NSSN 342: Support PCS EHRC strike & Crossrail Sparks down tools!

Our lead pieces this week highlight the struggles workers undertake – sometimes long ones – for what they believe in and know is right, whether strikes against governments and unscrupulous bosses or campaigning in the memory of those who lost their lives fighting capitalism.

PCS members at the Equality & Human Rights Commission (EHRC) HQ in London are receiving tremendous support from the public during their current week-long strike. This is part of a month of national rolling action against the sacking – by email! – of eight members of staff. The strikes which started in Glasgow last week move on to Cardiff followed by Manchester during general election week.

PCS EHRC London picket line
PCS EHRC London picket line

The PCS website reported:

“Friends and family and representatives from the National Shop Stewards Network joined striking members, and messages (or rather shouts!) of solidarity were received from the Unite reps on the building site next door to the Commission’s London office.  There were also visits from the GMB, the CWU and Battersea & Wandsworth TUC and messages of support have been sent by PCS comrades at the MOD, National Galleries, and the DWP”.

One of the strikers reported:

“The Commission was going through a restructure and part of that was cuts to save money. When the restructure began they wanted savings of £658,000 but at same time created three new management posts costing over £600,000 a year. The focus of job losses has been the lower grades. The number of case workers in the legal team dropped to three; now only four months later the Commission is hiring agency caseworkers. The Commission spent £90,000 in April on agency staff”.

The NSSN welcomes the commitment to the EHRC in the Labour Party manifesto and calls upon all supporters to do whatever they can to help, including passing motions of support and getting their union branches to make donations.

There is a PCS fundraising benefit for the strikers on Friday, 16th June from 7pm in The Bread & Roses pub, 68 Clapham Manor Street, London SW4 6DZ. Speakers include PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka and sacked EHRC striker Finola Kelly.


Strike action swept through Crossrail earlier in the week following victimisation of elected union reps. Hundreds of construction electricians downed tools at Canning Town, Mile End and Holborn after the employment agency On-Site refused to recognise 3 Unite stewards and a health and safety rep on three Crossrail shafts. Workers claim they have been victimised by having their hours have been reduced.

Construction workers Crossrail walkout November 25 2016
Construction workers Crossrail walkout November 25 2016

The main contractor is SRW – a joint venture between Skanska, Rashleigh, Weatherfoil. Scandinavia construction giant Skanska are one of the companies who admitted their involvement in the notorious Consulting Association blacklist in the High Court last year.

SRW issued letters to every worker withholding their wages and threatening them unless they returned to work and completed a 10-hour shift.

In better news, we are delighted to report that Frank Morris has been reinstated following six weeks of protests after his dismissal. Watch the video

Blacklisting is still a major issue in the construction industry. The NSSN and victimised workers everywhere will welcome the commitment in the Labour manifesto for a public enquiry into blacklisting.

Unite have called an emergency meeting for all Crossrail maintenance and engineering workers –  Tuesday 30th May, 6.30pm, Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, WC1R 4RL.


The NSSN is proud to publish an appeal from workers in Barcelona for a permanent memorial to record the sinking eighty years ago on 30th May of the Ciudad de Barcelona by fascist forces, taking down with it many European workers who had signed up to fight with the International Brigades against Franco.

We urge supporters to take the appeal letter into their union branches and raise donations but also to share details of the Facebook page to family, friends and work colleagues


NSSN sends our sympathy and solidarity to all those affected by the attack in Manchester on Monday night. We salute the incredible selfless efforts of emergency and transport workers and the many ordinary people who offered food, shelter and transport. We support the call by many unions for unity rather than division in communities and workplaces



NSSN news

The NSSN supports Jeremy Corbyn’s Workers’ Charter. We have produced a bulletin which we encourage our supporters to take into their workplaces. Email us on [email protected] to get some.

Watch NSSN video on Jeremy’s ‘Workers Charter’

Come to the 11th annual NSSN Conference. Saturday 1st July 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. Speakers include: Len McCluskey Unite General Secretary (invited), Ronnie Draper BFAWU General Secretary, Steve Gillan POA General Secretary, Chris Baugh PCS Assistant General Secretary, Sean Hoyle RMT President, Linda Taaffe NSSN National Secretary, Rob Williams NSSN National Chair

This is a video of the NSSN TUC Congress Rally on 11 September 2016 – 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.

Download the ‘Join the NSSN’ leaflet here


Union news in brief


Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary, said:

“In light of the horrific bombing in Manchester last night, and the heightened safety and security alerts on our transport services, RMT’s executive has taken the decision to suspend the 24 hours of strike action scheduled for Tuesday 30th May on Merseyrail, Northern Rail and Southern Rail.

“Our thoughts and solidarity at this time are with the people of Manchester.”

UNITE Strike ballot looms at St Barts over jobs, pay and working conditions

Unite has given notice to Serco that members working as domestic staff, porters and security workers at St Barts NHS Trust will be balloted for industrial action in a dispute over pay, job cuts and working conditions.

Workers are up in arms over Serco’s plans to cut 20 per cent of porters’ jobs at Whipps Cross Hospital. The company has also failed to respond to a pay claim for an above inflation (RPI) annual pay increase of an extra 30p an hour. Workers at the Trust have not had a pay increase above inflation for years. Serco has also increased workloads to unsustainable levels for cleaners across the Trust.

Unite regional officer, Gloria Sindall said: “After years of below inflation pay deals workers deserve a decent pay increase of an extra 30p an hour. Instead the company haven’t yet responded to the union’s fair demands.

“Staff are also opposing plans to cut the numbers of porters at Whipps Cross which will stretch services and lead to job losses. Cleaners have had their workloads increased to unsustainable levels across the Trust.  Hard working staff deserve fairer treatment and better pay.”

Unite members will be balloted across Whipps Cross University Hospital, Royal London Hospital, St Bartholomew Hospital and Mile End Hospital. Serco posted profits of more than £82 million for 2016 and its contract to provide services to Barts NHS Trust is worth £600 million. Unite gave Serco seven days’ notice of its intention to hold a strike ballot on Tuesday 23 May. The ballot opens on Tuesday 30 May.

UCU Strikes suspended at Manchester Metropolitan University

Following the attack in Manchester on Monday night, strikes planned for Wednesday and Thursday (24 and 25 May) at Manchester Metropolitan University by UCU members have been suspended.