May 12, 2015 in Bulletins
Thousands of trade union reps and activists are trying to make sense of the general election result that has ushered in another 5 years of Tory rule – except this time without any LibDem cover. But we don’t believe that this is a strong government. The Tories only increased their vote by 0.8% and have a wafer thin majority.
But left to their own devices, Cameron, Osborne & co (now including Boris) will try and unleash a new wave of their austerity offensive, including £12bn of welfare cuts on the most vulnerable. They will also look to further attack democratic trade union rights, including thresholds on strike ballots. This from a government that had a 37% share of the vote with only 24% of the electorate putting an X next to the Tories!
1000s of trade unionists have already taken to the streets to demonstrate against the new Government and austerity across the UK.
From top to bottom, the trade union movement has to urgently discuss how we organise the resistance to more cuts and attacks on union rights, which could be put in the Queens’ Speech on May 28th. If so, there should be an emergency TUC general council where co-ordinated strike action, including a 24-hour general strike has to be at the core of the strategy. But we also need to build rank & file pressure on the union leaders.
This year’s NSSN conference is meeting in London on July 4th, two weeks after the June 20 anti-austerity demonstration called by the People’s Assembly. Our conference is open to everyone in the trade union and anti-cuts movements who are determined to organise the fightback against the Tories. Register today!
‘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, Ronnie Draper BFAWU General Secretary & Dave Smith anti-blacklisting campaigner. Download updated leaflet
The famous pink NSSN £10 minimum wage t-shirts are still available. Email us to order – £8 each. However we only have women’s sizes left in the following: small, medium, large, XL
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Scotland Unite and Unison indefinite strikes have been out for 7 weeks
The Dundee porters and the Glasgow Homeless case workers are holding a joint rally this Thursday 12.30pm at Glasgow City council chambers
Defend public services and the right to organise in a trade union in Bromley – The Council have made the decision to privatise every part of the borough that they can get away with. By no coincidence, they have also proposed withdrawing all trade union facilities with immediate effect. Our members have taken 10 days of strike action so far with more action to follow. From 13th to 18th May, members in the Transport Services section will take strike action. This will be followed by a branch wide strike on May 19. While all local authorities are facing the effects of austerity and the impact of 5 years of further Tory cuts, our members in Bromley are now engaged in one of the most important campaigns against privatisation in the Region. It is also the case that facility time is under attack in workplaces across the country. But the attack on public services and trade union facilities in Bromley is an advance party for what awaits all other local authorities. Unite is leading the way in Bromley. Our public campaign against Library privatisation has won massive support from the community. Our members in Adults Services are taking strike action to defend services for vulnerable adults. Bromley Council has £300 Million available for the provision of services. But it chooses instead to use the money to speculate on property while cutting services.
- Send a message of support and donation to the campaign. These can be sent via me. Cheques should be made payable to Bromley Unite.
- Support the Lobby of Greenwich Council to demand that GSPlus pulls out of the privatisation process! 6pm to 7pm, 13th May. Town Hall, Wellington St, Woolwich SE18
- Support the branch strike on 19th May – come to the picket line: 7.30 am to 10 am 19th May Civic Centre Stockwell Close Bromley
- Join Our March on June 13! We are calling for a national mobilisation against the tory attack on public services and trade union rights. The branch is calling for support for a march through Bromley. Assemble 12 Noon, 13th June Norman Park Bromley Common BR2
National Waiters Day protest May 21st: No race to the bottom! – This is an Industry sponsored event, involving a race in Hyde Park for waiting staff. The day aims to incentivise people to enter the profession. What isn’t talked about are the poor conditions, poverty wages, anti-union attitudes, Zero Hours contracts and Service Charge fiddling by Management meaning you don’t actually get your full tips. On this day we plan to highlight the need for collective fightback, organisation and unions. We will be taking our protest to the birthplace of the Zero Hours Contract – the luxury Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane read more
Plan for 50 per cent voting threshold for industrial action ballots is ‘a terrible mistake’, Unite warns read more
Download NSSN leaflet supporting PCS from the government’s attacks: ‘Stop the union busters!’ here MARK Serwotka PCS General Secretary to speak at NSSN conference on July 4th
No Privatisation at National Gallery NATIONAL DEMONSTRATION Saturday 30 May 1pm Trafalgar Square read more
RMT members on Network Rail vote for strike action read more
RMT Engineering Branch Motion Joins Growing Call of Support For Glen Hart – This branch calls upon the RMT GGC to ballot all grades on LU for strike action and action short of a strike in the event that Glen Hart is dismissed, downgraded or given any warning for following instructions from RMT in the EJM dispute read more
Barking and Dagenham more strikes (May 11) – further 22 days strike between 13 may and 7th June by Barking and Dagenham refuse drivers over loss of £1,000 per year in regular pay. There is an elitism and imbalance within the Council in dealing with the impact of the dispute and the intransigence of leading councillors who caused it is having an adverse impact on residents says GMB. Over 100 GMB members employed as bin lorry drivers for Barking & Dagenham Council Environmental Services will take a further 22 days of strike action in a dispute over cut of £1,000 a year in regular contractual pay which arises from the council cutting corners on the safety of refuse vehicles. This is a cut to their regular pay not to overtime and as well as being a loss of £1,000 while at work will also impact on their pensions. There will be 13 days from 6am on Wednesday 13th May until 10pm on Monday 25 May followed by a further 9 days from 6am on Saturday 30th May to 10pm on Sunday 7th June read more
NEXT £1,000 Pay Cut For Sunday Working (May 11) – NEXT stores threat to sack long term staff who do not agree to £1,000 per year pay cut for working on Sunday. NEXT consider Sunday to be a normal working day and use that view to justify cutting pay for low paid for working that day which shows the company has a total disregard for family life says GMB. On Friday 8th May, the day after the General Election, GMB members employed by NEXT since before 2009 were told that they faced the threat of dismissal if they did not agree to a cut in pay of £1,000 for working on Sunday read more
Union response to Whistl End-to-End suspension (11 May) – Community, the recognised trade union at Whistl, says its members are ‘extremely worried for their futures’ as almost 2,000 employees at the UK’s second biggest postal services provider have been suspended pending a review of the future of the company’s end-to-end delivery business read more
Tata steelworkers fight for financial futures (May 10) – Hundreds of steelworkers put on a weekend show of strength in the latest phase of their ongoing pensions dispute with Tata Steel. Colleagues from Port Talbot, Trostre in Llanelli, Llanwern and the Orb works in Newport joined forces to fight for their financial futures from South Wales Evening Post
600 people join four libraries march across Barnet: “Pick yourself up, dust yourself down and start all over again!” (May 11) read more
Possible strikes at Leeds City and Bradford colleges in rows over job losses (11 May) – Both Leeds City College and Bradford College could be facing strike action in rows over job losses, resulting from plans by the colleges to cut budgets. UCU is making preparations for ballots for industrial action at both institutions read more
Staff at London Metropolitan University vote to strike over 165 job cuts (11 May) – Staff at London Metropolitan University have voted to strike in protest over 165 job cuts. Two thirds (67%) of UCU members at the north London university voted ‘yes’ to strike action, while 71% supported action short of a strike. UCU members will meet tomorrow (Tuesday) to discuss the next steps including strike action over the proposed job losses which will include academic and professional support staff. Members of sister union UNISON have taken part in a separate ballot which is due to close on Friday 22 May. Staff and students are also set to lobby London Metropolitan University’s board of governors tomorrow (Tuesday) from 4.30-6pm at Central House, 59-63 Whitechapel High Street, E1 7PF read more
UCU response to unsuccessful appeals in Bolton University sackings row, including May 16 protest (7 May) – UCU has reacted with amazement at the news that the University of Bolton has thrown out two appeals out against gross misconduct today (Thursday). The union said it will be instructing its lawyers to take up the case. The union said it was disappointed, but not surprised, that the university had chosen to sneak the news out at 5pm on election day – Following the announcement that their appeals have been unsuccessful, the campaign to reinstate Damien and Jennifer Markey continues with a march and rally on Saturday 16 May assembling at 10:30am at Queens Park car park, Gilnow Road, Bolton and marching to a rally in Town Hall Square at 12 noon read more
CWU responds to Whistl suspending delivery services (May 11) – Dave Ward Dave Ward, CWU general secretary-elect, said: “Our first reaction to this news is concern for the workers who have lost their jobs. This is of course a difficult time for them and their families and, coming less than six months after City Link folded, is the most recent effect of a crowded post and logistics market read more
Fantastic protest march in support of the Decency for Dunnes Workers campaign tonight in Newbridge (May 7) read more
A short animation including some researched facts about £10/hr can be found here
BFAWU bakers’ union General Secretary Ronnie Draper to speak at NSSN conference on July 4th
END AUSTERITY NOW – NATIONAL DEMONSTRATION SATURDAY 20TH JUNE – Assemble 12pm, Bank of England (Queen Victoria St) City of London
Nearest tube: Bank – Organised by The People’s Assembly read more
Thursday May 14, 7:30pm: Reel News housing special at Ryan’s bar, 181 Stoke newington church st N16 0UL…must see film of Barcelona anti-eviction movement, “Si se puede – 7 days with the PAH”, plus short films about Reclaim Brixton and the campaign to stop 165 job cuts at London Met University.Speakers, discussion and music till late…FREE!
Blacklisting & Victimisation
Buy the book ‘Blacklisted: The Secret War between Big Business and Union Activists’ Author: Dave Smith and Phil Chamberlain. Blacklisted tells the controversial story of the illegal strategies that transnational construction companies used to keep union activists away from work. See the official trailer from ReelNews
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)
Environmental activists support blacklisted workers in High Court battle book:
Environmental activists who were on a construction industry blacklist have spoken out in support of a High Court case against companies involved.
This coming Thursday 14th May 2015, the blacklisting group litigation (equivalent to a US style class-action) returns to the High Court with 500 blacklisted workers taking on over 40 of the UK’s largest construction companies.
The illegal system run by the Consulting Association was used by most of the big names in construction until it was exposed in 2009. More than 3,200 people had files detailing their instances of political activity, raising of health and safety concerns or trade union involvement. Information in the files was provided by the companies themselves as well as police. Whilst most were actual construction workers, with some having dossiers running to nearly 50 pages of personal details, over 200 environmental activists – known as the ‘greenlist’ – also had files.
When the Information Commissioners Office raided the Consulting Association in 2009 they only seized an index list of greenlist files, the files themselves were destroyed. This meant there is no evidence of what was in the files or which ones had been used to deny work to any individual, and so greenlisters’ lawyers advised against continuing the legal case.
Recently several of the companies who used the list set up a compensation scheme. It gives £4,000 to anyone who was on the list, more if they can show their files were used. It is capped at £100,000. With some workers denied a living for a decade or more, the maximum payout doesn’t even cover loss of earnings for many, let alone any interest of damages. Many of them, co-ordinated by the Blacklist Support Group, are boycotting the derisory compensation offer and are fighting on in the courts.
But for the greenlisters, the legal fight seems over. A number of them are accepting the money and made donations to the Blacklist Support Group’s cause. Greenlist activists statement said:
“Thanks to the incompetence of the Information Commissioners Office, only a fraction of the files were seized. Greenlisters only have a list of whose files existed. Had ours not been among those lost, we would have the chance to fight our legal case properly and to seek more answers. It was a breach of our right to privacy, to freedom of association, and our right to a unionised, safe workplace. But this paltry sum is the best we can hope for.
“Most of us were on the list because our details had been passed from brushes with the law in environmental protests. It seems likely that police were involved in supplying this information, and we note that the Independent Police Complaints Commission admit blacklist files contained information that can only have come – illegally – from police or security services. They worked not to uphold the law but in order to uphold corporate profit.
“Even if greenlisters did not suffer financial hardship from being on the list, that was not through want of trying on the part of the police and blacklisters. More than that the 3,000 construction workers suffered huge hardship over decades. This was a colossal conspiracy to invade people’s personal lives, the working class equivalent of phone hacking. We stand in solidarity with the blacklisted construction workers. We are proud to donate funds from the wrongdoers to the fightback against them. We hope it can help their court case get the truth and justice that has been denied to us.”
Blacklist Support Group Protest – 9:30am Thursday 14th May Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand London
Blacklisted book http://newint.org/books/politics/blacklisted-secret-war/
International (also see Labourstart)
Poland: 65,000 workers demonstrate against governments’ policies read more
Iran: New wave of arrests of labour activists prior to May Day read more
Hungary: Hödlmayr does not respect trade union rights read more
Diary (see & use false economy)
20 People’s Assembly anti-austerity demonstration in London details here
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
PHONE 07952 283 558
TWITTER – https://twitter.com/NSSN_AntiCuts
ADDRESS NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE