority of cleaners believe their employer, cleaning contractor ABM, is putting profit before safety during coronavirus crisis. Despite playing a vital frontline role in the fight against Coronavirus, outsourced cleaners are furious that they are being treated as second class citizens by being denied staff travel cards which allow travel across the TfL network, despite other tube workers receiving this benefit. Cleaners who have been furloughed are also only receiving 80% of their pay whilst other Tube staff are receiving 100% read more
Rail Unions: This is not the time to run more trains (4 May) – Britain’s three rail unions – ASLEF, RMT and TSSA – have written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, Mark Drakeford, the First Minister of Wales, and Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, saying this is not the time to lift the lockdown and run more trains. The joint letter – signed by Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF; Mick Cash, general secretary of RMT; and Manuel Cortes, general secretary of TSSA – says it is ‘completely unacceptable’ to put the lives of passengers and rail staff at risk read more
Government & LUL want to abandon Social distancing to increase tube capacity – Download and distribute (3 May) – Below you can download the latest bulletin explaining how RMT will resist any increase in service without proper health and safety measures being in place. You can also download a copy of the report presented, by LUL, to the UITP, in which they raise the idea of cutting social distancing from 2m read more
RMT calls for P&O Ferries to be nationalised (29 Apr) – On day owners in Dubai are set to pay hundreds of millions in dividends RMT calls for P&O Ferries to be nationalised to protect UK seafarer jobs and strategic supply route. FERRIES’ UNION RMT today called for P&O Ferries to be nationalised on the day parent company DP World is set to make a £270m dividend payment to private shareholders. To keep 1,400 key workers – seafarers, dockers and other staff – at P&O Ferries employed, the taxpayer is already forking out over £10m to meet 80% of their wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. More public funds will be released shortly to support operators of major ferry routes from the UK to the Continent during the Coronavirus crisis and P&O Ferries are expected to bid for this too read more
Sign petition: to The Mayor of London and the London Assembly – End the privatisation of cleaning at Transport for London
RAIL UNION RMT has suspended strike action on South Western Railway in good faith to allow further talks to take place read more
Donate to the RMT strike fund on South Western Railway – The NSSN is appealing for financial support and solidarity for the RMT and their members on SWR, who have just voted to renew their mandate to take mote strike action. Send messages of support and requests for speakers for your union branch and/or trades council to RMT NEC member and SWR guard Geoff Kite – [email protected]
To make a donation to the hardship funds set up for RMT members striking against Driver Only Operation:-
National Dispute Fund:
Transfers can be made directly into the account using the details below:
Account name: RMT Head Office National Dispute Fund
Account no: 20113524
Sort Code: 60-83-01
Alternatively, you can send cheques to the Finance Department at Head Office – Unity House 39 Chalton Street London NW11JD
RMT Wessex DOO Dispute Fund:
Transfers can be made directly into the account using the details below:
Account name: RMT Wessex DOO Dispute Fund
Account no: 20399461
Sort Code: 60-83-01
PCS writes to Cabinet Office expressing frustration at delay on interim demands (4 May) – The union has been waiting for a response to its claim for above inflation pay rise, a moratorium on office closures, and end to the pensions’ robbery. PCS is also opposed to any changes to the civil service redundancy scheme read more
Read 5th weekly PCS Covid-19 update (1 May) – This is the fifth of our weekly updates, keeping members informed of the negotiations we’re having with employers across the civil service and related areas read more
Outrage as government fails to respond to PCS over interim demands (30 Apr) – PCS rebuked ministers for failing to respond to interim demands over pay, pensions, office closures and redundancy compensation. Despite repeated promises following numerous meetings with the Cabinet Office and personal assurances from minister for the Cabinet Office Michael Gove that he would write to the union, no letter dealing with PCS demands has yet been received read more
Support HMRC cleaners who have been on strike for Living Wage – Contracted out cleaners at HMRC have recently been on strike in a dispute over the Living Wage. ISS staff who are employed to clean tax offices at Bootle and Liverpool will take 14 days action with colleagues in Birmingham taking 2 days. Workers are angry at ISS over poor pay and conditions and the refusal of ministers at HMRC to take the cleaning contract back in-house. The real Living Wage is £10.75 in London and £9.30 for the rest of the UK is based on the cost of living and is voluntarily paid by nearly 6,000 UK employers who believe a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay. The strike received a 97% yes vote on a 90% turnout read more
Show your support
Support Interserve strikers – Interserve workers at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, were on strike for the whole of February. You can support the workers in the following ways:
- Sign and publicise the E-action
- Donate to the PCS fighting fund
- Send messages of support to [email protected]
- Visit the picket line at Whitehall/King Charles Street, London, SW1A 2AH. Read more
Bus services increase must be gradual and based on safety and confidence says Unite (4 May) – Unite the union, which represents over 80,000 bus workers throughout the UK, is cautioning that an increase in bus services must be gradually implemented and that maintaining safety and retaining confidence have to be paramount. Unite made its view known following reports that transport secretary Grant Shapps has said that more buses and trains would run as part of a return to work. Unite supports an increase in bus journeys providing certain conditions are met. They are:
- The confidence of both workers and passengers is maintained
- Risk assessments are undertaken and fully applied
- Social distancing measures to protect drivers are preserved read more
Unite to Rolls Royce – hold firm, avoid short-term action that will hamper the business and economy (4 May) – Responding to the news that Rolls Royce is looking to cut `up to 8,000′ UK jobs, the country’s leading manufacturing union, Unite, called for the company to `hold firm’ and avoid short-term action which could hamper its emergence from the COVID-19 crisis read more
Cornwall deferring pay talks for coronavirus care workers is ‘insulting’, say unions (1 May) – A decision to defer pay talks for 2,500 Cornish workers, including those caring for the elderly, using coronavirus as an excuse, has been branded as ‘insulting and hypocritical’ today (Friday 1 May) by the three unions representing staff. The unions – Unite, the GMB and Unison – said the announcement today by Corserv, which is owned by Cornwall Council, to defer pay talks until September blaming cash flow and coronavirus, contrasts ‘poorly’ with neighbouring Devon which has awarded its care workforce a pay rise from this April read more
Welcome for Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council decision to reconsider plans for dismissal threat to 73 workers and instead seek furlough (Apr 30) – Unite has written to NI Executive Ministers, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and the Chancellor to demand clear guidelines on public sector eligibility for Coronavirus furlough scheme read more
University of Sheffield must shield workers from Covid-19 financial crisis (30 Apr) – Workers call for support as their pay falls below minimum wage. Unite, Britain’s leading union, is calling on Sheffield University vice chancellor Koen Lamberts to intervene to guarantee 100 per cent pay for all furloughed workers on the university’s campus amid the Covid-19 pandemic. 500 workers employed by Sheffield Students’ Union, who are on a toxic combination of the minimum wage and zero hours, as well as 300 workers employed by the university’s arm’s length company Unicus, are now being paid the equivalent of £6.16 per hour. They face a cost of living crisis read more
McCluskey: BA mass sackings “unlawful and immoral” and imperils the whole of UK aviation (29 Apr) – The shock announcement by British Airways that it is to make 12,000 UK workers at the airline redundant without any consultation has been denounced as `unlawful and immoral’ by the UK’s leading aviation union, Unite, and should be withdrawn read more
Sign this petition: BA mass sackings of its UK workforce is immoral and possibly illegal its time to act
Transport for Greater Manchester workers furloughed on full pay (29 Apr) – Over 100 transport workers employed by Transport for Greater Manchester (TFGM) have been furloughed on full pay thanks to the collective strength of belonging to a trade union. From this week, workers employed in the commercial activities of TFGM including workers in shops, cafes and some bus station staff, will be furloughed on 100 per cent of their salary. An agreement has also been reached to ensure that workers with underlying health problems employed by TFGM will also be furloughed on full pay read more
500 workers at EDF Energy will be furloughed on 100 per cent pay, says Unite (29 Apr) – Unite the union has successfully negotiated that nearly 500 EDF Energy workers will be furloughed on 100 per cent pay during the coronavirus pandemic. The agreement covers meter installers, meter fixers and revenue collection workers employed by the energy giant in London, as well as in the south east and south west regions. The agreement will embrace 498 workers, who are being furloughed, out of a total workforce of 1,193. Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “The agreement reached with EDF Energy will protect the pay and jobs of our members during the current coronavirus crisis. What we have achieved is the fundamental and central role of a trade union – defending workers’ interests in the workplace, through thick and thin, and especially so when times are particularly hard…” read more
Sign this petition: Reinstatement of Blue Handling employees laid off due to COVID-19 and placed on Furlough – With the outbreak of the COVID-19 Pandemic many staff were laid off from Blue Handling due to an unprecedented restriction in travel. The aim of this petition is to demand the reinstatement of those collagues who were laid off and be placed on the Governments Job Retention scheme (furlough). There is no reason why our colleagues should not be Furloughed and recieve 80% of their wages for as long as the Job Retention scheme exists
Sign this petition: Please sign and share: Extend the bereaved family payment to UK bus workers now – every bus worker who loses their life because of coronavirus deserves to get the £60,000 life assurance cover alongside NHS and social care staff. Dozens have tragically lost their lives. They are going above and beyond the call of duty. It is only right that their families are given the same financial protections. Help support bus workers and their families. Extend and increase the bereaved family payment now read more
MTVHA – Stop the Sackings! Sign petition: To: Geeta Nanda, Chief Executive Officer, Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing Association – Please cease all compulsory redundancies during the recruitment freeze caused by Coronavirus restrictions which would make it impossible for anyone to find alternative employment read more from Unite Housing Workers branch
Support Westex Carpets staff strike – Westex Carpet strike reaches two month mark: Members of Unite at the Westex Carpets factory in Cleckheaton are about to reach the two month mark in their ongoing dispute over pay. The strike began on November 20th after workers rejected a minimal pay rise which was then withdrawn by the company, which has since refused further dialogue read more Westex Carpets ‘won’t win battle of wills’ as strikes head into ninth week after talks collapse (22 Jan)
To make a donation to the hardship fund:-
Account name – TGWU
Account number – 20175407
Sort code – 60/83/01
Reference – WESTEX STRIKE FUND
Govt COVID-19 guidance won’t protect people and many may refuse to work (4 May) – GMB, which has more than 600,000 members working across all sectors of the economy, says the Government’s latest guidance on returning to work won’t protect people from Covid-19. John Phillips, Acting GMB General Secretary, said: “We desperately need to get the economy going and nobody is keener than GMB to get people back to work – but this guidance was thrown together in a hurry and it shows. Giving unions and employers just 12 hours to responds is not good enough and means crucial changes will not be made. We cannot endorse crucial guidance if it is incomplete…” read more
GMB responds to ‘staggering’ British Airways job losses (28 Apr) – British Airways staff believed they had reached some relative, albeit temporary, respite says GMB Union. GMB, the union for British Airways ground staff, has responded to the ‘staggering’ reports the company is set to slash 12,000 jobs read more
Vivid Housing threaten staff with disciplinary action over social distancing complaints (30 Apr) – GMB has criticised Vivid Housing for threatening workers with disciplinary action after they raised concerns about social distancing. Trades people working for Vivid – the Housing Association covering Portsmouth, Eastleigh, Aldershot and Basingstoke – are being told to carry on with servicing and other job, despite the NICEIC (National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting) confirming the work could be placed on hold read more
G4S workers ‘cannot’ self-isolate on statutory sick pay (30 Apr) – G4S hospital workers in Croydon say they cannot self-isolate if they show Covid-19 symptoms because they won’t be able to survive on £94 a week statutory sick pay. Private provider G4S holds the cleaning and porting contract in Croydon University Hospital, where GMB members feel under huge pressure to come into work even when unwell – because they will only be paid a pittance if they stay at home. G4s workers have spent weeks trying to get minimum personal protective equipment in the same hospital read more
Police staff unions ask for 6.5% pay rise (England and Wales) (4 May) – Police staff are working above and beyond’ says UNISON as claim is submitted. Police staff unions in England and Wales have submitted a 2020 pay claim for a rise of 6.5% or £1,200 a year, whichever is higher. UNISON and the other unions who sit on the police staff council (Unite and the GMB) are also asking for a 6.5% increase on stand-by and overnight away-from-home allowances, an additional day’s leave and for apprenticeships to be job evaluated and paid appropriately read more
Local government pay – UNISON statement (4 May) – Union will continue to campaign for more funding for the pay of key workers in local government and schools in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. UNISON will continue to campaign for more funds for local government, allowing employers to improve their final pay offer for council and school staff in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Although employers have said that their offer of a 2.75% increase is final, they have also said that they will approach the government for more money for local government pay for 2020-21 read more
Elderly and vulnerable people still at risk from poor advice from some care homes, says UNISON (4 May) – Clear guidance must be rigorously applied. Some care companies are still failing to give staff accurate guidance on using personal protective equipment (PPE) – creating serious dangers for workers, care home residents and the elderly living in their own homes, says UNISON today (Monday). Concerned care staff working in residential homes are telling the union they’re being denied access to vital kit because it’s locked away, or their employers say they don’t need it because no-one has Covid-19 symptoms. But UNISON says this is in clear breach of Public Health England (PHE) guidance. The latest PHE guidance for care homes states that staff should wear face masks when providing personal care “which requires them to be in direct contact with the residents or within 2 metres of a resident who is coughing” read more
Nursing staff outside the NHS finding it harder to access COVID-19 tests (4 May) – Our survey shows startling discrepancies between the offer and accessibility of testing for health care staff working in the NHS versus those working on temporary contracts or outside the NHS read more
5 Tests for Government before schools can re-open (1 May) – NEU has launched 5 tests for Government before schools can re-open. We believe that these tests must be capable of being passed in order to create the necessary confidence amongst parents and staff. The Government has its own 5 tests before relaxing the lockdown. Below we outline our own 5 tests we think the Government must meet before moving to the further opening of schools read more
NEU members win case against grade inflation (30 Apr) – NEU members win case against accusations of Key Stage 1 and 2 grade inflation by the Diocese of Westminster Academy Trust read more
NASUWT comments on the Welsh First Minister’s remarks about schools reopening (4 May) – In response to the First Minister Mark Drakeford’s suggestion that schools may partially reopen at the beginning of June, Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT – The Teachers’ Union, said: “We are concerned that speculation about when schools might reopen in Wales is causing uncertainty and deep anxiety for children, their parents and teachers. The Welsh Government has to remain clear that the current restrictions on schools must continue to be driven by the scientific evidence. Any reopening of schools, either partially or fully, must ensure the health and safety of children, young people and those working in schools.” Read more
Clarity needed for supply teachers in umbrella companies (1 May) – The NASUWT and the Freelancer & Contractor Services Association (FCSA) have written to the Government to press for clarification on the issue of supply teachers employed through umbrella organisations and a serious omission in the Job Retention Scheme which is having a detrimental impact on some supply teachers, who are now unable to work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The joint letter calls upon the Government to urgently act to address the way the Job Retention Scheme is constructed so that hard working and dedicated supply teachers can be furloughed and access 80% of their wage as opposed to 80% of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) read more
Teachers need certainty before pupils return to school (29 Apr) – Following the appearance of Education Secretary Gavin Williamson before the Education Select Committee, Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT General Secretary said: “Central to any discussion about schools partially or fully reopening has to be that any decision must be informed on public health ground…” read more
Government support package for universities doesn’t provide protection the sector needs (3 May) – Responding to the support package announced by the Department for Education, UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: ‘While it is encouraging that the government appears to have recognised the need to provide support for universities, this package does not deliver the protection or stability that students, staff and the communities they serve so desperately need. The Office for Budget Responsibility says universities are most at risk of financial pain from the current crisis and they need more than IOUs to solve the problems they face…” read more
Firefighters to hold minute’s silence for fallen colleagues on Firefighters Memorial Day (4 May) – COVID-19 crisis means public cannot stand alongside firefighters this year. Fire stations across the UK and internationally will fall silent at 12:00 midday today (Monday 4 May), Firefighters’ Memorial Day, organised jointly by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) and the Firefighters Memorial Trust (FMT). Firefighters and control staff will stand outside their workplaces and sound their sirens as they hold a minute’s silence for the more than 2,300 UK firefighters who have died in the line of duty. They will pay tribute to the nine firefighters in the United States and the four firefighters in Italy who have lost their lives during the coronavirus pandemic. At the forefront of their minds will be those colleagues lost in the line of duty last year:
- Simon Kaye, who died suddenly on 13 April 2020, after taking ill during a routine day shift at Christchurch Fire Station, Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service
- Stevie Kerridge, an Aberdeenshire firefighter for 20 years, who died after experiencing a medical emergency while attending an incident on 13 April 2020.
- Josh Gardner of Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, who died on duty on 17 September 2019, whilst undertaking water rescue training.
Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, will lay a wreath at the National Firefighters’ Memorial at St Pauls, London, in lieu of any larger ceremony during the pandemic. He will be joined by Sarah Mullallay, Bishop of London and Mia Hilborn, London Fire Brigade chaplain, on behalf of the Firefighters’ Memorial Trust. For the first time, the FBU will be live-streaming the wreath-laying on its social media channels read more
Fast Food Workers at Burger King, KFC, McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Wetherspoons and others are joining together to demand #100Percent pay during the Coronavirus lockdown. We can’t afford a 20% cut, we need #100Percent BFAWU union
The Coronavirus emergency shows that we need a New Deal for Workers says USDAW (1 May) – Retail trade union Usdaw is marking International Workers’ Day (1 May) by calling for a New Deal for Workers, after the Coronavirus emergency has shown that millions of low-paid and undervalued workers have stepped up in the most difficult of circumstances to keep our country going. Workers in retail, manufacturing, distribution and home delivery have been working around the clock, keeping food on our tables and medicines in our cupboards. They have adapted to huge change in an extremely short time, working under intense pressure and providing a lifeline to our communities. Usdaw is working to keep our members safe as they work through the crisis and support those who are not currently able to work. As the union looks past Coronavirus, it is time for the Government, employers and the public to recognise that these workers have been undervalued for too long. They deserve a new deal read more
Debenhams tells staff they’ll have to claim redundancy pay from the Government – Usdaw says staff are not being treated with dignity (30 Apr) – Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw has called for urgent talks with Debenhams and their administrators to give staff a voice in the future of the business. The company has written to all employees threatening more redundancies, further store closures and staff ‘will be required to apply to the Government for statutory payments, including redundancy pay and pay in lieu of notice read more
Sign the USDAW Activist petition: sign and share our petition around Sunday trading, especially as the government has now said they are reviewing the legislation with a view to allow supermarkets to extend trading –
Prospect demands clarity on back to work guidance (4 May) – Prospect has written to the Health Secretary Matt Hancock insisting that the advice it publishes for workplaces post-lockdown must be clearer and more precise if the economy is to get back to work read more
PPE still not right for women (28 Apr) – With the lack of PPE for vital staff on the COVID front line in the news, our latest research shows that women are still consistently being overlooked on this issue. Personal protective equipment will never be the right fit if manufacturers or employers make decisions without taking the diversity of the workforce into account, and ill-considered remarks by government ministers seeking to explain current unavailability of much-needed PPE do not help read more
Update on the NICS 2019-20 Pay Offer (1 May) – Further to my article of 23 April, this short note is to advise you that the Civil Service Executive Committee met on Wednesday to consider the consultation responses in relation to the 2019/20 pay offer read more
Ireland’s first virtual protest to take place in support of Debenhams workers (28 Apr) – More than 800 participants have already registered to participate in Ireland’s first ever virtual rally in support of the Debenhams workers taking place tomorrow (Wednesday, 29th April) between 1pm and 1:45pm. The rally is being hosted by Mandate Trade Union and Uplift – People Powered Change and all media outlets are invited to join in. 1,500 Debenhams workers in Ireland lost their jobs on the 9th April after management informed staff that 11 of their stores in Ireland “are not expected to reopen” while the company was filing for liquidation read more
Dispute at Spotify headquarters intensifies in row over mistreatment of cleaners (Apr 21) – Cleaners allege their health has been put in danger at headquarters of Spotify and The Economist. Despite the building being empty, cleaners are being forced into work. JPC Cleaning Services Limited refuses to furlough employees or pay those who have had to self-isolate. Trade union United Voices of the World (UVW) has vowed to begin immediately escalating the dispute. Trade union United Voices of the World (UVW) has vowed to escalate its dispute at the Adelphi Building owned by Amancio Ortega – one of the richest men in the world – and home to the headquarters of Spotify and The Economist. Multiple cleaners employed by cleaning firm JPC Cleaning Services Limited have alleged that they’ve been left without sufficient Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and had their health knowingly put in danger by management, with some of the most shocking allegations being that managers misled staff over confirmed cases of COVID-19, and had them unknowingly disinfect infected areas. Cleaners have also complained of being forced to attend work (and therefore take public transport) despite the building being empty and neither they nor the building’s tenants being defined as Key Workers. The Adelphi Building is managed by real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), a Fortune 500 company with annual revenue of 16.3 billion dollars and whose CEO, Christian Ulbrich, enjoys a 9,548,080-dollar income read more
Online Takeover: Fight For Our Lives – National Rally hosted by the People’s Assembly. 6.30pm, Thursday May 7th Facebook event
The Government’s mishandling of the coronavirus crisis has cost thousands of lives. The People’s Assembly will be hosting a huge online platform for campaigns to voice their demands to meet this emergency and for a better life after the crisis.
We will be broadcasting across a large number of social media platforms so there is the potential for an audience of tens of thousands, a social media takeover
Blacklisting and union victimisation
Blacklist Support Group – Body bags protest as construction workers raise call to “Shut The Sites”
Shut The Sites blockade the London headquarters of construction giant MACE, whose CEO – Mark Reynolds – is a spokesperson for the Construction Leadership Council.
ReelNews video of the action here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTrPZG16SIY
The CLC have just shockingly announced that construction needs to stay open and social distancing for coronavirus can be ignored for up to 15 minutes at a time, if a job cannot be carried out by one person alone. This watering down of official guidelines for building sites will pass on infection to their family members and send hundreds to their deaths.
No construction worker wants to put their family at risk, but they also need to pay their rent, which is why the electrician, bricklayer, carpenter, engineer and union safety rep who participated in the direct action also called on the government to pay every worker, irrespective of whether they are a direct employee, self-employed or an agency worker.
Shut The Sites activist went on to blockade a nearby Laing O’Rourke’s building site, sending a clear message to the CLC, major contractors and the government – if you don’t shut down construction and keep people safe, then workers are going to do it themselves.
The protest took place of 28th April – International Workers Memorial Day The global Day of Action by unions over deaths in the workplace. The slogan for #IWMD20 is “Mourn the Dead – Fight for the Living”. So after the protest, the construction workers paid their respects to their fellow workers who had died at the bronze ‘Building Worker’ statue at Tower Hill in London. Shut The Sites spokesperson, Dan Dobson said “#ShutTheSites is taking off as a grassroots movement on construction sites across the UK, made up of workers who disagree with the Government policy of keeping sites open. At least 100 NHS/Care workers now died from Covid-19, the Government have shown that it cannot protect or provide PPE for the genuine front line key workers, so how are non-essential construction workers meant to fare? All non-critical sites need to be stopped and all workers need to be paid, regardless of their employment status.”
Note: A full risk assessment was carried out prior to the action, full PPE was provided and control measures were put in place to reduce transmission of COVID-19. Link to Shut The Sites Press Release – 28/04/2020 – Shut The Sites IWMD Body Bag Protest
Shut The Sites
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
USA: Amazon Reinstates Fired Warehouse Worker After Employees Strike read more on Vice
July 4 – NSSN Conference 11am-4.30pm Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, Holborn, London WC1R 4RL
September 13 – NSSN TUC Rally Brighton 1pm
PHONE 07952 283 558
EMAIL mailto:[email protected]
TWITTER – https://twitter.com/NSSN_AntiCuts
ADDRESS NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE