NSSN 248: Massive marches against austerity

June 25, 2015 in Bulletins

The streets of London were full of anti-austerity protestors last Saturday on the People’s Assembly demonstration. Thousands more were on other protests, including the STUC event in Glasgow. What a response to the Tories just 43 days after their election victory was confirmed!

The National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) believes that this shows the huge potential to defeat the Tories latest £12billion cuts package that Osborne will announce on the July 8th budget and Cameron’s new anti-union laws.

As all striking workers will tell you – unions taking action gets huge support. This is because all those facing the effects of brutal Tory austerity want someone to fight. If the unions put themselves at the head of the anti-Tory movement, it will be both popular and the best way to ensure it is effective. It can also be a huge boost to union recruitment as workers will join unions who fight.

The planned London 24-hour tube strike at the end of Budget Day will demonstrate the power of organised workers when they take action together. Imagine what 6 million workers striking together in a one-day general strike would do to the Tory bullies?!

The NSSN conference on July 4th is where you need to be if you want to fight back. Some of the most militant leaders of the trade union movement will be there as well as hundreds of rank and file union reps and activists, many of them currently in dispute and some who have won important victories. There will also be others – young and old – involved in the anti-cuts movement.

We’ve marched together – now let’s discuss how we strike together!

 

NSSN News

‘Stop the Tory union-busters! Fight the cuts together!’ 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, Steve Gillan POA General Secretary, Peter Pinkney RMT President, Helen Pattison Youth Fight for Jobs, Dave Smith anti-blacklisting campaigner and Isai Priya Tamil Solidarity trade union co-ordinator. Download new leaflet   It is £6 to attend. Pay on the day or post us a cheque (details below).

To register in advance, email: info@shopstewards.net

Please share the Facebook event for NSSN conference – https://www.facebook.com/events/1056499494377353/1056507344376568/

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 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

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

 

BFAWU

BFAWU Members Strike at Gunstones Bakery, Sheffield! – Send messages of support and donations to John Higgins Tel: 07739326012; email john.higgins@bfawu.org  read more

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

 

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

MPs to debate National Gallery privatisation as strikes continue (24 June) – MPs will tomorrow (25 June) debate the planned privatisation at the National Gallery as PCS members there continue their latest 10-day strike. PCS parliamentary group chair John McDonnell has secured an adjournment debate in the House of Commons on the plans that would mean all the gallery’s visitor services being handed to a private company. Earlier this month an employment tribunal judge found it was likely one of the union’s senior reps Candy Udwin had been unfairly sacked for her union activities on the eve of the first strike in February. The gallery has refused to reinstate her so the judge ordered she should continue to receive full pay and benefits from the date of her dismissal pending a full tribunal hearing in October. The gallery wants to privatise 400 of its 600 staff – all visitor services, including the attendants who help and advise the world-renowned institution’s 6 million annual visitors…In a bid to resolve the dispute, the union has written to incoming gallery director Gabriele Finaldi to request an urgent meeting before he takes over in August. The latest 10-day strike will end on Thursday 2 July, taking the total strike days held this year to 45…The debate is at 4pm and there is a lobby opposite the Houses of Parliament at 3.15pm http://www.pcs.org.uk/en/news_and_events/pcs_comment/pcs_comment.cfm/mps-to-debate-national-gallery-privatisation-as-strikes-continue

Great support for rally to support sacked DfE rep (23 June) – PCS members and reps showed solidarity at a rally on Monday for PCS rep Michael Cook who was dismissed last month through a performance management process less than a year from retirement read more

 

Unite

Deliveries of fridges and cookers could be hit as Indesit drivers vote on industrial action (23 June) – The delivery of thousands of ‘white goods’, from fridge freezers to kettles, could be severely disrupted, if more than 200 drivers and warehouse staff at Indesit UK Ltd take industrial action. The ballot by members of Unite for strike action and industrial action short of a strike comes after years of below inflation pay awards. It opens today (Tuesday 23 June) and closes on Tuesday 7 July read more

TRADE UNION LOBBY OF PARLIAMENT IN DEFENCE OF PUBLIC SERVICES AND TRADE UNION RIGHTS – 8TH JULY     ASSEMBLE AT 1PM     PARLIAMENT SQUARE (OPPOSITE WESTMINSTER ABBEY) – Unite Trade Union members in Bromley are under attack. The Council has withdrawn all trade union facilities and is now victimising trade union leaders. This comes at the same time as an all out assault on services through mass privatisation. On 8th July, George Osborne, through his budget measures will ensure that the attack in Bromley spreads across the country. Now is the time to unite trade union members and campaigners in a national campaign against austerity.

Bromley Unite is therefore calling a lobby of Parliament on the day of the budget. Our lobby will complement the numerous other protests taking place on the day. We invite all those fighting austerity to join us.

For further details contact Onay Kasab on 07771818637 or onay.kasab@unitetheunion.org

 

RMT

RMT members vote by over 80% to accept Network Rail offer (24 June) read more

RMT prepares for “People’s March for Glenn” over sacked Trans Pennine member as local MP raises issue in Parliament (23 June) – RAIL UNION RMT said today that it is making final preparations for a “People’s March for Glenn” prior to the Cleethorpes Air Show this Sunday, 28th June, as the local MP raises the gross miscarriage of justice which led to the totally unfair sacking of conductor member Glenn Watson in Parliament read more

RMT confirms Calmac industrial action going ahead (22 June) – RMT confirms Calmac action goes ahead from Wednesday as talks fail to make significant progress. CalMac union RMT has confirmed a schedule of industrial action in a fight to defend jobs, conditions and pensions will go ahead from Wednesday as talks failed to make significant progress today. An overtime ban begins at 00.01 HRS Wednesday with 24 hours of strike action on Friday read more

 

ASLEF

Overwhelming vote for strike action on Tube (18 June) – ASLEF members on London Underground have voted overwhelmingly for strike action in a dispute over the company’s decision to try to force through, without negotiation, new rosters which would mean Tube drivers will have to work an unlimited number of weekend and night shifts for no extra pay. In a ballot conducted by Electoral Reform Services members of ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, were asked two questions.

Are you prepared to take part in a strike?

Yes 1,771 [97.6%]

No 44 [2.4%]

Are you prepared to take part in industrial action short of a strike?

Yes 1,786 [98.7%]

No 24 [1.3%]

Turnout was 81.3% read more

 

Tata Steel

Tata Steel strike action suspended (19 June) – Steel unions Community, Unite, GMB and UCATT have suspended Monday’s strike action at Tata Steel. They will prepare to ballot their members over a new pension offer, which keeps the British Steel Pension Scheme open read more

 

Unison

VIDEO: Glasgow Unison rally to defend victimised rep (June 24) – Brian Smith, Glasgow Unison Branch Secretary, speaking at a rally in Glasgow’s historic George’s Square. The march and rally was called to support the Glasgow Homlessness Caseworkers strike, now into it’s 13 week and Robert O’Donnell. Robert was sacked by the management of the Glasgow Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC) for attempting to organise the union. Please send messages of support to enquiries@glasgowcityunison.co.uk   See video

Ten ways to support London Met University strike on 25th June (23 June) – support strike 25th June – defend jobs – defend education read more

 

UCU

London colleges on strike in row over job losses (23 June) – Members of UCU at seven London colleges are on strike today (Tuesday) in rows over job losses read more

Staff to walk out at Sheffield College in row over job losses (17 June) – Staff at Sheffield College are walking out again tomorrow in a row over compulsory redundancies. UCU members based at the college’s city centre site will be on strike and on picket lines on Granville Road from 8am. The city walkout is part of a rolling programme of strikes following on from last Wednesday’s strike at all the college’s sites read more

 

NUJ

Newsquest London strikes, still going strong (23 June) – Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, will be leading a delegation of Newsquest reps to the London Assembly to brief politicians on the cuts, low pay and threat to quality journalism caused by the newspaper group’s plans. The strikes by journalists on the News Shopper titles,covering Dartford, Swanley,  Lewisham, Catford, Greenwich, Gravesham, Bexley and Bromley and newspapers including the Croydon Guardian, Sutton Guardian, Epsom Guardian, Wimbledon Guardian, Wandsworth Guardian, Balham and Tooting Guardian, Mitcham and Morden Guardian, Kingston Guardian, Surrey Comet, Elmbridge Comet, the Richmond & Twickenham Times remain solid read more

 

UCATT

Strike ballot begins at Aspire Housing Association in Newcastle under Lyme (24 June) – Construction union UCATT have begun balloting their members employed by Aspire Housing Association, following the company’s plans to cut the terms and conditions of the workforce, while forcing them to work longer hours. The dispute is a result of Aspire attempting to force workers’ to accept far poorer conditions. The organisation has threatened to dismiss workers who refuse to sign up to the new terms and conditions. Aspire plans to cut sick pay entitlement from 6 months to 3 months. Major cuts to pay and holiday entitlement will be introduced for new starters and the company has indicted that these cuts could in the future affect all staff. The company are demanding that staff work for an extra two hours a week on a flexible rota. Aspire also plan to remove tool allowance and insurance guarantees as well as fine workers if they are involved in an accident in a company vehicle and found to be at fault read more

 

NUT

Teachers to Strike on Thursday 25th June at Sussex Downs College against Cuts – Government Cuts to leave Eastbourne with no A-Level Modern Foreign Language provision. National Union of Teachers members at Sussex Downs College have set a strike date of 25th June against cuts to jobs. This is one of a series of strike dates that the college management have been informed of as teachers stand up to oppose compulsory redundancies and government cuts to education. Cuts to Further Education now mean that funding for 16-18 year olds is now 25% lower than those in Secondary Education and the year on year reduction has left Sussex Downs cutting jobs and cutting courses. These cuts will mean not only compulsory redundancies for teachers and more teachers being moved onto casual contracts without guaranteed hours but also major cuts in courses. For example Eastbourne will be left with no A-Level Modern Foreign Language provision outside of private schools. Phil Clarke Secretary of Lewes, Eastbourne and Wealden NUT explained, “This strike, which could be the first in a series, is to protect our members against losing their jobs and livelihoods.  The hypocrisy of this Government means that while they talk of making Britain globally competitive their cuts will mean you cannot study any A Level foreign language course in Eastbourne as courses are dropped. Our 96% yes vote for action gives us a clear sign from our members that jobs need to be protected further strikes are planned if this is necessary.These strikes are about defending education” Picket lines will be from 8:30am on Thursday the 25th June at the Kings Drive entrance to the Eastbourne Campus of Sussex Downs College. The NUT mainly has its members in the Park College section of Sussex Downs. Supporters are welcome at the Picket Line. Email messages of support to secretary@lewes-eastbourne-and-wealden.nut.org.uk

Newham teachers strike again against proposals to turn schools into academies – Teachers are striking for the second time this month over proposals to turn three Newham schools into an academy trust. Members of the National Union of Teachers, formed picket lines outside Rokeby and Sarah Bonnell schools today in strike action which is set to continue until Thursday more from Newham Recorder

 

FBU

Video | Update from Essex as dispute escalates (June 18) – Firefighters and emergency 999 control staff in Essex have been taking industrial action over plans to cut 179 firefighting jobs. Equivalent to a quarter of all frontline staff the cuts are the largest ever proposed in any one year in the UK fire and rescue service. Essex Country Fire and Rescue have also introduced a new shift system which has forced many of the control staff, with child caring responsibilities, to either job share or leave the service all together. The Fire Brigades Union believes these cuts will put the public of Essex at risk. In this video Riccardo la Torre and Emma Polley, chair and control representative for the FBU in Essex respectively, give a first-hand account of the situation in Essex see video

 

Ireland – Justice for Clerys Workers

Workers in Dublin’s iconic Clerys Department Store were locked out of their employment on Friday 12th June. Clerys Workers demand justice now www.facebook.com/justiceforclerysworkers?fref=ts

 

Other News

VIDEOS: Disabled protestors occupy parliament in #SaveILF protest BBC: https://www.facebook.com/bbcnews/videos/10152902511957217/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACBowWatuOQ&feature=youtu.be

 

Youth Fight for Jobs are calling ‘Youth Fight Austerity’ protests on Budget Day July 8th

If you can’t see a protest taking place near you, why not organise one yourself? Drop YFJ an email: youthfightforjobs@gmail.com – and we’ll help you out! Plus check back later, as more protests are added.

Birmingham – 6pm Victoria Square B1 1BB 07530429441

Coventry – 5:30pm Lady Godiva Statue Broadgate Square CV1 1LL 07530429441

Glasgow – 5pm corner of Union and Argyle Street MacDonalds

Liverpool – 12 noon Church Street McDonalds 07769 611 320

London – 5pm Downing street Helen 07540189052

Manchester – 12 noon Piccadilly Gardens by Queen Victoria statue 07769 611 320

Nuneaton – 12:30pm The George Eliot Statue Newdigate St CV11 4ER 07530429441

Southampton – 5:30pm Bargate Nick 07 833 681 910

Hanley (Stoke) – 4pm Clock Tower outside Potteries Shopping Centre ST1 1PS Liat 07900880146

Wolverhampton – 12:30pm The Man on the Horse Statue Queen Square WV1 1TL 07530429441

More info

 

 

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  Dave Smith is speaking at NSSN conference

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)

Blacklisted workers make submission to Pitchford Inquiry into undercover policing

The Blacklist Support Group (BSG) has made a formal submission to the Home Office with suggested Terms of Reference for the Pitchford Inquiry into undercover policing, calling for the judge led inquiry to investigate police surveillance of trade union members. The Pitchford Inquiry was set up by Teresa May before the General Election, in response to revelations that undercover police units spied on bereaved relatives of murder victims, including the Stephen Lawrence family and had long term sexual relationships with women activists they were spying on. BSG are being legally represented by the prominent human rights solicitor Imran Khan, who has supported the blacklisted construction workers since presenting an IPCC complaint about police collusion in blacklisting back in 2012. Imran Khan is also representing Doreen Lawrence in the Pitchford Inquiry. The deadline for such submission is tomorrow (Wednesday 24th June) and the final remit is expected to be published by the end of July.

 

Proposed Terms of Reference for the Public Inquiry into Undercover policing from the Blacklist Support Group:

 

“To inquire into and make recommendations as to the role, conduct and governance of the police service and her majesty’s Government in the establishment and deployment of undercover and covert operations, with specific regard to the Special Demonstration Squad, National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit and any other similar units in the police and in particular, to consider:

  • The surveillance of trade union activists and trade union supported campaigns;
  • The provision of information by the police, whether directly or indirectly, of information contained on databases they have access to, to businesses about prospective employees;
  • The collusion, specifically with the Economic League and the Consulting Association and any other similar organisations, in the blacklisting of trade union members;
  • The outsourcing of state surveillance operations to private contractors;
  • The level and degree of political oversight into the above operations;
  • The extent to which the police were assisted in the above operations by the security services;
  • The circumstances of, and the reasons for, the loss, destruction and /or unavailability of documentation with regard to the matters above.

The Inquiry will also consider how to fulfill the objectives set out in these Terms of Reference by considering, in particular, the:

  • Extent and degree of protection from prosecution, under the Official Secrets Act or any other relevant legislation, of any witnesses giving information / evidence including whistleblowers;
  • Extent and degree to which the police’s stated position of ‘Neither Confirm Nor Deny’ affects a transparent and thorough investigation into the matters set out above”.

The covering letter to the Home Office from Imran Khan states:

 

“In 2009, following a raid by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) at premises connected to The Consulting Association (hereinafter “TCA”), it was discovered that there was a database of secret files kept on 3123 trade union activists by some of the largest multi-national building firms in the UK.  The database was used to deny trade union activists work on major projects and was a continuation of a process that had been previously conducted by the Services Group within an organisation called the Economic League. There is prima facie evidence that some of the information on the database originated from or was provided by the police. Given this, a complaint was lodged with the Independent Police Complaint Commission (hereinafter IPCC) whose initial scoping of the complaint confirmed that “every Special Branch in the country routinely provided information about prospective employees”.

 

In addition to the trade union members, around 200 environmental and social justice activists also appear on the blacklist, including some of the women spied on by the undercover police that led to the inquiry to be set up.

 

Dave Smith, BSG secretary commented:

“3 years ago, when the BSG started talking about the police colluding with big business to spy on trade union members, people looked at us as if we were paranoid conspiracy theorists. But we refused to let it lie and now the evidence is beyond dispute: senior police officers were actively participating with the Consulting Association blacklisting operation. Trade unions are a perfectly legal part of civil society. Why are we being infiltrated by undercover police units and why is the state sharing intelligence with big business?

 

It is only because we were prepared to kick up a stink that the evidence about police collusion has slowly come to light. We now call upon the Pitchford Inquiry to carry out a thorough and transparent investigation into the out of control anti-democratic practices of these secret political police units. A first step would be for the Inquiry to be given a wide enough remit to uncover the truth, rather than being so narrowly defined that we get another establishment whitewash”

 

Imran Khan commented:

“It is extremely sad to note that it often takes many years, grave injustices and tenacious individuals to uncover discreditable conduct in society. Those involved in the BSG have been bearing the brunt of severe injustices for a long time. Their hardship in doing so has not diminished their tenacity in seeking to throw light on this most murky of worlds. The Public Inquiry to be chaired by Lord Justice Pitchford will give the BSG the opportunity to not only uncover what happened to them but also ensure that the general public finally hears what went on and that the conduct complained of never happens again.”

 

John McDonnell MP, who has championed the cause of blacklisted workers in parliament commented:

“Thousands of innocent trade unionists and their families have suffered at the hands of blacklisting companies. They deserve a thorough and open inquiry to bring out the truth of how they were victimised and harmed by blacklisting.”

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)

Brazil: No to sackings and political persecution in Sabesp – Reinstate Marzeni now – Solidarity needed! read more

 

Diary (see & use false economy)

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

22 Cuts to our community public meeting at Stockport Town Hall – 7.00pm.  Guest Speaker Owen Jones

27 Rally in Stockport Saturday 12.00pm Bear Pit, Mersey Sq against the closure of the Well Being Centre in Chestergate

 

 

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