NSSN 523: The Sparks launch fight to stop de-skilling at Hinkley Point

February 23, 2021 in Bulletins

Rank and file construction electricians have launched a struggle against what they see as multi-skilling by bosses at the massive site Hinkley Point to build the nuclear power station, estimated to cost £22.5 billion.

It is reported that an agreement to employ about 500 electrical apprentices had been reneged on and instead a training course for ‘Support Operatives’ is being put on. This would mean lower-paid unskilled workers being employed instead of skilled electricians.

A meeting of rank & file construction workers last Saturday, echoing the Unite Electrical and Mechanical Combine Committee, called on the national leadership of the union to oppose this move by the bosses and give a lead to the campaign.

Sparks HP

But the ‘Sparks’ as the electricians became known when they defeated the BESNA contract in 2011-12, a previous attempt to de-skill the trade, which would have seen pay cuts of up to 35%, have a record of not waiting for the union officials. Then, a 6-month struggle of walkouts, stoppages and protests forced the union to back the campaign, leading to an official ballot, which forced the bosses back.

But the employers are back, looking again to make workers pay to protect and increase their profits. Workers know that any breaking of national agreements at Hinkley Point would be rolled out nationally.  The meeting agreed to launch a national fight, focused on Hinkley Point but ready to take on the construction bosses everywhere.

NSSN chair Rob Williams gave solidarity greetings and reported similar attacks on workers in many sectors, including ‘Fire and Rehire’ which has seen workers’ strike from BA to British Gas and an increasing number of companies.

Solidarity to the Sparks!

Read latest Siteworker bulletin of the Rank & File: The installer grade is BACK with 75% of Sparks work under threat

 

Support the London and Manchester bus strikes – stop union-busting!

Bus drivers in Unite the union in Manchester and London are taking strike action (see under Unite in this week’s bulletin). 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

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. 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.”

TUC online ‘Rally for a Workers Budget’ – 7:30pm-9pm Tuesday 2 March

 

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), Gary Carney (London Underground) and Declan Clune (bus driver in Hampshire)  

RMT demands that Government crack on with rail nationalisation as it emerges preparations are being ramped up to take over collapsing franchises (22 Feb) – RAIL UNION ‎RMT today demanded that the Government take immediate action to return Britain’s failing rail franchises to public ownership as it emerged that preparations have been ramped up in the past week to pave the way for the Operator of Last Resort to step in across the country. Companies House records show strategic changes were made to the structure of a series of shell OLR companies in readiness for them to take over at South Western Railway, C2C, Cross Country, Great Western Railway. Effectively the Operator of Last Resort – the public sector option – is now in the final stages of readiness to step in and seize control of Britain’s railways read more

RMT issues new warning of a cocktail of dangers for bus driver safety as government confirms mass opening of schools on 8 March (22 Feb) – BUS UNION RMT has issued a new warning over bus driver safety as the Government confirms mass opening of schools on 8 March. RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said; “RMT members who have direct experience of the way the return to school was previously so poorly managed by the bus employers as lockdowns were relaxed now have even greater levels of concern…” read more

RMT says no more excuses – bring Scotrail into public ownership (22 Feb) – RAIL UNION RMT warned today that the on-going consultation over the future of the Scotrail franchise smells of a delaying tactic and called on the Scottish Government to stop playing for time, follow the Welsh example and bring the services into public ownership read more

RMT warns that there are just 48 hours left to halt Nottingham City Council’s proposed cuts to the vital Linkbus network (19 Feb) – BUS UNION RMT warned today that there are just 48 hours left to save crucial transport links from the axe as it responded to Nottingham City Council’s consultation over its plans to cut a number of vital Linkbus services. The union is calling for these proposals, which will be damaging for the local community and particularly the high number of disabled and elderly passengers, to be withdrawn. The call comes ahead of the closure of the consultation on Sunday read more

RMT demands suspension of on-train ticketing duties as survey reveals the operators putting staff at severe COVID risk (18 Feb) – RAIL UNION RMT is today demanding that the Government immediately suspends on-train revenue protection and ticket inspection across all Train Operating Companies, after a survey of RMT on-board staff indicates that 7 out of 17 Train Operating Companies (TOCs) operating through national contracts are putting their staff at increased risk by still requiring them to undertake these non-essential duties in confined spaces such as on board trains, despite the current lockdown, rather than allowing staff to focus on passenger assurance, accessibility and safety 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

Eurostar must be supported (20 Feb) – ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, this week met the Treasury to press the British government to support jobs and services at Eurostar after the company admitted it is ‘fighting for survival’. The union will now be working with the TUC to put together a formal paper to be presented to the Treasury read more

 

TSSA

Transport and travel needs ongoing covid support, says TSSA (22 Feb) – Responding to the Prime Minister’s roadmap to removing lockdown restrictions, transport and travel union TSSA asks what support will be given to both industries while covid restrictions remain in place read more

TSSA says a global pandemic is not the time to refranchise ScotRail (22 Feb) – TSSA today (Monday) is pressing the Scottish Government to explain why they are not taking rail into public hands as a means of keeping the railway running. The union’s intervention comes as the Scottish Government is running a consultation exercise on the future of the failing Abellio ScotRail franchise read more

TSSA Raises Concerns Over Government Transpennine Commitment (16 Feb) – TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has raised what he described as “real concerns” after Network Rail (NR) said it does not have the funds required to electrify two new stretches of the Transpennine Route, despite a promise from the Government read more

 

Unite

London bus bosses accused of using pandemic as ‘a smokescreen’ for attacks on pay, as 2,200 drivers set to strike next week (19 Feb) – London bus passengers will face serious disruption as Unite the union confirmed that 2,200 bus drivers employed by RATP will strike next week over a sustained attack on their pay packets. Unite accused the French-owned RATP of using the pandemic as ‘a convenient smokescreen’ to attempt to implement pay policies that could see some of their drivers lose up to £2,500-a-year. RATP operates three subsidiaries across the London bus network: London United, London Sovereign and Quality Line. 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. Due to the proposed contracts drivers face wage cuts of £2,500 which will reduce wages to 2015 levels. Workers at Quality Line, based at its depot in Epsom, Surrey, will take strike action on Monday 22 February and Tuesday 23 February in a dispute over pay. The drivers earn £2.50 an hour less than drivers at RATP’s other subsidiaries. The workers have been offered a derisory pay offer of 0.5 per cent (seven pence an hour). Unite members at London Sovereign, who operate services in north west London, will take strike action on Monday 22 February in a pay dispute. The workers have been offered a pay increase of just 0.75 per cent, which is well below what has been offered by other operators. A further strike date has been announced for Wednesday 3 March read more

Manchester Go Ahead North West bus drivers in all out strike over fire and rehire dispute – 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

‘Deep concern’ at Ulster Bank’s exit from Republic of Ireland with 3,000 jobs under threat (19 Feb) – Unite the union has expressed ‘deep concern and solidarity’ for the 3,000 employees working for the Ulster Bank as NatWest announces its exit from the Republic of Ireland today (Friday 19 February). Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, also called for a moratorium on job losses across the NatWest Group as it announced a £351 million pre-tax loss read more

‘Creeping culture’ of ‘fire and rehire’ across retail and distribution sectors, warns Unite (18 Feb) – A line in the sand needs to be drawn over ‘the creeping culture’ of ‘fire and rehire’ across the retail, distribution and logistics industries, Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, warned today (Thursday 18 February). Unite said its shop stewards were reporting attempts by employers across the sectors to ‘salami slice’ pay, and terms and conditions, claiming ‘current market conditions’ for their actions. Unite’s warning follows a ruling by the Court of Session in Edinburgh stopping Tesco from forcing some of the staff at the Livingston distribution centre onto a new contract which would result in them losing thousands of pounds in pay each year. Unite’s shop stewards from Argos, Eddie Stobart, Co-op, Gist , Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Wincanton have all expressed concern at the proliferation of ‘fire and rehire’ proposals read more

Over 650 Rolls-Royce jobs safeguarded after Unite secures agreements in Renfrewshire and Coventry (18 Feb) – More than 650 Rolls-Royce jobs have been safeguarded from compulsory redundancies for at least five years after Unite secured agreements at the company’s plants in Inchinnan, Renfrewshire and Ansty, Coventry. The signing of the memorandum of understandings (MoU) for the Inchinnan and Ansty sites, comes just weeks after Unite struck a ground-breaking deal with Rolls-Royce’s management to secure the future of the company’s Barnoldswick operations, saving an additional 350 jobs read more

Workers welcome successful conclusion of industrial dispute Newry, Mourne and Down District Council (Feb 18) – Management commits to address all workforce concerns in comprehensive agreement to end dispute. Any council worker who loses out in the management-trade union led job evaluation process will receive between £500 and £7,500 in compensation read more

Self-isolating workers at Nu-track must receive full pay when they are off work (Feb 17) – Outbreak at Ballymena bus factory results in ten positive cases and three-day shutdown. George Brash, Unite Regional Officer challenged Nu-Track management to take immediate measures to properly address an outbreak at the Ballymena bus manufacturer read more

Crunch talks in ‘Walkers crisps pay row’ as strikes suspended (17 Feb) – Pay talks involving the drivers delivering Walkers crisps, who are employed by Eddie Stobart Ltd at its Warrington depot, are continuing – and, as a result, three days of strike action due to have started today (Wednesday 17 February) have been suspended. Unite the union said that positive talks with the Stobart management yesterday (Tuesday 16 February) has led to the 38 drivers to suspend their strike which was due to run until Friday night (19 February). Further talks over the long-standing row over pay for the drivers at the Birchwood site will continue next week. However, depending on how negotiations progress, strike action from 28 February to 2 March remains in place read more

Sainsbury’s faces South East Easter shortages as DHL strikes over ‘union busting’ loom – 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

Winkworth estate agent services set for disruption during Goodlord strikes over £6,000 pay cuts – 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

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

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 steps up pre-budget campaign on pay (18 Feb) – On 3 March the chancellor Rishi Sunak will deliver his budget for 2021. He is expected to confirm the public sector pay freeze he pre announced last November. PCS and the TUC are stepping up our campaign to get the pay freeze scrapped. It’s a slap in the face for all your hard work during the pandemic…We are also working closely with the TUC on a series of events across the country where Conservative MPs have agreed to directly meet public sector workers to hear their concerns. PCS members are speaking at some of these meetings alongside colleagues from other unions. On the eve of the budget at 6pm on Tuesday (2 March) the TUC is holding a mass rally for a workers’ budget and PCS is encouraging all activists to attend this as the campaign steps up read more

Join PCS now to vote in HMCTS statutory ballot (18 Feb) – To vote in our statutory postal ballot of members in 12 courts over workplace safety concerns, non-members need to join PCS by midnight tomorrow (19). We ran an online consultative survey of members in some workplaces. The results of which confirmed that members are in support of the PCS demands and are willing to take industrial action read more

PCS activist wins ET claim against DVSA (17 Feb) – Paul Williams – a member of the union’s NEC, won his case at the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) after a Nottingham ET concluded, the employer had tried to stop him carrying out trade union duties. Mr Williams, who has 38 years as a civil servant and a proud PCS member, refused to take voluntary redundancy following a re-organisation at the department. He applied unsuccessfully for 28 positions which the ET judgement said: “It is surprising at the least that an employee at risk of redundancy with 38 years of experience in the civil service is not able to successfully apply for suitable alternative employment where there is nothing to suggest he is pursuing inappropriate alternative roles or was incompetent” read more

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

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

British Gas strike to go ahead today as Acas talks falter & company refuses to end fire & rehire (19 Feb) – A deal is only possible if fire and rehire is dropped. Strikes by British Gas workers are back on from today after the company refused to take fire and rehire off the table. Around 7,000 British Gas engineers will down tools for four days from today until February 23 over the company’s plan to sack them all and rehire them on worse terms and conditions. These are strike days 19 to 22 of the ongoing dispute. Justin Bowden, GMB National Secretary said, “GMB entered into these ACAS brokered talks in good faith, but a deal is only possible if the company takes its fire and rehire plan off the table.” A four-day strike was suspended last weekend to allow talks between GMB and British Gas to take place at ACAS. GMB says the talks require the company to drop its fire and rehire plan if a deal is to be possible. The field staff bargaining group rejected the fire and rehire cuts and have already taken part in 18 days of strike action. A further eight days of industrial action, in two lots of four-day strikes, beginning today and on February 26 – ending at 23.59 on March 1 read more

GMB poll: 60% of NHS workers who contracted virus experienced poor mental health (22 Feb) – GMB calls for action in the Prime Minister’s speech today as union reveals more than half of health workers who contracted coronavirus said it had either had some negative or a severe medical impact on their mental health. GMB union has demanded the Prime Minister produce an NHS worker recovery plan after a poll revealed the majority of those who contract covid were experiencing poor mental health read more

Government has done ‘precious little’ to prepare schools for safe return (22 Feb) – Union demands risk assessments, funding and vaccinations to open schools safely and control infection rates. GMB Union, which represents more than 100,000 school workers, has called for fully revised risk assessments to be published on a full return for schools read more

GMB backs North Sea oil deal (20 Feb) – The Union has hailed the ‘New way forward’ as members vote to agree the landmark ESA agreement for thousands of North Sea Oil and Gas worker read more

Historic workers’ rights win: Supreme Court rules in Uber drivers’ favour (19 Feb) – After four court wins in four years, GMB Union will now consult with Uber driver members over their forthcoming compensation claim. GMB scored a ‘historic’ win as the Supreme Court today passed judgement in the union’s landmark worker’s rights case against Uber. Judges ruled in GMB’s favour – determining that Uber drivers are not self-employed, but are workers entitled to workers’ rights including holiday pay, a guaranteed minimum wage and an entitlement to breaks read more

Council bin workers forced to isolate without sick pay (19 Feb) – Sickening for Daventry Norse to play games with the lives of working families just to turn a profit. A contractor for Daventry District Council are sending workers who test positive for Covid-19 home without sick pay. Daventry Norse is using lateral flow tests which are only 50% accurate, and anyone who refuses them will be suspended from work. The workers, who number more than 60, keep the streets and parks of Daventry clean for as little as £8.89 an hour, just pennies above the minimum wage. This leaves self-isolating Daventry Norse workers on Statutory Sick Pay, which amounts to less than £100 a week read more

Stoke-on-Trent teen pregnancy service saved after GMB campaign (18 Feb) – People power can save public services. Stoke-on-Trent City Council have altered their plans to axe the city’s teen pregnancy team after pressure from a GMB campaign. The authority had planned to slash the service as part of their 2021/22 budget cuts. But after more than 1,100 people signed GMB Union’s petition against the decision, the council had a rethink read more

Hospital trust at centre of staff car parking scandal finally agrees to stop all charges (17 Feb) – Epsom and St Helier bow to GMB pressure and agree to stop charging staff to park from February 22. A south London hospital trust at the centre of a staff car parking scandal has finally agreed to stop all charges for workers. Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust – which trousered a whopping £3.3 million in car parking revenue last year – hit healthcare workers on the frontline of the pandemic with a car-parking ‘scratchcard’ costing them up to £500 to leave their car at work read more

‘Unscrupulous’ company pockets £10,000 from school cleaners’ pensions (16 Feb) – Fury as Kingdom Services divert three years’ payments from Solihull school cleaners’ retirement funds. An ‘unscrupulous’ company has pocketed £10,000 from hard-up school cleaners’ pensions, GMB Union says. Kingdom Services Group, a cleaning contractor for Lyndon School in Solihull, have failed to deposit more than ten thousand pounds into their workers’ pension funds, despite deducting money from their pay cheques for more than three years read more

GMB Members in Reigate & Banstead Borough Council undertake strike ballot over pay – 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

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

UNISON calls for more cautious school reopening in England (22 Feb) – Union says a ‘big bang’ full reopening of English schools would be ‘unnecessary and reckless’, while a phased return would pupils and staff read more

Unions hold last-ditch talks to avert Cumberland Infirmary strike (18 Feb) – Mitie, the hospital trust and Health Management Carlisle are squabbling over who is responsible for paying 150 workers unsocial hours payments that have been missed for a decade. UNISON and GMB are holding crunch talks with Mitie and North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, in a last-ditch attempt to avoid strike action. More than 150 porters, cleaners, switchboard and catering staff employed by Mitie at Cumberland Infirmary are set to stage 24-hour strikes on Friday 26 February and again on Monday 1 March over missing payments for working unsocial hours 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

 

CWU

Action Day message to BT: You want a fight? We’ll give you one! (Feb 18) – The starkest possible warning has been issued to BT’s top brass that they need to ‘get serious in negotiations or face industrial action’ over multiple threats to job security and hard-won terms and conditions that are erupting across BT Group. Kicking off the union’s third national Count Me In campaign ‘Day of Action’ with a Facebook Live broadcast this morning (Thursday), CWU deputy general secretary Andy Kerr insisted only a narrow window of opportunity remains for senior management to heed a gathering tidal wave of workforce fury  if they want to avert a full-scale industrial relations meltdown. With online protests once again taking social media by storm – and Openreach already facing the first of five scheduled days of industrial action next week in a separate dispute involving the union’s small but fiercely loyal membership of Repayment Protect Engineers (see story here) – Andy warned that, unless management changes its current trajectory in a number of key areas, the CWU will be forced to press the nuclear button in a matter of weeks read more

Start talking NOW or next week’s industrial action will just be the start, Openreach warned (Feb 18) – More strike action by Repayment Project Engineers (RPEs) has been announced amid mounting fury at “bizarre and insulting” efforts by Openreach bosses to feign ignorance as to why the small but fiercely loyal group of CWU members are in dispute with the company. Yesterday afternoon (Wednesday) – a week to the day before the first of two consecutive days of industrial action will commence over imposed changes to the grading of the highly skilled engineering role – management has been informed that three further consecutive strike days will take place between 00:01 on Wednesday March 3 and 23:59 on Friday March 5 read more

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

Two big Crown victories for Save Our Post Office campaign (Feb 19) – ‘We’ve won in Stockport and central London, let’s save South Woodford and complete the hat-trick,’ urges CWU…A second significant U-turn on controversial franchising plans for a crucial high street Crown Office was hailed as “brilliant news” this week, as Post Office bosses confirmed that the busy Stockport office will continue to be directly managed read more

Telefonica members overwhelmingly accept 1.1% pay deal (Feb 19) – Members in Telefonica have voted by more than four-to-one to accept a 1.1% across-the-board pay deal for all CWU-represented grades. In a ballot that closed this morning (Friday), no fewer than 82.72% of those casting a vote supported an unequivocal union recommendation to back the company’s ‘final offer’ that was ultimately secured by CWU negotiators following difficult but businesslike negotiations read more

Hard-working Capita TVL members set for cash boost (Feb 18) – Hundreds of Capita TVL members will begin voting soon on a pay and reward package, which will raise basic pay and be backdated to the beginning of last year. The deal lifts basic pay for all staff by a minimum of 2 per cent with effect from 1st January 2020 – and is fully backdated, pensionable and flowing through to overtime and relevant allowances – with nearly half of our members benefitting from gaining an extra day’s leave after five years’ service. For those members at the lower end of the pay scale, a commitment from Capita to pay the Real Living Wage rate will lift wages to £9.30 per hour with effect the start of April 2020 read more

 

POA

POA members as key workers deserve a pay rise (18 Feb) – As part of the TUC campaign all KEY WORKERS deserve a pay rise, the POA support this campaign for all key workers. Let me make it clear Prison Officer Grades, OSGs and Custodial Workers are key workers, as are all our POA members in secure hospitals or wherever they work. Throughout the pandemic Key Workers have gone to work and risked their lives every day. This campaign gives POA members an opportunity to campaign with other key workers in their communities up and down the country and have your voices heard read more

 

NAPO

Demand a Workers’ Budget: Join other Napo members at the TUC Rally for a Workers’ Budget – 7.30pm, Tuesday 2 March. The night before Rishi Sunak’s Budget – unions are getting together to demand a Workers’ Budget! Sign up to attend now at tuc.org.uk/RegisterWorkersBudget 

 

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

Support these NEU strikes:-

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 John Boken) Wednesday 24 February [email protected]

Public Meeting to defend Kirstie Paton: Stop the victimisation of trade union reps! 6pm Thursday 25th February – Kirstie Paton, NEU National Executive Member for Inner London and Greenwich Assistant Branch Secretary is facing disciplinary proceedings by United Learning for expressing a critical opinion of United Learning’s pilot school testing scheme, and their use of existing school staff to administer Lateral Flow Tests (LFTs)… Greenwich NEU have called this meeting to build our campaign to defend Kirstie and discuss how we can fight the increasing victimisation of reps for speaking out on behalf of their members. John Boken, Louise Lewis and Tracy McGuire, all NEU reps who are currently fighting trade union victimisation, will be joining us Facebook event

Schools Wider Opening from 8 March (22 Feb) – Today’s announcement that all pupils will return to English schools and colleges on 8 March demonstrates, again, that Boris Johnson has, despite all his words of caution, failed to learn the lessons of his previous mistakes read more

Joint statement on wider opening of schools in England (19 Feb) – Nine education organisations have joined together to issue a statement on the wider opening of schools and colleges in England read more

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.

Support Newham Little Ilford School strikes against unsafe expansion – NEU members have been 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

 

NASUWT
Caution needed in managing decisions about wider Welsh school reopening (19 Feb) –
Commenting on the First Minister’s announcement that the Welsh Government will be considering if all primary pupils and some older students can return to schools and colleges from 15 March, if the public health situation continues to improve, Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, said: “The situation on public health and in transmission of the virus remains incredibly fragile and precarious. In making the decision to proceed with the phased wider return to school for some pupils, the Welsh Government has not demonstrated that its decisions will not undermine the health and safety of school staff and pupils or undermine efforts to reduce levels of virus transmission in the community. Schools, teachers and parents need to have compelling evidence that this will not be the case. Unless that evidence is clear, an announcement now for a wider reopening of schools is premature…” read more

Joint statement on wider opening of schools in England (19 Feb) – Nine education organisations, including the NASUWT, have joined together to issue a statement on the wider opening of schools and colleges in England, ahead of the Prime Minister’s expected announcement on Monday read more

 

EIS

Concerns over School Safety must be Addressed Following First Minister’s Announcement (16 Feb) – The EIS has responded to the First Minister’s announcement on the return to school for nursery children, P1-P3 pupils and some senior phase secondary pupils and warned that significant concerns over school safety remain to be addressed read more

 

UCU

Updates on latest UCU disputes

Petition calling for fair funding and online learning

UCU response to prime minister’s statement (22 Feb) – UCU said any wider reopening of college and university campuses from 8 March is irresponsible and risks undoing the country’s hard work to get Covid-19 rates down. The union called on employers to use common sense and keep teaching online wherever possible to reduce the risk of further Covid-19 outbreaks. It said that for many courses this would mean there should mean no return to on-campus activity this academic year read more

University of East London staff strike against redundancies (22 Feb) – Staff at the University of East London (UEL) are on strike after UEL management pressed ahead with redundancy plans. UCU members are taking strike action in response to the sacking of four staff, and in protest at unmanageable workloads resulting from 82 job cuts that took place last year. Following UEL management’s refusal to engage in ACAS-facilitated talks, an overwhelming 92% of UCU members at UEL voted for industrial action, on a turnout (63%) easily surpassing the threshold. UCU said the four compulsory redundancies are especially shameful as they disproportionately impact women, black and minority ethnic staff, and union activists. UCU said strike action would continue next month unless university management changes course, cancels the redundancies and engages in meaningful talks. Staff are holding digital teach-outs and a strike rally, as Covid has made it difficult to have physical picket lines read more. Follow @EastLondonUCU on twitter

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

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

Governments must resist bullyboy Facebook (18 Feb) – After Mark Zuckerberg pulled the plug on Facebook in Australia as it threatened to make him pay for the news stories it carries, the NUJ says it’s time for the tech giants’ power to be challenged read more

Kent Police accused of “flagrant disregard” of journalists’ roles (18 Feb) – An arrested freelance photographer received a fine a week after his charges were dropped for covering a protest in Folkestone. Andy Aitchison, who was arrested and had his camera card and phone taken by the police while covering a protest at Napier barracks, was sent a fine for breaking Covid-19 rules a week later, despite being previously cleared following intervention from the NUJ. Andy had taken pictures of demonstrators highlighting the plight of asylum seekers held at the barracks. Police later came to his home, charged him under suspicion of criminal damage, took his equipment and he was prohibited, under his bail conditions, from returning to Napier Barracks read more

 

Prospect

Children’s Minister Vicky Ford responds to Prospect’s concerns on Early Years (19 Feb) – Prospect negotiations officer Claire Dent reports on her correspondence with Children’s and Families Minister, Vicky Ford, about why Early Years settings remain open when all schools had been closed due to COVID-19 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

Mandate criticize Tánaiste for stance on adequate minimum wages in EU (18 Feb) – Mandate has written to the Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar, in relation to the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on adequate minimum wages in the European Union read more

 

SIPTU (Ireland)

SIPTU members in Ulster Bank seek assurances on any transfer of business (19 Feb) – SIPTU members in Ulster Bank, who learned today that it is to close its doors after 160 years of trading, are seeking assurances about their future read more

Workers welcome successful conclusion of their industrial action at Newry, Mourne and Down District Council (18 Feb) – Management commits to address all workforce concerns in comprehensive agreement to end dispute. Any council worker who loses out in the management-trade union led job evaluation process will receive between £500 and £7,500 in compensation read more

Rehab Enterprises workers in Limerick face redundancy on significantly reduced terms (18 Feb) – SIPTU members in Rehab Enterprises in Limerick have been informed that they face redundancy on significantly reduced terms, after decades of service read more

 

UVW

Catholic school cleaners to strike for 40 days and 40 nights in “righteous indignation” about “wage theft”, “poverty pay” & “institutional racism” (22 Feb) – Starting on 16th March a group of cleaners at the prestigious South London Roman Catholic Girls’ School, La Retraite, are set to take the first strike in the school’s 140 year history pledging to walk out for 40 days and 40 nights in “righteous indignation” about “unlawful wage deductions”, “poverty pay” and “institutional racism”. If all the planned strike days are taken, it will make it the longest school cleaners strike in UK history. The dispute centres around the fact that the cleaners are outsourced to a private contractor Ecocleen which results in the receiving inferior pay rates and terms and conditions to those enjoyed by La Retraite staff, including only getting Statutory Sick Pay, whilst everyone else gets full pay sick pay 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

 

IWGB

IWGB launches #FairFurloughNow campaign to protect public health and precarious workers as redundancies rise again (16 Feb) – The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) demands indefinite and mandatory furlough for workers facing redundancies under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The union’s Cleaners and Facilities Branch launched the #FairFurloughNow campaign. Already 30 MPs have signed on to support this a vital lifeline for thousands of workers and families read more

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

Nigeria: A CALL FOR SOLIDARITY AS ABBEY TROTSKY RE-APPEARS IN COURT ON WEDNESDAY FEBUARY 24, 2021

Comrade Abiodun Bamigboye (Abbey Trotsky) will again appear at the Magistrate Court, Iyaganku, Ibadan, Oyo state on Wednesday 24 February, 2021 to answer to four-count trumped–up criminal charges of conspiracy to commit breach of public peace, unlawful assembly, assault and malicious damage. If convicted on all four counts, Abbey could face a jail term of up to 13 years. Comrade Abbey Trotsky is the acting national chairperson of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) and the coordinator of the Campaign for Democratic and Workers Rights (CDWR) in Oyo State.

Recall that Comrade Abbey Trotsky was arraigned on 7 June 2019 following over three weeks of repeated harassment by the police and State Secret Service, known as DSS. Between 19 December 2018 and 9 June 2019, Comrade Abbey Trotsky was arrested 5 times by the police and secret service. Then between 28 May and 7 June, he was forced to report weekly at the office of the AIG Zone 2 in Osogbo, Osun State, a neighbouring state. The background to this string of persecution is Abbey Trotsky’s intervention in a strike of contract/casual workers of Sumal Food Limited (http://sumalfoods.com) on 2nd and 3rd October 2018.

We hereby solicit your solidarity and support as follows:

  • Join us in the Magistrate Ccourt 6, Iyaganku by 9am on the 24 February, 2021. We intend to organise a protest at the court premises.
  • Organise Protests at or send Protest messages to Nigerian Embassies and High Commissions in solidarity on the same day across the world
  • You can also send protests messages to drop all of the trumped-up charges against Abbey Trotsky to the following numbers:

(1)       Minster of Labour & Productivity  – +234 8033371229

(2)       Deputy Inspector General of Police – +234 802 343 1079, +234 803 301 4905

(3)       Police PRO, Force Headquarters: +234 8038375844

(4)       Police PRO, Oyo State Command: +234 8035632410

 

 

Diary

 

 

 

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