358: Tory Party demo, Black History Month & NSSN Solidarity Forum


In this week’s NSSN bulletin, we headline some major events for your diary. On Sunday, thousands of trade unionists and anti-cuts activists will be heading to Manchester for the People’s Assembly demonstration outside the Tory Party Conference. We also have an article about Black History Month starting on October 1st in its 30th year, which we encourage our supporters to take part in. We also advertise a forum that we are putting on in Birmingham on Saturday October 21st to discuss how we build support and solidarity for fight to scrap the public sector pay cap and the other struggles taking place, including by the CWU in Royal Mail. As usual, details of that and other current disputes can be found in this bulletin.


People’s Assembly demonstration outside the Tory Party Conference – Sunday 1 October

No more austerity | scrap the pay cap, for decent health, homes, jobs & education = 12pm Castlefield Arena / Liverpool Road, Manchester. Click here for details


30th anniversary of Black History Month

A study by the TUC confirms that more than a third of black or minority ethnic workers (BME) have been subject to racism at work. Black History Month represents an opportunity to unite workers by allowing otherwise marginalised groups the chance to learn and share their histories with colleagues and in doing so generate solidarity. Trade Unionists have an important role to play in learning from the past to ensure all workers unite to eliminate racism in the workplace. 2017 marks 30 years of Black History Month in the UK and celebrates the contribution and achievements of Black people as well as important events in the history of the Asian and African Diaspora.

The original incarnation of Black History Month (Negro History Week) was conceived by Carter G Woodson in 1926 to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglas. Fast Forward 61 years and the General Election of 1987 saw the appointment of the first 4 Black MPs (Dianne Abbott, Keith Vaz, Bernie Grant and Paul Boateng). Around the same time the Scarman Report made recommendations in the shadow of race riots across the country and notably in Brixton, Toxheath and Tottenham. In 1987 the concept of Black History was developed by Akyaaba Addai-Sebo, a special projects officer at the GLC. Relying on the Race Relations Act 1976 and with the support of GLC, politicians, community activists and senior officers at London Strategic Policy Committee Addai-Sebo coordinated the first official Black History Month event on October 1, 1987. UNISON will be holding an open event “Celebrating the Journey of Black Trade Unionism” on 20th October 2017. On 10th October 2017 You can join Rod Ramdin at the British Library on “The Making of the Black Working Class” or take in “Pen: Chant Protest & Revolution” in Manchester on 24thNovember. For a full listof events nationwide go to www.blackhistorymonth.org.uk

By Marvin Hay – Hackney Unison joint branch secretary (personal capacity)

Unite strike rally at Royal London July 4th
Unite strike rally at Royal London July 4th

National Shop Stewards Network Solidarity Forum – 12noon-4pm Saturday October 21st Birmingham and Midland Institute, 9 Margaret St, Birmingham B3 3BS – more details to follow.  Facebook event




CWU sends out National Industrial Action Ballot of over 100,000 members in Royal Mail Group – watch video of CWU Deputy General Secretary Postal speaking at NSSN TUC Rally on September 10th here (after 1 hour 25 minutes) and then watch all the rally speakers!

CWU RM logo


NSSN news

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]




Union News


Britain still needs a pay rise – TUC Parliamentary Lobby and Rally

Date:  Tuesday 17 October

NEW TIME!!: 6.30pm

Venue: Parliament Square   https://www.tuc.org.uk/events/britain-still-needs-pay-rise-rally-fair-pay-public-servants

There is a London feeder march which is assembling at 5:30pm opposite Downing Street

Scottish ‘Pay Up Now’ march & rally Edinburgh 11.30am Saturday October 7th Johnston Terrace read more on Unison Scotland website

Local ‘Britain still needs a pay rise’ events here



29 September: organising your pay protest – Ahead of the PCS payday protests against the 1% public sector pay cap on Friday (29) read our tips to make the day a success where you work. We are organising a range of activities for members to get involved in our pay campaign including payday protests, in every civil service workplace in the UK on 29 September. PCS continues to campaign for the cap to be lifted and all members to be given a rise of 5% or an increase of £1200, to start rectifying years of politically-driven pay restraint. This government is weak and divided – particularly around the issue of public sector pay – so this is a great opportunity to show your support through public protests and finally get the pay cap lifted. The government is on the back foot and making concessions on the pay cap for senior civil servants, police and prison officers. But, we must not let them divide public sector workers. The Scottish Government say it will scrap the cap next year, but has not said how it will invest in pay or whether there will be real pay increases for our members in the devolved sector. More protests, involving members from more departments, will take place in the run-up to the budget on 22 November and we are holding a consultative pay ballot from 9 October to 6 November to ask members what action they would support, including industrial action, to break the cap read more

PCS pay day protest outside Treasury with President Janice Godrich, Vice-President Zita Holbourne and Assistant General secretary Chris Baugh
PCS pay day protest outside Treasury with President Janice Godrich, Vice-President Zita Holbourne and Assistant General secretary Chris Baugh

Eastern Avenue strike results in promise of talks (25 Sep) – As members at the jobcentre in Sheffield took their fifth week of strike action last week senior management has agreed to meet with reps read more

How you can help:

  • Support the picket lines at 19 Eastern Avenue, Sheffield S2 2FZ
  • Send messages of support to [email protected]
  • Make a donation for this and all strikes to defend jobcentres and DWP offices to our fighting fund online or by cheque to PCS DWP Group, 3rd Floor, Town Centre House, Merrion Centre, Leeds LS2 8LY For all strikes to defend jobcentres and DWP offices

Further consultation on redundancy cuts announced (27 Sep) – PCS is disappointed that the Cabinet Office has chosen to re-open consultation over cuts to civil service redundancy pay – the Civil Service Compensation Scheme. In July, the High Court ruled that in 2016, PCS had been unlawfully excluded from negotiations on proposal to cut the CSCS. The court quashed the 2016 CSCS, which meant that the more generous 2010 terms applied. This means that many civil servants made redundant since November 2016 will benefit from higher redundancy pay. The Cabinet Office was granted grounds to appeal the decision, but has now withdrawn that appeal, announcing today (25 September) that they plan to consult unions over the next 6 weeks on further cuts to the compensation scheme read more



RMT “SOS 2020” shipping protest in Hull on Saturday 30 Sept – Shipping union RMT will be holding an event which will promote the aims and objectives of the union’s national SOS 2020 campaign in Hull this Saturday as follows: Saturday 30th September, 10am-4pm outside Hull Maritime Museum, Queen Victoria Square, Hull HU1 3DX read more

Preparations well under way for strike action in four separate disputes over rail safety (25 Sept) – RAIL UNION RMT said that preparations are well under way for strike action in four separate disputes over the threat to guards and safety as private train operators press ‎ahead with plans to extend Driver Only Operation – putting private profits before public safety. The strike action will take place on Tuesday 3rd October and Thursday 5th October in disputes on Southern, Northern, Merseyrail and Greater Anglia. The balloting process is also underway in a further dispute on South Western Railway. Pickets will be out in force in all of the disputes and will be taking the message to the public that the axing of the guards is part of a co-ordinated strategy driven by the Government as they push for a faceless railway dominated by a lethal combination of staffing cuts and private profiteering read more


National dispute fund (DOO disputes) – If you would like to donate to the RMT National Dispute Fund which makes payments to support their striking members taking part in National DOO disputes then you can donate via PayPal using the donate button below or make a cheque payable to RMT National Dispute Fund and send it to the address below. Alternatively, you can ring their Freephone helpline on 0800 376 3706 who will be happy to process a credit card payment for you, or, if you would like to pay via internet banking, please email [email protected] for further details. Vicky Thompson, Finance Manager RMT, 39 Chalton Street, London NW1 1JD. Tel: 020-7529-8843

Demo: Justice for Tube cleaners – end outsourcing DEMONSTRATION, THURSDAY 12 OCTOBER 9:00, Thursday 12 October Where: City Hall, The Queen’s Walk, SE1 2AA – London Underground has recently consolidated its major cleaning contracts into a single contract, predictably sold to the lowest bidder, American firm ABM. As with previous cleaning contracts, the main contractor, ABM, will outsource a significant proportion of the work to labour supply agencies such as AGS People, who pressure cleaners into registering as “self-employed”, or “limited liability companies” of one person, in order to avoid upholding their statutory rights. Cleaners have no company sick pay, and unlike other Tube staff, do not have travel passes to allow them to freely use the system they help run read more   Facebook event

RMT demands equal offer for all grades on Virgin West Coast (22 Sept) – RAIL UNION RMT demanded a suitable equal offer for its Virgin West Coast members to that received by drivers ahead of pay talks with the company today, otherwise it will ballot for industrial action. Virgin have agreed a deal for drivers to buy out their claim for a one hour reduction in the base working week without loss of pay by giving an additional £500.00 on their basic salary, which is pensionable, whilst asking RMT to enter into self-financing arrangements read more

RMT on TfL’s Uber ruling (22 Sept) – TAXI UNION RMT today welcomed Transport for London’s ruling that Taxi app firm Uber will not be issued with a private hire operator licence renewal read more   Unite  and GMB on Uber



Tube drivers vote to strike – ASLEF members on London Underground have voted overwhelmingly for strike action in an industrial dispute with the company read more



Doncaster braced for Christmas bin strikes as Unite ballots for strike action (27 Sept) – Unite has confirmed that it will ballot Doncaster’s refuse workers for strike action, which will affect bin collections later this year and over the Christmas period, in a dispute over job cuts. Suez the private contractor which operates the refuse collection contract on behalf of Doncaster council is set to slash the number of workers on the contract making 106 redundancies out of a total workforce of 258 workers. The job cuts will come into effect before the company’s new refuse contract agreed by Doncaster council, comes into effect in March 2018. Strikes on the refuse contract were called off in August after Suez made an improved pay offer to the workforce and agreed to talks at the conciliation service Acas, over the proposed redundancies. Unite entered the Acas talks with a red line that the union would not agree to any compulsory redundancies of the permanent refuse staff. Suez has refused to meet this condition. The proposed job losses currently include 50 permanent workers being made compulsorily redundant read more

Unite announces Capita strike over pensions (21 Sept) – On the day that Capita has announced its half year results (Thursday 21 September)  Unite, the union representing staff at Capita, has said that staff have voted ‘Yes’ in a strike ballot and will be taking part in industrial action. Capita is attempting to close the current defined benefit scheme and transfer staff to a defined contribution scheme. Staff at Capita have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action in a ballot calling on their employer to give them a decent pension. In the industrial action ballot 95 per cent of members voted for strike action, on a turnout of 72 per cent. Unite has now informed Capita that Unite members will be taking six continuous days of strike action starting on Thursday 5 October 2017. Unite conducted an industrial action ballot following the proposal to close the current defined benefit scheme read more

Battling canteen staff at oil giant hail pay victory (21 Sept) – Battling canteen staff at the Fawley oil refinery in Hampshire have achieved an inflation-beating pay rise of three per cent. Unite, the country’s largest union which represents the 20 canteen staff employed by Baxterstorey, hailed the deal today (Thursday 21 September) as a victory for ‘the courageous stand’ that the women had made. The union said that the pay award of three per cent, backdated to 1 July this year, was inflation-beating, given that the current consumer price index (CPI) is running at 2.9 per cent read more

Unite secures High Court ruling halting Birmingham refuse worker redundancies (20 Sept) – Unite called on Birmingham city council to honour the Acas agreement and resolve the Birmingham bin dispute after the High Court ruled in the union’s favour. Send messages of support via [email protected] and donations to Unite the Union, 9-17 Victoria St, West Bromwich B70 8HX

First Manchester buses on strike every Monday during October at Bolton and Rusholme depots – A major bus drivers’ strike is set to cause disruption to passengers during EVERY MONDAY of October read more from Manchester Evening News

Support striking British airways Mixed Fleet cabin crew read more. Donate to hardship fund – account name: Mixed Fleet Branch, sort code: 60-83-01 account number: 20376387 ref: MFU or make cheques out to Mixed Fleet Branch and post along with messages of support to: Unite the Union, 99 New Road, Harlington UB3 5BQ. Send messages of protest to BA CEO Alex Cruz [email protected]. Follow @MFUnite on twitter

Support Argos warehouse workers – Unite members completed a 3 week strike on August 15 in Basildon in Essex, Bridgwater in Somerset, Castleford (West Yorkshire) and Heywood (Greater Manchester) and joined by workers at the Barton Business Park, Burton-on-Trent read more   Please send messages of support to [email protected]. Strike fund donations should be made payable to Unite the Union and sent to Paula Hutchinson, 37 Camden Road, Airedale, Castleford, WF10 3LY



Tulip Workers vote Unanimously for Industrial Action After Pay Row and Health and Safety Cuts (24 Sept) – the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) and Leicester Socialist Party attended an emergency branch meeting today for workers from Tulip, a food processing plant in Coalville. The members present voted unanimously to ballot for industrial action due to a series of abuses by their employers. This was after talks between Tulip and the Bakers’ Union (BFAWU) broke down read more from Leicester Socialist Party


Support the McDonalds workers who went on strike in Cambridge and Crayford on September 4th the NSSN was proud to support the historic strike by the BFAWU bakers union, the first in McDonalds in the UK on a global day of action by fast food workers. NSSN chair Rob Williams spoke on the Crayford picket and then again at the solidarity protest outside Parliament to give our solidarity and support to these exploited workers. Keep sending solidarity to the BFAWU, donate to the strike fund and also help the fund by buying a #McStrike t-shirt. More info on the Fast Food Rights/Hungry for Justice website



Derby Teaching Assistants update – IMPORTANT SCHOOL SUPPORT STAFF UPDATE: The People of Derby Deserve Better. Negotiations between Derby City Council and UNISON to end the long running schools disputes have ended after the council refused to make any offer on any area of the dispute. The council has not resolved any of these issues. read more   www.facebook.com/UnisonDerbyCityBranch


Durham Teaching Assistants: New year, same old deal – read more    For more info: www.facebook.com/TAsDurhamValueUs

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



GMB Members Employed by Sellafield Limited in Cumbria to Strike in Dispute Over Pay (Sept 26) – Members just want a fair pay rise, an end to the upstairs downstairs culture and a leadership that can deliver vision, growth and jobs for Sellafield and the surrounding areas says GMB. GMB, the union for nuclear members, has confirmed that its 3,000 members working at Sellafield Limited, in Cumbria, will go on strike tomorrow. The 24-hour industrial action begins at 6.01am on Wednesday September 27and ends at 5.59am on Thursday 28 September 2017 read more

Unions to ballot for strike action at Hinkley Point as pay offer rejected (Sept 21) – Construction workers employed at Hinkley Point have overwhelmingly rejected a pay offer in the longstanding dispute over pay and bonuses on the project. The unions concerned, GMB and Unite, will now go ahead with notifying the companies concerned of their intention of holding an industrial action ballot and then progress to ballot members for strike action read more



Picturehouse workers strike for 8 days of strike action at venues during the BFI London Film Festival – staff at the Hackney and Central cinemas will strike from 5pm on 6-8 October and from 11-15 October. (From Hackney Facebook page) “We will be outside the opening night event of the London Film festival in Leicester square on October 4th from 1730-1900. We will be picketing our work places each evening for the rest of the strike days. You can join our picket lines at Hackney and Central cinemas from 5pm on 6th-8th October and from 11th-15th October. The London Film Festival will make a lot of money for Cineworld at a time when many are taking part in a boycott of our cinemas. It is also a very clear message from the BFI and the Industry as a whole that they are willing to turn a blind eye to low pay and the sackings of trade union representatives. In short we feel the BFI has betrayed us” read more from the Guardian

Donate to the strike fund: https://www.crowdpac.co.uk/campaigns/250/picturehousestrike

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.



NUJ victory on equal pay for journalists in World Service and Monitoring (26 Sept) – After years of campaigning for pay parity for journalists in the World Service and Monitoring, the NUJ today welcomed the findings of the BBC’s pay review which will see significant pay rises for the vast majority of journalistic staff in the services read more



UCU response to 1% pay offer for further education staff (20 Sept) – UCU has said today that the employers’ pay recommendation of 1%, or £250 for the lowest paid staff, fails to address the immediate hardship facing dedicated staff in further education read more



NEU national lobby of Parliament October 24th against school funding cuts – on Tuesday 24 October the National Education Union will hold a mass lobby of Parliament to protest against education funding cuts. MPs will be asked to put pressure on the Chancellor to find the funding needed to reverse the cuts and invest in our children and young people, a month before he is set to deliver his budget statement read more



Fire service to increase North Yorkshire crew sizes after union outcry (22 Sept) – Fire crew sizes for a fleet of controversial small fire vehicles in North Yorkshire will increase as a result of pressure from the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) read more

Avon firefighters burning with fury at plans to move memorial to fallen colleagues (22 Sept) – Firefighters in Avon are raging at plans to dig up a memorial to fallen firefighters in Bristol City Centre and move it to a remote location near Portishead. The memorial statue of a firefighter gazing up at the sky is currently located next to Temple Back fire station in the city centre. Under the controversial new plans, the beloved memorial will be dug up and shifted to a new ‘Police and Fire’ headquarters site where hardly anyone will be able to see it read more



Thomas Cook pilots’ union confirms strike tomorrow will go ahead following unsuccessful ACAS talks (22 Sept) – The British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) has confirmed that despite lengthy talks with Thomas Cook Airlines via ACAS, an agreement is yet to be reached and therefore Saturday’s strike action will go ahead. Following the previous 12-hour walk out on 8th September – the first UK pilots’ strike in over 40 years – BALPA has been in several days of intensive negotiations with Thomas Cook under the auspices of ACAS. Pilots are striking over a failure to agree a pay and conditions deal, and there is frustration with the company’s stance during negotiations. As well as tomorrow’s strike, the pilots’ union has also announced two further 24-hour strike days on 29th September, and 6th October should an agreement not be reached read more



Read on page 5 of ‘NIPSA News’ how NIPSA is fighting to defend the facility time of leading elected lay reps, including President Carmel Gates and Maria Morgan



Demonstration and strike on September 27th: Precarious Labour Strikes Back – The NSSN took part in today’s IWGB precarious labour march through central London. Today, Uber will be appealing last year’s Employment Tribunal decision which awarded ‘worker’ status to Uber drivers. The lead claimants in this case are members of the IWGB. The march went through central London to the Employment Appeal Tribunal in support of their members and all Uber drivers, and to show ‘gig economy’ bosses, the courts and the British public that we will not lie down as our employment rights are taken away! The demonstration ended up at the University of London where security officers, receptionists, porters and post room workers in the IWGB are striking today over pay. On 12 September, the IWGB launched its “Back in House” campaign, as it demands that the University of London end outsourcing, implement pay rises promised six years ago and abolish zero hours contracts at the institution read more   see photos from today’s demo and strike


United Voices of the World union

UVW members who clean and polish the Ferrari and Maserati showrooms in South Kensington are set to strike for a living wage. They are currently paid the minimum, poverty wage. Following a Yes vote an indefinite strike is expected to commence on 9th October. There is a solidarity protest from 2pm this Saturday September 30th HR Owen Ferrari (South Kensington) Old Brompton Road, SW7 3RP Facebook event

Please make a donation to their strike fund if you can – https://www.uvwunion.org.uk/hr-owen/ UVW Facebook page



Other news

Protest the Tory Conference – Sunday October 1st in Manchester Facebook event


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)

Book http://newint.org/books/politics/blacklisted-secret-war/

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

Blog: www.hazards.org/blacklistblog

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

Donate to ReelNews – http://reelnews.co.uk/donationssubscriptions/




The nurses, midwifes, medical assistants and ODPs of Charité Hospital in Berlin announced a strike starting at Monday 18th of September. Two years ago they went on strike for eleven days and fought successfully for an agreement on staffing levels in the hospital which set an example nationally. (more information here: http://socialistworld.net/index.php/component/content/article?id=7257:Germany:-Indefinite-strike-for-more-staff-at-Charit#233;-hospital&catid=71&Itemid=114) However the Hospital avoided effective improvements as they were cheating in statistics or openly violating the agreement.

Still the nurses are overstrained. During the night 64 percent of nurses work alone on the ward. One in three nurses is on the line of burnout. In Germany on nurse is responsible for 10.3 patients. One of the worst ratios in Europe. The workers of Charité hospital and their union ver.di fight for binding staffing levels and more personnel. Please support the strike with messages of Solidarity. Messages by health care workers and unions are especially welcome. Photos could be printed out and presented at the picket.

Please send messages of solidarity to: [email protected] (copy to [email protected]) and/or the facebook page of the solidarity alliance https://www.facebook.com/ver.di.charite.buendnis/






30 Construction Safety Campaign (CSC) AGM is the 30th September – Ricky Tomlinson invited speaker



1 Protest the Tory Conference Facebook event

17 Britain still needs a pay rise: TUC Parliamentary Lobby and Rally, 4.30pm – 6pm for the rally (which follows a Parliamentary Lobby), Parliament Square   https://www.tuc.org.uk/events/rally-and-lobby-parliament-fair-pay-public-servants

21 National Shop Stewards Network Solidarity Forum – 12noon-4pm Saturday October 21st Birmingham and Midland Institute, 9 Margaret St, Birmingham B3 3BS

Stand up to Racism national conference: ‘Confronting The Rise In Racism’ – 10.30am – 4.30pm Friends Meeting House, Euston Road, London, NW1 2BJ www.standuptoracism.org.uk/stand-racism-national-conference



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