NSSN 440: RMT SWR strike back on over guard guarantee

June 5, 2019 in Bulletins

 

RMT announces five days of strike action on SWR (30 May) –

RAIL UNION RMT today announced five days of strike action on South Western Railway – accusing the company of dragging their heels in protracted talks over the guard guarantee after the union suspended action back in February in good faith based on written assurances over the rolling out of driver only operation.

As a result of SWR’s failure to move forwards on an agreement RMT members will take action as follows:

We instruct our SWR Guard, Commercial Guard and Driver members to take industrial action by not booking on for duty between 00:01 to 23:59 hours on the following dates.

Tuesday 18th June 2019

Wednesday 19th June 2019

Thursday 20th June 2019

Friday 21st June 2019

Saturday 22nd June 2019

Back in February – after a long and hard fight by RMT members – the train company pledged that “each passenger train shall operate with a guard with safety critical competencies.” These specific competencies were to be agreed by the RMT and SWR. It was that promise that allowed RMT to suspend the action but since then it has been stalemate with the company rowing back on their public pledges.

RMT SWR Waterloo picket Aug 18

RMT SWR Waterloo picket Aug 18

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:

“Our members are angry and frustrated that despite suspending action in good faith, and entering into talks in a positive and constructive manner, South Western Railway have dragged their heels and failed to bolt down an agreement that matches up to our expectations on the guard guarantee.

“For more than three months we have sought to negotiate a conclusion to this dispute and it is wholly down to the management side that the core issue of the safety critical competencies and the role of the guard has not been signed off.  It is because of that crucial failure by SWR that we have had no option but to lift the suspension and move back into strike action.” Read more

On the first day of action June 18th, RMT members will also be on strike on Bluestar Buses (also known as Go South Buses) in Eastleigh, Totton and Poole

 

 

 

NSSN news

May’s gone – now get rid of ALL the Tories! Come to 2019 NSSN Conference in London on Saturday July 6th

This year’s National Shop Stewards Network Conference takes place as the Tory crisis reaches a new stage with the resignation of Theresa May. But no Tory prime minister will act in the interests of workers – we need a general election to get rid of them all and their vicious austerity and anti-union laws. And if necessary, the labour and trade union movement must mobilise to fight for it.

Themes for discussion in the main sessions and workshops will include: Brexit – what’s the way forward for workers?; Housing; Climate Change and the unions, Winning ballots for action; Brexit and Migrant workers; Organising young Workers and Unionising in Private Contractors

Book your place today!

2019 NSSN Conference – 11am-4.30pm Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL – Saturday July 6th. Attendance fee £6. Pay on the day or you can send us a cheque: make out to ‘National Shop Stewards Network’ and post to NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE. You can register in advance by emailing info@shopstewards.net

Please use this letter in your union and trades council to help us finance the conference and affiliate to the NSSN Facebook event

 NSSN 2019 snip

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

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

Follow us on twitter via @NSSN_AntiCuts and Facebook

 

 

 

Union News

More RMT

BREAKING NEWS!! RMT moves to strike ballot as Tube pay talks collapse (5 June) – TUBE UNION RMT said today that it is moving into a ballot for strike action involving London Underground staff after crucial talks collapsed today with management refusing to offer any significant improvement to the pay and conditions of the workforce across the network. Ballot preparations for 10,000 staff across all grades are now well advanced with the union saying it is angry and frustrated that a golden opportunity to come up with a positive offer has been blown by tube bosses today read more

RMT to fight plans to privatise waste collection on London Underground (5 June) – Tube union RMT said today that it will fight tooth and nail plans unveiled by London Underground to shunt out waste collection services to the private sector as part of the “Transformation Programme” of creeping cuts and privatisation being overseen by Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan. RMT has been told that as well as an expected torrent of job cuts Tranformation will also involve privatising bin collection and transportation in the outer area from Zone 3 – flying in the face of assurances from Mayor Khan that there would be no extension of privatisation on his watch as London Mayor read more

RMT announces 24-hour strike action on Bluestar Buses over pay on 18 June (3 June) – BUS UNION RMT today announced a 24-Hour strike on Bluestar Buses (also known as Go South Buses) in Eastleigh, Totton and Poole, after drivers, cleaners and ticket office staff voted with an overwhelming 87%  in favour of taking action over pay. As a result of Bluestar’s failure to make a decent pay offer RMT members will strike for 24 hours on Tuesday 18th June read more

Workers vote for action in fight for “Fair pay for RFA” (31 May) – Maritime union RMT confirmed today that there has been an overwhelming vote for industrial action involving nearly 700 workers at the Royal Fleet Auxiliary – the Royal Navy supply lifeline – in a fight for pay justice. Despite repeated efforts by the union to reach a negotiated solution the employers have instead opted to impose a 1.5% increase, undermining the living standards of a crucial group of workers who have seen service in major trouble spots, including the Falklands and the Gulf, at huge personal risk read more

 

Unite

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

Bring British Steel into public ownership to avoid an industrial catastrophe, demands Unite – The government must bring British Steel into public ownership to avoid an economic and industrial catastrophe the UK and Ireland’s largest union, Unite said today (Wednesday 22 May) after it emerged the steelmaker is going into official receivership read more

Keep supporting Unite members on at Colloids Limited on Merseyside who are on indefinite strike to defend their union rep – The action comes after the dismissal of Unite union representative George Gore who was unfairly dismissed on Friday 8 February for an alleged breach of health and safety. For more information and to send messages of support and donations, please contact Patrick Coyne on 07568 106 243 and/or Unite communications officer Karen Viquerat on 0151 559 2004 or 07768 931 316. Unite press office is on 020 3371 2065. Email: karen.viquerat@unitetheunion.org  read more

Workers at Luton Airport step up action with 49 day strike (5 June) – Security guards employed by London Luton Airport will take strike action through most of June and July in a dispute over ‘heavy-handed’ changes to working time. The workers will begin their fourth period of strike action today (Wednesday 5 June) from 04:30 through to Tuesday 23 July at 20:59. Unite is meeting the airport with Acas next Wednesday (12 June) to try to resolve the dispute. London Luton Airport is imposing a new shift pattern affecting around 120 security guards which means the workforce will have to work an extra 15 days a year. Workers say the new shift pattern is taking a heavy toll on their well-being read more

Thurrock warehouse workers suspend strike ‘to open window’ for talks on erosion of pay and employment conditions (4 June) – Warehouse workers at DHL Services in West Thurrock, Essex have suspended their strike tomorrow (Wednesday 5 June) over the prospect of a serious deterioration in employment conditions to facilitate talks with their new employer. The 51 workers, members of Unite had voted unanimously for the 24-hour strike action as they face poorer working conditions when the contract is taken over by NFT Distribution on Thursday (6 June). But the strike has now been suspended to allow ‘a window of opportunity’ for talks with NFT Distribution bosses. The dispute has a number of elements: no union recognition with NFT Distribution; different shift patterns; increased travelling time to the new Tilbury site eight miles away; poorer pension provisions; and failure to guarantee pay, terms and conditions for the rest of the contract read more

Heathrow workers win low pay battle (3 June) – Hundreds of baggage handlers and check-in staff employed by GH London (formally Azzurra) at Heathrow Airport have secured a 9.1 per cent pay increase after workers overwhelmingly backed strike action in a dispute over low pay. In April this year over 300 workers at Heathrow’s Terminals 2 and 4 overwhelmingly voted by 99.2 per cent to take strike action. Workers were angry at a series of pay freezes, but a strike was avoided after constructive negotiations concluded with an agreement to award workers a 9.1 per cent increase, including 6.1 per cent for 2017 and 2018 on top of a 3.0 per cent increase for 2019 read more

Strike action suspended at the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen Hospitals (30 May) – About 250 hospital staff employed by ISS at the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals have suspended strike action at the last minute following ‘breakthrough’ talks. Unite today (Wednesday 29 May) that 24 hour strike action planned from 00.01 on 30 May was suspended. This follows intense negotiations yesterday morning which have resulted in the trust agreeing to pay staff back pay for 2018/19 in full. Further talks will be held today to finalise the agreement read more

Woolwich Ferry staff strike for 10 days in Groundhog Day safety dispute, says Unite – Workers, who operate the Woolwich Ferry used by an estimated 2.6 million passengers a year, are to strike for 10 days in a dispute over pay, health & safety, and lack of staffing. The 31 workers, members of Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, who are employed by Briggs Marine Contractors Ltd, voted unanimously for strike action The 24 hour strike dates are: 17, 20, 24, 28, and 31 May. This will be followed by five days in June on 3, 7, 10, 14 and 17 June. All stoppages will start at 00:01. The key issues in the dispute are the refusal to grant a six per cent pay increase for the year starting January 2019; the imposition of new duties; failure to deal with safety concerns; and lack of an adequate number of staff to operate the service. Two years ago, there was an acrimonious and long-running dispute at the ferry with the same employer, which runs the service on behalf of Transport for London (TfL), over a bullying culture and health & safety issues read more

Bromley library workers to strike on 6 June in staffing and pay dispute – Bromley library workers will strike continuously from Thursday 6 June to demand full staffing of Bromley’s libraries. The strike is also part of a campaign by Unite to give a big pay boost to workers employed by social enterprise leisure services’ giant Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL). The 50 library staff, who are employed by GLL, voted by 98 per cent to strike on pay and also on issues specifically relating over  the running of Bromley’s 14 libraries. The Bromley dispute relates to GLL bosses not filling vacant posts; asking staff to be managers without paying the proper rate for the job; and failing to pay wages owed. Unite is seeking a six per cent increase in basic pay from April 2019 for its hundreds of  members working for GLL in more than 140  leisure centres and libraries in 16 London boroughs, as well as in Belfast. Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “The near unanimous vote for strike action by our Bromley library members sends a strong message to GLL bosses that: ‘Enough is enough’. Our members will walk out on 6 June and strike until a settlement is reached – this action will lead to the closure of the borough’s 14 libraries…” read more   During the first week, starting 6th June, Unite are asking for support from 8 am to 11 am on the picket line at Bromley Central Library, High St, Bromley, BR1 1EX – please note that there will be no picket on Saturday

Please give your solidarity and send messages of support to the Woolwich and Bromley disputes and any financial assistance via Unite regional officer Onay Kasab Onay.Kasab@unitetheunion.org

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:

Support the Mitie workers at Sellafield (report from local NSSN supporters) – The Mitie worker’s strike action at Sellafield, against poverty pay, resumed on Tuesday 28.05.19.  Following a meeting in Carlisle in support of the Unite Union’s members, on Thursday 23.05.19, which was addressed by workers representatives and union organisers, it was agreed that we would visit the site in support of their action. We travelled down on Tuesday morning to join the march to the site at 4.30am.  This march from the Yottonfews car park to the main gate signals the start of the action to the day, and was well attended by a large contingent of those on strike.  This has the effect of closing the road to the Sellafield site entrances, causing a long tail back of traffic waiting to enter the site.  At one point this tail back had been as far as Distington, a distance of 15 miles. One worker, travelling from Frizington, stated, “I’ve been in traffic for an hour and a half, for a journey that would normally take 15 minutes”.

Once at the main gate, the pickets took position, two per entrance, two entrances for direct workers, and one for contractors. All strikers present took their turn on rota to man the picket.  The pickets were well supported, with many cars stopping to discuss the issues, and taking literature.  The action had the result of extending the time taken to enter the site by three hours, reducing the site working time, with the costs estimated at £4M, per day.  This shows the effectiveness of the strike. The mood among the stikers was buoyant, and the support from most of the workers, and outside contractors, clearly evident.  The stories of harassment and bullying tactics by Mitie were rife, but with this level of cost involved, at some point management will weigh up the balance between cost and pay rise, and obviously come to a positive conclusion for the strikers.

The picket line finished at 10am, at which point the strikers all returned to the Yottenfews car park for a very important de-briefing with Union officials. A short note which was mentioned by one of the strikers was that cleaning staff at Manchester Airport were on £12 per hour, because they worked in a “high risk environment”.  For Mitie workers on minimum wage at a nuclear processing site, this seems a bit hard to swallow

Unite: Sellafield Mitie workers contending with stress, mental health and bullying ‘epidemic’ as strike action resumes

 

TSSA

TSSA Nationalisation Call For FirstGroup Franchises (30 May) – TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has demanded all bus and train franchises held by FirstGroup return to public control after the company signalled a breakup is being considered. Despite seeking a buyer for Greyhound buses in the United States FirstGroup has also confirmed it intends to focus future business operations on North America read more

 

Unison

Strike Action Suspended at Liverpool Royal and Broadgreen (29 May) – The joint unions were pleased to receive an offer today which means that our members working for ISS will now get the Agenda for Change pay rise that they have been denied up until now, and will receive back pay in full. As a result of this offer we have suspended strike action for Thursday 30th May and the overtime ban on Friday 31st May and ask members to attend work for their shift as normal on these dates. We would like to acknowledge the important role of Mayor Joe Anderson and the Trust in helping to avert strike action at the hospitals tomorrow read more

 

GMB

Hospital staff suspend strike after last ditch breakthrough (30 May) – Hospital staff have suspended today’s strike action after a £400 million private outsourcing company agreed to give them a pay rise. The low-paid workers – who provide cleaning, porter and catering services at Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen Hospitals – were due to walk out this morning [Thursday May 30 2019]. Outsourcing giant ISS Mediclean has now agreed to match the same percentage pay rise other members of staff across the hospitals have received – and back date it to the start of the 2018/19 financial year read more

 

PCS

Strong 2nd day of action in Walsall and Wolverhampton (29 May) – There was another great turnout on the picket lines on the second day of the latest 2-day strike at Walsall and Wolverhampton Universal Credit service centres where members are fighting for more staff and better working conditions. The strikes follow two previous days of strike action in March. Since then DWP has refused to meet the demands of the members, forcing members into taking further strike action this week. The strike action will have a serious impact on other DWP Universal Credit sites and DWP should now come to the negotiating table prepared to seriously address the concerns of the members. The strikers were joined on the picket lines by PCS president Fran Heathcote and DWP group president Martin Cavanagh, as well reps and trades council members

PCS has five key demands:

  • 5,000 new staff, permanency for fixed term staff
  • Limit the number of phone calls per case manager
  • Limit the size of the national telephony hub
  • Improve consultation
  • A quality-focused approach – no more management by statistics read more

 

Prospect

Update from Prospect on Air Traffic Controller pay dispute with HIAL – strike suspended (5 June) – Following a revised offer from Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd Prospect has suspended its planned strike action on 12 June read more

Tribunal victory for Prospect air traffic control members at Lydd Airport (31 May) – The London South Employment Tribunal has found that the previous employer of nine Prospect members – London Ashford Airport Ltd – failed to comply with the transfer of undertakings (TUPE) regulations when it contracted out its air traffic control unit read more

 

UCU

Union calls for reinstatement of sacked Sandwell College activist (4 June) – Sandwell College has been accused of losing all sense of proportion over the dismissal of a lecturer, and warned it will face industrial action if the decision is not reversed. The college sacked Dave Muritu for gross misconduct on Wednesday. Muritu had written on a poster promoting the controversial Prevent programme. Muritu admitted to drawing on the poster and apologised for his actions but, although the college acknowledged that his actions didn’t bring the institution into disrepute, he was summarily dismissed last week. The University and College Union (UCU) said such a heavy-handed and disproportionate response from the college had to be down to Muritu’s trade union activities. Muritu is the local branch secretary of UCU, and played a key role in negotiating a landmark pay deal for staff last year read more

Strike ballots open as Bradford College threatens over 130 jobs (4 June) – Members of UCU at Bradford College have today begun balloting for strike action as part of a dispute over plans to cut 132 jobs. The job cuts have been proposed by the college in a bid to save money following previous financial bailouts, but UCU said that the loss of valuable expertise would hit students the hardest and mean fewer opportunities for the people of Bradford. Local politicians have come out against the plans to cut jobs, with Bradford South MP Judith Cummins branding the potential job losses ‘shameful’ and MP for Bradford East Imran Hussain saying the college’s students ‘deserve staff who are both well paid and valued’. UCU members are also being balloted for industrial action in a separate dispute over pay, as part of a row that saw staff at the college walk out in March. Staff at Bradford College have had only one 1% pay rise in the past 11 years and have seen the value of their pay decline by 25% over the last decade read more

Strikes on at West Thames and New City College this week over pay (3 June) – Staff at West Thames College and New City College are on strike again this week as part of an ongoing row over pay. Members of UCU will be on picket lines at both colleges from 7am tomorrow. UCU members at the Tower Hamlets branch of New City College will also take a further day of action on Thursday (6 June). Pickets will take place outside the London Road entrances to West Thames College’s Isleworth campus, and at the New City College campuses’ main entrances on Poplar High Street and Arbour Square read more

Staff to protest over plans to cut 65 jobs at University of Portsmouth (30 May) – Members of UCU at the University of Portsmouth will be staging a protest on Monday 3 June over plans to cut 65 jobs. Staff will be demonstrating from 8.00am outside the St Andrew’s Court building, where the university’s executive board will be meeting to discuss the planned job cuts. The university recently announced the redundancies of up to 65 staff as part of a restructure of the faculty of science. UCU said students would ultimately be hit hardest by the loss of experienced staff. It said that the strong link between teaching and research had always been one of the university’s strengths and was central to its gold Tef status read more

 

NEU

NEU strike at Harbinger Primary School in Tower Hamlets on the 6th June

Boycott High Stakes Summative Testing in Primary Schools read more about this campaign

 

NASUWT

Teachers at Wrexham School take strike action (4 June) – The Teachers’ Union at Ysgol Bryn Alyn in Wrexham are taking the first of three planned days of strike action over restructuring, potential job loss and adverse management practice relating to the misuse of support plans. The school is operating a restructuring process that has seen the loss of a number of Head of Department roles whilst at the same time employing new staff to senior vacancies read more

Overwhelming support for strike action in Gibraltar (4 June) – The Teachers’ Union have voted to back industrial action over the Government’s failure to respond appropriately to its pay adjustment claim and the fact that proper negotiations on pay had not begun despite a delay of over 10 months. Following a lawful ballot held by the NASUWT, members have shown their overwhelming support for industrial action, including strike action. Notwithstanding this result, the NASUWT remains committed to a negotiated settlement.  It hopes the constructive and positive relationship it has had previously with the Gibraltar government means that industrial action can be avoided and both sides will engage positively to find a solution. On a turnout of 61% members voted 84% in favour of strike action. They also voted 89% in favour of action short of strike action read more

 

CWU

CWU members walked out last Thursday at Peterborough Delivery Office in defence of their union rep https://twitter.com/cwuEastern__No5/status/1134026741939363840

 

POA

POA ballot members over delayed PAVA roll out (5 June) – The Prison Officers Association is to ballot its membership in England and Wales asking them to support their National Executive, in protecting their health and safety by any lawful means necessary due to the delayed roll out of PAVA incapacitant spray. Former Prisons Minister Rory Stewart announced the roll out of PAVA in the adult closed male estate in October 2018. To date, PAVA remains in four pilot sites but has not been rolled out anywhere else. Assaults on Prison Officers remain at record levels and now sit at 28 per day. The POA are prevented by a High Court Injunction in taking industrial action but maintain they have a right to take lawful action in order to protect their members health and safety. The MOJ is defending the roll out of PAVA in the High Court on 13th June 2019, due to a legal challenge being funded by the Equality and Hunan Rights Commission read more

 

NUJ

Police drop case after court vindicates Belfast journalists (3 June) – The National Union of Journalists has welcomed the confirmation that the criminal investigation by the PSNI and Durham Constabulary into Belfast journalists Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey has been dropped. The two NUJ members were told of the decision tonight after arrangements for the return of journalistic material illegally seized last August were confirmed in the High Court in Belfast read more

 

USDAW

‘Time for Better Pay’ petition closes 10 June – Usdaw pushes for more signatures (28 May) – Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw launched the ‘Time for Better Pay’ petition on the .gov website, which currently has 38,000 signatures, to express the deep concerns we share about the pay and rights of a growing number of workers who find themselves in increasingly insecure employment. The petition, which closes on Monday 10 June 2019, can be accessed at: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/T4BP Usdaw is asking members and all who agree that workers deserve better pay and rights to sign the petition and share it with friends, family and colleagues read more

 

IWGB

TDL 24hr Strike on June 10th: Save Lives Not Pennies – IWGB Couriers & Logistics branch members at the prestigious pathology company The Doctors Laboratory (TDL) have voted for a third 24-hour walkout. TDL has continually exploited its couriers by cutting their pay and failed them by abandoning year long negotiations. Couriers have, understandably, lost total faith in TDL management. who repeatedly show no respect for the dangerous work they carry out every day. They are now taking strike action for the third time and standing to defend their livelihoods. Stand with them, and fight to SAVE LIVES NOT PENNIES! Facebook event

 

UVW

Security guards at St. George’s University plan to strike until brought in-house (June 4) – UVW members working as security guards at St. George’s University — a medical school in Tooting, South London and constituent college of the University of London — have voted in an indicative ballot to strike until St. George’s terminates its contract with contractor Noonan and brings them in-house. UVW will now move to ballot them. Bringing them in-house would end the two-tier workforce the security have been subjected to for years, which has seen them severely overworked, disrespected and under-recognised. In addition, their terms and conditions remain on the pernicious statutory minimums, whilst university staff enjoy generous holiday allowances, pensions and sick pay schemes read more

Chanel cleaners win the London Living Wage the day before a big protest! (June 1) – A major victory for UVW members was confirmed last night, just as plans were being finalised for a noisy and smelly protest this afternoon. The placards and a large banner were ready and waiting, along with drums and (rumoured) stink bombs, to be deployed on the narrow New Bond Street where Chanel, Dior, Louis Vuitton and Hermes have gleaming storefronts. Chanel’s cleaners, all Latin American migrants employed by Bayleaf Cleaning, had been engaged in a dispute over low pay, an unfair suspension and understaffing. When push came to shove, Chanel’s managers absolutely did not want to be embarrassed in front of their glitzy neighbours — all for the sake of skimping on their own cleaners. A partial victory in March saw the cleaners awarded a 10% pay rise, from £8.21 to £9.10 per hour, after they made it clear they were willing to strike. This was still well short of the £10.55 plainly within reach (not to mention the £2,000 price tags on some of the handbags), so with the other demands still not forthcoming, the cleaners subsequently decided to ballot for strike action read more

 

 

 

 

Other news

35th Anniversary Annual Orgreave RALLY – Hosted by Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign

Saturday, 15 June 2019 from 13:00-16:00 – Orgreave Lane, Sheffield, S13 9 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)

 

Brian Higgins – the most blacklisted building worker in the UK – R.I.P

It is with sadness that we report the death last weekend of blacklisted bricklayer Brian Higgins, former secretary of Northampton UCATT and the the rank and file Building Worker Group. Our sincere condolences go out to his wife Helen, his daughters, plus the rest of his family and friends.

Brian’s blacklist file starts in 1978 and ran to 49 pages, the largest held by The Consulting Association. During the miners strike, Brian was part of the Laing’s Lock Out Committee, and was presented with a High Court injunction to stop picketing after he and other activists were sacked for their union activities on a building site in South London. He ignored it.

He was also spied on by Mark Jenner, the undercover police agent provocateur from the Special Demonstration Squad, and was a core participant in the public inquiry into undercover policing.

Brain sat on the BSG executive and spoke at our AGMs, until ill health led to him to stand down. Brian was instrumental in setting up a private meeting in Brussels with the European Commissioner Laszlo Andor, which resulted in new anti-blacklisting legislation being presented to the European parliament.

Brian was uncompromising in his call for an independent investigation into possible union collusion in blacklisting. This is Brian in his own words, when he wrote a review for Blacklisted:

“The book says I raged against the blacklist. I did and still do. But I have to say the thing about it which angers, in fact, enrages me most, is that some full time officials undoubtedly aided and abetted blacklisting of rank and file union members and some are probably still doing this as the Blacklist continues. It is painfully obvious building employers – who regularly wined and dined full time union officials, took some on golf outings and to sporting contests, to very expensive posh hotels, and even on visits to the Naval and Military Gentlemen’s Club – would demand some things in return! After all there is no such thing as a free lunch and we’re talking about this with knobs on here! Don’t tell us that sometimes the names of site union militants and activists did not come up, and what full time officials said, in these circumstances, did not end up on some Consulting Association (CA) files. This sort of socialising, fraternising and consorting with building employers masquerading as ‘negotiations’ is corrupt and corrupting in the extreme. It’s absolutely disgusting to think that while fulltime union officials were doing this many rank and file union members were being blacklisted out of existence!”

Brian was one of the blacklisted construction workers who signed the Open Letter to UNITE calling for an investigation to be set up. It is now too late for Brian, but we hope that the UNITE EC will set up the investigation into possible collusion ASAP.

Anyone who has heard Brain speak will remember his booming Glaswegian voice, disdain for union bureaucracy and his liberal use of industrial language. I’ve stood on pickets lines and attended union conference with Brian. I didn’t always agree with everything Brian said (but that is not unusual in the labour movement) and internal union polemics were part of his persona, but it is undeniable that Brian was one of the leading rank and file industrial militants of his generation, who had a significant impact on trade unionism in the construction industry.

As a fitting tribute, former bricklayer, Neil Findlay MSP submitted

Motion S5M-17548 to the Scottish Parliament titled:

Brian Higgins – a working class hero

Further details to follow. Our thoughts are with his family.

Dave Smith

Blacklist Support Group

 

 

Lucy Parker’s film is now complete! Premiere at Sheffield Docs Fest in June

City Projects has been working with Lucy Parker for over 4 years and we are very excited to announce that her film Solidarity is complete!

Lucy Parker’s debut feature-length film will have its World Premiere at Sheffield Doc/Fest.

The Premiere is on Saturday 8th June at 11.15am, and there is an additional screening on Sunday 9th June at 11.30am, both at the Light Cinema, Sheffield. There will be a Q&A at both screenings.

Tickets and info here

BFI’s Georgia Korossi has chosen Solidarity as one of 10 films to look out for at the festival (read the review here)

Thanks to all of you who have taken part, donated or helped out in any way with the film. We are really looking forward to sharing it with you.

We hope some of you will be able to make it, and if not we’ll keep you up to date with further screenings around the UK.

www.solidarityfilm.com

 

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

Nigeria: Stop police attacks on worker-activists – Defend workers’ rights! Read more

Pakistan: ITF calls for immediate reinstatement of sacked union leaders at Hutchison Ports read more

 

 

 

Diary

 

2019

July

6 NSSN Conference Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL Facebook event

13 Durham Miners Gala https://www.durhamminers.org/gala

19-21 Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival https://www.tolpuddlemartyrs.org.uk/festival

 

September

8 NSSN TUC Rally Brighton

 

CONTACT US

PHONE 07952 283 558

EMAIL mailto:info@shopstewards.net

 

TWITTER – https://twitter.com/NSSN_AntiCuts

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ADDRESS NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE