478: Workers organise & fight bosses’ attacks during Coronavirus

March 31, 2020 in Bulletins

As the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic continues, workers are fighting to defend their health & safety, their employment and income.

Reports are coming through to us of action, mostly unofficial, that workers are taking. We will publish this in our weekly website and social media platforms. This includes our new Facebook group: NSSN – defend workers’ rights under Coronavirus, which as it is private, workers may understandably feel more comfortable to post there.

We’ve also made a brief video from NSSN Chair Rob Williams to give an update on how workers are organising during the current crisis.

NSSN Coronavirus logo

Join the weekly #ClapForOurCarers at 8pm every Thursday to salute all those emergency and key workers caring and providing essential services for us at this time

BREAKING NEWS!! (from ReelNews) – CORONAVIRUS: BIGGEST ENGINEERING CONSTRUCTION NAECI SITE IN THE UK ON VERGE OF BEING SHUT DOWN
The MGT construction site building the biggest biomass power station in the world near Middlesborough is close to being shut down completely.

Following outcry at scenes like this last week, with 1,700 workers being forced to work in dangerous conditions where social distancing was impossible, a number of companies doing the work on the site backed down and furloughed their workers at the end of last week, sending them home on 80% wages – but SPIE, Powertherm and Brand were still insisting on their workers turning up yesterday..

Following negotiations with union reps over the weekend, SPIE were forced to back down too and shut down operations. Powertherm, who work directly for the Spanish client Technicas Rodundas, were foolishly still trying to carry on – that may be because they are probably paid by the hour by Technicas Rodundas for labour, materials and equipment instead of having submitted a quote for the job. But all their laggers just sat in welfare yesterday morning refusing to work, before going home. Brand are still disgracefully holding out and expecting their workers to come in read more on ReelNews 

 

BREAKING NEWS!! The NSSN sends solidarity to the CWU members at Alloa Delivery Office who have walked out for a second day. Lochgelly in Fife have also walked this morning (March 31). It’s way past time for Royal Mail bosses to deliver over #covid19UK Covid-19 health and safety in the workplace

Daily Record: Scots Royal Mail posties strike over junk mail delivery jobs and ‘unsafe conditions’

 

From our supporters in Cardiff: URGENT. We’ve learned the EE workers are being asked to return to high street workplaces from Wednesday or face losing their pay. The company is exploiting its status as performing key work in the telecoms sector to try and cut its wage bill, saying that workers who refuse to attend will be unpaid. It seems completely lost on EE that, as well as putting themselves at risk of infection, thousands of EE employees taking unnecessary trips on public transport will spread the virus more quickly, overwhelm the NHS even more and cost more lives. Members of the Unite union in the stores are asking for solidarity by:

  1. Tweeting @EE your anger and disappointment, asking them to reconsider,
  2. Commenting on their Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/ee/
  3. Email customerrelations@ee.co.uk
  4. Contact your local press

 

GMB; ASOS warehouse branded ‘cradle of disease’ by terrified workers (31 Mar) – Terrified Asos workers say they feel ‘like rats’ in a warehouse they have branded a ‘cradle of disease’. Up to 4,000 people work at the Asos warehouse in Grimethorpe, Barnsley – and 98% of them feel unsafe at work amid the Coronavirus crisis, according to a GMB survey. While competitors have closed down to keep the British public safe, Asos has ramped up their operations in Barnsley. The warehouse is now processing orders from the company’s German warehouse – which has closed – and hundreds of extra staff have been drafted in to deal with the million online orders Asos received over the weekend read more

Sign the GMB open letter to ASOS boss Nick Beighton: ASOS – keep workers safe – shut up shop

500 workers walk out of Asos factory after company fails to enforce social distancing – ‘Asos needs to put people before profits and make sure workers are paid properly if they need to take time off,’ GMB said read more from Morning Star

 

Unite: Sixty workers refuse to start at Linden Foods site in Dungannon, demand immediate talks with management over Coronavirus infection control measures (Mar 27) – Total absence of social distancing measures on boning line, in canteen and at entry and exit points   Brian Hewitt, Unite Regional Officer for workers at Linden Foods in Dungannon who was contacted by workers after they walked out this morning read more

 

Unite: A thousand workers walkout at Moy Park site at Seagoe in Portadown after company profits are put before safety (Mar 25) – Unite proposals to secure health and safety protections rejected by bosses, leads to spontaneous walk out by workers   Sean McKeever, Unite Regional Officer confirmed that there had been a mass walkout of workers at Moy Park at Seagoe, Portadown read more

 

Unite: Workers walk off ABP site in Lurgan over concerns over Covid-19 measures (Mar 25) – Where workers are deemed essential every possible measure should be taken and enforced to protect them Susan Fitzgerald, Unite Regional Coordinating Officer called on government to act to protect workers.   “Approximately 80 employees at ABP Meats in Lurgan read more

 

NASUWT: Callous decisions made at a time of national crisis (30 Mar) – The NASUWT has today written to the Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, raising deep concerns about the unacceptable actions some employers are taking at a time of national crisis. The Union has been dealing with hundreds of calls from distressed and anxious teachers where employers are continuing with procedures that will lead to job loss or detrimentally affect teachers’ pension provision. Contracts are being prematurely terminated with immediate loss of salary. Government guidance on unnecessary journeys is being ignored. Teachers are being penalised for self-isolating and in some cases teachers with vulnerable health conditions as defined by Government are being told their condition is only ‘mild’ and they should be at work read more

 

Sign the petition: Domestic Violence & Covid-19: The UK government must act now to save lives

 

Join the NSSN forum to defend workers’ rights under Coronavirus

The NSSN is opening up our weekly email bulletin, website and social media platforms of Facebook and twitter to provide a public forum for workers during the Coronavirus/COVID-19 crisis. We want to be a place where we can all share queries and experiences that workers are facing in their workplaces. These include reports of action taken by workers to defend themselves from their employers.

Join our Facebook group: NSSN – defend workers’ rights under Coronavirus

You can also send the NSSN your reports and queries via our website, twitter – @NSSN_AntiCuts and email – info@shopstewards.net

 

We welcome the information being sent to union members concerning the spread of coronavirus, including the TUC, Unison, Prospect, Unite, RMT, PCS, ASLEF, TSSA, CWU, EIS, UCU, Mandate, NUJ, NIPSA, FBU, POA, NEU, NASUWT, BFAWU, RCN and the GMB.

But it is absolutely vital that unions retain their ability to organise and act independently in defence of their members and workers generally. This includes the right of unions to take industrial action. We are already aware of workers being forced to take unofficial action on health and safety grounds. We also believe that unions should have oversight of any government bans on protests and picketing. This is the same Tory government that tabled more new anti-union laws in December’s Queens Speech last December and cannot be trusted.

We believe that it is essential that workers are protected during this worrying period and are not impacted, whether in terms of their safety as well as their pay and employment rights. The Tory government have announced measures that if implemented would include some workers receive 80% of their wages. However, we believe that no worker should pay the price for any spread of the virus. Any worker who is required not to attend work or is unable to do so because of childcare or transport closures should receive full pay and not be forced to take annual leave. But unions have to remain vigilant that any government payments actually happen and also covers all workers, including those in precarious employment such as zero-hour contracts and in the gig economy.

We have drafted this model motion which we’ve made into a bulletin that can be downloaded and printed off to be distributed. Feel free to use in your union and trades council, in totality or partially to highlight the issues that need to be addressed.

 

Keep an eye out for other Facebook and social media groups and pages that are being created. The Coronavirus Support Group for Workers has been set up on Facebook and is a useful forum.

Follow how unions are facing up to coronavirus globally via LabourStart and ReelNews

USA: Sign Fight for $15 petition: Tell McDonald’s: Give your workers paid sick leave NOW

‘Health not profit’ strike wave sweeps Italy

 

 

Union Coronavirus resources

Most TUC-affiliated unions have dedicated sections or pages of their websites to coronavirus/Covid-19 advice. Here are those where such information is available without entering special member portals. We will keep updating them

Accord

https://accord-myunion.org/covid-19-coronavirus/

Advance

https://www.advance-union.org/Corona

AEP

https://www.aep.org.uk/coronavirus-acas-guidance-for-all-employers-employees/

AFA-CWA

https://www.afacwa.org/coronavirus

ASLEF

https://www.aslef.org.uk/article.php?group_id=7029

BDA

https://www.bda.uk.com/resource/covid-19-corona-virus-advice-for-the-general-public.html

BECTU Sector of Prospect

https://bectu.org.uk/topic/covid-19-coronavirus/

BFAWU

https://www.bfawu.org/coronavirus_update_for_fast_food_and_hospitality_workers

BOS-TU

https://www.orthoptics.org.uk/coronavirus/

College of Podiatry

https://cop.org.uk/news/coronavirus/

Community

https://community-tu.org/advice-centre/coronavirus/

CSP

https://www.csp.org.uk/news/coronavirus

EIS

https://www.eis.org.uk/Health-And-Safety/COVID19

Equity

https://www.equity.org.uk/about/coronavirus-advice/

FBU

https://www.fbu.org.uk/covid-19

FDA

https://www.fda.org.uk/home/Newsandmedia/Features/Coronavirus-Information-on-school-provision-for-children-of-key-workers.aspx

GMB

https://www.gmb.org.uk/coronavirus-covid-19-what-members-need-know

HCSA

https://www.hcsa.com/covid-19.aspx

MU

https://www.musiciansunion.org.uk/coronavirus

NAHT

https://www.naht.org.uk/advice-and-support/management/coronavirus-guidance-for-school-leaders/

NASUWT

https://www.nasuwt.org.uk/advice/health-safety/coronavirus-guidance.html

National Society for Education in Art and Design (NSEAD)

https://www.nsead.org/trade-union/member-updates/coronavirus/

Nautilus International

https://www.nautilusint.org/en/news-insight/telegraph/nautilus-faqs-on-covid19-coronavirus/

NEU

https://neu.org.uk/coronavirus

NGSU

https://ngsu.org.uk/blog/category/covid-19/

NUJ

https://www.nuj.org.uk/work/covid-19-information/

PFA

https://www.thepfa.com/news/2020/3/16/covid-19-pfa-update

Prospect

https://prospect.org.uk/topic/covid-19-coronavirus/

RCM

https://www.rcm.org.uk/news-views/news/2020/february/coronavirus-what-you-need-to-know/

SoR

https://www.sor.org/practice/covid-19coronavirus-information-and-resources

TSSA

https://www.tssa.org.uk/en/help-legal-advice/coronavirus/index.cfm

UCU

https://www.ucu.org.uk/coronavirus

UNISON

https://www.unison.org.uk/coronavirus-rights-work/

Unite

https://unitetheunion.org/campaigns/coronavirus-covid-19-advice/

URTU

http://www.urtu.com/uploads/COVID-19%20Guide%20for%20Reps%20%281%29.pdf

USDAW

http://www.usdaw.org.uk/Help-Advice/Coronavirus-Update

WGGB

https://writersguild.org.uk/covid-19-advice-for-members/

 

 

Fight victimisation of union reps

Since the new year, a whole number of union reps and members have been sacked, suspended or disciplined. This is becoming a pattern. So much for ‘all being in this together’ during the coronavirus pandemic”. This comes on the back of the Tories’ planned new anti-union laws.

The NSSN will continue to highlight every such case and build support and solidarity so that these workers and others get their jobs back. Please send a message of support to those being attacked and invite them to your union branch and trades council. Keep letting us know about any other acts of union victimisation and we’ll publicise.

 

Clara Paillard PCS victory – We are delighted to announce that the threat of dismissal has been lifted and Clara, PCS president in the Culture sector, is ‘back at work’ (although from home during the current pandemic).

Sign the petition: Reinstate Ezra Christian RMTWe, the undersigned, are appalled at the treatment and summary dismissal of our Bakerloo Line colleague Ezra Christian. Ezra has been treated very harshly and does not deserve to be sacked. We call on London Underground to do the right thing in this case and Reinstate Ezra back into London Underground Employment immediately

Reinstate Clive Walder Unite: the campaign continuesUnfortunately, we have to inform you that the appeal by Unite against Clive’s dismissal by National Express in Birmingham was unsuccessful. In the hearing on 5 March, the company downgraded his offence from gross misconduct to misconduct and altered the penalty from summary dismissal to dismissal with four weeks’ notice. We believe dismissal is totally disproportionate and Clive should be reinstated. Clive and his union Unite the union will shortly decide the next steps in his campaign against his sacking. Clive would like to thank all those who have expressed solidarity with him, including supporters of the National Shop Stewards Network who took part in the protest leafleting of his workplace before the appeal hearing. It was successful enough for National Express to report it to the Unite full time official. Please continue to send protest emails to travelcare@nationalexpress.com. The NSSN has produced a flyer which can be downloaded and printed off to give to National Express employees and customers in support of Clive. We are appealing to our supporters to take photos of any solidarity protests and post on social media

Support Danyal Aziz Unite Daniel was a Unite rep at London City Airport, who was recently sacked. Labour MP Sam Tarry has tabled a Parliamentary Early Day Motion in support of Danyal. Email your local MP to get them to sign the EDM

Defend Paul Williams PCS Stop the victimisation of senior PCS rep Paul Williams – Paul Williams has a long and proud history of defending his colleagues at the Department for Transport, and predecessor departments, for nearly 40 years but as a result of his union activities is facing compulsory redundancy even though there are vacancies at his grade read more

Support Tony Smith Unison Tony Smith one of the leaders of the successful FCC dispute which won sick pay for nearly 2,500 workers is being victimised. charged with gross misconduct over health and safety charges, his hearing is on Thursday. Please send messages of support to Hull Trades Council c/o mike.whale@neu.org.uk

Sign the petition: Reinstate UNISON rep Peter Moorhead and stop victimising trade unionists at Alternative Futures Group (AFG)

Support the ASDA workers and reinstate Michael Hunnum – 12,000 workers faced being sacked before Christmas by scrooge bosses ASDA, who are now owned by US superstore giant Walmart. This threat hanging over them was unless they agree to the new ‘Contract 6’ which will see them lose all their paid breaks and forced to work bank holidays. The same employer is sacking North East GMB member Michael Hunnam. Michael’s fight is part of the same struggle to resist the offensive of the ASDA bosses. Michael’s supporters believe that his determined opposition to Contract 6 is what has put him in the ASDA firing line. Support the ASDA workers and reinstate Michael!

Defend Moe Unite – support Moe Muhsin Manir, a hardworking Unite rep on London buses, working for Abellio. We are delighted to report that Moe is back at work. We will keep everyone up to date on any developments. Moe would like to thank everyone who sent support and solidarity.

 

 

 

NSSN news

Get your trade union branch or trades council to affiliate to the NSSN – it only costs £50. Already affiliated? Please think about renewing it. Also, many of our supporters pay a few pounds a month. You can set up a similar standing order to ‘National Shop Stewards Network’, HSBC – sort code 40-06-41, account number 90143790. Our address is NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE. Feel free to use this affiliation letter

Date for your diary: 2020 NSSN Conference Saturday July 4th 11am-4.30pm Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, Holborn, London WC1R 4RL

This leaflet advertising the 2020 NSSN Conference can be downloaded and printed off

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

Watch NSSN TUC Rally video

 

  

Union News

RMT

Sign the petition: Reinstate Ezra Christian – We, the undersigned, are appalled at the treatment and summary dismissal of our Bakerloo Line colleague Ezra Christian. Ezra has been treated very harshly and does not deserve to be sacked. We call on London Underground to do the right thing in this case and Reinstate Ezra back into London Underground Employment immediately

RMT demands urgent support for rail caterers after workers are abandoned by their employer Select Service Partner (30 Mar) – RAIL UNION RMT is demanding that immediate action is taken to support the industry’s outsourced caterers, who work across the railway in station outlets such as Ritazza and Upper Crust, who have been left high and dry by their employer, Select Service Partner (SSP), during the Coronavirus crisis. RMT has spent weeks attempting to work with SSP, to ensure their workers would be protected during this period of uncertainty, with the company totally unwilling to engage. In a particularly heartless step, SSP workers were given just a day’s notice that they were being ‘laid off’ and that their company does not plan to pay them until the Government’s Job Retention Scheme is operational. Caterers are some of the lowest paid workers on the railway, and SSP’s workers now have no idea how they will manage financially until the Government scheme is in force. In contrast an agreement has been reached by the Rail Industry Coronavirus Forum which guarantees that rail caterers who are directly contracted by Train Companies, such as on-train caterers, will be paid 80% of their normal salary by their employer. SSP subsidiary, Rail Gourmet, is included in this agreement read more

RMT secures massive living wage victory for rail workers across the North (30 Mar) – After a long-running campaign rail union RMT announced this morning that it has finally reached agreement with Carlisle Support Services Ltd to pay the Living Wage Foundation rate of pay of £9.30 per hour from 1st April to all staff on the Northern Trains Revenue and Gateline contract. The RMT victory will mean a pay uplift to the living wage rate for 380 key rail staff across the whole of the North of England. RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said; “After a long, hard campaign RMT has secured a living wage victory for nearly 400 contacted rail staff across the Nort‎h that will make a real difference…” read more

RMT on Hull Trains suspending operations from midnight (29 Mar) – RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said “This decision affects 130 rail staff around the Hull area and they must be treated as an absolute priority. We expect the company and the Government to guarantee ‎wages at 100% and not some reduced rate and we also expect jobs, service, pensions and conditions for these rail staff to be fully protected throughout this crisis. We will be in direct talks to secure our members the guarantees they are entitled to. The Government have given the rail companies financial assurances, the same must apply to staff” read more

Sign petition: to The Mayor of London and the London Assembly – End the privatisation of cleaning at Transport for London

RAIL UNION RMT has suspended strike action on South Western Railway in good faith to allow further talks to take place read more

Donate to the RMT strike fund on South Western Railway – The NSSN is appealing for financial support and solidarity for the RMT and their members on SWR, who have just voted to renew their mandate to take mote strike action. Send messages of support and requests for speakers for your union branch and/or trades council to RMT NEC member and SWR guard Geoff Kite – g.kite@rmt.org.uk

To make a donation to the hardship funds set up for RMT members striking against Driver Only Operation:-

National Dispute Fund:
Transfers can be made directly into the account using the details below:
Account name: RMT Head Office National Dispute Fund
Account no: 20113524
Sort Code: 60-83-01
Alternatively, you can send cheques to the Finance Department at Head Office – Unity House 39 Chalton Street London NW11JD

RMT Wessex DOO Dispute Fund:
Transfers can be made directly into the account using the details below:
Account name: RMT Wessex DOO Dispute Fund
Account no: 20399461
Sort Code: 60-83-01

 

PCS

Support HMRC cleaners who have been on strike today Living Wage – Contracted out cleaners at HMRC have recently been on strike in a dispute over the Living Wage. ISS staff who are employed to clean tax offices at Bootle and Liverpool will take 14 days action with colleagues in Birmingham taking 2 days. Workers are angry at ISS over poor pay and conditions and the refusal of ministers at HMRC to take the cleaning contract back in-house.  The real Living Wage is £10.75 in London and £9.30 for the rest of the UK is based on the cost of living and is voluntarily paid by nearly 6,000 UK employers who believe a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay. The strike received a 97% yes vote on a 90% turnout read more

Show your support

Support Interserve strikers – Interserve workers at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, were on strike for the whole of February. You can support the workers in the following ways:

 

More Unite

Refuse workers not being protected from coronavirus (30 Mar) – Unite is warning that refuse contractors and local councils across the UK are failing to ensure that refuse workers are socially distancing and are provided with other safety measures to prevent coronavirus read more

170 cleaners at Ford Dagenham ‘utterly betrayed’ in coronavirus fight (30 Mar) – Around 170 cleaners at Ford Dagenham, who have been in the frontline to ensure sterilised areas for the imminent production of ventilators, have been betrayed as they face a 20 per cent pay cut this week. Unite the cleaners, who work at Dagenham and Ford Dunton, had been badly let down by the Ford management and cleaning contractor Hamton Environmental which employs them. While other employees at the company are being paid full basic pay from this week as they are laid-off, the cleaners, who have been on site risking their own health, are being treated less favourably after being told they are to be furloughed this week, which will result in a 20 per cent cut in their already low wages read more

‘Lockdown deal’ is a win for workers at Sheffield Students’ Union (Mon 30) – Unite, Britain and Ireland’s leading union, has negotiated an agreement with Sheffield Students’ Union which ensures hundreds of zero hours staff will receive their wages until mid April (see notes to editors). The agreement was reached following the shutdown of the University of Sheffield on 17 March in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak. At the request of Unite, the Students’ Union management had already improved its terms for self-isolating zero hours staff, moving them from the infamous statutory sick pay scheme to full pay for the duration of their isolation or sickness absence read more

Unite calls for ‘tougher measures’ as construction sites remain open (29 Mar) – Unite the union has called for ‘tougher measures’ as it responded to an article published in yesterday’s (28 March) Glasgow Times featuring the construction contractor Morgan Sindall involved in the £250 million Sighthill Transformational Regeneration Area. The Sighthill regeneration project is scheduled to re-open on Monday (30 March). It is reported to be the largest regeneration project in the UK outside of London with hundreds of new homes, shops and businesses to be located on the site alongside a new road bridge over the Glasgow to Edinburgh railway line. On Friday (27 March), Unite welcomed the instruction by the Scottish government to close construction sites not linked to the health service. The country’s leading construction trade union had been inundated by reports during the week that construction workers were continuing to turn up to work at non-essential construction sites and were having to use public transport or shared transport in order to comply with employer requests or face losing wages read more

Two London organisations ‘named and shamed’ over coronavirus treatment of workers (27 Mar) – Two London organisations are flouting government policy over coronavirus by attacking the pay, and terms and conditions of their employees said today (Friday 27 March). Unite is pinpointing the London Early Years Foundation (LEYF), which runs 33 nurseries across London; and Gateway, a cleaning company, a spin-off operation of GS Plus (Greenwich Service Plus), which, in turn, was set up by Greenwich council. Unite said that neither organisation had waited to see how they would benefit from the government’s comprehensive package to keep workers in employment read more

Wirral bin workers vote for strikes but no walkouts during coronavirus crisis (26 Mar) – Members of Unite employed by Biffa Waste Services on Wirral council’s refuse contract have overwhelmingly voted for strike action in a dispute over pay. However, Unite confirms that no strike action will take place during the current coronavirus crisis. The 180 plus Unite members delivered a 96 per cent in favour of strike action on an 80 per cent turnout. The dispute is a result of Biffa refusing to meet the pay claim of Unite members for 2019. The company is also trying to move the workers from weekly to monthly pay, without meaningful consultation or agreement on safeguards, if mistakes in pay are made. Prior to the strike ballot being held talks to resolve the dispute held at the conciliation service Acas, broke down without agreement. The mandate for strike action would normally last for six months, however it can be extended with the agreement of the employer. Unite has requested this is done given the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the dispute read more

Birmingham’s Darcast Crankshaft workers secure pay and conditions victory (25 Mar) – A dispute at Darcast Crankshafts Ltd in Birmingham has been brought to an end after workers secured a pay rise and changes to their terms and conditions, Unite said today (Wednesday 25 March). Unite has more than 70 members at the factory, which uses a metal foundry to produce crankshafts for major automakers, and said staff agreed this morning to a backdated 2.75 per cent pay rise for 2019 as well as a further 2.75 per cent rise for 2020. Darcast workers will also receive an improved leave of absence policy under the deal and agency staff will be offered permanent contracts. The deal also contains an agreement to re-evaluate the firm’s bonus system and consider incorporating bonuses into the workers’ regular wages read more

Newham highway operatives to be balloted in grading dispute – Newham council, which has been dogged by industrial disputes recently, faces another one – this time over the failure to pay highway maintenance staff the rate for the job. Unite said that its highway members at Newham council would be balloted for strike action from Friday (20 March). The ballot closes on 3 April. Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “The issue is that members have not been properly graded and, as a result, have not been properly paid. We estimate individuals have lost £8,000-a-year over a period of time. Negotiations with management have dragged on for months and now our members have lost patience with this foot-dragging local authority.” Read more

Support Westex Carpets staff strike – Westex Carpet strike reaches two month mark: Members of Unite at the Westex Carpets factory in Cleckheaton are about to reach the two month mark in their ongoing dispute over pay. The strike began on November 20th after workers rejected a minimal pay rise which was then withdrawn by the company, which has since refused further dialogue read more    Westex Carpets ‘won’t win battle of wills’ as strikes head into ninth week after talks collapse (22 Jan)

To make a donation to the hardship fund:-

Account name – TGWU

Account number – 20175407

Sort code – 60/83/01

Reference – WESTEX STRIKE FUND

TfL workers step-up strike action across the capital Hundreds of workers employed by Transport for London will stage a 24-hour walkout today (Friday 28 February) to fight back against cuts to pay and holidays. 80 workers employed in TfL’s control centre who are the ‘eyes and ears’ of the capital will join the series of strikes. TfL is cutting their holidays by imposing a system of counting holidays in hours instead of days, which has the effect of slashing the workers’ holiday entitlement by five days (see note to editors). Around 300 workers employed by Dial-a-Ride and 300 TfL revenue protection inspectors, road transport enforcement officers and compliance officers will strike for 24 hours for a second time over the imposition of a real terms pay cut. Further action is planned on 27 March and 24 April read more

 

CWU

Royal Mail workers voted 94.5% in re-ballot. These are video updates from CWU GS Dave Ward and DGS Postal Terry Pullinger

CWU update on the coronavirus crisis and dispute with the Royal Mail (26 Mar) – We are writing to all CWU members to update you on the Coronavirus crisis and meetings that have taken place with the Chief Executive, Rico Back, and his senior management team, since we announced our ballot result last week read more

 

More GMB

GMB Slam Lidl decision to refuse full pay (30 Mar) – GMB, the union for Lidl workers, has repeated demands for the supermarket giant to guarantee full pay for COVID19 related absences and ensure that hard-pressed, self-isolating workers are able to afford to take time off and not risk spreading the deadly virus. Currently the supermarket giant ​has refused GMB’s request to guarantee that it will give all it’s employees full pay, which means most will be left on staff statutory sick pay of just £94 a week. The union argues that the company should use its increased profits from last year, a period in which Lidl saw its share of supermarket sales rise by almost 8%. The retailers profits are expected to rise again after the UK government asked all non-essential workers to work from home and move towards social distancing, seeing the retailer hire an extra 2500 staff to meet demand read more

NHS staffing crisis looms in London and South East’s Coronavirus hit hospitals (27 Mar) – “Many NHS cleaners are not willing to risk their lives on poverty pay with no PPE”, says GMB Union. An NHS staffing crisis is looming in coronavirus-hit hospitals in London and the South East, GMB warns. Hospital cleaners in several London trusts say they no longer intend to expose themselves to hospital environments as they are not willing to risk their lives on poverty pay with no PPE. One London NHS trust will have a shortage of 40 cleaners this weekend increasing the risk of cross infection on the site. Hospital nurses report they cannot get agency nurses to work on coronavirus hit wards and that they are returning to their homes leaving staffing shortages ‘even worse than before’. The numbers of coronavirus patients filling hospital wards in London is on the rise and intensive care beds of full of patients who have contracted the deadly virus read more

Sign petition: Requisition private hospital beds to help NHS with coronavirus

 

UCU

Call to suspend face-to-face prison education as staff don’t even have basic handwashing facilities (24 Mar) – Around two-thirds of prison education staff (63%) say hand washing facilities in their prisons are inadequate, despite government guidance which says regular hand washing is crucial to slowing the spread of coronavirus. UCU has called for an immediate suspension of all face-to-face prison education to help reduce further spread of the coronavirus. The union has written to Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) calling for prison education to be stopped and offering to help look at ways to provide alternative learning materials for prisoners read more

 

FBU

Fire Brigades Union suspends Surrey industrial action during COVID-19 outbreak (30 Mar) – The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) will temporarily suspend industrial action in Surrey from today to support their community through the coronavirus outbreak. Firefighters and control staff began a six-month campaign of industrial action short-of-strike in December 2019, including an overtime ban and a refusal to “work up” to more senior roles. The union will call off action from 18:00 tonight (30 March 2020). The action was the culmination of a lengthy campaign to stop dangerous cuts to Surrey Fire and Rescue Service, which would axe 70 firefighter jobs and remove seven fire engines at night. The county’s fire service had already cut 135 firefighters and control staff since 2010, a 19% reduction in emergency response personnel. Phase one of these cut backs which will result in four fire engines being cut at night, will still be implemented on 1 April, but the service have provisionally agreed with the FBU to suspend phase two, which would see a further three fire engines cut at night, until at least April 2021, with both sides agreeing to continue negotiations read more

COVID-19: Firefighters to deliver food and medicines, drive ambulances, and retrieve bodies (27 Mar) – Firefighters will be able to deliver food and medicines, drive ambulances, and retrieve dead bodies during the coronavirus outbreak in an unprecedented agreement between the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), fire chiefs, and Fire and Rescue Employers. For the first time, all three stakeholder groups have agreed a joint national approach to the crisis. The fire service organisations say that the measures in the agreement reflect the scale of the national crisis and the urgency of the response required. Under the agreement, firefighters will be able to:

  • Deliver essential items like food and medicines to vulnerable people
  • Drive ambulances and assist ambulance staff
  • Retrieve dead bodies, should the outbreak cause mass casualties read more

 

BFAWU

Win! Wetherspoons performs U-turn and agrees to pay staff (25 Mar) – Wetherspoons has performed a U-turn and agreed to pay ‘furloughed’ staff before receiving funds from the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The surprise – but welcome – decision was made after a session of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, chaired by MP Rachel Reeves. The company came under huge pressure after the story broke yesterday, and under further pressure today when more than 90 MPs wrote a letter to boss Tim Martin demanding he changed his mind read more from Union News

 

Mandate

Mandate condemns Heatons/Sports Direct as they use COVID-19 crisis to victimise workers (25 Mar) – Mandate Trade Union has condemned billionaire owner of Heatons/Sports Direct, Mike Ashley, for forcing some of their Irish staff to work behind closed doors on reduced hours during the national coronavirus emergency. Mandate members in several stores have reported that management have instructed them to attend work but have reduced their hours from more than 30 per week to just four hours per week, which prevents them from accessing the COVID-19 payment or other social welfare payments read more

 

IWGB

IWGB to sue UK government over its failure to protect precarious workers – The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) is taking legal action against the government over its failure to protect the wages and jobs of millions of workers during the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as its failure to ensure the health and safety of those still employed through proper sick pay. In a letter before action being sent today, the union will argue that the current £94.25 per week Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) arrangement discriminates against women, BAME workers and workers in the so-called “gig economy” for whom these payments are not enough to survive or in some cases not even available at all read more

 

 

More News

Ted Knight RIP – The NSSN would like to send our condolences and best wishes to the family of Ted, who has just passed away at the age of 86. He led Lambeth Labour Council in the 1980s, who along with Liverpool stood up to Thatcher’s vicious Tory cuts. Ted was still very active in Unite and the Labour Party

TUC courses at the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CoNEL) at the Tottenham Campus

Please see here, our course flyers for TUC courses starting in April and September 2020. Please note that there are two new Certificate courses that we have developed entitled Health & Safety Essentials Certificate and Equality Certificate. The Trade Union Education Department of the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CoNEL) at the Tottenham Campus is delivering these courses. If you have any issues applying online, please give us a call on 020 8442 3075 with your email address and we can send you an application form. It would be appreciated if you could also speak to your branch secretary or other branch officers and reps to promote these courses. Many thanks colleague.

Kind regards

Mark Andrew

 

 

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

USA: ‘The Strike Wave Is in Full Swing’: Amazon, Whole Foods Workers Walk Off Job to Protest Unjust and Unsafe Labor Practices read more from Citizen Truth

USA: General Electric Workers Launch Protest, Demand to Make Ventilators. GE workers who normally make jet engines say their facilities are sitting idle while the country faces a dire ventilator shortage read more from Vice

 

 

Diary

2020

July 4 – NSSN Conference 11am-4.30pm Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, Holborn, London WC1R 4RL

September 13 – NSSN TUC Rally Brighton 1pm

 

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