Bulletin 151 ‘Rings of Fire’

July 18, 2013 in Appeals, Protest, Reports, Strikes

FBU protest goes on NOW – 94% of the public opposes fire cuts in London – and yet the majority of the cuts are to go ahead! These are being piled on to the rest of the Con-Dems’ attacks on the working class, every service which workers rely upon, is under attack or being privatised.

The FBU firefighters’ union, has won a reprieve for two of the twelve fire stations in London that Tory mayor Boris Johnson wanted to close. This was the result of months of community campaigning and an overwhelming vote in the public consultation.

However, ten stations remain under threat of closure. Fourteen engines out of the 18 originally threatened are still to go. Jobs cuts have actually increased, from 520 to 560! Outside London, massive cuts have been announced in Devon and Somerset fire services. The cuts involve a loss of 149 frontline posts and full-time cover being downgraded at many stations.

These cuts are at the same time as the importance of proper fire cover being underlined by a tower block fire in east London and the death of a firefighter in Manchester. Paul Neale, London FBU southwest area organiser, “It’s just unbelievable that these savage cuts are still going ahead.”

The NSSN gives its full support to the FBU’s campaign and will attend the London Lobby on Thursday 18th July. The FBU in London has rightly striven to win public support with leafleting, local public meetings and local demos & its somewhat surreal, but effective, engine that crosses London blaring out ‘rings of fire’.

Some have raised the idea of occupying stations if the cuts go ahead. Its is a consideration but would the workers own power to take part in strike action be more effective?

Nationally the FBU has announced a ballot on strike action over an ‘unworkable’ pension scheme proposal that could lead to thousands facing the sack as they get older. FBU general secretary Matt Wrack commented: “Expecting large numbers of 60-year olds to fight fires and rescue families is dangerous to the public and to firefighters.” Big reductions to pension benefits are also threatened. Firefighters who retire or are forced out of work at age 55 will lose around 50% of their pensions.

Teachers are preparing for regional strikes In the autumn and then a national strike. The CWU postal workers’ union is fighting the privatisation of Royal Mail. The PCS civil service union has plans for further action on pay, jobs, terms and conditions.

What if the FBU, CWU, PCS and the NUT and NASUWT teachers’ unions all struck together? This could be the re-start of the coordination necessary from the left unions, which could lead towards a 24-hour general strike.

All unions should be coordinating, it’s time for all of us to fight and have an all-out strike. We have to show our strength and that we will stand up and fight for all of us. We cannot allow those responsible to just keep on making vast sums of money whilst we suffer. Let’s show our strength and together halt these attacks on us, we need a general strike now.” Paul Neale. We’re with you there! Nice link in to remind you of our lobby of the TUC, yep we’re sick of doing this too, lifes short but we know the response to austerity has to be bigger bolder and a lot more striking!

Lobby TUC conference in Bournemouth on 8 September! Name the date for a 24 hour general strike! ‘All out together in November!’ NSSN rally at the TUC Congress at Bournemouth on September 8th followed by a lobby of Congress. Confirmed speakers: Bob Crow, Mark Serwotka and Steve Gillan (RMT, PCS, POA general secretaries) & Alec McFadden is speaking at NSSN TUC lobby – he is the North West representative on TUCJCC for trades councils and also President Merseyside County TUC. & Ronnie Draper (Bakers Unions) 12 noon-3pm Hardy Suite, Hermitage Hotel, Exeter Rd, Bournemouth (opposite Bournemouth International Centre, TUC conference venue). Book a seat on transport from your area: email info@shopstewards.net or if your able to arrange some and have space, let us know.

  • Build the TUC national demonstration outside Tory Party conference in Manchester on 29 September! March behind the NSSN banner: 24 hour general strike to stop the Tory cuts!

Feel free to use our Model Motion: Lobby TUC 8 September! The FULL affiliation letter and motion can be downloaded from our website. This will be updated on Friday. Some have added that their General secretaries should meet with other willing unions prior to the TUC to liaise on co-ordination & we add our support and commitment to the 29th September NHS March

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Union News

RMT

Two weeks of strike action to coincide with Durham Miners Gala as RMT steps up fight for living wage for Tyne and Wear Metro cleaners here

New workers party. At Saturday’s Durham Miners Gala, RMT General Secretary Bob Crow – one of the events speakers –issued a call to the trade union movement to support the creation of a “new party of labour” to challenge head on the pro-business, anti-worker agenda of the three main political parties, Tory, Labour and Liberals. here

RMT response to reports an Office of Rail Regulation discussion document will recommend breaking up Network Rail and privatising section of rail infra-structure. here

East midlands RMT will hold protests between 8am and 9am this Thursday, the length of the East Coast Mainline as the fight to keep the route in public hands steps up a gear. Since National Express threw the keys back, public ownership (in the form of Directly Operated Railways Ltd) has provided an improved service and vastly more revenue for the Treasury. here

RMT protest at City Hall in support of agency workers and against threatened £222m cutsRMT pledges all-out fight to halt TFL plans to sack all train guards on London Overground here

PCS

Back the overtime ban to fight the cuts here

Members say no to Victorian pay rates at National Gallery for Scotland here

CWU

Post office workers take 8th day of strike action in 372 crown post offices. Here

Petition against Royal Mail privatisation here

Consultative Ballot for Parcelforce members here

Petitioning against injustice for agency workers here

CWU negotiators have secured a 3.5% pay offer and guarantees over restructuring from Fujitsu. here

Unite

Unite members on the bins in Croydon and Bromley agreed to accept the employer’s latest proposals of 2.25% this year, 2.25 % next year. Backdated to November last year. Increased sick pay and annual leave. “Even in times of austerity and cuts, real gains won by and for workers. But only won by agitation and organising with some education thrown in. Workers prepared to take action, with full union backing win a good victory. Congratulations to the Veolia workers and thank you to all those who supported our campaign.” Onay Kasab, RIO Unite

Glass workers in Yorkshire and Scotland ballot for industrial action over ‘inadequate’ pay offer here

Workers at Leeds facilities company ballot for industrial action in pay and pensions dispute. More

Unite Housing workers in Equinox strike took another  48 hours on Thursday & Friday last week and it seems the Chief Executive also didn’t turn up to work?! The campaign continues! One Housing Group members of the same branch are planning another 3 days of strike action next week over similar pay cuts, despite the company having surpluses and reserves. Strike fund and support is MOST welcome contact Unite.le1111@gmail.com

Blood testing staff in Leeds & Bradford struck over patient safety at St James’s Hospital in Leeds General Infirmary and Bradford Royal Infirmary this week. The dispute centers on the lack of staff necessary to provide a safe service for the public in the Leeds and Bradford region. The union said the management’s plans could also mean cuts of £20,000 a year for staff.

Capita faces storm over paltry pay increases as many of its financial services clients face disruption, after workers from its life and pensions and IT services divisions overwhelmingly voted in favour of industrial action in a dispute over pay. The following clients could be hit if industrial action goes ahead: Deutsche Bank (Abbey Life), Prudential, Royal London, Met Life, Phoenix and Friends Life.

GMB

GMB Welcome Decision By Sandwell Council To Bring Back In House Services Outsourced In 2007 here

NUT

Details of rolling action and all out action here

Gove’s policies widen the class divide in education. here

Teaching unions have condemned government plans to change performance measures in primary schools. here

UCU

Campaign Update special – Please support your colleagues at the University of Liverpool: 
 
If you haven’t already signed the petition in support of our colleagues at the University of Liverpool, please click here to sign the petition now
 
UCU members at the University of Liverpool need your help. As you may know, the university’s senior management is threatening to dismiss 2,803 staff and rehire them on inferior contracts.

More than four out of five (86%) UCU members who took part in the ballot at LeSoCo – voted in favour of strike action. A massive 96% voted in favour of other forms of industrial action that would not include wholesale walkouts.

UCU reps in London have welcomed a significant victory over job cuts among teachers at a FE college in the capital. here

UNISON

Local government unions accept 1% pay rise – with a pay rise. However in Scotland Local government members in Scotland are currently balloting on industrial action after rejected the pay offer from Scottish councils. here

Industrial action against compulsory redundancies in Kirklees Unison

TUC Diploma in Occupational Health & Safety, Thursday evening 9.30-16.30pm- For more info contact Trade Union Education on 020-8442-3075 or tued@conel.ac.uk

OTHER

Sick of your Boss – Reports from a great week of action here

How hot does it have to be till I can complain here

Barnet Council mass privatisation in court here

Completely ridiculous benefit sanctions from Birmingham against Cuts. here

Five things Iain Duncan Smith doesn’t want you to know about the benefit cap here

BLACKLISTING from the Blacklist Support Group

1. Compensation Scheme

A compensation scheme that covers all blacklisted workers has long been one of our demands. At present lawyers are developing a draft compensation scheme – so far we have not seen the proposal and no one will be forced to accept any such scheme without full consultation.

2. High Court Action

Blacklist Support Group is fully behind the Guney Clark & Ryan (GCR) High Court claim for conspiracy against Sir Robert McAlpine Limited. Sean Curran, JC Townsend and Liam Dunne were key speakers at our recent AGM and we encourage everyone who is not part of their own union’s legal claims to join the GCR claim. GMB have recently launched a High Court claim against Carillion for defamation on behalf of their members.  Both UNITE and UCATT have made noises to the similar effect.

3. Select Committee investigation The Select Committee is looking for anyone who has put in a legal claim against any blacklisting firm where the company fought the case on a legal technicality – specifically did you put in an Employment Tribunal claim where the claim thrown out because of being out of time? or because you worked for a sub-contractor or an agency? or any other legal technicality? If yes – then please get in touch with me ASAP – if you have evidence – then the Select Committee want to hear about it. The Select Committee is also looking for evidence of ongoing blacklisting.

4. Crossrail The dispute with Crossrail and BFK is now global. UNITE have organised protests in France, Spain, Holland and this week Canada. UNITE have now organised over 400 protests across the UK with blacklisted workers involved in across Europe. This is just the start; we are going to crank it up and up.

5. Edd Mustill playwright solidarity The play “St Giles Breed” by Edd Mustill was recently shown in London as part of the Transcend Festival. One of the sponsors on the event is the blacklisting firm BAM – Edd Mustill protested at his own play and distributed flyers to the audience telling them about the role of BAM on Crossrail.

6. Piper Alpha It is the anniversary of the Piper Alpha disaster in the North Sea. 167 offshore workers lost their lives because of a series of fundamental breaches of safety by the company who cut corners to increase production and profit. We mourn the dead but also fight for the living.

7. Local Authorities Dozens of local councils and the Welsh assembly have passed motions at the full council meetings calling for blacklisting firms to be denied publicly funded contracts.

8. Police Spies Many people will have seen the Dispatches TV documentary or read the Guardian story about undercover police who spied on environmental activists and the Stephen Lawrence family. The same Special Branch spies also spied on trade unionists in the building industry – some of them came on our picket lines and even chaired our campaign meetings back in the 1990s.

9. Reel News film “Blacklisting 2013 - the workers strike back” was premiered at Glastonbury Festival to a packed Speakers Forum stage. New campaign video

10. TUC Day of Action The TUC has held a meeting to discuss a Day of Action on blacklisting

11. ICO latest To date the ICO has still only issued 407 blacklist files. Which means over 2900 workers are still completely unaware that they have been blacklisted. The ICO is now working with the DWP and HMRC using national insurance numbers to track down other people on the list.  If anyone thinks they may be on the blacklist – contact the ICO to check. www.ico.org.uk

 

Internationalsee also labourstart

Brazil – Strikes, demos & roadblocks open a new stage in the struggle. here

ISREAL – Collective agreement for cleaners in the Private sector. here

IRELAND – SIPTU drivers ballot for strike action here

INDIA – Free 147 jailed workers here

KENYA – Teachers strike ends here

LIBYA - Libyan oil port ‘stormed by armed protesters here

PERU- Medical workers strike over wages. here

Diaryalso sees False Economy

18th FBU march over fire cuts 11.30 The Monument, Fish street Hill, EC3R

18 Lobby Canterbury City Council over the bedroom tax 6.30pm

Reel news Blacklisting special @ The Grosvenor, Sidney St, London SW9

19-21 Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival

20 UK Uncut callout: stuff the banks!

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

24 Action for Rail Wimbledon station 5.30pm

Dublin Lockout Centenary Conference

27 Day of Action against bedroom Tax

30 Rally for Legal Aid.

31 Celebration of a year CSC demo beginning 3-5pm Kilburn Square.

SEPTEMBER

8 NSSN Rally at the TUC Congress at Bournemouth followed by a lobby of Congress. 12 noon-3pm Hardy Suite, Hermitage Hotel, Exeter Rd, Bournemouth (opposite Bournemouth International Centre – TUC conference venue).

29 National TUC Demonstration to save our NHS at Tory party Conference

30 Manchester Unite local government branch is hosting a showing of the exhibition about Liverpool’s socialist council 1983-87. Speakers include: Len McCluskey, Tony Mulhearn, Felicity Dowling, Ted Knight & Kevin Bennett. Methodist Central Hall, Oldham St. Manchester. Tel: 0161-234-1896 email james.thornton@unitetheunion.org.

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CONTACT US

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

Follow us on TWITTER @NSSN_AntiCuts FACEBOOK STOP THE CUTS or NSSN Group

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

Phone: 07952 283 558 NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE