NSSN 191:10,000 on ‘March for Bob’ – now Unite the Strikes!

May 7, 2014 in Bulletins

The NSSN salutes the magnificent turnout for this year’s London May Day march and rally, where pride of place went to the memory of two great political and industrial leaders – Bob Crow and Tony Benn. The RMT had a national mobilisation to honour the fighting militant legacy of Bob, tragically cut down in his prime.

But despite the solemn occasion, RMT members weren’t downbeat. They called out to TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady, when she spoke – “We need a general strike!” Unite leader Len McCluskey took account of this mood as did PCS Assistant General secretary Chris Baugh, when they took to the platform.

Many of the RMT members present were fresh off the London Underground picket lines, where two days of strikes action have again forced management to the negotiating table. The day after the rally, firefighters started three days of national strikes to defend their pensions. Next week, PCS members on the Land Registry are taking action to oppose privatisation. Teachers from the NUT have decided to strike in late June while workers in the NHS and the councils are looking at early July to strike for a pay rise.

The NSSN calls on all these unions to get together to agree a common strategy of industrial action, particularly to break the pay freeze but could also incorporate all the other grievances that face workers in this so-called recovery…not for us, just for the fat cats! Mass co-ordinated strike action, on the level that we saw on the N30 2011 public sector pensions action would lift all workers like the heroic Doncaster Care UK workers, embarking on another 14 days of action.

The public support for the Tube Strike shows that if the unions fight together against the brutal attacks on our living standards, it would be the most popular thing that they could do. Every picket line and May Day march we attended, we got the same message….it’s time to unite the strikes!

 

NSSN News

Come to the 8th Annual NSSN Conference on Saturday July 5th – ‘What recovery? We want our share! Fight Together for a Pay Rise! – Break the pay freeze, fight for a real living wage, oppose zero-hour contracts, fight for PAYE’. Leaflet – http://www.scribd.com/doc/221151679/NSSN-2014-conference-leaflet

It will be on from 11am-5pm in Conway Hall – 25 Red Lion Square, Holborn, London WC1R 4RL – delegate/visitor fee £6. Confirmed speakers include Ronnie Draper BFAWU bakers’ union General Secretary, POA General Secretary Steve Gillan and Janice Godrich PCS President. Email us now if you want to come as well as if you want leaflets – info@shopstewards.net.

If you want to put yourself forward for the NSSN steering committee, email us by 12noon on Thursday July 3rd

 

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. Affiliation letter here

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 info@shopstewards.net

 

 

Union News

RMT

Doncaster to host day of action against railway cuts (7 May) – Trade unionists and campaigners from across Britain will assemble in Doncaster, on Saturday 24 May, for a march and rally against cuts on the railway. The protest is part of an RMT organised national day of action. The proposed cuts come in the wake of the McNulty Report, adopted as policy by the government, and represent the biggest threat to the rail industry in 50 years….Rally speakers include: Mick Cash – RMT Acting General Secretary; Peter Pinkney – RMT National President; Sean McGowan – RMT Relief Regional Organiser North; Tosh McDonald – ASLEF Vice President; Ron Douglas – President, National Pensioners Convention; Rob Williams – Chair, National Shop Stewards Network; Alistair Tice – Trade Union And Socialist Coalition and Rosie Kirk – RMT Young Members President read more

London Underground – Strike Action Suspended (May 5) – see RMT website     see latest RMT London Calling strike bulletin

Transport for London: strike against ‘Pay for Performance – On Friday 9 May, members of RMT, TSSA and Unite will strike together against ‘Pay for Performance’. This is a new policy that the company is trying to impose, which freezes pensionable pay at current levels, with all future rises not pensionable. If management get away with this for TfL staff, then we can be sure that they will pursue the same appalling policy in London Underground and other parts of the TfL ‘family’ next. Join the picket lines from 7.45am at Pier Walk, Palestra and Windsor House

March for Bob, May Day 2014 Memories (2 May) – View a selection of images, videos and news items concerning the recent May Day 2014 March for Bob here

 

PCS

Striking against Land Registry cuts (1 May) – Our members working for the Land Registry will hold a two-day strike against privatisation, job cuts and office closures. We have organised a massive campaign, with the support of industry professionals and MPs, against proposals to privatise the Land Registry. The strike on 14 and 15 May is part of this campaign but specifically over Land Registry’s failure to give assurances that there won’t be any office closures or compulsory redundancies read more

 

FBU

It’s time for the government’s games to stop, say firefighters on third day of strikes (May 4) – Firefighters are due to strike again today between 10am and 3pm over government attacks on their pensions read more

 

Unite

EDF Energy workers on strike in pay dispute (May 6) – Nearly 500 workers at EDF Energy are taking strike action today (Tuesday 6 May) and on Thursday 8 May in a dispute over pay. Unite says the dispute is causing delays in fixing and installing meters for customers. Revenue protection is also affected – as the workers on strike include those dealing with business owners and private customers who are allegedly fiddling and stealing electricity – The EDF centres that will be affected by the strikes are at: Heath House, 255 Broadway, Bexleyheath, Kent, BA6 8ET; Bangor Wharf, Georgiana Street, London, NW1 0QS;  Atlantic House, Henson Road, Three Bridges, Crawley, RH10 1QQ; Unit 7, Anglo Office Park, Clarence Road, Speedwell, Bristol, BS15 1NT; Osprey House, Osprey Road, Exeter, EX2 7WN;  Gadeon House, Grenadier Road, Exeter Business Park, Exeter, EX1 3UT; and 334 Outland Road, Plymouth, PL3 5TU read more

Ex-Tesco drivers stage Doncaster demo on Saturday over ‘unfair dismissals’ (1 May) – Former drivers, who used to work on the Tesco distribution contract in Doncaster, will stage a demonstration on Saturday (3 May) to show that there was no reason for their then employer Eddie Stobart Ltd (ESL) to have made them redundant in January 2013 read more

 

Unison

Doncaster Care UK workers have begun a further 14 days of strike action. 93 Unison members have refused to sign the new contracts that private care company Care UK are imposing on former NHS staff who provide Supported Living for Adults with Learning Difficulties. This service was privatised by the council last year leading to proposed 35% pay cuts. Workers have already taken 20 days of strike action over the last three months and intend to make the next two weeks strike really count

Send messages of support to admin@unison-dab.org.uk and donations/cheques made out to: “Doncaster, District & Bassetlaw Health Branch” and sent to: Jenkinson House, White Rose Way, Doncaster, DN4 5GJ.

NHS branches gear up for day of protest (May 2) – UNISON is calling on its NHS branch activists to play their part in the day of protest on Thursday 5 June against the government’s “divisive” pay award read more

 

NUJ

NUJ condemns Johnston Press contracts for freelance photographers (2 May) – The NUJ has strongly condemned a contract circulated to freelance photographers by Johnston Press. Under the terms of the contract, photographers working shifts are expected to: assign copyright; waive their moral rights; indemnify Johnston Press against any loss, injury or damage. They will also be expected to do much of the work on their own mileage expense. Although the terms of the agreement will be common to all photographers, rates will be negotiated individually. Some photographers have been offered as little as £80 per day, although in Scotland the rate will be £120 read more

 

UCU

Anti-casualisation Day of Action on 7 May – UCU’s day of action for more secure employment for casualised staff is on Wednesday 7 May with social events, publicity stunts, discussion and recruitment taking place across the country read more

Marking boycott off as university pay dispute settled (2 May) – A proposed marking boycott of university students’ work in the UK is off after members of UCU voted overwhelmingly to accept a 2% pay offer from the employers read more

 

BFAWU

International Fast Food Rights Day of Action May 15th

30 countries taking part in first international fast food workers conference – see picture

BFAWU website   Fast Food Rights website      Youth Fight for Jobs website

 

 

Blacklisting & Victimisation

Government has not learned the lessons of the blacklisting scandals (6 May) – Unite has warned that the government has not learnt the lessons of the blacklisting scandals following its response to the Scottish Affairs committee’s recommendations on tackling blacklisting. The Scottish Affairs committee published its second report on blacklisting entitled Blacklisting in employment: addressing the crimes of the past: Moving towards best practice on 12 March 2014 read more on Unite website

 

Blacklist Support Group update

1. High Court dates confirmed

The new date for the High Court blacklisting claim is Thursday 10th July 2014. (Acheson & others v Sir Robert McAlpine & others)

This is likely to be a relatively short procedural hearing which grants a Group Litigation Order (GLO) that allows multiple cases to be heard in one hearing (similar to a ‘class action’ in the US). This is between the following companies – Sir Robert McAlpine, Carillion, Balfour Beatty, Costain, Kier, Skanska, Vinci and Laing O’Rourke and multiple claimants including UNITE, UCATT and GMB. The lead claimant legal team is Guney, Clark & Ryan (GCR) with in excess of 100 blacklisted workers and is supported by the Blacklist Support Group.

Blacklist Support Group (BSG) will be holding a protest outside the High Court prior to the hearing and a meeting to discuss the ongoing campaign after the hearing. More details to follow

 

2. Compensation scheme

The blacklisting firms named above have for the past 9 months been part of a publicity stunt orchestrated by a very expensive public relations firm called Grayling. They claim to be interested in a compensation scheme for blacklisted workers but to date not a single worker has been offered a single penny in compensation and the firms still refuse to give even a mealy mouthed public apology. BSG, the 3 unions and GCR have participated in talks with the firms but there is simply no desire by the firms to accept that they have done anything wrong. The offer from the firms is an absolute insult to the families they have affected.

BSG are demanding jobs for blacklisted workers and compensation that properly reflects the years of hurt for every single person whose name appears on the Consulting Association blacklist regardless of the dates covered. All of the trade unions, the various legal teams and the BSG representing blacklisted workers are completely united in our rejection of the firms pitiful PR stunt. Only when genuine offers are made that fully take account of the gravity of the scandal and offer jobs for blacklisted workers will there be anything to report.

There are rumours that the blacklisting firms may decide to launch a scheme on their own without the support of any of the victims. This would be like a burglar deciding what level of compensation they should pay to their victims (while at the same time avoiding court) – a travesty of justice and a complete piss take.

 

3. Government response to Select Committee

The Scottish Affairs Select Committee (SASC) published a 2nd report into blacklisting in March 2014 in which the all party committee set out proposals to address the crimes of the past and move forward to best practice in the future. The main proposals are that all blacklisting firms should be barred from publicly funded contracts unless they can demonstrate that they have undergone a “self-cleansing” process in which they fully compensate those they blacklisted (a unilateral scheme without the support of the unions and the BSG is expressly condemned by the committee) and also put in place procedures to reduce the possibility of blacklisting in the future. The SASC highlight the proposals of the Welsh Assembly, Scottish government and the agreement for the Hinkley Point Power Station as best practice in this respect. The committee also calls for all publicly funded contracts to be awarded on the basis of direct employment rather than bogus zero-hour self-employment or agency workforce. The government has now responded with a letter sent to Ian Davidson, chair of the SASC by Jenny Willmott MP, minister for employment relations (attached).

BSG statement: “Blacklisted workers owe all the MPs on the Scottish Affairs Select Committee a debt of gratitude for their investigation that has exposed the corrupt practices of the blacklisting firms. The two cross-party reports they have published are the benchmark by which all future inquiries and actions will be judged. The government’s lack of empathy for blacklisted workers is evident in their response which ignores virtually all of the issues raised by the SASC and refuses to implement most of the recommendations. When it comes to the blacklisting scandal, the government appears to be more concerned about protecting their big business political-funders than bringing the human rights culprits to justice”

 

 

4. Carillion Court of Appeal date confirmed

The Smith v Carillion blacklisting case has now reached the Court of Appeal stage and is to be heard on 15th-16th October 2014. The written judgements from the ET & EAT stages of the case record how senior managers from various companies within the Carillion group added information to Smith’s blacklist file because he was a union safety rep. Smith however lost the case because he was an agency worker and not protected by UK legislation. The case now turns entirely on the question of human rights. It should definitively determine whether blacklisting is a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights (article 8 and article 11) and whether UK law is compatible with the
convention.

Smith is being represented by the Free Representation Unit but will be liable for Carilion’s costs after the hearing.

 

5. Blacklisted workers at Workers Memorial Day and May Day events

Blacklisted workers were out in force speaking at WMD and May Day events – thank you to everyone who represented, especially Lee Folwer in Salford, Stewart Hume in Scotland, Allan Jolley in Harlow

http://www.hazards.org/wmd/

 

6. Police

More and more information about the police role in blacklisting is being discovered. One of the undercover police officers who spied on workers on the blacklist has now given an interview with investigative journalist Phil Chamberlain to be published in his book ‘Blacklisted’ to be published in the autumn. Christian Khan solicitors are representing the BSG in their IPCC complaint. Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance #COPS is organising fringe meetings at major union and political conferences this summer pushing for the remit of the proposed public inquiry into undercover police spying on the Lawrence family to be widened to cover all campaigners and trade unions.

Will any of the political parties put the demand for a fully independent public inquiry into blacklisting into their election manifesto?

 

7. Scottish government Procurement Bill

Blacklist protest

13th May (1pm)

Scottish parliament

Edinburgh

This is to ensure that a clause about blacklisting is added to the procurement bill which will allow public bodies to take blacklisting into account when awarding publicly funded contracts.

 

8. National Rank & File Construction Meeting

Saturday
10th May 12pm-3pm

Casa Club

29 Hope Street

Liverpool

L1 9BQ

Blacklisting is on the agenda, along with the fight for direct employment among agency workers and Crossrail

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/apr/26/crossrail-workers-culture-spying-fear

http://union-news.co.uk/2014/04/one-year-wheres-improvements-crossrail-safety/

 

9. latest Reel News DVD out now – includes Blacklisting and the exceptional ‘Massacre in Vitoria’ film – BSG encourage all union branches to take out an annual affiliation to Reel News and support the indy-media collective that has told the story of blacklisting like no-one else.

www.reelnews.co.uk

 

10. There are thousands of “End the Blacklist” stickers suddenly appearing on building site hoardings around the country – especially next to the logos of the blacklisting firms. A prize for the best pic posted to the BSG face book page (below). Great work Martin

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlCa8yQmZ70

Blog: www.hazards.org/blacklistblog

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/groups/blacklistSG/

 

Other News

 

 

International (also see Labourstart)

US: Kshama Sawant’s Response to Seattle Mayor’s $15 Minimum Wage Proposal (May 1) – Under the pressure of working-class grassroots campaigns, on May 1st, 2014, Seattle Democratic Mayor Ed Murray announced his office’s historic proposal for a $15/hour minimum wage, raising Seattle’s minimum wage to the highest in the country for a major city in the U.S.  However, his proposal includes numerous loopholes read more

Indonesia: Support strikers at one of the world’s largest paper mills Striking workers at one of the world’s largest paper mills need our support. In March, members of the Pindo Deli Paper Workers’ Union at one of the APP – Sinar Mas factories in Karawang district of Indonesia, went on strike to demand that management return to negotiations, and to discuss the minimum wage rate established in the district by the Governor of West Java read more

Mexico: Tell AB INBEV to respect ruling for reinstatement of dismissed workers in Mexico! Vidriera de San Potosí, a Mexican bottle-making company which is now owned by AB InBev, began to dismiss workers in 2008; initially a total of 220 workers including the entire union executive committee of the glass workers’ union(SUTEIVP) as a reprisal for their decision to leave the CTM and form an independent trade union which negotiated substantial improvements in pay, benefits and working conditions at this factory read more

 

Diary (see & use false economy)

May

24 National Anti-McNulty march and rally in Doncaster

 

June

21 “No to Austerity” demo at the BBC, 21st June….No More Austerity – Demand the Alternative National Demonstration + Free Festival, Sat 21 June 2014 – Assemble 1pm BBC HQ, Portland Place London W1 1AA Then march to Parliament

Hurrah for the Luddites: challenging the myths about Luddism – 2-4pm at the Red Shed, Vicarage Street, Wakefield WF1.

The event is about seeing the Luddites in their proper historical context.  Contrary to myth, they weren’t a bunch of head bangers.  Luddism was a genuine social movement made up of normal working people fighting for justice.  They had immense support, were well organised and for a time were immensely successful.  Come along and hear more about the true Luddites!

Speakers are:

Ken Rowley: Ken is a former Vice President of the National Union of Mineworkers.  He is a member of the Wakefield Socialist History Group.  He has spoken widely on the Luddites and their West Yorkshire connections to both the University of the Third Age and to local history groups.

Shaun Cohen: Shaun is a member of the Ford-Maguire Society.  The Society is named after two notable Leeds socialist pioneers Isabella Ford and Tom Maguire.  Shaun’s particular interest is the radical history of Leeds.  He has researched widely into the Luddite revolutionary tradition.

Admission to the event is free and there will be a free buffet.

Fraternally

Alan Stewart

Convenor, Wakefield Socialist History Group

01924 360565

July

5 8th Annual NSSN Conference – Conway Hall – 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL

12 Durham Miners Gala 2014 visit Durham Miners’ Association official website here

18-20 Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival – Tolpuddle, near Dorchester, Dorset visit Tolpuddle Martyrs museum here

October

18 TUC demonstration in London – ‘Britain Needs a Pay Rise’. It will begin with a march through central London, culminating in a rally in Hyde Park read more here

 

CONTACT US

PHONE 07952 283 558

EMAIL mailto:info@shopstewards.net

 

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ADDRESS NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE