BREAKING NEWS!! Shrewsbury Pickets overturn convictions
“The NSSN sends our congratulations & solidarity to the Shrewsbury Pickets and their families. We should particularly remember those such as Des Warren, who passed away during this heroic struggle for justice. There should now be a trade union inquiry into the framing of the workers and the cover up.” Rob Williams NSSN Chair
Unite: Shrewsbury 24 – Joyous and just day after nearly 50 years of battle (23 Mar) – Today’s decision by the Court of Appeal to overturn the convictions of the Shrewsbury Pickets after a nearly 50 year campaign has been hailed as a ‘joyous and just day” for the 24 workers and their families by Unite, the UK’s leading union (Tuesday 23 March). Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “Today is a joyous and just day for the 24, and for working people everywhere, but these innocent workers should never have been put in this miserable position by the forces of the British state. We salute the heroic men and their families and their enormous courage in taking on the apparatus of the state in order to clear their names. History will rightly record their heroism. I send my very best wishes to my good friend Ricky Tomlinson, who can take enormous pride from today’s ruling, and my thoughts today are with Dessie Warren, who sadly did not live to see justice delivered, and his family who fought on in his name. It is also a landmark day in trade union history. For nearly 50 years this group of workers have been defending themselves against deep, criminal injustices perpetrated by the state. Finally, the truth has been heard and justice has been done.
“On behalf of Unite I want to pay tribute to their determination and to the Shrewsbury 24 Campaign, without whose work and commitment this victory for them and the working class would not have been possible. However, this day must also be marked with sadness, sadness for those who have not lived to see justice secured. Not only should the pickets never have been convicted, but the failure to overturn such clearly wrongful convictions for so long, casts a dark stain on society. It is vital that this miscarriage of justice is never forgotten. The pickets were victims of the state whose agencies, including the police, the judiciary and the intelligence services, conspired to make an example of ordinary trade unionists simply campaigning for better pay and safer working conditions for all building workers. The full details of who was involved in these trumped up charges remain shrouded in mystery and it is critical that the government papers from the time are finally published. It is essential that such state sponsored injustice is never allowed to happen again and that is particularly critical in the context of the present government which is intent on limiting the right to protest. In the light of Norman Tebbit’s recent admissions, this verdict has ramifications for every person interested in freedom and human rights.”
The 24 Shrewsbury pickets were arrested and charged with over 200 offences including unlawful assembly, affray, intimidation and conspiracy to intimidate, five months after the ending of the 1972 building strike. Following a series of trials beginning in October 1973, six of the pickets were sent to prison, with the remainder receiving non-custodial sentences. The pickets have been fighting to secure justice ever since. Unite and its predecessor unions have been major supporters of the campaign. The pickets were all members of predecessor unions of Unite (T&G and Ucatt).
Trade Unionists Under Attack, Solidarity Meeting! 7pm – Wednesday March 24th Facebook event
(Hosted by Southampton & South West Hampshire Trades Union Council and Southern & South East Shop Stewards Network)
Speakers include –
Gary Carney, RMT activist and sacked London Underground worker.
Moe Muhsin Manir, Unite activist and sacked London Bus driver.
Declan Clune, RMT activist and sacked Southampton Bus Worker.
Kirstie Paton NEU rep under threat of dismissal for raising Health & Safety concerns
Steve Hedley RMT Assistant General Secretary
Meeting is via zoom and details are here –
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 764 535 2620
Donate to the reinstatement campaign of Declan Clune RMT bus driver in Southampton (on behalf of Declan Clune and all RMT Southampton District Bus and Coach Branch members). Email message of support: [email protected]
Donate to Moe’s solidarity campaign Email messages of support to Moe: [email protected]
Sleep-ins ruling must lead to a huge campaign for social care workers’ rights
The Supreme Court ruling last week that the hours spent at workplaces on ‘sleep-ins’ don’t attract the minimum wage will be a bitter blow to thousands of low-paid social care workers.
These workers, on call at night in care homes and other establishments – staying on the premises – deal with residents and service users who wake up and need assistance. They do not get fitful nights’ sleep but are constantly waiting the cough or alarm that could signal someone is in trouble.
The court ruled staff couldn’t be paid the minimum wage whilst not being awake, even though they have to be on the premises. But if anything went wrong, care workers will still be disciplined and sacked if they don’t respond. This is working in our books!
The NSSN supports all measures their unions take to assist them, including using the legal system. But we believe this must be done in conjunction with forceful campaigns, rather than just relying on the non-independent court system which will, normally, support the employers.
The unions concerned are saying they will now call on the government to change the law. But appealing to Boris Johnson and co on behalf of low-paid workers has already been tried by NHS workers and the rest of Britain’s low-paid workforce – it won’t work on its own!
We want to see a huge campaign in social care, not just around sleep-ins but pay and conditions in general. We will be playing our part in that campaign, which must start with a huge effort to better unionise the sector around a series of simple demands. Watch out for our leaflets over the coming months.
The Sparks launch fight that forces bosses back de-skilling at Hinkley Point but struggle continues
Rank and file construction electricians have launched a struggle against what they see as multi-skilling by bosses at the massive site Hinkley Point to build the nuclear power station, estimated to cost £22.5 billion.
It is reported that an agreement to employ about 500 electrical apprentices had been reneged on and instead a training course for ‘Support Operatives’ is being put on. This would mean lower-paid unskilled workers being employed instead of skilled electricians.
The campaign has already seen protests in London, Manchester, Newcastle, Scotland and Wales. Unite now report that the training course at Hinkley has been stopped, which is a great victory. But the fight goes on, particularly targeting NG Baileys and Balfour Beatty, until de-skilling is totally off the agenda.
Solidarity to the Sparks!
See Reel News video of last week’s protests
Read latest Siteworker bulletins of the Rank & File:-
Monday 8th Deadline set for NG Bailey & Balfour Beatty
Unite Electrical & Mechanical Combine Statement
Unite statement: Hinkley Point C and Threatened Deskilling of Electricians
Hinkley Point C Deskilling Training Documents Revealed
Support the NSSN
The NSSN held a very successful NSSN meeting ‘Organise to fight back in Enfield’ on Monday March 22nd
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]
Watch the NSSN pre-TUC Rally from last September and follow us on twitter via @NSSN_AntiCuts and Facebook
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
RMT blasts latest government drip-feed deal as further blow for London’s Transport (22 Mar) – Transport union RMT today slammed the government for imposing yet another short-term funding deal on Transport for London which continues to make vital support for public transport conditional on more damaging austerity attacks on workers. The latest deal lasts until 18 May, meaning that TfL is in almost continuous negotiation and heroic keyworkers who have worked through the pandemic are left wondering about their future read more
RMT members to take industrial action at Unipart Rail Doncaster (22 Mar) – RMT members working at Unipart Rail Doncaster will be taking industrial action next month following a ballot after a derisory pay offer from the company. Unipart Rail’s Doncaster warehouse supplies parts to the rail industry. With effect from 00:01 hours on Friday 2nd April 2021, until further notice, RMT members working at Unipart Rail Doncaster are instructed:-
- Not to work any non-contractual overtime
- Not to work on a rest day read more
RMT set for nationwide rail dispute (19 Mar) – RMT set for nationwide rail dispute in response to threat of thousands of rail worker redundancies by September and a fifty per cent cut in rail safety maintenance work. RMT today declared it was moving to a “national dispute” footing with Network Rail after it revealed the Government controlled company is planning for thousands of job losses by this September and a wholescale dilution of safety standards, including a halving the frequency of safety critical maintenance work. The attack on jobs and safety comes on top of an attempt by the company to implement an open-ended pay freeze on Network Rail workers and a wholescale attack on working conditions read more
Fight job cuts at Queens Park – In January, LU announced a plan to cut train driver jobs at Queen’s Park depot. They’ve refused to back away from that, so our driver members will now ballot for industrial action. The ballot opens on 25/03 and closes on 08/04. Resist the cuts, vote yes! Read more
Carillion union RMT warns that new Government proposals will not be enough to reign in Britain’s bandit capitalists (18 Mar) – Carillion union RMT warned today that proposed measures to tighten up the audit, dividend and bonus culture after the devastating collapse of a number of household names, with dire consequences for the workforce, may not be enough to reign in the culture of bandit capitalism read more
Morson Group workers ‘struggling to make ends meet’ (18 Mar) – Dear Colleagues: Morson Group – Protection for workers on London Underground. Morson Group, a subcontractor for London Underground Ltd, provide staff to undertake protection of London Underground staff on the track. These roles include Protection Masters, Possession Masters and Train Masters and each role is vital to keep staff safe on the track and prevent track workers from being hit by moving trains read more
RMT on Government cuts agenda (17 Mar) – RMT says Government cuts agenda will damage efforts to make rail network more resilient. Responding to Network Rail’s final report on how the resilience of the UK’s rail network can be improved, in light of the Stonehaven tragedy last year RMT has warned that the Government cuts agenda will damage efforts to make the rail network more resilient read more
RMT welcomes Scottish Government’s ScotRail announcement (17 Mar) – RMT welcomes Scottish Government’s announcement that the publicly owned Operator of Last Resort will run the ScotRail franchise from March 2022. RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “RMT welcomes today’s announcement from the Scottish Government that ScotRail services will be run in the public sector, via the Operator of Last Resort, from March 2022 when the current Abellio franchise expires. We have long campaigned for the Scottish Government to utilise its existing powers and take Scotland’s rail passenger services into public ownership and today’s announcement represents a clear victory for this campaign…” read more
RMT responds to Government security, defence, development and foreign policy review (16 Mar) – ROYAL FLEET AUXILIARY UNION RMT today responded to the Government’s Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy. Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary said: “With all the sabre rattling, the Government has again overlooked the importance of civilian seafarers to the country’s long term strategic and security needs. Seafarer numbers slumped again last year but there is no detail in here for our members working to support the Royal Navy and the military with essential maritime capacity…” read more
Sign this petition: RMT steps up campaign for TfL funding
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
More Cuts are Not the Answer (19 Mar) – Since the beginning of the pandemic, passenger levels have been extremely low on London Underground and other public transport around the capital – as people have done the right thing, staying at home to keep each other safe. This reduction in passengers has had an impact on Transport for London’s finances as a large amount of its funding comes from fares. Yesterday evening (Thursday 18th March) the Government announced that instead of a long term financial settlement with TfL, it will continue existing funding for the next three months read more
Scotland’s Railway Returning to Public Sector (17 Mar) – Today the Scottish Government has announced that it will bring Scotland’s railway back into the public sector. The government made the announcement in the Scottish Parliament, and said that when the Abellio ScotRail franchise ends on 31 March 2022, the running of ScotRail will be taken over by the Operator of Last Resort – a public body accountable to the government. ASLEF has long been campaigning for Scotland’s railway to be owned and operated in the public sector, keeping funding and investment in the hands of the people of Scotland, and we welcome this news read more
Long-term TfL Funding “Vital” Says TSSA (22 Mar) – Transport for London union TSSA has today welcomed confirmation of a short-term funding extension – to 18 May 2021 – but says a long-term capital settlement is vital to secure TfL’s successful future read more
Network Rail acting in “bad faith” says TSSA (19 Mar) – Responding to comments by Network Rail Chief Executive Andrew Haines on Friday, in which he said savings and changes are needed in the company, transport professionals’ union TSSA hit back saying Network Rail has “jumped the gun”. TSSA General Secretary Manuel Cortes – along with other rail union leaders, industry leaders including people for Network Rail – is involved in discussions at the Rail Industry Recovery Group (RIRG) regarding the shape of our rail industry post- pandemic. This initiative is backed by the Government. The talks began earlier this year and are in a detailed and ongoing stage. However, today Network Rail’s chief wrote out by email to all staff raising the prospect of changes which are yet to be agreed read more
TSSA Demands Pre-Election Meetings Over CalMac Pay Dispute (19 Mar) – TSSA today wrote to Ferries Minister Paul Wheelhouse seeking an urgent meeting about their pay dispute with CalMac Ferries and calling for parity with other Scottish Government employees. The union is in dispute with CalMac, a company wholly owned by the Scottish Government, over pay after TSSA members, many on less than £30,000 a year, turned down a below-inflation 0.5% pay increase in 2020. For the same pay period – 2020 to 2021 – the Scottish Government dished out 3% pay rises to public sector employees earning up to £80,000 a year read more
TfL Long-Term Funding Deal Needed Now – Cortes (19 Mar) – TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has demanded the Government come up with “proper long-term funding” for London transport networks. The comments come after Ministers announced an extension to emergency funding for Transport for London (TfL) which would keep services running until the middle of May, having seen a major downturn in usage over the course of the Covid crisis read more
Long overdue – TSSA welcomes ScotRail’s transfer to public ownership (17 Mar) – TSSA today welcomed news that ScotRail will be run in the public sector from March 2022. Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Michael Matheson told MSPs today that from next March no new franchise would be awarded for ScotRail services read more
TSSA Amey members hail “victory for common sense”. NR’s first U-turn on CEFA outsourcing (17 Mar) – TSSA members at Amey have achieved their first major success in our campaign to save rail structures from potential disaster. Network Rail regions have been attempting to sell off packages of structures examinations, building surveys and earthworks to new suppliers. Plans would award contracts to employers seeking reduced costs and increased profits in ongoing competition against each other. NR have so far failed to explain how they will coordinate suppliers to ensure that critical clues about dangerous dilapidation are not overlooked, resulting in terrible tragedy read more
Support the indefinite bus strike in Manchester and the industrial action at RATP in London
‘Rogue Manchester bus service’ under investigation for serial safety breaches (22 Mar) – The ‘rogue bus service’ being be operated by Go North West in the Greater Manchester area, is under investigation for serial Covid-19 safety failures and breaches of other vital safety regulations. Go North West, which is part of the multi-billion pound Go Ahead group, launched its ‘rogue bus service’ rather than seek a negotiated settlement to the dispute with Unite, the UK’s leading union, over plans to fire and rehire its bus drivers on vastly inferior terms and conditions. As a result, over 400 bus drivers have been on all-out (continuous) strike action since 28 February. The drivers began their fourth week of strike action yesterday (Sunday 21 March). Earlier this month, Unite highlighted how Go North West’s ‘rogue bus service’ was operating dangerously overcrowded buses. In response, the company claimed it was a one off incident. While taking strike action, Go North West bus drivers have been compiling a detailed dossier on all the safety failings of the ‘rogue bus service’ read more
BREAKING NEWS!! London bus strikes suspended as eleventh hour talks produce breakthrough (23 Mar) – London bus strikes scheduled for tomorrow (Wednesday 24 March) have been suspended following, eleventh hour negotiations that have produced improved offers. The strikes, over pay and attacks on drivers’ conditions by the French owned bus company RATP and its three subsidiaries (London United, London Sovereign and Quality Line), were due to affect routes in North West, West and South West London read more
London braced for fresh bus strikes as talks fail to progress (10 Mar) – Bus passengers across London should be aware that they face fresh disruption throughout March, due to a series of strikes over pay and conditions, Unite the union has warned. The ongoing industrial action, which involves French bus company RATP and its three subsidiaries in the capital; London United, London Sovereign and Quality Line, began last month. RATP’s attempts to divide and rule each workforce, mean each of the three strikes involve different issues…future industrial action across the three subsidiaries will be co-ordinated, with strikes scheduled for successive Wednesdays on 17, 24 and 31 March read more
Thurrock bin workers vote to strike against Tory Council’s attacks on on contracts
Law needs to change so skilled care workers have a decent pay rise, says Unite, following ‘deeply disappointing’ Supreme Court ruling (19 Mar) – The government needs to step in and change the law following today’s (Friday 19 March) Supreme Court ruling that carers, who have to sleep at their workplace in case they are needed overnight, are not entitled to the national minimum wage (NMW) for their whole shift. The call came from Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, which said the Supreme Court had failed to recognise the ‘immense contribution’ that highly skilled care workers make during the night delivering essential adult social care, especially during the year-long pandemic read more
‘Damning verdict’ on government failure to prevent bus driver deaths (19 Mar) – Unite, the UK’s leading union, which represents over 20,000 bus drivers in London, has described a new report from the University College of London, which found that an earlier lockdown last year would have saved bus drivers’ lives, as a “damning verdict on the failure to protect vulnerable key workers”. The key finding from the report, published today (Friday 19 March), was that 80 per cent of the bus workers who died of Covid-19 in the first wave had ceased work by 3 April 2020 read more
‘Bullying and anti-union culture’ at St Mungo’s must stop warns Unite (19 Mar) – A ‘bullying and anti-union culture’ amongst the management at London-based housing support charity St Mungo’s must end, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said today (Friday 19 March). Unite, which has more than 500 members at St Mungo’s, said a ‘disproportionate’ 44 per cent of Unite stewards at the charity are currently engaged in formal processes concerning their own employment, while also dealing with similar matters for fellow Unite members. Unite believes St Mungo’s managers are targeting union reps so they don’t have time to represent members, as they are too busy defending themselves. St Mungo’s staff staged walkouts last year, in part due to the charity’s unbalanced and unfair use of disciplinary procedures. Currently, the issue has become so bad within St Mungo’s property services department that Unite is balloting its members in this section for strike action. The ballot, which opens on 23 March and runs until 6 April, was called after a number of staff grievances against property services senior management were dismissed read more
Trade unions launch workplace ballot at Scottish Water over £3,000 loss of pay (18 Mar) – The trade unions Unite Scotland, GMB Scotland and UNISON Scotland have jointly informed Scottish Water over a consultative ballot for industrial action, which opens today (18 March), in a dispute over pay. The Joint Trade Unions are demanding a return to proper negotiations amid a pay and bonuses row which could mean Scottish Water workers losing up to £3,000. A number of Scottish Water workers have already lost between £500 – £1000 through the removal of the supplement payment which averages overtime hours worked over a year. The payment covered workplace issues such as standby and emergency works. However, Scottish Water have now imposed a new workplace system which reduces the supplemental payment and workers will now not be paid for working any additional hours read more
Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots must clarify whether his decision to abolish the Agricultural Wages Board (AWB) is a conflict of interest (18 Mar) – Agriculture Minister Poots, a member of the Ulster Farmers’ Union, called out on Ministerial Code of Conduct over his decision to deliver on longstanding UFU priority. Union warns that abolition of AWB will give green light to employers exploiting highly vulnerable agricultural workers, many of whom are migrant workers read more
Norman Tebbit’s admission about government involvement in spying on trade unionists must be fully investigated (17 Mar) – Revelations that Norman Tebbit was regularly briefed by special branch on the activities of trade unionists while he was employment secretary underscore the need for both a public inquiry into blacklisting and for the Mittings Inquiry into undercover policing to investigate the matter, Unite said today (Wednesday 17 March). Lord Tebbit made his comments yesterday (Tuesday 16 March) at a parliamentary meeting about the Mittings Inquiry, which was organised by Richard Burgon MP. Replying to a contribution by Dave Smith, of the blacklist support group, Mr Tebbit said that the level of briefing he received from the police was so detailed that he knew where trade unionists went on holiday. Lord Tebbit also revealed that he held meetings with the general secretary of the electricians union EEPTU to discuss how to deal with “activists”. When Tebbit was secretary of state for employment from 1981-83, the leader of EEPTU was Frank Chapple read more
Unite demands review of picketing restrictions following Police Scotland intervention at SAICA dispute (17 Mar) – Unite Scotland has today (17 March) demanded a review of picketing restrictions in Scotland following the dispersal of workers involved in industrial action at SAICA Packaging UK in Edinburgh. Workers involved in a peaceful picket at the company’s Edinburgh site were dispersed this morning by Police Scotland after threats of fines and further ‘punishment’ for anyone orchestrating the dispute. Unite Scotland has criticised the actions after conforming to all the statutory requirements with regard to the pandemic and informing Police Scotland in advance as to the commencement of the strike and no objections were raised at that time. The trade union has also written to the Justice Secretary, Humza Yousaf, demanding that the Scottish Government and Police Scotland adopt the same approach being applied to workers in England who have been afforded picketing rights. Unite members at SAICA Packaging UK based at Edinburgh and Milngavie began an official overtime ban on 14 March with 24-hour stoppages to follow each Wednesday starting from today (17 March 2021). The industrial action follows a decision by the company to detrimentally vary the contracts of Unite members as they relocate to the new Livingston site in 2022 read more
Norwich city councillors must intervene over council workers’ pay and conditions say unions (17 Mar) – Trade unions representing angry workers at Norwich City Council are warning that the council’s new arms length company called Norwich City Services Ltd (NCSL) is already facing serious problems before it’s even started. Workers’ representatives are seeking support from the city’s councillors, to ensure that the commitments made over the last two years by Council leaders are honoured. The unions have been in discussions since 2018 with Norwich City Council (NCC) regarding the formation of the new arm’s length company NCSL. The company has been set up to bring services, including ground maintenance and street cleaning which had been outsourced to Norse, back in-house read more
Unite plans spring offensive in Heathrow fire and rehire battle (17 Mar) – Unite, the UK’s principal aviation union, has announced 41 strikes at Heathrow Airport this spring, in a bitter dispute following the company’s decision to fire and rehire its entire workforce, slashing their pay and reducing their conditions. Targeted strike action will begin on Friday 2 April and there will be 41 strikes over a 23 day period, with the final strike scheduled for Sunday 25 April. The targeted strike action will involve engineering, airside operations, landside operations, fire service, campus security and central terminal operations. Each sector will be taking seven days of strike action. During the strike period at least one of the sectors will be on strike on most days. The dispute is a result of Heathrow Airport Limited’s (HAL) decision to fire and rehire its 4,000 strong workforce. Workers have experienced pay cuts of up to £8,000 (25 per cent of earnings) and report being forced to downsize, move to cheaper areas or give up their car, as a result. Unite has described the decision to fire and rehire the workers as being all about greed and not about need. If this was about making savings due to the Covid-19 pandemic than pay cuts would have been temporary rather than permanent read more
Unite legal action secures pay-outs for over 2,000 Thomas Cook staff (17 Mar) – Legal action by Unite, the UK’s principal aviation union, has secured compensation up to a maximum of £4,200 each for more than 2,000 Thomas Cook staff who lost their jobs when the travel firm collapsed in September 2019. The compensation was awarded after Unite brought an employment tribunal claim over Thomas Cook’s failure to consult over the redundancies. The claim was brought by Unite on behalf of 2,109 members who were Thomas Cook cabin crew or engineers based across the UK. The tribunal found in favour of Unite because Thomas Cook should have begun consultation with the union at least 45 days before any redundancies took place. The claim was made more difficult to pursue because Unite had to gain permission from the courts to launch it, as the company had been forced into compulsory administration read more
Royal and SunAlliance staff ballot for possible strike action (16 Mar) – Unite the union has today (Tuesday 16 March) started a ballot of the workforce at Royal and SunAlliance (RSA) over a threatened pay freeze in 2021. The union has called on RSA to reverse its deplorable decision to impose a pay freeze for its outstanding workforce who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to ensure the maintenance and survival of the business. Any industrial action will impact customers of MORE THAN insurance read more
Unite calls on Babcock Marine to step ‘back from the brink’ as Clyde nuclear naval base workers strike – Hundreds of Unite the union members based at the Coulport and Faslane nuclear naval bases on the Clyde are set to take part in rolling industrial action today (12 March) from 10 a.m. The strike action follows the ‘overwhelming’ support from its 1000-strong membership where Unite members voted by 95% in support of strike action on a 65% turnout. The rolling strike action will also be held in conjunction with a continuous call out ban and ban on all overtime read more
Babcock ‘suitability as an MoD contractor’ in question following RAF Leeming and Clyde strikes – Defence giant Babcock’s suitability as a Ministry of Defence (MoD) contractor is being called into question following a breakdown in industrial relations with staff at a number of military bases, Unite, said today (Wednesday 10 March). Strike action by Babcock staff is currently occurring at RAF Leeming, in North Yorkshire, while strikes are due to begin this week at the Coulport and Faslane naval bases on the Clyde. Unite raised concerns that the disputes have all begun within the first six months of Babcock CEO David Lockwood taking up the role and called on him to personally intervene to resolve them. More than 50 Babcock workers, who provide operational and engineering services for aircraft at RAF Leeming, including the Hawk trainer aircraft, have been on strike since January over a £5,000 shift pay disparity read more
Donations can be made as follows:
Bank Transfer to: Sort Code: 60 83 01 Account No: 20173962
Account Name: Unite North East Region 1% Fund
Reference: Babcock Aerospace Ltd and your branch number
Alternatively, By Cheque made payable to “Unite the Union” and forwarded to the Leeds Regional Office, Unite the Union, 55 Call Lane, Leeds, LS1 7BW marked for the attention of the Regional Secretary (Babcock Aerospace Dispute). For messages of support please email [email protected]
Leicester SPS staff strike over proposed ‘penury-inducing’ fire and rehire cuts of up to £3,000 – Leicester workers at aerospace parts firm SPS Technologies will strike over ‘penury-inducing’ fire and rehire cuts that will cost staff up to £3,000 a year, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said today (Tuesday 9 March). Around 200 Unite members at SPS’s Barkby Road site will strike over fire and rehire proposals that would result in reductions to overtime pay, sick pay, paid breaks, shift premiums and other terms and conditions. The termination of the current contracts and rehiring onto new ones would see staff lose between £2,500 and £3,000 from their annual salaries and force many into financial difficulties. Unite said the discontinuous 24-hour strikes, which will take place on 12, 19, 22 and 26 March, as well as a separate overtime ban, will result in ‘serious disruption’ to SPS’s operations. The workers will be holding socially distanced picket lines outside the Barkby Road site during the strikes read more
Living Wage Foundation urged to end Goodlord accreditation over ‘brutal’ London pay cuts as indefinite strikes begin – The Living Wage Foundation has been urged to end its accreditation of London-based lettings software provider Goodlord over ‘brutal’ £6,000 pay cuts that have forced staff to begin indefinite strike action, Unite said today (Tuesday 2 March). Around 20 Unite members employed in Goodlord’s London-based referencing department, which provides tenant checks for estate agents, had been on discontinuous strike since 22 February. On March 1, however, the workers escalated their industrial action to an indefinite strike, meaning they will not return to work until the dispute is resolved. The dispute centres on fire and rehire plans that would see the pay of Goodlord’s referencing staff plummet from £24,000 to £18,000. Goodlord is accredited as a Living Wage Foundation employer. However, the cuts would see Goodlord’s referencing staff earn less than the foundation’s London living wage of £21,157. Referencing staff are the only workers employed by the company to have been singled out for fire and rehire attacks read more
Messages of support to [email protected]
- Email complaints to [email protected]; tweet complaints to @sogoodlord
- Strike fund donations to Unite LE/7098L London ITC Branch, sort code 60-83-01, account 20303680, reference Goodlord
Sainsbury’s faces South East Easter shortages as DHL strikes over ‘union busting’ loom – Sainsbury’s is facing Easter shortages at its stores across the South East, including parts of London, after DHL staff at its Dartford regional distribution centre voted for strike action over ‘union busting’, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said today (Friday 12 February). The Dartford strike 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. After the vote in favour of strike action, more than 350 DHL staff are now poised to stage walk out’s throughout March, April and May read more
NHS bosses probed on profit margins of £755,000 contract for Reading hospital security guards – 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
Scunthorpe scaffolders step up strike action at British Steel site – 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
Read document by Unite Community Cumbria branch: ‘Covid and the Tories – a world beating catastrophe’
Strike set to hit Heathrow over Easter (18 Mar) – Staff working in passport control at Heathrow have today (18) served notice for a week of strike action over Easter. The strike by nearly 450 PCS members is due to start on 1 April – 3 days before Easter Sunday – and is in response to the imposition of new rosters which are considered to be unworkable. The rosters have resulted in travellers waiting in queues of more than seven hours to have their passports checked read more
Successful PCS campaign saves Art Library jobs (18 Mar) – The Victoria and Albert Museum has confirmed that the 20 staff involved are no longer at risk of imminent redundancy. After a successful campaign by PCS, including an Early Day Motion and petition which reached over 10,000 signatures, the Victoria and Albert Museum has confirmed that the 20 staff at the National Art Library, within the museum, are no longer at risk of imminent redundancy read more
PCS statement on the policing bill (18 Mar) – The police, crime, sentencing and courts bill, if it becomes law, will give senior police officers and politicians major new powers to restrict the democratic right to protest and to curtail freedom of expression. It will give members of PCS and other trade unions cause for concern. The right to free speech and peaceful protest is the lifeblood of a healthy democracy. Yet, a government which says it stands for freedom and democracy proposes giving the police and the home secretary unprecedented powers to criminalise people standing up for social justice read more
Government comms restructuring must not lead to job losses (16 Mar) – A restructure of government communications must not lead to job losses or redundancies, PCS has reiterated ahead of talks this week with the team running the project to centralise communications read more
PCS members vote for industrial action at DVLA – PCS members working at the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency (DVLA) have voted for industrial action over continuing Covid health and safety concerns. The ballot returned a 71.6% vote for strike action and 76.9% for action short of a strike, on a turnout of 50.3%. The DVLA office in Swansea suffered the worst Covid workplace outbreak in the UK but over 2,000 staff have been going into the workplace every day. The union has repeatedly called for a huge reduction in footfall at DVLA, pointing out that during the first lockdown, only 250 people were in the workplace carrying out essential duties. PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “This result is a damning indictment on DVLA management in their abject failure to keep staff safe…” read more
Please sign this PCS petition to Save Ealing Tax Office – we ask that you sign this eaction to the Chancellor calling on him to intervene urgently, to halt the office closures and redundancies, and consult fully with the union and work to retain the experience and vital knowledge contained within Ealing Tax Office. Support our call to SAVE JOBS, SAVE SERVICES and STOP THE CLOSURES
Support 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
National lockout looms unless British Gas pulls back from mass sacking of striking workers (22 Mar) – Mr O’Shea – CEO of British Gas – has unilaterally created an April 1 cliff edge and is driving the company at high speed towards it. A mass sacking of British Gas engineers will happen on April 1 unless they accept a 15% cut in pay rates and changes to terms and conditions they have already overwhelmingly and repeatedly rejected. A GMB Central Executive Council (CEC) meeting tomorrow [Tuesday March 23] will consider declaring an official national lockout dispute with British Gas unless the company pulls back from the brink. It will also consider fixing further strike dates. Lockouts – where bosses shut workers out of the workplace and won’t let them work – have historically been used by bosses to bully workers into accepting cuts to their pay, terms and conditions and are very rare in the modern world. The April 1 deadline for the mass sackings is one of three rapidly approaching deadlines unilaterally fixed by British Gas in this long-running deadlocked dispute. Today, Monday March 22, thousands of GMB British Gas members are on strike – their 38th strike day. Thursday, March 25 is the deadline for staff to sign acceptance of the imposed cuts. Those failing to sign will not be paid lump sum payments of up to £4,500 and other so-called ‘protected terms’ offered by British Gas.
- Friday, March 26 to Monday, March 29 thousands of GMB British Gas members take part in strike days 39 to 42.
- Monday, March 29 British Gas will give up to 12 weeks’ formal notice of termination for staff who have not accepted the imposed changes.
- Thursday, April 1 British Gas will sack staff who don’t accept the imposed cuts and other changes, with pay in lieu of the up to 12 weeks’ notice they are required to give read more
Contract changes will make British Gas ‘less safe’ say workers as strike continues (19 Mar) – Poll of British Gas workers shows safety concerns as company set to fire and rehire workforce. Contract changes will make British Gas ‘less safe’ say engineers as they walk out today for strike day 35 of the ongoing fire and rehire dispute. Thousands of British Gas workers responded to a GMB Union survey on the planned contract changes with 87% of respondents saying that the reduced times in which to conduct their work would make them less safe. British Gas Engineers will walk out for four days from today to Monday, March 22 after the company proposed a pay cut of 15 per cent and increased ‘flexibility’ – which would severely impact on workers’ home lives and caring responsibilities. Those who don’t agree to the new terms will be sacked. Strike days 35 to 38 will be followed by a meeting of GMB’s Central Executive Council (CEC), which is the governing body of the union, on Tuesday, March 23 to consider the next steps in the dispute. GMB has repeatedly called for fire and rehire to be taken off the table so they could reach a deal read more
Judges are workers and have right to join union for protection (19 Mar) – GMB has written to the Lord Chief Justice saying judges are workers and should be allowed to join a union to protect themselves from discrimination. The letter comes after serious concerns over discrimination, bullying and whistleblower safety among judges were raised in Parliament. GMB also expresses worries over covid outbreaks in courts and how unsafe judges –particularly women – feel in and outside of the courtroom. Just as judges may join clubs or associations, they can join unions – provided they are not personally taking part in party political activity and do nothing to bring the judiciary into disrepute or damage their own actual and perceived independence, the letter states read more
GMB warns Reigate & Banstead residents to expect refuse pile up as waste services set to strike (19 Mar) – “It is disappointing that our members have to undertake this process and appreciate the public’s upset especially as the Borough has recently increased its Council Tax for residents”, say GMB. GMB, the union at Reigate & Banstead Council, have warned residents to expect missed refuse collections as the Council are refusing to meet the union to discuss improving a pay offer which the members have rejected. Last ditch talks between GMB officials, ACAS and Council management scheduled for Friday morning have broken down due to the Council wishing to bring in third parties that are not in dispute with the council. GMB members have previously voted to reject the latest pay offer and enter a campaign of industrial action to win a pay deal that reflects the fact that they have been working hard throughout the pandemic, putting their health and safety and that of their families at risk in order to serve the public read more
Sleep in shifts: supreme court ruling missed chance to address low pay of carers (19 Mar) – Not many people would be able to sleep knowing they could be called to action at any moment. GMB, the union for care workers, says today’s supreme court ruling was a missed chance to address the low pay of carers. Judges today determined employees undertaking ‘sleep in’ caring roles have no entitlement to be paid the National Minimum Wage for each hour that they are on the employer’s premises, able to sleep but available to be disturbed by events that may occur requiring them to provide care during the sleep in shift read more
PFI was a ‘disastrous policy saddling taxpayers with extortionate charges’ (19 Mar) – All services that were outsourced under PFI must be returned in-house to the public sector, where they belong. GMB Union has described PFI as a ‘disastrous policy’ saddling taxpayers with extortionate charges’ as the Public Accounts Committee releases its damning report. The committee warns vital public services, including schools and hospitals ‘face serious disruptions’ as Private Finance Initiative ends read more
Wilko workers ready for strike action after bosses cut sick pay – but keep their own (17 Mar) – Consultative ballot sees 88% of Wilko Employees voting for industrial action following ‘savage’ cuts. Wilko keyworkers are ready to strike after bosses cut their sick pay entitlement, while management kept their own terms. A consultative ballot saw 88% vote they were ready to take action up to and including strike action following the ‘savage’ cuts. 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 read more
Uber ‘finally does the right thing’ after GMB wins four court battles (16 Mar) – Other gig economy companies should take note – this is the end of the road for bogus self-employment. GMB, the union for Uber drivers, says the company has finally done the right thing after losing four court battles. Uber has announced that from tomorrow, all 70,000 drivers will be paid holiday time, be automatically enrolled into a pension plan and will earn at least the minimum wage. Last month the Supreme Court ruled in GMB’s favour – determining that Uber drivers are not self-employed, but are workers entitled to workers’ rights including holiday pay, a guaranteed minimum wage and an entitlement to breaks. It was the fourth time Uber has lost in court over its treatment of drivers read more
UNISON signs job protection deal at Chesterfield Borough Council (22 Mar) – Following a UNISON campaign, over 1,000 workers at Chesterfield Borough Council have been given extra job security. Chesterfield Borough Council graphic celebrating agreement with UNISON. At a worrying time for all employees, council bosses in Chesterfield have agreed not to make any compulsory redundancies for six months, signing a job protection agreement in recognition of workers’ vital work during the COVID-19 pandemic read more
Health workers win two-year battle against privatisation in Frimley (19 Mar) – UNISON members have won the battle to keep their NHS jobs, after threats to transfer workers to a wholly owned subsidiary were made in April 2019. UNISON Frimley health branch members are celebrating after emerging triumphant from a two-year battle against privatisation read more
Blackburn and Burnley Hospital security staff strike called off after last minute pay offer (19 Mar) – Staff employed by private contractor Engie Services Ltd within East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust have postponed the strike action they had planned over their employer’s failure to pay NHS rates. The security staff- who work at Burnley General Hospital and Royal Blackburn Hospital were set to begin a 48-hour strike on Sunday (21 March) at 6.30pm. But in a dramatic turn of events, the hospital workers have postponed their plans to strike after receiving a last-minute pay offer by their employer Engie. Currently, multinational outsourcing giant Engie only pays the hospital workers the minimum wage rate, which leaves some of the Lancashire security staff up to £6,000 per year worse off compared to security guards employed on NHS terms. The French company has offered to pay the hospital workers NHS Agenda for Change hourly pay rates for the next four weeks whilst they continue to negotiate with UNISON to permanently resolve the issue read more
A 1% increase is neither a pay rise nor the way to treat NHS staff (16 Mar) – Matt Hancock should stop trying to defend the indefensible. Commenting on the health secretary’s comments on NHS pay to the health select committee earlier today (Tuesday), UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said: “Inflation and freezes to tax allowances mean a 1% increase is neither a wage rise, nor an acceptable way to treat health workers who’ve given everything this past year. Matt Hancock should stop trying to defend the indefensible. The government needs a rethink as even its own backbenchers have made clear. Without a decent pay rise this year, the NHS will struggle to hold on to its increasingly fed-up workforce” read more
North Cumbria NHS Trust, HMC and Mitie under political pressure as Cumberland Infirmary workers announce second strike – More than 150 porters, cleaners, switchboard and catering staff employed by Mitie at Cumberland Infirmary took strike action on Friday (26 Feb) and Monday (1 March) over missing payments for working unsocial hours. The hospital workers have today (Thursday) announced that they plan to take a further three days of strike action, beginning on Friday 26 March. And now North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Trust (NCIC), Health Management Carlisle (HMC) and Mitie have come under political pressure for their role in the ongoing row over pay. Cumbria County Council Leader Stewart Young has waded into the debate to call for a resolution to the dispute 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.
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
CWU Announce Industrial Action Ballot across BT, Openreach, and EE – The prospect of the first BT-wide strike action in 34 years has moved significantly closer following last night’s announcement that the CWU is moving towards a national industrial action ballot over an unprecedented and sustained assault on job security and hard won terms & conditions. Barring a dramatic eleventh-hour about-turn by a belligerent new senior management team which has now spent more than a year pursuing a brutal and needlessly confrontational agenda – despite incessant union appeals for meaningful talks to avert a full-scale industrial relations meltdown – that ballot will cover every part of BT, Openreach and EE where the CWU is recognised for collectively bargaining purposes read more
Five more strike days announced in Openreach – A further five days of strike action have been announced in Openreach amid mounting workforce exasperation at the refusal of bosses to engage with the union over the legitimate concerns of repayment project engineers (RPEs) about the imposed re-grading of their role. Today (Wednesday) the small but fiercely loyal group of CWU members are commencing their second previously announced stint of industrial action, with three consecutive strike days that will run until midnight on Friday following on from the two consecutive days of action they took on Wednesday and Thursday last week…CWU national officer for Openreach, Davie Bowman: “These strike days will take place between 00:01 on Thursday March 18 and 23:59 on Friday March 19, and then a further three days between 00.01 on Monday March 22 and 23.59 on Wednesday March 24 – bringing the total number of strike days announced to date to 10” read more
Sign petition: Keep BT desk based sites open in London and the South East
Fighting for Technology TUPE members as wider stormclouds gather (Mar 17) – Some progress has been made in fraught negotiations on behalf of members of BT’s Digital Workplace Services (DWS) team in advance of an impending outsourcing of their work which will see dozens TUPEd into certain redundancy in just a fortnight. On April 1 the 86-strong DWS team will transfer to Computacenter as part of a cost-cutting IT reorganisation by Technology bosses – and on the very same day no fewer than 30 individuals will enter a formal redundancy consultation process read more
Incoherent safety measures putting DHL workers in “danger”, CWU warns (Mar 16) – DHL’s workers and customers have been put under “unnecessary danger” after the company allowed a manager with flu-like symptoms to return without taking necessary measures, the Communication Workers Union has claimed. Large numbers of workers at DHL Parcel UK’s depot on the Trafford Park industrial estate in Manchester have been off work sick with Covid. They believe this is down to a manager who had flu-like symptoms, but returned to work without taking the mandatory self-isolation period off, or getting a coronavirus test. Concerned workers raised the matter at a works meeting but were told that the shift manager was “confident” he didn’t have Covid-19. This is despite the manager having come into close contact with another shift manager who had tested positive – and, sadly, has since died from the virus read more
QUB Creche Workers Commence Industrial Action (8 Mar) – Sixteen NIPSA members employed in QUB Crèche commence industrial action today in defence of their terms, conditions and employment. It is ironic on International Women’s Day low paid women workers’ have been forced to take industrial action. Despite being engaged in conciliation via the Labour Relations Agency unfortunately that process did not deliver anything that would have allowed the action to be called off. The action today commences with Action Short of Strike Action – but messages of support to these brave NIPSA members will be passed on read more
Pension challenge – update (17 Mar) – I am writing to advise members with regard to the steps we are taking to give effect to the Employment Tribunal remedy we have won in the pension age discrimination claims filed for members. You may recall that the Employment Tribunal has made a formal declaration to the effect that younger prison officer members of the Civil Service Pension Scheme who were required to transfer to the 2015 alpha pension scheme are entitled to be treated as if they had never left their “legacy scheme”, i.e., the Classic, Classic Plus, Premium or Nuvos sections of the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme. A parallel declaration has been made for secure psychiatric nurses working in the special hospitals who had to leave the 1995 or 2008 NHS pension schemes and transfer to the 2015 NHS scheme. Some progress is being made to give effect to these declarations, but it is proving to be a painfully slow process. We are taking steps to speed it up read more
Lords back National Stalking Register in defiance of Government (16 Mar) – Napo has for many years campaigned alongside our sister unions and anti-domestic violence organisations for effective strategies to end male violence against women and girls. The thoughts of Napo members everywhere will be with the family of Sarah Everard, and the events in South London last weekend have unleashed a wave of anger about the failures of politicians over many decades to take meaningful action in this regard read more
FBU brands annual HMICFRS report ‘Trojan horse’ for attacks on terms and conditions (17 Mar) – The government’s inspector of fire and rescue services in England has used its annual ‘State of Fire’ to attack the FBU and make a number of recommendations that would undermine terms and conditions for frontline staff. Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) claimed there were too many barriers to change in the service in England and pointed to a lack of ‘flexibility’ in working practices and that firefighters’ terms and conditions contained in the Grey Book were too ‘rigid’ 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
Support these NEU strikes:-
Shrewsbury College/Shrewsbury (Victimisation of Rep): Tuesday-Thursday 23-25 March. Email support to [email protected]
Leaways School Hackney: Wednesday-Thursday 17-18 March. Email support to [email protected]
Moulsecomb Primary School, Brighton & Hove (enforced change of employer) – Wednesday 24 March
Victoria Education Centre, Bournemouth (redundancies) – Wednesday 24 March
Beal High School, Redbridge (pay) – Thursday 25 March
NEU Cymru welcomes report on “Fair Deal for supply teachers” (19 Mar) – During the pandemic, our supply members have been extremely disappointed by the behaviour of some of the supply agencies, who have refused to Furlough supply staff read more
EPI report on SEND postcode lottery (19 Mar) – It is an impact of the systemic cuts to SEND funding that local authorities in the most disadvantaged areas are found in the report to have been forced to ration support for the children with greatest need read more
NAO on Public Service Pensions 919 Mar) – The NEU broadly welcomes the NAO report on public service pensions, which largely endorses the NEU’s arguments down the years read more
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.
Support Newham Little Ilford School strikes against unsafe expansion – NEU members have been 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
Gateshead teachers take strike action (16 Mar) – Members of NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union at Furrowfield School in Gateshead are planning 15 days of strike action starting today (Tuesday 16 March) over adverse management practices, impacting on the health, safety and wellbeing of members. Members at the school have been subjected to management practices which they believe are threatening, intimidatory and unprofessional, along with attempts to undermine their contractual entitlements read more
Updates on latest UCU disputes
Petition calling for fair funding and online learning
University of Central Lancashire strikes off as university agrees to suspend redundancies (22 Mar) – UCU has agreed to suspend strike action due to start at the University of Central Lancashire as a result of reaching an agreement with the university to suspend its plans to make staff redundant read more
Strike ballot to open at prisons across England (18 Mar) – Strike action could be on the cards at prisons across England as a ballot opens for UCU members at the country’s largest prison education provider, Novus. The ballot is over Covid health and safety concerns and will close on Friday 9 April. If UCU members back strike action, educators at 49 prisons and young offender institutions across England will walk out’ read more
UCU response to HEPI report on university admissions (18 Mar) – UCU said the current university admissions system is not fit for purpose, as it disadvantages students from less affluent backgrounds. UCU said moving to post-qualification admissions (PQA) is the best way to address the system’s fundamental unfairness read more
Strikes to begin across all six Northern Ireland colleges over pay row (17 Mar) – All six further education colleges in Northern Ireland will be hit with one day of strike action on Wednesday 24 March unless Stormont urgently addresses staff concerns over pay and conditions of service. The strike action will be immediately followed by continuous action short of a strike. This will see UCU members only working to contracted hours, refusing to work overtime, and boycotting any additional duties read more
Strike ballot over contract changes and working conditions at United Colleges Group (16 Mar) – UCU members working at London based United Colleges Group are today being balloted for potential strike action over changes to agreed contracts imposed by management that will see workloads increase. At the start of the 2020 autumn term, college management unilaterally imposed changes to existing contractual terms and conditions by removing timetabled non-teaching hours for teaching staff, without prior discussion or agreement with UCU or staff. These terms and conditions are part of the contract the college agreed with UCU following the merger of the College of North West London and City of Westminster College in 2017. UCU fears that the employer is not negotiating in good faith and intends to impose further changes to contracts and working practices 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.
Threats to media at weekend demonstration condemned by NUJ (22 Mar) – NUJ members have informed the union they faced threats and harassment on Saturday at the Covid anti-lockdown, anti-vaccine protest that saw thousands march through the capital read more
NUJ reacts to Reach plans (19 Mar) – Newspaper publisher Reach plans to close their offices and make most employees work from home read more
Freelances need holiday pay too: do you qualify? (18 Mar) – Uber drivers will now – following a long legal battle – get holiday pay, but according to an NUJ survey almost nine in 10 freelances said they did not receive it read more
BBC announces latest job cuts and 400 roles to leave London (18 Mar) – The corporation says the aim is to better serve the audience by becoming less London-centric. The job cuts are part of 520 post closures across News that were announced last year and are part of a £800m savings package across the whole of the BBC. News has been set a savings target of £85m read more
Prospect ‘seeking answers’ for members following National Grid’s WPD deal and plan to sell gas business (18 Mar) – Prospect is reassuring and supporting its members at both companies, following the announcement that National Grid is to buy Western Power Distribution in a £7.8bn deal and that it also intends to sell off its gas transmission network division read more
Protecting our civil rights (18 Mar) – Prospect has continued to express concerns about the government’s plans to put added restrictions on the right to protest contained in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, and are working with the TUC to ensure union voices have been heard in this debate. Last Monday, the TUC led on union involvement in an open letter signed by a range of NGOs, civil liberties and membership groups opposing the legislation. After the events of the last week, it is even more disgraceful that the government is seeking to undermine the right to peaceful dissent read more
Focus must be on defence jobs (16 Mar) – Prospect, a union representing thousands of defence workers in both the public and private sectors has responded to the announcement of the UK government’s Integrated Review of security, defence, development and foreign policy read more
Equity reacts to some BBC moving some operations out of London (18 Mar) read more
BCM Fareva, Nottingham: Usdaw appalled by brutal proposals to slash employees’ terms and conditions (19 Mar) – BCM Fareva, the Nottingham based manufacturer of consumer pharma and beauty products for leading brands including Boots, has today announced proposals to slash employees’ pension, life assurance, sick pay and redundancy payment provisions. Usdaw will engage in talks with the company read more
Usdaw challenges Tesco fire and rehire tactics in the High Court (18 Mar) – Retail trade union Usdaw is challenging Tesco’s fire and rehire tactics through the English courts, having won a temporary interdict in Scotland for staff at the Livingston distribution centre. Social justice law firm, Thompsons Solicitors, has today issued High Court proceedings. A total of 74 workers employed at three Tesco distribution centres in England, two in Daventry and one in Litchfield, are at risk of having their terms slashed through a fire and rehire process, which will cost some of them a third of their wages. Fire and rehire is a controversial process where employers fire employees before rehiring them immediately afterwards, on less favourable terms and conditions, often affecting pay, benefits and working hours read more
Support striking Debenhams Workers: Email messages of support to the strikers via [email protected] and Mandate through [email protected]. Also, follow Stand with Debenhams Workers Facebook page
SIPTU and Congress seek government help to protect workers in Rehab Enterprises in Limerick (16 Mar) – SIPTU and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions have sent an urgent request to the Government in relation to the future of workers who are facing redundancy at Rehab Enterprises in Limerick read more
VICTORY! 40 day strike at La Retraite Roman Catholic Girls’ School called off as cleaners win not only a 24% pay rise but full pay sick pay in line with teachers & more (19 Mar) – Yet again, the power of worker-led collective action proves to be the most powerful weapon. Thank you all for your amazing solidarity!
South London based La Retraite Roman Catholic girls’ school embroiled in “legal scandal” after cleaners sue for “institutional racism” and bring a Judicial Review for refusing to pay sick pay (19 Mar) – Trade union United Voices of the World (UVW) has today announced that a group of migrant cleaners at the prestigious South London Roman Catholic Girls’ school of La Retraite are suing the school for “institutional racism”. The legal challenge comes after negotiations between the two sides broke down after Headteacher Dominic Malins refused the cleaners’ calls for the same sick pay that teachers receive, something UVW officials have stated was a “red-line” in negotiations read more
Support the North London SAGE strike – Watch ReelNews video of strike
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 calls on HMRC to enforce Uber Supreme Court ruling on unpaid waiting times, saying company is still taking drivers for a ride (17 Mar) – After losing last month’s Supreme Court case, Uber has finally accepted defeat and recognised its 70,000 UK drivers as workers, conceding some of the basic rights and protections the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) have campaigned for since 2017. However, this still falls short of the Supreme Court ruling, which clearly stated claimants were entitled to a guaranteed minimum wage from the moment they log into the app, eliminating the controversial and continuing practice of unpaid waiting time. Consequently, the IWGB is now calling on HMRC to intervene and enforce this ruling for all drivers read more
Strike together against Tory 1% NHS pay insult
A very successful Zoom meeting was held recently against the Tory pay insult, hoisted by Midlands NSSN.
From the meeting, a model motion has been put together. Feel free to use and share and modify if necessary for your own union/trades council:-
This union branch/trades council condemns the Tory Government’s announcement that NHS workers will receive a pay rise of only 1%
This union branch/trades council believes:-
- health workers have played an absolutely key role in treating patients in the most difficult and stressful conditions as well as fighting for workplace safety during COVID to protect both staff and our communities
- that the Tory 1% pay rise is an insult and shows the total contempt the Tories have for health workers, and shows that their support for them during the pandemic is hollow and a sham
This union branch/trades council further believes that:-
- the demand by health unions and NHS workers for a pay rise of up to 15% must be fully supported. This would only begin to make up for a decade of real terms cut in wages.
- this should include all workers in the NHS and outsourced staff should be brought in-house to work directly for the health service on NHS pay, pensions and terms & conditions
- the Tory pay freeze for other public sector workers must be opposed
This union branch/trades council resolves to call on our union to take the lead in approaching all other unions in the NHS to discuss and agree a joint struggle for the pay claim. This should include:-
- calling a national day of action of socially-distanced protests in towns and cities
- co-ordinated strike ballots across the health unions
- approach all public sector unions for a joint fight against the Tory attacks on pay
Health workers pay slashed by £1000s in real terms since 2010, GMB analysis shows
For more information: Nurses and Midwives say NO! to Public Sector pay inequality, Keep Our NHS Public, Health Campaigns Together
Fight blacklisting and victimisation of union reps
#SPYCops Inquiry exposes state surveillance of workers movement
QC for blacklisted workers formally calls for Lord Tebbit gives evidence at spycops public inquiry
Imran Khan QC, acting on behalf of the Blacklist Support Group has written to Sir John Mitting, chair of the public inquiry into undercover policing calling for Lord Norman Tebbit to be called to give oral evidence (attached). The formal request comes after Tebbit revealed that when he was Secretary of State for Employment in the Thatcher government, he received regular briefings about trade unions from Special Branch, which included such detail as where individual union members went on holiday. The frank admission came during a parliamentary meeting hosted by Richard Burgon and the Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance (COPS).
Tebbit also told MPs and peers attending the Zoom meeting that he often held private meetings with ‘friends in the unions’ including the General Secretary of the EETPU electricians union to discuss how to deal with leftwing union activists. After the meeting Lord Tebbit told The Times:
“I got briefings from Special Branch on what some of the hard-left, communist-style leaders were up to. But I got far more briefings from my friends who were trade union leaders. Friends of mine who were trade union leaders would come to see me at the Department of Employment by arrangement. They would drive, be admitted straight into the underground car park and take the lift straight to my office, so that nobody would know that they had seen me.”
Dave Smith, secretary of the Blacklist Support Group commented on the letter sent to Sir John Mitting:
“We demand that Tebbit be called to give evidence to the public inquiry about these Special Branch briefings. If any official government or union documentation relating to these meetings at a Ministerial office exist, we demand that they are disclosed to the inquiry. Just as importantly, Tebbit should be forced to name his ‘friends in the unions’ who grassed up union members to a Conservative government Minister. Any union leaders or officials who colluded with a Tory government against other union members should be publicly exposed. Mitting has repeatedly allowed police officers and their managers to avoid giving evidence to this supposedly public inquiry, but any last minute excuses for Tebbit not to give evidence will be totally unacceptable. If Tebbit is healthy enough to sit in the country’s upper legislative chamber, he is fit enough to give evidence at a public inquiry”.
Previous press coverage of Tebbit’s comments:
Keep up with developments and read and watch campaigners’ statements on the Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance (COPS) and Undercover Policing Inquiry websites and spycops info Facebook group
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
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
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
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
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
Campaign: write to your MP to call to account Turkey’s attack on the HDP and its MPs read more from the website of Solidarity with the People of Turkey
ASLEF: Resisting attacks on democracy in Turkey read more
PHONE 07952 283 558
EMAIL mailto:[email protected]
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ADDRESS NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE