The NSSN held its 11th annual pre-TUC Rally on Sunday September 13th. TUC Congress this year is truncated and is mainly online, due to restrictions because of COVID our event was also virtual.
But it was an excellent meeting, with a mix of fighting union leaders and rank & file union reps and members. Watch the video of the NSSN TUC Rally here.
Alongside Sarah Woolley BFAWU, Dave Ward CWU, Amy Murphy USDAW, Steve Hedley RMT and Howard Beckett Unite, we heard about many disputes, including the indefinite PCS Tate strike, the NUJ action at Bullivant in the West Midlands and the struggle of the Debenhams workers in Ireland.
There were also appeals for support for campaigns against union victimisation, such as Tony Smith Hull Unison in FCC, Richie Venton Glasgow USDAW in IKEA and Colin Hayden Manchester Unite in Go-Ahead buses.
More than ever, the TUC needs to be a council of war, where the class lines are drawn – workers won’t pay the price for this crisis. We must send a clear message of defiance to the employers and their Tory government, which in turn will give confidence to workers that the unions will fight. We’ve already seen that workers join unions when the need to be organised is clear and a fighting lead is given.
The NSSN calls on TUC Congress this week to organise a day of demonstrations and protests in every town and city on Saturday October 24th to demand the furlough scheme, scheduled to end a week later, is continued and upgraded – we say ‘work or full pay!’
Workers not to blame for workplace Covid-19 outbreaks! – Speaking at the NSSN TUC rally, Dr. Jonathan Fluxman from Doctors in Unite explained that government, some public health officials and the media have been quick to blame workers for large workplace outbreaks. But Covid-19 is not just spread by large droplets, which can be controlled with social distancing and hand washing. The evidence shows inadequate ventilation is responsible for spreading an aerosol of tiny droplets. The slides of a talk given by Jonathan Fluxman to the Hazards Group recently can be seen here
Stop union victimisation
Defend Tony Smith Unison Hull – Trade Unionists will be outraged at the dismissal of Tony Smith by an FCC disciplinary hearing. His appeal hearing is today Tuesday September 15th. Tony a UNISON activist has been sacked for gross misconduct but in reality he has been victimised for Trade Union activities. All of Tony’s fellow drivers at the FCC waste disposal plant at Wilmington agreed that Tony made a correct Health and safety call but this was ignored in a blatant stitch up by management. Tony led the successful strike two years ago which won sick pay rights for 2,500 FCC workers up and down the country. Hull Trades Council will be protesting outside the site and we will be trying to organise more extensive action to coincide with Tony’s appeal. Please send messages of support to Tony Smith C/O Hull City UNISON, Town Hall Chambers 39, Alfred Gelder Street, Hull HU1 2AG or email via [email protected]
From Mike Whale Chair Hull Trades Council
Reinstate Richie Venton Glasgow USDAW – IKEA workers need YOUR support. This is a campaign page set up by workers furious at the victimisation and sacking of the elected USDAW shop steward and convener in IKEA Glasgow, RICHIE VENTON, and IKEA’s attacks on workers’ rights and conditions, including removal of wages from workers off sick with COVID-19. Richie has been singled out and sacked for standing up for the health, safety and lives of workers he represents, demanding safety measures and full average pay for all workers sick or self-isolating with the killer virus. He is the first trade unionist in Scotland to be sacked by employers in disputes over workers’ safety from the Coronavirus. Since sacking him, IKEA have imposed even worse cutbacks, including on company sick benefit, putting far more workers on just £95 Statutory Sick Pay, which could force some to continue working because of hardship, spreading the virus, endangering lives. This campaign is to reinstate Richie to his job and his elected union position; to win full average wages for all COVID-sick workers, in IKEA and every other workplace; and to stop employers making £billions in profit but endangering workers’ lives by expecting them to survive on £95-a-week Statutory Sick Pay. Sign the Petition – Add your voice and support to the demand that Ikea reinstate Richie Venton and reinstate sick workers’ wages by signing the secure petition read more on Reinstate Richie Venton website
From Glasgow Live: IKEA Glasgow workers threaten to strike over cuts to sick pay (28 Aug)
Manchester bus workers to hold consultative ballot on industrial action, as rep suspended for carrying out trade union duties Colin Hayden – About 500 Manchester bus drivers will hold a consultative ballot on whether they want to take industrial action after a senior Unite rep at bus company Go North West Limited was suspended for carrying out legitimate trade union activities. Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union, said that the ballot follows the suspension of the rep, who is also a Unite branch chair, as the union highlighted plans to reduce the wages of 500 Manchester bus drivers by an estimated £2,000-a-year. The company has attempted to railroad changes to the terms and conditions of the bus drivers – while 80 per cent of the drivers, including all of the Unite reps except for the senior rep, were furloughed – via the offer of a one-off payment of £5,000. Unite, however, says that within three years its members would be worse off, if the plan were allowed to go-ahead…Unite said that the working practices at the Queens Road depot which the company wants to buy-out have since been replaced by additional cleaning and cash collection duties which mean the bus drivers are working just as hard. The consultative ballot will be held by the end of August. Whether Unite proceeds to a full-scale industrial action ballot, including the option for strike action, depends on the outcome of the consultative vote read more
Unite launches campaign to stop Go Ahead Group using COVID 19 as cover to slash pay and conditions (9 Sept) – Unite, Britain’s biggest union, has launched an international campaign to stop the owners of the Manchester bus company Go North West from using Covid 19 as cover for making savage cuts to bus drivers’ pay and conditions, while victimising and gagging a Unite union representative. Unite general secretary, Len McCluskey has written to Go Ahead Group’s CEO David Brown to warn him that Unite will be using all available resources to provide “immediate assistance to our members”. “In addition to industrial action this will mean exposing your company’s behaviour to all of your stakeholders, partners and associates. This will include mobilising all of our allies and contacting our significant political network in the Nordic countries, Germany and Australasia” read more
Support the NHS pay protests
On Saturday September 12th there were demonstrations and rallies in many towns and cities. Workers in the NHS and care sector workers demand an immediate 15% pay rise that starts to close the income gap caused by a decade of pay freezes. Please join the protests that are taking place.
Details of some of these events can be found here in the Nurses and Midwives say NO! to Public Sector pay inequality Facebook group and on the Keep Our NHS Public website. Also visit the website of Health Campaigns Together.
We support the call of many health workers for industrial action ballots, co-ordinated across all the health unions and linking up with all other workers in public services. We are confident that this would be supported by workers in the private sector and all those who benefit from health and social care, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic where so many staff put their lives on the line.
Sign the petition to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak – ‘We demand a pay rise for key workers’
The NSSN is continuing to report on how workers are organising during the coronavirus pandemic
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]
We welcome the information being sent to union members concerning the spread of coronavirus, including the Accord, Advance, AEP, AFA-CWA, ASLEF, BDA, BECTU Sector of Prospect, BFAWU, BOS-TU, College of Podiatry, Community, CSP, EIS, Equity, FBU, FDA, GMB, HCSA, MU, NAHT, NASUWT, National Society for Education in Art and Design (NSEAD), Nautilus International, NEU, NGSU, NUJ, PFA, Prospect, RCM, SoR, TSSA, TUC, UCU, UNISON, Unite, URTU, USDAW, WGGB and the RCN
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.
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
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
RMT to lead fight against transport austerity in the wake of COVID pandemic (14 Sept) – SPECIALIST TRANSPORT UNION RMT will lead the fightback against any attempt to impose austerity cuts in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a motion to the TUC today which will be moved by senior assistant General ,Secretary Steve Hedley RMT sets out the programme for that campaigning fightback read more
Initial RMT response to Secretary of State’s interim report into Carmont derailment (10 Sept) – Senior Assistant General Secretary Steve Hedley said; “RMT will be studying this interim report closely and consulting with our members and reps before we produce a detailed response in due course. We will be focussing on a range of issues including cuts to the Network Rail maintenance budget and the proliferation of the use of contractors and the casualisation of skilled jobs” read more
RMT mourns loss of crew and safety rights on 40th anniversary of MV Derbyshire tragedy (9 Sept) – SEAFARER UNION RMT remembers the 44 victims of the MV Derbyshire tragedy on the 40th anniversary of the sinking of the UK registered (Liverpool) Bulk Carrier in the South China Sea on 9 September 1980 with the loss of all hands, including two wives of crew members read more
“RMT launches global on-line petition to halt jobs carnage at Trump’s Turnberry resort
Sign petition: to The Mayor of London and the London Assembly – End the privatisation of cleaning at Transport for London
Please Support RMT Members With No Wages! – RMT London Transport Region Zero Hours & Self-Employed members need our Solidarity Now! Many of our regions self-employed members and those on zero hours have not any had wages for 2 months since March. They have been abandoned by London Underground, TfL, the London Mayor and their agency employers. They MUST NOT be abandoned by us too; their RMT sisters and brothers! The RMT London Transport Regional Council and LU Engineering RMT branch are calling out to all branches, members and friends to dig deep and give meaningful solidarity to our hard pressed members facing poverty and possibly eviction from their homes. To help support by donating to the fund or to ask after support for yourself, please email: [email protected] read more
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
CEFA Contract changes: protecting jobs and the public (9 Sept) – Ongoing discussions are taking place between TSSA, Network Rail and Amey relating to the transfer of staff when the CEFA, OPI and Earthworks contracts come to an end next spring. Download a pdf circular here CEFA Contract changes: protecting jobs and the public or view online via https://bit.ly/3k1lKsD. As the only recognised union for these staff, TSSA is working to protect members’ jobs and terms and conditions, as well as the safety of the public, while Network Rail seem willing to stop at nothing to break Amey’s monopoly and Amey are competing to win the most lucrative contracts. Our reps are continuing to meet with Amey and Network Rail to challenge fragmentation proposals and protect jobs read more
Commuters are no longer your cash cows, TSSA warns TOCs (8 Sept) – Responding to reports that Train Operating Companies (TOCs) are offering commuters “discounts” which are actually more expensive than pro-rata season tickets, Manuel Cortes, TSSA General Secretary said: “Commuters have been used as cash cows by private rail companies for decades so it’s no surprise that industry bosses want to squeeze them again read more
Stonehaven interim report (10 Sept) – Mick Whelan, general secretary, and Kevin Lindsay, our organiser in Scotland, today spoke out after publication of an interim Network Rail report into the rail crash at Stonehaven, in Aberdeenshire, on Wednesday 12 August, in which three people died. Mick Whelan said: ‘The task of maintaining Britain’s railway infrastructure was taken away from Railtrack, the private company set up after John Major privatised the railways, and handed to Network Rail twenty years ago when it became clear that the company had neglected to maintain the infrastructure properly and did not, in fact, even know the state of many of its “assets”. ‘It is a sobering thought this morning that, twenty years on, we seem to be in a similar position and that is the reason why three people tragically lost their lives at Carmont’ read more
Sign this petition to Rolls Royce and the UK Government: Save Our Site – Battle for Barnoldswick (Rolls Royce) – Stop the transfer of the Barnoldswick Fan blade work to Singapore, Stop the proposed job losses and Save Our Site! We call on the UK Government to work with Rolls Royce, Unite the Union and key stakeholders to acknowledge the value of this site and battle for Barnoldswick
London bus drivers begin strike ballot over remote sign on dispute (14 Sept) – London bus drivers employed by Singapore-owned Metroline will be balloted next week for industrial action which could hit the capital’s roads this autumn in a dispute over the company’s proposals to introduce a controversial remote sign on system. Metroline operates in North and West London and around 16 per cent of all bus drivers in the capital work for the company. Remote sign on means drivers do not report to a depot to start work but meet their bus and begin work at an alternative location such as a bus stop. Remote sign on forces drivers to start work away from the depot, reducing costs and boosting the company’s profits read more
Unite hails victory in row at Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia over notice pay (12 Sept) – Unite the union tonight (Saturday 12 September) hailed as ‘an amazing victory’ news that Arcadia, run by controversial retail tycoon Sir Philip Green, has now agreed to pay full salaries for head office staff facing redundancy. The row erupted earlier today when the media highlighted the fact that Arcadia, whose high street brands include Topman, Topshop and Dorothy Perkins, was only going to pay its head office staff 50 per cent of their notice pay. Unite had threatened to take legal action for illegal deduction of earnings on behalf of more than 40 head office staff. In July, Arcadia announced that it was cutting 500 jobs from its 2,500 strong head office workforce read more
Yeovil Leonardo helicopter job losses another reminder that government jobs support urgently needed (11 Sept) – Commentating following the announcement today (Friday 11 September) that Yeovil-based helicopter maker Leonardo is planning to make 150 staff redundant, Unite regional officer Shevaun Hunt said: “Unite is in consultation with the company regarding the proposed job losses. Unite will be working with our shop stewards to support members at this difficult time and will actively explore ways to reduce the number of proposed redundancies. This is yet another reminder of the dire state of affairs in this industry, not helped by the fact that in only a few weeks, the jobs retention assistance ends altogether…” read more
Unite calls for a ‘well-deserved’ 15 per cent pay rise or £3,000 for NHS staff in the Covid-19 frontline (11 Sept) – NHS workers should receive an early pay rise of 15 per cent or £3,000, whichever is greater, Unite said today (Friday 11 September). Unite, which has 100,000 members in the health service, also demanded that pay discussions between the government, the NHS and health trade unions start without delay. Unite is writing to the government to lodge its pay claim for the NHS workforce, saying that this claim would be an important step in the journey to restore the pay that NHS workers have ‘lost’ in the decade of austerity since 2010. Unite said that the continuing seven-month battle against coronavirus had further heightened the public’s appreciation of NHS staff. Yesterday (Thursday 10 September), Unite’s national health committee voted for an early and significant pay rise of 15 per cent or £3,000, whichever is greater, to be brought forward to an earlier date from next April when the three year pay deal comes to an end read more
MPs join mounting call for job retention measures to avert employment crisis (11 Sept) – Momentum is growing across the political spectrum for the government to row back on its intention to cease the job retention scheme (JRS) from 1 November and move to safeguard industry and business as the pandemic continues to buffet the UK economy, Unite said today (Friday 11 September). Unite, the UK’s biggest manufacturing union, was commenting as the influential Commons Treasury select committee called on chancellor Rishi Sunak to ‘carefully consider’ targeted extensions to the JRS once the current scheme ends next month read more
Unite update on British Airways negotiations (10 Sept) – Following misleading reports on the current position of negotiations between the Unite union and British Airways, Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett said: “It is not correct to suggest that negotiations between Unite and British Airways have concluded. Unite remains in negotiations with British Airways in a number of different bargaining units. Even in areas where draft agreements exist, these are still subject to approval from members through a ballot. Unless and until Unite members agree to all and any proposals no settlement has been reached and it is unhelpful and misleading for British Airways to suggest otherwise” read more
Save Aviation jobs at Heathrow – car cavalcade and rally September 22nd
- no hire & fire • no wage cuts • extend furlough
Come and join us at a solidarity car convoy to save jobs in West London on Tuesday 22nd September – 10am at Meet at Khalsa School Norwood Hall Norwood Green road, Southall UB2 4LA
If you wish to join the Car Convoy please contact: Raj Gill Branch Sec West London Unite Community on 07983 977775 or [email protected]
Stop the BA Betrayal! – This groundswell has been mobilised by reps and the campaign #BAbetrayal – a ‘crisis leverage campaign, which is part of Unite’s Leverage strategy. ‘Crisis leverage’ applies many of the same principles and takes a similarly robust, muscular approach but in a much more streamlined, nimble way. In a crisis like the current coronavirus pandemic, with a company behaving like British Airways, we have to move fast and to scale. Find out more and support the #BAbetrayal campaign by Joining the #BAbetrayal Facebook campaign and follow the @BAbetrayal campaign on Twitter. Sign the petition today
Unite response to 860 Lloyds Banking Group job cuts (9 Sept) – Unite, the largest trade union in the banking sector, has reacted with dismay at the news that Lloyds Banking Group has today (Wednesday 9 September) informed 860 employees that they will be losing their jobs. While the bank has announced plans to create 220 new roles across the organisation these new jobs will not offer any comfort for the nearly 900 staff who will be told today that they have lost their jobs read more
6000 job losses at ‘ghost town’ Gatwick airport demonstrates devastation in UK aviation (9 Sept) – A latest analysis of job losses at Gatwick Airport, by Unite, the UK’s principal aviation union, demonstrates the devastation being wrought across the entire sector due to the Covid-19 pandemic and highlights the failure of the government to intervene and protect jobs. Unite has found that already over 6,000 workers based at airport, employed directly by the airport, by airlines, or in the various supply chains have lost their jobs or at risk of redundancy, since the beginning of the pandemic read more
Sign this petition: Extend furlough scheme for the UK Aviation sector to help stop redundancies
Sign this petition: Reinstatement of Blue Handling employees laid off due to COVID-19 and placed on Furlough
Sign this petition: Please sign and share: Extend the bereaved family payment to UK bus workers now
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 – 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
Government condemned for health and safety breaches at DWP Leeds Office (11 Sept) – A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) report found serious failings in maintaining social distancing while the country is in danger of having a second spike in Covid-19 cases. The inspection carried out at Quarry House on 27 August, identified a number of breaches under the Health and Safety at work act 1974. PCS reps worked closely with HSE inspectors to identify the breaches as highlighted in the report. According to the BBC, the majority of DWP employees in Leeds have been working from home during the pandemic but there have still been hundreds of people in the office read more
Frustration builds over lack of response on government comms plans (11 Sept) – We continue to seek guarantees that no jobs are lost over Downing Street’s plans to centralise government communications roles but we are growing increasingly frustrated by the lack of response to our demands. We have now met the Cabinet Office 3 times to discuss the centralisation of civil service communication work. We have raised a series of reasonable demands at these meetings read more
Watch this video message – oppose any forced return to workplaces (11 Sept) – Many members PCS have been in workplaces throughout the pandemic, and many people have been able to do their job from home. We have negotiated with a range of different employers and we’ve reached agreements that have meant that most people are able to work safely, either in a workplace or the majority at home. Last week the UK government decided to take a different approach. The cabinet decided to instruct civil servants in England to go back to their workplace. We don’t think that is just wrong, we actually think it is unsafe and irresponsible with infection rates accelerating and local lockdowns in place for many people. Watch the latest video update PCS rebuffs government back-to-office demands as irresponsible (9 Sept)
PCS ballots aviation members over 15% pay cut and mass redundancies by Heathrow management (10 Sept) – Bosses at the airport have slashed pay and plan to lay off over a thousand staff, taking advantage of Covid-19’s impact on the economy. PCS, which represents hundreds of members at Heathrow, is now balloting staff, recommending they “reject” the management threat to cut wages by 15% or face thousands of job losses. On Wednesday last week Heathrow issued section 188 notices, allowing the employer to fire and re-hire some 4,700 employees, after months of negotiations with PCS, Unite and Prospect who all represent ground staff. This could mean staff could be re-hired on “market rate” wages, leaving many £10,000 worse off and devastating many livelihoods read more
PCS wins resounding ‘yes’ vote for action in consultative ballot on jobcentre and UC site extended hours (9 Sept) – PCS, which represents tens of thousands of civil servants working for DWP, asked members whether they were prepared to take industrial action over the government’s insistence that jobcentres and Universal Credit sites extend their hours till 8pm on weekdays and fully open to the public, despite the very real danger of a second Covid-19 spike. The non-statutory ballot found that 77% of members voted in favour of action using a mixture of postal and online voting read more
Axe falls on jobs and pensions at Windsor Castle (9 Sept) – 200 compulsory redundancies are threatened and pension contributions have been cut. PCS members working at Windsor Castle for the Royal Collection Trust, part of the Royal Household, staged a silent protest yesterday (8 September). They protested with a life-sized cardboard cut-out of Henry VIII and a placard that read “King Henry cut off heads….. Now they want to axe our jobs and cut our pensions” read more
PCS survey highlights issues facing apprentices during pandemic (8 Sept) – Difficulty contacting their training provider, a lack of information, insufficient time to undertake their qualification and some disabled staff finding online learning incompatible with their disability, are among the issues highlighted by a PCS survey of civil service apprentices read more
Keep supporting ISS HMRC strikers – PCS members who clean HMRC’s Merseyside offices for multinational company ISS returned to work following a solidly supported four weeks of strike action through August. The strike is part of the members’ long-running fight for the living wage, improved working conditions and job security. Because of the demand for full occupational sick pay from day one, it is also directly linked to PCS’s Dying for Sick Pay campaign, which aims to secure occupational sick pay for all workers across the government estate…The members are meeting this week to discuss their next steps. Under the Tories’ 2016 Trade Union Act, a further postal ballot is required before they can take any more strike action, and members will need to discuss where the campaign goes next. In the meantime, you can continue to support the campaign by signing the e-action to Jim Harra on the TUC’s Megaphone site and donating to the strike fund: account name: PCS Liverpool/Bootle Campaign Account, sort code: 60-83-01, account number: 20415772
Support the indefinite Tate Strike Jacob Rees-Mogg criticised for striking Tate workers’ comment – Messages of support for our strikers can be sent to [email protected] Contribute to our strike fund
Show your support on social media using the hashtag #SaveTateJobs or Tweet @tate_united read more
PCS to launch ballot as Southbank Centre confirms cuts to redundancy pay for hundreds of staff read more
Calling all petitioners – The PCS petition calling for fair pay for UK government workers has now reached the 50,000 signatories mark. With 50,000 more signatures to go to guarantee a full debate on the issue in Parliament we are asking members who have already signed the petition to ask their friends and colleagues to also sign it read more
PCS consultative ballot of jobcentre and Universal Credit workers read more
Please sign this PCS petition to Save Ealing Tax Office – 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
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
Loyal and dedicated NHS workers let down by Government (12 Sept) – GMB union is calling on the government to give pay justice to staff as thousands of NHS workers are expected to join protests again across the UK today calling for fair pay read more
GMB announce further 10 days of action at Brighton & Hove City Council Housing Repairs department (11 Sept) – “We’ll stay away until we all have sick pay”, say defiant GMB members. GMB have issued BHCC chief executive Geoff Raw with further strike dates in the ongoing dispute to secure sick pay for all operatives and GMB members within the Housing Repairs team. The walkout will be commencing on Mon 28th September and is the second of such actions taken by the team. It will see Council plumbers, electricians, carpenters and painter/decorators along with various other trades lawfully refusing to work over a 10 day period and until they secure sick pay parity for all colleagues less fortunate then themselves from the city’s Green Party-led council. The announcement comes at the end of an initial 5 days of action by GMB members whilst awaiting Council Officers’ response to the latest union proposal to resolve the issue read more
Ministers ignored BAME parents’ concerns for June school reopenings (9 Sept) – The Government pushed ahead with reopening despite most BAME parents saying they would not send their children back to school, Cabinet Office polling shows read more
Glasgow cleansing workers walk out over Covid health and safety fears – Glasgow City Council cleansing workers from nine depots walked out on September 7 and held a mass meeting outside the city chambers. During the Covid-19 crisis, cleansing staff have been working reduced hours for full pay to protect their safety and allow social distancing in depots read more on Socialist Party Scotland website
Strikes To Start As Burton’s “Takes The Biscuit Again” Over “Derisory” Workers’ Pay Offer – Production of some of Britain’s favourite biscuits will be halted over the next month as workers at Burton’s Biscuits Co in Edinburgh launch strike action over a “derisory” pay offer. GMB members at the Sighthill manufacturing plant, voted by an overwhelming majority of 91 per cent for industrial action after management refused to increase a 1.6 per cent offer for the next year. An indefinite work to rule and overtime ban will start on Tuesday 8 September from 14.00 hours before a series of twenty-four hour strikes throughout September. Action will take place on the following dates:-
- 06.00 hours on Wednesday 9 September to 05.59 hours on Thursday 10 September.
- 06.00 hours on Wednesday 16 September to 05.59 hours on Thursday 17 September.
- 06.00 hours on Wednesday 23 September to 05.59 hours on Thursday 24 September read more
Government urged to act after major minimum wage win by homecare workers, says UNISON (15 Sept) – Legal win has implication for thousands of workers. The government must end the practice of employers denying care staff wages for time spent travelling between visits to the sick and elderly, says UNISON today (Tuesday). It follows a recent significant legal victory by a group of homecare workers over illegal pay in a case brought by the union. The claimants – the majority of whom are women – will now receive an average settlement of around £10,000 each after an employment tribunal ruling. The tribunal found that contractors commissioned by Haringey Council in North London breached wage rules by paying some care staff less than half the minimum wage. The decision involving these ten workers has implications for thousands more care staff across the UK who look after vulnerable people by visiting them in their own homes. Those denied their full wages could now bring cases against their care employers to reclaim what they are owed, according to UNISON read more
Government must support public services and key workers to build a better post-pandemic future (14 Sept) – New UNISON campaign to move country forward. Securing a better future for key workers and the public services that have been supporting communities across the UK throughout the coronavirus pandemic is the aim of a campaign launched today (Monday) by UNISON. The No Going Back to Normal campaign – promoted to coincide with the opening of the 152nd Trades Union Congress (TUC) – highlights how services like health, local government, social care and education cannot continue with the cuts, underfunding and decline that’s been commonplace for the past decade read more
Wigan and Leigh rehab workers set to begin ten day strike in long-running pay dispute (10 Sept) – Workers in the Wigan-Council commissioned drug and alcohol rehabilitation service will begin a further ten days of strike action later this month in a dispute over pay. The workers are employed by the London-based charity We Are With You, which was previously known as Addaction. Between them, the support workers stand to lose £230,000 in wages over the duration of We Are With You’s contract with Wigan Council. Thirty UNISON members were balloted over We Are With You’s failure to ensure that staff transferred from the NHS receive the full NHS rates of pay. 100% of the support workers voted for strike action on a turnout of 87%. UNISON members have taken sixteen days of strike action previously over the unresolved issue. The support workers postponed all strike action during the initial lockdown period but have become frustrated by their employer’s failure to settle the dispute and have committed to taking ten consecutive days of strike action, beginning on Monday 21 September read more
The Wigan Branch and North West Region are asking for donations from branches to the hardship fund. Please donate via bank transfer to:
Unity Bank Sort Code: 60 83 01 Account Number: 20244354
Or send a cheque payable to ‘UNISON Wigan Metropolitan Branch hardship fund’ to:
UNISON Branch Office, Wigan Life Centre, The Wiend, Wigan WN1 1NH
Support the Tower Hamlets Unison workers – Read more here and on Tower Hamlets UNISON Facebook page and follow @UNISON_TwrHmlts on twitter
Urgent reminder: Mass online meetings for members across Consumer this week (Sept 14) – Members across BT Consumer and relevant parts of EE are being urged to participate in one of two mass online mass meetings being held this week to provide urgent updates about various developments affecting them read more
Technology redundancies still on hold as crunch-time talks provide a glimmer of hope (Sept 11) – Last ditch CWU efforts to ensure that every possible alternative to compulsory redundancies that would trigger a full-scale industrial relations crisis in BT Technology are properly exhausted by management have made some progress. Triggered by the union’s high profile appeal to the division’s Chief Technology & Information Officer, Howard Watson, for emergency discussions last month – just before the first of around 190 job cuts were scheduled to come into effect on August 31 – intensive talks have gathered pace over the last fortnight centred on a new CWU counter-proposal read more
‘Push us at your peril,’ repayment planners warn Openreach in nine-to-one consultative ballot on strike action (Sept 11) – Furious repayment planners have delivered the starkest possible warning to Openreach that, if necessary, they are prepared to take strike action against unagreed changes to their grading and job description. In a remarkable show of defiance against a belligerent new management approach that is manifesting itself across different parts of BT, the small but fiercely loyal group of CWU members – who conduct a hugely complex and highly lucrative role for Openreach – had taken the unusual step of asking the union to register their willingness to take industrial action over the changes ahead of a formal industrial action ballot read more
Horizon scandal: ‘Justice delayed is justice denied,’ Tory Lord tells Minister in House debate (Sept 10) – With postmasters around the nation still awaiting the start of the promised ‘Review’, the House of Lords this week heard Conservative, Labour and Independent Members call with one voice for urgent action…A fundamentally flawed computer accounting system, Horizon, which indicated financial discrepancies where none existed caused hundreds of hard-working postmasters to lose their livelihoods, some being prosecuted and even threatened with imprisonment, over an extended period of many years. Despite repeated explanations that the apparent ‘discrepancies’ arose from a fault inherent within the system itself and not wilful actions of postmasters, and steadily mounting evidence proving this to be the case, senior Post Office management stubbornly refused to stop persecuting the innocents. And the National Federation of Sub-Postmasters (NFSP) did nothing to prevent, or even protest against, this unprecedented miscarriage of justice read more
‘Total service failure’ at former Crown Post Office sparks appeal to Health Secretary Hancock (Sept 8) – Local councillors in a Suffolk town are to discuss sending an urgent letter to Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock, MP for West Suffolk, urging his assistance, following a “total and unacceptable service failure” by the private retailer who was given a former Crown Post Office earlier this year read more
Justice for Greencore Northampton Workers
Sign petition – To: Guy Dullage, Chief People Officer, Greencore
Greencore: Guarantee full pay for your self-isolating workers!
Campaign created by
BFAWU Greencore Northampton Branch
Read the report published by Doctors in Unite: https://doctorsinunite.com/2020/09/02/the-role-of-airborne-spread-in-factory-outbreaks-of-covid-19/
Government pay proposals divisive (14 Sept) – Government pay proposals for teachers and school leaders in England are “divisive and inadequate”, says joint union statement read more
PM failure to address school safety (11 Sept) – NEU JGSs write to Government to underline urgent safety measures that must be in place to ensure education continues for all pupils read more
Glasgow schools have been failing to ensure COVID safety for teachers (14 Sept) – As the number of teachers testing positive for COVID-19 rises in Glasgow, a recent survey by the NASUWT – The Teachers’ Union provides clear evidence that poor employer practice may be to blame as Glasgow schools fail to follow essential safety measures to protect their employees. No teachers working in Glasgow, who responded to this snapshot survey of their experiences since the reopening of their school or college since the start of the new academic year, were able to say that pupils in their school were always following physical distancing. Just 6% of teachers said managers in their schools are always modelling and reinforcing messages on the need for stringent physical distancing read more
Blackburn teachers strike to protect pensions (9 Sept) – Teachers at Westholme School in Blackburn have taken two days of strike action over plans by their Employer to withdraw from the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS) and to worsen teachers’ pay. The school has decided to discontinue paying into the TPS and also has imposed a pay structure meaning teachers are worse off than their colleagues in other local schools. Disgracefully, teachers are being threatened with dismissal if they fail to sign new contracts which would remove them from the TPS read more
COVID Guidance “Totally Inadequate” for Pupils with Additional Support Needs (9 Sept) – Current guidance and staffing to support pupils with Additional Support Needs (ASN) is currently completely inadequate to provide a COVID secure environment for pupils and staff, a meeting of ASN teachers has been told. The EIS ASN Network meeting urged local authorities and the Scottish Government to provide more detailed guidance and enhanced staffing to ensure that the needs of all young people can be met in an appropriate COVID-secure environment read more
Jo Grady tells TUC a second Covid wave can be prevented, but unions must lead the way (14 Sept) – A second Covid wave is preventable if ministers and universities follow the science and move as much work at colleges and universities as possible online, said UCU general secretary Jo Grady. Speaking in the debate on safe working practices at the TUC Congress, Jo said unions are the only organisations with the power to keep workplaces and the wider population safe. She said the government has no answers that do not rely on rebooting the economy by asking us to pay with our health read more
Prime Minister’s “ridiculously irresponsible” plan to force students to stay at university if a Covid outbreak (9 Sept) – Boris Johnson should be working to prevent unnecessary Covid outbreaks, not creating the conditions for them. UCU said the Prime Minister’s plan to force students to stay in their university town or city in the event of a future lockdown was “ridiculously irresponsible”. The union said universities should move the majority of teaching online to avoid students having to travel across the country and risk being locked down in unfamiliar surroundings read more
NUJ calls for no compulsory redundancies at JPIMedia (14 Sept) – Journalists working for JPIMedia have called on their employer to commit to working with the NUJ to ensure that a planned restructuring and job cuts do not lead to compulsory redundancies. Reps from the JPIMedia NUJ Group Chapel wrote to the regional publisher, whose titles include the Scotsman, the Newsletter and The Yorkshire Post, with a number of requests relating to the plans announced. During a series of briefings last week, the company said it wanted to cut the number of journalists working in four teams, Advanced Content Hub, Scotland small titles, Community Sport and Design, by 48 full-time equivalents read more
Support the Bullivant strikers
NUJ members working for Bullivant Media Limited has recently taken strike action in response to the company’s redundancy plans and after months of only part of the journalists’ wages being paid. The company runs weekly free newspapers and websites with titles including the Coventry Observer, Leamington Observer, Rugby Observer, Stratford Observer, Solihull Observer, Redditch Standard, Bromsgrove Standard, Worcester Observer and Evesham Observer. Things you can do to support the strike –
- The NUJ is urging media workers, branches, chapels and other trade unionists to send messages of support and solidarity to the chapel via email: [email protected]
- The union is also calling for financial support for the strikers as many of those involved are paid just over the national minimum wage. Supporters can donate to the strike hardship fund:
Sort code – 60-83-01 Account number – 20049274 Account name: NUJ Manchester. Please label the donation as ‘Bullivant strike’
Supporters of the strike can send polite messages to the company’s managing director Chris Bullivant Jr at [email protected] and fellow director Pat Bullivant at [email protected]
Not too late for government to take hands-on approach to ARM deal (14 Sept) – Today it has been confirmed that UK chip designer ARM Holdings is being sold to US company Nvidia read more
Unions warn creation of NIHP risks distracting from dealing with the pandemic (14 Sept) – 11 unions and professional bodies which represent workers in Public health England (PHE) have written to Health Secretary Matthew Hancock expressing “alarm” at the lack of consultation in the creation of new body the National Institute for Health Protection read more
Abuse of shopworkers petition crosses the first hurdle of 10K signatures in one day – Usdaw urges the Government to respond positively
Debenhams National Shop Stewards Unanimously Endorse a Mandate/ICTU Campaign to Secure Urgent Legislation (11 Sept) – A National Representative group of Mandate members from all Debenhams store locations have unanimously endorsed a new initiative involving their union Mandate and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. This campaign is designed to secure urgent enactment of legislation which would help resolve the intractable Debenhams dispute and ensure guarantees for workers finding themselves abandoned by their employer in similar circumstances read more
Support striking Debenhams Workers: Email messages of support to the strikers via [email protected] and Mandate through [email protected]. Also, follow Stand with Debenhams Workers Facebook page
Lockdown Cinema Launched – A socialist online cinema has been launched called ‘Lockdown Cinema’ in response to the lockdown introduced to help fight the spread of the coronavirus. Lockdown Cinema will be showing films celebrating the best of trade unions and working class life and culture.
The first film to be highlighted is ‘The Big Meeting‘, a documentary about the Durham Miners’ Gala and it is available to rent for £3.49 and to own for £6.99. You can find further details about Lockdown Cinema and how to watch the film via their twitter page read more on TSSA website
Join the Black Lives Matter protests against the shootings in the USA – The NSSN sends our deepest sympathy to the family of George Floyd, who was killed by police in Minneapolis on May 25th and now those of Jacob Blake who was shot on August 23rd. We also send our solidarity to those who have protested in the USA and around the world. NSSN supporters have been at many of the protests that have taken place all around the country. We think trade unions are vital to build workers’ unity at this time.
There are other protests being organised. To find out about others, follow #MarchforFloyd #KneelforFloyd #GeorgeFloyd #JacobBlake and #BlackLivesMatter on social media
Fight blacklisting and victimisation of union reps
Builders Crack: The Movie
In the current situation, this long lost film from the 1990s about rank and file union organising in the construction industry is intended to lift the spirits, but also to spark a debate in our movement. Hope the youngsters in this film put a smile on your face.
Watch – Share – Discuss
Blacklist Support Group
PCS: Trade unionists asked to send solidarity to PCS rep dismissed after blowing the whistle (25 July) – Trade unionists are being urged to send solidarity messages to a PCS rep dismissed after whistleblowing at the Department of Work and Pensions. Enrico La Rocca, who had worked for the DWP for more than 27 years, lost his job in May after highlighting serious concerns with management over a number of years. His complaints resulted in questions being asked about the department’s handling of Carer’s Allowance overpayments by the National Audit Office (NAO) and raised by in a Work and Pensions Select Committee report read more from Union News
RMT: SUSPENSION OF RMT REPRESENTATIVES, FRATTON – SOUTH WESTERN RAILWAY – Following my previous Circular (IR/171/20) dated 14th May 2020, as you are aware, two of our representatives, Mark Gamble and Brian Perren, were suspended from duty using unscrupulous charges. South Western Railway’s actions throughout this dispute have been appalling. The company have clearly targeted our members as they are hardworking and effective representatives. The callous action of South Western Railway has been abhorrent from the very start of this dispute. Our members recently had their disciplinary hearings and after successful representation Brother Brian Perren has been reinstated to his substantive role. However, Mark has been left in limbo by the company and still faces these ridiculous charges. This means that the ballot that was due to close today (4th June) has been cancelled. As one of our members has been reinstated, this changes the basis of the original ballot. Unfortunately, because of the anti-trade union laws we would not have been able to use any mandate we received from this ballot. Therefore, we have to run a fresh ballot and this will be to continue to defend our suspended Brother Mark Gamble. The National Executive Committee has considered this matter and has congratulated our members and all those who assisted Brian in proving his innocence and ensuring he is reinstated to his substantive role. The NEC has also instructed me to run a fresh ballot in defence of our Brother Mark Gamble who still remains suspended. It is incredibly disappointing that the company has failed to see sense and instead have chosen to drag on an unnecessary dispute. It is disgraceful that Mark remains suspended and we have no choice but to stand shoulder to shoulder and defy SWR’s callous and distasteful decision. I have written to the company today to advise them of this union’s position and they have been left in no doubt that we will not allow them to pursue outrageous charges against our from democratically elected representatives (from RMT general secretary Mick Cash)
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
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.
Guardian: Ricky Tomlinson’s criminal convictions to be re-examined
Appeal court to look again at case of Royle Family actor after claims he may have been unjustly jailed
The criminal convictions of actor Ricky Tomlinson, who starred in the TV comedy the Royle Family, are to be re-examined by appeal court judges after an official body suggested he may have been unjustly jailed. Tomlinson and other trade unionists have been campaigning for years to clear their names after they were jailed during a strike in the 1970s. On Tuesday, the Criminal Cases Review Commission, the public body that scrutinises alleged miscarriages of justice, announced it had asked the court of appeal to review the cases of Tomlinson and others. Tomlinson, 80, said it was “good news” and an opportunity to prove that he and 23 other men were prosecuted in what amounted to a politically motivated attack on the trade union movement by the government, police and managers read more in Guardian
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
Turkey: SPOT sends message of solidarity to SF Trade workers read more on the website of Solidarity with the People of Turkey
PHONE 07952 283 558
EMAIL mailto:[email protected]
TWITTER – https://twitter.com/NSSN_AntiCuts
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ADDRESS NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE