NSSN 243: Two weeks after the election…workers strike back!

May 22, 2015 in Bulletins

This is our second NSSN e-bulletin since the general election result which confirmed a Tory majority government. Since then, a number of unions have held their national conferences. We are delighted to announce that at theirs, the FBU have voted to affiliate to the NSSN – the 9th national union to officially support the Network. At that conference and others the clear message is that workers are prepared to fight Tory cuts and any new attacks on union rights that are announced in the Queen’s Speech on May 27.

That defiant mood is reflected in the incredible number of strikes, disputes and protests that are taking place. Already, the planned strike by railworkers at Network Rail has forced the bosses to come up with an improved offer. The indefinite Scottish strikes in Dundee and Glasgow are continuing alongside the escalating disputes of Barking and Dagenham binworkers, Bromley and Barnet council workers and at the National Gallery. We call on all our supporters and affiliates to attend the national protest called by PCS on May 30th to stop the privatisation of the gallery and reinstate sacked rep Candy Udwin who was disgracefully dismissed a week ago.

Workers are digesting the election result but there hasn’t been much mourning. It’s still early but the welcome signs are that if as expected the Tories crank up the austerity and anti-union offensive, workers are up for the fight!

 

 

NSSN News

The NSSN is delighted to announce that the FBU voted at its national conference on May 15th to affiliate to the Network and their general secretary Matt Wrack has now confirmed that he will speak at the NSSN conference on July 4th. We look forward to building a relationship with the union. We now have 9 national unions that officially support us alongside many union branches, shop stewards committees and trades councils.

‘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, Matt Wrack FBU 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 info@shopstewards.net

 

 

Union News

Scotland Unite and Unison indefinite strikes have been out for 7 weeks

Please support Dundee porters: colin.coupar@unitetheunion.org Donations to Unite, 110 Blackness Road, Dundee DD1 5PB (cheques to Unite). Facebook: Support Ninewells Porters

Please support Glasgow Homeless case workers: email enquiries@glasgowcityunison.co.uk Cheques to Glasgow City Unison 84 Bell Street, Glasgow G1 1LQ. Facebook: Glasgow Homeless Caseworkers strike

 

Unite

6,000 Tata workers to vote for strike action in pension closure row (20 May) – Unite will ballot its 6,000 members at Tata Steel UK for industrial action over its proposal to close the British Steel pension scheme (BSPS). Unite’s ballot for strike action and industrial action short of a strike will open on Tuesday 26 May and close on Friday 5 June. Steel unions Community, GMB and Ucatt have already opened their Tata Steel ballots which will close on 29 May read more

Waiters urge Pizza Express to ‘give us our dough’ in Waiters’ Day protests – 21 May (19 May) – Waiters, the UK’s worst paid workers, will call on Pizza Express to stop pocketing an estimated £1 million that should go to poorly paid staff, at a protest in central London on Thursday 21 May read more   protest photo

Bromley struggle against Tory council privatisation and union attacks continue – I would like to thank you all for the support messages and financial support the Bromley Branch has received.  I will write to all the branches as soon as I am off the picket lines even if that is only for a short time until the next round of strikes. The strikes in Bromley have been supported by our members in a fashion that has even surprised me. Our Library section closed all Libraries in the Borough, Parks solid and we are at this time on strike with our Transport and Adult Services sections. Just a flavour – it was amazing during the library strike to see Librarians convert nursery songs they sing at baby bounce to picket songs defending public services and forming lines to sing and dance to the songs. To have many honks from the passing traffic and mums with kids on their way to school saying thanks for doing this for us.

We have some non members in our Transport Section who crossed the picket line with the intention of getting a limited service out.  While at our Adult Services section all the centres were closed for the duration.  So we moved the pickets from Adults to join Transport.  The first day the manager came out and asked for an exemption to provide the limited service.  I didn’t have to respond as the members told him clearly NO.  We then heard the engines of the buses start up so we split the picket between entrance and exit gates. We could see the drivers getting into the buses and we had a hole in the fence where pickets could hear what the drivers were saying, “right off we go this is we’re here for”. So we joined arms across the road and sang Millwall football songs, really loudly, converted to picket songs like”we’re the best behaved pickets in the land, we’re the best behaved pickets in the land, the best behaved pickets,  best behaved pickets best behaved pickets in the land, WHEN WE WIN. Two very glamorous women drivers in high viz jackets then laid on the floor in front of the picket line in model like postures. The drivers sat in their buses without coming out for a while with the engines running after about 30 minuets they shut them down and went back into the office and then were sent home. Each day the drivers going in get smaller and so far with two days to go the service has not run. We also have had days of whole branch strikes which have been solid the next one of those is Tuesday 19th May at the Civic Centre be good to see any of you who can maybe be there.

It has been amazing to see people who were unsure, timid and to be honest a bit frightened of being on strike grow in confidence during this dispute.  They are predominantly women who now tell me where and how they want to picket. They don’t want to just stand outside their workplaces but leafleting on the roads,  in car parks, outside supermarket and train stations it is an incredible experience to be involved in and none of this would have happened without your support and the support of our wonderful Union Unite.

So thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I don’t want to mention individuals but must say a special thanks to Fiona and my wonderful, hard working Regional Officer Onay Kasab. Sorry if this was too much but it Saturday morning the first morning in nearly three weeks I haven’t been up at 5.30 and it’s has done me the world of good to write it all down.

With love and gratitude Kathy Smith Bromley L. G. Unite Branch Sec

  • 12th  June – Strikers Benefit Night, Labour Party Rooms, St Marks Rd, BR2 9HG – 7pm onwards. Tickest £5 available from Onay.kasab@unitetheunion.org
  • 13th June -March through Bromley – “People and Services First” Assemble 12 noon, Norman Park, Bromley Common, BR2

 

PCS

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

National Gallery sacks rep Candy Udwin (15 May) – A fresh wave of strikes and a national protest will be held as the National Gallery presses ahead with privatisation and sacks our rep Candy Udwin. The gallery has confirmed this afternoon Candy has been dismissed after senior managers suspended her on the eve of the first strike in February. We believe this is a clear case of victimisation and a direct attempt to undermine our union and we will fight it every step of the way read more

No Privatisation at National Gallery NATIONAL DEMONSTRATION Saturday 30 May 1pm Trafalgar Square read more

 

RMT

National Rail strike action suspended (March 21) – After four days of talks at conciliation service Acas between your union and Network Rail management, the company has tabled a revised offer. Your Executive Committee has considered this offer and decided to suspend all industrial action which had been scheduled to take place on Monday 25th May and Tuesday 26th May 2015. The suspension of the action will give your Executive Committee an opportunity to hold urgent consultations with your Area Council Representatives next week. Further information with regards to the revised offer will be sent to you in due course (from Mick Cash RMT general secretary) read more    read more on TSSA website

RMT declares dispute over tube night running & derisory pay (21 May) –TUBE UNION RMT confirmed today that it has declared a formal dispute with London Underground over an outrageous attempt to drive a coach and horses through existing procedures by attempting to impose new rosters on staff in the run up to the scheduled date for the introduction of night tube operation – 12th September 2015. The rosters would pin staff into a regime of anti-social hours and appalling working conditions. The union is also placing the derisory pay offer from London Underground into dispute as well – a pay offer that the company have chained together with the night running issue. RMT is now preparing a ballot for industrial action and has pledged to co-ordinate its campaign with sister unions who have been hit by the same ripping-up of existing agreements, and the same derisory pay offer and the attempt to bully staff into agreement at local level, that has sent shockwaves through depots and workplaces right across the London Underground network read more   read more on Aslef website

Ballot begins today on CalMac over threat to jobs (20 May) – RMT ballot begins today on CalMac over threat to jobs, pensions and working conditions. CalMac union RMT has confirmed that ballot papers have been despatched today to members in the industrial action vote ‎over the threat to jobs, pensions and working conditions. ‎The industrial relationship with CalMac on the Clyde and Hebrides network has deteriorated in recent months to such an extent that maritime union RMT declared a formal dispute with the company, following the failure to provide RMT with satisfactory reassurances over job security, conditions of service, pensions and continuity of lifeline ferry services for remote communities and businesses. The union has now begun balloting members for both strike action and action short of a strike read more

Strike dates on Trans Pennine Express over staff dismissal (20 May) – Rail Union RMT has today confirmed strike dates over the harsh decision taken by Transpennine Express management to dismiss a union member following a train despatch irregularity at Grimsby Town read more

 

GMB

Barking & Dagenham bin strikes continue – Over 100 GMB members employed as bin lorry drivers for Barking & Dagenham Council Environmental Services are taking 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. Send messages of support to Keith.williams@gmb.org.uk and post donations to GMB London Region: 152 Brent Street London NW4 2DP

UK Offshore Workers Strike Ballot (May 21) – GMB strike ballot goes ahead after talks fail to resolve dispute over changes to terms for offshore workers in UK waters. We did make some progress today but sadly not enough to enable us to go back to members with proposals to resolve this dispute read more

Bidvest Strike Suspended For Vote On New Offer (May 20) – GMB Suspends Strike Action At Bidvest Logistics Hoddesdon Site To Enable Members To Vote On New Offer To Resolve Pay Dispute read more

Royal Parks Strike May 26th (May 19) – GMB members in Central London Royal Parks strike on May 26 over detrimental changes to pay system and for London Living Wage. Downing St gardeners will protest outside workplace over OCS paying two week’s pay already earned as a “loan” that will be “recovered” over 12 months putting staff into debt and wiping out pay award read more

 

Unison

Probation staff vote yes to strike over pay row says UNISON (May 20) – UNISON’s probation members working for the National Probation Service and the 21 outsourced Community Rehabilitation Companies in England and Wales have voted yes to industrial action over the zero per cent pay offer for 2014 read more

 

UCU

Strike avoided at University of Surrey as dispute over job losses is settled (19 May) – The threat of strike action in a row over job losses at the University of Surrey has been lifted after successful negotiations between UCU and the university. As a result of constructive talks between the two parties, the threat of compulsory redundancies has been removed. At one point up to 75 jobs were under threat across a variety of departments which prompted UCU members to vote in favour of strike action read more

 

NUJ

Newsquest York industrial action ballot starts today (21 May) – NUJ members working at Newsquest in York start balloting for action today. Newsquest is one of the UK’s largest regional newspaper publishers with more than 200 newspapers, magazines and trade publications, including 17 dailies. The staff at risk of redundancy include the Gazette & Herald’s editor and deputy editor, its internet editor, digital communications editor, newsroom assistant and deputy sports editor. The company plan to transfer jobs to Bradford including the chief sub, night production editor, features editor and communities editor read more

 

BECTU

BECTU members working at the Globe Theatre took strike action on 18 May and are due out again on 1 June in a dispute over pay – There are two ways in which we can show our support and solidarity: (1) arrange for your union to send a message of support to the strikers. Please send these to BECTU via P Styles at www.bectu.org.uk   (2) visit the picket lines on 18 May and 1 June. These will be taking place between 8.30am-3.00pm at the Globe Theatre on the Southbank. For further information about the dispute, please visit the news pages on the BECTU website – at: https://www.bectu.org.uk/news/2404

Finally, we have invited a representative of the strikers to speak at the solidarity meeting we have arranged for 1 June in Congress House starting at 6.30pm. Full details can be found on our Facebook event page – at: https://www.facebook.com/events/824035771021969/

With best wishes, Tom Taylor Secretary SERTUC Creative & Leisure Industries Committee

 

NUT

More strikes in Lewisham against academies (May 19) – Unions agreed not to call further strikes during the main exam preparation period up to half-term but both the NUT and NASUWT have called further two-day strike action on Wednesday June 3rd and Thursday June 4th. We hope that parents, students and fellow trade unionists can help build our activities read more on blog of Martin Powell Davies Lewisham NUT and NEC

 

FBU

Video of FBU conference 2015 – At this year’s FBU conference a series of videos were made to update members on developments from the event taking place from 12 -15 May in Blackpool. A playlist of all the videos have been posted on the FBU youtube page     more

 

BFAWU

A short animation including some researched facts about £10/hr can be found here

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

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

BFAWU bakers’ union General Secretary Ronnie Draper to speak at NSSN conference on July 4th

 

Other News

Youth Fight for Jobs call protests on day of Queens Speech May 27 – Join the protests when Parliament re-opens & the Tories announce their austerity Queen’s Speech. If there isn’t a protest in your area listed below please email youthfightforjobs@gmail.com   www.youthfightforjobs.com

Also check out this link for more info about why we’re marching http://www.youthfightforjobs.com/wordpress/wordpress/?p=1203

London 4:30pm 10 Downing Street https://www.facebook.com/events/884260928302101/

Belfast 5pm City Hall

Read more

 

 

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)

 

Protest last Monday against sacking of Steve Barley – one of the leading figures in the Blacklist Support Group and the construction rank and file has been sacked along with 5 other workers for refusing to work weekends at basic rate plus £1. The national collective agreement states that workers should be paid time & a half for the first 4 hours and then double time, the workers were all told this would be paid but the companies involved, on a Wates, Briggs & Forrester and employment agency Pier  withdrew the offer on Wednesday. For standing up for their rights, these workers have now been sacked!

Message from Steve Barley:

SACKED !! SACKED !! SACKED !! SACKED !! SACKED !! SACKED !!

This week, Tuesday I started with Pier Agency of Cardiff, Working on a site in Micheldean, Glos. Main Contractor Wates, Briggs&Forrester M+E. After the induction, we were informed, Weekends are on, Time and a half first 4 hours on Saturday, Double time after that, though you’re not expected to work all hours, its your choice. At 11 hours a day Monday to Friday ( though no overtime premium) and the reduced rate of £15, even through the crooked Umbrella seemed ok. Wednesday Pier Agency, states the premiums they pay are only £1 and £2 on the weekends. On site are 2 cardies Blue book rates, and 6 of us, 2 sparks, 2 mates, 2 plumbers, under cut, supplying our services on the cheap. We responded to the offer by rejecting to work weekends as the original offer has been withdrawn, though we would work Mon to Friday as normal, was our choice. SACKED !!

Today around 10 the agency calls and states if you dont work the weekend, you ain’t wanted on site, take it or leave it. This instruction passed by Wates and Briggs to Piers. SACKED !! I cannot express my feelings to this, surely even Temporary Workers have rights ?? I have left voice messages hoping to gather support, to arrange a protest at the gates. I am washed out, my emphasis on this is weak, as is my faith in my trade and industry. This cannot be allowed to happen, or continue and some sort of action is required to show this to those pursuing the erosion of employment rights. Photos from protest here    and here

Rank & file national meeting Saturday May 30th – 1pm-4pm Unite the Union, Tony Benn House, Victoria Street, Bristol, BS1 6AY

Blacklisted book 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)

USA:  solidarity appeal: single mom fired for organizing strike for $15 and a union – Sign the Petition! Re-hire Darletta, Stop Retaliation At Brinks. Brinks Armored Trucking terminated Darletta Scruggs, a 15 Now activist and single mother, for organizing a strike of 50 drivers and messengers as part of the April 15th National Day of Action for $15 and a Union. Brinks can’t be allowed to threaten workers with financial ruin for standing up for their rights on the job. Let Brinks know we have Darletta’s back! Show your solidarity by signing the petition and making a donation to Darletta’s defense campaign today more

Turkey: A call for solidarity for a resistance thats is getting bigger and stronger. Following the Renault workers’ walk out, the resistance has grown with the support of TOFAS, Coskunoz and Mako workers who have also stopped production. Renault, TOFAS, Coskunoz and Mako workers forming four different factory sites based in Bursa, making up 12,000 workers are now resisting as one force. The workers do not want to be represented by the Turkish Metal Union and are calling for Turkish Metal to cease its involvement. Many of the 12,000 workers have resigned from their posts and everyday more are joining their fellow workers. Furthermore Ford Otosan workers in Kocali have also agreed to stop production tomorrow. The workers have announced that they will stop work at 8am and rally opposite the Turkish Metal office to protest against the union representatives. Tomorrow morning, on Wednesday 20 May 2015, Ford Otosan workers will arrive at the production site but will not enter the premises in protest of 35 workers who have been sacked. They will not return to work until these workers have been reinstated.

The Workers’ Demands;

– Assurance that no workers will be sacked

– The removal of the Turkish Metal Union sign the factory sites

– Workers advocates entitled to sit on the workplace representative body

– The wage rate to be renewed in line with the Bosch agreement.

See earlier press release on my profile or make a request. The metal workers in Turkey need your support. Please continue to send messages of support to the following email address hakkitali@gmail.com. We would be grateful if you could also cc Day-Mer in your response using info@daymer.og

Oktay Sahbaz Day-Mer (and NUT member and NSSN steering committee)

 

Diary (see & use false economy)

May

27 Youth Fight for Jobs Queens Speech protests info

30 Rank & file construction national meeting Saturday May 30th – 1pm-4pm Unite the Union, Tony Benn House, Victoria Street, Bristol, BS1 6AY

 

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

 

TWITTER – https://twitter.com/NSSN_AntiCuts

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ADDRESS NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE