The TUC lobby of Parliament on November 2nd has to mark a major step change in the fight against the Tory (anti) Trade Union Bill. It seems that its 3rd reading could be as quick as November 1oth. That date must be in the diary of every trade union member for a mass demonstration in London.
The National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) has been to the forefront of the ‘Kill the Bill’ campaign. We brought hundreds of union activists and reps to lobby TUC Congress in Brighton in September. That conference passed resolutions calling for a mass campaign against the Bill and co-ordinated industrial action if becomes law. In particular, the RMT motion called for ‘generalised’ strike action. That demand must be the banner of this struggle and the whole membership of the trade union movement must be mobilised behind it.
The response of the TUC and many of the unions has been totally insufficient to a Bill that could be law in a matter of weeks. The full implications of it must be explained to union members, their friends, families and their communities. It has been presented at the same time as another brutal Tory cuts offensive precisely because Cameron, Osborne and co. know full well that it is the union movement with over 6 million members that has the potential power to be the biggest barrier to their austerity.
This is the most serious legal attack on union rights since Thatcher’s anti-union laws of the early 1980s. A government elected by a mere 24% of the electorate is seeking to impose voting thresholds way above this. If these same thresholds were introduced for council elections, there’d be barely a handful of elected councillors in Britain!
The removal of check-off – the deduction of union membership subs from wages – is also part of the package in an attempt to bankrupt the unions. But the PCS, singled out by the Tories before the general election, has already shown that if the unions are prepared to take on this challenge on a fighting programme, it can be won. They have faced down the Tory attack by signing up 90% of members to direct debit this year!
The unions have to take a fighting stance against the Bill. This isn’t an all-powerful government. They sneaked in to power but now want to push on with their cuts and anti-union plans. But they have already been met with growing opposition. There has been a whole number of important disputes, including the London Tube strike over the summer that shut London down, showing again the power of the organised working-class. The victory of the PCS National Gallery workers after a heroic struggle of over 100 days of strike action has been an inspiration. Now the junior doctors have burst onto the streets and balloting for strike action against Jeremy Hunt’s new contract and students are on the march again. Jeremy Corbyn’s victory in the Labour leadership election was because he rode a mass anti-austerity wave which was reflected in huge anti-austerity demonstrations in London in June and last month in Manchester outside the Tory Party conference.
The defeat of the Tories’ tax credits cuts was in reality because of the fear about the anger of low-paid workers. What would a mass movement led by the unions achieve?
If the unions take decisive action against the Trade Union Bill and link it to the austerity cuts, they could lead such a movement against the Tories. If the streets of Westminster were full on November 10th, warning Cameron that there would be a 24 hour general strike if the Bill was passed, the Tories could be forced to back down. That is the message that needs to be taken back from today’s lobby.
Get back to London on November 10th for a mass demonstration to defeat the Bill but prepare for mass strike action if it’s passed.
TUC lobby of Parliament November 2nd – 1pm to 2:30pm Central Hall, Westminster www.tuc.org.uk/events/lobby-and-rally-protect-right-strike
There will be a TUCG protest outside Parliament on November 2nd at 6pm https://www.facebook.com/events/1735496933348883/
TUCG rally: ‘After Corbyn’s victory, build the fight against austerity’ – Saturday, 21 November from 1.30pm to 4.30pm in Central Hall Westminster Storey’s Gate SW1H 9NH London more info info from PCS website
Trade Union Co-ordinating Group (TUCG) statement on the Trade Union Bill here
NSSN public meetings – “How can we fight the Tories’ anti-union laws?”
Tuesday 3 November:-
Manchester, 7pm, at the Britons Protection, 50 Great Bridgewater Street, M1 5LE.
Liverpool, 7.30pm, at the Casa Club, 29 Hope Street, Liverpool, L1 9BQ.
Rob Williams NSSN chair was interviewed live on BBC’s Daily Politics at TUC Congress watch here at about 30 minutes
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 ‘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]
Reinstate sacked Royal Mail rep John Vasey now! – John Vasey, a CWU postal rep in Wakefield, West Yorkshire has been sacked on what his work colleagues recognise as stitched up charges. The NSSN calls on all our supporters and affiliates to support John’s campaign for reinstatement and his union the CWU:-
Messages of protest to Jon Millidge, Royal Mail Group HR Director, c/o Tallents House, South Gyle Crescent, Edinburgh, EH12 9PB.
(Copies to Paul Clays, CWU Regional Secretary, 6 Concept Court, Kettlestring Lane, Clifton Moor, YORK, YO30 4XF – e-mail: [email protected])
Postal workers walkout over staffing dispute at Plymouth delivery offices (Oct 26) read more
Ashworth Hospital to take strike action (Oct 26) – The POA membership have voted overwhelmingly for strike action and action short of strike action in support of two nurses who were dismissed for restraining a violent patient. The strike ballot was 92.3% in favour and 97.1% in favour of action short of strike action read more
RMT confirms 48 hours strike on DLR (28 Oct) – RAIL UNION RMT said today that staff across all grades on Keolis Amey Docklands Light Railway will strike for 48 hours next week in a dispute over a range of serious unresolved issues that are wrecking industrial relations. The announcement of action comes after talks failed to make any serious progress following the confirmation of a massive 92% vote to strike by RMT members last week. All members have now been instructed to take 48 hours of strike action with no shifts booked on or after 0359 on Tuesday 3rd November until 0358 on the Thursday 5th November 2015 read more
Massive RMT vote for strike action on DLR (22 Oct) – RAIL UNION RMT confirmed today that over 300 staff across all grades on Keolis Amey Docklands Light Railway have voted by massive majorities for both strike action and action short of a strike in a dispute over a range of serious unresolved issues that are wrecking industrial relations. Over 92% voted to strike with an even larger majority for action short of a strike read more
Steelworkers head to parliament to call for action to ‘Save our Steel’ (27 Oct) – Steelworkers from across the country will be travelling to the House of Commons tomorrow (Wednesday 28 October) to urge MPs and the government to ‘Save our Steel’ in tomorrow’s opposition day debate on the future of the UK steel industry. The workers, from steel communities in Teesside, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, the West Midlands and south Wales will be gathering outside parliament in Old Palace Yard for a photo opportunity at 10:00, before entering parliament to meet with MPs ahead of the debate in committee room 11 of the House of Commons read more
Basildon tractor workers accept improved offer (22 Oct) – The pay dispute at Case New Holland Tractor Ltd in Basildon, Essex has been settled, after the workforce accepted an improved pay offer. The 460-strong hourly paid production workforce – members of Unite, the country’s largest union – were due to start a 36-hour strike at 11.45 today (Thursday 22 October); but this has now been suspended. The offer that has now been accepted is two per cent for 2015 and two per cent for 2016. There is also an improvement in pay when tractor production is not taking place which means workers receiving 60 per cent of their pay for 20 days a year, instead of the current five. Any days on top of that would attract 55 per cent pay, up from 50 per cent read more
Unite calls for urgent talks as offshore caterers vote for industrial action (21 Oct) – Unite has urged employers under the Caterers Offshore Trade Association (COTA) agreement to return to the negotiating table after members voted to take strike action today (Wednesday 21 October) over a long-standing pay dispute. The refusal of the COTA employers, including facilities giants Sodexho and Compass who have combined profits of over £1.5 billion, to honour the second year of a two-year pay deal worth around 1.3 per cent, resulted in an industrial action ballot which saw 54.2 per cent of members vote for strike action and 62.7 per cent voting for action short of strike. Next steps will be determined shortly by the union with a dispute certain to affect catering and ancillary services across all installations operating in the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) read more
Reinstate Rowley Regis Nursery Manager (Oct 23) – GMB call for immediate reinstatement of Rowley Regis nursery manager suspended on Friday 23 October. We consider that member has been targeted and victimised due to the successful campaign against cuts at the nursery earlier this month says GMB read more
DHL Banbury Pay Dispute (Oct 22) – GMB to ballot members employed by DHL in Banbury for industrial action in pay dispute. It is disappointing that DHL has allowed a situation to arise where members feel there only course of action is to take some form of industrial action says GMB read more
Junior Doctors / BMA
The NSSN sends solidarity to the Junior Doctors who are fighting the Tories’ imposition of a new contract. We appeal to all our supporters to support their demonstrations and protests. For latest news and protests follow #JuniorContract and #NotFairNotSafe on twitter. Latest updates on BMA website here
Oct 28 – Leeds 7pm City Centre
Nov 18 – Dundee 4pm City Square
Glasgow local council Trade Unions representing 24,000 workers in the city call for a No Cuts budget. Defend Glasgow Services – No Cuts
Joint Trade Union Lobby of Glasgow City Council – Thursday 29 October, 12.30pm, City Chambers supported by all local authority trade unions Unison, GMB, Unite, EIS, UCATT
Glasgow City Council has made spending cuts of £250m since 2010 including huge cuts in learning disability and mental health services, home care support, supported education for children, community work, cleansing, library services, frontline office support and grants to voluntary organisations. At least 4,000 council jobs have been lost. Voluntary organisations providing care services in the city have cut hundreds of jobs due to reductions in funding from the council. In the last five years charges for many council services have gone up or been introduced for the first time. These charges often hit the poorest families most. The council has stated it intends to make further cuts of £103m in 2016 and 2017 and has raised the possibility of another 3,000 job cuts, this is over 10% of the remaining workforce. This will be a disaster for vital services in the city and hit future employment opportunities for our young people
Avana Rogerstone in Newport – the strike action which was arranged for Monday 26th October is now off. The company has agreed that they will not change our members terms and conditions. I think you will agree this is a great result for our members. And my congratulations to go to Gary Johnston and the Union Committee for all their hard work in settling this dispute – from Ian Hodson BFAWU President
Fast Food Rights / Hungry for Justice are taking part in a global day of action on November 10th more details
NUT Lobby of Supply Agencies on Wednesday 28 October 2015 – The NUT is organising a lobby of supply agencies in the October 2015 half term. The lobby will highlight the unacceptable pay and pensions position facing supply teachers as well as the role that agencies play in driving down pay, while taking huge sums in commission and paying their own senior employees huge salaries. The day will begin with a meeting at NUT HQ at 11.30am after which we will move off in groups to lobby various agencies HQs in Central London read more
Strike ballot at University of Manchester in jobs row (26 Oct) – UCU members at the University of Manchester are to be balloted for strike action after the union accused managers of ignoring agreed procedures and pushing staff into redundancy. The ballot will open on Monday 2 November and close on Friday 20 November read more
FT vote to ballot for action over pensions robbery (21 Oct) – Journalists at the Financial Times have voted unanimously to ballot for industrial action over their company’s “pensions robbery” read more
BECTU to protest outside James Bond premiere (Oct 26) – As the James Bond film Spectre premieres at the Royal Albert Hall later today, Hall chief executive Chris Cotton has invoked a previous James Bond classic by appointing himself as The Man With The Golden Vote by refusing union recognition. Cotton is refusing to honour an agreed staff ballot which ACAS certified as showing support by 117 votes to 109 for recognition of media and entertainment union BECTU read more
Redundancies and hypocrisy at social housing group Aspire Housing (27 Oct) – Major social housing association Aspire Housing, based in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire has announced redundancies of between 60-70 staff – yet is awarding its chief executive a pay rise. Chief Executive Sinead Butters is the highest paid housing association boss in the country (both in terms of pay per home managed and in relation to turnover according to the Inside Housing survey) and has just been awarded a 4.9 per cent pay rise for this year on her basic salary of £137,000 per annum, which doesn’t include perks such as a car allowance. She also has the third biggest pension contribution on top of her pay of £36,818. Yet Ms Butters has no problem in threatening the livelihood of up to 70 of her staff – in the name of cutbacks read more
United Voices of the World
Protest at Barbican Centre: YES to a real living wage; YES to contractual sick pay; NO to trade union victimisation and NO to workfare! – 6.45pm Saturday October 31st Barbican Centre, Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS London, United Kingdom https://www.facebook.com/events/1642308509375538/
Trades Councils events:-
Barking Dagenham and Havering Trades Council Presents the Award Winning Film Screening: Still the Enemy Within
Thursday 5 November 6-7.30pm
The Council Chambers Dagenham Civic Centre
More info: [email protected]
Croydon Trades Council
Fighting the Tories – a manifesto for action
Saturday 7 November, 10.30 – 4.30pm (registration from 10am)
Ruskin House, 23 Coombe Road, Croydon CRO 1BD
Eventbrite.co.uk (Croydon Assembly) / Facebook: Croydon Assembly / Twitter: @croydonassembly
Email: [email protected]
East London Trades Councils Conference
Saturday 14 November ,11am “Defeat anti-union laws! Stop austerity”
with Steve Hedley RMT, Michelle Cook Unite, Mick Houghton GLATC, Rob Williams NSSN
contact 07486 047 978 or 07506 733 392
Wisbech, March & District Trades Council
Film “Tony Benn: Will and Testament” Tuesday 17 November 7.30pm
Wisbech £5 Q&A after the film, more info: [email protected]
Barking, Dagenham and Havering Trades Council
Housing Crisis in Barking and Dagenham Public Meeting
Saturday 21st November, Midday
St Margaret’s Hall (opposite Barking Theatre)
More info: [email protected]
Greater London Association of Trade Union Councils
Conference: “London against austerity” Saturday 12 December, 10am
Blacklisting & Victimisation
Buy the book ‘Blacklisted: The Secret War between Big Business and Union Activists’ Author: Dave Smith and Phil Chamberlain. Blacklisted tells the controversial story of the illegal strategies that transnational construction companies used to keep union activists away from work. See the official trailer from ReelNews
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)
Blacklisted book http://newint.org/books/politics/blacklisted-secret-war/
International (also see Labourstart)
Estonia: Reinstate Sergey Mastepan read more
Diary (see & use false economy)
29 Defend Glasgow Services – No Cuts. Joint Trade Union Lobby of Glasgow City Council 12.30pm, City Chambers
2 TUC lobby of Parliament November 2nd – 1pm to 2:30pm Central Hall, Westminster www.tuc.org.uk/events/lobby-and-rally-protect-right-strike
PHONE 07952 283 558
EMAIL mailto:[email protected]
TWITTER – https://twitter.com/NSSN_AntiCuts
ADDRESS NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE