No. 134 Solidarity action – “We need a General Strike”

Solidarity action?  “Let’s call it by its proper name – we need a general strike”

Boooo! That was the response from the 500-strong rally of PCS strikers to the appearance of Tory Chancellor George Osborne on the big screen outside parliament. While he lied and spun his way to making more cuts, inspiring speeches were made by striking workers and labour movement leaders.

First time striker John represented the caterers in the House of Lords. On the picket line supporters heard that caterers are on £900 a month while Lords members get £300 a month for ‘subsistence’ just for turning up to work. John said it was better for him and the workers he represents to lose a day’s pay out on strike than to lose money through government attacks on pay and conditions.

Labour MP John McDonnell brought warm greetings of solidarity saying he was happier being with the pickets than in parliament. He condemned the vote yesterday when the House voted against compensation for those sanctioned under workfare. He called for the building of solidarity action and then corrected himself: “Let’s call it by its proper name – we need a general strike”.

Mark Serwotka called for coordinated strike action and welcomed that the NUT teachers’ union has set strike dates. He said: “What this strike shows today is that PCS members are determined to show the government they will not be not forced to accept having their pay frozen, their terms and conditions slashed while the chancellor plots to increase the pain on the public sector with further cuts.

“The latest set of employment figures are the latest evidence that austerity isn’t working and there is an alternative to cutting the living standards of hard-working public servants create jobs and growth. “We are calling for meaningful talks on fundamental issues surrounding pay and terms and conditions and we hope the government gets the message loud and clear.”

Lee Vernon, PCS member in the DWP and NSSN supporter, gave a rousing speech and clearly made the case for a 24-hour general strike. On the picket lines there was overwhelming support for this – PCS members are determined to fight against all attacks but know that the fight must be linked with other unions. As Lee said, this has got to be a fight against all the cuts and that requires the mobilisation of the full power of the trade union movement.

Rob Williams (NSSN Chair)

PCS Strike Reports & See a short NSSN Video

NSSN to lobby TUC General Council to name the day for a General Strike!  Wednesday April 24th – from 8.30am outside TUC Congress House, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3LS

National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) 7th national annual conference – 11am-5pm, Saturday June 29th, Camden Centre, Judd Street, London, WC1H 9JE – initial speakers confirmed: union general secretaries – Mark Serwotka PCS, Billy Hayes CWU and Steve Gillan POA. The entrance fee is £6. Cheques can be made payable to ‘National Shop Stewards Network’ – either email [email protected] or reply to PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE

Leaflet: Letter for union branches, shop stewards committees, trades councils, anti-cuts campaigns. This is the conference to organise the grassroots fightback in the unions!

Union News 


Momentum building against HMRC Enquiry Centre closure (15 March 2013)PCS reps have reported mass anger and shock from staff across the entire Enquiry Centre network at today’s announcements to close the service. As well as a real mood to fight this attack, the threat has been reported widely across the media.

GMB Remploy workers protest outside DWP HQ in London and gave support to striking PCS members on Budget Day.


Unite housing workers branch members in the Homes and Community Agency joined the civil servants union PCS in taking budget day strike action. Suzanne Muna, Branch Sec & HCA rep speaks at the joint Unite/PCS rally at the picket line with John Mcdonnell MP

Yorkshire ambulance workers vote to strike on 2 April – Yorkshire ambulance workers have voted to hold a one-day strike on Tuesday 2 April in the dispute over patient safety and de-recognition of Unite

Unite have just served VION welsh country foods with notice of a 48hr industrial action starting 00.01 27th March in protest of non-enhanced redundancy payment that they gave at Halls of Broxburn site earlier this year which set a precedence !! ALL OUT”

Unite is seeking an urgent meeting with Post Office management after 75 per cent of its voting members rejected its pay proposals

Nine Barclays executives received share fortunes worth a combined £40 million provoked fury from Unite  Barclays staff in branches, back offices and call centres.

Photos from Visteon pensioners protest last Wednesday March 13


RMT prepares to ballot for action to defend pension scheme at construction giant Balfour Beatty – RAIL UNION RMT today said it is preparing a ballot for action as part of a campaign to defend the pension scheme at construction giant Balfour Beatty following a drive by the company to bulldoze through changes that would rip away future pension rights from over 2500 workers while top bosses pensions and benefits soar through the roof


NUT & NASUWT agree joint strike strategy – The NUT and NASUWT held a joint press conference today to announce the next stages of our joint campaign.

NSSN steering committee member Martin Powell-Davis adds his report – The announcement at today’s joint NUT/NASUWT Press Conference that plans are being put in place for joint strike action between the two main teaching unions, the NUT and NASUWT, will be welcomed. However, as the details become clearer, we think that many members will feel, as we do, that these plans have to be strengthened if we are to successfully oppose Gove’s attacks on our pay, pensions and conditions.

Rallies for Education on pay


NUJ votes for Maundy Thursday walk-out over job cuts, excessive workload and bullying at BBC  BBC Easter programmes will be disrupted as the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has voted for strike action over compulsory redundancies, excessive workloads and bullying and harassment within the corporation.

STOP PRESS: The following strike & protest has been postponed because BBC Scotland management has delayed termination dates to allow for more time for talks! The NUJ is asking its members and supporters in London to spare 9 minutes of your time tomorrow for 9 of your BBC colleagues. Nine members of the NUJ in Scotland are at risk of compulsory redundancy and all members in Scotland will take strike action tomorrow (Friday 22 March) and on Monday 25 March. We have announced a demonstration outside BBC New Broadcasting House (NBH) in London in solidarity with the action and the people who face redundancy in Scotland. We want NUJ members and supporters to come to New Broadcasting House tomorrow for 14.00 for a brief protest and show of solidarity. The whole of the National Executive Council will be attending the protest and we will have a bagpipes player with us on the day.


Fife 24 Hour Strike24 hour Sodexo strike at Scottish Police College over living wage well supported says GMB. These predominantly low paid women workers have decided that it is no longer enough to argue for a living wage and fair pay, it is time to act to bring it about says GMB. GMB members employed by Sodexo at the Scottish Police College and Police Scotland’s temporary HQ in Fife have been on strike today

GMB Brighton Demo over NHS Cuts  – GMB demonstration in Brighton on April 6th over £30m cuts at Brighton & Sussex university hospitals NHS trust. GMB will take all necessary measures, including balloting members for industrial action, to prevent these ill-advised plans from being implemented


Unions gagged over opposition to pay cartelUnions have been barred by two health trusts from presenting the business case against the South West pay cartel.

UNISON members working in the Third Sector, are calling for urgent action to stem the growing tide of violence and aggression they are experiencing at work. Thousands of UNISON members in the sector are assaulted, abused and suffer debilitating injuries at work every year and the union is calling time – saying enough is enough.


Firefighters face fresh onslaught on pay and jobs as bankers and millionaires reap tax cuts – Firefighters and their families face a further squeeze on living standards as bankers and bosses reap tax cuts in George Osborne’s “Austerity Britain”


Campus protests over privatisation plans at University of Central Lancashire  – Opponents of plans to privatise the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) are protesting on campus tomorrow. There will be a lunchtime rally, followed by a privatisation ‘teach-in’, where staff and students will discuss the privatisation plans, before protestors lobby the board of governors’ meeting.

More industrial action at Halesowen College  – The four members of staff sacked by Halesowen College are taking their fight to employment tribunals as their colleagues embark on industrial action, said UCU today. From next week (Monday 25 March) members of UCU at Halesowen College will boycott anything to do with lesson observations as the row over the sackings shows little sign of abating.

Justice for Cleaners

Cleaners in the IWGB went on strike on March 21st. NSSN national chair Rob Williams spoke at the lunch-time protest to give solidarity from the NSSN

Action for Rail

Action for Rail campaigners will be meeting passengers at stations around the UK, to put the case against cutting vital staff roles at stations, on trains, and in maintenance and safety. Please join us at your local station on the day.

“Are you sick of Your Boss?”

Youth Fight for Jobs says – Get involved in the campaign that says #enoughisenough to being messed around with your hours, to not getting proper breaks, to zero-hour contracts, to bullying management and low pay! Download leaflet

Barnet council’s ridiculous mass-privatisation plan is challenged by local people in the courts. There’ll be a vigil outside the Royal Courts of Justice. Then this weekend – a march and demonstration in Barnet to the Friern Barnet library.

As MPs vote on retroactive workfare legislation to keep £130m of illegally stopped sanctions from being returned to people, Birmingham against cuts respond to Mark Hoban’s lies about workfare in the Telegraph.

UK Uncut alternatives to cuts  & Save the date – Saturday 13th April- Who wants to evict a millionaire?



Blacklist Support Group AGM: 10.30-4pm Faraday house, 48 Old Gloucester St, London WC1N

A tribute evening for Steve Acheson – Confirmed speaker: Ken Loach – Saffron Eastern cuisine, The Old Town Hall 107 Cheetham Hill Road, Manchester M8 8PYTickets £20.00 or £12 con. Food included – Entertainment and speeches – Bring own beer

London Rank & File Meeting – CROSSRAIL blacklisting – this means war – Monday 25 Mar 2013, 6:30pm Conway Hall, Red Lion Square

PCS: Support Jon BiggerMembers will be aware that recently a PCS rep in the Home Office Merseyside Branch was sacked after raising a grievance against his manager. This follows the sacking a couple of years ago of two high profile reps in the Home Office Group. In our own branch the outgoing Branch Secretary, Jon Bigger has been surplus since June 2010. On being declared surplus he was told that every effort would be made to avoid his redundancy. However, earlier this week he was handed a Compulsory Redundancy Notice.




Cyprus: “Refuse to pay the ‘debt’!” (19 March) – Mass demos demand to end the government’s link to the Troika and to refuse to follow its dictats.

Freed from prison, Ivory Coast union leader resumes union work  – Freed from prison on December 22 last year after 18 months’ detention, Basile Mahan Gahé, general secretary of the national trade union center Dignité, resumed his union duties on March 9 and announced the union’s action plan, including a campaign for an increase in the national minimum wage. At a press conference in Cocody, Basile warmly thanked all those in the international labour movement who fought for his release

10 years on and 2 reports on the Iraq war –  CWI & Stop the War

Niger Workers strike at Chinese mine

Romania Workers at car manufacturer Dacia factory strike over pay

Washington  130 Nippon Paper union workers walk off job



22 Steve Acheson Benefit Do – 7pm Saffron Easter, The old Town Hall, Manchester M8 8PY £20/12 con including food.

23 Campaign for Trade Union Freedom launch rally 1.30-4.30pm Friends Meeting House London. With Len McCluskey Unite, Bob Crow RMT, Billy Hayes CWU.

Blacklist Support Group AGM 10.30-4pm Faraday house, 48 Old Gloucester St, London WC1N

Barnet Spring march over sell offs of services. 1pm Finchley station

SBS March against violence Noon – 21 Avenue Road, UB1 3BL

Halifax Bedroom tax protest


24 Public meeting – Youth Fight for Jobs / Are you sick of your boss?1pm Unite the Union Community Centre, Basement, St George’s Hall, Cable Street, Tower Hamlets E1 0BL


25 London Rank & File Unite construction meeting – 6.30pm Conway Hall, Holborn

National protest against privatisation at Sussex University


26/27 National Pensions conference, Southport.

Liverpool Bedroom Tax meeting


27 Action For Rail

30 Bedroom Tax Protest and March, Glasgow



13th – Who wants to evict a millionaire? UK Uncut

29 Unite exhibition to celebrate election of Liverpool 47,  who would not vote  or implement Tory cuts. They also built 5000 houses, froze rents and much more. Opened by Len McCluskey Unite, Tony Mulhearn & others!



1 International Workers day! Marches, protests and events everywhere

2 ‘The Thatcher years’ month long photographic exhibition of response to the last Tory government at Richmix by Dave Sinclair and related events including ‘Don’t mention the 47’ documentary on Sunday 12th May.



29 7th annual conference of the NSSN

11am-5pm Camden Centre, Judd Street, London, WC1H 9JE


NSSNPO Box 54498, London E10 9DE

Secretary: Linda TaaffeEmail: [email protected]

Phone: 07952 283 558




SORRY OUR EMAIL IS STILL NOT FUNCTIONING PROPERLY. Email/Call Linda or Rob directly for now. Thanks