The NSSN sends our support and solidarity to education workers, their unions and an increasing number of parents as they look to resist the Tory government’s plans to move to a much wider opening of schools in England on June 1st.
We believe that this reckless plan is clearly connected to Boris Johnson’s intention to lift the lockdown and get people back to work, before the government get the COVID-19 pandemic under control. They are putting bosses’ profits before the safety of workers, children and their families.
At our very successful 2nd NSSN Zoom public meeting last Saturday, teachers and parents set out a united fighting strategy. The NSSN supports this fight for safety along with the many other struggles that are taking place to ensure that the workplace is safe. We argue that we need trade union, workers’ control of workplace safety as we can’t trust the Tory government and their big business backers.
We are happy for teachers, schools staff and parents to use the banner of the NSSN to organise meetings and action against this unsafe re-opening. Email us on [email protected] for more information.
NEU: 5 Tests for Government before schools can re-open – NEU has launched 5 tests for Government before schools can re-open. We believe that these test must be capable of being passed in order to create the necessary confidence amongst parents and staff:-
We have these five tests which the Government should show will be met by reliable evidence, peer-reviewed science and transparent decision making.
Test 1: Much lower numbers of Covid-19 cases
The new case count must be much lower than it is now, with a sustained downward trend, with confidence that new cases are known and counted promptly. And the Government must have extensive arrangements for testing and contact tracing to keep it that way.
Test 2: A national plan for social distancing
The Government must have a national plan including parameters for both appropriate physical distancing and levels of social mixing in schools, as well as for appropriate PPE, which will be locally negotiated at school-by-school and local authority level.
Test 3: Testing, testing, testing!
Comprehensive access to regular testing for children and staff to ensure our schools and colleges don’t become hot spots for Covid-19.
Test 4: Whole school strategy
Protocols to be put in place to test a whole school or college when a case occurs and for isolation to be strictly followed.
Test 5: Protection for the vulnerable
Vulnerable staff, and staff who live with vulnerable people, must work from home, fulfilling their professional duties to the extent that is possible. Plans must specifically address the protection of vulnerable parents, grandparents and carers read more
NEU: Wider opening of schools: update (16 May) – Commenting on Gavin Williamson’s COVID press briefing this evening, Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said: “The National Education Union was pleased to hear the Secretary of State restate that a wider opening of schools on June 1st is conditional on the Government passing certain tests, and pleased to hear Mr Williamson say that the Government will be closely monitoring the impact of this weeks loosening on the R rate and the overall case count, before deciding to take further measures. This is sensible. We will take up Mr Williamson’s statement that his door is open in order to seek to engage in discussions about a safe way forward and to better understand the tests the Government believes it must pass. In that context we would particularly like to discuss our own five tests which have been endorsed by the British Medical Association and also to examine the arrangements made in schools in Denmark” read more
No date set for opening schools in Wales (15 May) – NEU Cymru welcomes no date set for opening schools in Wales. Like everyone, we want learners to be back in their classrooms. But not until it is safe to do so read more
NASUWT: Government must provide assurances to teachers over reopening (16 May) – Responding to the comments made on schools reopening by the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson at today’s Government Coronavirus briefing, Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ union, said: “The NASUWT welcomes the Secretary of State’s commitment to discuss a way forward which will help to ensure that schools can reopen safely to more children. It is urgently important that the Government takes every available opportunity to provide the necessary assurances that teachers are seeking” read more
UCU: Unions set out five tests government and colleges must meet before staff and students can return (13 May) – Staff and student safety must be guaranteed before colleges can reopen, said unions representing staff in further education, as they set out five tests that must be met by government and colleges read more
Teaching Unions Write to Deputy First Minister Urging Caution Over Schools Re-Opening (15 May) – Scotland’s teaching unions have sent a letter to Deputy First Minister John Swinney, urging caution over the eventual re-opening of schools and calling for clarity on a potential August partial return for pupils and teachers read more
Unite: Education unions’ statement on the safe reopening of schools (13 May) – Unions with members in the education sector are today (Wednesday) publishing a joint statement on the safe reopening of schools. Today’s statement follows a longer statement to the Secretary of State on Friday (8 May), which set out in full detail the principles and tests necessary for the safe reopening of schools. It is signed by AEP, GMB, NAHT, NASUWT, NEU, NSEAD, Prospect, UNISON and Unite read more
GMB back Liverpool Mayor’s ‘responsible call’ to keep schools shut (15 May) – GMB, the union for school staff has backed Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson’s call to keep schools shut. Commenting on the move, GMB organiser Graham McDermott said: “We’re backing Joe’s call that schools shouldn’t reopen until we can be sure that there is no risk to staff or children from COVID 19. Until the six robust tests we outlined to the secretary of state on Wednesday are met , we think that schools should remain shut – safeguarding staff and vulnerable children from Covid 19. “That’s the responsible call, and we back it.” Read more
Support staff mustn’t be exploited by schools reopening, says UNISON (15 May) – Jon Richards says beginning of June reopening is unrealistic as safety tests not met. Responding to new Department for Education (DFE) guidance on the reopening of primary schools and nurseries and to meetings held today (Friday) between unions, officials and government scientists on the risk of Coronavirus transmission by children, UNISON head of education Jon Richards said: “Safety for staff and pupils has to be the number one priority. Yet the DFE guidance has a number of holes, and the government has neither met unions’ safety tests nor its own. That’s why the beginning of June for reopening is unrealistic” read more
The NSSN is continuing to report on how workers are organising during the coronavirus pandemic.
Thanks to everyone who took part in our very successful second NSSN Zoom public meeting last Saturday: ‘Tories want to lift lockdown…Workers Safety before Profits!’ Well over 200 took part, a sizable increase in our first meeting three weeks earlier.
The NSSN is opening up our weekly email bulletin, website and social media platforms of Facebook and twitter to provide a public forum for workers during the Coronavirus/COVID-19 crisis. We want to be a place where we can all share queries and experiences that workers are facing in their workplaces. These include reports of action taken by workers to defend themselves from their employers.
You can read about many of these actions in our weekly bulletin and out social media groups, especially our Facebook group: NSSN – defend workers’ rights under Coronavirus.
You can also send the NSSN your reports and queries via our website, twitter – @NSSN_AntiCuts and email – [email protected]
Online event this Friday May 22nd 6.30pm – Reel News International night: ‘June 1 Global Day of Action’ Facebook event
We welcome the information being sent to union members concerning the spread of coronavirus, including the TUC, Unison, Prospect, Unite, RMT, PCS, ASLEF, TSSA, CWU, EIS, UCU, Mandate, NUJ, NIPSA, FBU, POA, NEU, NASUWT, BFAWU, RCN and the GMB.
But it is absolutely vital that unions retain their ability to organise and act independently in defence of their members and workers generally. This includes the right of unions to take industrial action. We are already aware of workers being forced to take unofficial action on health and safety grounds. We also believe that unions should have oversight of any government bans on protests and picketing. This is the same Tory government that tabled more new anti-union laws in December’s Queens Speech last December and cannot be trusted.
We believe that it is essential that workers are protected during this worrying period and are not impacted, whether in terms of their safety as well as their pay and employment rights. The Tory government have announced measures that if implemented would include some workers receive 80% of their wages. However, we believe that no worker should pay the price for any spread of the virus. Any worker who is required not to attend work or is unable to do so because of childcare or transport closures should receive full pay and not be forced to take annual leave. But unions have to remain vigilant that any government payments actually happen and also covers all workers, including those in precarious employment such as zero-hour contracts and in the gig economy.
We have drafted this model motion which we’ve made into a bulletin that can be downloaded and printed off to be distributed. Feel free to use in your union and trades council, in totality or partially to highlight the issues that need to be addressed.
Keep an eye out for other Facebook and social media groups and pages that are being created. The Coronavirus Support Group for Workers has been set up on Facebook and is a useful forum.
Follow how unions are facing up to coronavirus globally via LabourStart and ReelNews
USA: Sign Fight for $15 petition: Tell McDonald’s: Give your workers paid sick leave NOW
Sign Waltham Forest Trades Union Council petition to Barts NHS Trust: for adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) for all NHS staff particularly at Whipps Cross hospital.
Sign petition: To Welsh Government – For an immediate 10% pay rise for health, care and key workers. Sponsored by Cardiff County Trades Union Council, Swansea Trades Council, Caerphilly Trades Council
Union Coronavirus resources
Most TUC-affiliated unions have dedicated sections or pages of their websites to coronavirus/Covid-19 advice. Here are those where such information is available without entering special member portals. We will keep updating them
BECTU Sector of Prospect
College of Podiatry
National Society for Education in Art and Design (NSEAD)
Fight victimisation of union reps
Since the new year, a whole number of union reps and members have been sacked, suspended or disciplined. This is becoming a pattern. So much for ‘all being in this together’ during the coronavirus pandemic”. This comes on the back of the Tories’ planned new anti-union laws.
The NSSN will continue to highlight every such case and build support and solidarity so that these workers and others get their jobs back. Please send a message of support to those being attacked and invite them to your union branch and trades council. Keep letting us know about any other acts of union victimisation and we’ll publicise.
Clara Paillard PCS victory – We are delighted to announce that the threat of dismissal has been lifted and Clara, PCS president in the Culture sector, is ‘back at work’ (although from home during the current pandemic).
Reinstate Percy Yunganina UVW union – Percy is a cleaner at King’s college with 5 years on the job, and a UVW executive committee member, who’s just been sacked after a disciplinary hearing he refused to attend due to observing the government’s social distancing guidelines but which King’s College proceeded with anyway in his absence without even letting him know or inviting him to attend via phone. The hearing would have had 8 people cramped together in a small room in complete disregard of the government’s instructions about social distancing. Percy has explained the reaons for not attending and asked for the decision to be overturned and the hearing to be reconvened via phone or in person after Lockdown. However, King’s have scandalously refused this request and have insisted on upholding his dismissal which now leaves Percy out of work and out of pocket in the middle of a pandemic! He will formally appeal but it could take months to hear and deliver an outcome. We will also take King’s to tribunal but that could take over a year. This is utterly shameless conduct by King’s HR team, led by Nigel Smith, the Head of People Services. They need to be held to account. Everyone deserves the right to a fair hearing and should not have that right denied them for respecting the government’s public health guidelines about social distancing. Please repost this and write to Nigel Smith at the following address telling him to reinstate Percy – [email protected]
Sign the petition: Reinstate Ezra Christian RMT – We, the undersigned, are appalled at the treatment and summary dismissal of our Bakerloo Line colleague Ezra Christian. Ezra has been treated very harshly and does not deserve to be sacked. We call on London Underground to do the right thing in this case and Reinstate Ezra back into London Underground Employment immediately
Reinstate Clive Walder Unite: the campaign continues – Unfortunately, we have to inform you that the appeal by Unite against Clive’s dismissal by National Express in Birmingham was unsuccessful. In the hearing on 5 March, the company downgraded his offence from gross misconduct to misconduct and altered the penalty from summary dismissal to dismissal with four weeks’ notice. We believe dismissal is totally disproportionate and Clive should be reinstated. Clive and his union Unite the union will shortly decide the next steps in his campaign against his sacking. Clive would like to thank all those who have expressed solidarity with him, including supporters of the National Shop Stewards Network who took part in the protest leafleting of his workplace before the appeal hearing. It was successful enough for National Express to report it to the Unite full time official. Please continue to send protest emails to [email protected]. The NSSN has produced a flyer which can be downloaded and printed off to give to National Express employees and customers in support of Clive. We are appealing to our supporters to take photos of any solidarity protests and post on social media
Support Danyal Aziz Unite – Daniel was a Unite rep at London City Airport, who was recently sacked. Labour MP Sam Tarry has tabled a Parliamentary Early Day Motion in support of Danyal. Email your local MP to get them to sign the EDM
Defend Paul Williams PCS – Stop the victimisation of senior PCS rep Paul Williams – Paul Williams has a long and proud history of defending his colleagues at the Department for Transport, and predecessor departments, for nearly 40 years but as a result of his union activities is facing compulsory redundancy even though there are vacancies at his grade read more
Support Tony Smith Unison – Tony Smith one of the leaders of the successful FCC dispute which won sick pay for nearly 2,500 workers is being victimised. charged with gross misconduct over health and safety charges, his hearing is on Thursday. Please send messages of support to Hull Trades Council c/o [email protected]
Sign the petition: Reinstate UNISON rep Peter Moorhead and stop victimising trade unionists at Alternative Futures Group (AFG)
Support the ASDA workers and reinstate Michael Hunnum – 12,000 workers faced being sacked before Christmas by scrooge bosses ASDA, who are now owned by US superstore giant Walmart. This threat hanging over them was unless they agree to the new ‘Contract 6’ which will see them lose all their paid breaks and forced to work bank holidays. The same employer is sacking North East GMB member Michael Hunnam. Michael’s fight is part of the same struggle to resist the offensive of the ASDA bosses. Michael’s supporters believe that his determined opposition to Contract 6 is what has put him in the ASDA firing line. Support the ASDA workers and reinstate Michael!
Defend Moe Unite – support Moe Muhsin Manir, a hardworking Unite rep on London buses, working for Abellio. We are delighted to report that Moe is back at work. We will keep everyone up to date on any developments. Moe would like to thank everyone who sent support and solidarity.
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
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. Feel free to use this affiliation letter
Date for your diary: 2020 NSSN Conference Saturday July 4th 11am-4.30pm Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, Holborn, London WC1R 4RL
This leaflet advertising the 2020 NSSN Conference can be downloaded and printed off
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]
Follow us on twitter via @NSSN_AntiCuts and Facebook
Watch NSSN TUC Rally video
RMT calls for new compulsory Covid-19 protections for passengers and rail workers (18 May) – As increased rail service timetable comes into place today RMT calls for new compulsory Covid-19 protections for passengers and rail workers. RAIL UNION RMT is calling for new compulsory protections for passengers and rail workers on trains as the increased rail service timetable comes into place today – Monday 18th May. The protections are:
- Compulsory 2 metre social distancing – the public are being told to observe 2 metre social distancing in open spaces outdoors. Therefore the government should enforce 2 metre social distancing on trains whose confined spaces mean there is a greater risk of infection.
- Compulsory wearing of face masks by passengers. Masks should also be provided for free at stations and be able to be disposed of safely (It is now a requirement for Eurostar passengers to wear masks but that does not apply to all other railway services that currently operate in the UK) read more
RMT warns of strike action if necessary to fight London Transport Austerity imposed by government (15 May) – Responding to the government announcement today that it is imposing austerity cuts and direct control over transport in London as part of its conditions for funding as a result of the Covid-19 crisis RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said, “London Transport workers have been vital to fighting Covid-19 and any attacks on their pay, jobs and conditions arising from this imposed settlement will be a complete betrayal” read more
LU caves in to government demand to run full service (15 May) – Don’t put yourself in danger to meet government targets. Tube staf could soon exposed to thousands of people every day. The failure to protect London Bus drivers from close contact with the public contributed to a terrible Covid 19 death-toll amongst these workers – 16 times higher than the rate of Covid deaths of NHS staf. TfL may be refusing to learn from their failure to close the front doors but RMT will not stand by and allow members on LUL/TFL to be exposed to unacceptable risk. LUL says 2m social distance only applies “where possible”. We say 2m must be maintained at all times in public areas read more
Crowded train and bus services are “categorically less safe” and should not run unless two metre social distancing can be enforced says RMT (14 May) – TRANSPORT UNION RMT said today that crowded train, tube and bus services are “categorically less safe” and should not run unless two meter social distancing can be enforced. The union said unless the government took urgent action to enforce two meter social distancing public transport would become a “turbo charged Covid -19 breeding ground” driving a new wave of infections. The warning has come as the Government begins it’s back to work drive this week with a surge in passenger numbers expected on Monday morning read more
Sign petition: to The Mayor of London and the London Assembly – End the privatisation of cleaning at Transport for London
RAIL UNION RMT has suspended strike action on South Western Railway in good faith to allow further talks to take place read more
Donate to the RMT strike fund on South Western Railway – The NSSN is appealing for financial support and solidarity for the RMT and their members on SWR, who have just voted to renew their mandate to take mote strike action. Send messages of support and requests for speakers for your union branch and/or trades council to RMT NEC member and SWR guard Geoff Kite – [email protected]
To make a donation to the hardship funds set up for RMT members striking against Driver Only Operation:-
National Dispute Fund:
Transfers can be made directly into the account using the details below:
Account name: RMT Head Office National Dispute Fund
Account no: 20113524
Sort Code: 60-83-01
Alternatively, you can send cheques to the Finance Department at Head Office – Unity House 39 Chalton Street London NW11JD
TSSA Welcomes Transport For London Emergency Funding (14 May) – TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has welcomed the announcement of a £1.6bn Government emergency funding package for Transport for London (TfL). The move comes after London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, had warned the body was close to running out of money as a result of the Coronavirus read more
Belly Mujinga – TSSA demands for staff safety (14 May) – Following the death of railway worker Belly Mujinga who was employed by Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) the TSSA union has spoken to members and reps at Victoria Station and across the company. Many are fearful for their safety. TSSA is speaking to the company this morning (Thursday). In mourning the loss of Belly Mujinga and other frontline workers, TSSA makes the following demands to ensure greater protection of our members
London Underground Service Increase (15 May) – As London Underground ramps up services from Monday, ASLEF has advised members of their right to refuse to work in circumstances where they are at risk of serious and imminent danger. Finn Brennan, ASLEF’s organiser on the Underground, said: ‘Despite our objections, London Underground has insisted that, from next week, train drivers revert to working as they did before the covid-19 crisis. They are being told that they can no longer continue to work in the safer way that they have been working over the last six weeks. This is because the government is insisting that Transport for London maximises the service it operates, regardless of the implications for driver safety. Forty-two TfL workers have already lost their lives to this dreadful disease. The government appears to regard them as nothing more than collateral damage” read more
ASLEF Welcomes TfL Bailout (14 May) – Mick Whelan, general secretary, has welcomed the news that the government is supporting Transport for London until September. ASLEF represents most of the Tube train drivers on London Underground. Mick said: ‘A safe and efficient public transport network is vital for the functioning of any major city which is why we welcome the news that the government is prepared to do the right thing and has positively answered Sadiq Khan’s request to plug the hole in finances left by the coronavirus crisis. It would have been a disaster for the capital, and the country, if the Tube network – and London buses – had stopped running” read more
ASLEF in action: ScotRail (13 May) – Michael Matheson MSP, Transport Secretary, announced today that ScotRail services will not be increasing from 18 May. This decision – which we welcome – will come as a great relief to passengers and rail staff alike. And is the result of lobbying by ASLEF, the train drivers’ trade union. Kevin Lindsay, ASLEF’s organiser in Scotland, who wrote to Mr Matheson on Thursday, highlighting out concerns, said: ‘This decision is the right decision. Here in Scotland we have taken the decision to ‘stay safe’, not ‘stay alert’ – whatever that means – because we care about the health of our nation. Boris Johnson’s mixed-up messages make no sense at all. And we know it makes no sense to increase services at this time” read more
Energy giant axing 2,600 jobs is a ‘bitter blow’, says Unite (19 May) – The decision by SSE Energy Services to axe 2,600 jobs, accelerated by the coronavirus emergency, is a ‘bitter blow’ for the workforce, Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, said today (Tuesday 19 May). Unite, which has 1,300 members from meter services to contact centre staff across England, Scotland and Wales, called for urgent talks with the company which was taken over by OVO this year. The union will be strongly pressing management as to why they are not continuing with the government’s job retention scheme (JRS) which runs until October read more
Unite Scotland launches Save Off-Shore jobs campaign amid oil and gas crisis (18 May) – Unite Scotland has today (18 May) launched an extensive campaign to protect offshore jobs as the global slump in oil demand and the price of a barrel during the Covid-19 pandemic threatens tens of thousands of jobs in the oil and gas sector. The trade union, as part of the Offshore Co-ordinating Group (OCG), launched a report last month titled “A crisis behind a crisis” highlighting that upwards of 3,500 workers are immediately at risk through redundancies or furloughing by September 2020. The report was followed by warnings from the sector’s trade body, Oil and Gas UK (OGUK), that over the next 18 months up to 30,000 jobs could be lost read more
Tory donor JCB axing up to 1,450 jobs is ‘a slap in the face’ for working people and Boris Johnson, says Unite (15 May) – The decision by digger manufacturer JCB, a major Tory party donor, to axe up to 950 direct jobs and another 500 agency workers, is ‘a slap in the face’ for the hard working people who have made JCB the iconic name it is and the government’s job retention scheme (JRS), said today (Friday 15 May). Unite said that the company’s statement appeared to indicate that it was walking away from the government’s JRS, which is now running to the end of October, just as the time comes to put its own hand in its pocket and paying its fair share towards supporting its workforce. It was only in December that the prime minister used a JCB site in Staffordshire for a bizarre Brexit election stunt when he used a company digger to smash through a polystyrene ‘wall’ read more
Leicester SPS Technologies’ attacks on jobs and T&Cs ‘opportunism of the worst kind’ (15 May) – Plans by aerospace parts firm SPS Technologies to make 200 staff at a Leicester factory redundant and reduce the terms and conditions of the remaining workforce is ‘opportunism of the worst kind’, Unite said today (Friday 15 May). SPS Technologies, where Unite has about 350 members, has announced plans to reduce its Barkby Road workforce from 480 to 280. At the same time the firm is attempting to push through reductions to pay grades, sick pay, paid breaks, shift premiums and other terms and conditions for those who remain read more
Wirral bin dispute ended as pay increase secured (15 May) – The possibility of strikes involving refuse workers employed by waste company Biffa on the Wirral council contract has ended after members agreed to an improved pay offer. The workers who are members of Unite voted overwhelmingly at the end of March in favour of strike action in the dispute over pay and moving from weekly to monthly pay. However, Unite announced that no industrial action would take place during the Covid-19 pandemic. Further discussions took place between senior management and Unite representatives in an attempt to resolve this dispute, and Unite members have now voted to accept an improved pay offer of 3.5 per cent which will be back dated to April 2019. The company have said that they will now work with Unite shop stewards to agree how and when the back pay will be paid read more
Moy Park bosses refusal to provide workforce Covid testing blasted by Unite the union (May 14) – Moy ParkGroup’s latest profits showed £72 million in operating profits with the top-paid director receiving £2.6 million. In the face of total and continued inaction by the Stormont Ministers on crisis in meatpacking sector, workers will organise to defend themselves read more
Government must act to prevent dangerous London bus overcrowding (13 May) – Unite the union, which represents over 20,000 bus workers, is calling on the government to intervene immediately to prevent overcrowding on London’s buses. Unite made its call following pictures and reports today (Wednesday 13 May) of overcrowded buses in London on the day that more workers were told they should return to work. Unite believes that the government must act to ensure safety. It is calling for clear rules to be provided on the maximum capacity of buses, and for the government to also provide a method of enforcing them rather than expecting the bus driver to take action. Unite is also advising its members that if overcrowding becomes so so dangerous that it threatens their safety than they should stop work immediately and remove themselves from the danger read more
Threat of KPMG negligence lawsuit over Carillion meltdown shows need to address ‘rotten system’ (13 May) – Reports that ‘big four’ accountancy firm KPMG is facing a £250m negligence lawsuit over its role in Carillion’s meltdown shows the need for government to address the UK’s ‘rotten system of bandit capitalism’, Unite said today (Wednesday 13 May) read more
Unite urges PM to ‘step away’ from public sector pay freeze proposal without delay (13 May) – Commenting on the revelations that the government is considering a public sector pay freeze, Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “This is a huge own goal by the government. Public sector workers are on the frontline saving lives, keeping people safe and maintaining the economy. To suggest that their hard work, endeavour and sacrifice should be rewarded with a freeze in their pay is simply insulting. A public sector pay freeze is totally at odds with what the general public wants, Unite’s own survey of the general public last week found that 71 per cent wanted increased taxes of the wealthy rather than a return to austerity. With other key priorities being increased funding for the NHS and more pay for key workers” read more
Sign this petition: BA mass sackings of its UK workforce is immoral and possibly illegal its time to act
Sign this petition: Reinstatement of Blue Handling employees laid off due to COVID-19 and placed on Furlough – With the outbreak of the COVID-19 Pandemic many staff were laid off from Blue Handling due to an unprecedented restriction in travel. The aim of this petition is to demand the reinstatement of those colleagues who were laid off and be placed on the Governments Job Retention scheme (furlough). There is no reason why our colleagues should not be Furloughed and receive 80% of their wages for as long as the Job Retention scheme exists Unite: Anger as Ryanair’s ground handler sacks workers instead of using furlough scheme
Sign this petition: Please sign and share: Extend the bereaved family payment to UK bus workers now – every bus worker who loses their life because of coronavirus deserves to get the £60,000 life assurance cover alongside NHS and social care staff. Dozens have tragically lost their lives. They are going above and beyond the call of duty. It is only right that their families are given the same financial protections. Help support bus workers and their families. Extend and increase the bereaved family payment now read more
MTVHA – Stop the Sackings! Sign petition: To: Geeta Nanda, Chief Executive Officer, Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing Association – Please cease all compulsory redundancies during the recruitment freeze caused by Coronavirus restrictions which would make it impossible for anyone to find alternative employment read more from Unite Housing Workers branch
Support Westex Carpets staff strike – Westex Carpet strike reaches two month mark: Members of Unite at the Westex Carpets factory in Cleckheaton are about to reach the two month mark in their ongoing dispute over pay. The strike began on November 20th after workers rejected a minimal pay rise which was then withdrawn by the company, which has since refused further dialogue read more Westex Carpets ‘won’t win battle of wills’ as strikes head into ninth week after talks collapse (22 Jan)
To make a donation to the hardship fund:-
Account name – TGWU
Account number – 20175407
Sort code – 60/83/01
Reference – WESTEX STRIKE FUND
Please sign this PCS petition to Save Ealing Tax Office – During this time of national crisis the reliance on hard working, front line, civil servants has increased immeasurably. Government departments have had to act quickly, protect staff and ensure that services can still be provided whilst encouraging staff to work from home where possible. In HMRC over 51,000 members of staff are now working from home with IT equipment enabling them to provide effective advice and services to those affected by Covid-19 as well as continuing to perform the day to day duties of the department. Unfortunately our members based at Ealing Tax Office, although providing vital support and expertise during these difficult times, are facing an increasingly uncertain future with redundancy notices likely to be announced in June as part of HMRC’s controversial ‘Building our Future’ programme. These hard working and dedicated members are fighting to retain their jobs and secure the future of their office, entering into an official dispute with the department, taking part in numerous periods of strike action in recent months. The department have refused to acknowledge the vital role played by this office, the likely impact of losing this community employer as well as the long term impact the loss of over 4000 years of collective experience will have on the functionality of HMRC. During these unprecedented times when the reliance on the civil service has grown substantially, it seems unnecessary that HMRC should continue with its office closure programme and planned redundancies. Now, more than ever, an effective and efficient civil service is needed and our members are showing that, across Government, they can work flexibly at home, outside of the office environment, and continue to provide a high standard of service to the British public. We ask that you sign this eaction to the Chancellor calling on him to intervene urgently, to halt the office closures and redundancies, and consult fully with the union and work to retain the experience and vital knowledge contained within Ealing Tax Office. Support our call to SAVE JOBS, SAVE SERVICES and STOP THE CLOSURES
Government gives key civil service workers a real-terms pay cut in Cabinet Office swindle (18 May) – PCS slams government for pay swindle after Cabinet Office issues pay remit guidance of 1.5-2.5%. PCS members deserve action to deal with low pay so that they can carry out work vital to the government’s response to the coronavirus crisis with a sense of security. The union had made interim demands during the Corona pandemic to significantly raise pay above inflation and across the board. But despite PCS members, many of them being key workers going above and beyond the call of duty, in DWP, HMRC, the Home Office and elsewhere, ministers have decided to cap any pay rise at between 1.5 and 2.5%. RPI inflation is currently running at 2.6% read more
Win for PCS apprentices across Home Office including Border Force (15 May) – Following our campaign, hundreds of apprentices have been given permanent contracts and a pay rise. In early February PCS Home Office group received confirmation that from 1 April 2020 all apprentices were being moved to new pay scales at the AO substantive grade and on permanent contracts. This resulted from a comprehensive bargaining, campaigning and organising plan by the group executive committee. It included a letter sent from the general secretary to the Permanent Secretary in December 2019, highlighting the potential damage to the department’s reputation from the Border Force apprenticeship recruitment exercise read more
Almost 90% civil servants opposed to returning to workplaces until it is safe to do so (15 May) – PCS is overwhelmingly opposed to returning to unsafe workplaces, a new survey has shown. 12,000 members responded to the survey with 88% saying they are opposed to any return to normal working until it is safe to do so. 83% of members strongly support the union’s campaign on coronavirus health and safety which includes proper safeguarding measures agreed with the union and put in place for anyone who attends a workplace read more
30% cut to civil service redundancy pay stopped for at least a year (14 May) – Today, in response to a PCS demand, the Cabinet Office has written to confirm that proposals to make major cuts to civil service redundancy pay will be halted for at least a year, to April 2021 read more
Public sector pay freeze would be resisted by PCS (13 May) – Reports in the media suggest government ministers might be planning a public sector pay freeze to pay for the economic damage done by the coronavirus pandemic. A confidential Treasury report cited by The Daily Telegraph says the UK’s deficit could reach heights of £337 billion this year due to the government’s attempts to keep the economy afloat during the crisis. Among the possible proposals being tabled include ending the triple lock on pensions, income tax hikes and a public sector pay freeze. The document was supposedly drawn up by chancellor Rishi Sunak who recently extended the furlough scheme until October. PCS members have been subject to a pay cap and real terms cuts for the last decade read more
Support HMRC cleaners who have been on strike for Living Wage – Contracted out cleaners at HMRC have recently been on strike in a dispute over the Living Wage. ISS staff who are employed to clean tax offices at Bootle and Liverpool will take 14 days action with colleagues in Birmingham taking 2 days. Workers are angry at ISS over poor pay and conditions and the refusal of ministers at HMRC to take the cleaning contract back in-house. The real Living Wage is £10.75 in London and £9.30 for the rest of the UK is based on the cost of living and is voluntarily paid by nearly 6,000 UK employers who believe a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay. The strike received a 97% yes vote on a 90% turnout read more
Show your support
- Donate to the strike fund
- Send messages of support to [email protected]
Support Interserve strikers – Interserve workers at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, were on strike for the whole of February. You can support the workers in the following ways:
- Sign and publicise the E-action
- Donate to the PCS fighting fund
- Send messages of support to [email protected]
- Visit the picket line at Whitehall/King Charles Street, London, SW1A 2AH. Read more
GMB in urgent talks to save JCB jobs (15 May) – GMB Union is in urgent talks with JCB in an attempt to save nearly 1,500 jobs following a fall in demand due to Coronavirus. The construction giant has contacted nearly 1,000 staff members – and 500 agency workers – to tell them their jobs are at risk. A 45-day consultation period is due to start on Monday read more
G4S sick pay fails prison officers ‘among most likely to die’ (15 May) – GMB has slammed private prison operator G4S for failing to give guarantees on sick pay for prison officers – revealed as some of the most likely to die from covid-19. Figures from the ONS this week showed those working in prisons are some of the staff – outside of those working in the NHS and care homes – most likely to die from Coronavirus read more
Government must follow union blueprint for NHS (15 May) – GMB, the union for health and social care workers, has joined other health trade unions in calling on the Government to adopt a blueprint for returning the NHS to ‘normal work’. Rachel Harrison, GMB National Officer, said: “Our health service was already operating under huge pressures prior to the covid-19 outbreak, with 100,000 staffing vacancies” read more
Asos warehouse suffers suspected coronavirus outbreak (13 May) – Asos has shirked its responsibility for social distancing – this outbreak is the inevitable consequence. A suspected coronavirus outbreak at an Asos warehouse has sparked calls for the site to be closed while a deep clean is carried out. GMB Union has now written to Asos founder Nick Roberston after receiving multiple reports of confirmed Covid-19 cases among workers and the retail giant’s gigantic Barnsley warehouse read more
Children’s home workers sacked while sick with Covid-19 (13 May) – GMB has hit out at Priory group after a children’s worker was sacked whilst sick with Covid-19. The man, who works for Priory Coxlease and Clay Hill Schools and Associated Children’s Homes, in Hampshire, was dismissed after catching the deadly virus. He was diagnosed with Covid-19 on the day of his disciplinary hearing read more
Sign petition: Requisition private hospital beds to help NHS with coronavirus
Government’s treatment of migrant workers is shameful (18 May) – Out of touch ministers measure value only in pounds and pence. Commenting on the second reading of the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill, UNISON assistant general secretary Christina McAnea today (Monday) said: “Pushing ahead with the Immigration Bill is a triumph of bloody-mindedness over common sense. Migrant workers are in the frontline of the fight against Covid-19 in care homes, propping up a neglected system that would collapse without them” read more
Health unions publish blueprint for the safe opening up of the NHS (15 May) – UNISON and other health unions say NHS must continue to operate a safety-first approach. Fast, comprehensive and accessible testing, and the ongoing, ample supply of protective kit are among measures that must be in place for the NHS to be opened up safely as the UK begins to ease the lockdown, say health unions today (Friday) read more
Care home death rates show continued need for PPE and testing, says UNISON (12 May) – Risk of infection must be reduced for care workers. Responding to new figures published today (Tuesday) by the Office for National Statistics showing care home deaths linked to coronavirus have increased by more than 2,400 in a week, UNISON assistant general secretary Christina McAnea said: “There’s clearly no major slowdown in the devastation being caused in care homes, causing heartache for so many families. Not only those of vulnerable residents, but care workers who have suffered high death rates. This underlines why any return to work must be managed safely to avoid key workers being exposed to the virus as they travel, putting further lives at risk” read more
Care Workers vs COVID-19 – The Importance of Trade Unions and Collective Strength in Social Care Online session May 21 & June 2 – The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the importance of trade unions and the need for social care workers to have a strong voice at work. Join UNISON North West for an informal online session on how you can work with your colleagues to build a safer and better workplace through your trade union. What are your rights about working in a safe environment? How do you raise a health and safety concern at work? What should be in a risk assessment? And how do you challenge management collectively?
Who: This bitesize session is aimed at all social care members and activists within the North West who are interested in building a stronger workplace union
When: Online sessions will last one hour and will be held on Thursday 21st May at 4pm and Tuesday 2nd June at 4pm (you only need to attend one session)
How to register: To register your interest for either session and for joining instructions, please contact Bob Kelly on [email protected] read more
Nursing staff still under pressure to work without PPE and gowns (16 MAY) – More than a third of nursing staff (34%) say they’re still under pressure to care for patients with possible or confirmed COVID-19 without adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) read more
NSSN sends solidarity to the CWU after Royal Mail CEO Rico Back steps down. We support the union’s call for Royal Mail to be re-nationalised Watch CWU Facebook Live event
CWU reps in Royal Mail CE ‘pivotal’ to success of home working (May 15) – CWU reps Sara Wright and Steve Keeley (pictured) have been instrumental in setting up working-from-home arrangements for members working at Royal Mail’s largest Customer Experience (CE) site in Doxford, Sunderland read more
Attack on T&Cs of lowest paid new hires in BT Consumer and EE ’highly provocative’, warns CWU (May 13) – The CWU has lodged a formal disagreement with BT Group over an ‘unprecedented’ decision by BT Consumer and EE to impose cuts to the terms and condition of some of the company’s lowest paid new recruits. Anger at the unagreed and ‘highly provocative’ move – which flies in the face of the longstanding partnership approach to industrial relations under which any changes to Ts&Cs are subject to negotiation and agreement – is compounded by the fact that those employed in the grades affected are classed as ‘key workers’ in the current COVID-19 crisis read more
The NSSN would like to send our best wishes to retiring general secretary Ronnie Draper. We have worked closely with the BFAWU and in particular Ronnie and national president Ian Hodson. We look forward to working with newly elected generals secretary Sarah Woolley. This is a tribute by Ian to Ronnie
Fast Food Workers at Burger King, KFC, McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Wetherspoons and others are joining together to demand #100Percent pay during the Coronavirus lockdown. We can’t afford a 20% cut, we need #100Percent BFAWU union
Community pharmacy trade unions Usdaw and PDA call on Government to facilitate talks on workplace safety (14 May) – The Pharmacists Defence Association and Usdaw have written a joint letter to Health & Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock, calling on him to facilitate tripartite discussion between government, community pharmacy employer representatives and the trade unions to agree safe working practices across the sector read more
Sign the USDAW Activist petition: sign and share our petition around Sunday trading, especially as the government has now said they are reviewing the legislation with a view to allow supermarkets to extend trading
Debenhams workers to protest for justice today (15th May) – Mandate Trade Union will host 11 demonstrations outside all Debenhams stores across the Republic of Ireland today (Friday, 15th May 2020) at 12 noon. The protests will last no longer than one hour with all participants adhering to social distancing guidelines. The intention is to highlight the injustice faced by more than 1,000 workers who have been told their jobs are gone and that the company does not have sufficient assets to fund their agreed redundancy package. Debenhams workers in Ireland lost their jobs on the 9th April after management informed staff by email that their stores in Ireland “are not expected to reopen” and the company was filing for liquidation. The workers are calling for the parent company, which is still trading online in Ireland and across the UK, to pay the collectively agreed union negotiated redundancy package to all Debenhams workers read more
Cuts and pay freeze like throwing water on a chip pan fire (13 May) – Imposing further austerity and public sector pay freezes to pay for extra COVID-19 spending would be like “throwing water on a chip pan fire” Prospect union has warned read more
Devastating media cuts in Black Country and Shropshire announced (14 May) – The Midland News Association (MNA) has announced it plans to carry out extensive jobs cuts across the company. The MNA’s main local newspaper is the Wolverhampton Express and Star which is the UK’s largest paid for regional title and its sister title is the Shropshire Star. Company accounts in 2018 showed the total workforce was 439. The NUJ does not have a full picture of the cuts programme but the current details include 90 job cuts across the business: 45 in advertising, 15 in production and operations, 14 in editorial, seven in transport, six in circulation and three in finance read more
Photographers and TV crews face threats and abuse as they cover the Covid-19 crisis (13 May) – Photographers are being subject to threats and abuse from the public while covering the Covid-19 crisis, members have reported to the NUJ’s Photographers’ Council. One photographer had urine thrown at her (which fortunately missed) by men in a van after she took pictures showing people in vehicles and on the street who were not observing the required social distancing read more
Cambodia: Release jailed trade union leader read more
July 4 – NSSN Conference 11am-4.30pm Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, Holborn, London WC1R 4RL
September 13 – NSSN TUC Rally Brighton 1pm
PHONE 07952 283 558
EMAIL mailto:[email protected]
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