NSSN 528: Shrewsbury Pickets overturn convictions

March 30, 2021 in Bulletins

“The NSSN sends our congratulations & solidarity to the Shrewsbury Pickets and their families. We should particularly remember those such as Des Warren, who passed away during this heroic struggle for justice. There should now be a trade union inquiry into the framing of the workers and the cover up. This is needed for this particular case but also to bring out the Tory anti-union laws and their new restrictions on the right to protest and picket as well as a new rash of victimisation of union reps” Rob Williams NSSN Chair


The Public Interest Law Centre are organising a public meeting. The online meeting to celebrate and learn from the significant victory of the ‘Shrewsbury 24’ in quashing their almost 50-year-old convictions is this Wednesday 31 March 6.30pm – register here

Shrews 24 meeting

Read the Public Interest Law Centre write-up here

The Shrewsbury 24 Campaign is delighted to announce that after 15 years we have finally achieved victory. The Court of Appeal has today quashed the convictions of the North Wales building workers who were tried for picketing offences in 1973-74. The lead picket, Des Warren was sent to prison for three years and blacklisted upon his release. As a result, he never worked again and died prematurely in 2004, aged 67.  Two of the other twelve pickets represented by the Campaign had also been imprisoned: John McKinsie Jones for 9 months and Michael Pierce for 6 months. The other pickets received suspended prison sentences. Terry Renshaw, a member of the Campaign since its inception and who received a suspended sentence, spoke for all the pickets, “We never thought that we would see this day, when this miscarriage of justice was overturned. The Court of Appeal has acknowledged that we did not receive a fair trial. The police and the prosecuting authorities used every trick in the book to secure guilty verdicts even if it meant trampling over our rights and manipulating the evidence…”

Blacklist Support Group statement: After their stunning legal victory in the Court of Appeal on Tuesday, the Blacklist Support Group send solidarity greetings to all the Shrewsbury Pickets and those who tirelessly campaigned alongside the pickets, Fitted up, sent to prison and blacklisted by a conspiracy between the police, building employers and a Tory government. The campaign for justice lasted nearly fifty years, and we have lost good friends and comrades on the way. The Blacklist Support Group are proud to have fought alongside the Shrewsbury 24; their names will go down in working class history. Raise a glass and remember them all.

Dessie Warren R.I.P: “There was a conspiracy, but not by the pickets. The conspiracy was between the Home Secretary, the employers and the police. It was not done with a nod and a wink. It was conceived after pressure from Tory Members of Parliament who demanded changes in picketing laws. Of course, there was a very important reason why no police witness said he had seen any evidence of conspiracy, unlawful assembly or affray. The question was hovering over the case from the very first day: why were there no arrests on the 6 September? That would have led to the even more important question of when was the decision to proceed taken. Where did it come from? What instructions were issued to the police? And by whom? There was your conspiracy. I’m innocent of the charges and I shall appeal. But there will be a more important appeal going out to every member of the trade union movement in this country. Nobody here must think they can walk away from here and forget what has happened here. Villains or victims, we are all part of something bigger than this trial. The working class movement cannot allow this verdict to go unchallenged.”

Des Warren (part of his speech from the dock)

Unite: Shrewsbury 24 – Joyous and just day after nearly 50 years of battle

RMT: Shrewsbury Pickets’ victory

ASLEF: Shrewsbury 24 win at appeal court

TSSA Delight Over Shrewsbury 24 Court Ruling Victory

Shrewsbury 24 appeal win ‘fantastic news’ – GMB

Equity welcomes overturn of convictions of Shrewsbury 24

Trade union leaders demand transparency in Spy Cops Public Inquiry (24 Mar) – Leaders of many of the largest and most prominent trade unions in the UK, have jointly signed a letter demanding that immediate action is taken to ensure transparency in the Mittings public inquiry into undercover police officers read more on Unite website

 

Stop victimisation of union reps

Donate to the reinstatement campaign of Declan Clune RMT bus driver in Southampton (on behalf of Declan Clune and all RMT Southampton District Bus and Coach Branch members). Email message of support: [email protected]

RMT to ballot for action over victimisation and sacking of leading bus activist (25 Mar)

Support Gary Carney RMT rep on London Underground

Donate to solidarity campaign of Moe Muhsin Manir Unite bus rep   Email messages of support to Moe: [email protected]

Support Kirstie Paton Greenwich NEU

 

UVW

A “HISTORIC VICTORY” for school cleaners who win teacher’s sick pay scheme 2 days into a 40 day strike (24 Mar) – Cleaners at the prestigious South London based La Retraite Roman Catholic Girls’ School are celebrating today what their trade union has described as a “historic victory” after winning full pay sick pay equal to what teachers get. According to the workers’ trade union, United Voices of the World (UVW), the victory comes after several days of strike action which was part of a planned 40-day strike which would have been “the longest school cleaners strike in UK history”. The dispute erupted after the cleaners’ hours were cut in the run up to Christmas and their wages withheld after a month long walk out in February over Covid-19 health and safety concerns. Negotiations between the two sides broke down last week after the school rejected cleaners’ demands read more

 

Fight Tory 1% NHS Pay Insult

For more information: Nurses and Midwives say NO! to Public Sector pay inequality, Keep Our NHS Public, Health Campaigns Together

Facebook Live event: Organising during COVID (by Strike Map UK, NHS Workers Say NO to Public Sector pay inequality) – 6pm Wednesday 31st March

 

The Sparks launch fight that forces bosses back de-skilling at Hinkley Point but struggle continues

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.

The campaign has already seen protests in London, Manchester, Newcastle, Scotland and Wales. Unite now report that the training course at Hinkley has been stopped, which is a great victory. But the fight goes on, particularly targeting NG Baileys and Balfour Beatty, until de-skilling is totally off the agenda.

Solidarity to the Sparks!

See Reel News video of last week’s protests

Read latest Siteworker bulletins of the Rank & File:-

Monday 8th Deadline set for NG Bailey & Balfour Beatty

Unite Electrical & Mechanical Combine Statement

Unite statement: Hinkley Point C and Threatened Deskilling of Electricians

Hinkley Point C Deskilling Training Documents Revealed

 

 

Support the NSSN

The NSSN held a very successful NSSN meeting ‘Organise to fight back in Enfield’ on Monday March 22nd

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

 

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

RMT says Scotrail strike action one hundred per cent rock solid (28 Mar) – RMT says Scotrail strike action one hundred per cent rock solid this morning and demands company resolve issue of workplace justice for conductors. RAIL UNION RMT confirmed today that a first phase of industrial action by ScotRail conductors is rock solid this morning in a fight for equality and justice over enhanced payments for rest day working. After more than 75% of members voted to strike RMT has instructed them not to book on for any shifts that commence between:-

  • 00.01 hours until 23.59 hours on Sunday 28th March 2021
  • 00.01 hours until 23.59 hours on Sunday 4th April 2021
  • 00.01 hours until 23.59 hours on Sunday 11th April 2021
  • 00.01 hours until 23.59 hours on Sunday 18th April 2021
  • 00.01 hours until 23.59 hours on Sunday 25th April 2021
  • 00.01 hours until 23.59 hours on Sunday 2nd May 2021 read more

RMT on reports today of crisis talks over future of Eurostar (28 Mar) – read more

Shocking rise in hate crimes toward disabled people on the rail network shows we need more staff on stations and trains says RMT (26 Mar) – The shocking rising level of hate crime toward disabled people travelling on Britain’s railways is a wake-up call to the industry to stop the cost-cutting that has emptied staff from trains and stations said RMT General Secretary Mick Cash today. New figures published by the Department for Transport have shown that hate crimes toward disabled people traveling on the rail network have risen by 24% in the last three years read more

RMT statement on Offshore Wind Industry Council job creation estimates (25 Mar) – OFFSHORE ENERGY UNION RMT today responded to figures produced by the Offshore Wind Industry Council estimating that nearly 44,000 direct and indirect jobs could be created in the industry over the next five years. RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “The offshore wind sector deal in 2019 estimated that offshore wind would employ 27,000 people by 2030, so including supply chain jobs such as seafarers and divers in estimates for this key green growth industry is a positive step. But we need much greater ambition from Government to guarantee employment and apprenticeships throughout the UK supply chain at the lucrative leasing stages currently overseen by Crown Estate and Crown Estate Scotland…” read more

RMT members to take industrial action at Unipart Rail Doncaster (22 Mar) – RMT members working at Unipart Rail Doncaster will be taking industrial action next month following a ballot after a derisory pay offer from the company. Unipart Rail’s Doncaster warehouse supplies parts to the rail industry. With effect from 00:01 hours on Friday 2nd April 2021, until further notice, RMT members working at Unipart Rail Doncaster are instructed:-

  • Not to work any non-contractual overtime
  • Not to work on a rest day read more

Fight job cuts at Queens Park – In January, LU announced a plan to cut train driver jobs at Queen’s Park depot. They’ve refused to back away from that, so our driver members will now ballot for industrial action. The ballot opens on 25/03 and closes on 08/04. Resist the cuts, vote yes! Read more

Defend Declan Clune: RMT to ballot for action over victimisation and sacking of leading bus activist (25 Mar) – BUS UNION RMT confirmed today that it has declared a dispute and will be balloting bus driver members for strike and other forms of industrial action over the victimisation of Southampton bus branch secretary Declan Clune who has been dismissed for reporting concerns around a bridge being struck by vehicles to Network Rail. The union will also be launching a high-profile publicity campaign in public and media forums including demonstrations in support of Declan’s reinstatement by the company 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

 

TSSA

TSSA Welcomes ‘Major Step Forward’ For Manchester Buses (25 Mar) – TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has welcomed news that Greater Manchester’s bus network is being brought back under public control, describing the move as a “major step forward”. The region’s Mayor, Andy Burnham, has announced that buses will be run in a London-style system where operators bid to run services on a franchise basis. The plans are designed to improve services and cut fares. Greater Manchester is the first area outside London to have a regulated bus system since the 1980s read more

TUI Shops Announcement Further Sign Travel Trade Needs Urgent Help – Cortes (24 Mar) – TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has described the announcement by major travel firm Tui that it’s set to close a further 48 high street shops as “another sure sign our travel trade urgently needs help to get through this pandemic.” Tui – Britain’s largest tour operator – said it would offer to redeploy employees at risk of redundancy to other stores or to work from home. The move follows the closure of 166 Tui shops announced in July 2020 which affected up to 900 jobs read more

 

Unite

Support the indefinite bus strike in Manchester follow Go Ahead STOP the attacks on Queens Road Facebook page

Solidarity car cavalcade and rally this coming Saturday 3rd April – 2pm the People’s Cavalcade of cars and bikes leaves East Didsbury Park and Ride to drive through Manchester to the Queen’s Road bus garage

At 3:15pm Manchester TUC is hosting a solidarity rally followed by a march – please bring family and friends, flags and banners

The rally will take place at the top of Boyle Street, next to the Queen’s Road bus garage and opposite the Museum of Transport (M8 8UW, map)

Greater Manchester bus franchising a major step in the right direction (25 Mar) – Unite, the UK’s leading union, has welcomed the announcement today (Thursday 25 March) by Andy Burnham that Greater Manchester will adopt a system of bus franchising. Unite believes that the new system, which is scheduled to begin to come into effect in 2023, will dramatically improve the quality of services and increase regional connectivity. Unite, which represents thousands of bus drivers across Greater Manchester, believes the franchising announcement will have a significant effect on the ongoing Go North West bus strike. Go North West’s parent company Go Ahead currently generates £604 million through franchising in London and will be keen to extend its influence in Greater Manchester read more

BREAKING NEWS!! Fresh London bus strikes as peace talks fail (30 Mar) – London will face fresh bus strikes this week after peace talks failed to secure a breakthrough in the dispute over proposed attacks on conditions and real terms pay cuts. Bus drivers at the RATP subsidiary, London United will take strike action this week on Wednesday 31 March and Thursday 1 April. There are also further strikes scheduled after Easter for Wednesday 7 April and Wednesday 14 April. The London United dispute is a result of RATP seeking to use the Covid-19 pandemic as cover to slash the pay and conditions of drivers. Following four days of negotiations last week, RATP made an offer for the outstanding pay increases for 2019 and 2020 and also sought to introduce new contract clauses. The pay offer fell well below the expectations of members and the proposed changes to conditions had not been previously discussed, and as such Unite was unable to propose the offer to members at this stage. London United operates depots in South and West London. The strikes this week will affect buses operating from Fulwell, Hounslow, Park Royal, Shepherd’s Bush and Tolworth garages. Unite is also balloting two further London United bus depots at Hounslow Heath and Stamford Brook and if they vote for strike action then they could also take strike action next month read more

Kingspan’s Springvale EPS site at Ballyclare, Antrim to close with loss of 23 jobs (Mar 29) – Site is still profitable but management’s attitude is ‘to hell with the small group of staff’ who operate it. Closure comes as Kingspan proceeds with euro 255 purchase of a leading insulation company in Denmark read more

Unite statement on Liberty Steel (27 Mar) – Unite assistant general secretary for manufacturing Steve Turner said: “Steel is a foundation industry and is essential for the recovery of the UK economy as we rebuild from Covid-19. “Unite is urging the government to do everything that is necessary in order to preserve Liberty Steel and secure its long-term future.  This is key to protecting the jobs of its workforce and the communities where it is based, to safeguard its supply chain and ensure its customers receive the products they require. No option should be ruled out in protecting the long-term future of Liberty Steel and that must include the option of nationalising the business…” read more

Unite slams ‘abysmal stitch up’ removing black bus driver from Labour’s London campaign (26 Mar) – London’s biggest trade union, Unite, has today (Friday 26 March) slammed today the ‘abysmal’ decision to remove the only male African-Caribbean candidate from the Labour party list of candidates for elections across the capital this May. The union says that the removal of Preston Tabois, a bus driver and Tottenham Labour councillor, reveals the party’s ‘double-standards’ and is calling for the decision to be reversed. Mr Tabois had previously been endorsed by an NEC Panel, following a complaint about a tweet from several years ago. The panel explicitly said that Mr Tabois should remain a candidate. However, last night (Thursday) an NEC panel voted to remove Mr Tabois. No reason for his removal has been given read more

ASDA workers’ Supreme Court ruling “good news” for Sainsbury’s staff fighting similar claim (26 Mar) – A Supreme Court ruling that ASDA store workers are allowed to compare themselves to depot staff for the purposes of equal pay is ‘good’ for Sainsbury’s staff fighting a similar claim, Unite said today (Friday 26 March). The judgement came after ASDA appealed against a Court of Appeal ruling stating that 40,000 of its store workers, two thirds of whom are women, can compare themselves to the predominantly male depot workforce for the purposes of equal pay. The Supreme Court ruling does not mean the case, brought by the GMB, has been won, but does allow the claimants to take further action. Unite, which represents more than 6,000 Sainsbury’s staff, is proceeding with a similar claim on behalf of its shop floor members at Sainsbury’s, who are predominantly women read more

Babcock RAF Leeming strikes off after ‘topflight pay deal’ secured (26 Mar) – Striking Babcock workers will return to work at RAF Leeming, near Northallerton in North Yorkshire, after a ‘topflight pay deal’ was secured, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said today (Friday 26 March). More than 50 Babcock workers, who provide operational and engineering services for aircraft at RAF Leeming, including the Hawk trainer aircraft, took more than 20 days of strike action from late January in a dispute over pay. Following talks with Unite, Babcock offered the workers a £1500 a year shift premium and a 2.5 per cent pay increase, both backdated to April 2020. The workers have voted to accept the deal, which also includes a host of other significant pay-related commitments, ending all industrial action read more

Mayor’s moratorium on remote sign for London buses welcomed by Unite (26 Mar) – Unite the union, which represents over 20,000 bus workers in London, has strongly welcomed a decision by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to order a moratorium on bus operators in the capital introducing remote sign on procedures. Remote sign on means drivers do not report to a depot to start work, but meet their bus and begin work at an alternative location such as a bus stop. By forcing drivers to start work away from the depot, it reduces costs and boosts the company’s profits. The driver is only paid for the period when they are driving the bus read more

Show support for NHS pay rise with posters in windows, say health unions (26 Mar) – People across the country are being asked to put colourful posters in their windows in support of a proper NHS pay rise, in a campaign launched today (Friday 26 March) by health unions representing more than a million health workers. Fourteen unions – including Unite, UNISON and the Royal College of Nursing – are urging households across the UK to show their appreciation for NHS workers with bright, hand-finished displays on Thursday 1 April read more

Unite reacts to 4 per cent pay offer for NHS workers (26 Mar) – Unite has today (Friday 26 March) responded to the Scottish government’s pay offer of 4 per cent across the board for all NHS workers. Unite represents workers in every pay band across the entire NHS structure and recognises that while this offer will put money into the pockets of our members, any monthly pay uplift will vary considerably between individuals. For this reason Unite will be putting this offer to our members without recommendation read more

Thurrock bin workers vote to strike against Tory Council’s attacks on contracts

Unite plans spring offensive in Heathrow fire and rehire battle – Unite, the UK’s principal aviation union, has announced 41 strikes at Heathrow Airport this spring, in a bitter dispute following the company’s decision to fire and rehire its entire workforce, slashing their pay and reducing their conditions. Targeted strike action will begin on Friday 2 April and there will be 41 strikes over a 23 day period, with the final strike scheduled for Sunday 25 April. The targeted strike action will involve engineering, airside operations, landside operations, fire service, campus security and central terminal operations. Each sector will be taking seven days of strike action. During the strike period at least one of the sectors will be on strike on most days. The dispute is a result of Heathrow Airport Limited’s (HAL) decision to fire and rehire its 4,000 strong workforce. Workers have experienced pay cuts of up to £8,000 (25 per cent of earnings) and report being forced to downsize, move to cheaper areas or give up their car, as a result. Unite has described the decision to fire and rehire the workers as being all about greed and not about need. If this was about making savings due to the Covid-19 pandemic than pay cuts would have been temporary rather than permanent read more

Unite calls on Babcock Marine to step ‘back from the brink’ as Clyde nuclear naval base workers strike – Hundreds of Unite the union members based at the Coulport and Faslane nuclear naval bases on the Clyde are set to take part in rolling industrial action today (12 March) from 10 a.m. The strike action follows the ‘overwhelming’ support from its 1000-strong membership where Unite members voted by 95% in support of strike action on a 65% turnout. The rolling strike action will also be held in conjunction with a continuous call out ban and ban on all overtime read more

Billionaire Warren Buffett linked to Leicester SPS workers striking over ‘brutal’ fire and rehire cuts (25 Mar) – Warren Buffett, whose net worth surpassed £73 billion this month, is linked to Leicester SPS Technologies’ workers on strike over ‘brutal’ fire and rehire cuts, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said today (Thursday 25 March). Around 200 Unite members at SPS’s Barkby Road site are on strike over fire and rehire proposals that would result in reductions to overtime pay, sick pay, paid breaks and shift premiums amounting to annual wage losses of up to £3,000. The company is owned by American billionaire Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway – a multinational conglomerate – and produces aerospace parts for companies such as Airbus, Boeing, GE and Rolls-Royce. The Barkby Road workers began discontinuous strike action on 12 March, but will now strike daily from the 29 March until 3 June, effectively bringing the factory’s operations to a halt read more

NHS Pay Review Body recommendation delay helps ministers ‘desperate’ to avoid ‘unpopular’ one per cent pay issue (23 Mar) – An expected six-week delay to the NHS Pay Review Body’s (NHSPRB) 2021 recommendations to the government will help ministers who are ‘desperate’ to avoid attention over their ‘unpopular’ one per cent pay offer to health service staff, Unite said today (Tuesday 23 March) read more

Living Wage Foundation urged to end Goodlord accreditation over ‘brutal’ London pay cuts as indefinite strikes begin – The Living Wage Foundation has been urged to end its accreditation of London-based lettings software provider Goodlord over ‘brutal’ £6,000 pay cuts that have forced staff to begin indefinite strike action, Unite said today (Tuesday 2 March). Around 20 Unite members employed in Goodlord’s London-based referencing department, which provides tenant checks for estate agents, had been on discontinuous strike since 22 February. On March 1, however, the workers escalated their industrial action to an indefinite strike, meaning they will not return to work until the dispute is resolved. The dispute centres on fire and rehire plans that would see the pay of Goodlord’s referencing staff plummet from £24,000 to £18,000. Goodlord is accredited as a Living Wage Foundation employer. However, the cuts would see Goodlord’s referencing staff earn less than the foundation’s London living wage of £21,157. Referencing staff are the only workers employed by the company to have been singled out for fire and rehire attacks read more

Messages of support to [email protected]

  • Email complaints to [email protected]; tweet complaints to @sogoodlord
  • Strike fund donations to Unite LE/7098L London ITC Branch, sort code 60-83-01, account 20303680, reference Goodlord

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

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

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

 

PCS

PCS London & South East Pay day rally 31 March 1 pm via zoom – Come along and get involved in the fight for a decent pay rise. To secure a place at this event complete our online registration form http://bit.do/31MarchRally

Join our rallies for Fair Pay (29 Mar) – We have organised a series of online rallies and meetings on 30 and 31 March as part of our national pay campaign. In the recent budget, Chancellor Rishi Sunak confirmed the public sector pay freeze. This pay freeze comes on top of years of similar freezes and caps which have seen average pay in the civil service fall substantially in real terms each year. Since 2010, average salary levels in the civil service have fallen in value, by comparison with inflation, by between 8.8% (CPI) and 15.2% (RPI). Our national pay campaign seeks to overturn the pay freeze and achieve fair pay for our hard working members. To mark this pay day there will be online rallies and meetings organised locally in the PCS regions and devolved nations on 30 and 31 March. Check our events page for details. Some are lunchtime events and others are in the evening. Speakers at the meetings include our general secretary, Mark Serwotka, and local officials and reps from PCS and sister unions read more

HMRC members, don’t break the Home Office strike (25 Mar) – Some PCS HMRC members are being asked to break the strike by our Border Force members at Heathrow Airport where we began a work to rule and overtime ban yesterday, followed by a strike from 1-7 April. We understand that HMRC has been asked to make staff available to provide cover for the Home Office during the industrial action. The industrial action is as a result of a legitimate trade dispute with the Home Office. The strike by nearly 450 PCS members is in response to the imposition of new rosters which are considered to be unworkable. The rosters have resulted in travellers waiting in queues of more than seven hours to have their passports checked read more

Government confirms scandalous pay freeze for hard-working civil servants (25 Mar) – The scandalous civil service pay freeze has been confirmed today with the Cabinet Office’s publication of its pay remit guidance. The Treasury guidance, which covers pay for civil servants, public sector workers in non-departmental public bodies and other arm’s-length bodies over the next 12 months, was published with an accompanying ministerial statement in parliament, and confirms that pay will be frozen at 0%. This follows a decade of pay restraint in the civil service and related areas, which has left the average civil servant £2,100 worse off each year read more

PCS continues to press for independence and no staff cuts in GCS (24 Mar) – We have had further talks with the team working up the new Government Communications Service (GCS) structure and operating model. At our meeting the team clarified the ‘30 comms staff per department’ figure. They say this refers only to staff handling core activities such as press and social media and that then departments should make a case for what professional resources they need beyond that ‘core’ to deliver statutory, operational or programme delivery communications, including internal communications. However, there is a clear expectation that current headcount will be reduced in each department read more

PCS members at DVLA to strike 6-9 April (23 Mar) – PCS members at the DVLA who are operational staff currently going into work will strike for 4 days from 6-9 April in a dispute over Covid safety. We have served notice of the strike today (23 March) in a move which follows a successful industrial action ballot of members concerned about their health and safety following more than 600 positive Covid cases on site since September. The most cases at any UK workplace. Alongside strike action, which initially involves members who work in operations who are currently still going into work at the site, PCS is invoking action short of a strike, with an overtime ban and work to rule starting on 10 April. Further advice on this will be issued in advance of the action read more

Join DVLA non-members meeting 12pm 1 April (30 Mar) – Do you work for the DVLA? Want to find out more about being a PCS member and getting involved in our union? Then sign up for our special meeting at noon on Thursday (1 April) 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

GMB British Gas engineers face mass April 1 sackings as strike continues (25 Mar) – GMB British Gas members begin strike days 39 to 42 tomorrow as workers face mass sackings on April 1. Engineers have been told they must sign acceptance of a 15 per cent pay cut – and other detrimental changes to terms and conditions – by 12 noon today or face being fired. Those who do not sign will not be paid lump sum payments of up to £4,500 and other so-called ‘protected terms’ offered by British Gas. On Monday [March 29] the company will give formal notice of termination for staff who have not accepted the imposed changes. Then on Thursday [April 1] those who don’t sign up to the cuts will be sacked with pay in lieu of the up to 12 weeks’ notice that the company are required to give. GMB members in this bargaining group have already overwhelmingly and repeatedly rejected these imposed changes. GMB’s Central Executive Council (CEC) agreed to declare an official national lockout dispute between British Gas and GMB from April 1 unless the company pulls back from the brink. It also instructed the dispute leaders to consult on further strike dates and other appropriate action read more

GMB and Hermes agree further benefits for self employed plus couriers (29 Mar) – Around 20,000 couriers now have a real voice in their workplace and the right to take holidays and the right to guaranteed pay. GMB Union and Hermes UK – the leading consumer delivery company –  have announced they have concluded their annual negotiations which have resulted in further benefits for all  self-employed plus (SE+) couriers. It follows the ground-breaking deal in 2019, the first of its kind designed to support the rights of self-employed workers operating in the so called ‘gig economy’, which included paid holiday and guaranteed minimum payment rates for SE+ couriers and the ability for the GMB to secure further benefits on their behalf read more

Liberty Steel: GMB responds to government rejecting bailout (29 Mar) – Plan B must include all options, including taking the UK business into public ownership. GMB, the steel union, has responded to the government rejecting a request for £170 million in financial support for Liberty Steel read more

GMB hails ‘massive victory’ in supreme court for 40,000 Asda workers on equal pay (26 Mar) – GMB Union will call for meeting with Asda to discuss potential £500 million compensation. GMB, the union for Asda workers has hailed a ‘massive victory’ as the Supreme Court ruled in favour of 40,000 workers today. The ruling means shop floor staff at Asda can be compared to workers in the distribution centre for the purposes of their equal pay claim. GMB has now called on Asda bosses to meet with them and discuss the next stage of the shop workers’ compensation claim, which could run to £500 million. Today is the fourth time Asda has lost a court battle on this issue read more

JCB strike averted as GMB reaches pension deal (24 Mar) – Members will vote on the proposed compensation next week. GMB Union has reached a deal that could provide compensation to the 1,200 workers affected by the closure of JCB’s Lifeplan pension scheme this month. GMB members had voted overwhelmingly to strike over the cuts – until a last-ditch deal was reached this morning. The union will recommend workers accept the deal, which will be voted on next week read more

Council faces rubbish pile up as GMB Refuse Collectors to strike over pay (23 Mar) – “Council happy to allow dispute to escalate into full blown strike action even at risk of deeply upsetting residents”, say GMB Union. Reigate and Banstead faces rubbish pile ups after GMB council workers voted to strike over pay. Talks between the union and the local authority stalled after council bosses refused to meet with mediators ACAS without other parties being present. The majority of GMB members in the council work in refuse collection. Following the breakdown in talks, GMB has now confirmed the following dates for industrial action: Thursday April 8, Friday April 9, Thursday April 15 read more

Friday April 16 Sleep in shifts: supreme court ruling missed chance to address low pay of carers (19 Mar) – Not many people would be able to sleep knowing they could be called to action at any moment. GMB, the union for care workers, says today’s supreme court ruling was a missed chance to address the low pay of carers. Judges today determined employees undertaking ‘sleep in’ caring roles have no entitlement to be paid the National Minimum Wage for each hour that they are on the employer’s premises, able to sleep but available to be disturbed by events that may occur requiring them to provide care during the sleep in shift read more

PFI was a ‘disastrous policy saddling taxpayers with extortionate charges’ (19 Mar) – All services that were outsourced under PFI must be returned in-house to the public sector, where they belong. GMB Union has described PFI as a ‘disastrous policy’ saddling taxpayers with extortionate charges’ as the Public Accounts Committee releases its damning report. The committee warns vital public services, including schools and hospitals ‘face serious disruptions’ as Private Finance Initiative ends read more

Wilko workers ready for strike action after bosses cut sick pay – but keep their own (17 Mar) – Consultative ballot sees 88% of Wilko Employees voting for industrial action following ‘savage’ cuts. Wilko keyworkers are ready to strike after bosses cut their sick pay entitlement, while management kept their own terms. A consultative ballot saw 88% vote they were ready to take action up to and including strike action following the ‘savage’ cuts. The discount high street chain remained open throughout the pandemic thanks to the hard work and dedication of their employees – and remained open on Boxing Day unlike many other retailers read more

Uber ‘finally does the right thing’ after GMB wins four court battles (16 Mar) – Other gig economy companies should take note – this is the end of the road for bogus self-employment. GMB, the union for Uber drivers, says the company has finally done the right thing after losing four court battles. Uber has announced that from tomorrow, all 70,000 drivers will be paid holiday time, be automatically enrolled into a pension plan and will earn at least the minimum wage. Last month the Supreme Court 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. It was the fourth time Uber has lost in court over its treatment of drivers read more

 

Unison

Pay dispute at Cumberland Infirmary takes ugly turn for worse ahead of second round of strike action this week (25 Mar) – A pay dispute at strike-hit Cumberland Infirmary has taken an ugly turn for the worse. Whilst hospital workers are planning to begin a second 48-hour strike on Friday (26 March), a new row has erupted over the way hospital domestics say they’re being punished for joining the picket lines. The domestics were among 150 frontline staff employed by private contractor Mitie who took two days of strike action in February and March over missing wages read more

Face coverings in schools make staff feel safer​ (25 Mar) – Face coverings in schools have only been in place for a few weeks​. Lifting this measure before the impact on transmission in schools has had time to be assessed would be rash read more

Government’s new bus strategy highlights failures of deregulation (24 Mar) – The proposals exclude the best solution, which would be to allow local authorities to operate their own services, says UNISON 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

Full steam ahead to industrial action ballot as members see through BT cash ‘bribe’ (Mar 25) – Members across BT, Openreach and EE have delivered a resounding message of defiance after BT’s surprise attempt to kick this year’s pay review into touch by fobbing off employees with one-off cash ‘bung’. Within minutes of management’s disingenuous announcement yesterday (Wednesday) of “an exceptional package for an exceptional year” – and the simultaneous release of a CWU counter-message to members exposing the company’s “desperate move”  for exactly what it is – there was no doubting which argument was winning amongst those who really count. Throughout the day all the CWU’s  social media channels were  bombarded with renewed messages of support from members for the union’s ‘Count Me In’ campaign of resistance against ruthless attacks on job security and hard won terms & conditions that have erupted across the whole of BT Group. In addition to countless furious social media posts, hundreds of emails were also received by the union from members expressing their astonishment and dismay at management’s apparent belief that employee anger over compulsory redundancies and looming site closures can be ‘bought off’ with a £1,000 ‘bribe’. Yesterday evening, no fewer than 14,000 tuned in to a special CWU Facebook Live session across the union’s social media channels – a record breaking real-time viewing figure which has continued to grow throughout today with catch-up views. Poignantly the Facebook Live broadcast took place at the end of the tenth day of industrial action by the unions small but fiercely loyal membership of Repayment Project Engineers (RPEs) in Openreach – themselves fighting against that division’s steadfast refusal to listen to genuine workforce concerns about  the imposed regrading of their role. With anger now reaching boiling point across the whole of BT Group at the similar disregard being shown by top bosses to employee dismay at the company’s current trajectory, the union has now set up a special CWU solidarity fund to provide financial support for the 170-strong group of brave RPE strikers. “We will not leave this small group of members isolated,” stresses CWU general secretary Dave Ward.  See full details here

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

Clarity sought from Capita over post-Covid working plan (Mar 25) – Close tabs are being kept on Capita intentions with regards to widely reported company suggestions that “new ways of working” could transform its traditional call centre based model as the pandemic recedes and we enter  into a ‘new normal’ read more

Major change at Santander with new deal on post-Covid ways of working (Mar 25) – A groundbreaking agreement has been struck between the CWU and Santander on an innovative and progressive new approach to the post-Covid world of work. Thrashed out against the backdrop of far-reaching company proposals that undoubtedly represent the biggest transformation in the UK Bank’s history, the CWU-brokered deal preserves jobs and avoids compulsory redundancies that would otherwise have been inevitable as Santander announces an unprecedented rationalisation of its property estate read more

 

NIPSA

Hospital Car Parking Charges: Free Parking Extended to July 31 (26 Mar) – Health Trade Unions welcome the announcement regarding the extension of the removal of car parking charges for health workers. This is especially welcome in light of the ongoing efforts and time spent by staff in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. In welcoming this move, Trade Unions believe this must be the time to reconsider the approach to staff parking charges in its entirety. Workers providing such important care and service should not incur additional expenses when attending their place of work and therefore we call on the employers and the Minister to engage with Trade Unions with the aim of agreeing a meaningful solution to this issue going forward read more

QUB Creche Workers Commence Industrial Action – Sixteen NIPSA members employed in QUB Crèche commence industrial action today in defence of their terms, conditions and employment. It is ironic on International Women’s Day low paid women workers’ have been forced to take industrial action. Despite being engaged in conciliation via the Labour Relations Agency unfortunately that process did not deliver anything that would have allowed the action to be called off. The action today commences with Action Short of Strike Action – but messages of support to these brave NIPSA members will be passed on read more

 

POA

Government must reconsider urgently 1% NHS pay proposal, all health unions tell PM (26 Mar) – Please see letter from the Staff Side Secretariat to the Prime Minister regarding the NHS pay award following yesterday’s announcement from the Scottish Government.  Below is the accompanying press release read more

 

NAPO

Unions lodge dispute over AP regrading (25 Mar) – Napo, UNISON and GMB/SCOOP have lodged a dispute with NPS over its refusal to backdate the regrading of the AP residential worker from band 2 to band 3. Back in early 2020 the NPS and unions reviewed the APRW job description as part of the agreement to look again at the E3 jobs which were downgraded in 2016/17 as part of E3. We spent a lot of time and effort gathering information from AP members to submit to the job evaluation (JE) review, much of it collected over the last few years. We were delighted when in July 2020 the evaluation panel regraded the APRW role from a band 2 to a band 3 read more

 

FBU

Reverse fire service cuts and prevent another avoidable tragedy like Banstead, say Surrey firefighters (25 Mar) – There could be further avoidable loss of life in Surrey unless fire cuts are not reversed, firefighters have warned in a letter to the leader Surrey County Council, following a deadly fire in Banstead on Friday 19 March in which the first fire engine took 14 minutes to arrive. In the letter to Councillor Tim Oliver, firefighters labelled the tragedy and loss of life as attributable to a series of cuts under the fire service’s Making Surrey Safer Plan. The letter highlights the fire service’s failings on the night of the fire, including that the first fire engine took 14 minutes to arrive, four minutes slower than the service’s county-wide 10 minute response time target 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

Support these NEU strikes:-

Shrewsbury Colleges Group /Shrewsbury
(Victimisation of NEU Rep)
Tuesday 30 March
Wednesday 31 March
[email protected]
Leaways School /Hackney
(TU Victimisation and Abuse of Disciplinary Procedures)
Tuesday 30 March
Wednesday 31 March
[email protected]
Victoria Education Centre / Bournemouth
(Redundancies)
Tuesday 30 March
Wednesday 31 March
[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.

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
Poole teachers take strike action (26 Mar) –
Members of NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union at Victoria Education Centre in Poole are taking five days of strike action starting next Tuesday (30th March) over changes to their contracts which will undermine their terms and conditions. Staff at the centre, which caters for children with physical disabilities or complex medical/neurological conditions, have been placed under duress to accept new contracts which undermine their rights on sickness and maternity pay, having been threatened with termination of their contracts and the withholding of an agreed pay award if they refused to sign. As a result of the failure of the employer to engage meaningfully with the NASUWT over the consultation on the planned changes to contracts, the Union has announced five days of non-consecutive strike action read more

NASUWT rejects SQA plans for grading appeals (26 Mar) – The NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, has rejected the SQA’s proposals that appeals against this summer’s grades for national qualifications should be handled by schools. The NASUWT has today submitted its response to the SQA’s consultation on the plans and has told the regulator that it does not support any of its three options for handling appeals, as each places the responsibility for managing appeals on schools read more

 

EIS

EIS-FELA critical of Colleges Scotland for failing to ratify agreement (22 Mar) – On Friday 19th March, the Annual Conference of the EIS Further Education Lecturer’s Association (EIS-FELA) expressed concern with the news that the Employers Association, Colleges Scotland has not ratified the NJNC Agreement made last week read more

18 days of strike action at Forth Valley college  – Starting from tomorrow (16 Mar), over 200 EIS members at Forth Valley College are set to take strike action in another escalation in the dispute over the removal of 30 lecturers’ jobs. College staff will be striking across three different campuses, including Falkirk, Alloa, and Stirling for 18 days over three months, from Wednesday 17 March. The decision to take industrial action follows a strike ballot that resulted in 77% of members voting yes to the escalation, on a 55% turnout read more

 

UCU

Updates on latest UCU disputes

Petition calling for fair funding and online learning

UCU response to Universities UK’s call for full campus return from 12 April (25 Mar) – UCU said Universities UK (UUK) was risking the safety of staff, students and the wider public with its call for a full return to campus and resumption of in-person activities for English universities. UCU was responding to UUK’s request to the UK government not to delay the final phased return for students at English universities, which is due to begin from 12 April read more

UCU calls for reversal of adult education funding ‘stealth cuts’ (25 Mar) –UCU has written to the Westminster government to raise concerns about the Education and Skills Funding Agency’s (ESFA) decision to set the threshold rate for adult education ‘under-delivery’ at 90%, which could see colleges lose tens of millions in funding, and to call on the government to reverse the decision read more

Open University breaks promise on pay and job security to over 4,000 staff (24 Mar) – UCU said the Open University is betraying more than 4,000 staff by reneging on its agreement to implement a new contract which was meant to come into force in October 2021 read more

Strikes on tomorrow across all six Northern Ireland colleges over pay row (23 Mar) – UCU members across all six Northern Ireland further education colleges will down tools tomorrow (Wednesday) after Stormont failed to address staff concerns over pay and terms & conditions. UCU members at the six colleges – Belfast Metropolitan College, North West Regional College, Northern Regional College, South Eastern Regional College, South West College and Southern Regional College – will take part in an online strike rally over Zoom at 10.45am tomorrow morning. They will be joined by UCU general secretary Jo Grady, UCU president-elect Janet Farrar, and UCU Northern Ireland official Katharine Clarke. The dispute centres on Northern Ireland Minister for the Department for the Economy (DfE) Diane Dodds and her department’s failure to increase college funding so that employers can pay staff fairly 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 advice on covering protests (29 Mar) – In these exceptionally volatile circumstances, in which protests can be expected to continue, in Bristol and elsewhere, the NUJ has issued additional advice to members on staying safe read more

Police in Bristol must respect media’s right to report (29 Mar) – The union has expressed concern at the behaviour of some police officers towards the media covering recent protests in Bristol. NUJ organiser David Ayrton and Bristol branch chair Paul Breeden are co-ordinating the union’s response to the unacceptable treatment of professional journalists covering local public demonstrations read more

Happy birthday SEISS – but many freelances left out of the Covid-19 scheme will not be celebrating today (26 Mar) – Friday 26 March marks the anniversary of the government’s Covid-19 aid package for freelances. After immense pressure from the TUC, NUJ and other unions, the UK government launched the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS). The self-employed would receive up to 80 per cent (capped at £2,500) a month on self-employed trading profits for three months read more

 

Prospect

Civil service pay freeze must not lead to another ‘lost decade’ for public service pay (25 Mar) – Prospect union, a trade union representing thousands of civil servants, has warned that the pay freeze confirmed in today’s Civil Service Pay Remit Guidance must not lead to another ‘lost decade’ for public service pay. The union has called the pay freeze, which will mean a real terms pay cut for civil servants, “economically illiterate” warning that it will remove demand form the economy at a critical time in the recovery read more

Warm words won’t thaw BT pay freeze (25 Mar) – Prospect’s BT Committee is meeting today to discuss how to respond to provocative moves by BT to freeze pay without holding any meaningful discussions with Unions. BT is planning on freezing pay for a second consecutive year, in what would be a devastating blow to members who have gone above and beyond to keep the country connected during this extraordinary 12 months read more

 

USDAW

BCM Fareva, Nottingham: Usdaw condemns threat of fire and rehire if staff don’t accept brutal cuts in terms and conditions (24 Mar) – BCM Fareva, the Nottingham based manufacturer of consumer pharma and beauty products for leading brands including Boots, has issued a ‘fire and rehire’ threat if there is a failure to agree proposals to slash employees’ pension, life assurance, sick pay and redundancy payment provisions. Usdaw has written to the company demanding that the threat to impose these cuts is taken off the table read more

 

Mandate (Ireland)

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 angered at enforced redundancies at Rehab Enterprises in Limerick (26 Mar) – SIPTU members have expressed anger at the decision by Rehab Enterprises in Limerick to make workers redundant without exploring alternative options at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) read more

SIPTU calls on Minister to release funds to end CE supervisor pension dispute (26 Mar) – SIPTU representatives have today (Friday, 26th March) called on the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath, to release the funds necessary to settle the Community Employment supervisors pension dispute without delay or run the risk of another round of strike action read more

 

IWGB

Deliveroo riders to strike and investor briefing exposes further risk as major investment firms shun Deliveroo over exploitation of key workers (28 Mar) – the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) alongside ShareAction and The Private Equity Stakeholder Project have today released a full investor briefing outlining the extensive financial and reputational risks associated with this investment. These are key concerns for the hundreds of UK Deliveroo riders expected to take strike action on 7 April when Deliveroo is due to make its Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the London Stock Exchange. The IWGB has launched a strike fund to support workers taking industrial action read more

Revealed: many Deliveroo riders paid less than minimum wage – questions raised ahead of IPO

IWGB condemns Bolt CEO Markus Villig’s “negligence” (25 Mar) – The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) condemns Bolt CEO Markus Villig for “negligence” after private hire driver Muhammad Alam threatened at knife point on 19 March by passengers while on a job for Bolt, demonstrating a failure to improve safety measures as demanded by IWGB following the stabbing of Bolt driver Gabriel Bringye on 17 February 2021 read more

 

 

Other News

Townsend Theatre Productions – Online screening of our films about shipbuilding – the story of Appledore and UCS ‘work in’ 1971/2 – On Zoom and Facebook Live Frid 9 April at 7pm. See our website for Live shows starting June. http://ow.ly/LJ6350E9m2K

 

Fight blacklisting and victimisation of union reps

#SPYCops Inquiry exposes state surveillance of workers movement

QC for blacklisted workers formally calls for Lord Tebbit gives evidence at spycops public inquiry

Imran Khan QC, acting on behalf of the Blacklist Support Group has written to Sir John Mitting, chair of the public inquiry into undercover policing calling for Lord Norman Tebbit to be called to give oral evidence (attached). The formal request comes after Tebbit revealed that when he was Secretary of State for Employment in the Thatcher government, he received regular briefings about trade unions from Special Branch, which included such detail as where individual union members went on holiday. The frank admission came during a parliamentary meeting hosted by Richard Burgon and the Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance (COPS).

 

Tebbit also told MPs and peers attending the Zoom meeting that he often held private meetings with ‘friends in the unions’ including the General Secretary of the EETPU electricians union to discuss how to deal with leftwing union activists. After the meeting Lord Tebbit told The Times:

“I got briefings from Special Branch on what some of the hard-left, communist-style leaders were up to. But I got far more briefings from my friends who were trade union leaders. Friends of mine who were trade union leaders would come to see me at the Department of Employment by arrangement. They would drive, be admitted straight into the underground car park and take the lift straight to my office, so that nobody would know that they had seen me.”

Dave Smith, secretary of the Blacklist Support Group commented on the letter sent to Sir John Mitting:

“We demand that Tebbit be called to give evidence to the public inquiry about these Special Branch briefings. If any official government or union documentation relating to these meetings at a Ministerial office exist, we demand that they are disclosed to the inquiry. Just as importantly, Tebbit should be forced to name his ‘friends in the unions’ who grassed up union members to a Conservative government Minister. Any union leaders or officials who colluded with a Tory government against other union members should be publicly exposed. Mitting has repeatedly allowed police officers and their managers to avoid giving evidence to this supposedly public inquiry, but any last minute excuses for Tebbit not to give evidence will be totally unacceptable.  If Tebbit is healthy enough to sit in the country’s upper legislative chamber, he is fit enough to give evidence at a public inquiry”.

Previous press coverage of Tebbit’s comments:

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/special-branch-spied-on-union-leaders-norman-tebbit-admits-xv20rkmzw

https://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/article/b/tebbit-lifts-lid-government-involvement-spying-trade-unionists

https://www.union-news.co.uk/thatcher-minister-tebbit-admits-receiving-special-branch-reports-about-union-activists/

https://www.vice.com/en/article/g5baz3/police-spies-told-a-minister-where-left-wing-trade-unionists-go-on-holiday

https://www.unitetheunion.org/news-events/news/2021/march/norman-tebbit-s-admission-about-government-involvement-in-spying-on-trade-unionists-must-be-fully-investigated/

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

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

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

NUJ: Journalists leaders stand up for Belarus media read more

 

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