This week’s NSSN bulletin highlights a new sinister stage of the Coronavirus pandemic: an increasing number of companies taking advantage of the economic paralysis to announce closures, redundancies and the threat of these to demand reductions of workers’ pay and worsening of terms and conditions. This shows the reality of so-called ‘national unity’ during COVID – bosses’ profits come before the safety and job security of workers.
We support workers and their unions fighting across the economy from British Airways looking to sack 12,000 workers and force new inferior contracts on many of those who remain to the 1000 ferry workers at P&O. We support the call of the RMT to take P&O in to public ownership to save jobs and defend communities and that of the rail unions as a whole to re-nationalise the railways.
Alongside militant struggles against the employers’ plans, nationalising companies who threaten closure or mass redundancies is a vital demand for the trade union movement. It is worth remembering as 9,000 jobs are threatened at Rolls Royce, that nearly 50 years ago, a previous Tory government was forced to nationalise the company.
Fight the jobs slaughter – defend workers’ pay, terms & conditions and pensions.
RMT demands government action to save over 1000 P&O Ferries’ jobs
TSSA: Covid-19 Means Government Must ‘Bite Bullet’ & Nationalise Railways – Cortes
Northwood Hygiene’s proposal to close North Wales paper factory ‘premature’ says Unite
Unite launches major campaign to oppose British Airways’ betrayal of Britain
Unite: Timet Announcement Potentially Start of “Redundancy Tidal Wave” for Welsh Manufacturing
Unite: Wrightbus job loss plan is a heavy blow to workers, their families and the wider Ballymena economy
Unite: Clarks job losses ‘bitter blow’ for Somerset workers
Unite hits out at Rolls Royce’s ‘shameful opportunism’ over plans to slash jobs
GMB Midland & East Coast Region calls on Rolls Royce to act responsibly, and review their decision to cut jobs
Unite: 200 Sheffield logistics workers to lose jobs in ‘brutal corporate axing’ of Tradeteam depot
Support teachers and schools staff fighting Tory unsafe June 1st re-opening
The NSSN sends our support and solidarity to education workers, their unions and an increasing number of parents as they look to resist the Tory government’s plans to move to a much wider opening of schools in England on June 1st.
We believe that this reckless plan is clearly connected to Boris Johnson’s intention to lift the lockdown and get people back to work, before the government get the COVID-19 pandemic under control. They are putting bosses’ profits before the safety of workers, children and their families.
At our very successful 2nd NSSN Zoom public meeting on May 17th, teachers and parents set out a united fighting strategy. The NSSN supports this fight for safety along with the many other struggles that are taking place to ensure that the workplace is safe. We argue that we need trade union, workers’ control of workplace safety as we can’t trust the Tory government and their big business backers.
We are happy for teachers, schools staff and parents to use the banner of the NSSN to organise meetings and action against this unsafe re-opening. Email us on [email protected] for more information.
NEU: 5 Tests for Government before schools can re-open – NEU has launched 5 tests for Government before schools can re-open. We believe that these test must be capable of being passed in order to create the necessary confidence amongst parents and staff:-
We have these five tests which the Government should show will be met by reliable evidence, peer-reviewed science and transparent decision making.
Test 1: Much lower numbers of Covid-19 cases
The new case count must be much lower than it is now, with a sustained downward trend, with confidence that new cases are known and counted promptly. And the Government must have extensive arrangements for testing and contact tracing to keep it that way.
Test 2: A national plan for social distancing
The Government must have a national plan including parameters for both appropriate physical distancing and levels of social mixing in schools, as well as for appropriate PPE, which will be locally negotiated at school-by-school and local authority level.
Test 3: Testing, testing, testing!
Comprehensive access to regular testing for children and staff to ensure our schools and colleges don’t become hot spots for Covid-19.
Test 4: Whole school strategy
Protocols to be put in place to test a whole school or college when a case occurs and for isolation to be strictly followed.
Test 5: Protection for the vulnerable
Vulnerable staff, and staff who live with vulnerable people, must work from home, fulfilling their professional duties to the extent that is possible. Plans must specifically address the protection of vulnerable parents, grandparents and carers read more
NEU: Independent SAGE on schools (22 May) – Independent SAGE set two crucial conditions for the safe wider opening of schools: low levels of Coronavirus in the community, and a robust track and trace system. Commenting on Should Schools Reopen?, the draft report of Independent SAGE, Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: “We have been pressing for publication of the science for many weeks, so we strongly welcome this important intervention from Independent SAGE on the critical issue of school safety during the Coronavirus pandemic…Independent SAGE set two crucial conditions for the safe wider opening of schools: low levels of Coronavirus in the community, and a robust track and trace system. Today, Sir David King said in answer to a question from the NEU that the chances of those being met by June 1 are ‘virtually nil’. The Government must finally relent on its arbitrary target date of June 1, and accept it is simply not yet safe for the wider opening. Schools and families cannot go on with such uncertainty.” Read more
NASUWT: Government has yet to reassure teachers and parents (24 May) – Speaking following the statement on schools reopening by the Prime Minister at the Downing Street coronavirus briefing, NASUWT General Secretary Dr Patrick Roach said: “The Prime Minister’s display of determination to press ahead with the wider reopening of schools from 1 June is seriously at odds with the scientific evidence released to date, and the deep concerns expressed by schools, teachers and parents. The Government has yet to reassure parents and teachers that opening schools from 1 June will be safe and now appears to accept that many schools will not be able to reopen on that date. The Government has to recognise that it has not won the trust and confidence of the teaching profession…” read more
UCU: Universities’ reopening plans are only adding to confusion (20 May) – UCU says the government needs to step in and underwrite income lost through fees and teaching grants and, in response, universities must promise to work together on plans for safely reopening and when to recommence face-to-face teaching read more
EIS: EIS Welcomes Clarity on Planned School Re-Openings, but Warns many Challenges Remain (21 May) – The EIS has welcomed the clarity provided by the planned re-opening of Scotland’s schools in August but has highlighted that significant challenges remain over managing this effectively read more
Unison: Government should listen to independent scientists and pull back from 1 June start date (22 May) – Reopening must wait until it’s safer. Commenting on the report on school safety from the committee of independent scientists chaired by Sir David King published today (Friday), UNISON head of education Jon Richards said: “This is the evidence school staff and parents have been waiting for…” read more
Unison: Support staff have little confidence in government school safety plans, says UNISON (22 May) – Only 2% of employees felt reassured. An overwhelming majority of school support staff don’t feel reassured by government claims that English schools are safe to open to more pupils from the beginning of June, according to a UNISON survey published today (Friday). Only 2% of employees felt reassured by the Prime Minister saying it was safe to open schools more widely from 1 June. Almost all staff (96%) felt ministers hadn’t put safety first when developing their back to school plans, according to the survey of 45,200 teaching and classroom assistants, cleaners, administrative, management staff, and technicians read more
NIPSA: Update for Members Based in Closed Schools and Special Schools (20 May) – NIPSA continues to receive numerous reports from members being asked to work unsupervised or to attend their place of work when their school remains closed. I have raised this with the EA and remind members that the Coronavirus restrictions remain in place and no-one should feel under any pressure to return to schools which are closed read more
The NSSN is continuing to report on how workers are organising during the coronavirus pandemic.
Thanks to everyone who took part in our very successful second NSSN Zoom public meeting last Saturday: ‘Tories want to lift lockdown…Workers Safety before Profits!’ Well over 200 took part, a sizable increase in our first meeting three weeks earlier.
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]
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.
Follow how unions are facing up to coronavirus globally via LabourStart and ReelNews
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.
RMT: Vote YES for strike action vote YES for action short of a strike at SWR fleet depots – Ballot of all MB grades on South Western Railway DEFEND YOUR RMT REPS – Two RMT union reps, Mark Gamble and Brian Perren, are facing gross misconduct charges for an alleged incident that occured whilst off duty, not in uniform, and not on SWR property. Mark Gamble is RMT Company Council Representative for Fleet and sits on the Full Council for RMT. He is based at Basingstoke Barton Mill. Brian Perren is RMT Fleet representative within Fratton Depot. The charges relate to a Christmas gathering they attended organised by Fratton Fleet Depot on 20th December 2019 along with other members and the management team. Mark and Brian should not face disciplinary action for a night out with friends. The complaint was made by a manager some 18 days after the event. Wouldn’t you feel it was a terrible injustice if you went out for a few festive drinks and returned to work to be suspended and face dismissal? This is a direct attack on RMT representatives who support members in need throughout the year. You will be receiving a ballot paper in the post shortly. At their time of need we need you to please support your RMT reps by returning your ballot paper with a YES vote for strike action and YES vote for action short of a strike
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.
Guardian: Ricky Tomlinson’s criminal convictions to be re-examined
Appeal court to look again at case of Royle Family actor after claims he may have been unjustly jailed (26 May)
The criminal convictions of actor Ricky Tomlinson, who starred in the TV comedy the Royle Family, are to be re-examined by appeal court judges after an official body suggested he may have been unjustly jailed. Tomlinson and other trade unionists have been campaigning for years to clear their names after they were jailed during a strike in the 1970s. On Tuesday, the Criminal Cases Review Commission, the public body that scrutinises alleged miscarriages of justice, announced it had asked the court of appeal to review the cases of Tomlinson and others. Tomlinson, 80, said it was “good news” and an opportunity to prove that he and 23 other men were prosecuted in what amounted to a politically motivated attack on the trade union movement by the government, police and managers read more in Guardian
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
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 demands government action to save over 1000 P&O Ferries’ jobs (22 May) – FERRIES’ Union RMT has today written to the Shipping Minister, Kelly Tolhurst MP demanding actions from the Government to support the Union’s fight to save more than a thousand jobs at P&O Ferries. Over 730 of these jobs are currently held by UK seafarer Ratings employed on strategically vital ferry routes from Dover and Hull to the continent read more
RMT seeks answers regarding the impact of Covid-19 on BAME workers (21 May) – RMT seeks answers and protections regarding the impact of Covid-19 on BAME workers in the transport sector. TRANSPORT UNION RMT has written to industry bosses and safety regulators seeking answers and protections regarding the impact of Covid-19 on are Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) workers in the transport sector. RMT has reminded employers that there is concrete data regarding the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on BAME workers. The union has raised a series of questions with transport bosses and safety regulators. These include whether companies have sought advice as to the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on BAME workers and whether they are monitoring the impact on BAME workers. The union has also asked companies what measures they are considering to protect BAME employees from Covid-19 read more
RMT responds to COVID-19 jobs threat on Condor Channel Islands ferries (19 May) – RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “The UK Government has just given millions to Condor’s new owner, Brittany Ferries as part of the £35m freight ferries package announced yesterday. And the very next day Condor is sizing up local seafarers for the chop and replacing them with cheaper foreign seafarers further down the line when Covid-19 recedes and passengers return. We urge Brittany Ferries and Condor to get round the negotiating table with RMT so that we can work on furlough and other measures to protect jobs and support lifeline Channel Island services…” read more
RMT to ballot ON Heathrow Express (18 May) – RAIL UNION RMT is to ballot members on Heathrow Express for industrial action after workers who are currently furloughed due to the Covid-19 crisis were threatened with unemployment. The threat to slash more than a hundred jobs within the Mobile Sales Advisor (MSA) and Customer Concierge roles comes alongside the company’s proposed reorganisation of the grades. Heathrow Express management have indicated that they plan ‘a loss of 123 posts within these job roles to reduce costs throughout the business in order to keep it viable and to reduce the need to make any compulsory redundancies.’ 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
Covid-19 Means Government Must ‘Bite Bullet’ & Nationalise Railways – Cortes (26 May) – TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has called for the Government to “bite the bullet” and bring Britain’s railways back into public hands after reports of secret talks between Ministers and train companies. The UK government has also now indicated it’s prepared to rescue large British companies and strategically important industries severely affected by the coronavirus crisis under a plan known as ‘Project Birch read more
TSSA condemns spitting incident at Mile End tube station (22 May) – TSSA has condemned in the strongest terms a “disgusting and frightening” spitting assault which took place at Mile End underground station yesterday. The assault occurred at around 11:30 when a male customer approached gate line staff at the London underground station and demanded they open the gate as he didn’t have a ticket for the barriers. Staff asked him to step back so that they could safely social distance, but he became very aggressive and made threats of violence, including that he would break their noses. He then swore at an older female customer who intervened and threatened to spit in her face and at staff. He turned and spat a huge spray of saliva in the face of the female customer. British Transport Police (BTP) were called and spit samples were taken from female customer’s face and arms. It is not clear whether the assailant had coronavirus read more
Belly Mujinga – a nation mourns (21 May) – Since publicising the sad story of Belly Mujinga’s death last week, our union and Belly’s family have been overwhelmed by the coverage and kind messages pouring in. Belly Mujinga was a ticket office clerk at London’s Victoria Station. She and a colleague were spat and coughed at on the concourse by a man claiming to have coronavirus. We do not know if that is how the two staff contracted the virus, but within days they both had coronavirus and Belly – who had an underlying health problem – died in hospital leaving her husband and 11 year old daughter read more
Northwood Hygiene’s proposal to close North Wales paper factory ‘premature’ says Unite (26 May) – The announcement by Northwood Hygiene that it will close its paper conversion factory in Penygroes, Gwynedd, is ‘premature’ and should be delayed, Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, said today (Tuesday 26 May). Unite said Northwood’s decision to begin a redundancy consultation with the site’s 93 staff as early as next week was a ‘betrayal of a loyal and skilled workforce’. The union, which represents over 40 members at the site, is calling on the firm to use the government’s Job Retention Scheme (JRS) and other government support to wait and see how the economy recovers after lockdown before making any decisions over the factory’s future read more
Unite secures lockdown pay victory for agency refuse workers in Sandwell (26 May) – Employment agency workers contracted to provide refuse collection services in Sandwell, West Midlands, are being paid 100 per cent of their wages during lockdown, after Unite intervened to prevent them being left penniless during the pandemic. Around 40 refuse workers contracted from the Templink employment agency to work on a street cleaning and bin collection contract run by Serco on behalf of Sandwell council were facing being left without wages after the lockdown began in March. After Unite interceded on their behalf with Sandwell council it was agreed the workers would receive all of their wages for the duration of the lockdown even if the council could not offer suitable alternative work read more
Urgent government action needed to allow safety inspections of key COVID-19 workplaces (25 May) – Unite the union, which represents workers throughout the economy, is calling on the government to rescind measures preventing the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and local authorities undertaking proactive, spot check safety inspections in many of the sectors most at risk of COVID-19 transmission occurring. The sectors where local authorities and the HSE are prevented from making unannounced inspections include social care, health, the transport sector, agriculture, shops, offices, pubs, clubs, postal services and light manufacturing, employing millions of UK workers. Unite has written to both Alok Sharma, the business secretary, and Therese Coffey, the secretary of state for work and pensions, asking for immediate measures to be introduced to ensure that proactive safety inspections can be undertaken in these sectors read more
Thousands of care workers could be ineligible for £60,000 Covid-19 payment, warns Unite (22 May) – Since Unite issued this release earlier today (Friday 22 May), the union has been in dialogue with the Department of Health and Social Care over how many care workers may or may not be included in the £60,000 life cover. Despite this dialogue, Unite believes that there are too many ‘grey areas’ in the guidance and is seeking a definitive statement from the department on the exact number of care workers who qualify. We don’t want to hear ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’. Unite stands by its right to raise issues that are in the interest of our members and, also in the wider public interest, during the course of the pandemic read more
Unite comment on return to fare charging for London buses (22 May) – Commenting on the decision by Transport for London to reinstate fares on some London buses from tomorrow (Saturday 23 May) Unite regional officer John Murphy said: “Unite’s primary concern throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been about the safety of bus workers. We will be closely monitoring the reintroduction of fares on the capital’s buses to ensure that there is no compromising of their safety whatsoever. Unite has been assured fares will only be reintroduced on some routes initially. On London buses where the front door is currently sealed for safety reasons, those doors will not re-open until new improved screens are installed surrounding the driver to ensure that their health is fully protected. The roll out of the improved safety screens will be gradual, and TfL and the bus operators will not implement it until Unite is satisfied that all safety concerns have been fully resolved” read more
Unite launches major campaign to oppose British Airways’ betrayal of Britain (22 May) – Unite will launch a major UK wide campaign today (Friday 22 May) against BA’s opportunistic plans to use the COVID-19 pandemic to betray thousands of staff and the public. The company has served BA workers with a Section 188 notice which effectively sacks 42,000 workers to bring the workers back on considerably worse terms and conditions. The measure will also cut up to 12,000 staff. IAG, BA’s parent company is not in any threat of insolvency. It sits on assets and reserves that could see it through this crisis without the need for permanent cuts or redundancies. The company pays dividends to shareholders in the billions. British Airways accessed taxpayers’ money by taking advantage of the Government’s Job Retention Scheme. Unite general secretary Len McCluskey has written to members of the board of IAG copied to Willie Walsh, IAG CEO and Luis Gallego Martín, Chairman and CEO of Iberia read more
Sign this petition: BA mass sackings of its UK workforce is immoral and possibly illegal its time to act
Timet Announcement Potentially Start of “Redundancy Tidal Wave” for Welsh Manufacturing (21 May) – Following the announcement this week of large scale redundancies at Timet UK’s manufacturing facility in Waunarlwydd, Swansea , Unite Wales is warning that far worse may be on the way. Unite has tens of thousands of members in hundreds of manufacturing companies across Wales and intelligence from many of these is that the outlook is very bleak read more
Wrightbus job loss plan is a heavy blow to workers, their families and the wider Ballymena economy (May 21) – Consultative process confirmed on plans to make redundant 35 employees and up to 90 agency staff. Unite calls on new Wrightbus owners to furlough workers under Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme read more
Clarks job losses ‘bitter blow’ for Somerset workers (21 May) – The announcement of more than 100 job losses at the headquarters of shoemaker Clarks in Somerset is a ‘bitter blow’ for staff and the local economy, Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, said today (21 May 2020). The job losses are part of a plan to cut around 700 Clarks jobs worldwide over the next 18 months, with 160 job losses announced today, including 108 at the firm’s warehouse and central offices in Street read more
Anger as Sheffield vice chancellor turns back on university workers (21 May) – Workers call for support as their pay falls below minimum wage. Unite has accused Sheffield University vice chancellor Koen Lamberts of turning his back on workers at the university’s campus amid the Covid-19 pandemic. In a letter to the union, Sheffield University has confirmed that Koen Lamberts will not meet with Unite and will not intervene to help workers earning well below the minimum wage. This is despite an open letter signed by over 1,000 staff and their supporters asking him to use the university’s finances to furlough the workers at 100 per cent. Unite has called his decision ‘ill judged’ and is calling on the vice chancellor to think again read more
Unite hits out at Rolls Royce’s ‘shameful opportunism’ over plans to slash jobs (20 May) – Responding to the news that Rolls Royce is to cut 9,000 jobs globally, 3,375 of them in the UK, by the end of 2020 with more to come in 2021, Unite assistant general secretary for manufacturing Steve Turner said: “The news that Rolls Royce is preparing to throw thousands of skilled, loyal, world class workers, their families and communities under the bus during the worst public health crisis since 1918 is shameful opportunism read more
200 Sheffield logistics workers to lose jobs in ‘brutal corporate axing’ of Tradeteam depot (19 May) – The decision to close the Tradeteam Ltd depot in Sheffield and axe the jobs of 200 workers, currently furloughed, has been branded as ‘about as brutal as it gets’ by Unite today (Tuesday 19 May). Unite will now be seeking a mandate from its Tradeteam reps nationally tomorrow (Wednesday 20 May) to proceed to an industrial action ballot at its UK sites, following the decision not to reopen the Sheffield depot on the Tinsley Industrial Estate. There are about 200 drivers and warehouse staff who will lose their jobs. The customers served from Sheffield include Carlsberg, Coors, Mitchells & Butlers, and Whitbread 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 colleagues 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 receive 80% of their wages for as long as the Job Retention scheme exists Unite: Anger as Ryanair’s ground handler sacks workers instead of using furlough scheme
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
Please sign this PCS petition to Save Ealing Tax Office – During this time of national crisis the reliance on hard working, front line, civil servants has increased immeasurably. Government departments have had to act quickly, protect staff and ensure that services can still be provided whilst encouraging staff to work from home where possible. In HMRC over 51,000 members of staff are now working from home with IT equipment enabling them to provide effective advice and services to those affected by Covid-19 as well as continuing to perform the day to day duties of the department. Unfortunately our members based at Ealing Tax Office, although providing vital support and expertise during these difficult times, are facing an increasingly uncertain future with redundancy notices likely to be announced in June as part of HMRC’s controversial ‘Building our Future’ programme. These hard working and dedicated members are fighting to retain their jobs and secure the future of their office, entering into an official dispute with the department, taking part in numerous periods of strike action in recent months. The department have refused to acknowledge the vital role played by this office, the likely impact of losing this community employer as well as the long term impact the loss of over 4000 years of collective experience will have on the functionality of HMRC. During these unprecedented times when the reliance on the civil service has grown substantially, it seems unnecessary that HMRC should continue with its office closure programme and planned redundancies. Now, more than ever, an effective and efficient civil service is needed and our members are showing that, across Government, they can work flexibly at home, outside of the office environment, and continue to provide a high standard of service to the British public. We ask that you sign this eaction to the Chancellor calling on him to intervene urgently, to halt the office closures and redundancies, and consult fully with the union and work to retain the experience and vital knowledge contained within Ealing Tax Office. Support our call to SAVE JOBS, SAVE SERVICES and STOP THE CLOSURES
PCS wins vital health and safety concessions at the Home Office (26 May) – The Home Office has reversed its position on not allowing officers to wear face masks in operational and public facing settings, following PCS campaigning. Since the start of the lockdown PCS has been objecting to the Home Office stance of not providing front line Border Force officers with face masks and not installing screens at passport controls and at other public facing enquiry points. Senior management within Border Force and the Home Office kept referring to government and Public Health England guidelines, refusing to consider the reassurance that masks might provide to our members working to keep the borders secure during the pandemic read more
7pm 27 May Join the latest PCS Facebook Live event – Our next Facebook live event is at 7pm on Wednesday (27), so send in your questions and tune into our Facebook page on the night. The event, chaired by PCS President Fran Heathcote, will hear an update from our general secretary Mark Serwotka who will also address members’ concerns about work and their well-being. He will also answer members’ questions, alongside the presidents of three of our groups:
- Jackie Green (The Ministry of Justice)
- James Cox (Home Office)
- Steve Thorley (Crown Prosecution Service) read more
Members react angrily to government’s real-terms pay cut (19 May) – PCS members have taken to social media to express their anger and disappointment after it was announced their hard work keeping the country running during the coronavirus crisis would be “rewarded” by pay awards of 1.5% to 2.5%. We made interim demands during the coronavirus pandemic to significantly raise pay above inflation and across the board. But despite PCS members, many of them being key workers going above and beyond the call of duty, in DWP, HMRC, the Home Office and elsewhere, ministers have decided to cap any pay rise at between 1.5 and 2.5%. RPI inflation is currently running at 2.6% 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
- Donate to the strike fund
- Send messages of support to [email protected]
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
One rule for them, another for everyone else (25 May) – Speaking ahead of the Governments announcement this afternoon, GMB Acting General Secretary John Phillips said: “It can’t be one rule for them, another for us. We’ve got members on the frontline who haven’t seen their families, people who have missed saying goodbye to ones. If those at the top don’t follow the rules how can they hold press conferences with a straight face telling the rest of us we have to? Appalling behaviour…” read more
Four in five workers worried returning to work will put family at risk (23 May) – Four in five workers are think returning to work will put their family at risk, a GMB survey has revealed. The poll which was completed by a sample of almost 3,500 workers across a wide range of sectors showed 60% are worried about being pressured into returning to work, with 95% worried about catching coronavirus read more
GMB Midland & East Coast Region calls on Rolls Royce to act responsibly, and review their decision to cut jobs (21 May) – Responding to the news that manufacturing giant Rolls Royce plans to cut thousands of jobs in the UK, the GMB Trade Union has called on the employer to “act responsibly and put the future of the company and its workers first”. The GMB Trade Union represents Rolls Royce workers across the company’s operations, in manufacturing, engineering, security, logistics and throughout the supply chain. This decision will have a disastrous impact on the regional economy, with the knock on effect placing potentially hundreds more jobs at risk in the supply chain and wider economy read more
HC-One pledges full Covid-19 sick pay for 27,000 carers in massive GMB win (21 May) – Care provider HC-One has pledged to pay full Covid-19 sick pay for all its 27,000 workforce. The company has also promised to retrospectively pay any carer who has been diagnosed since the outbreak began read more
GMB saves jobs at JCB Wrexham plant (21 May) – GMB members in Wrexham’s JCB plant are being consulted on new working arrangements after ‘intense discussions’ have led to a proposed new working agreement that could save 915 jobs across the UK. The new flexible working arrangements, which will be put to the members to maintain the core workforce for the next 12 months and help avoid potential shop floor compulsory redundancies in Wrexham. In recent weeks, a fall in demand has led to JCB releasing a number of their senior team and this temporary collective agreement will offer greater job security for our Shop Floor members throughout the period of instability resulting from of the COVID-19 pandemic read more
Hospital porter ‘may starve to death’ on enforced sick leave with no wages (21 May) – A hospital porter working for outsourcing giant G4S fears he may starve to death after he was forced to take sick leave with no wages. Despite displaying no signs of covid-19 the man – who works in Croydon University Hospital – has been forced to go on sick leave because he has diabetes and therefore is high risk read more
GMB pressure forces Home Office U-turn on migrant indefinite leave (20 May) – It doesn’t matter where you were born – if you fight on the frontline you deserve the same support says GMB Union. The grieving families of NHS cleaners and carers will be granted indefinite leave to remain after GMB pressure forced a Home Office U-turn read more
‘Scandal’ of NHS cleaners and carers left out of bereavement scheme (20 May) – We’re proud to have forced the Home Office to back track on this. It doesn’t matter where you were born – if you fight on the frontline you deserve the same support read more
Firm withholding £1.1 Million redundancy pay to disabled workers (19 May) – Arlington Automotive is pushing their disabled workers into the gutter says GMB Union. A West Midlands firm is withholding more than £1 million in redundancy payments owed to disabled workers, GMB Union says. Arlington Automotive, which makes car parts for Jaguar Land Rover, owes £1.1m in redundancy payments for 52 workers read more
Sign petition: Requisition private hospital beds to help NHS with coronavirus
Unions urge immediate protection of Black probation workers from COVID-19 (22 May) – UNISON and sister probation unions tell National Probation Service there is no time to waste in safeguarding their Black/BAME members. UNISON is calling on the National Probation Service and Community Rehabilitation Companies to proactively reduce risk for Black probation staff. NHS England confirmed on 7 May 2020 that members of Black communities are at a disproportionate risk of fatal COVID-19. The NHS has subsequently issued detailed guidance for NHS employers to undertake specific risk assessments of the vulnerability of Black/BAME staff to COVID-19 and take appropriate action to reduce their exposure to and risk from the disease. The police service has quickly adopted the same approach for police officers and police staff, and now UNISON, NAPO and GMB/SCOOP are calling on the government to implement the NHS risk assessment programme to protect Black probation staff read more
A u-turn from the government and a real victory for our union (22 May) – Unison general secretary Dave Prentis: “This week, years of UNISON campaigning and lobbying brought about a massive change for many of our members. UNISON has opposed the Immigration Health Surcharge since its inception in 2015, for a simple reason – it’s fundamentally unfair. Migrant workers already contribute to the NHS the same way we all do – by paying their taxes…” read more
UNISON demands extra government funding to save universities from crisis (19 May) – ‘A world without universities would be tragic. I just can’t comprehend it.’ Higher education member Bill Acharjee (above) works at Solent University in Southampton as a research governance officer, with the task of ensuring that students and academics maintain ethical standards while they conduct their research projects. He’s thoughtful, conscientious. And while working from home during the COVID-19 crisis, he has a very sobering thought read more
RCN calls for honest dialogue on nursing pay (22 May) – Discussions regarding the value of the nursing workforce ahead of the next formal pay round must reflect the current reality for nursing staff, says RCN in letter to PM read more
Firefighters demand PM and First Ministers issue national moratorium on fire cuts (25 May) – Fire Brigades Union urging politicians to focus on investment. The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has called for a UK-wide moratorium on fire cuts, calling on the Prime Minister and devolved administrations to halt fifteen years of “unprecedented” austerity and invest in the fire and rescue service. In a letter to Boris Johnson and the First Ministers of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, Nicola Sturgeon, Mark Drakeford, and Arlene Foster, and Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minister, Michelle O’Neil, firefighters criticise the lack of preparedness amongst public services for the pandemic and warn leaders not to allow plans to be drawn up that reduce vital fire cover during or after the crisis. Instead, the union that represents firefighters and emergency fire control staff across the UK asks politicians to “not only guarantee sustainable levels of funding but also … a programme of investment to ensure our fire and rescue service is resilient going forward” read more
COVID-19: Firefighters called in to help stem spread of infection in care homes (22 May) – Latest national agreement will see firefighters train care staff in infection, prevention and control. Request for help came from senior health officials in England. Firefighters have been called in to deliver special infection, prevention and control (IPC) training packages to care home staff in a move that is hoped will help to halt the spread of coronavirus in the sector. Under the new measure, firefighter volunteers will train care home staff directly on IPC procedures, the “donning and doffing” of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), hygiene measures, hand cleaning, and how to safely carry out COVID-19 tests. Designated care home staff will also be taught how to carry out the same training for their colleagues. The agreement will allow support to be provided to nursing and care homes, domiciliary care, supported independent living and sheltered accommodation read more
East Sussex fire authority faces backlash as firefighters and residents say no to cuts (20 May) – 90 firefighter jobs and 10 fire engines could be lost. Thousands sign petition as public begin writing to fire authority. FBU demands cuts be halted. East Sussex fire authority has been deluged with concerns from firefighters and members of the public, as a campaign against sweeping fire and rescue service cuts in the county gathers pace. More than 14,000 concerned residents have signed a petition calling on members of the fire authority to reject the proposed cuts, which the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) says will “decimate” the county’s fire service read more
£400 annual bonus for Royal Mail CE members (May 19) – Hundreds of hard-working Royal Mail call-centre staff will receive an extra boost to their May salaries, with many set to pocket an extra £400 at the end of this month, on top of the £200 Coronavirus recognition payment awarded to all the company’s employees which is being paid in June read more
Posties walk out in Peterborough after manager tests positive (May 20) – Royal Mail workers at Peterborough Delivery Office left work on the morning of 16 May after learning a line manager had tested positive for Covid-19. The members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) were unhappy that the manager had been ‘operating’ around the workplace and failing to adhere to social distancing prior to the result. Management had not even informed the union the test was taking place. We understand that 95% of the office walked out. Many went home rather than return to an unsafe workplace. Royal Mail bosses say a “deep clean” has taken place read more
Union warns that disadvantaged students could miss out under plans for summer exams (22 May) – Disadvantaged students could still lose out under changes confirmed today to this summer’s exams, UCU has warned. The union was responding to confirmation from Ofqual about how GCSEs, AS, A-levels and vocational qualifications will be awarded this summer. Research shows that high-achieving students from low income and low socioeconomic backgrounds and those with protected characteristics are more likely to have their grades under-predicted than their wealthier contemporaries read more
Fury as Blackburn College announces plans to sack staff but boost bosses’ pensions (22 May) – Blackburn College has announced controversial plans to axe 11 posts, whilst giving senior managers a salary boost to help them avoid paying tax on million-pound pension pots. Under the proposals, 29 staff are at risk of losing their jobs, with 11 expected to be made redundant by September. UCU said the latest losses were another blow to a college where staff numbers have plummeted in recent years read more
UCU vows to fight closure of Newton Rigg College in Penrith (21 May) – UCU has vowed to fight the planned closure of Newton Rigg College in Penrith. The closure of the college, which is run by Askham Bryan College, would see 117 job losses and be a ‘hammer blow’ for the region. The college informed staff on Thursday 21 May of plans to close Newton Rigg at the end of the next academic year (31 July 2021). UCU said the decision would leave Cumbria without any specialist agricultural education read more
The NSSN would like to send our best wishes to retiring general secretary Ronnie Draper. We have worked closely with the BFAWU and in particular Ronnie and national president Ian Hodson. We look forward to working with newly elected generals secretary Sarah Woolley. This is a tribute by Ian to Ronnie
BFAWU members at Wetherspoons have written to the company in light of plans to open up pubs. The union demands commitments that include staff security, sick pay and social distancing read more
U-turn on fee for foreign health and care workers welcome – Usdaw calls for all key workers to be exempted (21 May) – Retail trade union Usdaw has welcomed Keir Starmer’s victory on overseas health and care staff being exempted from the fee levied on migrants to pay for the NHS. Usdaw now calls on the Prime Minister to go further on his U-turn and extend the exemption to all key workers providing essential services through the Coronavirus emergency 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
Debenhams workers launch official strike action (27 May) – Yesterday (Tuesday 26th May 2020) Mandate Trade Union formally launched a Debenhams national official strike campaign. Mandate Trade Union members in Cork held pickets at both the Debenhams Patrick Street and Mahon Point locations. Debenhams workers recently voted to engage in industrial action across all eleven Debenhams locations by a margin of 97 percent in favour. A key objective of the industrial action campaign is to prevent the removal of any remaining company assets from the closed stores and to pressurise the Debenhams parent company in the UK to pay a fair union negotiated redundancy package to their loyal staff in Ireland read more
Email messages of support to Mandate via [email protected]
Northern Ireland unites against threats to journalists (19 May) – The publishers of three Belfast-based newspapers and the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) have joined together to stand up for journalists and press freedom in Northern Ireland. This initiative has attracted local and global endorsement, involving many prominent individuals and organisations, all listed below read more
Increasing support for Northern Ireland journalists
Equity President Maureen Beattie announces Theatre Workers’ Inquiry (22 May) – As we wait for theatres and other performance spaces to re-open, we have a unique opportunity to shape how our world of work will look when we return to it. Take part in the Workers’ Inquiry now: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/TheatreWorkersInquiry. We want to ensure there are no backward steps in the progress we have made in areas such as pay and conditions, representation and inclusion, accessibility and funding, and that the crisis doesn’t result in a worsening of those areas where we still had work to do. In the coming weeks, we have a unique opportunity to assess the sector as a whole. We have a chance to identify what practices and norms from the old ways of working we want to leave behind, what we wish to protect and enhance, and what needs to change when we re-open…Please take the time to fill this in, and please ask your friends, your colleagues and your fellow workers to do the same. Yours are the voices we need to hear read more
Maureen Beattie Equity President
Belarus: Campaign for reinstatement of union activist read more
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]
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