As NUT conference is set to begin this weekend, we have given over the start of our bulletin to NSSN steering Committee Martin Powell-Davis (also NUT NEC) on the conference and important plans that need to be made to step up the fight against cuts.
NUT Conference 2013 meets to debate how best to defend teachers at a time when our members, and education as a whole, are under fierce attack. The NUT has a huge responsibility to use our strength to push back a Government determined to drive through its agenda of cuts and privatisation.
If teachers go out and explain how the ConDems’ attacks on pensions, pay and conditions are part of a broader attack on education, large sections of the public can be won to support our action, just as they were when unions took national action in 2011. If we organise effectively and mobilise around a clear programme of action, then we can force them to retreat.
Gove has talked of declaring ‘war’ on the teaching unions because he knows our potential strength. When we take action, thousands of schools are closed, working lives and the economy widely disrupted, trade union opposition to cuts clearly displayed in every community.
This Government is not confident that it can push through its plans. It knows that, beneath the surface, there is massive discontent at the bankers and the super-rich that they represent. With its cuts packages threatening a ‘triple-dip’ recession, they are struggling to show that they have any solution to the continuing economic crisis.
Yet throughout 2012, the Con-Dems must hardly have been able to believe their luck. The retreat by unions like UNISON and ATL over pensions left other unions isolated and significant joint national action was not repeated again after November 2011. That retreat also left some in the NUT seemingly struggling with a crisis of confidence.
Instead of leading the way as the NUT had done in June 2011, last year saw only a London regional strike which, although confirming that teachers would take action when a lead is given, wasn’t then followed by further major action. For over three months after Gove announced his performance-pay attacks in early December, no strike plans were announced.
Even the publicity for members seemed strangely muted with leaflets having to be produced by Local Associations, ‘Classroom Teacher’ and others, from below.
The conclusion was drawn that the NUT can’t act alone – it has to make sure the NASUWT acts with us too. Of course unions acting together adds strength – that’s why the NSSN has been to the fore in campaigning for the TUC to discuss and build generalised strike action (& will again be lobbying the TUC on 24th of April to NAME the Day). However, there’s a balance to be struck at each stage between the benefits of taking joint action and the risks of having to go at the speed of the slowest partner.
The NASUWT remains a difficult partner to negotiate with – certainly at the top. Hopefully, out of joint action, links can be strengthened from below that can also put pressure on the NASUWT tops to maintain action.
The joint NASUWT/NUT ‘action short of strike action’ has won some gains and helped build union organisation in some schools. However, school-by-school action asks a lot of local union organisation and has inevitably been ‘patchy’. Localised battles are no substitute for national strike action to win our demands.
On pensions, we need to reverse the increased pension ages and win a pay rise that gives us back what we have lost to inflation and contribution increases. On workload we need to win the 35 hour limit on working hours, with a maximum of 20 hours pupil contact time, listed in Motion 55. Immediately, we have to fight to reverse the severe attacks on pay that will soon be legislated for in the Pay and Conditions Document.
Those are very serious demands to make – and they will need a serious struggle to achieve them. That struggle is having to be fought without a ‘political arm’. If elected, Labour promises to be little different to the Tories. For now, we have to rely largely on our trade union strength and on support in our communities.
Immediately, we have to build and escalate action on PRP. The NUT/NASUWT program marks, at last, a return to action, but it needs strengthening. It should start with national action, linking with unions like PCS in June. The plans for Autumn Term need to be announced and dates set for further escalating action in 2014.
We would also like to add our solidarity & condolences to the friends, workmates & family of NUT member Lucy Meadows who was subjected to vile bigotary from Richard Littlejohn. A week after an article by RL, Lucy was found dead. Petition – We, the undersigned, want a formal apology for the stress and pain that Richard Littlejohn and the Daily Mail caused Lucy Meadows and for Richard Littlejohn to be fired or resign from his post“.
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!
Weekend of action starts on 5 April – A long weekend of industrial action by our members is taking place from 5-8 April. The strike action, starts at 1pm on 5 April across the UK, will see tens of thousands of members in the civil service & related bodies walk out of their workplaces in the dispute over pay, pensions, & terms & conditions.
Action Now: Build on budget day success, support the overtime ban – You voted to support action to stop the appalling attacks on your livelihood and job security.
Members set to share more than £1 million after legal win – A group of PCS members are in line to share more than £1 million after a successful legal battle. Several hundred people previously employed in jobcentres on fixed term contracts are now entitled to proper redundancy payments following a key employment tribunal ruling.
Knee-jerk response will not solve systemic UKBA problems – The government’s knee-jerk response to the latest criticism of the UK Border Agency will not solve systemic problems caused by years of job cuts, PCS says.
Unite will be lobbying Warrington Labour Group over the suspension of Cllr Kevin Bennet (Unite member), who voted against budget cuts. Lobby on Thursday 4th April, at the Warrington Town Hall, Sankey Street, Warrington, Cheshire. The lobby will start at 6pm in advance of the hearing which is scheduled to start at 6:30pm. All welcome to support the stand against cuts!
Call for pay axe rethink at Carling plant, as beer tax cut – The beer tax cut should prompt Molson Coors to rethink its proposed slashing of pay and conditions at its Burton-on-Trent plant.
Unite in fight to save 300 poultry jobs in Wisbech – The case to retain more than 300 jobs at the Moy Park poultry plant at Wisbech, Cambridgeshire will be made strongly by Unite, the country’s largest union, in the coming weeks.
Unite targets government’s welfare hypocrisy in new advertising campaign – Unite, will launch a hard hitting advertising campaign attacking government welfare cuts when he unveils two digital ad vans at the union’s headquarters on Thursday 28 March.
One rule for millionaires another for hard up Lloyds workers – Lloyds Banking Group is expected to reveal this week that it paid more than 20 of its staff £1 million or more last year, but over 4,000 low-paid workers at the bank got no pay increase at all.
Peterborough brick company faces strike over holiday dispute – A brick company, near Peterborough, faces massive disruption due to a continuous strike by 13 burners from Monday 8 April in a dispute over holidays, Unite, the largest union in the country, has warned.
Tory minister Matthew Hancock’s minimum wage claims ring hollow Tory minister Matthew Hancock’s claims that the minimum wage should be strengthened rings hollow as his party won’t put the money where its mouth is.
Unite offers Easter talks to settle Yorkshire ambulance dispute – Unite is offering to hold talks over the Easter holiday in a bid to settle the Yorkshire ambulance dispute over patient safety and derecognition of the union.
Living wage joy: B & Q staff do it themselves (with a little help from their union) – Workers at B&Q’s warehouse in Burton-on-Trent have voted overwhelmingly to accept an improved pay offer which now guarantees all employees receive the ‘living wage’.
RMT secures “industry-leading” 3.85% pay deal on London Overground – RMT confirmed today that after constructive talks with London Overground Rail Operations Ltd (LOROL) the union and the company have agreed an industry-leading 3.85% pay deal for LOROL staff in 2013 as part of a 4 year pay award. Years 2,3 and 4 are inflation (RPI) plus 0.5% – protecting and enhancing staff living standards into the future at a time when there is an unprecedented national attack on wages and conditions.
Cleaners step up fight for pay justice with strike on prestige East Coast mainline – TRANSPORT CLEANERS working for cheapskate contractors ISS on the prestige East Coast Mainline will be taking a further wave of strike action this week as RMT steps up the fight for justice for staff working on transport cleaning contracts.
Jubilee Line tube drivers to strike over bullying and disgusting working conditions – TUBE UNION RMT confirmed today that tube drivers on the Jubilee Line, working out of the Stratford and Greenwich depots, have voted overwhelmingly for industrial action and are to strike in a dispute over bullying of staff through the misuse of procedures and an appalling decline in the standard of working conditions which have led to a total breakdown in industrial relations.
Arriva Trains Wales cleaners on Churchill’s contract to strike in fight for living wage – RAIL UNION RMT confirmed that cleaners working on the Churchill’s contract on Arriva Trains Wales, some of the worst paid staff in the whole transport industry, will strike this week in a fight for pay and workplace justice.
Highway robbery! Firm tells workers: “Your pension or your job” – RMT members are to ballot for strike action at Balfour Beatty after the company threatened to sack its entire workforce if they refused to sign a new pensions deal.
Action for Rail protests day of action yesterday – There was a fantastic turn out by Action for Rail campaigners across the UK today. Braving freezing conditions, we had teams out from Devon to Scotland and most parts in between
NUT / NASUWT
NUJ / BECTU
NUJ prepares for BBC walk-out TODAY over job cuts, workloads and bullying – Easter BBC schedules to be disrupted by walk-out on Maundy Thursday over job cuts, excessive workload and bullying at the corporation.- BBC NUJ members will walk out at midday Thursday together with colleagues from BECTU, the broadcasting union, for a half-day strike over compulsory redundancies, excessive workloads and bullying and harassment within the corporation.
UNISON victory for Lambeth Council workers – Private company Capita has been severely criticised for failure to provide vital information and to consult fully with UNISON in relation to the proposed redundancy of 36 call centre workers.
Government hits firefighters with increased pension costs again – The Fire Brigades Union has condemned central government for today’s imposition of further increases in firefighters’ pension contributions.
Hands Off Our Pensions – FBU video
Senior managers share £400,000 as Barnet and Southgate College refuses to honour 0.7% pay rise – Staff at Barnet and Southgate College are furious the college is refusing to honour a nationally-agreed pay rise of just 0.7% when it has been revealed that six senior managers, including the former Barnet College principal, walked away with a combined redundancy pay off of £409,000.
Lecturers call for rejection of pension contribution increase – UCU Scotland is calling on the Scottish Parliament’s Education and Culture Committee to reject legislation that would increase pension contributions for teachers and lecturers.
Post Office staff to strike Easter Saturday – Thousands of Post Office staff will strike on Easter Saturday in a dispute over closures, jobs and pay. The Communication Workers Union served notice to Post Office Ltd late on Thursday of the intention to strike. It follows an 88% vote in favour of strike action and a refusal from the Post Office to negotiate.
Unshackle our unions – Saturday’s launch of the united Campaign for Trade Union Freedom was a rallying point in the face of the crude “austerity”. Speaker after speaker argued the case for real trade union rights on the right to take action, and a huge chear went up for NUT speaker who argued for solidarity strike action over the NHS. Union branches were encouraged to support the campaign and build the fight for trade union freedom alongside the fight against austerity.
Stop Staff Cuts on our Railways – On the 50th anniversary of the Beeching Report, Action for Rail will be out and about at over 70 railway stations around the UK. Rail campaigners will mark the 50th anniversary of the Beeching Report on Wednesday 27 March by holding protests at over 35 stations throughout the UK against planned new cuts to services and staff.
The protests, which have been organised by the TUC’s Action for Rail campaign, come as train operating companies prepare to embark upon a new programme of cost-cutting over the next six years.
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.
Latest Reel News DVD – Includes ‘Into the Fire – The Forgotten Victims of Austerity in Greece’ (Reel News, 38:50) Refugees and Migrants in Greece, ‘Save Lewisham Hospital’ (Reel News, 14:42) Huge Protest in South London as privatisation of NHS accelerates & ‘Cosas – Sick pay, Holiday, Pensions Now!’ (Reel News, 23:50) Outsourced workers at the University of London increase the pressure for basic rights.
Sussex university occupation: ‘they say privatise – we fight back and organise’
TUC won’t be joining government’s new disability allianceThe TUC’s Disabled Workers’ Committee has decided not to accept an invitation from the government to join its new Disability Action Alliance (DAA).
Blacklisting & Victimisation
Blacklist Support Group AGM unanimously agreed to support the financial appeal launched in defence of Steve Acheson, the leading campaigner against blacklisting over the past decade. Despite winning successive Employment Tribunals against blacklisting firms; repeated dismissals and periods of unemployment means that Steve has only drawn 16 pay packets in the past 4 years. Steve’s mortgage is due later this year and there is a chance that he could lose his house. We are not going to allow that to happen. An appeal has been launched supported by Bob Crow and John McDonnell MP. Send cheques payable to “Fiddlers Ferry Hardship Fund” c/o Warrington Trade Union Council, 6 Red Gables, Pepper Street, Warrington WA4 4SB
Activists vow to take on blacklisters – Unions joined campaigners yesterday in a pledge to take on the individuals responsible for blacklisting workers. Unite strikes back against Crossrail and the blacklisters – Len McCluskey, the general secretary of Unite, will warn that the union is preparing to strike back with all its might against Crossrail’s anti-union practices and its contractors associated with blacklisting.
IMPORTANT: Sean Curran partner at Guney Clark & Ryan (GCR) solicitors representing blacklisted workers at the High Court told the AGM that the CON-DEM government has just changed the rules for funding in court cases. The new rules come into force on 28th March 2013 and mean that successful legal claimants who join the legal claim after that date will be required to pay their own no-win no-fee insurance premiums (in the past the company would pay this) plus the lawyers fees will now be claimed from any compensation. GCR have agreed to not claim the fee from any future claimants but the need to pay the insurance premiums is a legal requirement. Anyone who is not currently part of the High Court claim but wishes to join, should therefore contact Liam Dunne at GCR immediately: [email protected]
PCS: Support Jon Bigger – Members 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.
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MARCH (See more events at False Economy)
30 Bedroom Tax Protest and March, Glasgow
4 Unite will be lobbying Warrington Labour Group over the suspension of Cllr Kevin Bennet (Unite member), who voted against budget cuts. Warrington Town Hall, Sankey Street, Warrington, Cheshire. The lobby will start at 6pm, hearing start at 6:30pm. All welcome to support the stand against cuts!
Organising Against the Bedroom Tax – Brighton Benefits Campaign Meeting – Thursday 4th April 7pm Under the Bridge Studios 7 Trafalgar Arches, Planning for a lobby of the council’s housing committee on 8th May
6 No to Cuts and Privatisation in Sussex NHS Demonstration! 11am outside the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton
13 Who wants to evict a millionaire? UK Uncut
27 Unite opening of 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’ festival opens includes a month long photographic exhibition of response to the last Tory government at Richmix by Dave Sinclair with a series of events including a documentary on Liverpool councilors who opposed Tory cuts in the 80’s – ‘Don’t mention the 47’ – Sunday 12th May. There is also a ‘Radicals & revolutionaries walk of the East end’ and workshop run by Unite Housing Workers on ‘What are the alternatives to the housing cuts’.
16 Fight the NHS cuts London march
29 7th annual conference of the NSSN
11am-5pm Camden Centre, Judd Street, London, WC1H 9JE
NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE
Secretary: Linda Taaffe Email: [email protected]
Phone: 07952 283 558
FACEBOOK STOP THE CUTS or NSSN Group