NSSN 522: Bus drivers strike back in Manchester & London

February 16, 2021 in Bulletins

This week’s NSSN bulletin headlines with strike action by bus drivers in Unite the union in Manchester and London that begins next week. Please support these workers. Also, please support victimised bus union reps – Judith Katera and Moe Muhsin Manir in Unite in London and Declan Clune in RMT in Hampshire

2015 London bus strike

2015 London bus strike

Manchester Go Ahead North West bus drivers in all out strike over fire and rehire dispute (12 Feb) – Bus drivers employed by Go North West in Manchester will begin an all-out continuous strike from Sunday 28 February. The drivers are walking out as a result of the decision of Go North West (part of the Go Ahead Group) to fire and rehire its workers on vastly inferior contracts. The workers, who are members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, returned an 82 per cent yes vote in favour of strike action earlier this week. Unite delayed immediately calling strike action to give the management of the company a short window of opportunity to withdraw its fire and rehire plans. The company declined to grasp this opportunity. Unite represents over 400 bus drivers who are based at the company’s Queens Road depot. The strikes will inevitably cause a huge amount of disruption to commuters and passengers throughout the Greater Manchester area and beyond. Go North West operates 130 buses on 30 routes in Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Trafford and Warrington read more

London braced for serious disruption as bus strikes announced and further industrial action in pipeline (9 Feb) – London bus passengers should brace themselves for serious disruption as Unite, the UK’s leading union, announced bus strikes in the capital. The first wave of strike action involves bus drivers employed by the French owned company RATP, which operates three subsidiaries in the London bus network: London United, London Sovereign and Quality Line. Approaching 2,000 bus drivers are involved in the dispute. Workers at London United, which provides bus services in South and West London will take strike action on Monday 22 February, Tuesday 23 February and Wednesday 24 February read more

 

Stop union-busting at Abellio London buses – Reinstate sacked Unite London bus rep Judith Katera: appeal hearing Thursday 11th February and defend Moe Muhsin Manir Judith a longstanding union rep and activist in Battersea garage in South London has been dismissed by Abellio. 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. In October, she was facing a disciplinary meeting and possible dismissal. A solidarity protest was organised and then postponed because the disciplinary process wasn’t completed. However, she has discovered that the company sacked her on December 4th! She had heard rumours about it from drivers and had to contact the company to have it confirmed that she had been dismissed! Just a few weeks before Christmas, Judith was dismissed with no income. An online appeal has been set up to support Judith and her family.

Unite the union are ran a consultative ballot before Christmas to launch the campaign to get Judith reinstated. We understand that there was an overwhelming vote of support, which sends the message to Abellio that bus drivers in Battersea will fight to for Judith’s job and stop attacks on the union. We hope that this vote will force management to reinstate Judith but if they still refuse, the union are now able to launch a full industrial action ballot.

The NSSN sends our support and solidarity to Judith, her members and her union Unite and pledge to do everything we can to get her reinstated. We will keep our supporters and affiliates fully informed of developments and any protests and action that are called.

Judith’s fellow Abellio rep in Walworth garage Moe Muhsin Manir is also suspended awaiting a disciplinary meeting on February 23rd, which could see him facing dismissal. Stop union busting!

 

Successful NSSN online public meeting on 14th February

We’d like to that all those who attended our meeting last Sunday. Over 210 took part and listened to contributions from some key disputes and campaigns: Barnoldswick, British Gas, GKN, Heartlands and Deliveroo couriers. We’ll keep you informed of future meetings.

NSSN South West Conference – Sunday 7 March 1pm Facebook event

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 [email protected]

Watch the NSSN pre-TUC Rally from last September and follow us on twitter via @NSSN_AntiCuts and Facebook

 

 

Fight together against the Tory Pay Freeze

Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a public sector pay freeze last November. NSSN Chair Rob Williams said, “Just as the Tories are exposed over giving COVID contracts to their cronies and a day after a big rise in defence spending is announced, millions of public sector workers face yet another pay freeze. After standing on the front line, putting their lives at risk, they face sinking further into poverty. This is on top of a decade of Tory pay cuts that saw workers lose up to 14% of their income. Sunak cynically ‘exempts’ NHS workers from this pay cap but they won’t be fooled. Any rise will go nowhere close to the 15% rise demanded this summer by protesting health workers to close the gap on what has been lost on the last 10 years. The NSSN sends our solidarity to public sector workers and their unions. This announcement will take place virtually on the 10th anniversary of George Osborne’s brutal austerity offensive.  That cuts blizzard led to 2 million public sector workers walk out together on the November 30th N30 pensions strike. Workers need to fight together now to send the clearest message to the Tories and the employers: we won’t pay the price in terms of our jobs and income for your total mismanagement of the COVID pandemic and any economic crisis. Especially when the super-rich increase their wealth at our expense. The NSSN calls on the TUC and the unions to organise protests in towns to start the mobilisation of workers that can lead to the co-ordinated industrial action that we need to defeat the Tories and inflict on them yet another U-turn.”

 

Support the NHS pay protests – last year, 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. 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’

 

Health Campaigns Together Conference: The Pandemic and Privatisation – how to fight backThursday February 25 2021, 6.30-8.30pm

The pandemic has been a goldmine for private contractors and management consultants. But while the private sector celebrates its new-found riches, the fiascos of failed private services have been exposed to millions. Privatised test and trace systems have become byword for failure, just as poor standards of hospital cleaning epitomised the failures of the first outsourced contracts in the 1980s. The question is how health unions and campaigners can work together and develop the right publicity and information to show the folly and expose the waste and inefficiency of privatisation and outsourcing? Join us for an online conference on February 25, called by Health Campaigns Together, working in partnership with the health unions UNISON, Unite and GMB, the PDA union, the TUC, Keep Our NHS Public, the NHS Support Federation (NHS For Sale), and The Lowdown read more

Unite statement on reports that the Cameron-era NHS reforms are to be reversed (6 Feb)

 

 

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 – [email protected]

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 and you can catch up on disputes at Strike Map UK

 

 

Union News

RMT

Stop union victimisation: support Sean Miskimmon (RMT NEC/Stena) and Gary Carney (London Underground)

As vaccine programme hits initial targets RMT calls for escalation of priority and protection for transport workers (15 Feb) – With the news at the weekend that the initial phase of the COVID vaccination programme has hit its targets RMT called this morning for an escalation in priority for transport staff and other essential workers to ensure that those groups risking the highest levels of occupational exposure, and who are also pivotal to the route map out of the current lockdown, are properly protected read more

RMT statement on the Government’s build back better with apprentices announcement (12 Feb) – TRANSPORT AND OFFSHORE Union RMT today responded to the Government’s commitment to build back better with apprentices after Covid-19. RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said; “Instead of listening to the lobbying of crewing agents represented on the Maritime Skills Commission, the Government needs to institute a mass programme of Rating recruitment, using the apprenticeship standards for deck, engine and catering agreed with trade unions, maritime colleges and industry on the Maritime Trailblazer Working Group. A failure to do so will harm green job creation in the renewable energy supply chain, as well as decimate seafarer employment in port communities like Dover, Hull and Holyhead where hundreds of seafarer jobs have been lost already during the pandemic, including apprentices” read more

RMT steps up campaign to stop Nottingham City Council’s £700,000 funding cut to vital Linkbus Network (12 Feb) – BUS UNION RMT has launched a petition calling for a reversal of Nottingham City Council’s proposals to cut £700,000 from the annual funding for the City’s Linkbus Network, which is operated by the bus operator CT4N, and serves a number of routes throughout Nottingham. The cuts will mean that a number of vital routes will be withdrawn or altered. The union is calling on Nottingham City Council to withdraw the proposed funding cuts and to commit to ensuring that all Linkbus services and jobs are permanently protected read more

RMT warns of quarantine chaos in key industries (12 Feb) – SEAFARER AND OFFSHORE Union RMT today responded with concern over the application of Covid-19 testing and quarantine measures to seafarers on Red List countries, including Portugal. Divers and other offshore workers returning from work in a Red List country are also affected. RMT has raised its concerns after the DfT convened an emergency summit covering the maritime and offshore industries at short notice this afternoon to outline the Governments plans read more

Scottish Government set to reward failure and give Abellio a free ride to continue operating the ScotRail franchise from 2022 (12 Feb) – RAIL UNION RMT today expressed its concern that the Scottish Government’s proposed revised ‘Franchising Policy Statement’ is laying the groundwork to give Dutch state-owned Abellio a direct award when the franchise ends next year, despite its well documented poor performance, rather than using its powers to take its rail services into public ownership read more

RMT warns government travel confusion increases threat to Eurostar and Ferry Services (11 Feb) – TRANSPORT UNION RMT said today that the Government’s confused and contradictory messages over travel plans this summer increases the risk of financial collapse at the vital Eurostar rail links to the continent and piles pressure on Britain’s ferry services. RMT launched a SAVE EUROSTAR campaign and petition this week – details below – and has warned that the chaotic messaging from ministers has only served to heighten the threat to the service read more

RMT welcome publicly funded Shields Ferry project in North Tyneside (10 Feb) – SHIELDS FERRY UNION RMT today welcomed the plan from Nexus and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership for a new £8.8m landing for the Shields Ferry on Western Quay in North Tyneside read more

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: [email protected]  read more

 

ASLEF

Of course Covid is a serious workplace risk (10 Feb) – ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, has backed a call by Andy McDonald, the Shadow Employment Secretary, for Covid-19 to be classed as a ‘serious risk’ in the workplace to secure the safety of people at work in Britain. Mick Whelan, general secretary, said: ‘The government is trying to play down the dangers of the coronavirus, as it has done throughout this crisis. The UK has the highest covid death toll in the world, with more than 112,000 British citizens dead, and tens of thousands still suffering the effects of long Covid read more

 

TSSA

TSSA Blasts SNP for “waiting to follow the Tories’ lead” over managed quarantine (15 Feb) – As quarantine regulations come into force today (Monday) TSSA leader Manuel Cortes blasted the SNP for “waiting to follow the Tories’ lead” rather than making the call sooner. The new managed quarantine rules which come into place from today require travellers to quarantine in a hotel for ten days at a personal cost of £1750 per person read more

Alstom Holiday Pay Adjustment – Joint Statement (11 Feb) – We are pleased to inform you that a Holiday Pay Adjustment payment will be introduced for all employees within the SS&I business who have accrued overtime read more

Government sinking travel trade says TSSA (10 Feb) – Travel and transport union TSSA has hit out at the government following this evening’s coronavirus briefing saying “they are sinking our travel trade” and warns the lack of support “could be fatal” for Eurostar read more

 

Unite

Unions call for a ‘substantial’ pay rise for council and school workers (16 Feb) – Three local government unions ​have submitted a pay claim ​for 2021/22, which they say begin​s to redress a decade of cuts and recognise​s the key role ​played in the pandemic ​by school and council staff. They want to see a ‘substantial’ pay increase from this April with a wage rise of at least 10 per cent for all council ​and school support employees in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. ​Under the claim, the pay of the lowest paid workers would go above £10 per hour – lifting them above the ​real ​living ​wage of £9.50 per hour (outside London). UNISON, GMB and Unite​ – which between them represent 1.4 million council and school employees – say only a significant pay award can begin to tackle ten years of savage local authority cuts and pay restraint. Staff working in local government have seen up to 25 per cent wiped from the value of their pay, the unions say read more

Broad welcome for JLR’s Reimagine strategy by Unite (15 Feb) – Unite the union has broadly welcomed today’s (Monday 15 February) announcement  by Jaguar Land Rover (JRL) of its Reimagine strategy that will mean no plant closures and no compulsory job losses. Unite said that this is ‘good news in challenging economic times’ for the company’s estimated 40,000 UK employees read more

Jettisoning of £95,000 ‘cap’ on departing public sector employees hailed as ‘a victory’ by Unite (12 Feb) – Unite the union has hailed as ‘a great victory’ the government’s U-turn on public sector employees having their exit payments capped at £95,000. The government has revoked The Restriction of Public Sector Exit Payments Regulations which would have enforced the cap as it is now deemed to have ‘unintended consequences’. This follows a campaign at which Unite was at the forefront that would have seen a judicial review into the regulations in the spring, until minsters U-turned today (Friday 12 February).The regulations came into force in November 2020 read more

Heathrow strikes suspended as company considers peace offer (12 Feb) – Unite, the UK’s principal aviation union, has announced that it has suspended strike action at the airport to allow Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL) to fully consider proposals to end the dispute. Members of Unite have taken a total of six days of targeted strike action in the dispute over the company’s decision to fire and rehire its workforce, forcing them onto vastly inferior contracts, resulting in large pay cuts for many of the workers. Following talks between Unite and HAL earlier this week, where the union put forward proposals which they feel would bring the dispute to an end and following an initial positive response from the company, the next two strikes on Saturday 13 February and Tuesday 16 February have been suspended. Unite will not call any further action at the current time, but the two remaining strikes for Thursday 18 February and Sunday 21 February remain in place read more

Groundbreaking report into construction direct employment must be acted upon, urges Unite (12 Feb) – Unite, the construction union, has welcomed the publication of a ground breaking report, which makes the case for a major increase in direct employment in the electrical contracting sector. The report titled: Direct Employment A Study of Economic Business and Social Outcomes has been written by Howard Gospel, Emeritus Professor of Management at King’s College London. In undertaking his research, Professor Gospel draws on interviews with over 50 experts, industry materials, government reports and peer-reviewed academic research read more

Aston University student’s union first in West Midlands to sign Unite recognition agreement (12 Feb) – Aston University’s student union has signed a recognition agreement with Unite, the UK’s leading union, ensuring that its staff have access to collective bargaining and other workplace rights. Aston Students’ Union, which manages more than 110 clubs and societies and employs around 40 people, is the first student union in the West Midlands to sign a recognition agreement with Unite read more

Government quarantine hotels policy failing to protect workers (12 Feb) – Unite the union, which represents thousands of workers in the hospitality and hotel sector, is warning that the government guidelines on quarantine hotels fails to adequately protect workers from being exposed to Covid-19. Unite issued its warning after the BBC has revealed how the government’s quarantine hotel policy is notably inferior to that of Australia and has failed to learn the lessons from the success and failures of that country’s policy read more

Quorn strike action off at Teesside factory as staff accept ‘excellent’ pay deal (12 Feb) – Strikes planned at Quorn’s Teesside meat-free paste production factory have been cancelled after staff voted to accept an ‘excellent’ pay offer from the company, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said today (Friday 12 February). More than 60 production workers, including lab, maintenance, electricians and stores staff at the Billingham factory of Marlow Foods Limited, which trades under Quorn Foods, will benefit from the deal. The deal includes a 2 per cent pay rise backdated to June 2020 and an increase of retail price index (RPI) plus 1 per cent from June 2021 to May 2022. The deal also includes an increase from 13 weeks to 26 weeks for sick pay and a rise in staff retirement bonuses read more

Sainsbury’s faces South East Easter shortages as DHL strikes over ‘union busting’ loom (12 Feb) – Sainsbury’s is facing Easter shortages at its stores across the South East, including parts of London, after DHL staff at its Dartford regional distribution centre voted for strike action over ‘union busting’, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said today (Friday 12 February). The Dartford strike ballot was called after a Unite steward, who was providing support to a member of staff during an investigation hearing, was suspended for challenging a DHL managers’ version of events. The reason given for the suspension by the manager was that the Unite steward was being aggressive – an accusation flatly contradicted by a neutral member of staff who was present at the meeting as a third party. After the vote in favour of strike action, more than 350 DHL staff are now poised to stage walk out’s throughout March, April and May read more

Building Momentum: Unite members vote to accept proposals (12 Feb) – Unite will be working to ensure agreement delivers for members. Union reiterates demand for repeal of FEMPI. February 12th: Unite today (Friday) announced that members working in the public sector have voted to accept the proposed public sector agreement, Building Momentum.  The vote was 75.2% in favour of the proposals, and Unite will therefore be casting its vote in favour of the agreement at the meeting of ICTU’s Public Services Committee on Monday 15 February read more

Call for WREN Kitchens not to misuse ‘intermittent’ furlough to slash staff holidays and annual leave costs (11 Feb) – Unite, the UK’s leading union, has called on WREN Kitchens to guarantee that it will not misuse ‘intermittent’ furlough at its factories in Howden, Barton and Scunthorpe to slash staff holidays and annual leave costs. The company has told workers it intends to impose a ‘rolling furlough’ in which staff work so many weeks and then stay home for a week under the job retention scheme. WREN’s factories and online consultations are still operating but the company’s retail outlets are shut during the lockdown. WREN factory staff were forced to take annual leave during the first period of the rolling furlough at the East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire sites, which began on February 1, with the government providing 80 per cent of wages and the company paying 20 per cent read more

80 tyre job losses add to Burton-on-Trent’s economic woes, says Unite (11 Feb) – The proposed loss of 80 jobs at Pirelli in Burton-on-Trent is ‘another employment hammer blow’ to the town’s struggling Covid-19 economy, Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, said today (Thursday 11 February). The tyre giant is closing MIRS, the robotic department that makes bespoke tyres, following the downturn in the market during the pandemic. Unite heavily criticised the company for not taking up the furlough scheme for these workers, instead of pushing ahead with the redundancies read more

Unite vows to overturn GKN’s Birmingham factory closure plans and accuses Melrose of lying about its intentions (10 Feb) – Unite, the UK’s leading union, has announced that it is working on a rescue plan to secure the future of the GKN plant in Chester Road, Birmingham that produces drivelines for major automotive companies in the UK. The 500 plus workforce at the factory were left shocked and fearing for their future when the company announced at the end of last month that the plant was earmarked for closure in 18 months time, with its work being transferred to other sites in Europe. Since 2018 GKN has been owned by venture capitalists Melrose. Melrose’s purchase of GKN was highly controversial. In response to fears that GKN was going to be asset stripped, Melrose promised shareholders and investors that it would establish a ‘UK manufacturing powerhouse’ read more

Winkworth estate agent services set for disruption during Goodlord strikes over £6,000 pay cuts (10 Feb) – Strikes over attempts to slash staff salaries by up to £6,000 at lettings software provider Goodlord will disrupt services for Winkworth and other London estate agents, Unite, the UK’s leading union, warned today (Wednesday 10 February). More than 20 Unite members employed in Goodlord’s London-based referencing department, which provides tenant checks for estate agents, will undertake a series of strikes between Monday 22 February and Friday 26 February. Under the fire and rehire plans, Goodlord’s referencing staff’s pay would plummet from £24,000 to £18,000 – less than the London living wage of £21,157 – while their maternity, holiday and sick pay would also be reduced. Referencing staff are the only workers employed by the company to have been singled out for fire and rehire attacks read more

Electricians launch own fund to protect against Covid financial penalties (10 Feb) – A group of electricians, who are members of Unite, the construction union, have launched a fund to ensure that if any of them contract Covid-19 or are forced to self isolate they will not be left financially destitute. The workers are employed by electrical sub-contractor NG Bailey and are working on the new MENSA building at the Atomic Weapons Establishment in Aldermarston, Berkshire. If the workers are required to self-isolate due to coming into contact with someone with Covid-19, they are only entitled to statutory sick pay (SSP), which is worth just £95 a week. The workers are also in theory entitled to industry sick under the Joint Industry Board (JIB) agreement. However, this is not paid for the first two weeks of sickness, meaning by the time it is payable the isolation period has ended and the worker has returned to work read more

London Living Wage win for Unite at Hestia – Unite at Hestia has chalked up a memorable victory by securing the London Living Wage for all employees. Hestia who had originally only offered to pay the 8 members listed on the grievance have now agreed to extend this to all staff. Disgracefully Hestia initially insisted that any agreement would be subject to gagging clause, they have also backed down on this too after members resolutely refused to accept Hestia’s original proposals. The determined stance adopted by members at Hestia has been totally vindicated. Throughout this short campaign membership has grown by 450% and the youthful, enthusiastic members are already preparing for their next steps so watch this space! Read more on Unite Housing Workers branch website

NHS bosses probed on profit margins of £755,000 contract for Reading hospital security guards – NHS bosses are being quizzed on the profit margins of the outsourced contract for the security guards at Reading hospital, who are currently locked in a ‘David and Goliath’ pay battle. Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust is paying Kingdom Service Group Ltd a total of £755,763-a-year to provide security for the trust. The security guards are currently on strike until early March over the Kingdom management’s failure to make a decent pay offer for 2020. Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, is now questioning whether the contract is ‘value for money’ and how big the profits margins are for Kingdom Service Group – a major corporate service provider with a £100 million plus turnover. Unite wants to know if it would not be better value for the taxpayer if the contract was brought back in-house which would then eradicate the hefty built-in profit margins that the outsourced company now enjoys…The 20 security guards have been taking strike action since mid-December and the third wave of strike action will run from 19.00 on Friday 12 February and ending at 19.00 on Sunday 7 March. This follows on from already announced strikes from 07:00 today (Monday 8 February) until 19.00 on Friday 12 February read more   Text solidarity messages via Jessica 07718668497 and donate to strike fund: Acc. No.: 20173991   Sort Code: 60-83-01.  Sign petition to Mark Wallace , Kingdom Service Group Managing Director: Pay Royal Berkshire Hospital security staff a wage they can live on

Scunthorpe scaffolders step up strike action at British Steel site – The British Steel plant in Scunthorpe faces further disruption this month as scaffolders based at the site, announced a further six days of strike action in a dispute over pay. The workers have already taken four days of strike action and will mount a further 48 hour strike beginning at 05:30 on Monday 8 February. Unite has now announced a 48 hour strike to begin at 05:30 on Monday 15 February, a 24 hour hours strike beginning at 05:30 on Thursday 18 February, then a further 48 hour strike beginning at 05:30 on Monday 22 February and finally a 24 hour strike from 05:30 on Thursday 25 February. The 50 plus scaffolders, involved in the strike action are employed by contractor Brand Energy to undertake maintenance on over 500 scaffolding structures that are on the British Steel site read more

Fresh Babcock strikes at RAF Leeming as ‘flight disruption’ over pay disparity continues – Strike action by Babcock Aerospace workers at RAF Leeming, near Northallerton in North Yorkshire, over a £5,000 pay disparity will continue until the end of February, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said today (Thursday 28 January). Around 50 Babcock workers, who provide operational and engineering services for aircraft at RAF Leeming, including the Hawk trainer aircraft, last week began three weeks of discontinuous strike action as well as a continuous overtime ban. Unite said of the fresh wave of strike action: “the disruption to training flight schedules will continue until the end of February”. The workers will be holding socially distanced picket lines outside the main entrance to RAF Leeming during the strikes (see notes to editors for strike times and dates). The Unite members voted in favour of strike action after being refused shift pay, even though their colleagues at RAF Valley in Wales receive it for performing the same duties. The difference in take home wages between those who receive shift pay and those who do not amounts to around £5,000 a year read more

Dear Unite Member – Strike action by Babcock Aerospace workers at RAF Leeming, near Northallerton in North Yorkshire will continue throughout February. Unite members voted in favour of strike action after being refused shift pay when their colleagues at RAF Valley in Wales receive it, despite workers at both sites performing the same duties. The difference in take home wages between those who receive shift pay and those who do not amounts to around £5,000 a year. Please show your support to these members by sending the below email to Rishi Sunak MP seeking his support for this groupp of workers. Rishi’s email address is [email protected]

Kind regards, Neil Howells Unite Regional Officer

“Dear Rishi Sunak MP,

I am writing, as a constituent, to draw to your attention to an industrial dispute currently taking place at RAF Leeming in your constituency, where hard working Babcock Aerospace Ltd staff are on strike. The staff, many of whom are your constituents, provide vital operational and engineering services for aircraft at RAF Leeming and without them the fighter jet training flights would not be able to take place. The staff have been forced to take strike action after being refused shift pay, even though their colleagues at RAF Valley in Wales receive it for performing the same duties. The difference in take home wages between those who receive shift pay and those who do not amounts to around £5,000 a year. I know that you have been a champion of the Government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda to tackle regional disparities and so I’m sure that you will agree with me that it is just not right that a worker in North Yorkshire should be paid £5,000 per year less than a fellow worker, doing exactly the same job, in another part of the country. Will you join the calls of the staff’s union Unite, for Babcock Aerospace to get back to the negotiating table as soon as possible with an offer so that these hard working staff get a package that they deserve similar to workers in other parts of the country and return services at the base to normal?

Kind Regards”

Northern England facing ‘crispstrophe’ as Eddie Stobart drivers on Walkers contract prepare for strike action – Consumers across northern England should brace themselves for a ‘crispstrophe’ as the drivers responsible for delivering Walkers crisps to supermarkets across the UK prepare to take strike action. The workers are employed by Eddie Stobart Ltd at its Warrington depot on the Walkers Pepsico contract. The workers returned a 96.7 per cent vote in favour of strike action before Christmas, as a result of Eddie Stobart trying to enforce a pay freeze on the drivers and refusing to enter into pay negotiations with Unite despite it being the recognised union. An overtime ban was instigated for a three week period which began on 26 December. However as Eddie Stobart has still declined to enter into pay talks a further overtime ban will commence from 00:01hrs on Saturday 23 January until 00:00hrs on Saturday 16 February, followed by four days of strike action from Sunday 17 February until Wednesday 20 February. Unite has also announced a further overtime ban from Saturday 20 February until Saturday 27 February and then a further three days of strike action from Sunday 28 February until Tuesday 2 March. Given the just in time nature of supermarket deliveries, Walkers products will swiftly disappear from shelves once strike action begins read more

Read document by Unite Community Cumbria branch: ‘Covid and the Tories – a world beating catastrophe’

 

PCS

PCS sets out proposals to tackle accusations of racism in the Cabinet Office (15 Feb) – Mark Serwotka has written to Alex Chisholm, the cabinet office secretary, raising serious concerns around racial discrimination in the department and sets out a plan of how to deal with it. According to the evidence compiled by PCS, over 80 members in the cabinet office have complained about being racially bullied, along with overwhelming testimony that people are afraid to raise concerns about race and other discriminations, fearing management reprisals read more

PCS lands ‘crushing’ legal victory on redundancy payment cap (12 Feb) – Government intends to revoke legislation which capped redundancy payments for public sector workers. In November 2020, the government imposed legislative regulations setting a cap of £95,000 on redundancy payments in the public sector. PCS, along with other unions, lodged proceedings with the High Court in order to get the legislation quashed. A High Court hearing was set for March this year. In what marks a further crushing legal victory for PCS over the government on behalf of our members, the government has now confirmed that they intend to revoke the legislation read more

DVLA strike ballot launched amidst Covid health and safety scandal at Swansea site (10 Feb) – Thousands of staff working at DVLA will be balloted for strike action over continuing Covid health and safety concerns, PCS has announced. The ballot will open on 18 February and close March 11 and could see spring walkouts. DVLA has been forcing over 2,000 staff members to go into the workplace every day despite the fact over 500 Covid cases have been reported at the Swansea site since September last year. The union has repeatedly called for a huge reduction in footfall at DVLA, pointing out that during the first lockdown, only 250 people were in the workplace carrying out essential duties. One staff member sadly died recently after a positive Covid test and only this week, according to local reps, 40 staff members were sent home after the NHS app sent out warnings to dozens of DVLA workers. PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “It is a scandal that DVLA have insisted over 2,000 staff members come into work every day, despite having the biggest outbreak of Covid in an office workplace within the UK read more

PCS to ballot HMCTS members over safety concerns (10 Feb) – PCS is balloting members in HM Courts and Tribunals Service over management’s failure to act to address serious and significant health and safety concerns. Given that we have not yet had a commitment from HMCTS to resolve the issues we have outlined we are escalating the dispute and balloting members, with a statutory postal ballot starting on Monday (15) of members in 12 courts asking them if they would be prepared to strike over workplace safety concerns. We are also launching an online consultative ballot for all HMCTS members whose workplace is not one of these 12 courts. This ballot runs from 22 February to noon on 15 March

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

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

 

GMB

Support the GMB strike against ‘fire and rehire at British Gas – send a message of support and donate to the GMB British Gas ‘Fire and Rehire’ Strike Fund

The latest four days of strike action were suspended due to talks. However, other strike dates are in place depending on the outcome of these negotiations. However, we understand that this coming 4 days of strike action (Friday 18 February-Monday 22 February) is going ahead  

Twelve new days of strike action announced at British Gas – British Gas boss O’Shea is pressing on despite telling Parliament his acceptance of ‘dodgy’ legal advice led to strikes. GMB has today announced 12 more days of British Gas strike action in the fire and rehire dispute which is now expected to continue until at least April. The new 12 days will follow four days of strike action starting today [Friday February 5 – Monday February 8] read more

Almost 5,000 members of public tell British Gas shareholders: ‘fire & rehire damaging your investment’ (11 Feb)

GMB slams British Gas as further redundancies planned across UK (10 Feb)

GMB Members in Reigate & Banstead Borough Council undertake strike ballot over pay (16 Feb) – GMB considers that the Council’s pay claim is not good enough, especially taking in to account that some staff were on a previous 3 year pay freeze. GMB, the Trade Union for staff at Reigate and Banstead Council, had been negotiating pay with the Council since November 2020 for all staff. GMB members rejected a full and final offer of 1.3% in favour to undertake a full strike ballot, all staff within the Council now have the opportunity to take part providing they are GMB members. The ballot opened on Monday 15th February and is set to run until 1st March 2021 read more

Quarantine hotels: Health Secretary must give workers protection to avert fresh outbreaks (16 Feb) – Ministers risk jeopardising the UK’s recovery from covid with new strains running riot through communities. GMB, the union for security staff, has written to the Health Secretary demanding workers at quarantine hotels have a thorough workplace testing regime in place and a guarantee of full pay for any period of self-isolation. In a letter to Matt Hancock, the union warns proper risk assessments must be carried out to avoid the recovery being ‘hampered by new variants spreading amongst the community’ read more

Unions call for substantial pay rise for council and school workers (15 Feb) – Our members put themselves in harm’s way to protect the public, their dedication must be recognised, says GMB Union. Three local government unions have today (Monday) submitted a pay claim, which they say begins to redress a decade of cuts and recognises the key role played in the pandemic by school and council staff read more

Quarantine hotels security staff must be protected (13 Feb)

Less than 5% of NHS staff think government has handled pandemic well – GMB poll (14 Feb) – Survey of almost 3,500 health workers shows almost half think Ministers have handled covid crisis ‘badly’ and have made the situation worse. Less than 5% of NHS staff think the Government has handled the pandemic well, a GMB poll shows. In the survey of almost 3,500 health workers, only 4.9% answered that the Government was doing a good job during the covid crisis read more

Victory for millions of low paid public sector workers as exit cap regulations withdrawn (12 Feb) – Ministers forced into change following Judicial Review brought by GMB Union. GMB Union, which represents more than 300,000 workers in local government and the wider public sector, has welcomed the Government’s decision to withdraw its exit cap regulations. The Government’s u-turn means that the perverse regulations that have hit low paid workers the hardest will now be revoked read more

G4S workers terms and conditions must be protected (12 Feb) – GMB, the union for security workers, is demanding assurances that workers terms and conditions are built on in Security giant G4S. The calls come with uncertainty looming over the takeover after the bidding war to take over the security giant has been thrown to an auction after neither interested party offered a finalised bid read more

Hundreds rally overnight to save ‘vital’ teen pregnancy service (12 Feb) – Outrage as ‘super-efficient’ community service cut whilst more than £8.8 million splurged on consultants since 2019. A GMB Union petition to save Stoke-on-Trent’s teen pregnancy service has gathered more than 600 signatures in 24 hours – now more than 800 read more

Epsom & St Helier U-turn on free hospital parking pledge in 24 hours (12 Feb) – ‘This funding was earmarked for our NHS Heroes, and the trust shouldn’t be trying to take a second bite at the cherry’. The NHS trust at the centre of a car-parking charges scandal has reversed its free parking pledge less than 24 hours after making it. Following a successful campaign by GMB members, Epsom and St Helier publicly pledged to provide free parking for all of its staff from February 11th. However, the trust has already u-turned on the original commitment, confirming that staff paid for parking today and are instead introducing a parking prioritisation system read more

Accused, Threatened, Prosecuted & Exonerated – One Nurse’s Story (12 Feb) – Yet another case study that shows the value of being in a union. The ordeal for this nurse, who is a GMB Union member from South East London, started in 2015 when she was the deputy manager of a care home where she was accused of neglect and ill treatment of residents. GMB appointed lawyers to represent the nurse when she was questioned by police and then when criminal charges were brought against her. She attended the Thames Magistrates Court and Snaresbrook Crown Court and, finally, in 2017, after 2.5 years, the case was dropped when the Crown Prosecution Service offered no evidence against her read more

Sign the GMB petition against the academisation of these Sussex schools! – We oppose the plans to turn Peacehaven Heights and Telscombe Cliffs Primary Schools in to academies. Sign our petition below if you oppose them too! GMB, the union for school support staff, oppose any plans to turn state schools into academies.  That is why we have set up a petition against the academisation of Peacehaven Heights and Telscombe Cliffs Primary Schools in East Sussex. Please sign and share our petition if you agree, at https://www.gmb-southern.org.uk/stop-the-academisation-of-peacehaven-heights-and-telscombe-cliffs-schools. Our flyer for distribution is also available to download on this page too! Read more

 

Unison

Unions call for a ​’substantial​’ pay rise for ​council and school workers (15 Feb) – Three local government unions ​have today (Monday)​ submitted a pay claim ​for 2021/22, which they say begin​s to redress a decade of cuts and recognises the key role ​played in the pandemic ​by school and council staff.  They want to see a ‘substantial’ pay increase from this April with a wage rise of at least 10% for all council ​and school support employees in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. ​Under the claim, the ​pay of the lowest paid workers ​would go above £10 per hour – ​lifting them above the ​real ​living ​wage of £9.50 per hour (outside London) read more

Government exit payment rethink will bring relief to millions of public sector workers (12 Feb) – Flawed regulations threatened to blight the retirement of staff read more

UNISON calls for lockdown halt to non-essential water work (11 Feb) – In a letter to the water minister, UNISON says that revised COVID-19 guidance on close contacts means the government should tell the water industry to pause some work. UNISON is calling on the Westminster government to pause non-essential work by the water industry during the latest lockdown, in order to protect employees and help to reduce transmission of COVID-19 read more

Government responds to McCloud pension consultation (10 Feb) – The Government has published its response which sought views on the proposed remedy option for correcting the unlawful discrimination determined in the Court of Appeal’s McCloud judgement read more

UNISON urges HSE to improve COVID guidance for employers (10 Feb) – The union is highlighting the particular risk to vulnerable workers. UNISON has written to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) this week, calling for improved guidance for employers on how to protect their Black and other vulnerable workers during the pandemic. The union had previously written to the HSE on these issues last summer, but since then, with the spread of more contagious variants of COVID-19, the death toll has passed 100,000. Large numbers of UNISON members work in occupations most affected by the virus, with Black & disabled workers among those most vulnerable read more

Unison: Support the Birmingham NHS Heartlands Porters Dispute – UNSION members who are Heartlands Hospital Porters are currently taking strike action about the proposed imposition of a new rota. This will result in them working detrimental rotating 8 shifts pattern. The proposed rota impacts on our members health and well being; their caring responsibilities; their work/life balance and results in a significant cut in wages for many read more on Facebook page.

Email message of support to [email protected]

Donate to hardship fund: Unison University Hospitals Birmingham Branch 22536, Unity Trust Bank, Ac: 20403849   Sort Code: 60 83 01

Sign petition: We call upon the Chair of the Trust Jacqui Smith and the Chief Executive David Rosser to halt the imposition of the rota and to not ‘fire and rehire’ their Heartlands Hospital Porters on the 1st Feb. We urge them to ask the senior management to work with UNISON to implement a jointly agreed rota which is based upon a ‘fixed’ shift basis

Cumberland Infirmary workers set to strike over TEN YEARS worth of missing unsocial hours payments – More than seventy porters, cleaners, switchboard and catering staff working at Cumberland Infirmary are set to take strike action over missing payments for working unsocial hours. More than seventy porters, cleaners, switchboard and catering staff working at Cumberland Infirmary are set to take strike action over missing payments for working unsocial hours. The health workers – all members of trade union UNISON – plan to take two days of industrial action on Friday 26 February and Monday 1 March. Members of the GMB union are also set to strike on the same days read more

 

CWU

Rethink now or face strike action in a fortnight, Openreach bosses told (Feb 11) – Formal notice of two consecutive strike days has been served on Openreach – with the industrial action commencing in just under a fortnight unless  management  reconsiders the imposition of grading changes that have incensed the union’s small but intensely loyal membership of Repayment Project Engineers (RPEs). Barring genuine movement  by bosses to address a raft of serious  concerns that have been consistently  flagged up by RPEs since the move was first announced last July, the first industrial action to be witnessed anywhere in BT Group since November 1999 will take place on Wednesday February 24 and Thursday  February 25. The initial two days of strike action – which will involve all of the union’s 170 D1-graded RPE members – follows one of the most overwhelming rejections of management contempt for legitimate workforce concerns to be witnessed in an industrial action ballot in generations. Announced last Thursday, the 86% of RPEs who voted to take industrial action on a 94% turnout comprehensively trounced the onerous legal thresholds that have to be met for workers to withdraw their labour under the UK’s punitive anti-union legislation read more

Sign petition: Keep BT desk based sites open in London and the South East

 

FBU

Court rules fire bosses must stop holding up pensions (12 Feb) – Fire and rescue authorities must stop holding up firefighter pensions, an Employment Appeal Tribunal has ruled, in the latest legal victory for the Fire Brigades Union (FBU). It follows a 2018 Court of Appeal ruling that, by forcing firefighters onto worse pension schemes while allowing others to remain on their old schemes, the government had committed unlawful age discrimination. The Supreme Court rejected the government’s attempt to appeal the case. But fire service bosses refused to accept their responsibility to return firefighters to their rightful pensions, launching an appeal against the previous decision that the government and the fire and rescue authorities were both responsible for age discrimination read more

FBU responds to government building safety announcement (10 Feb) – Responding to the government’s announcement of further measures to tackle the building safety crisis, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has accused the government of taking a “piecemeal and patchwork approach – designed to shield itself from responsibility”. Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “From the very start, firefighters and residents have warned that the building safety crisis goes far beyond the flammable cladding that was on Grenfell Tower. This funding falls far short of the estimated £15bn needed to end the crisis…” read more

 

BFAWU

Sign ‘War on Want’ petition: END SEXUAL HARASSMENT AT MCDONALD’S McDonald’s has a sexual harassment problem. Women from across the world are joining together and speaking out about the harassment they have faced whilst working at the company. Workers in the USA have even been on strike about it. But still McDonald’s is refusing to take the action needed to end sexual harassment in its restaurants. The evidence is clear: a formal complaint submitted by workers in May 2020 shows at least seven countries where McDonald’s has failed to properly address harassment complaints, and the company’s global CEO even had to resign because of inappropriate relationships with employees. Please email McDonald’s UK CEO today and demand that the company listens to its workers and takes steps to end sexual harassment

 

NEU

Please find below details of forthcoming action. Please send messages of solidarity to the email addresses below:

Langley School / Birmingham
(Covid-19 health and safety concerns as well as unreasonable management practices.)
Wednesday 24 February [email protected]
Shrewsbury College
(Victimisation of Rep)
Wednesday 24 February [email protected]
Barrow Hedges
(Unreasonable deduction of pay when a member is unable to attend school because of childcare responsibilities related to Covid-19)
Tuesday 23 and Wednesday 24 February [email protected]

Sign petition and support the strikes to Reinstate Sharon Morgan LONDON DESIGN AND ENGINEERING UTC Newham – At the start of this term, teacher and NEU rep Sharon Morgan was summarily dismissed from her job by London Design and Engineering UTC. Sharon was sacked without due process, with no formal investigation or a hearing where she could put her case. At an employment tribunal the judge described LDE’s behaviour as “morally reprehensible” and LDE subsequently agreed to reinstate Sharon. But the next day LDE changed their mind and refused to reinstate her. In reality, Sharon was sacked for helping NEU members stand up for better working conditions for staff, in the interests of the whole school community. This is trade union victimisation and it’s unacceptable. The sacking of Sharon is an attack on all trade unionists at LDE, in Newham, and everywhere. There are further strikes this week from Tuesday to Thursday

Support Newham Little Ilford School strikes against unsafe expansion – NEU members are taking strike action at the enormous comprehensive in Manor Park, east London, which already teaches 1,470 students. Labour-run Newham Council wants it to take 1,800. Sign petition: Newham Council is trying to force Little Ilford School to expand to 1800 pupils. But expanding will mean an overcrowded school and an overwhelming environment for all staff and pupils. It will undermine the quality of education and care that can be provided to pupils. And the expansion is opposed by virtually the entire staff body

 

EIS

Supply Teachers Report Continuing Difficulty in Finding work During Pandemic (9 Feb) – Supply teachers in Scotland have reported continuing difficulties in securing employment, despite a clear need for additional teachers to support education during the pandemic and to provide cover for staff who are ill with Coronavirus or other winter viruses. This is causing significant financial hardship for some supply teachers read more

 

UCU

Petition calling for fair funding and online learning

BREAKING NEWS!! Ballot for strike action at Chichester College Group in jobs row (16 Feb) – UCU members at Chichester College Group are being asked to vote on whether to take industrial action, as part of a dispute of over job cuts. The college wrote to staff to say it wants to get rid of to 10 full time equivalent jobs in maths and English, 40% of that department. The college has also admitted it intends to make further cuts, including reducing in-person teaching by a third in maths and English and moving some lessons online permanently, even when the pandemic has passed read more

Staff in post-16 education are having to fight UK government and employers throughout Covid crisis, says Jo Grady (13 Feb) – In her first speech to UCU’s annual congress as general secretary, Jo Grady set out the challenges workers in prison, adult, further and higher education are facing during the pandemic. Due to Covid, the two-day conference is the union’s first ever to be hosted online read more

Job cuts amid threat to close modern language department at University of Hull (12 Feb) – UCU has today condemned the University of Hull’s decision to sack the UCU branch president and put other staff at risk of redundancy. Just days after making UCU branch president Keith Butler compulsorily redundant, the university confirmed plans to suspend its modern language provision, putting more staff at risk of losing their jobs. The university is also reviewing its passport languages provision, when students opt to include language as part of other studies, creating more uncertainty for staff and students in this subject area. This is less than two years since the university previously reviewed both areas and made job cuts. The university has closed applications to its modern language courses and will stop running them altogether by October 2022 read more

UCU statement on death of teacher at Burnley College (11 Feb) – Sadly, Donna Coleman, a longstanding UCU member, who worked with vulnerable students at Burnley College died last month (Wednesday 6 January 2021) after contracting Covid. She was 42 years old and leaves behind friends and family read more

Vote to suspend industrial action at Solent University following positive talks (9 Feb) – UCU members will vote to decide on suspension of industrial action at Solent University after positive talks between the university and the union. UCU members had voted overwhelmingly (94%) to take action in a ballot which closed on 20 January. The row was over threats from the university to use compulsory redundancies in order to dismiss staff. Since UCU won the ballot it has been in negotiations with the university, and this has resulted in a proposed agreement* to suspend the trade dispute. UCU will now ask members to vote on the agreement, with a recommendation to accept the suspension of the dispute. Solent University has agreed not to proceed to a second phase of restructure and redundancies within this academic year 20/21.  The university has given a written commitment to not make further redundancies until at least 1 February 2022.  Solent University has also agreed to further negotiations with UCU to seek to agree a ‘Redundancy Avoidance Agreement’ which should provide greater job security for staff. The union said it was pleased that constructive negotiations with management had led to a potential agreement read more

UCU fighting fund: the link is here and donations to the fund are spent on supporting members involved in important disputes. As always, members are asked to contribute whatever their circumstances allow. A donation in solidarity of any amount will be gratefully received by members taking action.

 

NUJ

NUJ condemns graffiti of journalists’ name with crosshairs in Belfast (13 Feb) – The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) in the UK and Ireland has renewed calls on the authorities to take action to identify and punish those who consistently threaten journalists in Northern Ireland. The union’s latest call is in response to graffiti appearing across East Belfast this week which threatens Sunday World journalist Patricia Devlin. The name of the reporter was sprayed onto the wall in at least two locations and was accompanied by the image of a crosshair of a gun read more

NUJ welcomes government’s decision to drop exit payment cap (12 Feb) – The NUJ has welcomed the government’s decision today to revoke the Restriction of Public Sector Exit Payments Regulations 2020, which imposed a cap of £95,000 on exit payments including at the BBC. The NUJ is part of a legal challenge against the government regarding the implementation of the regulations, arguing that its unintended consequences have compromised equal pay settlements and undermined the collective terms and conditions of staff without any consultation with the joint unions read more

 

Prospect

Government backs down on exit payment cap after Prospect legal challenge (12 Feb) – The government have announced that regulations introduced last year to cap exit payments to staff in the public sector are to be withdrawn. These regulations, laid in November, were being challenged through a Judicial Review brought by Prospect as well as a number of other unions read more

Budget 2021: Prospect urges Chancellor to strike new settlement for self-employed (12 Feb) – An Inquiry backed by unions and business groups calls for a rebalancing of risk for the self-employed after the pandemic read more

 

USDAW

Usdaw victory blocks Tesco ‘fire and rehire’ tactic – Scottish Court of Session rules in favour of workers affected (12 Feb) – Retail trade union Usdaw has today won an interdict in the Court of Session in Edinburgh against Tesco forcing some of the staff at the Livingston distribution centre onto a new contract, which would result in the affected staff losing between £4,000 and £19,000 per year read more

 

Mandate (Ireland)

Ex-Debenhams workers mark 300 days on strike – reiterate call on Taoiseach to make funds available to workers – Today marks 300 days since 1,000 Debenhams workers in the Republic of Ireland received an email telling them they’d lost their jobs and their company had entered liquidation. Since then, the workers have mounted official pickets on 11 stores including four in Dublin – Henry Street, Blackrock, Blanchardstown and Tallaght, as well as Galway, Tralee, Newbridge, Limerick, Waterford and two stores in Cork – Mahon Point and Patrick Street. The workers are again calling on the Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, to make a €3m training fund established for the workers available as a cash payment, and to legislate to make sure this never happens again read more

Support striking Debenhams Workers: Email messages of support to the strikers via [email protected] and Mandate through [email protected]. Also, follow Stand with Debenhams Workers Facebook page

 

SIPTU (Ireland)

SIPTU members support Public Service Agreement by overwhelming majority (11 Feb) – SIPTU members in the public service have voted by a resounding majority to accept the proposals in Building Momentum, a New Public Service Agreement read more

SIPTU Health members incensed at omission from Oireachtas Health Committee (9 Feb) – SIPTU members were incensed by the omission of SIPTU Health representatives from the Oireachtas Health Committee today (Tuesday, 9th February) where the situation of Covid-19 frontline health workers was discussed and debated read more

 

UVW

BREAKING STRIKE NEWS: Cleaners at La Retraite RC Girls’ School have returned a 100% YES vote to STRIKE! – Following a 1 month walk out over Covid safety which forced major H&S improvements, the cleaners will now strike for DIGNITY, RESPECT & EQUALITY! This will be the first strike in the 140 year history of the school. Will La Retraite continue to treat the cleaners “second class” or “like the dirt they clean”, to quote the cleaners themselves, or will they live by their professed ethos “To Act Justly…treating everyone equally & with justice”? Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure: we will never stop fighting until  the cleaners are treated equally and with justice! Strike dates and solidarity actions TBA read more

Support the North London SAGE strike – Watch ReelNews video of strike

They’ve made it clear to Sage’s trustees that dignity in the workplace is non-negotiable. They deserve a living wage of £12 per hour, full pay sick pay and trade union recognition; and they won’t stop until they get it! If you want to support these workers in getting the respect and dignity they are long overdue, here’s what you can do:

1) Use our new letter writing tool to contact your MP calling on them to support the strike here

2) Use our new letter writing tool to send a message directly to Sage’s trustees calling on them to meet the workers’ demands here

3) Donate to the workers’ strike fund details here

UVW Facebook page

 

 

 

Other news

Emergency motion carried at South East Kent Trades Union Council over the deplorable decision by Home Secretary Patel to confine people seeking asylum in Napier Barracks in Folkestone. We ask that you urgently circulate the resolution through your respective organisation, regards Eric Segal (Secretary South East Kent Trades Union Council)

This South East Kent Trades Union Council (SEKTUC) calls upon the Home Office to close down the Napier Barracks in Folkestone immediately. Napier barracks is an asylum seeker dispersal unit housing four hundred asylum seeking men. Napier Barracks is not fit for purpose and this is confirmed by the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus at the barracks.

These vulnerable people who have fled war and torture must now be moved to safe accommodation where self -isolation and appropriate social distancing is facilitated. They must have access to medical treatment for their mental and physical health.

Their asylum claims must be processed within an acceptable time frame and they should have full access to good quality legal advice and representation via legal aid solicitors.

We call on the TUC and its affiliated trade unions to support the campaign to close Napier Barracks and other military

 

 

Fight blacklisting and victimisation of union reps

From PCS website: Shrewsbury pickets’ case at Court of Appeal – The Shrewsbury 24 Campaign, which is seeking justice for North Wales building workers prosecuted for picketing during the 1972 national building workers’ strike, takes a potentially significant step next month when the Court of Appeal will be asked to overturn their convictions. The campaign, backed by PCS, is seeking justice for 24 trade unionists arrested and charged after the first national building workers’ strike in 1972 read more

Socialist Film Club – Justice for the Shrewsbury Pickets – We welcome you to attend the next showing of the Socialist Film Club on 24th February for the film, a guest speaker, some music, and discussion. The film looks at the events surrounding the arrest of 24 Shrewsbury building workers in 1972, and the shocking imprisonment of three of them. At this very moment the case is going through the high courts to clear their names register here

 

#SPYCops Inquiry exposes state surveillance of workers movement

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.

Watch video: ‘You’re Muted’ – What’s Up at the #SpyCopsInquiry? – Five minutes of highlights from the ‘Public’ Inquiry hearing evidence in secret about undercover policing  in England and Wales since 1968

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

Blacklist Support Group opening statement to the public inquiry – Dave Smith posted this message on the BSG Facebook page:-

“I’d like to publicly thank everyone from around the globe who has sent messages of support after our opening statement at the undercover policing public inquiry. I was proud to deliver the speech on behalf of the Blacklist Support Group; but this is a collective endeavour. We got to this point by blacklisted union members working together with investigative journalists, campaigning lawyers, world class researchers, MPs, unions, anti-racist campaigns and rank & file activists. We stand shoulder to shoulder with all the non-state, non-police core participants in the public inquiry, especially our sister campaigns; Police Spies Out of Lives, Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance and the family justice campaigns. This is what solidarity looks like”.

Full text of the BSG opening statement is now online via the Hazards magazine website: https://www.hazards.org/blacklistblog/2020/11/17/blacklist-support-group-opening-statement-for-ucpi-dave-smith/

It can be watched via this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JegrwaVKRfs&feature=youtu.be

Some of the media coverage:

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/police-urged-union-members-to-bomb-shop-ll0mv8bs7

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/nov/17/police-chief-who-spied-on-activists-went-on-to-work-for-union-blacklist-inquiry-told

https://www.union-news.co.uk/i-am-a-blacklisted-construction-worker-i-will-not-be-silenced-read-dave-smiths-explosive-evidence-to-spycops-inquiry/

https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/b/former-cop-who-spied-on-trade-unionists-left-the-force-to-join-blacklist-firm

http://campaignopposingpolicesurveillance.com/2020/11/17/ucpi-daily-report-17-nov-2020/

To support the ongoing campaign for justice, please share some of the press articles on social media

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

Reinstate sacked Unite London bus rep Judith Katera Judith a longstanding union rep and activist in Battersea garage in South London has been dismissed by Abellio. 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.

In October, she was facing a disciplinary meeting and possible dismissal. A solidarity protest was organised and then postponed because the disciplinary process wasn’t completed. However, she has discovered that the company sacked her on December 4th! She even had to contact the company to find out that she had been dismissed! Just a few weeks before Christmas, Judith was dismissed with no income. An online appeal has been set up to support Judith and her family.

Unite the union are ran a consultative ballot before Christmas to launch the campaign to get Judith reinstated. We understand that there was an overwhelming vote of support, which sends the message to Abellio that bus drivers in Battersea will fight to for Judith’s job and stop attacks on the union. We hope that such a vote will force management to reinstate Judith but if they still refuse, the union are now able to launch a full industrial action ballot.

The NSSN sends our support and solidarity to Judith, her members and her union Unite and pledge to do everything we can to get her reinstated. We will keep our supporters and affiliates fully informed of developments and any protests and action that are called. Stop union busting!

Sign petition: St Mungo’s brutal treatment of BAME worker opposed by Unite – Without income for twenty-one weeks. Female worker comes to the end of a period of sickness during the pandemic. Health conditions put her at raised risk. She is also older and from a BAME background. Her normal job would expose her to further increased risk. Rather than furlough her or find her alternative work the employer simply stops her pay without going through any personnel procedure. Management reject appeals to senior levels from Unite leaving the worker without income and desperate for twenty-one weeks

Sign petition and support the strikes to Reinstate Sharon Morgan LONDON DESIGN AND ENGINEERING UTC – At the start of this term, teacher and NEU rep Sharon Morgan was summarily dismissed from her job by London Design and Engineering UTC. Sharon was sacked without due process, with no formal investigation or a hearing where she could put her case. At an employment tribunal the judge described LDE’s behaviour as “morally reprehensible” and LDE subsequently agreed to reinstate Sharon. But the next day LDE changed their mind and refused to reinstate her. In reality, Sharon was sacked for helping NEU members stand up for better working conditions for staff, in the interests of the whole school community. This is trade union victimisation and it’s unacceptable. The sacking of Sharon is an attack on all trade unionists at LDE, in Newham, and everywhere

Security guard seeks ‘groundbreaking’ injunction to stop his ‘unlawful’ sacking in what his union UVW describes as the first case of its kind for a low paid worker (23 Nov) – A security guard at the Francis Crick Institute in London is set to face off against his employer Wilson James in an injunction hearing in what his trade union, United Voices of the World (UVW), has described as an “unprecedented legal showdown”. On 11th November after only 3 weeks in his new job Cetin Avsar, the security guard from Turkey bringing the legal action, received a letter inviting him to a probationary review hearing stating “[his] conduct has not reached the required standards” citing only his membership of his trade union, his previously having participated in a strike and his views, shard by his union, that outsourcing is ‘discriminatory’. The letter warned him that he might be dismissed after the hearing 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 – [email protected]

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 [email protected]. 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

Turkey: Erdogan attacks Bogazici Resistance read more on website of Solidarity with the People of Turkey

 

 

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