NSSN 185: Defend education – Solidarity with teachers’ strike

The strike of National Union of Teachers (NUT) members on 26 March is most definitely on! Now every NUT Association and every school rep must go all out to get the biggest possible turnout for the national strike.

We must reverse the damage that has been done to teachers’ pay, pensions and working conditions. In doing so, we will be defending education too.

Even official DfE figures have confirmed that teachers are typically working 60 hours a week. In April, yet more will be taken from our salaries to pay for a pension that many won’t be able to claim in full until they are 68 or more.

In the summer, schools can start to use Gove’s performance-pay legislation to rob teachers of their annual pay progression.

We can’t let things carry on like this. Strike action is essential.

The other teachers’ unions NASUWT and, regrettably, now UCAC in Wales, have pulled back from action. They justify their inaction by claiming that Tory education secretary Michael Gove has agreed to ‘serious negotiations’.

Regrettably, the only thing that Gove is really serious about is attacking teachers and education.

Michael Gove represents a government that is determined to cut costs, privatise services and encourage a precarious weakly-unionised workforce that will dutifully do the bidding of hard-nosed managers until they can take no more and resign. He isn’t interested in the fact that such a regime also damages education.

The Secretary of State has always said that he is prepared to talk to teaching unions. However, he has also always made clear that any talks could only be about ‘implementation’ of his policies to cut our pay and pensions and to deregulate our working conditions.

Negotiations within Gove’s ‘implementation’ parameters are unlikely to yield more than minor concessions – and, even then, it will be the threat of ongoing strike action that will be largely responsible for any gains that are made.

Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt has already committed Labour to maintaining Gove’s attacks. Teaching unions need to recognise that we will only win serious gains when we show that we are prepared to take serious action.

All of the indications are that the strike will be well-supported, just as the regional strikes were last year.

I hope that the strike will also generate momentum for further action to be called next term, so that 26 March is not left as just another isolated ‘protest strike’.

There is no room for hesitation. Let’s go all out to build the strongest possible national action.

By Martin Powell-Davies, Member of NUT national executive (and NSSN Steering Committee)

March 26th NUT strike rallies Info from NUT website



Get your trade union branch or trades council to affiliate to the NSSN – it only costs £50. Already affiliated? Please think about renewing it. Also, many of our supporters pay a few pounds a month. You can set up a similar standing order to ‘National Shop Stewards Network’, HSBC – sort code 40-06-41, account number 90143790. Our address is NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE. Affiliation letter here

And if you can, come to one of our regional Conferences. If there is not one in your area, get in touch to either assist in organising or have a speaker at one of your meetings or events. Contact Rob or Linda on [email protected]

The 8th Annual NSSN Conference will be on Saturday 5th July in Conway Hall – 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL – delegate/visitor fee £6. Speakers include Ronnie Draper BFAWU bakers’ union general secretary here



Union News



Support Unite’s Homes & Communities Agency strike action (March 19) – Unite HCA Picket Line Details on 25 to 27 March Unite members at the Homes and Communities Agency will be on strike on the 25th, 26th, and 27th March. There will be two picket lines in London & Manchester see details here  photo with NSSN banner     HCA Pay Strike – Email Protest Details

Reinstate One Housing Unite Rep: I’m Bryan, Unite Convenor suspended – Bryan Kennedy Project Manager and Unite Workplace Convener was suspended from work on 12th February 2014 pending an investigation. As with all individual cases, this is a delicate situation and we are unable to discuss the details of the case. However, it is our view that Bryan has been targeted as a direct result of his trade union activities read more

Honda slashes 500 jobs in shock blow to UK manufacturing (25 March) – The shock news that 500 jobs will be lost at Honda, Swindon is a devastating blow to UK manufacturing said Britain’s largest union, Unite as it pledged to do everything in its power to save jobs read more

Royal Mail’s ‘ruthless’ job cuts could provoke industrial action (25 March) – Royal Mail managers have today (25 March 2014) warned the newly privatised postal service that its ‘ruthless’ proposals to slash jobs could result in them being left to consider industrial action read more

Laboratory specialist staff at Reading hospital to hold strike ballot in patient safety dispute (21 March) – Pathology staff, who test and monitor blood and other specimens at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, will be balloted for industrial action in a dispute over reduced staffing levels and patient safety. The 40 members of Unite, the country’s largest union, will be balloted for strike action and industrial action short of a strike. The ballot opens on Thursday 27 March and closes on Thursday 10 April read more

Local government workers to be consulted on industrial action, after ‘insulting’ pay offer (20 March) – Unite national officer for local government, Fiona Farmer said: “This final offer falls well short of our aspirations and does not meet our goal for a £1 an hour increase across the board for local government workers. “This paltry offer of one per cent is a pay cut in real terms as the RPI rate of inflation is running at 2.8 per cent – and it will continue to cement poverty pay for thousands working for local councils read more

Yorkshire ambulance staff prepare for four more strikes in patient safety dispute (18 March) – Four more strikes have been called in the continuing dispute on patient and staff safety issues in the Yorkshire ambulance service, starting later this week. Members of Unite, the country’s largest union, will strike on Friday (21 March), Monday (24 March) and Saturday (29 March) between 15.00 and 20.00 on all three days. There will be a further five hour strike between 03:00 and 08:00 on Monday 31 March read more



Thousands attend Bob Crow’s funeral (March 24) photo

Download March London Calling including latest report from JWP talks here

RMT anti-rail cuts campaign targets Clapham Junction (21 March) – Rail union RMT , along with the Battersea and Wandsworth TUC, will be holding the latest in a series of anti-rail cuts demonstrations and public meetings next week, distributing postcards and leaflets and engaging with the public at Clapham Junction Railway Station between 5.30 and 6.30pm on Wednesday 26th March 2014 with a public meeting later in the evening at 7pm at the PCS HQ building at 160 Falcon Road right next to the station.

Speakers at the public meeting include Peter Pinkney (RMT National President) & John McDonnell MP (convenor RMT Parliamentary group) read more



Mainly 1% Offer For Council Workers (March 21) – GMB to Consult members on mainly 1% pay offer for 1.5 million local government workers in England, Wales And Northern Ireland read more

Support striking Ealing Hospital workers (March 17) – GMB pickets were again on strike and out in force this morning at Ealing Hospital in their seven day strike against poverty pay. The 150 porters and ancillary workers are fighting to get off the minimum hourly wage rate of £6.31 that outsourced NHS employer Medirest is currently paying them. This is 44% below the lowest comparable rate in the Health Service in London of £9.09. Medirest is only prepared to offer an insulting pay increase of 20p per hour read more from NSSN website



National Fast Food Rights Day of Action announced for March 29th to coincide with Youth Fight for Jobs campaign against zero-hour contracts BFAWU   Youth Fight for Jobs      Fast Food Rights  



Unions submit 2014-15 HE pay claim (March 24) – Higher education unions have submitted a joint pay claim for 2014-15 to the national employers’ organisation, the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) read more

Scottish police staff consulted on industrial action (March 23) – Scottish police staff will be asked to vote for potential industrial action in a UNISON ballot later this month, after the union wrote to members on Friday, telling them that ” that trust between Police Scotland and the all staff trade unions has broken down” read more

Doncaster carers strike against massive cuts (March 21) – UNISON members in Doncaster are taking a second week of strike action as their employer, Care UK, tries to slash their pay, terms and conditions. The NHS has run supported living services in the area for many years for the council. But last year, Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council handed the contract to Care UK read more    see photo from strike rally

UNISON to consult members over meagre pay offer (March 20) – UNISON is to consult more than 600,000 of its local government and school members over industrial action, following a meagre 1% pay offer made today read more



POA Rally and Lobby of Parliament on 19th March 2014 – Excellent turnout for the POA march and rally in London on 19th March 2014 see photos from POA website

POA Budget Day march against austerity (March 19) – Prison officers from around the country gathered in Westminster this morning for a march and rally against austerity. The prison service has taken massive cuts since the austerity offensive against the public sector began in 2008. This has led to a worsening of conditions in prisons for prison officers and prisoners alike read more and see photos from rally from NSSN website



Staff at Lambeth College overwhelmingly back strike action in contracts row (24 March) – Members of UCU at Lambeth College have overwhelmingly voted for strike action in a row over proposed changes to terms and conditions. A massive 95% of staff who voted backed the call for industrial action read more

Funding cuts: lobby of Parliament April 2nd – In response to funding cuts in further, higher and adult education, we are organising a mass lobby of parliament on Wednesday, 2 April 2014 between 2pm and 4pm read more



Update on pensions campaign (March 21) – Fire Brigades Union general secretary Matt Wrack has sent a circular to all FBU members updating them on the ongoing campaign to defend firefighters’ pensions read more



Noon walk-out by Chartered Institute of Environmental Health workers over pay (24 March) – NUJ members at the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) are to  walk out  at noon on Tuesday 25 March after rejecting a 1 per cent pay increase from management read more

Johnston Press backs down on halving mileage rate (21 March) – The Johnston Press has backed down from plans to halve its mileage rate, after NUJ members protested by refusing to use their own cars on jobs. The NUJ had written the newspaper group’s chief executive protesting that it would make journalists’ jobs impossible read more



Strike rally preparations for April 1st see NAPO general secretary Ian Lawrence’s blog



£650,000 transport boss plans pay freeze for staff (24 March) – London’s £650,000 a year Transport chief has sparked a “them and us” strike ballot by proposing a pay freeze and pension cut for travel centre staff at mainline stations across the capital. Sir Peter Hendy’s cuts do not apply to himself or more than 50 directors and senior managers earning over £100,000 at Transport for London, chaired by London Mayor Boris Johnson. They were branded “joint hypocrites of the year” today by TSSA leader Manuel Cortes whose 1,000 members start a strike ballot next Monday, March 31 read more



Other News

Silent vigil for Kevin Campbell: Another construction fatality (March 20) – Kevin Campbell, 46 from Poplar, in east London was killed on 2nd March on a Docklands Light Railway project in Stratford. Kevin was struck by a piece of machinery that was attached to an excavator. The fatality came in the same month as a worker was killed on the £15bn Cross rail project, also a worker on Balfour Beatty’s Providence tower site in London’s docklands was seriously injured after a crane collapsed. The vigil was called by the Construction Safety Campaign (CSC) and supported by the NSSN see report & photos on NSSN website

International Workers Memorial Day – April 28th


Fight the attacks by this coalition on Workers Health and Safety

After decades of Blacklisting thousands of workers many for speaking out over Safety not a single apology has been issued !

Just to let people know that the last organising meeting for IWMD took place on the day of torrential rains and the Tube strike and many people couldn’t get there.

So far confirmed speakers Steve Murphy Gen/Sec UCATT . Gail Cartmail Ass/Gen/Sec UNITE. speaker from London Hazards and Tony O’Brian . Construction Safety Campaign. A Piper will play a Lament to those Workers who have lost there lives at work.

The follow up meeting is planned for this Thursday 6pm. Leigh Day offices 76-86 Turnmill Street EC1.

This is 3 minutes from Farringdon road tube stn.

If people are attending could they let Paul know at the London Hazards centre so we know numbers please.

Paul  02075275107  or Email – LHCMail<[email protected]>.

Hope to see you there Pete Farrell Chair CSC / London Hazards.



Blacklisting & Victimisation

Blacklist Support Group update

1. High Court claim

The original date for the next hearing in the Blacklisting High Court claim has been postponed. It was originally due to take place on 28th April but due to the unexpected retirement of the judge hearing the case, this has now been put back. More details when we get them. BSG urge everyone with a blacklist file to sign up to the High Court claim.


2. Public Inquiry announced

The Home Secretary, Theresa May has announced a public inquiry into undercover police spying on the Lawrence family.

Blacklist Support Group is working together with other groups that have been spied on by undercover police, including the Lawrence family, women who policed had sexual relationships with, environmental activists, anti-racists and socialist political groups.

The Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance (COPS) is calling for the remit of the public inquiry to be wide enough to cover not just the Lawrence family but all the times when undercover police have spied on perfectly legal democratic campaigns – that includes trade union members and the proven links between the police and blacklisting


3. European Parliament passes EU wide anti-blacklisting laws

Europe has passed legislation to make blacklisting of trade unionists illegal across the continent following amendments submitted by Glenis Willmott MEP, Labour leader in the European parliament.




Brian Higgins, who led the Blacklist Support Group delegation to Brussels in 2012 said:

“A huge democratic blow for workers rights and freedom was struck in the European Parliament on March 14th when they voted to outlaw blacklisting and make it a criminal offence Europe wide. Most importantly for blacklisted building workers in Britain, this will make it incumbent on the UK Government to bring in a law banning blacklisting once and for all.

We cannot thank Glenis Willmott and Stephen Hughes and all in the LP and Eu Parliament enough for this truly landmark achievement. It is particularly satisfying for all building workers and their supporters who have been fighting for some form of justice since the truly evil Consulting Association was discovered and exposed by the ICO in 2009. To know the European Parliament now stands four square alongside us and with us will ensure the terrible scourge of blacklisting is ended gives us great heart and massively encourages us to fight on and on! No Peace without Justice and an end to Blacklisting”


4. Northern Ireland Assembly and London councils passes anti-blacklisting legislation

Only a few days after the Select Committee investigation called fro blacklisting firms to be banned from public contracts, the Northern Ireland Assembly and more London boroughs have joined the Welsh Assembly, Scottish government and 30 other local authorities in supporting the ban.





5. Crossrail & DLR deaths

Construction Safety Campaign has protested outside Crossrail at Holborn and the DLR in Stratford following the recent deaths of two workers.



Follow the Construction safety campaign on facebook: www.facebook.com/ConstructionSafetyCampaign


5. Blacklist Support Group hold meetings with Liverpool council

Seven members of the BSG met with Councillor Joe Hanson to discuss blacklisting companies tendering for work in the city. The meeting is a follow on from when Mayor Joe Anderson addressed the BSG meeting in Liverpool 2 weeks ago.

The following actions were agreed:

1. A seat at the table for the BSG at all future meetings regarding all blacklisting issues with all or any relevant stakeholders.

2. Liverpool Council anti-blacklisting motion to be compared with that passed by other local authorities to see if can be strengthened

3. Unions to be encouraged work more collectively similar to the Hinckley Point agreement on any further or pending major contracts in the city


Roy Bentham, BSG national committee member told the meeting that “BSG would continue to work positively with all the stakeholders of these issues though further demonstrations could not be ruled out  if progress wasn’t deemed quick enough”


6. Tony Benn R.I.P.

The Blacklist Support Group wish to pay tribute to Tony Benn for the immense contribution he made for working people during his lifetime.

Tony Benn said that he retired from parliament to concentrate on politics.

This Reel News video: shows him on a 6:30am protest in support of construction workers in their fight to defend their terms & conditions and for trade union rights during the BESNA dispute. Tony Benn speech starts at 7mins 43 secs  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnPTma0Waac


7. Donations on behalf of Bob Crow may be made to the British Heart Foundation and a dedicated area has been set up by the family on the British Heart Foundation’s website.

Bob Crow 1961 – 2014

8. Blacklisted – the book

Pluto Press will be publishing a book in September about the blacklisting scandal.

‘Blacklisted: the secret war between big business and union activists’ by Phil Chamberlain and Dave Smith

Phil Chamberlain is the investigative journalist whose article in the Guardian in 2008 led to the ICO raid that discovered the Consulting Association blacklist.

Dave Smith is a blacklisted UCATT safety rep and secretary of the Blacklist Support Group.

The book is a history of blacklisting in the construction industry over the past 50 years and includes first hand testimony from blacklisted workers plus previously unseen documentary evidence.

Follow on Twitter: @blacklistedbook


9. Site Worker

New blog set up for the construction industry rank and file – an online version of the Site Worker magazine


Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlCa8yQmZ70

Blog: www.hazards.org/blacklistblog

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/groups/blacklistSG/




International (also see Labourstart)

Heinz: Stop the war on jobs! IUF members committed to mutual support in fight for sustainable employment (22 March) – The international meeting of Heinz unions took place in Pittsburgh, USA in March 13-14, 2014 on the initiative and with support of IUF affiliated United Food and Commercial Workers’ Union read more

USA: Kellogg’s – locked out Memphis workers tell their stories (21 March) – The BCTGM has released a series of powerful videos depicting Kellogg’s workers’ fight against rampant corporate greed. The union has posted the videos at www.kellogggreed.com from where you can also SEND A MESSAGE to the company read more

Campaigning for Palestine – a trade union conference. A Palestine Solidarity Campaign conference for delegates from trade unions, sponsored by the TUC. Saturday 5 April 2014 at TUC Congress House, Great Russell St, London WC1B 3LS

Speakers include: Mohammad Taj – President TUC, Max Hyde – Vice President NUT, Jean Butcher – Chair International Committee UNISON, Simon Nattas – ITN Solicitors as well as 2 special guest speakers from Palestine:  Abed Dari,  Kav LaOved Field Worker in the Jericho District


Diary (see & use false economy)


26 Battersea & Wandsworth TUC organized Action for Rail public meeting @ 19:30 in the PCS HQ (160 Falcon Road, London, SW11 2LN)

29 Uniform Day

‘The Battle of Orgreave’ – Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (Hackney and Islington) are proud to present a film that re-enacts one of the most violent confrontations in the 1984/85 miners’ strike – 14.00 Rio Cinema, 107 Kingsland High Street, Dalston, London, E8 2PB. Entrance £7/£5 concs/£4 under-18s


2 Visteon/Ford pensioners 5th anniversary march – 10.45 Assemble outside Unite House, Theobalds Road, Holborn, 11.00 Speeches, 11.30 March to Parliament Square, 12.30 Speeches and meet MP’s

Veteran campaigner for peace and social justice, Ray Davies, will be launching his new book in the OXFAM shop in Castle Street, Swansea.

The book, “A Miner’s Life” has been published to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of the 1984/85 Miners’ Strike. He will be talking about the book, and his eventful life so far. Now in his eighties, Ray Davies has a long life to talk about! From Boy Miner to steel worker and trade unionist, member of Cor Cochion, The Red Choir, and Chair of CND Cymru. He has also been a councillor for over fifty years!

Copies of the book will be on sale on the night, with all profits going to CISWO, an organisation helping ex miners and their families affected by illness or injury. The event starts at 7pm. Admission Free. All welcome!

28 Workers’ Memorial Day visit TUC website for info about events    Hazards magazine


21 Hurrah for the Luddites: challenging the myths about Luddism – 2-4pm at the Red Shed, Vicarage Street, Wakefield WF1.

The event is about seeing the Luddites in their proper historical context.  Contrary to myth, they weren’t a bunch of head bangers.  Luddism was a genuine social movement made up of normal working people fighting for justice.  They had immense support, were well organised and for a time were immensely successful.  Come along and hear more about the true Luddites!

Speakers are:

Ken Rowley: Ken is a former Vice President of the National Union of Mineworkers.  He is a member of the Wakefield Socialist History Group.  He has spoken widely on the Luddites and their West Yorkshire connections to both the University of the Third Age and to local history groups.

Shaun Cohen: Shaun is a member of the Ford-Maguire Society.  The Society is named after two notable Leeds socialist pioneers Isabella Ford and Tom Maguire.  Shaun’s particular interest is the radical history of Leeds.  He has researched widely into the Luddite revolutionary tradition.

Admission to the event is free and there will be a free buffet.


Alan Stewart

Convenor, Wakefield Socialist History Group

01924 360565


5 8th Annual NSSN Conference – Conway Hall – 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL

12 Durham Miners Gala 2014 visit Durham Miners’ Association official website

18-20 Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival – Tolpuddle, near Dorchester, Dorset visit Tolpuddle Martyrs museum


18 TUC demonstration in London – ‘Britain Needs a Pay Rise’. It will begin with a march through central London, culminating in a rally in Hyde Park read more



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