We headline this week’s NSSN bulletin to send solidarity to Rolls Royce workers in Barnoldswick in Lancashire. The Unite members have called strike action over three weeks as part of their campaign to save the factory. The NSSN believes that any plant threatened with closure should be taken into public ownership to save jobs and communities.
Unite: Three weeks of strike action announced at Rolls-Royce’s Lancashire factory in battle to prevent jobs being offshored (26 Oct) – Workers at the historic Rolls-Royce factory at Barnoldswick in Lancashire will embark on three weeks of targeted strike action beginning next month, as part of the campaign led by Unite the union, to preserve the viability of the factory. In August, Rolls-Royce announced that it was intent on offshoring the production of its Trent Engine blades, which are made at Barnoldswick to a factory in Singapore, with the loss of 350 workers. Unite believes that this would make the factory, which Rolls-Royce has owned since 1943 and is the cradle of the jet engine, potentially unviable. Earlier this month, members of Unite returned a 94 per cent ‘yes’ vote in favour of industrial action. Unite delayed issuing strike dates to give Rolls-Royce a final chance to alter its plans by cancelling its offshoring proposals or by ensuring that Barnoldswick remains viable by introducing similar work and employment levels, to settle the dispute over compulsory redundancies, but with no such commitments forthcoming strike action has been called read more
Sign this petition to Rolls Royce and the UK Government: Save Our Site – Battle for Barnoldswick (Rolls Royce)
Stop union victimisation
TODAY (Tuesday October 27th)!! Defend Judith Katera Unite rep on London buses – Judith is a longstanding union rep and activist in Battersea garage in Abellio in South London. Today Tuesday October 27th, she is facing a disciplinary meeting and possible dismissal. Judith is adamant that false claims are being alleged against her. Judith and Moe Muhsin Manir, the rep at Walworth garage in the same company feel that they are both being targeted. Stop union victimisation on London buses!
FCC dismiss Tony Smith Hull Unison Activist
Trade Unionists and activists will be outraged to hear that Unison activist Tony Smith’s dismissal has been upheld by FCC. As previously reported, Tony’s dismissal on trumped up charges was because of his trade union activities. It took nearly five weeks from the appeal to the outcome for FCC to confirm the sacking. Tony has faced the mental torture of not knowing whether he has a job or not, but the time taken reflected that dismissing him was not a simple issue because of the high profile that Tony has in the local Labour movement. Unison will be seeking compensation and the campaign focuses on Hull City Council to end its contract with FCC.
Mick Whale Chair Hull Trades Council
Press statement: Debenhams Shop Stewards (26 Oct)
Two hundred days into their struggle the former Debenhams workers remain as determined as ever to winning a just settlement
On the two hundredth day of their struggle for the honouring of a 2016 agreement with their former employer for four weeks’ pay per years’ service redundancy the former Debenhams workers remain as determined now as when they first embarked on their campaign
Henry Street branch shop steward Jane Crowe said:
“We did not set out to break any records for the longest strike in the history of the state or anything like that. The plain fact is that the longer we continue on the pickets the more invested we are in getting a result.
“At various stages it was probably assumed by KPMG and the government that our struggle would fizzle out, whether it was the initial lockdown which posed challenges for us in terms of mounting protests; or the Dáil summer recess when the politicians disappeared on us for over a month; or the threat of injunctions in August by KMPG; and most recently the actual obtaining of a court injunction.
“We have met all of these challenges and now because of the Taoiseach’s own lack of clarity when asked by a number of Dáil deputies as to whether KPMG would be permitted to grab stock during the level 5 period as well as the liquidator’s own ignorant non-committal response when asked by our General Secretary about their intentions we have to sustain our pickets again through a six week lockdown and face the horrible prospect of Christmas on the pickets.”
Patrick Street shop steward Val Conlon added:
“The removal of the stock by KPMG and its disposal without prior agreement with us about our just share of the proceeds in the form of two weeks’ enhanced redundancy on top of our two weeks’ statutory would frankly spell the defeat of our struggle.
“That is why colleagues and supporters have stood firm since the injunction was granted, particularly in Newbridge, Blackrock and Tralee last week where an attempt was made to progress stock removal. There are firm indications among my colleagues of a willingness to defy this injunction and take the consequences.
“The government parties bear responsibility for the situation in which we find ourselves. They failed to remedy the problems workers like us face in liquidation situations when they were put firmly on the agenda by Clerys’ workers five years ago.
“Therefore it remains for the Taoiseach to direct KMPG to engage with us and make a serious offer. Unlike the process that led to the derisory ‘offer’ in early September any such engagement must involve us shop stewards from the outset.”
Mandate calls for “definitive action” from Taoiseach to end Debenhams dispute after workers mark 200 days on strike (26 Oct) – Mandate Trade Union has called for “definitive action” from the Taoiseach and the Irish Government to end the protracted Debenhams dispute which has seen workers on picket lines for 200 days today (Monday, 26th October). In a letter to the Taoiseach, Gerry Light, Mandate General Secretary said the ex-Debenhams workers deserve the support of the State in resolving the dispute read more
Protest against the Tory mis-handling of COVID: for workplace safety – no redundancies, no attacks on pay, terms & conditions!
Southampton Demonstration and rally: Defend Jobs and Services, We Won’t pay for the Coronavirus! (Hosted by Southampton & South West Hampshire Trades Union Council) Saturday, 7 November, assemble at 11.30am Southampton Central Library Facebook Event
Demonstration and rally for workers and students to say loudly and clearly that we will not be forced to pay for the costs of the coronavirus pandemic. After 10 years of austerity caused by a banking crisis that we again had no part in making, our communities have been left defenceless against the pandemic with services hollowed out and unable to react. Job losses are already taking place linked directly to the effects on the pandemic and will continue to rise, employers are also using the cover of Covid19 to attack the pay and conditions of workers lucky enough to remain employed. This must be resisted by trade unions and workers by all means necessary and employing all resources and tactics available to us. Join us and help to organise this resistance locally as part of a nationwide strategy
Sign this TUC petition: To Gavin Williamson, Secretary of State for Education – Reverse the cuts to union learning
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]
We welcome the information being sent to union members concerning the spread of coronavirus, including the Accord, Advance, AEP, AFA-CWA, ASLEF, BDA, BECTU Sector of Prospect, BFAWU, BOS-TU, College of Podiatry, Community, CSP, EIS, Equity, FBU, FDA, GMB, HCSA, MU, NAHT, NASUWT, National Society for Education in Art and Design (NSEAD), Nautilus International, NEU, NGSU, NUJ, PFA, Prospect, RCM, SoR, TSSA, TUC, UCU, UNISON, Unite, URTU, USDAW, WGGB and the RCN
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.
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
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]
RMT on politically motivated attacks on TfL (27 Oct) – RMT reveals that Londoners are being offered 22 times less funding than private Train Companies in politically motivated attack on TfL. TRANSPORT UNION RMT has revealed today that Londoners face a bleak future in which the capital’s transport network will be starved of money if the government gets its way read more
RMT gears up for industrial and political battle in London (23 Oct) – Dear colleagues, RMT gears up for industrial and political battle in London. I’m writing to you to set out how your union is responding to the Government’s attempt to use the crisis in TfL’s finances to launch an attack on the livelihoods of ordinary Londoners, including threats to attacks jobs and pensions on the capital’s transport network. It is appalling that this government is playing politics with people’s lives during a pandemic. Its punitive package of conditions attached to the offer of a further 6 months’ funding is designed to impose a new round of austerity on London’s hard-pressed workers, families and small businesses. Once again, ordinary people are being sized up to pay for a crisis that was not of their making. The union is directly lobbying the government on this issue to say that London Transport Workers will not pay the price of the Coronavirus Crisis read more
No more excuses for Scottish Government (22 Oct) – No more excuses for Scottish Government not to take rail services into public ownership says RMT, following decision by Welsh Government to nationalise rail operations. RAIL UNION RMT says that the announcement by the Welsh Labour government today that it is to take rail passenger services into public ownership means that there should now be no more excuses for the Scottish Government not to take similar action. The Welsh Government has used its powers to appoint a public operator to run rail services as a result of the private rail operator’s failure to meet its contractual obligations due to the massive drop in passenger numbers caused by Covid–19 read more
RMT welcomes Welsh Government decision to take Transport for Wales rail services into public ownership (22 Oct) – Wales’s largest rail union RMT today welcomed the announcement by the Welsh Government that it is to take Transport for Wales rail services into public ownership next year. The Welsh government have made the announcement as a result of their decision to terminate the contract with private consortium KeolisAmey, who had operated Transport for Wales rail service read more
RMT pledges all-out fight to protect pensions as Government line up savage cuts in TFL funding deal (21 Oct) – London’s main transport union RMT pledges all-out fight to protect jobs, pensions and working conditions as Government line up savage cuts in TFL funding deal as details emerge this morning. General Secretary Mick Cash said; “It is appalling that the Government are targeting staff pensions amongst a range of other savage measures in this short-term funding deal. I put them on notice that any attempt to hack away at our members pension rights will be met by an all-out campaign of political and industrial resistance…” read more
Sign petition: to The Mayor of London and the London Assembly – End the privatisation of cleaning at Transport for London
RMT demands Government take action to protect jobs (22 Oct) – RMT demands Government take action to protect jobs and services at Hull Trains and Grand Central as more than 5000 people sign petition. RAIL UNION RMT is calling on the Government to step up and protect jobs and services at Hull Trains and Grand Central after more than 5000 people signed a petition in support of these vital services, which provide important rail links for numerous Northern regions and communities. The petition calls on the Government to protect all jobs and services at Hull Trains and Grand Central, by providing urgent financial support, in light of the ongoing impact of Covid-19 on the sector read more
Please Support RMT Members With No Wages! – RMT London Transport Region Zero Hours & Self-Employed members need our Solidarity Now! Many of our regions self-employed members and those on zero hours have not any had wages for 2 months since March. They have been abandoned by London Underground, TfL, the London Mayor and their agency employers. They MUST NOT be abandoned by us too; their RMT sisters and brothers! The RMT London Transport Regional Council and LU Engineering RMT branch are calling out to all branches, members and friends to dig deep and give meaningful solidarity to our hard pressed members facing poverty and possibly eviction from their homes. To help support by donating to the fund or to ask after support for yourself, please email: [email protected] read more
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
Cortes challenges Sturgeon “Follow Welsh Government’s lead and nationalise ScotRail” (22 Oct) – TSSA General Secretary Manuel Cortes today issued a challenge to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon “Follow the Welsh Government’s lead and nationalise ScotRail.” Ministers in Cardiff have confirmed that passenger services across Wales will be run directly by Transport for Wales (TfW) from February next year, blaming falling passenger numbers as a result of the pandemic read more TSSA Welcomes Transport for Wales Public Ownership Move (22 Oct)
Avanti CRC TUPE Update (22 Oct) – As described in the v TSSA circular dated 14 October 2020, Avanti had asserted that the union does not have recognition rights for the staff affected by the Customer Resolution Centre’s relocation from Birmingham to the First Customer Contact Centre in Sheffield. In the face of pressure and a substantial body of evidence provided by both TSSA and RMT, the company has capitulated on this issue – entering into consultation with both unions about the TUPE – without conceding the wider point about recognition within management grades. Nevertheless, this U-turn means that members will have professional representation during the TUPE and potential redundancy process read more
Network Rail recruitment freeze leaves PPF in tatters (22 Oct) – Having just consulted in a new devolved structure and created around 2000 additional posts, Network Rail has now decided not to fill the jobs. At first sight this may seem a prudent move given the challenges our industry faces. But when we lift the lid a little, there are some serious questions that need to be asked read more
Transport for London punishment “nakedly political” says TSSA (20 Oct) – Commenting on reports of the government’s proposed funding arrangement with punitive strings attached for Transport for London, Manuel Cortes, TSSA General Secretary, said: “This punishment of Londoners and TfL is nakedly political from the Tories. They were only too happy to prop up failing private train operators, but when it comes to our country’s transport success story they won’t provide the funds needed read more
Driverless trains bombshell (26 Oct) – A secret Transport for London document has revealed that driverless trains on London Underground would cost a staggering £7 billion – making the plan economically unfeasible – and TfL would still need to have a driver on board read more
Claps Don’t Pay the Bills (23 Oct) – In March this year Rishi Sunak promised to end low pay, but now it’s rumoured that he will freeze the minimum wage. Key workers up and down the country kept the country running during the pandemic, putting their lives at risk. They deserve a proper pay rise. Along with other trade unions, we’re campaigning for an increase in the minimum wage to at least £10 an hour. You can join the campaign by signing the open letter and following the links to share the campaign on your own social media pages read more
Welsh rail to be nationalised (22 Oct) – We have welcomed the decision of the Welsh government to bring rail services in Wales back into public ownership. Mick Whelan, ASLEF’s general secretary, said: ‘This is very good news for passengers, for staff, and for the people of Wales. Privatisation – as everyone knows – hasn’t worked. The railway is a natural monopoly, and a monopoly that should be run in the public, not the private, sector. As a public service rather than as an opportunity for a few people to make a private profit…” read more
Boris Johnson Hands Out a Political Punishment Beating for London (21 Oct) – ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, has condemned the government’s attempt to punish the capital. Mick Whelan, ASLEF’s general secretary, said: ‘This is a punitive, and politically motivated, move with the privatised train companies getting a bailout from the government but not TfL, which is in the public sector. ‘That is not just wrong, and ideologically-driven, but stupid. London is the only major city in Western Europe without a government grant for day-to-day transport operations…’ read more
BREAKING NEWS!! Welsh Government urged to step in as closure of Saltney storage locker production site threatens 55 jobs (27 Oct) – The Welsh Government has been asked to step in to help save the storage locker production plant at Saltney which is set to close in January 2021 with the loss of 55 jobs. Unite the union branded the Whittan Group’s decision to close the profitable Saltney site in the new year as ‘an act of industrial vandalism’. Saltney straddles the Anglo/Welsh border in north Wales. Unite believes that it was always the company’s intention to close the site following its acquisition in 2016 to relocate work to its Telford headquarters in Shropshire read more
Unite statement on talks with energy giant E.ON over ‘restructuring’ (26 Oct) – Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, today confirmed (Monday 26 October) that it was in ‘restructuring’ talks with energy giant E.ON which could result in job losses. The talks that also involve other energy trade unions come in the wake of E.ON acquiring Npower last year and the impact of Covid-19 on the business read more
Trade unions proceed with industrial action ballot over council bosses £2,500 pay attack at Newry, Mourne and Down (Oct 25) – Unions left no alternative but proceed to ballot after management attempts to resolve longstanding legacy council workforce differences by attacking pay and T&Cs. Council workers encouraged to participate in the ballot and send the strongest possible message to management that they stand ready to strike to avoid any detriment. Trade unions representing workers in Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, the GMB, NIPSA, SIPTU and UNITE issued a joint call for workers at the local authority to vote for industrial action, and action falling short of industrial action, in the current industrial ballot read more
New job support measures will help struggling employers but hardest hit sectors still need urgent support (22 Oct) – Responding to the chancellor’s new measures to support jobs and businesses, Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite, the UK’s leading union, said: “The government has at last done more to support working people through this pandemic. The adjustment to the Job Support Scheme was urgently needed and ought to make it easier for struggling employers to hold onto staff. However, it does nothing to help those sectors hardest hit – aviation, aerospace and hospitality. These sectors are struggling and desperately need help that reflects the true picture nationally. It also remains the case that this government is still asking people to make ends meet with huge losses of income…” read more
“Nonsensical” Network Rail contract changes risk track safety and jobs in Nottinghamshire, Sheffield and Scotland (22 Oct) – Railway track safety standards and jobs in Nottinghamshire, South Yorkshire and Scotland, are being put in jeopardy by ‘nonsensical’ Network Rail plans to switch its track component suppliers, Unite warned today (Thursday 22 October 2020). The long-term holder of the contracts, Progress Rail Services, has been informed that the work will be carried out elsewhere when the current contracts come to an end. While supporting Progress Rail’s bid, Unite branded the firm’s threats to fire its entire workforce if it loses the contracts ‘disgraceful’ and ‘unwarranted’. Network Rail intends to split the new contracts, worth £500 million over eight years, between three other firms that lack Progress Rail’s comprehensive and specialist UK manufacturing capabilities and who will be forced to source a significant amount of parts from abroad read more
Unite Wales reaction to Welsh Railways nationalisation (22 Oct) – Unite the union has broadly welcomed today’s announcement by the Welsh government that Transport for Wales is to be nationalised. Peter Hughes, Unite Wales regional secretary, commented: “Unite has long argued that rail should be in public hands so today’s news from the Welsh government is one that we warmly welcome. A service as fundamental to our society such as the railways should not be run by private companies whose motivation for profit often comes ahead of the needs of passengers read more
Construction firm NG Bailey accused of ‘union busting’ in wage dispute (21 Oct) – Construction contractor NG Bailey has been accused of undertaking ‘union busting’ and victimisation-type activities in a dispute over the payment of wages. NG Bailey has proposed to move from a weekly pay system to a four weekly (lunar) system. The company argues this will create considerable cost savings. Under the Joint Industry Board (JIB) electrical agreement and BESA agreements (for heating and ventilation engineers), which NG Bailey adheres to, such changes in the way workers are paid must be agreed with the relevant union, which is Unite. As a large number of members made clear that they were very unhappy with the proposals Unite, the UK’s construction union, refused to agree to the changes. Over 200 individual grievances have been submitted and Unite has also submitted a collective grievance. NG Bailey is seeking to tie the individual and collective grievances together. In a disturbing development, NG Bailey sent a questionnaire that asks staff directly if they are member of Unite under the guise of determining whether they are submitting an individual or collective grievance. The workers have been told they have to return the questionnaire by this Friday (23 October) read more
Proposed Transport for London funding deal punishes poorest Londoners, Unite warns (21 Oct) – Unite, the UK’s leading union, which represents thousands of transport workers throughout London, has warned that the government’s proposed funding for Transport for London (TfL) is ‘punishing the poorest’ for the Covid-19 pandemic. TfL and London mayor Sadiq Khan have been forced to seek additional funding from the government for public transport in London, as revenues have collapsed due to the pandemic read more
Unite to work constructively to mitigate impact of up to 65 job losses at Ports of Jersey (21 Oct) – Unite the union will work constructively with the Ports of Jersey to mitigate the proposed loss of up to 65 jobs due to the dramatic drop in travel to the Channel Island because of Covid-19. The Ports of Jersey management announced today (Wednesday 21 October) that up to 65 roles – 15 per cent of the workforce – are under threat as sea passengers and those using the airport have slumped by 86 per cent and 90 per cent respectively compared with 2019 read more
Optare workers strike over broken ‘promise’ to increase pay (15 Oct) – Unite members at bus manufacturer Optare, in Sherburn-in-Elmet, on the outskirts of Leeds, took the first strike in a series of discontinous 48 hour strikes starting on 15th October, alongsideside a continuous overtime ban read more
Northern England braced for fuel disruption as strikes announced in tanker dispute (16 Oct) – Fuel tanker drivers employed by Hoyer Petrolog UK who are based at the Stanlow oil refinery in Cheshire, have overwhelmingly voted for strike action in a dispute over job cuts. The workers who are members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, recorded an overwhelming 96.2 per cent vote in favour of industrial action. After the yes vote was secured, Unite gave Hoyer a final opportunity to withdraw its redundancy proposals but when it refused to do so the union had no option but to announce strike dates. Unite has announced a total of 14 days of strike action on the following days next month (November): 2, 4, 6, 9, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 20, 23, 25, 27. All of the strikes will begin at 00:01 hrs and end at 23.59 hrs read more
Stop the BA Betrayal! – This groundswell has been mobilised by reps and the campaign #BAbetrayal – a ‘crisis leverage campaign, which is part of Unite’s Leverage strategy. ‘Crisis leverage’ applies many of the same principles and takes a similarly robust, muscular approach but in a much more streamlined, nimble way. In a crisis like the current coronavirus pandemic, with a company behaving like British Airways, we have to move fast and to scale. Find out more and support the #BAbetrayal campaign by Joining the #BAbetrayal Facebook campaign and follow the @BAbetrayal campaign on Twitter. Sign the petition today
Sign this petition: Extend furlough scheme for the UK Aviation sector to help stop redundancies
Sign this petition: Reinstatement of Blue Handling employees laid off due to COVID-19 and placed on Furlough
Sign this petition: Please sign and share: Extend the bereaved family payment to UK bus workers now
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
PCS demands DWP Oldham office closure after outbreak of Covid-19 (23 Oct) – We have called for the closure of DWP Oldham jobcentre after a 10th case of coronavirus was reported since the end of September. Staff who have come into close contact with those affected have been self-isolating and deep cleans have been carried out. Local union reps believe the quick succession of cases constitutes a Covid outbreak and that the office should be subject to a 14-day “circuit break” closure to stem the tide of cases. However, DWP management have outright refused to shut the office and has not been involving trained trade union health and safety reps in dealing with the outbreak read more
Outsourcing debate highlights PCS ongoing campaigns (22 Oct) – A cross party debate discusses the government’s use of private contractors and the effect on employment. Several MPs, most of whom are members of the PCS Parliamentary Group, took part in yesterday’s (21) debate on the ongoing use of private contractors across the public sector read more
PCS launch petition and pledge to fight redundancies at National Museums in Liverpool (21 Oct) – We have launched a public campaign and petition to fight redundancies at National Museums in Liverpool. Management at the museums warned that there might be compulsory redundancies next year but not before negotiations took place. However, the commercial arm of the museums, National Musuems Liverpool Trading immediately moved to make workers in the cafés, shops and events, redundant with just 4 weeks’ notice. These employees have been working and supporting the running of museums as “essential staff” since July. The union understands that over 20 employees are being made redundant but the company which doesn’t recognise trades unions is refusing to engage with PCS read more
Support the week of action October 26-30 against redundancies at the Royal Academy – details here
PCS demands more workplace safety measures as Covid restrictions increase (21 Oct) – PCS has sent the Cabinet Office a series of demands for safe working, including making face masks and 2m social distancing mandatory in all civil service workplaces, as coronavirus community restrictions continue to increase across the UK. With infection rates rocketing in many areas, PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka has written to Mervyn Thomas, Cabinet Office executive director for employee and trade union relations, ahead of a meeting tomorrow (22). He urged the civil service to “anticipate such developments and to prepare for the changes that undoubtedly are on their way” as Wales goes into a ‘firebreak lockdown’ from Friday, and Northern Ireland already in circuit breaker lockdown, while tighter restrictions are also in place in Scotland and large parts of England read more
Keep supporting ISS HMRC strikers – PCS members who clean HMRC’s Merseyside offices for multinational company ISS returned to work following a solidly supported four weeks of strike action through August. The strike is part of the members’ long-running fight for the living wage, improved working conditions and job security. Because of the demand for full occupational sick pay from day one, it is also directly linked to PCS’s Dying for Sick Pay campaign, which aims to secure occupational sick pay for all workers across the government estate…The members are meeting this week to discuss their next steps. Under the Tories’ 2016 Trade Union Act, a further postal ballot is required before they can take any more strike action, and members will need to discuss where the campaign goes next. In the meantime, you can continue to support the campaign by signing the e-action to Jim Harra on the TUC’s Megaphone site and donating to the strike fund: account name: PCS Liverpool/Bootle Campaign Account, sort code: 60-83-01, account number: 20415772
Calling all petitioners – The PCS petition calling for fair pay for UK government workers has now reached the 50,000 signatories mark. With 50,000 more signatures to go to guarantee a full debate on the issue in Parliament we are asking members who have already signed the petition to ask their friends and colleagues to also sign it read more
Please sign this PCS petition to Save Ealing Tax Office – 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
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
Job support U-turn welcome, but millions face Winter without enough to live on (22 Oct) – Extension of scheme too little too late for many after weeks of local lockdowns. GMB, Britain’s general union, says an extension to employment support schemes announced today is ‘welcome’ but still leaves millions facing Winter without enough to live on. The Chancellor’s u-turn comes after widespread criticism of his previous, flawed Winter Economic Plan – and as it is revealed that almost 3 million employees remain furloughed just days before his scheme ceases to operate at the end of October read more
GMB challenges Public Sector Exit Cap (22 Oct) – If you would potentially be affected by this payment cap, GMB needs to speak to you to help with our judicial review. GMB are challenging a recent decision to cap the amount of money a public sector worker can live with as a severance package as they leave their job. This would include redundancy situations, and given the situation we find ourselves in, we believe it is only right that anyone made redundant should get all of what they are entitled to by law and according to their contract read more
FSS announcement welcome, but key questions still need answering (21 Oct) – The best way to support UK shipbuilding would be to confirm these ships will be built in UK yards. GMB, the shipbuilding union, has welcomed today’s announcement by the Ministry of Defence that a vital order Fleet Solid Support Ships will be built by ‘British-led teams’. But the union is calling for cast iron guarantees all ships will be built and assembled in UK yards read more
UNISON asks exit payments questions of the Treasury (26 Oct) – Letter raises questions over the government’s regulations and could see further action. UNISON has sent a letter to the Treasury’s solicitor that could pave the way for further action over the exit cap regulations. Last week’s national executive council’s policy development and campaigns committee heard that UNISON has been having discussions with legal advisors and sister unions about the possibility of challenging the regulations. Late on Friday evening, the letter was sent requesting responses to a number of points. Unite and the GMB have submitted similar letters. The BMA has also submitted a separate letter read more
Teaching assistants covering twice as many lessons in the pandemic (23 Oct) – UNISON survey reveals huge rise in numbers doing higher-grade work as teachers fall ill or fail to get tests. Typical classroom scene where an audience of school children. UNISON has discovered that twice as many teaching assistants (TAs) are standing in for teachers and giving lessons than before the COVID-19 pandemic. A survey from the union has seen 4,460 teaching assistants respond, with 25% saying they had been asked to lead classes and 27% saying they’d been asked to provide cover supervision. A survey in 2018 revealed that 12% of teaching assistants had been asked to undertake tasks from a higher grade, including standing in for teachers read more
UNISON North West warning against ‘callous’ cuts to school meals staff by caterer Dolce (22 Oct) – UNISON North West is today (Thursday) warning against plans by school caterer Dolce to cut the hours and pay of hundreds of kitchen staff in schools throughout the region. Last week, school catering company Dolce contacted staff to announce changes to their employment contracts. These include cutting hours and pay by 20% and potentially staff to zero-hours contracts, which could leave many struggling to make ends meet. Dolce provides catering services to schools across the North West including in Cumbria, Wirral, Blackpool, Wigan, Rochdale, Tameside, Trafford, Manchester and Bury read more
Wirral school staff threaten walk out over cut to hours and pay (21 Oct) – Wirral UNISON has today (Wednesday) launched a ballot which asks 20 school support staff at Woodchurch Road Primary School whether they want to take strike action. The union’s strike ballot has emerged in response to a proposed cut to Woodchurch Road Primary School staff’s hours of up to 20%. This cut to hours could see teaching assistants and play workers lose out as much as £3885 in pay every year. The school- which is run by the local authority- is currently looking to cut over £100,000 from their financial deficit read more
More PCSOs would be best way to ensure public comply with COVID rules (21 Oct) – Force must be rebuilt after 46% cuts in a decade. Rebuilding the workforce of police community support officers (PCSOs), after almost halving the number in a decade, should be the government’s focus in ensuring people observe Covid restrictions, says UNISON today (Wednesday). A well-resourced network of PCSOs would mean ministers could call on a ready-made and properly trained team, which is already part of the police workforce, to ensure the public follow the rules during this crucial time, the union says. Funding cuts have meant PCSO numbers in forces across England and Wales fell from 16,918 in 2010 to just 9,180 this year* – a 46% reduction read more
Raph Parkinson Regional Organiser RIP – UNISON North West deeply regrets to announce the death of Raph Parkinson, Regional Organiser. Over the past 10 days, Raph had been receiving treatment at Royal Liverpool Hospital for pneumonia complications from COVID-19 but sadly his situation worsened and he died overnight on Monday. Raph had been involved in the union throughout his working life. For many years he was a NALGO/UNISON senior activist in Merseytravel and Liverpool City Council, an NEC member, a leading member of the regional black members’ group, an anti-racist and socialist campaigner in his local community. He joined the union’s staff over ten years ago as an area organiser and progressed to regional organiser in the Merseyside and Cheshire team and latterly the Case Unit. Raph was a much liked and respected colleague, a committed staff union representative, a loyal fan of Liverpool, who loved his family and was dedicated to the cause of trade unionism and socialism. He will be missed by all of us who knew him in UNISON and the wider labour movement. Raph is survived by his partner Laura and his two sons. UNISON North West region sends them our deepest sympathy and solidarity. Messages of condolences to Raph’s family can be sent via Val Rothwell at UNISON North West regional office read more
Addiction support workers enter last day of latest strike (2 Oct) – We Are With You continues to refuse to pay promised wage increase, after Central Arbitration Committee rules it has to recognise UNISON. Drug and alcohol support workers in the North West are on the last day of a 10-day strike today (Friday), as they continue their fight to force their employer, national charity We Are With You (formerly Addaction), to give them a promised pay rise. The industrial action involves 30 rehabilitation staff from Wigan and Leigh in Greater Manchester read more
The Wigan Branch and North West Region are asking for donations from branches to the hardship fund. Please donate via bank transfer to:
Unity Bank Sort Code: 60 83 01 Account Number: 20244354
Or send a cheque payable to ‘UNISON Wigan Metropolitan Branch hardship fund’ to – UNISON Branch Office, Wigan Life Centre, The Wiend, Wigan WN1 1NH
Grim anniversary of redundancy announcement that “changed everything” in BT (23 Oct) – It was a year ago this week that BT Enterprise announced hundreds of job losses in that division – triggering a bitterly disputed redundancy process and providing, in retrospect, a bitter early foretaste of a fundamentally changed management approach that is now wreaking havoc across BT Group. On the day of the announcement – Thursday October 19, 2019 – the CWU pointedly warned the company it would be placing more than 30 years of industrial harmony in jeopardy if it shifted away from the principle of voluntarism in job loss situations that had underpinned decades of workplace peace across BT Group. Urging bosses not to trigger a needless industrial relations crisis, the CWU was adamant from the outset that the tried and tested ways of addressing staff surplus situations – under which tens of thousands left BT in the years after privatisation without the need for a single compulsory – could easily work again, especially given the considerably smaller numbers involved. What wasn’t immediately apparent at the time, however, was the extent to which a new senior management team was determined to re-write the ‘rulebook’ that has governed the way BT has behaved in successive job loss situations since the 1987 national strike read more
Consultative ballot on strike action in Technology as compulsory redundancies loom large (Oct 22) – With the first of nearly 200 disputed compulsory redundancies in BT Technology due to become effective at the end of next week – and more job losses set to be announced – members across the division are being asked to register their willingness to take industrial action ahead of a formal strike ballot. The consultative ballot of the union’s entire BT Technology membership, which commenced this morning, comes as industrial relations – already shaken by management’s shocking decision to abandon a decades-old approach to dealing with staff surpluses voluntarily, instead opting to directly serve compulsory redundancy (CR) notices – have been rocked to the core by two further management bombshells. First, in an extraordinary act of bad faith, senior management last month pulled the rug on a final CWU counter-proposal based on an innovative ‘job swap’ idea, which could have eradicated the need for wholesale CRs, even as the ink was drying on a draft agreement between company and CWU negotiators. Then, just days later, shameless bosses plumbed the depths once again – announcing that User Access Management work in IT will be transferred offshore to India, directly leading to more compulsory redundancies in the UK. Yet despite both demonstrations of the utter contempt with which Technology appears intent on treating loyal ‘key workers’ who’ve kept the country connected through the pandemic, the CWU has continued to press management to exhaust all possible alternatives for those about to be shown the door. But faced with continued stony-faced intransigence – plus the grim expectation that Technology is now poised to push the button on ‘Phase 2’ of its ‘Transformation Programme’ – CWU patience has finally expired read more
Watch video on Royal Mail shared van plan from Gary Clark branch secretary of CWU Scotland no.2 branch and a member of the NSSN steering committee
Government withdrawal of learning funding – The announcement by the Government to end workplace learning is a devastating blow for working people who, over the last 20 years, have had the opportunity to improve their life skills, benefiting both employers and employees. Unionlearn have been helping and supporting around 200,000 people a year across the whole of England, and deserve to be saved. Over the last ten years, the BFAWU alone has enabled over 30,000 people in England to achieve, or work towards achieving, a formal qualification. The Government are not just taking some of the funding: they are taking all of it. They are completely shutting it down, putting over 100 people across England out of work and bringing to an abrupt end the UK’s aim of removing barriers to learning. The UK drive to improve literacy, numeracy and ICT skills will now become a thing of the past, resulting in the inability for us to have a direct impact on employability in the country. This action will take away the potential for people to achieve and up-skill. It will also throw many dedicated people onto the dole at a time when the UK is expected to see rocketing unemployment read more
Justice for Greencore Northampton Workers
Sign petition – To: Guy Dullage, Chief People Officer, Greencore
Greencore: Guarantee full pay for your self-isolating workers!
Campaign created by
Read the report published by Doctors in Unite: https://doctorsinunite.com/2020/09/02/the-role-of-airborne-spread-in-factory-outbreaks-of-covid-19/
Free School Meal provision over holidays (22 Oct) – Opposition Motion on Free School Meal provision over school holidays. Commenting on the lost Opposition Motion on Free School Meals, Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said: “It is a very callous decision that has been taken in Parliament. This fact that this motion was lost shows how little care or understanding many MPs have of poverty and its impact on children and young people. Denying the 1.4 million children eligible for FSM over the holiday period will result in unnecessary suffering and misery…” read more
Enhanced mitigation measures for schools must be part of tiered approach to Covid suppression (23 Oct) – Commenting on the announcement by the First Minister of a five tier alert system of Coronavirus restrictions which is due to come into force across Scotland on 2 November, Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT – The Teachers’ Union said: “It is alarming that at a time of rising threat of Coronavirus transmission, the Government’s plans do not include any extension to the safety mitigation measures required in schools, particularly in those schools in the highest tier areas…” read more
Welsh Government sending “mixed messages” to schools on fire break measures (22 Oct) – The NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union believes that Welsh Government guidance released today stating that teachers and support staff will be needed on school sites during the Fire Break week from 2 November undermines the safety and effectiveness of the temporary lockdown across Wales read more
EIS says Keeping Schools Open Should be a Priority – But not at any Cost (26 Oct) – The EIS has written to the Deputy First Minister and all Education Spokespersons at the Scottish Parliament to highlight its concerns about the COVID-19 Strategic Framework which will be discussed at Holyrood on Tuesday. While noting that the tiered approach is intended to help manage the risk of COVID infection, the EIS raises concerns over a lack of detail in the proposals – particularly related to schools read more
ASL Review is an Opportunity Missed (21 Oct) – Following the publication today of the Scottish Government’s response to the Additional Support for Learning (ASL) Review, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan has described the reaction as an opportunity missed read more
UCU issues legal challenge over Westminster government’s decision to ignore SAGE advice (24 Oct) – UCU hopes legal action will help prevent third Covid wave in January. UCU has launched a legal challenge against the Westminster government over its decision to ignore advice from its Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), reported The Observer. SAGE warned in September that unless teaching at colleges and universities moved online Covid outbreaks were likely, but the government ignored the warnings and said it was safe for students to return to campuses in September for in-person teaching. UCU believes this decision was unlawful. The legal action is a significant escalation of the union’s campaign to protect the health and safety of staff and students read more
Westminster must follow Welsh lead in supporting students through pandemic (22 Oct) – A new support package of over £10 million for university students has been announced by the Welsh government. The money will be used to support students through the pandemic, including mental health support and support for students self-isolating. The funds come after the Welsh government provided over £50 million to support Welsh colleges and universities in July read more
UCU comment on the SFC review of coherent provision and sustainability of further and higher education (20 Oct) – Commenting on the release of the Scottish Funding’s Council’s first phase review of coherent provision and sustainability of further and higher education Mary Senior, UCU Scotland official, said: ‘There’s much to welcome in the Funding Council’s report, including the need for further debate and academic research on the university sector – mirroring the call for a Scottish Centre for Higher Education Research in the 2012 von Prondzynski governance review read more
Heriot-Watt University staff overwhelmingly back industrial action in row over job losses (20 Oct) – Staff at Heriot-Watt University have today backed strikes in a dispute over plans to axe 130 jobs. In the ballot of UCU Scotland members, 77% of those who voted backed strike action on a turnout of 66%. The university is proposing to cut 130 jobs and has refused to rule out compulsory redundancies. The union says the proposed job cuts are rushed and alternative savings haven’t been properly explored. The planned job losses also come on the back of a further 70 jobs having already been cut in 2017. The union said losing so many staff in such a short timescale was bound to impact on both the student experience and the university’s reputation read more Donate to Heriot-Watt UCU solidarity hardship fund
NUJ statement on Sunak’s latest deal for freelances (26 Oct) – NUJ statement on the government’s latest Covid-19 package for freelances, which again makes the self-employed second-class citizens and continues to freeze out the #ForgottenFreelances read more
Report finds the #ForgottenFreelances were let down by the Treasury and HMRC (23 Oct) – The Treasury and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) could have done more to prevent many NUJ freelances falling through the cracks in the government’s Covid-19 aid schemes, according to a report by the National Audit Office (NAO). The NAO says they need to ensure the necessary information is available to cover as many people as possible, so that fewer people suffer loss of income by being excluded from similar schemes in the future. The report found that almost one in four (23 per cent) of those potentially eligible for the scheme missed out. As many as 2.9 million people were not eligible for the schemes, either because of ministerial decisions about where to focus support, or because HMRC said it did not have data needed to properly guard against the risk of fraud read more
NUJ urges government to take up “right to know” equal pay bill (21 Oct) – The NUJ has urged the government to back Stella Creasy’s bill to allow women to find out the pay of male colleagues doing the same work and other measures to improve the chances of women getting equal pay read more
Prospect secure crucial two-year pay deal for AWE members (23 Oct) – Prospect members at AWE have voted overwhelmingly to accept a two year pay deal secured by Prospect with the employer. The deal which sees members receive an average consolidated pay rise of 2.75% in 2020 and 2.80% in 2021 and will be backdated to 1 June 2020 read more
Chancellor has a huge blind spot for the nearly 3m excluded self-employed and freelance workers (22 Oct) – Chancellor Rishi Sunak has today announced an enhanced series of financial measures to help those affected by the COVID crisis. Among the measures announced are a cut in the percentage an employer must pay to keep a worker furloughed, and an increase in the maximum someone who is self-employed can earn. Many of the measures are designed to help businesses affected by the crisis but not shut by it. Millions of self-employed and freelance workers are still completely overlooked read more
Flybe purchase is welcome – those previously made redundant should be first in line for new jobs (21 Oct) – Flybe, the regional airline which went into administration earlier this year, has announced that it is to be bought by Thyme Opco. Thyme Opco has said it intends to reopen routes and create jobs but has warned that due to the pandemic it will not be able to operate as many routes as it did before read more
Government must guarantee that Fleet Solid Support jobs are British ones (21 Oct) – The defence secretary has said that the bids for three fleet solid support ships which are to be built to supply our aircraft carriers, should be led by UK firms. The competition for the contract is to be launched in Spring read more
Equity reacts to Chancellor’s update on financial support (22 Oct) – Reacting to the Chancellor’s announcement today in the Commons that grants for the self-employed will rise from 20% to 40% of profits, Equity General Secretary Paul Fleming said: “The fact remains that 40% of Equity’s 48,000 members are excluded from the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme and nothing announced today addresses this injustice. For those who are eligible, 40% is well below the support being offered to other workers. This isn’t good enough for creative workers, who are among the hardest hit during this pandemic and are also about to be hit with the reimposition of the Minimum Income Floor element of Universal Credit. The Chancellor needs to deliver parity for all working people now. We’ll keep demanding the scheme is expanded and extended, not just tinkered with & further reduced.” Read more
Take action now: tell the Government to continue the suspension of the Minimum Income Floor of Universal Credit (20 Oct) – We’re calling on members to email their MPs in support of Equity’s lobbying work to ensure our members can access financial help through the social security system, as promised by the Chancellor, for the duration of the coronavirus crisis. Please use or customise the email text below and send to your MP as soon as possible, as the Government are due to make a decision on the suspension of the Minimum Income Floor by 13th November. You can also download a Word document of the letter here. Email your MP by entering your postcode in this link and follow the instructions for sending your message to your MP (which will be the third option on the results page): https://www.mysociety.org/wehelpyou/contact-your-mp/
POA supports TUC campaign to save Union Learning (19 Oct) – The POA fully support the TUC campaign, Save Union Learning, and hope to persuade the Government to drop proposals to end the Union Learning Fund (ULF).Unions were told of the proposal to scrap the £12 million annual fund in a letter from the Department for Education read more
Working From Home Allowance (26 Oct) – NIPSA has received a range of queries from members regarding a Working from Home Allowance. NIPSA has been pursuing this for a number of months, but unfortunately to date other than in a few Arm’s Length Bodies we have not been successful to date. Management Side have argued that staff working from home are saving on travel costs etc. and have refused to seriously engage on this issue. Another opportunity has opened up with the Management Side recently tabling a draft Working from Home Policy and this issue will be raised again in that context read more
Wales Firebreak: Usdaw urges customers to follow the rules and respect shopworkers (23 Oct) – Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw welcomes the Welsh Government’s revised guidance on non-essential items in shops that will remain open during the ‘firebreak’ and urges customers to follow the rules and respect shopworkers read more
Job Support Scheme doesn’t reach the workers it needs to says Usdaw – high street retailers urgently need Government support (22 Oct) – Retail trade union Usdaw regrets that the Chancellor made no mention of retail in today’s statement on extending the Job Support Scheme. Many retail businesses that are not required to close are impacted by Covid restrictions and jobs are under threat read more
Stop union victimisation: Reinstate Richie Venton Glasgow USDAW – IKEA workers need YOUR support. This is a campaign page set up by workers furious at the victimisation and sacking of the elected USDAW shop steward and convener in IKEA Glasgow, RICHIE VENTON, and IKEA’s attacks on workers’ rights and conditions, including removal of wages from workers off sick with COVID-19. Richie has been singled out and sacked for standing up for the health, safety and lives of workers he represents, demanding safety measures and full average pay for all workers sick or self-isolating with the killer virus. He is the first trade unionist in Scotland to be sacked by employers in disputes over workers’ safety from the Coronavirus. Since sacking him, IKEA have imposed even worse cutbacks, including on company sick benefit, putting far more workers on just £95 Statutory Sick Pay, which could force some to continue working because of hardship, spreading the virus, endangering lives. This campaign is to reinstate Richie to his job and his elected union position; to win full average wages for all COVID-sick workers, in IKEA and every other workplace; and to stop employers making £billions in profit but endangering workers’ lives by expecting them to survive on £95-a-week Statutory Sick Pay. Sign the Petition – Add your voice and support to the demand that Ikea reinstate Richie Venton and reinstate sick workers’ wages by signing the secure petition read more on Reinstate Richie Venton website
SIPTU calls on Odeon Cinemas to enter into negotiations on proposed restructuring (21 Oct) – SIPTU representatives have today (Wednesday, 21st October) called on the management of Odeon Cinemas to enter into negotiations with its members concerning a proposed restructuring of the entertainment company due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic read more
SIPTU members in BorgWarner in Tralee vote to accept improved redundancy offer (20 Oct) – SIPTU members employed at the car parts manufacturer, BorgWarner in Tralee, county Kerry, have today (Tuesday, 20th October) voted to accept improved redundancy terms read more
IWGB Judicial Review demands better Health and Safety for workers in High Court (21 Oct) – Today from 10.20am the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) will attend the High Court to bring a judicial review that could extend health and safety rights to hundreds of thousands of “gig economy” and frontline workers. The union says Covid-19 has made workers’ rights a public health issue. If successful, the judicial review would force the Government to extend health and safety protections to all ‘workers’ including hundreds of thousands in the so-called “gig economy” read more
Deliveroo couriers in Yorkshire to boycott two major restaurant chains in response to plummeting rates – Our members have demonstrated inspiring unity, commitment and determination, hosting consecutive 12-hour boycotts with great success. The dispute comes as Five Guys is making couriers wait on average fifteen to forty minutes for an order. Meaning some couriers will only be making one order in an hour earning less than four pounds. How are you supposed to raise your children or pay your rent on that kind of money? We’ve experienced unprecedented community and wider union support in our action, and we will continue to strategize wider action against Deliveroo, and its perpetrators of exploitative work. Our families shouldn’t have to go hungry so others can eat cheaper read more
Strike fund donation details:-
Donations can be made to the CLB at the bottom for this page – https://iwgb.org.uk/page/clb
If any NSSN members would like to contribute to our cause in a non-monetary manner, we are planning a Halloween Event, an invitation will follow this email, but presence of on the ground supporters will be appreciated, and if willing, volunteers to help out are critical to our success. This is all COVID dependent, but their remit would mainly involve flyering couriers outside of hotspot restaurants close to Five Guys. The rest of the day’s timetable will be released ASAP and with the official invitation
Support the NHS pay protests
On Saturday September 12th there were demonstrations and rallies in many towns and cities. Workers in the NHS and care sector workers demand an immediate 15% pay rise that starts to close the income gap caused by a decade of pay freezes. Please join the protests that are taking place.
Details of some of these events can be found here in the Nurses and Midwives say NO! to Public Sector pay inequality Facebook group and on the Keep Our NHS Public website. Also visit the website of Health Campaigns Together.
We support the call of many health workers for industrial action ballots, co-ordinated across all the health unions and linking up with all other workers in public services. We are confident that this would be supported by workers in the private sector and all those who benefit from health and social care, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic where so many staff put their lives on the line.
Sign the petition to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak – ‘We demand a pay rise for key workers’
Fight blacklisting and victimisation of union reps
Undercover Police Public Inquiry starts Monday 2nd November
After a five and a half year delay, the public inquiry into the systematic human rights abuse carried out by undercover political police finally starts on Monday 2nd November. The union strand of the public inquiry consists of the Blacklist Support Group, eight individual blacklisted workers, UNITE, Fire Brigades Union and National Union of Mineworkers, who have all been granted core participant status – as the state has already admitted spying on us. After nearly a decade of campaigning, we will finally hear evidence from the undercover police and their senior managers who spied on unions, MPs, anti-racist camapigners, the families of murder victims, environmental and political activists.
The inquiry starts with Opening Statements from the police & those targeted by the UK’s political policing units. Dave Smith speaking on behalf of the Blacklist Support Group, John Hendy representing UNITE & FBU and Gareth Pierce representing NUM speak on Fri 6th Nov. There is still a legal argument taking place over whether the public will be allowed to see the evidence live streamed or only view transcripts afterwards.
We do not expect the state investigating itself to provide ‘justice’. Our participation is based on exposing at least some evidence of the institutional racism, institutional sexism and anti-union bias of the police & security services to public scrutiny. To follow the public inquiry via social media search for the hashtags: #SpyCops #SpyCopsInquiry
Blacklist Support Group thanks everyone who has helped us get to this stage and sends solidarity to all non-state core participants
Builders Crack: The Movie
In the current situation, this long lost film from the 1990s about rank and file union organising in the construction industry is intended to lift the spirits, but also to spark a debate in our movement. Hope the youngsters in this film put a smile on your face.
Watch – Share – Discuss
Blacklist Support Group
Reinstate Richie Venton Glasgow USDAW – IKEA workers need YOUR support. This is a campaign page set up by workers furious at the victimisation and sacking of the elected USDAW shop steward and convener in IKEA Glasgow, RICHIE VENTON, and IKEA’s attacks on workers’ rights and conditions, including removal of wages from workers off sick with COVID-19. Richie has been singled out and sacked for standing up for the health, safety and lives of workers he represents, demanding safety measures and full average pay for all workers sick or self-isolating with the killer virus. He is the first trade unionist in Scotland to be sacked by employers in disputes over workers’ safety from the Coronavirus. Since sacking him, IKEA have imposed even worse cutbacks, including on company sick benefit, putting far more workers on just £95 Statutory Sick Pay, which could force some to continue working because of hardship, spreading the virus, endangering lives. This campaign is to reinstate Richie to his job and his elected union position; to win full average wages for all COVID-sick workers, in IKEA and every other workplace; and to stop employers making £billions in profit but endangering workers’ lives by expecting them to survive on £95-a-week Statutory Sick Pay. Sign the Petition – Add your voice and support to the demand that Ikea reinstate Richie Venton and reinstate sick workers’ wages by signing the secure petition read more on Reinstate Richie Venton website
Manchester bus workers to hold consultative ballot on industrial action, as rep suspended for carrying out trade union duties Colin Hayden – About 500 Manchester bus drivers will hold a consultative ballot on whether they want to take industrial action after a senior Unite rep at bus company Go North West Limited was suspended for carrying out legitimate trade union activities. Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union, said that the ballot follows the suspension of the rep, who is also a Unite branch chair, as the union highlighted plans to reduce the wages of 500 Manchester bus drivers by an estimated £2,000-a-year. The company has attempted to railroad changes to the terms and conditions of the bus drivers – while 80 per cent of the drivers, including all of the Unite reps except for the senior rep, were furloughed – via the offer of a one-off payment of £5,000. Unite, however, says that within three years its members would be worse off, if the plan were allowed to go-ahead…Unite said that the working practices at the Queens Road depot which the company wants to buy-out have since been replaced by additional cleaning and cash collection duties which mean the bus drivers are working just as hard. The consultative ballot will be held by the end of August. Whether Unite proceeds to a full-scale industrial action ballot, including the option for strike action, depends on the outcome of the consultative vote read more
Unite launches campaign to stop Go Ahead Group using COVID 19 as cover to slash pay and conditions (9 Sept) – Unite, Britain’s biggest union, has launched an international campaign to stop the owners of the Manchester bus company Go North West from using Covid 19 as cover for making savage cuts to bus drivers’ pay and conditions, while victimising and gagging a Unite union representative. Unite general secretary, Len McCluskey has written to Go Ahead Group’s CEO David Brown to warn him that Unite will be using all available resources to provide “immediate assistance to our members”. “In addition to industrial action this will mean exposing your company’s behaviour to all of your stakeholders, partners and associates. This will include mobilising all of our allies and contacting our significant political network in the Nordic countries, Germany and Australasia” read more
PCS: Trade unionists asked to send solidarity to PCS rep dismissed after blowing the whistle (25 July) – Trade unionists are being urged to send solidarity messages to a PCS rep dismissed after whistleblowing at the Department of Work and Pensions. Enrico La Rocca, who had worked for the DWP for more than 27 years, lost his job in May after highlighting serious concerns with management over a number of years. His complaints resulted in questions being asked about the department’s handling of Carer’s Allowance overpayments by the National Audit Office (NAO) and raised by in a Work and Pensions Select Committee report read more from Union News
RMT: SUSPENSION OF RMT REPRESENTATIVES, FRATTON – SOUTH WESTERN RAILWAY – Following my previous Circular (IR/171/20) dated 14th May 2020, as you are aware, two of our representatives, Mark Gamble and Brian Perren, were suspended from duty using unscrupulous charges. South Western Railway’s actions throughout this dispute have been appalling. The company have clearly targeted our members as they are hardworking and effective representatives. The callous action of South Western Railway has been abhorrent from the very start of this dispute. Our members recently had their disciplinary hearings and after successful representation Brother Brian Perren has been reinstated to his substantive role. However, Mark has been left in limbo by the company and still faces these ridiculous charges. This means that the ballot that was due to close today (4th June) has been cancelled. As one of our members has been reinstated, this changes the basis of the original ballot. Unfortunately, because of the anti-trade union laws we would not have been able to use any mandate we received from this ballot. Therefore, we have to run a fresh ballot and this will be to continue to defend our suspended Brother Mark Gamble. The National Executive Committee has considered this matter and has congratulated our members and all those who assisted Brian in proving his innocence and ensuring he is reinstated to his substantive role. The NEC has also instructed me to run a fresh ballot in defence of our Brother Mark Gamble who still remains suspended. It is incredibly disappointing that the company has failed to see sense and instead have chosen to drag on an unnecessary dispute. It is disgraceful that Mark remains suspended and we have no choice but to stand shoulder to shoulder and defy SWR’s callous and distasteful decision. I have written to the company today to advise them of this union’s position and they have been left in no doubt that we will not allow them to pursue outrageous charges against our from democratically elected representatives (from RMT general secretary Mick Cash)
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
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!
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
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
#EndSWAT: Outrage in Nigeria at government trick: Send solidarity messages to YRC read more
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