362: PCS strikes against DWP closures & RMT DOO strikes

In this week’s bulletin, we headline with the continued action by PCS members against office closures in the Department for Work and Pensions. Also, for the 3rd time, Southern Rail management have put a divisive offer to train drivers in the dispute against Driver Only Operation (DOO). We call on ASLEF members to again reject this offer and open the way to joint action with the RMT, who have now called strikes against DOO in five train operators.



Now PCS members at Plymouth Old Tree Court benefit centre have voted to strike on 6 November in protest at the plans to close the benefit centre. An overwhelming majority of members voted in favour of striking with 76.9% supporting the strike. The 230 members in the benefit centre however have been told they must relocate to another office in Plymouth. However, due to the geography and the transport connections of the area, a large number of members will not be able to relocate to the proposed new office as it is well outside reasonable daily travel from their homes. This has left a significant number of members at risk of redundancy.

As well as these two offices, there have also been strikes at Hoylake and Whitley Bay job centres as part of the PCS DWP Group’s strategy to defend offices, jobs and public service.

PCS DWP Group President Fran Heathcote said, “With strikes like these, PCS is showing DWP management and behind them the Tory Government, that we will fight these vindictive closures that are to the detriment of our members and claimants alike.”

To support these strikes and all others by PCS in DWP:-

Send messages of support to [email protected]. Donations should be sent to PCS DWP Group, 3rd floor, Town Centre House, Merrion Centre, Leeds, LS28LY.

PCS DWP Group President Fran Heathcote on Sheffield Eastern Avenue picket line
PCS DWP Group President Fran Heathcote on Sheffield Eastern Avenue picket line

PCS consultative pay ballot – the consultative ballot on the pay cap and whether members are prepared to take industrial action to protest against it, opened on October 9th

The ballot runs from Monday, 9 October to Monday, 6 November and you can vote by post, email or phone.

If you have not received a ballot paper in the post or received details of how to vote online to your personal email address by 20 October you should request a replacement ballot paper by emailing [email protected].

The ballot asks two questions:

Do you agree that the pay cap should be scrapped; and that funds should be made available to provide you with an above inflation pay rise?

If the government refuse to scrap the pay cap, are you prepared to take part in industrial action? Read more    Join PCS by 27 October to vote on pay

31 October: organise your pay day protest

Video update from today’s CSCS talks (24 Oct) – General Secretary Mark Serwotka talks to members about the Civil Service Compensation Scheme talks that PCS was part of at the Treasury today



RMT announces strike action in separate disputes over the attack on the role of the guard and the extension of Driver Only Operation (24 Oct) – RAIL UNION RMT today confirmed strike action in November in separate disputes with train operating companies across the UK over attacks on the role of the safety-critical guard and the extension of Driver Only Operation in the name of increased profits. Members on Southern, Greater Anglia, South Western Railways and Island Line have been instructed to take action as follows:

Not to book on for any shifts between 00.01 hours on Wednesday 8th November and 23.59 hours on Thursday 9th November.

Members on Northern and Merseyrail have been instructed to take action as follows:

Not to book on for any shifts between 00.01 hours and 23.59 hours On Wednesday 8th November read more

RMT calls on Southern Rail staff to stand together and reject divisive and tainted company plan to destroy safety and access (24 Oct) – Rail union RMT today called on Southern Rail staff to continue to stand united and reject the latest company and government proposals to extend Driver Only Operation which would destroy the principles of safe operation and access to services for all. Staff on Southern Rail have stood together for nearly 20 months now in the teeth of attacks on the safety culture and have repeatedly rejected plans cobbled together by Southern/GTR, under the direction of the Government, which would give the green light to axing the second safety-critical member of staff from services at the whim of the bosses and which would leave disabled passengers stranded. RMT is calling on staff to maintain that sense of unity. In a letter to members today – below – RMT reveals that the latest tainted company deal on Southern Rail attempts to link the most blatant of attacks on safety to increased pay while rolling back the boundaries on Driver Only Operation on a scale not seen before in any of the earlier proposals. RMT is making it clear that the union will be campaigning for a rejection of the whole package 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



Support the Royal Mail workers: ‘Dispute postponed – not cancelled’ read more on CWU website



November 21st NSSN Solidarity Forum sends solidarity to CWU Royal Mail workers
November 21st NSSN Solidarity Forum sends solidarity to Royal Mail workers with CWU Postal Executive member Darren Glebocki

NSSN news

There was an excellent NSSN Solidarity Forum last Saturday in Birmingham.

Over 80 union reps and members discussed how to build support for the increasing number of disputes, including the CWU in Royal Mail, Unite at Birmingham bins, PCS in DWP, BFAWU in McDonalds and the fight to scrap the public sector pay cap. We also heard from campaigners fighting to keep the Derby Women’s Centre open. If you want to organise a similar event in your area, email us via [email protected] 

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]



Defending the NHS

This Saturday October 28 – National Demonstration and Rally in Barnsley Save Our NHS: fighting back to win. Assemble Barnsley Eastgate http://barnsley.streetmapof.co.uk/eastgate/ at 11.30. Speakers include: Justin Madders, Shadow Health Minister, Mike Forster, Hands Off HRI, Ellen King, Bassetlaw parents

Saturday November 4 Health Campaigns Together Conference in London. Early bird registration and travel concessions closes 23.30. 31st October. The link for online booking is www.healthcampaignstogether.com Lunch will be provided for all PRE-BOOKED delegates Early bird fee: £7.50 | After 31st October / On the door: £10 Concessions: £5 pre-booked (£7 on the door)  https://www.healthcampaignstogether.com/



Union News



First Manchester bus drivers ‘five miles and £5,000 apart’ (25 Oct) – Bus drivers, working for First Manchester Ltd, are being paid nearly £5,000 a year less than colleagues at a depot just five miles away, Unite has revealed. The drivers, based at the Rusholme depot, are earning as much as £95-a-week less than those working out of the Queen’s Road depot (just the other side of Manchester city centre) and have mounted a campaign of strike action running until the end of November in their bid for pay harmonisation…The drivers, who voted by an overwhelmingly 96 per cent for strike action, have already taken three 24 hour strikes, with the next one due on Monday 30 October. Further one day strikes are planned for 6, 13, 20 and 27 November read more

Cleaners announce strike action at Manchester Airport over low pay (20 Oct) – Low paid cleaners at Manchester Airport employed by Mitie Cleaning and Environmental Services have given notice that they intend to stage a series of escalating strikes in their campaign for fair pay. The workers will stage a series of nine strikes during November, December and the beginning of January (see notes to editors). Last month 100 per cent of the cleaners who took part in the industrial action ballot voted in favour of strike action. The first strike which begins on 3 November is for 24 hours but the duration of the strikes will increase with the final strike scheduled to begin on 18 December and end on 12 January read more

Fujitsu workers fight gagging of reps – IT giant Fujitsu may face more industrial action as members of Unite prepare to hold a ballot for further industrial action in their long-running dispute. Unite members in Fujitsu overwhelmingly rejected the company’s proposals by 92 per cent. Unite says that members saw the proposals as an attack on union organisation, restricting reps’ ability to communicate with staff. The union has also launched an online petition opposing what it calls the victimisation of Unite reps read more

Support Birmingham binworkers – send messages of support via [email protected] and donations to Unite the Union, 9-17 Victoria St, West Bromwich B70 8HX

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 – 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


Ireland: Iarnród Éireann/Irish Rail strike

Union Members at Iarnród Éireann announce a series of rolling 24 hour stoppages. JOINT PRESS RELEASE from NBRU, SIPTU, UNITE, TSSA and TEEU

“Following a meeting this afternoon, the Trade Union Group representing all workers at Irish Rail, in pursuance of a long overdue flat pay award, have decided to serve notice on the Company for the following series of industrial actions: 24 hour Work Stoppage full withdrawal of labour and the placing of pickets on Wednesday November 1st, Tuesday November 7th, Tuesday November 14th, Thursday November 23rd and Friday December 8th. The Trade Union Group will conduct reviews on an ongoing basis and may decide to escalate the action by way of increased frequency and duration. The responsibility for this dispute lies squarely with the CEO and his management team at Irish Rail. The treatment meted out to staff over the last number of months, and in particular the debacle which occurred at the WRC last evening, has been nothing short of contemptuous and will make a resolution to this dispute even more difficult, if not now impossible read more



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



Pay Up Now! – a serious campaign and it’s working, NEC hears (18 Oct) – UNISON executive receives update on work around pay and agrees next steps read more

Exeter hospital porters appeal for support – Porters taking action over management plans for 12-hour shifts appeal for donations to hardship fund.  Hospital porters in Exeter are gearing up for strike action this weekend over management attempts to move them onto 12-hour shifts – and asking for support from colleagues across the union. The porters at the Royal Devon and Exeter foundation trust are among some of the lowest-paid staff in the NHS, but 96% of them voted for industrial action, with a 24-hour strike due to start at 6am on Friday 20 October and an 8-hour follow-up strike from 10pm on Sunday 22 October 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



GMB Accuses Sellafield Management of Intimidation Ahead of Second Firefighters’ Strike (Oct 19) – Sellafield management’s campaign of intimidation is not helping negotiations and is making matters significantly worse says GMB. GMB, the union for nuclear workers, has accused Sellafield Management of intimidation ahead of the second firefighters strike today (October 19) read more

‘Traffic Chaos’ Warning As GMB Members at Arriva Walk Out Over Pay Dispute (Oct 18) – Yesterday inflation hit 3%, so this Arriva pay offer means a real terms pay cut for members. GMB members working for Arriva will walk out tomorrow [October 19 2017] in the first of three strikes following a pay dispute. Workers at eleven Arriva depots in Merseyside [see note 1 for full list of depots involved] will take full day industrial action on October 19, 23 and 30 read more



Picturehouse workers went on strike for 8 days of strike action at venues during the BFI London Film Festival – 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.



Shadow education secretary backs striking University of Manchester staff (20 Oct) – Ashton-under-Lyne MP and shadow education secretary Angela Rayner has told the University of Manchester to “get its house in order” and “give workers the respect they deserve”, as a dispute over job cuts escalates. UCU members will walk out on Monday and Tuesday in a row over up to 140 job losses at the university. They will then begin working to rule on Wednesday read more

Strikes at UK universities a step closer as staff back industrial action over pensions (19 Oct) – The prospect of UK university staff going on strike is a step closer after a national consultative ballot by the University and College Union (UCU) showed overwhelming support for industrial action to protect pensions. Eighty-seven per cent of UCU members who voted in the consultative ballot, which closed last night, stated they would be prepared to take industrial action in order to defend the existing benefits of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS). The scheme covers the majority of staff mainly in the older ‘pre-92 universities’ including the likes of Oxford, Cambridge, Manchester and Imperial read more


United Voices of the World union

Emma Dent Coad MP supports Freddy & Angelica – Emma Dent Coad MP for the borough of Kensington where HR Owen’s Ferrari and Maserati showrooms are located – has just written to HR Owen in solidarity with UVW members Freddy and Angelica who were recently unlawfully suspended after voting to strike for a living wage, calling on them to “meet the UVW to resolve this dispute and return them to work on the London Living Wage without delay”. Please make a donation to their strike fund if you can – https://www.uvwunion.org.uk/hr-owen/ UVW Facebook page

There could not be a clearer case of trade union victimisation and UVW will immediately initiate legal proceedings against both the cleaning contractor Templewood Cleaning and HR Owen at an employment tribunal and county court.


Other news

Grunwick Play ‘We Are the Lions Mr Manager’ – theatre company, Townsend Productions, has started touring again with a show about the Grunwick strike. It’s called ‘We Are the Lions Mr Manager’ tour dates


Save South Yorkshire Women’s Aid

Dear Sisters, non-binary siblings and Brothers,

We send this letter requesting your support for our campaign. If you’ve not learned of the campaign yet, we’ve included article links below.


Initially, as quoted in the articles below, Cllr Chris McGuiness cited the reason for funding withdrawal from the council to South Yorkshire Women’s Aid as lack of funds due to Tory spending cuts.  Since then we investigated and published proof that there was over £90 million in council reserves. This week Cllr Chris McGuiness DMBC cited this campaign as the reason that the council are not able to fund Women’s Aid! This campaign was only formed because the council withdrew funding and his comments are an attempt to drive a wedge between the supporting public and the brave staff who are speaking out about cuts. His comments are also an attempt to silence these courageous workers. These are the only front line workers who have been brave enough to go on record and publicly speak about cuts to Women’s Aid centres in the UK. This is the last Women’s Aid in South Yorkshire. It serves communities from Doncaster, Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley and the surrounding villages.


The campaign has recieved huge support from constituents as well as Union Branches and Political Party Branches across our region and further afield.

We ask that you reply with your name, trade union and any position held as a show of Solidarity and support.

Yours, in Solidarity, Jen, Amy and the Women’s Lives Matter Yorkshire campaigners:-



Please sign this statement and email to [email protected]


We the undersigned support the campaign to save the last Women’s Aid in South Yorkshire.


While ever domestic violence and abuse exist in our communities, there simply must be adequate services in place to support the victims.


We are aware that Women’s Aid offers support services, empowering educational courses and in addition has dedicated support worker for women from BAME community that the generic Council services in Doncaster simply don’t offer.


Two women a week die at the hands of their abuser.


3 women a week take their own lives as a result of being abused.


During the eight months that the service was previously closed by Doncaster Met Boring Council, 6623 cases of domestic abuse were reported to police in Doncaster alone.


Domestic abuse is prevalent in Doncaster and wider South Yorkshire region. The council domestic abuse support services have suffered cuts within their own service and cannot support the sheer volume of caseloads that they are presented with.


We are aware that the council’s own domestic abuse support service refers cases to South Yorkshire Womens Aid frequently, for the council to then deny any funding support to a service that they use themselves due to the inadequacy of their own service is nothing short of a shameful state of affairs.


Along with campaigners we ask that Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council reinstate funding to Doncaster South Yorkshire Womens Aid with immediate effect.


We ask this for the protection and support of women and girls across the community as well as for the protection and support of our own members within the community in Doncaster and surrounding South Yorkshire region.














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)

Watch videos of speeches from the October 14th Public Meeting: ‘Who’s Watching Whom? The fight for justice, trade union and democratic rights for all’ in Coventry. The guest speakers included Ricky Tomlinson (Shrewsbury 24), Dave Smith (Author, Blacklisting), Helen Steel (McLibel & Undercover Police Inquiry), Chris Baugh (PCS Asst. General Secretary). It was sponsored by Unite Tom Mann branch and Coventry TUC


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/




Mauritius: School cleaners on hunger strike read more







9 Digital automation: ‘post-capitalism’ or a new Lucas Plan? 7.15pm – London Action Resource Centre, 62 Fieldgate Street London E1. Free/donation www.breakingtheframe.org.uk

16 1917-2017 Russian Revolution: 100th anniversary celebratory meeting – 7pm Collegian Club, Gage St, Lancaster



PHONE 07952 283 558

EMAIL mailto:[email protected]


TWITTER – https://twitter.com/NSSN_AntiCuts


ADDRESS NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE