510: #SPYCops Inquiry exposes state spying on workers movement

November 10, 2020 in Bulletins

The NSSN sends our solidarity and support to all those taking part in the Undercover Policing Inquiry who have suffered from state surveillance into the labour and trade union movement and a whole number of campaigns from anti-racism to environmentalism.

Blacklist Support Group protest outside Royal Courts of Justice on 7th December

Blacklist Support Group protest outside Royal Courts of Justice in 2015

Keep up with developments and read and watch campaigners’ statements on the Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance (COPS) and Undercover Policing Inquiry websites and spycops info Facebook group.

Demonstration (socially-distanced) at Undercover Policing Inquiry Hearings, London Wednesday November 11th 8am – 9am details

These are a selection of reports and statements that have been issued are below. Dave Smith, core participant in the undercover policing public inquiry was scheduled to make the opening statement on behalf of the Blacklist Support Group on Friday 6th November. Due to a last minute legal challenge over the content of the statement, it hasn’t taken place as of yet:-

Opening statement from Baroness Doreen Lawrence

Opening statement from Neville Lawrence OBE

Opening statement from the National Union of Mineworkers

Opening statement from the Fire Brigades Union and Unite the Union

Opening statement on behalf of eighteen women who were deceived into longterm intimate sexual relationships with undercover police officers [‘UCOs’], two women who were deceived into long-term close friendships which became sexual on one or more occasions; and one woman deceived into a close long-term friendship

Joint Report of Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign, Blacklisting Support Group, Police Spies Out of Lives, Justice4Grenfell, Shrewsbury 24 Campaign and Hillsborough Justice Campaign

Opening statement to the Undercover Policing Inquiry on behalf of Lois Austin, Richard Chessum, ‘Mary’, Dave Nellist, Hannah Sell, Youth against Racism in Europe – represented by Paul Heron

 

Unite: Trade unionists were spied on by undercover police officer ‘for decades’ undercover police inquiry hears (6 Nov)

NUJ demands access to information and evidence from the undercover policing inquiry (6 Nov)

Morning Star: The spycops inquiry is a warning against trusting the British state

Socialist: Socialists, including Labour MP, spied on by police and security services

 

 

NSSN STUC Fringe Meeting: Fighting for workers’ rights during COVID

6pm Monday 16th November Facebook event

The Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) meets during the 2nd wave of coronavirus.

The National Shop Stewards Network has been campaigning during COVID on the basis that workers and their families don’t pay the price for the COVID-19 pandemic – whether it’s our lives or livelihoods.

We need workers’ control of the workplace to protect our health and the unions must fight every redundancy and demand ‘work or full pay’.

STUC must be a council of war to agree a fighting programme for workers.

Come to our meeting. Speakers to be confirmed.

Zoom details – Topic: NSSN meeting
Time: Nov 16, 2020 6:00pm

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84766561024#success

Meeting ID: 847 6656 1024

Or email Gary Clark, CWU Scotland no.2 branch secretary and Scottish rep on the NSSN steering committee and STUC delegate – bsec@cwuscot2.org

 

Sign this TUC petition: To Gavin Williamson, Secretary of State for Education – Reverse the cuts to union learning

 

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 include some workers receiving 80% of their wages. This furlough scheme was due to end but has now been extended because of the 2nd lockdown.

However, we believe that no worker should pay the price for any spread of the virus. We say: work or full pay. Any worker who is required not to attend work or is unable to do so because of COVID, 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

Watch The NSSN pre-TUC Rally and follow us on twitter via @NSSN_AntiCuts and Facebook

 

  

Union News

RMT

RMT research reveals extent of Scottish rail companies Covid profiteering (10 Nov) – New research from RMT reveals that the private rail companies in Scotland set to make over £28 million in profit under Covid-19 Emergency Agreements, equivalent to up to a 7.4% fares cut. RAIL UNION RMT has released new research that shows private Train Operating Companies and Rolling Stock Companies in Scotland are set to be handed in the region of £28 million in profit, under the ongoing Emergency Measures Agreements, which is equivalent to up to a 7.4% annual fares cut. The figures have been revealed at the same time as Abellio Scotrail is denying dedicated rail workers a pay rise and the Serco Caledonian Sleeper is refusing to take action on staff fatigue read more

RMT petition demands Transport Scotland takes action over worker fatigue on the Serco Caledonian Sleeper (4 Nov) – RAIL UNION RMT has launched a petition calling on Transport Scotland to take action to help resolve the union’s ongoing dispute with Caledonian Sleeper operator Serco over staff fatigue and safety. For months, RMT has been seeking to reach a fair and reasonable resolution which addresses the main causes of staff fatigue, but Serco has continually refused to take action and rejected the union’s reasonable proposals. Since March, Serco Caledonian Sleeper has been funded by public money under its Emergency Measures Agreement with the Scottish Government. Serco even stands to make a profit under these arrangements, yet it appears to have no desire to protect the safety and welfare of its dedicated key worker employees.  RMT is now calling on Transport Scotland to intervene as a matter of urgency to ensure that Serco takes action over staff fatigue read more

Support RMT strike on SERCO Caledonian Sleeper – Email messages of support via info@rmt.org.uk and send donations to RMT, Unity House, 39 Chalton Street, London, NW1 1JD read more

Tube Union RMT condemns LUL policy on positive Covid-19 tests (10 Nov) – RMT, the Tube’s largest union, today condemned London Underground for its dangerous policy on Covid-19. LUL are refusing to send staff home after a workmate reports a positive Covid-19 result. This includes staff who would have been working with their colleague potentially for many hours per day and up to 8 days in a row together. The policy flies in the face of Government guidelines that clearly state that you MUST isolate for 14 days if you have been in contact with a Covid-19 positive person and face a fine if you knowingly don’t. Also, and most disturbing, Tube bosses have instructed staff to TURN OFF the NHS Covid-19 phone app that is being used as an essential tool in the fight against the pandemic. This is also against government guidelines and the union believes it is morally reprehensible read more

MPs support RMT’s demands for Avanti West Coast to halt its Customer Resolutions Centre job cuts (9 Nov) – RAIL UNION RMT today welcomed MPs’ support for a parliamentary motion, tabled by Birmingham MP Tahir Ali, which demands that Avanti West Coast withdraw its plans to remove its Customer Resolutions team from Birmingham, putting 60 jobs at risk of redundancy. RMT understands that these job losses would represent an annual loss of over £2 million from the local economy in Birmingham read more

RMT on Trump Turnberry workforce (8 Nov) – Now that Trump has lost his job as US President RMT says he should concentrate on stopping the attacks on his Turnberry workforce. TRUMP TURNBERRY UNION RMT said today that‎ now that Donald Trump has lost his job as US President he should turn his attention to stopping the attacks on his Turnberry workforce who face a barrage of threats to jobs and working conditions off the back of the COVID pandemic. The union is also demanding that those Trump Turnberry staff who have already been made redundant be reinstated read more

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

RMT blames political interference as CalMac pay talks collapse and union prepares to ballot (6 Nov) – CalMac union RMT announced today that it is preparing for an industrial action ballot after crucial pay talks collapsed with the union pointing the finger at direct interference from the Scottish Government which scuppered potential progress towards a settlement. Following two previous rounds of pay negotiations with Calmac, Scotland’s biggest ferry union RMT are disappointed that this morning’s Avoidance of Disputes meeting with the Calmac Managing Director and our sister trade unions has once again ended with a failure from the company to accept that the pay offer in effect amounts to a pay cut for lifeline ferry crews and other workers crucial to providing a lifeline to Scotland’s west coast islands read more

New collective bargaining structure for North Sea workers a step closer (5 Nov) – The potential to establish a ground breaking new collective agreement for thousands of engineering and maintenance workers in the North Sea moved a step closer this week. A total of 15 major contractors from the energy sector supply chain confirmed their support for a deal with the three unions involved, RMT, Unite and GMB read more

Tube union RMT to ballot Sodexo canteen workers (5 Nov) – LONDON UNDERGROUND UNION RMT is to ballot canteen workers in LU depots for industrial action after private contractor Sodexo announced it intends to plough ahead with a plan to slash 30 jobs, nearly a third of the workforce. The move will put an end to over 100 years of on site home-style cooked canteen food for transport workers which will be replaced with reheated frozen microwave meals. The proposals are part of a restructuring plan by Sodexo and will see workers who have notched up to 20 years’ service being placed on the scrapheap read more

Video: Tube funding update (1 Nov) – RMT Regional Organiser John Leach updates members on the funding agreement reached between London mayor Sadiq Khan and the government following s meeting he attended this morning with the assistant mayor and TfL commissioner

Sign this petition: RMT steps up campaign for TfL funding

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

 

TSSA

Manuel Cortes warning after CalMac pay talks fail “TSSA won’t hesitate to ballot for strike action” (6 Nov) – TSSA General Secretary Manuel Cortes had a stark warning for CalMac Managing Director Robbie Drummond today “we won’t hesitate to ballot for strike action”. His warning came after last ditch talks to avoid a dispute broke down amid accusations of Transport Scotland interference. Earlier this week pay talks broke down when TSSA rejected a “derisory” pay offer of 0.5% read more

TSSA Demands Boris Johnson Acts Over Travel Trade Plight (4 Nov) – TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has written to Boris Johnson calling on the Prime Minister to intervene and provide targeted sector support for the travel trade as England moves into another Covid lockdown period. The union boss also repeated his call for a Travel Trade Minister to be appointed to champion the industry read more

Strike threat at CalMac Ferries in dispute over pay (3 Nov) – TSSA today (Tuesday) warned of the possibility of strike action in CalMac ferries after members overwhelmingly rejected a “Scrooge-like” 0.5% pay offer from the company. Pay talks broke down today after CalMac refused to increase their offer despite posting a £7.1million profit last year. Manuel Cortes, TSSA General Secretary, said “CalMac are behaving like Scrooge, offering what amounts to a pay cut just as people are thinking about Christmas read more

Nationalise Hull Trains & Grand Central To Save Jobs and Services – TSSA (3 Nov) – Following the announcement by Hull Trains that it is suspending services during the November lockdown – and rumours that Grand Central is considering the same – transport union TSSA has called for the two open access operators to be taken over by publicly-owned LNER. Hull Trains announced in a Tweet on Monday afternoon that “as a result of the lockdown” services would be suspended from 00:01 Thursday “until further notice”. Hull Trains and Grand Central are what are known as ‘open access operators’ and fall outside of franchising or municipal models. TSSA argues there is little room for such operators and that the railway should instead be united under public ownership read more

 

Unite

Support the Optare workers: stop using COVID rules to break up picket line – (from Yorkshire Shop Stewards Network) The Yorkshire Shop Stewards Network has heard reports that police have issued dispersal orders to the picket line of Unite members at Optare in Sherburn-in-Elmet, on the grounds of breaching the new Covid-19 rules. Strikers at Optare have been socially-distancing and wearing masks throughout their picketing outside of the workplace, in contrast to contractors the company employs who have been travelling into work in cars together without masks. Priti Patel’s deliberate decision not to include an exemption from the Covid rules for protests is an aid to the bosses in attacking their workers, in this case ones workers are struggling for a pay rise they were promised a year ago and have been taking safety concerns around Covid more seriously than their employers. We condemn the use of the police and Covid regulations against the Optare workers. We encourage trade unionists and trade union branches to continue to send messages of support to davidbrain99@icloud.com (Optare shop steward) and donations to the strike fund via bank transfer to:- Bank: Unity trust bank; Account name: NE/200/1 Optare Branch; Account number: 20327132  Sort code: 60-83-01

Campaign launched to ensure lorry drivers in Kent have decent facilities in Brexit lorry parks (10 Nov) – MPs and councillors in Kent will be lobbied by Unite, the UK’s leading union, to ensure that decent welfare facilities are installed at all lorry parks built in the county, to manage transport delays as a result of the UK’s transition deal with the European Union ceasing at the end of December read more

Unite supports ‘no confidence’ vote in Jersey’s chief minister in row over chief executive’s second job (9 Nov) – Unite the union is supporting a vote of ‘no confidence’ in Jersey’s chief minister John Le Fondré  tomorrow (Tuesday 10 November) over allegations that the government’s CEO Charlie Parker had failed to secure the necessary written authority regarding a second job. Unite is supporting Reform Jersey’s members in The States Assembly in the vote of ‘no confidence’ over John Le Fondré’s handling of the affair and his failure to show adequate leadership read more

Unite Wales launches campaign to support Welsh taxi trade (9 Nov) – Unite Wales has today launched a campaign calling upon Welsh government to provide a financial package of support for the Welsh taxi trade. The income of Welsh taxi drivers has plummeted throughout the Covid-19 crisis and their ability to access adequate financial support to replace their lost income has left many of them struggling to pay their mortgages and feed their families. Welsh government has provided welcome support to other sections of the Welsh transport system including bus and rail. Unite is calling for similar action by the Welsh government to cover taxi drivers read more

Trade unionists were spied on by undercover police officer ‘for decades’ undercover police inquiry hears (6 Nov) – In his opening statements, (made today 6 November) on behalf of trade unions represented at the Undercover Policing Inquiry chaired by Judge Mittings, Lord John Hendy QC has revealed that undercover police officers were spying on trade unionists for four decades. Such infiltration dates back to at least 1973. There are references in the files of the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), the body which undertook the vast majority of the undercover policing to the Pentonville 5 (the five London dockers who were imprisoned in 1972 for contempt of court for refusing to obey an order to stop picketing). In an even more sinister development the 1974 annual report of the SDS states that the Shrewsbury Two defence committee had been “infiltrated to a lesser extent”. The Shrewsbury two were household name Ricky Tomlinson and the late Des Warren who were part of the 24 construction workers (the Shrewsbury Pickets) who were arrested for conspiracy following the 1972 building strike. Mr Warren and Mr Tomlinson were sent to prison and remained there until 1974. There is a great deal of evidence that a combination of the government, security forces and the police conspired to frame the pickets on trumped up charges. Their case has recently been referred by the criminal cases review committee to the court of appeal read more

Closure of Alexander Dennis plant in Guildford with 200 job losses ‘cynically fast tracked’, says Unite (6 Nov) – The closure of the Alexander Dennis (ADL) plant in Guildford this week after 125 years of vehicle building with the loss of 200 jobs was ‘cynically fast tracked’ using the global pandemic as an excuse. Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, said the Guildford closure was ‘extra shameful’ as there were already 150 chassis earmarked for the Surrey operation – enough for at least five months of production – which will now be diverted to an outsourced company in the UK. Unite said the closure of the Guildford operation by ADL, the UK’s largest bus and coach builder, was an example of a large corporate company using ‘the cloak of Covid-19’ to axe highly skilled jobs – and outsource work to Turkey. In the summer, ADL announced that over 650 jobs were under threat at Guildford, Falkirk in Scotland and Scarborough in north Yorkshire which had been approved by parent company, the NFI Group. Consultations continue at Falkirk. However, the consultation at Scarborough has ended with 90 employees from a workforce of about 600 being made redundant read more

Rolls Royce urged to use furlough extension until March to safeguard UK jobs under threat (5 Nov) – Rolls Royce was urged this evening (Thursday 5 November) to make full use of the chancellor’s extension of the furlough scheme until the end of March to safeguard jobs at what is one of the jewels of British manufacturing. Unite called on Rolls Royce to fully utilise the extension of the furlough scheme until March 2021 – outlined earlier today by chancellor Rishi Sunak –  as the company announced nearly 1,400 jobs are being cut in the UK and globally. The job losses announced today are part of the company’s plan to slash its worldwide workforce by 9,000 which was announced in May this year, of which about 3,300 were earmarked for the UK. Unite understands that the  job losses could affect 650 managers, 100 staff and 420 production workers and is seeking urgent clarification on how many jobs are under threat in the UK and how many in the rest of the world read more

McCluskey: ‘We need a plan for jobs and incomes, and we need it yesterday’ (5 Nov) – Commenting in response to the Chancellor’s latest announcement (today, Thursday) of additional financial support for business and workers in lockdown, the leader of the giant Unite the union, Len McCluskey said: “Today’s extension of the job retention scheme until March 2021 is of course welcome but entirely predictable. The government was always going to have to get real because workers simply cannot be forced into further crisis-caused lockdowns without financial support. Thousands of UK jobs have been lost in the past 24 hours alone.  Who knows how many of these jobs and the many others that have previously been lost could have been saved, if the prime minister and chancellor had followed the path of France and Germany and announced financial investment and jobs security packages well ahead of further lockdowns. As this recession worsens and millions are pushed to the financial cliff-edge, people need more than short-term sticking plasters reluctantly and retrospectively applied over deepening economic wounds…” read more

Doncaster braced for Christmas bin strike (5 Nov) – Thousands of Doncaster residents could be affected by Christmas bin strikes in a dispute over bullying and harassment of workers by management. The Doncaster refuse and recycling contract is currently operated by outsourcers Suez Recycling and Recovery UK Ltd. The dispute is a result of Unite the union members reporting widespread bullying and harassment. This has included the suspension of Unite representative Damien Nota, who has suffered continual harassment and was suspended after managers furtively trawled through historical CCTV footage to attempt to build a case against him. Managers have taken a similar approach to other workers who have been dismissed read more

Rolls-Royce strike action to defend historic Lancashire factory to begin this week (5 Nov) – Rolls-Royce workers based at the company’s historic factory in Barnoldswick Lancashire, the cradle of the jet engine, will begin three weeks of targeted strike action this Friday (6 November). The workers, who are members of Unite the union, are fighting to preserve the long-term viability of the site, following the decision by Rolls-Royce to offshore the production of the manufacture of its Trent jet engine blades to a factory in Singapore, with the loss of 350 jobs. Unite believes that this would make the factory, which Rolls-Royce has owned since 1943, potentially unviable. The proposed loss of jobs, let alone the total closure of the site, would have a devastating effect on Barnoldswick, where the company remains the principal employer in the town. Unite has always made clear Rolls-Royce could avoid industrial action and settle the dispute over compulsory redundancies by either cancelling its plans to offshore the work to Singapore or by ensuring the viability of Barnoldswick by introducing similar work and guaranteeing comparable employment levels. The company has failed to do so. The targeted strike action will begin at 06:30 on Friday 6 November and end on Friday 27 November at 19:00. Unite will be maintaining a picket line with strict social distancing rules in place throughout the dispute. Since Rolls-Royce’s plans became public there has been a huge groundswell of support throughout the local community for Unite’s campaign to maintain blade production at Barnoldswick, and opposition to the company’s offshoring proposals, which coincide with its efforts to secure £1 billion of financial support from the government read more   Please send messages of support to: Ross.Quinn@unitetheunion.org #BattleforBarnoldswick #SaveOurSite.

Caterpillar’s announcement of plans for up to 700 job losses is a devastating blow to Northern Ireland manufacturing and Larne area economy (Nov 5) – Union blasts decision as a ‘scandalous’ profit grab at expense of workers in Northern Ireland as production is set to be outsourced to India. Urgent action needed from Stormont must use all available economic and political levers to safeguard highly-skilled and vital manufacturing jobs read more

Heathrow catering company snubs furlough extension and plans to sack more than 1,000 workers (4 Nov) – A Heathrow Airport catering company, whose biggest customer is British Airways, has snubbed the government’s extension of furlough until December as it makes more than 1,000 workers redundant. Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, said that Austrian-owned DO & CO was the only Heathrow catering company not to engage constructively with the union over furlough. The company has said that it will be making 1,068 staff redundant, bringing a total of 1,377 job losses, including voluntary redundancies, since the pandemic started. Just 507 staff will be left after the latest jobs’ cull. Unite said that the company is snubbing the financial support on offer to retain workers in employment with the government announcing that the furlough arrangements should continue, as the country faces a four-week second wave Covid-19 lockdown from tomorrow (Thursday 5 November) read more

Unite: Three weeks of strike action announced at Rolls-Royce’s Lancashire factory in battle to prevent jobs being offshored (26 Oct) – Workers at the historic Rolls-Royce factory at Barnoldswick in Lancashire will embark on three weeks of targeted strike action beginning next month, as part of the campaign led by Unite the union, to preserve the viability of the factory. In August, Rolls-Royce announced that it was intent on offshoring the production of its Trent Engine blades, which are made at Barnoldswick to a factory in Singapore, with the loss of 350 workers. Unite believes that this would make the factory, which Rolls-Royce has owned since 1943 and is the cradle of the jet engine, potentially unviable. Earlier this month, members of Unite returned a 94 per cent ‘yes’ vote in favour of industrial action. Unite delayed issuing strike dates to give Rolls-Royce a final chance to alter its plans by cancelling its offshoring proposals or by ensuring that Barnoldswick remains viable by introducing similar work and employment levels, to settle the dispute over compulsory redundancies, but with no such commitments forthcoming strike action has been called read more    Sign this petition to Rolls Royce and the UK Government: Save Our Site – Battle for Barnoldswick (Rolls Royce)

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

 

PCS

We need key workers and they need a real Living Wage (9 Nov) – Today is the start of Living Wage Week (9-15 November), the annual celebration of the Living Wage movement and PCS is campaigning for all members working on outsourced facilities management contracts to be paid the Living Wage as a minimum. Not to be mistaken with the government’s national minimum wage, the real Living Wage, is independently calculated annually based on what employees and their families need to live. It is based on the real cost of living and is paid voluntarily by over 6,000 employers as an ethical benchmark for responsible pay read more

Cabinet Office must send clear work from home message (3 Nov) – PCS says it is completely unacceptable that the Cabinet Office continues to fail to give a clear statement that civil servants who can work from home should do so and calls for jobcentres and courts to close and driving tests to be suspended. With an impending lockdown in England and with greater restrictions already in place across the UK, PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka has written to Mervyn Thomas, Cabinet Office executive director for employee and trade union relations, to call for clarity from his department following the prime minister’s statement on Saturday (31) that: “The single most important action we can all take, in fighting coronavirus, is to stay at home, to protect the NHS and save lives.” Read more

PCS launch petition and pledge to fight redundancies at National Museums in Liverpool – We have launched a public campaign and petition to fight redundancies at National Museums in Liverpool. Management at the museums warned that there might be compulsory redundancies next year but not before negotiations took place. However, the commercial arm of the museums, National Museums Liverpool Trading immediately moved to make workers in the cafés, shops and events, redundant with just 4 weeks’ notice. These employees have been working and supporting the running of museums as “essential staff” since July. The union understands that over 20 employees are being made redundant but the company which doesn’t recognise trades unions is refusing to engage with PCS 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

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

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

Suspension of one to one care for critically ill Covid patients ‘direct threat to survival’ (9 Nov) – The only way to fill the NHS jobs black hole is by offering health workers proper pay levels. GMB, the union for NHS staff, says a decision to suspend one to one care for critically ill Covid-19 patients is a ‘direct threat to survival’. NHS England has decided to temporarily allow nurses to look after two critically ill coronavirus patients in intensive care as hospitals come under intense strain read more

Furlough extension delay caused bonfire of jobs (5 Nov) – All employers planning redundancies must now cancel those proposals in light of new support. GMB has welcomed the extension to the furlough scheme announced today – but says the delay in extending it has led to a bonfire of jobs. The union has called on all employers planning redundancies to cancel their plans in light of the new support read more

Chancellor’s furlough U-turn too late for thousands of aviation workers (5 Nov) – Conservatives so blinded by ideology they are presiding over entirely avoidable mass unemployment. Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s screeching U-turn on the furlough scheme has come too late to save thousands of aviation jobs. “The delays in extending furlough will now ruin Christmas and the lives of thousands of aviation workers” – Nadine Houghton, GMB National Officer. Mass redundancies across the sector – including more than 3,000 Swissport jobs which were lost on October 31 – could have been avoided if the government had listened to unions and employers and kept a targeted flexible furlough scheme in place read more

GMB demand full wages for shielding NHS members in South London (5 Nov) – GMB Union is calling on all private companies with public NHS contracts in South London, including G4S in Croydon, to pay full wages to all workers required to shield. GMB, the union for NHS workers, is demanding full wage for their members who work in South London hospitals while they are shielding for medical reasons. Many GMB members, such as those who work for G4S at Croydon Hospital, have been outsourced to private companies and therefore do not receive the same terms and conditions as their NHS colleagues.  In many cases this means they are contractually entitled to Statutory Sick Pay only, and not the full sick pay other hospital workers enjoy read more

Disability gap inquiry welcome but barriers must be tackled (4 Nov) – We will not accept poverty wages as a so-called solution for unemployed disabled workers. GMB, Britain’s general union, has welcomed an inquiry into the disability employment gap – but says the real barriers must be tackled. The Work and Pensions Committee is to investigate the gap between the employment rates of disabled and non-disabled people and how the DWP can better support disabled people in the labour market read more

 

Unison

Cumberland Infirmary workers may strike over TEN YEARS’ worth of missing unsocial hours payments to hospital staff (9 Nov) – Porters, cleaners, switchboard and catering staff working at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle – all members of trade union UNISON – are currently voting on whether to take strike action over missing payments for working unsocial hours. Extra money to cover unsocial hours payments was agreed over a decade ago as part of the NHS Agenda for Change pay deal. These hospital workers are employed by Interserve, which has repeatedly claimed that it has never received funding to pay the Infirmary workers unsocial hours payments – maintaining that it would implement the payments as soon as it received the money to do so read more

Government must grant NHS staff a wage rise by Christmas, say health unions (9 Nov) – Increase needed to show ministers value staff. Health unions representing more than 1.3m workers across the UK have written to the Prime Minister calling for a pay rise for all NHS staff before Christmas. The letter to Boris Johnson from all 14 health unions warns the second virus wave is already placing hospitals under immense strain. It says staff are “stressed, burned out and fearful” and that asking them to carry on regardless is “increasingly unrealistic” read more

‘People are dying’ – how the Home Office is risking lives in the NHS (9 Nov) – Even with massive NHS staff shortages, healthcare workers have been forced to return to their home countries during the pandemic instead of saving lives here. This is Arun’s story read more

Health workers in the North West of England urge local MPs to back early pay rise for exhausted staff and to protect the NHS (6 Nov) – Thousands of health staff across the North West of England – including nurses, paramedics, cleaners, domestics and porters – are writing to the region’s seventy-five MPs asking them to back UNISON’s call for NHS staff to get an early pay rise in time for Christmas. Staff employed in hospitals, clinics and ambulance stations across the North West of England are urging local politicians to put their case to the government for a significant pay rise of at least £2,000 for every worker across the NHS. The NHS pay rise is due next April, but health workers, already worn out from the early stages of the pandemic, say bringing the increase forward would help staff feel more valued as the second wave surges. Bringing the planned wage rise forward a few months would also place the NHS in a better position to face the future, say health workers in the North West. The pandemic has affected staff profoundly and many may choose to leave the NHS, such are the levels of exhaustion says UNISON. Raising pay this year could persuade staff to change their minds and make the NHS more attractive to thousands of much-needed recruits, adds the union. With the arrival of winter, the second virus wave and the increasing rates of infection, UNISON believes now is the perfect time for the government to show the high regard in which ministers say they hold NHS staff read more

Safety in libraries must be a priority (4 Nov) – ‘Our library workers need the certainty that will come with their workplaces being closed for this next lockdown phase’. As the second lockdown comes into force in England, the Westminster government has published new national restrictions to deal with the COVID-19 crisis. Under the government guidelines, libraries can still provide some services such as access to IT and click and collect. UNISON believes that even providing these services contains risks to staff and the public and that during this lockdown libraries need to close completely read more

Education staff need an urgent new safety plan for schools, says UNISON (3 Nov) – Government must explain science behind keeping schools open. The government should restrict school and nursery opening in England as in the first lockdown to help bring the national rate of infection down and ensure the safety of pupils, staff and the wider community, says UNISON today (Tuesday). The union has also called on the government to come up with the necessary funding so children from low-income families can have access to tablets or laptops, allowing high quality education to continue for everyone. The union has written to the Department for Education calling for a​n urgent meeting ​so the government can explain why all schools ​are to remain open during the ​second English lockdown read more

Support striking Addiction support workers – We Are With You continues to refuse to pay promised wage increase, after Central Arbitration Committee rules it has to recognise UNISON. Drug and alcohol support workers in the North West recently took 10 days of strike action as they continue their fight to force their employer, national charity We Are With You​​ (formerly Addaction), to give them a promised pay rise. ​The industrial action involved 30 rehabilitation staff from Wigan and Leigh in Greater Manchester read more

The Wigan Branch and North West Region are asking for donations from branches to the hardship fund. Please donate via bank transfer to:

Unity Bank   Sort Code: 60 83 01  Account Number: 20244354

Or send a cheque payable to ‘UNISON Wigan Metropolitan Branch hardship fund’ to – UNISON Branch Office, Wigan Life Centre, The Wiend, Wigan WN1 1NH

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

 

CWU

Spotlight shone on BT’s job security and Ts&Cs bonfire as national consultative ballot is announced (Nov 5) – Thousands of BT members across the country are participating in a national day of action against compulsory redundancies, imposed change and the company’s flagrant disregard for longstanding agreements. Despite Covid restrictions banning mass gatherings, branches and regional Count Me In campaign committees  across the country are finding innovative new ways to highlight and harness an unprecedented wave of workforce fury  at the shoddy treatment of ‘key workers’ by a new generation of senior management. Kicking off the CWU’s second UK-wide day of protest against the belligerent new management approach sweeping across the whole of BT Group, the union has today (Thursday) announced the timetable for a national consultative ballot in which members will be able to register their opposition at management’s current trajectory. In a significant upping of the ante in the union’s Count Me In campaign – revealed  this morning in a special Facebook Live session – members across  all recognised parts of BT, Openreach and EE will be asked the direct question as to whether the would support a future vote for industrial action read more

Santander agrees to  ‘Boxing Day’ premium (Nov 5) – Following representations by the CWU, Santander has agreed to make a special additional payment to  those attending work on  December 26 – even though that day is not formally the Boxing Day bank holiday this year. On account of the traditional post-Christmas family day falling on a Saturday this year, Monday December 28 is the official bank holiday – meaning that those contact centre staff scheduled to work as normal on December 26 would not automatically have qualified for any premia read more

Assurances sought for Bootle members amid Santander Operations transformation plan (Nov 3) – The strongest possible representations are being made on behalf of 235 employees in Bootle who stand to be impacted by the Bank’s transformation plan for Santander Operations which proposes to automate and digitise a number of back office functions read more

 

FBU

Firefighters call for Grenfell Inquiry to investigate “revolving door” between manufacturers and regulators (5 Nov) – The Grenfell Tower Inquiry should investigate the independence of building safety certification bodies, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) says, as the Inquiry commences Module 2 of its second phase, which is set to investigate the testing, certification, and marketing of the materials used on the building’s external walls. The FBU also demands that the Inquiry’s Panel consider whether blurred lines between regulatory and commercial activity in the construction industry may have affected regulators’ ability to serve the public interest. Serious concerns must be raised as to whether the British Board of Agrément (BBA), which issues safety certificates for construction products, has remained sufficiently independent of the industry which it regulates since it was separated from the machinery of government in 1999 read more

Fire Brigades Union responds to report into “avoidable tragedy” Cleddau Estuary (4 Nov) – the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has broadly welcomed the recommendations of a report from the Marine Accident Investigation Branch into the water training accident that resulted in the death of Firefighter Josh Gardener of Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service. The full report is available to read here

 

POA

Second national lockdown leaves many inconsistencies in prison (9 Nov) – The POA since March 2020 have worked collaboratively with HMPPS and other employers to find solutions in keeping prisoners and staff safe during the pandemic. Difficult decisions have had to be made in our workplaces which replicated Government lockdown in our communities but there are many inconsistencies with the second National lockdown that clearly will not assist in dealing with the pandemic and the rising cases in our prisons of both staff and prisoners read more

 

BFAWU

Justice for Greencore Northampton Workers 

Sign petitionTo: 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

EPI on Exams in 2021 (9 Nov) – Education Policy Institute say Gavin Williamson really should have listened sooner on exams next year. Commenting on the policy paper Education Policy Institute position on testing and examinations in 2021, Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said: “The NEU has been calling for a fair system of examinations in 2021, to avoid the farce of this year and ensure that students’ futures are never again put at risk by this Government. We agree with the Education Policy Institute that Gavin Williamson really should have listened sooner. Burying his head in the sand is no sort of strategy…” read more

Infection Rates in Schools and Colleges (6 Nov) – Drop in rate over half term shows role of schools in transmission. Commenting on the latest infection data published by the Office for National Statistics, which shows 1,530 infections per 100,000 among secondary-age children and 1,190 cases per 100,000 among primary and nursery-age children at 30 October, Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said: “Cases amongst secondary-age pupils fell back during the week of the half-term closure – from 50x the rate on 1 September to 38x that rate. This confirms the role of schools in the transmission of the virus. It shows that Boris Johnson’s reluctance to make use of half term for a circuit breaker was a squandered opportunity to fight back against the spread of Covid. We should expect the rates in secondary schools to begin to rise again after the half-term effect, and along with them the number of children who are off school…” read more

 

NASUWT

Robust action needed to prevent Covid-19 spread in schools and colleges (5 Nov) – The NASUWT – The Teachers’ Union is seeking immediate and robust action from the Government to ensure that all school and college employers carry out fresh risk assessments in light of the increased Covid-19 threat level across the country. As new national restrictions come into force, the NASUWT is also calling on employers to publish their risk assessments and to explain to parents and to employees the additional safety measures they are putting into place to prevent the spread of the virus within schools and colleges. The NASUWT is also concerned that some employers are becoming complacent in their approach to ensuring staff safety and are refusing to consult with the workforce or trade unions read more

Government needs to issue more robust measures to protect teachers (4 Nov) – Responding to guidance issued by the Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England on shielding people who are clinically extremely vulnerable, NASUWT General Secretary Dr Patrick Roach said: “The Government have issued important guidance less than eight hours before national lockdown measures come into force, putting schools into a very difficult position…” read more

NASUWT backs call for stronger workplace Covid safety enforcement (3 Nov) – Commenting on a new report published by the Resolution Foundation that a third of workers fear catching Covid in the workplace and that a stronger enforcement regime is needed to ensure workplaces are as safe as possible, Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, said: “The Government’s plans to extend national restrictions to tackle the Coronavirus will be seriously undermined if it fails to ensure that schools and other workplaces are Covid-safe…” read more

 

UCU

Petition calling for fair funding and online learning

UCU and NUS issue joint statement calling on universities  to move online where possible for new English lockdown (4 Nov) – The University and College Union (UCU) and the National Union of Students (NUS) have today (Wednesday) said that the government’s failure to instruct universities to move to online learning where possible would put public health at risk. UCU and NUS have issued a joint statement* calling on the Westminster government to revise their guidance for universities, and issue a clear call for working to be immediately moved online wherever possible during the current lockdown in England read more

Union calls on vice-chancellors to move learning online (3 Nov) – The University and College Union (UCU) has written to vice-chancellors of universities in England* calling on them to move learning online now read more

 

NUJ

NUJ demands access to information and evidence from the undercover policing inquiry (6 Nov) – This afternoon John Hendy QC, representing a group of trade unions, addressed the undercover policing inquiry and focused on the legal framework that confers legitimacy on trade unions, their representatives and their activity, arguing trade unions are essential to a democratic society. He said there is no legitimacy or justification for the surveillance or infiltration of trade unions and their representatives, and he highlighted the NUJ’s assertions that undercover policing has been used as a method to glean information about journalistic sources read more

Police reminded to respect the role of journalists as key workers (6 Nov) – Following hostility towards reporters and photographers at last night’s anti-lockdown protests in London, the NUJ has sought and received assurances from the Metropolitan Police and National Police Chiefs Council that all officers will be reminded of the vital role of newsgatherers, and the need to ensure that journalists can carry out their work freely and without interference read more

Advice to photographers during lockdown (4 Nov) – As England starts a month-long lockdown from Thursday 5 November, the NUJ is reminding photographers and videographers of their rights when working. Media workers are classed as key workers and have the right to be out and about as part of their job read more

NUJ welcomes decision to extend universal credit changes (4 Nov) – Pamela Morton, national freelance officer said: “The trade union movement has been key in pushing the UK government to extend the suspension of the Minimum Income Floor and it’s welcomed that the government has listened. The suspension will now be extended to the end of April and this will help those who would have seen a significant drop in their award. We still call on the government to raise Universal Credit to a Real Living Wage equivalent and to abolish the MIF permanently.” Read more

Tribute to Dave Rotchelle (1952-2020)

 

Prospect

Prospect launches second State of Natural England report (10 Nov) – A decade of austerity with pay cuts, budget cuts, cuts to grants and a decline in staff numbers is putting England’s natural heritage at risk read more

Furlough extension is welcome, but delay has cost thousands of jobs (5 Nov) – Prospect has welcomed the decision of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to extend the Job Retention (Furlough) Scheme and SEISS schemes, but have criticised the delays in confirming this support which have cost thousands of jobs read more

The deferment of the minimum income floor doesn’t go nearly far enough (3 Nov) – The government has announced that it will not reintroduce the Minimum Income Floor (MIF) for Universal Credit until April 2021. MIF is the amount of earnings above which you are ineligible for Universal Credit (UC). It was suspended earlier in the year so that people whose earnings were impacted by COVID, especially the self-employed, would not lose out on government support read more

 

Equity

Take action and demand support for older workers in creative industries (6 Nov) – Equity has started a petition to call on Caroline Dinenage, Minister for Digital and Culture, and DCMS to come to the table and work with Equity on a solution so older creative workers can safely return to work. The future of the creative industries relies on immediate government action to support all of its workers, but current government schemes mean creative workers 60 and over can not get the insurance they need to safely return to work. If older workers in creative industries cannot return to their jobs, they will not only be excluded from work – but the entire sector will suffer. The experience and talent of older workers cannot be replaced, and is central to the recovery of the industry read more

Equity responds to Chancellor’s extension of furlough scheme (5 Nov) – In response to the Chancellor’s announcement today that the furlough scheme will be extended until March, with a review in January, Equity General Secretary Paul W Fleming said: “The Chancellor isn’t listening. We said we needed stability until Spring. Instead he’s built a cliff edge in January. We said we needed the excluded – 40% of Equity members – included. Instead he’s excluded everyone for September and October…” read more

Equity responds to announcement of continued MIF suspension (3 Nov) – Equity’s General Secretary Paul W Fleming has responded to the announcement today that the government will extend the suspension of the MIF until the end of April 2021: “After months of lobbying from Equity and the union movement, it’s a relief that the government have done the right thing and suspended the minimum income floor until April. I want to thank the cross party support which has made this happen, and the activists…” read more

 

USDAW

Stop union victimisation: 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

Watch Reel News this video about London IKEA solidarity protest

‘Real’ Living Wage uprating welcomed – Usdaw continues the campaign for at least £10 per hour for all workers (9 Nov) – Retail trade union leader Paddy Lillis has welcomed today’s increase in Living Wage rates, as set by the Living Wage Foundation, and continues to call for at least £10 per hour for workers of all ages. The Living Wage Foundation has today announced new rates for the ‘real’ Living wage of £9.50 per hour and a higher rate of £10.85 in London. The Government’s so-called ‘National Living Wage’ is currently £8.72, with lower National Minimum Wage rates for younger workers read more

Sainsbury’s and Argos restructuring plans – Usdaw to enter into consultations to secure the best deal for staff (5 Nov) – Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw is to enter into consultation meetings with Sainsbury’s/Argos management over their proposed restructuring. Dave Gill – Usdaw National Officer says: “Sainsbury’s/Argos has briefed us on their plans to restructure the business, which includes the proposed permanent closure of a number of Argos stores and counter services in Sainsbury’s supermarkets that were closed in March, at the beginning of the first lockdown. We will now enter into meaningful consultation to examine the proposals. Usdaw is confident of securing redeployment within the business for vast majority of staff affected. Our priority is to safeguard their jobs and achieve the best deal possible for staff. In the meantime we are providing Usdaw members with the support and advice they need” read more

Chancellor’s necessary extension to furlough doesn’t address injustices for the low paid says USDAW (5 Nov) – Retail trade union Usdaw is disappointed that the Chancellor hasn’t taken the opportunity to ensure the lowest paid workers don’t pay the price for a second lockdown in England, as he today announced a necessary extension of the Job Retention Scheme to the end of March next year. According to Office for National Statistics data published this week, the UK’s worst-paid workers were over 20 times more likely to be furloughed on reduced pay than the highest earners. More than half who were usually paid less than £8.72 per hour were furloughed with a pay cut, compared with 2.5% of those earning more than £29.67 read more

 

Mandate (Ireland)

Support striking Debenhams Workers: Email messages of support to the strikers via ajrailway@yahoo.comMandate and Mandate through dgibney@mandate.ie. Also, follow Stand with Debenhams Workers Facebook page

 

UVW

BREAKING NEWS!! Full pay sick pay scheme extension victory for outsourced workers at the Ministry of Justice (10 Nov) – Due to ongoing legal and industrial pressure from UVW the Ministry of Justice has agreed to extend the full pay sick pay scheme for outsourced workers at the MoJ for Covid related absences. Under mounting pressure at the outbreak of the Covid crisis, and following the tragic death of UVW member Emanuel, the MoJ had previously introduced a full pay sick pay scheme which had already expired with no express intention to extend it. Full pay sick pay will now be provided for up to 14 days until 31st March 2021 and backdated to 1st November 2020. However, this enhanced sick pay scheme is still discretionary and temporary and has not become a permanent contractual entitlement. So, UVW will continue fighting until it does! Read more in UVW Facebook page

Bosses at care home in North London agree to negotiate as care workers vote to strike (3 Nov) – United Voices of the World (UVW) has received notice that Sage Nursing home management are willing to enter talks to resolve a dispute with care workers and domestics at the North London care home. The offer to negotiate comes despite Sage’s refusal to agree to formally recognise UVW for the purposes of collective bargaining, something that the Central Arbitration Committee, CAC, is currently deciding on. The news follows months of organising and a worker led campaign for parity with NHS workers, including £12 per hour and NHS sick pay and annual leave. After months of being ignored, the majority migrant and ethnic minority workers recently returned a 100% yes vote in favour of strike action. This is believed to be the first strike ballot in the adult social care sector demanding £12 an hour. In response, Sage Trustees Adrian Jacobs and Stephen Goldberg – who form part of a small group of Trustees with billionaire property developer and so-called philanthropist Benzion Freshwater – have agreed to try and settle the dispute. The care workers have reacted with defiance and resilience read more

 

IWGB

Deliveroo couriers in Yorkshire to boycott two major restaurant chains in response to plummeting rates – Our members have demonstrated inspiring unity, commitment and determination, hosting consecutive 12-hour boycotts with great success. The dispute comes as Five Guys is making couriers wait on average fifteen to forty minutes for an order. Meaning some couriers will only be making one order in an hour earning less than four pounds. How are you supposed to raise your children or pay your rent on that kind of money? We’ve experienced unprecedented community and wider union support in our action, and we will continue to strategize wider action against Deliveroo, and its perpetrators of exploitative work. Our families shouldn’t have to go hungry so others can eat cheaper read more

Strike fund donation details:-

Donations can be made to the CLB at the bottom for this page – https://iwgb.org.uk/page/clb

If any NSSN members would like to contribute to our cause in a non-monetary manner, we are planning a Halloween Event, an invitation will follow this email, but presence of on the ground supporters will be appreciated, and if willing, volunteers to help out are critical to our success.  This is all COVID dependent, but their remit would mainly involve flyering couriers outside of hotspot restaurants close to Five Guys. The rest of the day’s timetable will be released ASAP and with the official invitation

 

CAIWU

Victory at Facebook – all cleaners reinstated – We are pleased to say we received an email on Thursday evening from Bidvest Noonan informing us of their decision not to proceed with their restructuring plans. This means that all the affected cleaners will revert to their previous roles with terms and conditions unaffected. Sincere thanks to all who supported the cleaners in any way, however small. Your contribution was vital to this amazing success read more

CAIWU Facebook group

 

 

 

Other news

Support the NHS pay protests

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

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 the petition to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak – ‘We demand a pay rise for key workers’

 

 

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 Judith Katera Unite rep on London buses – Judith is a longstanding union rep and activist in Battersea garage in Abellio in South London. Last week, she was facing a disciplinary meeting and possible dismissal. Judith is adamant that false claims are being alleged against her. Judith and Moe Muhsin Manir, the rep at Walworth garage in the same company feel that they are both being targeted. Thanks for your support for Judith, including those who were intending to come to the solidarity protest. It is on hold because the disciplinary process has not been completed. We are calling on Abellio to drop the false charges against Judith so she can return to work and represent her members. But if Abellio still move to sack Judith, a solidarity rally will be organised. Stop union busting!

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

Unite launches campaign to stop Go Ahead Group using COVID 19 as cover to slash pay and conditions (9 Sept) – Unite, Britain’s biggest union, has launched an international campaign to stop the owners of the Manchester bus company Go North West from using Covid 19 as cover for making savage cuts to bus drivers’ pay and conditions, while victimising and gagging a Unite union representative. Unite general secretary, Len McCluskey has written to Go Ahead Group’s CEO David Brown to warn him that Unite will be using all available resources to provide “immediate assistance to our members”. “In addition to industrial action this will mean exposing your company’s behaviour to all of your stakeholders, partners and associates. This will include mobilising all of our allies and contacting our significant political network in the Nordic countries, Germany and Australasia” read more

FCC dismiss Tony Smith Hull Unison Activist – Trade Unionists and activists will be outraged to hear that Unison activist Tony Smith’s dismissal has been upheld by FCC. As previously reported, Tony’s dismissal on trumped up charges was because of his trade union activities. It took nearly five weeks from the appeal to the outcome for FCC to confirm the sacking. Tony has faced the mental torture of not knowing whether he has a job or not, but the time taken reflected that dismissing him was not a simple issue because of the high profile that Tony has in the local Labour movement. Unison will be seeking compensation and the campaign focuses on Hull City Council to end its contract with FCC. Mick Whale Chair Hull Trades Council

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!

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

Support the protests against Nigerian government

All workers in the UK who have seen the video footage of soldiers firing live ammunition into fleeing peaceful protesters in Lagos in October will have been horrified at this brutal demonstration of state violence. Those of Nigerian descent will, of course, be worried for the safety of relatives in the country.

Trade unionists everywhere must condemn this atrocity – and others perpetrated by the Nigerian security forces – and lend assistance to those fighting the corrupt government, still desperately clinging to their incredible claims about the resultant deaths being fake news. President Muhammadu Buhari has blood on his hands and must go!

Demonstrations over the recent period, aimed originally at disbanding the hated Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) – a police unit which became synonymous with corruption and extrajudicial murders – have involved workers but also newer layers of younger people, moving into political activity for the first time.

Years of frustration, disappointment, poverty and anger have exploded into a mighty mass movement putting into question the future of not just the current government system, but the very country itself.

The violence which has swept the country since is not linked to the original peaceful AntiSARS protests but to the response of the state forces to them. These have been planting agent provocateurs aimed at causing confusion, provoking a response and giving them an excuse for further brutality. Even the BBC reported that “video evidence suggests that they were encouraged by police officers to target the demonstrators”.

In a country where two-thirds of young people are either unemployed or underemployed, and where 100 million people (half the population) live in extreme poverty, there are those who can be hired to carry out such deeds.

But even the violence highlights the endemic corruption, with attacks in a third of Nigeria’s 36 states on warehouses storing Covid-19 ‘food palliatives’ – aid meant for distribution, but which has not been distributed over the past months. The fact that some of this aid has rotted or been found in politicians’ homes, has not helped the government’s claims it was being stored in preparation for a second wave of Covid-19. The government has used the attacks on the warehouses to denounce many protesters as looters and frozen personal bank accounts of AntiSARS organisers, ignoring the fact that Nigeria’s biggest looters are at the top.

Understandably, amid such political corruption, there is a deep hostility to ‘politics’ and calls for the movement, even amongst some of the bravest anti-SARS and anti-SWAT (the replacement unit after the original government climbdown over SARS) protestors, to be initially anti-political. Now a discussion has started on how to build a political alternative to the corrupt political system.

As Nigerian workers in their millions know too well from the struggles of the past, separating politics from the actions of the state is impossible. The NSSN lends its support in any way we can to the workers’ movement opposition to state repression, austerity and poverty.

Kevin Pattison NSSN Steering Committee Yorkshire rep

#EndSARS: Send solidarity messages to YRC read more 

 

 

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