Education is becoming a major issue as the General election enters its final period. In Scotland, after six days of national strike action, lecturers in colleges have won a major victory in their fight for fair and equal pay and harmonised terms and conditions. Our first piece this week is a report on the win by a Scottish NSSN supporter. The second is a press release issued on May 28th by the NUT, ATL and GMB unions on the manifesto promises on school funding by the main parties.
Scottish Lecturers win!
The dispute was won as an escalation of the action was due to take place. The EIS FELA union refused to call off their action as demanded by the SNP’s education minister, John Swinney, who in a statement to parliament attacked the union and its members and claimed their action was harming students.
The SNP have shown yet again their hostility to workers taking strike action, as was the case in last years RMT dispute with ScotRail.
A 96% vote for strike action, mass lobbies of parliament and well-attended picket lines, as well as support from students, were an illustration of the determination of the lecturers to fight for their case.
They demanded that the management “Honour The Deal” that was agreed after last years strike action which resulted in pay equalisation and increases and nationally agreed terms and conditions. Management had reneged on the agreement and this led to the new round of strike action.
Students were overwhelmingly supportive of the lecturers action. As one of the organisers of the student rally in Glasgow in support of the lecturers commented’ “This is a fight so our lecturers can have proper time to prepare our classes and work. This is about cuts. They want to save money rather than give us a decent education.”
Larry Flanagan, general secretary of the EIS union, said: “We have reached a position where Colleges Scotland have agreed to Honour the Deal. This is a significant victory for our members and it means that the employers will move immediately to implement Phase 1 of the pay agreement. The breakthrough came on the back of an agreement on teaching hours for the sector.
“Crucially, a no detriment clause has been agreed for all current lecturers; for new starts it will be a maximum of 23 plus 1 (management wanted 24 hours class contact time plus two hours of cover per week) . Where members currently have 24 or 24 plus, they will migrate to the lower levels from next term.
“Members are thanked for their magnificent support and solidarity throughout this campaign. Your action has secured this win which will see equal pay delivered across the sector and create equitable common terms and conditions for the sector moving forward. It will also inspire other public sector workers fighting for fair pay. “
A Glasgow college lecturer told us: “Reports in the media, particularly on the BBC focused on lecturers taking strike action over holiday entitlement and when a 9% pay increase has been agreed.
“For the majority of lecturers it is 0-6% over three years. Some members have been underpaid for years.. The attack to holiday entitlement is a cut in colleagues hourly rate due to the additional hours worked.”
This victory should be a first step in a mass fightback against the business model in colleges and education linked with the fights against cuts and privatisation across the public sector.
Coordinated national action is needed by the trade unions, especially with Scottish Unison council workers balloting to take strike action for fair pay
Election Promises On School Funding – – Do The Party Pledges Cut It?
Today’s major re-launch of the School Cuts website shows what the manifestos of the main political parties will mean for every individual school in England. Building on recent analyses by the Institute of Fiscal Studies and the Education Policy Institute, the interactive map at http://www.schoolcuts.org.uk makes it possible to see what the party pledges look like at a local level, not just as national statistics.
With less than two weeks to the General Election this is a critical time for schools and colleges. We don’t know who will win the election but we do know what education funding will look like under each of the parties, should they be successful.
The ATL, NUT and GMB have updated the www.schoolcuts.org.uk website to reflect what the three main political party pledges on education funding will mean for education in England.
- The Conservative manifesto commitment will mean £1bn funding for schools. This would result in an £8.9 billion real terms cut, when taking into account inflation and growing pupil numbers, between now and 2021/22. The pledged £1bn would not in any case be new money – it is to be funded by cutting infant school free meals and other spending commitments.
- The Labour manifesto commitment will mean £4.8bn funding for schools. This would protect school funding in real terms per pupil, protecting schools against inflation.
- The Liberal Democrat manifesto commitment will mean £2.2bn funding for schools. This would give protection on 2017/18 funding levels, and would ensure that schools won’t lose in cash terms through the introduction of the National Funding Formula.
To get individual breakdowns of what school/college budgets will look like under the main parties use www.schoolcuts.org.uk . Simply enter your postcode and click on the schools in the area to get a breakdown of what a Conservative, Labour or Liberal Democrat government would mean for children and young people.
Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said:
“This election has to be in part a Vote for Education and candidates should be held to account for their parties’ manifesto promises on school funding. Every parent, teacher and school staff member knows the debilitating effect a chronic lack of money has for the quality and type of education schools can give to children and young people. Without sufficient funds schools will be forced to drop subjects from the curriculum, increase class sizes or cut staff numbers. Buildings are going unrepaired and begging letters to parents for money are all too common practice. We must do better.”
Dr Mary Bousted, General Secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said: “Schools are struggling to make ends meet, with tough choices on cutting staff, reducing subject choice, leaving equipment and buildings unrepaired, as well as dealing with less support for youngsters with special needs or mental health issues. Unless the next Government finds more money for schools, children’s education will suffer just at the very time we need to prepare for our country’s future. All schools need to be fully funded and the General Election gives everyone an opportunity to vote for education.”
Tim Roache, General Secretary of the GMB, said: “Our schools are being run into the ground and our kids are being denied the life chances they deserve, all because of government neglect and sustained cuts to school budgets. Our votes are our voice – it’s time to elect those who will fund our future, support our dedicated school support staff, and put the education of our children first.”
Sheffield day of action this Saturday June 3rd 12pm On The Moor – Fair Fund Sheffield @fair_fundsheff
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’
‘Unions for Corbyn’ – guerrilla video shoot: 7pm tonight Wednesday May 31st Parliament Square. From the organisers: “Do you fancy being in a video to show your support for workers’ rights in the Labour manifesto? We want union members to join us in Parliament Square in Westminster on Wednesday. Bring your flags, banners, musical instruments & mates – wear a union t-shirt. Share this everywhere” Facebook event
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. 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, Xaquín García Sinde Ganemos CCOO in Spain and Stephen Nugent from the Bus Eireann Irish strike
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. 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]
EHRC strike action moves to Wales (30 May) – Members based at the Equality and Human Rights Commission in Cardiff take their turn this week as part of the rolling programme of strike action. As the dispute over budgets, job cuts and sackings continues, strike action moved to Cardiff this week. The strike was solid and resulted in the office being completely closed. There was a picket line outside the building on St Agnes Road from 8.30 to 11.00 am attended by six members, plus one dog. There were solidarity visits to the picket line and members handed out leaflets to passers-by, several of whom expressed sympathy for the action. Despite intermittent drizzle, the pickets were in good spirits and are determined to keep up their presence there all week. How you can help:-
Attend a picket line in Cardiff this week or Manchester next week
Tweet to @savetheehrc and use #reinstatethe8 and #sackedbyemail
Send a message of support to [email protected]
Make a donation to our Fighting Fund which is used to support our members who take strike action and come to the fundraising social from 7pm on Friday 16 June at the Bread & Roses pub 68 Clapham Manor St, Clapham, London SW4 6DZ
Rates of pay and conditions of service 2017 – Offshore Contractors Association (OCA) (30 May) – do not waste your vote – return your voting paper, vote ‘yes’ for strike action & ‘yes’ for industrial action short of a strike read more
RMT balloting all Freightliner members at Coatbridge ‘over recent and historical allegations of bullying, threatening and aggressive behaviour by a Coatbridge manager towards staff’ (26 May) read more
Last chance to vote in Virgin West Coast industrial action ballot to defend Sister Pritiben Ray (25 May) read more
Birmingham council refuse workers in strike vote over cuts (31 May) – Refuse collection workers at Birmingham city council have started voting in an industrial action ballot today (Wednesday 31 May) amid accusations of financial mismanagement and an overspend by council bosses of £9.7 million. The members of Unite are angry over proposed job cuts to the city’s waste and refuse service and attempts by council bosses to tear up long standing agreements with Unite covering staffing levels and working patterns. Unite has been involved in a consultation with managers of Birmingham city council’s waste management and refuse service over the cuts, which bosses blamed on budget cuts and austerity measures. Unite has subsequently learned that the service overspent its budget by £9.7 million in the financial year for 2016. The ballot closes on Wednesday 14 June and raises the possibility of strike action and disruption to refuse collections in the summer months read more
Solid support on first day of Bostik pay strikes in Stafford (30 May) – Members of Unite, the UK’s largest union, have stuck together on the first day (Tuesday 30 May) of 11 days of scheduled strikes, in a dispute over pay, at the Stafford factory of Bostik the adhesive and sealant manufacturer. The workers are taking industrial action after being offered a pay increase of 2 per cent which is a real terms pay cut with. The retail price index (RPI) is currently at 3.5 per cent. The industrial action was only called after six months of pay negotiations failed to produce an offer which was at all close to members’ expectations Unite represents 130 hourly paid workers at the factory, with 97 per cent of members supporting industrial action read more
Argos loses High Court bid as warehouse strikes continue (26 May) – A High Court judgement thwarting a further attempt by the retail giant Argos to stop a two week strike was hailed as a ‘significant’ victory by Unite today (Friday 26 May), as it urged the company to stop trying to use the law to ride roughshod over workers’ legitimate concerns. Today’s ruling is the second to go against Argos and comes just over midway through a two week continuous strike in a dispute over jobs and terms and conditions which started on 17 May. Set to finish at 05:59 on Wednesday (31 May), the ongoing stoppage is causing disruption to store deliveries and involves approximately 1,400 warehouse workers at Argos distribution centres in Basildon, Bridgwater, Burton-on-Trent, Castleford, Heywood and Lutterworth read more
Unite holds consultative ballot on possible industrial action at Stanlow over pensions (30 May) – Essar Stanlow staff at the refinery plant in Ellesmere Port are being balloted for industrial action in a row over pensions. Unite started balloting over 350 of its members in the collective bargaining groups, who are also members of the Essar final salary pension scheme today (Tuesday 30 May), in a consultative ballot for industrial action. The ballot will close on Friday 9 June. Depending on the outcome, Unite will proceed to a full industrial action ballot immediately. The go-ahead for the consultative ballot was supported by 100 per cent of Unite members who attended two meetings on Monday 22 May. The dispute is about the company’s decision to increase members’ contributions to the final salary pension scheme following a pension consultation exercise read more
Devon glass companies’ pay dispute escalates with wave of new strikes announced (25 May) – The industrial harmony of rural Devon has been shattered as workers at two related glass products companies ramp up strike action. Workers at D B Glass at Newton Abbot will be joining staff working at Sierra Windows in Paignton on the picket line after voting overwhelmingly for strike action – both companies are part of the same Specialist Building Products group. A total of 44 workers at D B Glass – a leading manufacturer of insulated glass units – voted by 81 per cent for strike action, with the first of six 48 hour stoppages is due to start on Wednesday 7 June and then repeated on 14, 21 and 28 June, and 5 and 12 July. Meanwhile, employees at the sister company Sierra Windows will continue their rolling programme of strikes which started on 26 April. Unite today (Thursday 25 May) announced a further nine 48 hour strikes at the company, starting on Wednesday 31 May. There will be further 48 hours strikes scheduled for 7, 15, 22 and 29 June and then 5, 12, 19 and 26 July read more
Support AWE workers who are striking to defend their pensions – Send messages of support to [email protected]
Mears using Manchester pay rates to suppress wages (25 May) – Private contractor Mears, which is at the centre of the housing strikes in Manchester, has been discovered to be using the low rates on its Manchester contract, to suppress pay rates in other areas, such as Leeds, says Unite the UK’s largest union. Housing maintenance workers at Mears and joint venture company Manchester Working began their fifth day of strike action today (Thursday 25 May) in a dispute over pay differentials and attacks on conditions. Workers at the two organisations earn up to £3,500 a year less than other colleagues who undertake exactly the same work read more
Fujitsu dispute – Following talks Fujitsu has provided an offer (published by Unite on the Fujitsu intranet) to resolve the dispute over jobs, union recognition, pay and pensions. All industrial action is immediately suspending while members consider the offer. Amongst other things this means that you should complete timesheets normally. Unite is not encouraging members to complete the backlog of timesheets unless the offer is accepted. Unite is organising meetings at Fujitsu sites around the UK to discuss the offer and next steps – details here . If members support the approach set out in the offer, negotiations will take place while the action is suspended on an updated National Protocol Agreement to give more rights and facilities to members who don’t yet have union recognition and collective bargaining. The offer and the new National Protocol would then be put to the vote together, in early August. Alternatively, if members don’t support the approach set out in the offer, Unite could pull out of the discussions on an updated National Protocol and re-ballot members for further industrial action. Unite members across Fujitsu Services Limited in the UK started industrial action over jobs, union recognition, pay and pensions with ongoing action short of strike and strikes on 28 February; 17, 24, 27 March; 13, 20, 21, 24, 27, 28 April; 4, 5 , 8, 11, 12 May read more on Fujitsu dispute page
Unison tells Glasgow City Council it’s time to pay up following equal pay victory (30 May) – UNISON Scotland has won an equal pay victory today (Tuesday) which will affect thousands of low-paid workers in Glasgow. Women in Glasgow had been excluded from sizeable bonuses for many years. UNISON argued that while the claimants had been unfairly discriminated against before the new system was introduced, the council’s decision to continue the unequal pay was also discriminatory as it excluded women claimants from pay protection. The court’s judgement will be welcome news to the 6,000 claimants of which UNISON – Scotland’s largest public service union – represents 1,400 claimants read more
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
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
Manchester Metropolitan University staff to strike over jobs row (30 May) – UCU has announced today that its members at Manchester Metropolitan University on both the Manchester and Crewe campuses will walk out on strike for two days on Tuesday 20 and Wednesday 21 June. Two days’ strike action were originally planned for last week, but were cancelled after the attack on Monday night. The row is linked to job losses arising from the closure of the university’s Crewe campus read more
Lecturers in the UCU (University and College Union) have balloted for industrial action to protect learners’ education at Coleg y Cymoedd with 93% in favour of industrial action. Whilst already working to contract the first strike date is Thursday 15th June – The Further Education sector in Wales is in crisis and the increasing intensity of workloads, coupled with job and funding cuts are leading to low staff morale and affecting the quality of learners’ education. UCU members have drawn attention to workload, including lack of time to complete duties, such as quality assurance and also issues such as lack of adequate time for teaching Higher Education in Further Education and course tutorship; all of which are detrimental to learners’ education. No lecturer wants to take industrial action and, even at this late stage, UCU Coleg y Cymoedd hopes that College Management will recognise the damaging effects its proposals will have on both staff and learners and shift from its current intransigent position. Lecturer workload is driving the well-being of lecturers to the brink. It is damaging the lives of lecturers and their families. It is also damaging the education of learners. Management should be mindful that the working conditions of lecturers are the learning conditions of students. Please support UCU Coleg y Cymoedd on pickets and send messages of solidarity: e: [email protected], FB: @UCUColegyCymoedd, Twitter: @UCUCymoedd
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
Support the reinstatement of London Met union reps: Mark Campbell and David Hardman https://uculondonmet.wordpress.com/
Support the NUT London school strikes against cuts at Forest Hill Forest Hill in Lewisham and Plumstead Manor in Greenwich – Watch video of march & rally for Forest Hill School in Lewisham on April 22
Northumberland firefighters demand Tories keep election promises (24 May) – The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has vowed to hold the Conservatives to account for their promise to increase fire resources across Northumberland. The commitment was made in the run-up to the local elections earlier this month where the Conservatives became the biggest party on the county council. During the latest round of cuts to the service, Haydon Bridge fire station was closed and a fire engine was removed from West Hartford fire station read more
Picturehouse Cinema BECTU Members are going on strike again this weekend at Central (Piccadilly), Crouch End, Hackney and Ritzy: June 3rd and 4th! Also, Thursday June 1st Demonstration: No Sundance without the Living Wage! 6pm Picturehouse Central Facebook event
Picturehouse Staff BECTU members have been asking for the London Living Wage, recognition of our chosen trade union, adequate sick pay and maternity and paternity pay. Company management continue to refuse negotiations on these issues, despite an approach from the Acas conciliation service. Instead Picturehouse and owners Cineworld have focused their attention on employing expensive lawyers to threaten both us and our union. Cineworld made £93 million profit in 2016, while the CEO’s total pay package was worth over £2.5 million. They can afford to pay their staff properly. Because of the company’s refusal to even meet with us to discuss these matters we have been left with no option but to withdraw our labour. Six cinemas have now voted to strike for these demands. The movement is growing but the company is determined to keep cinemas open during strikes.
The strikes and demos will also be taking place in Crouch End, Brixton, Piccadilly and Hackney over the weekend. From 6pm we’ll be travelling on to Piccadilly to join the demonstration at Picturehouse Central, where Picturehouse are hosting the Sundance Film Festival. Keep supporting the Picturehouse workers: read the latest on Brixton Ritzy Facebook Page and those of Hackney, Crouch End, Central, Duke of York Brighton and Dulwich East Picturehouse cinema strike spreads Support the Picturehouse Strike Fund – donate now
United Voices of the World union
The cleaners at the LSE, all of whom are migrants and BAME workers, will be back out on strike on 1st & 2nd June for what will be their 6th & 7th days strike action – more than doubling the most number of strike days taken by any group of University cleaners in the UK before. All they are asking for is dignity and equality and despite waiting 8 months the LSE has still refused to concede either. Instead, they have offered derisory concessions, the latest amounting to:
-less than half the sick pay allowance of in-house staff;
-less than 2 weeks annual leave than in-house staff;
-less than 20% of maternity pay of in-hosue staff.
-no offer on pensions.
Despite the LSE’s lies, spin and disrespect the cleaners have remained more than patient and have repeatedly tried to amicably settle this dispute. However, they are clear that they will not be strung along with empty gestures from the LSE’s highly-paid managers and directors. Therefore these strikes will continue until victory Please consider making a donation to LSE cleaners’ strike fund – http://www.uvwunion.org.uk/justiceforlsecleaners/
Cleaners and Allied Independent Workers Union CAIWU
HSBC cleaners to strike at 8, Canada Square on June 6th – there will also be a public demonstration on the same day. See more on the CAIWU Facebook page www.facebook.com/caiwuunion
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)
Donate to ReelNews – http://reelnews.co.uk/donationssubscriptions/
Philippines: strike action looms as rights abuses continue at luxury Manila Peninsula Hotel read more
Iran: Esmail Abdi on hunger strike 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