NSSN Conference: No to austerity & anti-union laws

July 7, 2015 in Bulletins

As the standing ovation for sacked Greek Vodafone worker, Harris Sedaris, died away, the audience at the ninth annual National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) conference broke into an impromptu rendition of traditional socialist song ‘the International’. It was a fitting end to a day full of hope and confidence – one that laid the foundations for the next few months of crucial struggle.

This was the first NSSN conference since the Tories’ shock election victory and no delegate was in any doubt as to the challenges we face. But they also recognised there is no time for mourning. Activists spoke of the necessity of moving swiftly into action and displayed a confidence that a government supported by just 24% of the population could be defeated if the unions adopted a bold, radical and fighting agenda.

The morning session – Stop the Tory Union-Busters – was addressed by five union general secretaries or presidents, as well as leading activists from the floor. The common thread between almost all speakers was that the left trade unions – those affiliated to the NSSN – have to make the running in the coming months.

Matt Wrack, general secretary of firefighters’ union FBU (the NSSN’s newest affiliate), said: “Imagine if the TUC leaders began to go out city by city and town by town making the case against austerity and the case for organising and then called for a general strike – then I think that could receive a huge echo.”

Civil servants union PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka paid tribute to the NSSN for being first on the scene whenever there is a dispute. The NSSN’s ability to mobilise was echoed by other speakers involved in disputes. Candy Udwin, sacked PCS National Gallery activist thanked the NSSN: “It is only because of your support that we are still fighting”.

Mark was adamant “we could stop austerity in its tracks” if the TUC united against our class enemies. It was a message echoed by the bakers’ union’s Ronnie Draper, the RMT’s Peter Pinkney and the prison officers’ Steve Gillan. Ronnie went back to the tremendous Hovis dispute victory in 2013 that “only happened because you took part”.

Martin Powell-Davies, NUT national executive member, detailed the action taken this year by teachers, school students and community activists which has seen the attempts to convert five Lewisham schools to academies all fail.

Conference gave a rousing welcome to Marie and Christine from the Glasgow homelessness workers’ dispute who reported on the Labour city council’s attempts to organise a scab workforce to break their 15 week dispute. They brought news of the success of the Dundee hospital porters’ strike, and the determination it had given them: “We’re not going back until we get what we came out for”.

The author of ‘Blacklisted – The Secret War between Big Business and Union Activists’, Dave Smith, was well received by conference as he was able to give a very serious subject the attention it deserved while making everyone laugh. 18 copies of the book were sold during the day.

The loudest response of the morning was reserved for the RMT’s Jared Wood, speaking from the floor on the London Underground strikes planned for 8 and 9 July – a historic dispute with all four tube unions involved in closing down the complete network. There are also other strikes (for example in Bromley council and the National Gallery) being coordinated on 8 July – the day Osborne announces his latest austerity budget – showing what could be possible if the TUC grasped the historic role it should be playing.

The NSSN has demonstrated for a number of years that it is a key component in the workers’ movement. It has supporters who hold key positions in many unions and who consistently call for support for all workers and for coordinated action. This conference saw the NSSN beginning to take the next steps – putting itself centre stage and taking the movement forward if the official bodies fail to respond.

 

 

Union News

RMT

Talks collapse with First Great Western.
Strike action and overtime ban still on read more

 

Trade dispute with Argyll Ferries
Following the industrial action taken by you and your colleagues between Wednesday 24th and Friday 26th June, you will be aware that RMT has been in discussions with the Company in an effort to resolve this dispute but regrettably, the most basic assurances that we require to protect your job security, conditions of service and pensions are still not forthcoming read more

 

 

Scotland Unite and Unison indefinite strikes

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   Two of the Glasgow strikers spoke at the NSSN conference. They thanked the NSSN for the help they had provided so far in the dispute. A collection at the meeting raised £64.30

 

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 spoke at NSSN conference on July 4th
A separate collection at NSSN conference will mean a donation to the Gunstones strike, among others.

 

PCS

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency members ballot on strike action
PCS members in the DVLA contact centre, one of the largest call centres in the civil service, are to be balloted for strike action in a dispute over Saturday pay read more

Support National Gallery collection week 13-17 July
Show your support and help raise money for PCS members at the National Gallery taking action against privatisation and victimisation read more

 

Unite

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

Hackney traffic wardens to be balloted for strike action over lack of company sick pay
Traffic wardens in Hackney in east London are being balloted for strike action in a bid to get a proper sick pay policy provided by their private sector employer read more

 

Unison

UNISON names new probation strike date (03 July)
UNISON has today (Thursday) confirmed that its members working in the probation service in England and Wales are to stage a two-hour stoppage on Tuesday 14 July between 8am and 10am in the on-going dispute over pay.
read more

Barnet UNISON: OVER ONE MILLION PEOPLE TO BE CONTACTED ABOUT BARNET STRIKE
On Friday Barnet UNISON informed our members that we were using an online social media tool called Thunderclap.Over the weekend the results have been incredible, with the latest figures showing 1,041,021 are about to read the reasons we are taking strike action on Wednesday 8 July.
You can read the update here.
Read more

Bromley Unison joins Barnet on strike
read more

 

 

GMB

Strike Ballot At Maudsley Hospital (July 06)
GMB To Ballot Members Employed By Aramark At South London Hospital Over Unpaid Holiday Pay
Aramark refuse to reimburse lost annual leave and wrongly blame workers for not requesting leave on time rather than blame their own mismanagement says GMB read more

Nestle Pensions Dispute Looms (July 02)
Dispute Looms With Nestle Over Pensions ‘Betrayal’
Strike action if these proposals are implemented looms large across Nestle in the UK at present says GMB read more

 

NUT

Teachers at South Downs College to take third day of strike action on July 08
Please sign the petition of support here

 

NUJ

NUJ response to 1,000 BBC job cuts
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:  “The NUJ has been pressing for a restructuring of the BBC that prioritises journalism and programming for some time, one that tackles the fleshy layers of management that have been preserved in the face of waves of cuts that have badly hit grassroots content. So a hard look at how to best deploy resources on the services that really matter and make sure the BBC’s structures are efficient and fit for purpose is overdue read more

 

UCATT

Official blocked from Leeds site for “making it untidy”
UCATT’s Mark Martin sought permission to speak to workers on the new Leeds University multi-storey car park site being built by Shepherd’s construction. However the site manager said that he was not prepared to let him onto the site as he “made it untidy” read more

 

FBU

We aren’t well prepared for another 7/7, say Fire Brigades Union
Claims by the London Fire Brigade that firefighters are well prepared for another 7/7 style terror attack in the capital have been challenged by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU).
The radios issued to firefighters for underground use don’t work, according to the FBU’s regional secretary for London, Paul Embery read more

 

Legal Aid strikes – follow #legalaid on twitter for updates

Barristers and solicitors across UK are supporting direct action, arguing cuts will lead to miscarriages of justice and drop in quality of representation

 

IWGB

Couriers stage surprise flashmob inside google offices
Ramping up their campaign against CitySprint, IWGB Couriers staged a surprise protest inside Google offices to highlight the chain of exploitation that links clients to CitySprint read more

 

 

Other News

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  

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 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)

 

Chaos at Kenya Ports Authority as police evict sacked workers (July 06)
The clash between Kenya Ports Authority and the Dock Workers Union (DWU) took an ugly turn Sunday after police forcibly evicted the 28 sacked employees from the agency’s houses read more

 

Tensions rise as China’s taxi drivers and factory workers strike in record numbers (July 03)Top of Form
Bottom of FormChina’s taxi drivers and factory workers took the lead in staging strikes and protests across the country in the second quarter of 2015 as threats to their livelihood continued to mount. Construction workers continued their protests over wage arrears but numbers were down slightly compared with earlier in the year read more

 

Diary (see & use false economy)

July

8 Joint strike by Local Government workers against privatisation and attacks on facility time by Unison members in Bromley and Barnet and Unite members in Bromley

 

The People’s Assembly are calling protests around the country against George Osborne’s Emergecy Budget read more

 

10 As part of the Leytonstone Festival, the trade union movement in Waltham Forest has organised ‘an evening of radical entertainment’. Featuring Waltham Forest’s own Steve White & The Protest Family, the fantastic Maddy Carty, and ranting poets Janine Booth and Tim Wells – and compered by Chip Grim. Immersed in the union movement themselves, their songs and poems reflect the lives of the 99% – the problems working people face, the union causes, the laughs. Supported by Waltham Forest Trades Council and the RMT Central Line East branch.  PA provided by Ramblin Steve of What’s Cookin. Entry is free and a good time guaranteed.

From 8.00pm – Ex-Servicemen’s Club Harvey Road Leytonstone London E11

 

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

 

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ADDRESS NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE