NSSN e-bulletin 157 – One Housing workers to strike again…& join the NSSN lobby of the TUC!

August 29, 2013 in Appeals, Bulletins, International, News, Reports, Strikes

NSSN e-bulletin 157 – One Housing workers to strike again…& join the NSSN lobby of the TUC on Sept 8!

Unite LE1111 housing workers at One Housing Group will strike for five days starting the 5th of September. Following a four year Pay freeze, One Housing Group management have decided to slash front line worker’s wages by up to 25%. Some of the most skilled and experienced staff will lose £8,000 per year.

180 housing association staff have shown their resolve in the fight against austerity and have given notice of their intention for a third round of strike action against unjustified pay cuts in the care and support department.

Adding insult to injury to already struggling workers, One Housing Group last month announced record profits of £36million, up from £13million last year. Senior Executives have posted YouTube clips of themselves boasting of their success at the same time that over 200 of their own employees are due to face severe financial hardship.

Opposition to the cuts has seen membership of Unite the union increase from 35 to 180 since the decision to cut pay was announced in May last year. Collective action against management’s plans to lower wages has already delayed the cuts by 22 months and they have also backed down on threats to dismiss workers who refused to sign new contracts at the lower pay rates. A Unite representative in the workplace said ” the larger and more profitable employers in the sector should be the ones setting a higher standard, if they make cuts a the same time as making record profits, what chance does any front line worker have, they refuse to negotiate , refuse all contact with ACAS, it is just a race to the bottom “.

One Housing Group management admit, that financially they make “a healthy surplus” , but insist they need front line staff to take a pay cut to meet the group’s plans to expand in the care and support market. They claim that the only way to win contracts is to bid lower than their competitors and openly boast in the media of undercutting the NHS by 80%. One mental health worker in Islington described how they do this, “they replace experienced staff with low paid Support Assistants and replace night staff with sleepover staff earning £3.75 per hour, it’s all lone working now and staff don’t feel safe”.

The care and support department has increased in size from £3million in 2005 to £23million now. One Housing Group claim that they created 500 jobs in the support sector, but in reality, almost all of these jobs existed already and most of those transferred in are having their wages slashed. In April 2012 One Housing Group won £15million worth of contracts over five years to provide visiting support to vulnerable adults in Essex and former rough sleepers in the whole of South London. Before the contracts started, the 130 staff were assured by One Housing Group managers that there were no plans to change pay rates but exactly a month after becoming One Housing Group employees, staff were told they would take an average pay cut of £2,000. One Essex Unite member said ” I feel lied to, why tell us one thing and do the opposite, I thought I was secure and now I don’t know how I’ll manage”, a homelessness worker from South London said ” they said my job wouldn’t change and my pay would stay the same, I was offered redeployment within my old employer , Thamesreach, before One Housing took over but I wanted to continue supporting my clients and see their support through, now I’ve had my pay cut, I feel cheated, I wish I had never trusted them”.

Instead of negotiating, One Housing Group has decided to divide the workforce and split opinion of staff about their plans to cut pay. Management imposed a bonus without consultation of £750 but excluded all frontline care and support staff for the first time in over a decade. The care and support department made a clear profit of £1.3million on its own this year. Their plans backfired,  frontline staff including mangers who didn’t get the bonus , submitted dozens of grievances citing breach of contract, and several equality impact complaints have been lodged. A recent Unite workforce survey showed that close to 80% of affected staff are from protected groups. One Housing Officer decided to donate the whole of her £750 bonus to the strike fund stating that “we should all be treated as one at One Housing Group”.

Other Unite data reveals that strike action was as equally well attended by those not affected by the pay-cuts as those that were.  One frontline worker from a youth service in Hackney, who would actually get a small rise if the changes to pay happen said ” I don’t agree with the way they’re doing it, it’s only a matter of time until it happens again and we are all on the minimum wage”, a manager of a mental health service in Camden said ” I’m not getting a salary decrease but its only a matter of time before the same thing happens to managers as well”. A One Housing Group Striker

Branch Secretary, Suzanne Muna said: “OHG is trying to create a market which will de-skill workers, undermine the service and place workers and the service users at risk. There is a clear need for minimum employment standards to be set across the sector, like they have in Scotland, so that wages and working conditions can’t be cut to win contracts. OHG members are in the Unite Housing Workers Branch which is now considering coordinated action across multiple employers. Members know that we can’t continue to battle workplace by workplace, and that is why they are keen to join the lobby of the TUC on the 8th of September. Fighting one battle at a time is really just part of the same austerity lie – it undermines our ability to properly push back employers’ attacks. We need to be all out together, and sooner rather than later!”

Unite housings workers would welcome messages of support to[email protected] and also donations to the strike fund.

 

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Lobby the TUC Congress on Sunday September 8th 

 All out Together in November!

Join us, OHG strikers, the Blacklist Support Group speaker Dave Smith, Reps from the TUJCC and others on Sunday 8th Sep to  Lobby the TUC conference in Bournemouth “Name the date for a 24 hour general strike! ‘All out together in November!’

There will be a NSSN rally at the TUC Congress at Bournemouth on September 8th followed by a lobby of Congress. Confirmed speakers:  Bob Crow, Mark Serwotka, Steve Gillan, Ronnie Draper and Ian Lawrence (RMT, PCS, POA, BFAWU and NAPO general secretaries respectively) Alec McFadden (North West representative on TUCJCC for trades councils and also President Merseyside County TUC), Teresa MacKay TUCJCC & Ipswich Trades Council and Linda Taaffe (NSSN). TUC AGENDA & RESOLUTIONS online now! 

The rally will take place between 12.30pm-2.30pm Hardy Suite, Hermitage Hotel, Exeter Rd, Bournemouth (opposite Bournemouth International Centre, TUC Congress venue). There will be a coach to the lobby from Hampshire. To book a seat on transport from your area, email [email protected] or if you are able to arrange some and have space, let us know!

This lobby is now supported by five TUC Joint Consultative Committee (TUCJCC) Regional Representatives, and the TUC National Unemployed Centres Combine.

Use our Model Motion to raise the need for joint action and also affiliate to the NSSN (Download from our website resources section). Consider adding ‘That their general secretaries should meet with other willing unions prior to the TUC to liaise on co-ordination (&) we fully support the 29th September NHS March in Manchester and will mobilize for this.

If you missed some of our annual conference, with a variety of trade unionists talking about their disputes have a look here and share with others. (see here)

Union News

RMT

RMT welcomes long-awaited introduction of Maritime Labour Convention (Aug 19)

Maritime union RMT has welcomed the long-awaited coming into force of the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC) tomorrow – August 20. The union believes that this new legislation has the potential to make a genuine difference to the lives of seafarers read more

Offshore union RMT on North Sea helicopter disaster (27 Aug)

Bob Crow, general secretary of offshore union RMT, reacts to confirmation of four deaths in latest North Sea helicopter tragedy read more

Union protest at Aberdeen offshore helicopter operator (27 Aug)

Offshore union RMT will be joined by Norwegian union colleagues from IE at a protest tomorrow – weds 28th August – 07.30 am outside Super Puma operator CHC’s  heliport at Aberdeen airport read more

Heliport protest suspended as employers concede main union demand (27 Aug)

Offshore union RMT said tonight that a planned protest at Super Puma operators CHC tomorrow morning has been suspended after agreement was reached in talks this evening with the employers which will meet the unions core demand of guaranteed access to the offshore workforce on platforms and at heliports read more

Unite

Jersey bus drivers’ five days of strikes called off (21 Aug)

The five days of strikes by more than 60 Jersey bus drivers, due to start tomorrow (Thursday 22 August), in support of the reinstatement of a sacked colleague have been called off, Unite, the largest union in the Channel Islands, said today (Wednesday 21 August) read more

Unite calls for urgent talks on Heinz job losses (22 Aug)

Unite, the largest union in the country, has called today (Thursday 22 August) for urgent talks with Heinz management in the wake of yesterday’s announcement that about 250 jobs were under threat as part of a ‘streamlining’ exercise read more

Government creating a lost generation of untapped potential, warns McCluskey (22 Aug)

Figures out today (Thursday 22 August) showing over one million young people not in education, employment or training (NEET), tell a million stories of ‘untapped potential’ and ‘dashed hopes’, warned the leader of Britain’s largest union, Unite read more

The crackdown on bosses who refuse to pay the minimum wage needs ‘sharp legal teeth’ (23 Aug)

Plans to ‘name and shame’ employers who refuse to pay the national minimum wage (NMW) need ‘real legal teeth’, Unite, the country’s largest union, said today (Friday 23 August) read more

FA urged to stamp out minimum wage abuses for match staff (23 Aug)

The Football Association (FA) and the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) have been urged to support a Unite campaign to eradicate unpaid internships and national minimum wage abuses at Britain’s top football clubs read more

Unite statement on offshore helicopter incident (24 Aug)

Unite Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said: “Our thoughts are with the deceased and their families.  No-one should ever go to work and not come back safely to their family and friends.  This is an absolute tragedy read more

Unite calls for urgent fatal accident reform and emergency parliamentary debate (26 Aug)

Unite is calling for the Scottish government to support the fast-track of Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) reforms and for an emergency Scottish parliamentary debate into offshore health and safety following Friday’s fatal helicopter crash read more

Urgent political response needed to help tackle ‘culture of fear’ in offshore safety (27 Aug)

Unite has reiterated its call for an emergency Scottish parliamentary debate into offshore health & safety as fresh reports emerged over the pressures placed by the industry on offshore workers to fly in Super Puma helicopters read more

Protests continue in London Gateway ‘recognition’ dispute (28 Aug)

Unite activists will be protesting outside the London head office of the Dubai-based DP World, owners of the London Gateway, in the continuing row over union recognition at the new deep-sea container port in the Thames Estuary read more

Calls for Revenue and Customs probe into bonus payment tax scam (28 Aug)

Britain’s largest union, Unite, has written to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) calling for an urgent investigation into a tax scam which saw City institutions delaying bonus payments to exploit George Osborne’s cut in the top rate of tax from 50 per cent to 45 per cent in April this year read more

Biomedical scientists at Lancashire hospitals strike over imposed working conditions (28 Aug)

Biomedical scientists working at the Royal Preston and Chorley hospitals will stage a 24-hour strike this week in an escalating dispute over imposed working conditions read more

One Housing Group workers go into battle again (28 Aug)

Unite Housing workers of LE1111 at One Housing Group (OHG) will strike for five days starting on 5 September. Following a four-year pay freeze, OHG management is slashing frontline workers’ wages by up to 25%. Some of the most skilled and experienced staff will lose £8,000 a year read more

Save Yorkshire ambulance

When it comes to medical emergency, what matters most to you? Patient safety? Or cutting costs?

Sadly, Yorkshire ambulance trust seems to have got its priorities wrong. Over the next five years £46 million will be slashed with highly trained ambulance staff being downgraded and workers’ terms and conditions attacked read more

FBU

Say ‘No!’ to Cleveland mutual proposals (28 Aug)

Chief Fire Officer Ian Hayton is planning to turn Cleveland Fire Brigade into a ‘mutual’. This is bad news for firefighters, bad news for our service and bad news for the public read more

PCS

Coastguard stations understaffed this summer (20 Aug)

All the UK’s coastguard stations have staff vacancies this summer as call-outs rise read more

Back the check-off court protest (22 Aug)

There is strong support for colleagues in the Department for Communities and Local Government ahead of a court case to defend their rights read more

Taking our anti-cuts message to TUC (27 Aug)

We will be making the case against austerity and for a welfare state at TUC congress read more

GMB

Buy To Let Corporate Welfare (21 Aug)

Growth In Buy To Let Lending Will Fuel Public Spending On Corporate Welfare Says GMB read more

Ex Gurkha GMB Picket Lines (22 Aug)

Ex-Gurkha Soldiers To Picket Mod And Serco During Strikes Over Zero Hours Contracts read more

OCS Strike Picket Lines (22 Aug)

GMB Members Pickets During Strike On 27th August On Ocs Housing Estates Cleaning Contract For Kensington & Chelsea Over Pay Freeze read more

Bedford NHS March 24 August (23 Aug)

GMB To Support Bedford March On Cuts In NHS On Saturday 24th August read more

Unions And Enforcing National Minimum Wage (24 Aug)

GMB Call For Unions To Be Able To Report Rogue Employers To HMRC To Help Enforce National Minimum Wage read more

Ambulance Staff Reject Sick Pay Cuts (28 Aug)

GMB Calls For Talks With Ambulance Employers To Avert Official Ballot For Strike Action In Dispute Over Cuts To Sick Pay read more

Ex Gurkhas Strike Over Zero Hours Off (28 Aug)

GMB Call Off Strikes Over Zero Hours Dispute On Serco Mod Contract As Ex Gurkha Members Accept Improved Offer read more

GMB Lobby Cambs NHS (28 Aug)

GMB Members From Cambridgeshire NHS Services Trust Lobby NHS Clinical Commissioning Group In Protest Against Potential Privatisation Of NHS Services read more

Leeds Care Homes Demo (28 Aug)

GMB Demo On 4th September Over Closure Of 6 Of The Remaining Leeds Council Run Care Homes & 4 Day Centres read more

196 More Job Losses At Remploy (28 Aug)

196 Jobs To Go As Remploy Close Factories At Blackburn, Sheffield And Neath Port Talbot read more

NUT & NASUWT

Next phase of Rallies of Education:

London Saturday 14th Sep Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre, Broad Sanctuary, London, Greater London SW1P 3EE 11am to 12.30pm Speakers: Christine Blower, General Secretary, NUT; Patrick Roach, Deputy General Secretary, NASUWT. Directions to venue:

Nottingham Saturday 14th SepCrowne Plaza Hotel, Wollaton Street, Nottingham, NG1 5RH 11am to 12.30pm  Speakers: Chris Keates, General Secretary, NASUWT and Kevin Courtney, Deputy General Secretary, NUT. Directions to venue

Cambridge Saturday 21st Sep The University Arms Hotel, Regent Street, Cambridge, CB2 1AD 11am to 12.30pm Speakers: Chris Keates, General Secretary, NASUWT and Kevin Courtney, Deputy General Secretary, NUT. Directions to venue 

Exeter Saturday 21st Sep The Methodist Church Sidwell Street (nr Odeon Cinema), 60-64 Sidwell Street, Exeter, EX4 6PH 11am to 12.30pm Speakers: Christine Blower, General Secretary, NUT and Patrick Roach, Deputy General Secretary, NASUWT. Directions to venue: 

UNISON

UNISON signs recognition agreement with Avenues Trust (21 Aug)

UNISON has just signed a recognition agreement with Avenues Trust, a specialist social care organisation that supports people facing significant disadvantage through disability and illness, based in London and the South East read more

A day of shame as health service chiefs gear up to close NHS residential homes (21 Aug)

Senior officials at the Health and Social Care Board held a press briefing this morning on what Northern Ireland regional secretary Patricia McKeown called “a so-called ‘consultation’ on the future of our care homes.” read more

Care home residents discuss way forward at tea party (22 Aug)

Residents, staff and family members from residential care homes under threat of closure across Northern Ireland gathered together for two days of tea parties, dancing and discussion this week read more

‘UNISON is calling time on poverty pay in local government’ (23 Aug)

UNISON is consulting local government branches in England, Wales and Northern Ireland on the NJC pay claim for 2014/15 read more

Rochdale Future Direction workers undertake further five days of strike action (27 Aug)

More than 100 workers have begun five days of strike action in order to send their employer Future Directions a clear message that the fight against the substantial cuts to their pay and terms and conditions has not gone away. The strike began at 8am on Sunday 25 August 2013 and follows 14 days of strike action already taken in recent months read more

UNISON celebrates Living Wage win at Gravesham borough council (27 Aug)

UNISON’s Gravesham local government branch is celebrating after Gravesham borough council agreed to pay cleaners the living wage read more

Hollingbury and Waterhall Golf Club dispute continues (27 Aug)

Green keepers at Hollingbury and Waterhall golf club last week took five days of industrial action after their employer Mytime Actives refused to accept the union’s proposal to go to binding arbitration. The employer wants to cut the greenkeepers’ salaries by up to £5,000 read more

Hospital food figures (27 Aug)

Commenting on figures released by the Campaign for Better Hospital Food into patient satisfaction with the quality of hospital food, Sara Gorton, UNISON Deputy Head of Health, said:

“Giving patients healthy, fresh more tempting food is an essential part of speeding up recovery. While costs vary, it is plain that food cooked fresh on hospital premises scores the highest with patients read more

UNISON calls for fair pay over free ipads (27 Aug)

UNISON is calling for fair pay over free ipads as many higher eduction staff are yet to receive a living wage while universities have been offering expensive incentives to students during the clearing process. These have included ipads, laptops or money towards their tuition fees – sometimes as much as £1,000 per student read more

‘Save our school’ (28 Aug)

UNISON is calling on its members to support teachers, parents and children at The Deanes School in Thundersley, Essex which is being threatened with closure by Essex County council read more

NUJ

Whistle-blower or terrorist: why the NUJ supports review of terrorism laws (23 Aug)

Michelle, NUJ general secretary, comments on the controversial detention of David Miranda and the increasing attacks on press freedom and civil liberties read more

Why health reporting needs urgent care (27 Aug)

It was a journalist who uncovered the crisis at the Mid-Staffs hospital, the scandal-hit NHS foundation trust where 1, 200 patients needlessly died read more

Re-run ballot at Newsquest Scotland results in increased support for action (28 Aug)

Journalists at the Herald, Sunday Herald and Evening Times in Scotland have voted overwhelmingly to take industrial action over compulsory redundancies read more

BFAWU

Hovis workers anger rises over Zero hours contracts (28 Aug)

Hundreds of bakers at the Hovis bakery in Wigan are on strike for seven days against zero-hour contracts and casualisation. They are demanding the company negotiate seriously, instead of ignoring existing agreements and imposing huge attacks on pay and conditions read more

CWU

Romec pay offer rejected (22 Aug)

A two per cent consolidated pay offer from Royal Mail facilities company Romec has been rejected by union negotiators as being “unacceptable”. The deal tabled covers the 12 months from 1 April 2013 – 1 April 2014 and includes a further consolidated amount and additional lump sum both of which are linked to target revisions and have yet to be negotiated read more

Save our Royal Mail from becoming a ‘Royal Mule’ (22 Aug)

An anonymous graffiti artist has added their support to the growing chorus opposing the Government’s plans to sell-off the Royal Mail by painting a mural in an area underneath London’s busy Waterloo station known as ‘Bansky’s Tunnel read more

BT performance management ballot suspended (22 Aug)

Hopes rose yesterday (Wednesday) that a performance management dispute with BT has been averted, after “intense negotiations” between CWU negotiators and company chiefs produced two new documents that the union have now agreed read more

Postal workers say: Hands off our pensions (28 Aug)

London postal workers delivered a giant postcard to Royal Mail’s national headquarters on Friday 23 Aug, along with a petition with thousands of signatures, in opposition to the company’s plans to change their occupational pensions read more

Royal Mail industrial action – report from the picket line (28 Aug)

“Workers at Royal Mail’s Coventry North delivery office took strike action on Tuesday 27th August, over the local management team’s treatment of the workforce read more

 

Blacklisting & Victimisation  (mostly from BSG)

The Islington Gazette in recent weeks has been attacking a national trade union official for doing his job and standing up for members of his trade union. read more

Dundee City Council is to bar companies guilty of blacklisting workers from securing contracts the courier

Lawyers appointed by the Home Office to investigate alleged corruption in the investigation of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence have released their aims BBC

 

Other News

Disabled people against cut: week of action to ‘reclaim our futures!’. Our rights are being stripped away day by day, by the neo-liberal policies being imposed on us all by the Condems, leaving us without much hope for our futures – or our children’s. 

We have been here before. Our history is littered with examples of how our community has come together when under attack to fight – and win.’ Join the events and campaign. Read More

MPS told: Don’t back bloodshed

As we try to fight cuts and injustices our leaders look at moving towards military action in Syria. Read more

Liverpool ‘Big Sleep Out’ protests against ‘Bedroom Tax’ (25 Aug)

Last night Liverpool residents joined together with over 60 towns and cities across the UK as people slept on the streets to draw attention to the controversial Welfare Reform Act read more/video

Unionise to fight zero-hour contracts! (28 Aug)

I started working for the fast food restaurant Kentucky Fried Chicken nine months ago. I had left my job in a supermarket, where I was a workplace rep, to find a full-time job, not being able to get by on 16 hours a week and with no chance of finding a full-time contract there read more

Resist cuts to legal aid:

No justice, no peace. Sat 5th Oct. read more

UN Watchdog probes bedroom tax linked to suicide cases. Read more

 

International (see also labourstart)

 

Ireland – 100 years after the Dublin lockout has seen commemorations which reflect on the industrial battles that went on for the right to unionise, it also saw victories such as huge pay increases and wide scale solidarity action. However at a significant point industrial action by the British TUC was missing. Joe Higgins TD Dublin video & 1913 committee, Locked out: A century of Irish Working class life (Ed D Convery)

 

Fiji Global unions condemn military regime threats, intimidation against sugar worker union read more

Tunisia UGTT Launches The National Dialogue Council Initiative To End Political Crisis In Tunisia read more

Egypt The workers movement after June 30 read more

Colombia Nationwide Strike Against ‘Free Trade,’ Privatization, Poverty read more

Syria Use of Chemical Weapons is Inexcusable read more

USA On Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the Dignity of Work Remains a Common Goal read more

Singapore The Strike That Rattled Singapore read more

Tanzania / Zambia TZ Railway Fires 1,000 Workers for Striking Over Unpaid Wages read more

Bangladesh The right to form trade union? Garment workers fired for their organising efforts read more

 

Diary (also see & use False Economy)

AUGUST

29 August to 4 September DPAC Week of Action Local events/actions to be confirmed

Aug to end of Nov ‘Call me Mr. Robeson’ play 

SEPTEMBER

4 Ghost Train at Seer Green & Jordans

The TSSA Ghost Train is visiting Seer Green & Jordans Station to highlight the horror of high fares and visit stations at risk of becoming a ‘ghost’ stations with no staff. 17:30PM – 19:00PM  Seer Green & Jordans, Farm Lane Seer Green HP9 2UT  More information – Angela Khodeir: [email protected]

Anti-EDL protest ‘EDL not welcome in Tower Hamlets’ – Don’t let the racists divide us Assemble 11am Altab Ali Park, Whitechapel Road, London E1

NSSN Rally at the TUC Congress at Bournemouth followed by a lobby of TUC Congress.

12 noon-3pm Hardy Suite, Hermitage Hotel, Exeter Rd, Bournemouth (opposite Bournemouth International Centre – TUC conference venue).

14 NUT Rallies for Education London and Nottingham

22 September Demo at the Labour Party Conference, Brighton Centre/Seafront – Details to TBC ‘Lest They Forget’ organising meeting to be arranged shortly

28 NUT Rallies for Education Cambridge and Exeter

29 National TUC Demonstration to save our NHS at Tory party Conference 

30 Manchester Unite local government branch is hosting a showing of the exhibition about Liverpool’s socialist council 1983-87. Speakers include: Len McCluskey, Tony Mulhearn, Felicity Dowling, Ted Knight & Kevin Bennett. Methodist Central Hall, Oldham St. Manchester. Tel: 0161-234-1896 email [email protected]org.uk

October

UKUNCUT resist legal aid cuts

12 National anti-fascist demonstration in Liverpool – Assemble 12 noon, Myrtle Street (top of Hardman Street) Liverpool 7. March sets off a 1pm and ends with a rally: The Pier Head Liverpool

Listings By Elenor Haven PCS member & NSSN OFFICER

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CONTACT US

[email protected] or look on our Website for further info

Follow us on TWITTER @NSSN_AntiCuts

Facebook STOP THE CUTS or ‘ National Shop Stewards Network’

Secretary: Linda Taaffe 
Email: [email protected]btinternet.com

Phone: 07952 283 558

Post – NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE