537: Come to NSSN Conference 2021 – 11am Sunday 20 June

June 2, 2021 in Bulletins

Come to this year’s annual conference of the National Shop Stewards Network, which this year will be online on Zoom.
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Take part in the discussion with other trade union reps, activists and members.
This will include how we keep our workplaces safe and how we fight the Tory and bosses offensive: fire and rehire, the public sector pay freeze and Johnson’s attack on our right to protest, strike and picket, as well as stopping union victimisation.
The Zoom details for the conference are:-
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83931358284 Meeting ID: 839 3135 8284

 

Sparks force bosses to talk after blockading AWE to stop de-skilling

Rank and file construction electricians in Unite have forced NG Baileys and Balfour Beatty to the negotiating table after stepping up their fight against de-skilling. On Wednesday 26 March, they converged from all areas of the country to AWE Burghfield, which assembles nuclear warheads. NG Baileys who have a contract there is the main company pushing the Electrical Service Operator (ESO) grade. This would mean opening up 70% of the work of time-served skilled construction electricians to cheaper unskilled labour. As with the BESNA a decade ago, their motivation is to slash the Sparks’ wages and look to spread this version of ‘fire and hire’ through the construction industry.

Sparks blockade AWE Burghfield

Sparks blockade AWE Burghfield

The Sparks blockaded the main gate at AWE, pushing past the area that the police would ‘allow’. The staff cars were then diverted to the other gate where they met another group of protesting workers. Sparks on the Baileys contracts, were emboldened by the protests and drove round in a cavalcade, beeping their horns. Along with the Sparks’ blockade, this helped cause a massive tailback of traffic.

This was the 14th week of this struggle but it represents a step change in the fight against de-skilling. The Sparks have made it clear that this and other Baileys sites are being targeted, and the full range of tactics should be used – official Unite strike ballots, protests and unofficial action. That was the strategy that defeated the BESNA. In the aftermath of the AWE blockade, Baileys and Balfours contacted the Rank and File for talks. The Sparks have postponed this week’s protests to allow these talks to take place.

But the Sparks have made it clear that they aren’t going away until the ESO is well and truly off the table. Balfours had already indicated that they were abandoning the ESO weeks ago but seemed to reverse this when Baileys still stood out. So the Sparks won’t be fooled. The protests may have been suspended but they’ll be back on if the talks go nowhere.

Watch Reel News video: Sparks shut down nuclear weapons facility over deskilling

Watch Reel News video: NG Baileys up to old blacklisting tricks in deskilling dispute

See Reel News video of last week’s protest – Sparks occupy Land Securities offices over deskilling

See Reel News video – Sparks invade Balfour Beatty job over deskilling

See Reel News video of recent protest at Hinkley Point

Read latest Siteworker bulletins of the Rank & File

For details of Sparks protests, follow NO TO ESO (UNSKILLED LABOUR) Facebook page

Sign petition: Permanently BAN the practice or notion of de-skilling professional trades!

 

 

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 over dismissal of train rep with 20 years unblemished service (24 May) – DISMISSAL, GARY CARNEY, TRAIN OPERATOR – LONDON UNDERGROUND

Defend Adrian Mitchell RMT driver on London Underground

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

Woolwich Ferry workers overwhelmingly vote to strike over victimised rep – Workers operating the Woolwich Ferry, now run by Transport for London (TfL), will strike for eight days in May and June over the victimisation of a union rep, Unite the union announced today (Friday 30 April). Unite’s 57 members have voted by an overwhelming 97 per cent for strike action which will take place on 14, 24, 28 May and 1, 4, 7, 11, 21 June. The ferry has been so dogged by poor employment relations in recent years – leading to TfL taking over its operation from the discredited Briggs Marine Contractors Ltd – that the latest episode has been dubbed the ‘Groundhog Day’ dispute read more

Unite: Ealing’s Labour council ‘actively helping’ Serco ‘hound’ union rep from civil enforcement job (18 May)

St Mungos management escalate dispute by suspending Unite rep

Sign petition: Reinstate Gary Bolister sacked GMB rep at Islington Council

Watch Reel News video: Victimised union reps: Act like it’s you and fight back

Sign petition: Overturn Final written warning for John Boken (NEU Representative at Shrewsbury Colleges Group)

Sign petition to support Redbridge NEU Rep Keiran Mahon

Watch Reel News video: Huddersfield teachers strike to defend Louise Lewis

Defend NEU Exec member Tracy McGuire. Stop the victimization of Tracy!

NSSN sends our solidarity and congratulations to Kirstie Paton, her members in John Roan School and the NEU in Greenwich and nationally after successfully defending her job 

Victory for NEU at Leaways School in Hackney: Statement posted by NEU Joint General Secretary Kevin Courtney – “Kedleston Group and the National Education Union are pleased to announce that the industrial dispute at Leaways School has been resolved. The school has voluntarily agreed to recognise the NEU and Iain Forsyth, a NEU representative for Leaways School, has been reinstated following due process under the School’s internal procedures.” (See more under NEU in this NSSN bulletin). NSSN sends our congratulations and solidarity to the NEU and Iain his members at Leaways

 

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 (read April’s HCT bulletin)

Watch Reel News video – NEU: Solidarity with NHS pay campaign

Saturday June 5th – Scottish march for NHS fair pay: 11.30am Edinburgh Castle Esplanade

Saturday July 3rd – NHS Anniversary events read more

 

Fight Tory 1.5% council and school workers pay Insult

Joint statement from GMB, Unite and Unison: “Disappointing” council pay offer ignores huge Covid effort of workforce, say unions (14 May) – Employers should come back with improved offer. Unions representing 750,000 council and school support staff across England, Wales and Northern Ireland today (Friday) criticised the 1.5% pay offer made by the Local Government Association. GMB, Unite and UNISON submitted a joint pay claim to the local government employers in February for a 10% pay rise. This would be payable from 1 April 2021 read more

 

Support the NSSN

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 and is now attacking the right to protest through its Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

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 confirms Serco Caledonian Sleeper strike dates (1 June) – RAIL UNION RMT confirmed today that strikes will go ahead from the 15th June after a ballot of members on the Serco Caledonian Sleeper returned a massive 85% vote in favour of strike action over pay. The ballot took place after the company attempted to impose a pay freeze on hardworking staff who have kept the service running throughout the Covid pandemic. The union’s National Executive Committee has now had the opportunity to consider the ballot result in favour of taking industrial action and has taken the decision to call on all RMT members to take the following strike action by not booking on for any shifts that commence between:- 11:59 hours on Tuesday 15th June 2021 to 11:59 hours on Saturday 26thJune 2021

Furthermore, with effect from 12:00 hours on ‎Saturday 26th June 2021, until further notice, members are instructed:- Not to work any overtime; Not to work on your rest day read more

Night Tube dispute ballot papers go out from today (1 June) – ABOLITION OF NIGHT TUBE TRAIN OPERATOR GRADE – LONDON UNDERGROUND. I am writing further to my letter of 13th May 2021 and concerning London Underground seeking to abolish TO23, the Night Tube Train Operators’ Grade. The effect of this means the incorporation of Night Tube Train Operator duties into other Tube Operators’ rosters and is in direct breach of a comprehensive dispute settlement we had made with LUL in 2015. RMT cannot stand by and allow this hard-won agreement to be dismantled and the denigration of our members’ terms and conditions. RMT has been dedicated to negotiating a deal that works for all our driver members and allows as many of our Night Tube members to go full-time who wish to. The recent disastrous deal agreed by LUL and another union is poorly thought out and is already having negative impacts on those who took the option to go full-time meaning many are now working under the same fatigue inducing rota as they were on the secondment. Your union is in favour of members changing grade as they wish and to enjoy the working arrangements that are collectively agreed between RMT and London Underground. That is not the issue at stake here, it is the abolition of a grade and the implications that has for those members who have changed grade and all other Train Operators read more

RMT slams “disgraceful stitch up” TfL short-term funding deal (1 June) – General Secretary Mick Lynch said: “This is a disgraceful stitch up of a deal and it will be resisted by our members whether it comes from Whitehall or City Hall through London wide industrial action if necessary. It is completely unacceptable for transport workers who have risked and in some cases tragically lost their lives to now be asked to pay this political price for the coronavirus. Attacks on workers pensions are wholly unacceptable while driverless trains are unwanted, unaffordable and unsafe. With funding only lasting until December London is being held to ransom with a gun to its head rather than being given the long term stable funding deal that is necessary to rebuild the economy as we move out of lockdown” read more

Mitie workers: you are not alone (1 June) – Please download the attached leaflet and display in your Mitie LUL workplace. The RMT is responding to numerous attacks on our members on the security contract of our network. These vital workers keep our depots, sidings and buildings safe and secure. The RMT is dedicated to all of our members and this leaflet is a reminder that members are not alone. Together, we can improve working conditions read more

RMT on Bromley South stabbing (31 May) – RMT condemns lack of action on union warnings over safety as member is stabbed at Bromley South today. RAIL UNION RMT today demanded that rail bosses take full responsibility for the stabbing of a member at Bromley South today after they ignored union warnings that violence on Southeastern was out of control and a serious incident of this nature was bound to happen. The RMT member was stabbed seven times today and another member had a tooth knocked out read more

RMT repeats call for urgent  ScotRail summit (30 May) – With ScotRail Conductors and Ticket Examiners strike action solid again today RMT repeats call for an urgent summit with the Scottish Transport Secretary. With RMT ScotRail Ticket Examiner and Conductor grades members standing firm again today in two separate disputes over pay, fairness, and equality the union has repeated the call for the Scottish Transport Secretary Michael Matheson MSP to hold an urgent summit meeting to discuss how the disputes can be resolved fairly read more. The union also announced the following dates for additional action for ticket examiners;

  • 00.01 hours until 23.59 hours on Sunday 13th June 2021
  • 00.01 hours until 23.59 hours on Sunday 20th June 2021
  • 00.01 hours until 23.59 hours on Sunday 27th June 2021
  • 00.01 hours until 23.59 hours on Sunday 4th July 2021
  • 00.01 hours until 23.59 hours on Sunday 11th July 2021
  • 00.01 hours until 23.59 hours on Sunday 18th July 2021

RMT demands urgent summit with the Scottish Transport Secretary (28 May) – In advance of further industrial action by ScotRail Conductors and Ticket Examiners this Sunday, RMT leader Mick Lynch demands urgent summit with the Scottish Transport Secretary to resolve the ongoing disputes over pay equality and fairness. In advance of further industrial action by RMT ScotRail Ticket Examiner and Conductor grades members in two separate disputes over pay fairness and equality, RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch has written to the Scottish Transport Secretary Michael Matheson MSP to demand an urgent meeting to discuss how the disputes can be resolved fairly read more

RMT launches petition demanding pay justice and equality for ScotRail workers

RMT to ballot over dismissal of train rep with 20 years unblemished service (24 May) – DISMISSAL, GARY CARNEY, TRAIN OPERATOR – LONDON UNDERGROUND. I am writing to members regarding a travesty of justice that has seen our Brother Gary Carney dismissed by London Underground for allegedly avoiding an unannounced D&A test. Members across the Central Line had earlier been balloted for strike action in defence of Brother Carney. The industrial action that had been planned for Thursday 6th May 2021 was suspended in good faith to allow talks to take place at the highest level between RMT and LUL. Unfortunately, the outcome has been that LUL have upheld the dismissal of Brother Carney read more

Senior Conductors strike on East Midlands Railway – next strike dates- Sunday 6th June, Sunday 13th June, Sunday 20th June

 

ASLEF

ASLEF: TfL Funding Deal (27 May) – The government, on Tuesday 18 May, only extended funding for Transport for London until tomorrow [Friday 28 May]. A short-term extension that only created uncertainty for passengers, staff, and businesses in the capital read more

 

TSSA

TSSA speaks out on Bromley South station stabbing (1 June) – TSSA today condemned the assault and stabbing of a Revenue Protection Officer at Bromley South on Monday and the culture of indifference by Southeastern bosses that allowed the event to happen read more

TSSA says the future is bleak for TfL (1 June) – TSSA has condemned the new funding package for TfL saying “the future is bleak for London’s transport system.” Ministers have demanded that Transport for London (TfL) make an extra £900 million of savings in 2021 on top of cost cutting measures that were already being implemented this year. In addition, TfL must draw up a plan to raise an additional £500m to £1bn of income per year from 2023 read more

TfL needs “support not cuts”, says TSSA (27 May) – Ahead of tomorrow’s expected Transport for London (TfL) funding announcement, TSSA calls for “support, not cuts” to bolster the country’s recovery. Manuel Cortes, TSSA General Secretary, said: “TfL needs support, not cuts. Our capital’s transport system cannot limp on with short term handouts. Businesses, staff and London’s communities are united in our calls for a long-term funding settlement which safeguards London’s transport services…” read more

Strike threat averted as TSSA welcomes improved pay offer from Balfour Beatty (25 May) – TSSA today welcomed a new pay offer from Balfour Beatty after members voted by over 90% for industrial action. Faced with a very real threat of strike action by TSSA members in the Central Rail System Alliance – working on railway track renewals, maintenance and upgrades. Balfour Beatty made an improved pay offer to the union yesterday (Monday). The offer includes 2% for 2020 – backdated in full to April 1st 2020 – to be paid in a lump sum and 1.5% with effect from 1st April 2021. It marks a significant improvement on Balfour Beatty’s original offer which would have seen workers receive no pay rise for 2020 at a time when the company was making close on £50m profit and awarding bonuses of £2m to senior managers read more

 

Unite

New study reveals European driver fatigue at epidemic levels (3 June) – A new study published today (Thursday 3 June) reveals that levels of professional driver fatigue throughout Europe are at epidemic levels, mirroring previous survey’s conducted by Unite, the UK’s leading union. The survey, received responses from drivers in 28 European countries and was undertaken by the European Transport Workers Federation (ETF), the confederation of European transport unions. It was the first time in 15 years that such a large scale survey has been undertaken. The survey found that two thirds of professional drivers regularly feel fatigued (60 per cent of lorry drivers and 66 per cent of bus and coach drivers). More alarmingly the survey found that 30 per cent of lorry drivers and 24 per cent of bus and coach drivers have fallen asleep whilst driving at least once in the last year read more

Dismissal notices for Banbury coffee workers over ‘fire and rehire’ plans branded as ‘corporate gangsterism’ by Unite (2 June) – The decision by JDE (Jacobs Douwe Egberts) in Banbury to issue dismissal notices today (Wednesday 2 June) to workers refusing to sign new contracts, which could mean some of them losing up to £12,000 a year, has been branded ‘corporate gangsterism’ by Unite the union. Unite said that it would be escalating industrial action with four new strike days at the Ruscote Avenue site after the company said those employees, who didn’t sign up by 17 May to the new contracts, will be issued with 12 weeks’ notice, effective from 7 June. The new strikes will run from 07.00 on Saturday (5 June) until 07.00 Sunday (6 June); from 06:00 Thursday 10 June until 07:00 Friday 11 June; from 07:00 Sunday 13 June until 07:00 Monday 14 June; and from 06:00 on Wednesday 16 June until 07:00 Thursday 17 June. Unite national officer for the food industry Joe Clarke said: “The company has today announced its notice to dismiss the entire workforce by using unscrupulous ‘fire and rehire’ tactics read more

Sunrise Medical workers in Dudley to take strike action over pay (2 June) – Workers at electric wheelchair maker Sunrise Medical based in Dudley have voted for strike action in a dispute over pay. Four separate days of strike action have been called, which will cause widespread disruption to production at the Brierley Hill factory. The strikes will take place on Monday 14 June, Friday 18 June, Monday 21 June and Friday 25 June. The workers are seeking a three per cent pay increase and an additional day of holiday for Christmas Eve. Workers were balloted for strike action as a result of a breakdown in pay talks read more

TfL bailout cuts must not damage workers’ pay, pensions or safety warns Unite (1 June) – The announcement that Transport for London (TfL) has been forced to accept significant cost savings in order to receive a billion pound government bailout must not result in cuts to members pay, pensions, safety or wellbeing, Unite the UK’s leading union, has warned. TfL has been forced to request a further bailout from the government as revenues are currently only at 60 per cent of pre-pandemic levels. The bailout will last until December this year. The bailout comes with significant strings attached including requirements for TfL to: review its pension scheme, review demand and service levels, a plan for self-funding by 2023, identify new sources of income and develop a business plan for driverless trains read more

Landmark HS2 trade union access agreement secured (1 June) – Construction unions Unite and GMB have secured the first access agreement for the massive HS2 development. The agreement has been signed between the unions and the Mace/Dragados joint venture company which will undertake the construction of the new Euston Station. The agreement secures the right of trade union representatives to visit the project’s inductions as well as welfare facilities to talk to all the workers on the site during their breaks, in order to deal with any concerns or worries that they may have. The joint unions are working to ensure that similar agreements are signed for all areas of the HS2 project to ensure that workers are well treated, throughout the whole development read more

Sainsbury’s accused of ‘erecting brick wall’ to block attempts to keep Argos distribution centre in Somerset open (1 June) – Unite, the UK’s leading union, has accused senior management at Sainsbury’s of effectively erecting a ‘brick wall’ to prevent the union developing an alternative business case to the planned closure of the Argos distribution centre in Bridgwater, Somerset. The 230 strong workforce were left shocked and fearing for their future, when Argos which is now owned by Sainsbury’s, announced last month that it intends to close its distribution centre in Bridgwater Somerset next year. Unite, which represents the workforce at the centre, has entered into consultation on the company’s plans, but when it has sought additional information it has been repeatedly told that what was requested is “commercially sensitive” or the information has been presented in such a way that it is unusable read more

Bexley ‘summer stink’ warning as Serco refuse workers strike vote over pay opens (1 June) – Bexley residents have been warned to prepare for ‘summer stink’ as Serco refuse workers prepare to vote in a strike ballot in a dispute over pay and poor treatment of workers, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said today. Around 140 Unite members will take part in the vote, which has been called over a ‘pathetic’ 1.5 per cent pay offer, the removal of industrial sickness benefits and Serco’s refusal to handover years of back pay owed to nearly 50 staff. Outsourcing giant Serco, which runs the contract on behalf of Bexley Council, has failed for half a decade to include refuse staff on a stipulated pay progression scale. The situation has led to instances of refuse truck drivers being on the same pay scale as street sweepers, with some staff being owed thousands in back wages read more

Hospitality tipping law needed as Pizza Express becomes latest restaurant to unfairly deduct staff tips (1 June) – The government must introduce long promised legislation to prevent employers ripping off tips given to staff, Unite, the UK’s leading union, has said after Pizza Express became the latest restaurant to unfairly deduct staff tips. On May 17, the day restaurants reopened after lockdown, Pizza Express increased the 30 per cent previously deducted from waiting staff tips to 50 per cent. The deduction is being used to boost the wages of kitchen workers by depriving minimum wage waiting staff of a sizable chunk of their income read more

Blackburn and Burnley patients face test delays as biomedical scientists begin three week strike action in back pay dispute (31 May) – NHS patients in Blackburn and Burnley are being warned that test results may be delayed and other services affected, as biomedical scientists employed by East Lancashire NHS Trust begin three weeks of strike action today (Monday 31 May), in a dispute over unpaid back pay. The strike, involving 21 biomedical scientists who are members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, is a result of the trust failing to honour an agreement made in 2019 to upgrade the scientists from band 5 to band 6 on the NHS Agenda for Change pay scale. The affected workers are owed back pay between several hundred pounds to £8,000. The underpayment problem dates back to 2010 for some of the affected scientists. The workers who are based at the Royal Blackburn Hospital but also work at Burnley General Teaching Hospital have been striking during night, weekend and late shifts from 7 May. The scientists have now embarked on three weeks of continuous strike action which began at 00:01 today (Monday 31 May) and will end at 06:59 Monday 21 June read more

Unite launches Northern Ireland workers’ survey for hospitality and tourism (May 31) – Former Ivy worker and Unite the Union Hospitality & Tourism Coordinator Julia Marciniak is today launching an online survey to gather and interpret working conditions and pay in the hospitality sector as many people return to work over the coming weeks. The confidential survey will allow people to speak out about their working environment without fear of reprisal read more

Employers challenged to sign up to Unite’s Northern Ireland Hospitality Charter as best means to attract workers and overcome staffing shortage (May 27) – Unite the union to write to Hospitality businesses across Belfast area to request they sign up to raise the bar for workers. Hospitality Charter includes provisions such a Living Wage, guaranteed hours, action to challenge sexual harassment and trade union access. Unite’s Organiser for the Hospitality sector Neil Moore challenged Northern Ireland employers in the sector to ‘raise the bar’ on employment rights for all workers in the sector read more

Bromley Central Library workers strike over late-night openings with less staff (26 May) – Bromley Central Library workers will strike over plans by their employer Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) to stage late-night openings with less staff, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said today (Wednesday 26 May 2021). The 17 employees, members of Unite, voted unanimously in favour of strike action over a proposed change to working hours so that staff, instead of working one late night every two weeks, will work four late nights every two weeks. Part time staff, who currently do not work late nights, will now be required to work one late night per week. Unite said that the late nights plan, which only involves employees at Bromley Central Library, come following a reduction in staffing – so it will mean less workers to cover longer opening hours. Beginning on 14 June, Bromley Central Library workers will strike every day from 6pm. The latest dispute follows the eight-month strike by 50 GLL library staff working in the borough’s 14 libraries over such issues as pay progression and employee restructuring which ended in January 2020. Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “GLL’s plan to open Bromley Central Library for longer with less staff is simply not feasible. The workers know it, which is why every single one of our members voted for strike action…” read more

Offshore contractor Bilfinger accused of belligerent fire and rehire strategy (26 May) – Three offshore trade unions with members employed by offshore service company Bilfinger are today (26 May) calling on the company to stop its fire and rehire strategy. Unite, GMB and RMT have for several weeks tried to convince Bilfinger that the fire and rehire approach, and imposition of cuts in rates of pay for Inspectors employed on Taqa operations will result in significant industrial relations issues read more

Sainsbury’s threatening Argos workers with vicious fire and rehire plans (25 May) – Office workers employed by Argos, which is now owned by Sainsbury’s, have been given the stark choice of accepting swingeing cuts to their pay and conditions or losing their jobs, under the company’s fire and rehire plans. Over 700 long-term Argos staff, spread across the company, are affected by the fire and rehire plans. The workers undertake a variety of roles including payroll, IT, training, planning and management positions. Under Sainsbury’s plans (which it claims are to align with Sainsbury’s terms and conditions) the affected workers will be required to pay increased pension contributions, lose four days holiday a year, receive a lower level of death in service and suffer the loss of car allowance and other benefits. Unite estimates that the affected workers will lose between £1,600 – £3,600 a year read more

Unite considering all legal options against Goodlord following ‘unfair’ dismissal of striking workers (21 May) – Unite, the UK’s leading union, is considering all legal option against London property services firm Goodlord following its ‘unfair’ dismissal of striking workers on Wednesday evening (19 May)…More than 20 members of Unite, employed in Goodlord’s referencing department, began strike action on 22 February over fire and rehire contract changes that resulted in annual pay falling from £24,000 to £18,000. The original contracts for around half of the striking workers expired during the strike action. As they refused to sign up to the radically diminished terms and conditions Goodlord was offering, the workers were dismissed read more

See Reel News video of Goodlord strike. 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

Ealing parking disruption to resume as more Serco civil enforcement strikes set – Ealing residents are being warned to brace for parking disruption in June due to further strikes over union busting by Serco civil enforcement officers, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said today (Thursday 20 May). Following a pledge by Ealing’s new council leader Peter Mason to intervene in the dispute, Unite said it hopes a solution can be found before the two 72-hour strikes, beginning on 1 June and 9 June, go ahead. Mr Mason’s pledge came after Unite condemned a move by Ealing Council to have a Unite Serco rep removed from his duties. A council officer has written to Serco requesting the Unite rep, who has performed his job for two decades, be removed from duties for bringing the council into ‘disrepute’. The officer justified the decision because the Unite rep stated on social media that Ealing council would lose revenue from Parking Charge Notices during the ongoing strikes by more than 40 Serco civil enforcement officers. Despite the statement being factually accurate and containing no mention of parking policy motivations, the council is wrongly claiming that the union rep ‘conveys the council as a purely revenue generating authority’. The same union rep, along with a number of his colleagues, was previously offered severance by Serco in order to undermine trade union organisation, which resulted in the ongoing strike action. Unite regional officer Clare Keogh said: “Serco has targeted union reps, activists and others with severance offers in order to weaken trade union organisation and undermine negotiations. The company is also using its absence policy to unfairly dismiss employees…Our members will not stand for it and have been left with no other choice but to take strike action…” read more

Ealing’s Labour council ‘actively helping’ Serco ‘hound’ union rep from civil enforcement job

Norwich City Council workers set strike dates over broken promises – Workers who carry out vital services for Norwich City Council will take strike action beginning on 26 May after attempts by the unions to resolve the dispute were rejected by management. Unite members working for arms-length company Norwich City Services Ltd (NCSL) will take action from 26 May to 2 June and UNISON will take strike action on 26, 27, 28 May and 1, 2 June. In the Unite ballot 83% of the workers backed industrial action on a 90 per cent turnout and UNISON members voted 81 per cent in favour of strike action on a turnout of 84 per cent. After the workers overwhelmingly voted for action last week, the unions gave the council an opportunity to negotiate a new set of proposals but the council rejected their efforts, leaving Unite and UNISON no choice but to set strike dates. Both parties have now agreed to meet conciliation service ACAS today (Thursday 13 May) for talks read more

Engineers at Leicestershire’s Brush Electrical strike over fire and rehire cuts of up to £15,000 – Engineers employed by Brush Electrical Machines, owned by venture capitalists Melrose and based in Ashby de-la Zouch, will stage summer strikes in response to ‘fire and rehire’ pay cuts of up to £15,000, Unite said today (Tuesday 11 May 2021). Unite, the UK’s leading union, said the 30 engineers, who service generators around the world, voted overwhelmingly in favour of striking and will stage industrial action every day from 25 May to 16 August. The proposed contracts include reductions to overtime rates, allowances, holidays and other terms and conditions that would result in a pay cut of between £10,000 and £15,000 a year. The engineers’ jobs have been threatened if they do not sign the new contracts, which will leave them on pay rates ‘well below the industry standard’. The union said the strikes will ‘cause havoc to the firm’s worldwide servicing schedule and serious inconvenience to its international clients’. Parent company Melrose has a reputation for targeting workers and viable operations to boost short-term profits read more

Woolwich Ferry workers overwhelmingly vote to strike over victimised rep – Workers operating the Woolwich Ferry, now run by Transport for London (TfL), will strike for eight days in May and June over the victimisation of a union rep, Unite the union announced today (Friday 30 April). Unite’s 57 members have voted by an overwhelming 97 per cent for strike action which will take place on 14, 24, 28 May and 1, 4, 7, 11, 21 June. The ferry has been so dogged by poor employment relations in recent years – leading to TfL taking over its operation from the discredited Briggs Marine Contractors Ltd – that the latest episode has been dubbed the ‘Groundhog Day’ dispute. Besides the victimisation issue, the staff are angry at the failure to agree a new pay and reward scheme; the excessive use of agency staff; and the failure to provide adequate health and safety training to new employees. Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “It is a sad indictment of the TfL bosses that they seem to be following the same course as Briggs Marine Contractors which meted out some appalling employment practices to the workforce in the recent past. Our members have returned an overwhelming mandate for strike action at the Woolwich Ferry in support of their victimised shop steward and over a myriad of other employment issues…” read more

Security guards at Reading hospital to be balloted again for strike action in ‘David and Goliath’ pay battle read more

Support striking Reading hospital security guards – 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

St Mungo’s maintenance strikes called as concern at charity’s ‘bullying and anti-union culture’ grows – Maintenance workers at the St Mungo’s housing charity will begin indefinite strike action from Thursday 22 April in response to ‘appalling treatment’ by senior management, Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, said today (Thursday 8 April). The all-out strike follows a warning in March by Unite, which has more than 500 members at St Mungo’s, that a ‘bullying and anti-union culture’ amongst the management at the London-based charity needed to be addressed. St Mungo’s staff staged walk-outs last year, in part due to the charity’s unbalanced and unfair use of disciplinary procedures. Unite pointed to the targeting of the 44 per cent of workplace reps at the charity, who are currently engaged in formal processes concerning their own employment, as evidence of an anti-union bias by management. Staff relations have become so bad within St Mungo’s property services department that 12 Unite members will begin indefinite strike action on 22 April. The strike was called after a number of staff grievances against property services senior management were dismissed read more

Hackney protest 11am Wednesday 26 June outside Hackney Town Hall

St Mungos management escalate dispute by suspending Unite rep – Orwellian move at St Mungos: management suspend Unite rep for grievance about bullying. In an Orwellian escalation of the crisis at St Mungo’s, management have suspended a union rep who had raised a grievance concerning bullying management.  The grounds include that senior managers were distressed by the suggestion of a bullying management style. Astounding 44% of reps already facing formal processes regarding own employment. This twist follows a vote for strike action by this team following a failure to adequately investigate bullying management! Read more

Donate to strike hardship fund – Unite LE/1111, sort code 60-83-01, account number 204183

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

 

PCS

DVLA Covid safety dispute: fresh round of strike action begins (2 June) – Third round of strike action begins this week (2-5 June) as DVLA takes deal off the table. PCS members at the contact centre are on strike again this week after the DVLA withdrew a deal at the last minute which could have ended the dispute. The contact centre was quiet this morning (2 June) and the main impact of the strike was on phone services which have been suspended from today. The phone disruption is likely to continue all week. The walkout has also increased work backlogs, meaning disruption to customer services is likely both immediately and in the months to come. Local MPs will be raising the dispute with both Grant Shapps and Shadow Transport Minister Jim McMahon. Members in DVLA will be paid £40 a day from our strike fund. This fund makes it possible to support members financially when they are striking and therefore not being paid by their employer. If you are able to, please help by donating. Your donation will help DVLA workers to win on Covid safety. The details are: Account Name: Fighting Fund Levy, A/C No:  20331490, Sort Code: 60-83-01, Reference: DVLA. There is more information on the strike fund here. You can set up a direct debit. All money collected in that way will come to the strike fund. Messages of solidarity – If you would like to write in support of striking DVLA workers, please email [email protected]

Ministers scupper DVLA deal, prompting sustained strike action for ‘months’ to come, PCS warns (1 June)

Jobcentre workers explain their fears about their safety (27 May) – With the spread of the new variant of Covid, PCS members have been telling us their fears and concerns. We have told DWP that jobcentres in the affected local authorities should remain closed to all but the most vulnerable customers.  We have argued that members have been successfully carrying out an essential service from home for a year and should be allowed to continue doing so, to remain safe read more

PCS calls for jobcentre closures in 8 areas affected by Indian variant of Covid (26 May) – A new B.1.617.2 strain of Covid commonly referred to as the “Indian variant” has been found to be prevalent in eight local authorities. They are Burnley, Bedford, Blackburn with Darwen, Bolton, Kirklees, Leicester, Hounslow and North Tyneside. PCS representatives have called for all jobcentres in those areas to be closed and that claimants are serviced remotely and online, as they were when Covid-19 first hit the country. However, DWP bosses have rejected the suggestion, despite “stricter guidance” for people in those 8 affected areas appearing on a government website on Friday read more

Homes England urged to remove fire and re-hire threat (27 May) – PCS has called on Homes England, the public body that funds new affordable housing in England, to scrap plans to fire and re-hire staff on worse contracts. The proposal was exposed during protracted pay negotiations with PCS and staff who don’t agree to pay cuts could be forced on to worse contracts. We are pressing the Cabinet Office to block fire and rehire and we are meeting with the employer next week to discuss the issue and pay read more

 

GMB

Sign petition: Reinstate Gary Bolister sacked GMB rep at Islington Council

Landmark HS2 trade union access agreement secured (1 June) – GMB and Unite have secured the first access agreement for the massive HS2 development. Construction unions Unite and GMB have secured the first access agreement for the massive HS2 development. The agreement has been signed between the unions and the Mace/Dragados joint venture company which will undertake the construction of the new Euston Station. The agreement secures the right of trade union representatives to visit the project’s ​inductions as well as welfare facilitie ​to talk to all the workers on the site during their breaks, in order to deal with any concerns or worries that they may have read more

Government u-turn on free parking for NHS and social care workers ‘beyond belief’ (28 May) – The UK Government has sunk to a new low, as they secretly remove access to free car parking for health and social care key workers. At the start of the pandemic, GMB and other unions asked Ministers to waive car parking charges for social care and NHS staff whilst they were travelling to and from work as an essential measure in keeping these key workers safe. Despite conflicting messages from the UK Government, the pandemic is far from over as we see infection rates on the increase read more

Lack of strategy ‘abundantly clear’ – time for a public inquiry (27 May) – GMB, the union for health and social care staff have called for an ‘immediate public inquiry’ over the government’s handling of Covid 19, after big questions emerged over the government’s handling of the crisis. In a revealing seven-hour testimony yesterday, the governments ex chief SPAD, Dominic Cummings raised questions over the UK Government’s response to the pandemic read more

Union membership rockets 120k in pandemic: worker organisation more relevant than ever (27 May) – With Uber deal providing blueprint for digital organisation future of trade unions looks strong. GMB, Britain’s general union, has said that the rise in union membership during the pandemic shows that modern, campaigning unions are more relevant than ever. Union membership in the UK rose by 118,000 in 2020, according to the new estimates from BEIS. This was the fourth year in a row when union membership has risen read more

Uber and GMB strike historic union deal for 70,000 UK drivers (26 May) – Uber will formally recognise GMB, which will now be able to represent up to 70,000 Uber drivers across the UK. GMB union and Uber have today announced a groundbreaking trade union recognition deal. Under the collective bargaining agreement, the trade union will represent drivers across the UK. Drivers will retain the freedom to choose if, when and where they drive whilst also having the choice to be represented by GMB. This builds on changes made earlier this year which guarantee all drivers at least the National Living Wage (although drivers can and do earn more), holiday pay and a pension plan read more

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

 

Unison

Majority of nursing staff have experienced sexual harassment at work, survey shows (3 June) – Three in five nurses (60%) have experienced sexual harassment at work, according to a survey published today (Thursday) by UNISON and Nursing Times read more

Employers can no longer mistreat staff who take part in industrial action, says UNISON (2 June) – Christina McAnea hails important victory for staff involved in strikes or disputes. Employers will no longer be able to get away with mistreating any employees who take part in union-organised workplace disputes following an important legal decision today (Wednesday), says UNISON. UK law had previously prevented employers from sacking staff involved in strike action or other workplace disputes, but not from disciplining or making life difficult for them, says UNISON. But now, disciplinary action against workers who go on strike will be unlawful. This follows today’s judgment at the employment appeal tribunal (EAT) over a case taken by care worker Fiona Mercer against the Alternative Futures Group (AFG) read more

Further strike action avoided as Cumberland Infirmary workers reach agreement with employer (24 May) – More than 150 porters, cleaners, switchboard and catering staff who work at Cumberland Infirmary have won their long-running trade dispute with their employer Mitie. The infirmary workers had taken seven days of strike action in recent months over payments for working unsocial hours (night, weekend and bank holiday) shifts and were set to go on strike again this month. But last week constructive talks were held between trade unions, the hospital workers’ employer Mitie and North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust. The talks came to a positive conclusion and UNISON members have now accepted an offer from Mitie- marking the end of the industrial dispute. The offer will see the Cumberland Infirmary workers paid the full NHS Agenda for Change levels of pay for all unsocial hours worked from November 2021. In addition, the offer includes provisions to prevent any job losses as a result of unsocial hours pay being introduced. Finally, a commitment has been made that no worker will be treated any differently by their employer as a result of participating in the trade dispute read more

Publish data on school Covid variant cases now, say unions (27 May) – More information needed due to growing concerns. Eight unions, collectively representing the majority of school and college staff, have today (Thursday) written to the education secretary to call for immediate publication of the data held by the government and Public Health England (PHE) on the total number of variant cases linked to schools and colleges. The letter says: “Education unions have repeatedly requested this data since early May. It should have been released in advance of the change in guidance on face coverings, which came into effect on 17 May.” The unions involved are ASCL, GMB, NASUWT, NAHT, NEU, NSEAD, UNISON and Unite read more

UNISON joins campaign to optimise AHP support workers (26 May) – Trade unions and professional bodies come together to support the role of allied health professional workers read more

UNISON increases pressure for COVID public inquiry ‘sooner rather than later’ (26 May) – Union’s NEC also highlights continuing pay campaigns, post-pandemic support for members and solidarity with those in Palestine read more

UNISON statement on Gaza ceasefire (25 May)

It’s “never been clearer” that Mitie can afford to pay, as Cumberland Infirmary workers begin third round of strike action – More than 150 porters, cleaners, switchboard and catering staff employed by Mitie at Cumberland Infirmary are set to begin a further three days of strike action tomorrow (Friday) over missing payments for working unsocial hours. The hospital workers have already taken four days of strike action in recent months. While the strike action escalates, trade union UNISON says that it has “never been clearer” that Mitie can afford to pay NHS rates to the Infirmary workers it employs read more

 

CWU

Post Office pension scheme members – building a bigger pension (May 24) – “Members can maximise their retirement money pot by taking advantage of the new 8:12 contributions formula,” said CWU assistant secretary Andy Furey this morning, as he reminded branches of one of the key benefits agreed with the company in the 2020 national agreement. This was agreed in April and, just a couple of months later, hundreds of scheme members have opted into this enhancement mechanism, by which increasing their contributions to 8 per cent automatically triggers an employer contribution of 12 per cent. It’s great to see so many hard-working Post Office employees taking up this opportunity” read more

BT strike ballot scheduled for early June if no agreement reached – Andy Kerr gives the company three weeks’ notice to halt its attack on the workforce, or face the prospect of a nationwide strike…The first UK-wide industrial action in BT since 1987 will be on the cards unless company bosses “see sense,” warned CWU deputy general secretary Andy Kerr this morning, as he and CWU president Karen Rose headed into talks requested by the company in response to the groundswell of outrage from angry members across the country. Both Andy and Karen stressed their thanks and praise for the “fantastic support” from the membership for the union’s vigorous ‘Count Me In’ campaign, which has, they insisted, been the key factor in forcing the business to seek negotiations. And, in return for the company agreeing to pause its redundancy programme, the union has agreed to pause triggering the statutory industrial action ballot process. “This is a small victory,” said Andy, in a live broadcast earlier. “We’re around the table now and we will work 24/7 over the next three weeks to make sure we get the right deal for all of you.” But Andy assured the thousands of members watching that, unless sufficient progress is made in these talks, the union will “push the button” on a statutory national industrial action ballot of some 40,000 members working for BT, Openreach and EE at the beginning of June. “We want a negotiated settlement, but if that fails, we will ballot in early June for industrial action,” he vowed read more

 

NIPSA

NICS Pay – NIPSA Met with Finance Minister (27 May) – Further to NIPSA Bulletin issued on 17 May 2021 I wish to update members on the latest developments. NIPSA met this morning with the Finance Minister and pressed home our arguments for an improved pay offer. We raised a number of pertinent points following members’ rejection of the offer, including the fact that members are angry that they are being treated differently in terms of pay from teachers who received a 2% consolidated offer. We pressed the Minister to re-open negotiations on the points we raised including the fact that inflation is now running at 1.5% with the expectation that it may increase further over the coming months. This would effectively mean further cuts in real terms, not our claim for pay restoration to be seriously addressed read more

QUB Crèche – Dispute Intensifies – On International Workers Memorial Day our members in QUB Crèche have intensified their industrial action campaign in pursuit of protection of their terms and conditions of employment. As previously advised QUB Crèche Workers commenced industrial action on 8 March 2021, International Women’s Day. Unfortunately to date the dispute has not been resolved and in an effort to bring the employers back to the negotiating table our brave QUB Crèche members have unanimously agreed to take 4 half day strikes on the following dates:-

28 April (afternoon), 6 May (morning), 14 May (afternoon), 19 May (morning). The morning strikes will run until 1pm with the afternoon strikes commencing at 1pm read more

Education Welfare Officers to Commence Industrial Action – Education Welfare Officers employed by the Education Authority will commence a period of industrial action from Tuesday 4 May 2021. This will commence with various actions short of strike action which is in furtherance of a long dispute in relation to their pay. While a lunchtime protest will be held on Tuesday 4 May 2021 this will be for Education Welfare Staff only to ensure that we comply with Covid 19 restrictions. However, I am asking that Branches consider sending solidarity messages to the 100 plus members who will be engaged in this action. The solidarity messages should be sent by email to Alan Law and Alan will arrange for these to be forwarded to the members read more

 

NEU

Fairness on grading (28 May) – As workload rockets for grading season, 10,000 educators write to Gavin Williamson demanding he provides compensation read more

Over half a million children reliant on free school meals (25 May) – Labour Party figures show over half a million children have become reliant on free school meals during the pandemic read more

Latest school attendance data from Government (25 May) – We call on the Government to release school attendance figures for the local authorities to be released before the middle of June read more

Watch Reel News video: Hands Off Moulescoomb Primary School in Brighton!

 

NASUWT
Catch up announcement far short of what is needed (2 June) –
Commenting on the Government’s ‘catch up’ announcement, Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, said: “The Government has managed once again to raise the expectations of the nation’s children, only to let them down with a lukewarm announcement…” read more

Vital data on covid spread in schools must be released (25 May) – The NASUWT is calling on Public Health England (PHE) to publish all data it has on the growth and spread of the B.1.617.2 coronavirus variant in schools, amid accusations it is withholding crucial information from the public read more

 

EIS

All Politicians must Support the Effort in Schools (2 June) – Following the Parliamentary announcement by Shirley Anne Somerville of an appeals system for National Qualifications 2021, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan has called upon politicians and commentators to support the massive effort being made by schools and teachers to deliver qualifications for this year’s students read more

EIS opens statutory industrial action ballot at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) (28 May) – The EIS has today (Friday) opened a statutory industrial action ballot for members at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC). The move towards industrial action has been prompted by a pay and grading dispute, and follows an indicative ballot that showed strong support amongst lecturers at SRUC for industrial action read more

 

UCU

Updates on latest UCU disputes

Petition calling for fair funding and online learning

Wave of strikes at 49 prisons over Covid-19 concerns set to continue (2 June) – Staff in 49 prisons across England are set to go on strike again in a health and safety dispute with employer Novus, UCU confirmed today. Around 600 UCU members working in prison education are set to walk out of 49 prison and young offender institutions across England on Thursday 10 and Wednesday 23 June. The latest set of walkouts have been called because Novus has refused to meaningfully engaged with UCU’s concerns despite staff already taking two days of strike action in May. The dispute centres on Novus’ failure to meaningfully engage with UCU over Covid-19 health and safety concerns of prison educators teaching and supporting learners on the prison estate. Novus has launched complaints and investigations against UCU’s health and safety representatives, making it difficult for staff to raise safety concerns and impossible for any meaningful health and safety discussions to take place read more

Employers ‘too cowardly’ to stand up for education, Jo Grady says (1 June) – Speaking at the union’s annual congress, held online due to Covid-19, UCU general secretary Jo Grady paid tribute to members for standing up for education and criticised employers who ‘care more about business than they do the business of education’ read more

University College Birmingham under fire for plans to sack 73 staff (1 June) – University College Birmingham was criticised for trying to axe 73 senior lecturers whilst trying to hire 42 new staff on cheaper contracts according to plans released to staff. UCU said the university is leaving itself open to legal action. The cuts would threaten teaching in the schools of business; tourism & creative industries; and health, sport & food. Many of the 73 staff threatened with the chop have been at the university for over 20 years. Changes have also been made to job descriptions so that the 42 new posts would see hired staff being saddled with increased workloads. The proposals also try to change pay and grading with new grades being introduced at both the bottom and top of the academic structure. The university has not negotiated any of these changes with UCU, the recognised trade union. UCU said it is prepared to take legal action to stop the cuts going through as they flout the law on consultation read more

Liverpool Deputy VC Louise Kenny set to make millions from sale of mansion whilst laying off dozens of staff (28 May) – Staff on strike against redundancies at the University of Liverpool have accused the pro vice chancellor of being ‘out of touch’ and ‘drunk on power’ after it was revealed she has been trying to sell a luxury €3.25 million pad in Ireland whilst taking an axe to the jobs of health researchers. Staff are on strike every working day over the next three weeks unless the university halts the cuts. The full strike dates are:

  • Monday 24 May – Friday 28 May
  • Tuesday 1 June – Friday 4 June
  • Monday 7 June – Friday 11 June

The strikes are going ahead during the crucial end of year examination period, meaning disruption for the university will be especially severe. The strikes come after 84% of members who voted in a ballot last month, backed strike action to fight the university’s plans to slash teaching and research jobs in the faculty of health and life sciences. The university originally intended to sack up to 47 staff. This has since been revised down to 32 after UCU threatened industrial action read more

Employers failing to come clean over pension proposals to cut defined benefits (28 May) – A typical member of staff could suffer a 35% cut to their guaranteed retirement benefits for future service. UCU has accused employers’ representative Universities UK (UUK) of failing to come clean over the true impact of its Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) pension proposals. The union says they would devastate the finances of university staff, especially workers at the start of their career, and risk collapsing the scheme entirely. The warning from UCU comes on the day it unveils a new USS pension modelling tool, developed by First Actuarial. It allows members and potential members of USS to see the impact UUK’s proposals would have on their defined benefits – for a typical USS member, it shows a cut of over two-thirds (35%) to defined benefits that will be accrued in the future read more

Part-time students ‘locked out’ of university education, says UCU (27 May) – Responding to the Office for Students’ call for additional support for mature applicants, UCU head of equality and policy Jenny Sherrard said: ‘The increase in the number of mature students applying to university is welcome – higher education should be accessible to all regardless of age or background. But this does little to reverse a dramatic decline in students studying part-time…” 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.

 

POA

Working in UK prisons and secure hospitals during the Covid-19 pandemic (2 June) – In May 2021 Amina Memon and Nicholas Hardwick, from the Centre for the Study of Emotion and Law, at the Royal Holloway University of London produced their report into “WORKING IN UK PRISONS AND SECURE HOSPITALS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC”. A preliminary analysis of a confidential survey of POA Members was undertaken in early 2021. The survey found high levels of anxiety and burn out. These feelings were exacerbated amongst respondents with caring responsibilities and those who had concerns about COVID-19 safety measures in their workplace. Respondents also reported very low levels of emotional support in their workplace read more

 

NAPO

Cafcass update (28 May) – Napo’s Family Court Section has been busy engaging in meetings with Napo members on key issues including workloads and stress. News that Cafcass has received a welcome but fairly modest increase in funding from the Moj, we have yet to see tangible plans to try and stem the workload crisis and recruit more practitioners. Napo will also be writing to the Minister to seek a meeting about the workload crisis as we engage with senior management to try and arrive at joint solutions to ease the pressures on staff read more

PBNI Napo members meet to express anger on Pay (28 May) – Napo members in Probation NI turned out in impressive numbers recently at a special Branch meeting to consider the highly unsatisfactory situation where formal negotiations on pay for 2019-20 have yet to begin. Napo General Secretary Ian Lawrence, Link National Officer Keith Stokeld and National Official Annoesjka Valent also provided support around issues which included workloads and Napo’s recruitment and organisation strategy read more

Update on NPS Pay discussions including pay progression position (28 May) – Following the submission of the joint unions multi-year pay claim for 2021-23 we expect to enter into formal negotiations next month. As members know the situation on pay is not looking good because of the punitive pay freeze that has been imposed by Government. This is obviously opposed by the probation unions and we have made it clear that it is simply untenable for our members who have worked so hard during the pandemic to be treated this way. We have also said that Probation reunification could never have happened without   the massive efforts of NPS and CRC members and this must be recognised read more

Napo standing up for members across a broad front (28 May) – As we enter the final few weeks before Probation reunification on 26th June, it’s a good opportunity to reflect again on the incredible efforts of our members in the NPS, CRCs, Cafcass and Probation Northern Ireland during the National pandemic read more

Probation Reunification (28 May) – The run in to reunification has seen twice weekly meetings taking place between the unions and the Reform team. These have covered a wide range of issues including role matching, pay protection, job evaluation and matters that have been escalated up from the nearly all completed measures discussions that have been taking place in the CRCs and where Napo members interests have been ably taken forward by your Branch representatives working in partnership with our National Officials. Further information about these exchanges and outcomes can be routed through your Branch who will liaise with the appropriate Napo National Official read more

Unions submit 3 year pay claim for NPS members (28 May) – Napo, UNISON and GMB/SCOOP have submitted the following 3 year pay claim for members in NPS:-

  • A three-year award to cover the 2021, 2022 and 2023 pay years
  • An increase in the value of all pay points above the Retail Prices Index (RPI) of inflation on 1 April 2021, 1 April 2022 and 1 April 2023
  • An increase in the value of all NPS allowances above the Retail Prices Index (RPI) of inflation on 1 April 2021, 1 April 2022 and 1 April 2023
  • Shorter Pay Bands to allow staff to reach the top of Pay Band in a shorter time
  • Removal of Pay Band Overlaps

Read more

 

FBU

Fire Brigades Union Conference resolves to oppose government attack on firefighters’ bargaining rights (28 May) – The FBU is gearing up for a fight with the government on various conditions including firefighters’ rights to collective bargaining, as the government prepares to move to try and remove what is the last example of this from the public sector. The conference has also passed a resolution relating to firefighters’ Covid-19 working conditions. The conference took place online, due to the pandemic. The Fire Brigade Union’s Annual Conference has indicated that it believes an attack on firefighter pay and conditions is coming from the Westminster government, and has passed a motion which prepares the union to fight this attack. Conference delegates opposed any potential abolition of collective bargaining in the sector and the implementation of an independent pay review body in its place, as well as the ‘tearing up’ of the ‘Grey Book’ of pay and conditions agreed through UK-wide collective bargaining. Those propositions were recommended by reports of the Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS[MW1] ) into the fire service, and are widely thought to be part of the government’s upcoming White Paper on fire reform read more

FBU defends vital breathing apparatus safety procedures (26 May) – The union has successfully overturned a dangerous policy which would have endangered firefighters’ lives and undermined public safety. The proposed policy would have allowed firefighters fighting a fire in a tall building, to be deployed beyond the bridgehead wearing breathing apparatus (BA) but not under air. While the specific matter originates in London Fire Brigade (LFB), it has implications for all services and for all firefighters. This policy review is a result of the crisis in building safety highlighted by the Grenfell Tower fire, and was referred to the union through an LFB mechanism for resolving disagreements on health and safety matters. In response, the union made submissions to LFB’s Health and Safety Advisory Panel arguing that the proposed policy would breach Health and Safety legislation, overturn decades of BA safe practice and expose firefighters to toxic fire effluents and other hazardous substances. Ultimately, the union argued that it would undermine public safety by the potential to hamper fire ground operations. The FBU welcomes the LFB’s participation in the panel and indeed their subsequent adoption of the recommendations in full read more

 

NUJ

Journalists asked to give evidence of threats to their safety (2 June) – The UK government is inviting journalists to give evidence to the National Committee for the Safety of Journalists so it can put in place measures to make sure they can operate free from threats and violence read more

NUJ welcomes recognition at openDemocracy (27 May) – The union now has formal trade union recognition at the media outlet. Recognition means the NUJ will be able to collectively negotiate with the employer on behalf of a defined group of workers about pay and working conditions. Now that recognition has been granted amicably, representatives from the company and the union will work together to draw up a new recognition agreement read more

NUJ reacts to BBC board announcement (24 May) – NUJ members must have the opportunity to input meaningfully on matters that are critical to their work as journalists and programme makers and to their professional reputations read more

NUJ condemns state-hijacking of plane and detention of Raman Pratasevich (24 May) – The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) in the UK and Ireland has condemned the detention of Raman Pratasevich following the forced landing of a Ryanair flight, and called for his immediate release and that of all journalists in jail in Belarus read more

 

Prospect

Air traffic controllers vote for more industrial action (3 June) – Air traffic controllers for Highlands and islands Airports Ltd (HIAL) have voted overwhelmingly to renew their mandate for industrial action in opposition to the controversial ATMS remote towers project. The Prospect members have been engaged in a limited industrial action since January which includes an overtime ban, refusal to cooperate with the remote towers project, and a refusal to assist in the training for new recruits read more on Union News website

In any normal employment setting Rob Roberts’s actions would likely amount to gross misconduct (25 May) – MP for Delyn, Rob Roberts, is to be suspended from Parliament for six weeks after an independent panel found him guilty of sexual misconduct read more

 

Equity

Equity statement on Holby City (2 June) – “Equity and its membership are very disappointed that after 23 years, the BBC will bring to an end their long running and popular continuing drama series, Holby City. It comes as a blow to the cast who have worked extremely hard over the years and worked loyally through the pandemic. Whilst the BBC have confirmed the production will go out on a high, this will lead to a devastating loss of work for the cast. The timing of this announcement could not be more painful given that the BBC is looking to build alliances within the industry, including Equity, to support the licence fee, to support public service broadcasting and support the charter renewal. This will leave a bitter taste in the mouths of our members who are shouting loudly to support the BBC. We do not want this to be the beginning of the end of the much lauded and valued BBC production. “Our members will be severely impacted by the loss of work and we urge the BBC to continue to work with Equity on any measures to assist our members…” read more

 

USDAW

BCM Fareva staff vote decisively to strike – Usdaw urges the Nottingham based employer to withdraw their ‘fire and rehire’ threat (2 June) – Usdaw members have voted by over 90% in favour of industrial action at BCM Fareva, the Nottingham based manufacturer of consumer pharma and beauty products for leading brands including Boots. BCM Fareva has proposed slashing members’ terms and conditions, including sick pay and redundancy payment provisions, while pre-emptively threatening to ‘fire and rehire’ staff if agreement cannot be reached on the proposed changes. Usdaw has informed the company of the result and again calls on them to avoid industrial action by removing their threat to ‘fire and rehire’ read more

Usdaw protect shopworkers petition set to be debated in Parliament (26 May) – Usdaw’s parliamentary petition that seeks to protect retail staff from violence, threats and abuse has been timetabled for a parliamentary debate on Monday 7 June 2021. Usdaw seeks the support of MPs and the Government to deliver on the aims of the petition with new legislation read more

M&S staff are deeply concerned by today’s confirmation of more store closures – Usdaw renews their call for recognition (26 May) – Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw has renewed their call for recognition as the trade union for Marks & Spencer staff after another 30 store closures were announced today. All M&S shopworkers were put under threat of redundancy in November 2016 when the company announced a restructuring that would affect more than 100 shops, but did not say which stores will close. This is yet another wave of closures read more

Usdaw members at a Marks and Spencer’s distribution site to take industrial action (25 May) – Retail logistics trade union Usdaw has today notified DHL of a 24-hour strike at their Marks and Spencer Long Eaton distribution centre, starting at 9.30pm on Wednesday 9 June 2021. Usdaw members voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action in a dispute about the amount of redundancy pay that long serving staff will receive when the site closes at the end of July. The industrial action affects a Marks & Spencer’s third-party logistics contract, operated by DHL at Long Eaton in Derbyshire read more

 

Mandate (Ireland)

Return to Work Safely Briefing Seminar for Bar Workers (1 June) – Do you work or know someone who works as a Barperson, a Chef/Cook or Waiting Staff in a licensed premises who has either recently returned to work or is due to return to work in the coming days? Do you/they have concerns around COVID-19 and returning to work safely. Then look no further. Mandate Trade Union are hosting a Return to Work Safely Briefing Seminar for all licensed premises workers on Thursday 03rd June 2021 at 3pm online via Zoom. This Seminar is open to both Members & Non-Members of Mandate Trade Union working in the licensed trade sector read more

 

 

Other News

Townsend Theatre Productions

One Man Magic Lantern show of the classic book The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell

Actor Neil Gore brings this humorous and absorbing book to life in his one-man magic lantern show. Based on the 1914 novel by Robert Tressell, it’s story is set in the building trades of Edwardian England where painters and decorators struggle to maintain themselves and their families, poverty and the constant fear of unemployment notwithstanding, while renovating a large townhouse for the local mayor. With projected animation & fantastic story telling there’s something for all the family here, not least the chance to become acquainted with this timeless story of socialism and political awakening read more plus tour dates June 9-12 & Nov 4

 “Farewell Leicester Square” – A play written by Neil Gore based on a poem by Abe Gibson. ‘Farewell Leicester Square’ tells the story of Bedford’s own Joe Clough, Britain’s first black bus driver. Directed by Louise Townsend with original artwork by Scarlett Rickard  and new music by Tayo Akinbode read more

Tamil Solidarity trade union newsletter and model motion

 

Fight blacklisting and victimisation of union reps

#SPYCops Inquiry exposes state surveillance of workers movement

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

Blacklist Support Group financial appeal: the Blacklist support group is desperately short of funds, to continue the incredible work we need more finance, would you please consider making a donation, raise it at your branches and trade councils. Please make cheques payable to Joint sites committee and send to 70 Darnay Rise Chelmsford Essex CM1 4XA. Please forward onto your contacts many thanks Steve Kelly (JSC Treasurer)

Blacklisted t-shirts available at: https://shop.hopenothate.org.uk/component/hikashop/product/78-blacklisted-t-shirt

 

International

Turkey: Solidarity with the People of Turkey (SPOT) calls for the immediate release of health care workers read more

Pakistan: talk show host suspended following military pressure read more

NUJ: Palestine – IFJ backs call for UN commission to investigate crimes against journalists read more

 

Diary

Sunday June 20 – NSSN Conference 2021: 11am June online via Zoom Facebook event

Saturday June 26 – People’s Assembly – National Demonstration.  Assemble 12 Noon – Portland Place. March to Parliament Square read more

Saturday July 3rd – NHS Anniversary events read more

 

CONTACT US

PHONE 07952 283 558

EMAIL mailto:[email protected]

 

TWITTER – https://twitter.com/NSSN_AntiCuts

FACEBOOK NSSN GROUP   or STOP The CUTS  Likes page

ADDRESS NSSN, PO Box 54498, London E10 9DE