NSSN 492: Support Tower Hamlets Unison strike

July 7, 2020 in Bulletins

 

The NSSN sends our solidarity to Unison members who are striking against attacks on their terms and conditions. Hundreds of union reps and members at our annual conference on Zoom last Saturday supported this call. It is an outrage that a Labour council is using the worst methods of private sector bosses to impose detrimental changes. We also salute the binworkers, mainly in Unite, who refused to cross picket lines. They have recently been on strike themselves against their former employer Veolia before being brought back in-house

Unison have now called three further days of strike action from July 15-17

Read more here and on Tower Hamlets UNISON Facebook page and follow @UNISON_TwrHmlts

TH Unison strike

From Tower Hamlets UNISON Facebook page: SUPPORT TOWER HAMLETS STRIKE 3, 6 & 7 JULY • SHAME ON TOWER HAMLETS COUNCIL – The long running contract dispute known as ‘Tower Rewards’ is coming to a head with UNISON members working for Tower Hamlets Council set to take strike action on Friday 3, Monday 6 and Tuesday 7 of July, with a view to further dates being announced. Industrial action will impact on all Council services. UNISON hoped to avoid industrial action by involving ACAS. But all hope was dashed last week when council bosses announced that they were determined to sack 4000 council staff on Monday, July 6th and re-engage them on the controversial new contract no matter what. The council’s unwillingness to defer the change so further talks could take place, and more distance could be put between the peak of the pandemic and any potential confrontation, has left staff with no choice but to set dates for strike action in early July

 

 

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 have been at many of the protests that have taken place all around the country. We think trade unions are vital to build workers’ unity at this time.

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

 

 

 

 

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 Accord, Advance, AEP, AFA-CWA, ASLEF, BDA, BECTU Sector of Prospect, BFAWU, BOS-TU, College of Podiatry, Community, CSP, EIS, Equity, FBU, FDA, GMB, HCSA, MU, NAHT, NASUWT, National Society for Education in Art and Design (NSEAD), Nautilus International, NEU, NGSU, NUJ, PFA, Prospect, RCM, SoR, TSSA, TUC, UCU, UNISON, Unite, URTU, USDAW, WGGB and the RCN

 

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.

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

 

 

NSSN news

Dates for your diary:-

National Shop Stewards’ Network South West regional meeting – 11am Saturday July 25th Facebook event

NSSN TUC Rally – 1pm Sunday September 13th

 

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

 

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 on Boris Johnson making driverless trains a condition of TFL Covid funding (6 July) – RMT Senior Assistant General Secretary Mick Lynch said; “It is outrageous for Boris Johnson to wheel out the dangerous nonsense of driverless trains as a condition of the emergency Covid-19 funding of Transport for London. This is the sort of cheap political stunt that was a hallmark of his time as Mayor and we would have hoped he would have grown up by now…” read more

OFFSHORE Union RMT remembers Piper Alpha (6 July) – Offshore union RMT remembers the 167 men who on this day , July 6th 1988, were killed by explosions and fire that destroyed the Piper Alpha Platform in the North Sea. Take a moment today which is also the launch of Maritime Safety week to remember the 167 offshore workers and the devastating effect on their families and communities. The loss back then is why we strive to ensure improvements in safety standards for all offshore workers. Men of Piper, gone but never forgotten. Stay safe read more

RMT suspends cleaners strike action and welcomes Transport for Wales’ move to bring cleaners in-house (2 July) – RMT today welcomed the news that Transport for Wales will convene a working group with the union to discuss bringing all cleaning on the Wales and Borders franchise in-house and has suspended a planned campaign of industrial action to allow for further talks. The move follows an intensive union campaign to get the work brought in house from 2017 onwards and comes on the eve of planned strike action by the outsourced cleaners, employed by Axis, which was aimed at ending the two-tier workforce in cleaning on the franchise. The union has also today suspended strike action due to start this evening to allow for more talks to end the dispute with Axis and the first meeting of the in-sourcing working group will take place later this month read more

‘Unacceptable’ that ABM forcing furloughed staff to take annual leave (1 July) – Your Regional Organiser submitted a report to your National Executive Committee indicating that ABM was compelling staff to taken annual leave during their Furlough period. This is despite the rules of the Government’s Furlough Scheme allowing a maximum of four weeks leave to be carried forward over the next two years when it has “not been reasonably practicable for the worker to have taken the annual leave due to COVID-19”. With the restrictions on public life at present and the near impossibility of enjoying annual leave in the usual manner, that ABM should be compelling members to take annual leave is unacceptable read more

FERRIES Union RMT today responded with concern at Danish operator DFDS’s announcement of 650 redundancies, including on ferry routes from the UK (30 June) – RMT Senior Assistant General Secretary, Mick Lynch said: “On top of P&O Ferries attacks on British crews, this is another kick in the teeth for struggling port communities, particularly in Humberside…” read more

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

Please Support RMT Members With No Wages! – RMT London Transport Region Zero Hours & Self-Employed members need our Solidarity Now! Many of our regions self-employed members and those on zero hours have not any had wages for 2 months since March. They have been abandoned by London Underground, TfL, the London Mayor and their agency employers. They MUST NOT be abandoned by us too; their RMT sisters and brothers! The RMT London Transport Regional Council and LU Engineering RMT branch are calling out to all branches, members and friends to dig deep and give meaningful solidarity to our hard pressed members facing poverty and possibly eviction from their homes. To help support by donating to the fund or to ask after support for yourself, please email: LUEngineering@rmt.org.uk  read more

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 Appeals To Barrhead Travel Over Jobs (6 July) – TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has appealed to Barrhead Travel to work with our trade union to avoid job losses after it began consultations with staff to ‘become leaner’ due to the impact of Covid-19 on the travel trade read more

TSSA Remembering Margam (3 July) – Today marks the first anniversary of the tragic deaths of two Network Rail (NR) maintenance workers at Margam, near Port Talbot in South Wales. Gareth Delbridge (who was 64) and Michael “Spike” Lewis (aged 58) were hit by the train travelling from Swansea to London Paddington. Our thoughts remain with their family and friends – they are gone but not forgotten. Our union will always commemorate the dead, whilst also doing, all we can to fight for the living read more

 

ASLEF

Driverless trains a nonsensical distraction for a rudderless government (6 July) – ASLEF has hit back at the Prime Minister’s suggestion that driverless trains should be a condition of the funding settlement for Transport for London this autumn. General Secretary Mick Whelan commented: ‘It’s the usual signs of a failing Tory government that they’ll attack trade unions and working people to try to distract from their own failings. Train drivers on London Underground have continued to work throughout this pandemic to make sure that fellow key workers can get to work and back. Now those very same workers are being treated with contempt and told they’re not needed.’ Read more

 

Unite

Poll of passengers and public finds British Airways damaging brand (6 July) – New poll:  British Airways damaging brand and should face review of privileged landing rights, say public and passengers in response to ‘fire and rehire’ move

  • 70% of the public say BA’s ‘fire and rehire’ scheme wrong.
  • By a 3-1 ratio (61% vs 20%) public say BA is taking advantage of a national crisis to boost shareholder profits.
  • 69% believe the current landing slot arrangements should be reviewed.

A new poll reveals that the British public backs tough action against British Airways over its ‘fire and rehire’ plans, with both Conservative and Labour voters giving strong support for the introduction of legislation to strip the nation’s flag carrying airline of its privileged access to UK landing slots read more

Stop the BA Betrayal! – This groundswell has been mobilised by reps and the campaign #BAbetrayal – a ‘crisis leverage campaign, which is part of Unite’s Leverage strategy. ‘Crisis leverage’ applies many of the same principles and takes a similarly robust, muscular approach but in a much more streamlined, nimble way. In a crisis like the current coronavirus pandemic, with a company behaving like British Airways, we have to move fast and to scale. Find out more and support the #BAbetrayal campaign by Joining the #BAbetrayal Facebook campaign and follow the @BAbetrayal campaign on Twitter. Sign the petition today

Talks tomorrow over lack of Covid-19 measures at Bexley refuse depot (6 July) – Crunch talks are due to take place tomorrow (Tuesday 7 July) to resolve health and safety concerns over the lack of Covid-19 prevention measures at the Crayford refuse depot which serves the borough of Bexley. Pressure from Unite has prompted the talks with controversial outsourcing giant Serco which runs the council contract. This follows criticism from the Health and Safety Executive over the failure to have adequate social distancing measures in place at the Thames Road depot, Crayford, Kent from where about 200 employees work. The HSE’s criticisms from an inspection visit in May included that cleaning was ‘not robust enough’; inadequate monitoring of those visiting the site; and people passing on the stairs with no social distancing. Unite also said that there had been two separate serious injuries recently when one member had his foot run over by a lorry and another nearly lost the use of his fingers read more

Covid-19 reinforces the case for a ‘substantial’ pay rise for NHS staff, says Unite (3 July) – The coronavirus pandemic reinforces – not diminishes – the strong case for the NHS workforce to receive a ‘beyond substantial’ pay rise for 2021-22, Unite said today (Friday 3 July). Unite has joined with 13 other health unions and professional organisations to launch a campaign today to demand that pay talks start as soon as possible out of respect for the dedicated NHS staff who have battled Covid-19 read more

Sharp rise in construction deaths coincides with plunge in inspections (3 July) – Unite, the UK’s construction union, is warning that the large increase in construction deaths could be related to a steep fall in proactive inspections and prosecutions being undertaken by the Health and Safety Executive. It was revealed this week that construction fatalities increased by 33 per cent in a year from 30 in 2018/19 to 40 in 2019/20, a third of all work related deaths. A freedom of information request by Unite has uncovered that the increase in deaths corresponds with at least a 25 per cent decline in proactive (unannounced) construction inspections. In 2018/19 there were a total of 9286 proactive inspections compared to just 6381 in 2019/20, a decline of 31 per cent read more

Union warns that there will be no`build, build, build’ unless government acts to avert construction apprenticeship crisis

Unite bitterly disappointed that proposals to save Northwood Hygiene Penygroes are rejected (2 July) – Directors at Northwood Hygiene have today rejected proposals from Unite representatives aimed at saving the Penygroes site which will now result in its closure and the loss of 94 jobs. Despite extensive efforts of the Unite representatives during the 30 day consultation and potential financial support from Welsh Government, the Company have confirmed their decision to close the site by October 2020 read more

Filton Airbus job cuts another body blow to South West economy – but many more could follow (2 July) – Unite, the UK’s leading manufacturing union, has said that the announcement that 295 jobs are set to be lost at Airbus’ Filton workplace is yet another body blow to the entire South West economy – and is warning that the eventual jobs toll could be much higher. Around one in ten workers (10 per cent) at the Filton site face losing their jobs but the union is concerned that the fallout across the region will be felt far beyond the site; with every job lost at an employer such as Airbus, a further four jobs will be lost in the supply chain read more

KN Automotive must use furlough scheme ‘properly’ and halt ‘rash’ Birmingham redundancies (2 July) – GKN Automotive must use the government’s job retention scheme ‘properly’ and halt plans to make 185 staff at its Birmingham factory redundant, Unite said today (Thursday 2 July). Unite, which represents nearly all of the automotive supply chain firm’s 600 strong workforce, said the company’s decision to begin consultation over making nearly a third of staff redundant was ‘rash’. Referring to the fact that employers will have to start paying a fifth of furloughed workers’ wages from August, the union accused GKN Automotive of abandoning its staff as soon as the firm was expected to contribute read more

Airbus plans would have “devastating impact” for Welsh economy (30 June) – Following today’s announcement by Airbus that they plan to reduce their UK workforce by 1700, Unite Wales has warned this could have a huge impact at the company’s flagship site at Broughton, North East Wales. Airbus is one of Wales key anchor companies and is central to the future prosperity of the Welsh economy. Any significant loss of jobs at Broughton would further accelerate job losses in the aerospace sector in Wales. The past week has already seen job losses at both Magellan Aerospace and MIC read more

Drax power station workers gear up for strike ballot after rejecting offer on redundancies (30 June) – Workers at the Drax power station in north Yorkshire are gearing up to hold a ballot for strike action over 230 proposed redundancies, after overwhelmingly rejecting the latest offer from the company. Unite said today (Tuesday 30 June) that the prospect of strike action later this summer had resurfaced after the union’s members had rejected the management’s latest offer by 84 per cent in a consultative ballot. Unite said that if the workers voted for strike action it would be the first time that such action had taken place at the highly profitable plant, owned by the Drax Group Ltd read more

Link between migrant worker exploitation and Covid-19 meat processing outbreaks ‘must be addressed’ (30 June) – The link between outbreaks of Covid-19 at meat processing plants and the sector’s widespread exploitation of migrant workers on low pay and insecure contracts ‘must be addressed’, Unite today (Tuesday 30 June). Although conditions within refrigerated meat processing factories have been cited as a risk factor for coronavirus transmission, Unite said there is also a direct correlation between the treatment of migrant staff as ‘disposable assets’ and the spread of the disease in such environment read more

Sign this petition: Reinstatement of Blue Handling employees laid off due to COVID-19 and placed on Furlough

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 – 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

Facebook Live: Black Lives Matter and Trade Unions 9 July – Join us on Thursday 9 July at 6pm. The Facebook Live event at 6pm on Thursday 9 July will discuss the impact of the death of George Floyd on Black members and communities, examine the Black Lives Matters worldwide movement and how trade unions are campaigning against racism in all its forms. Zita Holbourne, PCS national vice-president will be speaking at the event which will be hosted by Mohammed Shafiq, chair of the national black members committee (NBMC). There will be an opportunity to ask questions on the night or email them in advance to equality@pcs.org.uk read more

Black Lives Matter PCS speaks out

Sign your name for pay justice (2 July) – A parliamentary petition with a 100,000 goal is the next key step in our national campaign to tackle scandalous pay and unjustified pensions overpayments. PCS is aiming to secure a debate in parliament over the shocking pay situation our members are facing, by getting 100,000 names on a mass petition we have lodged with the UK government. Our parliamentary petition demands a fair pay rise for government workers – including the civil service, non-departmental public bodies and outsourced staff – who have delivered vital public services during the Covid-19 pandemic, and who should not be expected to accept another real-terms pay cut, as has been outrageously proposed by the UK government. With members’ help, we can take this issue directly to the heart of Westminster. Petitions with 10,000 signatures get a government response; after 100,000 signature the issue will be considered for a debate in parliament. Everyone is urged to sign and share the petition, and take part in this and other campaign activities read more

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

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:

 

NIPSA

Classroom Assistants and other Term-Time Only Staff in Schools (Secretaries and Technicians) (1 July) – I wish to draw to your attention to Annex A, paragraph 6, from Circular 53 dated 12 March 2001 which states: “Apart from the first year of operation it is agreed that schools and/or Boards should consult with staff before the end of April each year on any potential requirements to undertake duties and/or training during the months of July or August.” NIPSA has repeatedly reminded the Education Authority (EA) that this has not happened and that, as a result, staff do not need to be available for work during July and August because this was not requested before April. NIPSA continues to engage with the EA on the issues arising from the operation of Circular 53 to ensure that staff covered by this agreement are treated in accordance with its provisions. I will issue updates as soon as more information becomes available read more

 

GMB

Full coronavirus sick pay for 15,000 care workers (6 July) – All staff at 185 facilities who have tested positive for covid-19 will have pay backdated to April. Unions have won full sick pay for at least 15,000 carers workers employed by Four Seasons Health Care (FSHC). Thanks to the efforts of GMB, RCN and U​NISON all staff at the company’s care facilities will receive full pay for any coronavirus-related absence. FSHC will also advise all those ​staff who have tested positive for covid-19 that they will receive full pay backdated to April 2020. The company is also in discussions with ​the unions over the use of the £600m infection control funding and will continue talks on how they can improve working conditions for more staff read more

Government must turn clapping for carers into cash recognition (3 July) – Ministers must reverse a decade of real terms pay cuts for NHS staff their own government imposed says GMB Union. GMB, the union for NHS staff, has called on the government to turn their clapping for carers into cash recognition. Alongside other health unions, GMB wants Ministers to award health key workers an early pay rise read more

Almost 20,000. covid-19 deaths in care homes (3 July) – GMB, the union for social care workers, has responded to today’s ONS figures showing almost 20,000 care home residents have died from covid-19 read more

School ‘back to drawing board’ for September reopening (2 July) – GMB says schools are back to the drawing board after the Education Secretary formally announced plans to reopen fully in September. The union support schools fully opening in September – as long as it is safe to do so – but the Government needs to be clearer and more prescriptive about the measures needed to achieve this. GMB, along with other education unions, has outlined key demands that must be met for schools to reopen safely read more

Reopening job centres ‘more PR than policy’ (1 July) – Security guards are amongst those occupations with the highest covid-19 death rates. GMB, the union representing job centre security guards, says rushing to reopen job centre’s is more PR stunt than well thought out policy. The union calls on Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Therese Coffey to put job centre staff first read more

 

Unison

Ministers must fix council funding to avoid ​”catastrophic cuts” (6 July) – At least £10bn needed to save essential services. The government must fund local councils properly for the first time in more than a decade in order to keep communities safe and rebuild the country ​after the pandemic, says UNISON ​today (Monday). ​Unless ​ministers fix ​the current funding shortfall – estimated to be in the region of ​£10bn – there could be tens of thousands of job losses and catastrophic cuts to local services in England, according to the union read more

Care home death toll highlights urgent need for reform, says UNISON (3 July) – Sick pay for staff essential to limit spread. Responding to data published today (Friday) by the Office for National Statistics that show nearly 20,000 care home residents have died from coronavirus, UNISON senior national officer Gavin Edwards said: “This appalling death toll is yet more evidence care was left high and dry when the pandemic hit…” read more

Turn appreciation and applause for NHS staff into an early wage rise, say health unions (3 July) – Public want health pay rise straight away. The government should build on the huge public support shown for the NHS during the pandemic by giving health workers across the UK an early pay rise, say health unions today (Friday). The 14 unions – representing more than 1.3 million nurses, cleaners, physiotherapists, healthcare assistants, dieticians, radiographers, porters, midwives, paramedics and other NHS employees – have written both to the Chancellor and the Prime Minister calling for pay talks to start soon so staff get a wage boost before the end of the year. In the letters, the unions – including UNISON, the Royal College of Nursing, the Royal College of Midwives, GMB, Unite and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy – say the pandemic has made the dedication and commitment of NHS staff plain for all to see read more

Show your appreciation and thoughts for the NHS and key workers

Frontline care and health workers face thousands of pounds of government visa charges (2 July) – It’s perverse that ministers ignore the contribution of care and NHS support staff read more

 

Support teachers and schools staff fighting Tory unsafe 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 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 read more

NEU: Coronavirus: Guidance for Schools in September

NASUWT: Teachers fear schools will not be safe to return in August

NASUWT comments on DfE guidance for school reopening in September

GMB: School ‘back to drawing board’ for September reopening

 

CWU

‘A massive step forward’ – CWU leaders on Royal Mail/CWU joint statement (July 2) – Royal Mail commitments to assure Parcelforce’s role in the Royal Mail Group, fully respect the Four Pillars and Agenda for Growth agreements and to work with the union in developing new products and services have been hailed by Dave Ward and Terry Pullinger as a “massive” achievement. And speaking to over 10,000 people on Wednesday evening’s Facebook live broadcast, our general secretary and deputy general secretary postal insisted that this significant move was because of the strength, support and solidarity of the members of this great union. A period of intense top-level discussions has resulted in today’s game-changing joint statement,  co-signed by Dave and Terry, as well as Keith Williams and Stuart Simpson – the company’s chairman and CEO respectively read more

New ‘Better Workplace’ site closure plans emerge in BT Group Business Services (July 2) – Mounting job security fears across BT Group have been further exacerbated following the announcement by Group Business Services (GBS) of radical site rationalisation proposals. At present GBS – which includes Contract Delivery Services, Group Customer Billing, Group Business Assurance and Process Excellence & Automation – employs just under 500 team member grade employees spread across around 50 UK sites. Under its ‘Better Workplace’ site rationalisation plans, however, the division’s footprint will reduce to just six key locations plus a handful of specialist sites read more

 

FBU

Fire service employers delay annual pay offer (1 July) – The FBU has said it is disappointed not to have received an official pay offer from fire service national employers, which was due today (1 JULY). The Employers’ Side at the National Joint Council (NJC), which negotiates pay in the fire and rescue service, had said they would consult with local employers on the content and affordability of a pay claim filed by the FBU at the beginning of June. Representing the NJC Employees’ Side, the FBU last month demanded an “immediate and substantial increase” to firefighter pay to tackle a decade of austerity and government pay freezes. However, employers have cited “practical problems” with employer consultation meetings as reason for the delay, and have said they are “confident” that meetings will take place this month. As with previous years, any pay agreement reached after today’s deadline is expected to be backdated to that date. Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “It’s disappointing that employers have been unable to make a pay offer today. There is no doubt that the pandemic has caused problems for everyone, but we submitted our claim in good time and firefighters deserved to hear today what was going to be on offer. We made clear in our submission that our members deserve a significant pay increase after a decade of austerity. We now await the response of employers to our claim.” Read more

 

BFAWU

Sign petition: To: Paul Pomroy, McDonald’s, Alasdair Murdoch, Burger King, Jorge Torres, Taco Bell, Paula MacKenzie, KFC

Tell fast food CEOs: Listen to your workers, Black Lives Matter

Campaign created by

BFAWU McStrike BAME Committee

BFAWU

It is not enough for fast food companies to pay lip service to the Black Lives Matter movement on social media. You must take steps to ensure your Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) workers are protected against individual and systemic racial abuse

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. The union is launching a recruitment campaign

 

NUJ

Staff at Midlands news group to ballot for action over pay, potential job losses and working practices (6 July) – Journalists at a Midlands weekly newspaper and website group are balloting over pay, potential job losses and working practices. The editorial staff at Bullivant Media Limited have unanimously voted to ballot for strike action and action short of strike action.The dispute concerns pay after unauthorised deductions in salaries over three months, potential compulsory redundancies in the coming months, divisive working practices read more

Substantial redundancies at Newsquest puts quality journalism in danger, say NUJ (3 July) – The NUJ is dismayed by the large round of job cuts and redundancies announced by Newsquest, the second largest publisher of regional and local newspapers in the UK. It has been difficult for the NUJ to gather a comprehensive picture of the latest cuts programme as the company claims they do not hold this information centrally read more

BBC to cut 450 jobs across England (2 July) – The BBC’s plans to cut 450 jobs across England by the end of March could have a serious impact on its ability to represent all parts of the country and produce high-quality local news and investigative journalism. It represents a 15 per cent cut across the board in TV, radio and online and is in addition to 150 jobs cuts announced last week for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland read more

 

RCN

Nursing staff working at Four Seasons Health Care will receive full pay for any COVID-19-related absence, following a joint union campaign (6 July) – Now all staff at the 185 Four Seasons Health Care sites who tested positive for COVID-19 will have their sick pay backdated to April 2020 read more

We’ve joined other health unions to write to the prime minister and chancellor asking for discussions on an early NHS pay rise (3 July) – Alongside 13 other health unions, the RCN has written to the chancellor and prime minister calling on them to start NHS pay discussions to give staff an earlier pay increase read more

 

Prospect

To fulfil its purpose, HSE desperately needs funds (6 July) – Prospect are campaigning for an adequately resourced Health and Safety Executive. One that is able to do what you, and the politicians, expect of it. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is the principal government body responsible for regulating workplace health and safety law in England, Scotland, and Wales (Northern Ireland have their own equivalent body). It does this along with the local authorities, The Office of Nuclear Regulation (ONR) and the Office of Rail and Road (ORR). The HSE provide specialist assistance to the other regulators and takes the lead role on UK health and safety policy in the workplace read more

Theatre storm will turn into a tsunami without government intervention, says Bectu (3 July) – Close to 3,000 theatre jobs are at risk of redundancy with many more expected, entertainment union Bectu has warned today (Friday 3 July). These figures – officially notified to Bectu by employers – do not include freelancers, who make up around 70% of the theatre workforce. Figures from SOLT and UK Theatre estimate theatres employ around 290,000 people read more

Squeezed budgets and fewer staff will only add pressure to BBC striving to bring nation together during coronavirus (2 July) – The BBC has announced that it is looking to cut 450 jobs from English regions as well as an overhaul of local content read more

 

USDAW

100 days of lockdown and it is clear that we need a new deal for workers says USDAW (1 July) – Retail trade union Usdaw is marking 100 days of lockdown by calling for a new deal for workers, after the coronavirus emergency has shown that millions of low-paid and undervalued workers have stepped up in the most difficult of circumstances to keep our country going. Workers in retail, manufacturing, distribution and home delivery have been working around the clock, keeping food on our tables and medicines in our cupboards. They have adapted to huge change in an extremely short time, working under intense pressure and providing a lifeline to our communities read more

Sunday trading: Usdaw survey finds 92% of shopworkers oppose longer hours, with two-thirds pressured to work on Sundays – Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw has surveyed over 11,000 retail staff in England and Wales following reports that the Government is planning to deregulate trading hours allowing large stores to open all day on Sundays.

The online survey conducted over the last week found that:

  • 92% opposed large shops opening for more than 6 hours on a Sunday.
  • 66% feel they are pressured to work on Sundays.
  • 51% want fewer hours on Sunday with only 3% wanting more.

Usdaw is opposing any changes to the existing regulations and is working as part of a Keep Sunday Special coalition read more

Sign the USDAW petition

 

Mandate

Debenhams Workers Protest Bank of Ireland Locations – Debenhams workers from across the Republic of Ireland are protesting today (Friday, 26th June 2020) outside a number of Bank of Ireland locations between 12noon and 2pm as part of their campaign to win redundancy pay for more than 1,000 workers (protest locations are listed below). Debenhams management notified workers in the Republic of Ireland by email in April stating they would have no jobs to return to after the COVID19 pandemic had passed. The company transferred valuable assets out of the country before they sought liquidation, severely limiting the chance of workers obtaining redundancy payments from the company read more. Email messages of support to Mandate via dgibney@mandate.ie

 

UVW

United Voices of the World stands in solidarity with Goldsmiths UCU and the 472 (June 30) – United Voices of the World stands in solidarity with Goldsmiths UCU and the 472 academics and graduate trainee tutors currently facing redundancy. The decision to deny these workers continued access to the furlough scheme and to make them redundant in the midst of an unprecedented global pandemic and recession is utterly callous. It is also a disgraceful attack upon BAME workers who make up 75% of those facing redundancy. If Goldsmiths management are truly concerned with advancing racial equality within the university, as they claim to be, then they must cancel all redundancies. And if they want to save some money then they should start by reducing the over bloated pay of its senior management. United Voices of the World stands ready to support Goldsmiths UCU in any way possible read more

 

 

Other news

Trade unionists and artists stand with Maxine Peake (An open letter for publication in the press, drafted by individual members of Equity in a personal capacity. To contact the organisers, James and Doug, email doug@in-ter-vention.net)

Trades unionists, artists, and campaigners, including fellow members of Equity, the union for performing arts professionals, are outraged at the completely false smears aimed at our colleague, the actor Maxine Peake. We stand in full solidarity with her read more

 

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: SUSPENSION OF RMT REPRESENTATIVES, FRATTON – SOUTH WESTERN RAILWAY – Following my previous Circular (IR/171/20) dated 14th May 2020, as you are aware, two of our representatives, Mark Gamble and Brian Perren, were suspended from duty using unscrupulous charges. South Western Railway’s actions throughout this dispute have been appalling. The company have clearly targeted our members as they are hardworking and effective representatives. The callous action of South Western Railway has been abhorrent from the very start of this dispute. Our members recently had their disciplinary hearings and after successful representation Brother Brian Perren has been reinstated to his substantive role. However, Mark has been left in limbo by the company and still faces these ridiculous charges. This means that the ballot that was due to close today (4th June) has been cancelled. As one of our members has been reinstated, this changes the basis of the original ballot. Unfortunately, because of the anti-trade union laws we would not have been able to use any mandate we received from this ballot. Therefore, we have to run a fresh ballot and this will be to continue to defend our suspended Brother Mark Gamble. The National Executive Committee has considered this matter and has congratulated our members and all those who assisted Brian in proving his innocence and ensuring he is reinstated to his substantive role. The NEC has also instructed me to run a fresh ballot in defense of our Brother Mark Gamble who still remains suspended. It is incredibly disappointing that the company has failed to see sense and instead have chosen to drag on an unnecessary dispute. It is disgraceful that Mark remains suspended and we have no choice but to stand shoulder to shoulder and defy SWR’s callous and distasteful decision. I have written to the company today to advise them of this union’s position and they have been left in no doubt that we will not allow them to pursue outrageous charges against our from democratically elected representatives (from RMT general secretary Mick Cash)

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

 

 

International

Iran: support the Azarab Industries workers

NSSN national chair Rob Williams read out this statement at the beginning of the annual NSSN conference last Saturday July 4th:-

“The NSSN sends it greetings to the workers in Iran currently in involved in struggles and striving to build an independent workers’ movement. In particular we condemn the recent sentencing of 42 Azarab Industries workers to a year’s imprisonment, 74 lashes and a month’s forced labour. We demand their immediate release and dropping of all punishments. We send our greetings and solidarity to the thousands of Haft Tappeh workers who again have been on strike since June 14 demanding payment of unpaid wages, reinstatement of victimised workers and renationalisation of the company. The NSSN believes that the revival of the workers’ movement in Iran has an international significance and will help inspire similar developments against all the dictatorial and authoritarian regimes in the Middle East.”

 

 

Diary

 

2020

September 13 – NSSN TUC Rally 1pm

 

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