NSSN 235: Reinstate sacked Crossrail workers & defend anti-blacklist campaigner

March 24, 2015 in Bulletins

Blacklist Support Group secretary Dave Smith was arrested on the peaceful protest of 40 construction workers and their supporters outside the Construction News Awards in the Hilton Hotel in Park Lane last Wednesday evening. The protestors, who had a token stopping of the traffic, were highlighting the disgraceful sacking of workers on the Crossrail project for raising health and safety concerns. For example, this happened at Whitechapel where workers were ‘let go’ because they wanted torches attached to their helmets, yet days later 13 workers had falls because it was too dark! After a protest there on February 23rd there was a vigil outside St Pancras Coroner’s Court as there was an inquest into the tragic death last year of Crossrail worker Rene Tkacik. Over the last month there have been numerous protests with thousands of leaflets given out explaining that Crossrail is the biggest public sector project in Western Europe costing £15billion, which is putting £millions of profits into the pockets of the construction companies yet workers are treated like dirt!

On Wednesday, the police were far more heavy-handed and we were suspicious that they looked like they were singling out Dave. His new book ‘Blacklisted’ has exposed the role of ‘Spy-Cops’, where undercover police infiltrated protest groups of construction workers and anti-racist campaigners. The book also reveals the incredible extent of how the building companies illegally blacklisted workers, particularly in construction , often for the very ‘crime’ of making the sites safe. Scandalously, last week, Dave lost a test case because he was employed by an agency, yet that is actually one of the evils of the industry that keeps workers’ wages down. The police had promised protestors that Dave would be released from the police van as the protest had left the road but then drove him to Paddington Green station where he was detained for 6 hours before being released in the early hours of the morning. NNSN supporters went to the station, which closed at 6pm! There was a tremendous campaign on social media and supporters phoning the police station. He was eventually charged with obstructing the highway.

As Dave himself said on release, ““A massive ‘Thank You’ for all the solidarity and support tonight. When multinational construction firms sack our safety reps and collude with the police to blacklist union members, they get away scot free. But if we protest about it, we get arrested.”

There is a protest in support of Dave Smith this Friday outside Marylebone Magistrates Court 181 Marylebone Road NW1 5QJ – assemble at 8am, the case starts at 9am. Also, there are daily morning protests and leafleting outside the Bond St site from 7.30am. Please support. Follow #Crossrail and #Crossfail on twitter to keep up with the latest developments.

See ReelNews video of protest and Dave’s arrest here

See ReelNews video trailer of the book ‘Blacklisted’ here

 

Read an interview with sacked Crossrail worker

 

 

NSSN News

‘Stop the union-busters!’ Advanced notice: this year’s NSSN conference, our 9th, will be on Saturday July 4th in Conway Hall in London. Confirmed speakers include Mark Serwotka PCS General Secretary download leaflet

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

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

PCS

Download new NSSN leaflet supporting PCS from the government’s attacks: ‘Stop the union busters!’ here

National Gallery staff are on strike again this week – Support the picket lines at the gallery from 24 to 28 March, 9am to 11am (Friday also 5pm to 6.30pm) •Day of action Thursday 26 March, with a rally outside the gallery at 1pm

‘Cynical’ timing to announce new National Gallery director (18 March) – The National Gallery has chosen one of the busiest news days of the year to confirm speculation about its new director. Gabriele Finaldi had for weeks been tipped as Nicholas Penny’s replacement but the announcement has been slipped out as George Osborne prepares to deliver his final budget. Our members at the gallery were on strike again at the weekend and will walk out for another five days next week over plans to privatise all the gallery’s visitor services read more

For latest on National Gallery dispute against privatisation and the suspension of PCS rep Candy Udwin go to PCS Culture Group website and  follow @PCSCultureGroup @NGNotForSale #NationalGallery #ReinstateCandy on Twitter Donate to the strike fund, using sort code 08/60/01 and account no: 20169002, or cheques to PCS Culture Media and Sport Association, c/o PCS North West Region, Jack Jones House,1 Islington, Liverpool L3 8EG •Write to the chair of trustees Mark Getty

 

RMT

Strike in victimisation dispute on First Great Western (March 24) – RAIL UNION RMT confirmed today that there will be strike action in a victimisation dispute on First Great Western. The announcement comes the day after FGW were awarded a contract extension in a move described by RMT as a “grotesque reward for failure by a toxic company which treats it’s staff like dirt.” In the dispute, which involved a member of train crew fitted up and victimised by the company, a ballot has already been held and delivered an overwhelming mandate for action read more

Demo against ticket office closures: day of action Friday 27th March (March 23) – Transport for London is pressing ahead with closing all London Underground ticket offices and is doing so without consulting passengers or adequately trialling the impact first. This is in order that closed ticket offices can be leased out to retail businesses, a short-sighted step that will exacerbate already dangerously high and rising peak passenger through-flow read more   See details of protests on HOLT website

Ballot for Industrial Action at Royal Fleet Auxiliary (21 March) – Following lengthy discussions between RMT and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary – the supply arm of the Royal Navy – RMT members have rejected the proposed Future Development Programme. As a result of the RFA’s intention to proceed with implementation of the programme without agreement from RMT, a dispute situation exists between our organisations, and the union has confirmed that it will be balloting members for industrial action read more

Dismissal, P. Caspall, train manager, Penzance – FGW (19 March) – RMT Calls Strike Action and Action Short of a Strike read more

Redundancy, D. Johanssen – Hull Trains: Important Information: All Strike Action Cancelled (19 March) read more

 

Unite

Budget 2015 – The Reality For Local Government: Ballots For Strike Action In Croydon, Hackney, Bromley and Lewisham (March 19) – The reality for local government is one far removed from the triumphalist grand standing of George Osborne in parliament yesterday. There is no hint of recovery for London Councils who continue to drive through austerity measures that are hitting council workers and the services they provide – and hitting them hard. But these workers are fighting back. Unite The Trade Union has begun co-ordinating action across the capital in a fight against austerity and is calling for “a fair deal for local government”. Council workers in Hackney, Bromley and Croydon are currently being balloted for strike action. Preparations are also under way to begin a ballot at Lewisham Council. The union is now consulting its branches in its London and Eastern region with a view to adding to the list. Unite Regional Officer Onay Kasab stated: “We make no secret of the fact that we are building toward co-ordinated action to defend jobs, pay and services in London – because that is what is required. There is a co-ordinated attack on public services – it needs the appropriate response”

Angry strikers set to escalate dispute (March 13) – 250 Bridgwater fruit-juice makers resolve to see out their David and Goliath struggle against foreign-owned company to bitter end. Fifty Unite the Union demonstrators, a familiar sight at the Express Park roundabout at the north end of the Bristol Rd in Bridgwater for months now, were still in determined mood yesterday. This was their seventh 36-hour strike protest against plans by Refresco-Gerber to radically worsen pay and conditions at the factory, which produces household-name fruit juices. At least three more stoppages have been planned for the next two weeks   VIDEO: Gerber Foods staff form picket line in continued protest over job cuts and contract changes

 

FBU

Essex emergency control staff lobby parliament over anti-family shifts and safety fears (March 19) – Emergency control staff from Essex were in parliament on budget day Wednesday lobbying MPs over anti-family working shifts whilst also highlighting public safety fears over failing IT mobilising systems. It coincided with the end of a nine day strike in Essex over an imposed work shift system which has meant their day shift has been extended from nine to 12 hours despite there being cost-neutral alternatives on the table. The 12-hour shifts severely affect those emergency control staff who have child caring responsibilities and has led to some mothers being forced out of the workplace read more   Essex FBU Hardship fund details: ‘Essex fire brigades union hardship fund’ Account no. 086001 20292568

 

POA

POA leadership are outraged at nil pay award for 80% of prison staff (March 12) – The initial reaction of the POA is one of outrage regarding a pay cut for the vast majority of their members read more    See POA video

 

NUT

Marching to Stop Academies in Lewisham (March 22) – The battle over the future of the three schools in the Prendergast Federation is now having to step up another gear. The Governing Board have announced that their ‘formal consultation’ starts tomorrow, to end by May 18th…The consultation announcement was answered with a demonstration through Lewisham and Ladywell yesterday lunchtime. Organised at short notice, around three hundred staff, students and parents gathered at Lewisham Clock Tower to march to a rally on Hilly Fields, next to Prendergast School read more

Joint Union Statement released on strike action on March 24-25 as Lewisham Governors start academy ‘consultation’ (March 19)   read more

 

GMB

Nuneaton Academy Strike Ballot (March 20) – GMB ballot for industrial action at Nuneaton Academy in dispute over support staff job losses read more

Barking and Dagenham council strikers shocked (March 18) – GMB members on strike against £1,000 wage cut shocked at new spending on security guards and dogs at picket lines. GMB members have received massive support from local residents who understand perfectly that a wage cut of any size, let alone £1000 a year, is a cut too far for families that have already suffered a drop in earnings since the start of the recession in 2008 read more

 

CWU

Anxious times at Fujitsu as CWU warns of ‘race to the bottom’ (March 23) – A period of major upheaval at Fujitsu is drawing to its conclusion with nearly 2,500 employees due to be transferred to various new employers at the end of the month. Most of the transfers stem from Fujitsu losing a contract to conduct residential installation work for Virgin Media read more

 

UCU

Strike action ballot at University of Dundee over job losses (20 March) – Members of UCU at the University of Dundee are being balloted for strike action in a row over job losses. The university plans to get rid of 70 posts, on top of 55 that it axed last year. The ballot closes at 12pm on Monday 13 April 2015 read more

UCU members lead lobby of MPs over college cuts (18 March) – College lecturers are descending on Parliament today to lobby their MPs over plans to slash budgets for further education. The cuts will see college budgets reduced by an average of 17%. However, because of protections on apprenticeship funding, the budget for other types of adult education will be cut by up to 24% read more

 

Unison

Care Workers to take strike action 25, 26, 27 March (Mar 19) –  UNISON members working for Your Choice Barnet (YCB) have agreed to escalate their strike action next week to three days, 25, 26 27 March. This will make a total of 11 days of strike action since the dispute began. This is in a bid to reverse the harsh 9.5% pay cut imposed on them by their employer read more

 

BFAWU

A short animation including some researched facts can be found here 

Go to the new BFAWU website here

SERTUC’s East of England Trade Union Network has organised a public meeting in Bury St Edmonds on Sat March 28 to campaign for £10/hr minimum wage and to make this year’s May Day £10 min wage day details here

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

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

 

 

Other news

National day of action on TTIP, 18th April 2015 – Dear All, we are writing on behalf of our newly formed Bristol group of Global Justice Now. TTIP is one of our main campaigning interests and we are aware of the upcoming day of action on 18th April. We know that various actions are planned across that the country, but are not aware of anything happening in Bristol yet. We have managed to book a meeting to discuss in detail the form a Bristol-based action could take, and invite any organisation with a campaigning interest in TTIP to join us. We would like to plan an action in collaboration with as many like-minded groups as possible, and to hear what plans any other groups may already have. We would very much like you to come along. The meeting will take place next Thursday 26th at 5.30 pm at Hamilton House. We realise this is short notice, but would like to get something away as soon as possible, given how close the day of action is. Please get in touch by email on the address below if anybody from your organisation would like to attend.

Hope to see you there – Tom Stedall  stedall@mailbolt.com 07881530422

 

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 – 20th March 2015

  1. Arrest at Crossrail safety / blacklisting protest

http://youtu.be/eLuP7iYDAfg

https://usilive.org/breaking-blacklisted-author-handcuffed-and-thrown-into-police-van/

https://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-2601-Arrest-will-only-us-spur-on,-say-blacklisting-activists

http://guy-smallman-photos.photoshelter.com/gallery/The-Passion-of-Dave-Smith/G0000Ve7Gt.8oUic

 

Dave Smith commented:

“Massive ‘Thank You’ for all the solidarity and support. When multinational construction firms sack our safety reps and collude with the police to blacklist union members, they get away scot free. But if we dare to protest about it, we get arrested.

When I was arrested on Wednesday night, they were attacking our democratic right to peaceful protest. I was taken to Paddington Green police station, that was officially closed at the time and where the Met Police deal with terrorist suspects. I was charged with obstructing the highway and released at midnight.

Half way through the evening, the attitude of the police officers changed considerably. Suddenly I was offered cups of tea and my lawyer was contactable on the phone (when they couldn’t get hold of him earlier). I imagine this was because of the solidarity from all those who called the police on my behalf. I must especially thank John McDonnell MP for repeatedly chasing the Met on Wednesday night. We often think that those little things make no difference. But I can assure you, it did to me. It gives a boost to know that comrades and friends are covering my back. If they thought that by arresting me, that we would go away, they were very much mistaken”.

 

  1. Court of Appeal judgement says agency workers are not protected against blacklisting. Parliament needs to scrap the ‘necessity test’

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/no-hope-justice-blacklist-victim-5359392

https://usilive.org/this-may-be-the-law-but-its-not-justice-blacklisted-worker-loses-court-case-on-technicality/

 

  1. Two weeks ago, the Blacklist Support Grop challenged every prospective parliamentary candidate to say where they stand on our call for a full public inquiry into blacklisting. A half-hearted investigation by a senior civil servant at BIS or a QC will not suffice. Only a full Leveson style public inquiry will fully expose the sordid details of this national scandal.

Since then, blacklisting has made front page headlines and had double page spreads in the Guardian, Mirror and Morning Star on multiple occasions. Revelations about undercover police spying on trade unions and the lack of any legal redress via employment tribunals for blacklisted workers is causing waves in the media.

John McDonnell, Ian Davidson, Jim Sheridan, Steve Rotheram, Michael Meacher, Jeremy Corbyn, Neil Findlay and a handful of other principled politicians have made public announcements calling for a full public inquiry into blacklisting. Blacklisted construction workers are the very definition of the core working class vote. A few weeks before the General Election – have any senior politicians got any comment to make about the lack of legal redress, police collusion or the public inquiry?

 

4.Official Secrets Act

The Official Secrets Act is being used by those in authority to stop police officers talking about child sex abuse by senior politicians, military and security service officers. This is an absolute disgrace!

The ex-undercover police officer turned whistleblower, Peter Francis, who is interviewed in the ‘Blacklisted’ book is also being threatened with jail if he talks about the role of the police in blacklisting and his own role in spying on trade unions and bereaved relatives such as the Lawrence family. These whistleblowers need to be protected if we are ever going to explode the establishment cover-up. This link is to an online petition to give Peter Francis immunity from prosecution if he gives evidence in a court case or to a public inquiry – BSG urge all our supporters to sign the petition.

http://us2.campaign-archive1.com/?u=d81353f7172e7900ef160e470&id=a21f2240c6&e=2c5a85ef18

 

  1. Blacklisted Book – Reviews & Press:

http://thejusticegap.com/2015/03/blacklisted-the-secret-war-between-big-business-and-union-activists/

http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/blacklisted-james-poulter-192

http://socialistworker.co.uk/art/40170/Blacklisted%3A+How+workers+are+taking+on+the+building+firms+spying+racket

http://socialistunity.com/blacklisted-the-secret-war-against-trade-unionists/

 

Some Waterstones shops have sold out of blacklisted book already. The #blacklistedbook selfies are appearing all over social media. Trolls have been busy posting pro-blacklisting messages on book websites and social media. Is this what media consultants get paid for nowadays? Sad people. You can help the campaign by posting messages on websites for newspapers running the story or New Internationalist / Amazon.

 

  1. This week:

Tuesday 24th – 6:30pm – Defend the Right to Protest – SOAS – https://www.facebook.com/events/1566534376937781/

Wednesday 25th – 9am – in support of Cardiff spycops case at Royal Courts of Justice – https://www.facebook.com/events/928272020537838/

Thursday 26th – London Hazards Centre – Blacklisted book event (flyer here)

Friday 227th – 9am – Westminster Magistrates Court, 181 Marylebone Rd, NW1 5BR – Dave Smith in court.

 

  1. Teeside Activists – there is a major industrial battle brewing in Teesdide over employers attempts to undermine the terms and conditions in the national collective bargaining agreement known as the Blue Book. There have been large scale protests for the past 4-5 weeks. For more info and updates about this weeks demos contact: https://www.facebook.com/teesside.activists

 

  1. Bob Carnegie – legendary Auz union activist – UK Tour

The Australian construction union activist Bob Carnegie is visiting the UK from 9-21 May. Bob was an ex-BLF official and steward on many sites since the 1980s. Last year he was threatened with jail for his role in during a site occupation during a major CFMEU dispute. The Australian unions mobilized thousands in support of him and eventually he was victorious. It is a significant victory for the unions.

Bob will be attending events with the Blacklist Support Group and the Construction Rank & File. If any supporters have pre-panned meetings where Bob could attend and speak, that would be fantastic. Please contact us to arrange.

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

Blog: www.hazards.org/blacklistblog

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

 

International (also see Labourstart)

Sri Lanka: Affiliate to Tamil Solidarity read here

 

 

Diary (see & use false economy)

March

28 SERTUC’s East of England Trade Union Network has organised a public meeting in Bury St Edmonds on to campaign for £10/hr minimum wage and to make this year’s May Day £10 min wage day details here

 

April

15 Global Fast Food workers day of action

18 1pm Wakefield Socialist History Group meeting on DEMOCRACY AND THE MEDIA: STRUGGLES FOR MEDIA PLURALISM PAST AND PRESENT – speakers: Don Mort, NUJ “Chapel Rep” for the Yorkshire Weekly Newspaper Group and Granville Williams, member of the National Council of the Campaign for Broadcasting Freedom. We will also be showing Lindsay Anderson’s great 1952 documentary “Wakefield Express.” Admission is free and there is a free light buffet.

28 International Workers Memorial Day

 

June

20 People’s Assembly anti-austerity demonstration in London details here

 

July

4 ‘Stop the union-busters!’ 9th annual NSSN conference – Conway Hall in London

11 Durham Miners’ Gala details here

17-19 Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival details here

 

 

CONTACT US

PHONE 07952 283 558

EMAIL mailto:info@shopstewards.net

 

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ADDRESS NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE