365: Support Mears workers – 49 more strike days!

November 15, 2017 in Bulletins

 

Unite

Shocking levels of mental illness and stress revealed problems among Manchester housing workers, as Mears strike action resumes (from Unite website 13 Nov) – A confidential survey of workers employed by Mears in Manchester and joint venture company Manchester Working (operated by Mears) has revealed very high levels of mental health problems and stress among its workforce. The survey which was undertaken by the members’ union Unite is being made public today (November 13) to coincide with the workers’ resuming industrial action in a long-running dispute.

Levels of mental ill health were found to be very high with 37 per cent of the workers confirming they had suffered an illness; principally depression and anxiety. Of these workers a staggering 89 per cent believed that work had contributed to their illness and in three quarters of cases the illness was so severe that time off work was necessary. Once again 59 per cent of sufferers had not raised their illness with management. The survey further found that 91 per cent of the workforce was suffering from stress, with 98 per cent of these sufferers believing that work had contributed to their condition. Despite this 63 per cent had not informed the employer about their condition, for a third of these workers the condition was so severe that they had to take time off work.

In a damming indictment of Mears’ management, 79 per cent of the workforce said that their health had deteriorated in the last 12 months, with 70 per cent recording that both their physical and mental health had been affected. Disturbingly 92 per cent of workers said that Mears’ management took neither their physical or mental health seriously. Unite has shared the findings of the survey with both Andy Burnham the Mayor of Greater Manchester and with Sir Richard Leese and other members of Manchester council’s executive and requested that both organisations intervene to resolve the crisis.

Unite regional co-ordinating officer Andy Fisher said: “The findings of this survey are truly shocking and demonstrate that bad management by Mears is making workers ill. “It is imperative that if Mears has any regard for their workforce they will act on these findings immediately.”

Mears2

Meanwhile today (13 Nov) marks the first day of a fresh 49 days of strike action by the workforce, which is set to run until February 2018. The 180 strong workforce have already taken 40 days of strike action this year in a dispute over pay differentials which results in workers being paid up to £3,500 less for doing the same work. The workers undertake housing maintenance work on 12,000 properties managed by Northwards Housing as well as other maintenance work on Manchester council properties. The contract is tendered by Manchester council.

In the period prior to the latest strike action beginning Mears has not sought to reach a negotiated settlement, instead using their energies to try to weaken the workers’ resolve by bullying and intimidating younger workers. It is estimated that it would cost Mears one per cent of the contract’s value to resolve the strike.

Andy Fisher added: “It is frankly astonishing that Mears is not seriously attempting to resolve this long running dispute. “They would be far better devoting their energies to finding a settlement than bullying Unite members. The strike action will unfortunately cause inconvenience to tenants of Northwards but this is purely a result of Mears’ refusal to resolve the dispute, which would cost comparatively loose change for a multi-million pound organisation. No worker takes strike action lightly and Unite is fully prepared to return to the negotiating table, provided that Mears is serious about resolving this dispute.”

Workers at Mears in Manchester and at Manchester Worker will undertake a series of 48 hour strikes on the following dates: November 13, 16, 20, 23 and 27, December 4, 7, 11, 14, 18, 21, 28, January 4, 8, 11, 15, 18, 22, 25, 29, February 1, 5 and 8. The same workforce will also take part in 24 hour strikes on November 30, December 1, January 2

Send messages of support to Unite rep Colin Pitt: colinpitt65@hotmail.co.uk and Unite regional officer Andy.fisher@unitetheunion.org and post donations to: Unite House, Merchants Quay, Salford Quays, Salford M50 3SG

 

CWU

Support the Royal Mail workers: ‘Dispute postponed – not cancelled’ read more on CWU website   Latest CWU bulletin

CWU RM logo

Members urged to reject BT pension proposals as formal consultation begins (Nov 14) – BT’s proposals to radically change pension provision across the company have been branded a “slap in the face to loyal employees” by the CWU, which is urging members to deliver an outright rejection of the plans in a formal consultation that has been announced today (Tuesday) read more

Close the Gap round-up (Nov 10) – As the first week of our Close the Gap campaign tour of the UK draws to a close, deputy general secretary Andy Kerr has congratulated  branches for all their efforts read more

 

TODAY Free Education NOW: Tax The Rich – National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts National Demo 15 November: assemble 1pm Student Central, Malet St, London WC1E 7HY

 

#SACKTHETORIES – Budget Day protests

Stop the Universal Credit Crisis – Stop Tax Avoidance – Fund Our NHS

Day of action ahead of the Budget Tuesday 21 November, Nationwide, including outside Downing Street 6pm details of protests on People’s Assembly website

 

Fight for Education – protest Budget Day November 22nd (called by Socialist Students)

 

 

NSSN news

There was an excellent NSSN Solidarity Forum on October 28th in Birmingham.

Over 80 union reps and members discussed how to build support for the increasing number of disputes, including the CWU in Royal Mail, Unite at Birmingham bins, PCS in DWP, BFAWU in McDonalds and the fight to scrap the public sector pay cap. We also heard from campaigners fighting to keep the Derby Women’s Centre open. If you want to organise a similar event in your area, email us via 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 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

You can receive this bulletin via email. Click here to subscribe 

Follow us on twitter via @NSSN_AntiCuts and Facebook

 

 

 

 

Union News

More Unite

BREAKING NEWS!! “Please boss can I go to the loo?” Anger over the treatment of DPD workers (15 Nov) Unite press release and photo opportunity

When: Thursday 16 November 2017 from 12:00 – 14:00

Where: DPD headquarters, Roebuck Lane, Smethwick, Birmingham, B66 1BS

Unite, Britain’s biggest union, will stage a demonstration outside DPD’s headquarters in Smethwick, Birmingham in protest over allegations of bullying and the poor treatment of workers at its superhub in Hinckley, Leicestershire. Workers at one of Europe’s largest parcel sorting facilities have reported that they face the indignity of having to ask their line manager for permission to use the toilet. Some have even alleged that line managers have been refusing their requests to use the bathroom facilities. Workers also report they have to wait up to an hour after the end of their shift  to leave the sorting facility while searches take place. On some occasions people have to wait even longer before they can go home read more

BREAKING NEWS!! Yorkshire Christmas ‘beer drought’ threat as drivers hold strike ballot over health and safety issues (15 Nov) – Thirsty Christmas revellers in Yorkshire could face a festive season ‘drinks drought’ as Sheffield drivers ballot for strike action over a long-running health and safety dispute. Unite, the country’s largest union represents more than 100 drivers and drivers’ mates, working for Tradeteam Ltd (owned by DHL), who will start balloting tomorrow (Thursday 16 November) for strike action. The ballot closes on Monday 27 November. The crux of the dispute is that extra investment is needed in more drivers and equipment  to stop the bosses ‘pushing the envelope’ on contracted hours and the appropriate machinery to make loading of the lorries easier. If the drivers and their mates vote for strike action deliveries to hundreds of clubs, pubs and restaurants from Leicester to Huddersfield and Scarborough will be hit in the run-up to Christmas read more

Arriva drivers confirm NINE December strike days that will cause Christmas chaos (14 Nov) – Arriva bus drivers look set to strike on NINE days in December – including a FOUR-DAY strike leading right up to Christmas Eve. Unions warned yesterday that they were prepared to escalate the pay dispute that has already seen several days of strike action across Merseyside read more from Liverpool Echo

Pre-Christmas ‘bread drought’ threatened in the North West and Midlands, warns Unite (13 Nov) – Supermarket customers in the North West and Midlands could face a pre-Christmas ‘bread drought’, if drivers at the Kingsmill bakery in West Bromwich, who deliver 1.5 million loaves each week, go on strike in a pay dispute. About 130 drivers, maintenance staff and security personnel, members of Unite are being balloted this week for strike action in a dispute over ‘a paltry pay offer’. The ballot closes on Monday 27 November read more

Dan Carden visits picket line to support Arriva bus strike (13 Nov) – Walton MP Dan Carden has visited an Arriva bus picket line this morning to show his support for striking bus drivers. Unite and GMB members at Arriva have held several strike days in their dispute with the bus giant over pay read more from Liverpool Echo

Shocking levels of mental illness and stress revealed problems among Manchester housing workers, as strike action resumes (13 Nov) – A confidential survey of workers employed by Mears in Manchester and joint venture company Manchester Working (operated by Mears) has revealed very high levels of mental health problems and stress among its workforce. The survey which was undertaken by the members’ union Unite is being made public today (November 13) to coincide with the workers’ resuming industrial action in a long-running dispute read more

Unite describes TfL’s response to bus safety report as sweeping concerns under the carpet (10 Nov) – Unite representing bus workers, has accused Transport for London (TfL) of attempting to sweep concerns about the health and welfare of bus drivers under the carpet with its response to the London Assembly’s report ‘Driven to Distraction’, which was published this week. ‘Driven to Distraction’ found that London bus drivers suffered considerable stress, had shortened rest breaks, were denied toilet facilities and had to endure enforced overtime. The report set out a large number of recommendations and compelled TfL to respond. However the long awaited response from TfL to the report fails to address bus workers’ concerns read more

Two-year 6.5 per cent pay deal for 9,000 Ford workers welcomed by Unite (10 Nov) – About 9,000 Ford production workers have been offered an inflation-busting pay deal which guarantees at least a 6.5 per cent rise in a two-year package read more

Sellafield bosses urged to remove ‘roadblock’ to pay deal, as workers gear up for second strike (9 Nov) – Bosses at the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant have been urged to remove ‘the roadblock’ to a pay deal, as Unite workers prepare to go on strike for a second time on Wednesday 22 November. Unite, the country’s largest union representing more than 1,100 craft workers at the Cumbria plant, has consistently claimed that government ministers are pulling the strings behind the scenes and hampering the Sellafield management from reaching a pay settlement. The dispute centres on the ‘completely unacceptable’ 1.5 per cent pay offer imposed by Sellafield Ltd – a Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) company – in September, backdated to 1 April this year. The workers have already held a 24 hour strike on 7 November and now another strike has been called running from 06.45 on 22 November to 06.00 to 23 November, depending on which shift the workers are on read more

Support Birmingham binworkers – send messages of support via Howard.Beckett@unitetheunion.org and donations to Unite the Union, 9-17 Victoria St, West Bromwich B70 8HX

Support Argos warehouse workers – please send messages of support to paulaur.good@blueyonder.co.uk. Strike fund donations should be made payable to Unite the Union and sent to Paula Hutchinson, 37 Camden Road, Airedale, Castleford, WF10 3LY

 

PCS

PCS campaign leads to scrapping of British Library restructuring plans (10 Nov) – Plans by British Library management to restructure its reader and reference services, putting about 20 jobs at risk and increasing workloads, have been scrapped thanks to PCS campaigning. We have been putting pressure on the British Library for 5 months over the major restructuring exercise management wanted to carry out on the core, frontline service which would have seen £670,000 cut from the wage bill. As a result, management has announced today that it is abandoning its plans and no restructuring is to take place read more

Victory in PCS campaign to save Dansom House DWP office (10 Nov) – Employment minister Damian Hinds has confirmed a welcome government U-turn on plans to close the Forest Road site. Campaigning work by PCS members and reps has paid off to secure the future of the DWP office based in Dansom House, Forest Road, Walthamstow read more

National Day of Protest to support Eastern Avenue jobcentre campaign (10 Nov) – PCS members across the UK have been staging photo protests to show their support for the members in Sheffield who were today taking their 41st day of strike action. Today (10 November) hundreds of members in dozens of branches across the UK have taken part in a day of protest organised to raise the profile of the campaign to prevent the closure of the Eastern Avenue jobcentre in Sheffield read more

Sheffield Eastern Avenue

Join PCS to fight for pay justice (8 Nov) – We are urging all our members to sign up a colleague to our union to help us grow our pay campaign and force the government into delivering fully funded, above inflation pay rises for all public sector workers. In our consultative ballot on pay, which ended on Monday, members voted overwhelmingly to back our campaign of action on pay. And during the ballot period from 9 October to 6 November, we recruited a record 3,000 members keen to support our pay campaign. But we need our members’ help to add many others, and make us a stronger union, to achieve pay justice read more

Support the Sheffield and Plymouth DWP strikes:

  • Send messages of support to Leeds@pcs.org.uk
  • Send donations to the strike fund to PCS DWP Group, 3rd Floor, Town Centre House, Merrion Centre, Leeds, LS2 8LY

 

RMT

RMT reveals crime surge on LUL as TfL plans to axe 1400 jobs (9 Nov) – TUBE UNION RMT revealed today that reported incidences of theft on the Tube have increased by a staggering 23% in the past year – just as TFL bosses announced plans to axe 1400 staff in the first trance of a massive £5 billion cuts programme read more

Second day of latest phase of action in rail safety disputes remains solid and united (9 Nov) – RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said; “RMT members involved in this second day in the latest phase of action on Greater Anglia, Southern and South Western Railway remain solid and united this morning  in separate disputes which are about putting safety, security and access to transport services before the profiteering of these rip-off private rail companies…” read more

Nov 8 picket at Farnham with RMT President Sean Hoyle

Nov 8 picket at Farnham with RMT President Sean Hoyle

National dispute fund (DOO disputes) – If you would like to donate to the RMT National Dispute Fund which makes payments to support their striking members taking part in National DOO disputes then you can donate via PayPal using the donate button below or make a cheque payable to RMT National Dispute Fund and send it to the address below. Alternatively, you can ring their Freephone helpline on 0800 376 3706 who will be happy to process a credit card payment for you, or, if you would like to pay via internet banking, please email l.rolles@rmt.org.uk for further details. Vicky Thompson, Finance Manager RMT, 39 Chalton Street, London NW1 1JD. Tel: 020-7529-8843

 

TSSA

TSSA ballot for Christmas strike action on Virgin West Coast (9 Nov) – TSSA will ballot on strike action amongst our 400 plus staff members at Virgin West Coast. Ballot papers will be sent out on Monday and, if if they return a yes vote, strikes will be scheduled during the Christmas and New Year period read more

 

Aslef

Tram driver strike on Monday is suspended after tram company agrees ‘independent review’ of safety device (7 Nov) – A tram drivers’ strike planned for Monday (November 13) over a new safety device installed following the Croydon tram crash has been suspended. Drivers who are part of the ASLEF union were due to walk-out four days after the one-year anniversary of the fatal crash over the Guardian device – coined the ‘driver protection device’ by network owner Transport for London (TfL) read more in Croydon Advertiser

 

Ireland: Iarnród Éireann/Irish Rail strike

Irish Rail workers to ballot on Labour Court recommendation (10 Nov) – Trade union members in Irish Rail will vote on a Labour Court recommendation aimed at resolving the dispute at the public transport company. The decision to ballot workers was taken at a meeting of representatives of the Irish Rail Trade Union Group in Liberty Hall, Dublin, this evening (Friday, 10th November). A decision was also taken to suspend all planned industrial action by Irish Rail workers until the ballot is concluded read more

 

GMB

BREAKING NEWS!! GMB Members to Strike at Metsa Wood Timber Plant in Boston, Lincolnshire, in Response to Pay Freeze (Nov 15) – Our members have made it clear that the pay freeze is not acceptable and that management are just not listening to their concerns. More than one hundred members of GMB trade union will take part in a 24 hour strike at the Metsa Wood Timber Yard in Boston, Lincolnshire, from 6 a.m. on Wednesday 15th November 2017. The 24 hour strike is an escalation of an overtime ban and work to rule which has been in place for over a month in response to an imposed pay freeze by the company read more

Bifab Trade Unions Call on Scottish Government to Settle Contractor Dispute and save Yards (Nov 14) – 1,400 jobs are dependent on the Scottish Government ending a contractual dispute between the financially stricken fabrication firm BiFab and the Beatrice Windfarm Project contractor Seaway Heavy Lifting (SHL). March to the Scottish Parliament: Thursday 16th November in Edinburgh – assemble 10am Johnston Terrace for a rally at 11am read more   Defend all jobs at BiFab: Public ownership now! Workers’ action can stop asset-stripping

GMB scores landmark victory for Uber workers’ rights as employment appeal tribunal upholds original ruling (Nov 10) – This is a yet more vindication of GMB’s campaign to ensure drivers are given the rights they are entitled to – and that the public, drivers and passengers are kept safe. GMB, the union for professional drivers, has scored a landmark victory for worker’s rights after the Employment Appeal Tribunal today upheld a ruling that Uber drivers should be classified as workers. In October 2016, the Central London Employment Tribunal ruled in GMB’s favour – determining that Uber drivers are not self-employed, but workers entitled to basic workers’ rights including holiday pay, a guaranteed minimum wage and an entitlement to breaks read more

 

NEU

Education unions call for an immediate 5% pay rise for teachers (10 Nov) – Education unions – the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), the National Education Union (NEU), UCAC, and Voice – are calling for an immediate, fully funded, 5% pay rise for all teachers read more

 

UCU

Jobs threat at University of Southampton (14 Nov) – Up to 75 lecturers’ jobs are at risk at the University of Southampton across six departments in a restructuring process described by UCU as “rushed and dangerous”. The university says it wants to reduce staff costs, but it has already slashed the proportion of money it spends on staff. A decade ago 60% of the university’s income went on staff costs. That figure is now just 53%. At the same time, senior salaries have ballooned, with the vice-chancellor Sir Christopher Snowden’s pay and benefits package now £352,000 and the number of staff earning over £100,000 rising to 137 read more

 

FBU

Firefighters say cutting train guards will slow emergency response (9 Nov) – Firefighters have raised safety concerns about plans to axe guards from trains on the Merseyrail and Northern rail lines. Members of the RMT union are currently taking industrial action in protest at the proposals. The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) says that the move to driver only trains could compromise the information gathering process when firefighters are called to emergencies on train lines. They say it is often the guards who provide vital first-hand information to fire crews read more

 

BECTU

Workers vote for groundbreaking feature film agreement (14 Nov) – UK Feature Film workers have made an historic vote in support of a collective agreement for Major Motion Pictures. The Pact/BECTU agreement covers crew engaged on productions with budgets equal to or in excess of £30million pounds. It is the first of its kind in the UK and will be implemented on 2 April 2018 read more

Industry figures call for Picturehouse to settle pay dispute (9 Nov) – Industry figures, including I Daniel Blake producer Rebecca O’Brien and Suffragette director Sarah Gavron, write open letter to Picturehouse. Fifty-five high profile figures in the British film industry have written an open letter to Picturehouse, and parent company Cineworld, calling for an end to the long running dispute with BECTU members over the Living Wage read more

Donate to the strike fund: https://www.crowdpac.co.uk/campaigns/250/picturehousestrike

Keep supporting the Picturehouse workers: read the latest on Brixton Ritzy Facebook Page and those of Hackney, Crouch End, Central, Dulwich East and Duke of York Brighton

 

BFAWU

Young Food Workers’ Blogs: This week (commencing 13/11/17), the BFAWU are publishing a series of blogs and quotes from young workers in relation to being a BFAWU member and what modern day Trade Unionism means to them. Today we have Claire Galloway, a food worker in Scotland and BFAWU member who says: “I joined a Trade Union after being treated badly in a workplace. I wanted to learn more about workers’ rights…” read more

Support the McDonalds workers who went on strike in Cambridge and Crayford on September 4th the NSSN was proud to support the historic strike by the BFAWU bakers union, the first in McDonalds in the UK on a global day of action by fast food workers. NSSN chair Rob Williams spoke on the Crayford picket and then again at the solidarity protest outside Parliament to give our solidarity and support to these exploited workers. Keep sending solidarity to the BFAWU, donate to the strike fund and also help the fund by buying a #McStrike t-shirt. More info on the Fast Food Rights/Hungry for Justice website

 

Unison

Support the Royal Devon and Exeter porters by donating to their hardship fund. Send a cheque to the branch at: UNISON Office, Baker House
, Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Trust, Barrack Road, Exeter EX2 5DW. Or make a direct donation to the branch account

Account Name: UNISON Royal Devon and Exeter Health 10296 Branch

Account Number: 20323929 Sort Code: 60-83-01

 

IWGB

CAC ruling shows a majority of Deliveroo riders want worker rights and union recognition (Nov 14) – The Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) has found that a majority of Deliveroo riders in the bargaining unit proposed by the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britian (IWGB) want collective bargaining rights for pay and holiday. It is clear from this judgement that despite Deliveroo’s claims to the contrary, Deliveroo riders are not satisfied with their current terms and conditions and want worker rights, including holiday pay and minimum wage read more

University of London In-House Now – Foundation Day Protest Tuesday November 21st – 6pm University of London, Senate House, Malet St, London, WC1E 7HU Facebook event

 

 

Other news

AI, robotics and the future of work – public meeting organised by Coventry Trades Union Council: speaker Hilary Wainwright co-editor of Red Pepper & author of ‘The Lucas Plan’. 7.30pm Thursday 16th November Koko Community Resources Centre, Arches Industrial Estate, Allesley Old Road, Spon End leaflet on Facebook

An Evening of Solidarity with Academics & Teachers In Turkey (hosted by Solidarity with the People of Turkey) – 6.30pm 23rd November in National Education Union, Hamilton House, Mabledon Pl, Kings Cross, London WC1H 9BD Facebook event

Pentonville 5: celebrate a great working class victory and apply its lessons today to fight the attack on trade unions – Friday December 1st 2017 18.00 East Ham working men’s club, 2 Boleyn Road London E6 1QE. Nearest tube – Upton Park. Buses 5, 58, 115, 147 – Speakers include Len McCluskey Unite GS, Ann Field, Ken Loach plus special guests, bar, refreshments

 

 

 

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.

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 Demo and lobby of Parliament – 12pm Wednesday December 6th Old Palace Yard Westminster SW1P 3JY Facebook event

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

USA: Metro Transit Workers Vote to Authorize Strike During Super Bowl Festivities read more

Indonesian food workers fighting for their rights following instant closure of their factory by GreatGiant Pineapple read more

 

 

Diary

 

2017

November

16 1917-2017 Russian Revolution: 100th anniversary celebratory meeting – 7pm Collegian Club, Gage St, Lancaster

 

June

30 National Shop Stewards Network 2018 Annual Conference 11am-4.30pm Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, Holborn, London

 

CONTACT US

PHONE 07952 283 558

EMAIL mailto:info@shopstewards.net

 

TWITTER – https://twitter.com/NSSN_AntiCuts

FACEBOOK NSSN GROUP   or STOP The CUTS  Likes page

ADDRESS NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE