487: Come to virtual NSSN Conference Saturday July 4th

June 2, 2020 in Bulletins

 

2020 NSSN Conference: via Zoom 11am-2pm on Saturday July 4th

It’s never been more important for trade union members and reps to come together to discuss the strategy we need to fight for a future that secures our safety, jobs, income and pensions. The economic and health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is showing on a daily basis that fighting union organisation is a necessity for workers.

Come and take part in the biggest annual event that brings together rank and file union members with fighting unions alongside campaigners such as the parents who have organised with education workers against the Tories’ reckless re-opening of schools and the anti-racist protesters who have exploded into action after the killing of George Floyd in the USA. Coronavirus has revealed all the class inequalities that we know exists but in a brutal fashion.

NSSN_conf_event

The NSSN national steering committee met last Saturday and was determined that this year’s conference must go ahead, despite the restrictions on public meetings. Therefore, it will be a virtual event on the Zoom platform

More details, including our line-up of speakers will follow soon.

Facebook event

Email info@shopstewards.net to register in advance

 

 

Join the protests against the killing of George Floyd in the USA

The NSSN sends our deepest sympathy to the family of George Floyd, who was killed by police in Minneapolis on May 25th. We also send our solidarity to those who have protested in the USA and around the world. NSSN supporters joined the London protest last Sunday.

There are other protests being organised including these in London below. To find out about others, follow #MarchforFloyd #KneekforFloyd #GeorgeFloyd and #BlackLivesMatter on social media.

1pm Wednesday June 3rd Hyde Park

1pm Saturday June 6th Parliament Square

2pm Sunday June 7th US Embassy

 

 

Support teachers and schools staff fighting Tory unsafe June 1st re-opening  

The NSSN sends our support and solidarity to education workers, their unions and an increasing number of parents as they look to resist the Tory government’s plans to move to a much wider opening of schools in England from June 1st.

We believe that this reckless plan is clearly connected to Boris Johnson’s intention to lift the lockdown and get people back to work, before the government get the COVID-19 pandemic under control. They are putting bosses’ profits before the safety of workers, children and their families.

At our very successful 2nd NSSN Zoom public meeting on May 17th, teachers and parents set out a united fighting strategy. The NSSN supports this fight for safety along with the many other struggles that are taking place to ensure that the workplace is safe. We argue that we need trade union, workers’ control of workplace safety as we can’t trust the Tory government and their big business backers.

We are happy for teachers, schools staff and parents to use the banner of the NSSN to organise meetings and action against this unsafe re-opening. Email us on info@shopstewards.net for more information.

 

NEU: 5 Tests for Government before schools can re-open – NEU has launched 5 tests for Government before schools can re-open. We believe that these test must be capable of being passed in order to create the necessary confidence amongst parents and staff:-

We have these five tests which the Government should show will be met by reliable evidence, peer-reviewed science and transparent decision making.

Test 1: Much lower numbers of Covid-19 cases

The new case count must be much lower than it is now, with a sustained downward trend, with confidence that new cases are known and counted promptly. And the Government must have extensive arrangements for testing and contact tracing to keep it that way.

Test 2: A national plan for social distancing

The Government must have a national plan including parameters for both appropriate physical distancing and levels of social mixing in schools, as well as for appropriate PPE, which will be locally negotiated at school-by-school and local authority level.

Test 3: Testing, testing, testing!

Comprehensive access to regular testing for children and staff to ensure our schools and colleges don’t become hot spots for Covid-19.

Test 4: Whole school strategy

Protocols to be put in place to test a whole school or college when a case occurs and for isolation to be strictly followed.

Test 5: Protection for the vulnerable

Vulnerable staff, and staff who live with vulnerable people, must work from home, fulfilling their professional duties to the extent that is possible. Plans must specifically address the protection of vulnerable parents, grandparents and carers read more

NEU: Stop wider 1 June school reopening (30 May) – NEU calls on Government to step back from the brink and stop wider 1 June school reopening. Four prominent members of the Government’s own scientific advisory body have broken ranks to express worries about the safety of wider primary school opening on Monday read more

NEU: Special Schools Survey (29 May) – Serious questions about safety remain unanswered read more

NASUWT: Government must set out how plans for wider school reopening will meet obligations under the Equality Act 2010 (27 May) – The NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union has raised urgent concerns with the Prime Minister over the re-opening of schools and the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 infections and deaths on black and minority ethnic children, young people and adults read more

First Minister’s COVID-19 Announcement – EIS Response (29 May) – Commenting following the announcement by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at her daily COVID-19 briefing today (Thursday), EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said: “During her announcement on the initial stage of the easing of lockdown restrictions, the First Minister provided some important information on preparations for schools re-opening following the summer break, indicating that teachers may access school buildings in terms of preparing for next year. The EIS is clear, however, that staff should only be in schools after there has been a full risk assessment carried out, involving union health and safety reps and specifically addressing issues related to COVID 19, and after school buildings have been subject to a ‘deep clean’.” Read more

GMB: Government’s wider reopening of schools is disappointing (29 May) – GMB is ‘disappointed’ the Government is ploughing ahead with plans to open schools more widely on June 1 – despite independent advice against the move read more

Support staff losing sleep and suffering anxiety ahead of return to school in England, says UNISON (28 May) – Jon Richards says delay needed so schools have time to complete risk assessments. Anxiety is widespread among school workers about their safety, their families’ and that of pupils ahead of a return to the classroom across England, says UNISON today (Thursday). On the day unions are due to meet with education secretary Gavin Williamson, UNISON has published a catalogue of concerns from support staff who make up more than half the schools’ workforce read more

 

The NSSN is continuing to report on how workers are organising during the coronavirus pandemic.

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.

You can read about many of these actions in our weekly bulletin and out social media groups, especially 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

Sign Waltham Forest Trades Union Council petition to Barts NHS Trust: for adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) for all NHS staff particularly at Whipps Cross hospital.

 

Sign petition: To Welsh Government – For an immediate 10% pay rise for health, care and key workers. Sponsored by Cardiff County Trades Union Council, Swansea Trades Council, Caerphilly Trades Council

 

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.

RMT: Vote YES for strike action vote YES for action short of a strike at SWR fleet depots – Ballot of all MB grades on South Western Railway DEFEND YOUR RMT REPS – Two RMT union reps, Mark Gamble and Brian Perren, are facing gross misconduct charges for an alleged incident that occured whilst off duty, not in uniform, and not on SWR property. Mark Gamble is RMT Company Council Representative for Fleet and sits on the Full Council for RMT. He is based at Basingstoke Barton Mill. Brian Perren is RMT Fleet representative within Fratton Depot. The charges relate to a Christmas gathering they attended organised by Fratton Fleet Depot on 20th December 2019 along with other members and the management team. Mark and Brian should not face disciplinary action for a night out with friends. The complaint was made by a manager some 18 days after the event. Wouldn’t you feel it was a terrible injustice if you went out for a few festive drinks and returned to work to be suspended and face dismissal? This is a direct attack on RMT representatives who support members in need throughout the year. You will be receiving a ballot paper in the post shortly. At their time of need we need you to please support your RMT reps by returning your ballot paper with a YES vote for strike action and YES vote for action short of a strike

Clara Paillard PCS victoryWe 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).

Reinstate Percy Yunganina UVW union – Percy is a cleaner at King’s college with 5 years on the job, and a UVW executive committee member, who’s just been sacked after a disciplinary hearing he refused to attend due to observing the government’s social distancing guidelines but which King’s College proceeded with anyway in his absence without even letting him know or inviting him to attend via phone. The hearing would have had 8 people cramped together in a small room in complete disregard of the government’s instructions about social distancing. Percy has explained the reaons for not attending and asked for the decision to be overturned and the hearing to be reconvened via phone or in person after Lockdown. However, King’s have scandalously refused this request and have insisted on upholding his dismissal which now leaves Percy out of work and out of pocket in the middle of a pandemic! He will formally appeal but it could take months to hear and deliver an outcome. We will also take King’s to tribunal but that could take over a year. This is utterly shameless conduct by King’s HR team, led by Nigel Smith, the Head of People Services. They need to be held to account. Everyone deserves the right to a fair hearing and should not have that right denied them for respecting the government’s public health guidelines about social distancing. Please repost this and write to Nigel Smith at the following address telling him to reinstate Percy – Nigel.smith@kcl.ac.uk

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.

 

Guardian: Ricky Tomlinson’s criminal convictions to be re-examined

Appeal court to look again at case of Royle Family actor after claims he may have been unjustly jailed (26 May)

The criminal convictions of actor Ricky Tomlinson, who starred in the TV comedy the Royle Family, are to be re-examined by appeal court judges after an official body suggested he may have been unjustly jailed. Tomlinson and other trade unionists have been campaigning for years to clear their names after they were jailed during a strike in the 1970s. On Tuesday, the Criminal Cases Review Commission, the public body that scrutinises alleged miscarriages of justice, announced it had asked the court of appeal to review the cases of Tomlinson and others. Tomlinson, 80, said it was “good news” and an opportunity to prove that he and 23 other men were prosecuted in what amounted to a politically motivated attack on the trade union movement by the government, police and managers read more in Guardian

 

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

 

 

 

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: via Zoom 11am-2pm on Saturday July 4th 

Facebook event   Email info@shopstewards.net to register in advance

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

RMT calls for urgent Government intervention to protect open access operators Hull Trains and Grand Central during Covid-19 (1 June) – RAIL UNION RMT is today calling for urgent Government intervention to support open access rail operators Hull Trains and Grand Central during the Covid-19 crisis. Unlike the franchised Train Operating Companies, neither company has received any emergency funding during Covid-19 and as such, have suspended their operations in full and furloughed their employees read more

RMT warns of strike action following Government plans to introduce voluntary unpaid workers on the railway network (1 June) – RAIL UNION RMT today responded with fury after being made aware of Government plans to introduce a workforce of unpaid and unskilled ‘Transport Guardian Angels’ on our railway network read more

RMT says Government mixed messaging on lockdown has resulted in dangerous chaos on rail services to Bournemouth today (30 May) – Rail union RMT said today that confused and conflicting messaging from Boris Johnson and his government has led to a huge surge in passengers and dangerous and predictable chaos on Cross Country services into Bournemouth today. British Transport Police have had to be mobilised for crowd control and the sheer weight of numbers have forced the company to try and find additional‎ fleet as social distancing proves impossible. RMT has notified members of their right to refuse to work in clearly dangerous conditions and the union is monitoring the situation read more

RMT demands Government action to stop P&O using Covid-19 crisis to axe UK seafarer jobs and exploit overseas workers (29 May) – P&O FERRIES Union RMT today raised alarm over P&O’s plans to replace directly employed, full time UK seafarers on the Pride of Hull with agency crew from the Philippines on rates of pay below the National Minimum Wage and for contracts that require 12 hour days, 7 days a week for up to 6 months read more

RMT calls on Mayor and the Government to stop the blame game and help the Underground’s heroic cleaners (28 May) – RMT today called on the Mayor and the government to stop pointing the finger at each other and put their money where their mouths are by helping the heroic cleaners who have fought to keep the Underground safe since the Covid-19 pandemic hit the capital. The union had asked the Mayor to intervene to grant the cleaners free travel on the Underground during a crisis in which they are literally putting their lives on the line every day. This would bring them in line with TfL employees, London Assembly members, the Metropolitan Police, police in the surrounding counties, special constables and service men and women in uniform who can all travel across the TfL network without charge 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

 

TSSA

TSSA Back Sadiq Khan’s Call For Inquiry Into BAME Covid-19 Impact (1 June) – TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has backed a call from London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, for the Government to launch an independent public inquiry into the impact of Coronavirus on BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) communities. Cortes also welcomed measures set out by the Mayor to protect those most at risk – with greater accessibility to risk assessments read more

TSSA responds to BTP investigation into Belly Mujinga case (29 May) – The British Transport Police (BTP) has today released a statement having concluded their investigation into the incident at Victoria Station in March which preceded the death of railway ticket office clerk Belly Mujinga.  The BTP is taking no further action after its investigation, which included reviewing CCTV footage, interviewing witnesses and a 57 year old man in connection with the matter. Belly Mujinga was a TSSA member and it was the trade union which reported the incident to the Office for Road and Rail’s Railway Inspectorate (the health and safety body overseeing Britain’s railways) in April and subsequently, the BTP started to conduct their own investigation read more

Eurostar Incident Highlights “Absolutely Vital” Visors In Covid-19 Fight – Cortes (27 May) – TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has called for the “absolutely vital” implementation of visors for all staff on Britain’ railways following an incident at Eurostar (26th May) which saw a customer travelling from London to Brussels given a police caution after being challenged for not wearing a face mask. Face masks are compulsory on public transport and many outside spaces in Belgium. The staff member challenged the individual who was not wearing a mask whilst on the train. The man then became aggressive and on arrival in Brussels Border Police cautioned the passenger read more

 

Unite

Unite writes to Executive Ministers to protest Economy Minister’s rush to reopen hospitality industry without effective infection control (June 1) – No confidence in role of tourism working group – a business cabal composed overwhelmingly of bosses but excluding totally hospitality workers – to oversee workplace safety. Call for Northern Ireland to adopt ‘roving health and safety reps’ like Scotland and introduce limited reopening with continued pay guarantees for workers read more

Unite launches campaign to support ‘exploited’ workers in outsourced leisure centres, libraries and gyms (29 May) – Outsourced leisure giant Fusion Lifestyle with 90 sites across the UK is at the centre of a new campaign to bring services back ‘in house’ for the benefit of the public and staff in precarious employment. Unite is also targeting Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL), which has the contracts for 270 sports sites and 113 libraries; and leading gym operator Everyone Active which has contracts with 45 local authorities. The recruitment drive by Unite comes in the week that figures showed trade union membership in the UK jumped by 91,000 in 2019 before coronavirus struck and has been accelerating since the lockdown, as workers realise that unions are their last line of defence against unscrupulous bosses. Unite said that Fusion Lifestyle, with 3,000 employees and local government contracts including Bedford, Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark, has not been ‘playing by the rules’. Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “We have been contacted by staff at Fusion Lifestyle who have been excluded from the furlough scheme by the company – and have been left with no money and no job…” read more

Unite says return to London bus front door entry must be subject to strict safety checks (29 May) – Unite, the union which represents over 20,000 London bus workers, has given its qualified support to the announcement by Transport for London (TfL) that from tomorrow (Saturday 30 May) there will be a phased return to front door entry on London buses. Only buses that have been fitted with new screens, developed in conjunction with experts at University College London (UCL) and that completely seal the driver’s cab, will return to front door entry and should be on the roads of the capital. In a further effort to build worker and passenger confidence, Unite shop stewards and safety reps will inspect and clear each bus before front door loading is re-introduced read more

BA Betrayal campaign alerts British Airways’ customers and partners (29 May) – The campaign against British Airways’ betrayal of Britain has stepped up a gear this week. Campaigners across the UK are alerting BA’s corporate customers and partners about BA’s plans to use the Covid-19 crisis to fire its entire workforce and rehire those that survive on totally new lesser contracts of employment. This week campaigners have been alerting companies including; HCL in Surrey, Barclays in Glasgow, Vodafone in Newbury, Microsoft in Reading, GSK in Ulverston and Publicis in London about BA’s betrayal of BA staff and the British public. Last weekend ‘BA Betrayal’ night time projections adorned iconic landmarks across the UK including Marble Arch, the Houses of Parliament, Harrods, The Angel of the North and the Scottish parliament read more

Sign this petition: BA mass sackings of its UK workforce is immoral and possibly illegal its time to act

Nissan Sunderland efficiency savings must not include attacks on jobs or T&Cs (28 May) – Nissan’s plans to impose efficiency savings at its Sunderland plant must not include attacks on jobs, terms and conditions or other benefits, Unite said today (Thursday 28 May). The union is also calling for a government-led industry-wide recovery plan to prevent job losses taking place and skills being lost, and to assist the industry in meeting the climate change challenge. Unite said the closure of Nissan’s site in Barcelona underscores the wider fragility of the sector, with the union expressing solidarity with colleagues in Spain read more

Construction procedures place ‘workers at risk’ warns Unite (28 May) – Construction union Unite has sent an open letter to Mark Reynolds, the skills workstream lead of the Construction Leadership Council (CLC), warning that the organisation’s site operating procedures (SOP) are placing workers at risk. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began the various versions of the CLC’s operating procedures have acted as a template for safe site operation with the latest version of the SOP, (version 4) published last week. Unite is primarily concerned about the section which deals with Work Planning to Avoid Close Working which states: “If you are not able to work while maintaining a two metre distance, you should consider whether the activity should continue.” It goes on to say “that management should minimise the frequency and time workers are within two metres of each other.” Read more

Sign this petition: Reinstatement of Blue Handling employees laid off due to COVID-19 and placed on Furlough – With the outbreak of the COVID-19 Pandemic many staff were laid off from Blue Handling due to an unprecedented restriction in travel. The aim of this petition is to demand the reinstatement of those colleagues who were laid off and be placed on the Governments Job Retention scheme (furlough). There is no reason why our colleagues should not be Furloughed and receive 80% of their wages for as long as the Job Retention scheme exists   Unite: Anger as Ryanair’s ground handler sacks workers instead of using furlough scheme

Sign this petition: Please sign and share: Extend the bereaved family payment to UK bus workers now – every bus worker who loses their life because of coronavirus deserves to get the £60,000 life assurance cover alongside NHS and social care staff. Dozens have tragically lost their lives. They are going above and beyond the call of duty. It is only right that their families are given the same financial protections. Help support bus workers and their families. Extend and increase the bereaved family payment now read more

MTVHA – Stop the Sackings! Sign petition: To: Geeta Nanda, Chief Executive Officer, Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing Association – Please cease all compulsory redundancies during the recruitment freeze caused by Coronavirus restrictions which would make it impossible for anyone to find alternative employment read more from Unite Housing Workers branch

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

 

PCS

Please sign this PCS petition to Save Ealing Tax OfficeDuring this time of national crisis the reliance on hard working, front line, civil servants has increased immeasurably. Government departments have had to act quickly, protect staff and ensure that services can still be provided whilst encouraging staff to work from home where possible. In HMRC over 51,000 members of staff are now working from home with IT equipment enabling them to provide effective advice and services to those affected by Covid-19 as well as continuing to perform the day to day duties of the department. Unfortunately our members based at Ealing Tax Office, although providing vital support and expertise during these difficult times, are facing an increasingly uncertain future with redundancy notices likely to be announced in June as part of HMRC’s controversial ‘Building our Future’ programme. These hard working and dedicated members are fighting to retain their jobs and secure the future of their office, entering into an official dispute with the department, taking part in numerous periods of strike action in recent months. The department have refused to acknowledge the vital role played by this office, the likely impact of losing this community employer as well as the long term impact the loss of over 4000 years of collective experience will have on the functionality of HMRC. During these unprecedented times when the reliance on the civil service has grown substantially, it seems unnecessary that HMRC should continue with its office closure programme and planned redundancies. Now, more than ever, an effective and efficient civil service is needed and our members are showing that, across Government, they can work flexibly at home, outside of the office environment, and continue to provide a high standard of service to the British public. We ask that you sign this eaction to the Chancellor calling on him to intervene urgently, to halt the office closures and redundancies, and consult fully with the union and work to retain the experience and vital knowledge contained within Ealing Tax Office. Support our call to SAVE JOBS, SAVE SERVICES and STOP THE CLOSURES

PCS 5 tests for safe working launched (27 May) – We have launched our 5 tests for safe working to help PCS reps negotiate, organise and campaign for safe working as the government pushes for a relaxation of the coronavirus lockdown and some departments attempt to return an increasing number of staff to workplaces. The PCS tests, agreed by our national executive committee, are:

  1. No wider return until communities are safe
  2. Workplaces must only be for essential work
  3. Workplaces must be safe places
  4. Staff must be individually assessed
  5. Outbreaks must be controlled.

The tests are intended to support both those currently working at open workplaces, and those homeworking and facing a potential return. We will be publishing guidance resources to support the tests and online training is being developed. Reps can find out more at an online briefing at 6pm on 4 JuneRegister for the briefing online   read more

Support HMRC cleaners who have been on strike for 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:

 

 

GMB

Delay in Covid-19 BAME deaths report ‘heightens distrust’ (2 June) – People are dying and we need answers, says GMB Union. Any delay to Public Health England’s BAME covid-19 report, led by Dr Kevin Fenton, will ‘heighten distrust’, says GMB read more

Equal Pay Act at 50: highly-skilled predominantly women care workforce must be properly valued (29 May) – GMB, the union for care workers, says the high-skilled, predominantly female care workforce must be properly valued 50 years on from the Equal Pay Act. The legislation, enacted on May 29, 1970, from 1970, states men and women are entitled to equal pay and allows claims for similar jobs, or jobs that are different but which the employer has rated as needing similar skill or effort and had put in the same grade. Rehana Azam, GMB National Secretary, said: “Fifty years on from the Equal Pay Act and we are still waiting for real equality…” read more

Track and Trace will spread poverty or infection without full sick pay (29 May) – The new Track and Trace app will spread either poverty or infection – unless it is backed up by full sick pay for all, says GMB Union read more

GMB force Derbyshire County Council into u-turn on care home closures (29 May) – In the face of the GMB campaign and mounting public pressure to save Derbyshire’s Care homes, Derbyshire County Council have today announced a reversal of plans to close seven care homes in the county. The plans would have impacted on over 300 care jobs in the county, and seen the reduction in care homes run by Derbyshire County Council from 23 to just 16 read more

New flexible working arrangement saves more than 900 JCB jobs (29 May) – GMB Union members at JCB have voted to accept temporary flexible working arrangements to save jobs amid the Coronavirus crisis. The ballot, conducted today at the Cabs Factory in Beamhurst, Staffordshire, was overseen by independent representatives and will be followed by further discussions between GMB senior representatives and JCB management read more

Yodel puts drivers at risk (28 May) – Yodel, one of the largest courier firms in the UK, is putting staff at deadly risk by imposing changes on their drivers across Northern Ireland says GMB. The union has slammed the decision to remove the right of staff to take the vans home after work – forcing drivers on public transport in the midst of the pandemic and increasing the risk of cross contamination in vehicles. Yodel is owned by the multi-billionaire Barclay brothers who own and live on Brecqhou an island in the Channel Islands read more

GMB secures pay rise for ambulance workers at Epsom and St Helier (27 May) – GMB has secured a ‘long-overdue’ pay rise for Epsom and St Helier non-emergency patient transfer workers. They will now receive the real living wage of £10.75 hour – backdated to July 2019. The patient transport service has been outsourced several multiple times and had many workers on low wages. Many of the ambulance workers were not in any trade union a year ago, but joined GMB after a long organising campaign on the Sutton Hospital site. Now they have won themselves a substantial pay rise read more

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

 

Unison

New agreement to ensure NHS staff in England are paid properly for every working hour (29 May) – Unions agree measures to be applied locally. Health workers across England should now be paid properly for every hour they’re at work during the pandemic, following an agreement reached between health unions and NHS employers today (Friday). Since March staff have been working flat out, treating and caring for patients, and keeping the NHS running under immense pressure – but often not getting paid for all the hours they put in, says UNISON. Some NHS trusts have made sure staff are paid for every hour of overtime worked, but this hasn’t been the case everywhere read more

 

RCN

Government must cover nursing degree tuition fees following pandemic (30 May) – The RCN reiterates call for the government to review funding arrangements for all nursing students in England read more

BAME nursing staff experiencing greater PPE shortages despite COVID-19 risk warnings (28 May) – A survey of RCN members shows that black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) nursing staff are more likely to be left without PPE read more

 

CWU

Postmen and postwomen – collecting Britain’s test kits (June 1) – As Covid-19 testing is ramped up by the NHS, our frontline Royal Mail members are stepping up collections of home testing kits, with the activity now ranging across most regions of Britain on every day of the week. After successfully piloting the campaign in Truro, Cornwall, test collections were rolled out to 162 delivery offices around the country from mid-May and then this was expanded last week to a further 248 units. Subject to ongoing demand, another 130 units will join the project later this month read more

CWU anger at ‘provocative’ BT move to attack redundancy terms (May 29) – The CWU has expressed its shock and dismay at BT’s unilateral move to ‘review’ redundancy and paid leaver terms by serving notice on the 2018 Pension Agreement. That hard-negotiated deal – which led to the establishment of new pension arrangements across BT Group in the wake of the closure of the defined benefit BT Pension Scheme (BTPS) for future accrual – contains a legally binding annexe, included at the insistence of the union, that sets out the company’s responsibilities to team member grade employees in any redundancy situation read more

 

BFAWU

The NSSN would like to send our best wishes to retiring general secretary Ronnie Draper. We have worked closely with the BFAWU and in particular Ronnie and national president Ian Hodson. We look forward to working with newly elected generals secretary Sarah Woolley. This is a tribute by Ian to Ronnie  

BFAWU members at Wetherspoons have written to the company in light of plans to open up pubs. The union demands commitments that include staff security, sick pay and social distancing read more

 

USDAW

Usdaw looks beyond the Coronavirus emergency with a call for a new deal for workers and the retail industry (1 June) – Retail trade union Usdaw has responded to the BEIS Select Committee enquiry into the impact of the Coronavirus emergency with a call for a new deal for the workers, who for many years have been undervalued, and a new deal for the already crisis hit retail industry read more

Sign the USDAW Activist petition: sign and share our petition around Sunday trading, especially as the government has now said they are reviewing the legislation with a view to allow supermarkets to extend trading

 

Mandate

Debenhams workers launch official strike action – Yesterday (Tuesday 26th May 2020) Mandate Trade Union formally launched a Debenhams national official strike campaign. Mandate Trade Union members in Cork held pickets at both the Debenhams Patrick Street and Mahon Point locations. Debenhams workers recently voted to engage in industrial action across all eleven Debenhams locations by a margin of 97 percent in favour. A key objective of the industrial action campaign is to prevent the removal of any remaining company assets from the closed stores and to pressurise the Debenhams parent company in the UK to pay a fair union negotiated redundancy package to their loyal staff in Ireland read more

Email messages of support to Mandate via dgibney@mandate.ie

 

NUJ

NUJ offers solidarity to Omar Jiminez & CNN team (29 May) – CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez, producer Bill Kirkos and photojournalist Leonel Mendez, were arrested live on CNN air whilst at work reporting on the protests in Minneapolis. In response, Seamus Dooley, NUJ assistant general secretary, said: “This is an extremely disturbing and sinister development. It is clear that the CNN team were working at the protest scenes in Minneapolis, informing the public of what was happening. It is not acceptable that journalists should be surrounded and arrested live on air for doing their job. The presence of the media in such situations is essential and is a core function of public interest journalism. The National Union of Journalists in the UK and Ireland strongly condemns the actions of the Minneapolis police and offers solidarity and support to journalist Omar Jiminez and CNN  colleagues.” Anthony Bellanger, IFJ general secretary, said: “We are outraged at this blatant abuse of police powers and thinly disguised attempt to prevent proper scrutiny of police actions. From the President to the police it appears journalists are being routinely targeted, demonised and now arrested. This war on media freedom and journalists rights must stop” read more

Colleagues offer support & solidarity to Amy Fenton (29 May) – The union’s Newsquest group chapel met last night and offered support and solidarity to Amy Fenton and colleagues working for The Mail in Barrow. The union remains concerned that Amy and the local newspaper are being targeted, there have been calls for businesses in Cumbria to stop advertising with The Mail, and there have been online initiatives organised calling for Amy to be sacked and for The Mail to close read more

 

Prospect

Prospect poll finds 67% of workers want in person spot-checks to ensure that workplaces are safe (1 June) – A new YouGov poll commissioned by Prospect shows that the vast majority of UK workers want the Health and Safety Executive to carry out physical spot inspections to check employers are sticking to social distancing and other safety plans read more

Treasury must do more to prevent redundancies and economic hardship (29 May) – Prospect has welcomed the Chancellor’s extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) but have argued for greater focus for sectors and workers hit hardest by the pandemic. Under the government’s plan, employers using the CJRS to furlough staff will gradually be asked to contribute more in salary after July while the SEISS is also extended to October at a 70% rate. However Prospect warned that businesses that have been closed by government need more direct support from government to avoid redundancies and condemned the failure to plug the gaps in the schemes that leave many freelancers and other workers with no support read more

 

Equity

Agreement reached between Equity and UK Theatre to support touring and commercial theatre outside the West End (1 June) – UK Theatre and Equity are pleased to announce that they have come to an agreement to temporarily revise the terms on which artists are contracted by Managers using the Commercial Theatre Agreement. The agreement seeks to balance some of the risks of production between Manager and Artists and thereby facilitate the hiring of artists for productions in these particularly difficult and challenging times for theatre. The changes to normal arrangements will operate until a vaccine or other permanent solution is found which allows the sector to operate normally read more

Equity welcomes extension of SEISS while urging Chancellor to protect the creative industries (29 May) – Equity members have campaigned very hard to get an extension to the Self Employed Income Support Scheme and for those who are eligible, the Chancellor’s announcement tonight represents a crucial lifeline read more

 

UVW

UNION TALK: Series kicks off with Dr. Louise Raw and the Match Women’s Strike of 1888 – UVW is kicking off a series on the history of radical union organising with Dr. Louise Raw, who will be speaking about the Match Women’s Strike of 1888 on 3rd June, 2020 from 6:30pm-8:00pm. The series of talks and discussions will take us from some of the earliest struggles of low paid, migrant and women workers of the 19th century all the way up to the present day read more

 

IWGB

Covid-19 couriers vote to strike following victimisation by NHS contractor TDL (28 May) – Medical couriers transporting Covid-19 samples on behalf of NHS pathology contractor The Doctors Laboratory (TDL) have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action, in response to the company’s decision to make redundancies during the pandemic, and its failure to address health and safety concerns read more

 

 

Other news

“Only When It’s Safe” – returning to work after the coronavirus lockdown

The National Education Union (NEU) is hosting this event in our capacity as one of ten national trade unions affiliated to the Trade Union Coordinating Group (www.tucg.org.uk) – Wednesday June 3, 2020 06:30 PM

Chair: Amanda Martin (NEU President)

Frontline workers will be joined by:
Rebecca Long Bailey MP (Shadow Education Secretary)
Kevin Courtney (NEU Joint General Secretary)
Mick Cash (RMT General Secretary)
Mark Serwotka (PCS General Secretary)
Sarah Woolley (BFAWU General Secretary)
John McDonnell MP
Lord Hendy QC
Laura Pidcock (People’s Assembly National Secretary)

Register here

 

 

 

Safety First: For Trade-Union Control of Lockdown Exit. 10% NOW! – public meeting hosted Cardiff Trades Council and Swansea Trades Council

Monday, 15 June 2020 from 19:00-20:30 Facebook event

 

 

 

International

Belarus: Campaign for reinstatement of union activist read more

 

 

Diary

 

2020

July 4 – NSSN Conference from 11am via Zoom

September 13 – NSSN TUC Rally 1pm

 

CONTACT US

PHONE 07952 283 558

EMAIL mailto:info@shopstewards.net

 

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