NSSN 433: PCS members fight back in Ealing Tax Office and BEIS

April 15, 2019 in Bulletins


As PCS undertakes a national strike ballot against the continuing pay cap, members of the union took 3 days of strike action last week in two different disputes – to stop the closure of Ealing Tax Office and for low-paid outsourced workers to get the London Living Wage in BEIS.

Please support both disputes as well as the national ballot. As you can read below, PCS members in Wolverhampton are also going to be balloted to fight the proposed closure of their tax office

Ealing Tax Office strike

General secretary tells HMRC strikers: “HMRC don’t care about Ealing” (10 Apr) – PCS members in Ealing began three days of strike action today, following a well-supported one day strike last week and two half-day strikes last month. HMRC staff are in dispute over the closure of International House, which could close as early as 2020, putting many members of staff at risk of redundancy. A picket line was in place from 7.30am from where members later marched to a strike rally held at nearby Ealing Green Church. Addressing the packed rally, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka assured the strikers of the full support of the union and announced that as well as strike pay, PCS is launching a national fundraising exercise “to make sure that HMRC knows that the Ealing strikers will not be starved back to work” read more

Show your support by sending messages of support for the strikers to RCGroup@pcs.org.uk and saveealingtaxoffice@gmail.com and by donating online to the PCS Fighting Fund which helps to support striking members

3-day BEIS catering strike rounds off with strongly supported picket (10 Apr) – A well-supported picket line, backed by a visit from shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey, rounded off a 3-day pay strike by PCS members who are contracted catering staff working at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The staff who work for contractor Aramark are angry at their demands for the London Living Wage (LLW) of £10.55 an hour being repeatedly ignored. PCS has strongly argued that the contractors should pay the LLW and that BEIS should be putting pressure on the contractors to do so. We believe the scandal of low pay and poor conditions is caused by outsourcing and we are campaigning to bring these services back in-house read more

You can support the workers on social media using the hashtags: #LivingWage #PCSstrike

Please donate to the strike fund and send messages of support to leeds@pcs.org.uk

PCS BEIS strike

 

Support the PCS national pay strike ballot – PCS: All you need to know about the pay ballot and how to vote

Why we’re saying yes to take action over pay

Branches continue to beat the 50% threshold in pay ballot

HMRC’s Wolverhampton office in strike ballot (11 Apr) – PCS members in HMRC’s Crown House office in Wolverhampton are to be balloted for strike action and a work to rule, in opposition to the department’s plans to close their office. Having consulted members, PCS has ascertained that if the office closes, at least half of the workforce will be unable to transfer to the proposed regional centre in Birmingham, leaving many members at serious risk of redundancy. This means that PCS members in Wolverhampton will join members in Ealing, who are already striking in the fight to get HMRC to reconsider their ill-considered ‘Building Our Future’ programme. The industrial action ballot is scheduled to begin on 17 April 2019 and will run until 1 May. PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka has already assured members in HMRC that the union will fully support any members willing to take action to defend their offices and jobs…” read more

 

 

 

NSSN news

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Date for your diaries:

  • 2019 NSSN Conference – 11am-4.30pm Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL – Saturday July 6th. Please use this letter in your union and trades council to help us finance the conference and affiliate to the NSSN  Facebook event

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Union News

Unite

Support the Swindon Honda workers – watch video of the March 30th demonstration against the planned closure of the plant

Heathrow and Luton airport workers set to strike in low pay battle (12 April) – Hundreds of baggage handlers and check-in staff employed by GH London (formally Azzurra) at Heathrow and Luton airports are set to start strike action later in April in two separate disputes over low pay, their union Unite announced today (Friday 12 April). Over 300 workers at Heathrow’s Terminals 2 and 4 will strike from 00:01 on Friday 26 April to 23:59 on Monday 29 April after members voted overwhelmingly by 99.2 per cent to take strike action on a turnout of 68.4 per cent. Workers are angry at a six year pay freeze and seeking to secure a minimum pay rate of the London living wage. Meanwhile over 120 GH London workers at Luton airport are planning to walk out at the same time in a one week stoppage from 18:00 on Friday 26 April to 17:59 on Friday 3 May. An earlier stoppage in March at Luton had been called off because of an improved pay offer, but the company has subsequently changed the structure of the deal angering the workforce read more

Ford unions warn they are ‘ballot ready’ and call for clarity over UK operations (12 April) – Trade unions Unite and GMB, called on Ford to come clean over the future of its UK operations today (Friday 12 April), warning that its members at all five of the car giant’s UK sites were ‘ballot ready’ and ready to stand with any UK site faced with closure or compulsory redundancies. In a statement to workers at Bridgend, Dagenham, Daventry, Dunton and Halewood, the Ford national joint negotiating committee said ‘if any location is faced with compulsory redundancies, or plant closure, then each location would be balloted for industrial action’. The committee, which comprises Unite and GMB representatives, expressed frustration at the company’s lack of clarity over its future ‘footprint.’ It follows a drive by the carmaker to find £2 billion in ‘savings’ and cut a rumoured 10,000 jobs from its European operations amid recent warnings over Brexit. With the UK being Ford’s biggest market in Europe, accounting for 40 per cent of sales, the unions also demanded that where possible all Ford vehicles sold in the UK should be powered by propulsion systems built in Dagenham or Bridgend, and transmissions made in Halewood Merseyside. Over the years Ford has gone from employing 100,000 workers at 27 plants in the UK, down to 9,000 at 5 locations which make engines and gearboxes, in addition to design and development read more

Low paid Liverpool hospital workers to ballot in pay parity row (10 April) – Unite is to ballot its members employed by cleaning contractor ISS at the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen hospitals for industrial action in a dispute over pay. The staff, predominately women, are angry that ISS, a multibillion pound global outsourcing giant, is not paying them the agreed national pay uplift for NHS workers. ISS employs hospital cleaners, porters and domestic staff at the two Liverpool hospitals, many of whom are paid hourly and earn the minimum wage. Unite is pressing for pay parity in line with directly employed NHS and other contracted colleagues doing the same job at the Women’s and Walton hospitals who received 11.4 per cent. Unite will be balloting its 231 members at the two Liverpool hospitals, for strike action and industrial action short of a strike, for parity pay. Depending on the outcome, workers are expected to walk out between mid-May to early August, with an overtime ban also scheduled for the same time. The ballot opens on Friday (12 April) and closes on Friday 3 May. The outsourcing company is also under fire from Unite over its plans to withhold up to a week’s pay from workers after introducing a new payroll system for its workers, including hourly paid workers. ISS’ low paid workers will stage another protest over unpaid wages and to mark the start of the ballot over unfair pay outside the Royal Liverpool Hospital main entrance on Monday 15 April from 11.00 to 13.00. This follows a protest held on Friday 5 April read more

Unite workers at City Airport to be balloted on new pay offer (10 April) – Unite members employed by controversial outsourcer Mitie at London’s City Airport are being balloted on an offer to pay the London living wage (LLW) from 1 July. Unite which represents 32 security guards and those providing assistance to workers with mobility issues, said today (Wednesday 10 April) that its members were being balloted on Mitie’s new offer of paying the LLW, currently £10.55 an hour, from 1 July this year. However, Unite warned that the offer, which came after its members had voted unanimously for industrial action, does not address all the members’ concerns, which include demands for improved sick pay, adequate rest break facilities and recognition of Unite for collective bargaining purposes. Unite regional officer Michelle Cook said: “Yesterday (Tuesday 9 April) Unite received confirmation from the Mitie regional manager at the London City Airport that the LLW would be paid to workers from 1 July, after they threatened strike action. “We will ballot our members on this new offer as this proposal does not address all our members’ legitimate concerns. “We are aware that GMB has sole recognition at Mitie’s operations based at London City Airport, however, Unite represents nearly 60 per cent of the workforce who were balloted for industrial action.” Mitie is currently embroiled in two other industrial disputes with Unite members across the UK. At the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing centre in Cumbria, security guards, and catering, vending and laundry operatives are due to strike over pay for 10 days starting on 19 April read more

Newham refuse workers ‘lose £20,000’, as council fails to implement grading agreement for 12 years (10 April) – Refuse workers employed by Newham council could have lost more than £20,000 each in the last decade in a dispute over grading, Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, said today (Wednesday 10 April). The 45 refuse workers will be balloted for strike action from 23 April over the council’s failure to progress them through the grading structure which should, as agreed, have commenced 12 years ago in 2007/2008. The ballot closes on 21 May. Unite calculates that the potential loss of pay because of the failure to upgrade the workers amounts to £1,760 a year – a total of £21,000 over the last 12 years, depending on the service record of individual workers. Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “Newham council has repeatedly failed to live up to the agreement it signed more than a decade ago for the progression from grade 3 to grade 4 and then grade 5 on the national pay scales, if the refuse workers had satisfactory appraisals…” read more

Somerset workers in strike ballot over ‘paltry’ pay offer, as productivity soars (9 April) – Production workers at Somerset firm Trelleborg Sealing Solutions Bridgwater, where productivity is said to have ‘gone through the roof’, are being balloted for strike action over a ‘paltry’ pay offer. Unite said its 65 members were being balloted for strike action from today (Tuesday 9 April) after they rejected a 2.8 per cent pay offer for the year starting January 2019. The ballot closes on Wednesday 24 April. The company, founded in 1935, makes specialist seals for high pressure engines read more

Support the strike at Angus council – the strike action includes a ban on overtime and work to rule, will take place from April until late June 2019. The first days of industrial action will take place from 00:01 hours on 8 April 2019 concluding at 23:59 hours on 12th April 2019. A series of 48 hour stoppages will commence at 00:01 hours on:

  • 15, 22, 29 April 2019
  • 6, 13, 20, 27 May 2019
  • 3, 10, 17, 24 June 2019 read more

 

RMT

RMT’s Mick Cash warns of national industrial action across the railway if there’s any attack on staff pensions (11 Apr) – RMT General Secretary Mick Cash warned today that any attempt to attack the pension rights of staff employed by train operating companies will result in industrial action ballots and co-ordinated action to defend the benefits accrued by the workforce. The warning comes after the Government slapped a ban on Stagecoach from bidding for any more franchises, forcing them off the tracks on East Midlands and with pensions cited as a specific factor in the action against the company. Last month the train operators’ co-ordinating body began briefing that its members were concerned that meeting their pension liabilities will impact on their profitability and threatening that TOC’s will refuse to bid for new franchises read more

RMT to hold protest in London on Friday 26th April to mark 3 years of campaigning to keep the guard on Southern railway – Rail union RMT will be holding a national protest on Friday 26th April from 12:00 outside Keolis UK, Evergreen Building North, 160 Euston Road, London NW1 2DX. The event coincides with the 3rd anniversary of the start of RMT strike action on Southern Rail – Britain’s longest running industrial dispute – against Driver Only Operation and in defence of keeping the guard on the train. The protest will be targeting the Keolis, which owns 35% of Southern franchisee Govia, which is itself 70% owned by the French state railway. The action will attract RMT members from across Britain in a show of solidarity with those involved in the dispute who are continuing to fight to retain a second safety critical person on the train read more

 

Unison

Support the striking Birmingham homecare workers – Please send messages of support and donations to Unison Birmingham branch, 46 The Priory Queensway Birmingham  B4 7LR. Email info@birminghamunison.co.uk    Facebook group – https://www.facebook.com/birminghamunison/

 

TSSA

 

FBU

Firefighters reject employers’ pay proposal (11 April) – firefighters have overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to enter into open-ended contracts. 58% of FBU members voted in the consultative ballot exceeding the threshold required for industrial action under the 2016 Trade Union Act. 97% of members rejected a controversial proposal from employers that would have seen locally imposed expansion of a firefighter’s role. The union argued that the “non-exhaustive” list of proposed duties could have allowed local employers to expand a firefighter’s role at will and without boundaries. The ballot of FBU members comes after years of pay restraint, with firefighter pay frozen or capped below inflation for nearly a decade. Employers, through the National Joint Council (NJC), proposed a 13.57% pay raise over the course of three years. However, there was no guarantee that firefighters would actually be paid such an increase, as employers had not received any indication that government was willing to provide the necessary funding. FBU members also re-endorsed the union’s strategy in pay negotiations by a margin of 86%. Across the UK, firefighters have already taken on additional non-fire roles, such as water rescues and the operation of aerial drones. Different fire and rescue services pay different amounts, or don’t pay at all, for this work. The FBU is seeking to reign this in through national negotiation read more

 

NASUWT

 

UCU

 

GMB

Strike looms at M&S supplier over ‘derisory’ 6 pence pay offer (12 Apr) – GMB Scotland, the union for food industry workers, has announced members at crucial Marks & Spencer (M&S) supplier Bakkavor Bo’Ness will take strike action from midnight tonight. The move follows a derisory 2.27 per cent pay offer, which for the lowest paid workers equates to an increase of just 6 pence an hour. Bakkavor, which produces food for M&S, tried to prevent GMB’s action taken place, sending a letter from a hugely expensive city law firm accusing GMB of potentially taking unlawful action read more

GMB calls on ASDA to negotiate over contract changes (10 Apr) – GMB, the union for ASDA workers, has called on the supermarket giant to negotiate over contract changes affecting almost 60,000 workers. Under the new terms, workers would no longer be paid for any breaks and would have to work bank holidays – but would see their pay bumped up to £9 an hour. Absolutely nothing has been agreed with GMB and we will fight any imposition of these contracts on our members. These contract changes will affect nearly 60,000 members of staff they cannot just be imposed from the top. The contacts already exist on a voluntary basis – but ASDA is now considering imposing them on employees. GMB urges ASDA to stop this approach, and negotiation the changes with staff properly read more

 

BECTU

Read the latest about the Picturehouse dispute on Brixton Ritzy Facebook Page and those of Hackney, Crouch End, Central, Dulwich East and Duke of York Brighton

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

 

NUJ

Newsquest staff fear being collateral of hostile bid by “vulture capitalist” company (11 April) – Journalists working for Newsquest are concerned they could be collateral in a hostile take-over bid by MGN Enterprises for its parent US company, Gannett. The NUJ said that while these American companies slug it for control, the 800 journalists and 2,600 employees overall at Newsquest have been ignored by both sides and called for greater clarity, particularly concerning recent litigation against MGN for the way it has handled corporate funds read more

 

Prospect

SONI strike suspended after breakthrough (12 April) – Prospect trade union members at SONI, which operates the electricity transmission system for Northern Ireland, have suspended their current industrial action including a 24 hour strike scheduled for 15 April. The suspension comes after an eleventh hour improved pay offer from SONI management read more

 

 

 

 

 

Other news

Workers’ Memorial Day April 28th and May Day May 1stwe are nearing these two dates that are so important for workers and the trade union movement. Please let us know about any events that are being organised in your area and we will advertise them

Waltham Forest Trades Council joint Workers’ Memorial Day commemoration and May Day celebration – from 1pm Sunday April 28th Abbot’s Park, 9 Abbotts Park Rd, London E10 6HT (near Leyton Midland Overground station) Facebook event

 

 

 

Blacklisting & Victimisation

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)

Blacklisted t-shirts available at: https://shop.hopenothate.org.uk/component/hikashop/product/78-blacklisted-t-shirt

Book: http://newint.org/books/politics/blacklisted-secret-war/

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNcgrNs6pB8

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/groups/blacklistSG/

Blog: www.hazards.org/blacklistblog

 

 

 

International

Appeal for solidarity with striking postal workers in Serbia

There is a strike of postal workers in Serbia. It started on Friday 22 March in the main sorting office in Belgrade and by now has spread across the country.

The worker’s demands are:

– Pay increased to the national average;

– An increase in staffing;

– No victimisation of strikers.

The dispute is about wages which are at the same level as six years ago, but in real terms lower by 30%. At around 300 Euros a month they are much below the Serbian average, which is among the lowest in Europe – around 450 Euros a month. Strike action puts the workers in a desperate position financially.

Only 150 workers work on the night shift in the busy sorting office in Belgrade and workload is a massive issue.

All postal workers will know that even with good conditions this can be a demanding job, but with so few workers the job becomes unbearable. It is obvious that the employer is trying to save money by employing fewer workers.

Real fury arose when the Post Office director recently splashed almost a million Euros on luxury company cars for her cronies, showing that the Post Office doesn’t lack money. Anger at this served as the immediate spark for the strike.

Postal workers have been suffering for years. Last year they were involved in numerous protests and a few limited strike actions. This strike promises to be the biggest struggle so far. Workers are organising supported by unions active in the Post Office (Samostalni Sindikat Poštanskih Radnika – Independent Union of Postal Workers). All workers have already been threatened with dismissals because of the strike action. They are however saying they will not back down until their demands are met. The demands are; a wage rise to national average, more workers employed at skilled and demanding jobs and withdrawal of threats of dismissals.

It is of immense importance that the strike succeeds. It would be a first major victory for workers for a long time – stretching decades – and as such would mark a turning point in the workers’ and trade union struggle in Serbia.

The Serbian Post Office is still under state ownership, but workers believe that management is preparing for privatisation in the future.

Messages of support from trade unionists internationally can be a big boost to workers in Serbia.

Messages of support from trade unionists internationally can be a big boost to workers in Serbia

Send messages to: natasa22.rs@gmail.com

Please copy: miraglav@live.co.uk

 

Algeria: Bouteflika quits – No trust in the old elite and the generals! Power to the revolutionary workers and youth! Read more

 

 

 

Diary

 

2019

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