Bulletin 160: Unofficial Action of Unison Glasgow Housing wins!

BREAKING NEWS – Glasgow city council homeless work team walked out in unofficial action to support a suspended member over and over caseloads. “Members walked out on Friday  and more stayed off work yesterday.’ Following a meeting with all Unison members on unofficial strike action this morning it was unanimously agreed to return to work at 1.30pm today. This was on the grounds that the suspended member of staff was reinstated with no disciplinary action being taken and that the outstanding grievance (which has now changed to a collective grievance of all homeless casework teams) will be progressed as a matter of urgency. A ballot for official industrial action will be run should there be an unsatisfactory outcome to the grievance. We would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for all the support shown to our members from all over the world. This has been a difficult time but the show of solidarity between members has been very encouraging for the fight against high workloads and understaffing within all departments.” [email protected]

And back to the original bulletin updates from Rob Williams, Chair NSSN:

Last week, we reported on our successful lobby of the TUC which re-emphasised the need for mass co-ordinated strike action to fight austerity. In the very first session of TUC Congress, the RMT motion 54 calling for the “consideration of a general strike” (from the POA resolution 5 passed at the 2012 Congress) to remain on the table of the TUC was overwhelmingly carried. In the rally and lobby, we were delighted that leaders of some of the most militant unions – RMT, PCS, POA, BFAWU and NAPO lined up on the platform with us, as well as trades councils which were represented by Alec McFadden (Merseyside) and Teresa MacKay (Ipswich) from the TUC Joint Consultative Committee (TUCJCC).

Both of these comrades fought for the lobby within the TUCJCC and built support for it through the trades councils nationally. In this, they had the mandate of the emergency motion which was successfully moved by Merseyside County Association of Trades Union Councils at the national trades councils conference in June.

A massive component of this campaign for mass joint action is likely to be the struggles of the FBU to defend their pensions and the CWU against the sell-off of Royal Mail. The NSSN gives full support to both unions and their members and would encourage joint action in the where possible.  We first have the announcement by FBU general secretary Matt Wrack and then a report by a Royal Mail worker:-

Firefighters in England and Wales to strike next Wednesday September 25 (17 Sept) – Firefighters will strike over pensions on Wednesday (25 September), the Fire Brigades Union has announced. Almost 80% voted in favour of industrial action in a ballot that ended earlier this month, although union officials have left the strike to the last possible moment to allow for the possibility of a negotiated settlement.

Matt Wrack, Fire Brigades Union General Secretary, said: “This initial strike is a warning shot to government. Firefighters could not be more serious about protecting public safety and ensuring fair pensions. “Governments in Westminster and Cardiff have simply refused to see sense on these issues. It is ludicrous to expect firefighters to fight fires and rescue families in their late-50s: the lives of the general public and firefighters themselves will be endangered. None of us want a strike, but we cannot compromise on public and firefighter safety.” Read more

Discussions on pensions and retirement age in Scotland ‘continuing’ (September 16) – Discussions with the Scottish Government on pensions and retirement age are continuing this week, the Fire Brigades Union has confirmed. Read more

Stop the Royal Mail Sell-Off – “It is no surprise that the Con-Dems are rushing the privatisation of Royal Mail through as quickly as they can. They face overwhelming opposition. 70% of people don’t want to see the postal service in private hands. Price hikes to line the pockets of the super-rich – that’s been the bitter lesson from the sell-off of rail, energy and water.

Privatisation would only mean job losses and a worsening of working conditions for postal workers. The 125,000 postal workers in the Communication Workers Union (CWU) are expected to vote strongly in favour of strike action over pay and pensions in the ballot, whose result is due early in October.

The £200 million Royal Mail said it could have paid out in dividends if it had been listed for a whole year, would be better spent on providing jobs and improving services.

Our union, the CWU will be supporting the NHS demo at the Tories’ conference on 29 September in Manchester – this is very welcome. But the union leaders should also announce a national demo against Royal Mail privatisation. This would give postal workers, other trade unionists and members of the public an opportunity to channel their deep anger over cuts and privatisation.

The CWU could link up with other unions considering action, such as PCS, NUT, FBU and the RMT to take strike action on the same day. The TUC must name the day for a 24-hour general strike. The collective strength of workers withholding their labour could bring this weak coalition to its knees.

Royal Mail workers are confident we can win this battle. We need to fight to convince every CWU member of the strike’s importance and involve them in the strike. There should be regular mass meetings at local, regional and national level. The strike should be in the hands of the postal workers with concerted action to get maximum action and build unity with other workers under attack. Victory to the Royal Mail workers!” Read more


Come on the TUC’s demonstration to defend the NHS and fight austerity outside Tory Party conference on Sunday September 29th in Manchester. The NSSN will be having a contingent behind the banner for a 24 hour general strike. For transport details –Unite website  Unison website 


NSSN Regional Conferences:

Oct 5 South West NSSN conference in Exeter

Nov 23 Yorkshire NSSN conference in Leeds

Nov 30 Midlands NSSN conference – Unite offices in Broad Street, Birmingham

(Full Bulletin put together Rob Williams NSSN Chair)

MORE Union News


Mass Protest at Hovis this morning & Strike Fund Needed(Sep 18) – Mass protest at the Hovis bakery in Wigan on 18 September blocked the delivery trucks from leaving the plant for hours, for the second time in three days. Bakers are on strike against Hovis bosses’ attempts to casualise the workforce and drive down pay, conditions and job security. Hovis tried to enforce zero-hour contracts through directly-employed staff. The first 7-day strike led to that being withdrawn and those affected given full-time permanent jobs. The current 7-day strike is because now Hovis wants to use agency staff, which the bakers’ Bfawu union suspects are simply zero-hour contracts by the back door. Despite a heavy police presence, the 2am protest delayed the first truck for well over an hour. By 4.30am, one picket explained “Usually they’d all be out ages ago. That truck there is at least an hour late, probably more”. Over 30 trucks were due to go out within a few minutes of 3am. Three hours later, and less than a third had left the bakery! Read More

On 14 September the strikers and supporters marched through Wigan town centre, bringing the community together in the fight against the employer’s use of the zero-hour contract. Strikers explained how management had tried to operate the plant on strike days, only to fail as they had no idea how to operate the equipment. They described how management spy through windows and look down on those on the picket line. And the Dickensian bonus at Christmas is a packet of crumpets and a ticket for a free loaf of bread!

On 16 September there were 60-70 pickets out in the early hours of the morning. Stephen Hall, president of Greater Manchester Association of Trades Union Councils reported: “By 5am only seven of the company’s fleet of over three dozen trucks, all driven by managers, and which have all usually left the bakery by 3am had been able to get out. The action of the pickets was only thwarted when police reinforcements, including police dogs were brought in to help break the blockade and three arrests were made. Shortly afterwards, however, it was reported that half of the company’s United Road Transport Union member drivers had decided to take the day off in response to the action of the BFAWU pickets.” There is another protest Wednesday 18that the same time. More on Union News

Please send messages of support to the union via[email protected] . read More Send donations to the strike fund payable to BFAWU, to BFAWU No.4 Regional Office, 348 Chester Rd, Cornbrook, Manchester, M16 9EZ



Rock solid support for cleaners’ strike action on East Coast(16 September) – Rock solid support for strike action as cleaners step up fight for living wage on prestige East Coast mainline. Transport cleaners working for cheapskate contractors ISS on the prestige East Coast Mainline began 24 hours of rock solid strike action at midnight as RMT steps up the fight for pay justice for cleaners across the transport sector read more

Striking RMT cleaners occupy ITV offices demanding coverage (September 16) – RMT members working for cleaning company ISS noisily occupied ITV offices to demand coverage for their strike action read more

RMT begins action over tube staff fingerprinting (13 September) – Tube union RMT has confirmed that it will begin a campaign of industrial action starting next week over moves to force cleaners on London Underground to book in through fingerprinting instead of the usual signing in sheets and automated phone system read more

J33 weekly protests continue every Monday from 8am outside Tooley Street entrance to London Bridge station and then to GLA HQ read more


60 Unison members of Glasgow City Council are taking unofficial action tomorrow over the suspension of a member and unacceptable workload.  Please email messages of support from public reps, trade unionists, trade union and other relevant bodies to: enquiries@glasgowcityunison.co.uk       read more

Time to vote on higher education pay (Sept 16) – members in higher education are being balloted for industrial action over the employer’s final pay offer of 1% across all pay points. The vote opens on 18 September, with ballot papers being sent to members’ homes. The higher education service group executive is urging a vote for strike action, demanding an improved offer from the employers read more

Lively demo against cuts at Whipps Cross hospital (Sept 17) – A stream of nurses, domestics, porters, technicians, doctors, paraded back and forth over the zebra crossing on Whipps Cross road, chanting “Save Whipps Cross”, displaying placards, and winning the support of the rush hour traffic. This was the gate protest on 16 September called by Waltham Forest Health Unison branch read more

Calling all probation members for a protest (16 Sept) – UNISON is organising a protest on 19 September for members to show their opposition to the government’s plan to sell of 70% of the probation service to the private sector. Together with our sister unions, Napo and the GMB, we are calling on members to take part in the protest read more

UNISON members in Stirling Council’s ICT Infrastructure team embarked on the first of five days of action today as the branch stepped up action against cuts in pay and conditions. Read more


National consultation: final week (17 September) – We are into the final week of the largest consultation we have ever attempted – asking members how we go forward with our national campaign read more

We will fight offshore plan (16 September) – The company handed a major shared services contract is set to send work overseas. The Cabinet Office had only previously refused to rule it out but has now confirmed there will be some offshoring and some offices are likely to close read more

Joining hands to say “We care about culture” on 18 September –  PCS members, arts groups and supporters are forming a human chain in front of the National Gallery to call on the government to protect funding for arts and culture read more

Keep tax advice local – week of action, September 23-27 – PCS members in HMRC have called a week of action against plans to close 281 Enquiry Centres across the UK 23 – 27 September. Protests will take place:-

 •Monday 23 September – North East, Yorkshire & pilot area.

 •Tuesday 24 September – Scotland & Northern Ireland

 •Wednesday 25 September – London/South East & South West

 •Thursday 26 September – North West & Wales

 •Friday 27 September – Eastern & Midlands 


Warrington Bus strike against pay freeze – Bus drivers at Network Warrington are staging a number of one-day strikes against a pay freeze and also a lack of investment which they fear is setting the company up to fail. Warrington is one of the few towns where the buses are still municipally owned. Read More

Glass workers in Yorkshire and Scotland call off strikes, as they consider new pay offer (16 September) – Workers at the Ardagh Glass sites in Yorkshire and Scotland have called off all industrial action due to have started at the weekend, after management made an improved pay offer read more

Post Office managers vote for industrial action (13 September) – Unite has today (Friday 13 September) announced that Post Office managers have voted for industrial action in a dispute over pay read more

Yorkshire Ambulance Dispute Update  – We have a protest at Cutler’s Hall Sheffield planned for 8-30 am on Tuesday 24th September, please see flyer attached.

Over 2000 of the postcards have been distributed and questions will be raised with influential people at next week’s Labour Party Conference. The political lobby is at the planning stage and the reps will be consulted at a planning meeting on October 4th.

A meeting is due this Thursday with Unite Health Sector National Officers with a few to securing resources for us to escalate the campaign. (Steve Miller Unite EC)

One Housing Group agree to meet ACAS – Following a series of strikes by Unite members management at One Housing have agreed to refer the dispute to ACAS (the conciliation service). Unite has called for this since before the first strike and has argued that it may have been possible to avert strike action had a referral been made. It is welcome that management appears to have backed down on this read more 


Ahead of the next phase of regional teachers’ strikes – details here – there are regional rallies in the South West and Eastern regions:-

Cambridge Saturday 21st September 2013

The University Arms Hotel, Regent Street, Cambridge, CB2 1AD 11am to 12.30pm Speakers: Chris Keates, General Secretary, NASUWT and Kevin Courtney, Deputy General Secretary, NUT.

Exeter Saturday 21st September 2013

The Methodist Church Sidwell Street (nr Odeon Cinema), 60-64 Sidwell Street, Exeter, EX4 6PH

11am to 12.30pm Speakers: Christine Blower, General Secretary, NUT and Patrick Roach, Deputy General Secretary, NASUWT.

Also see regular updates from NSSN steering committee Martin Powell Davis updates on how strike action is being prepared.Read More


NEC Endorse Napo’s Industrial Action Strategy (September 17) – At the National Executive Committee today, NEC representatives were updated on the Transforming Rehabilitation Agenda and the negotiations between Unions and the employer at National Negotiating Committee (NNC).

NEC reps were given a flavour of how badly the negotiations have gone and Napo officials made it clear to NEC that this is as a direct result of the MoJ and the employer and not as a result of the unions. Napo, alongside Unison and GMB have entered these negotiations in good faith but Secretary of State Grayling has failed to deliver the information required, failed to provide documents that are imperative to terms and conditions as well as the transfer of staff read more

NAPO day of protest on September 19 at lunchtime  



GMB Carillion Swindon Protest Over Cuts (Sept 17) – GMB Protest Tomorrow (Wed 18th September) At Great Western Hospital In Swindon In Dispute Over Job Losses And Pay Cuts For Members Employed By Carillion. The members will not accept further high handed behaviour from Carillion and the protest at the gate is just a first step in this new dispute says GMB read more

More Strikes at OCS K&C (Sept 12) – GMB Announces Further Strike Dates In Pay Dispute With OCS At TMO Housing Estates In Kensington & Chelsea. There is a real feeling amongst staff that OCS doesn’t care about it employees or the service to residents says GMB read more 


ScotRail overtime ban (17 Sept) – ASLEF is to ballot its members at ScotRail for an overtime ban – including working on Sundays – in pursuit of its pay claim. Members voted by 445-407 to reject the company’s offer read more


UCU HE are to be balloted for action over 1% pay offer. Ballot opens 25thSep. Vote Yes. Read more See Reel News Vote Yes for action video


Useful Resources

TUC updated guide on how to combat homophobia at work read more

TUC guide to representing and supporting members with mental health problems at work. Read more & Download Note Mental Health Awareness day 10th Oct

Hazards ‘Red Tape: The problem at work is not too much red tape, its many blood bandages; read more

Health board fined £32,000 for failing to protect worker from Violence. Does your risk assessments need updating?! read more

Other News

Councils use Zero hours, casual staff and work programme. Barking & Dagenham have 504 people on Zero Hours,  Blackpool 315 ‘casuals’,  Cambridgeshire 1138, Derby 564, Gateshead 1291, North Yorkshire 3590. One person in Swansea suggests they have 1,000  Read More

Bedroom Tax in Scotland – 50% of non payment, ready to collapse? Read MoreIt’s a disgrace and total hyposcracy to see that the Government is looking to increase jail sentances to those who may have wrongly claimed benefits – In its latest estimates the Office for National Statistics says that 0.7% of the Department for Work and Pensions’ £167bn social security disbursement – a figure that includes pension payments – is claimed fraudulently. Read More & A response by Jonny Void

Kent trade unions and Save Kent children’s centres (SKCC) campaign organise joint protest – In response to plans by Kent County Council to close 23 Children’s Centres across Kent1 and gravely restrict the services elsewhere, the Kent Trade Union Councils have backed the Save Kent Children Centres Campaign. A joint demonstration has been organised for the next full meeting of KCC, on Thursday September 19th 2013, assembling outside Sessions House, Maidstone, from 9.30am onwards.

Parenting and respite facilities have been arranged by Kent Unison branches across the road in St. Francis’ Church Hall, Maidstone.  Unite the Union in Kent have agreed to fund buses for parents and activists. The first bus will depart Herne Bay Road, Whitstable (across from Jo-Jos) at 9am, stopping at the Longreach at 9.10am, then again at Canterbury West railway station at 9.30am before driving to Maidstone. Seats are free to all parents and activists who wish to be involved in protesting the cuts to Early Years services in Kent.

A further bus is being organised from Dover; for enquiries please contact. Eric Segal.

Also on the 19th September, a lunch time demonstration is planned by Probation Officers’ union NAPO. All of the bodies below support this demonstration also and look forward to exchanging fraternal support on the day. Endorsed by: Save Kent Children Centres Campaign, Canterbury & District TUC, Dover & District TUC & Medway TUC        

Capita has just got into providing free school lunches.Read More

‘You can starve on benefits in this country’  Read More


Blacklisting / Victimisation

TUC announces day of action against blacklisting – The TUC has announced that it is to hold a national day of action against blacklisting on Wednesday, November 20th. Protests will be held up and down the country and there will be lobby of Parliament in London. The TUC and unions are unhappy that companies who have blacklisted workers have still not been held accountable. They want a Leveson-style inquiry into the practice – Read MoreUnion News

Unite commends Welsh government on blacklisting (11 Sep) – Unite has welcomed the Welsh government’s announcement that public sector bodies in Wales can exclude blacklisters from bidding for public sector contracts under new Welsh government guidance read more



Greek teachers’ union OLME has launched a five day rolling strike, starting Monday September 16th. This is part of a wave of public sector strike action sweeping Greece, as the conditions for a new bailout mean thousands jobs will be slashed. To contact OLME and send messages of support, donate money etc – (@OLMEGR on twitter) OLME GREEK FEDERATION OF SECONDARY EDUCATION STATE SCHOOL TEACHERS –

www.olme.gr  E-mail: [email protected]  and [email protected]

Tamil Solidarity protest on Wed 9th Oct Downing St 5-7pm against the commonwealth meeting. More info on the TS website and Trade Union motion.

We are deeply shocked to hear that Golden Dawn murders leftwing rapper Pavlos Fyssa, the fight against austerity has seen the rise of the right and neo Nazis. Read More

Death threats against trade unionists and opposition politicians in Colombia: Act Now! Trade union leaders and opposition politicians in Colombia have been the target of death threats in recent days. The Colombian national trade union centre CUT has denounced these threats against their leaders and leaders of the political party Polo Democrático and asks that messages be sent as a matter of urgency to the Colombian government, demanding that immediate action be taken to ensure their safety! Send a message of support

Thousands march for jobs and wages in Poland (Reuters) – Tens of thousands of protesters marched through the Polish capital on Saturday September 14 in one of the largest demonstrations in years to demand more jobs and higher pay, blaming Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s government for failing to tackle unemployment. The city council said about 100,000 people turned out for the march organized by trade unions, waving flags and blowing trumpets as they walked peacefully through central Warsaw

Pakistan Unpaid workers to dump garbage outside CM House Read More

Uganda 160,000 teachers struck for a pay riseRead More




21 Defend Whipps Cross Hospital service and barts health12 Noon

22 Demo at the Labour Party Conference, Brighton Centre/Seafront – Details to TBC ‘Lest They Forget’ organising meeting to be arranged shortly

25 FBU 4 hour warning strike in defence of pensions

28 NUT Rallies for Education Cambridge and Exeter

29 National TUC Demonstration to save our NHS at Tory party Conference

30 Manchester Unite local government branch is hosting a showing of the exhibition about Liverpool’s socialist council 1983-87. Speakers include: Len McCluskey, Tony Mulhearn, Felicity Dowling, Ted Knight & Kevin Bennett. Methodist Central Hall, Oldham St. Manchester. Tel: 0161-234-1896 e:james.thornton@unitetheunion.org.



1 Save Public Transport TSSA 1-2pm at Tory Party Conf

5 South West NSSN conference in Exeter


UKUNCUT resist legal aid cuts

12 National anti-fascist demonstration in Liverpool – Assemble 12 noon, Myrtle Street (top of Hardman Street) Liverpool 7. March sets off a 1pm and ends with a rally: The Pier Head Liverpool

16 National FBU demonstration in Westminster, London

19 Bridgwater Trades Union Council 1913-2013 CENTENARY CELEBRATION

Join us for a march, with your branch banner, to a rally at Bridgwater Baptist Church, to commemorate the founding of the town’s organised trade union movement by local rail-workers in 1913 – 12.30pm: Assemble: Cranleigh Gardens, Bridgwater, TA6 5JS

1pm: Banner parade and march  1.45-2.45: Rally, Baptist Church, St Mary Street, TA6 3EQ



23 Yorkshire NSSN conference in Leeds

30 Midlands NSSN conference – Unite offices in Broad Street, Birmingham




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 Email: [email protected]

Phone: 07952 283 558
Post: NSSNPO Box 54498, London E10 9DE

For all press and media enquiries contact:

Secretary: Linda Taaffe
Email: lindataaffe66@btinternet.com
Phone: 07952 283 558

Regular reports and further information on our website – http://shopstewards.net/