Bulletin 128 Feb 7th

February 7, 2013 in Bulletins, Strikes

Last year’s decision by the TUC conference to prepare for general strike action against the cuts (albeit by contacting the unions to see if is practical) is or could be an historic decision. That a general strike to force back the Tory/LibDem government from its austerity programme is required is a given, and of course it would only be the start of the process of joint action.

General strike action of various lengths has taken place throughout southern Europe have already taken place from Greece to Spain and Portugal. In the case of Greece, at least 18 times since the beginning of the present economic crisis since 2008. The fact that they have not yet forced the various governments to retreat is not the point other than to show that political action is also required by the organised working class in the overthrowing of their own government actions.

But in the case of Britain it would be nice if we could get at least to our first TUC called 24 hour general strike in the last 40 years.

It would change to whole debate in Britain as to the way forwards rather than just the Tory mantra of ‘there is no alternative’ (echoed by the pallid Labour Party in practice) General strike action is decisively different even from the partial public sector general strike of November 2011 which involved about 2million workers.

It would above all raise the consciousness of the advanced working class as to who really has the power on society to make things happen – even today with the number of workers in the unions half of what is was in the 1970’s the specific weight of the organised workers is much greater than ever before. For example, a transport strike by the rail and underground workers would have a tremendous effect upon the capitalist class and the profits of big business.

But the question of a general strike taking place in Britain had to take into account the ponderous nature of the decision making process in the unions themselves as well as the existence of the anti-union laws (the last by the way can be pushed to one side if the movement is big enough, it is the employers to invoke the anti-union laws and they would be reluctant to do this if it meant that the unions would up the action and refuse pay any fines handed down by unelected high court judges)

There have only been two occasions in the history of the TUC where it has called for a general strike. The first as we all know was in 1926 in response to the lock out of one million miners in the coal areas of Wales, Scotland and England. The left on the general council was in fact in a minority but the right wing majority did not dare openly come out against the calling of a general strike but the key was what happened during the nine days of the general strike itself. The left gradually let the right wing take control and call off the strike just when even more workers were coming out than there was at the beginning.  But the strike was called off by the TUC general council without any concessions whatsoever, not even a commitment by the employers to desist from victimisation.

The only other time the TUC have called a general strike was in 1972. It was over the issue of the containerisation of the movement of goods though the ports and the action of the heath Tory government in jailing five Dockers in London for refusing to call off the mass picketing of container depots.

An unofficial strike wave started which began to take on general proportions. The TUC general council met and under pressure from below decided to call a general strike but before it could happen, the Tory Heath government got the “official solicitor” to release the men from Pentonville jail. The TUC knew that they had to call an official strike otherwise it would have been taken out of their hands from below.

In the 1970s the Heath government came under tremendous pressure for the trade unions with a wave of strikes which hadn’t been seen since before the pre-first world war period. One of the main issues was the introduction of a series of anti-union laws. The TUC again where forced to take action for example in calling a conference of union executive committees which decided to expel any union that took money from the government to finance  state controlled union elections. 1000 union executive members met and decided to expel from its ranks a few unions that had done this including the main print union, SOGAT.

The TUC also organised a conference of 4,000 shop stewards against the anti-union laws of the government at around the same time. They did this because they were again afraid to be seen to do nothing and would have left the field to the organised left which at that time was organised mainly by the Communist Party in the “Liaison Committee for the Defence of Trade Unions”.

The key lesson of all this is that the left have to be bold and come out openly and say so and not leave it to the right who will always compromise with the ruling class.

Bill Mullins NSSN Treasurer & former British Leyland Senior Shop Steward

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SHOW ME THE MONEY! Talking of budgets and money, we’re proper skint again.  Our money to put on events, flyers, suport protests etc comes from you all and  your unions branches, trades councils and anticuts groups & individual standing orders. Can we ask you as an urgent matter to make a donation for our campaigns and & re-affiliate? If you’re able to, please set up a standing order for of £2/1 a month?  It would really help!

 

 

NSSN 7th Annual Conference & affiliations Please ensure you raise this for your local branches and trades councils to affiliate & also attend the conference on Saturday 29th June 11am-5pm, Camden Centre, Judd Street, London, WC1H 9JE


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One of our affiliated unions PCS, will begin a ballot for national action over pay, pensions & terms & conditions opening tomorrow. We call on all members to support this with a YES/YES vote and organize to get the best possible turnout. It would be good to see any other live disputes to link into this timetable of action and co-ordiante together for maximun impact and not to allow the PCS to be seen to fight alone.

 

UNION NEWS

CWU

Senior union leaders today gave formal approval to a timetable for a national strike ballot of some 4,000 Post Office counter workers over pay and job security. 

Fightback  continues at Virgin Media after derecognition 

 

FBU

Save Our Fire Stations London FBU lobbying Fire Authority meeting this Monday 12.30pm over threat to close 12 fire stations please also Sign the petition – “We demand that the Government holds true to its election pledge that no front line services will be cut and they halt the closure of any London Fire Station and any job cuts within the London Fire Brigade being imposed by London Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson” 

 

GMB & Unison

Four Seasons Health Care with GMB &  UNISON sign joint reconition Four Seasons is the UK’s leading independent provider of health and social care services and the agreement covers more than 500 care homes, hospitals and specialised care centres employing more than 30,000 staff caring for more than 20,000 residents.

GMB MEMBERS EMPLOYED BY SODEXO BEGIN INDUSTRIAL ACTION AT NEW SCOTTISH POLICE HQ IN FIFE IN CLAIM FOR SCOTTISH LIVING WAGE OF £7.20 PER HOUR.

 

NUJ

What next for press regulation and ethics after the Leveson Inquiry?
How, for example, can conscience clauses in journalists’ contracts work? Thursday 28 February with speakers including NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet and Helen Goodman MP, the Shadow Minister for Culture, Media and Sport, who has specific responsibility for media reform.  6:30pm, at NUJ headquarters, 308/312 Gray’s Inn Road, London WC1X 8DP – nearest Tube King’s Cross. (MAP) Register by emailing freelanceoffice@nuj.org.uk with subject line “After Leveson”.

 

NAPO petition against privatisation of the probation service

 

NASUWT

Members in Newton-le-Willows Primary start strike today over working conditions.

 

NUT

Gove forced back on the EBacc – now push ahead with action to force him back on performance-pay!

“This meeting is very angry that the NUT National Executive has failed to call strike action to oppose the most serious attack on our pay, terms and conditions of service that has occurred in the lifetime of current NUT members.”  MPD NUT NEC & NSSN

 

POA

Prison closures in England briefing paper.

POA lobby of Parliament next Thursday. It’s at 12.30pm will take place opposite the House of Commons in the “Old Palace Yard” 

 

RMT

 

RMT Tube bosses continue to spin pack of lies over on-going Bakerloo line staffing dispute

RMT Please sign the epetition for Justice for the Trainpeople 33 on London London Underground agency staff 

 

TSSA

London Transport Museum facing a grant cut and job losses, lobbied City Hall 

 

UNISON

UNISON is demanding that NHS bosses in Greater Glasgow and Clyde pay thousands of NHS workers unpaid wages going back five years.

Bromley Council – “350 workers packed a luncthime meeting opposed to tearning up national terms & conditions. In just one day we have already reaching the first target of getting 100 workers to sign to say that don’t agree to change their contracts already this means the council will have to enter another three months of negotiations with us. Workers not fooled by council bribe or threat of mass sackings. Even more importantly UNISON and UNite to begin consultation ballot for strike action on Friday.’ Glen Kelly Unison & NSSN Steering Committee

A lunchtime union meeting of over 80 domestic and portering day workers at Whipps Cross hospital, east London heard about the branch’s plans to fight the threatened pay and hours cuts. The consultation document issued by the contractor, Initial, says that 41 jobs are affected. The plans, described by Initial as “Phase One” and in the document as the “initial steps”, are only the start. The meeting launched a petition aiming for 1,000 signatures which members were urged to get filled in. A survey asking members to vote yes to be balloted for strike action has been posted to members. 

UNITE

Yorkshire ambulance bosses dismiss whistleblowing union in patient safety row 

Steve Miller, a member of Unite national executive and NSSN Yorkshire-Humberside executive was one of many from the local labour movement who turned up to support the Greencore workers. He said: “Unite will back these workers to the hilt and explore every avenue to support the members at Greencore, and the NSSN can help spread the news to local and national activists”.

Sacked Unite members from DHL Howdens are heading to London for targeted demonstrations to keep up the fight for justice today (Thursday 7 February). 

My partner works at One Housing. She will lose £4,000, I lost my job 8 months ago, we will lose our flat. A homelessness prevention worker will become homeless,” Please SIGN & SHARE this petition to support Unite Housing workers fight proposed paycuts of up to 24%! In One Housing Group. 

Sacked Howden drivers to fight on

Sacked Unite members from DHL Howdens were in London for targeted demonstrations to keep up the fight for justice.  53 drivers formally employed by DHL in Widnes, who delivered kitchens for Howdens, were dismissed Tuesday 5th February. There was no consultation from their employer or indeed Howdens over the relocation of the transport operation from Widnes in Cheshire to Howden in Yorkshire. DHL seem to have a history of cutting wages and staff internationally.

NHS boss David Nicolson should resign over Mid Staffs, says Unite 

Innocent bank staff must not ‘carry the can’ for the rate riggers 

Unite – NHS to defend the agenda for change.

 

OTHER 

NSSN support the call for a national Saturday demonstration and industrial action to save jobs, fight cuts in terms and conditions and to save the NHS.

Sixty per cent of workers say their current job is just a way to pay the bills until they can find something better, according to a survey commissioned by Unions21. 

Stand Up for the South Coast decided at its first public meeting that there was a need for a coordinated effort against the social cancer cuts being proposed by the Etonian elite and a mobilisation of grass root activists in the south was essential. The group embarked on its first demonstration in Southampton on Saturday 26 January. About 70 people congregated in the city centre. The action was joined by Keith Morrell, who has been labelled a ‘rebel councillor’ for representing the people in his ward and fighting for lifeline services in the community along with fellow councillor Don Thomas. Stand Up for the South Coast will next visit Portsmouth on Saturday 23 February. Daz Procter, RMT council of executives

Save Birmingham protesters occupy Birmingham Council House balcony in anti-cuts demo 

Cardiff council announced a package of cuts which many will see as a harsh punishment for those who loyally supported Labour last May including Slash its 2013/2014 budget by £22 million which will cut 300 council workers jobs & cut many services including – End respite breaks for parents of disabled children

Rough sleeping up by 31% in 2 years, fight for affordable homes for all and rent caps NOT benefit caps. Supporting people cut in Derby of 81% is also going to add to rough sleepers and cause more overcrowding and insecurity. Derby council could stand up to the cuts and you will begin to see the support and solidarity from those who elected you and far wider.

‘Bedroom tax’ will cost taxpayers more as social housing tenants are forced to move into more expensive private accommodation. Funny how we have to move and not them? New Govenor of Bank of England, Mark Carney will get £250,000pa housing allowance when he starts, PLUS salary of £624,000. It doesn’t add up!

VICTIMISATION 

Support sacked PCS Rep Kevin Smith from Home Office Merseyside branch. More info and petition 

Unite alleges that shop steward Teresa Santucci, who has a 19-year-long impeccable employment record with Peabody – was summarily dismissed because she is disabled and for her trade union activities. Unite Housing workers continue to protest at Peabody HQ and yesterday the board were met with a noisy lobby. At the same time more members are being recruited and stewards over several sites across London. unite.le111@gmail.com.

UCU Support the Halesowen 4 including sacked UCU branch secretary Dave Muritu 

RMT support Petrit Mihad fighting to save his job with Sodexo

 

INTERNATIONAL

Cyprus Construction workers on indefinite strike –  send messages of solidarity to the striking construction workers in Cyprus, to the following addresses: PEO (Pancyprian Federation of Labour): peo@peo.org.cy & PEO, Secretary of International Relations:pieris.pieri@peo.org.cy

India Trade unions demand release of jailed Maruti workers [PTI]

send messages of solidarity to the striking construction workers in Cyprus, to the following addresses

PEO (Pancyprian Federation of Labour): peo@peo.org.cy

PEO, Secretary of International Relations:pieris.pieri@peo.org.cy

Brazil Port workers threaten strike over new docks regime

Greece Government invokes emergency powers to break seamen’s strike

 

DIARY

 

8 Feb

Campaigners wanting to save local health services such as neonatal intensive care and community hospitals are lobbying Lesley Griffiths AM outside her office. 4-6pm 41 Rhosddu Road, Wrexham, LL11 2NS

 

9 Feb 

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

Ealing, London week of action for our NHS. 

 

11 Feb

London FBU lobbying Fire Authority meeting this Monday 12.30pm over threat to close 12 fire stations

 

13 Feb

POA lobby of Parliament – 12.30pm opposite the House of Commons in the “Old Palace Yard”

 

Rape is No Joke is hosting a public meeting to discuss how we can build a movement against rape. Ymca International Community Centre 61B Mansfield Road, NG1 3FN Nottingham 

 

14 Feb

 

Bromley trades council relaunched; next meeting 14 February, AGM 14 March; Steve Leggettthe_legman_69@yahoo.co.uk

 

15 Feb

 

Stop the great Fuel Robbery – National Weekend of Action!

EU Presidency Counter Summit 7.30 Liberty hall, Dublin 

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

 

Cheltenham SAVE OUR NHS!   NHS Workshop 8 Milsom Street, Cheltenham First meeting starts 10 a.m. Final session ends 3.00 p.m. Showing of the film “Sicko” by Michael Moore 4.00 p.m. Full programme details on workshops, speakers, etc, on request from e-mail: helpthenhs@hotmail.co.uk and relevant websites.

Somerset against welfare reforms 12-2 – Tauntan

 

19 Feb

Save our Jobs & Services Cardiff  Suite 1, Unite Building, Cathedral Road, Cardiff CF11 9SD

 

23 Feb

 

National Construction Rank & File Meeting 1pm-4pm

Jury’s Inn, Jamaica Street, Glasgow.

 

Campaign for Trade Union Freedom launch rally  1.30-4.30pm Friends Meeting House London. With Len McCluskey Unite, Bob Crow RMT, Billy Hayes CWU. Website will be live shortly  

1 March

 

WORK YOUR HOURS DAY. Today & Every day! We gave the employer £29.2 billion of FREE work in 2011, lets start to take our time back!

 

 

8 March

International Womens day

 

St Albans, Welwyn & Hatfield trades council presents Banner Theatre “Fighting the Cuts” in St Albans 7.30pm . Admission free, bar and refreshments available. Contact Jon Berry nutjon@aol.com  or 07721 040 631

 

13 March

 

EUROPEAN DAY OF ACTION – NSSN SUPPORT THIS EUROPE WIDE CALL OF ACTION AGAINST CUTS & BOGUS AUSTERITY FOR US! (Also join our FB event)

 

VISTION 4th Anniversary Demonstration meeting at London Unite HQ at 10.45am and then to Westminster for rally and speeches

 

16 March

 

RESISTING AUSTERITY in Europe and in the UK 10.00 am –16.00 pm, Congress House, WC1 3LS. Key discussions on: International crisis, International resistance/Austerity in Britain, there IS an alternative & How trade unions can fight austerity. Book your place on 020 7467 1218, JAdams@tuc.org.uk

 

23 March

 

Barnet spring march over sell offs of services. 1pm Finchley station

 

29 June

 

7th annual conference of the NSSN – 11am-5pm Camden Centre, Judd Street, London, WC1H 9JE


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