NSSN 426: Support the Swindon Honda workers – stop the closure

The NSSN sends our full solidarity and support to the Honda workers in Swindon after the company announced plans to close the plant in 2021. In addition to the 3,500 workers directly employed at the plant, over 12,000 jobs in component and related industries are on the line.

We hope that the union and the workers’ campaign forces Honda to reverse their decision. But as when the Port Talbot steelworks were threatened three years ago, the NSSN believes that if necessary, such vital industrial plans should be taken into public ownership to ensure jobs and communities are protected.

The NSSN is proud of the longstanding relationship we have with the Honda shop stewards, who regularly attend our annual conference. We helped build support for the successful reinstatement of the Unite convenor Paddy Brennan when he was suspended by management in 2011.

Honda Unite convenor Paddy Brennan speaking at the 2012 NSSN Conference
Honda Unite convenor Paddy Brennan speaking at the 2012 NSSN Conference

Plans are being put in place by Unite and the reps alongside the local trade union movement for a local demonstration to fight for the plant. We will wholeheartedly support any such initiative. It could appeal to other workers facing closures and mass redundancies, such as Ford Bridgend and Airbus in North Wales.

We will keep our supporters and affiliates fully informed of developments as the stewards and the union fight for the plant’s future.

From the Unite website – Honda workers: We will never give up the ghost on our plant



NSSN news

Get your trade union branch or trades council to affiliate to the NSSN – it only costs £50. Already affiliated? Please think about renewing it. Also, many of our supporters pay a few pounds a month. You can set up a similar standing order to ‘National Shop Stewards Network’, HSBC – sort code 40-06-41, account number 90143790. Our address is NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE

Date for your diaries: 2019 NSSN Conference – 11am-4.30pm Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL – Saturday July 6th. Please use this letter in your union and trades council to help us finance the conference and affiliate to the NSSN 

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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Union News


RMT secures major pay victory for DHL staff on Virgin West Coast Mainline contract (22 Feb) – RAIL UNION RMT announced today that it has secured a major pay victory for members working on the DHL Virgin West Coast Mainline contract which will see the entire workforce lifted on to a living wage. The new pay deal means that some staff will see their wages rise by over 21% and that a new base line level ensures that the DHL workers will be guaranteed a minimum rate of £10.55 for the London Boroughs and £9.20 outside of London. RMT says that the pay breakthrough proves that outsourced workers, when organised into a militant, industrial trade union, can win major victories. The union believes that the 21% increase in pay for the potwasher grade is the biggest single rise in earnings secured by any trade union for any group of workers anywhere in the country in the current climate. Other groups of workers on the team will see their pay rise by nearly 19% as they are lifted onto the new minimum rates agreed with the union read more

Protest today as campaign grows to halt closure of Glasgow’s Springburn Rail Depot (19 Feb) – RAIL UNION RMT today welcomed rock-solid public support for a protest in Edinburgh this afternoon aimed at halting the proposed closure of the Springburn Rail Depot and the lifting of the threat to nearly 200 jobs and 160 years of train building, maintenance and engineering history on the site read more

RMT suspends South Western Railway strike action after significant breakthrough on the guard guarantee (18 Feb) – RAIL UNION RMT said today that substantial progress in talks with the company has allowed the union’s executive to suspend the on-going programme of strike action on South Western Railway over the retention and the role of the guard on their trains. The next phase of strike action was due to commence on Friday. Through the talks process the company have now offered a guarantee of a guard on the South Western Railway services that have been in dispute read more



Recipharm workers fight back! (19 Feb) – Workers at pharmaceutical company, Recipharm HC in Holmes Chapel, Cheshire are staging a series of three 49 hour strikes in a row over a paltry pay offer. The 29 craft and hourly paid workers, who are members of Unite, voted 100% for strike action following a breakdown in talks over the company’s refusal to agree a pay increase acceptable to staff above the current pay offer of two per cent. One 49-hour strike has already taken place last week. This is being repeated this week starting at 7pm today 19 February to 6pm Thursday 21. And this will be repeated again next week starting at 6am on Tuesday 26 February until 6am Thursday 28 February. Recipharm bosses have stated that there will be no increase on the two per cent increase and are currently refusing to discuss with workers. Stoke Socialist Party member Andy Bentley who visited the picket line today said, “Despite management’s attempt to intimidate those on strike, the mood on the picket line today was solid and support from passing car driver’s honking horns was excellent.” If you want to show support to those on strike please visit the picket lines on any of the strike days listed above at Recipharm, London Road, Holmes Chapel, Cheshire CW4 8BE

Unite workers vote for offshore industrial action (22 Feb) – Unite the union has today (22 February) announced that its offshore membership have voted overwhelmingly for industrial action on the Elgin-Franklin, Shetland Gas Plant, North Alwyn and Dunbar platforms. The platforms, operated by Aker and Petrofac, cover over two hundred workers. Unite members on the Elgin-Franklin platform voted by 88.2 per cent for industrial action; Shetland Gas Plant by 95.1 per cent, and North Alwyn and Dunbar platforms by 93.9 per cent. The dispute centres on Aker and Petrofac proposing to change the shift rotation from 2:3 to a 3:3/3:4 rotation, and to reduce the existing terms and conditions at the behest of parent company Total. Unite members have taken the step to retain the 2:3 rota or be compensated for moving to the new rota. Workers have also been frozen out of the existing competency scheme, which means that different rates will be paid for the same job read more

Unite moves towards first ever strike action at Scottish Qualifications Authority (21 Feb) – Unite the union has today (21 February) confirmed that it will now hold a statutory ballot on industrial action for the first time ever at the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA). Unite held a consultative ballot with a 84 per cent turnout. Of those voting, 96 per cent of Unite members issued a vote of no confidence in senior management, and 89 per cent supported potential strike action up to and during the examination period. The union, which represents hundreds of SQA workers, has been involved in an internal restructuring process for almost a year, which has left a number of workers without specific job roles. This follows two other occasions of failed restructuring since 2013. Unite members have raised a collective dispute with the SQA due to concerns about the organisation’s ability to restructure in a fair and competent manner read more

Unite raises fears that hostile management culture at Lothian buses could lead to strike (21 Feb) – There is increasing unrest among Unite members at Lothian Buses following what has been described as a breakdown in industrial relations between company management and the workforce. Unite the union has expressed concern around the dismissive way in which Lothian Buses management has dealt with workers concerns around bullying and their failure to follow agreed procedure.  Unite has stated that unless these issues are addressed immediately, industrial action could result in buses being taken off the streets of Edinburgh. Previous action last year was averted following a meeting held at ACAS which led to the signing of a Procedural Agreement which Unite believed would provide a fair way to deal with workers concerns. However Unite members have now intimated that a hostile culture has developed within Lothian Buses that is creating an environment where workers fear for their jobs and are being denied the opportunity to raise concerns directly

Birmingham bin strike deepens as Unite announces new industrial action ballot (21 Feb) – Unite will begin balloting Birmingham bin workers tomorrow (Friday 22 February) over grave concerns about the council risking the safety of workers and the general public by ignoring the 2017 High Court agreement, which ended the previous dispute. The deadline for ballot papers to be returned is Friday 8 March. If workers vote for industrial action then fresh strikes could be called by late March and run throughout the spring and early summer. Unite this week held its first one day strike (Tuesday 19 February) in the separate dispute over the ‘secret payments’ made by Birmingham council to bin workers who did not take part in the 2017 dispute. The payment amounts to the ‘blacklisting’ of the workers who took part in that industrial action read more

Unite has produced a short film to explain why the union has been forced to take strike action.

The next strike dates that Unite has announced are: Wednesday 27 February, Thursday 28 February, Monday 4 March, Friday 8 March, Tuesday 12 March, Wednesday 13 March, Thursday 21 March, Friday 22 March read more

BREAKING NEWS!! Unite: Birmingham council ‘drinking in last chance saloon’ as Unite reschedules next bin strike (26 Feb) – Unite has rescheduled tomorrow’s (Wednesday 26 February) intended Birmingham bin strike as a ‘gesture of goodwill’ in a bid to break the deadlock. Three days of peace talks, hosted by the conciliation service Acas, between Unite and Birmingham council have failed to reach a deal to end the industrial action over ‘secret payments’ and the ‘blacklisting’ of bin workers. The final day of the talks (Tuesday 26 February) failed to adequately progress. The talks were attended by the council officers only with the leader of the council and the councillor for waste being absent. Those same council officials then left the talks at lunch to attend Birmingham council’s budget meeting. Despite this disappointing response, Unite’s Birmingham bin workers’ representatives, have met and decided as a ‘gesture of goodwill’ to reschedule tomorrow’s strike, to give the council a final chance to come forward with an acceptable offer to end the dispute. Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett said “Unite representatives cannot be on a picket line and attend Acas. They have decided to reschedule tomorrow’s strike as a gesture of goodwill to the people of Birmingham and to show their clear intent to use all efforts to reach a resolution read more



The NSSN is hosting a public solidarity meeting with striking Birmingham Unite binworkers and Unison homecare workers in at 6.30pm on Tuesday February 12th in the Birmingham Midland Institute – 9 Margaret St B3 3BS. Speakers include striking workers from both disputes alongside Unite Assistant General Secretary Howard Beckett, NSSN national chair Rob Williams




Support the striking Birmingham homecare workers – Please send messages of support and donations to Unison Birmingham branch, 46 The Priory Queensway Birmingham  B4 7LR. Email [email protected]    Facebook group – https://www.facebook.com/birminghamunison/

Cleaners and caterers strike for fair pay at Liverpool Hospital (25 Feb) – Members employed by private contractor at Liverpool Women’s Hospital take action for NHS rates after 100% vote. Catering staff, cleaners and security guards are among UNISON members striking at Liverpool Women’s Hospital today over their private employer’s refusal to pay them the NHS rates for their jobs. More than 40 union members are employed by OCS, which supplies contracted out ‘soft facilities’ at the hospital, and delivered a 100% vote in favour of strike action in a formal ballot read more

Support Camden NSL parking wardens strike – these workers have just completed another fortnight of strike action for decent pay, taking their total to 33 days. Email support to Camden Unison via [email protected] and send cheques made payable to ‘Camden Unison NSL’ to Camden Unison, 59 Phoenix Road, Brill Place, London NW1 1ES



Solid strikes at Wythenshawe and Bangor (Feb 25) – “Our whole division is 100 per cent behind our members here,” said CWU divisional representative Ian Taylor from the picket line at Wythenshawe Delivery office this morning. Around 80 members here have been taking their second day of action and Ian said: “If I am to accept what my members are telling me about the management style in Wythenshawe then there is an urgent need for it to be addressed.” Strike action took place at the Greater Manchester office today and last Friday in a long-running dispute over two instances of what the union has stated to be “unacceptable use of the conduct code” over recent months. One member was disciplined for reporting sick with stress, while another faced action for allegedly posting a complaint of management bullying on social media. One of these two members was given a suspended dismissal and both were given compulsory transfers – but it is the view of members at the Wythenshawe office that management were completely at fault and that these are the latest in a long line of unacceptable management actions here that go back several years read more



PCS calls for joint campaign over government pensions U-turn (20 Feb) – PCS is calling for a joint campaign of public sector unions over the government’s outrageous decision to suspend the public sector pension valuation process which could have led to reductions in pension contributions. We have already expressed anger and concern over the government’s announcement to pause part of the valuations process for public service pensions. Talks with the coalition government on reform of public service pension schemes began in 2011 and ended with an imposed outcome. A major strike by all public sector workers took place on 30 November, 2011 and PCS led an ongoing campaign of opposition to the changes read more

PCS proposes plans to protect redundancy pay of lowest paid (18 Feb) – A plan that would benefit civil servants in most need of redundancy compensation has been proposed by PCS along with Unite, GMB and POA in the face of government attempts to reinstate cuts to redundancy terms. PCS won a judicial review against the government at the High Court in 2017 which ruled it was unlawful for the previous Tory government to exclude us from talks over its latest cuts to redundancy terms. The 4 unions have been in detailed negotiations with the government over the last 12 months as it has been trying to reinstate cuts to redundancy terms read more



GMB members vote to take action at Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital (25 Feb) – “What a very clear and loud refusal this is of the Trust’s approach of batting off real staff anxieties by trying to placate very concerned GMB members through the use of empty promises and pointless rhetoric”, says GMB Southern. GMB Nurses and HCA’s working at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital have returned figures of 100% in favour of taking industrial action to protect their current on call policy arrangements. Brighton and Sussex University Hospital NHS Trust are seeking to amend current working practices and processes, a move which will see patient safety potentially put at risk. Amendments would see staff forced to choose between breaching the working time 11 hours of continuous rest directive or taking their rest period and face losing money or having to bank shifts for later in the month. The ballot result, published today by the Electoral Reform Services (ERS), shows an 83.3% return and a resounding response for both action up to and including strike action and action short of strike action. GMB members will now meet to discuss and agree what form of action they will take if BSUH senior management continue to filibuster around meaningful engagement with both GMB as their recognised Union and its members within the department read more



Firefighters’ campaign halts cuts to fire service in Tyne and Wear (20 Feb) – Firefighters cautiously welcome the decision by Tyne and Wear Fire Authority to postpone the worst of proposed cuts to Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS). After a successful lobbying campaign from members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), the fire authority agreed to delay proposals to reduce fire and rescue service cover in the area, while moving firefighters to non-family friendly working hours. The delay will give both the fire authority and the FBU time to campaign for fairer funding from Westminster. This decision came after an extensive campaign from the FBU in Tyne and Wear calling for the fire authority to halt cuts, including a debate in Parliament and sustained lobbying of the fire authority. Outside the meeting, members of Unison, NASUWT, the local Labour Party, councillors and members of the public rallied in opposition to further austerity measures read more

Government “sneaks through” 15% cut to fire service (20 Feb) – The Westminster government will cut fire and rescue service funding in England by 15% over the next year, analysis from the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has found, despite claiming that “austerity is over”. Firefighters warn that the government is refusing to learn the lessons of the Grenfell Tower fire, nearly two years on from the tragedy read more



Strike ballot opens at Oaklands College (20 Feb) – Strikes at Oaklands College could be the cards as a ballot for strike action over pay opens. The ballot of UCU members will close on Monday 11 March. If staff at the St Albans and Welwyn Garden City sites back strike action, they will join colleagues at other colleges in a third wave of strikes over pay and conditions in March. Previously, UCU members at six colleges took action in November and staff at 13 colleges walked out last month. The dispute centres on the failure of colleges to make a decent pay offer to staff who have seen the value of their pay decline by 25% over the last decade. The pay gap between teachers in colleges and schools currently stands at £7,000. UCU said low pay was bad for staff, students and colleges, while around two-thirds of college heads said pay is a major obstacle for them when it comes to attracting staff. UCU said colleges that wanted to avoid disruption needed to work with the union to resolve disputes. The Capital City College Group recently agreed a 5% pay deal with the union for its 1,700 staff. While Hugh Baird College and New College agreed eleventh hour packages that saw UCU members suspend strike action read more read more



Leicester college pay strike goes on (20 Feb) – After their successful one-day strike on 6 February, staff from both sites at WQE college in Leicester struck again on 13-14 February. The workers are striking to protect pay and conditions and achieve parity between both sites after a recent merger. Picketing is not easy, with several entrances to cover, but there were plenty of willing pickets from the National Education Union and teaching union NASUWT. 30 people attended a National Education Union meeting immediately after picketing. The head teacher was refusing to speak to the unions before but strike action has forced him to negotiate. However, the National Education Union has kept on the table a proposed three-day strike in March read more



Cheadle teachers to strike (25 Feb) – Members of NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union at the Together Trust (Ashcroft School and Ashcroft College) in Cheadle will be taking the first of six planned days of strike action tomorrow (Tuesday 26 February). This action is as a result of adverse changes which have been made to teachers’ pay and conditions of service and the refusal of the employer to recognise trade unions read more



The EIS Executive Committee has today agreed to open a statutory teachers’ strike ballot over pay, and agreed a timetable for the action (22 Feb) – This follows yesterday’s consultative ballot result, when 57% of those voting rejected the current pay offer and backed a move to a strike ballot, on a turnout of 81%. The EIS represents 80% of Scotland’s teachers. The ballot is scheduled to open on Monday 11th March, and will run for three and a half weeks. EIS Executive also agreed a date for the first potential day of strike action – Wednesday 24th April read more

The ULA ballot for statutory action is open – Voting YES for industrial action is the only avenue left for us to pursue an acceptable cost of living pay rise. Not voting or voting “no” would mean we would have to accept the Employer’s offer which will further erode the real terms value of our pay. Members should have started receiving their ballot papers. If you have not received your paper please contact the EIS Membership Department at [email protected] or phone 0131 225 6244 as a matter of urgency. Members are asked to complete and post their ballot papers as soon as possible. For votes to count, ballot papers must reach the Independent Scrutineer, ERBS, 33 Clarendon Road, London, N8 ONW, no later than 12 noon on Tuesday 5 March when the ballot will close. The ULA Executive is recommending you vote YES in this Ballot read more



HMP Liverpool return to work (21 Feb) – The POA has instructed its members at HMP Liverpool to return to work, which they have done. Following a meeting at 07:30 today, POA members at HMP Liverpool refused to enter the prison. The Secretary of State issued an application for an interim injunction claiming a breach of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 s.127. After the Governor of HMP Liverpool issued a Notice to Staff “Clarification on Use of Force”, the POA members agreed to return to work. The walk-out has been resolved following positive negotiations and a position reached that suited the parties both nationally and locally read more

POA March and Rally 20th March – Violence, Pension Age, Privatisation – Support This Campaign, Join us in London on the 20th read here for details



Read the latest about the Picturehouse dispute 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


Mandate (Ireland)

Mandate members in Paddy Power expect to win up to €80,000 over denial of rest breaks (20 Feb) – Mandate Trade Union said it expects members to receive between €70,000 to €80,000 in compensation from Paddy Power concerning the denial of rest breaks in 92 separate cases. The claim was made after a second tranche of decisions by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) ordered Paddy Power to pay 11 workers a cumulative €10,100 in compensation for the denial of rest breaks. This follows 14 cases won by Mandate in July 2018 where workers were awarded between €750-€1,000 each read more



Deliveroo Couriers Strike Against Poverty Pay – Manchester 26th Feb! (21 Feb) – On Tuesday 26th February between 11am and 7pm, Deliveroo couriers in Manchester will be striking in protest of the company’s recent cuts to pay and the poor working conditions they endure. Riders around the UK have seen their pay cut in recent months and are increasingly being forced to deliver outside of zones for even less money. The demands of the Manchester couriers are:

  • A minimum of £5 a delivery and £8 for a double order
  • £10 an hour for waiting time for orders
  • A minimum of £1 for every additional mile travelled
  • No deliveries outside of the zone
  • Allow motorbike riders equal access to orders as cyclists read more



Clean up Outsourcing: National Demo Against Outsourcing: London Tuesday February 26 – For the first time in UK history, a coalition of unions came together today in a day of action against outsourcing. Outsourcing is one of the underhanded methods used by  bosses for decades to drive down our employment conditions. By using middlemen in the form of outsourcing companies, employers are able to offer some workers far worse pay, holiday entitlements, sick pay and pension contributions read more in Facebook event



Former Topshop cleaner Susana wins bumper payout (23 Feb) – Tribunal rejects Britannia’s central claims and awards up to £75k for unfair dismissal. Susana Benavides has been a full-time UVW organiser ever since being unfairly dismissed from her Topshop cleaning job by her direct employer Britannia Services Group. At last, a tribunal has ruled that she was sacked principally due to her union-related activities, rejecting Topshop’s key argument that a union’s “typical activities” cannot include “large scale public direct-action protests.” Read more



Other news

UN Anti-Racism Day Demonstration – 12noon Saturday March 16th in London Facebook event



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)

’10 years on – blacklisted workers still fighting for justice’: 5pm Houses of Parliament, hosted by John McDonnell MP and Chris Stephens MP Facebook event

Unite to force blacklisting construction boss to appear in court, as scandal marks 10th anniversary (25 Feb) – Unite, the construction union, reveals today (Monday 25 February) that it is closing in on forcing Cullum McAlpine, one of the key architects behind the industrial scale blacklisting of construction workers, to account for his actions in court. The legal development comes on the 10th anniversary of the uncovering of the blacklisting scandal. Unite is taking fresh legal action on behalf of workers who were blacklisted by the Consulting Association, which blacklisted 3,123 construction workers. The majority of the major construction companies in the UK used its services. Unlike the previous court case which concluded in 2016, Unite will be seeking to ensure Cullum McAlpine, the original chairman of the Consulting Association and a director of Sir Robert McAlpine is required to give evidence in court under oath. The trial is set to begin on Tuesday 4 June and could last for six weeks. The massive and systematic blacklisting of construction workers was revealed following a raid on the Consulting Association’s offices by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) on 23 February 2007. It was subsequently discovered that widespread blacklisting checks were occurring on the Olympic Games build project read more

Blacklisted t-shirts available at: https://shop.hopenothate.org.uk/component/hikashop/product/78-blacklisted-t-shirt

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

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNcgrNs6pB8

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

Blog: www.hazards.org/blacklistblog





Quebec: 90,000 health workers file offensive wage demands read more

Bangladesh: long struggle wins collective bargaining rights for workers at transnational confectioner Perfetti Van Melle read more







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