This week’s NSSN bulletin opposes the proposed pay freeze that is expected to be announced by Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak this Wednesday.
NSSN Chair Rob Williams said, “Just as the Tories are exposed over giving COVID contracts to their cronies and a day after a big rise in defence spending is announced, millions of public sector workers face yet another pay freeze.
“After standing on the front line, putting their lives at risk, they face sinking further into poverty. This is on top of a decade of Tory pay cuts that saw workers lose up to 14% of their income. Sunak cynically ‘exempts’ NHS workers from this pay cap but they won’t be fooled. Any rise will go nowhere close to the 15% rise demanded this summer by protesting health workers to close the gap on what has been lost on the last 10 years.
“The NSSN sends our solidarity to public sector workers and their unions. This announcement will take place virtually on the 10th anniversary of George Osborne’s brutal austerity offensive. That cuts blizzard led to 2 million public sector workers walk out together on the November 30th N30 pensions strike.
“Workers need to fight together now to send the clearest message to the Tories and the employers: we won’t pay the price in terms of our jobs and income for your total mismanagement of the COVID pandemic and any economic crisis. Especially when the super-rich increase their wealth at our expense.
“The NSSN calls on the TUC and the unions to organise protests in towns and cities on Saturday December 5th to start the mobilisation of workers that can lead to the co-ordinated industrial action that we need to defeat the Tories and inflict on them yet another U-turn.”
GMB and other health unions representing staff on Agenda for Change Contracts with in the NHS have called on the Government to commit to pay negotiations with the unions for a substantial pay increase for all NHS workers, to provide the funding for that pay increase and to pay it early. We have launched a petition that can be found here
CWU launches #CountMeIn consultative ballot in BT
BT Group-wide consultative ballot on industrial action gets underway as CWU patience snaps (Nov 19) – Voting is now underway in what is undoubtedly the most important ballot involving the CWU’s entire BT Group membership since the 1987 national strike. At 1pm today electronic voting papers were despatched to almost 50,000 members across BT, Openreach and EE – with the union urging members to deliver an unequivocal message of defiance against an unprecedented company-wide assault on job security and hard won terms & conditions. In a significant upping of the ante in the union’s Count Me In campaign against a belligerent management approach that has become endemic across the business, members are being asked the direct question as to whether they would support a future vote for industrial action read more
Support Jeremy Corbyn
The NSSN sends solidarity to Jeremy Corbyn. The NSSN is a network of rank and file trade unionists rather than a party political organisation but we supported the pro-worker programme in the Labour manifestos under Jeremy’s leadership in the 2017 and 2019 general elections
Sign this TUC petition: To Gavin Williamson, Secretary of State for Education – Reverse the cuts to union learning
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 include some workers receiving 80% of their wages. This furlough scheme was due to end but has now been extended because of the 2nd lockdown.
However, we believe that no worker should pay the price for any spread of the virus. We say: work or full pay. Any worker who is required not to attend work or is unable to do so because of COVID, 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]
RMT responds to new report on skills crisis facing the rail industry (23 Nov) – RAIL UNION RMT responds to City & Guilds and the National Skills Academy for Rail (NSAR) report published today which paints a stark picture for the future of the rail workforce, with skills shortages set to escalate significantly in the sector over the next five years read more
RMT on Crossrail speculation (21 Nov) – As speculation grows that Crossrail could be mothballed RMT demands Government stop using TFL and its workers as a political football. Responding to reports that the Capital’s Crossrail line could be mothballed without immediate funding transport union RMT today called on the Government to stop using TFL as a political football read more
Scottish Government paying fee to Dutch state railways (20 Nov) – As ScotRail workers are balloted for strike action an internal memo reveals the Scottish Government is blocking a pay rise for Scottish rail workers – whilst paying a “fee” to Dutch State railways. As thousands of RMT ScotRail workers are being balloted for strike action an internal memo sent by rail bosses to their staff has revealed the Scottish Government is blocking pay negotiations read more
RMT warns that the UK oil and gas industry is teetering on the brink (19 Nov) – Offshore union RMT warned today that the UK oil and gas industry is teetering on the brink and demanded urgent Government action to avoid a jobs massacre. RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said; “The crisis offshore started with plummeting oil prices in January. After the pandemic took hold, RMT demanded that ministers deliver a package of measures to ensure that offshore oil and gas workers aren’t dumped by the industry in a rush to protect profits and dividends. Yet today we still have had nothing from Government whilst thousands of jobs are lost. Employers continue to estimate 30,000 job losses by October 2021…” read more
RMT response to PM’s ten-point plan for a green industrial revolution (18 Nov) – TRANSPORT AND OFFSHORE Union RMT today responded to the Prime Minister’s announcement of a ten-point plan for a green industrial revolution read more
RMT Scotrail guards to strike at Glasgow Central over abuse of disciplinary procedures – RAIL UNION RMT confirmed today that Scotrail guards are to strike at Glasgow Central in a series of actions from the end of this month over the abuse of disciplinary procedures. Following a ballot RMT’s Lead Officer and local Union Reps have met to discuss the appropriate form of industrial action which has been approved by the unions executive as follows; All Scotrail Conductor members located at Glasgow Central are instructed not to book on for any shifts that commence between:
- hours until 23.59 hours on Sunday 29th November 2020
- hours until 23.59 hours on Sunday 6th December 2020
- hours until 23.59 hours on Sunday 13th December 2020
- hours until 23.59 hours on Sunday 20th December 2020
- hours until 23.59 hours on Sunday 27th December 2020
- hours until 23.59 hours on Sunday 3rd January 2021
Members are also instructed not to work any Rest Days, Higher Grade Duty or Overtime from 00.01 hours on Monday 30th November 2020 until 23.59 hours on Saturday 2nd January 2021 read more
Support RMT strike on SERCO Caledonian Sleeper – Email messages of support via [email protected] and send donations to RMT, Unity House, 39 Chalton Street, London, NW1 1JD read more Sign RMT petition demanding Transport Scotland takes action over worker fatigue on the Serco Caledonian Sleeper
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
Report exposes clear need to recruit new people to rail industry, says TSSA (23 Nov) – Commenting on the ‘Back on Track’ report by City & Guilds and the National Skills Academy for Rail (NSAR) which was published today, rail union TSSA says the government and industry should “act now” to avoid a skills gap and become more inclusive. The report highlights a potential skills shortfall, with up to 120,000 additional people required over the next 5 – 10 years, and an ageing workforce where over 28% of workers in the current rail workforce are over the age of 51. The report also identified a failure to attract a diverse workforce, with only 16% of the rail workforce is female and nearly one in four women (24%) would consider a career in rail read more
“Who refuses to go to ACAS?” -TSSA lambasts CalMac (17 Nov) – TSSA has lambasted CalMac for refusing ACAS talks in order to resolve their pay dispute. The union has gone into dispute with CalMac after members turned down a 0.5% pay offer, branding it “Scrooge-like”. The ferry company made a profit of £7million in 2019 read more
ASLEF Slams Crash Lies (19 Nov) – ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, has slammed ‘lies and misreporting’ after a report by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch into a collision between an LNER Azuma and an HST going on to Neville Hill depot near Leeds in Yorkshire read more
BREAKING NEWS!! Call for ‘czar’ to break PPE logjam in supply chain (23 Nov) – The PPE ‘czar’ needs to break the logjam in the supply of vital personal protective equipment (PPE) to NHS staff, after media reports that the government is paying a £1 million-a-day to store a PPE ‘mountain’, Unite the union, said today (Monday 23 November). Unite, which has 100,000 members in the health service, said that the government’s PPE supremo Lord Deighton, appointed in the spring, urgently needs to intervene to sort out the supply chain problems read more
Stricter rules urgently needed to combat construction Covid transmissions, warns Unite (22 Nov) – Unite, the UK’s construction union, has called on the government and construction employers to take urgent action to tackle rising Covid-19 transmission rates in the industry read more
New London bus air conditioning system a major victory in driver Covid safety campaign (20 Nov) – The announcement that all London buses have been fitted with a much safer air conditioning system, is a major victory for Unite, which represents over 20,000 London bus workers, which has been calling for the measure to be introduced since the beginning of the year. All London buses have had changes made to their air conditioning systems so that the air entering the driver’s sealed cab comes directly from the outside and does not pass through the passenger area of the bus. The change will greatly reduce the risk of driver’s being exposed to the Covid-19 virus while driving read more
Newham mayor and councillors raise serious concerns about London City Airport’s employment practices (20 Nov) – Unite, the UK’s principal aviation union, has warmly welcomed the intervention of mayor of Newham Rokshana Fiaz and her fellow Labour councillors over concerns about employment irregularities and mistreatment of staff at London City Airport read more
Nearly 700 job losses at energy giant E.ON ‘grim news’, says Unite (19 Nov) – The news that energy giant E.ON is to axe about 700 jobs over the next two years is ‘more grim news’ for the UK economy already battered by Covid-19, Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, said tonight (Thursday 19 November). Unite has been involved in talks with the management in recent months in the aftermath of E.ON acquiring Npower last year and the impact of Covid-19 on the business. Unite understands that 675 retail jobs will be lost as a result of the introduction of a new customer service IT platform. An additional 20 roles are under threat with the merger of the industrial and commercial businesses read more
Workers providing services to M&S win battle for trade union recognition (19 Nov) – Workers employed by Knapp UK, maintaining automated machinery at the Marks & Spencer distribution centre in Bradford, are celebrating after winning their campaign for trade union recognition with Unite, Britain’s leading union. The workforce needed a strong union in order to have an effective voice at work. An organising campaign began with the workers using statutory employment legislation to pursue recognition, but Unite and Knapp UK have now been able to reach a voluntary joint agreement for sole trade union recognition. In June 2020, after only a few months of campaigning, Unite’s membership rose so quickly that the union was able to apply to the Government’s Conciliation and Arbitration Committee for recognition. But on 11 November both parties reached an voluntary agreement for Unite to have collective bargaining rights on behalf of all Knapp UK salaried employees up to Site Manager level based at Mark’s & Spencer’s Prologis Park, Newhall Way, Bradford read more
Defence manufacturing investment must be spent in the UK, warns Unite (19 Nov) – Unite, the UK’s leading manufacturing union, has called on the prime minister to provide cast iron guarantees that the government’s announcement of increased defence spending will lead to defence procurement decisions prioritising research and development, engineering and manufacturing here in the UK to help support skilled jobs and boost the economy read more
World Toilet Day: UK drivers denied access to toilets with Covid lockdown worsening situation, Unite survey reveals (19 Nov) – A survey of thousands of professional drivers in the UK, who are members of the country’s leading union, Unite, has revealed that many are routinely denied access to toilets during working hours and that the initial lockdown earlier this year made the situation even worse. Unite has released the findings of the survey of over 6,000 of its driver members who are predominantly employed driving buses or lorries to coincide with World Toilet Day (Thursday 19 November). In the survey members reported that during their normal working day, 70 per cent do not have adequate access to toilets and washing facilities. During the lockdown less than one in five drivers (20 per cent) reported that they continued to have adequate access to toilet and washing facilities at all times read more
Lloyds announces 56 bank branch closures (18 Nov) – Unite, a recognised trade union in Lloyds Banking Group (LBG), has described the decision by the bank to resume its bank branch closure as “unjustified and damaging”. LBG has today (Wednesday 18 November) announced 56 branch closures across Lloyds, Halifax and Bank of Scotland. This decision will impact 160 jobs read more
“Merger mania is a mistake” says finance trade union (18 Nov) – Unite, the largest trade union for financial services employees, has called on the sector to step back and not repeat the mistakes of the financial crisis. Following several reports this week about mergers and acquisitions in the sector, Unite, which represents staff across the financial services sector, has called for firms not to plunge into repeating the mistakes of the financial crisis read more
Airbus Filton first responders strike over £6,000 Securitas pay downgrade (17 Nov) – Emergency first responders working at Airbus’ Filton site will go on strike over an ultimatum by their employer, Securitas, to either be made redundant or to accept new contracts that will see their pay reduced by up to £6,000. The 10 Unite members, who voted unanimously in favour of December strike action, have been told that if they do not accept the changes, which also include reductions to holidays and sick pay, they will lose their jobs…The first strike will take place on 1 December from 0600hrs and end on 4 December at 1800hrs. A second round of strike action will begin at 0600hrs on 14 December and end at 1800hrs on 17 December read more
Unite Wales statement on STADCO (17 Nov) – Unite reacted with extreme dismay to the announcement last month by STADCO that it intends to close its manufacturing facility in Llanfyllin, Powys. The news came as a complete shock to Unite and the 130 strong workforce. Since the announcement Unite Wales has been in constant consultation with the company and the employee forum. It has now emerged that four potential buyers have come forward to save the site that is currently due to close at the end of 2021 read more
More Rolls-Royce Barnoldswick strikes announced as company set to be quizzed by MPs over offshoring plans – Rolls-Royce Barnoldswick in Lancashire will be hit with a second and third wave of targeted strikes over plans to offshore the production of Trent jet engine blades to Singapore with the loss of 350 jobs, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said today (Monday 16 November). The daily strikes will now continue until 24 December as the company prepares to meet with ministers and cross-party MPs this week to discuss the plans to end blade production at the factory, which Rolls-Royce has owned since 1943. The strike action originally started on 6 November. Finishing inspectors, machinists, electricians and instrumentation workers will stage a series of November and December walk outs over the proposals, which would have a devastating impact on the local economy and could potentially sound the ‘death knell’ for Rolls-Royce’s operations in the town. Unite has consistently made clear that Rolls-Royce could avoid industrial action by either cancelling its plans to offshore the work to Singapore or by ensuring the viability of Barnoldswick by introducing similar work and guaranteeing comparable employment levels. The company has failed to do this, so far read more Please send messages of support to: [email protected] #BattleforBarnoldswick #SaveOurSite. Sign this petition to Rolls Royce and the UK Government: Save Our Site – Battle for Barnoldswick (Rolls Royce)
Join the Rolls Royce picket line today Monday 23 November at 12pm on Zoom Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 770 843 0472 Passcode: 999111
Support the Optare workers – We encourage trade unionists and trade union branches to continue to send messages of support to [email protected] (Optare shop steward) and donations to the strike fund via bank transfer to:- Bank: Unity trust bank; Account name: NE/200/1 Optare Branch; Account number: 20327132 Sort code: 60-83-01
Heathrow airport set to grind to halt as strikes announced (16 Nov) – Workers at Heathrow Airport Ltd (HAL) are set to take targeted strike action in the dispute over plans to fire and rehire its 4,000 workers on vastly reduced pay. The strike action by members of Unite, the UK’s principal aviation union, will involve firefighters, engineers, campus security, baggage operations, operational and airside workers and will effectively close the airport. The workforce at HAL recorded an 85 per cent vote in favour of industrial action. The first 24 hour strike will take place on Tuesday 1 December, with a further one day stoppage on Monday 14 December. A 48 hour stoppage will take place on Thursday 17 and Friday 18 December read more
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
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
PCS pay petition surges past 80,000 mark (20 Nov) – The PCS petition for fair pay for UK government workers has surged past 80,000 signatures with more than 5,000 people signing it since it was reported chancellor Rishi Sunak is likely to announce a public sector pay freeze for millions of workers. The chancellor will set out his spending review in the coming week, giving details of how much money will be allocated to different departments during the 2020-21 financial year. And he is expected to make the case for pay restraint to reflect a fall in private sector earnings this year. This is a slap in the face for millions of public sector workers who have worked hard to keep vital services running this and who have suffered over a decade of pay restraint. It is therefore crucial that PCS members and supporters show their disgust at the plans by signing and sharing our online petition for fair pay for UK government workers and by reaching 100,000 signatures force MPs to debate the issue in parliament read more
PCS raises concerns over Cabinet Office Covid testing plans (20 Nov) – As plans for the introduction of coronavirus testing in certain departments are proposed by the Cabinet Office, PCS has raised serious concerns about the process, including that it should not be rushed and that testing should only be undertaken by trained personnel, not civil servants. The proposals were discussed at a meeting yesterday (19) between PCS and the Cabinet Office read more
PCS criticises David Goodhart appointment to EHRC (18 Nov) – David Goodhart – a journalist who currently heads the immigration and integration unit at the right-wing think tank policy Exchange, has a track record of making controversial comments about immigration policy, BLM and the Windrush scandal. He defended Theresa May’s hostile environment policy which led to government vans stalking Britain’s streets telling migrants: “In the UK Illegally? Go home or face arrest.” Read more
PCS to ballot BEIS members for strike action over Covid safety concerns (16 Nov) – Up to 100 contracted out support staff at BEIS could walk out in December during pivotal EU exit negotiations over a lack of Covid safety, PCS has warned. We are balloting facilities management members who work in security cleaning, porterage and postal services at 1 Victoria street of the Brexit department, for strike action in December because contractor ISS is refusing to wind down support services sufficiently to enable members to shield safely. The overwhelming majority of support staff are from the BAME community which has been disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 global pandemic. Most civil servants are working from home. However, BEIS which is a key Brexit department, is allowing some staff to come into the office, meaning support staff are forced to attend, unnecessarily endangering their health. The union believes BEIS should put more restrictions on the numbers of people coming in to Victoria Street than at present and wind down the office operation further so support staff can shield safely at home. PCS has strongly argued that by default civil servants should be working from home during the pandemic. The ballot will open on 24 November and close on December 8 read more
Public Zoom Meeting: Support Cultural workers & fight back for the Culture sector – Against the backdrop of significant redundancies and failing finances against the culture sector, the PCS Culture group is hosting an online rally to support those workers at risk, and to begin the fightback to defend our sector. Join us on Wednesday 25th November at 18:00-20:00 for the Culture Group online rally Facebook event
PCS launch petition and pledge to fight redundancies at National Museums in Liverpool – We have launched a public campaign and petition to fight redundancies at National Museums in Liverpool. Management at the museums warned that there might be compulsory redundancies next year but not before negotiations took place. However, the commercial arm of the museums, National Museums Liverpool Trading immediately moved to make workers in the cafés, shops and events, redundant with just 4 weeks’ notice. These employees have been working and supporting the running of museums as “essential staff” since July. The union understands that over 20 employees are being made redundant but the company which doesn’t recognise trades unions is refusing to engage with PCS 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
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
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Strike (19 Nov) – Members in NMDDC you are aware we recently held a ballot to gain your support for industrial action for strike and action short of strike action.
The results of all four unions:-
- NIPSA members have voted in favour of strike action and action short of strike action.
- SIPTU members have voted in favour of strike action and action short of strike action.
- GMB members have voted in favour of strike action and action short of strike action.
- UNITE members have voted in favour of strike action and action short of strike action
We will now seek to urgently negotiate a resolution to this dispute that will ultimately lead to:
- a fair and equitable way to evaluate posts
- a fair and equitable way of addressing pay and inequalities
- a meaningful and inclusive way for negotiations into the future
- a way to ensure we continue our best practices, eradicate our worst and improve as we see the need
Newry, Mourne and Down Council Strike Details Announced (17 Nov) – Workers at Newry, Mourne and Down District Council have set a date for strike action in their row with management over pay and conditions.
Meeting today, a strike committee, made up for four unions, Unite, GMB, NIPSA and SIPTU, agreed that action will take place in early December read more
Agency Workers – Extension of Full Pay to Agency Workers who are Required to Self-Isolate as a Result of Covid-19 (19 Nov) – Following further representations by NIPSA it has been agreed that agency workers
employed in the NICS will have the extension of full pay for any period of self-isolation. Previously this was capped at 2 weeks. This is a welcome development to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all staff and
also ensures that agency workers can avail of the same rights as permanent members of staff working in the NICS read more
NIPSA Response – Public Service Pension Schemes: Changes to the Transitional Arrangements to the 2015 Schemes (18 Nov) – The following is NIPSA’s response to the consultation on Public Service Pension Schemes: Changes to the Transitional Arrangements to the 2015 Schemes which was submitted today to the Department of Finance (Pensions Division):-
NIPSA, as the leading public service trade union in Northern Ireland welcomes the opportunity to respond to the above consultation and the key elements to the response are set out below. NIPSA, as an NIC ICTU affiliate fully endorses the response from the Central Consultation Working Group (CCWG) which has been submitted separately. It is important to recognise that regardless of which option is applied there will be a need for ongoing consultation and negotiation via the CCWG on all common aspects of the applied option. In addition, NIPSA expects to be fully involved in any specific scheme amendments following this initial consultation on a scheme by scheme basis. The schemes relevant to this consultation which NIPSA has a particular interest in is the Civil Service Pension Scheme and the Health Pension Scheme. As you will be aware pensions is a devolved matter in Northern Ireland and therefore a NI solution needs to be found to the age discrimination elements and the remedies in relation to the McCloud judgement. NIPSA whole heartedly endorses the CCWG position that is total unjustified and unacceptable to bring the cost control mechanism into play as part of the remedy in McCloud and NIPSA will resist any attempts to do so read more
NHS workers at Portsmouth Hospital threatened with no sick pay or losing Christmas Holidays if they self-isolate, says GMB (20 Nov) – “Private contractor Engie must take immediate action to stem covid-19 outbreak amongst low-paid NHS Heroes”, says GMB Union. GMB, the union for hospital staff, has slammed a private contractor for threatening low paid hospital staff in Portsmouth with no sick pay or losing their Christmas holidays if they self-isolate read more
Sign the GMB petition against the academisation of these Sussex schools! (20 Nov) – We oppose the plans to turn Peacehaven Heights and Telscombe Cliffs Primary Schools in to academies. Sign our petition below if you oppose them too! GMB, the union for school support staff, oppose any plans to turn state schools into academies. That is why we have set up a petition against the academisation of Peacehaven Heights and Telscombe Cliffs Primary Schools in East Sussex. Please sign and share our petition if you agree, at https://www.gmb-southern.org.uk/stop-the-academisation-of-peacehaven-heights-and-telscombe-cliffs-schools. Our flyer for distribution is also available to download on this page too! Read more
GMB launch British Gas strike ballot after company refuse to withdraw threats to workers (20 Nov) – Industrial action likely over Christmas as members’ anger boils over – GMB to exempt elderly and vulnerable in homes without heating. GMB, the energy union, is to launch an official British Gas strike ballot after the company refused to withdraw its threat to fire and rehire 20,000 workers. In July, British Gas owners Centrica unveiled plans to fire and rehire the entire workforce if they didn’t accept detrimental changes to their pay and terms and conditions. In August, 95% of members said they would be in favour of industrial action in an indicative ballot read more
GMB condemn East Sussex Healthcare Trust over staff parking fines (20 Nov) – “If the Trust truly believes the wellbeing of staff is paramount, then stop chasing staff for any part of outstanding fines”, say GMB Southern Region. GMB, the union for all NHS workers, are calling on ESHT Chief Executive Joe Chadwick-Bell to do the right thing and cancel all outstanding parking fines and unfair charges. The call comes after GMB learned of hardworking staff within the Trust facing debt recovery companies and thousands of pounds of fines and court costs, all after parking in the Trust’s car park, which the Trust are refusing to cancel read more
Poor PPE to blame for thousands of ambulance workers Covid-19 absences (19 Nov) – Ambulance workers are expected to treat suspected covid patients with nothing but a flimsy mask and a plastic apron. GMB, has blamed ‘second-rate’ PPE supplies as Covid-19 absences among ambulance workers hit at least 2,000 in the first week of November. Figures obtained by the union show as of this week there were 2,077 covid-related absences across just six trusts, with an average covid absence rate of 7%. If this rate is extrapolated across the eleven ambulance trusts in England and Wales then the number of ambulance workers who are sick or self-isolating could be as high as 3,740 read more
Private contract cronyism another shameful legacy of Govt’s Covid mishandling (18 Nov) – Instead of spending taxpayer billions lining their chum’s pockets, ministers should give public sector heroes a pay rise. GMB, the union for public sector workers, says the National Audit Office (NAO)’s report on the Government’s private contract cronyism is another shameful legacy of its mishandling of the covid crisis. Today’s report says firms recommended by Tory MPs and Ministers were given priority when it came to dishing out £18 billion of contracts read more
RPI should be renewed, not scrapped – joint union statement (18 Nov) – Getting rid of RPI could reduce pay rises and pensions for millions of working people. The general secretaries of Britain’s largest unions have today issued a joint statement calling on the government not to scrap the RPI measure of inflation. A decision on the future of RPI is expected to be announced alongside the Spending Review on 25 November read more
Green plan ‘must commit to UK supply chains’ (17 Nov) – Record on wind farm fabrication and construction is just one pitiful example. GMB, the energy union, says ensuring the Government’s ‘Plan for A Green Industrial Revolution’, released today, must include commitments to UK supply chains to deliver good value for the taxpayer read more
Asda must use profits to reward staff who risked lives (17 Nov) – This coronavirus crisis has shown who the essential workers are that keep our country ticking over. GMB is calling on Asda to use profits to reward staff who have taken ‘considerable risk on their health and well-being’ through the covid-19 crisis. The supermarket giant today announced a 2.7% sales growth for the third quarter of 2020, with an explosion of online sales rising 72% read more
Swissport makes 3,000 redundant after refusing to use extended furlough scheme (16 Nov) – Thousands are facing Christmas with no job thanks to Swissport’s intractable attitude. Swissport have pressed ahead with mass redundancies which came into effect on the 31st October despite GMB calls to reinstate the workers and furlough them instead. The redundancies were announced before the Government’s belated extension to the furlough scheme and were based on flight scheduling predictions before hopes of a successful vaccine were announced. GMB formally wrote to Swissport to request that those earmarked for redundancy be put on furlough instead read more
Politicians call on Lifeways to treat staff with dignity and respect (20 Nov) – Hundreds of Lifeways workers employed across the North West are coming together to campaign for appropriate holiday pay – and now over 70 politicians have signed an open letter supporting these courageous key workers. Lifeways, one of the largest supported living providers in the UK, has been routinely underpaying its care workers when they take holiday. According to UK employment law, annual leave should be based on normal pay received, not just basic pay, and this should include additional payments such as sleep-ins and overtime. As a result, some staff are losing out on £100s per year. The open letter has been signed by a number of councillors in local authorities that commission Lifeways, including Manchester, Lancashire, Liverpool, Bolton, Trafford and Wirral. It includes Andrew Western, Leader of Trafford Council and Bev Craig, Executive Member for Adult Health and Wellbeing at Manchester City Councils, as well as Labour Groups Leaders in Bolton and Lancashire read more
Government must let schools go online to rescue Christmas (19 Nov) – Switch two weeks before Christmas would make all the difference. Support staff are urging ministers to let schools move all lessons online from next month to stop rising infections and save Christmas, says UNISON today (Wednesday). The union says a switch to full online teaching two weeks before Christmas would cut the risk of families being forced to self-isolate over the festive break. UNISON wants the government to allow schools and councils to decide the mix of classroom and home-based learning that would be the most effective in stemming increasing transmission rates locally read more
Woodchurch Road Primary School support staff to take strike action over cuts to hours – Twenty-one Wirral school workers have announced that they will take strike action on Thursday 3 December over Woodchurch Primary School’s proposal to cut their hours and pay by up to 20%. The school support staff- who stand to lose out as much as £3,885 in pay every year- voted 100% in favour of the strike. The teaching assistants and play workers- who had previously received the backing of local MP Mick Whitley- are supported by parents of schoolchildren and the local community. The school staff held an online meeting which has now been watched by almost 2000 people. The school staff’s trade union UNISON says that the meeting showed the “overwhelming support” for the Woodchurch workers and the opposition to the proposed cuts read more
Support striking Addiction support workers – We Are With You continues to refuse to pay promised wage increase, after Central Arbitration Committee rules it has to recognise UNISON. Drug and alcohol support workers in the North West recently took 10 days of strike action as they continue their fight to force their employer, national charity We Are With You (formerly Addaction), to give them a promised pay rise. The industrial action involved 30 rehabilitation staff from Wigan and Leigh in Greater Manchester 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
Urgent action needed to protect firefighters from cancer, scientists find (23 Nov) – Ground-breaking research has revealed the serious health risks to UK firefighters following exposure to toxic fire effluents, the chemicals emitted during a fire, in an independent University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) report commissioned by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU). The work is a UK first and the latest in a growing body of international evidence suggesting an increased risk of firefighters developing cancer and other diseases. Fires produce a cocktail of toxic, irritant and carcinogenic chemicals in the form of aerosols, dusts, fibres, smoke and fumes or gases and vapours read more
Sign ‘War on Want’ petition: END SEXUAL HARASSMENT AT MCDONALD’S – McDonald’s has a sexual harassment problem. Women from across the world are joining together and speaking out about the harassment they have faced whilst working at the company. Workers in the USA have even been on strike about it. But still McDonald’s is refusing to take the action needed to end sexual harassment in its restaurants. The evidence is clear: a formal complaint submitted by workers in May 2020 shows at least seven countries where McDonald’s has failed to properly address harassment complaints, and the company’s global CEO even had to resign because of inappropriate relationships with employees. Please email McDonald’s UK CEO today and demand that the company listens to its workers and takes steps to end sexual harassment
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
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/
Latest ONS school infection rate figures (20 Nov) – As rates rise lockdown seems to have done nothing to slow the increase in infection amongst school age pupils. Secondary school infection rates have rebounded since half term and it appears that the lockdown has done nothing to slow the increase in infection amongst school age pupils read more
Support Newham Little Ilford School strikes against unsafe expansion – NEU members were on strike again on November 18 and 19 at the enormous comprehensive in Manor Park, east London, which already teaches 1,470 students. Labour-run Newham Council wants it to take 1,800
Blended learning must be part of Scotland’s Covid suppression strategy (17 Nov) – Commenting on the announcement by the First Minister that schools will remain fully open in areas which are to move to the highest level of Coronavirus restrictions from Friday, Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT – The Teachers’ Union said: “In a worsening situation where the Government has decided that the only course of action is to move a whole swathe of the country into a virtual lockdown, the NASUWT believes that ministers should take further measures on school safety and that should include the use of smaller classes in schools and colleges as an essential element of this strategy…” read more
MP highlights health and safety fears for prison educators as prison Covid cases jump (17 Nov) – Grahame Morris MP has today raised concerns from prison educators over management ignoring national guidance on Covid health and safety, with the Labour MP for Easington accusing some prisons of watering down national guidelines to keep educators in classrooms. The concerns were raised as the BBC reported there were more cases of Covid-19 in prisons last month than the previous seven combined read more
NUJ celebrates union recognition for Newsquest Local Democracy Reporters (20 Nov) – This week the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) has confirmed the NUJ application to secure trade union recognition for Newsquest Local Democracy Reporters has been accepted. Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: “This is brilliant news for the union and the result is a testament to the collective hard work and persistence of NUJ members and reps working as Local Democracy Reporters throughout Newsquest.” Read more
NUJ seeks review of Covid 19 breaches by RTÉ (20 Nov) – The NUJ has requested an urgent review of all of the circumstances surrounding a retirement function in RTÉ on Saturday 15 November at which there were grave breaches of Covid 19 guidelines and regulations. Photographs of the event appeared in the Irish Sun newspaper today. RTÉ has apologised for the incident read more
Criminal violence against journalists must be punished, says NUJ (17 Nov) – The NUJ has today called on the Scottish authorities to hunt down the perpetrators of the attack aimed at silencing Glasgow journalists, and the union extends its support and solidarity to colleagues who continue to report on criminal activity. On Sunday 1 November, the car belonging to the founder and publisher of The Digger magazine, James Cruickshank, was firebombed in Glasgow and local shops were visited and told to stop selling the publication, according to Press Gazette read more
Prospect joins call for new Freelance Commissioner (20 Nov) – Prospect has called on the Chancellor to introduce a new Freelance Commissioner ahead of his spending review on 25th November. The call comes in a joint letter co-signed by the Creative Industries Federation, the Federation of Small Businesses and the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) read more
The PM is either too weak, or lacks the appropriate moral fibre to do the right thing (20 Nov) – The Prime Minister’s independent adviser on standards has resigned after being overruled by the Prime Minister read more
Science Museum Group redundancies show further targeted support for the sector is desperately needed (20 Nov) – Science Museum Group (SMG) has announced that it is entering a multi-stage redundancy consultation with 65-95 redundancies expected in the first phase alone read more
Prospect supporting members through ‘devastating’ E.ON job losses (19 Nov) – Prospect will be engaging with the employer and has pledged to support its members to secure the best possible outcomes, following E.ON’s announcement that it is cutting approximately 700 jobs read more
NATS’ decision to retain trainee ATCOs welcome but implementation leaves sour taste (18 Nov) – National air traffic control operator, NATS, has announced that they will now allow the 122 Trainee Air Traffic Controllers (TATCs) access to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (‘furlough’) until next March. This it thanks to pressure from Prospect’s Air Traffic Control Officer (ATCOs) Branch. It comes despite previous statements to the ATCOs’ Branch to the contrary when they pressed NATS on this issue previously read more
Troubling rise in both days off due to COVID and reported cases in parliament (17 Nov) – The Times is reporting that the number of parliamentary staff off sick because of COVID, and the number of staff days lost due to COVID, are increasingly significantly read more
Stop union victimisation, Reinstate Richie Venton Glasgow USDAW: How workers won, against all the odds – The central concept of workers’ solidarity has been at the heart of these multiple victories. The waves of protest took many forms. Once Richie’s unfair dismissal for being a good, effective trade unionist became public knowledge, furious workers established the ReinstateRichieVenton.com website, which channelled people’s support and equipped them with the information to take the battle for his reinstatement into the organised workers’ movement and onto the streets…After the adverse publicity on 28th August, with the STRIKEA frontpage Daily Record headline, IKEA were forced into a monumental U-turn on sick pay for workers absent due to the Coronavirus. That very day they had to announce reversal of their previous policy and from 1st September pay contract hours wages to anyone sick or self-isolating with COVID-19 across the UK and Ireland. That in itself is a massive victory for the entire IKEA workforce; a victory for workers’ solidarity – although still at the price of Richie having no job and no wages since July. The fact a Settlement Agreement has now been reached with the result that Richie and USDAW’s legal department have withdrawn the Employment Tribunal case for unfair dismissal, is also a huge achievement for personal courage and multi-union solidarity. Especially when compared with the prospect of summary dismissal, in total silence without any explanation of the issues, which he faced six months ago read more Watch Reel News this video about London IKEA solidarity protest
Usdaw disappointed as Government minister fails to understand the unique contribution of UnionLearn (18 Nov) – Usdaw has expressed deep disappointment about the response of the Skills Minister to today’s House of Commons Westminster Hall debate about the decision of the Government to end the Union Learning Fund, which delivers access to lifelong learning for around 200,000 workers each year read more
New law to protect Scottish shopworkers moves to the next stage Usdaw welcomes the progress (17 Nov) – Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw welcomes protection of shopworkers legislation passing stage two in the Scottish Parliament, which would make it a specific offence to abuse, threaten or assault a shopworker. The Protection of Workers (Retail and Age-restricted Goods and Services) (Scotland) Bill is promoted by Daniel Johnson MSP and will now move to the third and final stage read more
BCM Fareva dispute: Usdaw to ballot on industrial action at the Nottinghamshire based manufacturer of Boots products – Usdaw, the trade union for staff at BCM Ltd is to ballot members on industrial action in a year-long pay dispute with BCM Ltd, which is part of the Fareva group and is based at the Boots site in Beeston, Nottinghamshire. Usdaw has expressed frustration at the company’s continued refusal to make a pay offer for staff who have worked throughout the coronavirus pandemic and urges the manufacturer to end their pay freeze before the union is forced into the last resort of industrial action read more
On the Debenhams picket line – with Michelle Gavin (22 Nov) – WHEN Michelle Gavin started working for Roches Stores in Waterford back in 1993 she believed she’d be able to leave the company at a time of her choosing. That was all thrown into turmoil on April 9th when she received a phone call from a friend of hers in Cork telling her to check her emails immediately. Debenhams, which had taken over Roches Stores in 2006, had sent a generic email to Michelle and her 68 colleagues in the Waterford store stating that its Irish stores “are not expected to reopen”. She was out of a job, along with – including concession staff – some 90 other workers in the Waterford store read more
Mandate delegation meet Taoiseach in effort to resolve Debenhams dispute (19 Nov) – A Mandate Trade Union delegation comprising of Gerry Light, Mandate General Secretary and three ex-Debenhams shop stewards, Jane Crowe (Henry St, Dublin), Valarie Conlon (Patrick Street, Cork) and Michelle Gavin (Waterford), met this morning with An Taoiseach Micheál Martin and a team of senior officials from his department in an effort to find a solution to the protracted Debenhams dispute. More than 1,000 workers lost their jobs in April of this year as the company entered liquidation. Since then, the workers have been on strike for 224 days. Mandate General Secretary Gerry Light said: “We used the opportunity to once again urge An Taoiseach to use his office to create the circumstances which would bring an end to the current dispute.” Read more
Workers at Newry, Mourne and Down District Council first day of strike action set for Thursday 3rd December (20 Nov) – All four staff trade unions, Unite, GMB, NIPSA and SIPTU, agree first twenty-four hour action to defend pay and conditions. In a joint trade union side statement, workforce representatives laid the blame for the ‘regrettable’ industrial dispute at the feet of council management who had failed to address their members’ legitimate concerns read more
SIPTU members in Section 39 organisations to commence industrial action (19 Nov) – SIPTU members in CoAction and South Doc, which are HSE funded services based in county Cork and Kerry, have voted in favour of industrial action as part of a country-wide campaign for pay restoration by workers in Section 39 organisations. SIPTU Public Administration and Community Division Organiser, Adrian Kane, said: “The HSE has failed to restore pay deductions imposed on workers in Section 39 Organisations in line with an agreement brokered at the Workplace Relations Commission in October 2018 read more
Security guard & union activist suspended by outsourcing firm Wilson James because of his and his union’s belief that ‘outsourcing is discriminatory’ – Trade union United Voices of the World (UVW) has vowed to apply for a high court injunction to stop the dismissal of Mr Cetin Avsar, a security guard employed by security, aviation and construction company Wilson James to work at the Francis Crick Institute in Kings Cross, London, in what UVW has described as “a blatant and egregious breach of Mr Avsar’s human rights.” Wilson James has suspended Mr Avsar and invited him to a disciplinary hearing after only 3 weeks on the job following the company’s discovery that he led a strike in his previous job “to be taken in-house and given the same terms as all in house employees” and because he is a member of UVW union who supported him and “believe that outsourcing is antiquated and discriminatory” read more
60 MPs back IWGB Campaign to End Unfair Key Worker Terminations by Deliveroo and Uber (19 Nov) – A cross-party group of 60 MPs have signed an Early Day Motion backing a campaign by the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) against unfair terminations of key workers by Deliveroo and Uber. App-based couriers and private hire drivers are being dismissed by the automated processes of ‘gig economy’ companies like Deliveroo and Uber. These key workers, who have worked throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, are being stripped of their livelihoods in a time of crisis, often with no evidence of wrongdoing on their part. The Courier and Logistics branch of the IWGB has been running the #ClappedAndScrapped campaign to gather support for the Early Day Motion. The branch, along with the United Private Hired Drivers branch, is demanding due process with basic rights to a hearing, trade union representation and to appeal terminations. This call for a transparent terminations process is based on the advice laid out by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) read more
Public Zoom Meeting (hosted by Caerphilly Trades Council): ‘A how-to guide to fighting to defend jobs, pay, pensions and conditions!’ Friday, 27 November 7.30pm Facebook event
NEW FILM ‘More To Building Ships’ based on our R & D interviewing former shipyard workers. Thank you to Findlay Napier for the use of his song and all the interviewees & artists involved in this film about the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders’ (UCS) ‘Work-in’ of 1971/2 Townsend Theatre Productions www.townsendproductions.org.uk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-17NnPJ-Pdw&t=1s
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’
Fight blacklisting and victimisation of union reps
#SPYCops Inquiry exposes state surveillance of workers movement
The NSSN sends our solidarity and support to all those taking part in the Undercover Policing Inquiry who have suffered from state surveillance into the labour and trade union movement and a whole number of campaigns from anti-racism to environmentalism.
Blacklist Support Group opening statement to the public inquiry – Dave Smith posted this message on the BSG Facebook page:-
“I’d like to publicly thank everyone from around the globe who has sent messages of support after our opening statement at the undercover policing public inquiry. I was proud to deliver the speech on behalf of the Blacklist Support Group; but this is a collective endeavour. We got to this point by blacklisted union members working together with investigative journalists, campaigning lawyers, world class researchers, MPs, unions, anti-racist campaigns and rank & file activists. We stand shoulder to shoulder with all the non-state, non-police core participants in the public inquiry, especially our sister campaigns; Police Spies Out of Lives, Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance and the family justice campaigns. This is what solidarity looks like”.
Full text of the BSG opening statement is now online via the Hazards magazine website: https://www.hazards.org/blacklistblog/2020/11/17/blacklist-support-group-opening-statement-for-ucpi-dave-smith/
It can be watched via this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JegrwaVKRfs&feature=youtu.be
Some of the media coverage:
To support the ongoing campaign for justice, please share some of the press articles on social media
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 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VZ-QMA1FMg
Blacklist Support Group
Defend Judith Katera Unite rep on London buses – Judith is a longstanding union rep and activist in Battersea garage in Abellio in South London. Last week, she was facing a disciplinary meeting and possible dismissal. Judith is adamant that false claims are being alleged against her. Judith and Moe Muhsin Manir, the rep at Walworth garage in the same company feel that they are both being targeted. Thanks for your support for Judith, including those who were intending to come to the solidarity protest. It is on hold because the disciplinary process has not been completed. We are calling on Abellio to drop the false charges against Judith so she can return to work and represent her members. But if Abellio still move to sack Judith, a solidarity rally will be organised. Stop union busting!
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
FCC dismiss Tony Smith Hull Unison Activist
Trade Unionists and activists will be outraged to hear that Unison activist Tony Smith’s dismissal has been upheld by FCC. As previously reported, Tony’s dismissal on trumped up charges was because of his trade union activities. It took nearly five weeks from the appeal to the outcome for FCC to confirm the sacking. Tony has faced the mental torture of not knowing whether he has a job or not, but the time taken reflected that dismissing him was not a simple issue because of the high profile that Tony has in the local Labour movement. Unison will be seeking compensation and the campaign focuses on Hull City Council to end its contract with FCC. Mick Whale Chair Hull Trades Council
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!
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
Support the protests against Nigerian government – All workers in the UK who have seen the video footage of soldiers firing live ammunition into fleeing peaceful protesters in Lagos in October will have been horrified at this brutal demonstration of state violence. Those of Nigerian descent will, of course, be worried for the safety of relatives in the country.
Trade unionists everywhere must condemn this atrocity – and others perpetrated by the Nigerian security forces – and lend assistance to those fighting the corrupt government, still desperately clinging to their incredible claims about the resultant deaths being fake news. President Muhammadu Buhari has blood on his hands and must go!
Demonstrations over the recent period, aimed originally at disbanding the hated Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) – a police unit which became synonymous with corruption and extrajudicial murders – have involved workers but also newer layers of younger people, moving into political activity for the first time.
Years of frustration, disappointment, poverty and anger have exploded into a mighty mass movement putting into question the future of not just the current government system, but the very country itself.
The violence which has swept the country since is not linked to the original peaceful AntiSARS protests but to the response of the state forces to them. These have been planting agent provocateurs aimed at causing confusion, provoking a response and giving them an excuse for further brutality. Even the BBC reported that “video evidence suggests that they were encouraged by police officers to target the demonstrators”.
In a country where two-thirds of young people are either unemployed or underemployed, and where 100 million people (half the population) live in extreme poverty, there are those who can be hired to carry out such deeds.
But even the violence highlights the endemic corruption, with attacks in a third of Nigeria’s 36 states on warehouses storing Covid-19 ‘food palliatives’ – aid meant for distribution, but which has not been distributed over the past months. The fact that some of this aid has rotted or been found in politicians’ homes, has not helped the government’s claims it was being stored in preparation for a second wave of Covid-19. The government has used the attacks on the warehouses to denounce many protesters as looters and frozen personal bank accounts of AntiSARS organisers, ignoring the fact that Nigeria’s biggest looters are at the top.
Understandably, amid such political corruption, there is a deep hostility to ‘politics’ and calls for the movement, even amongst some of the bravest anti-SARS and anti-SWAT (the replacement unit after the original government climbdown over SARS) protestors, to be initially anti-political. Now a discussion has started on how to build a political alternative to the corrupt political system.
As Nigerian workers in their millions know too well from the struggles of the past, separating politics from the actions of the state is impossible. The NSSN lends its support in any way we can to the workers’ movement opposition to state repression, austerity and poverty.
Kevin Pattison NSSN Steering Committee Yorkshire rep
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