237: Bromley Council workers strike against cuts & union attacks

Hundreds of Bromley Council workers took 2 days of strike action on April 7th and 8th against the Tory council’s cuts, privatisation of services and attacks on union facilities. This shows why employers are attacking union rights – to try and hamstring unions in the face of vicious cuts. But the workers from Unite are showing that with fighting leadership, members will respond.

At the strike rally, Unite lead rep Kathy Smith spoke alongside the union’s regional officer Onay Kasab. Unison branch secretary Glenn Kelly who along with other unison members who refused to cross the picket line told the strikers that today he was expecting his request to ballot the 1000 unison members to take action alongside the unite members to ensure united action that can defeat the council.


Onay Kasab said: “Our overall campaign calls for a Fair Deal for Local Government and this strike will highlight what will happen to local government if the Tories are returned to power at the general election – a race to the bottom for services and the pay of council workers.

“Unite is drawing a line in the sand against privatisation and austerity in local government. Council services should be for the public good – and not as a cash cow for the private companies benefiting from lucrative outsourcing contracts.

“In Bromley, the company looking to take over parks is owned by a hedge fund – and they will be planning more than a bit of light pruning. They will do what hedge funds are set up to do; they will cut to the bone then scuttle away from the contract with a substantial profit.

“The people of Bromley have spoken – they do not want services privatised, as shown by our library survey– they don’t want libraries and parks run by quick-rich spivs and speculators.”



‘Stop the union-busters!’ Advanced notice: this year’s NSSN conference, our 9th, will be on Saturday July 4th in Conway Hall in London. Confirmed speakers include Mark Serwotka PCS General Secretary. BREAKING NEWS!! BFAWU bakers’ union Ronnie Draper to speak! Download leaflet

The famous pink NSSN £10 minimum wage t-shirts are still available. Email us to order – £8 each. We have the following sizes: women – small, medium, large, XL and men – small, medium, large, XL, XXL

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

Download the new ‘Join the NSSN’ leaflet 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]



Union News

Scotland Unite & Unison

Dundee porters and Glasgow council workers on all-out indefinite strike – Build solidarity now (8 April) – 117 hospital porters in Dundee and 70 council workers in Glasgow are on all-out indefinite strike action for fair pay and recognition for the job that they do. Different cities, different trade unions, but what unites these workers is that they are taking a stand against bullying bosses and the inaction of politicians who believe their job is to pass on Tory cuts read more

Please support Dundee porters: [email protected] Donations to Unite, 110 Blackness Road, Dundee DD1 5PB (cheques to Unite). Facebook: Support Ninewells Porters

Please support Glasgow Homeless case workers: email [email protected] Cheques to Glasgow City Unison 84 Bell Street, Glasgow G1 1LQ. Facebook: Glasgow Homeless Caseworkers strike



Lowestoft engineering firm closure with the loss of 113 jobs ‘a body blow’ to local economy (7 April) – The closure of the 60-year old AKD Engineering Ltd in Lowestoft, Suffolk, with the loss of 113 jobs, was described as ‘a massive body blow’ to the workforce and the local economy by Unite today (Tuesday 7 April). The company announced it is to close the business from the end of June, following several years of substantial losses, compounded by the current downturn in the oil and gas sector read more

Lift workers strike over ‘spy in the cab’ that does not work (7 April) – About 300 engineering service workers, employed by the lift firm Kone, are on strike today (Tuesday 7 April) in a dispute over a tracker device in their vehicles, known as VAMS, which their union, Unite, says is an unreliable method for measuring workloads. Unite said that VAMS should not be used to verify time sheets, and site arrival and leaving times as it is unreliable – for example, one driver was alleged have driven 1,000 miles in one day – without refuelling. The union is not against the principle of VAMS when used for health and safety purposes read more



Download NSSN leaflet supporting PCS from the government’s attacks: ‘Stop the union busters!’ here

Legal challenge stalls DWP check off removal (2 April) – We have stalled the removal of check off in the largest government department by at least one month with a legal challenge that could have major implications. The Department for Work and Pensions had planned to end the decades-old system for collecting union subscriptions this week but has agreed to hold off after we lodged a case in the High Court read more

For latest on National Gallery dispute against privatisation and the suspension of PCS rep Candy Udwin go to PCS Culture Group website and  follow @PCSCultureGroup @NGNotForSale #NationalGallery #ReinstateCandy on Twitter Donate to the strike fund, using sort code 08/60/01 and account no: 20169002, or cheques to PCS Culture Media and Sport Association, c/o PCS North West Region, Jack Jones House,1 Islington, Liverpool L3 8EG •Write to the chair of trustees Mark Getty



87% of UNISON members working for Barnet “easyCouncil” vote YES to strike action (April 8) – The Trades Dispute with London Borough of Barnet is over staff remaining in employment with Barnet Council. The strike ballot is a direct response to the five commissioning projects agreed at the 3 March 2015 Full Council meeting which would mean outsourcing the majority of the workforce into a variety of alternative delivery models read more

Living wage win for Bath University workers (April 1) – Today sees everyone who works at the University of Bath start to receive the living wage. The news – welcomed by UNISON, staff and students at the university – follows two years of hard campaigning read more

Cornwall council agrees to pay the living wage (April 1) – Cornwall Council has agreed to pay the living wage to staff, after lengthy negotiations with UNISON. The minimum amount for workers at Cornwall Council will rise to £7.85 from today, which equates to £15k for a full-time job read more



RMT declares dispute and prepares to ballot on FGW (April 8) – RMT confirmed today that it has declared a dispute and is preparing an industrial action ballot on Great Western services after First Group confirmed in a letter to the union that it is laying out the ground to axe guards and catering services on the new Inter City Express trains being supplied by Hitachi. The letter, which confirms everything that RMT has been warning of since the union first saw the plans for the new trains, makes it clear that FGW are seeking to impose the following conditions for the operation of Super Express Trains (SETs) read more

ISS Renege On Biometric Assurances (7 April) – London Underground cleaning contractor ISS are trying to renege on the commitments they made at acas last year regarding the use of biometric bookin on systems. Although the RMT never agreed the use of biometric booking on, Iss gave the RMT assurances as they pushed ahead with it’s implementation regardless of the opposition from their workers . We are demanding the company stick to their assurances on this matter . The RMT is prepared to enter a dispute if necesary – the union will also go to ACAS if necessary read more

Second phase of strike action on First Great Western (2 April) – RMT confirmed today that there will be a second phase of strike action over Easter in a victimisation dispute on First Great Western. In the dispute, which involved a member of train crew fitted up and victimised by the company, a ballot has already been held and delivered an overwhelming mandate for action and a first phase of rock-solid strike action had an impact on services last week read more

Reinstate Clara Osagiede: join the lobby on April 15 – Clara Osagiede, RMT cleaners’ secretary on London Underground, has been dismissed from her job for the crime of fighting for workplace justice for London’s transport cleaners. Bosses at Interserve – a private contractor that LU use for cleaning – concocted a series of spurious charges in order to get rid of an activist who is a thorn in their side read more



Pensions: The 2015 scheme is imposed but the campaign continues (April 2) – On 1 April the 2015 firefighter’s pension scheme was imposed without agreement and with many of our key concerns unaddressed. The executive council position remains that the new scheme is still unworkable, most noticeably in England. Therefore our campaign continues. In simple terms the new imposed schemes do not reflect the physical role undertaken by firefighters read more

April edition of Firefighter now online here

Essex FBU Hardship fund details: ‘Essex fire brigades union hardship fund’ Account no. 086001 20292568



NUT Education Question Time event in Bristol on the 13th April – details here



Saturday 25th April: National Demonstration: march on Parliament to save Lifelong Learning read more


Mandate (Ireland)

Retribution for Dunnes Stores strike is despicable (April 8) – Mandate Trade Union has today (Wednesday, 8th April) condemned Dunnes Stores for targeting staff who participated in the nationwide strike last Thursday, 2nd April. The union has received reports from members all over the country who have experienced: •Dismissals •Cuts to hours •Changes in roles •Changes in shift patterns read more



Join the April 15 Fast Food Rights global day of action – for more details of protests: follow the following twitter hashtags: #fastfoodglobal #April15 #10Now #joinaunion #strikefastfood  download campaign materials here  read more from BFAWU website

A short animation including some researched facts can be found here 

Go to the new BFAWU website here

Reports of Fast Food Rights protests on Youth Fight for Jobs  and Fast Food Rights websites

Please send details of any local actions to [email protected] / [email protected]



Other news

The Levellers’ Association is celebrating the 400th anniversary of John Lilburne’s birth, his achievements and his Leveller legacy.

There are two upcoming events:-

Friday May 15th 7.30pm – ‘Lilburne Night’ at the CWU training centre Alvescot Lodge, Alvescot, Bampton, Oxfordshire OX18 2PY

Saturday May 16th 10.30am-3.30pm – ‘Levellers Day 2015’ in Burford, Oxfordshire

For more information – www.levellersday.wordpress.com/ www.facebook.com/levellersday



Blacklisting & Victimisation

Blacklist Support Group financial appeal: the Blacklist support group is desperately short of funds, to continue the incredible work in 2015 we need more finance, would you please consider making a donation, raise it at your branches and trade councils. Please make cheques payable to Joint sites committee and send to 70 Darnay Rise Chelmsford Essex CM1 4XA. Please forward onto your contacts many thanks Steve Kelly (JSC Treasurer)

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

Blog: www.hazards.org/blacklistblog

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


International (also see Labourstart)

Sri Lanka: Affiliate to Tamil Solidarity read here

Rio Tinto – mining giant and serial violator of workers’ rights is coming to London read more  Protest: 16 April, from 10:00 AM – The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, postcode SW1P 3EE close to Parliament.  (Full details on how to get there: http://www.qeiicentre.london/contact-us/how-to-find-us)


Diary (see & use false economy)


13 Campaign for Trade Union Freedom evening rally Cardiff Unite office from 6pm

15 Global Fast Food workers day of action

18 1pm Wakefield Socialist History Group meeting on DEMOCRACY AND THE MEDIA: STRUGGLES FOR MEDIA PLURALISM PAST AND PRESENT – speakers: Don Mort, NUJ “Chapel Rep” for the Yorkshire Weekly Newspaper Group and Granville Williams, member of the National Council of the Campaign for Broadcasting Freedom. We will also be showing Lindsay Anderson’s great 1952 documentary “Wakefield Express.” Admission is free and there is a free light buffet.

28 International Workers Memorial Day



1 May day



20 People’s Assembly anti-austerity demonstration in London details here



4 ‘Stop the union-busters!’ 9th annual NSSN conference – Conway Hall in London

11 Durham Miners’ Gala details here

17-19 Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival details here




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