NSSN 326: PCS fights Govt attack on DWP job centres and offices

February 1, 2017 in Bulletins

From Katrine Williams – PCS DWP Group Vice President & NSSN Vice-Chair

As part of the Tory offensive against the public sector the chancellor has announced a 20% reduction in DWP offices and more job centres to share sites in local authority premises to deliver 30% saving on estates costs. This fits in with the approaching end of the contract with the company which owns the DWP estate.

At the beginning of December 2016, there was an announcement of the closure of half the jobcentres in Glasgow. This was met by immediate anger and opposition from PCS members, politicians and claimant support organisations. The campaign has continuously been in the news from day one and has rocked the ferocity of the opposition has rocked the government. This stopped DWP in its tracks until 26 January when the announcement was made about the future of over 700 offices in DWP.

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The office of PCS President Janice Godrich is also under threat, “Today I spoke at a members meeting in my own office in Paisley which was announced for closure last week.  It’s not a public office it’s a large contact centre and processing site. Just before Christmas, Scotch Whisky firm Chivas Regal announced the closure of their Paisley base with the loss of over 450 local jobs. The DWP and local authority are now the largest employers in what was once a proud mill town. Every 2nd shop is a pound or charity shop. Most members live in Paisley and the surrounding area.  The loss of these jobs to the community is irreplaceable.  At a serious and sombre meeting, members agreed we will fight this closure.  MPs, MSPs and local politicians are already working with us. Some members like part time workers only found out about the announcement via colleagues in Facebook which was disgraceful as was the threat of disciplinary action to our local reps for speaking to the press last week.  We will link up with colleagues across the DWP and other government departments facing similar like HMRC and to put our heart and souls into saving these jobs and services.”

Behind the headlines of the closure of 78 job centres, which will damage the ability of the public to access our services, there is also a huge list of office closures.

But there is a wider attack on jobs in some of the most deprived communities. For example over a 1,000 jobs are being proposed to move out of the South Wales Valleys into two sites in Cardiff. We see proposals like this up and down the country in communities which desperately need jobs.

PCS DWP Group President, Fran Heathcote said: “PCS in the DWP has a proud record of defending members, our successful campaign to prevent compulsory redundancies in 2012 has stopped any being announced since, but these announcements pose a serious threat to our members and to the services we deliver. We will fight them with every means at our disposal, including the use of industrial action, after full consultation with regions and branches has taken place. Our executive meets on 16 February to consider all feedback.”

All of these cuts are only proposals. We have seven weeks to involve everyone in our communities in campaigning to defeat these proposals. We had a great start in Glasgow and our members and reps are up for the fight. We appeal to fellow trade unionists and community groups to get stuck in alongside us. Politicians who have seen the campaigning work in Glasgow are also lining up to support us.

PCS: We will oppose jobcentre cuts

PCS – MPs: jobcentre closures are attack on vulnerable

 

‘Resist Trump’ protests

NSSN supporters have been on protests up and down the country. For local details follow #MuslimBan #StandUpToTrump #NoBanNoWall on twitter

NSSN with RMT on Jan 30 Downing St anti-Trump protest

NSSN with RMT on Jan 30 Downing St anti-Trump protest

Protest: Stop Trump’s Muslim Ban – Stop May Supporting It: Sat 4 Feb 11:00 US Embassy 24 Grosvenor Square, Mayfair, London W1A 2LQ Facebook Event  Called by Stop the War Coalition, Stand Up to Racism, Muslim Association of Britain, Muslim Engagement and Development, the Muslim Council of Britain, CND and Friends of Al-Aqsa

 

NSSN news

Trade Union Act to come into force on March 1st – TUC call a special conference

The Tories have confirmed that their anti-union laws, incorporated in the Trade Union Act, including new undemocratic industrial action ballot thresholds will come into force on March 1st. The NSSN calls on the TUC to implement the policy passed at last September’s TUC Congress which was moved by the RMT which includes:

“Congress believes the General Council needs to convene an urgent conference of affiliates to provide a practical forum, including workshops, as to how to best coordinate our legal and industrial response to the Act in line with policy already set by Congress.”

and an amendment from the FBU:

“Congress should discuss all options for challenging the new legislation. This should include stepping up the campaign to scrap the Act and other anti-union legislation as well as the practical steps to be taken to support any unions and groups of workers threatened by this anti-worker legislation.”

Read more    PCS: Welsh ministers move to quash anti-union law

Watch NSSN chair Rob Williams being interviewed on SKY News on the Christmas strikes and opposing Tory attacks on the unions here

 

Early notice – the 11th annual NSSN Conference will be on Saturday July 1st 2017 from 11am in Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL. It is open to all trade union and anti-cuts campaigners

This is a video of the NSSN TUC Congress Rally on 11 September – Tories Out! Keep Corbyn!

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 is below

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

 

 

Union News

RMT

Southern strip key train crew of safety accreditation in a move designed to shove two fingers up at the TUC talks  (31 Jan) – RAIL UNION RMT has reacted with fury after Southern Rail confirmed today that they are planning to strip On Board Supervisors on their services of their guard’s safety licence and certification read more

RMT confirms further strike dates in Tube station staffing dispute (27 Jan) – Following a failure to make significant progress at intensive ACAS talks in the London Underground stations staffing disputes  RMT’s National Executive Committee has taken the decision to call further action and instructs ALL LUL STATION & REVENUE members:  Not to book on for any duty booking on from shifts commencing:

  1. i) After 18:00 on Sunday 5th February 2017 until 09:59 on Monday 6th February 2017
  2. ii) After 10:00 on Tuesday 7th February 2017 until 00:59 on Wednesday 8th February 2017. Further strike dates to be taken in March are to be announced once they are determined and agreed read more

Staff Our Stations – Emergency Public Rally in support of Tube workers: Wednesday 1 February, 18:30pm Indian YMCA, 41 Fitzroy Square, London, W1T 6AQ read more

RMT demonstrate over £1.64 per hour poverty pay at Rosyth Port (27 Nov) – MARITIME UNION RMT is holding a demonstration today over poverty pay on Scotland’s only roll-on roll-off freight link to Europe. The Lithuanian-registered Finlandia Seaways, DFDS freight service operates between Rosyth and Zeebrugge in Belgium, employ Lithuanian seafarers on the vessel on rates of pay as low as £1.64 per hour in 2015, well below the National Living Wage of £7.20 per hour read more

Tube drivers action on Central, Waterloo and City Lines solid in all depots this morning (26 Jan) –  Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary, said: “Pickets are out in force this morning, picket lines are being respected and the support for the action is absolutely solid in all depots. This action has been provoked by a pointless and aggressive approach by London Underground that is entirely cash led and which was always going to spark an angry backlash and this exactly what has happened read more

Rail Business Intelligence magazine reveals advanced plans to strip Southern/GTR of contract (25 Jan) – Respected industry insiders Rail Business Intelligence (RBI) have today published detailed claims that the end of the track is nigh for failing Southern Railways and  plans are now advanced for the Government to take direct control of this flawed contract read more

 

Unite

Woolwich Ferry dispute escalates over health and safety concerns as worker collapses, says Unite (30 Jan) – The dispute at the Woolwich Ferry has escalated over growing health and safety concerns, as an engineer collapsed from inhaling engine fumes at the weekend, Unite said today (Monday 30 January). The union said that on Saturday (28 January) an ambulance was called to the ferry after the engineer, a Unite member, collapsed from inhaling fumes in the engine room of one of the boats – after treatment, he was not detained in hospital. Unite is currently embroiled in an industrial dispute on behalf of its 36 members, working for Briggs Marine Contractors Ltd which runs the service on behalf of Transport for London (TfL). The union is holding 12 days of strike action into the spring over the failure by the company to abide by agreements, health and safety concerns, and a culture of bullying and sexual harassment. The first 24-hour strike was on Friday (27 January) and the next day of strike action is due this Friday (3 February) read more

Campaigners to protest against plans to slash Humber health visitors by 25 per cent (30 Jan) – Health campaigners and concerned families will be joining members of Unite, the country’s largest union, on Wednesday (1 February) to protest over Humber NHS Foundation Trust’s plans to slash health visitors and school nurses by 25 per cent. The protestors, fearful of the damaging impact that the reduction in specialist help will have on babies and children, will be urging board members of Humber Foundation Trust to rethink their plans when they meet at the trust’s headquarters at 09:30. The protestors will be outside the headquarters of the Humber NHS Foundation Trust, Willerby Hill, Beverly Road, Willerby, HU10 6ED from 08:45 over the plans aimed at cutting £500,000 from the specialist public health nursing budget read more 

British Airways facing six days of strike action by mixed fleet cabin crew (27 Jan) – Britain’s largest union, Unite announced today (Friday 27 January) that its cabin crew members working for British Airways mixed fleet would take a further six days of strike action in their ongoing dispute over poverty pay, unless the airline responded to calls to resolve the dispute. The latest strike dates, Sunday 5, Monday 6, Tuesday 7 and Thursday 9, Friday 10 and Saturday 11 February come after an open letter urged British Airways to get back around the negotiating table read more   Send messages of support and donations and ask for a speaker at your union meeting – contact Unite officer Matt Smith 07918640587 and the Heathrow Unite office address is 99 New Road, Harlington, Hayes UB3 5BQ. Their twitter is @MFUnite

Up to 1,100 jobs’ axe by CSC will be fought ‘tooth-and-claw’, says Unite (27 Jan) – The plans to slash up to 1,100 jobs at Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) Ltd – 22 per cent of its UK workforce – will be fought ‘tooth-and-claw’. Unite, the country’s largest union, pledged today (Friday 27 January) read more

Pressure mounts on MoD as AWE workers stage 48-hour strike next week (27 Jan) – Workers at AWE plc – the Atomic Weapons Establishment – are full of confidence as they gear up for their second 48-hour strike this month in their pensions’ dispute on Monday (30 January), Unite, the country’s largest union, said today (Friday 27 January). Six hundred employees, members of Unite, will strike at AWE’s two sites at Aldermaston and Burghfield in Berkshire for 48 hours on Monday 30 January, starting at 00.01. Picket lines at both sites will be in place from 06.30 on both days read more

 

Unison

Support Derby school support staff – Teaching assistants, school supervisors, admin staff and other support workers have been striking against contract changes that have seen some of them lose up to 25% of their wages

Video of Derby support staff marching to council house:-

School Support Staff Industrial Action – Statement of support received from Jeremy Corbyn (Jan 27)

Donate to Derby hardship fund here

Derby Unison branch Facebook page here

Support the Durham Teaching Assistants from Unison and ATL who have also taken strike action to stop wage cuts of 23% –

Donate to the Durham TAs’ fund here

Durham TAs Facebook page here

Support ongoing Glasgow Unison janitors’ dispute – see Unison Glasgow City Branch Facebook group and website

Support the Kinsley School cleaners in Wakefield on indefinite strike since September 6th Facebook Group. Donate to strike fund – send to Wakefield Unison, 18 Gills Yard, Wakefield WF1 3BZ

Academics back strike by King’s College cleaners

 

CWU

1971 Postal Dispute – Watch CWU video here

The NSSN wishes to send our condolences to the family of Bernard Roome, former members of CWU’s NEC and long-time supporter of our Network who sadly passed away last Friday. Memorial meeting – 3pm Saturday 25th March Grand Hotel opposite Swansea train station. An obituary can be read here

 

BFAWU

The Fast Food Rights campaign are calling for ‘Fight for £10 – May Day Pay Day’ marches this May Day – contact Gareth Lane  Gareth.Lane@BFAWU.org for info

Reinstate Kumaran Bose – sacked by Samworths! The NSSN is supporting the BFAWU’s campaign in support of Kumaran Bose who was dismissed for speaking out and for organising a union in his workplace read more    Facebook group   BFAWU Statement On Samworth Brothers’ Sacking Of Kumaran Bose

 

NUT

5,500 schools face years of financial misery (31 Jan) – At the Education Select Committee today, Nick Gibb MP, Minister of State for Schools, admitted that 5,500 schools are on the funding “floor”. These schools are the big losers from the proposed introduction of a National Funding Formula. They will have their cash funding cut by 3% but that is on top of an 8% real terms cut over this Parliament. If that was not difficult enough for them to manage, they will then have their income slowly squeezed for years to come as their income will not be increased in line with inflation read more

We have heard reports that NUT rep at Small Heath school in Birmingham has been reinstated after being suspended for 12 months!! Congratulations to Simon, his family and members Facebook page 

 

UCU

UCU members back strike action plans at Manchester Metropolitan University (27 Jan) – UCU members at Manchester Metropolitan University have overwhelmingly backed a motion that will trigger a strike action ballot if a dispute over the future of Crewe campus and the staff who work there cannot be resolved read more

Support the reinstatement of London Met union reps: Mark Campbell and David Hardman https://uculondonmet.wordpress.com/

 

BECTU

Ritzy workers reject owners’ ‘legal intimidation’ move (Jan 29) – Written by Linda Quinn in Brixton Bugle, Brixton Stories. The BECTU section of Prospect, the union representing Picturehouse staff including those at Brixton’s Ritzy campaigning for the London living wage, is to ballot its members on strike action for a second time. The first ballot in January – with a 77% turnout and a 96% “Yes” vote across three cinemas – has been challenged by the company’s lawyers on a legal technicality. BECTU says workers have also been threatened with legal action over unfounded claims of intimidation and unlawful picketing. The Crouch End Picturehouse in North London has now joined the campaign and will be included in the new ballot for strike action read more

Sign petition: A London Living Wage for Picturehouse Workers here

Brixton Facebook Page   Hackney Facebook Page   Support the Picturehouse Strike Fund – donate now

 

FBU

Please show your support for North Yorkshire Firefighters – from Matt Wrack FBU General Secretary: North Yorkshire FBU members are currently engaged in a lawful trade dispute with their employer over the intention to introduce Tactical Response Vehicles (TRVs) which would be crewed with only two or three firefighters. Send messages of support to the FBU members at Scarborough Fire Station via Brigade Secretary Steve Howley at steve.howley@fbu.org.uk. Hardship fund details:

North Yorkshire:           North Yorkshire FBU Hardship Fund

Account number:          25450874  Sort code:                      05-09-94  read more

Save Our Fire Services Stand Up for Spelthorne! – Join the mass lobby of Spelthorne Borough Council 6.30pm Thursday 23 February at Council Offices, Knowle Green, Staines TW18 1XB www.sosis.org.uk

 

TSSA

TSSA Bus Éireann members vote overwhelmingly for strike action (31 Jan) –  TSSA members at Bus Eireann have voted overwhelmingly for strike action if the company plans to press ahead with cuts to bus routes and axe jobs under the guise of dealing with a €7million loss this financial year.  91% of the 56% ballots returned voted to take industrial action upto and including strike action. There were no spoiled ballot papers

 

United Voices of the World union

Please consider making a donation to LSE cleaners’ strike fund – http://www.uvwunion.org.uk/justiceforlsecleaners/

Website: www.uvwunion.org.uk   Facebook: www.facebook.com/uvwunion   Twitter: @UVWunion

 

 

 

Other News

‘It’s Our NHS!’ national demonstration: assemble 12noon Saturday March 4th Tavistock Square, London WC1H – As 2017 opens, the crisis in the NHS continues. The Health Campaigns Together grassroots campaign has called a national demonstration https://www.facebook.com/events/1771664639725061/   GPs ‘incensed’ by May threat to funding warns Doctors in Unite

SERTUC Public Services Committee Health Conference – Saturday 25 February 2017 read more

 

 

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 who are having their Xmas party tonight December 13th – 7.30pm onwards Brixton Pound Café 77, Atlantic Rd SW9 8PU

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)

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

Hungary: Public sector union leaders sacked in unprecedented attack read more

Ukraine: Kiev transport workers face attacks on rights read more

Nigeria: Government must intervene to support sacked dockworkers read more

‘The Assault on Academics and Journalists in Turkey’ – 5pm February 2nd Alumni Lecture Theatre, First Floor, Paul Webley Wing (Senate House North Block), SOAS University of London. Hosted by SPOT (Solidarity with the People of Turkey) https://www.facebook.com/events/1822592031339193/

 

Diary

 

2017

March

4 ‘It’s Our NHS’ – National Demonstration to defend the NHS in London on March 4th 2017 – called by ‘Health Campaigns Together’ an umbrella organisation of different local campaigns against NHS cuts https://www.facebook.com/events/1771664639725061/  http://www.healthcampaignstogether.com/index.php

With Banners Held High – all day workshops, debates, exhibition gig in Wakefield in support of causes such as Justice for Mineworkers and Orgreave Truth & Justice Campaign https://webmail.123-reg.co.uk/appsuite/#!!&app=io.ox/mail&folder=default0//NNIS%5B

13 Orgreave Truth & Justice Campaign ‘Make Some Noise for Justice’ demo – 2pm, Home Office Marsham Street London SW1P 4DF http://otjc.org.uk/noise-demo-transport/

18 National Demo: Refugees and Migrants Welcome – Stand Up To Racism, Islamophobia & Anti-Semitism read more

 

July

1 11th annual NSSN Conference 11am in Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL

 

CONTACT US

PHONE 07952 283 558

EMAIL mailto:info@shopstewards.net

 

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ADDRESS NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE