The National Shop Stewards Network sends our greetings and thanks to all our supporters and affiliates in our last weekly bulletin of the year.
2017 was a year of struggle. We’ve seen waves of strike action, too numerous to mention them all. As you will read in this bulletin, this wave continues into the holiday period. These have often been by low-paid workers to defend their living standards as prices rises and pay caps see the biggest drop in workers’ real incomes since the end of the Napoleonic Wars in the early 19th century. We saw the ‘B-strikes’ in the summer: BA Mixed Fleet, Bank of England, the Birmingham binworkers and Barts NHS Trust, with many migrant workers to the fore. And we’ve seen strikes by young workers at Picturehouse cinema and at McDonalds in the first walkout in the company in the UK.
These and others have won important victories and gains, showing that it’s possible for workers to win if they take action. They show the millions of public sector workers that the Tory public sector pay cap could be well and truly shattered if their unions took co-ordinated strike action together. PCS won a consultative ballot on pay that gives it a platform to defeat the undemocratic new ballot thresholds and this should be an example for all in the public sector.
The CWU got the required vote to win a strike ballot in Royal Mail and the union is waiting for the outcome of negotiations. The NSSN is committed to stand shoulder to shoulder with them and supports their campaign the re-nationalisation of Royal Mail as we do the railways.
We’ve continued to give solidarity and support to the RMT in their marathon fight on Southern Rail against Driver Only Operations. This struggle has now spread to an increasing number of train companies. RMT, Unite and GMB members have also been in dispute on the buses around the country. Construction workers have continued the fight as the year ended, walking out on Crossrail after 54 electricians were locked-out. Mears workers are continuing their longstanding action in Manchester.
We’ve been involved in numerous campaigns nationally and locally, to defend the NHS from Tory cuts. We were part of the massive Health Campaigns Together demonstration in March and we celebrated victories against service cuts and ward closures at Glenfield in Leicester and Mansfield Community Hospital where the Chatsworth ward was saved.
Finally of course, 2017 was the year we nearly got rid of the Tories. They are hanging on, weak and divided. Let’s make sure that 2018 is their last year!
Advanced notice: the 2018 National Shop Stewards Network Annual Conference will be from 11am-4.30pm on Saturday June 30th in Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, Holborn, London. It is open to all trade union and anti-cuts campaigners
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]
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Electricians fight Crossrail and Balfour Beatty after 54 workers locked-out – One week after Unite’s national Day of Action against blacklisting by the construction companies, 54 electricians were locked out of the Woolwich Crossrail site by Balfour Beatty. In a tremendous act of solidarity, they were joined in an impromptu picket by the rest of Balfour’s 150 electricians, who refused to go into work. Another 70 workers for VVB Electrical walked off the job in support at the North Woolwich, City Airport and Plumstead portals read more
Hopes rise of possible breakthrough in Manchester Mears dispute (15 Dec) – There are cautious hopes that the long-running strike action involving housing maintenance workers employed by Mears in Manchester could be moving towards a conclusion. The 180 members of Unite, the UK’s principal construction union, began a programme of 49 days of strikes in November, and scheduled to run until February 2018. The workers had already taken 40 days of strike this year in a dispute over pay differentials which results in workers at Mears and Manchester Working (a joint venture company operated by Mears) being paid up to £3,500 less for the same work read more
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
‘Discrimination’ of union reps and company backtrack on deal means Fujitsu facing further strike action (15 Dec) – Up to 300 Unite members in Manchester are to vote on further strike action at IT giant Fujitsu in one of the longest running industrial disputes in the UK. The ballot comes after the failure of talks between Duncan Tait, Fujitsu’s head of Americas, Europe, Middle East, India and Africa and Len McCluskey, Unite’s general secretary where the union was seeking to halt the redundancy process for six members, and to address concerns that the company is discriminating against active union members. The two met last week to discuss the issues facing members and the company. Len McCluskey asked Fujitsu to pause the redundancies of members fighting to stay and the victimisation of union reps read more
‘Betrayed’ workers at Stamford engineering company to hold industrial action ballot (15 Dec) – The ‘betrayed’ workers at Cummins Generator Technologies in Stamford are holding an industrial action ballot, as their bosses continue to refuse to enter into constructive talks. The ballot follows the announcement in October that the Barnack Road site in the Lincolnshire town will close in October 2018 with the threat to 300 jobs. Unite is asking its 370 members whether they wish to take strike action and/or industrial action short of a strike. The ballot opens on Friday 22 December and closes on Friday 12 January 2018 read more
Sellafield faces standstill as Unite ballots workers over rep’s dismissal (14 Dec) – Unite has begun balloting workers employed by civil engineering company DSD Construction, at Sellafield, for strike action, after the company sacked the union’s shop steward. DSD Construction, based in Carlisle, is currently undertaking work to enhance security at the nuclear reprocessing site at Sellafield. The work includes improving fencing at the complex. The dispute has arisen after Unite’s newly elected shop steward James Bainbridge was sacked by DSD, just 26 days after being elected to the position. Within 24 hours of his election Mr Bainbridge was already being subjected to victimisation by the company, as he was told to relocate to the Carlisle depot which is 40 miles away from the rest of the workforce read more
Support North West bus strikes at First Manchester and Arriva North West – Send messages of support and donations via Neil Clarke, [email protected] c/o Unite, Jack Jones House, 2 Churchill Way, Liverpool L3 8EF
Lobby Manchester City Council: back the Mears strikers! 10am on Weds 13th December – meet at 9am to protest and leaflet councillors going into the meeting Facebook event
Manpower Campaign – Close The Gap – Official Phase 2 Launch Event – 19 December, 11am – 1pm, Westminster Green, London SW1 read more
PCS members to strike over compulsory relocations and redundancies (15 Dec) – Members at DWP’s Old Tree Court in Plymouth will strike on 21 and 22 December as 46 staff face redundancy from the partial closure of the site and transfer of jobs elsewhere. Old Tree Court in Plymouth city centre houses Plymouth jobcentre and 349 “back of house” staff read more
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
HMRC forced to give junior staff pay increase to meet ‘National Living Wage’ (12 Dec) – PCS demands that HMRC commits to becoming a real Living Wage Employer, as it is forced to give administrative assistant grade staff working outside London a supplementary pay increase to ensure the department complies with the government’s National Living Wage. In April 2018, the statutory National Living Wage will rise from £7.50 an hour to £7.83 an hour. PCS is clear that this situation is unacceptable. We believe that HMRC, the authority charged with ensuring all employers in the UK pay the statutory National Living Wage, rather than being forced to guarantee minimum levels of pay, should be leading by example in ensuring that staff working in this department are paid above the statutory minimum read more
Shipping union RMT confirmed today that members on Orkney Ferries will be taking industrial action in a fight for pay justice (15 Dec) – The union’s National Executive Committee has instructed all RMT members at Orkney Ferries to take part in the following industrial action:-
From 00.01 hours on Wednesday 3rd January 2018 members are instructed to:-
Not work any call-back.
Not work any overtime.
Work to the job description only
RMT members voted by around 80% for strike action with an even higher number backing action short of a strike read more
RMT Virgin West Coast strike for equality and justice solid across the franchise this morning (15 Dec) – General Secretary Mick Cash said; “Our members the length and breadth of the Virgin West Coast operation are standing solid and determined this morning in their fight for workplace equality and justice. “Virgin is a wealthy outfit and there is no excuse whatsoever for Sir Richard Branson to under value and discriminate against the very same staff whose hard work finances his luxury lifestyle…” read more TSSA accuses Virgin West Coast of Dirty Tricks
RMT announces strike action on South Western Railway and Greater Anglia in separate disputes over guards and safety (13 Dec) – RAIL UNION RMT today announced strike action on Greater Anglia and South Western Railway later this month in separate disputes over the threat to guards and the safety of the travelling public. On Greater Anglia members will take strike action from 00.01 to 23.59 hours on Wednesday 27th December 2017. On South Western Railway members will take strike action from 00.01 hours to 23.59 on Sunday 31st December 2017 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 Newham strikes against academisation: A number of schools in Newham are threatened with academisation at the moment. This Thursday, Avenue Primary will be taking their second day of strike action against their school joining a multi academy trust. Parents are also organising against the move and supporting the action of the teachers. Royal Docks school defeated academisation a couple of years ago but are faced with the same battle again. They are taking their first day of strike action on the 13th December. You can send messages of support to [email protected]
Stop taking the *ISS – day of action Tuesday 19 December
Hosted by ISS workers fighting back and GMB Union
PLEASE SHARE OUR CAMPAIGN VIDEO https://www.facebook.com/GMBunion/videos/372088179881649/
ISS is a £9 billion, global services firm, employing cleaning, portering and security staff in many of our hospitals. But the way ISS is treating its workers – with insecure, precarious contracts and pay sometimes as low as £7.88 an hour – takes the *ISS.
Join us for a day of action across 5 south London hospitals on Tuesday 19 December.
Locations (if your workplace is not listed and you would like it to be and/or need help getting organised please get in touch):
Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Stadium Road, Woolwich 15.00pm
Kingston Hospital, Galsworthy Road, Kingston 12:30
Maudsley Hospital, Denmark Hill, Camberwell 10:00am
Lambeth Hospital, Landor Rd, Brixton 14.00pm
Bethlem Hospital, Monks Orchard Rd, Beckenham 15.00pm Facebook event
North Yorks FBU win historic decision as fire authority reverse cuts to firefighter numbers (13 Dec) – North Yorkshire Combined Fire Authority has today (13 December) voted unanimously to reverse cuts in the number of firefighters who crew Tactical Response Vehicles (TRVs), in a huge victory for the Fire Brigades Union (FBU). The vote overturns a decision taken by the fire authority in December 2015 that just three firefighters were needed on the TRVs. Now, the fire authority has agreed to return to having a minimum of four firefighters on each vehicle read more
Keep supporting the Picturehouse workers after latest strike on December 14th: read the latest on Brixton Ritzy Facebook Page and those of Hackney, Crouch End, Central, Dulwich East and Duke of York Brighton
Donate to the Picturehouse Cinema strike fund: https://www.crowdpac.co.uk/campaigns/250/picturehousestrike
Journalists in Swindon vote for industrial action over pay (15 Dec) – Journalists at the Swindon Advertiser have voted overwhelmingly for industrial action over poor pay and the failure of Newsquest to meet the NUJ’s 2017 pay claim, saying they are among the lowest paid on a daily title read more
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
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
The cleaners at Lee Hecht Harrison (LHH) will strike if necessary in pursuit of the London Living Wage of £10.20 per hour. They are currently only paid the minimum poverty wage of £7.50 per hour – LHH is a large company located in the heart of London’s financial district, just next to Monument tube station. It outsources the cleaners to City Central Cleaning & Support Services Ltd. The cleaners’ request for the LLW was rejected without explanation, and despite LHH’s profits of £2 million with a huge 132% increase in revenue this year. Consequently, the cleaners, members of UVW, have voted to strike and will do so indefinitely until their reasonable demand is met. They have predictably but unlawfully been threatened with potential dismissal if they participate in a strike, for which they are currently taking their employer to court read more
Sign the petition: fight Boris & Gove’s plan to scrap holiday rights for millions
Blacklisting & Victimisation
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)
Blacklisted t-shirts available at: https://shop.hopenothate.org.uk/component/hikashop/product/78-blacklisted-t-shirt
Kazakhstan: Angry coal-miners on strike in Karaganda please support appeal
STOP PRESS!! Partial victory already for striking miners:-
The miners of Karaganda have halted their strike for the moment. Those who occupied the pits have come to the surface. There has been a decision agreed through a special court to suspend the action as the life and health of the strikers underground were in danger. Negotiations are continuing.
A big victory has also been that the authorities have withdrawn their threat to prosecute the activists. They had begun a lawsuit against the strikers for criminal liability but that has been withdrawn. The management still think they can deceive the workers by paying an immediate wage increase of 30% and monthly premiums based on average earnings. There is a long way to go to get the full claim realised, but one victory is already in the bag!
The strikers really feel all this is very much due to the expressions of solidarity from around the world, organised by the Committee for a Workers’ International and Campaign Kazakhstan. They send a “very big thankyou” to all their supporters.
But this is not the end of the struggle in Kazakhstan. The heroic action of the Karaganda miners in their battle with the multi-billionaire, Lakshmi Mittal, and the Nazarbayev government got enormous support from all around the huge country of Kazakhstan. Numerous messages of support came to them via social media from other workers in industry and from young people who are worried for their future. They see thousands of workers standing up for their rights and it is inspiring.
The aging dictator, Nazarbayev, must be unnerved by this action and concerned for his own future. No doubt more support will be called for to fight this battle to the end.
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