NSSN weekly bulletin 125

January 17, 2013 in Appeals, Bulletins, International, Reports, Strikes

NSSN BULLETIN NO. 124

Hardly have we set foot into the New Year than a barrage of attacks have rained down on workers. It’s as if bosses have acted quickly to get bad news done and dusted before workers have recovered from the festive season. Nearly 9,000 jobs have just gone in HMV, Jessops and Blockbusters, and including those companies like Comet that went bust before Christmas, then overall 16,700 jobs have been slashed in retail. Added to this over 1000 worker at the Honda plant in Swindon are facing mass redundancies. Local authorities like Birmingham and Manchester are adding to the misery by taking a scythe to council jobs. The police have been handed a £4000 wage cut for new officers; recruitment to the fire service in London frozen; and now teachers are faced with their national agreement on pay smashed and power handed to individual head-teachers to give a thumbs-up or down to annual pay increments – depending in reality if you have the right attitude. For all these workers it is not going to be a Happy New Year. And it is not going to stop there.

If ever there was a time for trade union leaders to come out fighting, it is NOW. If the truth about the millionaire bosses system is explained to workers, how fat cats operate on the basis of greed and profits instead of the needs of all people, and if a fighting lead to stop austerity is given, then, workers would respond. A real discussion could be seriously kicked off about exactly what we have to do to stop banks and big companies from ruining the lives of millions. NSSN supports wholeheartedly the TUC conference 2012 decision that this discussion should start with a 24-hour strike of all workers. That would set the tone for future action.

We appeal to all supporters to make sure their union responds positively to the TUC survey. Let’s help make 2013 the Year of the Workers! Linda Taaffee NSSN (17.1.2013)

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There is some chance that the NUT could call national strike action on Wednesday March 13, a day that coincides with a European TUC Day of Action. please join and share this info!

However, there is no definite majority yet on the Executive to go ahead on that day.
We would encourage all disputes and actions to work towards also taking action or arranging protests on those dates.

There is a General Strike meeting in Merseyside on Jan 26th and
all are encouraged to attend and take part. Book a free place at the conference, email merseyadvice@btconnect.com or ring 07831 627 531. Workplace meetings, films, discussions etc should all be looked at ways to discuss a General strike and how it is needed and can happen.

NSSN 7th Annual Conference & affiliations Thanks to RMT Doncaster & Hackney Trades Council for donations and affiliations this week. Please ensure you raise this for your local branches and trades councils to affiliate and also attend the conference in June.
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UNION NEWS

BREAKING NEWS – Staff at 2 Irish stores sit in over closures!

CWU
CWU Agency workers day of action yesterday saw events will take place at call centers around the country to highlight the exploitation of agency workers thanks to a loophole in the law. CWU general secretary Billy Hayes said: “Both agencies and hirers are at fault for choosing to use these contracts which sign away workers’ rights to equal pay. It’s not fair to exploit low paid workers in this way.”
CWU says that plans drawn up by Scotland Yard to move police into London post offices show the importance the post office network plays in communities. CWU assistant secretary Andy Furey said: “While we oppose the closure of police stations and the job losses this involves, the proposal does show what high regard the Post Office is held in by authorities and reinforces their importance within both urban and rural communities.”

Logistics company UK Mail has been urged to “play fair on pay” after reporting an 8 per cent increase in revenues in the last three months of 2012. Senior field organiser Lynn Browne said; “we’re calling on the company to play fair on pay and agree to negotiate collective agreements with the recognised trade union for this industry – the CWU.”

GMB
Horley Care home Staff protest tomorrow over up to £16,000 pay cut! GMB call on Surrey County Council and Prospect Housing and Support Services to intervene to resolve this dispute as GMB hold a consultative ballot on possible industrial action. om 8.15am to 9.30am Friday 18th , Outside Prospect Housing and Support Services offices The Gables, 17 Massetts Road, Horley, Surrey RH6 7DQ.

GMB at Aberdeenshire Council ballot over cuts.

SODEXO Brighton members proposal and suspended ballot for action.

FBU
An emergency meeting of the FBU Brigade Committee in Devon & Somerset has just been announced as the Union promises to “fight cuts” announced today in Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service. The planned cuts include a massive reduction in frontline Firefighter posts and removing the full time crewing of the second Fire appliances at Taunton, Torquay, Plympton, Plymstock and Camels Head Fire Stations. Amongst other cuts, full time crewing on a vital aerial appliance would be removed and all the full time Firefighters at Ilfracombe Fire Station would be removed entirely leaving the Station to be crewed solely be Retained Firefighters

NAPO
The Ministry of Justice published its plans for privatising probation through outsourcing on 9 January 2013. Essentially, up to 70% of probation’s core work will be put out to competitive tender. Napo believes that the true motivation behind the announcement is to drive down costs and an ideological commitment on the part of the government to the private sector being the preferred bidder as opposed to state run services. http://www.napo.org.uk/about/probationunderthreat.cfm (Also see POA statement)

NUT
Gove pushes ahead with PRP so that he Gove privatise, divide & cut budgets when even official stats show it does ‘close to zero’ to help education. Demand action!

NUT statement on performance Related Pay

Success against academy privatisation at Thomas Gamuel Primary School in Walthamstow, East London. This school, that is located in the middle of a huge housing estate with all the inner city problems of poverty and ethnic mix, has come under pressure to convert to an academy, like many others. After an initial vote of governors not to proceed at that moment, a consultation exercise was carried out. Often this is no more than a token nod in the direction of democracy. In this case around 70 parents turned up and were not at all impressed with the suits! Then unusually, the head-teacher organised a ballot of parents. The result 180 AGAINST 6 FOR. Success! It will probably not be the end of the story. The next step will be DfE pressure applied form the top. But with the teachers in NUT prepared to strike and the parents up in arms we will be starting from a good platform.

PCS
Civil servants in strike ballot after government refuses to negotiate – A quarter of a million civil and public servants will be balloted for strikes after the government refused to negotiate over cuts to pay, pensions and working conditions. The union wrote to the Cabinet Office and civil service employers before Christmas asking for talks on the key issues affecting the lives of civil servants and the services they are able to provide to the public.

After hearing that the head of the civil service Bob Kerslake has refused to engage on any of these issues, the union’s national executive committee agreed today (16) to move to an industrial action ballot starting on 8 February and closing on 4 March.

If the government continues to refuse to negotiate the union will make plans for a series of strikes over a period of time, including full and half-days, and shorter walkouts. It is also writing to other unions to seek discussions about the possibility of co-ordinated or supportive action.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “Civil and public servants are working harder than ever to provide the services that we all rely on, yet their lives are being made more difficult by cuts to their jobs, pay, pensions and now even their basic working conditions.

RMT
RMT confirmed today that cleaners working for Churchill’s on the Tyne and Wear Metro will take a further 24 hours of strike action from Wednesday 23rd January in their battle for pay and workplace justice: The action coincides with a meeting of the Integrated Transport Authority and the strikers and their supporters will be lobbying that meeting from 9.30am on Thursday 24th January at Newcastle Civic Centre to apply pressure for an intervention from regional transport chiefs to force their contractors to pay a living wage. The strikers will also set up a soup kitchen to ram home the message that poverty pay has no place in a modern society.

RMT will ballot all staff working on London Underground’s “Trainpeople” agency contract for strike action over the termination of a deal which will dump dozens of staff on the dole and which makes a mockery of regulations, which were supposed to protect the employment rights of agency staff.

The sacked workers and their supporters were at St James Park station to set up a soup kitchen to highlight their plight and build public and political support for their fight for jobs and justice. London Underground inherited a contract with the Trainpeople agency from Silverlink in 2007. In breach of agreements with unions, for five years LU continued to use agency staff in LU uniform while Trainpeople paid them as little as £6.75 per hour. Trainpeople staff joined RMT and organised for equal rights with permanent staff as supposedly stipulated in the 2010 Agency Worker Regulations. Then, without warning, LU terminated its contract with the Trainpeople Agency leaving staff facing the immediate prospect of losing their livelihoods.

RMT has announced, after a series of well attended meetings with the unions signalling Grade Members throughout Scotland over the attack on the rosters agreement, which has provoked a series of strikes in the Stirling area, they are preparing to ballot all Scottish signallers for industrial action over the issue.

UNISON
‎UNISON has writing to all councilors in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, outlining the human stories behind the three-year long local government pay freeze. The union is appealing to councilors to use their influence to pressure employers for a thaw. Retail price inflation yesterday edged up to 3.1%, piling yet more pressure onto local government workers and their families. Even the lowest paid have not received a penny to help them cope with the rising cost of living. Most employers have refused to honour George Osborne’s pledge to pay a £250 increase to all public sector workers earning less than £21,000.

Staff at Barnardo’s is shocked and angry at reports that the charity is to close its career average staff pension and replace it with a vastly inferior scheme. UNISON, the union representing workers at the charity, called the decision “premature and a bitter disappointment to staff who are only now being consulted after the event”.

UNITE
Health staff in north east Lincolnshire face ‘savage’ cuts to pay and conditions Care Plus, which provides adult health and social care in north east Lincolnshire, is trying “to railroad” though a “savage” package of cuts to its 750 employees’ pay and conditions. Unite said that Care Plus, a so-called social business, wanted to implement £800,000 of savings in the next financial year, 2013/14, which would hit patient care.

Honda jobs cuts: a ‘hammer blow’ for UK manufacturing – Workers at the Honda car plant in Swindon were shocked when the company announced 800 job losses on the 10th January. Meetings are now taking place with members and reps to discuss plans. http://shopstewards.net/2013/01/honda-swindon-job-losses/
Unite pledges to work hard to save 350 threatened Welsh lamb plant jobs

Unite, has pledged to work ‘strenuously’ to see if a new business plan can be produced to save the 350 jobs under threat at Welsh Country Foods on the Isle of Anglesey. Unite described the announcement from the Vion Food Group that the fresh lamb business could be forced to close because its main customer, Asda had found an alternative supplier as “desperately sad”.

Construction workers at Runcorn Thermal Power Station win row over welfare conditions –

State pension should be financed by progressive taxation says Unite – Responding to the Tory-led government’s proposals to change the state pension, Unite, Britain’s biggest union, says the changes should be financed out of progressive taxation, not by reducing the modest state benefits of average earners.

Plea to peers to save the Agricultural Wages Board – Peers will be lobbied to retain the Agricultural Wages Board (AWB), as the best means of maintaining the incomes of 150,000 agricultural workers in England and Wales. Just before Christmas, the government sneaked out the announcement that it was intent on abolishing the AWB, which has set agricultural workers’ pay since the Second World War. This followed a hasty consultation process.

Closure of NHS Scotland pension group ‘a failure of politics’ – Unite Scotland members in the NHS have hit out at both the Scottish and Westminster Governments after announcing the closure of a key pensions negotiations body. The NHS Pensions Working Group of the NHS Scotland Terms & Conditions Committee (STAC) had been in discussions with the Scottish Government in an effort to offset the impact of the Coalition Government’s pension’s cuts across the NHS in Scotland. Unite refuses to accept Danny Alexander’s cuts agenda but we believed the Scottish Government had an opportunity to defend these pensions in the face of the Coalition’s austerity measures and we still do.”

Unite members and reps actions to protect the vital campaign work at Amnesty International UK (AIUK) and stop redundancies have been supported by the overwhelming majority of AIUK members. At an emergency general meeting at the weekend, AIUK members voted by more than the required 75 per cent against any ‘material reorganisation’ of AIUK. Later, the management said it was not taking any action to implement the new structure, issue ‘at risk’ notices or accept voluntary redundancy requests for the time being.

GENERAL STRIKE MEETING MERSEYSIDE – The TUC Congress held in September 21012 was called to look at the practicalities of the organisation of the general strike and to start the consultation. The first steps take place in Liverpool on 26 January when Merseyside County TUC is organising a conference to look at the practicalities of organising a regional strike.. Adelphi Hotel on January 26th 2013 10am – 4pm. With: Unite General Secretary Len McCluskey, PCS Assistant General Secretary Chris Baugh U.C.U President Cathy Taylor, P.O.A General Secretary Steve Gillan, Lawyer John Hendy Q.C. NSSN Chair Rob Williams. Plus international speakers from Portugal and Spain who have already held general strikes and days of action against austerity.

OTHER
STOP THE CUTS! Following on from our ongoing support councils not to implement cuts we were pleased to hear of a group of councilors against the cuts. “ We are a new network of local councilors formed to support the fight against cuts. We believe that instead of implementing the Coalition’s cuts, councils and councillors should refuse to do so and help workers and communities organise in resistance. We are pledged to vote against all cuts to services and jobs, increases in rents and charges, and increases in council tax.

We do not accept that cuts are “necessary”: there is plenty of money in society, but it is in the wrong hands. Taxing the rich and business, taking the wealth of the banks and cutting Trident are all rich sources of funds.

Most of us are Labour councilors and our campaign is sponsored by the Labour Representation Committee, but we are open to all left and labour movement councillors willing to pledge to vote against/refuse to implement cuts.
Whether you are a councillor, local government worker, other trade unionist, anti-cuts campaigner, community activist or Labour Party activist – get involved!
Initial signatories: Gary Wareing (Labour councillor, Drypool Ward, Hull City Council) Gill Kennett (Labour councillor, Holderness Ward, Hull City Council)
Greg Marshall (Labour councillor, Beeston West ward, Broxtowe Borough Council)
Kieran Thorpe (Leader of the Labour group and Labour councillor, Hatfield South Ward, Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council) George Barratt (Independent/ex-Labour councillor, Mayesbrook Ward, Barking and Dagenham Borough Council) Mark Catterall (Labour councillor, Langfield Ward, Todmorden Town Council) Don Thomas (“Labour councillors against the cuts” councillor, Coxford Ward, Southampton City Council) Keith Morrell (“Labour councillors against the cuts” councillor, Coxford Ward, Southampton City Council)

Greater Manchester Hazards Centre and Families Against Corporate Killers Statement on the death of Cameron Minshull, 16, at an engineering company in Bury Thursday 10th January 2013 – We are so very sad for Cameron Minshull, who was only 16 years old when he was killed at an engineering company in Bury, where he had worked as an apprentice for only a matter of weeks. We would like to send our condolences to his family who are naturally devastated. For more information contact Hilda Palmer 0161 636 7557 or 079298 00240 Hilda Palmer. Co-coordinator of Greater Manchester Hazards Centre and Facilitator of Families Against Corporate Killers. mail@gmhazards.org.uk 0161 636 7557

Hazards appeal – As ever, we acknowledge the support we had for Hazards 2012 from our sponsors. Unions nationally, regionally and at Branches, trades councils, individual activists and union-linked personal injury solicitors all supported Hazards. Hazards 2012 theme consolidated Please return the form with your sponsorship cheque to: Hazards 2013, C/o GMHC, Windrush Millennium Centre, 70 Alexandra Road, Manchester, M16 7WD

St Albans, Welwyn & Hatfield trades council presents Banner Theatre “Fighting the Cuts” in St Albans Friday 8 March contact Jon Berry nutjon@aol.com
For further information contact Alec McFadden on 07831 627 531.

Employment Tribunal compensation limits rise in February

GFTU Young Members national youth conference Friday 8 to Sunday 10 March Staffordshire, more from Judith Jackson Judith@gftu.org.uk

Tory Minister lies about ‘lategate’ | Fight Their System – Demand Our Future!
Well rested Tory Business Minister, Matthew Hancock, who overslept and missed a TV debate with Youth Fight for Jobs supporter, Ian Pattison, has lied about how late he actually was. Hancock’s 30 –

The Save Heatherwood Hospital struggle is reaching a critical point. Through our campaigning we have saved Bracknells local hospital from closing, now we are weeks away from learning whether we have saved 3 important services from closure at the hospital. NHS bosses want to close the Birthing Centre, Minor Injuries Unit and the Rehab. Ward. Recently we presented the PCT with a 23,000 strong petition against closure of any services at the hospital. We have also collected in Bracknel nearly filled in 1.000 copies of our Peoples Consultation, which oppose any closures and demands that the hospital is not privatised.” Terry Pearce NSSN Anti Cuts

VICTIMISATION
Unite alleges that shop steward Teresa Santucci, who has a 19-year-long impeccable employment record with Peabody – the charitable housing trust founded in 1862 to revolutionise social housing – was summarily dismissed because she is disabled and for her trade union activities. Ms Santucci, a mother of two, was not the subject of any investigation, capability or disciplinary procedure. Further info contact Nicky Marcus or Unite Housing workers unite.le111@gmail.com. They are about to set up a hardship and would welcome donations.

UCU Halesowen College (W Mids) dispute over the sacking of branch secretary David Muritu. National Day of Action Friday 18 January, national protest Saturday 26 January Details and petition

London Assembly calls on Boris to ‘Prove no blacklisting” on £115 Billion Crossrail project. Sacked crossrail worker continues to protest at key Crossrail sites to demand justice. Donations to hardship fund are gratefully received: – cheques payable to Joint Sites Committee – c/o 70 Darnay Rise Chelmsford CM1 4XA. Also, new Siteworker is out if you want some let us have your address and we will post you some out. Available via same address.

Hull City Council has voted unanimously to debarr blacklisting firms from any publicly funded contracts in the local authority. Unions and trades councils can push for resolutions to all local councils to demand this up and down the country!

Shrewsbury lobby of Parliment release of papers. Lobby of Parliment and press conference on Wedensday 23rd January 10.30am . The Goverment is still refusing to release the papers relating to the Shrewsbury Pickets Trials and will be in force until at least 31st December 2021. The Justice for Shrewsbury 24 Pickets National Committee is supporting this lobby and is urging everyone to get along there and support it

INTERNATIONAL

Community members picket downtown high school in support of teachers – Hamilton Protesters stopped cars filing into the parking lot at John A. Macdonald Secondary School in downtown Hamilton on Wednesday morning.

CHINA – 1,000 Workers strike at Foxconn for better pay.

Eygpt – Railworkers begin indefinite strike action following the tragic Bardashin train accident that happened overnight.

TEHRAN Via Alex Gordon, RMT – “I, Reza Shahabi Zakaria, as an imprisoned worker, treasurer and executive board member of the syndicate of workers of Tehran bus company, thank you, and RMT and the British labour movement, for your support and solidarity; I owe my temporary release to your ongoing support as well as solidarity initiatives by other workers and labour organizations in Iran and the world. I hope the day comes when no workers anywhere in the world will have to face prison for their struggles in support of the working class interests.

My dear comrades and fellow workers: on behalf of my colleagues at the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company as well as other labour activists and family members, I am grateful of your selfless efforts, and I hope the day will come when I can repay your kindness. In Solidarity, Reza Shahabi Zakaria”

Palestine – Public employees start 2-day strike.

South Africa – Workers of Kusasalethu mine, in Carletonville outside Johannesburg, began to return to work on New Year’s Day, they found the gates to the shaft locked.

Sri Lanka – Railway employees threaten to go on a 56 hour strike on Jan 22.

Indian and global protests and actions continue to take place in anger as part of the Rage against Rape. Campaigns against sexual and Domestic Violence are needed wordwide are needed once again to demand equal rights, support, education and equality!

DIARY

17 Jan
Lobby Hull City Council over threat to Jobs, T’s & C’s. 3.55 Guildhall Hull, HU1 saveourlocalnhs@gmail.com

18 Jan
Horley Care home Staff protest over up to £16,000 pay cuts for staff! GMB call on Surrey County Council and Prospect Housing and Support Services to intervene to resolve this dispute as GMB hold a consultative ballot on possible industrial action. 8.15am to 9.30am outside Prospect Housing and Support Services offices The Gables, 17 Massetts Road, Horley, Surrey RH6 7DQ.

19 Jan
Save Sheffield Early Years Services – 11am Devonshire Green to Town Hall
Benefits Justice Organising meeting – 12-2pm at Unite HQ, London WC1X8TN

21 Jan
Lobby of the London Fire Authority 1.30pm by regional FBU Union SE1

22 Jan
11:30am Bolton Stop NHS Cuts Protest Royal Bolton Hospital
McApline evidence at Select Committee House of Parliament 2.30

23 Jan
GMB protest over social dumping in Brussels.
Shrewsbury pickets lobby parliament 10.30am
NO CUTS Lobby and protest at Sheffield town Hall 1.30pm

26 Jan
Merseyside County Association of Trades Union Councils (MATUC) is organising a conference to be held at the Adelphi Hotel in Liverpool. The TUC Congress held in September 21012 was called to look at the practicalities of the organisation of the general strike and to start the consultation.

Save Lewisham Hospital demonstration 12 noon

29 Jan
Cardiff against the cuts AGM Unite building, Cathedral st.

2 Feb
Women & Austerity conference (Brighton Women Against Cuts) Art and activism; using the media; benefits; safety; the public sector; Setting up women’s network; NHS – building the campaign. Brighthelm Centre, North Road, 1pm – 4pm Crèche available

9 Feb
Protest against South West NHS pay Cartel! 10am Great Field Poundry.

14 Feb
Bromley trades council relaunched; next meeting 14 February, AGM 14 March; Steve Leggett the_legman_69@yahoo.co.uk

15 Feb
Stop the great Fuel Robbery – National Weekend of Action!

16 Feb
Newcastle Stop the cuts and save services march
Great Manchester Emergency open conference
Northampton Defend Welfare Public Meeting 2pm Friends mtg house, NN1

23 March
Barnet spring march over sell offs of services. 1pm Finchely station

29 June 7th annual conference of the NSSN – Camden Centre, London.
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