We headline this week’s NSSN bulletin with two disputes by low-paid hospital workers in Birmingham and Reading. While the Heartlands workers work directly for the NHS, those at the Royal Berkshire are contracted to Kingdom Services Group Ltd. Both will be continuing their action into February. Please support these NHS workers on the frontline during the pandemic. Outrageously, their reward is attacks from management. We call for all outsourced workers to be brought back in-house and for a 15% pay rise for all NHS workers as well as defeating the Tory public sector pay freeze.
Unite: Security guards at Reading hospital to stage second wave of strikes in ‘David and Goliath’ pay battle – Security staff at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, locked in a ‘David and Goliath’ pay battle with their employer, will be striking over 20 days during January and February. The 23 security guards are striking from 07.00 on Monday 4 January over the failure of their employer Kingdom Services Group Ltd to make a decent pay offer for 2020. Their strike action will end at 19.00 on Friday 12 February. They have already taken five days of strike action which ended on Friday (18 December). The security personnel, members of Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, provide security for Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust read more
Text solidarity messages via Jessica 07718668497 and donate to strike fund: Acc. No.: 20173991 Sort Code: 60-83-01
Zoom meeting: ‘Fair Pay for Kingdom Security Members’ 5.30pm Tuesday January 26th – register here
Sign petition to Mark Wallace , Kingdom Service Group Managing Director: Pay Royal Berkshire Hospital security staff a wage they can live on
Unison: Support the Birmingham NHS Heartlands Porters Dispute – UNSION members who are Heartlands Hospital Porters are currently taking strike action about the proposed imposition of a new rota. This will result in them working detrimental rotating 8 shifts pattern. The proposed rota impacts on our members health and well being; their caring responsibilities; their work/life balance and results in a significant cut in wages for many read more on Facebook page. Next 3 strike dates are February 1-3
Email message of support to [email protected]
Donate to hardship fund: Unison University Hospitals Birmingham Branch 22536, Unity Trust Bank, Ac: 20403849 Sort Code: 60 83 01
Heartlands Porters Online Strike Rally – 6pm next Monday February 1st Facebook event
Sign petition: We call upon the Chair of the Trust Jacqui Smith and the Chief Executive David Rosser to halt the imposition of the rota and to not ‘fire and rehire’ their Heartlands Hospital Porters on the 1st Feb. We urge them to ask the senior management to work with UNISON to implement a jointly agreed rota which is based upon a ‘fixed’ shift basis
NSSN Zoom Public Meeting: Fight together against the Tories and Bosses COVID offensive – 12pm Sunday February 14th
2021 has started with a bang, with teachers and school support staff in the NEU and Unison forcing Boris Johnson’s Tory government to retreat on the re-opening of schools.
Unions now need to come together immediately to draw on this template to fight for workplace safety in all sectors and stop the offensive by the Tories and the bosses to make workers pay for the COVID crisis with our lives and livelihoods. This includes Johnson’s public sector pay freeze.
We’ve also seen workers in British Gas striking, the latest to confront vicious bosses’ ‘fire and rehire’ measures. Many other workers are taking action as well.
The NSSN will continue to play our part in this struggle. Come to our meeting to discuss how we can build the fight for our lives and livelihoods.
Meeting ID: 844 4470 8960 Passcode: 889162
Reinstate sacked Unite London bus rep Judith Katera: appeal hearing imminent!! – Judith a longstanding union rep and activist in Battersea garage in South London has been dismissed by Abellio. 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. In October, she was facing a disciplinary meeting and possible dismissal. A solidarity protest was organised and then postponed because the disciplinary process wasn’t completed. However, she has discovered that the company sacked her on December 4th! She even had to contact the company to find out that she had been dismissed! Just a few weeks before Christmas, Judith was dismissed with no income. An online appeal has been set up to support Judith and her family. Unite the union are ran a consultative ballot before Christmas to launch the campaign to get Judith reinstated. We understand that there was an overwhelming vote of support, which sends the message to Abellio that bus drivers in Battersea will fight to for Judith’s job and stop attacks on the union. We hope that such a vote will force management to reinstate Judith but if they still refuse, the union are now able to launch a full industrial action ballot. The NSSN sends our support and solidarity to Judith, her members and her union Unite and pledge to do everything we can to get her reinstated. We will keep our supporters and affiliates fully informed of developments and any protests and action that are called.
Judith’s fellow Abellio rep in Walworth garage Moe Muhsin Manir is also suspended awaiting an imminent disciplinary meeting, which could see him facing dismissal. Stop union busting!
Fight together against the Tory Pay Freeze
Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a public sector pay freeze last November. NSSN Chair Rob Williams said, “Just as the Tories are exposed over giving COVID contracts to their cronies and a day after a big rise in defence spending is announced, millions of public sector workers face yet another pay freeze. After standing on the front line, putting their lives at risk, they face sinking further into poverty. This is on top of a decade of Tory pay cuts that saw workers lose up to 14% of their income. Sunak cynically ‘exempts’ NHS workers from this pay cap but they won’t be fooled. Any rise will go nowhere close to the 15% rise demanded this summer by protesting health workers to close the gap on what has been lost on the last 10 years. The NSSN sends our solidarity to public sector workers and their unions. This announcement will take place virtually on the 10th anniversary of George Osborne’s brutal austerity offensive. That cuts blizzard led to 2 million public sector workers walk out together on the November 30th N30 pensions strike. Workers need to fight together now to send the clearest message to the Tories and the employers: we won’t pay the price in terms of our jobs and income for your total mismanagement of the COVID pandemic and any economic crisis. Especially when the super-rich increase their wealth at our expense. The NSSN calls on the TUC and the unions to organise protests in towns to start the mobilisation of workers that can lead to the co-ordinated industrial action that we need to defeat the Tories and inflict on them yet another U-turn.”
Support the NHS pay protests – last year, 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. 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’
Health Campaigns Together Conference: The Pandemic and Privatisation – how to fight back – Thursday February 25 2021, 6.30-8.30pm
The pandemic has been a goldmine for private contractors and management consultants. But while the private sector celebrates its new-found riches, the fiascos of failed private services have been exposed to millions. Privatised test and trace systems have become byword for failure, just as poor standards of hospital cleaning epitomised the failures of the first outsourced contracts in the 1980s. The question is how health unions and campaigners can work together and develop the right publicity and information to show the folly and expose the waste and inefficiency of privatisation and outsourcing? Join us for an online conference on February 25, called by Health Campaigns Together, working in partnership with the health unions UNISON, Unite and GMB, the PDA union, the TUC, Keep Our NHS Public, the NHS Support Federation (NHS For Sale), and The Lowdown read more
The NSSN is continuing to report on how workers are organising during the coronavirus pandemic
The NSSN is opening up our weekly email bulletin, website and social media platforms of Facebook and twitter to provide a public forum for workers during the Coronavirus/COVID-19 crisis. We want to be a place where we can all share queries and experiences that workers are facing in their workplaces. These include reports of action taken by workers to defend themselves from their employers.
You can read about many of these actions in our weekly bulletin and out social media groups, especially our Facebook group: NSSN – defend workers’ rights under Coronavirus.
You can also send the NSSN your reports and queries via our website, twitter – @NSSN_AntiCuts and email – [email protected]
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 include some workers receiving 80% of their wages. This furlough scheme was due to end but has now been extended because of the 2nd lockdown.
However, we believe that no worker should pay the price for any spread of the virus. We say: work or full pay. Any worker who is required not to attend work or is unable to do so because of COVID, 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 and you can catch up on disputes at Strike Map UK
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 shocking new ONS figures on COVID mortality rates amongst bus and taxi drivers (25 Jan) – Commenting on today’s ONS figures which showed that male bus and coach drivers and male taxi drivers are two of the occupational groups with high rates of Covid-19 deaths, RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “These figures are a tragic reminder of the risks faced by the UK’s frontline transport workers…” read more
RMT warns “complacent and callous” approach is leading to surge in COVID-19 deaths and illness amongst rail workers (25 Jan) – TRANSPORT UNION RMT has today warned that a complacent and callous approach to the increased threat from COVID-19 is leading to a surge in deaths and illness of transport workers. The union says feedback it has received reveal the number of deaths and illnesses due to coronavirus amongst rail workers have at least doubled since November. Department for Transport figures also show that rail use is three times higher when compared to the last national lockdown. The union also claims that creeping complacency and a callous refusal by transport bosses to mandate a nationwide overhaul of risk assessments to take into account the heightened risk of the new virus has led to the surge. RMT is calling for transport workers to be classified as a priority group to receive the vaccination, not only to protect lives but also to ensure the railways can continue to transport essential goods and workers read more
RMT calls on Nottingham City Council to halt proposals to cut funding for the vital Linkbus Network (22 Jan) – BUS UNION RMT is today calling on Nottingham City Council to reverse its proposals to cut funding for Nottingham’s Linkbus Network, amid fears that the significant funding cut would lead to service cuts. The Council’s draft budget shows that it plans to cut £700,000 in annual funding for the Linkbus network, which serves a variety of routes in Nottingham, including the City Centre, University and City Hospital read more
RMT ramps up political pressure on Scotland’s MSP’s in CalMac ferry dispute as election looms (20 Jan) – SCOTTISH FERRIES UNION RMT has told Scotland’s MSPs today that it intends to make the ongoing pay dispute at CalMac Ferries a major political issue in the forthcoming elections in May. The union believes that the company, which provides a lifeline ferry service to island communities, are holding a financial line as instructed by the Scottish Government and Transport Scotland read more
RMT responds to announcement oilfield firm Weatherford to close Aberdeen manufacturing facilities (20 Jan) – OFFSHORE WORKERS UNION RMT today responded to news that US oilfield and equipment firm Weatherford is to close its Aberdeen manufacturing facilities. RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said; “The Weatherford announcement is grim news for the offshore industry and is a consequence of both industry and government failings…” read more
RMT members to strike at rail infrastructure firm Clarke Chapman over refusal to table pay award – RMT members working at Clarke Chapman Facilities Management will be taking strike action and action short of a strike following a ballot after the company refused to table a pay award. Clarke Chapman is infrastructure maintenance and renewals company that maintain the mobile maintenance for Ontrack plant, wagons and equipment. Members are instructed to take STRIKE action by not to booking on for any shifts that commence between:-
- 00:01 hours on Saturday 30th January 2021 and 23:59 hours on Monday 1st February 2021.
- 00:01 hours on Saturday 6th February 2021 and 23:59 hours on Monday 8th February 2021.
Additionally, the following industrial action has also been called:-
- A rest day working ban and an overtime ban between 00:01 hours on Tuesday 2nd February 2021 and 23:59 hours on Friday 5th February 2021 read more
Support RMT strike on SERCO Caledonian Sleeper – Email messages of support via [email protected] and send donations to RMT, Unity House, 39 Chalton Street, London, NW1 1JD read more Sign RMT petition demanding Transport Scotland takes action over worker fatigue on the Serco Caledonian Sleeper
Sign petition: to The Mayor of London and the London Assembly – End the privatisation of cleaning at Transport for London
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
Hays Travel shop closures “sad but inevitable” says TSSA (25 Jan) – Responding to news that Hays Travel is closing 89 shops, travel trade union TSSA says it’s “a sad but inevitable move” and accuses the government of recklessness. It is unclear how many of the 388 jobs at risk will be able to transfer to home working or other alternative roles read more
Another Bridge Collapse – TSSA Warns On Rail Safety (20 Jan) – TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, is warning it is “highly likely” there will be more incidents like the one which saw part of a bridge collapse last week (15 January) close to the site of the Stonehaven derailment – unless Network Rail (NR) abandons plans to break up civil engineering contracts. The most recent collapse follows a similar incident over Christmas in London read more
TSSA Demands Government Action To Save Eurostar (19 Jan) – TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has called on the Government to “stop playing fast and loose” with Eurostar’s future after the channel tunnel train operator called for a bailout as a result of the collapse in rail travel to and from the continent. Eurostar has been running just a handful of services a day and is warning it could run out of cash this summer, having seen passenger numbers drop by 95 per cent since the start of the pandemic in March last year read more
Online rally 7pm Tuesday 26 January: Save Our Croydon – In November 2020, Croydon Council was forced to issue a s114 notice, effectively meaning the local authority is bankrupt. While there have been local issues leading up to this, it comes after a decade of Tory government austerity, which has seen the borough’s central funding cut by 76% since 2010 and essential services slashed. Croydon Council has since announced a programme of cuts to reduce the budget deficit, but this means many more council jobs will be lost and vital local services vastly reduced or scrapped altogether. The terms and conditions of council workers could also be at risk, though they are key workers who have kept the borough running through multiple Covid-19 lockdowns. Unite the Union, Unison and the GMB union have pulled together to defend our members’ jobs and local services. Join us for an online rally on 26th January at 7pm to hear from a range of speakers about what impact the cuts are having locally and how we can come together to fight for a better future read more
BREAKING NEWS!! Quorn ‘pay beef’ at Teesside factory risks meat-free supermarket shortages (26 Jan) – A Quorn Foods ‘pay beef’ at its Teesside meat-free paste production factory risks shortages of the company’s products in supermarket aisles, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said today (Tuesday 26 January). A series of discontinuous strikes at the Billingham factory of Marlow Foods Limited, which trades under Quorn Foods, will begin on 5 February and conclude on 13 February, with continuous strike action planned from 14 February if the dispute is not resolved. Socially distanced picket lines will be held outside of the factory’s entrance. Unite said ‘it is well known that many of Quorn’s customers do not like beef and they, and the supermarkets, will not be happy if there are shortages of the company’s meat-free alternatives’. More than 60 production workers, including lab, maintenance, electricians and stores staff, will take part in the strike action, as well as an overtime ban commencing on 1 February. The dispute is over a ‘paltry’ two per cent pay offer that does not reflect their efforts in ensuring the profitable company’s growth during the pandemic read more
BREAKING NEWS!! Two Hackney education disputes come to a head with three days of strikes in February (26 Jan) – Two separate industrial disputes affecting schools in east London will lead to three days of strike action in February, Unite the union announced today (Tuesday 26 January). Ten teaching support staff at the Colvestone primary school and the Thomas Fairchild community school, part of the Hackney-based Soaring Skies Federation which educates more than 600 children, will strike over potentially more than 18 jobs being at risk out of about 30-strong teaching support staff. The 32 drivers and passenger assistants, who take disabled children to and from school in Hackney, voted unanimously to strike over the failure of their employer, the borough council, to make a one-off £500 Covid-19 payment and other health & safety issues. Both strikes will begin at 00:01 on Wednesday 10 February continuing each day up to Friday 12 February, ending at 24:00. Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “These two long-running disputes are coming home to roost for the respective employers in Hackney when ‘education’ is at the top of the political agenda…” read more
Healthcare students on unpaid placements should be covered by Covid-19 £60,000 life assurance scheme, says Unite (26 Jan) – Thousands of healthcare students carrying out unpaid placements should be covered by the £60,000 lump sum life assurance if they succumb to Covid-19, Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, said today (Tuesday 26 January). Unite has written to the health and social care secretary Matt Hancock asking him to close the loophole in NHS and Social Care Coronavirus Life Assurance Scheme 2020 as a matter of urgency. The scheme allows for a £60,000 lump sum payment to be paid to families, if a health or social care worker dies as a result of Covid-19 read more
McCluskey to government: Publish impact of bad bosses threat to UK workers (25 Jan) – The leader of the country’s leading union, Unite, is demanding that the government discloses the full impact of any roll-back of workers’ rights on the country’s millions of women, vulnerable and minority workers. Unite general secretary, Len McCluskey has written to Kwasi Kwarteng, the minister responsible for the ‘review’, to demand not only that an equalities impact assessment of any changes is undertaken and published in full, but also that the secretary of state sets out clearly how he intends to engage trade unions in the review process. Unite has described efforts to cut rights as a ‘bad bosses’ charter’, a gift to rogue employers which will force workers to work longer hours, lower pay and seriously undermine family life read more
Public ‘implored’ to follow Covid rules after death of ‘well-loved and respected’ Brighton bus driver and Unite rep Christopher Turnham (25 Jan) – Unite has paid tribute to ‘well-loved and respected’ Brighton bus driver Christopher Turnham following his death last week from Covid-19 and, along with Christopher’s family, ‘implored’ people to stick to social distancing and mask wearing rules. 58-year-old Christopher was a popular driver for Brighton and Hove buses for 17 years and regularly drove the 28 and 29 routes. He was also a longstanding Unite workplace representative dedicated to looking after his colleagues. Tragically, Christopher died on Wednesday 20 January shortly after falling ill with coronavirus. Unite said that there is no indication of where Christopher came into contact with the virus. The union also made clear that Brighton and Hove buses have been working with Unite throughout the pandemic to ensure that it buses, depots and other workplaces are as Covid secure as possible read more
Strike ballot in Manchester bus drivers fire and rehire dispute (25 Jan) – Unite, the UK’s leading union, will begin balloting its members at bus company Go North West in Manchester for strike action this week, in a dispute over the company’s decision to impose new contracts of employment by firing and rehiring its workforce, resulting in cuts to jobs, pay and conditions. Go North West, which is part of the Go Ahead Group, first threatened to fire and rehire its workforce last summer but Unite was able to get the process halted and entered into negotiations. The union proposed a million pounds worth of savings and in addition a further saving of £200,000 as a result of accepting a year long pay freeze for the workers based at the Queens Road Depot read more
Unite calls on First Bus Bannockburn to close depot as Covid outbreak spreads (24 Jan) – Unite Scotland has voiced growing concerns for the health and well-being of the Bannockburn First Bus depot workforce. During the week it was revealed that First Bus was reducing services out of the depot after a number of staff members tested positive for coronavirus. Unite has been informed that there are presently 28 positive cases of Covid-19 which represents over half the workforce at the depot, which follows a significant rise of positive cases in the Forth Valley region. The nation’s leading transport trade union has now called on First Bus to consider immediately closing the depot, and to provide full-pay for all those workers where it would be unfeasible to work from another depot or who are having to self-isolate due to the outbreak read more
Heathrow Airport braced for fresh strikes in ‘bitter’ fire and rehire dispute (22 Jan) – Unite members at Heathrow Airport Ltd (HAL) will undertake renewed strike action next month in the increasingly bitter dispute over the company’s decision to fire and rehire its entire workforce, which is forcing many workers into poverty. The workforce took four days of strike action last December and have now announced that they will take strike action on Friday 5 February. Different groups of workers will be striking at different times on this date. Unite members recorded an 84 per cent yes vote for strike action and the targeted action will involve: firefighters, engineers, campus security, baggage operations, central terminal operations, landside and airside operations. The dispute is a result of HAL firing and rehiring its entire 4,000 strong workforce on vastly inferior contracts, resulting in workers facing pay cuts of up to 25 per cent (£8,000 per annum) read more
Impasse as housing association presses ahead with routine repairs, despite Covid-19 fears, says Unite (21 Jan) – Clarion Housing Group, one of the UK’s largest social landlords, is still continuing to insist on pushing ahead with routine repairs at its properties, despite some residents being Covid-19 positive, Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, said today (Thursday 21 January). Yesterday (Wednesday 20 January), Unite had a meeting with senior management, following a petition of more than 200 maintenance staff being presented calling for ‘essential repairs only’ as the pandemic continues to be widespread read more
DHL Dartford strike ballot over suspended union rep mirrors company-wide ‘union busting’, says Unite (21 Jan) – More than 350 DHL staff at Sainsbury’s Dartford regional distribution centre are being balloted for industrial action after a Unite representative’s ‘completely unjustified’ suspension for representing a member of staff. The ballot comes after a number of incidents of attempted ‘union busting’ at DHL sites across the country. Unite, the UK’s leading union, believes the deterioration of industrial relations is linked to DHL’s management ‘testing the waters during the uncertainty of the pandemic to see if union activity, and the protections it affords staff, can be weakened’. The Dartford Sainsbury’s regional distribution ballot was called after a Unite steward, who was providing support to a member of staff during an investigation hearing, was suspended for challenging a DHL managers’ version of events. The reason given for the suspension by the manager was that the Unite steward was being aggressive – an accusation flatly contradicted by a neutral member of staff who was present at the meeting as a third party. In December, DHL managers called police ‘at least 10 times’ to a peaceful picket line in the Croxeth area of Liverpool. The picket line was made up of DHL workers on the Burton Biscuits contract, who are striking over low pay, victimisation of workers and the complete collapse of industrial relations. DHL union reps have also been targeted or disregarded at other sites in Halewood, Merseyside, and Solihull, West Midlands, in recent weeks read more
Wheels fall off Wagon Wheel negotiations as DHL Liverpool contract prepares for fresh strike action – Hopes that further strike action by workers on the DHL Supply Chain contract in Liverpool could be avoided have been dashed as negotiations have collapsed. The 120 strong workforce undertake the delivery contract for Burton biscuits, which includes the Wagon Wheel and Jammie Dodger brands, and AB World Foods, including the Patak curry range and the Blue Dragon Chinese food range. The dispute is a result of low pay, with warehouse operatives being paid just above the minimum wage, as well as the systematic victimisation of workers, which has resulted in the complete breakdown in industrial relations. Strikes began on 19 December but Unite called off five days of planned strike action after DHL promised to make a ‘significantly improved offer’. However, when negotiations took place last week, it became apparent that DHL had reneged on its promise, only offering a three year deal rather than two years, with no significant pay increase being offered. As a result, the workforce will be undertaking strike action this week on Wednesday 20 and Thursday 21 January. Further strike dates have been announced for next month (2, 3, 4, 5, 8 and 9 February) with additional dates being considered read more
Unite welcomes Unilever’s pledge to ensure supply chain workers receive living wage (21 Jan) – Unite, the UK’s leading union, has welcomed a pledge by consumer giant Unilever to ensure that all workers in its global supply chain receive a living wage – ‘hopefully’ before the company’s target date of 2030. The union, which represents Unilever workers across the UK, called on the company to work with Unite to ensure that supply chain workers in the UK are paid the real living wage set by the Living Wage Foundation read more
Unite calls on offshore contractor Bilfinger to come to negotiating table over slashed terms and conditions (20 Jan) – Unite Scotland has today called on Bilfinger to meet with union representatives in response to the company slashing the terms and conditions of hundreds of offshore contract workers. Bilfinger left the Offshore Contractors Association in 2015, and unilaterally changed the terms and conditions of the workforce by cutting stand-by and de-recognising trade unions. Unite is calling for the base rate of the workforce to be increased by 69 pence from 1 January 2021 due to a pay freeze last year, and that a full recognition agreement is put in place between Bilfinger and the trade unions to ensure future collective bargaining. Last year, Bilfinger also refused to engage in discussions with the offshore trade unions and other contractors over the development of a new Energy Services Agreement (ESA), which would ensure a consistent base rate for all offshore workers read more
British Steel’s Scunthorpe site facing disruption as scaffolders take strike action over pay (20 Jan) – The British Steel site in Scunthorpe faces disruption next week as scaffolders at the plant employed by contractor Brand Energy begin strike action in a dispute over pay. The 50 plus scaffolders, who are members of the construction union Unite, are responsible for the maintenance of over 500 scaffolding structures at the Scunthorpe site. The dispute is over pay and began in 2019. The workers are seeking to be paid in line with the National Agreement for the Engineering Construction Industry (NAECI). There is a difference of £2.00 an hour between their current pay rates and the established NAECI pay rates. Since 2019, Brand Energy has refused to engage with Unite over the pay dispute, leaving the union with no option but to ballot for strike action. The workforce delivered a resounding 100 per cent yes vote in favour of strike action. Unite has called a total of six days of strikes over the coming weeks, with the first 48 hour strike beginning on Monday 25 January at 05:30 read more
Public sector agreement: Unite representatives issue no recommendation prior to balloting (Jan 20) – Online meeting also hears demands for FEMPI to be scrapped. Unite public sector representatives met online last night to discuss the proposed public sector agreement, Building Momentum. The meeting decided not to issue a recommendation prior to putting the agreement to a ballot of members, the result of which will be known on Friday February 12th. Unite will then cast its votes at the ICTU Public Service Committee’s aggregate ballot on Monday February 15th. In addition to discussing the proposed public sector agreement, representatives reflected the strong view of members that unions should press for FEMPI to be repealed as a priority read more
Yorkshire RAF flights face being grounded during industrial action over £5,000 Babcock pay disparity – Fighter jet training flights at RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire face being grounded during industrial action by civilian Babcock workers at the airbase over an annual £5,000 shift pay disparity, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said today (Tuesday 19 January). Around 40 Babcock Aerospace staff, who provide operational and engineering services for aircraft at RAF Leeming, including the Hawk trainer aircraft, will tomorrow (Wednesday 20 January) begin three weeks of discontinuous strike action as well as a continuous overtime ban. The Unite members voted in favour of strike action after being refused shift pay, even though their colleagues at RAF Valley in Wales receive it for performing the same duties. The difference in take home wages between those who receive shift pay and those who do not amounts to around £5,000 a year. Unite said the workers do not want to take strike action but have been forced to over Babcock’s ‘outright refusal to treat them on an equal footing with the company’s other workers’ read more
Unite calls on 2 Sisters food group to provide full pay for self-isolating workers at Coupar Angus site following new Covid outbreak (19 Jan) – Unite Scotland has called for the 2 Sisters food group to provide full pay for any workers having to self-isolate and who have been told not to return to the workplace due to a new Covid outbreak. Following on from a major outbreak at the 2 Sisters site in Coupar Angus in August 2020, which led to the factory closing for two weeks, another outbreak occurred over New Year. Back in August 2020, 200 workers tested positive for the virus and as of Friday 15 January, 23 workers have tested positive and 66 were self-isolating read more
Northern England facing ‘crispstrophe’ as Eddie Stobart drivers on Walkers contract prepare for strike action – Consumers across northern England should brace themselves for a ‘crispstrophe’ as the drivers responsible for delivering Walkers crisps to supermarkets across the UK prepare to take strike action. The workers are employed by Eddie Stobart Ltd at its Warrington depot on the Walkers Pepsico contract. The workers returned a 96.7 per cent vote in favour of strike action before Christmas, as a result of Eddie Stobart trying to enforce a pay freeze on the drivers and refusing to enter into pay negotiations with Unite despite it being the recognised union. An overtime ban was instigated for a three week period which began on 26 December. However as Eddie Stobart has still declined to enter into pay talks a further overtime ban will commence from 00:01hrs on Saturday 23 January until 00:00hrs on Saturday 16 February, followed by four days of strike action from Sunday 17 February until Wednesday 20 February. Unite has also announced a further overtime ban from Saturday 20 February until Saturday 27 February and then a further three days of strike action from Sunday 28 February until Tuesday 2 March. Given the just in time nature of supermarket deliveries, Walkers products will swiftly disappear from shelves once strike action begins read more
Hull Croda workers to strike over years of missing holiday pay – Hull workers at chemical giant Croda Europe Ltd will take industrial action, including strike action, over years of missing holiday pay, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said today (Tuesday 22 December). Around 90 Croda workers, who are members of Unite, were balloted for strike action in November over the company’s failure to incorporate holiday entitlement into their shift rotas at its Oak Road site. In a ballot with an 80 per cent turnout, nearly 90 per cent voted in favour of industrial action, which will take place in January. Shift workers at the factory have suffered miscalculations in their annual leave for as long as 21 years, with long serving staff owed thousands of pounds in holiday back pay read more
Sign petition: St Mungo’s brutal treatment of BAME worker opposed by Unite – Without income for twenty-one weeks. Female worker comes to the end of a period of sickness during the pandemic. Health conditions put her at raised risk. She is also older and from a BAME background. Her normal job would expose her to further increased risk. Rather than furlough her or find her alternative work the employer simply stops her pay without going through any personnel procedure. Management reject appeals to senior levels from Unite leaving the worker without income and desperate for twenty-one weeks
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: 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
BREAKING NEWS!! 28 January join PCS meeting for DVLA members – In light of the DVLA’s continued refusal to drastically reduce the numbers continuing to work at sites experiencing the UK’s biggest workplace Covid-19 outbreak, we are holding a members’ Zoom meeting at 7pm on Thursday (28). PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka is urging the DVLA to adopt UK government advice to stay at home and save lives. Failing to do so is putting staff at risk and has caused the biggest workplace Covid outbreak in the UK. We are currently consulting our members and will consider all options. MPs on the parliamentary transport committee are holding an urgent evidence session at 9.30am tomorrow (27) to examine the circumstances behind the DVLA outbreak read more
Commonwealth War Graves Commission staff still waiting for answers (22 Jan) – Progress has been made but further concessions are needed for members based in Europe. Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) staff are British citizens who serve overseas in countries such as Belgium and France, maintaining and caring for the cemeteries of those killed in the first and second world wars read more
PCS calls for immediate courts and tribunals Covid safety review (20 Jan) – PCS is calling for an immediate review of safety arrangements across HM courts and tribunals service amid increasing concerns that courts are unsafe as the number of Covid-19 cases rises sharply. We have told Kevin Sadler, acting CEO of HMCTS that there has been a failure to implement measures to ensure that all buildings are Covid-19 secure. In a joint statement sent today by our general secretary Mark Serwotka with a number of organisations representing staff in the justice sector, including Napo, POA, FDA and The Criminal Bar Association, we say HMCTS has failed to take timely and appropriate action to improve safety arrangements as levels of transmission of Covid-19 in courts and tribunals buildings have escalated. There have been more than 600 positive cases among professional court users across the HMCTS estate since 24 November, which evidences the alarming extent of the crisis emerging in the justice sector. If HMCTS continues to fail to take action to ensure that transmission levels are significantly reduced and professional, lay and public court users remain safe, then further action will be necessary read more
Join our big payday zoom rally (18 Jan) – With the 2021 pay freeze announced by the government looming PCS is holding a series of regional and nation meetings on Friday 29 January to update members in the civil service on the campaign. These meetings will take place over the lunchtime period by zoom details here
PCS pressure leads to strengthening of work from home message but courts, DVLA and jobcentres should close (18 Jan) – Courts, jobcentres and DVLA Swansea should be closed temporarily and immediately because of the rapidly rising Covid infection rates, urges PCS, as the Cabinet Office strengthens its work from home message read more
PCS launch petition and pledge to fight redundancies at National Museums in Liverpool – 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 Museums 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
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
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
Tonight Tuesday January 26th 6.30pm: Stop The British Gas Fire Rally – LIVE! Facebook event
British Gas engineers strike for eighth day as service backlog set to hit 150,000 customers (25 Jan) – Reckless British Gas provoked the dispute leaving backlog growing at treble the 6,000 a day admitted by the company. GMB British Gas members across the country embark on strike day eight today over the company’s fire and rehire threat. The workers are in dispute over the profitable company’s attempt to impose hourly rates 15% below agreed rates and other detrimental changes. Meanwhile the backlog of customers waiting for service has reached a massive 150,000 as a result of the industrial action British Gas has provoked. GMB members at British Gas will also withdraw their labour on Friday 29, Saturday 30, Sunday 31 January and Monday February 1 read more
British Gas customers oppose fire and rehire plan and support strike, poll shows (24 Jan) – Survation poll shows British Gas customers think cuts should come from top brass salaries and dividends rather than workers. Almost three quarters of British Gas customers support the strike against fire and rehire of all engineers, new polling shows. Customers were also asked where the priority should be if savings had to be made – 76% said that the first port of call should be reducing senior managers’ salaries or shareholder dividends ahead of changing employees terms and conditions read more
Support the GMB strike against ‘fire and rehire at British Gas – send a message of support and donate to the GMB British Gas ‘Fire and Rehire’ Strike Fund
Devastating Covid workplace death figures need immediate response (25 Jan) – Almost a year on and workers are still dying from occupational exposure, says union. GMB, Britain’s general union, has spoken out after ONS figures found that at least eight thousand working age deaths were linked to COVID-19 in England and Wales in 2020. Workers in some occupations were much more likely to die than others, according to the new official figures read more
Wilko attacks keyworker heroes by cutting sick pay (25 Jan) – GMB has informed Wilko that if these draconian measures go ahead, they face a ballot for industrial action. High street retailer Wilko has ‘rewarded’ its keyworker heroes by cutting their sick pay, GMB has said. The discount high street chain remained open throughout the pandemic thanks to the hard work and dedication of their employees – and remained open on Boxing Day unlike many other retailers. Wilko has repaid this loyalty by announcing devastating cuts to the sick pay of their staff. Currently Wilko employees are entitled to up to four occasions of sickness on company sick pay before reverting to the first three days of sick leave unpaid. But from the February 1, if a Wilko employee has a single day of sickness they will have no further entitlement to company sick pay for the next 12 months. Many of these workers are on minimum wage, low hours and also have no entitlement to statutory sick pay which will leave them with no income if they become ill read more
Border shutdown: Govt must protect aviation industry from total collapse (22 Jan) – Aviation workers cannot simply be thrown on the scrap heap because the Government refuses to listen to unions and employers, says GMB Union. GMB Union says the Government must step in to protect the aviation industry from ‘total collapse’ amid rumours of a full UK border shutdown. This morning cabinet minister George Eustice said the Government has considered the possibility of closing the borders to travellers to prevent new strains of Covid being spread in the UK read more
Stronger action needed as thousands of emergency workers assaulted (22 Jan) – Ambulance workers’ union warns that Crown Prosecution Service figures are ‘tip of the iceberg’. GMB, the union for ambulance workers, has responded to new Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) figures on assaults against emergency workers that were linked to COVID-19 read more
GMB condemn FirstPort for sacking Supported Living Manager for trying to save Christmas (22 Jan) – “FirstPort are worse than Scrooge. At least Scrooge didn’t sack Bob Cratchit for organising a Christmas dinner”, say GMB. GMB, the union for workers in the care sector, condemn the supported living provider FirstPort, for sacking and evicting a supported living manager for arranging a lawful Christmas lunch for residents read more
Stoke-on-Trent City Council plans to axe ‘essential’ teen pregnancy team (21 Jan) – Cuts leave working families, young mothers and children without community support. Stoke-on-Trent City Council plans to axe its teenage pregnancy team as part of its 2021/22 budget. The STAR team, which stands for Sex, Teenagers and Relationships, is a team dedicated to providing confidential help, support and advice to the vulnerable children of the community. The team of 6 has been supporting children across Stoke-on-Trent since 2007 and employs 6 workers, including a reintegration officer that assists young mothers, but has faced drastic cuts in recent years read more
Analysis: Covid absence rate higher for school support staff than teachers (20 Jan) – Vaccine access must be ‘urgent priority’ as official figures show 33,000 support staff workers absent due to covid in December. GMB, the union for school support staff, has called for urgent occupational priority for vaccination for school workers as new figures show that more support staff workers were more likely to be absent from work due to covid-19 than teachers. The figures, which cover schools in England only, were published by the Department for Education (DfE) this week. A total of 33,267 school support staff workers were absent on 17 December 17, 2020 for covid-19 related reasons, including confirmed and suspected infections and those who were required to isolate due to exposure inside or outside school read more
Sign the GMB petition against the academisation of these Sussex schools! – We oppose the plans to turn Peacehaven Heights and Telscombe Cliffs Primary Schools in to academies. Sign our petition below if you oppose them too! GMB, the union for school support staff, oppose any plans to turn state schools into academies. That is why we have set up a petition against the academisation of Peacehaven Heights and Telscombe Cliffs Primary Schools in East Sussex. Please sign and share our petition if you agree, at https://www.gmb-southern.org.uk/stop-the-academisation-of-peacehaven-heights-and-telscombe-cliffs-schools. Our flyer for distribution is also available to download on this page too! Read more
Minsters must wake up to the Covid threat in nurseries (22 Jan) – New report paints a stark picture of the fear and anxiety. Responding to an Early Years Alliance report released today (Friday), which found that around half of early years staff don’t feel safe in their current working environment, UNISON head of education Jon Richards said: “The report paints a stark picture of the fear and anxiety that nursery staff feel. They’re in workplaces that are fully open during the lockdown with no social distancing, where masks can’t be worn and where testing isn’t taking place. It’s no surprise they feel so vulnerable..” read more
UNISON calls on Environment Agency to strengthen its health and safety measures (22 Jan) – Unions seek urgent review of risk assessments to tackle new COVID-19 variant. During the pandemic, UNISON has engaged positively with the Environment Agency on a range of health and safety issues. However, the increased transmission rates of the new COVID-19 variant has led to calls from UNISON and other unions, including Prospect, GMB and Unite, for the agency to review its risk assessments read more
Government must help struggling councils urgently (22 Jan) – Many are already on the brink financially. Commenting on the Public Accounts Committee report into local government finance, UNISON head of local government Jon Richards said today (Friday). “Councils are facing massive pressures because of the extra responsibilities of the pandemic, many of them already on the brink financially…” read more
DfE stats reveal high level of COVID infections among school staff (20 Jan) – Estimates put 39% of teachers and school leaders and 51% of teaching assistants and other staff are working on-site in open settings in the current lockdown read more
Carmarthenshire County Unison Branch Members Bulletin 37 | Trade Union Action needed – Mass Co-Ordinated Trade Union Action Needed To Smash the Pay Freeze read more
Royal Mail Pathway to Change: Key Principles Framework read more
Anger and despair as “cruelly incompetent” BT Corporate Units shake-up scores new HR lows (Jan 25) – Members in scope for possible compulsory redundancy in BT’s Corporate Units HR ‘Colleague Experience and Delivery teams’ have lashed out at their disgraceful treatment in a shambolic consultation process that is generating anger and despair in equal measure. A week and a half after the grim news that more than half of the 100-plus team members were being placed ‘at risk’ as result of the centralisation of work areas currently conducted across the UK into just two locations, a chaotic picture is emerging of almost unbelievable management incompetence in a process that lurches from bad to worse. Some of the very worst examples involve individuals in the HR team at Yarnfield Park who were already mid-way through a consultation regarding the relocation of their work to BT’s massive new Snow Hill site in Birmingham – a move associated with BT’s so-called ‘Better Workplace ‘site rationalisation programme read more
New Openreach role a “race to the bottom” that will be fought tooth and nail, warns CWU (21 Jan) – Openreach bosses have been left in no doubt about the union’s anger over company plans to trial an unagreed new engineering role that undercuts existing terms & conditions and casts a huge question mark over the future job security of the existing workforce. With recruitment to test out what the company describes as ‘simple Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) provision’ due to commence imminently – despite urgent CWU calls for a management rethink – the union has this week moved decisively to place on record its total opposition to a “race to the bottom that is gathering pace” read more
New redundancy bombshell for Technology and Enterprise members following ‘bizarre and shambolic’ IT outsourcing announcement (Jan 19) – It’s been a torrid day for members of BT’s Digital Workplace Services Team with the disconcerting announcement of an imminent TUPE transfer to a new employer being followed up with the devastating news that the move will place some at immediate risk of compulsory redundancy. The staggered drip-feed of bad tidings commenced at 10am this morning (Tuesday) when all 86 team members of the Digital Workplace Services Team learned, in an ‘all hands’ online video call, that they are in scope for TUPE transfer to Computacenter on April 1 read more
Blunt warning to the whole of BT Group as industrial action ballot commences in Openreach – The first statutory industrial action ballot in BT Group in more than a decade is now underway, with Openreach management reaping the consequences of their steadfast refusal to address the legitimate concerns of Repayment Project Engineers (RPEs) over imposed changes to their grading and job descriptions. Today (Jan 14) voting papers are being issued to the small but fiercely loyal group of CWU members who last September took the highly unusual step of asking the union to register their readiness to take strike action against the inflammatory management move – voting ‘Yes’ by nine-to-one in a 92% consultative ballot turnout read more
FBU responds to “political and biased” HMICFRS report (22 Jan) – The government’s fire service inspectorate has made a political attack on firefighters and the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) in an attempt to water down firefighter safety mid-pandemic. Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) claimed the FBU had “prevented” firefighters in England from helping communities during the pandemic, an apparent reference to the union’s refusal to let bosses water down safety measures earlier this month. The FBU has helped firefighters to assist the health and social care sector since March and was in the process of negotiating safety measures for firefighters to be involved in mass-vaccination, when fire service bosses unilaterally collapsed the agreement. But HMICFRS called the safety guarantees in the agreement “more of a hindrance than a help” and advocated for Chief Fire Officers to have the authority to water down safety without negotiation. MPs and trade unions have spoken out in the FBU’s defence, rejecting the “stitch up” and vowing to stand by firefighters. But government minister Stephen Greenhalgh accused the union of preventing firefighters from volunteering, sharing a picture of firefighters during the Blitz to try and suggest firefighters weren’t responding to the coronavirus crisis as they had then. Responding to the report, Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “This report is a political and biased attack on firefighters. It is neither evidence based nor an independent report and is instead full of untruths and omissions and we totally reject it. While firefighters are out tackling fires, floods and the pandemic, the HMICFRS didn’t even have the courtesy to speak to or provide us in advance with a copy of their report, which was passed to us by a journalist…” read more
Further Covid safety guidance (19 Jan) – Going out today to Napo members working in the NPS and CRCs: Agreements on operations in Courts and Prisons plus further guidance for those living with people who are clinically extremely vulnerable read more
Trade unions and legal professionals unite in their concerns over safety at courts (21 Jan) – Representatives of various legal professional bodies (including the Criminal Bar Association) and trade unions are calling for an immediate review of safety arrangements across the HMCTS estate amidst rising concerns that courts are unsafe and fail to implement measures to ensure that all buildings are Covid-19 secure. These calls come as a result of rising concern over escalating levels of transmission of Covid-19 in courts and tribunals buildings and the failure of HMCTS to take timely and appropriate action to improve safety arrangements. Confirmation of over 600 positive cases amongst professional court users since 24th November across the HMCTS estate, evidences the alarming extent of the crisis emerging in the justice sector. In a statement issued jointly by unions of court staff and the legal professional bodies it says that if HMCTS continue to fail to take remedial action to ensure that transmission levels are significantly reduced and professional, lay and public court users remain safe then further action will be necessary read more
Sign ‘War on Want’ petition: END SEXUAL HARASSMENT AT MCDONALD’S – McDonald’s has a sexual harassment problem. Women from across the world are joining together and speaking out about the harassment they have faced whilst working at the company. Workers in the USA have even been on strike about it. But still McDonald’s is refusing to take the action needed to end sexual harassment in its restaurants. The evidence is clear: a formal complaint submitted by workers in May 2020 shows at least seven countries where McDonald’s has failed to properly address harassment complaints, and the company’s global CEO even had to resign because of inappropriate relationships with employees. Please email McDonald’s UK CEO today and demand that the company listens to its workers and takes steps to end sexual harassment
Staff at #Sywell Primary #Northampton to strike with parents support against a takeover of their school. Press release here
Sign petition and support the strikes to Reinstate Sharon Morgan LONDON DESIGN AND ENGINEERING UTC Newham – At the start of this term, teacher and NEU rep Sharon Morgan was summarily dismissed from her job by London Design and Engineering UTC. Sharon was sacked without due process, with no formal investigation or a hearing where she could put her case. At an employment tribunal the judge described LDE’s behaviour as “morally reprehensible” and LDE subsequently agreed to reinstate Sharon. But the next day LDE changed their mind and refused to reinstate her. In reality, Sharon was sacked for helping NEU members stand up for better working conditions for staff, in the interests of the whole school community. This is trade union victimisation and it’s unacceptable. The sacking of Sharon is an attack on all trade unionists at LDE, in Newham, and everywhere. There are further strikes this week from Tuesday to Thursday
Support Newham Little Ilford School strikes against unsafe expansion – NEU members are taking strike action at the enormous comprehensive in Manor Park, east London, which already teaches 1,470 students. Labour-run Newham Council wants it to take 1,800. Sign petition: Newham Council is trying to force Little Ilford School to expand to 1800 pupils. But expanding will mean an overcrowded school and an overwhelming environment for all staff and pupils. It will undermine the quality of education and care that can be provided to pupils. And the expansion is opposed by virtually the entire staff body
Race being ignored in school covid safety plans (23 Jan) – Nearly two-thirds (64%) of black teachers do not feel their school or college has done enough to address the specific and increased risks that black and minority ethnic staff face from Covid-19, a poll conducted by NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, has found read more
IOM ministers must address teachers’ concerns (19 Jan) – The NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, is pausing its current campaign of action short of strike action to support negotiations with the DESC over the ongoing concerns of members about pay, conditions of service and workload. The Union will not hesitate to ballot members for further action if the necessary positive progress is not made by Ministers in addressing their concerns read more
UCU vows to fight closure of Goole College (21 Jan updated 25 Jan) – UCU vowed to fight the proposed closure of Goole College at the end of this academic year. The union said the closure of the college, which is run by Hull College Group, would be a ‘hammer blow’ for the town, leaving 22 staff and 170 students in the lurch. In an interview with FE Week, Hull College Group interim chief executive Lowell Williams refused to rule out redundancies and said that students would have to continue their studies with other local providers read more
UCU fighting fund: the link is here and donations to the fund are spent on supporting members involved in important disputes. As always, members are asked to contribute whatever their circumstances allow. A donation in solidarity of any amount will be gratefully received by members taking action.
NUJ alarm over cuts at Iconic Newspapers group (22 Jan) – The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has expressed alarm at the imposition of another round of cuts by Iconic Newspapers, the company controlled by UK businessman Malcolm Denmark. The move was announced to staff this week without prior consultation with the NUJ or staff representatives. The proposals include lay-offs, as well as cuts to hours and pay of staff who remain at work. The NUJ is seeking clarification of the cuts and officials are liaising with members employed in the group read more
The BBC has “defended the indefensible” by spending more than £1m fighting discrimination cases (22 Jan) – The BBC has disclosed it paid more than £1 million to external barristers and solicitors to deal with tribunal claims brought by staff in equal pay and race discrimination cases. The BBC was unable to put a figure on additional costs of using in-house lawyers to deal with staff allegations concerning equal pay or race discrimination. However, it acknowledges that more than 2,000 hours were spent on such cases. The figures do not cover costs of ongoing tribunal claims read more
Workers have a right to know when they are being digitally monitored (19 Jan) – Digital surveillance at work is becoming increasingly prevalent. This has been highlighted by the Labour Party’s call today, echoing Prospect’s recent call, for the Information Commissioner’s Office to update its Code of Employment Practices to reflect the changing world of work read more
Open letter to Chancellor and Secretary of State: Equity members need financial support (25 Jan) – Dear Chancellor and Secretary of State, Equity members are in urgent need of financial support. Creative workers have endured a year of devastating blows, with lockdowns, tier systems and the recent cancellation of all indoor and outdoor performances. Tentative attempts to return to work in the sector have repeatedly met with disappointment as social distancing restrictions tighten, while uncertain, shifting timelines have made it impossible for many creatives to plan for the future read more
Terrible day for the high street as Debenhams is sold to Boohoo – Usdaw calls on the Government to save our shops (25 Jan) – Retail trade union Usdaw is seeking urgent meetings with Debenhams’ administrators and urges them to treat staff with fairness and dignity, after news that the company brand has been sold to online only retailer Boohoo and all stores will be closed, impacting 12,000 jobs. The union is also calling on the Government to urgently act to save our high streets read more
Usdaw tells MPs’ inquiry that shopworkers need legal protection, with nearly 9 in 10 retail staff abused last year (20 Jan) – Retail trade union Usdaw has responded to a parliamentary inquiry into violence and abuse towards retail staff with a call for legislation to protect retail staff. Today the union released new statistics showing that nearly 9 in 10 shopworkers were abused last year. Last night the Scottish Parliament unanimously voted for a ground-breaking new law to protect shopworkers read more
Support the North London SAGE strike – Watch video of strike on UVW Facebook page
GET READY FOR ROUND 2! – The Sage care workers will walk out on a second strike from the 4th to the 8th of February. They’ve made it clear to Sage’s trustees that dignity in the workplace is non-negotiable. They deserve a living wage of £12 per hour, full pay sick pay and trade union recognition; and they won’t stop until they get it! If you want to support these workers in getting the respect and dignity they are long overdue, here’s what you can do:
1) Use our new letter writing tool to contact your MP calling on them to support the strike here
2) Use our new letter writing tool to send a message directly to Sage’s trustees calling on them to meet the workers’ demands here
3) Donate to the workers’ strike fund details here
Precarious workers demand campus shutdown and furlough with COVID-19 declared ‘Major Incident’ in London (19 Jan) – With COVID-19 declared a ‘major incident’ in London, precarious workers are still being compelled to provide cleaning and security services in non-essential buildings, while many doing essential work remain on zero hours contracts without adequate financial support if they have to self-isolate. The Universities of London branch of the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) are demanding hazard pay for essential work and the immediate closure of all non-essential sites, with those workers to be placed on furlough read more
Letter from Cardiff Trades Union Council to South Wales Police
Dear Mr. Michael and Mr. Vaughan – Cardiff Trades Union Council would like to express our deep concern at the death of Mohamud Muhammed Hassan and the subsequent events following his death.
Mohamud was arrested on Friday 8th January, held overnight in police custody at Cardiff Bay police station and released with injuries the following morning. He died later that day.
South Wales Police claim that he was not injured in its custody, but merely asserting that he was not harmed in their custody can never be enough to absolve the police or anyone else in such circumstances. It certainly is not enough to assuage the fears of his family, the Somali community and working people across Cardiff that Mohamud received fatal injuries at the hands of the police. At the very least the officers involved in his arrest and custody should have been suspended pending an enquiry.
We understand that the case has been referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) for investigation, but given the record of the IOPC and its forerunners in not successfully investigating miscarriages of justice in South Wales in the past, there is very little confidence in the impartiality of that investigation in the communities in Cardiff.
We are therefore calling for an independent enquiry including representatives of Mohamud’s family, the local community and trade unions.
We also wish to raise concerns at the police handling of the protests calling for justice for Mohamud. One of the most vocal critics of the police has been fined for breaking Covid regulations at the protests at Cardiff Bay police station.
We are concerned that the requirement of public safety in the Covid crisis are being used by the South Wales Police to deny civil and democratic rights. We do not accept that the rights that our movement have fought for for centuries can be suspended or abolished – the right to strike, to picket, to protest, to demonstrate and to hold the police to account for their actions. We do accept that safety measures must be put in place to take account of the crisis and to be proportional to the issues concerned.
There are obviously safety concerns involved with the gathering of people during the Covid crisis, but policing of this event has to take into account the inflamed distress of the local community at the death of a young man in these circumstances. By fining participants in this way the South Wales Police is showing huge insensitivity and reinforcing the perception that it does not regard Mohamud’s death as particularly significant. It would appear to be a warning against anyone who challenges the actions of the South Wales Police. This is of particular concern given the record of police forces harassing the relatives of murdered young black men.
Our members have reported that the protests at Cardiff Bay were relatively safe, with most of the participants masked and largely socially distanced, with hand gel available – all in an outdoor environment.
The most dangerous situations arose when police officers attempted to manhandle protesters off the road, completely breaking social distancing regulations, and which if successful would have endangered the safety of the participants and helped the spread of Covid by squeezing hundreds of people onto a narrow pavement.
Our trades council has been inundated with complaints from workers who are being forced by their employers to work 37 hours a week in unsafe conditions indoors. Yet to the best of our knowledge the South wales Police has done nothing to enforce regulations against these employers, even though this is a much more dangerous and widespread practice.
It would appear therefore that the fining of participants at the protests at Cardiff Bay is motivated by an attempt to deter the public from holding the police to account for their actions rather than a desire to protect the public from Covid.
Cardiff & Vale BLM has been demanding that officers’ body-worn camera footage is made public. Cardiff Trades Council supports that demand. The entire and unedited footage needs to be made public from the time officers first came upon the scene until the time Mohamud Mohammed Hassan was released from custody. Nothing less will satisfy the family and the community.
Many of the young people on the protests asked, “Who are the police meant to be protecting?” After what has happened to Mohamud and others in police custody, they do not feel safe. Our aim must be to hold the police fully accountable to those young people, to the local community and to working people throughout Cardiff.
We would be grateful if you would respond to our concerns and ensure that action is taken to address them.
Dave Bartlett (Secretary)
Fight blacklisting and victimisation of union reps
#SPYCops Inquiry exposes state surveillance of workers movement
The NSSN sends our solidarity and support to all those taking part in the Undercover Policing Inquiry who have suffered from state surveillance into the labour and trade union movement and a whole number of campaigns from anti-racism to environmentalism.
Watch video: ‘You’re Muted’ – What’s Up at the #SpyCopsInquiry? – Five minutes of highlights from the ‘Public’ Inquiry hearing evidence in secret about undercover policing in England and Wales since 1968
Blacklist Support Group opening statement to the public inquiry – Dave Smith posted this message on the BSG Facebook page:-
“I’d like to publicly thank everyone from around the globe who has sent messages of support after our opening statement at the undercover policing public inquiry. I was proud to deliver the speech on behalf of the Blacklist Support Group; but this is a collective endeavour. We got to this point by blacklisted union members working together with investigative journalists, campaigning lawyers, world class researchers, MPs, unions, anti-racist campaigns and rank & file activists. We stand shoulder to shoulder with all the non-state, non-police core participants in the public inquiry, especially our sister campaigns; Police Spies Out of Lives, Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance and the family justice campaigns. This is what solidarity looks like”.
Full text of the BSG opening statement is now online via the Hazards magazine website: https://www.hazards.org/blacklistblog/2020/11/17/blacklist-support-group-opening-statement-for-ucpi-dave-smith/
It can be watched via this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JegrwaVKRfs&feature=youtu.be
Some of the media coverage:
To support the ongoing campaign for justice, please share some of the press articles on social media
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 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VZ-QMA1FMg
Blacklist Support Group
Reinstate sacked Unite London bus rep Judith Katera – Judith a longstanding union rep and activist in Battersea garage in South London has been dismissed by Abellio. 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.
In October, she was facing a disciplinary meeting and possible dismissal. A solidarity protest was organised and then postponed because the disciplinary process wasn’t completed. However, she has discovered that the company sacked her on December 4th! She even had to contact the company to find out that she had been dismissed! Just a few weeks before Christmas, Judith was dismissed with no income. An online appeal has been set up to support Judith and her family.
Unite the union are ran a consultative ballot before Christmas to launch the campaign to get Judith reinstated. We understand that there was an overwhelming vote of support, which sends the message to Abellio that bus drivers in Battersea will fight to for Judith’s job and stop attacks on the union. We hope that such a vote will force management to reinstate Judith but if they still refuse, the union are now able to launch a full industrial action ballot.
The NSSN sends our support and solidarity to Judith, her members and her union Unite and pledge to do everything we can to get her reinstated. We will keep our supporters and affiliates fully informed of developments and any protests and action that are called. Stop union busting!
Sign petition: St Mungo’s brutal treatment of BAME worker opposed by Unite – Without income for twenty-one weeks. Female worker comes to the end of a period of sickness during the pandemic. Health conditions put her at raised risk. She is also older and from a BAME background. Her normal job would expose her to further increased risk. Rather than furlough her or find her alternative work the employer simply stops her pay without going through any personnel procedure. Management reject appeals to senior levels from Unite leaving the worker without income and desperate for twenty-one weeks
Sign petition and support the strikes to Reinstate Sharon Morgan LONDON DESIGN AND ENGINEERING UTC – At the start of this term, teacher and NEU rep Sharon Morgan was summarily dismissed from her job by London Design and Engineering UTC. Sharon was sacked without due process, with no formal investigation or a hearing where she could put her case. At an employment tribunal the judge described LDE’s behaviour as “morally reprehensible” and LDE subsequently agreed to reinstate Sharon. But the next day LDE changed their mind and refused to reinstate her. In reality, Sharon was sacked for helping NEU members stand up for better working conditions for staff, in the interests of the whole school community. This is trade union victimisation and it’s unacceptable. The sacking of Sharon is an attack on all trade unionists at LDE, in Newham, and everywhere
Security guard seeks ‘groundbreaking’ injunction to stop his ‘unlawful’ sacking in what his union UVW describes as the first case of its kind for a low paid worker (23 Nov) – A security guard at the Francis Crick Institute in London is set to face off against his employer Wilson James in an injunction hearing in what his trade union, United Voices of the World (UVW), has described as an “unprecedented legal showdown”. On 11th November after only 3 weeks in his new job Cetin Avsar, the security guard from Turkey bringing the legal action, received a letter inviting him to a probationary review hearing stating “[his] conduct has not reached the required standards” citing only his membership of his trade union, his previously having participated in a strike and his views, shard by his union, that outsourcing is ‘discriminatory’. The letter warned him that he might be dismissed after the hearing read more
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
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
USA: The strike is over. Bronx Teamsters back to work after winning produce market wage war read more from AMNY
Unite statement of solidarity with Indian farmers and workers read more
Stop union busting in Morocco! Read more on War on Want website
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