Workers will welcome Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell’s 20-point “workers’ charter” to fix the “rigged economy” in work. If it is enthusiastically campaigned for by taking it into workplaces, alongside policies such as re-nationalisation of the railways and Royal Mail, it could really inspire workers to vote to put Jeremy into government and ditch the Tories.
Restoring, defending and strengthening trade union rights as the most effective way to fight for more secure employment and better wages is a major theme of the programme. The commitment to repeal the Trade Union Act would be a major step forward although it should be used as the first step in removing all of Thatcher’s anti-union laws that were maintained by Blair who boasted that on his watch, they were the most restrictive in Western Europe. Incidentally, the POA’s right to strike should also be restored. The policy of abolishing Employment Tribunal fees would also be a big advancement. In the three years since their introduction, there was a fall in ET appeals by 68%. There would also be a public enquiry into blacklisting.
The NSSN is not affiliated to any political party but this programme, if implemented, would be a big step forward for working people. It would totally expose the hypocrisy of May who has tried to style herself as pro-worker because she is aware of the massive anger against the counter-revolution against workers over the last 3-4 decades:-
Ban zero hours contracts – so that every worker gets a guaranteed number of hours each week and enjoys some security.
Ensure that any employer wishing to recruit labour from abroad does not undercut workers at home – because it causes divisions when people are played off against each other.
Repeal the Trade Union Act and roll out sectoral collective bargaining – because the most effective way to maintain good rights at work is through a trade union.
Guarantee trade unions a right to access workplaces – so that unions can support and reach members and potential members
Four new Bank Holidays – we’ll bring our country together with new holidays to mark our four patron saints, so that workers in Britain get the same proper breaks as in other countries.
Use public spending power to drive up standards – including only awarding public contracts to companies which recognise trade unions.
Raise the minimum wage to £10 – we’ll bring the minimum wage up to the level of the living wage (expected to be at least £10 per hour by 2020), so that no one in work gets poverty pay.
End the public sector pay cap – because public sector wages have fallen and our workers deserve a pay rise.
Amend the takeover code to ensure every takeover proposal has a clear plan in place to protect workers and pensioners – because workers shouldn’t suffer when a company is sold.
Roll out maximum pay ratios – because it cannot be right that wages at the top keep rising while everyone else’s stagnates.
Ban unpaid internships – because it’s not fair for some to get a leg up when others can’t afford to.
Give all workers equal rights from day one, whether part-time or full-time, temporary or permanent – so that all workers have the same rights and protections whatever kind of job they have.
Enforce all workers’ right to trade union representation – so that all workers can be supported when negotiating with their employer.
Abolish employment tribunal fees – so that people aren’t priced out of seeking justice when they’ve been treated unfairly by an employer.
Double paid paternity leave to four weeks and increase paternity pay – because fathers are parents too and deserve more time to spend with their new babies.
Strengthen protections for women against unfair redundancy – because no one should be penalised for having children.
Hold a public inquiry into blacklisting – to ensure blacklisting remains a thing of the past.
Give equalities reps statutory rights – so they have time to protect workers from discrimination.
Reinstate protection against third party harassment – because everyone deserves to be safe at work.
Introduce a civil enforcement system to ensure compliance with gender pay auditing – so that all workers have fair access to employment and promotion opportunities and are treated fairly at work
Trade Union Act came into force on March 1st – TUC call a special conference
The NSSN calls on the TUC to implement the policy passed at last September’s TUC Congress which was moved by the RMT which includes:
“Congress believes the General Council needs to convene an urgent conference of affiliates to provide a practical forum, including workshops, as to how to best coordinate our legal and industrial response to the Act in line with policy already set by Congress.”
and an amendment from the FBU:
“Congress should discuss all options for challenging the new legislation. This should include stepping up the campaign to scrap the Act and other anti-union legislation as well as the practical steps to be taken to support any unions and groups of workers threatened by this anti-worker legislation.”
The 11th annual NSSN Conference will be on Saturday July 1st 2017 from 11am in Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL. It is open to all trade union and anti-cuts campaigners Facebook event
This is a video of the NSSN TUC Congress Rally on 11 September – Tories Out! Keep Corbyn!
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 is below
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]
Conference sends out strike ballot warning – Any attempt by Royal Mail to impose its proposed cuts to pensions, allowances, and other terms and conditions will “activate an immediate ballot for strike action,” according to a resolution unanimously approved by conference this afternoon…Conference this afternoon collectively voted to condemn the company’s response and authorised the postal executive to “consider all means up to and not excluding a national industrial action ballot” in the event that the business “fails to reach an agreement with the CWU or positively respond to the union’s Four Pillars of Security agenda by August 2017.” Read more
RMT members vote by 96% for strike action at Arriva Traincare over pay (2 May) – RAIL UNION RMT said today that members working for Arriva Traincare have voted by 96% for strike action and action short of a strike over the company’s latest pay offer read more
RMT Northern Rail strike action “solid as a rock” this morning in fight for rail safety (28 April) – RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “The RMT strike action this morning is solid as a rock from coast to coast and right the way across the Arriva Rail North franchise as our members continue the fight to put public safety before private profit read more
RMT members to take action over “London Bridge Three” – Tube staff sacked and disciplined for stopping violent assault (20 April) – TUBE UNION RMT has confirmed today that station staff across the London Bridge groups will take both strike action and action short of a strike in a dispute after one member was sacked and two others disciplined for intervening to stop a serious assault by a fare-dodger on fellow staff members including one who was pregnant. RMT’s executive has decided on the following course of action; We instruct all members at London Bridge to take strike action by not booking on for any shifts commencing 22:00hrs on Sunday 7th May 2017 until 21:59 on Monday 8th May 2017 read more
Scottish Affairs Committee slams DWP office closures programme (28 Apr) – Chairman Pete Wishart said there was no evidence that it is anything other than an “opportunistic cost-cutting exercise”. The government’s plans, announced in January, put thousands of jobs at risk and would mean unemployed people having to travel further to get help getting back to work. Since then PCS has been organising a campaign to prevent the closures, which in Glasgow involved eight out of its 16 jobcentres being closed. We held a lobby of parliament in March, have set up an e-action and an online petition as well as holding protests at affected sites read more
Call time on ill-thought-out HMRC closure plans (28 Apr) – In response to a damning report which says HMRC has yet to demonstrate it has a realistic plan for its proposed wholesale restructure, PCS calls on the government to rethink its approach to tax collection, stop office closure plans and properly resource HMRC. The report by the influential parliamentary public accounts committee published today is highly critical of HMRC’s plans to reduce its 170 offices nationwide to 13 large regional hubs in city centres at the cost of thousands of jobs read more
BMW engine makers strike and protest as pension dispute deepens (2 May) – Striking car workers, making engines for the German car giant BMW at Hams Hall in the West Midlands, will be staging a protest outside the plant tomorrow (Wednesday 3 May) as the fight to stop BMW’s ‘pension robbery’ continues. Tomorrow’s protest at Hams Hall, Canton Lane, Coleshill B46 1GB starts at 12:30 and coincides with a 24 hour strike involving BMW Hams Hall workers which starts earlier in the day at 06:00. Hundreds of workers are expected to down tools tomorrow in the third of eight 24 hour stoppages which have, so far, involved members of Unite working at BMW plants in Cowley, Hams Hall in the West Midlands and Swindon. The unprecedented wave of strikes over BMW’s plans to close the final salary pension scheme will see Rolls-Royce car workers at Goodwood, near Chichester join the strike action later this week when they hold a 24 hour stoppage on Friday 5 May read more. Send donations and messages of support via [email protected]
Support striking Fujitsu workers – Workers at Basingstoke, Belfast, Birmingham, Bracknell, Crewe, Edinburgh, London, Manchester, Stevenage, Wakefield and Warrington have taken 10 days of strike action in a dispute centred on pay, pensions, job security and union recognition – and takes place against a background of Fujitsu’s plans to axe and offshore 1,800 jobs in the UK read more on Fujitsu dispute page. Send a message of support to [email protected] or Unite the Union, Fujitsu MAN34, Central Park, Northampton Road, Manchester, M40 5BP. Join the national day of action by organising a protest outside Sainsbury’s stores on the next 2 strikes days Thursday May 4th and Friday May 4th details. More strikes are on May 8,11 and 12
Donations payable to “Manchester IT Workers Group” can be sent c/o John Wood, 50 Brooklyn Street, Crewe, CW2 7JF. Or transfer online to Account: 00980539, Sort Code: 30-91-48 and email [email protected] with details. Follow and promote the campaign on social media using #FujitsuFightback. www.facebook.com/uniteatfujitsu www.twitter.com/unitefujitsu picket line details
Mixed Fleet cabin crew re-ballot: 90% vote for more strikes!! Keep supporting the workers! – Send messages of support and donations (make cheques out to Unite the Union and write ‘Mixed Fleet Hardship Fund’ on the back) to: Unite the Union, Ron Todd House, 33-37 Moreland Street, London EC1V 8BB. Tweet support to @MFUnite
Scottish UNISON members to be balloted for industrial action (28 April) – Voting opens 5 May & closes 30 May. Following one of the highest returns in a full membership consultation, UNISON members voted overwhelmingly to REJECT the Employers’ offer (77.6% of those voting). On this basis a decision was taken to proceed to a full Industrial Action ballot. Members have sent a clear message to say they have had enough of years of below inflation pay rises read more
Derby Teaching Assistants have ended their 10-month dispute against 23% pay cuts after members voted to accept a new offer from the council. Their colleagues in Durham who have also been taking action against similar attacks marched on March 25th
Donate to the Durham TAs’ fund here
Durham TAs Facebook page here
Support the Kinsley School cleaners in Wakefield on indefinite strike since September 6th – Facebook Group. Donate to strike fund – send to Wakefield Unison, 18 Gills Yard, Wakefield WF1 3BZ
Hinkley Point Strike Looms (May 2) – Construction of multi-billion pound nuclear reactor could now be delayed. GMB and Unite have today begun balloting members over industrial action at the £18 billion Hinkley Point nuclear power station. The two unions are holding a consultative ballot of the 700-strong workforce preparing groundwork at the Somerset site. The ballot will run until Friday with the result expected early next week. The dispute centres on the failure of the BYLOR consortium, made up of the French company Bouygues TP and Laing O’Rourke, to pay the bonus rate predicated in the HPC Civil Construction agreement. The other employer Keir Bam is currently not at the negotiating table read more
Dignity At Work For McDonald’s Staff (April 26) – Staff should have 40 hour contracts, pensions and sick pay says union. GMB has called for proper dignity at work for 115,000 McDonald’s workers on precarious zero hours contracts. The fast food giant is to give staff the option of moving from zero hours to fixed contracts with a minimum number of guaranteed hours every week read more
POA condemn Theresa May’s government (27 Apr) – The POA today condemn the current Government led by Theresa May in failing to listen to the concerns of this trade union and effectively leaving staff and prisoners to operate in a war zone, fuelled by drugs, violence and squalid conditions.The Government have at their best been inept at dealing with rising violence and safety issues within our Prisons. The POA believe they have failed in their duty of care
BFAWU force McDonald’s to scrap zero-hour contracts read more from Guardian
Blackpool needs a pay rise: £10 now! – Launch Saturday May 13th from 10am Savoy Hotel Queen’s Promenade, Blackpool FY2 9SJ. Blackpool Fylde & Wyre Trades Union Council is organising a campaign aimed at improving pay and calling for investment to create long term employment opportunities available in the Blackpool and Fylde area. We are joining the call for the minimum wage to be a real living wage of at least £10 an hour and will be working with Fight for 10 and fast food rights amongst others to win for all in our community read more
Reinstate Kumaran Bose – sacked by Samworths! The NSSN is supporting the BFAWU’s campaign in support of Kumaran Bose who was dismissed for speaking out and for organising a union in his workplace read more Facebook group BFAWU Statement On Samworth Brothers’ Sacking Of Kumaran Bose
Sign petition: reinstate Indro Sen immediately – Indro Sen, a maths lecturer and trade union branch officer at the College of North West London (CNWL) has been dismissed for actions in assisting a former colleague at an employment tribunal case. He was voted by students as the most popular teacher, 2014-15. We demand that the College Governors and Senior Management Team reinstate Sen immediately sign here
Students step in to host union meeting banned by Manchester Metropolitan University (26 April) – The University of Manchester’s Students’ Union has stepped in at the last minute to host a Manchester Metropolitan University staff meeting tomorrow. The students agreed to host the meeting after Manchester Metropolitan University slapped a controversial last-minute ban on UCU holding a meeting on its campus, as a dispute over job losses intensified. UCU said the ban was an “unprecedented and worrying move that flew in the face of academic freedom”. The meeting was due to take place tomorrow (Thursday) in the Business School at Manchester Metropolitan University read more
Support the reinstatement of London Met union reps: Mark Campbell and David Hardman https://uculondonmet.wordpress.com/
Stop education cuts rallies:-
London – Thursday May 18, assemble 5pm Old Palace Yard opposite Parliament
Newcastle – Saturday May 27, assemble 12.30pm Grey’s monument
College Lecturers To Strike And Call For Scottish Government To Act (2 May) – The EIS has confirmed that FE college lecturers will strike tomorrow (Wednesday) in the second day of action in an ongoing dispute. After the EIS offered two meetings last week to attempt to reach a resolution, the union was pleased that the management side finally agreed to meet today (Tuesday) for further talks. While the EIS entered into today’s talks in good faith in the hope of a resolution, the strike action will go ahead tomorrow as no agreement was reached in today’s discussions. Thousands of Further Education Lecturers in colleges across Scotland went on strike on Thursday last week over the refusal of College Management to honour a deal on pay and conditions that was reached more than a year ago read more
Time to end the pay freeze (April 26) – Firefighters face many more years of real-terms pay cuts if the Westminster government gets its way, says Paul Hampton Head of Research at the Fire Brigades Union read more Firefighters welcome Labour pledge to end pay cap
May Day Picturehouse strikes: Giant THUMBS UP for the all the support we received at the London May Day Workers Rights Rally yesterday, with plenty more on the picket at Picturehouse Central. Big up to East Dulwich Picturehouse Living Wage who’s rep Ben gave a great speech to the thousands of people gathered in Trafalgar Square. Go Ben! And much love to the ‘Poets on the Picket Line’ for their generous donation to our strike fund – we really couldn’t afford missing work for all these strikes without it. Thankyou Thankyou! Taken from Brixton Ritzy Facebook Page – also look at the Facebook pages of Hackney, Crouch End, Central, Duke of York Brighton and Dulwich East Picturehouse cinema strike spreads Support the Picturehouse Strike Fund – donate now
Massive turnout in Brighton May Day carnival protest in support of Deliveroo riders and other precarious workers (May 2) – Over a hundred people marched through the streets of Brighton in support of precarious workers – including Deliveroo riders – and demanding an improvement in their working conditions read more
United Voices of the World union
Cleaners at the LSE vote to strike every single week indefinitely until victory! (April 28) – Cleaners at the LSE have today voted to take further strike action following the LSE’s failure to concede their claim for parity of terms and conditions of employment with in-house staff, or make any offer of settlement. The cleaners have voted to strike one day a week, every week, forever, until the LSE sees sense and concedes their demands. The first day of renewed strike action will be on 10th May 2017 and will continue one day a week, every week thereinafter read more
Please consider making a donation to LSE cleaners’ strike fund – http://www.uvwunion.org.uk/justiceforlsecleaners/
Support the Irish anti-water charge protestors who are facing trial for a protest in Jobstown
Please send messages of protest: https://sites.google.com/view/jobstownnotguilty/ https://www.facebook.com/Jobstown-Not-Guilty-1056889327677242/
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.
Blacklist Support Group financial appeal: the Blacklist support group is desperately short of funds, to continue the incredible work 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)
Support Frank Morris who has been thrown off a job AGAIN after previously being sacked and blacklisted on the Olympics and Crossrail projects for being a member of a trade union. This time it’s the electrical contractor W.Portsmouth, working with the employment agency 1st Step Solutions – an agency notorious for blacklisting practises. Frank will be protesting every day outside W. Portsmouth’s biggest contract, weapons manufacturer MBDA in Stevenage, until he gets his job back. Watch Reel News video:-
Blacklisting is a General Election issue (May 3rd)
Every political party in the General Election is claiming to be the voice of the workers. Blacklisted construction workers know the score.
- Labour pledges a public inquiry into blacklisting: That gets our vote!
This pledge was announced by John McDonnell in St.George’s Hall, Liverpool last week in front of the huge Blacklist Support Group banner.
- Article in today’s Morning Star exposing the failure of the ECGR and British courts to protect blacklisted workers and challenging political parties to grant basic employment rights to all workers in the UK. If workers rights cannot be protected by judges in the UK or the European Court of Human Rights then it is time to change statutory legislation.
- In the same week as the ECHR ruling above, blacklisted electrician Frank Morris, is sacked again. This time on an NHS hospital. Let’s hear candidates queue up to call for Frank Morris to be reinstated.
Reel News video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7iKhQdLpUm4&t=129s
New 59 page ruling from the undercover police public inquiry. Releasing the cover names of undercover police officers who spied on activists is a ‘priority’ but Lord Justice Pitchford allows Met Police another 12 months extension to carry out ‘risk assessments’ in preparation for more anonymity applications. But the police are not engaged in ‘delaying tactics’, oh no.
Victims boycott Scottish police internal investigation
Scottish activist spied on by police seeks judicial review to win a Scottish inquiry
Other than John McDonnell and Jenny Jones, most politicians have been surprisingly quiet about the spycops scandal.
- May Day greetings from the Blacklist Support Group to all sisters, brothers & comrades fighting for their rights around the globe.
- Dates for the diary:
Friday 5th May – Blacklisted worker turned academic Dr Jack Fawbert speaking on Corporate Crime 7 Blacklisting at Anglia ruskin University in Cambridge
22nd May – Last day to register to vote in General Election
- And finally:
Congratulations to the blacklisted workers and rank & file activists elected to represent construction on the UNITE Executive Council Frank Morris, Royston Bentham, Tony Seaman & Joseph Pisano
Strasbourg decision prompts challenge to political parties to change UK laws to protect agency workers
Following a decision in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg released this week, campaigners are challenging politicians to provide legal protection to agency workers. The ruling in the case of Smith v. the United Kingdom (Application Number 54357/15) was handed down by ECHR President, Kristina Pardalos, relates to Dave Smith, an engineer from Maldon in Essex, who was one of thousands of construction workers who appeared on the notorious Consulting Association blacklist operated on behalf of the UK’s major building contractors. Smith was blacklisted after he being elected as a safety representative for the construction UCATT (now part of UNITE).
His Employment Tribunal against various companies in the Carillon Group became a test-case for blacklisted workers but the Strasbourg decision has implications far beyond just the construction industry. At the original Employment Tribunal, the company admitted that their senior managers had provided information to the blacklist because Smith was a union member who had raised concerns about safety issues on their projects. But the ET found against Smith because as an agency worker he was not covered by UK employment law. Millions of agency workers are currently excluded from basic employment rights such as unfair dismissal, redundancy and protection from victimization for raising safety issues.
Smith’s legal team appealed the case all the way to the Court of Appeal before it was finally rejected at the Supreme Court. A submission was made to the European Court of Human Rights arguing that the Consulting Association blacklist conspiracy was a violation of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which are supposed to apply to everyone not just direct employees.
Paragraph 36 of the ECHR judgement reads:
“At the outset, the Court considers that in light of the criminal proceedings pursued against the Chief Officer of the Consulting Association by the Information Commissioner for failing to register as a data controller under the Data Protection Act and the admissions made by the defendant companies in the High Court proceedings, it is clear that the retention of personal data by the CA interfered with the applicant’s Article 8 rights”. However, because of the campaign led by the Blacklist Support Group alongside the UNITE and GMB trade unions, which resulted in a Select Committee investigation and a multi-million pound settlement in High Court litigation, the ECHR ruled that Smith’s case had been ‘duly considered’ by the British legal system and was therefore declared ‘inadmissible’.
While Smith was paid compensation during the High Court settlement, the ECHR ruling leaves the issue of the second class treatment of agency workers by UK employment law completely unresolved. If even a blacklisted worker whose human rights have been infringed cannot win legal redress in either the UK Employment Tribunal system or the highest court in Europe, what chance do care workers, teachers or nurses engaged via employment agencies stand? The current differential treatment of agency workers amounts to a EU sized loophole by which unscrupulous bosses can exploit agency workers with absolute impunity.
John Hendy QC represented Smith in his test-case and commented on the ECHR decision:
“The use of agency workers and false self-employment now deprive several million workers from full employment rights. The use of employment tribunal fees defeats the rights of those workers who do have them. As Dave Smith’s case shows these problems cannot be left to the courts: they require urgent and fundamental legislation. The election provides the opportunity to vote on this issue”.
After receiving the decision, Dave Smith commented:
“This ECHR decision is a green light to bad employers. If UK and EU judges either can’t or won’t protect agency workers. I challenge all political parties in the General Election to commit themselves to extending full employment rights to the millions of workers engaged via employment agencies. In an era of zero hours contracts and casualisation, this is a defining issue for any politician claiming to stand up for workers rights”.
Gail Cartmail, UNITE Assistant General Secretary stated:
“As this disappointing decision is being digested we know the paucity of legal protection from blacklisting means that third parties are instructing “do not engage” or if an activist slips through the net, dismiss. Tomorrow is International Worker’s Memorial Day when we will mark 43 construction workers death from April 2015 to April 2016. In the past and today major players in construction have singled out trade union activists for raising legitimate safety concerns. We need a full Public Inquiry and it is good to know this is a Labour pledge. Remember the dead and fight for the living.”
UNITE member, Terry Brough, was the only other blacklisted worker to have a case submitted to the ECHR. His case was ruled ‘inadmissible’ in September 2016. Brough commented:
“I extend my solidarity, respect and best wishes to Dave and his team in this, his latest involvement in the fight for justice. Blacklisted workers have not achieved justice through the courts: Corbyn should pledge a full public inquiry on the blacklisting scandal”.
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Turkey: Erdogan and the AKP government claim victory in rigged referendum read press release from Solidarity with the People of Turkey
Cambodia: Brewery giant Carlsberg seeks to punish union for defending workers’ rights read more
24 Tamil Solidarity: Solidarity Day 10.30am – 17.30pm. At Unite the Union, 128 Theobalds Rd, Holborn, London WC1X 8TN http://www.tamilsolidarity.org/solidarity-day-2/
1 11th annual NSSN Conference 11am in Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
8 Durham Miners Gala www.durhamminers.org
14-17 Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival www.tolpuddlemartyrs.org.uk/festival
10 NSSN rally at TUC Congress
PHONE 07952 283 558
EMAIL mailto:[email protected]
TWITTER – https://twitter.com/NSSN_AntiCuts
ADDRESS NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE