The summer months are supposed to be a ‘quiet period’ for the union movement. But as regular readers of this NSSN bulletin will know, that isn’t the case this year. Workers are fighting back against the Tory and bosses’ offensive – fire and rehire, public sector pay insults and union victimisation.
The NSSN will continue to highlight these disputes and help build support and solidarity for them. We will give a platform to them at our rally on September 12th to lobby TUC Congress. Support the strikes and protests!
NSSN TUC Rally 2021 – 12pm Sunday September 12th
At 12pm on Sunday 12th September the NSSN is organising our annual rally before the start of TUC Congress. Due to Covid, both the TUC and our rally will again be virtual this year. This will be the 12th successive year that we have lobbied the TUC for the fighting programme that is needed by workers.
The pandemic has seen workers fight for their lives and increasingly our livelihoods as bosses unleash an offensive to make us pay for the crisis, including through fire and rehire and union-busting while their Tory Government proposes a public sector pay freeze and further austerity.
But workers are fighting back, with a strike wave that has seen important victories. Come and hear about the action that is taking place from union leaders and shopfloor workers on the front line.
This is an open forum to have your say, from the fight for workplace safety to defending our jobs and hard-won pay and conditions to stopping yet more privatisation of the NHS.
Confirmed speakers so far: Sarah Woolley BFAWU General Secretary, Joe Simpson POA Deputy General Secretary
Meeting ID: 861 1677 4093
United action against the Tories on public sector pay
Public sector workers, headed by those in the NHS and education, are rightly furious after the Tories finally made their pay announcements.
The 3% to be awarded to NHS staff, who have been on the front line risking their lives during Covid, is nowhere near what has been lost over the last decade. That’s why many health workers have been demanding 15%. But to rub salt in to the wounds, this rise must come out of the existing NHS budget. This means brutal cuts on top of all the Tory austerity we’ve already had.
It’s even worse for teachers, with a pay freeze. Local government workers have already been offered 1.75% and those in higher education 1.5%, further education staff 1% while many civil servants just a paltry £250 for lowest paid members and nothing for the rest.
The NSSN stands in solidarity with these and all public sector workers who are effectively receiving a pay cut as RPI inflation moves over 3%. After years of cuts to their income, the most effective way to get the pay rise they deserve is to fight together.
We support all demonstrations and industrial action that workers take. Workers are stronger when they take action together. The NSSN calls on unions and their members to reject these insulting offers and co-ordinate industrial action ballots so that if the Tories don’t back down, millions of public sector workers can take action together to get the pay rise they deserve.
Unite to hold a consultative ballot for industrial action over ‘grossly inadequate’ NHS pay offer (6 Aug) – “…There will also be a day of action on 25 August, where Unite members and workplace representatives will be involved in numerous activities to highlight the inadequacies of the pay award…”
GMB: Brutal working conditions and poverty pay trigger hospital lunchtime walk outs on Tuesday 17 August
RCN: NHS pay consultation opens – have your say now (12 Aug)
Unite Wales consulting NHS membership on 3% pay offer (17 Aug)
Unite: Police staff in consultative ballot over ‘politically influenced’ pay freeze (16 Aug)
UNISON police staff committee urges members to reject pay freeze (16 Aug)
Care Workers Clap Back – National day of action Saturday 4th September Facebook event
Manchester – 11.30am Piccadilly Gardens Facebook event
London – 11.30am Department of Health and Social Care – 39 Victoria Street SW1H 0EU Facebook event
Newcastle – 1pm Grey’s Monument Facebook event
Follow NHS Workers Say NO to Public Sector pay inequality on Facebook
Stop victimisation of union reps
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]
Support GARY CARNEY, TRAIN OPERATOR – LONDON UNDERGROUND
Defend Adrian Mitchell RMT driver on London Underground
Donate to solidarity campaign of Moe Muhsin Manir Unite bus rep Email messages of support to Moe: [email protected]
Trade union rep victimisation at Woolwich Ferry reaches ‘obscene levels’, says Unite
Unite: Ealing’s Labour council ‘actively helping’ Serco ‘hound’ union rep from civil enforcement job
St Mungos management escalate dispute by suspending Unite rep – sign petition: End the culture of fear at St Mungo’s
Sign petition: Reinstate Gary Bolister sacked GMB rep at Islington Council
Sacked UCU member wins right to return to work (29 July)
Watch Reel News video: Victimised union reps: Act like it’s you and fight back
Sign petition: Overturn Final written warning for John Boken (NEU Representative at Shrewsbury Colleges Group)
Sign petition to support Redbridge NEU Rep Keiran Mahon
Watch Reel News video: Huddersfield teachers strike to defend Louise Lewis
Defend NEU Exec member Tracy McGuire. Stop the victimization of Tracy!
Support the NSSN
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
Reports from unions in this bulletin do not necessarily reflect NSSN’s views.
Rail Gourmet staff to take further action (17 Aug) – RMT Edinburgh Rail Gourmet staff to take further strike action from this weekend in fight for justice. RAIL UNION RMT has confirmed that Rail Gourmet staff at Edinburgh Waverley will be going ahead with a new phase of strike action from this weekend in an on-going fight for respect and justice in the workplace as the company escalate their abuse and bullying of their staff. Rail Gourmet members at Edinburgh Waverley have been instructed not to book on for any shifts that commence between:
- 0600 Hours on Saturday 21st August 2021 and 0559 on Tuesday 24th August 2021
This latest phase of action follows on from previous rock solid strikes and instead of recognising the strength of the genuine grievances the company have chosen instead to ramp up their attacks including the despicable measure of forcing staff to eat their meals in the open on the station platform after removing a socially distanced, covered area at the staff canteen read more
RMT calls for halt to planned cuts (16 Aug) – RMT calls for halt to planned cuts as rail minister predicts a full return to normal train passenger numbers. RAIL UNION RMT has called for a reversal of planned cuts across Network Rail, TFL and the train operating companies after the rail minister said today that the Government are expecting passenger numbers to return to pre-COVID levels as the economy gets back into gear. General Secretary Mick Lynch said; “With the rail minister saying today that passenger use is predicted to fully return to pre-COVID levels there is absolutely no need for the government or the employers to be pressing for service and job cuts across the train operators, TFL and Network Rail…” read more
RMT Scotrail members fighting on for justice (15 Aug) – RMT Scotrail members fighting on for justice today as Abellio seek to punish their staff with a pay freeze. RMT Scotrail members are standing solid and united again today in their fight for workplace justice and equality as the company seek to punish their workforce for having the guts to stand up and be counted with a pay freeze read more
Action solidly supported again today on East Midlands Railways (15 Aug) – Action solidly supported again today on East Midlands Railways as company flout normal safety rules. RAIL UNION RMT said that action by Senior Conductors and Train Managers on East Midlands Railways in two separate disputes remains solidly supported today as the union begins compiling a dossier of potentially lethal safety breaches as the company drafts in an ill-trained army of strike breakers in a dangerous and desperate bid to try and undermine their front-line staff
East Midlands Railways strike: RMT demands action from safety regulator (13 Aug) – RMT demands action from safety regulator as East Midlands Railways prepare to risk lives in advance of Sunday’s next phase of strike action. RAIL UNION RMT has written to the head of the safety regulatory body demanding they intervene to stop East Midlands Railways using ill-trained and under-prepared bus coordinators as “contingency guards” on London services on Sunday when Train Managers strike again in a dispute over safety read more
Train Managers strike on East Midlands Railway rock solid (8 Aug) – Train Managers strike on East Midlands Railway rock solid today as senior conductors continue action in separate dispute and company risk passenger safety by bringing in ill-trained scab guards. RAIL UNION RMT said that strike action by Train Managers on East Midlands Railway is rock solid today kicking off a programme of action throughout August and September in an escalation of the ongoing dispute over safety on Class 360 trains. RMT has raised serious safety concerns for passengers as it emerged that the company have drafted in ill-trained bus coordinators as scab guards on London to Derby services to try and maintain services in flagrant breach of all normal procedures. East Midlands Railway has imposed new working arrangements on the multi-unit 12 carriage Class 360 Trains that the union believes are unsafe with only one Train Manager working on them. Senior conductors on EMR are also standing firm again today in their continuing action in a separate dispute with the company that’s been running for three months now over pay, conditions and contract issues read more
East Midlands Railway Train Managers are instructed to not book on for any shifts that commence between:
- 0001 hours and 2359 hours on Sunday 8th August 2021
- 0001 hours and 2359 hours on Sunday 15th August 2021
- 0001 hours and 2359 hours on Sunday 22nd August 2021
- 0001 hours and 2359 hours on Sunday 29th August 2021
- 0001 hours and 2359 hours on Sunday 5th September 2021
- 0001 hours and 2359 hours on Sunday 12th September 2021
- 0001 hours and 2359 hours on Sunday 19th September 2021
- 0001 hours and 2359 hours on Sunday 26th September 2021
Furthermore, you and your colleagues are instructed to take part in the following strike action in the form of:
- Not to work 12 car trains alone from 0001 Hours on Saturday 7th August 2021 until further notice.
Please Note: The above industrial strike action, is suspended during the Sunday strike action dates above, but will commence again immediately at 0001 hours on the Monday, following the Sunday strike action, and will be suspended again at 2359 on each Saturday, on the eve of the Sunday action read more
RMT announces new dates in East Midlands Railway conductors’ dispute (6 Aug) – As action continues on Sunday RMT announces new dates in East Midlands Railway senior conductors’ dispute. RAIL UNION RMT has announced new East Midlands Railway strike dates as action continues on Sunday in the senior conductors’ dispute. Senior conductors have voted by a huge 74% in favour of taking further strike action in the long-running dispute over pay and contract matters. EMR Senior Conductor members are to take the following industrial action. Not to book on for any shifts that commence between:
- 00.01 Hours and 23.59 Hours on Sunday 22nd August 2021
- 00.01 Hours and 23.59 Hours on Sunday 29th August 2021
- 00.01 Hours and 23.59 Hours on Sunday 5th September 2021
- 00.01 Hours and 23.59 Hours on Sunday 12th September 2021
- 00.01 Hours and 23.59 Hours on Sunday 19th September 2021
- 00.01 Hours and 23.59 Hours on Sunday 26th September 2021
- 00.01 Hours and 23.59 Hours on Sunday 3rd October 2021
- 00.01 Hours and 23.59 Hours on Sunday 10th October 2021
In addition, strike action called for Sunday 8th August 2021 and Sunday 15th August 2021 remains in place read more
RMT to ballot cleaners on Stadler on Merseyrail (13 Aug) – RMT to ballot for strike action following outsourcing companies dirty fire and re-hire tactics with Merseyrail cleaners. RAIL Union RMT today began balloting cleaners employed by outsourcing company Stadler on Merseyrail services for strike action, following attempts to trample over member’s pay, terms and conditions. Cleaners on Merseyrail are being threatened with the sack unless they sign up these new terms and conditions, which has echoes of other “fire and re-hire” tactics used by companies, such as British Gas, this year. Changes to member’s terms and conditions include a 13% cut in pay, huge reductions in shift allowance and cuts to annual leave. RMT today also wrote to Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram who has partial control of Merseyrail as leader of the Combined Authority in Merseyside calling on him to take Merseyrail’s cleaners back in-house to ensure they have dignity in work and their working conditions are protected read more
Merseyrail Mitie cleaners strike again (12 Aug) – Merseyrail Mitie cleaners strike and protest again tomorrow in fight for pay justice. RMT Mitie station and accommodation cleaners on the Merseyrail Contract will be striking and demonstrating again tomorrow – Friday 13th August – in their ongoing campaign in support of pay and workplace justice read more
BBC: Hull Trains pension row Sunday strike called off – A planned strike by staff at Hull Trains on Sunday 8 August has been called off. The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union said it would continue to take other forms of industrial action, including a ban on overtime. The dispute relates to disagreements over pension arrangements for staff at the company. Hull Trains said it welcomed the union’s decision and confirmed services would run as normal. The RMT said its decision was to give it time to consider recent developments between it and the company. However, planned strikes on 15, 22, and 29 August will proceed unless the dispute is resolved. RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “I would advise that the overtime and rest day working bans remain in place, as well as the intended strike days already
RMT calls new Serco Caledonian Sleeper strike dates – RMT calls new phase of industrial action in Serco Caledonian Sleeper pay fight. RAIL UNION RMT has called a new phase of industrial action in its ongoing dispute over pay justice for Serco Caledonian Sleeper workers. The action has been called after negotiations with Serco, under the auspices of ACAS, failed with the company refusing to offer a revised pay award without a series of “efficiency savings”. RMT members employed on the Serco Caledonian Sleeper have already taken a number of rock-solid days of strike action in their ongoing fight for pay justice, after being subjected to a pay freeze, despite being key workers who have worked throughout the pandemic. The union’s National Executive Committee has taken the decision to call further action as follows:-
With effect from 00:01 hours on Friday 30th July 2021, until further notice, members are be instructed:-
- Not to work any Higher-Grade Duty
Additionally, the instruction to Serco Caledonian Sleeper members not to work any overtime and not to work on rest days remains in place until further notice read more
Stonehaven: One Year On (11 Aug) – On Thursday 12 August we mark the first anniversary of the tragic accident at Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire in which three people lost their lives after a landslip onto the railway line caused a train to derail. This will be marked by rail staff across the rail network in Scotland observing a minute’s silence at 09.43. Kevin Lindsay, ASLEF’s organiser in Scotland, said: ‘It is with enormous sadness that we remember the event, which is still fresh and raw in all our minds, of Wednesday 12 August last year, which claimed the lives of three people – the driver, Brett McCullough, 45; the conductor, Donald Dinnie, 58; and a passenger, Christopher Stuchbury, 62 – and in which six other people were injured. The accident cast a long shadow across the railway industry, not just here in Scotland, but throughout the United Kingdom. ‘We will never forget Brett and Donald, who were doing their jobs, and Christopher, who was going about his business, but we will redouble our efforts to ensure that the railway is made safe for passengers and staff so that accidents of this sort do not happen again.’ Read more
Stonehaven: ASLEF Condemns Mindless Vandalism (13 Aug) – ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, has condemned vandals who destroyed flower displays at Stonehaven station just hours before the railway fell silent to remember the accident in which three men died and six people were seriously injured last year read more
TSSA calls for urgent action on climate change on anniversary of Carmont tragedy (12 Aug) – On the first anniversary of the Carmont derailment, rail union TSSA today (Thursday) called for the Scottish and UK governments to ramp up action on climate change to prevent similar rail tragedies read more
Network Rail SVSS – misleading and misguided (11 Aug) – Network Rail issued a number of communications yesterday in relation to their Special Voluntary Severance Scheme (SVSS). In the communications reference is made to rail industry representatives and the trades unions working together to achieve the Enabling Framework Agreement (EFA) back in June. This statement is true, but it is also misleading in the way it is been portrayed by Network Rail. Our union agreed to continue to involve itself in the work of the Rail Industry Recovering Group (RIRG) following the publication of EFA but the Special VSS (SVSS) belongs with the employers and has not been agreed by our union or any other for that matter read more
Unite GKN Birmingham Save Our Site Rally – Tuesday 17 August 7pm Facebook event
GKN Birmingham strike ballot begins as Unite raises concerns over government research support (16 Aug) – Workers at the GKN Automotive factory in Birmingham will begin receiving ballot papers from today (Monday 16 August) in the dispute over the decision by parent company GKN Melrose to close the site next year. The ballot for workers at the Chester Road factory, who are members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, will close on Tuesday 31 August and if there is a yes vote strike action could begin in mid-September read more
BREAKING NEWS!! ‘No end in sight’ to Bexley bin strikes as council leader Teresa O’Neill ‘abdicates responsibility’ (17 Aug) – There is ‘no end in sight’ to the Bexley bin strikes in South London, Unite, the UK’s leading union said today (Tuesday 17 August), as it accused council leader Teresa O’Neill of ‘abdicating her responsibility to residents’. The strikes, involving 140 refuse workers employed by Serco, began on July 12 and the workers are now in their sixth week of strike action in a dispute over pay and the victimisation of workers. Talks between Serco and the workers’ union, Unite, collapsed last week after the outsourcing giant refused to address the tens of thousands of pounds of back pay owed to a number of employees. This money is owed because Serco has failed to pay workers according to stipulated pay scales. This has resulted in existing drivers being paid just £22,000 a year, while new recruits are paid £28,000 for the same roles. The union said Bexley council has watched the dispute, which could see rubbish pilling up on the borough’s streets until October, develop for months without trying to find a solution. Unite regional officer Tabusam Ahmed said: “It is a well-known fact that local authorities are responsible for bin collections. That is except if it’s Bexley council, whose leadership appears to believe they are above having to deal with issues like clearing the borough’s rubbish read more
BREAKING NEWS!! Unite protest against Edinburgh care home closures (17 Aug) – Unite the union members have today (17 August) protested with Unions and Another Edinburgh is Possible against plans to close five care homes in the city. The protest was held outside Edinburgh city council chambers to coincide with a meeting to discuss the future of the care homes as the trade unions and local community groups highlighted the lack of adequate consultation and engagement over the closures. The Edinburgh Integration Joint Board (EIJB) meeting today focused on the closures of Liberton hospital and Ferryfield community hospital, and the change of Drumbrae from a residential nursing care home to medically led care for the elderly. In June, the EIJB announced plans to also close Ford’s Road, Clovenstone, Jewel House and Ferrylee care homes. The closure proposals will mean a reduction of 211 residential care places and the potential loss of dozens of jobs read more
BREAKING NEWS!! Unite calls for halt to US investors’ feeding frenzy that risks UK defence jobs and national interest (17 Aug) – Unite, the UK’s leading union, is calling upon the government to step in to protect critical industry and strategic security assets amid a private equity feeding frenzy which puts at risk the UK’s sovereign defence capability, skills and jobs. An increasing number of United States based private equity investors are seeking to purchase UK defence companies to boost short-term profits with an army of hanger-on lawyers and associated businesses also in line for a hefty pay day as a result of any sale read more
Kier Protest Basingstoke – Wednesday 18th August – Unite are planning a Protest for the members employed by Kier on the Area 3 Highways England Motorway Maintenance contract. This is the start of the campaign. In addition Unite will be seeking full recognition for pay, hours, holidays. This Wednesday 18th August 2021 – 12.30 – 2 PM. Any support would be welcome on the day. Unite members out on the motorways day and night and in all weathers do not get full sick pay, only SSP. The Office based staff get full sick pay from day one for 3 months , so do the employees who work for the client – Highways England – KIER offices – Bridgwater House, Basingstoke, RG22 4BS – 12.30 – 2 PM Unite: Kier motorway workers based in Basingstoke to protest over the denial of sick pay (17 Aug)
Unite Wales consulting NHS membership on 3% pay offer (17 Aug) – Unite will be opening a ballot of NHS members in Wales today (17 August 2021). Unite will be asking its members whether in principle they accept or reject the 3% pay rise that Welsh government will be implementing. Unite’s committee of elected representatives, all NHS employees, do not believe that 3% is enough and are recommending that Unite members vote to reject the 3%. Unite will also be asking our members if they are prepared to take part in industrial action over the issues of pay read more
Survey reveals London bus drivers reject remote sign-on, as strike action looms (16 Aug) – A survey of London bus drivers by the trade union Unite, the UK’s leading union, has found overwhelming opposition to proposals to move to a system of remote sign-on for buses in the capital. A number of London bus operators are keen to move to remote sign-on to cuts costs. Strike action at bus operator Metroline was avoided in May when the company stepped back from plans to implement the policy read more
Police staff in consultative ballot over ‘politically influenced’ pay freeze (16 Aug) – Police staff in England and Wales will take part in a consultative ballot that includes options for industrial action over a ‘politically influenced’ pay freeze, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said today (Monday 16 August). Police staff, including control room operatives, 999 calls handlers and forensics, have been told by the employers’ side of the Police Staff Council, which comprises local authority employers as well as police chiefs and commissioners, that they will not receive a pay rise for 2021. Unite said this is because the council’s local authority employers have been pressured by the Home Office into mirroring the pay freeze currently being imposed on police officers. During pay negotiations, Unite, which represents police staff in forces across the country, was told by the police staff employers that a decision would not be made until the Police Remuneration & Review Board had made its pay recommendation for officers. When the board later recommended a pay freeze for police officers, the decision was soon followed by the Police Staff Council. The consultative ballot opens today and closes on 13 September read more
Greenwich Leisure Limited under the spotlight again as Lewisham leisure workers are balloted for strike action (16 Aug) – The chequered employment relations of controversial social enterprise Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) are again under the spotlight as employees at leisure centres in Lewisham are being balloted for strike action over pay issues, such as failure to pay wages owed and redundancy enhancements. Unite the union has been campaigning for some time over GLL’s management of its contracts in London – the most high profile case was the Bromley libraries’ dispute. A total of 31 Unite members at the five leisure centres will be balloted for strike action – the ballot opens on Friday 27 August and closes on Monday 27 September read more
Unite vows to protect homeworkers from attacks on their pay and conditions (16 Aug) – Unite, Britain’s leading union, has produced a blueprint to protect homeworkers from attacks on their pay and conditions from unscrupulous employers. The union has vowed to support its members who face attacks on their pay and conditions because they work from home. Unite has produced a framework homeworking agreement to assist Unite workplace representatives in their negotiations with employers read more
Lancashire biomedical scientists set to strike until November in pay upgrade dispute (13 Aug) – Biomedical scientists at a Lancashire NHS trust will strike until the middle of November in an upgrading pay row, as the bosses drag their feet over holding constructive talks, Unite the union said today (Friday 13 August). The 21 biomedical scientists at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust were on strike between 31 May and 28 July – and are set to resume strike action on Friday 20 August which will then run through until Thursday 11 November. At five-and-half months this would be one of the longest-running industrial disputes currently in the UK. Unite said that it had asked for a meeting with the trust by 30 July, but these talks will now take place on Thursday 9 September which the union said was clear evidence of the management’s lack of interest in resolving this dispute. Unite said that the trust management was more intent on spending tens of thousands of pounds on breaking the dispute than honouring the 2019 pay upgrade deal that they originally agreed to. Unite said the trust’s actions were at the expense of patients needing speedy and efficient analysis of blood examples during the continuing pandemic at the Royal Blackburn Hospital and the Burnley General Teaching Hospital. Unite regional officer Keith Hutson said: “Our members have voted to strike until November as they have been met by a dogmatic management intent on wastefully racking up thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money to break this strike, rather than do the honourable thing and stick to the 2019 agreement to pay the upgrade that was promised. This is the worst example of macho-management and unworthy of the ethos underpinning the NHS…” read more
Talks in Woolwich Ferry rep victimisation dispute break down due to TfL’s ‘bad faith’, says Unite (11 Aug) – Crunch talks to resolve the long-running Woolwich Ferry rep victimisation dispute yesterday (Tuesday 10 August) between Transport for London (TfL) bosses and Unite the union broke down with the union accusing TfL of ‘bad faith’. Unite, which represents 57 ferry workers, had suspended industrial action as a goodwill gesture in the run-up to the talks – but its members were back on strike today (Wednesday 11 August) and will be striking on Friday (13 August). Prior to today, there has already been 24 days of strike action. Besides the victimisation of the two Unite reps, there has also been a failure to agree a new pay and reward scheme; the excessive use of agency staff; and the failure to provide adequate health and safety training to new employees – these are issues which have arisen since TfL took back control from the discredited Briggs Marine Contractors Ltd in January this year. Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “We were making good progress with the union agreeing to a proposal from TfL to meet through workshops to discuss a new collective agreement. However, the employers made their pay offer which was worse than the last offer – and they then refused to budge. “Our members had suspended strike action as a goodwill gesture, but feel that they have been badly let down by another abject example of TfL’s bad faith and, as a result, they are back on strike today. The management is game playing, which we feared would happen…” read more
Unite urges government – adapt furlough to meet skills shortage and save thousands from immediate unemployment (11 Aug) – With six weeks to go until the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), the country’s leading union is today (Wednesday 11 August) calling on the government to think again to avert immediate job losses and growing poverty for hundreds of thousands of working people. The CJRS, also known as the furlough scheme, is set to end altogether on 30 September. At its peak, it provided wage support for over 11 million UK workers. Unite, which played a central role in negotiating the scheme, says that in July around two million workers were still on the scheme, more than had been anticipated, reflecting the continuing troubles for parts of the workforce and underlines that the economy is yet to recover from the crisis read more
Threat of ‘beer drought’ mounts as GXO draymen vote to stage industrial action over ‘paltry’ pay offer (11 Aug) – The threat of a late-summer beer drought moved closer today (Wednesday 11 August) as about 1,000 draymen who deliver top brands, such as Heineken, voted for industrial action over a ‘paltry’ pay offer. Unite the union said there will be two 24 hour strikes, the first starting at 10.00 on Tuesday 24 August and then at 10.00 on Thursday 2 September. This will be accompanied by an overtime ban and work to rule starting on 24 August and continuing up to Monday 15 November. Unite said that its members, employed by GXO Logistics Drinks Ltd (previously XPO Logistics Drinks Ltd), are based at 26 sites and are responsible for about 40 per cent of the beer deliveries to pubs and other hospitality outlets across the UK. Unite’s members voted for strike action by 97 per cent and for industrial action short of a strike by 99 per cent over the company’s offer of 1.4 per cent for 2021, which is well below the current RPI inflation rate of 3.9 per cent read more
Rolls Royce Barnoldswick protest to be held as strikes over site’s future resume – A protest at the historic Rolls Royce Barnoldswick plant will be held on Monday (9 August) as strikes resume over the company’s lack of concrete commitments to the site’s future. A group of 17 engineers began strike action in July after Rolls Royce bosses refused to provide tangible commitments to new work or to suspend work being sent elsewhere, which is taking place at an accelerated rate. A ballot for the site’s entire workforce to join the dispute closes next Friday (13 August). In January, Rolls Royce reached an agreement with Unite that guaranteed the future of the factory, including retaining a minimum of 350 workers and creating a training centre. The agreement was reached after workers and the local community mounted a huge campaign to save the factory, after the aerospace giant revealed plans to scale back production that would have spelled the plant’s closure. Following a meeting in May this year, however, Unite was forced to issue a failure to agree notice with Rolls Royce after local managers indicated that staff headcount could drop below 350 and orders would continue to be completed abroad. Unite has been attempting to resolve the matter and seek reassurances about Barnoldswick’s long-term future, which have so far failed to materialise. Unite regional officer Ross Quinn said: “This dispute could be put to bed very quickly if Rolls Royce’s leadership demonstrate to the workers that the agreement signed in January is still valid read more
Email messages of support via [email protected] and send donations online to: account name, Barnoldswick workers mutual society, sort code, 05 02 22 account number 36192613
Four-day strike action set to begin by Aberdeen housing services workers – Unite Scotland has announced that around 40 of its members in Aberdeen city council’s housing services department are set to take four days of strike action from today (Tuesday 27 July). The four-day strike action which represents a ‘major escalation’ in the dispute will commence at 08.30 on Tuesday 27 July and will continue until 08.29 on Saturday 31 July. There will be pickets at Marischal College (Aberdeen city council headquarters) on these dates. Unite’s members have already taken several days action in relation to a dispute over cuts and reorganisation in the council’s housing services department. Housing officers and support officers have repeatedly warned that they have reached ‘breaking point’ due to the damaging effects on work morale resulting from cuts to the housing support service, and plans to merge the housing officers and support officers roles together read more
Bexley Serco bin strikes could last until October without council intervention – Bin strikes by Serco workers in the south London borough of Bexley could last until October without council intervention, Unite, the UK’s leading union, warned today (Monday 2 August). Bexley council has said it is willing to work with Unite and Serco to find a solution to end the strike. But Unite accused council leader Teresa O’Neill of ignoring requests to meet with the union’s representatives. The strikes, involving 140 refuse workers, began on July 12 and the workers are now in their fourth week of strike action in a dispute over pay and the victimisation of workers. The call for council intervention comes ahead of talks between Unite and Serco mediated by the conciliation service Acas later this week. Around 50 staff are owed substantial back pay, with some workers owed thousands of pounds because Serco has failed to pay workers according to stipulated pay scales. This has resulted in existing drivers being paid just £22,000 a year, while new recruits are paid £28,000 for the same roles. Workers are also angry as Serco has weaponised its drug and alcohol testing policy in order to victimise union members, while failing to provide any advice or support to workers who are experiencing problems with substance misuse. Unite regional officer Tabusam Ahmed said: “Our members do not want to strike and are well aware of the inconvenience caused to residents. Unfortunately, they have no choice because Serco has refused to put forward any proposals that could end this dispute…” read more
Support the Bexley bin strike – Send messages of support to [email protected]. To donate to the hardship fund, you can pay online to Unite LE/649 – sort code 60-83-01 and account number 20441911 read more
DfI Roads workers at Woodburn depot to strike over inaction on management bullying – After 90.9 percent strike vote, workforce pickets to be deployed at Woodburn DfI Roads in Derry/Londonderry during twenty-four strike, which starts midnight on Thursday, July 22rd. Road Service workers’ union Unite warns first twenty-four hour stoppage at Woodburn likely to escalate in absence of Ministerial intervention read more
Production at historic Shropshire wheel factory will ‘roll to a halt’ during pay strikes – Production at an historic Shropshire wheel factory will ‘roll to a halt’ during strikes over pay and redundancy packages, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said today (Wednesday 23 June). Unite members employed at GKN Wheels and Auto Structures in Telford will strike in July over the company’s refusal to implement a pay rise without workers first accepting detrimental changes to a collective redundancy agreement. The strikes, conducted in conjunction with GMB members at the site, will impact wheel production at the factory, which produces off road wheels for clients such as JCB. Unite members will hold three 24 hour strikes at GKN Wheels and Auto Structures in Telford on 5, 12 and 19 July. The historic factory, which is more than 100 years old and produced Spitfire planes during the Second World War, was bought by private equity firm Aurelius in 2020. Unite regional officer Jason Richards said: “Our members are incensed at being offered a pay rise only on the condition that the collective redundancy agreement is weakened…” read more
Sullom Voe Terminal talks break down as industrial action set to begin – Unite Scotland can confirm that talks to prevent industrial action at Sullom Voe Terminal have ended with no movement on the part of Shetland Islands Council (SIC) to resolve the dispute. Around 40 towage workers employed by SIC are set to begin an overtime ban on 5 July which will continue over a seven-week period (see notes to editors). Unite has confirmed that if no progress takes place in the coming weeks, then strike action remains a possibility which would represent a major escalation in the dispute. The overtime ban will ‘hugely disrupt’ the multi-million pound contract to bring oil tankers on to the shore for oil processing and also on production for the Brent and Ninian fields. In April, Unite announced that towage workers on a return of 86.5 per cent voted by 87.1 per cent to take industrial action. The dispute revolves around workers being denied a ‘service award’ after their transfer to SIC in 2006. The towage workers have been told by SIC that they will not receive the long service award if they fulfil 25 years’ service, which is the equivalent of one month’s salary like other council workers. Instead, the workers will continue to receive a flat rate of £250 read more
Engineers at Leicestershire’s Brush Electrical strike over fire and rehire cuts of up to £15,000 – Engineers employed by Brush Electrical Machines, owned by venture capitalists Melrose and based in Ashby de-la Zouch, will stage summer strikes in response to ‘fire and rehire’ pay cuts of up to £15,000, Unite said today (Tuesday 11 May 2021). Unite, the UK’s leading union, said the 30 engineers, who service generators around the world, voted overwhelmingly in favour of striking and will stage industrial action every day from 25 May to 16 August. The proposed contracts include reductions to overtime rates, allowances, holidays and other terms and conditions that would result in a pay cut of between £10,000 and £15,000 a year. The engineers’ jobs have been threatened if they do not sign the new contracts, which will leave them on pay rates ‘well below the industry standard’. The union said the strikes will ‘cause havoc to the firm’s worldwide servicing schedule and serious inconvenience to its international clients’. Parent company Melrose has a reputation for targeting workers and viable operations to boost short-term profits read more
Reading hospital security guards renew strikes in July, as Unite calls on NHS bosses to take them back ‘in-house’ – NHS bosses should take the security staff at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading back ‘in house’, after the guards announced new strike dates for July against their outsourced employer Kingdom Services Group Ltd. Unite the union said the new strike dates would run from 07.00 Monday 12 July until 24.00 Saturday 31 July, after the 20 security guards voted by 84 per cent for strike action. The guards, who provide security for the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, have been locked in a ‘David and Goliath’ pay and conditions battle with their employer, resulting in a wave of strikes since December last year. Because of the way that Kingdom Services has treated its staff, Unite is urging the trust to take the security guards back ‘in house’ under NHS management when the current three-year contract ends on 31 December this year. As the NHS celebrates its 73rd birthday on Monday (5 July), campaigners wishing to keep it out of the hands of profit-hungry companies, such as Kingdom, will be staging a march and rally in Reading on Saturday (3 July), starting at 12.00 from Royal Berkshire Hospital to Forbury Gardens in the town centre where there will be speeches read more
Support striking Reading hospital security guards – 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
Solid first day of 2-week Royal Parks strike (joint with UVW) (16 Aug) – It has been a strong first day to a 2-week strike by PCS members working as cleaners and attendants in the Royal Parks for outsourcing company Just Ask Estate Services. The strike is over 6 issues, the key ones being possible staffing cuts later this year and winning the same sick pay as staff who are directly employed by the Royal Parks. On the first day of the latest action, supervisors were forced to provide skeleton services and the strikers are confident that if the strike remains solid then the Royal Park/Just Ask will be heavily impacted. Around 40 people attended a strike rally outside Royal Parks headquarters in Hyde Park this month which heard speeches from two PCS NEC members as well as one from the TUC. In a lively members’ meeting today it was agreed that strikers would all meet every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of the dispute. The strikers also made a call for a mass meeting at Speakers’ Corner, Hyde Park, of all union and labour activists for 11am on Bank Holiday Monday (30), traditionally one of the busiest days in the parks. Please give what you can through the Crowdfunder website. Send messages of support to [email protected] read more
Health and safety and returns to the office at HMRC (16 Aug) – Face coverings encouraged in HMRC workplaces from 16 August; planned changes to office Covid-19 health and safety arrangements and HMRC announces gradual returns to offices by the end of September read more
Members to vote on MoJ pay offer (16 Aug) – The electronic ballot will open on Friday 20 August 2021 and close on Thursday 9 September 2021. PCS is recommending that members vote yes to accept the pay offer, which is based on a three year settlement read more
Formal pay offered received at Ministry of Justice (10 Aug) – The offer is based on a three-year pay settlement. PCS has received the MoJ’s formal pay offer, based on a three-year pay settlement. We are now in a position to consult and engage with members on the terms of the offer. A series of members’ meetings are being held this week to discuss the detail of the offer. All MoJ members are encouraged to attend and hear from the pay team and have their say. Members have been sent links to the Teams meetings read more
DVLA industrial action continues to have huge impact (12 Aug) – The backlog of unactioned work and unopened post continues to mount up as the DVLA strike goes on. We understand that there are over two thirds of a million driving licenses awaiting any kind of action at DVLA. For the Drivers’ Medical section we believe the backlog of unactioned work to be over 300,000 with thousands of pieces of post not even scanned in. The internal chaos appears to be reaching new heights with reports that DVLA management have left identity documents and cash from envelopes unsecured, because of moving staff around to open the masses of post, in order to avoid more criticism from ministers. Added to this, volunteers are now being sought from non-operational staff to move to open the enormous backlog of post. This would result in the volunteers’ own work mounting up. PCS is advising that members do not volunteer read more
PCS launches consultative ballot in DVLA (11 Aug) – Workers at DVLA will be asked whether they would support further strike action in a consultative ballot. The ballot will open today and close on 3 September. Members will be asked about their priorities for a deal to end the dispute and whether they would be in support of further strike action and action short of a strike, going forward. It is not a statutory ballot which is the legal requirement for strike action. PCS is continuing its plan of targeted and sustained strike action at DVLA, with staff in drivers medical on the second week of a month-long walkout. Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the union, said: “DVLA senior management and the DfT have underestimated the resolve of our members. They thought support for our strike would fade when in fact it is growing with new staff joining PCS. This dispute can be resolved if the original deal to end the strike is put back on the table…” read more
Nats members vote overwhelmingly for industrial action (12 Aug) – 84% of members voting in the consultative ballot voted for strike action. Members in Nats (Air Traffic Systems) voted in favour of both industrial action (83.44%) and action short of strike (94.48%) in a consultative ballot with 73% turnout. The ballot was held in light of worsening industrial relations with management, and the proposal to ‘tear-up’ a long standing redundancy agreement. PCS negotiators will now meet with management on 17 August armed with this result, to demand the removal of any threats against the redundancy agreement, and also to seek improvements in industrial relations including assurances on pay increases read more
PCS in dispute with DVSA over plans for additional daily driving test (11 Aug) – PCS has today entered a dispute with the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency over plans to increase the number of daily driving tests to 8. The agency wants to introduce the extra test as part of a range of measures to deal with the backlog of tests that have arisen as a result of national/regional Covid lockdowns. We believe this proposal is unacceptable and cannot rule out balloting members over possible strike action on the issue. DVSA ran limited pilots during the school summer holiday period, which demonstrate that it is possible to fit an additional test into the working day, but these pilots took place in the best conditions in terms of weather, daylight and traffic conditions read more
Summer cash payouts for Admin grades across several Royal Mail functions (Aug 12) – Union secures bonus payments for LA grades in Logistics & Network, along with staff in FS, HRS&S & Legal. Hundreds of ‘back-office’ but nonetheless key workers within Royal Mail will be receiving bonus payments ranging from £551 to £834 this month, thanks to an agreement negotiated by the CWU. The payouts arise from long-standing bonus arrangements and recognise the “hard work and commitment” shown by staff in these functions during “an exceptionally challenging year,” explains assistant secretary Andy Furey, the union’s national officer for these grades read more
FBU sounds alarm over UN climate report (Aug 10) – The FBU has joined the chorus of alarm at the UN’s latest climate report. Published yesterday, the report is the world’s largest ever report into climate change. It concludes that within the next two decades, temperatures are likely to rise by more than the vital 1.5C limit, bringing widespread devastation and extreme weather. According to the report only “immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in emissions” can prevent such breakdown. Fire Brigades Union general secretary Matt Wrack said: “Firefighters here and across the world are on the front line of the climate crisis. We see the effects of climate change every time we fight wildfires and save people from floods, and we will fight as hard as we can for politicians to wake up and take notice. As a humanitarian service we cannot stand by and watch this happen. This report confirms that human activity is responsible for climate change and we are running out of time to save ourselves. But this requires fundamental political, social and economic change across the world, and those in power have, so far, failed in the face of this immense challenge…” read more
Sign petition: Reinstate Gary Bolister sacked GMB rep at Islington Council GMB pulls funding for Labour Party in London after grieving caretaker sacked (27 July)
Barry gravediggers withdraw strike action (16 Aug) – Plans to extend the opening hours are still under discussion, with both parties hoping to find a mutually acceptable resolution in the coming weeks read more
South Cambridgeshire Council recognise value of staff with 2.5% pay deal (13 Aug) – Joint Union pay negotiations with South Cambridgeshire District Council reached agreement of a pay award for staff of 2.5%, accepted following a ballot of members read more
Brutal working conditions and poverty pay trigger hospital lunchtime walk outs (11 Aug) – NHS workers must unite against the governments derisory 3% pay offer and fight for a restorative 15% pay rise says GMB. Many outsourced workers will get nothing out of this deal and GMB union is recommending that all members vote no and unite to fight for a restorative 15% pay rise. GMB NHS members are set to stage lunch time walk outs in hospitals across London and the South East on Tuesday the 17th of August. NHS pay has been subjected to deflation for more than 10 years and research by GMB union suggest that NHS staff across the pay bands have lost up to 15% of pay over the past decade. All staff are finding that roles and responsibilities are growing as the value of their pay is diminishing and hospital outsourced workers are hardest hit. GMB UNION is currently running a consultative pay ballot on the national 3% pay offer which closes on Sept17 read more
“Honest answers” needed from Pladis after proposals for future rejected (11 Aug) – If Pladis are walking away from this community after nearly a century of production the very least the workforce deserve are honest answers. This morning (Wednesday 11 August) the McVitie’s Tollcross owner pladis, confirmed its rejection of counter-proposals to maintain production and intentions to proceed with closure. The closure means that more than 400 people are set to lose their jobs over the next 12 months read more
Government pay deal shows ‘disregard’ for Environment Agency workers (11 Aug) – Unions have described the real terms pay cut as ‘a national embarrassment’ in the run up to COP24. GMB union have called on the government to ‘change their approach’ after offering a miserly, real terms pay cut in this year’s pay offer to Environment Agency (EA) staff. The Government have offered a £250 or 0% consolidated increase, which amounts to a real terms pay cut in this year’s pay offer. The offer come after The Secretary of State for DEFRA in June implemented a policy set down by the Chancellor to “pause” pay increases for most staff, and award £250 to those paid less then £24,000. So far Environment agency have received a cumulative pay cut of over 20% since 2010 read more
Traffic wardens strike over pay in Tory heartland (11 Aug) – After a decade of having their allowances frozen, GMB parking wardens for NSL parking in Westminster are set to strike over pay and conditions. GMB parking wardens are set to strike in Westminster after unanimously voting to reject NSL Ltd’s pay offer. 100% of members voted to reject in a high turnout ballot, with nearly 80% of members voting. Currently GMB members working for NSL are effectively just above the breadline, earning the basic London Living Wage of £10.75 read more
Private ownership ‘not the answer’ to clean up southern water (10 Aug) – Weak regulation of private water companies has failed, and they should be taken in house to give the system the badly needed investment our water systems. GMB, the union for water workers, has criticised the sale of Southern Water to foreign investors – claiming that the new owners won’t bring the commitment and investment needed to flush out the problems in the Southern Water read more
Hundreds of England fans strike at Spitfire company over pay dispute – GKN needs to show the sense of English fair play embodied by the Three Lions and respect the hard-won rights of their workers says GMB Union. Hundreds of England fans will go on strike today at a famous spitfire company in a dispute over pay. More than 200 long-service workers have voted overwhelmingly to strike at GKN Sankey in Telford after months of attacks on their onslaught on redundancy packages and pay read more. The strike will begin on Monday July 5, with more dates to be announced
UNISON police staff committee urges members to reject pay freeze (16 Aug) – UK government seeks to impose a pay freeze on most staff – which, with inflation at 3.9%, effectively means a pay cut. Police staff in England and Wales are being urged by UNISON to vote to reject a pay freeze that the government and police employers want to impose on them this year, with lower earners on salaries of up to £24,000 to receive just £250. A pay consultation for UNISON police staff members opened last week and runs until 6 September read more
Environment Agency unions seek meeting on ‘indefensible’ pay offer (13 Aug) – Real terms pay cut ‘will be a source of national embarrassment’ to the nation as it attempts to battle climate change. UNISON and the other trade unions representing Environment Agency staff are seeking an urgent meeting with environment secretary George Eustice, to discuss the ‘indefensible’ pay offer to their members read more
UNISON urges councils to ensure care staff are properly paid (13 Aug) – comes after the government ‘names and shames’ companies in England and Wales for flouting minimum wage legislation. UNISON is urging councils in England and Wales to be “far more proactive” in ensuring that there is a high standard of homecare provision in their local area, after details emerged of five businesses that have been flouting minimum wage law read more
Record waiting lists call for proper investment in NHS workforce, says UNISON (12 Aug) – Comprehensive action needed to tackle understaffing and shorten wait times read more
Tower Hamlets Unison: #BuildTheBallot for Further Action • Opens Thursday 24 June – By a thumping majority, our members rejected management’s most recent proposal to end the Trade Dispute on Tower Rewards. Shamefully, those terms were imposed on us last summer at the height of the pandemic, by our Labour council using “Sack and Re-engage” measures that have been widely condemned and that Kier Starmer says he will outlaw read more VOTE NOW! We made it on national news
NHS pay consultation opens: have your say now (12 Aug) – RCN members working for the NHS in England and Wales have a chance to say whether a 3% pay award is acceptable or unacceptable. The RCN consultation on NHS pay has opened today (12 August) and will close at noon on 13 September. Members working for the NHS in England and Wales can have their say on whether the 3% pay award for 2021-22 is acceptable read more
RCN launches ‘summer of action’ in protest against below-inflation NHS pay award – Events will be held across the UK as we prepare to consult members on next steps. Our fight for fair pay is picking up pace as a series of member events takes place this summer ahead of our biggest ever member consultation on NHS pay. The UK government finally announced the NHS pay award for England last week after months of delays. But with inflation, the 3% award is a real-terms pay cut and leaves experienced nursing staff £200 a year worse off. The government has since admitted that the money would be found from existing budgets, further upsetting the nursing profession as this funding will already be committed for patient care. Today we’ve launched an interactive map of events for nursing staff to protest against the 3% NHS pay award announced for England and Wales and discuss what action they want to take in response read more
Council Takes Leisure Services Back In-house (11 Aug) – Another Council has taken a step to bring outsourced services back in house. Below a transcript of a press release from Ards and North Down Borough Council read more
General Secretary: Criminal Justice System Going Forward (11 Aug) – Time for a permanent solution in our prisons. The Government wants to lock more people up for longer, but this will not make the public safer – in fact, given the dire state of our prisons and the fact that almost all prisoners are eventually released, it is more likely to put the public at extra risk read more
National Chair: Summer of Stability (11 Aug) – The days of full wing unlocks, unnecessary mixing of prisoners and the boredom associated with allowing large numbers to idle on landings must cease. As we head towards summer it would be easy to think that we can provide regimes without caution. The pandemic is very much alive, and we cannot rule out a third wave in our secure settings. We must continue to be vigilant. Although outbreak sites are minimal, we simply cannot allow our regimes to replicate pre-Covid chaos. The days of full wing unlocks, unnecessary mixing of prisoners and the boredom associated with allowing large numbers to idle on landings must cease. Now is our opportunity to build safe, purposeful and constructive regimes read more
Urgent action needed on ventilation in schools (17 Aug) – Education unions make joint call for urgent action on ventilation in schools read more
Suspend Academisation of Moulsecoomb Primary – On Tuesday 6th July, members of NEU, GMB and UNISON will be taking strike action and calling on The Pioneer Academy to withdraw as the sponsor. On the same day, parents, staff and members of the community have hired a bus to visit the DFE to deliver a petition. We want to show Gavin Williamson that staff across Brighton and Hove schools and services want the academization suspended. Please respond to the three questions here so we can add your name to the petition
NASUWT Comments on VTQ assessments announcement (7 Aug) – Commenting on the Department for Education and Ofqual’s announcement of arrangements of VTQ assessments from September 2021, Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT – The Teachers’ Union, said: “Yet again, it is disappointing to receive belated confirmation, in the middle of the summer holidays, that exams for VTQ students will proceed in as little as four weeks’ time…” read more
Caution still needed on Covid safety as Scottish schools return (3 Aug) – Commenting on the First Minister’s announcement on the Covid guidance and measures which will be in place for the return of schools in Scotland, Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, said:
“The NASUWT had cautioned that removing all measures would be premature and that a more cautious approach is needed to better protect the health and welfare of pupils and staff and minimise any further disruption to pupils’ learning. It is right that the Government responds to the concerns raised…” read more
First Minister’s Announcement – EIS Comment – Following the announcement from the First Minister on the reopening of Scotland’s schools, EIS Assistant Secretary David Belsey said, “The EIS welcomes the Scottish Government plans for schools to reopen with broadly the same mitigations in place as when they closed earlier this year. We agree the continued wearing of facemasks, physical distancing measures, effective ventilation of classrooms and good hygiene regimes need to remain in full force…” read more
Updates on latest UCU disputes
Petition calling for fair funding and online learning
Ten day strike begins at University of Liverpool University rejecting ‘golden opportunity’ to resolve dispute. Staff at the University of Liverpool are to go on strike tomorrow, after university management squandered a golden opportunity to resolve the long running dispute over cuts to the faculty of health and life sciences. The full strike days are:
- week 1: Wednesday 4 to Saturday 7 August
- week 2: Monday 9 to Saturday 14 August.
Work begins on processing of A-level results tomorrow – before they are released publicly on Tuesday 10 August – meaning the university’s confirmation and clearing processes will be disrupted. In a ballot earlier this year, 84% of UCU members who voted backed strike action to fight the university’s plans to slash 47 teaching and research jobs in the faculty of health and life sciences. This has now fallen to two compulsory redundancies after sustained industrial action from UCU and late-stage talks with management. Liverpool UCU met today, and an overwhelming 97% of attendees voted to continue with the planned strike action to support the two colleagues still facing the threat of compulsory redundancy. Previous industrial action taken during the dispute has included a three-week strike beginning in May, which was immediately followed by an ongoing marking and assessment boycott. UCU has also hit the university with the ultimate sanction of a global academic boycott after the university withheld 100% of pay and locked out staff taking part in the lawful assessment boycott read more
University staff support cautious start to term and demand action on excessive workloads (17 Aug) – 76% of university staff have seen an increase in workload since September 2020; 86.5% want enhanced ventilation on campus, with overwhelming staff support for more safety measures including use of face coverings, enhanced cleaning and reduced occupancy of buildings and rooms. Ahead of the start of the academic year, a new report from UCU Scotland has underlined staff support for a cautious start to the new university term, and for action to address increasingly excessive workloads read more
Report calls for urgent prison education reform with 7 in 10 teachers set to leave (13 Aug) – Prison educators in England, Wales and Northern Ireland urgently need a pay rise and improved training, as well as access to improved facilities for learners, according to a report published today in TES. The report, by UCU and the Prisoner Learning Alliance (PLA), draws attention to failings in prison education, a ‘Cinderella service’ neglected by policy makers despite the large and growing prison population. The report is based on the views of over 400 prison educators and calls for further resources and improved conditions so that education can properly rehabilitate and reintegrate learners into society read more
UCU condemns plans by TES to drop further education coverage (11 Aug) – UCU has called on TES to rethink the plan to cut coverage of further education, describing it as a disaster for the sector. In a letter to TES, UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: I write on behalf of the University and College Union to register our dismay at the decision made recently to stop all coverage of the further education sector in TES…” 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.
Unions respond to Afghan media crisis (16 Aug) – The NUJ has initiated talks with both the UK’s Foreign Office and the BBC to push for swift exit solutions for all staff based in the BBC’s Kabul office and those working across Afghanistan, bringing them and their families to safety in the UK or other international BBC newsrooms, writes Tim Dawson read more
Assange defeat portends press freedom jeopardies (13 Aug) – Tim Dawson reports on proceedings at the Royal Courts of Justice. As she entered the Royal Courts of Justice on Wednesday morning, Julian Assange’s finance, Stella Moris paused to address protestors. Beaming smiles, she told the crowd that the previous day she had been allowed to embrace Assange for the first time in 17 months read more
Mistakes of the Maude era must not be repeated (12 Aug) – The Times has reported today that ministers are considering reducing civil service headcount as part of the expected spending review read more
Equity is holding a protest on 28 August against cuts to jobs and arts facilities in Stratford, east London. All local trade union and campaign groups are asked to consider attending with banners. Messages of support and protest, and publicity for the demonstration and the union’s petition, are welcomed from across the country. The council in Newham is transforming Stratford Circus, a professional and community arts centre which also ran youth arts, into a youth-only centre. Its annual budget will be up to £700,000 a year smaller – while saving the council nothing. This represents a big loss in provision for the local working class and job opportunities for arts workers. Newham Council is also proposing to cut its entire £256,000-a-year grant to the next-door venue, Theatre Royal Stratford East, from 2023/24. This is a substantial portion of its income. Originally the home of the great socialist theatre-maker Joan Littlewood, Stratford East is today a major hub for black artists and alternative voices.
Equity is demanding:
- The tender ‘spec’ for Stratford Circus must be changed to commit to a full-spectrum, professional arts centre alongside youth arts, and to identifying funding for this.
- Professional learning-disabled theatre company Blue Sky Actors must be reinstalled in in Stratford Circus. All other displaced groups must be found permanent homes.
- The council must re-enter the talks it committed to with Equity, and in good faith.
- Convene a democratic conference of the unions and local community to discuss programming and management in Theatre Square.
- The council must commit to being guarantor for up to £1 million a year for Stratford Circus. Revoke the cut to council funding at Stratford East. Use some of the borough’s £616 million in usable reserves if needed.
- Newham Council, led by the official opposition party, should fight for the needed additional funding from central government to replace any reserve spending or borrowing.
Demonstration: Saturday 28 August at 1pm, Theatre Square, Stratford E15 1BN (five minutes’ walk from Stratford station)
Contact and further info
- Please sign and share the petition: https://www.change.org/p/save-stratford-theatres
- Messages of support etc to James Ivens, Equity North and East London branch secretary: [email protected]
- Messages of protest to Newham mayor Rokhsana Fiaz [email protected] and ‘Brighter Future’ cabinet member Carleene Lee-Phakoe [email protected]
- More info in the latest campaign bulletin leaflet: https://www.equity.org.uk/media/5563/save-stratford-theatres-campaign-bulletin-4.pdf
Equity applauds Antonia Kinlay in winning her landmark pregnancy discrimination case (12 Aug) – Equity sends a wholehearted message of congratulations to our member Antonia Kinlay, who has gained a landmark legal ruling in her pregnancy discrimination case, and been awarded £11,000 by an Employment Tribunal (ET). We also congratulate ERA 50:50 who led on this case, and with whom Equity provided financial assistance to gain legal advice and representation for Antonia. Antonia had originally appeared in the 2018 adaption of the Cormoran Strike novel Career of Evil, and was expected to be cast in the follow-on production. This offer was withdrawn when Antonia disclosed her subsequent pregnancy. The production company behind the TV adaptations, Bronte Film and TV, refused to consider any practical or technical adaption to conceal Antonia’s pregnancy, claiming the costs would amount to £25,000 read more
From Guardian: Pret to restore staff bonus after workers threaten strike action (12 Aug) – But coffee shop chain will no longer pay for break times as sales struggle to recover from the pandemic read more
Weetabix 24-hour strike will start at 7pm today as dispute continues about shift pay (16 Aug) – Usdaw members at the Weetabix AP4 plant in Kettering, which produces cereal bars, have rejected a company offer intended to resolve the dispute and will start a 24-hour stoppage from 7pm on Monday 16 August read more
BCM Fareva, Nottingham: Usdaw members to take further industrial action on Sunday and Monday in ‘fire and rehire’ dispute (13 Aug) – Members of Usdaw at BCM Fareva will begin a further stoppage on Sunday 15 August, which will continue into Monday. The strike follows three previous stoppages at the end of July. The Nottingham based manufacturer of consumer pharma and beauty products for leading brands including Boots and The Body Shop continues to press ahead with threats of ‘fire and rehire’ if employees do not accept significant cuts to their terms and conditions read more
Support striking Usdaw members at DHL/M&S Long Eaton – Members of the retail logistics trade union Usdaw will begin a third 24-hour stoppage at the Long Eaton DHL / Marks and Spencer distribution centre at 5.15am on Thursday 1 July. Alex Norris MP (Labour/Co-op, Nottingham North) and Paddy Lillis (Usdaw General Secretary) will join protesters supporting the picket line at 12 noon. Lilian Greenwood MP (Labour, Nottingham South) has also pledged her support. The continuing industrial action affects a Marks & Spencer third-party logistics contract, operated by DHL at Long Eaton in Derbyshire. Usdaw members voted by over 90% in favour of strike action in a dispute about the amount of redundancy pay that long serving staff will receive when the site closes at the end of July read more
Support the joint PCS-UVW Royal Parks strike – On Friday 30th July migrant park attendants across London’s Royal Parks who are dual carding with UVW and PCS will be kicking off a summer of strikes in a bid to end outsourcing and be treated as equals. They will need all the solidarity they can get and donating to their strike fund is a great way to show that solidarity. So if you can, please donate
From UVW Facebook page: Royal Parks workers are on lower wages and fewer benefits than others directly employed by Royal Parks. TODAY they start 14 days of strike action – because they deserve better. Help them fight for equal:
- sick pay ✔
- maternity pay ✔
- annual leave ✔
- pension entitlement ✔
United Voices of the World the union and PCS Union fighting together for dignity, justice and equality
2,500 Dunnes Stores workers demand 10% Covid payment and 20% staff discount to be made permanent (16 Aug) – DUNNES WORKERS TO DELIVER PETITION TO DUNNES STORES’ HEAD OFFICE. More than 2,500 Dunnes Stores workers have signed a petition calling on the company to make their temporary 10 percent Covid payment and 20 percent staff bonus permanent. Last year workers in Dunnes successfully campaigned for the temporary measures to be put in place as recognition for their hard work and the risks to their health and safety during the global pandemic. Now the workers want the measures to be made permanent read more
SIPTU says increasing pay not work permits will solve Health Care Assistants shortage (13 Aug) – SIPTU representatives have called for a review of the rates of pay and the duties of Health Care Assistants (HCAs) in response to a shortage of staff in the sector, rather than seeking to recruit workers from outside the European Economic Area to fulfil these roles read more
SIPTU members in AbbVie consider escalating industrial action in collective bargaining dispute (10 Aug) – SIPTU members at the biopharmaceutical company, AbbVie, in Carrigtwohill, county Cork, are considering an escalation in their industrial action in a dispute resulting from the refusal of management to engage with representatives of the workers’ union for collective bargaining purposes read more
SIPTU representatives announce series of strike actions in Local Employment Services – SIPTU members, working in Local Employment Services (LES) and Job Clubs, have today (Friday, 30th July) announced a series of strike actions across the country read more
Hosted by Social Housing Action Campaign (SHAC): ‘Service charges and how to challenge them’ – 6.30pm Thursday 9th September. Help for tenants and residents to understand and challenge service charges. Let’s also mobilise to end landlord abuse of the service charging system with its fraudulent demands. Register now at https://bit.ly/SHAC-SCs
‘Boris Out!’ – an evening of socialist comedy and entertainment. 3pm Sunday 14th November, Tyneside Irish Centre – 43 Gallowgate, Newcastle NE1 4SG
Racism, privatisation of the NHS, the gig economy, our youth being charged exorbitant rents, Governmental corruption and total incompetence.
We are delighted to announce a 3pm show for Boris Out! – a feast of socialist comedy and entertainment.
The 7pm show has SOLD OUT. Tickets for the 3pm show are strictly limited to 130. Tickets (only £10) from: www.borisout.eventbrite.com. Contact Ed (0191) 4550608
Please note: If you are a Tory, racist or a supporter of the royal family this is definitely not for you.
Fight blacklisting and victimisation of union reps
Blacklisting Investigation (9 Aug) – Unite the Union has commissioned an independent investigation into alleged involvement of any past of present union officers or officials in the operation of blacklists in the construction industry. The independent investigation will be conducted by Jane McNeill QC in accordance with the attached Terms of Reference. Evidence for the investigation is now being compiled by Thompsons Solicitors LLP. Any documentary evidence which any individual wishes to provide should be submitted to Thompsons either by email to [email protected] or by post to Unite Blacklisting Inquiry, Thompsons Solicitors LLP, Congress House, 23-28 Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3LW, reference L213003/RH. All evidence to be considered for the purpose of the independent report must be received by Thompsons by 9 November 2021 read more
#SPYCops Inquiry exposes state surveillance of workers movement
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
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
Sri Lanka: Teachers and students battle with Rajapakse government (13 Aug) read more
NUJ: Egypt – health of jailed journalist Hisham Fouad deteriorates following hunger strike (10 Aug) read more
Hungary: Stop denying air traffic workers their right to strike read more in LabourStart
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 the Queens Speech in December 2019 and cannot be trusted and is now attacking the right to protest through its Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
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 finish but has now been extended because of the 2nd lockdown. But it’s clear that the Tories are looking to end it asap.
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
Sunday September 12th – 1pm NSSN TUC Rally
PHONE 07952 283 558
EMAIL mailto:[email protected]
TWITTER – https://twitter.com/NSSN_AntiCuts
FACEBOOK NSSN GROUP or STOP The CUTS Likes page
ADDRESS NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE