NSSN 203 – FBU Gaza statement

July 30, 2014 in Bulletins

The vast majority of trade unionists are outraged by the events in Gaza over the last few weeks and many have attended the protests and demonstrations that have taken place. In this week’s NSSN e-bulletin, we re-produce the FBU’s statement on Gaza.

 

The Fire Brigades Union deplores the horrific attacks on Gaza and calls for an immediate, negotiated and total ceasefire. The union sends our support, solidarity and sympathy to all those affected by the conflict, including the families of the victims.

In particular, the FBU applauds the tremendous work done by firefighters helping the victims of atrocities, and who put themselves at even greater risk in order to assist others.

The FBU notes with horror that so far the Israeli armed forces have killed hundreds of people in Gaza, and the death toll continues to rise. These deaths include workers in health, education and journalism, with 80% of those killed being women and children. Around 120,000 people are seeking shelter, with food and water now running out. The assault amounts to the collective punishment of a population already suffering terribly from the effects of the blockade.

The FBU is appalled that UK-manufactured military equipment could be used in the attack on Gaza and calls for the suspension of UK arms sales to Israel.

The FBU is concerned by the bias shown by most broadcasters reporting the conflict and demands that Palestinian voices are heard.

The FBU condemns the one-sided approach of British ministers, who should be pressing the Israeli government to cease the attacks and enter into meaningful peace negotiations. The FBU welcomes the offer from Scottish hospitals (and endorsed by External Affairs Minister Humza Yousaf) to offer specialist treatment to the injured should that be possible. Similar offers should be made elsewhere in the UK and across Europe.

 

The FBU demands:

An immediate ceasefire.

Peace talks aimed at finding a lasting and just solution to the conflict.

The Israel government lift the blockade on Gaza.

Support for the boycott of illegal settlements, settlement goods and those corporations benefiting from the occupation and the wall.

The Israeli offensive is completely unjustified. The FBU believes that only a ceasefire observed by all – including those firing rockets into Israel – followed by serious negotiations with all parties can bring peace to the region. There is no military solution to the conflict – only a political solution based around two states can bring justice to all involved.

The FBU supports the PGFTU’s three-day general strike in the West Bank in protest at the Israeli government’s actions.

The FBU supports demonstrations called around the UK to stop the war on Gaza and calls on our members and friends to attend these mobilisations.

 

 

 

NSSN News

Over 300 shop stewards, union rep and anti-cuts activists attended the 8th Annual NSSN Conference on Saturday July 5th. The speakers included Ronnie Draper BFAWU bakers’ union General Secretary, POA General Secretary Steve Gillan, Janice Godrich PCS President and Peter Pinkney RMT President…plus Ginger Jentzen from the victorious Seattle $15Now campaign.

Watch a video of the first session here

See photos from the conference here

Watch the video shown at the start of the conference – All strike together & Memorium for Bob Crow

The conference agreed that the NSSN will hold a public rally at this year’s TUC Congress in Liverpool to lobby delegates to keep up the pressure for further co-ordinated strikes – 2pm Sunday September 7th in Jury’s Hotel opposite Echo Arena conference centre in Albert Dock. PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka is one of the confirmed speakers.

 

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. Affiliation letter here

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 [email protected]

 

 

Union News

 

Unite

Justice for Doncaster Eddie Stobart/Tesco drivers (July 29) – In July 2012 Tesco transferred 184 drivers to Eddie Stobarts at their distribution centre in Doncaster. Less than six months later 184 drivers were out of work. The drivers’ union, Unite, has continued to support the drivers including pursuing legal action for unfair dismissal and insufficient consultation. As part of the legal process we have seen documents which show that Tesco and Stobarts were in discussions regarding the redundancies well in advance of the transfer. Our members didn’t stand a chance. We are here today to demonstrate that Unite members will not lie down and let Tesco and Stobarts get away with this exploitation. We want you to know what kind of organisations these are that value profits over people and care nothing for the law read more from NSSN

Electricians and labourers overwhelmingly reject ‘woeful’ two year pay deal (28 July) – Thousands of electricians and labourers, members of Unite have overwhelmingly rejected a five per cent two-year pay deal in a consultative ballot. Unite said that the offer was ‘woefully inadequate’, given soaring household bills.  A meeting of shop stewards from across the country next Monday (4 August) will decide the next steps, which could include an industrial action ballot. Unite members are also angry that employers want to introduce a ‘new entrant’ grade with an 18 month probationary period with a pay rate 25 per cent  less than the labourers’ grade. The union regards this as ‘the slippery slope to a deskilled workforce read more

East Midlands Trains staff set for strike action over ‘paltry’ pay offer (25 July) – East Midlands Trains faces a four day strike, starting on Sunday (27 July), by its engineering and maintenance staff in Derby, Leeds and Nottingham in a dispute over pay. More than 80 staff at the three depots, members of Unite, the country’s largest union, will strike from 06:00 on Sunday, ending at 05:59 on Thursday (31 July). This will be accompanied by a continuous overtime ban which will also start on Sunday and will continue beyond Thursday read more

Agreement reached between Unite and Northampton General Hospital – pathology staff will return to work (24 July) – Talks via the mediation service Acas have resulted in a negotiated settlement to the long-running dispute between Northampton General Hospital and 55 pathology workers. The deal was accepted by the pathology staff at a meeting convened by their union, Unite, last night read more

After the 7-day strike, support Argos workers – Argos have launched their new catalogue with new product lines so this is a crucial time for the business. Unite members who have just taken 7 days of strike action in the latest of their industrial action campaign are looking for activists all over the country to go to their local Argos & ask people to email the distribution director, Phil Hull & tell him to treat his staff properly. It would be great if we could bombard him with thousands of emails – [email protected]

Exposing the true face of UPS parcels – This week Unite begin a weekly campaign of leafleting and demonstrations outside UPS depots across London. I have attached the leaflets that we will be passing to workers and members of the public. These highlight the issues that our members face from this company. We are now in the run up to a national ballot so these events are very important in both building the confidence of our members and shining a light on UPS. We are asking trade union activists to support the demonstrations so that these workers can see that they have the support of the wider trade union movement. The details of the demonstrations which will all run from 7 am to 11 am are as follows:

31st July – Camden depot 353 Regis Rd London NW5 3UP

4th August – Feltham Central Way North Feltham Trading Estate Feltham

Middlesex TW14 OUU

11th August – Croydon Unit C Prologis Park Greenland Way Croydon CRO 4TD

 

PCS

Bootle MOJ strike day 4: support remains 100% (29 July) – The 100% support for the Bootle MOJ shared services strike has continued on the fourth day of action today. PCS members in Bootle, Merseyside, who provide corporate services in the department such as payroll, IT and HR started their 6-day strike on 24 July as part of our ongoing campaign to protect jobs and prevent offshoring in shared services. It is the fourth consecutive day 118 staff have stayed away from work and they were supported on the picket line by colleagues from the Health and Safety Executive and PCS Home Office group executive. Their colleagues in Newport are holding 2 days of action from Thursday. There is a big event planned in Bootle to round off the action on Thursday. An overtime ban is in place until 31 August read more

HMRC Jobs and staff campaign – further 3 days of action called: Wednesday 30 July – North West England and Wales

Thursday 31 July – Scotland and Midlands

Friday 1 August – Northern (including Cumbria), Yorkshire & Humber, Eastern, London & South East, South West, Northern Ireland more info

Thousands support passport strike (28 July) – Thousands of PCS members in the Passport Office are striking today in a bid to end staffing shortages that have caused the ongoing backlog crisis. The Passport Office has cut hundreds of staff since 2010 but the agency only agreed to meet the union to seriously discuss jobs, for the first time in several years, after media and political scrutiny exposed the issue and under pressure from the House of Commons home affairs select committee. Cuts and privatisations have resulted in an under-resourced and poorer service while at the same time the agency has made a staggering £110 million in the past 2 years read more

Extra day’s strike action for Newport shared services (28 July) – The action by PCS MOJ shared services members in Newport this week has been extended by a day as a large majority of staff in Wales supported an overtime ban at the weekend. Staff in Newport, who provide corporate services, such as payroll, IT and HR in the department, are walking out on Thursday (31 July) as part of our ongoing campaign to protect jobs and prevent offshoring in shared services, but will now also strike on Friday (1 August). A 6-day strike by MOJ shared services members in Bootle, Merseyside, which entered its third day today remains very strongly supported with 100% of members, or 118 staff staying away from work, forcing the office to close read more

 

RMT

LU Sodexo staff to strike in union victimisation dispute (July 29) – Staff working for London Underground caterers Sodexo are to strike next week over the victimisation and dismissal of union activist Petrit Mihaj. The strike action will be between 06.30 hours and 11.00 hours on Monday 4th August read more

Joint TSSA & RMT ultimatum to LUL (July 25) – Here is a copy of the letter sent to Phil Hufton from both unions. It is clear both unions have run out of patience with the employer and have set out in detail what is required to resolve this dispute read more

 

FBU

5 year battle for hero firefighter Ewan Williamson continues (July 28) – The Fire Brigades Union has welcomed the decision by Scotland’s Crown Office to proceed with criminal hearings into the death of firefighter Ewan Williamson but disappointed that the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service continue to fight the case. Ewan Williamson lost his life in a fire at the Balmoral Bar in Edinburgh over five years ago but many unanswered questions remain about the incident, and as yet no one has been held accountable read more

 

Unison

Doncaster Care UK workers on the picket line again (July 29) – On 29 July, Doncaster Care UK workers, members of Unison, began another two weeks of strike action. They have already taken 34 days of strike action between February and May against 35% pay cuts as a result of the privatisation of the Supported Living Service for Adults with Learning Difficulties read more from NSSN

Care UK members set for new strike (July 28) – UNISON members at Care UK in Doncaster will begin new strike action tomorrow for two weeks, after the company refused to even discuss a wage rise this year. The action comes after a new ballot and is in support of a pay claim that calls for a minimum starting rate of £7.65, which is the national living wage outside London. The current pay for basic grade staff is £7 an hour read more

Messages of support or donations should be sent to: Yvonne Butcher, branch secretary Doncaster District and Bassetlaw Health Branch, 20511 UNISON Office – Jenkinson House, White Rose Way, Doncaster DN4 5GJ

 

BECTU

Ritzy Brixton Cinema workers are calling for a boycott of Picturehouse Cinemas – for more info https://www.facebook.com/RitzyLivingWage

 

NAPO

National Rally at Parliament – Members’ Voices – 3 September

Napo is organising a national rally of Parliament from 2pm to 3.30pm on Wednesday 3 September. Branches have been asked to organise delegations. Contact your Branch now if you are able to be there. Most crucially we are calling on members to write to their MP over the summer (or better still visit them in their constituency) urging them to attend and hear from frontline Probation staff about the chaos that is TR.

Ask your MP to sign EDM 111 calling for the government to assess the risk to public safety of the new probation service and halt the process of privatisation read more

 

BFAWU

Zero Hours Contracts – Whose Side Are You On? We live in the sixth richest economy in the world. You could be forgiven for thinking that his should mean a fair, decent society that leaves no-one behind and provides opportunities for all. However, what we have in the UK is a society whereby the top 1% hold 24% of the total wealth and the top 10% control 40% of the wealth see BFAWU video

VIDEO: $15 NOW & Fast Food Rights Campaign – Campaign against low pay to sweep across the Atlantic, as union organises UK Fast Food workers see video of press conference with Ronnie Draper BFAWU, John McDonnell MP and Gionger Jentzen Seattle $15Now

Fast Food Rights: upcoming plans and ‘activists’ pack – at the last Fast Food Rights campaign planning meeting on 25 June, the campaign decided on a plan of action for the months to come. This followed the global day of action that saw protests across Britain as well as in over 30 other countries on 15 May in solidarity with US fast food strikes. The next national Fast Food Rights days of action will take place on the day of the next US fast food strike. Dates are still being confirmed, but this will be late August/ early September. As soon as details are confirmed we will announce them read more from Fast Food Rights

Please send details of any local actions to [email protected] / [email protected]

 

 

 

 

Blacklisting & Victimisation

GMB: Cambridge City – No work for Blacklisters (July 25) – GMB welcome Cambridge city council barring firms being awarded public contracts till they compensate workers they blacklisted. This has blighted the lives of thousands of families refused work on construction sites and other areas for trade union activity or raising health and safety concerns says GMB. GMB, the union for construction workers, welcomed the motion carried unanimously on   Cambridge City Council on 24th July to stop companies who have engaged in blacklisting from being awarded Council contracts until they purge their guilt

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlCa8yQmZ70

Blog: www.hazards.org/blacklistblog

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/groups/blacklistSG/

 

 

International (also see Labourstart)

Qatar: World Cup Workers unpaid for a year (July 29) – GMB call on Qatari authorities to pay wages to workers on World Cup tower who have been unpaid for a year. Qatar should implement the DLA Piper report they commissioned and enable independent trades unions to represent and improve standards for migrant workers read more

Turkey: International union campaign delivers agreement at Georg Fischer in Turkey read more

 

 

Diary (see & use false economy)

 

August

2 Does working-class education have a future?

A day conference for all trades unionists including Union Learn reps, trade union branch officers, TUC/ Trade Union Studies tutors, WEA/adult education lecturers, and mature students, organised by Trade Union Solidarity magazine and Bridgwater Trades Union Council

11am to 4pm, Saturday 2nd August GWRSA/Railway Club, Wellington Rd, Bridgwater, Somerset, TA6 5HA

Speakers:

 

Marie Hughes South West TUC Regional Education Officer

 

Trish Lavelle CWU National Education Officer

 

Becca Kirkpatrick Co-editor Trade Union Solidarity

 

Shan Maidment TU studies tutor, City of Bristol College

 

Carole Vallelly GMB Southern Region/TUC tutor

 

Nigel Costley, Secretary, South West TUC

 

Dave Chapple, Bridgwater TUC

 

Ian Manborde, Ruskin College

 

Richard Ross London Metropolitan University

Cost is £5 per person which includes buffet lunch. Places are limited: please register in advance if possible, make cheques  out to “Bridgwater Trades Union Council” and send to Dave Chapple, Conference Organiser, 1 Blake Place, Bridgwater, Somerset, TA6 5AU. Further details phone 07707 869 144 or e-mail [email protected]

9 Inaugural John Burns walk – meet 1pm at St Mary’s Cemetery, Battersea Rise. Reception at Bread & Roses pub at 4pm. www.bwtuc.org.uk   www.breadandrosespub.com

 

September

6 Featherstone Massacre Commemoration.  We will be meeting at the Bradley Arms, North Featherstone at 2pm.   There will then be a graveside commemoration followed by a guided walk led by local socialist historian John Gill.

If you would like to get involved (or if you would like to speak at the commemoration) please get in touch.

We are also looking to organise an event about the First World War later in the year…this is likely to be on a Saturday afternoon in November.  Again if you are interested in speaking -or can recommend a speaker- please get in touch.

Fraternally

Alan Stewart

Convenor, Wakefield Socialist History Group

07931927451

 

October

18 TUC demonstration in London – ‘Britain Needs a Pay Rise’. It will begin with a march through central London, culminating in a rally in Hyde Park read more here

 

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