NSSN 224: 2015 opens up with mass London bus strike!

January 7, 2015 in Bulletins

On Tuesday January 13th, over 27,000 London busworkers in Unite will be going on strike across the capital. The NSSN sends solidarity to these workers and their union. One of the workers explains why they are taking action:-

“Since 1994/95 when London Buses were privatised we have seen attacks on our pay and terms and conditions by operating companies eager to increase profits at any cost.  The last seven years have been the most ruthless with bus workers having to endure miniscule pay ‘rises’ which in real terms have led to pay cuts due to inflation.  We arrive at our place of work with the constant fear of abuse from the management or supervisors and the fear of getting written warnings for just about anything. The tremendous anger that many bus workers face is reflected in last September’s London demo and the marvellous 85% yes vote in favour of industrial action in the ballot. The strike by workers in three garages at Tower Transit over the holiday season was a massive success with 150 drivers on one of the picket lines! This action has forced management back to the negotiating table.

“There is a huge disparity in pay, terms and conditions across the 17 different bus operating companies who each have up to 5 different pay scales for drivers all doing exactly the same job.  Hourly rates can vary by as much as £6.00 per hour with the lowest being £9.75ph to the highest at £15.26ph.  When drivers first start their job they may have to stay at the low rate for up to 5 years before moving up the ladder to the higher rates.  This of course is a ludicrous situation and we support the current campaign of Sector Wide Negotiation (SWN) to get one Pay Scale and one set of terms and conditions – the best! – for all London bus workers. The fantastic victorious strike in 2012 that won the Olympic bonus shows that London busworkers are prepared to fight and win and we can win now.”

 

 

A New Year’s message from BFAWU President Ian Hodson here

 

 

NSSN News

The famous pink NSSN £10 minimum wage t-shirts are still available. Email us to order – £8 each. We have the following sizes: women – small, medium, large, XL and men – small, medium, large, XL, XXL

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

Download the new ‘Join the NSSN’ leaflet here

Midlands NSSN Conference – Saturday March 14th 2015 Unite Offices, Birmingham download leaflet

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

Unite

Woolwich ferry workers in strike vote (Jan 6) – Unite, the country’s biggest union, is today calling on the operator of the Woolwich Free Ferry Service, Briggs Marine to get around the negotiating table to avoid major disruption to users of the popular Thames river crossing , as a strike ballot of ferry workers opens. Around 27 ferry workers, including the ship’s crew, electricians and road traffic teams are being balloted for strike action over pay disparities, the use of agency staff and operator Briggs Marine’s mis-interpretation of its sick pay policy. The ballot closes on Friday 16 January read more

Unite Wins Recognition at Look Ahead Unite members at Look Ahead, led by representative Dom Rollin, have won recognition for Unite at Look Ahead’s four Hackney projects. This is a significant victory and was conceded by management following the threat of industrial action. As reported previously, the seven-day strike threat also secured a repeal of plans to cut the pay of TUPEd staff read more

Four week strike to hit sales of world famous Barbour jackets, warns Unite (30 Dec) – Barbour jackets at renowned retailers such as Harrods, Harvey Nichols and John Lewis could be in short supply over the coming weeks because of a four week strike warned Britain’s largest union, Unite. The warning came as the union announced that workers at J Barbour and Son Ltd would be striking from Monday 5 January – Friday 30 January over forced changes to their contracts. The changes include the removal of the unsocial hours payment and the introduction of a requirement to work until 11 o’clock at night. The Gateshead company, which prides itself on ‘family values’, was accused by the union of being ‘anti-family’ with its sign or be sacked ultimatum. Workers on less than the living wage, many with family and caring responsibilities, face being sacked if they don’t sign up to the new contracts by 30 January. The three week strike follows a six day stoppage earlier in December and will see Unite members striking from 07:30 to 13:00 hours Monday to Friday from 5 January – 30 January read more   See photo

 

RMT

Waterloo strike action suspended to allow for talks (5 Jan) – Rail union RMT said today that a further phase of strike action by cleaners working for Interserve at Waterloo, due to start tomorrow at 5am, has been suspended to allow for talks with the company to take place read more

Renationalise mail distribution – Save City Link jobs! (Dec 31) – Almost 3,000 City Link workers are facing the New Year dole queue as the company is going into administration. The RMT union represents these workers and expects them to receive redundancy notices on New Year’s Eve! But because the firm is going bankrupt, workers will only receive statutory payments of a maximum of nearly £14,000 for decades of service while most will get far less read more    See NSSN photos of Coventry protest

Remaining 300 City Link staff to be sacked from today (Jan 7) read more from RMT website

 

FBU

Blog: We are not going away (Jan 2) – 2014 has been a year of protest, demonstration and struggle for firefighters. As we enter a new year I would like to pay tribute to all those members who have been solidly campaigning throughout the year for a fair pension settlement or against cuts to our service. Politicians will know by know how passionate and knowledgeable we are about this cause having taken another 24 hour period of strike action on 9 December. Our message is clear; we are not going away read more

Firefighters lost around £600 of pay due to the last year’s 4-day strike. The National Shop Stewards Network appeals for hardship collections to be taken to local fire stations in support of the dispute. The national FBU hardship fund bank account details are: Sort code 08-60-01 Account number 20034726 FBU solidarity & financial appeal

 

GMB

New Year NHS Strikes Loom In Pay Dispute (Dec 23) – New Year two day strike looms in Ambulance Service and 12 hours strike in rest of NHS in England and Northern Ireland in pay dispute. New Year will bring a regrettable escalation of the strike action as staff have been left with no alternative with no meaningful talks in prospect says GMB. GMB members in the ambulance service in England and Northern Ireland are considering a 48 hour continuous strike in the New Year as part of an escalation of strike action with other health unions in the pay dispute in the NHS. The two day stoppage by GMB members in the ambulance service, should it go ahead, will commence at 12 noon on January 29th and will continue until 12 noon on 31st January

 

UCU

Countdown to all-out strike action in Lambeth College contracts row (6 Jan) – Union urges college to engage in serious negotiations to end dispute. UCU members at Lambeth College will walk out tomorrow and Thursday this week as part of their ongoing dispute over contract changes. The deadline to avoid all-out strike action is fast-approaching, with union members at the college set to walk out indefinitely from Monday 19 January. This week’s two-day walkout follows on from six days’ action in December. There is a three-day walkout planned next week (Tuesday 13 – Thursday 15 January) and the all-out action will begin on Monday 19 January if no agreement can be reached read more

 

PCS

Fat Cat Tuesday underlines need for action on pay (6 Jan) – Just 2 days into the first full working week of the year the pay of top bosses surpasses the amount the average UK worker is expected to earn during the whole of the year. By the end of today, the UK’s top bosses will have made more money in 2015 than the average UK worker earns in an entire year, according to calculations by independent think-tank the High Pay Centre read more

Ballot for action at National Gallery (24 Dec) – Our members opposing privatisation at the world renowned National Gallery will ballot for action after we suspended planned strikes. The walkouts planned for 27 and 29 December and 3 January had been challenged by the employer under this country’s notoriously restrictive trade union laws. So we have decided to ballot the workers at the gallery for strikes in the New Year read more

 

Unison

Further education members in Wales vote to strike over pay (Jan 5) – UNISON members working in further education across Wales have voted overwhelmingly in favour of taking industrial action in response to the employers’ pay proposals. UNISON will be meeting with other further education trade unions tomorrow (6 January) to consider the employers’ revised pay offer of 1%. Further information will be made available as soon as possible after the meeting read more

 

NUT

Rally for Education 10 February – Join us and help ensure that support for the NUT education manifesto continues to grow as we near the General Election. The rally is a chance to hear from a number of high-profile speakers, including NUT General Secretary Christine Blower and children’s author Michael Rosen.

Date: Tuesday 10 February 2015

Time: 6pm

Venue: NUT Headquarters, Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, London, WC1H 9BD

Please confirm your attendance by emailing manifesto@nut.org.uk

 

NUJ

Statement of support for National Union of Journalists at the Yorkshire Weekly Newspaper Group (YWNG) in the face of job cuts at the Batley and Birstall News, Dewsbury Reporter, Hemsworth and South Elmsall Express, Mirfield Reporter, Morley Observer and Advertiser, Pontefract and Castleford Express, Spenborough Guardian and Wakefield Express.

We, the undersigned, join local members of the National Union of Journalists in condemning the decision by Johnston Press Yorkshire to make staff photographers on its weekly newspapers redundant and to cut up to 19 more editorial posts.

The professional photographers employed made a valuable contribution to the print and online news and sports coverage published by the Yorkshire Weekly Newspaper Group’s titles: Batley and Birstall News, Dewsbury Reporter, Hemsworth and South Elmsall Express, Mirfield Reporter, Morley Observer and Advertiser, Pontefract and Castleford Express, Spenborough Guardian, and Wakefield Express.

The four highly-skilled photographers made redundant – Jake Oakley, Diane Allen, Andrew Bellis and John Clifton – had given a total of more than 40 years’ loyal service to the company. Without them, the quality of the titles they work for and their standing in the communities they serve will be irreparably damaged.

In the past four years, the company has shut seven of its eight district offices, with the remaining Wakefield office closed to the public. An endless cycle of voluntary redundancy schemes, restructuring and non-replacement of roles has seen the number of editorial staff on the eight papers cut from 52 to 23.

Not only is this taking jobs directly from the communities the papers serve, but it is undermining the ability of those left to provide comprehensive, quality coverage that is vital to local democracy and which readers deserve.

We are alarmed that this pattern is set to continue with up to 19 jobs to be cut from titles across Yorkshire by the end of March, despite the continued profitability of the company.

Who will cover local elections, council meetings and the courts if this constant stripping away of resources continues? Who will be left to run campaigns like the Wakefield Express’ fight to get Kirkgate train station refurbished and staffed; the Reporter Series’ Dignity in Care campaign; the Morley Observer’s Shop Local campaign, or the Fair Share drive by the Pontefract and Castleford Express and Hemsworth and South Elmsall Express to get more investment in the areas surrounding Wakefield?

While regional managers are tasked with cutting yet more jobs, Johnston Press chief executive Ashley Highfield could earn a bonus of up to 180 per cent of his £400,000 basic salary in 2014 and chief financial officer David King could earn up to 150 per cent of his £250,000 basic salary in 2014. This would amount to almost £1.1m – enough to pay the annual salaries of around 65 junior reporters, 52 senior reporters or 43 news editors on weekly titles like those at YWNG.

We join NUJ members at Yorkshire Weekly Newspaper Group in calling on Mr Highfield and Mr King to forgo any bonus in 2014 and instead allow that money to be invested in improving staff in struggling newsrooms.

We also urge Johnston Press Yorkshire to work with the NUJ and all editorial staff to find an alternative to yet more job cuts and to ensure that our communities continue to have papers of which they can be proud.

 

BFAWU / Fast Food Rights

See video of lobby of Parliament on November 21st in support of Ian Mearns MP’s private member’s bill on zero-hour contracts here

Write to your MP to support Ian Mearns’s EDM 573 – young workers and level of national minimum wage here

Reports of Fast Food Rights protests on Youth Fight for Jobs website and Fast Food Rights website

Please send details of any local actions to fastfoodrights@mail.com / ian.hodson@bfawu.org see BFAWU video

 

 

Other news

TUC DIPLOMA EMPLOYMENT LAW COURSE at the WEA starting January 2015 at Light Project International

1st Floor, Orkney House 195-199 Caledonian Road London N1 0AF

(The Light Project Pro International is located at the junction of Caledonian Road and Copenhagen Street and is a 10/15 minutes’ walk from King’s Cross Station, and also close to Caledonian Road & Barnsbury London Overground Station, and Caledonian Road Underground and on 17, 19 and 259 bus routes)

COURSE DATES

36 day course, one day a week, Fridays, over 3 terms – 9.30a.m – 4.30pm

Term 1 9th JANUARY – 27th MARCH 2015

Term 2 1st MAY – 17th JULY 2015

Term 3 18th SEPTEMBER – 4th DECEMBER 2015

To apply please fill in the application form overleaf and return to

Monica Gort, WEA London Region, 4 Luke Street, London EC2A 4XW

For further information please contact Monica on 0207 426 1976

or mgort@wea.org.uk

 

Blacklisting & Victimisation

Blacklist Support Group financial appeal: the Blacklist support group is desperately short of funds, to continue the incredible work in 2015 we need more finance, would you please consider making a donation, raise it at your branches and trade councils . Please make cheques payable to Joint sites committee and send to 70 Darnay Rise Chelmsford Essex CM1 4XA. Please forward onto your contacts many thanks Steve Kelly (JSC Treasurer)

 

Blacklist Support Group update 18th Dec 2014 – High Court latest, parliamentary meeting and book announcement

  1. High Court trial

It was a very long day in the High Court bogged down in procedural arguments about disclosure of documents, methodology about calculating financial loss and legal timetables.

Key points:

  • High Court judge, Justice Supperstone has been appointed to oversee the case.
  • The firms have until late January to disclose documentation they hold about their involvement in the Consulting Association. They had already been asked by the ICO and the Scottish Affairs Select Committee to do a search for such documents – so the task should be relatively easy. We await to see what they will provide.
  • The court was told that the first 131 claimants have a total schedule of loss in excess of £14 million, an average of £121,000.
  • The court was told if successful, that any final compensation payment would also include damages for defamation to character, hurt to feelings and human rights violations – which could potentially be higher than the loss of earnings
  • There are currently around 300 claimants in the case, with more joining the Group Litigation every day.
  • The next court date is set for Feb 13th February 2015
  1. Blacklist Support Group parliamentary meeting

 

Ian Davidson MP, chair of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee and John McDonnell MP addressed the parliamentary meeting. The BSG thanked and put on record their genuine appreciation for the work that both MPs and others on the Scottish Affairs Select Committee have played in highlighting the issue of blacklisting.

  • Ian Davidson MP said that the committee would be taking further evidence from witnesses and expect to produce a third report on the scandal by March 2015 which would be of interest to any local authorities wishing to bar blacklisting firms from public contracts.
  • Howard Beckett, UNITE Legal Director told the meeting that back in 2009-10, the Blacklist Support Group were the only people doing any real campaigning on the issue but the unions have now caught up. He called the compensation scheme a “complete and utter whitewash”. Commenting on the High Court he said the union wanted to see company directors forced to give evidence under oath. He suggested that the claimants legal teams, UNITE, GMB, UCATT and GCR solicitors should work together more closely to pool resources.
  • Justin Bowden, GMB National Officer told the meeting that the union would continue to expose the names of those responsible for blacklisting with its Crocodile Tears tour. He called the compensation scheme a cheap publicity stunt that no one should accept unless they are financial hardship and even then only after having got full legal advice from the lawyers.
  • Dave Smith told told the meeting that it was the involvement of the police that would be the crucial factor in winning a public inquiry. He named 5 police officers from different undercover police units that were involved in spying on trade union members on the Consulting Association blacklist.
  • John McDonnell MP summed up the meeting by telling people that the state had always infiltrated the union movement since its inception and that “blacklisting is one of the biggest conspiracies against working people for a century – and we will prove it!” He said the fact that the Labour Party was now committed to an inquiry of they win the election is a measure of the success the campaign has had.

 

  1. Blacklisted book

 

Phil Chamberlain and Dave Smith are pleased to announce that their book: Blacklisted: the secret war between big business and union activists, will finally be in the shops in March 2015 published by New Internationalist. The announcement was made on the twitter account @blacklistedbook and at the Blacklist Support Group meeting in parliament.

‘Blacklisted’ is available in paperback and ebook versions. Available to pre-order now: http://newint.org/books/politics/blacklisted-secret-war/

 

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

Blog: www.hazards.org/blacklistblog

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

 

 

International (also see Labourstart)

5-day strike in Coal India starts today read more

 

Diary (see & use false economy)

January

17 Meeting on fighting Umbrella companies, zero-hour contracts and Swedish derogation 12.30pm-2.30pm Acklam Green Centre, Stainsby Road, Middlesbrough TS5 4JS

 

February

7 South East Region TUC is hosting a conference with the Anti-Academies Alliance at Congress House, London.  The theme is equity, equality and education: securing the future of a better state education for all.  Confirmed speakers include ATL leader Mary Bousted, Kevin Coutney of the NUT,  Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Party, Professor Gus John, Bill Esterson MP, Zoe Williams of the Guardian and Jonathan Simons who leads on education for the right wing think tank Policy Exchange.  All welcome, but please register by phone 020 7467 1220

 

CONTACT US

PHONE 07952 283 558

EMAIL mailto:info@shopstewards.net
FACEBOOK NSSN GROUP or STOP The CUTS Likes page
ADDRESS NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE