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. In the last two weeks, the Tories have had to u-turn over their proposed review of employment laws and regulations post-Brexit.
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. We will be hearing from workers and union reps involved in the increasing number of disputes.
Come to the online NSSN Zoom Public Meeting: Fight together against the Tories and Bosses COVID offensive – 12pm Sunday February 14th
Meeting ID: 844 4470 8960 Passcode: 889162
Stop union-busting at Abellio London buses – Reinstate sacked Unite London bus rep Judith Katera: appeal hearing Thursday 11th February and defend Moe Muhsin Manir – 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 had heard rumours about it from drivers and had to contact the company to have it confirmed 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 this 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 a disciplinary meeting on February 23rd, 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 launches SAVE EUROSTAR campaign and warns that political stand-off puts the vital rail link at risk (9 Feb) – RAIL UNION RMT today launched a formal campaign to SAVE EUROSTAR as fear grows that a political stand-off at national government level risks leaving the future of the vital green link to the continent under threat as the service is denied the emergency funding it needs to get through the current lockdown. RMT will be stepping up political campaigning and pressure and has launched a petition aimed at Transport Secretary Grant Shapps read more
RMT statement on Welsh government taking the Wales and Borders rail franchise into public ownership (8 Feb) – Commenting on the announcement that the Welsh government is taking the Wales and Borders rail franchise into public ownership, RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “This is a welcome and timely development and RMT will continue to make sure that the staff at the frontline of this new arrangement are properly looked after and properly rewarded…” read more
Joint statement on North Sea collective bargaining from Unite, GMB and RMT (4 Feb) – The establishment of a ground breaking new collective agreement for thousands of engineering and maintenance workers in the North Sea has gained the support of industry. A total of 13 major contractors from the offshore energy sector supply chain have confirmed they will sign up to the deal with the three unions involved, Unite, GMB and RMT. Additionally, and for the first time in the sector, the agreement is being supported by the majority of operators across the sector read more
RMT demands Government action and clarity over South African COVID variant on TFL and Merseyrail (4 Feb) – TRANSPORT UNION RMT confirmed today that it has written to the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, demanding action after the union revealed that both TfL and Merseyrail are instructing staff in the postcodes impacted by the South African variant of COVID-19 to attend work in apparent contravention of the Government’s own instructions to the public as set out through the media by Matt Hancock yesterday read more RMT blasts TfL for calling on staff in South African variant postcodes to come into work as normal
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
BREAKING NEWS!! TSSA Warning After Rail Worker Killed By Train (9 Feb) – TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has issued a safety warning after a railway track worker was struck and killed by a train this morning close to Surbiton Station on the South Western Railway (SWR). Emergency services are on the scene and an investigation into the incident, which happened around 11.38am, is ongoing. The person – who was working for Network Rail – has not been named. Two other workers who were nearby are not thought to have been hurt. The train involved was the 1106 service from London Waterloo to Hampton Court. All lines between Weybridge and Surbiton remain blocked. Disruption is expected until this evening. Commenting, Manuel Cortes said: “Our thoughts and sympathies are with the worker who has died and their family members. Any loss of life on our railways is a tragedy…” read more
TSSA welcomes Welsh rail public ownership (8 Feb) – Transport union TSSA today welcomes Welsh passenger rail services operating under public ownership and congratulates the Welsh Labour government for the move. The decision was taken last October and came into force today, Monday 8 February, with the creation of a new subsidiary called Transport for Wales. Passenger trains in Wales were previously run by a joint venture between Keolis, a subsidiary of France’s SNCF, and engineering contractor Amey. The two companies will continue to be responsible for tracks and other rail infrastructure read more
Lennon Hits Out at CalMac over Fuel Waste and Pay “Injustice” (5 Feb) – TSSA-backed Scottish Labour leadership candidate Monica Lennon today criticised CalMac for wasting fuel and damaging the environment running empty ferries during the Covid-19 pandemic read more
NORTHERN RAIL: Pay Freeze – “Thank You!” Is Not Enough (4 Feb) – Northern announce ‘pay freeze’ – As dictated to by the DfT and Rail Delivery Group, Northern Rail have informed all staff that, unless you earn less than £24,000 (basic salary), there will be no money forthcoming for a cost of living pay increase for both 2020 and 2021. Your unions Full Time Officals, and representatives expressed both their anger, frustration and contempt, by telling Northern Trains Ltd under no uncertain terms, that “Slapping our members with pay freezes is nothing more than a kick in the teeth for these essential key workers” read more
Tories show levelling down agenda for transport, says TSSA (3 Feb) – Transport union TSSA slams the government’s ‘levelling-down’ agenda as outlined by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps today. In a revealing appearance at the Transport Select Committee evidence session this morning, Grant Shapps attacked Transport for London (TfL), said rail workers won’t get a pay rise, and washed the government’s hands of supporting Eurostar read more
BREAKING NEWS!! Cheshire construction workers secure redundancy rights victory (9 Feb) – Unite, the UK’s construction union, has secured an important victory over the union’s right to be notified of redundancies following a ruling regarding workers employed at the Stanlow Oil Refinery in Cheshire. In April 2020, the company Bilfinger UK, which employs workers at the facility, took the decision that it was going to make over 100 workers redundant. However, it denied Unite representatives access to collective redundancy meetings and failed to comply with the specified redundancy selection process and consult with the relevant unions. The affected workers were employed under the terms of the National Agreement for the Engineering Construction Industry (NAECI), the relevant industrial agreement. The NAECI agreement includes a dispute resolution mechanism and Unite pursued the case via this avenue. Unite’s senior steward at Bilfinger, Stephen Muirhead, played a key role in pursuing the case after he was barred from attending the collective redundancy meetings on behalf of the workforce. Last week the NAECI dispute panel ruled entirely in Unite’s favour read news
London braced for serious disruption as bus strikes announced and further industrial action in pipeline (9 Feb) – London bus passengers should brace themselves for serious disruption as Unite, the UK’s leading union, announced bus strikes in the capital. The first wave of strike action involves bus drivers employed by the French owned company RATP, which operates three subsidiaries in the London bus network: London United, London Sovereign and Quality Line. Approaching 2,000 bus drivers are involved in the dispute. Workers at London United, which provides bus services in South and West London will take strike action on Monday 22 February, Tuesday 23 February and Wednesday 24 February read more
Wagon Wheels back on the menu as DHL Liverpool strike resolved (8 Feb) – The bitter dispute involving lorry drivers and warehouse staff employed by DHL in Liverpool has been resolved after an improved offer was made by the company and accepted by workers. The workers, who are members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, have taken 10 days of strike action since December, in a dispute over low pay, victimisation of workers and a complete breakdown of industrial relations. The DHL depot on Portal Way in the city, is responsible for the distribution of Burton Biscuits (Waggon Wheels and Jammie Dodgers) and AB World Foods (Patak curries and the Blue Dragon Chinese food range). The strike action caused serious disruption to supplies of these products. Workers were due to begin a further two days of strike action today (Monday 8 February) but this was called off after DHL made an improved offer, which members accepted. Workers will receive a three per cent pay increase for 2020, backdated to April last year and they will receive a further three per cent + £75 for 2021. DHL has also committed to “ongoing outside influence to change the workplace culture and improve industrial relations” read more
Manchester Go Ahead bus drivers ‘bullied and intimidated’ with sack threat in fire and rehire dispute (8 Feb) – Unite, the UK’s leading union, has accused management at Go North West of attempting to intimidate workers into signing vastly inferior contracts. Unite expressed outrage at the company’s behaviour, after management hand-delivered letters to affected workers informing them of the date of their dismissal if they refused to sign the new contracts. Unite is currently balloting its members for strike action, in a dispute over the company’s plans to fire and rehire its entire workforce. The ballot will close tomorrow (Tuesday 9 February). The letter, which drivers who have refused to sign the new vastly inferior contracts received, said that if they do not sign the new contract then “Go North West is issuing you with notice of the termination of your employment, which shall end on 8 May 2021”. In an attempt to put further pressure on workers, Go North West has said for “planning and processing purposes” they only have until 10:00 on 16 February 2021 (8 days) to accept the new contract, otherwise “if not accepted, it will be automatically withdrawn” read more
NHS bosses probed on profit margins of £755,000 contract for Reading hospital security guards (8 Feb) – NHS bosses are being quizzed on the profit margins of the outsourced contract for the security guards at Reading hospital, who are currently locked in a ‘David and Goliath’ pay battle. Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust is paying Kingdom Service Group Ltd a total of £755,763-a-year to provide security for the trust. The security guards are currently on strike until early March over the Kingdom management’s failure to make a decent pay offer for 2020. Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, is now questioning whether the contract is ‘value for money’ and how big the profits margins are for Kingdom Service Group – a major corporate service provider with a £100 million plus turnover. Unite wants to know if it would not be better value for the taxpayer if the contract was brought back in-house which would then eradicate the hefty built-in profit margins that the outsourced company now enjoys…The 20 security guards have been taking strike action since mid-December and the third wave of strike action will run from 19.00 on Friday 12 February and ending at 19.00 on Sunday 7 March. This follows on from already announced strikes from 07:00 today (Monday 8 February) until 19.00 on Friday 12 February read more Text solidarity messages via Jessica 07718668497 and donate to strike fund: Acc. No.: 20173991 Sort Code: 60-83-01. Sign petition to Mark Wallace , Kingdom Service Group Managing Director: Pay Royal Berkshire Hospital security staff a wage they can live on
Stork latest offshore contractor to join new Energy Services Agreement (5 Feb) – Unite Scotland has welcomed the latest addition to the offshore Energy Services Agreement (ESA). Stork will now join thirteen other signatories to the ground breaking new collective agreement for thousands of engineering and maintenance workers in the North Sea read more
New collective bargaining structure for North Sea gains support (4 Feb) – The establishment of a ground breaking new collective agreement for thousands of engineering and maintenance workers in the North Sea has gained the support of industry. A total of 13 major contractors from the offshore energy sector supply chain have confirmed they will sign up to the deal with the three trade unions involved Unite, GMB and RMT. Additionally, and for the first time in the sector, the agreement is being supported by the majority of operators across the sector read more
Scunthorpe scaffolders step up strike action at British Steel site (4 Feb) – The British Steel plant in Scunthorpe faces further disruption this month as scaffolders based at the site, announced a further six days of strike action in a dispute over pay. The workers have already taken four days of strike action and will mount a further 48 hour strike beginning at 05:30 on Monday 8 February. Unite has now announced a 48 hour strike to begin at 05:30 on Monday 15 February, a 24 hour hours strike beginning at 05:30 on Thursday 18 February, then a further 48 hour strike beginning at 05:30 on Monday 22 February and finally a 24 hour strike from 05:30 on Thursday 25 February. The 50 plus scaffolders, involved in the strike action are employed by contractor Brand Energy to undertake maintenance on over 500 scaffolding structures that are on the British Steel site read more
Unite Scotland secures ‘significant’ pay rise and Real Living Wage at Whyte and Mackay (5 Feb) – Unite Scotland has today (5 February) announced a significant pay rise for workers at the Whyte and MacKay distilleries in Scotland along with the company pledging to become a Real Living Wage employer. The pay deal, which is an above inflation pay rise for the next three years and includes the pay out of a 5 per cent company bonus, will see a number of improvements to the terms of conditions of around 200 workers across the whisky giant’s sites at Grangemouth, Invergordon and Dalmore distilleries read more
Workers at Heathrow renew strikes as airport braced for a month of disruption (4 Feb) – Workers employed by Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL) will renew strike action tomorrow (Friday 5 February) in a bitter dispute, over the company’s decision to fire and rehire its entire workforce on vastly inferior wages and conditions. The strike this Friday is part of at least a month of disruption at the airport. Unite, the UK’s principal aviation union, which represents the workers at HAL, has already announced strikes for February 9, 13, 16 and 18. It is expected that further industrial action will be announced in the future. Unite previously took four days of strike action in December as part of the dispute read more
Kent tenants and housing maintenance workers needlessly in danger of Covid exposure, warns Unite (4 Feb) – Unite, the UK’s construction union, is warning that thousands of council and social housing tenants in Kent, as well as the housing maintenance workers who maintain their homes, are being put at unnecessary risk of Covid-19 exposure. Unite issued its warning after a series of outsourced housing maintenance companies in the county refused to suspend non-essential housing maintenance work during the current lockdown. This has resulted in housing maintenance workers being unnecessarily forced to enter tenants’ homes, which increases the risk of the tenant, the worker and their respective families of being exposed to catching Covid-19 read more
Norwegian Air workers ‘angry and frustrated’ at broken redundancy pay promises and lack of answers over collapse (3 Feb) – Norwegian Air workers are ‘angry and frustrated’ after recent assurances from the company that they would receive the required redundancy payments if it failed proved to be entirely false. Instead, the more than 1,000 mainly Gatwick-based staff, 700 of whom are Unite members, have been left with nothing after Norwegian Air’s UK operations (NAR UK) went into liquidation last month. The workers, who are owed wages, notice pay, holiday pay and pensions contributions, are now having to launch claims with the government’s Insolvency Service read more
Social distancing helmets for HS2 must not result in workers being disciplined, warns Unite (3 Feb) – Unite, the UK’s construction union, has warned that hi tech hard hats which sound a warning when workers come within two metres of each other, should not be used as a disciplinary tool but as an education device. Unite issued its warning after it was announced that the joint venture company Eiffage Kier Ferrovial Bam, who are responsible for the central section of phase one of the HS2 development, had purchased 1,500 of the helmets read more
Mitie accused of adopting discriminatory policies to target low paid Heathrow pay cleaners (3 Feb) – Low paid cleaners, employed by multi-million pound outsourcing company Mitie, have been left fearing for their jobs after the company reneged on a previous agreement regarding training. The workers, who are members of Unite, the UK’s principal aviation union, are paid below the living wage. The majority of the cleaners are of a BAEM background and do not have English as a first language. They are required to pass the General Safety and Awareness Training (GSAT) in order to access airside and secure areas at Heathrow airport. They are also required to pass a fire safety course read more
NHS24 workers to be given vaccination following Unite Scotland pressure (3 Feb) – Unite Scotland has today (3 February) welcomed the decision by the Scottish government to prioritise the NHS24 workforce for the COVID-19 vaccination programme following pressure from the nation’s leading trade union. Following a call with Scottish government officials today, it was confirmed that around 1650 workers employed at NHS24 will now be prioritised for the vaccination programme. The latest u-turn comes after a previous decision on 19 January to prioritise around 500 workers employed by the Scottish Ambulance Service as control room handlers for the programme. Both NHS24 and SAS control staff were initially informed by the Scottish government that they were not ‘patient facing’ and did not qualify for the immediate prioritisation of the vaccination programme read more
New campaign launched to tackle employment abuses of the Turkish/Kurdish community in London (3 Feb) – A new campaign has been launched to eradicate pay and employment abuses of members of the Turkish and Kurdish communities in London during the pandemic. Unite the union has joined forces with community organisation Day-Mer to kick-start a workers’ rights campaign aimed at the Turkish/Kurdish community in the boroughs of Enfield, Hackney, Haringey and Islington. Unite said the workplace problems identified include abuses of the furlough scheme; failure to pay the London living wage, currently £10.85 an hour; and employers failing to pay contractual sick pay, so workers have to rely on statutory sick pay (SSP) of £95.85 a week, if they have to self-isolate during the pandemic. The areas that the Turkish/Kurdish community work in, include retail and catering, wholesale outlets, hotels, restaurants, shops and supermarkets and on industrial estates in the four boroughs. A central plank of the campaign is that all employers pay the London living wage. Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “This campaign is long overdue. There is an army of non-unionised, unorganised workers within these boroughs from the Turkish and Kurdish communities. These workers will have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic…” read more
DHL must move quickly to share bumper profits with their M&S drivers and warehouse workers to avoid ballot on industrial action (Feb 3) – Unite writes to senior DHL management to demand pay increase after consultative ballot returns 100 percent in favour of strike ballot over proposed pay freeze. Unite warns of potential disruption to M&S supply should ballot proceed as DHL drivers and warehouse workers angered over zero percent pay imposition whilst the same highly profitable company has the ability to fund a pay increase of up to 5 percent to other DHL employees read more
Two Hackney education disputes come to a head with three days of strikes in February – 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
Fresh Babcock strikes at RAF Leeming as ‘flight disruption’ over pay disparity continues (28 Jan) – Strike action by Babcock Aerospace workers at RAF Leeming, near Northallerton in North Yorkshire, over a £5,000 pay disparity will continue until the end of February, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said today (Thursday 28 January). Around 50 Babcock workers, who provide operational and engineering services for aircraft at RAF Leeming, including the Hawk trainer aircraft, last week began three weeks of discontinuous strike action as well as a continuous overtime ban. Unite said of the fresh wave of strike action: “the disruption to training flight schedules will continue until the end of February”. The workers will be holding socially distanced picket lines outside the main entrance to RAF Leeming during the strikes (see notes to editors for strike times and dates). 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 read more
Dear Unite Member – Strike action by Babcock Aerospace workers at RAF Leeming, near Northallerton in North Yorkshire will continue throughout February. Unite members voted in favour of strike action after being refused shift pay when their colleagues at RAF Valley in Wales receive it, despite workers at both sites 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. Please show your support to these members by sending the below email to Rishi Sunak MP seeking his support for this groupp of workers. Rishi’s email address is [email protected]
Kind regards, Neil Howells Unite Regional Officer
“Dear Rishi Sunak MP,
I am writing, as a constituent, to draw to your attention to an industrial dispute currently taking place at RAF Leeming in your constituency, where hard working Babcock Aerospace Ltd staff are on strike. The staff, many of whom are your constituents, provide vital operational and engineering services for aircraft at RAF Leeming and without them the fighter jet training flights would not be able to take place. The staff have been forced to take 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. I know that you have been a champion of the Government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda to tackle regional disparities and so I’m sure that you will agree with me that it is just not right that a worker in North Yorkshire should be paid £5,000 per year less than a fellow worker, doing exactly the same job, in another part of the country. Will you join the calls of the staff’s union Unite, for Babcock Aerospace to get back to the negotiating table as soon as possible with an offer so that these hard working staff get a package that they deserve similar to workers in other parts of the country and return services at the base to normal?
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
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
Help build the PCS campaign for fair pay (5 Feb) – Sign up for a national virtual pay campaign meeting for all PCS activists at 6pm on 18 February. The meeting, as agreed by our national executive committee, will discuss the ongoing PCS campaign for fair pay and support for potential industrial action. The union is campaigning to end the government’s public sector pay freeze, which chancellor Rishi Sunak has made clear will be part of the budget on 3 March. For civil service departments that may mean no additional funding for even the lowest paid. Our members continue to deliver crucial public services throughout the pandemic and often in very difficult circumstances. Now, more than ever, we deserve a pay rise. Register online in advance read more
OCS courts security contractor staff vote for strike action (4 Feb) – Over 300 court security staff have voted for strike action at OCS contractor over the Living Wage. The contracted-out workers at the HMCTS have been offered only a 1.5pc pay rise which is the equivalent of 13p an hour. Most OCS staff on the contract are currently paid between £8.72 to £8.85. OCS recently boasted about making £20 million in Covid-related sales since the start of the pandemic. The union is also demanding sick pay from day one, 30 days annual leave per year for each contract staff member and a one-off bonus in recognition of the hard work amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. PCS members on the contract have worked tirelessly since March to keep courts operational in unprecedented and challenging times. 91.1% voted in favour of strike action on a 67.8% turnout. PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “This is a fantastic result and is a testament to our members determination to win pay justice from a greedy private contractor…” read more
PCS security staff vote to strike in courts and tribunals (4 Feb) – Contracted security staff in HM Courts and Tribunals Service have voted for strike action over their employer OCS’s failure to improve their pay, terms and conditions. In the ballot which closed at noon today 91% of members voted in favour of industrial action on a 67% turnout. Our members are angered over OCS’ insistence that members should accept a derisory 1.5% pay increase as that is all that is affordable. At the same time as making such an insulting offer to our members, who have worked tirelessly to keep the courts operational during a global pandemic, OCS issued a statement boasting about the 20 million covid-19 related sales profit they have made. We have therefore challenged the repeated claims that the pay offer presented is the only affordable option. PCS has written to OCS notifying them of the ballot result and we will update members in due course read more
Government gives response to public service pensions consultation (4 Feb) – The government has announced its response to the consultation on the remedy proposal for age discrimination in the transition to pension changes to which PCS contributed in October read more
DVLA workers call for strike action in straw poll over safety fears (3 Feb) – Staff at DVLA have moved a step closer to industrial action, following an informal vote to walkout over continuing safety fears at the Swansea site. The straw poll took place at an all-DVLA staff zoom meeting last night, where anger and frustration has now reached boiling point with workers feeling senior management and transport minister Grant Shapps have scant regard for their safety. Over 90% of those attending the meeting vote in favour of strike action with 87% taking part. 535 cases of Covid have been reported at the DVLA in Swansea since September and one member of staff has sadly died who had tested positive for Covid. However, senior management have insisted more than 2,000 staff go into work every day, risking further cases and potentially further deaths read more
Home Office staff at Heathrow Airport vote for strike action over changes to rosters – Passport control staff at one of the country’s busiest airports have voted for strike action over new “unworkable” rosters being imposed. Local management have forced the changes without agreement with the union which include ending the ability of staff to swap and request certain shifts. 412 members were balloted and 96.4% of those who voted said ‘yes’ to strike action on a 68% turnout… Strike dates will be announced in due course 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
DfC Reps and Members Update (4 Feb) – NIPSA reps from DfC TUS met with Deirdre Hargey, Minister for Communities yesterday and I wanted to give a short report on the meeting. Firstly, we were limited to just 30 minutes with the Minister due to other commitments but she has agreed to get another date agreed shortly to allow for a more detailed discussion. Given this, TUS agreed that we could cover a number of issues under two main headings – The impact of Covid on DfC and the 2021/22 DfC Draft Budget 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
Twelve new days of strike action announced at British Gas (5 Feb) – British Gas boss O’Shea is pressing on despite telling Parliament his acceptance of ‘dodgy’ legal advice led to strikes. GMB has today announced 12 more days of British Gas strike action in the fire and rehire dispute which is now expected to continue until at least April. The new 12 days will follow four days of strike action starting today [Friday February 5 – Monday February 8] read more
More than one in three ambulance workers have contracted Covid-19 (7 Feb) – Almost a third of all NHS staff have had the virus, health workers desperately need gold standard PPE. More than one in three ambulance workers has had Covid-19 according to a new poll by GMB Union. In the survey of more than 1,600 ambulance workers across the country, 37% of them have had coronavirus – with a massive 84% of them saying they caught it while on the job. Almost 30% of ambulance workers who had covid said their symptoms were ‘really bad’ or ‘required medical attention’. Across the whole NHS, 30% said they had caught the virus with almost 60% saying they passed it to a family member. GMB is clear that poor PPE is to blame, and the union is calling on the Government and Public Health England to urgently review PPE guidance for health workers. Ambulance workers report having to attend patients with flimsy gowns instead of proper PPE, nurses in hospitals working amongst Covid-19 patients say they are given only the most basic of surgical masks, while hospital trusts are not isolating and testing patients efficiently read more
Unions back ‘landmark deal’ for offshore oil and gas workers (4 Feb) – Trade Unions have praised the New Energy Service Agreement (ESA) draft thrashed out with Oil and Gas operators. After a year of negotiations, the Offshore Trade Unions (GMB, Unite & RMT) finally have an offshore collective agreement, which they will now take to their members for consultation with a recommendation that they support. The new ESA will replace the Offshore Contractors Partnership Agreement (OCPA) that ended on the 31st December 2020 read more
Tile factory boss ‘drove car at workers’ during Christmas strike (4 Feb) – GMB Union launches grievance against Marley Tiles after five workers suspended for taking part in lawful strike action. A tile firm boss drove his car at workers during a Christmas strike, says GMB Union. The same manager, of Marley Tiles, in Beenham, near Reading, then instructed a lorry driver to head straight for the picket line, workers say. The incidents were reported to the police – but instead of taking action against the manager, the company has suspended five long standing members of staff read more
GMB demands assurances for Asda workers after takeover (3 Feb) – Asda workers have had a gruelling 12 months working through the covid pandemic – now more than ever they need certainty about their future. GMB Union has demanded assurances for Asda workers after the takeover could land the profitable company with multibillion pound debts. New owners the Issa brothers have reportedly borrowed £3.5 billion to finance their £6.8 billion takeover of Asda and reports that the supermarket’s petrol stations may have their ownership transferred to EG for £750 million read more
‘Dodgy’ legal advice to blame for fire and rehire strikes – British Gas CEO tells MPs (2 Feb) – Mr O’Shea told MPs he wants to rebuild trust and regretted fire and rehire – so why doesn’t he take it off the table? British Gas boss Chris O’Shea blamed ‘dodgy’ legal advice as he today told MPs he thought he had to issue fire and rehire notices to staff. Giving evidence to the BEIS Select Committee on February 2, Mr O’Shea told MP’s he ‘regretted’ the company’s interpretation of the law which led to him issue the notices, which GMB says is to blame for the ongoing strikes and breakdown in industrial relations and trust at British Gas under his leadership 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
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
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
‘I wish the government understood’ – why carers need a real wage (8 Feb) – UNISON is campaigning for carers to be paid a real living wage and here, care worker Gail explains just a little of why their work should be rewarded properly read more
Cumberland Infirmary workers set to strike over TEN YEARS worth of missing unsocial hours payments (4 Feb) – More than seventy porters, cleaners, switchboard and catering staff working at Cumberland Infirmary are set to take strike action over missing payments for working unsocial hours. More than seventy porters, cleaners, switchboard and catering staff working at Cumberland Infirmary are set to take strike action over missing payments for working unsocial hours. The health workers – all members of trade union UNISON – plan to take two days of industrial action on Friday 26 February and Monday 1 March. Members of the GMB union are also set to strike on the same days read more
Government must step in to prevent vaccine strong-arm tactics towards care staff (5 Feb) – Companies should be informing not intimidating employees. The government must take action against care home employers refusing to employ staff hesitant about having the Covid vaccine, or intimidating others into having the injection by linking it to pay and employment, says UNISON today (Friday). If the vaccine programme is to work properly and maximum take-up across the social care secured, individuals should be encouraged, not intimidated, into receiving a jab, the union say read more
UNISON wins workplace protection for domestic abuse victims (4 Feb) – New domestic abuse protection orders will help to prevent abusive partners coming to victims’ workplaces. As the Domestic Abuse Bill moves through Parliament to become law, UNISON has won a key amendment to ensure that domestic abuse protection orders (DAPOs) will apply to the workplace. The new protection orders are set to replace domestic violence protection orders, designed to prevent perpetrators of domestic abuse from harassing their victim read more
Government urged to protect school meals workers (4 Feb) – Letter from UNISON and councillors across England comes as private catering companies cut jobs, hours and nutritional standards. UNISON has joined with a group of councillors from across England to call on the government to protect the jobs of school meals workers read more
‘Stand up for care workers!’ is the passionate call from UNISON rally (3 Feb) – Rally hears speakers from across the political spectrum, together with NGOs and celebrities, calling for social care to treated on a par with the NHS read more
Getting help with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) (3 Feb) – UNISON knows that some staff groups may have less employee voice within an organisation. This means they may not feel able to raise concerns with their employer about Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). UNISON believes everyone should be listened to and assessed for their exposure risk based on the latest guidance. We also believe that the right levels of PPE in quality and quantity should be available to staff for the work they are being asked to do, based on an up-to-date risk assessment read more
Answers demanded in Global as ‘Count Me In’ fightback intensifies (8 Feb) – BT Global bosses are being robustly challenged over plans to make 16 redundancies in the division’s Digital Delivery Service Organisation (DDSO) and a further five in its Commercial unit – all amid intensifying CWU demands for clarity on the future of the Conferencing operation in Shrewsbury. Members from all three work areas told of fears for their futures and mounting anger at management decisions apparently driven by a virulent offshoring agenda in a special online meeting that just preceded a significant escalation of the union’s Count Me In campaign of resistance read more
Stark choice for Openreach as RPEs deliver historic industrial action vote (4 Feb) – The first statutory industrial action ballot in BT Group in more than a decade has delivered one of the most overwhelming rejections of management contempt for legitimate workforce concerns to be seen in generations. In an extraordinary demonstration of Openreach Repayment Project Engineers’ (RPEs) anger and dismay at imposed changes to the grading of the role, the small but fiercely loyal group of CWU members have voted by 86% on a 94% turnout to take industrial action unless management belatedly change tack. Not just exceeding but comprehensively trouncing onerous legal thresholds that need to be met for workers to withdraw their labour under the UK’s punitive anti-union legislation, today’s (Thursday’s) formal industrial action ballot turnout beats even the 92% secured in a consultative ballot on the same issue last September. At the time it was hoped that such a decisive demonstration of the willingness of the union’s 170 RPE members to take strike action, if necessary, would force Openreach back to the negotiating table. Such expectations, however, proved futile – with management instead adopting the same belligerent and uncompromising approach that is wreaking havoc with industrial relations across BT Group read more
Plans to cut off nurseries to London key workers’ kids is “unfair and unnecessary”, CWU say (8 Feb) – Over 1,000 people have urged Royal Mail in north London to halt “unfair and unnecessary” plans to shut down a workers’ nursery service. The Communication Workers Union (CWU) petition has called for Royal Mail management at Mount Pleasant, north London to rethink their decision to close their Kiddycare Childsplay Nursery next month read more
FBU and UCLan launch new national firefighters cancer and disease registry (4 Feb) – Alongside researchers at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has launched a new nationwide database to assess the potential link between exposure to fire toxicants and the increased occurrence of cancers and other diseases among firefighters. The union is calling on every current and former UK firefighter suffering from a serious or chronic illness to add their name to the registry, to help save firefighters’ lives in the future read more
Government’s proposals regarding age discrimination (5 Feb) – Members will recall that the Court of Appeal decided in 2018 that the changes made to the Civil Service and NHS pension schemes in 2015 were unlawful. The transitional provisions, which meant that older members remained in the old schemes and younger members had to transfer, were age discriminatory. The Government accepts that this position has to change, and it has just published its proposals. The main points are summarised here
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
Joint statement: fair summer assessment (5 Feb) – Education organisations set out principles for fair assessment this summer. Education organisations set out principles for fair assessment this summer. A set of principles to ensure that students are assessed fairly following the cancellation of exams in England has been drawn up by six education unions and professional associations read more
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
Enhanced safety mitigations must be in place for wider school reopening in Wales (5 Feb) – Commenting on the First Minister’s confirmation that schools in Wales will start to open more widely for pupils in some year groups from 22 February, Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, said: “We all want to see more pupils return to schools as soon as it is safe to do so and we understand the Welsh Government’s rationale for beginning with the youngest pupils and some older pupils undertaking vocational courses…” read more
Financial support needed for all supply teachers (5 Feb) – Commenting on revisions issued by the DfE for schools on the use of supply teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, said: “Following representations from the NASUWT highlighting the situation of hardworking and dedicated supply teachers, including a joint letter with trade bodies, the TUC and other TUC affiliates, the DfE has seen fit to publish revised advice and guidance for schools on the use of agency staff, including supply teachers…” read more
Education Recovery Proposals – EIS Comment (8 Feb) – The EIS has responded to proposals on education released by a think-tank by saying that substantial investment is needed to support young people in their education recovery. Commenting, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said, “Massive investment is indeed required to support education recovery” read more
EIS Opens Statutory Industrial Action Ballot for College Lecturer Members (5 Feb) – The EIS has opened a statutory industrial action ballot for its lecturer members in Further Education over the replacement of lecturer posts with lesser qualified and lower paid positions. The postal ballot will remain open until Thursday 25 February, and the EIS- FELA (Further Education Lecturers’ Association) Executive urges members to vote in favour of industrial action read more
Virus Levels must fall Substantially for School Return to be Confirmed (2 Feb) – The EIS has responded to the First Minister’s statement on a planned phased return for schools, welcoming the planned roll-out of regular testing for staff and students but warning that virus levels must fall ‘substantially’ before the plans for a phased return for pupils can be confirmed read more
UCU response to government’s international education strategy announcement (6 Feb) – UCU said the government’s international education strategy risked treating international students as cash cows. It also raised concerns over the Turing scheme, including the millions lost in funding compared to Erasmus read more
UCU calls for more universities to join fight for fair pensions (4 Feb) – UCU is calling on employers in the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) to join it in demanding a change of approach to the ongoing 2020 valuation of the pension scheme. The call comes after the Oxford UCU branch and the University of Oxford wrote a joint letter to USS chief executive Bill Galvin, raising concerns over the scheme’s valuation. The Oxford letter followed a similar joint letter by Cambridge UCU and the University of Cambridge. 3,874 people have also signed a letter of complaint to USS read more
UCU writes to Ministry of Justice to raise concerns about treatment of prison educators at Novus (2 Feb) – UCU has written to the Ministry of Justice to raise ongoing concerns about the treatment of prison education staff working for Novus, England and Wales’ biggest prison education provider read more
UCU responds to university student support announcement (2 Feb) – UCU has today responded to the Westminster government’s announcement of additional funding to support university students impacted by Covid-19. Describing the short term package as a sticking plaster, the union said that it should not have taken rent strikes and protests for the government to have acknowledged the scale of the problem 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.
Panorama threats demands response from media owners on broadcasting rights (5 Feb) – The threat to a BBC journalist arising from his work in revealing close links between a criminal gang and elite boxing raises fundamental questions about the morality of media organisations negotiating with some television rights holders and agents for elite boxers read more
Iconic plea for Irish government support must be matched by respect for union rights (5 Feb) – The NUJ’s Irish secretary has called on Iconic Newspapers to match its call for Irish government support with a change in its own attitude towards trade union recognition. Last week, editors of the company’s regional titles published a letter to their respective readers calling for support of the newspaper print sector. This was a call already made by the NUJ in May 2020 as part of the union’s News Recovery Plan. The call was also repeated in the union’s submission to the Future of Broadcasting Commission read more
Kent police must be investigated after seizing photographer’s phone and memory card, says the NUJ (5 Feb) – Kent police has returned the mobile phone and camera memory card to Andy Aitchison, who was arrested while covering a protest at Napier Barracks, Folkestone. The freelance photographer was supported by the NUJ and Bindmans law firm following his arrest and confiscation of journalistic material. He was kept in a police cell for seven hours despite him clearly attending the demonstration, to publicise the treatment of asylum seekers, as a member of the press read more
BBC reps fear new format will “dumb down” local radio news (4 Feb) – BBC local radio journalists are deeply concerned that a restructure of jobs will result in hard and investigative news being played down in favour of “fluffy” stories and more music read more
Prospect ECS contributes to parliamentary inquiry on home education (8 Feb) – Prospect’s Education and Children Services Group has submitted its written evidence to a parliamentary inquiry on home education read more
McCloud – Prospect welcomes Treasury announcement to rectify discrimination at retirement (4 Feb) – The Treasury has today published their response to their public consultation to remedy the discrimination identified in the McCloud and Sargeant Employment Tribunals. The Treasury consulted last year on proposals to remedy the ruling that the transitional protections granted to existing public servants when public sector pensions were reformed in 2015, were discriminatory on the grounds of age read more
Welsh Government agrees to Prospect calls for additional funding for Welsh cultural institutions (3 Feb) – The Welsh Government has today announced a £6.2m support package to safeguard jobs at the National Library of Wales and National Museum of Wales read more
Arcadia brands moving to online only, with Boohoo, shows that the Government needs to act to save our shops says USDAW (8 Feb) – Retail trade union Usdaw is seeking urgent meetings with Arcadia administrators and urges them to treat staff with fairness and dignity, after Boohoo today confirmed the takeover of Arcadia brands Burton, Wallis and Dorothy Perkins. Usdaw is also calling on the Government to urgently act to save our high streets read more
Ex-Debenhams workers mark 300 days on strike – reiterate call on Taoiseach to make funds available to workers (3 Feb) – Today marks 300 days since 1,000 Debenhams workers in the Republic of Ireland received an email telling them they’d lost their jobs and their company had entered liquidation. Since then, the workers have mounted official pickets on 11 stores including four in Dublin – Henry Street, Blackrock, Blanchardstown and Tallaght, as well as Galway, Tralee, Newbridge, Limerick, Waterford and two stores in Cork – Mahon Point and Patrick Street. The workers are again calling on the Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, to make a €3m training fund established for the workers available as a cash payment, and to legislate to make sure this never happens again read more
SIPTU criticises Leo Varadkar for undermining rights of workers in Ireland (8 Feb) – SIPTU Deputy General Secretary, Gerry McCormack, has criticised the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar, for co-signing a letter which undermines the right of workers in Ireland to collective bargaining. In the letter, ministers of several countries have challenged a draft directive by the EU Commission which would make it legally binding on member states to introduce the right to collective bargaining and ensure fairer wages and conditions of work read more
SIPTU disappointment at inadequate payment for workers forced to retire (8 Feb) – SIPTU members have expressed their deep disappointment at the introduction of a new benefit payment for people forced to retire at 65. According to SIPTU researcher, Michael Taft, the payment does not provide an adequate income for those forced to leave work at 65 and does not address the issue of mandatory retirement read more
Support the North London SAGE strike – Watch ReelNews video of strike
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
IWGB forms UK’s first yoga teachers’ union to take on exploitation, harassment and discrimination in the sector (5 Feb) – Yoga teachers in the UK have voted to form a new branch of the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB), which organises precarious and gig economy workers including Uber and Deliveroo drivers. This is the first trade union for yoga teachers in the UK, and the second ever in the world, after Unionize Yoga in New York read more
IWGB challenges Deliveroo’s refusal of collective bargaining as a human right in Court of Appeal (1 Feb) – The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) challenges Deliveroo in the Court of Appeal this week, in a bid to establish the right to collective bargaining for couriers working for Deliveroo. Despite being key workers compelled to work throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, couriers are still being refused a say over working conditions and the opportunity for collective bargaining. This comes at a time when Deliveroo’s is set to potentially have a bumper Initial Public Offering (IPO) in the coming months read more
Tomorrow 10th February is the 49th anniversary of the ‘Battle of Saltley Gates’ when Birmingham workers in solidarity with striking miners, forced the police to close the coke depot. Former NSSN steering officer and car shop steward Bill Mullins was a participant and wrote this article for the NSSN in 2012
Emergency motion carried at South East Kent Trades Union Council over the deplorable decision by Home Secretary Patel to confine people seeking asylum in Napier Barracks in Folkestone. We ask that you urgently circulate the resolution through your respective organisation, regards Eric Segal (Secretary South East Kent Trades Union Council)
This South East Kent Trades Union Council (SEKTUC) calls upon the Home Office to close down the Napier Barracks in Folkestone immediately. Napier barracks is an asylum seeker dispersal unit housing four hundred asylum seeking men. Napier Barracks is not fit for purpose and this is confirmed by the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus at the barracks.
These vulnerable people who have fled war and torture must now be moved to safe accommodation where self -isolation and appropriate social distancing is facilitated. They must have access to medical treatment for their mental and physical health.
Their asylum claims must be processed within an acceptable time frame and they should have full access to good quality legal advice and representation via legal aid solicitors.
We call on the TUC and its affiliated trade unions to support the campaign to close Napier Barracks and other military
Fight blacklisting and victimisation of union reps
From PCS website: Shrewsbury pickets’ case at Court of Appeal (27 Jan) – The Shrewsbury 24 Campaign, which is seeking justice for North Wales building workers prosecuted for picketing during the 1972 national building workers’ strike, takes a potentially significant step next month when the Court of Appeal will be asked to overturn their convictions. The campaign, backed by PCS, is seeking justice for 24 trade unionists arrested and charged after the first national building workers’ strike in 1972 read more
#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
Turkey: Erdogan attacks Bogazici Resistance read more on website of Solidarity with the People of Turkey
Come to the online NSSN Zoom Public Meeting: Fight together against the Tories and Bosses COVID offensive – 12pm Sunday February 14th
PHONE 07952 283 558
EMAIL mailto:[email protected]
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ADDRESS NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE