NSSN 501: Come to NSSN TUC Rally 1pm this Sunday Sept 13

September 8, 2020 in Bulletins

The NSSN is holding its annual pre-TUC Congress rally at 1pm this Sunday. The TUC have been forced to adapt congress because of COVID and this year, our rally will be online on Zoom and shared live on Facebook. We will be hearing from a number of union leaders and will also be holding an open mic, giving a platform to workers and reps in disputes and on the frontline to speak.

NSSN TUC Rally logo

NSSN Chair Rob Williams said, “TUC Congress has never been more important. Workers are fighting for our lives and livelihoods. We need workers’ control over workplaces to make sure that they are safe. And increasingly, we are fighting to stop the hurricane of redundancies and confront the bosses who use the threat of job losses to try and smash our pay, terms & conditions and pensions. Now there is talk that the Tories are looking to freeze the national living wage, which is already too low and has unacceptable age restrictions.

More than ever, the TUC needs to be a council of war, where the class lines are drawn – workers won’t pay the price for this crisis. We must send a clear message of defiance to the employers and their Tory government, which in turn will give confidence to workers that the unions will fight. We’ve already seen that workers join unions when the need to be organised is clear and a fighting lead is given.

The NSSN calls on TUC Congress to organise a day of demonstrations and protests in every town and city on Saturday October 24th to demand the furlough scheme, scheduled to end a week later, is continued and upgraded – we say ‘work or full pay!’

The mood to fight is increasing as COVID strips bare the class inequalities in society. We’ve already seen the incredible Black Lives Matter movement fill the streets. This Saturday, there will be more protests to demand a 15% pay rise for workers in the NHS and care sectors and we call on our supporters to join them. Just weeks ago, thousands of students forced the Tories to U-Turn over A-levels results – one of the 13 retreats from Johnson’s government!

What can 6½ million workers, organised in the trade unions achieve, if there is a fighting programme? Help us send that message this Sunday by joining our rally.”

NSSN TUC Rally – 1pm Sunday September 13th Facebook event

Confirmed speakers so far: Sarah Woolley BFAWU General Secretary, Amy Murphy USDAW President (personal capacity), Mick Lynch RMT Assistant General Secretary, Dave Ward CWU General Secretary

The rally will be on Zoom and will go out live on social media

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Support the NHS pay protests on Saturday September 12th

On August 8th, there were about 40 protests around the country as workers in the NHS and care sector workers demand an immediate 15% pay rise that starts to close the income gap caused by a decade of pay freezes. Please join the protests that are taking place. 

On Saturday September 12th there will be demonstrations and rallies in many towns and cities.

Details of some of these events can be found here in the Nurses and Midwives say NO! to Public Sector pay inequality Facebook group and on the Keep Our NHS Public website. Also visit the website of Health Campaigns Together. 

We support the call of many health workers for industrial action ballots, co-ordinated across all the health unions and linking up with all other workers in public services. We are confident that this would be supported by workers in the private sector and all those who benefit from health and social care, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic where so many staff put their lives on the line.

 

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

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.

 

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.

 

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

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 last year’s NSSN TUC Rally video

 

 

 

 

Union News

RMT

RMT responds to reports of a 10% cut to autumn timetable services across Britain’s railways (6 Sept) – Senior Assistant General Secretary Mick Lynch said; “Plans to slash the autumn timetable by ten per cent across the board would be a retrograde and damaging step that flies in the face of the Government plans to get Britain back to work. RMT is demanding full restoration of services in order to rebuild the economy and keep communities connected. Reports of plans to decimate the timetable would be seen as a hostile act that could usher in further and deeper cuts down the line…” read more

RMT call for justice for all merchant seafarers on Merchant Navy Day (3 Sept) – RATINGS UNION RMT today stated support for Merchant Navy Day 2020, organised by Seafarers UK in the midst of the ongoing crew change crisis precipitated by the Coronavirus pandemic and affecting over 300,000 merchant seafarers worldwide read more

RMT launches global on-line petition to halt jobs carnage at Trump’s Turnberry resort

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

Government Must Intervene Over Eurostar Station Closures and Jobs (3 Sept) – TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has urged the Government to intervene after Eurostar confirmed the closure of Ashford and Ebbsfleet International Stations until 2022 – raising fears of job losses. The company said it had ‘not taken this decision lightly’, adding that because of the pandemic it had to ‘reduce our costs so that we protect our business for the future’. Eurostar stopped operating from the two Kent stations in March at the outbreak of the Coronavirus crisis read more

 

Unite

Government promise of ‘jam tomorrow’ for aviation industry is too little, too late (7 Sept) – Government proposals to launch an aviation recovery plan this autumn to provide support for the sector until 2025 will not end the ongoing aviation jobs haemorrhage currently occurring, Unite, the principal aviation union, has warned. Unite national officer for aviation Oliver Richardson said: “Aviation workers are being promised jam tomorrow when what they need is bread and butter today…) read more

SOS for Jobs heads to Parliament as UK workers urge PM ‘don’t abandon us’ (7 Sept) – SOS for Jobs heads to Parliament as UK workers urge PM ‘don’t abandon us’. Time: 11:00 on Wednesday 9 September, 2020; Venue: College Green, Westminster SW1. With under eight weeks until the furlough scheme ends, workers from across the UK will launch their SOS for Jobs campaign to persuade the prime minister to think again on a focused sector level extension of the job retention scheme (JRS). The JRS is set to end on 1 November with ministers refusing to consider any extension or modification. Workers and their union, Unite fear that without a change of heart from ministers a tide of job losses will engulf UK manufacturing as employers lose confidence in the future with demand yet to return to pre-Covid levels. The workers are further concerned that with competitor nations offering long-term support for their manufacturing base, UK jobs will disappear while our competitors in France, Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Ireland and even the US are protected. This Wednesday (11:00 hours, 9 September) workers – including those from Rolls Royce, Airbus and Ford – will send an ad van off to tour SW1 carrying a message for the prime minster.  They are also inviting MPs from all parties to join them to sign a pledge in support of UK workers. The event takes place ahead of the Opposition debate in the Commons where MPs will focus on the UK’s jobs protection plans read more

A ‘New Deal’ for social care in England called for by Unite (7 Sept) – The government can no longer turn a blind eye to the enormity of the social care crisis that is engulfing the vulnerable and elderly in England, and the inadequate pay and conditions of the workers that care for them. Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union with 100,000 members in the health service, was commenting on today’s (Monday 7 September) report by the TUC which said that social care spending in England was still £600 million lower than in 2010 when the Tories came to power. The TUC called for a new funding settlement, ministers to fill the 120,000 existing vacancies in the sector, the ending of zero-hours contracts and all workers to be paid a minimum of £10 per hour read more

Virgin Atlantic job losses reinforces call for aviation support package, says Unite (4 Sept) – The announcement that Virgin Atlantic is to cut a further 1,150 jobs is more concrete evidence that the government has comprehensively failed to support the UK’s key aviation sector during the pandemic, Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, said today (Friday 4 September) read more

Ministers need to make waves to support Appledore shipyard, says Unite (4 Sept) – The government must start making waves to support the resurrection of the Appledore shipyard, as career open days are planned in the next week to entice skilled workers back to the north Devon site. Unite renewed its call today (Friday 4 September) for the government to review its procurement policies to ensure that British ships are built at UK yards, including the Fleet Solid Support Ships due to go out to tender soon read more

Assaults on two Bristol drivers strongly condemned by Unite (3 Sept) – Assaults on bus drivers in Bristol and throughout the south west won’t be tolerated as these key workers maintain services during the pandemic, Unite said today (Thursday 3 September). Unite reiterated its ‘zero tolerance’ call after two bus drivers in Bristol, employed by First Bus, were assaulted in separate incidents earlier this week. The union has thousands of bus worker members throughout the south west region read more

77 AVX job loss announcement in Coleraine is a devastating blow to workers and the Northwest economy (Sept 2) – Threat to one third of workforce at automotive parts manufacturer as Covid pandemic downturn reduces demand read more

Manchester bus workers to hold consultative ballot on industrial action, as rep suspended for carrying out trade union duties Colin Hayden – About 500 Manchester bus drivers will hold a consultative ballot on whether they want to take industrial action after a senior Unite rep at bus company Go North West Limited was suspended for carrying out legitimate trade union activities. Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union, said that the ballot follows the suspension of the rep, who is also a Unite branch chair, as the union highlighted plans to reduce the wages of 500 Manchester bus drivers by an estimated £2,000-a-year. The company has attempted to railroad changes to the terms and conditions of the bus drivers – while 80 per cent of the drivers, including all of the Unite reps except for the senior rep, were furloughed – via the offer of a one-off payment of £5,000. Unite, however, says that within three years its members would be worse off, if the plan were allowed to go-ahead…Unite said that the working practices at the Queens Road depot which the company wants to buy-out have since been replaced by additional cleaning and cash collection duties which mean the bus drivers are working just as hard. The consultative ballot will be held by the end of August. Whether Unite proceeds to a full-scale industrial action ballot, including the option for strike action, depends on the outcome of the consultative vote read more   Solidarity protest 10.30am this Friday September 11th – details in Facebook event

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

Sign this petition: Extend furlough scheme for the UK Aviation sector to help stop redundancies

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

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

FCDO launch marred by poor treatment of underrepresented groups (7 Sept) – Hundreds of staff from the merged departments face uncertainty about the future of their jobs. The new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) was formed on 2 September, bringing together around 7000 UK staff from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and Department for International Development read more

PCS strongly opposes plans to force thousands into work (5 Sept) – PCS has reiterated that the safety of members is our priority as we oppose government plans to get 80% of civil servants in England to attend their usual workplace each week by the end of September. We have been informed that permanent secretaries have been told to greatly increase the number of staff in workplaces. The government claims sending tens of thousands of civil servants back to their buildings by the end of the month would be “hugely beneficial”. As we understand it, departments which have not staffed offices up to the so-called Covid safe limits must now seek to do so. This must be done in a supposedly Covid-secure way, taking advantage of the return to schools this month and increased public transport availability read more

Keep supporting ISS HMRC strikers – PCS members who clean HMRC’s Merseyside offices for multinational company ISS returned to work following a solidly supported four weeks of strike action through August. The strike is part of the members’ long-running fight for the living wage, improved working conditions and job security. Because of the demand for full occupational sick pay from day one, it is also directly linked to PCS’s Dying for Sick Pay campaign, which aims to secure occupational sick pay for all workers across the government estate…The members are meeting this week to discuss their next steps. Under the Tories’ 2016 Trade Union Act, a further postal ballot is required before they can take any more strike action, and members will need to discuss where the campaign goes next. In the meantime, you can continue to support the campaign by signing the e-action to Jim Harra on the TUC’s Megaphone site and donating to the strike fund: account name: PCS Liverpool/Bootle Campaign Account, sort code: 60-83-01, account number: 20415772

Jacob Rees-Mogg criticised for striking Tate workers’ comment (3 Sept) – The Leader of the House labelled Tate workers who are currently on indefinite strike against compulsory redundancies as “by definition not hardworking” because they have taken industrial action. Mr Mogg was responding to a question from Richard Burgon MP who was seeking a parliamentary debate on the impact of Covid on the culture sector. Mr Burgon has been a vocal supporter of PCS and praised the “hardworking staff” for going on strike to stop compulsory redundancies. In response, Mr Mogg flippantly said: “If people are on strike they are by definition, not hardworking.” The outrageous comments have drawn derision on social media and the union unequivocally condemns Mr Mogg. PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka said: “This crass slur by Jacob Rees-Mogg shows the arrogance of Tory ministers and sheer contempt they have for working people when they exercise their essential right to withrdraw their labour. The disdain Mr Mogg has shown our members should motivate every trade unionist to fight for justice in their workplace. Our hardworking members at Tate have the full support of PCS and we will fight tooth and nail for a just settlement for Tate staff.”

Messages of support for our strikers can be sent to culturesector@pcs.org.uk

Contribute to our strike fund

Show your support on social media using the hashtag #SaveTateJobs or Tweet @tate_united read more

PCS to launch ballot as Southbank Centre confirms cuts to redundancy pay for hundreds of staff read more

Calling all petitioners – The PCS petition calling for fair pay for UK government workers has now reached the 50,000 signatories mark. With 50,000 more signatures to go to guarantee a full debate on the issue in Parliament we are asking members who have already signed the petition to ask their friends and colleagues to also sign it read more

PCS consultative ballot of jobcentre and Universal Credit workers read more

Please sign this PCS petition to Save Ealing Tax Officewe 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 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

Biscuit factory staff to halt production over pay dispute (7 Sept) – Staff at Burton’s Biscuits Co in Edinburgh have voted for strike action following a dispute over pay read more from STV News

Haribo delivers bitter blow to workers as hundreds of UK jobs at risk (7 Sept) – German confectionery giant could shed a third of workforce at UK operation across Pontefract and Castleford sites. Confectionary giant Haribo could shed more than 200 jobs from its UK workforce under new plans. The sweet manufacturer which was founded in 1920 and made its move to West Yorkshire almost fifty years ago. Haribo announced the potential for 207 redundancies across its two UK sites – at Pontefract and Castleford – and is due to enter formal consultation with GMB Union read more

GMB members in Brighton Housing Team to strike for pay fairness (4 Sept) – “Our door remains open, but our members will not accept a pay cut in order to gain parity with their colleagues on sick and holiday pay. This is robbing Peter to pay Paul and is unacceptable”, says GMB Union. GMB Members in Brighton & Hove City Council’s Housing Repairs Team have today confirmed that they will be taking strike action for 5 days from Monday 7th September. The action as a result of BHCC’s failure to honour their promise to settle a pay claim lodged with the previous service supplier Mears Ltd.  The members were subsequently TUPE transferred back in-house on 1st April and are now once again employees of BHCC. The claim is in the main about harmonising the transferring workforce’s holiday and sickness schemes amongst the team, to allow all transferring members of staff equal amounts of holiday entitlements and access to sick pay as their colleagues. Despite staff delaying taking action whilst negotiations continued, allowing the council time to come to the table with an acceptable offer, BHCC have chosen instead to use this time to create an evaluation scheme for roles within the trades.  This scheme would see considerable pay cuts for many of the staff, in order to gain access to sick pay scheme read more

Over 80% of care staff could be forced into work when ill by ‘poverty’ sick pay (4 Sept) – Union launches campaign for care staff to be given full pay when sick, after hard-hitting survey of hard-pressed care staff. GMB, the union for social care staff, is calling for social care workers to be given full pay when sick, after publishing findings of its recent survey of thousands of care workers across the UK. The survey of almost 1,000 social care workers showed that a shocking 81% of the respondents across the UK would be forced into work if they became ill on Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) read more

 

Unison

Defend Tony Smith Unison Hull – Trade Unionists will be outraged at the dismissal of Tony Smith by an FCC disciplinary hearing. His appeal hearing is on Tuesday September 15th. Tony a UNISON activist has been sacked for gross misconduct but in reality he has been victimised for Trade Union activities. All of Tony’s fellow drivers at the FCC waste disposal plant at Wilmington agreed that Tony made a correct Health and safety call but this was ignored in a blatant stitch up by management. Tony led the successful strike two years ago which won sick pay rights for 2,500 FCC workers up and down the country. Hull Trades Council will be protesting outside the site and we will be trying to organise more extensive action to coincide with Tony’s appeal. Please send messages of support to Tony Smith C/O Hull City UNISON, Town Hall Chambers 39, Alfred Gelder Street, Hull HU1 2AG or email via info@unisonhull.org.uk

From Mike Whale Chair Hull Trades Council

Support the Tower Hamlets Unison workers – Read more here and on Tower Hamlets UNISON Facebook page and follow @UNISON_TwrHmlts on twitter

 

CWU

Technology redundancies temporarily on hold as crunch-time talks go to the wire (Sept 3) – Intensive CWU efforts to ensure that every possible alternative to compulsory redundancies that would trigger a full-scale industrial relations crisis in BT Technology are properly exhausted by management are now entering their final stages. Three days after the first of around 190 job cuts were originally scheduled come into effect, eleventh-hour talks are continuing on new CWU counter-proposals that were presented to the company last Thursday and further explored in a meeting with Technology’s HR director Mark Murphy yesterday (Wednesday) read more

Belated pay rise for Capita O2 and Tesco Mobile members (Sept 3) –  Members across the Capita O2 and Tesco Mobile partnerships have voted decisively in favour of a CWU-brokered pay rise that delivers a minimum increases of 2% over 15 months for the vast majority. In separate consultative ballots, which both closed this morning (Thursday), 87% per cent of O2 contract members and 91% of Tesco Mobile contract members casting their votes accepted the CWU-brokered deal, which ends nine months of uncertainty over a rise that technically became due on January 1. The overall settlement for 2020 – which includes the earlier implementation of the Real Living Wage for Capital’s lower-paid workers that has seen some receive increases of up to 5.33% – will now be paid in September pay packets read more

 

BFAWU

Justice for Greencore Northampton Workers 

Sign petition – To: Guy Dullage, Chief People Officer, Greencore

Greencore: Guarantee full pay for your self-isolating workers!

Campaign created by

BFAWU Greencore Northampton Branch

 Read the report published by Doctors in Unite: https://doctorsinunite.com/2020/09/02/the-role-of-airborne-spread-in-factory-outbreaks-of-covid-19/

 

NEU

Ofsted Visits (2 Sept) – Ofsted visits in the autumn term will be a distraction for schools rather than a support read more

 

NASUWT

Clarification needed on masks in classrooms in Wales (2 Sept) – As schools in Wales return this week for the new academic year, the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, has written to the Education and Health Secretaries and local authorities questioning the current guidance to schools that secondary pupils do not need to wear face coverings in classrooms, given the virtual impossibility of maintaining social distancing in these spaces read more

 

EIS

Excessive Workload Demands on School Management Teams “Unsustainable” (4 Sept) – The additional workload demands being placed on school management teams (SMTs) as a result of the COVID pandemic are “excessive” and “unsustainable”, Scotland’s Headteachers (HTs) and Depute Headteachers (DHTs) have said read more

 

UCU

UCU attacks Matt Hancock’s suggestion that university students could be behind second Covid wave (7 Sept) – UCU says ministers and universities need to take control of the threats to public health associated with a mass return to university campuses, and not try and preemptively blame students for any second wave. The union was responding to comments from Health Secretary Matt Hancock who told the BBC that he was “concerned” about students returning to university. Last week UCU said that universities’ default position should be online learning to avoid risking a major health crisis. On Friday the government’s own scientific advisers SAGE raised concerns about the likelihood of increased cases on campus read more

UCU response to Universities Superannuation Scheme 2020 valuation (7 Sept) – UCU has said it had no confidence in the “needlessly cautious” approach taken by the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) in its valuation of the pension scheme. UCU said the valuation should reflect the strong long-term outlook for the scheme and said punitive changes that resulted in higher contributions and weaker benefits could force more people to leave the scheme read more

UCU response to SAGE report on Covid in higher education (4 Sept) – UCU said the government needed to listen the findings in the report on Covid in higher education published by its Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE). UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: ‘This report is sobering reading and brings the dangers associated with reopening university campuses into sharp focus. It exposes how wrong it was to try and pretend this would be business as usual. The worry now is how ill-prepared the government and universities appear to be read more

 

NUJ

Support for the Bullivant strikers

Fourth day of strike action for Bullivant journalists (2 Sept) – Bullivant Media Limited journalists have started their fourth day of strike action today, they are striking over pay, working practices and compulsory redundancies at the company read more

NUJ members working for Bullivant Media Limited are took strike action last Tuesday and Wednesday in response to the company’s redundancy plans and after months of only part of the journalists’ wages being paid. The company runs weekly free newspapers and websites with titles including the Coventry Observer, Leamington Observer, Rugby Observer, Stratford Observer, Solihull Observer, Redditch Standard, Bromsgrove Standard, Worcester Observer and Evesham Observer. Things you can do to support the strike –

  • The NUJ is urging media workers, branches, chapels and other trade unionists to send messages of support and solidarity to the chapel via email: campaigns@nuj.org.uk
  • The union is also calling for financial support for the strikers as many of those involved are paid just over the national minimum wage. Supporters can donate to the strike hardship fund:

Sort code – 60-83-01   Account number – 20049274   Account name:        NUJ Manchester. Please label the donation as ‘Bullivant strike’

Supporters of the strike can send polite messages to the company’s managing director Chris Bullivant Jr at hris.Bullivant@bullivantmedia.com and fellow director Pat Bullivant at pat.bullivant@bullivantmedia.com

 

Prospect

Absolute certainty needed for theatre audiences to return this year, says Bectu (7 Sept) – Culture secretary Oliver Dowden has announced that the government is exploring re-opening theatres with larger audiences later this year. In response Bectu national secretary Noel McClean said: “Oliver Dowden’s announcement that the government intends to re-open theatres with mass audiences in December should be cautiously welcomed. However, for that intention to become a reality we need absolute certainty and for the government to engage with all industry stake holders to deliver read more

The setting of arbitrary timescales and targets for a return to civil service workplaces is wrong (5 Sept) – Outgoing Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill, in his departing letter to departmental heads, has called on more civil servants to the office read more

Warning that Arm takeover would put UK tech R&D at risk (4 Sept) – Leading science and technology union Prospect, has today written to the Business Secretary Alok Sharma MP, expressing deep concerns about the future of Cambridge-based company Arm. There are widespread reports that Arm is likely to sold by current owners Softbank to US chip maker Nvidia. This would put at risk guarantees on UK jobs and investment that were put in place when it was sold to its current owners read more

 

USDAW

Reinstate Richie Venton Glasgow USDAW – IKEA workers need YOUR support. This is a campaign page set up by workers furious at the victimisation and sacking of the elected USDAW shop steward and convener in IKEA Glasgow, RICHIE VENTON, and IKEA’s attacks on workers’ rights and conditions, including removal of wages from workers off sick with COVID-19. Richie has been singled out and sacked for standing up for the health, safety and lives of workers he represents, demanding safety measures and full average pay for all workers sick or self-isolating with the killer virus. He is the first trade unionist in Scotland to be sacked by employers in disputes over workers’ safety from the Coronavirus. Since sacking him, IKEA have imposed even worse cutbacks, including on company sick benefit, putting far more workers on just £95 Statutory Sick Pay, which could force some to continue working because of hardship, spreading the virus, endangering lives. This campaign is to reinstate Richie to his job and his elected union position; to win full average wages for all COVID-sick workers, in IKEA and every other workplace; and to stop employers making £billions in profit but endangering workers’ lives by expecting them to survive on £95-a-week Statutory Sick Pay. Sign the Petition – Add your voice and support to the demand that Ikea reinstate Richie Venton and reinstate sick workers’ wages by signing the secure petition   read more on Reinstate Richie Venton website

From Glasgow Live: IKEA Glasgow workers threaten to strike over cuts to sick pay (28 Aug)

From USDAW website: IKEA to continue paying workers affected by Coronavirus their full sick pay

Shopworkers’ Protection Pledge backed by Usdaw – MPs urged to support tougher action on assaults of retail staff (2 Sept) – Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw is supporting a campaign by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) to improve legislation to protect shopworkers from violence. The BRC has today launched a Shopworkers’ Protection Pledge, which has been signed by MPs who support legislation necessary to protect shopworkers read more

Abuse of shopworkers petition crosses the first hurdle of 10K signatures in one day – Usdaw urges the Government to respond positively

 

Mandate

BREAKING NEWS!! DEBENHAMS WORKERS HAVE OCCUPIED STORES IN CORK AND DUBLIN (8 Sept) – early this morning, a number of workers have occupied the Cork and Debenhams stores. From Stand With Debenhams Workers Facebook page – “After 152 days of picketing through all weathers the only deal put forward by KPMG was a disgraceful and insulting offer which has led the workers to no other option but to occupy the store. The workers demand their 2+2 which refers to their collective agreement with the store previous. The workers will not entertain insulting offers again. The fight goes on!!!” Read more on Stand With Debenhams Workers Facebook page

Frustration boils over as Debenhams workers occupy stores (8 Sept) – LIQUIDATOR WITHDRAWS ITS OFFER TO DEBENHAMS STAFF. Mandate Trade Union said it is disappointed the liquidators of Debenhams Ireland have withdrawn their redundancy settlement offer and has called on all parties to immediately engage to find a satisfactory resolution to the dispute. In a statement issued this morning, the liquidator said: “Following the actions of certain people over night it has now become clear that the offer is not acceptable to the former employees and others. In light of these developments the Liquidators have formally withdrawn their support for the settlement agreement this morning. No further settlement agreements will be negotiated by the Liquidators with the former employees.” In response to the occupation by Debenhams workers in three stores (Cork, Dublin and Tralee), Mandate Trade Union said “152 days of frustration has manifested itself in direct action” and that frustration is completely understandable read more

Support striking Debenhams Workers: Email messages of support to the strikers via ajrailway@yahoo.com and Mandate via glight@mandate.ie and dgibney@mandate.ie

 

SIPTU

SIPTU members in BorgWarner in Tralee support intervention by WRC in dispute (4 Sept) – SIPTU members employed at the car parts manufacturer BorgWarner in Tralee, county Kerry, have today (Friday, 4th September) indicated their support for the intervention of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) in a dispute concerning redundancy entitlements read more

SIPTU calls on Minister for Agriculture to save thousands of jobs in the forestry sector (3 Sept) – SIPTU representatives have called for immediate action from the new Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, to resolve problems in the regulatory and licencing system for tree felling that could result in thousands of job losses read more

 

 

 

 

Other news

Lockdown Cinema Launched A socialist online cinema has been launched called ‘Lockdown Cinema’ in response to the lockdown introduced to help fight the spread of the coronavirus. Lockdown Cinema will be showing films celebrating the best of trade unions and working class life and culture.
The first film to be highlighted is ‘The Big Meeting‘, a documentary about the Durham Miners’ Gala and it is available to rent for £3.49 and to own for £6.99. You can find further details about Lockdown Cinema and how to watch the film via their twitter page read more on TSSA website

Join the Black Lives Matter protests against the shootings 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 and now those of Jacob Blake who was shot on August 23rd. 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 #KneelforFloyd #GeorgeFloyd #JacobBlake and #BlackLivesMatter on social media

 

 

Fight blacklisting and victimisation of union reps

Builders Crack: The Movie

In the current situation, this long lost film from the 1990s about rank and file union organising in the construction industry is intended to lift the spirits, but also to spark a debate in our movement. Hope the youngsters in this film put a smile on your face.

Watch – Share – Discuss

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VZ-QMA1FMg

Blacklist Support Group

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

Defend Tony Smith Unison Hull – Trade Unionists will be outraged at the dismissal of Tony Smith by an FCC disciplinary hearing. His appeal hearing is on Tuesday September 15th. Tony a UNISON activist has been sacked for gross misconduct but in reality he has been victimised for Trade Union activities. All of Tony’s fellow drivers at the FCC waste disposal plant at Wilmington agreed that Tony made a correct Health and safety call but this was ignored in a blatant stitch up by management. Tony led the successful strike two years ago which won sick pay rights for 2,500 FCC workers up and down the country. Hull Trades Council will be protesting outside the site and we will be trying to organise more extensive action to coincide with Tony’s appeal. Please send messages of support to Tony Smith C/O Hull City UNISON, Town Hall Chambers 39, Alfred Gelder Street, Hull HU1 2AG or email via info@unisonhull.org.uk

From Mike Whale Chair Hull Trades Council

Reinstate Richie Venton Glasgow USDAW – IKEA workers need YOUR support. This is a campaign page set up by workers furious at the victimisation and sacking of the elected USDAW shop steward and convener in IKEA Glasgow, RICHIE VENTON, and IKEA’s attacks on workers’ rights and conditions, including removal of wages from workers off sick with COVID-19. Richie has been singled out and sacked for standing up for the health, safety and lives of workers he represents, demanding safety measures and full average pay for all workers sick or self-isolating with the killer virus. He is the first trade unionist in Scotland to be sacked by employers in disputes over workers’ safety from the Coronavirus. Since sacking him, IKEA have imposed even worse cutbacks, including on company sick benefit, putting far more workers on just £95 Statutory Sick Pay, which could force some to continue working because of hardship, spreading the virus, endangering lives. This campaign is to reinstate Richie to his job and his elected union position; to win full average wages for all COVID-sick workers, in IKEA and every other workplace; and to stop employers making £billions in profit but endangering workers’ lives by expecting them to survive on £95-a-week Statutory Sick Pay. Sign the Petition – Add your voice and support to the demand that Ikea reinstate Richie Venton and reinstate sick workers’ wages by signing the secure petition   read more on Reinstate Richie Venton website

From Glasgow Live: IKEA Glasgow workers threaten to strike over cuts to sick pay (28 Aug)

Manchester bus workers to hold consultative ballot on industrial action, as rep suspended for carrying out trade union duties Colin Hayden – About 500 Manchester bus drivers will hold a consultative ballot on whether they want to take industrial action after a senior Unite rep at bus company Go North West Limited was suspended for carrying out legitimate trade union activities. Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union, said that the ballot follows the suspension of the rep, who is also a Unite branch chair, as the union highlighted plans to reduce the wages of 500 Manchester bus drivers by an estimated £2,000-a-year. The company has attempted to railroad changes to the terms and conditions of the bus drivers – while 80 per cent of the drivers, including all of the Unite reps except for the senior rep, were furloughed – via the offer of a one-off payment of £5,000. Unite, however, says that within three years its members would be worse off, if the plan were allowed to go-ahead…Unite said that the working practices at the Queens Road depot which the company wants to buy-out have since been replaced by additional cleaning and cash collection duties which mean the bus drivers are working just as hard. The consultative ballot will be held by the end of August. Whether Unite proceeds to a full-scale industrial action ballot, including the option for strike action, depends on the outcome of the consultative vote read more   Solidarity protest 10.30am this Friday September 11th – details in Facebook event

PCS: Trade unionists asked to send solidarity to PCS rep dismissed after blowing the whistle (25 July) – Trade unionists are being urged to send solidarity messages to a PCS rep dismissed after whistleblowing at the Department of Work and Pensions. Enrico La Rocca, who had worked for the DWP for more than 27 years, lost his job in May after highlighting serious concerns with management over a number of years. His complaints resulted in questions being asked about the department’s handling of Carer’s Allowance overpayments by the National Audit Office (NAO) and raised by in a Work and Pensions Select Committee report read more from Union News

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 defence 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

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

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

 

 

International

Turkey: Racist attacks on Kurdish workers read more on website of Solidarity with the People of Turkey website

 

 

Diary

 

2020

September 13 – NSSN TUC Rally 1pm Facebook event

 

CONTACT US

PHONE 07952 283 558

EMAIL mailto:info@shopstewards.net

 

TWITTER – https://twitter.com/NSSN_AntiCuts

FACEBOOK NSSN GROUP   or STOP The CUTS  Likes page

ADDRESS NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE