May 18, 2016 in Bulletins
Two weeks after the Tory trade Union Bill became law, this week’s NSSN e-bulletin is full of reports and requests of solidarity from a whole number of disputes. PCS members in the National Museum Wales are continuing their all-out strike while their comrades in BIS start action against office closures and job cuts. BFAWU members in Sheffield and Unite housing workers in the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) are also taking strike action. RMT members on Southern Rail and Glasgow Unison janitors will both be striking and protesting. A number of POA branches have also been walking out over health and safety issues caused by staff cuts and the campaign to reinstate the Topshop 2 continues.
We also carry updates on other disputes but also a growing list of victimisations of union reps and activists. Please support all the strikes and campaigns. Please look at the posting under ‘Blacklisting’ which recounts the events of the day in court last Wednesday. If you ever needed inspiration, have a read about this heroic struggle.
All in all – what a week and what a message to send to the Tories that they may have passed their new anti-union law but we won’t be cowed and we can defeat them!
Back Amgueddfa Cymru/National Museum Wales staff on all-out strike – PCS members at Amgueddfa Cymru/National Museum Wales have escalated their 2-year dispute over removal of extra payments for weekend working to an all-out strike read more Facebook Group Send message of support to Peter Hill PCS Branch secretary at Dennishill20@hotmail.com and complain to Director General David Anderson – email@example.com
Bristol – Wednesday 18 May https://www.facebook.com/events/585485981615222
London – Thursday 19 https://www.facebook.com/events/1762956343990963/
Make a contribution to the hardship fund:
Bank: Unity Trust Bank
Account name: PCS Amgueddfa Cymru 107006 Branch Hardship Fund
Account number: 20364700
Sort code: 60-83-01
Or via PayPal: http://bit.ly/26eNhvq
BIS staff to strike over office closure threat (13 May) – PCS members working for BIS will walk out on 19 May over the government’s announcements to close the Sheffield office and move work to London. In the ballot for strike action, 96% of members who voted said yes to a strike read more
- Sign the online petition against the closure of the Sheffield office
- Write to your MP
- Tweet your messages of support @pcsbis using the hashtag #KeepSheffieldOpen.
- Donate to the strike fund: cheques made payable to the PCS BIS hardship fund can be sent to the BIS group treasurer at 9 Medina Way, Upper Stratton, Swindon, SN2 7NW or money can be transferred to Unity Trust bank account 20240992 sort code 60-83-01
Unite at the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) will be on strike on Thursday 19th May! Pay Up HCA! – We are striking for fair pay and proper negotiations. Everything we have asked for is entirely reasonable, feasible, and within the powers of the Agency to deliver, yet for the last eleven months, they have refused to negotiate and are now imposing a pay settlement that our members believe is divisive, unfair and in breach of some of our contractual rights.
Strike Pay Appeal: The first strike date has been agreed for Thursday 19th May, with at least two more days proposed on Wednesday 15th and Thursday 16th June. We are therefore urgently appealing for donations to our strike fund to assist those on strike and minimise hardship. You can contribute as follows:
- By cheque made out to “Unite Housing Workers Branch LE111”, sent to PO Box 66701, London E11 9FB.
- By BACS to account name Unite Housing Workers LE/1111 Branch, account number 20040626, Sort Code 60¬83¬01.
Picket Line Support: Please also join us on our picket lines on Thursday 19th May if at all possible. These will be held between 8am and 11am as follows:
- London: Home Office building, 2 Marsham Street, London, SW1P 4DF – nearest tubes: Westminster, Victoria, Pimlico
- Manchester: City Tower, Piccadilly Plaza, Manchester M1 4BT
Support Alison Morris: Defying all justice, Fire alarm rep sacking row continues (May 10th) – The boss of a Birmingham drug and alcohol charity, which sacked health and safety rep Alison Morris for raising concerns with her manager over fire safety, has received nearly 3,000 emails calling for her reinstatement. David Biddle, the chief executive of CGL (Change, Live, Grow) the city’s leading substance abuse charity, has received thousands of emails supporting Alison Morris’ reinstatement. Email message of complaint via http://www.uniteforoursociety.org/page/speakout/justice-for-alison-
Strikes at Pennine Foods in Sheffield starting May 19 – the Bakers Union has announced a series of 48-hour strikes starting this Thursday against the imposition of new contracts – May 19-20, June 1-3 16-17 June 30-July 1 www.bfawu.org Please send messages of support to firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com and donations: make cheques out to BFAWU and send to Pennine Strike Fund – BFAWU, Stanborough House, Great North Road, Welwyn Garden City, Herts AL8 7TA
Samworth Brothers’ ‘Living Wage’ Shame Laid Bare In House Of Commons read more and watch Channel 4 video here
RMT Southern Guards Strike “Solid and Determined” in fight for rail safety (May 18) – RAIL UNION RMT said today that industrial action involved hundreds of guards on Southern Rail is “solid and determined” this morning as staff fight to put safety before profits on the routes across the franchise read more The Rail Industry Day conference is being held at the Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre near Central Hall Westminster (SW1P 3EE) read more more
Glasgow school jannies to strike for full week (May 13) – Glasgow school janitors will walk off the job for five days next week in an escalation of their dispute with Cordia, an arm’s length company of Glasgow City Council. The janitors trade union says that Cordia, and their political masters at Glasgow City Council, are still refusing to talk. The janitors will begin a five day strike on Monday 16 May. The jannies will once again be protesting outside Glasgow City Chambers on Monday 16 May at 12.30pm and will also be seeking the support of Glasgow’s new MSPs when they hold a lunchtime demo outside the Parliament on Wednesday 18 May read more
This year’s annual NSSN conference – our 10th – will be on Saturday July 2nd in Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL – 11am-4.30pm. Conference fee is £6 each www.facebook.com/events/1361018323924300/ – confirmed speakers: Steve Gillan POA General Secretary, Matt Wrack FBU General Secretary, Ronnie Draper BFAWU General Secretary, Janice Godrich PCS President, Chris Baugh PCS Assistant General Secretary, Sean Hoyle RMT President Yannis Gourtsoyannis BMA junior doctors committee national executive
Support Simon O’Hara — Teachers at Small Heath School in Birmingham are continuing to take action to support Simon who remains suspended. You are encouraged to send messages of support to David Room at firstname.lastname@example.org https://www.facebook.com/Reinstate-Simon-OHara-1090494714318024/
BMA Junior Doctors dispute – after initially ruling out talks over the Saturday part of the new contract, the Government backtracked opening up the way for new talks with the BMA
The NSSN has produced a model motion that can be used in unions at all levels and trades council here
BURSARY OR BUST MARCH: Continuing the fight to save NHS bursaries – Saturday June 4th 1pm from St Thomas’ Hospital Westminster Bridge Rd, SE1 7 London https://www.facebook.com/events/1020899857963987/
Stop the sackings of union reps at London Met – #savelondonmet #saveourreps Yesterday (April 30) our branch chair Mark Campbell and secretary David Hardman were made redundant in what is an outrageous attack on their strenuous and tireless trade union activities defending jobs and education at London Met read more Sign petition
UCU confirms two-day strike at UK universities over pay (13 May) – UCU has confirmed plans for a two-day national strike at UK universities as part of an ongoing dispute over pay. UCU members in higher education will walk out on Wednesday 25 and Thursday 26 May read more London march May 25: from Northampton Square EC1V 0ES Map 12pm to UCEA (universities & colleges employer association body)
Reinstate Clive Walder
Clive Walder, a longstanding leading rep in the CWU was sacked last November after 38 years of service with British Telecom. Clive is chair of the CWU Birmingham, Black Country & Worcester branch. Last week, his Employment Tribunal was dismissed on a technicality after a claim by BT, denying Clive the right of a fair hearing. This is outrageous.
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 – email@example.com 07771931185
NSSN / Kill the Bill news
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
More Union News
Nationalise Tata – support the Steelworkers
‘Save Our Steel’ March of the Steel makers – Wednesday March 25th London
For latest developments, follow Facebook group
Hertel workers to vote for strike action over pay (16 May) – Members of Unite, the country’s biggest union, working for Hertel UK, at the Teesside oil refinery, are to be balloted for industrial action in a dispute over pay. The company has been notified that workers who provide repair and maintenance services for the global oil giant Conoco Philips will start voting for strike action or industrial action short of a strike from Friday 20 May. The ballot closes on 1 June read more
Royal Mail managers ramp up industrial action in pay dispute (12 May) – 5,000 Royal Mail managers are ramping up industrial action in their long-running pay dispute, as bosses dig in their heels over making an improved offer. Postal deliveries to 27 million homes across the UK will eventually face disruption as 4,800 managers start an overtime ban from 05.00 Wednesday, 18 May. This builds on from the work to rule which began on 4 May read more
Argos drivers’ move to Eddie Stobart sparks strike ballot over job fears (12 May) – The simmering row over Argos’ plans to transfer 96 drivers in Leicestershire to controversial haulier Eddie Stobart Ltd (ESL) has now escalated to a strike ballot of more than 400 workers at the Lutterworth site read more
No library closures in Greenwich – Unite the Union is leading the fight to defend public services in Greenwich. If the Council gets its way, this will be a library closure, impacting not just on library workers but the much wider community. It will also signal an intensification of cuts in Greenwich. Over the next couple of months, the Council will make a decision about the future of the library. That is why we now need to step up the pressure. We have organised 3 lobbies. All will take place at the Town Hall:-
20th April – Lobby of Council Cabinet 6pm
18th May – Lobby of Annual Council Meeting 6pm
19th May – Lobby of Council Cabinet 6pm (Unite will be addressing this meeting which will make the decision on the future of the Mobile Library)
Metsa Wood Strike Over Pay (May 16) – GMB Members To Strike Over Pay At Metsa Wood Timber Plants In Lincolnshire And Cheshire read more
UNISON to ballot members at East of England Ambulance Trust over industrial action (May 16) – UNISON has today (Monday) informed the East of England Ambulance Service that it is to ballot frontline ambulance staff over possible strike action concerning managers’ failure to tackle the problem of excessive working hours and lack of sufficient breaks. In December 2015, 2,995 shifts finished over an hour later than planned, and in January 2016 this rose to 3,639 shifts read more
UCATT member in Cambridgeshire wins significant tribunal against umbrella company (17 May) – A UCATT member from Ely in Cambridgeshire has won a hugely significant employment tribunal case against an umbrella company. Maurice Meredith contacted UCATT after the union staged a demonstration against umbrella companies in November 2014, outside a Hills construction site next to Cambridge Railway Station. Mr Meredith was awarded payments for the unlawful deduction of employer’s national insurance from his wage packet and unpaid holiday pay read more
Legal victory for union after service tries to double the working week (12 May) – Delegates at the Fire Brigades Union’s 89th conference debated the issue of unsafe duty systems. Neil Carbutt, brigade secretary of the FBU in South Yorkshire, highlighted the dangers of close proximity crewing (CPC) and reported on a successful employment tribunal that concluded the 96-hour shift duty system breached the working time directive read more
Rio cinema staff to strike on 25 May – Staff at The Rio, one of London’s most prominent independent cinemas, have voted today to take strike action. Seventy per cent of BECTU members took part in the ballot and 93% cast their vote for industrial action. Strike action will take place on Wednesday 25 May read more
EIS Confirms Statutory Industrial Action Ballot Over SQA Workload (May 13) – The EIS has today (Friday) confirmed that it will move to a statutory industrial action ballot in relation to the excessive assessment demands placed on teachers and pupils by the SQA read more
Mandate / SIPTU (Ireland)
Mandate Tesco strike suspended – Following the decision by Tesco to remove their threat to unilaterally reduce the terms and conditions of our members, Mandate as a consequence deferred the strike planned for Monday 16 May 2016. Both parties have also agreed to attend the Workplace Relations Commission [WRC] for discussions read more
Support the Luas workers. Support Group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/533923853456339/
United Voices of the World
Reinstate ‘The Topshop 2’ & demand a Living Wage – Look at United Voices of the World Facebook group for more info on this campaign and other disputes and reports, photos and videos of the national day of action on May 15 which had the protests at Topshop’s flagship Oxford Street store at its centrepiece
SPOT, Solidarity with People of Turkey evening of solidarity with people of Turkey on Wednesday, 25 May 2016, at North London Community House in Tottenham, Bruce Grove. On the day we will discuss the concerning developments in Turkey and consider building a campaign in support of all those who are currently being persecuted for raising their voice against the AKP government and president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey. As a first step we would like to take this opportunity to appeal to academics, politicians, trade unionists and peace campaigners to come together and discuss the actions we can take.
SPOT, Solidarity with People of Turkey – 22 Moorefield Road
London N17 6PY Tel: 020 8885 0899 E-mail: email@example.com
Tamil Solidarity – Solidarity Day: Saturday June 4th in Unite HQ, Holborn, London https://www.facebook.com/events/1724072431169931/
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 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 High Court group litigation ends in multi-million pound pay-outs but fight for justice continues
Vindication!! This happened at the High Court today (May 11):
9:30am – John McDonnell MP joins blacklisted workers outside the High Court celebrating their legal victory against the major construction firms. McDonnell reminds the crowd how he chaired the first ever meeting of the Blacklist Support Group back in 2009 with less than 10 people present – but now we have won a famous victory. McDonnell tells the 100s of supporters and the world’s media and his millions of twitter followers that “compensation is one thing, justice is another”
10:30am – Roy Bentham, blacklisted carpenter from Liverpool, makes an application not to be bound by the settlement agreement but to be able to continue to the full trial representing himself. Bentham tells the court how as a Hillsborough survivor he had waited 27 years for justice with many false hopes in courtrooms over the decades. He explains that he wants to continue to ensure that those responsible for the blacklist are called to account. “A bit of compensation here and there is not justice.” There was a spontaneous round of applause and cheering from the packed public gallery.
Lord Justice Supperstone ruled against Roy and denied him the right to appeal. Responding Bentham said: “This will be judged in time because this hasn’t been justice today. I look at the episode in this courtroom as a failure of the British justice system”.
11am – Construction firms at the centre of the blacklisting conspiracy were forced to make a grovelling apology “for the distress and anxiety caused to workers and their families”. A six page agreed statement (attached) was read in open court which reads like a history of blacklisting in construction from the 1960s, covering the covert operations of the ‘Services Group’ within the notorious Economic League until the discovery of The Consulting Association blacklist in 2009. Senior company directors including Cullum McAlpine are named in the statement which ends with an apology from the firms.
While welcoming the agreed statement for putting on public record the shameful activities that have tarnished the reputation of an entire industry, blacklisted workers remain extremely skeptical about how genuine the apology really is. Even now the firms cannot bring themselves to use the toxic word ‘blacklisting’, despite the British Parliament passing the Blacklist Regulations 2010 in order to outlaw the disgraceful practice as a direct response to the Consulting Association scandal.
11:30am At the point where Caldercott QC apologised on behalf of the firms, the High Court hearing was interrupted for several minutes by chants of ‘No Justice – No Peace’ by blacklisted workers and an impromptu speech by Dave Smith who told the court, “Under no circumstances do we consider this to be a sincere apology.”
12:00 – The judge rules the High Court blacklisting group litigation is concluded – blacklisted workers, lawyers and supporters went to the pub to celebrate our victory.
BSG would like to publicly thank all the legal teams who have worked on out behalf over many years but especially JC townsend and Liam Dunne who have been with us from the very start. Without GCR, there would not have been any High Court litigation.
Blacklist Support Group statement:
“The victory in the High Court is vindication for our campaign..
The multi-million pound settlements are a major hit for any organisation.
The admissions wrung out of the blacklisting companies are enormous.
The grassroots campaign combined with the legal fight has brought us to this point. But the Blacklist Support Group do not agree with the wording of the apology, nor do we think it is sincere.
The only thing the firms are sorry for is getting caught.
This is not the end of the matter – this is unfinished business.
Blacklist Support Group demand a full public inquiry to fully expose the blacklisting human rights conspiracy and the collusion between big business and the shadowy anti-democratic elements within the police. We are hardworking men and women used to getting our hands dirty. We are not giving up until the job is completed.
Full justice still needs to be fought for – but tonight we celebrate
All those who have stood with us over the past 7 years, raise a glass to celebrate”.
Donate to ReelNews – http://reelnews.co.uk/donationssubscriptions/
Greece: Striking Athens bus cleaners continue their struggle here
Israel: Amdocs must recognise union here
Turkey: CP Chicken workers fight back against wage cut here
Iranian union leader released from prison here
Peru: Union organizer expelled here
Diary (see & use false economy)
2 10th annual NSSN Conference in Conway Hall, London https://www.facebook.com/events/1361018323924300/
9 Durham Miners’ Gala http://www.durhamminers.org/gala
15-17 Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival http://www.tolpuddlemartyrs.org.uk/
PHONE 07952 283 558
TWITTER – https://twitter.com/NSSN_AntiCuts
ADDRESS NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE