NSSN 367: After the Budget: fight together to scrap the pay cap plus Birmingham binworkers victory!
The Budget shows that left to their own devices, the Tories are looking to maintain the public sector cap that has devastated workers’ living standards. The independent think-tank Resolution Foundation calculates that pay won’t reach 2008 levels until the mid-2020s – half a decade longer than previously estimated.
However, this is a weak, divided and crisis-ridden government that must be confronted and can be defeated. The NSSN has saluted the decisive result of the PCS consultative pay ballot and now we welcome the vote at the Unison Local Government Service Group Executive that took place the day after the Budget that calls for a similar ballot for the union’s local authority workers and a national demonstration on pay. Read post-Budget article co-authored by NSSN national chair Rob Williams in ‘The Socialist’
We think that co-ordinated industrial action across the public sector would strike a chord with all workers who are suffering a squeeze in their incomes. And while we welcome the TUC’s announcement of a national Saturday demonstration on May 12th, we know that many union members would want it brought forward and to be part of a strategy of building confidence to win official strike ballots to open the way for mass joint action.
The Birmingham binworkers have shown that it’s possible for workers to win victories at this time. The NSSN is proud to have actively supported their dispute against the attacks of what is shamefully a Labour Council. We were delighted when a bus full of strikers came to our rally at TUC Congress in September to hear their convenor Richard Beddows speak and last month both Richard and Unite Assistant General Secretary Howard Beckett addressed the NSSN Solidarity Forum in Birmingham. We salute their victory.
Unite hails a ‘victory for common sense’ as Birmingham bin dispute ends (25 Nov) – Britain’s largest union, Unite today (Saturday 25 November) praised the solidarity and determination of Birmingham city council refuse workers after they backed a deal at a mass meeting that brings the long running Birmingham bin dispute to an end. Describing the deal as a ‘victory for common sense’, Unite said the deal hammered out at Acas with Birmingham city council would see the grade three role retained, albeit it with a change of job title and added responsibilities such as data collection for refuse compliance. Refuse workers are set to transition to the new roles in February 2018 under the deal which was endorsed by Birmingham city council’s cabinet yesterday (Friday 24 November). As part of the deal, Monday’s (27 November) high court hearing will not go ahead as envisaged. Birmingham city council has agreed to pay Unite’s legal costs and a court order is expected to legally cement the agreement. Commenting, Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett said: “This deal secures the grade three role and protects the pay of workers who faced losing thousands of pounds read more from Unite website
Defend the NHS
Public Rally hosted by ‘Save North Tyneside NHS’: No cuts. closures or compromises – Hands off our NHS! 12pm Saturday 2nd December Bedford Street, North Shields, NE29 0 Facebook event
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]
You can receive this bulletin via email. Click here to subscribe
Follow us on twitter via @NSSN_AntiCuts and Facebook
BREAKING NEWS!! Unite statement on Kingsmill bakery ballot result (28 Nov) – Unite lead officer for the food sector Joe Clarke said: “Our drivers, maintenance staff and security personnel at the Kingsmill bakery in West Bromwich voted by 82 per cent for strike action which is an overwhelming mandate for Unite’s stance read more
BREAKING NEWS!! Knowsley housing workers begin strike action over below inflation pay offers (28 Nov) – Housing maintenance workers in Knowsley, Merseyside will start a series of strikes over pay this Friday (1 December), Unite has confirmed. The 120 workers employed by Vivark Ltd and Knowsley Housing Trust perform maintenance and repair work on the trust’s social housing properties. The strike action starts this Friday 1 December with the workforce striking every Monday and Friday (apart from bank holidays) until Monday 19 February 2018. From Friday 1 December until Thursday 22 February 2018, workers will also be undertaking a call out and overtime ban, which will disrupt emergency repairs procedures. The strike follows the workforce overwhelming rejection of a two per cent pay increase this year after years of pay freezes and other below inflation increases. During this time the Vivark workforce has also experienced attacks on their terms and conditions, including a reduction in holidays, lower pension entitlement, an increase in working hours and major cuts to sick pay
Unite slams Arriva North West for spreading ‘false news’ to turn the public against striking bus workers (27 Nov) – Unite has slammed Arriva North West for claiming that bus drivers have rearranged strike action from Wednesday 13 December to Sunday 10 December – the day of Merseyside and Manchester Derby football matches. Unite says Arriva is trying to turn the public against striking bus drivers by spreading ‘false news’ on social media today (Monday 27 November). Unite has not issued any ‘official legal notice’ to the company over changes to strike action and planned strike action will go ahead as scheduled for 4, 7, 12 ,13, 14, 20, 21, 22 and 23 December read more Bus workers at Arriva North West reject derisory penny an hour pay offer as strikes set to continue GMB: Arriva Offer Rejected
Unite vows to secure ‘pay justice’ for printers at troubled Ashford firm (24 Nov) – Unite vowed to secure ‘pay justice’ for workers at the troubled Kent print firm Stones Ashford Limited today (Friday 24 November) as it accused the firm’s parent company Henry Stone Printers of contemptible behaviour. Around 100 workers at Stones Ashford were sent home on Friday 17 November after the power was cut off following non-payment of an electricity bill. Over the past week Unite has repeatedly sought guarantees from parent company Henry Stone Printers that workers will be paid on Tuesday 28 November as well as clarity over the Ashford print firm’s future. Instead, according to Unite, bosses at the parent company have gone into hiding leaving a loyal workforce in limbo not knowing whether they will be able to afford Christmas read more
‘Betrayed’ workers at Stamford engineering company threaten industrial action (22 Nov) – ‘Betrayed’ workers at Cummins Generator Technologies in Stamford are threatening industrial action, following the recent announcement that a major site in the Lincolnshire town will close. Unite is now gearing up to hold an industrial action ballot of its 370 members in protest at the continual lack of consultation by management. The ballot, expected before Christmas, comes after the company announced that the Barnack Road site will close in October 2018 with the threat to 300 jobs read more
Join the protest outside Fujitsu’s UK headquarters in London December 5th from 8.30am – Unite is campaigning to save jobs and to defend the union against attempts to victimise reps. At 10am on Tuesday 5 December, Fujitsu will reconvene the final redundancy hearing for Ian Allinson (chair of Unite, Fujitsu UK) which was adjourned on 8 November. Ian is one of several reps being unfairly targeted by the company Facebook event. For more information on the campaign, see https://ouruniontest.wordpress.com/fujitsu-national-dispute/
Support Manchester Mears housing workers – on 49 days of strike action: Send messages of support to Unite rep Colin Pitt: [email protected] and Unite regional officer [email protected] and post donations to: Unite House, Merchants Quay, Salford Quays, Salford M50 3SG
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
Support the Royal Mail workers: DGSP Terry Pullinger reacts to Royal Mail Half-Year results watch video
DGST&FS Andy Kerr video update on BT Pensions
The next live Facebook event will take place at 7pm on Monday, 4 December
Unions reject latest plans to cut redundancy pay (24 Nov) – The government must significantly change its latest proposals to slash civil service redundancy pay to meet its legal obligations says PCS and the 3 other unions who defeated the government over attacks on the Civil Service Compensation Scheme. The unions, PCS, GMB, Unite and the POA, have jointly pledged to defend their members’ rights and reject unacceptable changes to civil service redundancy pay. Between now and February they are to hold talks with the Cabinet Office on a new scheme. The government is keen to negotiate a new scheme in a further attempt to make it cheaper to sack staff. It has now launched a consultation containing proposals that are worse than the terms imposed in 2016 and subsequently defeated in the High Court read more
DVSA industrial action begins (23 Nov) – PCS members working for the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) began a programme of industrial action today (23 November). A ballot in October saw an 84% vote for strike action on a 70% turnout in the dispute over the new driving test and working patterns. Members have been advised to work precisely to their contracts of employment and strictly observe safety rules as the start of a campaign to try to lever new negotiations with DVSA and its parent department the Department of Transport (DfT). The action could lead to the cancellation of driving tests as the examiners closely follow all appropriate procedures in respect of work breaks and safety checks. Strike action is planned for 4 and 5 December, when large scale cancellations of tests are expected read more
Join PCS protest against Universal Credits payment issues and the closure of DWP offices in London. SAT 2 DECEMBER at 11:30 am, outside Iain Duncan Smith MP’s constituency office. Everybody welcome. Bring union flags, banners and the noise
Support DWP strikes:
- Send messages of support to [email protected]
- Send donations to the strike fund to PCS DWP Group, 3rd Floor, Town Centre House, Merrion Centre, Leeds, LS2 8LY
RMT members to strike at Surrey bus company (27 Nov) – BUS UNION RMT confirmed today that strike action by members at Quality Line based in Epsom will go ahead on Monday 4th December in a dispute over the basic workplace right to be represented by the union of your choice read more
RMT welcomes Labour MP Dan Carden’s backing for Merseyrail guards in parliamentary debate (24 Nov) – Rail union RMT has welcomed Labour MP Dan Carden’s support for their fight to keep the guard on our trains. The Liverpool Walton Labour MPs has been a solid supporter of the guards and this week Mr Carden secured a special parliamentary debate to press the case to keep a guard on every train read more RMT seeks meeting with Liverpool’s Metro Mayor to secure positive response to plan put forward by MPs to resolve Merseyrail dispute
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
RMT to ballot for action on Crossrail project (22 Nov) – RAIL UNION RMT confirmed today that it is to begin the process of balloting a group of staff for industrial action on the Crossrail project. RMT Works Train Controller members (engineering staff) working for VGC and based at Plumstead Depot on the Crossrail Project recently submitted a collective grievance and held discussions with VGC management regarding their rate of pay, which they have learned is approximately half that of other grades. Despite this grievance, the rate of pay has not been uplifted to a level which represents the role and is in line with our members’ colleagues read more
Strike action goes ahead on Arriva Cross Country –
- 00.01 hours on Saturday 9th December 2017 and 23.59 hours on Sunday 10th December 2017
- 00.01 hours and 23.59 hours on Sunday 24th December 2017
- 00.01 hours and 23.59 hours on Sunday 31st December 2017 read more
POA Rally and Lobby of Parliament – 2.30pm Tuesday 5th December POA website
GMB Wins Nursery Battle (Nov 27) – GMB wins first battle in fight to stop council plan to close all Birmingham’s community nurseries. GMB would like to thank all the parents and staff who’ve supported out campaign and helped to bring about this change. GMB, the union for childcare workers, has won the first battle in the fight to stop a council plan to close Birmingham’s last 14 community day nurseries read more
New Sellafield Strike (Nov 22) – 3,000 GMB Sellafield members will walk out again after talks fail to deliver a new offer that meets workforce aspirations. GMB members are seeking a decent pay increase that makes up for some of the ground they have lost over recent years when pay rises have failed as a whole to keep up with inflation says GMB. 3,000 GMB members at Sellafield will walk out again for a further 24-hour strike from 6.01am on Wednesday, November 29 until 5.59am on Thursday, November 30 read more
Avenue Primary School in Newham striking against academisation this Wednesday – read from NEU (NUT) London Secretary Martin Powell-Davies’s blog: Academies – NUT Privatisation Update uncovers more scandal
University of Bath vice-chancellor narrowly survives no-confidence vote (23 Nov) – Staff disappointed that vice-chancellor survives a vote of no-confidence at senate meeting after staff unanimously call for her to go. UCU said that while the vice-chancellor may have survived the vote at the university’s senate by 19 votes to 16, she was “living in a different reality if she thought she had the support of her staff”. Dame Glynis Breakwell, the highest paid vice-chancellor in the country had faced calls to resign from numerous quarters outside the university in recent months, but this week saw her own staff also call for her to go read more University of Bath staff and students to protest if no resignations
Support UCU Strike Brighton University action –Members of the UCU at the University of Brighton walked out on strike last Thursday and Friday in a dispute about compulsory redundancies. They began a work-to-contract this Monday. Further strike action is planned for December. The action follows a ballot which returned majorities in favour of action of more than 85%.
If you can head down to any of the Uni sites from 8pm on Friday to show support on the picket lines please do.
Please send messages of support to [email protected]
Fire Brigades Union lottery donates £20k to help Grenfell youth survivors (22 Nov) – The Firefighters 100 Lottery, set up by the Fire Brigades Union one year ago to help good causes, is donating £20k to three charities helping young survivors of the Grenfell Tower Tragedy read more
BFI workers vote on new pay and grading scheme (27 Nov) – BECTU and Unite members at the British Film Institute (BFI) are being asked to vote on a new pay and grading scheme. The ballot runs from midday 27 November to 12 noon 8 December…The joint unions are not recommending the pay and grading proposal read more
Donate to the Picturehouse Cinema strike fund: https://www.crowdpac.co.uk/campaigns/250/picturehousestrike
McDonald’s set for more strikes as action spreads across Britain – Concerns over low wages, zero-hours contracts and mishandling of sexual assault claims are at root of unrest. Strike action at McDonald’s is to spread to outlets across the country in the coming months, following the lead of workers at two restaurants in the south of England. Dossiers on claims made by staff, ranging from the company’s alleged failure to provide protective equipment for workers using grills to allegations about management mishandling sexual assault claims, are being compiled by trade unionists. The September strikes were the first at McDonald’s since it opened in the UK in the 1970s read more from the Observer. 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
The Dark Depths of Amazon’s Warehouses: How the Baker’s Union are Organising the Fightback read more
Support the Royal Devon and Exeter porters by donating to their hardship fund. Send a cheque to the branch at: UNISON Office, Baker House , Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Trust, Barrack Road, Exeter EX2 5DW. Or make a direct donation to the branch account
Account Name: UNISON Royal Devon and Exeter Health 10296 Branch
Account Number: 20323929 Sort Code: 60-83-01
United Voices of the World union
UVW has declared a fresh dispute at Lee Hecht Harrison in the heart of London’s financial district and, after the refusal to pay the London Living Wage of £10.20 per hour, we’ll be balloting our members for strike action. All the cleaners in the dispute are migrant workers so this marks yet another migrant worker led fight for higher wages! Typically, the scumbag contractor City Cleaning has already unlawfully threatened our members with the sack if they strike. But our members know their rights and are full of courage and will not be deterred so will fight on until victory! Stay tuned for picket dates and other solidarity actions to support our brave members! www.uvwunion.org.uk
Pentonville 5: celebrate a great working class victory and apply its lessons today to fight the attack on trade unions – Friday December 1st 2017 18.00 East Ham working men’s club, 2 Boleyn Road London E6 1QE. Nearest tube – Upton Park. Buses 5, 58, 115, 147 – Speakers include Len McCluskey Unite GS, Ann Field, Ken Loach plus special guests, bar, refreshments
Save Cressingham Gardens in Lambeth: ‘Ballot Us’ – Saturday 2nd December. Meet at the Cressingham Rotunda at 1.15-1.30pm. March to the Town Hall for 2pm. Residents are demanding that Lambeth council and other councils around the country, give residents a binding ballot as to whether they want their estates regenerated (ie demolished) or not. 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)
Blacklisting Day of Action – 6th December 2017
- Wed 6th December is the Blacklisting Day of Action.
Protests are planned across the UK plus a lobby of MPs at Westminster.
Blacklist Support Group urge all our supporters to publicize the events and where possible to attend. Bring your banners and wear your ‘Blacklisted’ t-shirts with pride.
Blacklist Demo and lobby of Parliament – 12pm Wednesday December 6th Old Palace Yard Westminster SW1P 3JY Facebook event with speakers from Unite including Gail Cartmail, assistant general secretary
1pm – Photo call with MPs
2pm – Meeting with MPs in the Boothroyd room – please note, this is in Portcullis House not the Palace of Westminster
4pm finish & pre-Xmas drinks
- Full public inquiry into blacklisting
- Make blacklisting a criminal offence
- No public contracts for companies involved in blacklisting
More info for the regional events via UNITE:
Scotland: [email protected]
NEYH: (north east) [email protected]
NEYH (Yorkshire) [email protected]
North West [email protected]
East Midlands: [email protected]
West Midlands: [email protected]
London and Eastern: [email protected]
South East: [email protected]
- Spycops public inquiry update
Sir John Mitting is the new head of the undercover policing public inquiry. Last week, in his first ever speech he told us that he was not intending to disclose which campaigns have been infiltrated by spycops or even all of their cover names during deployment. To paraphrase the rest of Mitting’s statement – spying on the Stephen Lawrence family and what happened to the women activists was morally unacceptable. What happened to everyone else is a matter of national security and therefore we were considered fair game. Jonathan Hall QC representing the Metropolitan Police argued that it would be “extraordinary” if blacklisting by undercover police officers is to be considered as wrongdoing.
Currently every state institution complicit in the human rights violations carried out by the political policing units has a huge legal team including a 11 separate QCs for the Met Police, Home Office, ACPO etc.. all paid for by the taxpayer Whereas those who were spied on including the relatives of murder victims, the women activists, anti-racism campaigners and blacklisted workers have to share one counsel. The trade unions who were infiltrated have been officially denied any funding, so must pay their own legal costs. This is a massive imbalance of power and exactly what we talk about when people say that the legal system is stacked against us.
We responded to Mitting by protesting inside the courtroom.
- other bits & pieces
Blacklisted t-shirts available at: https://shop.hopenothate.org.uk/component/hikashop/product/78-blacklisted-t-shirt
Donate to ReelNews – http://reelnews.co.uk/donationssubscriptions/
Support the striking Serbian postal workers – click here for an interview with Zoran Pavlovic, President of the Independent Trade Union of Postal Workers. Postal workers in Serbia have been on strike since last week, over a variety of issues. The publicly-owned company is denying the workers their basic rights and took action against trade union activists
Solidarity with Santander workers in America – The CWU has delivered an unequivocal message of solidarity to trade unionists at Santander in America who are battling for basic union rights in the face of blatant union-busting activity by the bank’s American bosses read more from CWU website
Fyffes Sack and Blacklist 1,000 Women – ‘Gangster capitalists’ Fyffes sack and blacklist 1,000 women in Honduras over melon dispute but remain in ethical trading initiative. British supermarkets must tell Fyffes to clean up their act, says GMB read more on GMB website
Libya: End campaign of intimidation against Nermin Al-Sharif read more
30 National Shop Stewards Network 2018 Annual Conference 11am-4.30pm Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, Holborn, London
PHONE 07952 283 558
EMAIL mailto:[email protected]
TWITTER – https://twitter.com/NSSN_AntiCuts
ADDRESS NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE