July 15, 2015 in Bulletins
If anyone had any doubts about the power of the organised working-class, the incredible strikes on London Underground and First Great Western by tube and railworkers’ unions last week were a tremendous demonstration of what the unions can do if they take determined action. The NSSN salutes the strikes as well as the co-ordinated Budget Day strikes by workers in the National Gallery, Barnet, Bromley, the protests against victimisation at Sotheby’s and the Youth Against Austerity mobilisations by Youth Fight for Jobs.
But it also wasn’t lost on the Tories. They have now outlined their vicious anti-union laws in the aftermath of last week’s strikes that ground London to a halt. The whole purpose of this extension on Thatcher’s legislation is to try and hamstrung the unions when Cameron rolls out his new £12billion cuts package. That is why the unions must be prepared to take on these laws and the cuts.
The NSSN conference on July 4th voted unanimously to organise a rally and lobby of the TUC Congress in Brighton on Sunday September 13th. It will be from 1pm in the Charlotte Room in the Grand Hotel 97-99 King’s Rd BN1 2FW (next to the Brighton conference Centre). Confirmed speakers include Mark Serwotka PCS general secretary.
It will be calling on the TUC and the unions to organise a midweek demonstration on the day that the Tories bring their Trade Union Bill to Parliament in the autumn and to prepare for mass co-ordinated strike action on the scale of a 24-hour general strike if it is passed and against their brutal cuts.
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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
RMT salutes Tube workforce as strike shuts down London (July 9) – RMT salutes tube workforce for solid, united and determined action and demands that LU return to serious negotiations WATCH NSSN VIDEO OF TUBE STRIKE!!
RMT confirms new tube strike dates (14 July) – Tube union RMT confirmed that members across London Underground will be taking strike action from 1830 hours on Wednesday 5th August to 1829 hours on Thursday 6th August. The on-going overtime ban, which has already severely impacted on staff availability to run services, also continues. The strike times for driver members will run slightly later, between 21.00 on 5th August to 20.59 on 6th August read more
RMT suspends Southern engineers strike action (10 July) – RMT suspends Southern Engineers strike action after breakthrough in last minute talks this morning. Agreement has been reached on the pivotal issue of a reduction in the working week read more
Second full day of First Great Western strike (10 July) – second full day of First Great Western strike “rock solid” with pickets out in force. Pickets are out in force again this morning as a strike over jobs, services and safety on First Great Western enters its second full day read more
TSSA joins August 5 Tube strike (15 July) – The TSSA will join the August 5 Tube strike after peace talks stalled at ACAS. General Secretary Manuel Cortes accused LU management of “acting in bad faith” after inviting the unions to open ended talks at the conciliation service read more
TSSA votes for strike action at CalMac (14 July) – A second union, the TSSA, has voted for strike action in the row over the planned sell off of CalMac ferries. Its 100 members have voted by 55.6% to walkout in protest against the plan by the Scottish Government to hive off the service to the private sector read more
TSSA calls ballot at First Great Western (10 July) – TSSA, has called a ballot on industrial action at First Great Western. It comes after a two day strike by the RMT over the axing of buffet cars and the threat to jobs with the introduction of the new Hitachi express trains from 2017. The union is asking over 300 managers to vote for action short of a strike in a ballot which opens on July 15 and closes on July 24 read more
Yorkshire glass workers ballot for strike action over threat of ‘pensioner poverty’ (15 July) – About 440 workers at Ardagh Glass in Barnsley are being balloted for strike action over unilateral changes to their pension scheme that could see them face ‘pensioner poverty’ with the loss of thousands of pounds to their retirement income. The workers, members of Unite, the country’s largest union, will vote from Tuesday 21 July on whether they wish to strike and/or take industrial action short of a strike over the management’s plans to close the defined benefits scheme (DBS) and replace it with a defined contributions (DC) plan from 1 October. The ballot closes on Tuesday 18 August read more
Eviction threat to diabetic ‘facing £51,000 council tax bill is cruel’, says Unite (13 July) – The attempted eviction of a Bromley insulin dependent diabetic, who looks after his severely disabled daughter and was wrongly charged a total of £51,000 for his council tax bill by outsourcing giant Liberata, was branded as ‘ham-fisted and cruel’. Unite has rallied in defence of Paul Rooney, who gave up work as a social work manager to look after his 14-year-old daughter Roisin, as bailiffs today (Monday 13 July) descended on the home he owns at 22 Yew Tree Road, Bromley BR3 8HT to take repossession read more
Cash deliveries to 4,500 post offices under threat in pay dispute (10 July) – The delivery of cash to the UK’s 4,500 post offices could be hit, if a group of Post Office managers take industrial action over the management’s refusal to make an agreed one-off payment of between £750 and £975. The warning from Unite which represents about 900 Post Office managers, came as the Post Office announced today (Friday 10 July) a £100 million operating profit and a £33 million reduction in operating losses read more
Deliveries of ‘white goods’ could be hit as Indesit drivers vote overwhelmingly for strike action (July 8) – The delivery of thousands of ‘white goods’, from fridge freezers to cookers, could be severely disrupted, after more than 200 drivers and warehouse staff at Indesit UK Ltd voted overwhelmingly to take strike action over pay. The workers, members of Unite, the country’s largest union, will be deciding in the next few days what form the strike action may take. They voted by 93 per cent for strike action and 97 per cent for industrial action short of a strike, after years of below inflation pay awards read more
Strikes to hit flagship government scheme (13 July) – Almost 1,500 of our members on universal credit will strike for two days over increasingly oppressive working conditions. The government’s flagship social security scheme has been dogged by delays and allegations of money squandered on IT read more
Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency members ballot on strike action (13 July) – PCS members in the DVLA contact centre, one of the largest call centres in the civil service, are being balloted for strike action in a dispute over Saturday pay. 650 members working at the DVLA contact centre in Swansea are facing pay cuts as a result of the employer slashing allowances for weekend working. The employer has also introduced inferior contracts for new starters in the contact centre, creating a two tier workforce read more
No let-up in National Gallery strike (9 July) – PCS members at the National Gallery are set for another 6 days’ strike action next week. PCS members were joined in their latest action on 8 July – their 46th strike day since their dispute began in February – by Barnet Unison and Bromley Unite who joined the pickets outside the gallery for a rally at midday. There was then a march to parliament where the striking workers joined Disabled People Against the Cuts (DPAC) and other anti-austerity protestors, demonstrating against the budget which was being announced. The protest was successful in closing Westminster Bridge…PCS is planning another six days of strike action (14, 15, 16, 20, 21 and 22 July) with more likely to follow if the gallery is unwilling to negotiate in good faith about PCS’ alternative plan read more
PCS video: Mark Serwotka on July 2015 budget (8 July) watch here
Please support Glasgow Homeless case workers indefinite strike: email email@example.com Cheques to Glasgow City Unison 84 Bell Street, Glasgow G1 1LQ. Facebook: Glasgow Homeless Caseworkers strike
Car of Barnet Unison activist vandalised in anti-union attack (July 10) – We publish below a statement from Barnet Unison regarding the attack on John Burgess’s car. A hateful message was also attached. The NSSN gave its full support to the Barnet strike at our recent conference. A collection was taken at the conference with the money being split between Barnet Unison and a number of other ongoing strikes. We were pleased to have one of our supporters present this donation at the picket line on the 8th July and deliver a short message of support. We can report that the response of the public to the picket line from passers-by and motorists was overwhelmingly positive. The NSSN completely condemns this attack not just on John Burgess but also the members he represents. We send our full support to the Barnet Unison branch. We urge all our supports to send messages of support to: Helen.Davies@barnetunison.org.uk read more UNISON condemns homophobic attack against trade unionist in Barnet
GMB Member Injured At Redcar Protest (July 10) – GMB is calling on Teesside Police to change how they police demonstrations after a GMB members attending a public protest outside a construction site at Wilton, Redcar this morning (Friday 10th July) was injured and hospitalised after being struck by a speeding vehicle. The protest was organized by the Teesside Construction Committee over the discrimination against the employment of local workers and undercutting on the agreed rates of pay on the construction of a new purpose-built energy-from-waste facility at Wilton, Redcar for SITA for Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority read more
NUT / NASUWT
Cardiff teachers strike against intolerable workloads (July 10) – Striking teachers picketing outside the school last Thursday talked angrily about former colleagues who had been forced out of the profession because of the stress of an already unmanageable workload. NUT and NASUWT members at the school are fighting plans to further lengthen the school day and increase the number of lessons prepared and taught by each teacher by almost 15% read more
Further one-day strike and petition handover at Bradford College (9 July) – Members of UCU at Bradford College are taking part in a further one-day strike today as part of an ongoing row over job losses. UCU members at Bradford were on picket lines this morning at outside the college’s David Hockney building. Later today, they will hold a demonstration outside a meeting of the college corporation at the Old Building on Carlton Street from 4.30pm. UCU members will also hand over a petition opposing job cuts, which has attracted around 1500 signatures, to the college governors at 5.00pm read more
Fresh demonstrations planned in London after Living Wage blocked (13 July) – Construction union UCATT are planning to hold a fresh wave of demonstrations, after employers blocked proposals to ensure that workers employed under the largest construction agreement receive the London Living Wage read more
Workers vote for strike action at Aspire Housing in Newcastle under Lyme (13 July) – Members of construction union UCATT employed at Aspire, a housing association in Newcastle under Lyme, have voted overwhelmingly for industrial action, as a result of the company planning to cut their terms and conditions. The UCATT members returned a resounding 82.9% yes vote in favour of industrial action. Industrial action is set to begin on the 20th July with further strikes taking place on the 24th, 27th and 31st of this month. Aspire is planning to cut sick pay entitlement from 6 months to 3 months. Pay and holiday entitlement is being slashed for new starters, with the company indicating that these changes could apply to all staff read more
Essex firefighters repeat call for independent inquiry into failed £1M ‘state of the art’ 999 fire control room (July 14) – Calls for a public inquiry into the £1 million Essex Emergency Fire Control fiasco continue following the new Fire Minister’s visit to the Essex Fire and Rescue HQ at Kelvedon Park on Friday. The mobilising system failure also affects Bedfordshire read more
Staffordshire FBU stand up to slash and burn fire service cuts (July 7) – Members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) in Staffordshire are fearing for the safety of their communities ahead of a meeting of the fire authority on Monday 13th July, when the fire and rescue service is expected to announce cuts of £5.7m by 2019/2020. The announcement will follow a lengthy consultation process, but the FBU say their pleas for less draconian options that won’t compromise public safety have fallen on deaf ears read more
Napo secure 3 month extension to ‘Check Off’ cessation (July 13) – At today’s meeting of the Napo National Executive Committee (NEC), General Secretary Ian Lawrence announced that he had received a letter from the Secretary of State for Justice Michael Gove late last week. This indicated that the Minister had recognised Napo’s unique operational problems in encouraging our members to make the switch from ‘Check Off’ to Direct Debit for paying their union subscriptions. As a consequence, the Minister has now revisited the original plan to implement the ending of Check Off in September, and extend this until the 31st December read more
Standing up for the ‘People’s Post’ (July 10) – Hundreds of CWU members demonstrated in central London yesterday in a lively, noisy and colourful launch of the union’s People’s Post campaign. Activists began the day with an early-morning surprise for Londoners, as they hung a protest banner over Westminster Bridge – pledging to the nation that our members will never allow the people’s postal service to be harmed 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
United Voices of the World
3Cosas Campaign at the University of London: Sick Pay, Holidays, Pensions – Last Friday IWGB workers at the Royal College of Music protested for the #3Cosas read more
Defend our unions in Coventry City Council (July 10) – Our right to Trade Union support is being threatened! From NSSN website
Proposals have been submitted on behalf of Labour controlled Coventry City Council that would significantly cut the amount of time that local union officers have to act on their members’ behalf, with many unions facing a greater than 50% reduction.
This is an attack on the trade union movement locally and an attempt by the City Council to make it more difficult for the trade unions to defend their members and the public services in the City.
These cuts will seriously affect industrial relations within the authority.
They will lead to more stress and anxiety for council employees.
They come at a time when the Tory government is planning even greater cuts and attacks on local services as well as our members pay and conditions.
The cuts to facilities time will cost more money than it saves.
Coventry Council is attempting to force this through without following proper procedure as is dictated by our collective agreements.
The Joint Trade Unions have lodged a formal dispute with the City Council about the way it is conducting its so-called consultation and in respect of the fact that they are not following proper procedure. This dispute has the backing of UNISON, UNITE, ATL, NASUWT, and NUT at both local authority and regional level.
Sign the petition on-line and share it on Facebook and Twitter http://tinyurl.com/q4tp625
Check out the Facebook Page, Defend trade unions in Coventry City Council – comment ‘like’ and share
Send messages of support or, for more information, e-mail Richard.Harty@coventry.gov.uk Joint Chair of trade union side
E-mail the Labour Council Leader, Cllr Ann Lucas – firstname.lastname@example.org
The joint unions are gathering support from across the city and from across the country. Let’s keep the pressure up to get the council to negotiate properly!
If they get away with it in Coventry then your council will be next!
Public Meeting organised by Brighton and Hove Trades Union Council – Tory Anti-Union Laws set to be even more regressive than feared. Defend the Right to Strike – Resisting the New Anti-Union Laws
Tuesday 21st July 7pm BMECP 10 Fleet St, Brighton, BN1 4ZE
The announcement today of more details of the Anti-Union laws makes it clear that the legislation, unless we can stop it, is going to be worse than previously feared. We must organise ourselves to fight these laws and prepare our response to them. We must push our leaderships into action.
We have a range of speakers from the movement to kick start a discussion on organising and resisting. I hope to see you there.
Phil Clarke – Secretary Brighton, Hove and District Trades Union Council
Updated list of attacks planned on our movement:-
- A 50% turnout threshold on all ballots
- An additional threshold on transport, health, education, fire, energy and other workers where 40% of those issued with a ballot paper must vote yes. Effectively making not voting a no vote
- Timeouts of four months on ballots to make unions re-ballot under the above thresholds repeatedly if a dispute is protracted.
- The details of strike patterns to be included on the ballot papers so employers can prepare weeks in advance
- Two weeks’ notice of a strike to be given to employers
- Allowing agency staff to be used to break strikes with a least 2 weeks preparation to hire them
- Criminalise effective picketing, require a union official to be responsible for each picket only having 6 people on and allow unions to be fined for not auditing pickets and protests.
- Further restrictions on union’s political funds
- Limiting the amount of time public sector employees can spend on union work. Effectively removing the ability of union branches to organise its officers in a way democratically decided upon by members.
- There is no doubt the government will also continue to encourage the remove payment at source or check off arrangements where union subs are taken out as part of the member’s pay packet.
- Our fundamental right to strike and organise is being threatened.
- Please come along to help plan our response.
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)
From GMB website: New Kier Blacklisting in Corby (July 14) – GMB Accuse Kier of Blacklisting Agency Workers on Corby Contract Who Complained about Two Tier Workforce. Kier seem to have learned no lessons from being in the High Court today over blacklisting construction workers read more
Blacklist Support Group – update 12th July 2015
- ‘Blacklisted’ has been given a full book review in the Guardian by the investigative journalist Rob Evans. Please circulate on social media & to your contacts as a way of supporting the campaign.
- Tolpuddle Week
Tuesday 14th July
10am Blacklisting High Court trial continues
Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand
6pm TUCG Tolpuddle Seminar
Jubilee Room, Houses of Parliament
Speakers include John McDonnell MP, Mark Serwotka (PCS), Michelle Stanistreet (NUJ),Steve Gillan (POA), Christine Blower (NUT), Natalie Bennet (Green), Dave Smith (BSG)
Sat 18th July (10:30am)
Tolpuddle Festival blacklisting session with Phil Chamberlain
- Pitchford Inquiry into undercover policing – possible announcement this week
Have you contacted your MP to ask them to support the Early Day Motion #263 ?
Blacklisted book http://newint.org/books/politics/blacklisted-secret-war/
International (also see Labourstart)
Iran: Free Esmail Abdi now read more
Bagan Hotel River View in Myanmar – stunning location, fantastic views, no room for unions read more
Diary (see & use false economy)
17-19 Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival details here
18 Wakefield Socialist History Group are holding a meeting: the Chartists and the democratic deficit today 1pm at Red Shed, Vicarage Street, Wakefield. Speakers are Shaun Cohen (Ford Maguire Society), Paul Feldman (Assemblies for Democracy) and Mark Sutton (REPUBLIC). All welcome. Free admission and free light buffet. Excellent real ale
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
13 NSSN rally & lobby of TUC Congress in Brighton 1pm-3.30pm Grand Hotel
PHONE 07952 283 558
TWITTER – https://twitter.com/NSSN_AntiCuts
ADDRESS NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE