Public sector workers in nine different unions were out on strike in force yesterday – in a magnificent show of strength to demand an end to the pay freeze.
Local government workers in Unison, Unite and GMB; civil servants in the PCS and Nipsa, teachers in the NUT, fire-fighters in the FBU, and sections of London transport workers in RMT and TSSA: uniting in action to tell the government that they can’t tolerate any further driving down of living standards.
Speaking at the London rally PCS General Secretary called for further coordination of the pay strikes.
Warning that unions must learn the lessons of the November 30th pension strike Serwotka said:
“I hope that every union on strike today and every union thinking of joining the action, meets together as a matter of urgency to ensure that further action is planned and coordinated and gets bigger and bigger and bigger.”
You can watch Mark Serwotka’s full speech here
Over 300 shop stewards, union rep and anti-cuts activists attended the 8th Annual NSSN Conference on Saturday July 5th. The speakers included Ronnie Draper BFAWU bakers’ union General Secretary, POA General Secretary Steve Gillan, Janice Godrich PCS President and Peter Pinkney RMT President…plus Ginger Jentzen from the victorious Seattle $15Now campaign.
Watch a video of the first session here
See photos from the conference here
Watch the video shown at the start of the conference – All strike together & Memorium for Bob Crow
The conference agreed that the NSSN will hold a public rally at this year’s TUC Congress in Liverpool to lobby delegates to keep up the pressure for further co-ordinated strikes – 2pm Sunday September 7th in Jury’s Hotel opposite Echo Arena conference centre in Albert Dock
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]
RMT confront ISS agency over lockout (July 9) – RMT members supported by the National Shop Stewards Network go to ISS corporate headquarters in Canary Wharf. ISS has imposed fingerprinting and biometric scanning on their workforce of cleaners on the London Underground. After a lawful ballot for industrial action RMT ISS members have refused to comply with the scanners when clocking on to work. In response ISS have sacked one cleaner and sent others home. The RMT went to ISS HQ to demand answers for this behaviour see photos on NSSN website more from RMT website
Transport for London staff join July 10th strike action (July 7) – RMT members at Transport for London will be taking a further 24 hours of joint strike action from this Thursday morning, coinciding with widespread national industrial action in the public sector, in a dispute over an all-out attack on pay and pensions that would condemn to staff to a life of poverty in retirement read more
Portsmouth demos called against shipping exploitation (July 8) – shipping union RMT confirmed today that it is organising further protests on the south coast to raise awareness of the impact on shipping jobs of social dumping and the exploitation of overseas workers by the shipping companies. The next days of protest against social dumping and exploitation by Condor Ferries will be at Portsmouth Continental Ferry Port, Wharf Road PO2 8RU on the following dates: Tuesday 15th July, Midday and Saturday 26th July, 7am read more
Sack threat to locked out biomedical scientists strongly condemned by Unite (8 July) – Unite condemned the ‘sign or be sacked’ letters sent by Northampton General Hospital (NGH) to 78 locked out biomedical scientists today (Tuesday 8 July). Branding the letters as ‘provocative’ ahead of Acas talks later this week, the union warned that the trust’s intimidatory tactics could be the future of industrial relations in an increasingly privatised NHS. The union warned that NGH is putting lives at grave risk in its bid to force locked out biomedical scientists to sign away a 10 year agreement read more
NSSN supporters back striking Tyneside Safety Glass workers (July 9) – An enthusiastic NSSN meeting on July 2nd supporting striking Tyneside Safety Glass (TSG) workers raised £110 in a collection for their strike fund, with the promise of more money coming in from trade union branches. A fantastic bucket collection at NSSN conference on July 5th raised over £120 each for the strike funds of striking workers at TSG, Lambeth College and Care UK in Doncaster read more from NSSN website
Sparks: Unrest builds as papers land – read new Siteworker read here
Hackney Homes Electricians Strike – Friday 11 & Monday 14 July 2014 – Your Support needed
There will be a picket line outside the Florfield Road Depot, Hackney, London, E8 1BJ on 11 July 2014 and 14 July 2014 from 07:00.
Also we plan a demonstration at 6pm outside the Hackney Homes, Christopher Addison House, Wilton Way, London, E8 1BJ on Monday 14 July 2014.
Lambeth College strike
STATEMENT: The fight continues (from Lambeth College Strike blog http://lambethcollegestrike.wordpress.com/)
Our negotiators met with management this week. All efforts were made on the union’s part to reach an agreement that would bring the dispute to an end. Unfortunately, management put forward a proposal that shows very little movement on the new contracts.
A branch meeting this afternoon voted overwhelmingly to reject management’s proposal. In addition, we passed a resolution stating that the contracts dispute is not resolved but we will stand down the strike on Wednesday 9th July at 9am. We have committed to working during enrolment to secure the future of the college while talks continue. If an acceptable offer isn’t made we will reballot for industrial action
[A fantastic bucket collection at NSSN conference on July 5th raised over £120 each for the strike funds of striking workers at TSG, Lambeth College and Care UK in Doncaster]
UCU: Lambeth College to shut down courses for most vulnerable students unless union capitulates (9 July) – The principal of Lambeth College has threatened to axe courses for disabled students and foreign speakers wishing to learn English (ESOL) if UCU does not accept his proposals to amend contracts for new staff read more
Ritzy Brixton Cinema workers were on strike again last Sunday – for more info https://www.facebook.com/RitzyLivingWage
Benefit gig July 12th – 19:00 to 13 July at 04:00 in UTC+01
BECTU cinema workers rally Thursday 17th July 1pm BFI South Bank to 4pm GLA Tower Bridge – Front of house staff across Odeon, Cineworld, Curzon and Everyman are joining the Ritzy cinema workers on a Cinema Workers Rally through the West End ending with speeches outside the GLA. Cinema staff and their supporters across the entertainment industry are marching in support of the Living Wage for cinema workers nationally and calling for a boycott of Picturehouse cinemas. Ritzy staff are currently taking strike action in their bid to secure the London Living Wage from the hugely profitable multi-national Cineworld. Curzon staff are currently in negotiation for the same. Both campaigns have taken on a growing significance both nationally and in the capital as austerity continues to impact harshly on low-paid workers
Fast Food Rights: upcoming plans and ‘activists’ pack (July 9) – at the last Fast Food Rights campaign planning meeting on 25 June, the campaign decided on a plan of action for the months to come. This followed the global day of action that saw protests across Britain as well as in over 30 other countries on 15 May in solidarity with US fast food strikes. The next national Fast Food Rights days of action will take place on the day of the next US fast food strike. Dates are still being confirmed, but this will be late August/ early September. As soon as details are confirmed we will announce them read more from Fast Food Rights
There will be a Fast Food Rights protest in Harrowgate on Saturday 12 July: 11am – 1pm, McDonald’s, Harrogate – meeting at Harrogate railway station.
Blacklisting & Victimisation
Blacklist Support Group update – 6th July
1. Compensation scheme opens and insults blacklisted workers.
Friday 4th July – the firms opened up their so-called compensation scheme.
Without the support of the trade unions, Blacklist Support Group or any of the legal teams representing us, the blacklisting firms have set up and opened a mis-named compensation scheme. They predict that the vast majority of people will receive £4,000 for their troubles and nothing is put in place to ensure jobs in the future. This is a major human rights scandal that has been exposed in Parliament and even condemned by David Cameron in PMQs but these multinationals and their apologists in the legal and PR professions are trying to present this as justice. In what kind of justice system do the criminals decide what level of compensation the victims should receive?
There may even be some blacklisted workers who are forced to accept their insulting offer because of ill health, old age or financial hardship. It is nothing for the firms to be proud of.
But make no mistake. For those of us whose working lives have been ruined by these wretches, this is about more than money. This is personal. And we intend to hound these human rights abusers until we get justice.
Jack Fawbert, blacklisted carpenter and UCATT elected convener steward on Littlebrooke Power station and the Trocadero was sent an email by the compensation scheme. Below is the email he sent in reply:
Dear Scheme Administrator
This is surely a piss take masquerading as a publicity stunt. £4000 from you criminals for decades of human rights abuses that forced many decent people including myself out of the industry, leading to me suffering years of deprivation to build another career in education, seeing my kids on free school meals and the family nearly splitting up. And for what? For simply representing my fellow workers on a building site as a UCATT shop steward and legally appointed safety rep.
It seems to me that the only reason you are opening this scheme now is to deflect publicity away from the High Court trial next Thursday 10th July (which you conveniently forget to mention in your letter). Celebrities were given a full public inquiry and paid up to £300,000 for someone listening to tittle tattle on their phones and you offer £4000. This PR stunt makes no admission of guilt or gives me an apology for what you did to me and my family or indeed to other building workers and their families. You make no offer to provide blacklisted workers with jobs to demonstrate any contrition on your part for the crimes you have committed. On the contrary, what you now do is get employment agencies to do your grubby, dirty work for you, you wretches.
You should be thoroughly ashamed of yourselves acting in such a reprehensible manner. But you’re not. You even have the brass neck to appoint a judge yourselves to sit in judgement of who deserves what. It beggars belief. For what other crimes do you know of where the criminals decide who is going to sit in judgement of them. And setting a time limit is just another cynical ploy amongst many to try to panic blacklisted workers into accepting your wretched scheme.
And, surprise, surprise, there is no mention in your letter about your negotiations with or the response to your grubby little scheme from my trade union UCATT (the reason I was blacklisted in the first place) or the Blacklist Support Group. You know where you can stick your ‘compensation scheme’.
Did you receive a letter or an email from the compensation scheme?
BSG have had reports of individuals being contacted who have never contacted the compensation scheme in the past. How did they get our contact details?
If the ICO has handed over our current contact details, emails or addresses to the firms this is completely unacceptable. This is like giving criminals the home addresses of their previous victims. What is to stop a brand new blacklist being set up with this same information?
A few weeks ago, lawyers for the trade unions were in court to stop this very thing happening. BSG have put in a complaint to the Deputy Commissioner at the ICO.
2. High Court – Blacklisting case Acheson (& others) v Sir Robert McAlpine Limited (& others)
On Thursday 10th July, Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and VINCI PLC are in the High Court in the case of “Acheson (& others) v Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd (& others)” for their role in the blacklisting scandal.
4 High Court claims are being heard concurrently – Guney Clark & Ryan solicitors, GMB, UNITE and UCATT – It is expected that the Judge will grant a Group Litigation Order (GLO), equivalent of a class action in the USA.
Blacklisting protest at the High Court – Thurs 10th July
9am-10am Thursday 10th July
Royal Courts of Justice
(nearest tube: Holborn or Temple)
This is the same day as the local authorities strike – if you are heading to London to join one of the rallies, feel free to pop by and show some solidarity.
When the court case is finished, there will be a campaign update held in:
Seven Stars pub
53-54 Carey St
London WC2A 2JB (immediately behind the High Court)
NO JUSTICE – NO PEACE
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/409390652536444/?source=1
Steve Acheson, lead claimant in the High Court trial and chairman of the Blacklist Support Group said:
“Time is running out for the blacklisting multinationals, who over a period of decades have deliberately and systematically set put to ruin our working lives. They think that because they are rich and powerful that they are above the law. But those of us who have seen our families suffer, were never prepared to let this human rights abuse go unaccounted for. Blacklisted workers, journalists, lawyers, politicians and trade unions have fought for over five years but finally these directors are going to have to face the music. We hope the MPs and the QCs put them to the sword. It’s less than the wretches deserve.”
3. MPs to grill blacklist bosses
On Wednesday 16th July – Scottish Affairs Select Committee at Westminster will have the bosses of blacklisting firms plus the lawyers and the spin doctors responsible for the compensation scheme to give evidence, including:
Nick Pollard, CEO Balfour Beatty
Andrew Ridley-Barker, Managing Director VINCI Construction UK
Callum Tuckett, Group Finance & Commercial Director, Laing O’Rourke
Richard Slaven, Partner, Pinsent Masons (lawyer responsible for the Blacklist Compensation Scheme)
Richard Jukes, Grayling (TBC)
As the Select Committee has previously published a report supported by MPs from all political parties calling on the firms to pay compensation but only AFTER THEY GAINED AGREEMENT FROM THE UNIONS & BLACKLISTED WORKERS, this should be a very interesting evidence session.
Any blacklisted worker who wishes to submit your own witness statement to the Select Committee inquiry about how the blacklist has impacted on your life, can do so using the form on this link: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/scottish-affairs-committee/inquiries/parliament-2010/blacklisting-in-employment/commons-written-submission-form/
4. Public Inquiry
All political parties are currently in the process of drawing up the final details of their General Election manifesto. Blacklisted workers are calling for a fully independent public inquiry to expose the full sordid details of the conspiracy orchestrated by big business in collusion with undercover police and the state. Only a public inquiry will suffice. There have been muted calls in some political parties for an “inquiry” into blacklisting. This could be as little as a senior civil servant within BIS carrying out an internal investigation to be given to the Secretary of State.
THAT WOULD NOT BE GOOD ENOUGH.
We demand a fully independent public inquiry that can compel witnesses give evidence under oath with a wide enough remit to investigate the role of all the agencies involved. Now is the time to be putting on the pressure.
5. 10th July strike, Tolpuddle & Durham Miners Gala
Blacklisted workers will be in participating in all the trade union events above. If you are organising a rally and require a blacklisted worker to speak, please contact the BSG to arrange someone from your local area.
International (also see Labourstart)
Free imprisoned Iranian worker
See leaflet distributed at NSSN conference: http://www.scribd.com/doc/232861553/Free-imprisoned-Iranian-Worker-activists
PETITION in solidarity with workers at Lear Corporation in Argentina
We condemn the dismissals, layoffs and attacks on Lear delegates!
At the end of May, the multinational Lear Corporation laid off 330 workers from its Pacheco plant in Buenos Aires Province for an indefinite period, without even initiating the bankruptcy proceedings as required by law.
The workers refused to accept the situation and organized assemblies and road blockades. As a result, the Minister of Labor issued a ruling confirming that the suspensions were illegal.
However, in spite of this, the company deepened its attack, suspending 200 of the 330 without pay for 30 days. A few days later, 100 of the 200 were fired without severance pay, leaving them without the means to care for their families or meet their basic needs. This represents an attack on their and their families’ fundamental human rights.
Lear Corporation is an American company with over 122,000 employees at 226 locations in 36 countries. The only buyer of the electrical cable bundles that Lear produces at its Pacheco plant is Ford Argentina, whose production has remained at the same level over the last year. However, Ford is now importing a proportion of the cables it normally buys from Lear from Central America and Europe. Meanwhile, the plant in Pacheco is seeing firings and lay-offs. The actions of Lear and Ford are particularly unprincipled because the Argentine government is giving subsidies to the car industry and has just launched a plan called Pro.Cre.Auto to stimulate car sales, which of course will benefit both companies.
Lear is refusing to pay the salaries of 200 workers and claims that it is in financial crisis when in 2013 alone its total global sales were $16.2 billion.
The shop stewards’ committee has been banned from entering the Pacheco plant, leaving the workers without trade union representation and infringing their fundamental labour rights.
We, the undersigned, condemn the actions of Lear Corporation, a monopoly with a turnover of billions of dollars that has condemned 200 workers and their families to impoverishment. We demand that it obey national labor legislation and international treaties on human rights, and revoke the suspensions and layoffs so that all the workers can return to work.
Send your signature to
You can see the signatures collected on follow the link: http://www.ft-ci.org/PETITION-in-solidarity-with-Lear-argentinean-workers?lang=en
Diary (see & use false economy)
12 Durham Miners Gala 2014 visit Durham Miners’ Association official website here
18-20 Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival – Tolpuddle, near Dorchester, Dorset visit Tolpuddle Martyrs museum here
2 Does working-class education have a future?
A day conference for all trades unionists including Union Learn reps, trade union branch officers, TUC/ Trade Union Studies tutors, WEA/adult education lecturers, and mature students, organised by Trade Union Solidarity magazine and Bridgwater Trades Union Council
11am to 4pm, Saturday 2nd August GWRSA/Railway Club, Wellington Rd, Bridgwater, Somerset, TA6 5HA
Marie Hughes South West TUC Regional Education Officer
Trish Lavelle CWU National Education Officer
Becca Kirkpatrick Co-editor Trade Union Solidarity
Shan Maidment TU studies tutor, City of Bristol College
Carole Vallelly GMB Southern Region/TUC tutor
Nigel Costley, Secretary, South West TUC
Dave Chapple, Bridgwater TUC
Ian Manborde, Ruskin College
Richard Ross London Metropolitan University
Cost is £5 per person which includes buffet lunch. Places are limited: please register in advance if possible, make cheques out to “Bridgwater Trades Union Council” and send to Dave Chapple, Conference Organiser, 1 Blake Place, Bridgwater, Somerset, TA6 5AU. Further details phone 07707 869 144 or e-mail [email protected]
6 Featherstone Massacre Commemoration. We will be meeting at the Bradley Arms, North Featherstone at 2pm. There will then be a graveside commemoration followed by a guided walk led by local socialist historian John Gill.
If you would like to get involved (or if you would like to speak at the commemoration) please get in touch.
We are also looking to organise an event about the First World War later in the year…this is likely to be on a Saturday afternoon in November. Again if you are interested in speaking -or can recommend a speaker- please get in touch.
Convenor, Wakefield Socialist History Group
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 here
PHONE 07952 283 558
EMAIL mailto:[email protected]
TWITTER – https://twitter.com/NSSN_AntiCuts
ADDRESS NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE