NSSN 279: #KillTheBill – Stop Tory Cuts, Defend Unions

February 9, 2016 in Bulletins

The NSSN has produced a new leaflet for the TUC’s #heartunions week of action – this is the text:-

Straight after last May’s election, Cameron moved his plans to bring in his (anti) Trade Union Bill at the same time that Osborne set out the next wave of brutal Tory cuts. Now as the Bill makes its way through both houses of Parliament, councils are setting new cuts budgets while a new cull of civil service office closures, privatisations and redundancies are announced.

This is not accidental. The Tories fully understand that the unions with 6million members are potentially the most powerful obstacle to their vicious cuts. Last year on four separate days, tube and busworkers brought London to a halt through mass strike action. Every week, there are workers taking action against the bosses and the government. What could be achieved if they took action together?

But it’s not just the ‘usual suspects’. The Tories have been forced into a U-turn over cuts to legal aid through action taken by the legal profession and Junior Doctors are striking against a new contract. Their union, the BMA has been totally transformed by this dispute, with membership rocketing to a new high. The NSSN calls on the TUC and the health unions to urgently meet with the BMA to organise a national demonstration to defend the NHS and support the Junior Doctors and the NHS students who are fighting Tory attacks on their bursaries. Such a march could prepare the ground for joint strike action against health service cuts.

These struggles show that if the unions linked together the cuts with the Trade Union Bill and took decisive action together, they would attract huge support from all those who are in the front line from Osborne’s austerity offensive.

kill the bill 5 feb 2016_Page_1kill the bill 5 feb 2016_Page_2

Jeremy Corbyn’s incredible victory to become Labour leader is a reflection of the real anti-austerity mood that exists. We echo the call of the national local government committees in Unite and Unison for Labour councillors to take a stand against the Tory cuts and set no-cuts budgets.

We welcome any initiatives that the TUC and the unions take against the Bill but the response so far has been inadequate. If the Bill is passed, there should be an emergency TUC Congress called, just as there was in early 1971 when the Tory government of Edward Heath brought in their Industrial Relations Bill, which provoked the original ‘Kill the Bill’ campaign that defeated his laws. Any such Congress should be widened out to union executives and thousands of shop stewards and reps, who will be in the firing line of the new laws.

The NSSN will continue to campaign for co-ordinated industrial action on the scale of a 24-hour general strike to defend our unions, jobs, living standards and communities. But we also will organise with others such as the Trade Union Co-ordinating Group (TUCG) of left unions and local union branches, shop stewards committees and trades councils to prepare for the solidarity action that will be necessary should the Bill become law over the next few months.

Stop the Tory cuts! Kill the Bill!

 

Junior Doctors strike on February 10 – Junior Doctors have been forced to take a second day of strike action on February 10th by the determination of the Tories to bring in a new contract. NSSN supporters visited BMA picket lines on January 12th and will continue to give support and solidarity as long as it’s needed. We call on the TUC and the other health unions to urgently meet with the BMA to call a national demonstration to defend the NHS and support the Junior Doctors and the struggle of students in the health service to defend their bursaries. Many of these students are looking to walk out with Junior Doctors next Wednesday at 10am. Please join the picket lines on February 10th BMA statement: Junior doctors press ahead with industrial action (Feb 1)  BMA report: Junior doctors march on Downing Street (Feb 8)

#JuniorDoctorsStrike

 

 

 

#SaveOurSteel

NSSN public meeting Port Talbot February 10: No closures or redundancies – nationalise to #SaveOurSteel

SaveOurSteel

The NSSN is hosting a public solidarity meeting in Port Talbot on Wednesday February 10th to build support for the steelworkers. It is at 7.30pm in the lounge at the Grand Hotel Station Rd, Port Talbot SA13 1DE (opposite the train station). Speakers include NSSN national chair and ex-Swansea Visteon (Ford) Unite union convenor Rob Williams. It is open to everyone. We call on our supporters to organise meetings anywhere else that plants and jobs are on the line. https://www.facebook.com/NationaliseTATA/?fref=ts

Solidarity with the steelworkers – no redundancies, no closures, nationalise to #SaveOurSteel

 

 

NUT

The academy threat to Small Heath School has been withdrawn – now lift Simon O’Hara’s suspension! (1 Feb) — On Friday 29th January Birmingham City Council informed the unions that the threat of the academisation of Small Heath School was off the table as the sponsors had walked away. This came after staff from the NUT, NASUWT and ATL increased their strike action and campaigned with parents to say that students in Small Heath are best served by their school remaining as part of the Local Authority family of schools. Staff are committed to getting the school out of special measures but for this to happen the suspension of the NUT Rep Simon O’Hara must be lifted. NUT members in the school have voted 100% in favour of striking to defend their Rep with strikes to begin on 9th February with 3 more days of strike action this week if the school refuse to end the victimisation of Simon O’Hara. Please share the petition and encourage as many people as possible to sign. We say well done to the strikers for stopping the academisation of Small Heath School and that now the LA and the IEB should lift the suspension of Simon O’Hara. You are encouraged to send messages of support to David Room at banut@btconnect.com. A petition to defend Simon and to say ‘no to academisation’ of Small Heath School has attracted well over 2000 signatures – please add your signature sign here

 

CWU

Reinstate Clive Walder

The NSSN is delighted to announce that John Vasey a sacked CWU postal rep in Wakefield, West Yorkshire has finally been reinstated by Royal Mail (see CWU website). We now demand that Clive Walder gets his job back at British Telecom.

Clive Walder, a longstanding leading rep in the CWU had an appeal against unfair dismissal rejected by British Telecom on 9 November, confirming his sacking after 38 years of service. Clive is chair of the CWU Birmingham, Black Country & Worcester branch.

FBU General Secretary Matt Wrack and Bakers Union President Ian Hodson supporting victimised CWU members Clive Walder and John Vasey at TUCG rally

FBU General Secretary Matt Wrack and Bakers Union President Ian Hodson supporting victimised CWU members Clive Walder and John Vasey at TUCG rally

Clive worked in a BT call centre and was dismissed after an aggressive customer reported him to management just 33 seconds into a phone call. The decision was made without taking stress into account despite the local CWU branch reporting that 7% of staff at the call centre leave their jobs each month, some walking out mid shift. Management took the decision without consulting any medical advice or taking into account any mitigation.

Clive is a NSSN steering committee member and we will be supporting the campaign protesting the sacking and campaigning for his reinstatement.

Contact Clive to send messages of support and invite him to your union branch, shop stewards committee, trades council etc – cliverwalder@hotmail.com 07771931185

Reps meet to plan Royal Mail pay strategy read more

Defend the People’s Post sign the petition here

South Londoners Defend their Crown Office

 

Offshore Oil Industry workers

Rank & file protest Tuesday February 9 Aberdeen 3and3itsnotforme Facebook group

Aberdeen

Trade unions team up in fight against North Sea job losses  

 

 

NSSN / Kill the Bill news

As expected, the Tory Trade Union Bill passed its 3rd reading on November 10th. It now is now going through the Lords. But we must keep up the pressure and prepare for resisting it if it becomes law.

The NSSN supported the protest that the TUCG organised outside Parliament on the 2nd House of Lords reading of the TU Bill on Monday January 11th. We will be publicising protests on the 3rd reading. See video of PCS national Vice-President John McInally speaking on protest

The TUC have announced a week of action February 8-14 against the Trade Union Bill http://heartunions.org/. Watch out for any protests or meetings that week – or organise your own through your Trades Council, union branch, NSSN etc.

A central part of the TUC week of action will be ‘The Big Workplace Meeting’ – where the TUC is calling on union branches and workplaces to come out of work together at 12.30pm on Tuesday 9 February and hold a meeting to discuss fighting the Trade Union Bill. Why not make it a protest and take action against the Bill?!!

TUC comments on leaked ministerial letter calling for Trade Union Bill concessions

Campaign for Trade Union Freedom Spring Rally – 6.30pm Thursday 11th February Mander Hall, NUT Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, London WC1H 9BD http://www.tradeunionfreedom.co.uk/

Rob Williams NSSN chair was interviewed live on BBC’s Daily Politics at TUC Congress watch here at about 30 minutes

 

Early notice – the 10th annual NSSN conference will on Saturday July 2nd 2016 in Conway Hall, London. Please put in your new diaries!!

Yorkshire NSSN Conference: Stop the Union Busters / Organise the Unorganised – Saturday, 5th March at Ebor Court, Skinner St, Leeds, LS1 4ND https://www.facebook.com/events/514766158692960/

NSSN conference & affiliation letter

NSSN conference & affiliation letter

The last two pink NSSN ‘£10 Now’ t-shirts are available for £8. Both are women’s large sizes. First come first served! Order by emailing info@shopstewards.net

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 attached and here

Download the ‘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

 

 

More Union News

UCU / Unison Futher Education pay strike February 24

Staff to strike in further education colleges on 24 February (4 Feb) – Members of UCU and UNISON in further education colleges in England will be taking strike action on Wednesday 24 February in a row over pay. Staff are angry that the employers’ representatives, the Association of Colleges, recommended a pay freeze, despite staff suffering a real-terms pay cut of 17.1% in the last five years. UCU members walked out in November as part of the dispute and will now be joined on picket lines by UNISON members later this month. Three-quarters (74%) of UCU members who voted backed strike action in the union’s ballot end of last year. Last week UNISON members also backed industrial action with two-thirds (66%) of their members who voted backing the walkout read more

 

Unison

Lambeth library workers strike February 8thAlong with the Unite branches in Greenwich and Bromley, it has meant library strikes in 3 South London boroughs this week (see below in Unite) https://www.facebook.com/LambethUnison/

Lobby of Lambeth council cabinet Feb 8

Lobby of Lambeth council cabinet Feb 8

 

RMT

LU Track Patrol Staff to Strike Friday (9 Feb) – Tube union RMT confirmed today that nearly 500 London Underground track patrol staff are to strike for 24 hours from 0630hrs on Friday morning – 12th February – in a dispute over the use of private contractors to casualise and undermine their jobs. LU are trying to bulldoze through, without agreement, the training of staff working for contractors, Cleshar, to undertake track patrolling duties in a direct attack on the job security of RMT’s track patrol members read more

Every Job Matters industrial action suspended read more

RMT announces seven blocks of strike action by tube maintenance staff in fight over safety (Feb 5) – Tube union RMT confirmed today that nearly 1500 maintenance and renewals staff on London Underground and Tube Lines will be involved in seven separate blocks of strike action from next Friday, 12th February, in a fight over basic safety issues relating to what are known as “Section 15 possessions”. The core issue at the heart of the dispute is about safely accessing the track. LU are imposing new track access arrangements called Section 15 Possessions instead of using the current tried and tested Track Access Controllers read more

 

Unite

Unite children service members at Oxfordshire county council set to strike (9 Feb) – Unite members working in early intervention for Oxfordshire county council will stage a 24-hour walk-out on Tuesday 16 February after voting overwhelmingly in favour of strike action over the council’s plans to shut all of its 44 children centres and seven early intervention (EIS) hubs, including in prime minister David Cameron’s Witney constituency read more

5,000 taxi drivers set to protest in London tomorrow over threats to passenger safety and deregulation (9 Feb) – London taxi drivers fed up with the government’s ‘race to the bottom’ in deregulating the trade – with an adverse impact on passenger safety – will be protesting in central London tomorrow (Wednesday 10 February) read more

Library strike in Bromley and Greenwich – Congratulations to Greenwich Unite members working in Libraries who have voted by a 90% majority in favour of strike action to defend the Mobile Library from closure and havde been on strike on February 9th. Bromley Unite’s Library members are on strike from 6th to 13th Feb in defence of Bromley libraries. Along with the Unison branch in Lambeth striking on February 8th, it has meant library strikes in 3 South London boroughs this week

Protesters target ME London Hotel’s steakhouse restaurant over alleged service charge scam (5 Feb) – Unite will stage a ‘Fair Tips’ protest today (Friday 5 February) outside STK London – the American-style steakhouse inside the five star ME London Hotel over accusations that it is cheating staff out of their hard-earned tips in an alleged service charge scam read more

 

PCS

Online petition launched against BIS office closure (8 Feb) – Sign a petition to help force a parliamentary debate against the closure of the Sheffield office of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills which threatens 250 jobs. The closure plan was announced last week (LINK TO STORY) and work from Sheffield will move to London. Senior officials have said BIS will also be withdrawing from other sites across the UK, risking a further 100 jobs read more

Tories seek more redundancy cuts despite promises (5 Feb) – Tory ministers are again seeking to cut redundancy pay just a few years after they celebrated making the system “affordable and sustainable”. The move has echoes of the way public sector pensions were slashed despite the government’s own report proving they were affordable now and in the future read more

 

FBU

Cumbria council in u-turn as five fire stations saved from axe (4 Feb) – Five fire stations earmarked for closure in Cumbria have been saved after the local council cited the recent floods as a key reason to keep the stations operational. Cumbria County Council confirmed the decision at a meeting of its cabinet this morning (4 February). Les Skarratts, secretary of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) in the north west, said: “The council have rightly recognised how vital firefighters are responding to major flooding emergencies. Firefighters are dealing with the impact of flooding more than ever and Cumbria is better served by having these stations remain open read more

 

NUJ

Carnage for members across Scotland, warns NUJ (5 Feb) – The full onslaught on Scotland’s newspaper titles was condemned at a meeting of the NUJ’s Scottish Executive Council (SEC) today. A new wave of cutbacks and redundancies across Trinity Mirror, Newsquest and Johnston Press titles has put scores of members’ jobs at risk and impacting upon their ability to produce quality journalism. Full support was extended to all affected chapels, and to the industrial action ballots currently at various stages of planning and implementation across the titles read more

 

GMB

No To Two Tier Workforce In Glasgow (Feb 8) – GMB Scotland Slam Proposed Two Tier Workforce At Glasgow City Council After 7000 Arm Length Staff Moved To Direct Employment. Councillors should not be supporting any proposal that brings in a two tier workforce built on inequality says GMB Scotland read more

 

NAPO

***Stop Press*** Gill Kirton Report Launch update on Speakers – Jo Stevens MP Labour Member of Parliament for Cardiff Central, Shadow Justice Minister & Shadow Solicitor General has now confirmed that she is able to attend the launch event of a report looking at Employment relations in probation after Transforming Rehabilitation – on afternoon of Tuesday 23rd February at Charterhouse,  London, EC1M 6BQ read more for details

 

Equity

ENO Choristers fight for their jobs and pay (8 Feb) – At a press conference today, Equity announced it will ballot the chorus of the English National Opera (ENO) to take industrial action over pay and job cuts. Choristers at ENO have been told to expect a 25% cut in pay and to lose at least four jobs – a course of action that could push ENO into terminal decline. The Chorus, backed by Equity, has launched a campaign to save their jobs, their pay and the ENO read more

 

 

 

Other News

Kill the housing bill national demo 13 March – Keep your diary free for this national demo in London on the housing bill. Sunday 13 March at 12:00–14:00 – Lincoln’s Inn Newman’s Row, London WC2A 3TL, WC2A 3TL London.

Demands include rent control and a programme of council house building read more on Unite LE/1111 housing workers branch website

Save Pent Valley School: lobby Kent County Council February 11 – Pent Valley School is an Academy in Cheriton, Folkestone. Kent County Council are trying to close it due, they say, to falling numbers and bad results and then reopen the school in three years as a ‘Free School’. The community do not want it to close as there are new estates being built within walking distance of the school, birth rates are increasing and results and the quality of the teaching and support staff has dramatically improved.

South East Kent Trades Council has organised a highly successful and well attended public meeting to keep the school open. We are lobbying Kent County Councillors outside County Hall in Maidstone on Thursday 11th February from 830am https://www.facebook.com/events/993322090740354/

Please come along to the lobby, inform your members. We are hiring a coach paid for by Unite and Unison should be providing support and shelter and sandwiches. Remember the cuts affect us all and this campaign against all cuts unites our communities.

We are quickly filling up a coach with mums, dads, school students and the local Nepalese community. We are preparing banners, leaflets and placards. We will be linking up with the campaign to save the dementia respite centres and the PCS campaign to stop the closure of tax offices across Kent.

Eric Segal – South East Kent Trades Council

 

 

 

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)

Blacklist Support Group update – Blacklist firms pay out millions in compensation but High Court trial could cost them billions

Construction firms have paid out nearly £6m in compensation to just 71 blacklisted workers. The UCATT members were all claimants in the High Court group litigation and on average received £80,000 with some individuals receiving £200,000 for the years of hardship caused by the illegal Consulting Association blacklist. The companies involved in the legal action are: Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and Vinci PLC. A number of cases have now settled with a total payout so far by the firms in excess of £15m. Acceptance of the compensation offers for many was not their preferred option but was forced upon them because of the financial implications associated with a Part 36 offer. There remain around 340 blacklisted workers whose claims are still live, with the trial still scheduled for 10 weeks and set to start in May.

Public authorities across the UK and Europe have passed resolutions and issued procurement guidelines that would mean that if found guilty at a High Court trial they could be banned from future publicly funded contracts.

Dave Smith, blacklisted engineer and Blacklist Support Group secretary commented:

“The offers of compensation are a cynical attempt by the companies to buy themselves out of a High Court trial. The blacklisting firms know they are guilty as sin and are desperate to protect their corporate brand. But the millions they will be ordered to pay by the High Court will be dwarfed by the potential billions they could lose out on if banned from government and local authority contracts across Europe

A large number of workers were put on the illegal Consulting Association database because they raised concerns about safety on building sites. By covertly targeting union safety reps, these companies appear to have given themselves a competitive advantage, as implementing proper health & safety measures on major projects has obvious financial consequences. Blacklisting is a human rights scandal but it might also be viewed as a secret cartel. I’m looking forward to the trail in May”. See story in Mirror: here  First UCATT blacklisted victims receive compensation

 

Fawley protest – As preparations were underway for major annual maintenance work at the huge Fawley refinery, new workers turning up for induction faced lengthy queues to get on site as Blacklist campaigners from the National Rank & File leafletted in protest at the exclusion of a UNITE rep at contractors Hertel. Leaflets were well received as workers are clearly angry about workplace conditions at Fawley. Activists are determined that contractors will not be allowed to get away with this and are determined to protect the national agreement at Fawley. There is a lot of frustration that despite having handed in their CVs many have not been given the chance to work. The demand of jobs for all, was given the thumbs up by many!

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/

Donate to ReelNews – http://reelnews.co.uk/donationssubscriptions/

 

 

International (also see Labourstart)

The first national demonstration for Kurdish solidarity has been called by Kurdish activists and supporters. The national demonstration will be held on Sunday March 6th https://www.facebook.com/events/1552991251691159/

Open letter of support for “Academics for Peace” in Turkey read more

Vicious union-busting at Moroccan fish canner DOHA read more

Greece: Workers strike at Contitech-IMAS factory read more

 

 

 

Diary (see & use false economy)

 

2016

 

March

5 Yorkshire NSSN Conference: Stop the Union Busters / Organise the Unorganised at Ebor Court, Skinner St, Leeds, LS1 4ND https://www.facebook.com/events/514766158692960/

 

July

2 10th annual NSSN Conference in Conway Hall, London

 

 

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