NSSN Bulletin 147: A Tale of Two Disputes

June 20, 2013 in Appeals, Bulletins, International, Press Releases, Protest, Reports, Strikes

 

Strike action is taking place in a number of different area’s this week but it’s worthwhile reporting on two different disputes.

The first is the dispute involving the Cityclean GMB members employed by Brighton and Hove City Council who have been ‘offered’ pay cuts.

At a meeting of Brighton’s Policy and Resources Committee on 24th January 2013, Green and Conservative Councillors forced through a measure* which authorised Council officers to implement a ‘modernised pay and conditions package’. Since then Council officers have been in negotiations over the proposals with the recognised trade unions. At a meeting that took place on 29 April 2013 the Council made what they described as a ‘final offer’ which still included pay cuts of up to £95 a week for some of the lowest paid staff.

The strike started on Friday 14th June lasting for a week and there was a demonstration and march in support of the members last Saturday when Hundreds of striking Refuse, Recycling and Street Cleaning workers have marched through the streets of Brighton to protest against the Green Council’s plans to cut their wages.

The second dispute involves Unite LE1111 Housing workers at housing association, One Housing Group (OHG) who began strike yesterday for three days, after the hardline management rebuffed last-minute attempts by conciliation service Acas to kick-start talks. Funds are in place but the management are making cuts for the ‘market’ of the future!

Members of Unite Housing workers LE1111 branch at One Housing Group, voted for strike action, following management’s decision to impose swingeing wage cuts of 25% to 200 frontline supported housing staff from February 2014. Unite, through its reps and branch have already stopped the imposition which would have taken effect last year.   The main picket line will be at One Housing’s headquarters at 100 Chalk Farm Road, London NW1 8EH – and at other OHG sites across the capital.  If the management still refuses to negotiate, a further three days of strike action are scheduled for 3, 4 and 5 July. The majority have not been on strike action before and took part in a lively and NOISY pickets and protest on day 1. This is hot on the heels of Equinox members from the same branch who have also taken strike action over the last few weeks.

For those who say there is no fightback, these two disputes show there is and new members and reps are coming through, who have not taken part in meetings or activity before. This is despite huge challenges, for Unite members at OHG this includes multiple workplaces, shift patters and sites with many working with complex clients and what should in reality be considered as frontline services rather than questionably titled as ‘Voluntary sector’, giving the impression that these are light add on’s which we could do without.

These two disputes are by no means the only industrial action taking place at this time.  PCS members in a number of different sectors took industrial action this Monday (17 June) and the PCS national campaign will continue with national protests on the 27th June and the NUT & NASUWT teaching unions will be taking industrial action in the North West also on 27th June.

This is indicative of the level of industrial unrest in these times of austerity but isolated disputes would be better served with joined up co-ordinated action linking those in and out of work. Hence our continued demand for a General strike and more co-ordinated action.

These issues and tactics and sharing of inspiring actions will be discussed at the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) 7th national annual conference to the support workers in struggle as well as those facing victimisation for the crime of defending their members from the employer’s attacks.  Please do Register  ONLINE NOW!11am-5pm, Saturday June 29th, Camden Centre, Judd Street, London, WC1H 9JE. Delegates and visitors £6. Cheques can be made payable to ‘National Shop Stewards Network’  or BACS a payment through – info@shopstewards.net or post through to PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE

We are pleased to announce that we are organising an additional commission at our upcoming conference in the light of the situation in Turkey and international workers solidarity. Martin Powell-Davies, NUT NEC member (& NSSN Steering Committee) and Steve Hedley, RMT Assistant General Secretary, have recently returned from Istanbul, Turkey as part of a trade union delegation organised by Daymer, a Turkish and Kurdish community organisation. There is a report of their visit on Martin Powell-Davies’ blog, To hear more and discuss solidarity, come along to the session at the NSSN conference.

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NSSN News

At our 29th June conference we have initial speakers confirmed: union general secretaries Mark Serwotka PCS, Billy Hayes CWU and Steve Gillan POA. We will have 4 workshops: Fighting for the NHS, Building the Housing front, Fighting the Blacklisting & ‘Sick of your Boss’. *Latest speaker confirmed – Tommy Sheridan chair of the Scottish Anti-Bedroom Tax Federation* & Turkish trade unionists from Day-Mar. Alongside trade unionists fighting cuts and striking today. 

NSSN NHS Bulletin (no.3) NOW AVAILABLE.  Plus updated NSSN conference flyer HERE. Please let us know if you need supplies.

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UNION NEWS

NUT / NASUWT

North West strike – 27 June
Members in the ballot groups in the north west of England:

  1. Join the strike on 27 June and encourage your colleagues too
  2. Click here for answers to all your questions about the action

For further ways of showing solidarity in the rest of the country and for more information members should go here.

There will be strike day rallies in Manchester, Liverpool, Preston and Chester:

Manchester: Assemble from 10am at the Cathedral Gardens, Manchester, M4 3BG

Rally: Piccadilly Hotel, Portland Street, Manchester, M1 4PH 11am to 12 noon

Liverpool: Assemble from 10am at The Pier Head, Liverpool, L3 1BW

Rally: St George’s Hall, St George’s Place, Liverpool, L1 1JJ 11am to 12 noon

Preston: Assemble from 11am at The Assembly Pub, 32 Lune Street, Preston, PR1 2NN

Rally: Flag Market (Market Square), Cheapside, Preston, PR1 2PP 11.45 to 12.30

Chester: Assemble from 10am at Chester Town Hall, Northgate Street, Chester, CH1 2HJ

Rally: Queen Hotel, City Road, Chester, CH1 3AH 11am to 12 noon

March for education 25 June – London
Join us to defend teachers, and march for education on Tuesday 25 June.
Click here for more details. Download a poster here

Teachers have no choice but to take strike action here

A battle for the future of education – report from Luton NUT here

Michael Gove’s evidence to the STRB  here

June 27 Strike Action in North West of England here

Lewisham NUT ready to do battle on pay! here

Gove threatens to remove every significant workload protection from teachers’ contracts here

PCS

National executive agrees protest activities Day of Action called for 27 June, day after Government Spending Review announcement here 

Walkouts continue to disrupt services – Cleaners and security staff in courts employed by multinational companies G4S and Mitie took strike action over pay from lunchtime today. We are campaigning for these members to be paid the living wage – £7.45 an hour, £8.55 an hour in London – by the two companies that hold MoJ contracts worth an estimated £500 million. here

Prison staff stage further walkout – Members in the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) stayed away from work this morning, following on from yesterday’s successful action by colleagues elsewhere within the Justice Sector of PCS. here

Back the Shrewsbury 24 justice campaign – Well-known actor Ricky Tomlinson of Royle Family fame was one of the pickets. Convicted and jailed for two years, he went on hunger strike while in prison. He continues to fight to overturn this miscarriage of justice.  At a conference fringe event, he spoke passionately about the cause, to thunderous applause and a standing ovation. here

RMT

Two years on – Government prepare to sign off betrayal of UK train building here

RMT to ballot Serco Barclays London bike staff for action over pay and conditions here 

Unite 

London Gateway owners urged to recognise “basic” workers’ rights here

Unite urges Ethical Trading Initiative to stop dragging its feet over Crossrail here

Eight RAF stations face strike action on 20 June in pay dispute here

Unite prepares for strike action at Menzies World Cargo here

Employer in ‘bussing’ row to break ‘8p an hour’ strike at RAF stations here

UCU

Second union announces strike at Chesterfield College here

Overwhelming support for strike action at Grimsby Institute here

Confusion at Chesterfield College as strikes continue here

Strike action confirmed at Kirklees College here 

Grimsby Institute strike action ‘looks inevitable’ as college boss walks out of crisis talks here

University of Liverpool staff to ballot for strike action here

CWU

Post Office strikes number 6 and 7.  CWU has served notice for a further two rounds of strike action next Thursday 20 June and Saturday 29 June here

An eleventh hour deal has been reached over plans to outsource thousands of jobs from Telefonica o2 to Capita. The agreement – which includes far better protection for pay, pensions and terms and conditions – was reached after intense negotiations sparked by the union’s strike ballot here

Ballot result – postal workers say no to privatization here Q2: Do you support the boycott of competitors’ mail? YES 92%

GMB

Last Ditch Talks With ISS Today 17th June To Avert June 2oth Strike Action At Eight RAF Stations In England And Wales In Pay Dispute here

Contractor ISS Offer Armed Forces Personnel £15 Per Hour To Strike Break At Royal Graduation At RAF Cranwell On June 20th here 

Pickets From Midnight June 20th At 8 RAF Stations In England And Wales During First 24 Hour Strike In Pay Dispute With Contractor ISS here

UNISON

National delegate conference discusses the importance of defending facility time, and the particular impact of the attacks on women here

The threat of privatisation continues to hang over UNISON members in the police and probation services, despite the success of the union’s Stop Police Privatisation campaign and others here

Bakers Union

The BFAWU Annual Conference 2013 in Bridlington was a hard-hitting, no-nonsense, passionate and wide ranging event, which saw ordinary working people from the food industry having their say on a variety of issues that affect them, their families and the country as a whole in addition to shaping the Union’s policy for the year ahead here

NUJ

NUJ condemns newspaper group spending $2bn whilst refusing pay rise here

Journalists call for international action to end crackdown on media in Turkey here

FBU

FBU lobbied the London Mayor over huge cuts yesterday. here

 

OTHER

‘Sick of your Boss?’ has a Week of Action 8th – 3th July targeting one of Britain’s worst employers, Primark. Obviously Primark have hit the headlines with their horrifying contempt for the lives of garment workers in Bangladesh. Here

SERTUC FILM CLUBA new documentary feature film by Michael Wayne & Deirdre O’Neill – THE CONDITION OF THE WORKING CLASS – Runtime: 82 mins  Thursday 20 June, 7- 9.30pm – FREE ADMISSION Screening + Director Q&A Everything changes and yet everything stays the same. 1844: Friedrich Engels writes his book ‘The Condition of the Working Class in England’, a classic denunciation of the appalling living conditions for working people living at the heart of the industrial revolution in Manchester, England.  Review:  TUC Congress House, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3LS FREE ADMISSION    Booking essential sertucevents@tuc.org.uk  or 020 7467 1220

 

INTERNATIONAL See also Labourstart

Turkey: Statement from DISK trade unions – striking with KESK here Direngezi – a report from our trade union delegation to Istanbul here. Tell tear-gas manufacturers to stop arming Erdogan’s police here. RMT trade unionists give first-hand account of repression in Taksim Square here

“As a result of the discussions with the authorities of RTUK (Radio and TV regulator) the board has decided to withdraw its initial decision to shut down Hayat TV”, thanks to all those who protested.

Algerian catering workers in week 3 of tough strike. here

Latest Iranian factory in wage crisis Here.

Paraguay Workers to the Streets Against Privatization of Electricity here

Costa Rica – Unions plan general strike over right to strike!  here

 

DIARY

JUNE

19-21 One Housing strikes

20 Kirklees College strike

Reel News teams up with political artists collective THE TREATMENT ROOMS. The Grosvenor, Stockwell. London

21 The ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation), IUF (International Union of Food workers) and UK unions, the TUC, UNITE, RMT, PCS, CWU and NUT amongst others, are joining forces with the Taksim Solidarity Committee to demonstrate outside the Turkish Embassy in London against the ongoing oppression of protestors in Taksim Square and throughout Turkey. 3-5.30 Turkish Embassy Belgrave Sq SW1X

22 People’s Assembly – Central Hall Westminster, Storey’s Gate, London, Westminster, London SW1H 9NH more

23 Time for Action Bin the Bedroom Tax 1pm CSHC host conference on further actions. The Albert, Albert Rd, NW6

25 Stand up for Schools London NUT regional Rally 5pm March to DoE. Rally 6.30pm Emmanuel Centre, Marsham St, SW1P 3DW

Lobby Housing providers against the Bedroom Tax, Manchester

26 Lincoln & District TUC launching a broad anti-racist group, public meeting will take place on 7pm at the Labour Club on Newland.

Woolwich and the War On Terror: public meeting 7pm at Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL. here:

York TUC are holding a free open public meeting 7.30pm.Ricky Tomlinson is confirmed as speaker. Priory St Centre, York.

29 7th annual conference of the NSSN, 11am-5pm Camden Centre, Judd Street, London, WC1H 9JE. 

JULY

6 Matchgirls strike festival of East London

8-13th ‘Sick of your Boss?’ week of action

13 Durham Miners Gala

19-21 Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival

19-21 Hazards Conference, Keele University. The national conference for union safety reps and community campaigners. Hazards run the online blog for the Blacklist Support Group and there will be blacklisting speakers at the Friday plenary session More info

27 July Enuf is Enuf L20

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CONTACT US Info@shopstewards.net   or look on our Website for further info.

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Secretary: Linda Taaffe
Email: lindataaffe66@btinternet.com or 

Phone: 07952 283 558

NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE