The NSSN steering committee has decided to put our annual conference back a week to avoid a clash of dates with a national day of action to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the NHS on June 30th. We will do all we can to build these protests against continuing Tory health cuts.
As our supporters and affiliates will be aware, we had to cancel last year’s NSSN Conference because the People’s Assembly called an emergency post-General Election demo that clashed with the NSSN date. We made that decision because we only had a couple of weeks’ notice and put our resources into building the ‘Tories Out’ demo.
But as we have much longer this year, we have decided to go ahead with our conference and move the date back a week to Saturday July 7th.
2018 National Shop Stewards Network Annual Conference will be from 11am-4.30pm on Saturday July 7th in Conway Hall – 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL. There is a £6 attendance fee and it is open to all trade union and anti-cuts campaigners
NSSN conference agenda
11am: opening session – Organise our fightback
Chair: Linda Taaffe, NSSN national secretary
Speakers: Rob Williams, NSSN national chair; Howard Beckett, Unite assistant general secretary; Amy Murphy, Usdaw president; Chris Baugh, PCS assistant general secretary; Sean Hoyle, RMT president; Ian Hodson, BFAWU president; Joe Simpson, POA deputy general secretary; Terry Pullinger, CWU deputy general secretary, postal
Discussion including speakers from local and national disputes
1.45 to 3.15pm: workshops – Fighting school cuts; Windrush and fighting racism; Organising in retail, fast food, leisure and hospitality; Save out NHS; Resisting Trump; Striking against the pay cap
3.15pm to 4.30pm: closing session – How can unions lead resistance?
Chair: Katrine Williams, NSSN national vice-chair
Speakers: Hugo Pierre, Unison NEC (personal capacity) on Windrush; Lawanya Ramajeyam, Refugee Rights Campaign; Richard Shattock, BFAWU McDonald’s striker; Resist Trump speaker
Discussion from the floor
4.30pm: conference ends
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 here
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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Follow us on twitter via @NSSN_AntiCuts and Facebook
We also want to give advanced notice that once again we will be organising a rally at TUC Congress. This year it will be in Manchester on Sunday September 9th.
Support the UCU USS pensions dispute – UCU and their members need the support of the whole labour and trade union movement more than ever. The NSSN calls on all our supporters and affiliates to get in touch with any UCU branch taking action in the USS pension dispute as well as those who will take more action on pay at FE colleges at the end of March. Invite them to your union branch and trades council, visit a picket line and join one of the strike rallies and demonstrations taking place today. Victory to the UCU – victory to the lecturers!
University strikes remain on as UCU rejects proposals – UCU has rejected a proposal drawn up at talks between the union and Universities UK (UUK) to end the university pensions strike. UCU representatives from the universities where staff are on strike over plans to cut their pensions met at the union’s headquarters today (March 13) read more
Strikes at 12 colleges confirmed for late March – UCU members at 12 colleges will take a second wave of strike action later this month in an ongoing row over pay. Staff at 11 London colleges and Sandwell College in the West Midlands will walk out on either 27 or 28 March for two or three days of strikes. The colleges affected and dates of strikes are here
Sign this petition to stop the anti-union dirty tricks in the Coventry University Group – We the undersigned condemn the management of the CU Group, a subsidiary company of Coventry University, who have sought to block UCU from applying for recognition by setting up a company union and recognising it. Members and staff are clear that they want UCU to speak for them. We call on the CU Group to de-recognise its fake company union and recognise UCU for collective bargaining with immediate effect. The CU Group is a wholly owned subsidiary company of Coventry University. Its sole shareholder is Coventry University and its CEO is a Pro Vice Chancellor of the University. Members in the CU Group have been denied a union since the company was set up five years ago. They’ve been campaigning for a union for the last year and now they have the support to win statutory recognition. But on 8 March, their employer revealed that, unknown to them, it had registered its staff association, the Staff Consultative Group, as a union and signed a recognition agreement with it. The Staff Group is not independent and it has no support from staff who had no idea what their management were doing. Although the Staff Group is not an independent union, a loophole in trade union law means that it is impossible for UCU to lodge an application for statutory recognition. CU Group board meeting minutes from March 2016 show that the Group considered this as a way of preventing the union from applying for recognition. This is nothing more than an anti-union manoeuvre from a company owned by a higher education charity and it brings shame upon the CU Group and its owner Coventry University
Hull College workers are balloting for strike action to stop mass redundancies – Hull College was held up as a shining example of how privatised management of education would take education forward. The management have just announced that there will be 231 FTE redundancies affecting as many as 400 individuals. This is the price that he workers and students will have to pay for an alleged £54 million grant to try and stabilise the situation. Part of the plans include major outsourcing of support services in the college. while the ballot is simply to stop the redundancies, many workers are beginning to raise the demand that the college should be returned to local authority control. This dispute is an attack on the college but is also an attack on the City of Hull itself. Hull Trades Council will be organising action to support the workers and students in the college. Messages of support to Dave Langcaster via email [email protected]
Solidarity with Afrin
Support the continuous demo outside 10 Downing Street from Monday 19 March 5pm until 23 March 9pm website of Solidarity with the people of Turkey (SPOT)
RMT confirms further two days of strike action on Northern Rail goes ahead next week as company snub talks (20 Mar) – RAIL UNION RMT today confirmed that a further two days of strike action on Northern Rail over attacks on the role of the safety-critical guard and the extension of Driver Only Operation in the name of increased profits goes ahead next week as planned as the company continue to snub union calls for meaningful talks. RMT members have been instructed not to book on for any shifts that commence between • 0001 Hours and 2359 hours on Monday 26th March 2018 • 0001 Hours and 2359 hours on Thursday 29th March 2018 read more
RMT confirms industrial action on South Western Railway over Easter in Guards’ safety dispute (16 Mar) – RAIL UNION RMT said today that a further phase of industrial action involving members on South Western Railway will go ahead over Easter in the dispute over safety, the role of the guard and the rolling out of Driver Only Operation after management at the company continue to fail to engage with the union in talks and stepped up their threats and intimidation aimed at front line staff. Members will be taking action as follows: 1. All Guards, Commercial Guards and Train Driver Members • Not to undertake any rest day working from 00:01 hours on Friday 30th March 2018 until 23:59 hours on Monday 2nd April 2018. 2. Guard and Commercial Guard Members • From 00:01 hours on Friday 30th March 2018 until 23:59 hours on Monday 2nd April 2018, all Guards and Commercial Guard members are instructed to take industrial action by refusing to work in accordance with sections 7.2.2, 7.2.4 and 7.4.2 of the Guards Restructuring Agreement read more
A demo will be held in London on April 25 to mark the 2nd anniversary of bitter disputes over the role of guards and staffing on trains
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
Industrial action looms on Docklands Light Railway – The union has confirmed the following dates for action on KAD/DLR. • 04:00 hours on Wednesday 28th March 2018 and 03:59 hours on Friday 30th March 2018 • 04:00 hours on Friday 20th April 2018 and 03:59 hours on Tuesday 24th April 2018. The second phase of action coincides with the London Marathon which winds its way around the DLR area read more
Support the striking Aberdeen bus drivers – Aberdeen bus drivers are striking against draconian cuts to their wages and conditions by employer, First Bus. After a huge 97% rejection of the proposed changes, a ballot saw around 95% support for strike action. Two 24 hour strikes have now been completed with a further two days of strike action this week (Wednesday and Friday). A seven day strike is due to begin on Monday 25thMarch in the run up to the day the new contracts are supposed to be signed read more from Socialist Party Scotland
Essex concrete maker dispute hardens (19 Mar) – Unite has announced an intensification of strike action in the dispute with Essex concrete maker Tarmac Building Products Ltd over the creation of a two tier workforce. Unite has announced a 48 hour strike starting on Wednesday 28 March from at 06:00 and ending on Friday 30 March, at the Stanford Le Hope based company which produces concrete breeze blocks. These are in addition to this week’s two 24 hour stoppages on Tuesday 20 and Thursday 22 March, which had already been announced. Unite is escalating the dispute which has already seen seven days of strike action this year, after the company would not agree to a level playing field. All the strike action has been solidly supported by the Unite members and it is understood that the industrial action has greatly affected the company’s production of concrete blocks
Dacorum dustbin collection threat in redundancy pay dispute (19 Mar) – Delays in the collection of dustbins are on the cards as workers at Dacorum borough council in Hertfordshire prepare to start a three month weekend overtime ban in a dispute about a reduction in redundancy payments. The overtime ban at the council, which covers Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted and Tring, starts at 00.01 on Saturday 31 March and runs to the middle of June. The workers, members of Unite along with Unison, are protesting at the changes imposed last November which will see redundancy payments greatly reduced read more
Applied psychologists to lobby parliament on 20 March to demand promised funding on mental health (19 Mar) – Members of Unite working as applied psychologists in the NHS will be lobbying MPs in the Houses of Parliament tomorrow (Tuesday 20 March), with an urgent call on government to deliver on its promise to boost mental health funding in the face of plummeting morale. A rally and photocall of Unite members and MPs will be held at Old Palace Yard, London SW1P 3JY at 13:30 read more
Gatwick airport workers in strike vote over below inflation pay offer (16 Mar) – Workers at Gatwick Airport have begun balloting for strike action in a dispute over a below inflation pay increase. If workers support industrial action then strikes could begin by the end April. The workers been offered a below inflation increase. The company has offered a non-consolidated payment of £500 from October 2017 (the pay anniversary date), then a 2.8 per cent increase from April 2018 until October 2019 and an additional £350 non-consolidated payment. The company’s pay offer comes at a time when the profits of Gatwick Airport Limited (GAL) have risen by £35.5 million to £97.4 million, in the past year. The ballot for industrial action will begin on Friday 23 March and will be completed on Friday 13 April. If members vote for action, strikes could begin during late April read more
TGI Fridays ‘named and shamed’ over unpaid trial shifts (15 Mar) – Ahead of tomorrow’s (Friday 16 March) private members’ bill to outlaw unpaid trial shifts, members of Unite, Britain’s biggest union, working for the American dining chain TGI Fridays have revealed that the company uses unpaid trial shifts for up to six hours. The revelation comes just days after TGI Fridays was ‘named and shamed’ by the government for failing to pay workers the legal minimum wage. The company is also under fire by Unite over its decision to take 40 per cent of waiters’ card tips without proper consultation read more
Water workers in north west to strike for ‘21st century pensions’ – A 1,000 workers employed by United Utilities in the north west of England will strike for two days in a pensions’ dispute which could see them thousands of pounds worse off in retirement. The workers, members of Unite are protesting at the closure of their final salary pension scheme on 1 April 2018 which is being replaced by a hybrid scheme. The workers will strike for 24 hours, starting at 00.01, on Friday (16 March) and the next Monday (19 March), as well as imposing an overtime ban, no call outs and suspending an advice service mainly for local authorities between 16-23 March inclusive
Bromley library staff and care workers indefinite strike action to begin in all Bromley libraries from 28th March amid outsourcing chaos – Unite members overwhelmingly backed action in two separate strike ballots. 100 per cent of library staff working for Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL) across the London borough’s 14 libraries backed strike action on a turnout of 87 per cent in a dispute over staffing, pay and time off for union duties read more
29 March: sticker up – show your support for PCS payday activities (19 Mar) – We are urging PCS members to show support for our campaign for an above-inflation pay rise by getting involved with our latest payday activities on 29 March. As pay talks are soon to take place with the Cabinet Office we need all members and representatives to actively support our pay campaign to keep up the pressure on pay and force the government to deliver our pay claim read more
Campaign for ex-Carillion staff to be brought in-house at the British Museum (16 Mar) – PCS has launched a campaign, including holding rallies, a national petition and lobbying to secure the jobs of ex-Carillion staff employed at the British Museum. PCS members will be demonstrating outside the British Museum at 12.30pm on Tuesday (20 March) to highlight the plight of staff members previously employed by Carillion. We are campaigning for these staff, many of whom are PCS members, to be brought back in-house by the museum. The rally will be addressed by our general secretary Mark Serwotka, PCS culture group president Clara Paillard, and shadow chancellor John McDonnell MP. Sign our online petition
Acas conciliators vote for industrial action (16 Mar) – PCS members who work as conciliators for Acas have voted overwhelmingly in support of industrial action, which would include strike action as well as action short of strike. In a ballot of conciliators which closed today (16), 83% voted in favour of strike action, with 89% voting in favour of action short of strike. The turnout was an excellent 65%, which is well above the 50% threshold imposed by recent government legislation read more
DWP compulsory redundancies: send PCS e-letter to permanent secretary – PCS is calling on all DWP members in the Department for Work and Pensions to send an e-letter to permanent secretary Peter Schofield to support 2 of our members at Plymouth Benefit Centre who are needlessly facing compulsory redundancy. Bizarrely the office that these two members – who are administrative officer grade staff – work in is not actually closing. However, the work that they do is moving to another location that is outside their mobility and the DWP claims that it can find no other AO work in Plymouth for these staff to do. Help support the campaign by registering your protest against this shameful decision by sending an e-letter to the DWP permanent secretary Peter Schofield 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
Sign petition: End victimisation of trade unionists at Belle Vue Buses – Belle Vue Buses is contracted by TfGM (Transport for Greater Manchester) to provide yellow school buses. Belle Vue has dismissed our lead UNISON rep despite their clean disciplinary record during 12 years of service and the lack of any tangible evidence of wrong-doing. There is however evidence that our rep was a victim of harassment due to his trade union organising work. There have been other examples of harassment by Belle Vue managers against union members. TfGM has a Responsible Procurement Charter which includes the explicit expectation that suppliers/contractors should not discriminate on the grounds of trade union membership
United Utilities workers are on strike to defend their right to a fair pension (16 Mar) – Today, UNISON members at United Utilities are on strike to defend their right to a fair pension. It’s not a decision they’ve taken lightly, but the staff of the UK’s largest listed water company face being hammered by pension proposals that could leave some as much as £10,000 a year worse off read more
Support striking waste transfer station workers in Hull – Willmington FCC waste disposal workers are likely to go back out on strike for two weeks starting on Good Friday. it is an offensive strike to try and get improved sick pay benefits for those workers who have not TUPEd previous sick pay across. After a first week’s strike which has brought the strikers together but not budged the management, the workers are planning to come out again for two weeks strike action starting on Good Friday. Send messages of support and donations. Cheques should be made out to Hull Unison 39, Alfred Gelder Street, Hull HU1 2AG Hull Unison
Derbyshire County Council’s ‘Direct Attack’ On Lowest Paid (Mar 15) – Derbyshire county council stop paying living wage in ‘direct attack’ on lowest paid says GMB. At its best denying schools the opportunity to pay the Foundation Living Wage is an act of monumental arrogance, at its worst it is the authority protecting themselves against potential equal pay claims says GMB. GMB, the union for school support staff, has described Derbyshire County Council’s decision to stop paying the living wage as a ‘direct attack’ on the lowest paid read more
Sign the petition against the Government reducing the Prison Officer Pension
Sign petition: Stop West Midlands Firefighters being taken away from the frontline! #FiredUp – Recent events such as the fire at Grenfell Tower and terrorist attacks across the country have shown that when you need the fire service, you need them quickly. But now, councillors in the West Midlands want to use flexible contracts to make firefighters undertake non-emergency work such as transporting people from hospital and picking up people who fall in their home. This will involve frontline firefighters and their emergency vehicles. Our message is clear; if firefighters are tied up with non-emergency work then they cannot be there for you and your family in your time of desperate need: This is unacceptable
Support the NEU strike at St Helens Primary School, Barnsley – the strike action is against bullying management style of the head and AET chain management. There is also a parents’ group who are fully on side and who have been holding protests outside the school for the last month. They want AET to go and the school to be taken over by another chain or go back under local authority control. Barnsley NEU held a successful public meeting last Thursday which was attended by 60 parents and staff. Send messages of support before the strike action they should be sent to the Barnsley NEU Divisional Secretary Nicola Fitzpatrick at [email protected]
Support the London teachers’ strikes: three schools in Newham are currently in dispute against threats of academisation: Avenue Primary, Cumberland and Keir Hardie – Avenue is on strike this Tuesday to Thirsday and Cumberland is out on Wednesday. Also, Connaught in Waltham Forest, Village in Brent and the City of London Academy in Bermondsey have also recently been on strike.
You can tweet messages of support to @NUTLondonOffice
Tribunal hearing begins for sacked Picturehouse reps – The Employment Tribunals begin taking evidence on March 12th in the case of three BECTU representatives dismissed by Picturehouse Cinemas during the long running industrial dispute over the Living Wage read more. There’s a protest outside Ritzy’s in Brixton 5.30pm next Tuesday for the reinstatement of the 2 sacked reps Facebook event
There is a fundraiser at TUC Congress house this coming Friday from 6.30pm – 23 Great Russell Street, WC1B 3LS London Facebook event
Donate to the Picturehouse Cinema strike fund: https://www.crowdpac.co.uk/campaigns/250/picturehousestrike
Swindon Advertiser staff show disgust as Newsquest advertises redundant post (14 Mar) – Journalists at the Swindon Advertiser have expressed their disgust at the creation of a new newsdesk role at the title, just two months after their news editor was made redundant. Toby Granville, editorial director for Newsquest, sent out a staff-wide email advertising the role of two new audience content editors (ACEs) at the Wiltshire daily read more Newsquest’s version of new newsroom roles at Swindon Advertiser “absolute fiction” says NUJ chapel
McStrike! Fundraiser Party – from 9pm Friday April 20th at Styx, 5 Ashley Road, N17 9LJ London Facebook event
University cleaners announce biggest ever outsourced workers strike in UK higher education (15 Mar) – University of London workers organised by the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) are to hold the biggest-ever strike of outsourced workers in UK higher education history. Over 100 cleaners, porters, security officers, receptionists, gardeners, postroom staff and audiovisual staff are expected to walk out on 25 and 26 April after a near unanimous vote in favour of industrial action. The workers, who are employed by a number of outsourcing companies that have contracts with the University of London central administration, are demanding to be made direct employees of the university, and for equal terms and conditions with those that are directly employed read more Donate to strike fund
United Voices of the World union
Protest in solidarity with the Daily Mail’s migrant cleaners who are currently being balloted for strike action to win a living wage – 3pm The Daily Mail, Daily Mail, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT www.uvwunion.org.uk. Sign the petition Donate to this campaign
The NSSN sends our condolences and best wishes to the family of Simeon Andrews who tragically passed away recently. He will be sadly missed by all those who knew him in the labour and trade union movement. We worked with Simeon in his role as the Coordinator of the Trade Union Co-ordinating Group (TUCG). His funeral will take place at West Norwood Crematorium and Cemetery SE27 9JU on Monday 26 March at 11am. Banners welcome NUJ tribute to Simeon
Donate: Together We Can #StopMurdoch’s Sky Takeover – The campaign to stop Murdoch’s Sky takeover has been working. Now let’s ramp up the pressure and stop Murdoch in his tracks details here
April 7th anti-austerity march and rally in Runnymede
Surrey County UNISON branch have organised a march and rally against austerity in the Chancellor’s own constituency of Runnymede. The rally itself will be at the historical Magna Carta Monument.
John McDonnell MP, Shadow Chancellor, has verbally agreed to come and speak if he is available. Many other national and local speakers have been invited.Save Our Services in Surrey are calling on all our supporters to come along and add their voices. Bring your friends, families and colleagues. Raise it in your unions, in your political parties and community groups.
For updates log onto the Facebook event here https://www.facebook.com/events/813239645526585/
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)
Demo at the Spycops Inquiry Hearing: Wednesday March 21 9:00am-12:00pm (9-10 is when more needed)
It is over seven years since the undercover policing scandal broke, creating shock that the police could commit such abuses against social, animal, and environmental justice campaigners in our country.
Public outrage at the scandals around undercover policing led to the Public Inquiry into Undercover Policing. Three years in, just ahead of when it was scheduled to publish its final report, it has yet to begin. Beset by police delaying tactics, people who have had their lives turned upside down by infiltration are still waiting for answers. We are no nearer to knowing the extent of the ongoing abuse of democracy.
On Wenesdayu 21 March the Inquiry is holding another preliminary hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. Starting at 10am, it will conclude by 4pm. It will cover the the recent applications for anonymity by 12 former spycops, and whether the Guardian is entitled to publish more of a leaked internal Special Demonstration Squad report.
It is people like you, taking a stand for your right to campaign for positive change without being abused by the state, that will change history, making sure these abuses come to light and are prevented from ever happening again. Without public support, the police may get away with hiding what has happened, and be able to continue their abuses.
Outside the Royal Courts of Justice from 9am on the Wednesday 21 March. Come along to the picket and stand with the core participants to support their demands that the Inquiry releases the cover names, and opens up the files on people who have been spied upon.
BREAKING: Spycops victims stage mass walk out at public inquiry (10.50am March 21st)
Victims of undercover police units and their lawyers staged a mass walk out
during today’s hearing of the undercover policing public inquiry calling
for the removal of Sir John Mitting as the new judge in charge of the
inquiry. Sir John Mitting has told the inquiry, that victims will be be met
with a ‘wall of silence’ in key parts of the inquiry and is granting
anonymity to almost every police officer – so the public inquiry will be
held mainly in secret. This will not be justice. We are not prepared to
participate in a process in which the victims are merely window dressing.
Below and attached is the full transcript of the submission made by
Phillipa Kaufman QC, representing over 200 of the ‘non-state, non police
core participants’ in the inquiry including Doreen and Neville Lawrence,
women activist who were decided into relationships with undercover
officers, anti-racist campaigners and trade unions.
Blacklisted workers and the Blacklist support Group have been granted ‘core
participant status’ in the inquiry because of undercover police
infiltration of trade unions and were part of the walk out.
Blacklist Support Group Statement for Undercover Policing Public Inquiry
hearing Wed 21st March 2018
“Blacklisted workers who have been kept under surveillance by political
policing units were always skeptical about whether the British state
investigating itself would truly provide justice. But under John Mitting,
the public inquiry has descended into a good old fashioned establishment
Mitting was put in charge to carry out a job of work on us – and he’s doing
it. Time and again he gives the police the benefit of the doubt, to the
detriment of those whose lives have been torn apart by this human rights
Tinkering around the edges isn’t going to change things. We have no
confidence in Mitting. He must go and needs to be replaced with a panel of
experts who have have at least some degree of empathy with the victims and
are prepared to question the accounts of undercover police officers who
have been trained to lie”.
Dave Smith – core participant in ‘union strand’ of public inquiry.
*UNDERCOVER POLICING INQUIRY – **ORAL Submission 21/3/18*
1. Sir, before you start today’s hearing I would like to make
submissions on behalf of the NPSCPs.
2. As you know we represent about 200 individuals – we cannot be precise
because some of the CPs are groups and it is anyone’s guess how many
individuals are represented as individuals relating to that group.
3. Over the last few months we have expressed to you increasing concerns
about the manner in which the anonymity application process has been
conducted. We have reached a point where our concerns can no longer be
ignored and have reached a head.
4. The focus of the NPSCPs now very grave concerns are disclosure and
well, to be frank, you.
a. Disclosure –
i. From the first moment
that we were invited to participate in the individual anonymity application
process we have taken strenuous steps to ensure that disclosure is made
which is sufficient to ensure both that the need for openness to be
maximised is ensured and second, relatedly, that disclosure is made that
will enable decisions to be taken on a properly informed basis. By that I
mean that decisions are taken which, to the extent possible, test the
police’ contentions as to why anonymity orders are required.
ii. Your response has
consistently been that our argument is circular and that you cannot provide
iii. As with disclosure so
too with your reasons. These are scant and largely uninformative. You
have never indicated that you take account of the compelling public
interest factors favouring disclosure let alone explain why they have been
iv. We agree entirely with
the observations in the submissions on behalf of Mr Francis at paras
4-6. I will read these in full because they echo so precisely the feelings
of my clients.
4. The opaque nature of the Chairman’s reasoning has attained a new
height in his ‘minded to’ note no. 3: in it he has dispensed with open
reasons altogether in relation to his indications re HN109. This is so
despite the fact that the Chairman is aware of the extreme frustration that
his general approach to the restriction order process has caused thus far.
5. A considered decision not to publish any open reasons at all, in
the context of an officer in relation to whom the current risk of physical
harm is assessed as “low” with any increase by revelation of real or cover
name assessed as “very low”, signals a disregard for those, like PF, who
have shown a real respect for the Inquiry’s processes by not revealing
information that they hold and in relation to which the Chairman has no
power to restrict.
6. PF has been prepared to engage with this judicial process (which
he was instrumental in bringing about) in the belief that this process
would fairly balance the public interest in openness with other factors at
play. Failing to give any reasons for restricting both a real and cover
name of a former UCO, who was a manager at a crucial period of time in SDS
history, and where there is no disclosed risk, significantly undermines the
trust and belief in the Inquiry process that PF has shown to date,
compounding his perception that there is a lack of mutual respect.
v. Our argument has
consistently been that the anonymity applications form an absolutely
critical part of the process. If you don’t get this right now then so much
of what has gone wrong in the undercover policing operations of the SDS and
NPOIU will forever remain secret. That is precisely the problem that
Ellison ran into, namely that he could not test the police accounts against
those of the people the officers had spied on. My clients greatly fear you
are walking into the same dead end.
vi. In short we have got
precisely nowhere in relation to our attempts to ensure that we can
vii. It is now abundantly
clear, particularly in light of the latest disclosure and minded to
indications which form the basis of this hearing that we simply cannot
participate in this hearing in any meaningful way – you of course have our
written subs. Your minded two indications again close off all avenues for
getting to the truth in relation to two critical officers, two
managers. This in circumstances where we have just learnt from the Met in
relation to one of the women with whom Mark Kennedy had a relationship when
working with the NPOIU, that his managers and supervisers acquiesced in his
viii. Our clients are not
prepared actively to participate in a process where their presence is mere
window dressing lacking all substance and meaning which would achieve
nothing other than to lend the process a legitimacy it does not have.
5. The second major area of concern is with the Inquiry Panel. This
concern falls into two parts:-
a. The first concerns the failure to ensure that the inquiry is heard by
exactly that “a Panel”, representing a proper cross section of our society
and in particular including individuals who have a proper understanding of
discrimination both on grounds of race and sex.
b. Instead we have the usual white, upper middle class, elderly
gentleman, whose life experiences are a million miles away from those who
were spied upon.
c. And, the very narrow ambit of your experience has been made apparent
in relation to your understanding of issues relating to women, in your
minded to note, what you said at the hearing and maintained in your
decision in relation to HN58. I will remind you of your observation in
the minded to note that HN58 is, in your view, very unlikely to have had
any intimate relations with those he spied upon because he had been married
for many years.
d. You will recall the reaction of those present in court when you said
this. You will recall acknowledging in response to that reaction that maybe
you are somewhat naiive and a little old fashioned. Yet, what is even more
alarming perhaps than your original observation is the fact that you
maintained that naiive and old fashioned approach in your final decision
and in other minded to notes.
e. The core participants do not want this important inquiry to be
presided over by someone who is both naiive and old fashioned and does not
understand the world that they or the police inhabit. They have no
confidence in the prospect of the inquiry properly probing or understanding
6. Those CPs who have expressed a view therefore ask you to recuse
yourself from his inquiry or that you ensure that you sit as a true Panel
bringing on board, others who well understand the critical issues that
shape and frame this inquiry.
*Not permanent walk out *
7. *As matters stand* those clients who have given instructions (as you
know many do not actively participate) are not prepared to continue their
participation in today’s hearing. I am instructed therefore to withdraw
from this hearing while these issues are considered by you.
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