We headline this week’s NSSN bulletin with the fight by Unite members in Rolls Royce in Barnoldswick, Lancashire to save their plant. Workers have been taking industrial action after work was offshored to Singapore. In response to this justified action, Rolls Royce has taken more work to factories in Singapore, Japan and Spain, threatening the viability of the plant. The NSSN pledges our full support and solidarity to the workers and their union Unite. We continue to demand that in order to save jobs and communities, companies and plants threatened with closure should be taken into public ownership. Solidarity to the #BattleforBarnoldswick
Facebook Live event: 7pm Thursday 10th December – ‘Battle for Barnoldswick’. This will be a discussion with those on the picket line about the reality of taking strike action, the impact to the community and the history of Barnoldswick Rolls Royce, delving closely into the link between industrial disputes and politics in Parliament. Speakers include Unite plant convenor Mark Porter, Unite regional officer Ross Quinn and local MPs.
Watch the video of last Saturday’s car rally in support of striking Barnoldswick Rolls-Royce workers
Rolls-Royce accused of ‘choking’ company’s future and ‘selling family silver’ in sell-off and plant rundown announcement (3 Dec) – Unite, the UK’s leading union, has described Rolls-Royce’s announcement of fresh job losses as ‘choking the company’s future’, while the proposals to transfer or rundown parts of the business is ‘selling the family silver’. Rolls-Royce announced further jobs losses today (Thursday 3 December), which follows the announcement of 1,400 job losses last month and 3,000 job losses in June. In a fresh blow for workers, Rolls-Royce announced it is planning to sell its manufacturing plant in Hucknall, Nottinghamshire. Further work at Barnoldswick is also being transferred, greatly intensifying fears for the future of the factory. In addition, the decision to transfer work from Inchinnan, Renfrewshire, to Derby, poses a further threat to the Scottish plant read more
More Rolls-Royce Barnoldswick strikes announced as company set to be quizzed by MPs over offshoring plans – 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)
The NSSN sends our deepest condolences and solidarity to those workers and their families affected by the explosion last Thursday at Wessex Water Services Ltd in Avonmouth
Unite statement on Avonmouth explosion
GMB: Avonmouth explosion: hearts go out to families of Wessex Water members
BREAKING NEWS!! Reinstate sacked Unite London bus rep Judith Katera – We have just heard the shocking news that Judith, a longstanding union rep and activist in Battersea garage in South London has been dismissed by Abellio. 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.
In October, she was facing a disciplinary meeting and possible dismissal. A solidarity protest was organised and then postponed because the disciplinary process wasn’t completed. However, she has now discovered that the company sacked her last Friday! Just a few weeks before Christmas, Judith is dismissed with no income.
The NSSN sends our support and solidarity to Judith, her members and her union Unite and pledge to do everything we can to get her reinstated. We will keep our supporters and affiliates fully informed of developments and any protests and action that are called. Stop union busting!
Fight together against the Tory Pay Freeze
Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a public sector pay freeze last 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 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.”
See below pictures from pay freeze protests organised last weekend by trades councils in Swansea, Cardiff and York:-
Support the NHS pay protests – Over the last few months, there have been 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 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]
Watch The NSSN pre-TUC Rally and follow us on twitter via @NSSN_AntiCuts and Facebook
RMT suspends latest phase of strike action on Alstom West Coast and Chester engineering due to start tonight to allow for escalation of pay battle (8 Dec) – RAIL UNION RMT confirmed today that it has suspended the latest phase of strike action on Alstom West Coast and Chester engineering due to start tonight to allow for an escalation of the battle against a pay freeze and to work jointly on the campaign with sister unions. A ban on rest day and overtime working remains in force as the union plans the next stage of the pay fight in the new year. Alstom provide and maintain the West Coast Pendolino trains, as well as the Transport for Wales 175 fleet, and their latest global trading figures show that the company as a whole made pre-tax profits of €263 million in the six months to the end of September this year – as well as purchasing Bombardier in a multi-billion Euro deal – nailing the lie that they cannot afford a pay increase for the hard-working key staff who have kept services running throughout the COVID pandemic read more
RMT demands reversal of £1 billion rail budget cuts (4 Dec) – RAIL UNION RMT today demanded the reversal of cuts of £1 billion to crucial rail investment plans warning that it would threaten jobs and consign Britain to the slow lane just when we should be investing and building our way out of the Covid and climate crisis. RMT’s demand comes after an admission by the Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris that the new budget would be £1 billion less than the £10.4 billion previously pledged for the five year Control Period 6 from 2019 to 2024 following the Chancellor’s Spending Review last month read more
RMT welcomes relaunch of Hull Trains and some Grand Central services today and calls for support and stability for open-access rail operators (3 Dec) – RAIL UNION RMT has welcomed the relaunch of Hull Trains and some Grand Central Services today and has called for the same level of support for open access providers that franchise companies have benefited from to provide stability and end the stop-start approach that has blighted both services read more
RMT responds to Government loan to fund Crossrail and renews calls on Government to stop treating TfL like a political football (1 Dec) – RAIL UNION RMT today responded to reports that the Government had loaned Transport for London £850 million to complete the Crossrail project, following negotiations, by calling for London’s Transport and its vital infrastructure projects to be put on a stable financial basis instead of the life-support it is forced to exist on as part of the Government’s “disgraceful” political campaign to influence the Capital’s 2021 Mayoral elections 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
RMT launches global on-line petition to halt jobs carnage at Trump’s Turnberry resort
Sign this petition: RMT steps up campaign for TfL funding
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
CalMac fat cats on £191,000 deny staff pay rise (6 Dec) – TSSA today lambasted CalMac “fat cats as the company’s financial statement reveals the highest paid Director received £191,00 – a whopping 18% pay rise – whilst refusing more than a miserly 0.5% pay rise for their staff. The revelation comes amid a dispute over pay, with the company refusing to budge from the 0.5% rise for its staff, leading TSSA’s leader Manuel Cortes to say, “Fat cats in CalMac are lining their own pockets whilst showing contempt for hard working staff” read more
Rail Budget Cut – Shortsighted and Reckless (4 Dec) – TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has criticised as “shortsighted and reckless” a £1bn Government cut to the rail infrastructure budget. The boss of the transport union is calling on Ministers to “come clean” and tell the public which projects would be ditched and how safety would be maintained read more
TSSA Welcomes Crossrail Funding Agreement (1 Dec) – TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has hailed as “very welcome” an agreement between Transport for London and the Government giving additional funding for the final phase of the Crossrail project. The Elizabeth line links London east to west by train, and beyond as far as Reading in the West and Shenfield in the east and was originally meant to open in late 2018 read more
Government must explain rail budget cut (4 Dec) – ASLEF, has called for the government to come clean about its plans to rebuild Britain after it was revealed that it has slashed £1 billion from its infrastructure budget. Mick Whelan, ASLEF’s general secretary, said: ‘We have learned today that the government has cut £1 billion from the rail infrastructure budget following the Chancellor’s spending review. Rishi Sunak promised record infrastructure investment as part of what he called the government’s “levelling up” agenda. Network Rail’s enhancement budget for the five year period from 2019-24 has been set at £10.4 billion. But Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris now says that budget will only be £9.4 billion. So what’s happened to the missing money? And why has it suddenly been slashed?…’ read more
BREAKING NEWS!! UK braced for Wagon Wheel, Jammie Dodger and curry shortage as Liverpool DHL workers take strike action (8 Dec) – Workers employed by DHL Supply Chain in Liverpool, who undertake the Burton Biscuits and AB World Foods delivery contract, have voted for industrial action in a dispute over low pay, victimisation of workers and the complete collapse of industrial relations. The dispute will result in supplies of Burton Biscuits’ brands Wagon Wheels and Jammie Dodgers, as well as AB World Foods’ brands including Patak and Blue Dragon, vanishing from supermarket shelves across much of the UK. The 120 members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, are employed as warehouse operators and delivery drivers by DHL, at its delivery centre in Portal Way, Liverpool. As a result of the yes vote in favour of strike action, Unite has announced eight days of strike action between 19 December and 5 January read more
BREAKING NEWS!! Strike ballot over axing teaching support roles at two London primary schools (8 Dec) – Plans to axe more than half the teaching support staff at two east London primary schools has prompted Unite the union to ballot its members for strike action. Unite has 10 members at the Colvestone primary school and the Thomas Fairchild community school – and they will be balloted for strike action from Friday (11 December) over restructuring plans which include changes to terms and conditions, and redundancies. The ballot closes on Friday 8 January. The schools are part of the Hackney-based Soaring Skies Federation which educates more than 600 children and Unite said there are potentially 18 jobs at risk out of the about 30-strong teaching support staff. The federation claims that the reason for the restructuring is that there are falling numbers of pupils attending the school, but Unite disputes this, saying its members now have more time to spend with often disadvantaged children. Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “One of the major areas of concern during the pandemic has been the impact on children and their education – and this has been at the centre of intense national debate. Yet now, we are in a position where our members employed as teaching assistants at the Soaring Skies Federation face losing their jobs. The irony is that in these schools, based on the federation’s own figures, staff now have more time to spend with the children…” read more
British Airways cargo workers vote overwhelmingly for strike action in fire and rehire dispute (7 Dec) – Cargo workers at British Airways have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action in the bitter dispute over the company’s plans to fire and rehire its entire workforce and re-employ them on vastly inferior terms and conditions. The workforce, who are members of Unite, the UK’s leading aviation union, recorded a 98 per cent yes vote in favour of strike action. The union represents in the region of 850 members in BA’s cargo handling business. Despite BA management’s bullying and its attempts to inflict changes by firing and rehiring its workforce, Unite will delay immediately announcing strike dates, in order to give the company a final opportunity to reach a fair resolution and agree changes with its workers. BA is attempting to force the cargo workers to accept new contracts which will result in many of them experiencing pay cuts of between 20-25 per cent, with the entire workforce experiencing significant reductions to its terms and conditions read more
Victory for Welsh taxi drivers following Unite campaign (7 Dec) – Unite Wales members in the taxi trade are breathing a sigh of relief today, as the Welsh government acknowledged their concerns and ensured hardship funding will be available for them through their local authorities. Drivers believed that the application process for discretionary grants left them marginalised, and did not take into account the devastating economic impact Covid-19 restrictions have had on their jobs read more
Unite secures huge back pay victory for Sandwell refuse workers (7 Dec) – Forty refuse workers, employed by employment agency Templink and engaged by Serco on Sandwell council’s outsourced refuse collection contract, have secured a huge victory concerning equal pay rates and are set to receive substantial back pay. The affected workers will now receive back pay of between £2,000 and £7,000 and Unite, which represents the workforce, is working to ensure that the money is paid before Christmas. The workers, who have been working on the contract for up to two years, have been paid at a lower rate than permanent staff. Under the agency directive rules they should receive the same rates of pay as permanent staff read more
Sainsbury’s ‘acting like Scrooge’ with Boxing Day work demands on top of extended opening hours (7 Dec) – Unite has accused Sainsbury’s of ‘acting like Scrooge’ by insisting that staff come in on Boxing Day after working extended opening hours in the run up to Christmas. Sainsbury’s has agreed to operate reduced 10am to 5pm opening hours on Boxing Day. However, its supermarkets will be open to customers from 6am until midnight between Monday 21 December and Wednesday 23 December. Unite said Sainsbury’s, which expects to bring in before tax profits of £270 million in 2020, of putting ‘wealth above the wellbeing of its workforce’ read more
Employers must put in place plans now to encourage mass uptake of Covid-19 vaccines by their workforces (7 Dec) – Businesses need to provide paid release to workers to access appointments and commence engagement with Translink now on transport plans for mass workplace vaccination drives. While Unite the union encourages broadest possible uptake of vaccine by public, it is vital that immunisation must remain a voluntary choice read more
Swissport urged to rethink job losses at Jersey Airport, as vaccines on the horizon (4 Dec) – The redundancy programme involving Swissport workers at Jersey Airport is ‘going under the radar’ and needs a rethink now that Covid-19 vaccines are on the horizon, Unite the union, said today (Friday 4 December). Swissport have already made more than half their 100-strong workforce redundant over the past year, with their operation in Jersey badly affected by the pandemic. On Tuesday (1 December), a further 11 staff left the business, with more staff laid off temporarily, bringing the total number of employees down to a bare minimum. Crucially, 11 is the most staff an employer can make redundant in a 30-day period, under Jersey law, without initiating formal “collective consultation” measures. Alarmingly, Swissport has since informed Unite that a further 11 staff are to be put ‘at risk’ of redundancy, suggesting the company is taking an ‘under the radar’ approach to job losses read more
Doncaster bin strikes cancelled after Suez bullying crisis resolved (4 Dec) – Planned strikes by refuse workers employed by Suez Recycling and Recovery Ltd, on the outsourced Doncaster council contract, have been suspended after the company acted on the concerns of Unite, the UK’s leading union. The workforce, who are members of Unite, had recorded a 94 per cent yes vote in response to systematic bullying of the workforce and the dismissal of Unite lead rep Damien Nota, while other workers had also been suspended. Much of the bullying and harassment was connected to the company’s CCTV system and involved managers trawling through historic footage. The initial strike action was due to take place on Wednesday 15 December, with three further strikes dates planned over the festive period. These strikes have now been called off and the dispute suspended on the agreement of both Unite and Suez read more
Further education unions express ‘outrage’ at pay offer and breakdown of trust in employers (3 Dec) – Trade unions representing staff in English further education colleges have today (Thursday 3 December) slammed the decision by the Association of Colleges (AoC) to offer a 1% pay increase and demanded to know what additional government funding had been spent on. In a joint pay claim submitted in October, the unions (UCU, UNISON, NEU, Unite and GMB) made clear that college staff had suffered a real-terms pay cut of 30% since 2009 with over 24,000 teaching staff leaving the sector read more
Queens University workers hold socially-distanced protests as campaign for wage justice intensifies (Dec 3) – Unite reiterates that contrary to QUB excuses, its legal advice confirms their members working in the Students Union are eligible for furlough payments. On a day when a number of socially-distanced protests in support of Students’ union workers were held at various locations around Queens campus, Unite Hospitality organiser, Neil Moore, said: “There is clearly huge levels of public support for our members – many of whom have not been paid at all since August. The refusal of Queens authorities to avail of furlough wage supports for these workers is not only callous, but inexplicable…” read more
Workers at logistics giant Dachser to down tools next Thursday (Dec 3) – Stoppage follows company refusal to implement Labour Court recommendation. December 3rd: Trade union Unite, which represents members working for German logistics giant Dachser (formerly Johnston Logistics) in Rathcoole, has announced that workers will be taking strike action from Thursday December 10th. The stoppage comes on foot of the company’s refusal to engage collectively with their workers through their union, Unite, notwithstanding a Labour Court recommendation that they do so read more
Strike action to proceed at Newry, Mourne and Down District Council as last minute talks collapse after management fail to address workers’ pay equality (Dec 2) – Members of all four staff trade unions, Unite, GMB, NIPSA and SIPTU, forced into picket lines from 6am tomorrow. In a joint trade union side statement and ahead of the industrial action, workforce representatives laid the blame for the ‘avoidable’ industrial dispute at the feet of council management who had failed to address their members’ legitimate concerns read more
Unite secures victory for Securitas first responders at Airbus Filton (2 Dec) – Striking Securitas first responders at Airbus Filton have secured a victory in their fight against fire and rehire changes that would have seen their pay plummet, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said today (Wednesday 2 December). The 10 Unite members, who provide critical first response aid and other assistance during emergencies at the Airbus site, stood to lose up to £6,000 a year through a forced transfer into the site’s security unit. After voting unanimously for strike action beginning on 30 November, strikes were postponed for last minute talks between Unite and Securitas read more
Unite to mount resistance as bosses target Thurrock council heroes (2 Dec) – Unite, Britain’s biggest union, has vowed to fiercely resist Thurrock Council’s plans to brutally cut the pay and conditions of workers who have been providing essential services during the pandemic. The very workers who have been supporting residents, by providing key services, throughout the current health crisis, are furious that they are now the target of proposed cuts of between £2,000 – £3,500 a year for refuse workers, highway maintenance and street cleaners read more
Bullying is rife in not so ‘purr-fect’ veterinary surgeries, says Unite survey (2 Dec) – Employment practices at some of the UK’s vet surgeries are ‘a dog’s dinner’ where bullying and poor morale are widespread, according to a new survey by the British Veterinary Union in Unite (BVU) read more
Heathrow Strike – Workers walkout over savage wage cuts – Unite members employed at Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL) were on picket lines on Tuesday 1 December in the dispute over the savage wage cuts imposed on the workforce through a brutal fire and rehire programme. Unite will be maintained three strictly socially distanced picket lines during the dispute at Hatton Cross tube station TW6 3PF, on Bath Road by the A4 roundabout TW6 2AA and also on Bath Road near the ambulance/fire house TW6 2AA. Unite recorded an 84 per cent yes vote among its members at HAL, in opposition to the fire and rehire policies that will result in workers suffering permanent pay cuts of up to £8,000 per annum, which is 25 per cent of their take home pay. As a result, Unite has called targeted strike action of workers who are critical to the operation of the airport involving: firefighters, engineers, campus security, baggage operations, central terminal operations, landside and airside operations. The strike action on Tuesday 1 December is highly symbolic as it is the day when the workers’ ‘poverty’ contracts begin to take effect. Following the initial day of strike action there will be further strikes on Monday 14 December and then a two day stoppage on Thursday 17 December 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 petition: St Mungo’s brutal treatment of BAME worker opposed by Unite – Without income for twenty-one weeks. Female worker comes to the end of a period of sickness during the pandemic. Health conditions put her at raised risk. She is also older and from a BAME background. Her normal job would expose her to further increased risk. Rather than furlough her or find her alternative work the employer simply stops her pay without going through any personnel procedure. Management reject appeals to senior levels from Unite leaving the worker without income and desperate for twenty-one weeks
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
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
CSCS pension age discrimination – can you claim? (7 Dec) – In January 2020 PCS launched a legal campaign around the cap to redundancy payments introduced under the Civil Service Compensation Scheme. Under the Civil Service Compensation Scheme (CSCS), employees are entitled to compensation when they leave the civil service under early severance, voluntary or compulsory redundancy or on dismissal on efficiency grounds. When an employee is within 15 months or less of their retirement age, the amount of compensation payable is reduced from a maximum of 21 months to a 6 month cap once pension age is reached. An Employment Tribunal ruled in the Ms J Elliot v Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman case that the pension age cap was direct age discrimination. PCS has received over 650 queries from affected members, with more than 150 claims currently being supported at the Employment Tribunal read more
PCS members secure parliamentary debate on fair pay (4 Dec) – After the PCS pay petition reached 100,000, there will now be a parliamentary debate on members’ pay on Monday 14 December. As part of the campaign to put pressure on MPs to support PCS’s claim for an end to the pay freeze and a fair pay rise, the union is now asking all civil servants to sign an open letter to their local MP in advance of the debate. The text of the open letter asks MPs to support our claim and to attend the debate on Monday. Members can read the letter and add their name to it by clicking HERE. Non-members working in the civil service are also welcome to sign the open letter and their name using this non-members form HERE read more
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
Strike: Members in Newry, Mourne and Down Council: 3 December 2020 – Industrial Action Local Government. NIPSA members, together with members of SIPTU, GMB and Unite are due to be on strike on Thursday 3 December 2020. Despite intensive talks facilitated by the LRA over the last few days some areas in dispute remain. The issues which remain under dispute are on a fundamental principle of equality on pay. The unions are committed to continue talks, however the time left to get an agreement is very short. Therefore, the strike legally notified to the Council will go ahead read more
NIPSA Condemns Paramilitary Threats Against Workers (1 Dec) – Statement on Behalf of NIPSA in Relation to Recent Threats to Journalists: “On behalf of NIPSA’s 42,000 members I wish to extend our abhorrence at yet again journalists who are doing their job are attacked by those who lurk in the shadows. No-one should be threatened for doing their job. Those who make these threats have no place in our society and should leave the stage,” commented the union’s General Secretary Alison Millar. She went on to state: “NIPSA fully supports these workers as we have all workers when they have been threatened or even killed in the course of their carrying out their job.
“NIPSA has sent a message of solidarity and support and has asked the National Union of Journalists to convey this to all those affected by these cowardly threats. Sectarianism and all its ills has no place in our society.” Read more
BREAKING NEWS!! Ambulance workers ballot for strike action at St George’s Hospital (8 Dec) – GMB Union will not allow a private company which is making huge profits out of the NHS to erode the pay, terms and conditions of our hard-working members. GMB, the union for NHS staff, is set to ballot ambulance worker members at St George’s Hospital over proposed changes to their shift patterns. If members at the South London hospital vote to strike, industrial action will take place in the New Year. GMB says HATS, the private employer which runs the contract for patient transport services at St George’s Hospital, has ignored concerns raised by workers that these changes will have a significant impact on their pay, their hours and their work/life balance read more
Taxi and minicab industry on verge of collapse (7 Dec) – There is no light at the end of the tunnel for drivers who desperately need help save their livelihoods and their sector. The UK’s taxi and minicab industry will collapse without urgent financial assistance, GMB has told the Chancellor. In a letter to Rishi Sunak, the union outlines the importance of the country’s largest transport sector – which sees 350,000 drivers perform services from private journeys to NHS patient transport, school and vulnerable children transport services and vulnerable adult transport services read more
Bakkavor Covid outbreak: huge win as company agrees full pay for absence (4 Dec) – Mass testing and full pay for covid positive staff will save lives. GMB the union for Bakkavor workers has claimed a massive victory as the fresh food giant agreed full pay for staff off work and a rollout of mass testing at the Tilmanstone salads factory. The company, which supplies major retailers including Marks and Spencer, has also carried out a deep clean of the factory. The news comes after two tragic covid related deaths amongst workers at the Tilmanstone factory in the last week, and cases have rocketed from around 35 in the third week of November to 99 as of Thursday. The factory has 800 employees, but many of those are office staff currently working from home. GMB has been calling for the measures since the outbreak started and claimed todays changes ‘will help save lives’ and that they hope will lead to a significant fall in positive cases at the Kent based factory read more
Second Bakkavor worker dies amid Marks & Spencer supplier factory Covid outbreak (3 Dec) – Bakkavor Tilmanstone Salads must offer full pay for all covid-related absence. A second worker has died amid a coronavirus outbreak at a factory which produces food for Marks & Spencer. Cases at the Bakkavor Tilmanstone Salads facility in Kent have rocketed from 35 in the third week of November to 99 as of today. The factory has 800 employees, but many of those are office staff currently working from home. GMB has called for the company to offer full pay to anyone taking covid-related absence, mass testing for staff and to perform a deep clean at the factory. So far the company has only agreed to ask staff to wear face masks after pressure from GMB Union. Bakkavor hit the headlines in April when GMB exposed a boss ‘threatening to sack staff who miss work amid the outbreak’ read more
Ministers must act after APPG report says Govt failed on coronavirus (3 Dec) – We have warned again and again that the Government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic has cost jobs, livelihoods and lives. GMB Union has welcomed an All-Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus interim report today which highlights the Government’s ‘failure’ in handling the pandemic read more
‘Miserly’ Marley set for festive reckoning (3 Dec) – Beenham’s Marley tiles factory set to see GMB members take strike action after company offered a measly 1% pay despite £16 million in profits last year. GMB members at Marley Tiles in Beenham, West Berkshire are set to strike next Thursday after 96% of GMB members voted in favour of action. Marley Ltd is a roof tile manufacturer based in Beenham, outside Reading currently employing around 60 staff. Staff rejected a 1% pay offer despite the company posting a bumper £16million in profits last year. The strike is expected to last for 48 hours from 6am on Thursday 10th December read more
Sign the GMB petition against the academisation of these Sussex schools! – 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
Wigan and Leigh rehab workers win long-running dispute (8 Dec) – We Are With You staff will now be paid in line with NHS pay rates until at least 2022 – and the company has also recognised UNISON. Drug and alcohol support workers employed by We Are With You – formerly Addaction – in Wigan and Leigh have announced the end of a long-running trade dispute with their employer. Their employer had promised that their pay would keep pace with NHS Agenda for Change pay rates, but the charity failed to keep its promise once NHS staff received a pay rise in 2018. The victory comes more than 15 months after the first strike, involving 30 rehab workers – many of them UNISON members – who had been transferred from the NHS to We Are With You. Last week, they formally ended their dispute after agreeing a new settlement. The campaign included a 26 strike days read more
Support the Birmingham NHS Unison Heartlands Porters Dispute – UNSION members who are Heartland Hospital Porters are currently taking strike action about the proposed imposition of a new rota. This will result in them working detrimental rotating 8 shifts pattern. The proposed rota impacts on our members health and well being; their caring responsibilities; their work/life balance and results in a significant cut in wages for many read more on Facebook page
Measuring the impact of COVID-19 on global labour rights (8 Dec) – A new report from UNISON reveals that the pandemic has had a negative affect on ethical procurement. When the COVID-19 pandemic broke, there was a rush to find personal protective equipment (PPE) for key workers and laptops for those working from home. But with the urgent need to stay safe, few stopped to question who was making the equipment and whether they were safe too. What impact has this had on labour standards? And has the UK’s commitment to end modern day slavery effectively been cast aside? Read more
Higher education members reject ‘insulting’ pay freeze (4 Dec) – UNISON members vote overwhelmingly to reject the 0% pay offer, which amounts to a pay cut, in higher education. UNISON’s higher education service group executive (SGE) have met and considered the results of a member consultation on the pay freeze that has been imposed on staff in the sector. The consultation closed on Monday 30 November and members voted overwhelmingly to reject the pay freeze. The SGE decided that, on this basis, a dispute should be lodged with the employers and that the campaign should be escalated, including planning for industrial action read more
Further education unions ‘outraged’ at pay offer (4 Dec) – UNISON says college leaders have broken their pay promises and that pay in the FE sector is ‘simply too low’. Trade unions representing staff in English further education colleges have slammed the decision by the Association of Colleges (AoC) to only offer a 1% pay increase to staff. In a joint pay claim submitted in October, the unions (UNISON, UCU, NEU, Unite and GMB) made clear that college staff had suffered a real-terms pay cut of 30% since 2009 with over 24,000 teaching staff leaving the sector read more
‘One job’ rule without pay pledge could plunge care staff into poverty and put residents at risk (4 Dec) – Government must guarantee staff can work additional hours or get compensation for lost wages. Banning employees from working in more than one care home without guaranteeing wages will plunge thousands of low-income families into poverty, trigger staff shortages and put residents at risk, says UNISON today (Friday). Many will suffer immediate hardship if the government goes ahead with legislation limiting workers to one care employer, without ensuring staff are supported financially, the union says. Minimising work in multiple locations is sensible to control the spread of Covid infections, but cannot be achieved by government diktat, says UNISON. Many care workers earn barely more than the minimum wage and are on zero-hours contracts. The union says this leaves them no choice but to take up jobs with several employers read more
‘It doesn’t matter if you sweep floors or you’re a surgeon, the NHS is one team’ (3 Dec) – UNISON’s One Team campaign gives NHS support staff the recognition they deserve – and Caroline Corbin is one of them. NHS support staff work tirelessly throughout the health service to clean wards, maintain vital equipment, order medical supplies, book appointments and cook meals – all to ensure that patients get the care they need. UNISON member Caroline Corbin is a switchboard operator at Salisbury District Hospital. She works in a team of six, which she describes as, “the hub of the hospital wheel that keeps all other departments going” read more
Push for free hospital parking continues (2 Dec) – Despite the continuing pandemic, evidence mounts of hospitals starting to charge staff to park once more. UNISON is continuing to push for the reinstatement of free parking for all NHS staff at hospitals at least during COVID-19 – and for free parking for staff permanently – as it becomes clear that some hospitals are starting to charge staff yet again. Parking was made free for all staff in the early part of the pandemic and remains free in Scotland and Northern Ireland. In Wales, parking has been free for staff since before the pandemic. UNISON believes that parking should be free for all staff on a permanent basis. This initiative has helped keep staff and patients safe, reducing infection risks by staff travelling on public transport. At the very least, the initiative must remain in place for the duration of the pandemic read more
Woodchurch Road Primary School support staff strike suspended as cuts are avoided (2 Dec) – Statement from Wirral UNISON: “Wirral UNISON has today suspended it’s strike action at Woodchurch Road. This comes after the School has withdrawn the proposed 20% cut in hours for play workers and deferred 20% cuts in hours for Teaching Assistants until July. Alongside this we have a clear commitment from the Council to work with the Unions in a formal way to address the issues at the school and seek actions to alleviate the need for any cuts at the school. Whilst we are disappointed that the Teaching Assistant cuts have only been deferred, we believe that the added time, means that with the good will of all parties a resolution can be found. We believe that this is a significant step forward, secured by the determination of Unison and our members at the school, supported by the local community, to oppose these damaging cuts. This is a victory for our members and the community and children that support the school” read more
NHS staff at Manchester Hospitals lodge grievance over underpayment as Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust accused of getting clinical care ‘on the cheap’ (1 Dec) – Over three hundred health care assistants (HCAs), nursing assistants (NAs) and Maternity Assistants (MAs) working in Manchester Hospitals have lodged a grievance over years of underpayment for delivering clinical care. The health workers- who are employed by Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MUNFT)*- have received support for their campaign from MPs, their trade union UNISON and their fellow NHS workers. The hospital staff- who are employed on Band 2 contracts- should provide personal care such as bathing, feeding and toileting patients. Band 3 staff are expected to perform clinical duties including taking and monitoring bloods; carrying out electrocardiogram (ECG) tests; venepuncture; escorting patients unaccompanied; complex dressings; cannulation and recording patient observations read more
Support the Tower Hamlets Unison workers – Read more here and on Tower Hamlets UNISON Facebook page and follow @UNISON_TwrHmlts on twitter
CWU launches #CountMeIn consultative ballot in BT
BT Group-wide consultative ballot on industrial action gets underway as CWU patience snaps – 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
Vote to protect your futures, younger BT Group members urged (4 Dec) – Young workers across BT Group stand to be especially badly impacted by the multi-pronged assault on job security and terms & conditions that have triggered the CWU’s company-wide consultative ballot on industrial action. With that ballot yesterday (Thursday) entering its third and final week, CWU deputy general secretary Andy Kerr insists that the many threats posed by a new senior management team that seems hell bent on imposing a ‘race to the bottom’ demands an unprecedented display of workforce solidarity – regardless of age, job spec or line of business read more
High stakes in EE as consultative ballot on industrial action reaches its mid-point (2 Dec) – Hard won gains for members in EE since recognition will be placed in jeopardy and even could go into reverse unless CWU members across BT Group stand united against classic ‘divide and rule’ tactics by a new senior management team that is hell bent on imposing a company-wide ‘race to the bottom’. That’s the stark warning that has been issued to members at EE’s six UK call centres amid disturbing indications that some managers are spreading misinformation and even veiled threats of disciplinary measures in an attempt to stop members from participating in the CWU’s BT Group-wide consultative ballot on industrial action 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
Support the strikes:-
London Design and Engineering UTC Newham against victimisation of union rep: December 8-10 – messages of support to Louise Cuffaro [email protected]
Little Ilford Newham against unsafe expansion: December 9-10 – messages of support to Louise Cuffaro [email protected]
Leaways School Hackney: December 8-9 – messages of support to Dave Davies [email protected]
Tower Hamlets SEND members against redundancies: December 8 – messages of support to [email protected]
Kingsway Primary Wirral: December 10 – messages of support to Ian Harris [email protected]
New City College-Havering 6th Form: December 10 – messages of support to John Delaney [email protected]
Sign petition and support the strikes to Reinstate Sharon Morgan LONDON DESIGN AND ENGINEERING UTC Newham – At the start of this term, teacher and NEU rep Sharon Morgan was summarily dismissed from her job by London Design and Engineering UTC. Sharon was sacked without due process, with no formal investigation or a hearing where she could put her case. At an employment tribunal the judge described LDE’s behaviour as “morally reprehensible” and LDE subsequently agreed to reinstate Sharon. But the next day LDE changed their mind and refused to reinstate her. In reality, Sharon was sacked for helping NEU members stand up for better working conditions for staff, in the interests of the whole school community. This is trade union victimisation and it’s unacceptable. The sacking of Sharon is an attack on all trade unionists at LDE, in Newham, and everywhere. There are further strikes this week from Tuesday to Thursday
NFER on School Funding and Covid-19 (4 Dec) – The NFER report has confirmed what the education world already knew. Schools are struggling to cope with the extra costs of Covid-19 read more
Imperial College REACT-1 Survey (1 Dec) – We are deeply concerned by the results of the REACT-1 coronavirus survey which show that over the lockdown coronavirus has continued to increase amongst school age children read more
Latest Attendance Figures (1 Dec) – The only way to improve school attendance is for the Government to act to bring down coronavirus infection rates in schools read more
Support Newham Little Ilford School strikes against unsafe expansion – NEU members are taking strike action 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
Sign petition: Newham Council is trying to force Little Ilford School to expand to 1800 pupils. But expanding will mean an overcrowded school and an overwhelming environment for all staff and pupils. It will undermine the quality of education and care that can be provided to pupils. And the expansion is opposed by virtually the entire staff body
NASUWT rejects the latest Isle of Man pay offer (7 Dec) – Commenting on the Department for Education, Sport and Culture’s (DESC) latest pay offer to teachers and lecturers in the Isle of Man, Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, said: “The proposed offer is derisory and unacceptable. Teachers in the Isle of Man have seen their pay fall by 30 per cent in real terms since 2010, significantly more than teachers elsewhere. “The NASUWT urges the DESC to come back to the negotiating table with an improved offer which recognises the historic erosion and represents a fair and equitable settlement for teachers and lecturers…” read more
School holiday decision must not compromise safety (4 Dec) – Ministers must ensure that the decisions about the operation of schools over the Christmas period and the start of the new term do not undermine the safety and welfare of pupils and school staff, NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union has warned. The message comes amid concern from teachers about the impact of family mixing over Christmas and virus transmission in schools in the run up to and after the holidays, following the Deputy First Minister’s decision yesterday not to extend the closure period read more
Give schools extra powers over Covid-19 fears (4 Dec) – The NASUWT is becoming increasingly concerned that pupils who are sent home from school due to displaying COVID-19 symptoms are being sent back to school prematurely, potentially putting staff and other pupils at risk of contracting Covid-19. We are calling for schools to be able to refuse re-admittance to children who went off with Covid-19 symptoms until either the 10-day isolation period has passed or proof of a negative test result is provided. This needs to be backed up with updated DfE guidance provided to schools read more
Headteachers Need “Tangible Support not just Words” from Government on COVID (4 Dec) – Headteachers and Depute Headteachers from across Scotland have shared their extreme disappointment at the Scottish Government’s decision not to allow schools to move to remote learning as a means of protecting the health of staff, pupils and their families in the final week before Christmas. A meeting of the EIS Headteacher (HT) and Depute Headteacher (DHT) Network, held this morning, heard first-hand testimony from HTs and DHTs over the severe additional workload pressure that has been placed on school management teams as a result of COVID contact tracing requirements whenever a pupil or staff member tests positive for the virus read more
Scottish Government Christmas Announcement will Anger many Teachers (3 Dec) – The EIS has said that today’s Scottish Government announcement not to support remote learning in the week before Christmas, will disappoint and anger many teachers. Commenting on the decision, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said, “Many teachers across Scotland will be disappointed and angered at the Scottish Government decision today, which once again shows a complete disregard for the concerns and welfare of teachers” read more
Petition calling for fair funding and online learning
Macclesfield College threatened with unfair dismissal warnings as 8 staff are axed (4 Dec) – UCU said Macclesfield College was at risk of unfair dismissal claims if it did not reinstate staff it sacked without notice. The union said the college’s actions have reduced teaching staff for over 100 students and put livelihoods at risk just before Christmas. The college wrote to its staff on 17 November, during the second lockdown, to tell them that its eight curriculum business leaders’ jobs were at risk. It then informed the affected staff that their roles were redundant with immediate effect on Tuesday and offered them fixed-term and hourly-paid teaching contracts instead. The employer claims that the short notice of the second lockdown means they had not had the opportunity to sign-up sufficient apprenticeship numbers or to enrol to adult education budget funded provision, leading to a projected shortfall of £750,000 read more
Further education unions express outrage at pay offer and breakdown of trust in employers (3 Dec) – Trade unions representing staff in English further education colleges have today slammed the decision by the Association of Colleges (AoC) to offer a 1% pay increase and demanded to know what additional government funding had been spent on. In a joint pay claim submitted in October, the unions (UCU, UNISON, NEU, Unite and GMB) made clear that college staff had suffered a real-terms pay cut of 30% since 2009 with over 24,000 teaching staff leaving the sector. This year colleges saw a significant £224m increase in base rate funding, yet it is unclear what employers spent this on instead of investing in staff. Only full transparency into where the money was spent will give staff the answers they need read more
Government U-turn on in-person teaching at universities is a “step forward”, says UCU (2 Dec) – UCU said the government U-turn on online learning was an important “step forward” after months of campaigning for non-essential in-person teaching to be moved online. The union was responding to government guidance or students on returning to university after the Christmas break, which includes plans for online teaching to be the default until at least 8 February (2021) and for further use of mass testing. Earlier this term, universities Minister Michelle Donelan had said she expected in-person teaching to continue during the Covid pandemic. The DfE then told universities to move online from 3 December to allow students to be tested and leave university for the Christmas holidays read more
- University of Brighton UCU was on strike this week over planned cuts to IT and you can see picket line pictures and a report of the excellent online solidarity rally here.
- Manchester Metropolitan University UCU have also pulled off a fantastic result in a very short ballot period with a 86.1% yes vote for ASOS and 65.1% yes vote for strike on a 64.3% turnout. The branch are in dispute over the university’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and workloads.
- Solent University UCU members have voted to support a call for action in response to plans to axe over 109 posts with an incredible 78% turnout in a snap poll conducted in less than a week.
- University of East London UCU members are currently being balloted for action over redundancies and campaigning against the targeting of our reps.
- University of Roehampton UCU members received welcome support in their campaign against job cuts this week, as a string of leading cultural figures from the arts and creative industries published a joint letter in the Times Higher Education calling for an immediate halt to staff cuts. Management’s plans would see up to 40 academics in arts and humanities made redundant and the branch is currently conducting an e-ballot on whether to take action.
UCU fighting fund: the link is here and donations to the fund are spent on supporting members involved in important disputes. As always, members are asked to contribute whatever their circumstances allow. A donation in solidarity of any amount will be gratefully received by members taking action.
Stand up for journalism – NUJ solidarity protests in Northern Ireland (7 Dec) – The National Union of Journalists in Belfast and Derry are holding a socially-distanced protests today in support of threatened NUJ colleagues. Members of the NUJ Belfast and district branch committee have organised a meeting at 12.45 today in Writer’s Square in the Cathedral Quarter, Belfast city centre, before walking together to the steps of St Anne’s Cathedral, where they will stand for a minute’s silence in memory of murdered colleagues, Lyra McKee and Martin O’Hagan read more
NUJ Paris calls out Global Security Law (4 Dec) – In response to the French government announcing a rewrite of article 24 of the Global Security Law, our colleagues in the four French journalists unions are calling for the withdrawal of all the proposals in the law that could affect liberty and the work of the media. Trade unions and other civic society organisations have joined forces and called for further protests this Saturday read more
NUJ seeks clarity on Local Democracy Reporters announcement (3 Dec) – The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has given a cautious welcome to the announcement by the BBC of plans to extend the Local Democracy Reporters (LRD) scheme and is seeking further clarity on various aspects of the scheme including the terms of any new contracts and the potential impact on journalists already employed read more
Third Covid-19 grant for freelances now open – but 3 million left out in the cold (3 Dec) – Applications to claim the third Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant are now open and claims must be made on or before 29 January 2021 read more
BiFab collapse will worry anyone dedicated to a Just Transition for energy industry workers (3 Dec) – BiFab, the renewable energy engineering firm based in Fife and Lewis, has gone into administration after failing to secure enough contracts to keep going read more
Shameful that while lauding their vaccine achievement government is freezing experts’ pay (2 Dec) – The UK has become the first country in the world to approve a vaccine for COVID-19 after the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was approved by the MHRA read more
Equity has agreed a code of conduct with professional wrestling organisation British Wrestling Revolution (BWR) (4 Dec) – The code, signed by BWR, sets out terms and conditions for performers, staff and management in writing, provides a dignity at work policy, and allows time and access for performers to engage with the union. This will be supported by an agreed formal disciplinary and grievance policy read more
Equity welcomes grants for self-employed workers in Northern Ireland (3 Dec) – Equity welcomes yesterday’s announcements of two new grants for self-employed workers in Northern Ireland, which will allow individuals excluded from the Self Employed Income Support Scheme to access much needed financial support. Yesterday the Newly Self Employed Scheme (NSESS), a new Covid-19 support scheme, was announced by Economy Minister Diane Dodds. It will offer an initial one-off taxable grant of £3500 to newly self-employed individuals that meet the criteria, which include commencement of trading as self-employed between 6 April 2019 and 5 April 2020. This new scheme will enable support to be provided to approximately 2900 newly self-employed individuals read more
‘Keep your cool’ follow the rules and respect retail staff says Usdaw when shops in England reopen today (2 Dec) – Retail trade union Usdaw is urging customers to follow the rules and respect shopworkers when non-essential shops reopen today (Wednesday 2 December). The union is concerned that the four week shutdown could result in overcrowding and abuse of shopworkers if there is a rush back to the high street read more
Usdaw members at BCM Fareva vote decisively for industrial action after rejecting a pay freeze at the Nottingham manufacturer of Boots products (2 Dec) – Usdaw members have voted in favour of industrial action in a formal ballot at BCM Fareva in Nottingham, after the company’s final offer of a pay freeze for the 2020 pay review was overwhelmingly rejected 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
Strike action to proceed at Newry, Mourne and Down District Council as last minute talks collapse after management fail to address workers’ pay equality (2 Dec) – Members of all four staff trade unions, Unite, GMB, NIPSA and SIPTU, forced into picket lines from 6am tomorrow [Thursday, December 3rd]. In a joint trade union side statement and ahead of the industrial action, workforce representatives laid the blame for the ‘avoidable’ industrial dispute at the feet of council management who had failed to address their members’ legitimate concerns read more
Key workers at care home in North London have “been left with no choice but to strike” says UVW after negotiations undermined (8 Dec) – Care workers and cleaners at Sage nursing home in North London, managed by the billionaire philanthropists and landlords Benzion and Solomon Freshwater, have been left with no choice but to go on strike according to their trade union, United Voices of the World (UVW). The move to an imminent, and what UVW officials have described as a “protracted strike”, comes after Sage Trustees undermined negotiations. A first round of ACAS mediated negotiations were set to take place on the 4th of December and saw the workers suspend plans for a strike despite returning a 100% yes vote in favour of strike action. The suspension came after the Trustee’s insisted they were entering negotiations in good faith. However, negotiations were undermined last week after the Trustees refused to allow several UVW reps to attend the negotiations with less than 24-hours’ notice, two of whom were also elected to act as spokespersons for their colleagues in the negotiations read more
“I was begging for just one day, but she [my manager] denied me my right to go and see my sister when she was dying. i never got to see her before she died”, suffering in silence at Great Ormond Street Hospital (7 Dec) – Memuna Kabia has lived in London for 21 years, she has two children and has been working at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) for 15 years. Over those 15 years, she has worked for three contractors: ISS, Mitie and OCS. She believes OCS has been the worst by far, with shocking levels of negligence and disrespect leaving her ready to fight back. Memuna explains how OCS communicates poorly, doesn’t want to know or care about how the workers feel and requires them to make ‘appointments’ for meetings with managers even in emergencies when they are in need of immediate assistance. Sometimes a meeting with a manager can take weeks to get read more
“There is a big difference in terms of the respect that each employee gets in the same workplace”, listen to Alpha’s story (1 Dec) – Meet Alpha, a cleaner at the world leading Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), Alpha has worked at GOSH for almost 5 years. Like the rest of his cleaning colleagues, nearly all of whom are Black, Brown and/or migrants, he has been outsourced to the notorious contractor OCS. So despite being a “key worker” and risking his life on a daily basis working in the pandemic, he has been denied full pay sick pay, something which forces him and his colleagues to come to work when ill so as to avoid not being able to pay their rent or bills, they are also paid considerably less than an NHS employee of the same grade read more
Read more in UVW Facebook page
University of Greenwich outsourced workers to vote on strike action over pay, conditions and racial discrimination (3 Dec) – The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) is to ballot security officers, porters and cleaners for strike action at the University of Greenwich. The IWGB will be balloting more than 30 workers over their terms and conditions, as part of the union’s campaign, launched today, to end outsourcing at the University of Greenwich. The strike ballot will specifically demand the outsourcing company that manages the contract, Sodexo, puts cleaners, porters and security officers on the same terms and conditions as University of Greenwich’s direct employees. The results of the ballot are expected on 23 December. Outsourced workers receive worse pay, sick pay, pensions and parental leave than their in-house colleagues read more
Government admits defeat, health and safety protections to be extended to all ‘gig economy’ and frontline workers (30 Nov) – Earlier this month the High Court ruled in favour of the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) in a detailed judgment which found the UK Government has failed to grant workers in the ‘gig economy’ the rights they are entitled to under EU Health and Safety law. The Government has declined to appeal, the deadline for doing so having passed on Friday, and must now take steps to implement the ruling. In the meantime the judgement can now be utilised in legal actions taken either via the Health and Safety Executive, Local Authorities or employment tribunal claims read more
From Caerphilly Trades Council – Support the ‘the Free Siyanda campaign’
Secretary: Mariam Kamish President: Clare Gibbs Treasurer: Jaime Davies Email: [email protected]
Siyanda Mngaza is currently serving a four and a half year prison sentence for defending herself against a racially motivated hate crime.
Siyanda worked for South Wales Fire Service in HR – recruiting fire fighters. She had never been in trouble before.
In May 2019 at a camping site in Brecon, she was attacked, without provocation, by a family group she was socialising with. Siyanda defended herself, resulting in a slight cut to the forehead of one of the attackers. Siyanda herself was beaten badly and knocked unconscious – with stamps and kicks to her head and upper body.
I should note that Siyanda is 4 foot 10 inches tall and has suffered since childhood with health problems. For her, running away was not an option. Two of her three attackers were men nearly twice her age.
Siyanda’s attackers called the police. When they arrived, Siyanda explained what had actually happened, but instead of protecting her, the police treated Siyanda like a criminal. They did not investigate the hate crime. They even allowed her attackers to continue to verbally abuse her after she’d been arrested.
At Siyanda’s trial, it emerged that the police had not provided the CPS with photographs of her injuries – including a footprint on her face. The investigating officer told the court that his supervisor had told him not to obtain Siyanda’s medical records and not to continue to investigate the hate crime.
Self-defence is no offence. Siyanda does not belong in prison. We are building a campaign to get Siyanda released – and to ensure that no one else has to suffer from institutional racism in future at the hands the police, the CPS and the judicial system.
Please help us to get affiliations from trade union branches, trades councils and trade unions nationally. Contact the Free Siyanda campaign. http://freesiyanda.com/
You can also email Siyanda’s mother, Cammilla Mngaza – [email protected] Thank you very much for your support.
Secretary, Caerphilly Trades Council.
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.
Watch video: ‘You’re Muted’ – What’s Up at the #SpyCopsInquiry? – Five minutes of highlights from the ‘Public’ Inquiry hearing evidence in secret about undercover policing in England and Wales since 1968
Keep up with developments and read and watch campaigners’ statements on the Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance (COPS) and Undercover Policing Inquiry websites and spycops info Facebook group
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
Sign petition: St Mungo’s brutal treatment of BAME worker opposed by Unite – Without income for twenty-one weeks. Female worker comes to the end of a period of sickness during the pandemic. Health conditions put her at raised risk. She is also older and from a BAME background. Her normal job would expose her to further increased risk. Rather than furlough her or find her alternative work the employer simply stops her pay without going through any personnel procedure. Management reject appeals to senior levels from Unite leaving the worker without income and desperate for twenty-one weeks
Sign petition and support the strikes to Reinstate Sharon Morgan LONDON DESIGN AND ENGINEERING UTC – At the start of this term, teacher and NEU rep Sharon Morgan was summarily dismissed from her job by London Design and Engineering UTC. Sharon was sacked without due process, with no formal investigation or a hearing where she could put her case. At an employment tribunal the judge described LDE’s behaviour as “morally reprehensible” and LDE subsequently agreed to reinstate Sharon. But the next day LDE changed their mind and refused to reinstate her. In reality, Sharon was sacked for helping NEU members stand up for better working conditions for staff, in the interests of the whole school community. This is trade union victimisation and it’s unacceptable. The sacking of Sharon is an attack on all trade unionists at LDE, in Newham, and everywhere
Security guard seeks ‘groundbreaking’ injunction to stop his ‘unlawful’ sacking in what his union UVW describes as the first case of its kind for a low paid worker (23 Nov) – A security guard at the Francis Crick Institute in London is set to face off against his employer Wilson James in an injunction hearing in what his trade union, United Voices of the World (UVW), has described as an “unprecedented legal showdown”. On 11th November after only 3 weeks in his new job Cetin Avsar, the security guard from Turkey bringing the legal action, received a letter inviting him to a probationary review hearing stating “[his] conduct has not reached the required standards” citing only his membership of his trade union, his previously having participated in a strike and his views, shard by his union, that outsourcing is ‘discriminatory’. The letter warned him that he might be dismissed after the hearing read more
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
From PCS website: Solidarity with Italian public service unions’ strike 9 December read more
Millions join general strike, as India’s working class flexes its muscles read more
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