The NSSN sends our congratulations and solidarity to the RMT and its members on London Underground who have won a significant step forward on their pay claim.
From national RMT website: Tube strike averted after progress made in dispute (7 Jan) – RMT have suspended their planned tube strike this week following talks with TfL. Planned action from Monday to Thursday will no longer go ahead after RMT made progress in discussions with TfL today. RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “Following further positive discussions today, the negotiations on a pay deal for our London Underground members can now take place on an improved basis and mandate with significant further funding for a settlement being made available. This significantly improved funding position means the scheduled strike action will be suspended with immediate effect and we look forward to getting into urgent negotiations with TfL in order to develop a suitable agreement and resolution to the dispute.”
Dear RMT Member: RATES OF PAY & CONDITIONS OF SERVICE 2023 – LONDON UNDERGROUND
Following positive discussions this morning, I can confirm that a fresh development has been confirmed in writing to your Union which will enable a more constructive negotiation to be developed. This includes a significant improvement in the funding available for a pay settlement. In order to enter into fresh negotiations on this improved position, your union’s National Executive Committee has decided to suspend the scheduled forthcoming strike action and all members are instructed to report for work as normal from their next shift until further notice with immediate effect. The NEC will give consideration on the matter of those members who have already taken strike action. I will of course advise you of all further developments in the negotiations and remind you that we remain in dispute until we have negotiated a settlement.
Thank you again for your support.
Yours sincerely, Michael Lynch General Secretary
Northern Ireland Public Sector General Strike on Thursday 18th January
Defend the Right to Strike
Action such as that by the RMT and junior doctors are in sectors targeted by the new Tory anti-union Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act 2023 (MSL).
The main points of the statement against the MSL that was agreed by the Special TUC Congress in December were:-
- We will develop practical solidarity plans for unions actively engaged in strategies of non-compliance.
- Support any worker subject to a work notice, including with support from across the trade union movement, if their employer disciplines them in any way.
- Ensure that where any affiliate is facing significant risk of sanctions because of this legislation, we convene an emergency meeting of the Executive Committee to consider options for providing practical, industrial, financial and/or political backing to that union.
- Call on all employers and public bodies with oversight to oppose this counterproductive legislation. Employers and public bodies from across the public sector and the country have already signalled their opposition to the Strikes Act. All employers and public bodies must reject it
- Refuse to tell our members to cross a picket line.
- Call an urgent demonstration in the event a work notice is deployed and a union or worker is sanctioned in relation to a work notice.
This is the basis for the fighting strategy that workers and unions need.
The statement also included to ‘Mobilise the whole trade union movement to march with the sacked GCHQ workers through Cheltenham on Saturday 27 January, to commemorate their struggle, and to recommit ourselves to defiant opposition to Conservative minimum service levels, trade union restrictions and any threat to the right to strike.’ This needs to a mass demonstration to really launch a mass campaign to take on the Tory attack on our right to strike.
The TUC demonstration on Saturday 27 January assembles in Cheltenham at 12noon at Montpellier Gardens for a march through the town centre to Pittville Park A5 leaflet A3 poster
Stop the attack on Gaza
Many NSSN supporters have joined marches and protests against the escalation of violence in the Middle East, particularly the daily bombardment on Gaza by the Israeli government
A number of unions have issued statements on the situation in the Middle East, including: the TUC, FBU, RMT, NEU, Unite, Unison, PCS, ASLEF, TSSA, UCU, EIS, Equity, BMA, NUJ, UVW, GMB, SOR, RCM, RCN, IWGB, Prospect, CSP, INTO (Ireland), SIPTU (Ireland) and Mandate (Ireland)
Solidarity with the People of Turkey 2024 Conference – ‘Is Erdogan’s one-man rule the end of democracy in Turkey’. 10am-1pm Saturday 13th January in NEU HQ Hamilton House, London WC1H 9BD Eventbrite
Get your trade union branch or trades council to affiliate to the NSSN – it only costs £50. Already affiliated? Please think about renewing it and/or making an additional donation to help our work. Also, many of our supporters pay a few pounds a month via a standing order.
You can either pay online to ‘National Shop Stewards Network’, HSBC – sort code 40-06-41, account number 90143790.
Or you can pay by cheque to ‘National Shop Stewards Network’ and post to NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE.
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 Katrine on [email protected]
The NSSN is developing a campaign pack for social care, which we hope to make available in the not-too-distant future for supporters to use in their localities. As part of this, communications officer Dave Gorton is keen to hear from supporters who:
(1) work in social care (either local authority, private or independently provided)
(2) represent social care workers for a trade union
(3) are in need of social care provision themselves or act as an (unpaid/underpaid) carer for a family member
Dave can be contacted in the first instance via [email protected]
You can receive this bulletin via email or you can choose to unsubscribe and stop receiving them. Like everyone else, the NSSN has to adhere to new data protection regulations. Therefore you must click here to subscribe/unsubscribe. Reports from unions do not necessarily reflect NSSN’s views.
RMT responds to P&O opening new freight route (9 Jan) – Seafarer Union RMT today responded to disgraced P&O Ferries CEO Peter Hebblethwaite’s announcement of a new freight route between the Thames Freeport and Europoort in Rotterdam read more
We are fighting for a safe and successful year (1 Jan) – Mick Whelan’s Column January 2024: Colleagues, as shown by our solid and successful action across the whole country there is no waning in solidarity, or strength of unity, right across our trade union. This is further underpinned by the last round of ballot renewals that, once again, humble me and the executive committee in the resounding turnouts and mandates for strike action and action short of a strike read more
TSSA call for urgent talks in London Underground pay dispute (8 Jan) – TSSA is calling for urgent talks with London Underground. TSSA – the biggest union across Transport for London – has called for urgent talks to avoid further escalation following reports that an additional £30 million has been found to resolve the pay dispute. TSSA announced last week that the union planned to ballot London Underground members for industrial action after rejecting a pay offer. The offer rejected last year is a pay rise of just five per cent and a plan to freeze pay bands and salary ranges. This offer fell significantly short of the expectations of TSSA members with RPI inflation far higher than 5% last year. TSSA remain in dispute with the company and the ballot process is set to begin shortly. However, with the announcement that additional funding is available, it is hoped that urgent talks will mean that escalation to industrial action can be avoided read more
TSSA to ballot for industrial action over London Underground pay (5 Jan) – TSSA – the biggest union across Transport for London – is planning to ballot London Underground members for industrial action after rejecting a pay offer. Union reps met the company this week for talks, but again London Underground signalled their intention to impose a pay offer for 2023-24 (April ‘23 to March ‘24). The deal on offer – after months of talks – is a pay rise of just five per cent and a plan to freeze pay bands and salary ranges read more
Strike looms in ScotRail as long-running TSSA dispute deepen (12 Dec) – Rail union TSSA is warning of strike action after managers across ScotRail voted in favour of industrial action in a long-running dispute over on-call working. Managers working in Operations Team Manager and ScotRail Operations Manager grades have voted by 70% in favour of taking strike action, in a dispute on on-call working which dates back to 2021 read more
8,000 members of Unite to participate in one day public sector strike on 18 January (9 Jan) – Workers in health and social care, education, public transport, roads, forestry, rivers, ferries and PSNI to strike for improved pay. Union demands secretary of state for Northern Ireland Chris Heaton-Harris stops using underfunding of public services as negotiating leverage. Unite the union has confirmed that public sector workers have voted to join a wider, coordinated strike action by public sector workers on 18 January. Over the next 24 hours the union will provide full details of the industrial action to a range of public sector employers. 8,000 public sector workers in Unite will join the action. The union’s membership includes more than 4,000 health and social care workers, 2,300 bus and rail workers, 800 education authority workers as well as members in the roads service, forestry service, rivers agency, Ferry services and PSNI. The coordinated strike action by public sector workers on 18 January is set to be the biggest in the history of Northern Ireland and is focused on achieving pay improvements as well as ensuring pay parity where relevant with public sector workers in Great Britain read more
Tara Mines: Irish Government must step in as company adopts unacceptable approach to workers’ jobs and conditions (9 Jan) – Alternative ownership must be on agenda. Speaking following a conciliation hearing held today (Tuesday) at the Workplace Relations Commission, trade union Unite – which represents craft and staff grades at Tara Mines – expressed outrage at proposals advanced by the company which would cut the workforce by over one-third while reducing the terms and conditions of remaining workers. The company has also issued a redundancy scheme which is significantly worse than that previously agreed with unions read more
Unite says workers given ‘no notice’ as Stewart Milne group placed in administration (9 Jan) – Trade union will explore legal action in support of over 60 members. Unite the union has today (9 January 2024) angrily reacted to the announcement that The Stewart Milne group has been placed into administration saying the workers were given ‘no notice’. Unite represents over 60 tradespersons at the construction company in various locations including in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow. Unite is actively exploring a protective award against The Stewart Milne group read more
Bedford warehouse workers at Movianto head to picket line over trade union recognition (9 Jan) – Workers at Movianto, a specialised medical warehousing company in Bedford, are striking from Monday 8 January after their employer refused to recognise Unite for collective bargaining purposes. Over 85 Unite members have been campaigning for their union to be officially recognised but Movianto has strongly resisted such moves. Workers voted in favour of industrial action by nearly 80 per cent. Strike action will be taking place on the following days with a picket line outside the Movianto warehouse:-
Where: Bedford Link Warehouse, Unit 1, Bell Farm Way, Kempston, Bedford, MK43 9SS
When: Monday 8 January – Friday 12 January 2024; 0530-1500
Movianto, based in Bedford, is a storage warehouse and distribution centre for medical equipment and medication. Unite’s members carry out warehouse functions such as pickers and forklift truck drivers. Strike action is likely to cause significant disruption to the medical centres Movianto supply read more
Unite reaction to Keir Starmer’s new year speech (4 Jan) – Responding to Keir Starmer’s New Year speech today (January 4) Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Undoubtedly the country needs change and it is crying out for different choices to be made. It is now critical that workers and communities can see clearly what choices Labour is proposing. For example, Keir rightly says we are exposed on the international stage regarding energy. The choice that needs to be made in order to reduce sky high prices is for energy – and in particular the National Grid – to be brought into public ownership…” read more
Unite general secretary slams CEO pay as report shows further inequality (4 Jan) – Commenting on today’s (4 January) report from the High Pay Centre, Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Today’s report shows that CEOs are pocketing millions and their pay continues to shoot up much faster than that of their workers. So, let them take note – Unite will not tolerate employers who want one rule for the bosses and another for the workers…” read more
Unite general secretary calls for nationalisation of energy as new Ofgem price cap hits customers (3 Jan) – Commenting on rising energy prices and the record profits the ‘big five’ oil companies, Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Energy bills have risen once again, and hard-working people’s finances are being squeezed ever tighter, while the owners of energy companies enjoy their record profits. The case for owning our own energy is overwhelming. The public can see it very clearly – so why can’t the politicians?” read more
Sanctuary housing workers balloting to strike – Repairs workers in strike ballot. An important group of London based repairs workers at Sanctuary Housing are balloting for strike action. Sanctuary do not recognise trade unions and have refused to negotiate with Unite members on pay over an extended period. In a recent consultative ballot members voted 100% for strike action but management have not taken the opportunity to enter negotiations. The workers want a pay rise of RPI inflation plus 1%, a £15.00 / hour minimum rate of pay and a four-day week. Sanctuary Housing’s surplus is 73% higher than last year with a pretax figure of £101.3 million with a healthy operating margin of 21.1%. There can be no doubts about Sanctuary’s ability to pay up read more
Slough parking strikes suspended following new offer (22 Dec) – Planned strikes involving parking attendants in Slough have been suspended following an improved offer by the employer. Over 30 members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, employed by Saba Parking Services on the outsourced Slough council parking contract were set to walk out from 27 to 30 December in a dispute over low pay. However, following an improved offer by the employer and with further talks scheduled for the new year, the strikes were called off. If the talks fail to resolve the dispute then further industrial action could be announced next year read more
Public transport workers in Unite, GMB and SIPTU to strike over pay on Friday (21 Dec) – Strike will bring all bus and rail services in Northern Ireland to a standstill. Members of Unite, GMB and SIPTU employed by Translink will hold a further 24-hour strike action commencing on a staggered basis from 00.01am Friday [December 21]. The strike follows a two-day stoppage last week and will bring all bus and rail services to a standstill. The strike follows ballots by union members which returned percentages in the high nineties for strike action in pursuit of a cost-of-living pay increase. Unions were informed that Translink could only offer a pay freeze because of the harsh budget imposed on the department for infrastructure by the secretary of state for Northern Ireland, Chris Heaton-Harris. Accounting for inflation (RPI) this amounts to a real terms pay cut of 11.4 per cent. While the secretary of state has offered a funding package, which he claims is adequate to address workers’ public sector pay demands, he has made it contingent on progress in wider political talks to re-establish the Stormont executive. As a result, the pay freeze remains in place read more
Clyde shipyard type 26 Frigate contractors set for New Year strike action (21 Dec) – CBL Cable Contractors in pay and conditions dispute. Unite, Scotland’s leading trade union, confirmed today (Thursday 21 December) that over 30 members contracted to work on the new type 26 Frigate on the Clyde are set for strike action in the new year. The Unite members involved in the pay dispute are employed by CBL Cable Contractors Limited based at the BAE Systems Govan and Scotstoun shipyards on the Clyde. The workers include electricians, labourers and cable hands. The strike action will occur over multiple days starting on 10 January and ending 27 March 2024 (see notes to editor). In November, the CBL Cable workers indicated their anger over the pay dispute by emphatically backing strike action by 100 per cent on an 88 per cent turnout. The contractors are demanding to be paid the BAE Systems yard rate, or an additional £1 per hour on top of the current rates of pay. The dispute also involves travel related payments which Unite’s members are due as the Clyde shipyards falls under the scope of the Joint Industry Board Agreement read more
Brakes are off for industrial action at Hartlepool car part supplier (19 Dec) – Unite members at TMD Friction, a car parts supplier in Hartlepool, are staging strike action early in the new year over the low levels of pay being offered by their employer. Nearly 150 members of Unite, Britain’s leading trade union, will walk out at the TMD manufacturing plant. They will take part in an initial wave of five days of strike action (see notes to editors), beginning on Tuesday 2 January but more could be announced. The majority of the workers are highly skilled metal press operators but also include other factory and production staff. TMD Friction produces after-market brake products for high street retailers and garages read more
Construction workers vote for strike action after rejecting national pay deal (18 Dec) – Engineering construction workers based at Exxon Mobil’s Mossmorran plant, Altrad engineering’s Torness power plant, GSK’s Montrose site and Wilton International’s Redcar plant have voted for strike action over pay, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said today. The workers, who operate under the National Agreement for the Engineering Construction Industry (NAECI), have rejected a two year pay offer of 10 per cent for 2024 and five per cent for 2025. The offer, from the employers who negotiate the NAECI agreement with unions, does not go far enough to restore years of falling wages for engineering construction workers. Since the pandemic, pay for engineering construction workers has fallen in real terms. During Covid, a pay freeze was imposed on the workers even though they provided essential services throughout the crisis. In January 2022, they received a two year pay deal of 2.5 per cent for 2022 and the same percentage increase for 2023 – even though inflation was soaring into double digits…Strike action will be conducted in conjunction with other NAECI workers operating at oil refineries, power stations and pharmaceutical and petro-chemical plants across the nation. Workers at Drax, Sellafield, Stanlow, Pembroke, Grangemouth, Teesside Sabic TIP and Runcorn Project Summer Vynova have also voted for strike action. Due to the strength of feeling amongst NAECI members, Unite is balloting even more workers at other sites across the country to join any industrial action read more
Health workers from across England rally at Department of Health in protest of pay and staffing (18 Dec) – A Grinch delivered a signed Christmas card to Victoria Atkins MP, Secretary of State for Health, today (Monday 18 December) to highlight the issues NHS staff are facing. Unite members from the Barts Health NHS Trust in East London, members working for Together Support Solutions (2SS) a wholly owned subsidiary of East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust and members employed by contractor Mitie based at Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust in the West Midlands protested outside the Department of Health. Unite members at all three trusts are currently taking industrial action in frustration, concern and anger over pay and safe staffing levels. The workers principal dispute and the reason for their strike action is due to the failure of their employers to pay them the lump sum payment of £1,650 that their colleagues working alongside them on NHS Agenda for Change terms and conditions received in June read more
Cardiff bin strikes to go ahead to stop bullying culture within council (15 Dec) – Unite members working for Cardiff council’s refuse and recycling department have voted overwhelmingly to take strike action for four weeks from Thursday 28 December 2023 – until Thursday 25 January 2024. The fresh strike action relates to a number of local issues which the council has failed to address, the most prominent being a widespread bullying culture within the department. Unite members have previously taken 12 weeks of strike action over poverty pay rates this autumn. The new strike action will come at the busiest period of the year for refuse collections and will cause huge disruption to post-Christmas collections across the city. Unite is calling for the leadership of Cardiff council to urgently enter discussions with the union to seek a resolution to the issues raised by workers. Throughout the current dispute the council’s leadership has abjectly failed to acknowledge Unite’s concerns and secure a resolution read more
300 craft workers resume strike action in dispute with ‘Scrooge’ West Lothian Council (15 Dec) – Unite demands overdue payments and COSLA pay rise. Unite the union confirmed today (Friday 15 December) around 300 craft members employed by West Lothian Council will take several rounds of strike action in an increasingly bitter dispute over money owed to the workforce. Strike action will take place on 19, 20 and 21 December followed by a further two days of action on 3 and 4 January 2024. The membership supported strike action by 96.3 per cent, and previously took strike action from 17 until 19 October. The dispute centres on the 2007 agreement covering craft workers employed by local authorities and outsourced workplaces who maintain council buildings and housing. The agreement covers a range of trades including joiners, plasterers, bricklayers, labourers, painters, and electricians. West Lothian Council, to date, has refused to apply arrangements that ensure pay progression for craft workers who have undertaken, and continue to undertake, additional tasks which they entitled to under the terms of the agreement. Industrial action will directly impact housing services and council buildings. Council house repairs will be significantly delayed, and empty houses will remain unfit to be let out read more
Poor pay offer to send GWR and LNER trains off the rails (14 Dec) – Trains across England and Wales could be forced to remain in the sidings as Unite members employed by Hitachi Rail are balloted over industrial action. Over 300 members who work as technicians, maintenance crews and engineers at Hitachi Rail Ltd are being balloted after they were offered just a 5.5 per cent pay increase – a real term pay cut when inflation is taken into account. Workers are unhappy at such a low pay offer in the middle of a cost of living crisis when they perform highly skilled roles that are safety critical for the railway industry. Unite’s members ensure that the trains are fit for service and without their work, trains cannot run safely. The ballot will close on 4 January 2024. Should the ballot be successful, strike action across a number of dates would follow in the new year read more
Greenwich Library workers to throw the book at employer over pay (14 Dec) – Library workers in South East London have reacted with anger over the low pay offer from their employer and are to strike in the new year. Around 70 Unite members are to head to the picket line after their employer, Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL), failed to offer a 2023 pay increase that is acceptable and which addresses the cost-of-living crisis for members living in one of the most expensive parts of the country. GLL has completely refused to negotiate with Unite. The workers have had a five per cent pay increase imposed on them which is a significant real terms pay cut as at the time the pay increase was due the real rate of inflation (RPI) stood at over 11 per cent. The workers are experiencing very low rates of pay with staff on as little as £12.10 an hour which is substantially below the real London living wage rate of £13.15 an hour. GLL has also refused to implement an occupational sick pay scheme that is acceptable to Unite members, failed to offer parity with other local government terms and conditions and refused to offer permanent contracts to temporary staff who want them. GLL, a “social enterprise” claims to be worker-owned and worker-led, but has refused point blank to negotiate on pay. This has left Unite members little choice but to head to the picket line. Unite is in a similar dispute with GLL library workers in the London Borough of Bromley. Strikes will lead to widespread closures of libraries across the borough and prevent their use by students, pensioners, children and groups that use their facilities for meetings…Dates for industrial action will be announced in due course read more
Bedford warehouse workers at Movianto to strike over union recognition (12 Dec) – Workers dealing with specialised medical devices and medication want Unite representation. Workers at Movianto, a specialised medical warehousing company, are to take strike action after their employer refused to recognise Unite for collective bargaining purposes. Over 50 workers, who are Unite members, have been campaigning for their union to be officially recognised but Movianto have strongly resisted such moves. Workers voted in favour of industrial action by nearly 80 per cent. Movianto, based in Bedford, is a storage warehouse and distribution centre for medical equipment and medication. Unite’s members carry out warehouse functions such as pickers and fork-lift truck drivers. Strike action is likely to cause significant disruption to the medical centres Movianto supply…Dates for strike action are to be announced in due course and will take place in the new year read more
ONS Wages: No festive cheer in latest earnings data, warns Unite (12 Dec) – Responding to the latest Office of National Statistics (ONS) data on pay and earnings Unite the union’s general secretary, Sharon Graham, said: “Although collective bargaining is delivering higher wagers for our workers – with Unite securing hundreds of millions through negotiations – these improvements are being undermined by high inflation rates. Moreover, it’s abhorrent that millions of workers are forced to stretch their payslips to simply live, while big corporations continue to fill their coffers…” read more
West London Christmas bus misery as strikes intensify (11 Dec) – RATP-owned London Transit workers anger worsened by ‘insulting’ new offer. Christmas bus strikes in West London will now begin a day earlier following an insulting new offer from RATP-owned London Transit, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said today (Monday). Strikes by the 350 drivers and engineers will now begin on 21 December, as well as on 22 and 23 December, as previously scheduled. Industrial action will intensify if the dispute is not resolved. The workers are striking after they rejected a 6.8 per cent pay offer. This is a significant real terms pay cut as the real rate of inflation, (RPI), stood at 11.4 per cent when the pay increase was supposed to be applied in April. The dispute is also over the company’s attempt to reduce terms and conditions, including removing a longstanding £500 meal relief payment and attacking arrangements for how workers take days off in lieu. The company’s latest offer only included extremely minor changes that did not include an increase in hourly pay. Furthering bad feeling at the company is the fact that it takes workers seven years to reach the full rate of pay, even though at most other bus companies it only takes three years of service read more
Drax canteen workers threatened as strike hits food services (11 Dec) – Baxter Storey sends intimidating messages after power station’s Christmas dinner cancelled. Striking Drax canteen workers have been sent threatening messages from their employer Baxter Storey, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said today (Monday). The company sent the predominantly female workforce threatening messages saying they had to fill in a form to say they were on strike or they would lose the legal protections afforded to staff taking industrial action. The workers, who are the lowest paid at Drax, are under no obligation to carry out Baxter Storey’s demands and will not lose any legal protection by failing to comply. The strikers and Unite view the messages as an intimidation tactic. The strikes, which are taking place throughout December, led to the cancelation of Christmas dinner at the power station on Tuesday 5 December. Out-of-date sandwiches have also been left in vending machines as stock has not been replenished or changed over. Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Baxter Storey’s intimidation tactics won’t work. Our members are rock solid – they know Baxter Storey can more than afford to table a reasonable offer. They have Unite’s total backing as they strike for a fair pay rise.” The strike action, which will last until 18 December, is over poverty pay and a lack of union recognition read more
Unite claims Alexander Dennis “fuelled the flames” in pay dispute (8 Dec) – Around 400 Unite members on strike action after rejecting latest ‘tokenistic’ wage offer. Unite the union claimed today (Friday 8 December) that Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) has “fuelled the flames” in the escalating pay dispute after making a ‘tokenistic’ pay offer. Around 400 Unite members based in Camelon, Falkirk, are in the midst of a fortnight-long strike which started on (Monday 4 December) and ends on 17 December. Unite represents coach builders and spray painters at the Camelon factory. Unite can confirm that ADL offered a further 0.5 per cent on the 2023 wage offer to increase it to 4.5 per cent, and four per cent in total for 2024. This offer was emphatically rejected by the workforce by 81.4 per cent. The ongoing strike action is a result of workers at ADL rejecting previous pay offers that amounted to a real terms pay cut read more
Maintenance workers at Crawley Borough Council to strike over pay (7 Dec) – Unite members who maintain and repair social housing for Crawley borough council will begin strike action this month as they step up their battle for better pay and conditions, it was announced today (Thursday 8 December). Twenty plumbers, electricians, gas engineers, painters and other craftworkers who are employed by two subcontractors – Mears and Liberty Gas – are requesting a 10 per cent pay increase on their hourly rates to reflect the rate of inflation over the last year and the ongoing cost of living crisis. Instead Mears has merely offered a lump sum payment that equates to just a five per cent, one-off increase, which is even below the seven per cent National Joint Council (NJC) local council workers offer. Liberty Gas have made no pay offer at all. Liberty Gas also gives fewer holidays to its employees than the other contractors and Unite is calling for harmonisation for all contracted workers. Given the reluctance of the contractors or Crawley Borough Council to improve the offer, workers will head to the picket line on Wednesday 11 December 2023 and 8 January 2024 read more
Iceland warehouse workers to walk out as South West face store shortages (4 Dec) – Warehouse workers in Swindon announce strike dates – threat of empty shelves at supermarket. Warehouse staff in Wiltshire working on behalf of the Iceland supermarket chain have announced dates for strike action, it was revealed today. Unite members employed by the logistics contractor, GXO, work in the cold storage warehouses that supply Iceland supermarkets across the South West of England. The majority earn the minimum wage and have rejected a below-inflation two-year pay deal offered by GXO. Despite further negotiations by Unite, GXO has refused to offer a fair pay rise to workers who endure sub-zero temperatures throughout their shifts. Close to 150 Unite members across two sites in Swindon will now walk out on the following dates: 14 December – 18 December and then 27 December – 30 December. The industrial action will cripple GXO’s ability to transport stock to Iceland supermarkets and could see a shortage on shelves and freezers in the run-up to Christmas read more
Striking Haringey council workers protest at cabinet meeting (4 Dec) – Striking housing repair workers will stage a protest on 5 December during the Haringey council cabinet meeting tomorrow, ahead of renewed industrial action over pay later this month. Haringey council’s leadership is falsely claiming it is not possible to open pay talks as rates are agreed nationally. While the national bargaining agreement for local government sets out minimum standards, local authorities can agree better terms and conditions for workers if they wish. Unite has already agreed deals with a number of local authorities including three other London councils (Newham, Southwark and Tower Hamlets) this year…The workers began striking in November, with the next phase of industrial action beginning on 18 December and ending on 24 December. More strike action will be scheduled if the dispute is not resolved read more
Strikes impacting Christmas Amazon, Cadbury and Direct Wines deliveries to intensify (4 Dec) – DS Smith drivers delivering cardboard packaging striking over pay. Strikes by a fleet of DS Smith LGV drivers delivering packaging cardboard and paper to major retailers, including Amazon, have escalated to cover the entire Christmas period, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said today. The strikes will compromise the ability of DS Smith clients, which also include Direct Wines, Cadbury and Haribo, to package items for mail order delivery to customers during the festive season. The drivers, based in Launceston in Cornwall, Sittingbourne in Kent, Avonmouth in Bristol and Tuxford in Nottinghamshire, have rejected a five per cent pay offer. This is a significant real terms pay cut when the real rate of inflation, RPI, stood at 11.3 per cent when the pay rise should have been implemented in May. An initial seven days of strikes took place between 20 and 27 November. The next round of strike action begins on 11 December and lasts until 23 December read more
Warrington council loses High Court case against bin worker strikes (1 Dec) – Unite blasts Labour council for wasting taxpayers’ money as new strike dates confirmed. Warrington council has lost its High Court attempt to block industrial action by its refuse drivers. The council’s case was that the workers’ strike action was unlawful as the dispute was no longer about pay. The council tried to use the extra hurdles placed in the way of legitimate strike action by the Conservative’s Trade Union Act of 2016. The High Court ruling however confirmed that there was an “industrial reality” and the union had not, in seeking to find alternative and innovative ways to settle the dispute, breached the law. This means that the council workers who have been in dispute for many months have the right to continue their struggle to secure a fair pay settlement from their employer read more
Justice sought for victims of Holman TUPE travesty (8 Jan) – Preliminary steps have been taken to initiate legal action by the union on behalf of around 600 former Rivus Fleet Solutions employees who lost their jobs without being paid their full contractual redundancy payments following a chaotic and grotesque wrangle between three corporate entities over who was responsible for what read more
You can show your support to the strikes by PCS members by:
- Making donations to the PCS Fighting Fund Levy account, sort code: 60-83-01, account no. 20331490
- Sending solidarity messages to [email protected]
Members at The Pensions Regulator back on strike this week (9 Jan) – PCS members working at The Pensions Regulator begin their 37th day of strike action tomorrow (10). The members at The Pensions Regulator will take action on January 10, 11, 12, 16, 17, 18, 24, 25, 26, 30 and 31, plus February 1, after being offered a 3% pay rise while other civil service employers are paying 4.5%. PCS membership at TPR has risen by 163% since the dispute started in September. And PCS members are reporting that the ongoing strike action is creating a backlog of work and systemic disruption to TPR’s ability to deliver on their statutory duties read more
Annualised Hours in Customer Services: FWH attack spreads to Washington (9 Jan) – After only one member of staff in East Kilbride and Portsmouth volunteered to give up FWH to join the ‘Annualised Hours’ pilot, and external recruitment manages just 64 appointments, Washington has been added to the list of ‘pilot’ sites read more
Email your MP to stop in-work hardship (8 Jan) – Complete our e-action to ask your MP to sign our Early Day Motion against the imposed changes to the way caterers and cleaners are paid. On 1 November 2023, outsourced facilities staff at 10 Downing Street, the Cabinet Office and the Canary Wharf civil service hub had their employment transferred from Mitie to ISS. The transferring staff have a contractual right to be paid monthly, like their directly employed civil service colleagues. Although the law should protect an employee’s contract of employment when they transfer to a new employer, ISS have unilaterally changed the contractual pay frequency of cleaners and caterers from monthly to fortnightly read more
DWP staffing campaign update – members’ meeting (5 Jan) – There will be a meeting for all members working in DWP on 10 January at 6pm to discuss the impact of the staffing crisis on staff and claimants and what can be done to fight against it. We are asking all members to join the meeting which will be held by Zoom and addressed by senior GEC representatives who will provide an update on the campaign so far and explore how we can win more staff, better terms, conditions and pay for staff and a better service for claimants. We are also asking members to invite their non-member colleagues to the meeting. The more of us there are the more likely we are to win this vital campaign. Non-members can join PCS online. Join the Zoom meeting on 10 January at 6pm read more
HMCTS Rolls Out Non Police Operating Model (3 Jan) – With effect from 20 November 2023 a new operating model applies across England and Wales concerning how magistrates handle cases under the Single Justice Procedure on ATCM. Up to three Magistrates will work separately but together with the legal adviser available in the same court building. Magistrates will decide cases and input the results directly onto Common Platform. Advice will only be given if requested; a distinct and, in PCS’s opinion, dangerous move away from the current position where our members currently give advice on all matters of law practice, procedure, evidence and sentencing, irrespective of whether such advice is sought, and have a duty to ensure all whose cases come before the courts have a fair hearing read more
Strike ballot opens this week in National Museums Liverpool (2 Jan) – A strike ballot opens tomorrow (3 January) in the National Museums Liverpool as the employer continues to withhold the £1,500 cost-of-living crisis payment. PCS members at the National Museums Liverpool (NML) will be balloted for strike action this month from 3-31 January as the employer has not yet paid staff a £1,500 one-off cost-of-living payment read more
DVSA members vote for strike action (13 Dec) – 90.5% of members who voted said yes to taking action over changes to their terms and conditions. PCS members in DVSA (Driving and Vehicle Services Agency) have voted overwhelmingly in favour of taking industrial action over changes to their terms and conditions. DVSA members have voted for action by 90.5% on a turnout of 59.21%. Strike dates will be announced in due course read more
Prospect announces commencement of industrial action at AWE (30 Nov) – Prospect members at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) are taking industrial action in a dispute over pay, having voted strongly in favour of the measure. Action short of a strike commenced on 13 November and includes members working to rule, working to contract, and withdrawing from voluntary roles. The timing of any possible strike action will be decided in due course read more
Asda private equity owners finally grilled by MPs (9 Jan) – Workers on Asda’s shop floor deserve answers. TDR Capital, who along with the Issa brothers bought Asda in February 2021, will give evidence to the Business and Trade select committee on Tuesday (9 January). It follows evidence given by both GMB and Asda bosses at a committee session before Christmas, but TDR Capital, who co-own the supermarket giant, did not attend read more
GMB pushes back Asda strike action to allow ‘last-ditch’ talks at ACAS (9 Jan) – Strike action now starting on Monday if talks fail. GMB, the union for Asda colleagues, can announce that the first three days of the historic first strike at a UK Asda superstore have been suspended in order for talks to take place between the employer and the union. Up to 100 workers at the Gosport superstore will now walk out from Monday 15 January, with additional dates having been scheduled for Monday 29 January to Sunday 11 February. The union is hoping that talks will address the issues in store, which its members are describing as creating a ‘toxic atmosphere.’ At a national level, MPs have been grilling Asda bosses including company co-owner Mohsin Issa at the Business & Trades Select Committee after GMB identified a £2 billion hole in their accounts, while £2 billion has been declared as dividends read more
South Tyneside faces third round of bin strikes (9 Jan) – Council needs to deal with bullying and release independent report. South Tyneside refuse workers will begin a third round of industrial action next week. Full strike action will be taken 9-12 January. Workers will put their concerns direct to councillors at the next full council meeting on 24 January read more
Wiltshire Social Workers Vote For Strike Actions To Oppose ‘Fire and Rehire’ Pay Cut (9 Jan) – Social Workers join long-running dispute over unsocial hours pay cut. Wiltshire Council social workers at have voted to take strike action in a long-running dispute over proposed pay cuts for various front-line roles. The dispute centres around council plans to ‘fire and rehire’ certain roles, including care staff, social workers, traffic wardens, leisure centre workers, and highways, to remove a contractual unsocial hours pay uplift. The social workers who are members of GMB union are now joining the dispute, which has already seen traffic wardens across the county take 11 days of strike action. There are 25 social workers who face losing a 20 per cent uplift to their pay through this plan, of which 22 have now voted to strike read more
UK’s longest chocolate strike ends (9 Jan) – Seven weeks of industrial action will come to an end at Nottinghamshire’s Cargill Chocolate. GMB Union has today announced that members at chocolate giant Cargill have voted to accept a pay offer from the company. The news will bring to an end seven weeks of industrial action and over-time bans at the company; widely thoughts to be Britain’s longest chocolate strike. Dozens of workers at the company, who provide chocolate for some of Britain’s favourite choc-treats, have taken fourteen days of strike action since late November 2023. The offer will see workers receive an inflation busting 10.4% pay rise, along with a one-off cost of living payment read more
Amazon industrial chaos escalates as new site announces strike date (9 Jan) – Workers at Amazon’s new flagship fulfilment centre have voted to join industrial action, just weeks after opening. GMB union has today announced that workers at Amazon’s new flagship fulfilment centre have voted to join ongoing strike action at the company. Workers at the Birmingham warehouse will down tools on Thursday 25 January, the anniversary of the first ever official strike action at a UK Amazon warehouse. Amazon’s new £500 million Birmingham fulfilment centre opened it’s doors at the end of 2023 and will be the third Amazon workplace to face strike action. Amazon faced nearly 30 days of strike action in the last twelve months, with more than 1,000 workers downing tools to mark the retail giant’s Black Friday event in November read more
GMB: Swindon Borough Council leaders ‘asleep on the job’ over social work strike (21 Dec) – First group of social workers begin strike which will last through festive period unless talks take place. GMB, the union for social workers, calls for immediate talks with Swindon Borough Council to resolve pay disputes, as two separate groups of social workers strike over Christmas. The union has been proposing talks with the employer to resolve pay disputes since November, however council chiefs are not making themselves available for negotiations until January. Eleven social worker Assistant Team Managers started a two week strike on Tuesday and will be joined by the Emergency Duty Service which provides out of hours cover from Christmas Eve. A third group is also being balloted to join the strike, the team of Independent Reviewing Officers. The strikes are over a pay and grading review, described by the union as “botched”, which has led to managers in some cases earning less than those whom they supervise read more
Northampton’s ‘jingle-smells’ festive bin strike suspended (20 Dec) – Last minute breakthrough saves Northampton from a stinky Christmas, says GMB. GMB Union has today announced that planned strike action by refuse workers in Northampton has been suspended. Around 80 refuse and street cleaning workers were expected to down tools between Christmas and new year, with an over time ban throughout the Christmas period. The news comes after a refuse workers voted to accept an offer to re-start stalled pay talks with refuse provider Veolia along with a Christmas bonus scheme for workers read more
Coventry care home faces strike disruption as union slams culture of ‘poverty pay’ (20 Dec) – Workers at Coventry’s Victoria Park care home begin strike vote this week, says GMB. GMB union has today announced that workers at Victoria Park care home in Coventry will begin balloting for strike action. The news comes after the union accused HC One of failing to listen to workers’ concerns. Workers are furious after a popular local care home manager was sacked from the home after raising safety concerns about the referral of hospital outpatients to Victoria Park. A recent UK wide survey of workers in HC One Care homes found that staff were feeling the pinch of poor working conditions, with 40% of staff considering leaving because they don’t earn enough to live. Around 20 workers at the home are expected to join the ballot which begins on Thursday 21 December with a result expected after 4 January read more
South Wales faces festive Flogas shortage (20 Dec) – GMB Union members at Flogas at Llandarcy have downed tools for two more weeks of strike action
The move by workers has led to shortages of Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) and Liquid Nitrogen Gas (LNG) shortages during the festive period across South West Wales, GMB has said. This is the second batch of action as nearly 20 workers at gas giant’s depot in South Wales downed tools back in November. After months of negotiation, workers voted to strike with a majority of more than 80 per cent. The following day, Flogas announced redundancies at the site read more
Strike threat hits Birmingham on eve of crunch budget meeting (11 Dec) – Thousands of workers could down tools across the city after council bosses announced further delays to ending the equal pay crisis. GMB Union, Birmingham City Council’s largest staff union, has today announced that thousands of workers across the council will begin a ballot for strike action. The news comes on the eve of crunch budget talks at the authority after council bosses announced a further delay to settling outstanding equal pay claims. GMB has called on council leaders to urgently announce a timetable for settling the authority’s £780 million equal pay liability, only for council representatives to respond that settlement talks would be pushed back. The ballot will begin on Tuesday 12 December and run until mid-January 2024 with more than 3,000 Birmingham City Council workers being asked to have their say on strike action read more
Donate to support striking workers – As UNISON members continue to take strike action, the union is asking for donations to its strike fund
Are newly registered nurses still ‘thrown in at the deep end’? (8 Jan) – New survey investigates the current state of support received by new nurses, midwives and nursing associates read more
Barnet UNISON issues strike action notice for the next 5 months! (24 Oct) – Today, UNISON sent the strike notification letter to Barnet Council laying out the dates of strike action to be taken by Mental Health social workers starting in November right through to March 2024. The first day of strike action will start Tuesday 7 November 2023. We are pleased to report that Brighton UNISON Adults social workers will be taking strike action on the same day (Tuesday 7 November 2023) Barnet UNISON Mental Health social workers are taking strike action. Their demand is similar to our demand, they want parity for Adults social workers with Family Services social workers who have retention payments. Barnet UNISON has proposed a solution to this dispute which is based on rates (7.5% to 25%) that are already paid out to other social workers in Family services. According to evidence seen by Barnet UNISON, the numbers of staff leaving Mental Health social work teams exceeds those leaving Family Services social work teams who are all receiving recruitment & retention payments. Barnet UNISON is clear that recruitment & retention payments are likely to help stabilise the high turnover of staff across Mental Health social work teams and help retain existing staff. The strike timetable for the next FIVE months is as follows:-
- 7/8/9/14/15/16 November 2023.
- 4/5/6/7/8/ December 2023.
- 15/16/17/18/19 January 2024.
- 5/6/7/8/9 February 2024.
- 4/5/6/7/8 March 2024 read more
Protest as Hackney Unison chair amongst those handed compulsory redundancies in libraries shake-up – Council staff staged a protest on 17th May after several library staff, including Hackney Unison Branch Chair Brian Debus, have been handed compulsory redundancy notices. Hackney Unison have said it was “registering our disgust that three library workers including Hackney Unison Branch Chair Brian Debus are due to be made compulsorily redundant. This despite there being more than enough posts available in the restructured library service.” Read more on Hackney Citizen website
Generalised public sector strike action 18 January – Further to the General Secretary’s Bulletin dated 21 December 2023. You will be aware that the industrial action taken by NIPSA and other unions has put public sector pay at the top of the agenda in the recent political discussions. However, as of now, the Secretary of State has not passed any funds to the Department of Finance to settle the 2022/23 dispute, or to make an offer for 2023/24. Therefore, as previously reported, we will join the generalised strike action with other public sector unions on 18 January. I now ask that Branches begin to prepare for the strike. Please check the materials you currently have and ensure you have all you need for picket lines. If you need more material including placards, vests and flags, please contact Seán McMullan at NIPSA HQ at [email protected] to arrange collection. Separately can you also please provide the details of your Branch picket line location(s) to Seán by Friday 12 January in order that we can collate locations. If you have any queries, please contact your Branch Secretary or HQ Official – Maria Morgan Deputy General Secretary read more
Royal College of Nursing
Nursing staff in Northern Ireland to strike on 18 January (5 Jan) – RCN members working in Northern Ireland will take to picket lines alongside other trade unions to fight for pay parity with nursing staff in England read more
RCN sounds warning over Welsh government introduction of nursing associates in Wales (4 Jan) – Our warning comes after the biggest review of nursing without any mandate, public consultation, or scrutiny by the Senedd read more
RCN opens donations to strike fund in response to public desire to support striking staff – We’ve launched a donation page for people to financially help nursing staff on strike read more
Royal College of Midwives
Midwives in Northern Ireland announce New Year strike action (19 Dec) – Midwives and maternity support workers (MSWs) across Northern Ireland are set to take to the picket lines again in the New Year. The announcement from the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) comes as there has been no progress towards a fair and meaningful pay offer. The lack of a functioning Executive in Northern Ireland means hardworking RCM members end 2023 with no resolution to the on-going dispute to improve their pay. The RCM Board met this week and took the decision to call strike action, saying that it is unacceptable that midwives and MSWs working in the HSC have been left in limbo for so long about their pay as it continues to fall further behind the rest of the UK. Earlier this year nine out of ten midwives said they would take strike action if no pay deal was agreed, this already happened in September and further industrial action is now scheduled once again for January read more
Remembering HCPs three months into the Gaza conflict: A statement from the CSP on the conflict in Gaza (9 Jan) – In the three months since the Gaza conflict began, there has been great suffering for both Palestinians and Israelis. For many of our members, particularly those with personal links to the region, this has been an especially difficult time. As an organisation, we have supported international calls for all parties to protect healthcare workers regardless of ethnicity, race, religion, or political affiliation read more
Northern Ireland pay – CSP members prepare to strike again (19 Dec) – More than 1,100 members, working for Health and Social Care Northern Ireland (HSCNI), are preparing for a further day of strike action on 18 January 2024 read more
Radiographers to strike in Northern Ireland in January (15 Dec) – The Society of Radiographers has announced strike action will take place unless a solution can be found to current political deadlock. Radiographers in Northern Ireland will be taking strike action again in January, the Society of Radiographers has announced, unless a solution to the current political deadlock can be found. The SoR has confirmed the NI members will walk out on Thursday 18 January 2024, over the dispute with government around the working conditions radiographers are currently facing read more
Doctors begin longest single strike in NHS history (3 Jan) – Health secretary urged to make credible offer so juniors can return to work in England. ‘There is no good time to strike,’ says Rob Laurenson, BMA junior doctors committee co-chair, standing with dozens of BMA members at the picket line at St Thomas’ Hospital in London. However, as junior doctors in England begin the longest single strike action in NHS history on 3 January, he insists: ‘Strike action is the only thing that works.’ The Government has taken a stance that strikes must be called off for it to resume negotiations – while the BMA has consistently said it will resume talks at any time. When the Government failed to make a credible offer by the mutually agreed deadline in early December, this round of action – as well as three strike days before Christmas – were called. More than four weeks have passed since that deadline, with the Government refusing to make its ‘final offer’, which health secretary Victoria Atkins has said is still up her sleeve read more
Wales junior doctors ballot result and strike dates announced – Junior doctors in Wales have voted overwhelmingly in favour of taking industrial action over our pay levels. We now call on junior doctors to take part in a 72 hour full walkout commencing at 7am Monday 15 January 2024 and concluding 7am on Thursday 18 January 2024. This means you should not attend any shifts starting after 6.59am on the first day of strike action. You can then attend any shifts starting from 7am on the final day read more
Consultants to vote on fresh pay offer (27 Nov) – Extra investment in pay on top of existing uplift would change pay scale structure. The BMA consultants committee has put a new pay offer from Government to members which could draw a close to continuing industrial action in England. Following a month of ‘intense negotiations’ the Government has offered a 4.95 per cent investment in pay. If the offer is accepted, the changes will be applicable from January 2024, in addition to the six per cent pay uplift already awarded for this year, and paid retrospectively in April 2024 read more
HCSA junior doctors vote yes to renew strike mandate (20 Dec) – HCSA Junior Doctors in England voted by over 96 percent today in favour of continued strike action over pay until at least June. Today’s Yes vote extends the current strike mandate and means HCSA junior doctor members in England will now join walkouts from 06.59am on January 3rd to 06.59am to January 9th. The result, which comes on the first day of winter strike action by doctors in training, is the third time this year HCSA members have backed walkouts over pay. The Yes vote in each case has exceeded 95 percent. Current law requires unions to renew a mandate for industrial action every six months read more
Consultant reform package: ballot of consultants in England – It’s time for HCSA members to have their say on the consultant reform package. The electronic ballot is now open to all HCSA consultant members. It will ask whether you ACCEPT or REJECT the offer. Next steps will be guided by the vote of the membership. If members vote to accept the offer, this effectively closes the pay dispute for HCSA. If members vote to reject, HCSA executive will consider this carefully in light of the live strike mandate read more
|Please find below details of forthcoming action and please send messages of solidarity to the email addresses below: Action Date Contact Benson Primary School /Birmingham (Conditions of Service) 11-12 January David Room [email protected] South Chingford Foundation School / Waltham Forest (Conditions of Service) 9 – 10 January Pablo Phillips [email protected] Sandra Faria [email protected] Canary Wharf College / Tower Hamlets (Conditions of Service) 9-11 January Lucy Preston [email protected] Bulwell Academy / Notts (Conditions of Service) 10-11 January Sheena Wheatley [email protected] St Ursula’s Convent Secondary School / Greenwich (Victimisation of Rep)
Teachers at Pencoedtre School to strike over dangerous pupil behaviour (9 Jan) – Members of the NASUWT – The Teachers’ Union will take strike action at Pencoedtre School in Barry tomorrow (Wednesday). A further five days of potential strike action are planned on the 18th, 24th, 25th and 30th January and the 1st February. Teachers at Pencoedtre School have urgent health and safety concerns. They have suffered increasing verbal and physical abuse from a small number of pupils. Since September 2023 there have been more than 50 serious incidents of abuse at the school. Teachers fear for their own safety and mental health, and for the wellbeing of pupils and support staff. NASUWT members at Pencoedtre School are now in dispute with Vale of Glamorgan Council over their refusal to intervene and implement solutions read more
Teachers at Nottingham school take strike action over working practices (9 Jan) – Members of NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union at The Bulwell Academy in Nottingham will be taking strike action tomorrow (Wednesday) and Thursday over adverse management practices which are having a negative impact on teachers’ workload and working conditions read more
NASUWT members to strike over pay in Northern Ireland (8 Jan) – The NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union has formally notified school and college employers that it will take strike action on Thursday 18 January over the failure to offer teachers and Further Education lecturers a fair and decent pay award. The NASUWT, along with other unions across the public sector, has been planning a mass day of action since December. The union had previously taken part in strike action in February, April and November 2023. The union had hoped that Northern Ireland politicians and the UK government would have reached a political settlement by now which would have free up enough money to resolve all outstanding pay claims read more
Northern Ireland teachers and FE lecturers to strike in January for fair pay (18 Dec) – Members of NASUWT – The Teachers’ Union will take strike action In Northern Ireland on Thursday 18 January 2024 over the failure to offer teachers and further education lecturers a fair and decent pay award. The strike action follows a half day strike in schools on the 21 February, a full day on the 26 April, and a half day on the 29 November. NASUWT members in Northern Ireland’s further education colleges will join their school teacher colleagues in taking strike action. NASUWT members in schools and FE colleges are already taking action short of strike action. The Union has now announced a full day of strike in furtherance of our campaigns for a Better Deal for Teachers and Lecturers read more
New industrial action campaign at schools and colleges in England (18 Sept) – The NASUWT is instructing members to take part in a programme of action short of strike action following ballots for industrial action last term. The action is part of the Union’s campaign to secure real terms improvements to pay and bring downward pressure on workload and working hours. The NASUWT National Action Committee is initially instructing members in schools and colleges to limit their working time by working to rule from today. These include instructing members to refuse to undertake extracurricular activities, midday supervision, working during lunch breaks, being directed to work on weekends or Bank Holidays, not doing other tasks during PPA time and refusing to take part in mock inspections read more
School leaders in Northern Ireland announce further strike action (18 Dec) – In an industrial dispute that has been escalating for over a year, members of school leaders’ union, NAHT, have announced their intention to engage in a further full day of strike action in pursuit of a resolution. NAHT has taken unprecedented strike action already in the same dispute and will on Thursday 18 January 2024, be joining workers from across education and the wider public sector, in a significant act of protest read more
College Lecturers Urged to Vote in Ballot to Protect Jobs and Fair Pay (21 Dec) – The EIS is urging lecturer members of its Further Education Lecturers’ Association (EIS-FELA) to ensure that they use their vote in the national industrial action ballot which is currently underway. The EIS-FELA ballot, which closes on 16th January, is asking lecturers to support a programme of industrial action – up to and including strike action – in pursuit of a fair pay settlement from employers and the protection of lecturing jobs in Scotland’s colleges. This statutory ballot is taking place against a backdrop of a £58.7 Million cut in college budgets, as detailed in the Scottish Government’s own budget documentation read more
Full day of strike action planned for January (18 Dec) – On the back of the decision taken by the Northern Ireland Teachers’ Council (NITC) to call a full day of strike action on Thursday, 18 January 2024, INTO Northern Secretary Mark McTaggart stated that: All those who hold the purse strings have agreed with the teaching unions that the issue of the vast differential in teachers’ pay in the north compared to teachers across these islands is unsustainable and must be addressed…” read more
Strikes on tomorrow and Wednesday at five colleges across the North East (8 Jan) – UCU has confirmed staff at five colleges in Cleveland, Redcar and Stockton-on-Tees will strike tomorrow and Wednesday in a long-running dispute over low pay. The strikes are going ahead at Bede Sixth Form College, NETA Training Group, Stockton Riverside College, The Skills Academy, and Redcar and Cleveland College after employer body the Education Training Collective (ETC) refused to make an improved offer on pay. Staff will be on picket lines on both days of strike action from 7.30am to 9.30am. Tomorrow’s picket line will be at Redcar and Cleveland College and Wednesday’s picket line will be at Stockton Riverside College. UCU members at the colleges have overwhelmingly rejected an offer of 3% for 22/23, and have also voted to reject a further offer of an additional 1% – which was only to be paid for three months of that financial year. Staff have already taken four days of strike action since November (2023), but ETC has responded by offering two “wellbeing days” and nothing on pay read more
Strike ballot opens at Aberdeen university in row over job cuts in modern languages (4 Jan) – A ballot for strike action has opened at Aberdeen university in a dispute over job cuts in the university’s threatened modern languages department. The ballot will run until Wednesday 7 February and could pave the way for strike action at the university. Members of the UCU branch at Aberdeen are being asked if they are willing to take part in strike action and action short of strike. The ballot is being held because senior managers at the university are consulting on a proposal to end single honours degrees in modern languages meaning job losses. In December the university’s senate, the body responsible for academic standards in the university, called for the consultation to be halted and for senate to be given the opportunity to consider the plans. Despite this, senior managers drove their plan through the important university court meeting on 12 December 2023 meaning around 30 people remain at risk of redundancy and face a worrying start to the New Year read more
Firefighters call for government to fund emergency flood response in wake of Storm Henk (5 Jan) – The Fire Brigades Union is calling for urgent resources for the fire service in the wake of flooding caused by Storm Henk. Large areas of England have been left devastated by widespread flooding, with firefighters responding to emergency calls, performing rescues and evacuations. Nottinghamshire county council declared a major incident on Thursday due to rising levels along the River Trent, stating that water levels “could come close to the highest levels on record from the year 2000”. Flooding continues to cause disruption and put pressure on fire services across the south of England. Ten fire engines and around 70 firefighters were called to flooding in Hackney, east London, after a canal burst its banks on Thursday read more
Firefighters’ union to consult members in Scotland on strike action over cuts (13 Oct) – The Fire Brigades Union has today announced its intention to begin consulting firefighters across Scotland on strike action in opposition to a devastating package of cuts imposed by the Scottish government. A projected five-year flat cash budget until 2027 has already removed 10 wholetime fire engines, whilst 150 retained fire engines are regularly unavailable due to significant recruitment and retention issues. The Scottish Fire and Rescue service has announced that its own projections mean it will need to save a minimum of a further £14 million next year, which would result in the loss of a further 339 firefighters and 18 fire engines, with more to come. Scotland has lost 1200 frontline firefighters since 2012. The move marks the first formal step towards firefighters taking strike action. This was agreed unanimously by the union’s Scottish committee this week. A formal strike ballot could follow read more
National Chair Update December 2023 read more
Programme Facilitator: Job Evaluation (5 Jan) – As you will be aware the programmes job evaluation outcome was published before Christmas and the role has come out as a Band 3. Napo are fully aware of the impact this will have on affected staff in programmes and the anxiety this has caused. The 3 probation Trade Unions will be submitting a joint appeal, the deadline for which has been extended to 31st January 2024. As such, Napo would like to hear views from members affected. We will be holding a Napo member’s meeting on 9th January at 1pm via Teams. If you cannot make this meeting, don’t worry, we will also be holding a joint Trade Union meeting at a later date read more
Support the campaign to unionise Samworth Brothers – get organised, sign the petition read more
Steam Packet withdraws termination threat to end industrial action (5 Jan) –
Nautilus senior national secretary Garry Elliott said that the Union is committed to finding a way forward, after the company withdrew the threat of fire and rehire. Nautilus members working onboard Isle of Man Steam Packet Company (IOMSPCo) vessels have ceased industrial action after the ferry operator withdrew the threat of fire and rehire and has committed to further talks and arbitration if necessary. The action has been stopped with immediate effect. The Union took this step after Manx Sea Transport Guernsey, the employer of officers who work onboard Steam Packet vessels, issued a withdrawal of the notice of termination letters sent to employees on 22 December 2023 read more
NUJ hails significant SLAPPs ruling in Northern Ireland (8 Jan) – The union has welcomed a judgment in favour of journalist Malachi O’Doherty, in “vexatious” defamation proceedings brought by Gerry Kelly MLA read more
Ballot opens on BBC Local offer (2 Nov) – NUJ members working across BBC Local are urged to vote before 13 November on a new proposal put forward in the ongoing dispute. The NUJ is balloting members across BBC Local on acceptance or rejection of a new offer brokered through Acas. If the offer is accepted, the industrial dispute and associated industrial action will end, while the NUJ will continue to campaign for truly local programming which serves the needs of local audiences across England. NUJ members across BBC Local (covering radio, TV and online) have been involved in a protracted dispute challenging cuts and changes that led to over 800 journalists put at risk of redundancy and editorial changes including the axing of local programmes, sharing of content across regions and pre-recorded news bulletins in some radio stations. Members have taken four days of strike action, along with a long-running work to rule, with two strike ballots won and significant political and campaigning activity read more
Nearly 120,000 retail jobs lost and over 10,000 store closures last year – Usdaw again calls for an industrial strategy and recovery plan (8 Jan) – Retail trade union Usdaw is again calling on the Government to work with them and employers to develop a retail industrial strategy to tackle longstanding and ongoing difficulties in the sector and help save our shops. The call comes after the Centre for Retail Research today revealed that 10,494 shops closed for the last time during 2023 and 119,405 jobs were lost in the sector read more
Sainsbury’s to pay the Real Living Wage and London Living Wage – Usdaw welcomes the 9% wage boost (4 Jan) – Retail trade union Usdaw has welcomed today’s announcement that staff pay is increasing to at least £12 per hour across Sainsbury’s and Argos. Effective from March, this 9% increase means that Sainsbury’s has boosted pay by 50% since 2018 read more
Asda and Usdaw sign a new recognition agreement for staff working in former EG Group convenience stores and restaurants (4 Jan) – Retail trade union Usdaw and supermarket giant Asda have today signed a collective bargaining agreement for Usdaw to recruit and represent hourly-paid staff employed in the convenience stores and Leon restaurants that Asda recently acquired from EG Group read more
“They don’t treat us cleaners like human beings, they treat us like rats”: cleaners at the Department of Education poised to strike for a living wage (20 Dec) – Exhausted cleaners, struggling to pay for the basics, working at the Department for Education (DfE)’s Sanctuary Buildings are asking to be paid a living wage, equal sick pay and annual leave with civil service workers, appropriate staffing levels and union recognition. Cleaners at the department took three days of strike action over the summer as part of a mass strike by UVW members demanding dignity, equality and respect. The DfE cleaners, who are members of United Voices of the World (UVW), have given their bosses at ISS UK Limited (ISS), until 8 January 2024 to reply. If there’s no reply, members have instructed UVW to declare a dispute and issue a notice of intention to ballot for industrial action read more
SIPTU condemns “reckless” Tara Mines proposal (6 Jan) – SIPTU has said the unilateral release by Tara Mines management of a strategy document proposing voluntary redundancy terms is “reckless” and “aimed more at public relations than negotiating in good faith read more
Affiliate with STAMMA – STAMMA’s Employment Support Service helps people who stammer as well as those who don’t around issues related to stammering in the workplace. Union branches and regions can affiliate with STAMMA to access a range of services and support at a reduced rate.
- £75 for branches and regions
- £125 for national unions with under 400,000 members
- £200 for national unions with 400,000+ members
Fight blacklisting and victimisation of union reps
Blacklist Support Group look back at 2023
Blacklist Support Group are a rank and file led justice campaign, that also acts as a support network for blacklisted workers. Our campaigning has thrust the issue of blacklisting into the mainstream media and national political debates. Working alongside our sister campaigns; Construction Rank & File, Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance, Police Spies Out of Lives, Hazards, Haldane Society and the Undercover Research Group, we have not only shone a light on anti-union blacklisting by big business, but have exposed undercover police spying on trade unions and police collusion in blacklisting. Among other things, our campaigning activities got new legislation passed into law, a select committee investigation, a High Court trial, a public inquiry into undercover policing and major industrial disputes. We continue to fight for justice for blacklisted workers. So what happened in 2023?
Spycops public inquiry
BSG is a core participant in the spycops public inquiry, after the police admitted that they were spying on our campaign. In June 2023, the public inquiry published an interim report into the Met’s disgraced Special Demonstration Squad (SDS). The report is damning and exposes how human rights were routinely violated, women were sexually abused by undercover officers and how no regard was given to legality of the methods used by senior officers, Commissioners or Cabinet Ministers.
The police and MI5 claim that such methods were justified because left wing activists in civic society groups such as; trade unions, Anti-Apartheid, Women’s Lib, CND, environmental and anti-racist campaigners were an organised subversive threat to democracy. This is colonial era paranoia by the higher echelons of the UK’s security services. In reality, it was the spycops attempts to infiltrate and disrupt thousands of perfectly legal political campaign groups that was subverting democracy!
Sir John Mitting’s interim report is unequivocal in its central conclusion:
“The long-term infiltration of political or single-issue groups by a unit of a police force could readily have been justified if its purpose was to prevent or investigate serious crime, including terrorism and activities akin to it. The infiltration of groups which in fact threatened the safety or well-being of the state could also have been justified. The great majority of deployments by the SDS in this period did not satisfy either criterion… The question is whether or not the end justified the means. I have come to the firm conclusion that, for a unit of a police force, it did not; and that had the use of these means been publicly known at the time, the SDS would have been brought to a rapid end”
The next set of evidence hearings take place in July 2024 and will cover the 1980s.
Independent investigation into union collusion in blacklisting
From the very start of our campaign, there was documentary evidence that some union officials in the construction unions had been passing information about their own activists to the major employers. This is totally unacceptable behaviour. BSG has consistently called for a fully independent investigation to look into any allegations of collusion by union officials. When Sharon Graham became UNITE General Secretary, 3 leading lawyers were appointed to conduct the investigation; Nick Randall KC, John Townsend (barrister) and Paul Heron from Public Interest Law Centre. They have already interviewed a large number of witnesses and collated documentary evidence from multiple sources. BSG have had representation throughout the process and encourage anyone wishing to give a witness statement or with relevant information to contact the independent investigation. The investigation remains ongoing. https://ibci.uk
Blacklisting Re-Training Fund
As part of the High Court settlement, the major blacklisting firms paid £230,000 into a retraining fund for claimants in the trial. After persistent lobbying, UNITE started widely advertising the fund this summer. This means that over and above any compensation that was paid out, anyone who was a claimant in the blacklisting High Court trial can also apply for money to cover the cost of any retraining. This could be retraining within construction (such as paying for CSCS cards or updating qualifications) or could be for those who paid for retraining in different sectors altogether. This is part of the compensation package in the High Court settlement, so BSG encourage people to submit an application to the fund. Don’t be too proud to apply – this is our money that we won in the court case. https://www.unitetheunion.org/blacklisttrainingfund
Construction continues to victimise workers who stand up for their rights
Kirby Group Engineering victory for sacked workers
In January, Kirby Group Engineering made a number of high voltage electricians redundant, after they attempted to gain union recognition with the company. Amongst those to lose his job was UNITE Branch secretary Greig McArthur. After initiating a series of early morning rank & file protests, not only were the electricians reinstated, but the company signed a recognition agreement with UNITE the union on 24th February. Great union organising brothers.
Lee Fowler dismissal
In April, electrician Lee Fowler was dismissed by the electrical contractor Bilfinger from the Cargills in Liverpool just a few days after he had complained about health and safety on the project. Following a campaign that included protests, media coverage and an Employment Tribunal claim being submitted, Lee was re-employed by Bilfinger at the Stanlow Oil Refinery.
In September, Lee was elected as a UNITE steward and within days was dismissed again by Bilfinger, this time along with 12 other electricians. Despite claims to the contrary by the company, this has all the hallmarks of contemporary blacklisting. UNITE are taking out a personal injury claim and a have submitted an ET – the legal process is still ongoing. Good luck Lee.
Victory for the Murphy 4
Earlier in the year, the Murphy 4 were sacked after attending a canteen meeting on a Limerick building site to discuss the cost of living crisis. Everyone who attended the meeting was suspended, but the UNITE steward (of 10 years) and 3 of his closest supporters were all dismissed. This is blatant victimisation. The union has submitted an unfair dismissal claim, but Murphy’s are refusing to reinstate the 4 union members. So UNITE launched a leverage campaign in support of the Murphy 4, which has included protests outside Murphy’s major clients around Europe. BSG joined the protest outside an awards ceremony at the Grosvenor Hotel in Marble Arch, leading a spontaneous road blockade which closed Park Lane.
Hinkley Point & Blue Book projects
Throughout the summer, there were a series of successful unofficial disputes on major blue book projects such as Hinkley Point and Stanlow oil refinery over a variety of issues including pay and shift patterns that resulted in pay rises and improved weekend rotas. In December, UNITE launched a campaign for a the first national ballot in the Blue Book projects in many years. The
Blacklisting at Conferences
Angela Rayner speech at TUC conference
At the TUC Congress in September, Angela Rayner, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party made a keynote speech in which she stated: “”The Consulting Association Scandal that blacklisted thousands of union workers must never be allowed to happen again. Which is why I’m pleased to announce today, that the next Labour Government will act decisively and conclusively to stamp out blacklisting once and for all”.
BSG were obviously happy to hear this statement, especially as an inquiry into blacklisting was part of the past 3 Labour Party General Election manifestos. We therefore wrote to Angela Rayner requesting a meeting with other herself or the relevant member of the shadow cabinet. We received a response from Angela Rayner’s private secretary, stating that our “details have been passed onto my colleagues for future policy engagement”. So we can all sleep soundly with that reassurance.
Labour Party Conference fringe meeting
Blacklist Support Group shared a platform with the Fire Brigades Union, Liberty and Zara Sultana MP at the Labour Party conference in Liverpool. We highlighted the authoritarian laws passed by the Conservative government
Hazards urgently need our support
Many workers were blacklisted because they raised complaints about health and safety or took on the role of a union safety rep. So when our blacklisting campaign was first starting back in 2009, Hazards magazine set up the Blacklist Blog on their website. Alongside our FaceBook page it is the go to online resource for what our campaign has achieved over the past 13 years. www.hazards.org/blacklistblog
Hazards is now in financial difficulty and needs the support of the union movement. Its major funding stream has vanished almost overnight. The magazine and the Hazards centres around the country need union branches or official unions to take out a regular subscription to keep the union movement’s flagship safety magazine in operation. If you or your union committee can afford it, please support Hazards:
UCU condemns ‘baffling’ dismissal of University of Sussex lecturer (25 Aug) – UCU has today condemned plans by the University of Sussex to make a member of teaching staff redundant after having advertised a new permanent post that includes all his current duties. Philosopher Lecturer James Furner has been employed at the university on consecutive fixed term part-time contracts since 2021, but on 22 August the university wrote to him to say that his employment will come to an end this month. Yet on July 7 it advertised a new full-time post of Lecturer in Philosophy stating that the post-holder ‘will be expected’ to teach the same four undergraduate modules that James taught in 2022-3. A petition has been launched in protest against the plans read more
Sign petition: Reinstate Anne Howie RMT Activist – Anne Howie RMT activist at Manchester Piccadilly is facing dismissal with no due process
UVW to sue LSE for disability discrimination and trade union victimisation after sacking strike leader (24 Aug) – “My condition has got something to do with it, but I think there’s more to it. I’ve always been at the forefront of the fight… because I consider myself a union leader” – Geovanny Moreno Buitrago, LSE cleaner and UVW member. UVW strike leader Geovanny Moreno Buitrago, a migrant cleaner from Colombia at the London School of Economics (LSE), was sacked after being off sick with a herniated disc as he tried to return to work. UVW is appealing and suing for his dismissal on grounds of disability discrimination and trade union victimisation. In spite of two expert medical opinions, Geovanny’s willingness to come back to work, his own recommendations on what he is capable of doing, and LSE’s own health policies, LSE sacked him read more
Support Lee Fowler – Another blacklisted construction worker sacked after making complaints about safety on site read more about Lee’s case
Felixstowe 4’ protest demands justice at CK Hutchison AGM (18 May) read more
UK facing taps and pipes shortage as Warrington based GXO drivers strike over sacking of Unite rep (12 May) read more
Protest as Hackney Unison chair amongst those handed compulsory redundancies in libraries shake-up: 6pm Wednesday 17th May Hackney Town Hall Read more on Hackney Citizen website
#SPYCops Inquiry exposes state surveillance of workers movement
Construction blacklisting: Evidence sought in union officials’ collusion inquiry (11 Apr) – Unite, the UK’s leading union, is stepping up its search for information into the possible collusion by trade union officials into the blacklisting of construction workers. In April 2022 Unite established an independent inquiry into allegations that some union officials may have colluded with the blacklisting of construction workers. Unite has instructed a legal team of Nick Randall KC (Matrix Chambers), John Carl Townsend (33 Chancery Lane Chambers) and Paul Heron from (Public Interest Law Centre), to examine and investigate whether any union officials from Unite or its predecessor unions (T&G, UCATT, Amicus, AEEU or MSF), were involved in the blacklisting of construction workers. The inquiry is now entering its next stage and an online portal has been launched to allow anyone who has any information relating to the inquiry to submit information read more
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
Keep an eye out for other Facebook and social media groups and pages that are being created. You can catch up on disputes at Strike Map UK. Also, check out Organise Now! – Support for new worker organising.
(From NUJ website) Palestine: Israeli drone strike kills Palestinian journalists in Gaza read more
(From NUJ website) Tunisia: IFJ calls on Tunisian president to stop prosecution of journalists read more
Solidarity with the striking textile workers at Ozak in Turkey – read more on Twitter of Solidarity with the People of Turkey @spotturkey
27 TUC demonstration in Cheltenham against the MSL anti-union legislation on 40th anniversary of banning trade rights at GCHQ – assemble 12noon Montpellier Gardens
22 NSSN Conference 2024 – 11am Conway Hall, Holborn, London
PHONE 07952 283 558
EMAIL mailto:[email protected]
TWITTER – https://twitter.com/NSSN_AntiCuts
ADDRESS NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE