NSSN 560: Workers keep striking back!

November 10, 2021 in Bulletins

The NSSN weekly bulletin continues to report on the growing number of disputes, many of them resulting in victories.

Workers are taking action to stop brutal attacks from the employers such as privatisation and outsourcing and the sinister use of ‘fire and rehire’ – including at Weetabix in the East Midlands and Clarks in the South West. Increasingly, workers are striking to get badly needed pay rises after years of wage cuts. Binworkers are on the picket line from Glasgow to Sandwell and Sheffield and busworkers are on strike in Wales and the North East.

Sheffield bin strike

Sheffield bin strike

We are also seeing industrial action ballots across the public sector, including in local government and the NHS. These workers will be gladdened by the big strike vote by UCU members in higher education, reaching over the undemocratic Tory threshold. The prospect of public sector-wide action is being posed, a decade almost to the day since the 2-million strong N30 public sector pension strike.

But such action now would be in the midst of a wave of strikes in the private sector. The NSSN will continue to spread the news about the action that is growing and help build support for them.

 

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]

Support GARY CARNEY, TRAIN OPERATOR – LONDON UNDERGROUND

Defend Adrian Mitchell RMT driver on London Underground

Support Tim Breed RMT

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

Trade union rep victimisation at Woolwich Ferry reaches ‘obscene levels’, says Unite

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

St Mungos management escalate dispute by suspending Unite repsign petition: End the culture of fear at St Mungo’s

St Mungo’s: Unite will not tolerate victimisation and bullying

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

Sacked UCU member wins right to return to work (29 July)

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

Reinstate John Boken Shropshire NEU rep – solidarity protest Saturday 20th November in the Quarry Shrewsbury. For more details and send solidarity messages, email [email protected]

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!

Victimised Tesco warehouse USDAW rep fighting for reinstatement

 

 

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

 

 

 

Union News

RMT

3 in 4 Tube staff subjected to violence (9 Nov) – 3 in 4 London Underground and TfL staff subjected to violence at work during Covid crisis, survey shows. 76% of staff in public facing roles on London’s Underground and TfL rail networks have been subjected to violence at work since the pandemic began, according to a new RMT survey, with half of these reporting that it has happened multiple times. The results of the survey, published in a new union report, show that more than half of staff reported being threatened with physical violence, 28% reported being racially harassed, 14% reported being spat at or targeted with bodily fluids and 7% had been sexually assaulted. 60% of the staff responding to the survey said they believed that violence had got worse since the pandemic with the biggest reasons given being the reduced presence of British Transport Police, the failure to take action against perpetrators, the responsibility to enforce Covid guidelines and cuts to station staffing. A massive 82% were clear that the government’s mixed messaging around the lifting of Covid restrictions had made the situation worse for staff. The union released the data just weeks before TfL’s deal with the government, which has entailed a series of attacks on staff pay, conditions, pensions and jobs, runs out and new funding package must be negotiated read more

RMT confirms Caledonian Sleeper strike action goes ahead (9 Nov) – RMT confirms strike action goes ahead this week in pay dispute on Caledonian Sleeper as SERCO ramp up bullying and harassment of staff. RAIL UNION RMT today confirmed strike action on Caledonian Sleeper during COP26 goes ahead on Thursday in an on-going fight for pay and workplace justice for Scotland’s rail workers – staff at the sharp end of providing green transport alternatives. Sleeper staff will take the following strike action;‎

Thursday 11th November 2021 from 1159 hours until 1158 hours on Saturday 13th November 2021

After the last block of strike action at the start of COP26 RMT says that there has been a marked increase in the bullying and harassment of staff which the union says has been deliberately engineered to undermine morale read more

RMT responds to UK Government’s Just Transition Declaration at COP26 (5 Nov) – TRANSPORT AND OFFSHORE ENERGY union RMT today called on Governments to begin work with trade unions on a Just Transition Plan for good, unionised jobs in the green economy, following the publication of the Just Transition Declaration by the UK Presidency of COP26 in Glasgow read more

RMT warns of growing bus worker crisis (4 Nov) – RMT warns of growing transport crisis as new data reveals that 16,000 bus worker jobs have been lost in the last decade. BUS UNION RMT today revealed that new data published by the DfT confirms the stark recruitment and retention crisis facing the deregulated and privatised bus industry in England as low pay and poor conditions force a mass exodus of staff who can double their wages in competing sector read more

RMT to hold cut protest outside DfT (3 Nov) – RMT to hold cut “carbon emissions not public transport jobs” protest tomorrow outside DfT. TRANSPORT UNION RMT will be holding a demonstration tomorrow demanding that the government cut carbon emissions, not public transport jobs. The protest will take place on Thursday 4th November 2021 at 10am at the Department for Transport, Great Minster House, 33 Horseferry Rd, London, SW1P 4DR. The action will be coinciding with the DfT hosting an ‘engagement day’ for the private sector to try and persuade them to bid for the future Passenger Service Contracts, announced as part of the Williams-Shapps review, and which will replace franchises read more

Southeastern investigation fatally compromised (3 Nov) – Investigation into Southeastern financial debacle is ‘fatally compromised farce’ says RMT. RMT, the UK’s leading specialist transport union, has slammed the Department for Transport’s ‘independent’ review into financial ‘bad faith’ on Southeastern railways, describing it as a ‘fatally compromised farce’ in which the public could have no confidence. The union has called on the Public Accounts Committee to examine the actions of the DfT and reiterated its demand that the government cancel its tendering process for the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise, currently held by the same company that ran Southeastern, and run it in public ownership through the Operator of Last Resort. The union’s call followed a letter from Secretary of State Grant Shapps to correspondence from General Secretary Mick Lynch which posed a series of questions about the Department’s handling of the Southeastern debacle read more

RMT condemns BP profiteering (2 Nov) – RMT condemns BP profiteering without job or investment guarantees. TRANSPORT and Maritime Union RMT today called on the UK Government to deliver guarantees for UK workers following BP’s announcement of £2.5bn second quarter profits for 2021 and a dividend scheme that locks in a 4% increase from oil and gas operations, including in the North Sea to 2025 read more

 

ASLEF

From Union News: Tube drivers vote 98.8% for strike action (9 Nov) – ASLEF members on London Underground have returned a massive ‘Yes’ vote in a ballot to protect working conditions and pensions on the transport network in the capital. It means Tube train drivers will go on strike if management try to change agreements without negotiation and force through worse terms and conditions and pensions for our members. Finn Brennan, ASLEF’s organiser on the Underground, said: “98.8% of our Tube train drivers on London Underground have voted in favour of strike action. That’s an extraordinary figure – and a staggering mandate from our members – that sends a clear message to Transport for London…” read more

Vote ‘Yes’ on London Underground (3 Nov) – A London Underground train is moving into a platform and is blurred. There are some people (also blurred) standing on the platform. ASLEF’s London Organiser Finn Brennan explains the importance of the ASLEF ballot to protect London Underground agreements and pensions: “ASLEF members across London Underground are balloting for action to protect our pensions, working arrangements, and agreements. More than 18 months after the start of the Covid pandemic, the financial crisis it triggered at Transport for London continues. Although passenger numbers have slowly grown, they are still at only around 60% of pre-pandemic levels, well below the level expected when TfL set an emergency budget in July. The jump in inflation, and additional costs of the national insurance increase, and energy, have all added to the problem. We asked management to provide assurances that they would honour all existing agreements and commit to making changes only by agreement. As they have refused to so, our ballot for industrial action is the only reasonable response. So far all central government has provided is a series of short-term funding arrangements tied to unacceptable strings – including a review of TfL’s pension arrangements and the development of so-called ‘driverless’ trains. To deal with the funding shortfall, London Underground management is reviewing every aspect of the business. As trains council rep Maeve Hanley points out below, train drivers’ conditions and agreements are firmly in their sights read more

 

TSSA

TSSA challenges rail industry to protect jobs (9 Nov) – Station staff at gateline Elstree and Borehamwood station. Transport and travel union TSSA has today written to the Chair of the Rail Industry Recovery Group (RIRG) seeking an extension of the employers’ no compulsory redundancy policy – which is due to expire at the end of this year – until at least the end of 2022. Employers within the RIRG (itself backed by the Department for Transport) include Network Rail and Train Operating Companies in England. A special voluntary severance scheme within these employers was offered to employees with the aim of making savings for the railway in light of the coronavirus pandemic. TSSA believes that more job cuts are planned and the union is seeking an agreement for no compulsory redundancies and has suspended further participation in the RIRG until such an assurance is given read more

TSSA demands action after transport sexual harassment reports rocket (5 Nov) – Transport and travel union TSSA is demanding greater action following a huge increase in reports of sexual harassment across public transport networks. Statistics from the British Transport Police (BTP) released yesterday (4 November) show that reports of sexual harassment on public transport have increased by 63% in summer 2021 compared to the same period two years earlier (pre-pandemic). BTP received 421 reports of harassment between April and October, up from 259 over the same period in 2019. High profile cases of violence against women and girls – including the abduction and murder of Sarah Everard – are suggested to be partly behind the increase in reports of incidents of sexual harassment as women come forward to report crimes read more

TSSA brands e-scooters ‘significant threat’ after Parsons Green fire (2 Nov) – TSSA brands e-scooters ‘significant threat’ after Parsons Green fire. Transport and travel union – TSSA – is calling on Transport for London (TfL) to urgently enforce its ban on the use of electric scooters (e-scooters) across the network. The move follows an incident last night (Monday 1 November) at 19:31hrs at Parsons Green station in which an e-scooter lithium battery caught fire on an underground train and continued to blaze on the platform read more

 

Unite

South West Sainsbury’s facing Christmas shortages as DHL lorry drivers begin strike ballot over pay (9 Nov) – Unite, the UK’s leading union, has warned that Sainsbury’s customers across the South West could face pre-Christmas shortages, if lorry drivers employed by DHL take strike action in a dispute over pay. The 140 plus lorry drivers, who undertake deliveries across the South West for Sainsbury’s on an outsourced contract, have been forced to take strike action as their employer DHL has refused to make a pay offer which meets their expectations. The drivers have been offered a miserly three per cent increase over an 18 month period, which bears no comparison to the current RPI inflation rate of 4.9 per cent read more

Persuasion, not coercion, says Unite, as Javid gears up to announce mandatory Covid vaccinations for NHS staff (9 Nov) – Unite the union has today (Tuesday 9 November) reinforced its long-held view that Covid vaccinations for NHS and social care staff should not be mandatory. Unite, which has 100,000 members in the health service, said that persuasion and not coercion was the best way to drive up vaccination rates, especially as NHS England said that rates amongst for NHS staff for the first jab were already at 93 per cent and at 89 per cent for the second dose read more

Unite welcomes government plans to reform lorry driving qualifications (9 Nov) – Unite, the UK’s leading union, has welcomed the announcement today (Tuesday 9 November) from the Department for Transport (DfT) that the Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC), which all professional drivers are required to undertake, will be reformed. The DfT announcement is a direct result of Unite’s lobbying. The union, which represents over 70,000 lorry drivers, published its Drivers’ Manifesto in the spring which set out the steps needed to tackle the lorry driver shortage and make the sector more attractive to both existing and new drivers. A key demand in the manifesto is reform of the CPC regime. Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “The government has listened to Unite’s concerns and has at long last moved to reform the CPC rules, which are blatantly unfair to professional drivers. “It is entirely immoral for drivers to be required to pay for this mandatory training. The CPC must be fully reformed and employers must be required to pay for the training” read more

North West housing association workers begin strike ballot over pay (8 Nov) – Members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, employed by Onward Housing and Hyndburn Homes Repairs Ltd have begun balloting for strike action over pay. The 230 workers at the housing association, who are based at depots in Accrington, Bolton, Manchester, Liverpool, Runcorn and Stockport, primarily undertake housing maintenance and repairs work in social housing as well as managing the housing stock and the delivery of service to tenants. The workers have been offered a one per cent pay increase which is in effect a huge pay cut as the RPI inflation rate is currently 4.9 per cent. Despite Onward Housing pleading poverty, its accounts show that its highest paid director has seen their pay increase by 12 per cent and now receives £262,000 a year, while aggregate executive pay has increased by 25 per cent and aggregate non-executive pay has increased by 8.1 per cent read more

Loughborough bus strikes off as Unite secures ‘inflation-busting’ pay rise for Kinchbus drivers (8 Nov) – More than 50 Loughborough Kinchbus drivers have voted to accept an inflation-busting pay offer and called off strikes scheduled for November and December. The pay deal, negotiated by Unite, the UK’s leading union, will see drivers with less than six months service receive an 8.5 per cent pay rise, while drivers with more than six months service will receive a 5.3 per cent increase. RPI inflation is currently running at 4.9 per cent. Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “This is a fantastic victory by members of Unite. By standing together they have ensured Kinchbus tabled an inflation-busting pay deal which was much improved on the initial offer. “Unite is now wholly dedicated to defending members’ jobs, pay and conditions. That is beginning to have an effect, as the Kinchbus deal demonstrates.” Following acceptance of the deal, 11 days of strike action scheduled between 13 November and 11 December has now been called off. Kinchbus provides bus routes across Loughborough and the wider region, including services to East Midlands airport, Nottingham, Leicester and Derby read more

Argos lorry drivers at Basildon secure huge pay rise (8 Nov) – Over 80 lorry drivers employed by transport contractor Wincanton on the Argos contract have secured a huge pay increase. The drivers who are based at Basildon in Essex, had begun preparing for industrial action over pay. In response, Wincanton entered into negotiations and agreed to increase wages by 20-30 per cent depending on the shifts that drivers operate on. Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “This is a tremendous victory, Unite lorry drivers on this Argos contract have secured a whopping pay increase. This is an outstanding example of how, where workers are organised and stick together, earnings are higher and pay awards are larger.” Unite has secured pay increases on a number of other lorry driving contracts in recent weeks, including several operated by Wincaton including those operated on the Argos North West contract and the Heinz distribution contract read more

Unite the union condemns NI Protocol related attack on Translink bus and one of its members in Newtownabbey (8 Nov) – Translink workforce are left deeply angered at continuing attacks and feel that they are a political punchbag for issues above their head. Following discussions with management on measures to increase security and support for drivers, Unite the union condemned the attack on a Translink bus and driver last night in Newtownabbey. Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham expressed the solidarity of her union’s membership across Britain and Ireland for the Translink workforce who have suffered yet another attack as a result of rising community and political tensions over the NI Protocol. “Last night’s attack like the previous two bus burning events is an attack on workers everywhere. The only outcome of this senseless act is that another bus driver – another member of our union – has been left traumatised. Workers everywhere have the absolute right to go about their working day in peace and free from threat or intimidation.” Since the attack, Unite has engaged its members on the ground and meet with Translink management to ensure the provision of all possible support to the drivers read more

Two weeks to save the NHS: Unite leads campaign to oppose the Health and Care bill (8 Nov) – Celebrities and health workers will band together on 22 November to demand that members of parliament oppose the Health and Care Bill, which the government is trying to push through despite numerous warnings that it will be disastrous for the NHS and social care services. Unite, the UK and Ireland’s leading union, which represents over 100,000 health workers across all occupations and professional groups, is committed to leading the campaign to oppose the bill. It warns there are now just two weeks to save the NHS from the dreadful effects of this bill. The union is working alongside campaign organisations Health Campaigns Together, the newly formed Your NHS Needs You and stars including Stephen Fry, Jo Brand, Russell Brand, Francesca Martinez and Michael Rosen. Unite has called a protest at 5pm outside parliament on the eve of the vote, two weeks today. It warns the bill, which will be debated in the House of Commons on 22 and 23 November ahead of its third reading, will slash funding and result in more privatisation, more cuts and more cronyism. There will be even more contracts awarded to private companies without scrutiny, at the expense of service levels and our health read more

Open online forum hosted by Solidarity Shouts: Public Service Workers United – 7pm Wednesday 10th November Facebook event

St Mungo’s “independent review” fails to address culture of fear at the charity says Unite (8 Nov) – Unite, Britain’s leading union, says St Mungo’s staff still complain of a culture of fear and bullying which the homeless charity must honestly address and resolve. Following a long running strike at St Mungo’s in its property services department earlier this year, due to allegations of management bullying, the Charity agreed to an independent review to attempt to resolve the root causes of the industrial action. However, staff continue to complain of a culture of fear and one member of staff, who is a union representative remains suspended and faces dismissal after he raised a grievance against a manager.  At the time of the suspension 44 per cent of Unite representatives within St Mungo’s were involved in formal processes about their own employment. Unite believes the review has failed to sufficiently address these outstanding issues.  In response to the independent review, Unite regional officer, Steve O’Donnell said: “The review does not address the fundamental issue that there is a culture within St Mungo’s where managers silence employees with threats of sanctions against them, this is unacceptable. “Unite has always been willing to work constructively with St Mungo’s to ensure the valuable service they provide to homeless people is carried out safely. However, it is vital that staff feel able to call out poor practices and to question senior managers without fear of retribution. Until the root causes are addressed the Charity will not be able to draw a line underneath this troubled period.”

Unite continues to call on St Mungo’s to:

  • agree to a full investigation into the levels of bullying within the organisation.
  • put an end to threats of disciplinary action against staff for raising legitimate concerns,
  • and to review the charity’s governance procedures so that the recognised unions can engage effectively with management and the trustees.

The 12-week solidarity strike ended on the promos of an independent report to look at the rights and wrongs of what has happened in property services. That report fails to address Unite concerns and management are moving to continue the disciplinary process against Unite rep Vicko Plevnik. Unite is stepping up leverage and we want people to write to councillors & MPs saying Mungo’s must end suspension and stop process. We want Labour movement resolutions passed calling on commissioning authorities (local councils and GLA) should demand that the disciplinary is stopped and calling for a review of governance.

Resolution calling for St Mungo’s to end disciplinary against Unite rep and for commissioning local authorities to insist on a review of governance:-  

A Unite rep faces gross misconduct charges in direct response to a grievance he raised about bullying and we have evidence of widespread bullying as well as union busting. We call on commissioning local authorities to insist that St Mungo’s drops this disciplinary and that a review of governance is set up.

This **** notes that St Mungo’s is one of the most important agencies working with homeless people in London and southern England. Unite members working for St Mungo’s are proud of the services they deliver. However, they are deeply concerned that the executive team and board are undermining their work and are creating a culture of silence while pursuing a policy of undermining Unite. Grievances regarding bullying have not been inadequately investigated and staff raising bullying concerns have been faced with retaliatory measures:

  • Unite rep Vicko Plevnik was suspended in April (and remains suspended at the end of October) in contravention of ACAS guidelines and our recognition agreement. Charges include alleged psychological distress to senior managers caused by grievances from staff about bullying by senior managers. Further farcical charges include allegedly eating a biscuit during an online staff meeting.
  • Vicko’s colleagues have taken twelve weeks of strike action returning to work after management conceded their initial demand for an independent investigation.
  • A Unite survey of staff found that 68% of respondents had suffered bullying by senior managers.
  • Unite has received concerns from members that they feel unable to call out bad practice.
  • In October 2019 an Employment Tribunal found St Mungo’s guilty of victimising a female worker who had raised questions about pay equality in the organisation. This followed the boards failure to respond to the board chair.
  • We know that St Mungo’s has been in discussion with paid consultant about how to undermine the union from an accidentally forwarded email.
  • Earlier this year nearly half of Unite reps faced an HR formal procedure, this figure has now fallen as reps have been selected for redundancy.
  • St Mungo’s have failed to adequately investigate how they came to share confidential client information with the Home Office when engaged in a programme of forced deportation which was subsequently found to be unlawful. The internal report finds that St Mungo’s senior management were not culpable because they were unaware of the practice but does not ask how this could be the case. Unite members feared to raise the issue as individual members but Unite did raise their concerns and publicly campaigned on the issue – the report makes no mention of this.

A clear pattern of attempts to undermine Unite and to discourage staff from speaking up has been established by senior managers in recent years. Such an approach is strongly associated with abuse of clients in services for vulnerable client groups. Repeated attempts over an extended period by Unite to raise these concerns with the board of St Mungo’s have been met with a consistent refusal to engage; this represents a serious failure of governance. Real safeguarding risks arise from the culture of silence, action is urgent.

This **** resolves to

  • Urge St Mungo’s to end the suspension of Unite rep Vicko Plevnik
  • Call on local authorities commissioning services from St Mungo’s to insist that the Unite rep Vicko Plevnik is reinstated and to call for a review of governance arrangements at St Mungo’s to involve Unite as representative of the workforce.

Please keep the Unite Housing Workers LE/1111 branch informed of any actions following this resolution.

Email: [email protected]

Updates available here: http://www.housingworkers.org.uk/

The detailed account written by Unite Regional Officer Steve O Donnell is here

Talk Money Week: Proposal to halve key debt advice funding will cause advice deserts (8 Nov) – Debt advice deserts will open up across England if moves to halve the funding for face-to-face services go ahead, Unite, the UK’s leading union is warning today (Monday 8 November). The union’s warning coincides with the beginning of this year’s Talk Money Week. The threat by the Money and Pension Advice Service (MaPS), which organises Money Advice Week, to halve face-to-face funding will mean redundancies for debt advice specialists and a much-reduced service for people in need of help, the union’s debt adviser members say. According to Unite, many areas will see reduced access to debt advisers and some services will close altogether read more

Teesside bus strikes at ‘penny pinching’ Stagecoach to go ahead as talks break down (5 Nov) – Bus passengers on Teesside are braced for disruption next week as workers employed by Stagecoach begin strike action over pay, following the collapse of peace talks. Strikes scheduled for Newcastle, South Shields and Sunderland have been paused to allow members to vote for an improved pay offer. The dispute involves over 200 bus workers including drivers, engineers, cleaners, supervisors, managers and administrative staff, who have overwhelmingly voted in favour of strike action. The first day of 12 days of strike action is on Monday 8 November with further strikes called on 10, 12, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26 and 30 November and also for 2 and 4 December. The dispute involves workers based at bus depots in Hartlepool and Stockton. Passengers in Middlesbrough and Redcar, as well as those living further afield, will be affected by the dispute. Picket lines will be in place at the affected depots read more

Unite calls for a ‘green society and economy’ at Bristol climate demo on Saturday (5 Nov) – Members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, will be joining thousands of protestors from across the South West in Bristol on Saturday (6 November) calling for a ‘green’ strategy to combat the growing dangers of climate change read more

Unite warns government’s lorry driving cabotage rules risk road safety (4 Nov) – Unite, the UK’s leading union, which represents tens of thousands of lorry drivers, has warned that the government’s decision to press ahead with a relaxation of the cabotage rules risks the safety of all road users. In an attempt to lessen the problems caused by a shortage of lorry drivers, the Department for Transport has relaxed the rules on foreign lorries making deliveries and collecting goods in the UK. Previously, European Union drivers were restricted to making just two collections or deliveries before having to leave Great Britain. Under the government’s relaxation of the rules, for the next six months (until 30 April 2022) employers from anywhere in the world (not just the EU) lorry drivers can be sent to the UK for 14 days to make unrestricted collections and deliveries read more

Fire and rescue workers dispute on the Clyde Naval bases escalates over fire response provision fears (4 Nov) – Unite members working for Capita Business Services Ltd at Her Majesty’s Naval Base (HMNB) Clyde have raised ‘safety critical’ concerns over the effectiveness of fire response cover as workers take part in strike action. Unite members on the Clyde employed by Capita, who provide onsite fire cover for both Faslane and Coulport naval bases, have been involved in an overtime ban since 16 September, and 6-hour strike action on various days since 19 October. During these periods of industrial action, HMNB Clyde firefighters have raised concerns over the resilience crews brought in to cover that they may not have the competencies to deal with unique safety critical assets, and risks related to maritime fire-fighting and nuclear radiation. Unite has been involved in an ongoing dispute over job cuts and health and safety with Capita due to a 15% cut in specialist fire safety crew at Coulport and Faslane. Capita won the contract in 2020 for fire response services from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) read more

Met Police slammed after public disorder charges against Unite officer thrown out of court (4 Nov) – Unite, the UK’s leading union, today (Thursday 4 November) slammed the Metropolitan Police after public disorder charges against a Unite officer on a picket line in Bexley, South London, were thrown out of court. Unite regional officer Ruth Hydon was charged following an incident on a picket line outside the Thames Road depot on 13 July. Ms Hydon was charged with the ‘use of violence or intimidation to compel activity or abstention from lawful activity’, which was brought under the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act. The charges were dismissed by Bromley Magistrates Court on Monday (1 November) and costs were awarded to Unite read more

Content moderators must be protected by proposed Online Safety Legislation (4 Nov) – Unite highlights health and safety risk posed by distressing content. Responding to this week’s publication by the the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Tourism, Culture, Arts, Sport and Media of the report on the proposed Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill,  Unite – which represents workers in Samaritans Ireland – today (Thursday) said that content moderators working for online platforms are regularly exposed to distressing content and must be protected.  Unite is demanding that all health and safety assessments include working conditions which may impact on mental health, and that this is reflected in legislation read more

Glen Dimplex UK Ltd in Portadown served with notice of strike action after 96 percent of workforce vote for action in strike ballot for a Living Wage (4 Nov) – First three day strike action is due to commence with workforce pickets forming at 6am Wednesday November 10th for three days ending 3pm Friday November 12th. Unite the union warns of likelihood that initial strike action will escalate to all out strike if management do not provide a Living Wage to its workforce. It’s now more than seven months since workers submitted their Living Wage pay claim and after much delay the latest offer is for a below-inflation 3.25 percent increase this year with a 4 percent increase the next. This below-inflation pay offer means workers will actually suffer a further, real-terms pay cut. It falls far short of the 11 percent workforce pay claim read more

Prysmian Cables workers to start strike action over pay (3 Nov) – Unite members working for Prysmian Cables in Wrexham will tomorrow start a series of 24 hour strikes throughout November and December. The first of eight days of scheduled strike action at the plant will see over 200 workers taking industrial action. The escalation of the dispute which follows an overtime ban is a result of the company’s failure to offer an acceptable pay increase for its workers read more

Unite secure ‘massive win’ at offshore contractor Petrofac (3 Nov) – Unite the union today (3 November) hailed a ‘massive win’ in a wage deal for around 100 working on the Canadian Natural Resources (CNR) contract for offshore contractor Petrofac. Last week, Unite entered negotiations with Petrofac where the company agreed to re-instate the 10% salary reduction made in 2020, and also to remove the one-week ‘clawback’ which is a week extra worked without any increase in wages, with effect from 1 November 2021. The new offer which equates to a 17% increase in salary was accepted by 100% in a 93% ballot turnout.  The workers are employed on the Ninian Central, Ninian South and Tiffany platforms read more

Billingham Mitsubishi Chemicals scaffold worker strikes postponed for talks (3 Nov) – Strikes this week by scaffold workers employed by Altrad at the Mitsubishi Chemicals plant in Billingham, Teesside, have been postponed for talks, Unite, the UK’s leading union said today (Wednesday 3 November). Around 25 scaffolders, insulators and painters, who all work at height, voted unanimously for strike action over low pay. Around 10 new members have joined Unite since the dispute began. The Mitsubishi Chemicals Billingham plant produces battery electrolytes and methacrylates, which are base chemicals for the manufacture of acrylic plastics. Strikes scheduled for this week have been postponed, however strikes scheduled from next week until 4 December will take place unless a deal is reached read more

Barts under pressure as Serco cancels its contract with the NHS Trust on day Unite confirms strike ballot (3 Nov) – Serco have today (3 November) confirmed that its current Soft Services contract with Barts Health NHS Trust will end on 30 April 2023. Unite is demanding that there must be “no more contracts for outsourcing privateers that put profit before people”. Last July, due to Unite pressure, Serco lost its contract for refuse services with Bexley Council following industrial action against low pay and poor treatment. Next week, hundreds of key NHS workers, employed by Serco are preparing for an industrial action ballot across Barts Health NHS Trust in a battle against exploitation and low pay. Unite also called on the Trust to bring these workers back in-house into NHS employment read more

Strike ballot at Barts Health NHS Trust over Serco’s two-tier workforce and 1% pay offer (3 Nov) – Hundreds of key NHS workers, employed by the outsourcing privateer Serco are preparing for an industrial action ballot across Barts Health NHS Trust in a “battle against exploitation and low pay”. Unite is calling for Barts Health NHS Trust to bring these workers back in-house into NHS employment read more

First Leeds pay dispute could lead to major bus service disruption (3 Nov) – A pay dispute at First Leeds could lead to major disruption to bus services across the city, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said today (Wednesday 3 November). Around 900 First Leeds drivers are being balloted for strike action by their union, Unite, over a totally unsatisfactory one per cent pay offer. Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “A pay rise that is four per cent below the current RPI is a not pay rise at all. In fact, it is a pay cut. How can that be acceptable to our members at First Leeds? “The company should be in no doubt that if our members vote for strike action, Unite will throw its full weight behind their campaign to get a wage increase that reflects their hard work and dedication to the job.” The ballot for strike action opened last week and closes on 18 November. If the ballot is successful, then strikes could begin in early December read more

Threat of MINI production disruption ended as Oxford lorry drivers secure bumper pay rises (3 Nov) – The threat of severe disruption to production at the BMW MINI plant in Oxford has ended, after lorry drivers employed by Imperial Logistics to deliver components to the factory secured a bumper pay rise, resulting in planned strike action being called off. The workers had overwhelmingly voted for strike action as a result of being paid more than £3 an hour less than agency workers recruited by the company to work on the same contract. Following negotiations, however, the workers have accepted an improved pay offer worth 27 per cent over two years, while they have also secured pay parity on the contract, the continuation of unsocial hours’ payments, and a lump sum payment of £3,500 in lieu of back pay read more

Unite General Secretary writes to FCA Chief Executive to demand a voice for the workforce (3 Nov) – The General Secretary of Unite the union, Sharon Graham has today (Wednesday 3 November) written to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Chief Executive to demand trade union recognition for the workforce. Staff across the financial regulator have been joining Unite following many months of turmoil within the organisation. With no formally recognised trade union, staff have expressed frustration at the leadership and direction of the FCA and this has brought a significant growth in membership of Unite. The new head of Unite, Sharon Graham has called on the Chief Executive Nikhil Rathi “to make a request for voluntary recognition of Unite by the FCA under Schedule 1A of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 for a bargaining unit consisting of all FCA employees of the FCA below the Grade of Head of Department” read more

COP 26: Melrose’s closure of GKN Birmingham slammed as green economy betrayal as 500 manufacturing workers set to lose their jobs (3 Nov) – In the week that the world’s leaders gathered in Glasgow to agree action to combat the climate emergency, Unite, the UK’s leading union, slammed the planned closure of the GKN Birmingham car component plant as a failure to seize an opportunity to support UK manufacturing on the road to a carbon neutral economy. The union said it was a ‘betrayal of a highly skilled workforce’. The 500-plus workforce at GKN Birmingham are set to lose their jobs next year. The highly-skilled workforce now feels it has little option but to accept a redundancy scheme offered by GKN Melrose after the company refused to reconsider the union’s plan to save the plant despite the government’s request for it to do so read more

South Wales Stagecoach dispute to escalate following failure of ACAS talks (2 Nov) – Following the failure of talks between Unite and Stagecoach the industrial action undertaken by drivers across depots in South Wales will now escalate further. Unite is calling for £10.50 per hour wage for its members, something that has already been approved by Stagecoach at their operations in other parts of the UK. The 10 days of strike action that have taken place at depots in Blackwood, Brynmawr and Cwmbran will now be followed by continuous strike action from November 17th 2021 until January 10th 2022 read more

Strike days double at Weetabix Northamptonshire factories as fire and rehire taints company’s reputation – Strikes over fire and rehire attacks at Weetabix’s Kettering and Corby factories will double from two days a week to four, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said today (Monday 1 November). Around 80 Weetabix engineers have been on strike every Tuesday and Wednesday since September over cuts to their pay, terms and conditions that will cost some workers more than £5,000 a year. From 8 November, strikes will take place every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Increasing the strike action, which has already closed production lines and put orders several days behind schedule, will cause further disruption to Weetabix’s operations. Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Weetabix is making bumper profits so there is no justification for these ‘fire and rehire’ attacks on our members’ wages and conditions. They are just not swallowing what in reality is a serving of corporate greed read more

Support the striking Weetabix workers – Weetabix are currently trying to fire and rehire a large group of Unite members working as engineers; they have now entered their fifth week of strike action. The workers, based at the company’s factories in Kettering and Corby, face changes to their shift and working patterns that would result in some engineers losing as much as £5,000 from their yearly earnings. If Weetabix get away with this it will green light a similar course of action for other firms across the Midlands to make workers in industry worse off. Unite is putting the call out for support, our members are available to attend branch meetings and speak about their dispute and any and all invitations, messages and donations would be gratefully received – email [email protected]

DHL Supply Chain operating at Spirit AeroSystems served with notice of strike action commencing next week after unanimous vote by workforce – Unite the union warns strike will impact all aspects of Spirit AeroSystems production in Northern Ireland as DHL workforce handles every part from the rivets to the wings. After an industrial ballot returned a 100 percent vote for strike action at DHL Supply Chain at Spirit AeroSystems, Unite has today (1 Nov) served notice on the company that it will commence strike action starting with a first, five-day stoppage next week read more

Arriva Cymru’s bus drivers to strike for five weeks, after bosses’ make ‘poverty pay’ offer (28 Oct) – Bus services across North Wales will face severe disruption after nearly 400 Arriva bus drivers voted overwhelmingly to strike for five weeks in a pay dispute, Unite the union said today (Thursday 28 October). Arriva Cymru bus drivers at depots, including Amlwch, Bangor, Hawarden (Chester), Llandudno, Rhyl and Wrexham, will strike continuously from 06:00 on Sunday 14 November 2021 until 01:00  on Sunday 19 December. This follows a 95 per cent vote in favour of strike action read more

‘Derisory’ Kinchbus pay offer results in Loughborough bus strikes – A ‘derisory’ pay offer by Kinchbus has resulted in Loughborough drivers voting for strike action beginning in November, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said today (Wednesday 27 October). The strikes, involving more than 50 drivers who are amongst the lowest paid in the country, will cause serious disruption to bus services in Loughborough and the East Midlands read more

Evonik workers at historic Manchester chemicals site strike over pay – Evonik workers at a 130-year-old Manchester chemicals site are to strike over pay, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said today (Wednesday 13 October). Around 25 production and warehouse operatives at Evonik’s Clayton site, which has been a chemical plant since 1892, are taking industrial action after rejecting a 1.5 per cent pay offer read more

Unite members at Goodfish to strike over 2 year pay freeze – Unite members working for Goodfish at their St Asaph site in North Wales will tomorrow take industrial action over a 2 year pay freeze imposed on them by their employer. Goodfish employs over 50 people at the plant which produces PVC mouldings. The company took over the site from Honeywell in 2019 read more

Support striking Scunthorpe scaffolders – the scaffolders are employed by Actavo on the British Steel site in Scunthorpe and have been fighting to be paid the recognised rate for the job since 2019 read more

Donate to strike fund:-

Either via bank transfer – sort code: 60-83-01 account number: 20173962, account name: Unite North East Region 1% Fund, reference: Actavo Limited and your branch number

Or by cheque made payable to ‘Unite the Union’ and forwarded to the Leeds Regional Office, Unite the Union, 55 Call Lane, Leeds LS1 7BW marked for the attention of the Regional Secretary (Actavo Limited Dispute). Letters of support can be sent to the Regional Office

Unite members back strike action at University of Dundee over ‘pension poverty’ proposals – Unite Scotland can confirm today that its members at the University of Dundee have voted to support strike action in a dispute over workers being plunged into ‘pension poverty’. Unite’s members at the university supported taking strike action by 78 per cent in a ballot turnout of 67 per cent. Unite can also confirm that its members will now be on strike from 25 October 2021. The University of Dundee propose to replace the existing Defined Benefit Pension Scheme with a Defined Contribution Pension Scheme for those on the lowest grades (i.e., grades 1-6). Workers in grades 7 and above will have their pensions protected through the existing UK wide Superannuation Scheme, which has a Defined Benefits element. The pension proposals will mean that a clerical worker on a lower grade could lose up to 50% of their pension across the expected term of retirement. This could result in an amount of up to £150,000. The trade union also estimates that around 70 per cent of its members in the existing Superannuation Scheme are female read more

5,000 sign petition in support of Lancashire biomedical scientists in back pay dispute – Five thousand people have signed a petition in support of the 21 Lancashire biomedical scientists currently on strike in a back pay dispute, which sees some of them owed up to £8,000. Unite the union said there had been ‘a fantastic wave of support’ from the community, as pressure builds on the Interim Chief Executive at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, Martin Hodgson, to meet with Unite and settle this unnecessary dispute as soon as possible. The biomedical scientists, who have been on strike since May, are owed staggering amounts of back pay. That starts at several hundred pounds up to as much as £8,000, after managers failed to honour a 2019 agreement to upgrade their pay. Unite general secretary Sharon Graham, who was on the Blackburn picket line this week, said: “The fact is that the trust has reneged on a promised pay deal for these workers who have served their community, without regard to their own health, throughout the terrible pandemic. Fact. And what do they get from the trust for that loyalty? Broken promises that’s all. Unite is not having that. We are going to back these scientists of ours to the hilt. And now it’s clear the local community agrees with that” read more

Workers at Wolverhampton lock makers Henry Squire to strike over pay – Workers at the historic lock makers Henry Squire and Sons, based in Featherstone, Wolverhampton, will begin strike action next month in a dispute over pay, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said today (Tuesday 21 September). The workers, who are members of Unite, were due to receive a pay increase in January but management refused to make an offer. Instead they have offered a 2.5 per cent increase for the period from July to December, which in real terms is worth just 1.25 per cent for the entire year. The derisory offer is a significant real terms pay cut with the RPI inflation rate currently standing at 4.8 per cent. Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Workers at Henry Squire are long due a decent pay rise. The current July to December offer for 2021, is a pay cut in real terms. Understandably that has not been accepted by union members. It’s simple Henry Squire can avoid industrial action by Unite members. How? By making a decent wages offer.” The first week long strike action will begin on Monday 4 October and there are similar week long periods of industrial actions scheduled to begin on Monday 25 October, 15 November and 6 December read more

Talks in Woolwich Ferry rep victimisation dispute break down due to TfL’s ‘bad faith’, says Unite – Crunch talks to resolve the long-running Woolwich Ferry rep victimisation dispute yesterday (Tuesday 10 August) between Transport for London (TfL) bosses and Unite the union broke down with the union accusing TfL of ‘bad faith’. Unite, which represents 57 ferry workers, had suspended industrial action as a goodwill gesture in the run-up to the talks – but its members were back on strike today (Wednesday 11 August) and will be striking on Friday (13 August). Prior to today, there has already been 24 days of strike action. Besides the victimisation of the two Unite reps, there has also been a 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 – these are issues which have arisen since TfL took back control from the discredited Briggs Marine Contractors Ltd in January this year. Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: “We were making good progress with the union agreeing to a proposal from TfL to meet through workshops to discuss a new collective agreement. However, the employers made their pay offer which was worse than the last offer – and they then refused to budge. “Our members had suspended strike action as a goodwill gesture, but feel that they have been badly let down by another abject example of TfL’s bad faith and, as a result, they are back on strike today. The management is game playing, which we feared would happen…” read more

Rolls Royce Barnoldswick protest to be held as strikes over site’s future resume – A protest at the historic Rolls Royce Barnoldswick plant will be held on Monday (9 August) as strikes resume over the company’s lack of concrete commitments to the site’s future. A group of 17 engineers began strike action in July after Rolls Royce bosses refused to provide tangible commitments to new work or to suspend work being sent elsewhere, which is taking place at an accelerated rate. A ballot for the site’s entire workforce to join the dispute closes next Friday (13 August). In January, Rolls Royce reached an agreement with Unite that guaranteed the future of the factory, including retaining a minimum of 350 workers and creating a training centre. The agreement was reached after workers and the local community mounted a huge campaign to save the factory, after the aerospace giant revealed plans to scale back production that would have spelled the plant’s closure. Following a meeting in May this year, however, Unite was forced to issue a failure to agree notice with Rolls Royce after local managers indicated that staff headcount could drop below 350 and orders would continue to be completed abroad. Unite has been attempting to resolve the matter and seek reassurances about Barnoldswick’s long-term future, which have so far failed to materialise. Unite regional officer Ross Quinn said: “This dispute could be put to bed very quickly if Rolls Royce’s leadership demonstrate to the workers that the agreement signed in January is still valid read more

Email messages of support via [email protected] and send donations online to: account name, Barnoldswick workers mutual society, sort code, 05 02 22 account number 36192613

DfI Roads workers at Woodburn depot to strike over inaction on management bullying – After 90.9 percent strike vote, workforce pickets to be deployed at Woodburn DfI Roads in Derry/Londonderry during twenty-four strike, which starts midnight on Thursday, July 22rd. Road Service workers’ union Unite warns first twenty-four hour stoppage at Woodburn likely to escalate in absence of Ministerial intervention 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

 

PCS

British Council to vote on strike action (10 Nov) – A consultative ballot will open on 10 November over job losses and cuts at the organisation. The British Council is planning to close some overseas offices and reduce staffing numbers by 2,000 globally, in order to reduce its pay bill by 15-20% overall. The job losses are disproportionately targeted at middle to lower graded staff, while at the same time new management positions and a new deputy chief executive officer post are to be created. Privatisation of roles, and cuts to overseas allowances are also included in the ‘transformation’ read more

Pensions robbery – make your voice heard (9 Nov) – The government is still withholding money that is owed to civil service pension scheme members. A cut in employee contributions, that’s now worth more than £1,000 for many, should have brought in nearly 3 years ago. With every passing day members are losing badly-needed cash. Meanwhile the government wants to rip up the rules so it would never be obliged to pass benefits on to scheme members in this way again – known as ‘cost-sharing’ provisions. It is also being slow on the application of the remedy process brought about by the McCloud judgement on age discrimination, which could be detrimental to some of our members. These pensions are not ‘gold-plated’ as some suggest – they have been paid for. PCS has begun legal action to challenge the government blocking its own cost sharing provisions read more

PCS condemns job losses at Cosham Pensions centre (9 Nov) – 100 jobs are set to be lost at the vital service in Portsmouth after DWP confirmed the news to staff today. Cosham was scheduled for closure on 1st April this year as part of a review. However, following the breakout of the global Covid-19 pandemic, DWP was forced to recruit 13,500 extra work coaches along with many more thousands to answer phones and to help benefit claimants. To push ahead with the closure of Cosham would be disgraceful and would represent a terrible loss to the local economy, both in terms of jobs and DWP’s ability to assist those needing pensions advice. With DWP intending to open up 200 hundred new buildings across the country this decision to close a site in Portsmouth flies in the face of that approach read more

Good response to PCS menopause survey (9 Nov) – Hundreds of people have completed the PCS survey to share their experience of the menopause and if you haven’t taken part, there is still time. So far 82% of respondents said the menopause impacted on them at work and only 16% said their employer had a menopause policy in place. Alarmingly, 19% said they felt their menopause symptoms had been treated like a joke at work read more

Tackling Common Platform work related stress (9 Nov) – The platform is causing significant work-related stress, in particular to those who are court takers. Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, the employer has a statutory duty to ensure your health and safety and this includes work related stress. When considering workplace practices the employer has a statutory duty to assess the nature and scale of the risks to health in the workplace, including the risk of stress and to introduce measures to eliminate that risk and if it is not able to be removed to reduce it. PCS has made it clear and will continue to argue to HMCTS that their unwillingness to act to address the work-related stress constitutes a failure in their duty read more

Disability Pay Gap Day 9 November – The Disability Pay Gap means disabled workers work 52 days a year for free. Disability Pay Gap Day is the day when the average disabled worker stops getting paid for the rest of the year compared to the average non-disabled worker. This year, TUC research puts the disability pay gap at 16.5% which equates to disabled workers earning £3,500 less than their non-disabled colleagues.  Every hour, disabled workers are earning £1.90 less than non-disabled workers. Not only are disabled people paid less, they are also less likely to be in employment. Many disabled people face a range of barriers to accessing work, from a lack of transport to inadequate equipment or adjustments made once they are there. The TUC also found that disabled workers have been hit hardest by the pandemic read more

PCS members vote to accept agreement in DVSA 8-test schedule dispute (5 Nov) – Driving examiners and local test centre manager members have voted overwhelmingly in support of an agreement PCS negotiated with the DVSA to resolve a dispute about test numbers. More than 90% of members voted yes to the deal, on a turnout of 69%. The agreement was reached in talks that were held after members voted in huge numbers to take industrial action and scheduled two days of strikes. We have been in dispute with the DVSA over the proposed addition of an eighth car driving test to the examiners’ daily schedule read more

PCS in DWP: campaigning on pay, pensions and living standards (5 Nov) – The DWP group executive committee (GEC) met in October and agreed a pay, pensions and living standards campaign plan. Over the past decade PCS members have had the pay and living standards attacked by pay freezes and 1% pay limits. Our members are now at least 10% worse off than they were before the economic crash in 2008 read more

Delays in state pensions payments due to DWP staffing shortages (4 Nov) – Thousands of pensioners are missing out on pensions payments as a result of staff shortages in the DWP. It is totally unacceptable that pensioners should be experiencing stress and financial insecurity as a direct result of DWP’s failure to staff their operations adequately. PCS has consistently argued for extra staff across all areas of DWP, but issues in the pensions services have become more acute since the government initiated the ‘state pension correction exercise’ to address billions of pounds in underpayments owed to pensioners read more

HMCTS Common Platform Update (4 Nov) – PCS was due to meet with HMCTS Representatives on 4 November. The meeting was intended to progress the common platform dispute resolution negotiations. Immediately prior to the meeting HMCTS advised they needed more time to consider the demands submitted by PCS and postponed the meeting until Monday. PCS has asked for their full reasons for the postponement and have made it clear that we are considering all available options in light of their actions read more

MPs slam MoD over equipment supply failings (4 Nov) – A damning report by MPs has echoed longstanding PCS concerns by sharply criticising the Ministry of Defence over failings in the delivery of military equipment and should be a wake-up call to the department read more

Join our regional cost of living, pay and pensions campaign meetings (3 Nov) – PCS is holding a series of meetings in every region and nation during November. The briefings will give members the opportunity to hear an update on the civil service pensions and discuss the next stages of our campaign on pay and the rising cost of living read more

Remember to vote in DVLA ballot (2 Nov) – The statutory ballot for industrial action over safety at the DVLA closes on 10 November. It is very important that all DVLA members vote in this ballot because of the trade union laws which mean we must have a 50% turnout. We have negotiated an agreement with Department for Transport management, but DVLA CEO Julie Lennard and her team are refusing to sign it off, hoping that if we don’t achieve the 50% we need, then they won’t need to sign it. We need to send a very strong message to the DVLA that it needs to negotiate with us to improve health and safety to keep you and your families safe. Voting can only be done by post so it’s very important that you complete your ballot paper and get it back to us before 10 November. Please don’t leave it until the last minute to vote as it only takes a second to put an X in the box, but the outcome of this ballot is crucial read more

Compensation for DWP Data Breaches (2 Nov) – Guidance for branches on supporting members to make an internal claim for financial redress from DWP read more

Employee Deal flexibility – your right to swap with colleagues (2 Nov) – The Employee Deal Collective Agreement supports flexibilities which include a flexibility for colleagues to swap with other members of their team. Regular working pattern planning and agreement will ensure your team can meet business requirements. On this basis Collective Agreement paragraph 13 (f) supports a “swap” with a colleague: Within this collective team pattern, colleagues may swap with other members of the team. The Employee Deal Collective Agreement is available to all DWP employees on the DWP Intranet read more

Support the Royal Parks strikers rally to lobby Trustees – the workers’ latest action was for all of October. How you can help:-

  • Contribute to the strike fund
  • Send a message of support to [email protected]
  • Email Just Ask and Royal Parks CEO’s using the PCS e-action
  • Email your MP to support Early Day Motion 476
  • Complain about any unclean facilities to [email protected]
  • Tweet and tag Just Ask and the Royal Parks demanding they resolve the dispute

Check the PCS website and twitter account for updates and activities you can support throughout the strike read more

 

FBU

Firefighters know an emergency when they see one (8 Nov) – The Fire Brigades Union has produced a series of films to coincide with the COP26 summit. Focussing on the unique relationship that firefighters have with our climate and environment, the films feature stories from four FBU members who have fought flooding and wildfires read more

FBU preparing to take government to court over pensions (4 Nov) – The Fire Brigades Union has issued a formal letter before claim for Judicial Review proceedings against the government, in an attempt to prevent the government making firefighters pay the cost of the discrimination introduced by the government into their pension scheme. The courts had previously found that the government’s public sector pension reforms discriminated against firefighters based upon their ages on 1 April 2012 (the McCloud and Sargeant cases). Older workers had been allowed to stay on a previous, pension scheme whilst younger workers had been required to leave it and join the new 2015 scheme. The government has said that it will try to impose the cost of the discrimination onto those who are now on that 2015 pension scheme – a large number of whom will be made up of those who were discriminated against read more

FBU: PM should apologise for “dangerous” building safety crisis comments (3 Nov) – The general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union has criticised the Prime Minister for saying that buildings caught up in the building safety crisis are “not unsafe”, apparently without justification, and that the victims of the building crisis are “in a position of unnecessary anxiety” read more

 

CWU

Enhanced ‘career pathways’ in FND deliver new boost to promotion opportunities (8 Nov) – Members across Openreach Fibre Network Delivery (FND) are set to benefit from new enhancements to previously transformed promotion opportunities for TMNE2 engineers that have already seen several hundred achieve a £3,000-plus pay rises since 2019. Introduced in December that year, the skills assessment framework – brokered by the union to address  discrepancies in the way promotion from the lower to higher TMNE2 pay points had previously been handled in the formerly separate ID and BCD business units – has already transformed the career progression landscape across FND read more

Double victory for Supply Chain TUPE ‘survivors’ (5 Nov) – Around 30 Supply Chain employees based at BT’s massive Magna Park distribution hub are in line for the retrospective restoration of terms and conditions that were wrongly removed when they opted to remain with BT rather than be TUPE’d into probable redundancy. In a significant win for the CWU that rights an injustice that dates back to the start of the year, the union successfully argued that members who had serviced Supply Chain’s stock distribution contract with Allvotec (formerly Daisy Chain) should have retained their full Ts&Cs when applying for similar ‘hybrid’ roles at Magna Park rather than risk a highly uncertain transfer to Allvotec’s Swindon site some 94 miles south. At the time, Supply Chains was adamant that, although those accepting new directly comparable roles within Magna Park would maintain their existing pay levels, they would have to accept WF2020 Ts&Cs covering the length of the working week, leave allocations and sick pay. But that stance has now been reversed by the union following a breakthrough in current talks on  a separate ‘TUPE into redundancy’ situation stemming from Supply Chain’s decision to outsource customer broadband equipment ‘Test & Refurb’ work from its Northallerton site in North Yorkshire to a company based in Scotland read more

 

GMB

Bin workers in Sheffield vote to strike permanently (9 Nov) – Bin workers in Sheffield have voted to strike permanently after Veolia management broke the bank to bring in agency staff to undermine industrial action. Refuse collectors across the Steel City downed tools yesterday [Monday 8 November 2021] in anger at a below inflation pay offer from Veolia – amounting to real terms pay cut. Prior to the industrial action yesterday, Veolia forked out vast sums for agency staff to try and break the strike read more

Compulsory NHS vaccine will add to ‘crushing’ staffing crisis (9 Nov) – GMB Union says the compulsory health worker vaccine is a heavy handed approach that risks exacerbate the already ‘crushing’ staffing crisis read more

Workers set strike dates at Panasonic Pontprennau (8 Nov) – GMB union has announced strike dates for workers at Panasonic’s Pontprennau plant in Cardiff. Staff overwhelmingly voted for strike action after the company withdrew its 1% offer. The offer would have seen a pay freeze for workers for the second year running. Staff will strike next Monday (15th November 2021) and Monday 22nd November read more

London Mayor, Uber and GMB call for all private hire drivers to be workers (8 Nov) – The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today welcomed the historic recognition agreement between Uber and GMB union and reiterated calls for all other operators to treat drivers as workers read more

Pay justice for Nottingham tram workers (4 Nov) – Following a ballot of GMB members employed by NTL (Nottingham Trams Limited), an overwhelming result for strike action on pay has been delivered by Nottingham’s tram workers. A 24 hour strike will take place on Saturday 6th November, across all lines and depots. Further stike action could take place by Nottingham tram workers later in November, should a fair offer not be forthcoming from company top brass read more

COP26 activists join pickets to urge Glasgow City Council to “value and respect” cleansing staff (2 Nov) – Striking GMB members in Glasgow’s cleansing service, climate activists and international trade unionists will unite at 7am tomorrow morning on the picket line at the city’s Western Depot as a third day of strike action gets underway. Glasgow’s cleansing workers are on strike over the local government pay offer, and their campaign has called for Scottish Government intervention to start reversing more than a decade of cuts to the service, and for the Council to respect and value them as key workers. GMB tabled proposals to the council to reset industrial relations and move forward together to tackle the city’s decline, but these were rejected ahead of the first day of the strike action on Monday read more

12 days of strike-mas: Sandwell refuse workers to walk out over festive period – More than 100 refuse workers will strike across for 12 days across the Christmas period at Serco Sandwell to force clean-up and maintenance of the public Household Recycling Centre on Shidas Lane. Safety issues include pools of dirty water, dilapidated fencing and trip hazards. The workers at the nearby Serco site are also contending with a lack of handwashing facilities, overflowing toilets and poor protective equipment. The dates are: 15 and 16 November; 24 and 25 November; 20, 21, 22 and 23 December; 4, 5, 6 and 7 January read more

Workers are picketing at the Shidas Lane site in Oldbury, B69 2BP. Messages of support can be sent to the members via the Regional Secretary – Joe Morgan, GMB Regional Secretary Birmingham & West Midlands, Will Thorne House, 2 Birmingham Road, Halesowen, Birmingham B63 3HP or email to [email protected]

 

Doosan Babcock workers to strike over ‘worthless’ offer – Dozens of members at Doosan Babcock in Tipton voted this Monday to strike over a ‘worthless’ offer from the construction engineering firm. More than 90 per cent of staff voted for the strike, which will take place on November 2 and 3 from 8am to 12 noon read more

 

Cleaners, porters and caterers to strike at four Berkshire hospitals – Facilities staff at King Edward VII, Wokingham, Upton and St Marks Hospital sites to walk out over forced changes to contracts, says GMB Union

Cleaners, porters, caterers and other facilities staff are set to strike at four Berkshire hospitals over forced changes to their contracts. Facilities staff at King Edward VII, Wokingham, Upton and St Marks Hospital sites voted overwhelmingly to take strike action. The dispute is over fears that recently tupe’d facilities staff, including housekeepers face detrimental contractual changes, as their new employer forces changes to job titles and roles. NHS Property Services are implementing changes as part of their organisational review by seeking to make changes under the umbrella of required efficiencies and cost savings read more

 

Unions urge Goodfish to reopen talks – Striking workers at Goodfish’s North Wales plant have renewed calls for the company to come back to the table as a second 24 hour strike gets under way. The move comes after a rocky dispute that saw the plastics manufacturer cancelling staff bonuses before previous day of action on the 13th of October. Last Friday the company informed workers that they intend to implement a pay increase without agreement of the onsite unions, GMB and Unite. Both unions have criticised the move, claiming that the below inflation pay rise will fail to meet the cost of living for striking workers read more

 

University of the Arts London Cleaners demand equal treatment after five day strike – GMB, the union for higher education, is demanding members who work as cleaners within the University of the Arts London are offered pay parity with workers directly employed by the university. Bouygues, who directly employ the cleaners, do so on a contract which offers the workers inferior pay, terms and conditions than their colleagues – cleaners have just completed five days of industrial action in protest read more

 

Sign petition: Reinstate Gary Bolister sacked GMB rep at Islington Council   GMB pulls funding for Labour Party in London after grieving caretaker sacked

 

Unison

Pension talks to resume at Dundee University as strike action pays off (9 Nov) – After three weeks of strike action showing ‘great industrial strength’, members accept new proposals to continue negotiations. Following prolonged strike action by members of UNISON, Unite and the UCU, the joint trade unions have today struck a deal with the University of Dundee that will allow pension talks to resume. UNISON members have been on strike for three weeks, with the final three days of strike action being withdrawn read more

Forced jab rule in the NHS risks doing more harm than good (9 Nov) – This sledgehammer approach risks doing more harm than good. Commenting on the announcement today (Tuesday) from health secretary Sajid Javid that all NHS staff in patient-facing roles will need to be Covid double jabbed by 1 April, UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said: “This wasn’t something the government needed to do. The effective and supportive approach taken by NHS trusts has persuaded the overwhelming majority of health staff to have both Covid shots. Now this sledgehammer approach risks doing more harm than good…” read more

11 things you need to know about council and school pay (3 Nov) – If you work in in a council or school, your voting papers will be mailed to you in December, with a freepost envelope. Local government members working in councils and schools are balloting for strike action. But why? What has happened? And what’s next? Here is everything you need to know about council and school pay… If you work in a council or school, you’ll receive an important letter and your voting papers through the post from 1 December. Keep your eyes peeled! Every member must return their vote in the free post envelope by 14 January. Your vote is vital

Hospital staff in Nuneaton and Warwick to strike over jobs move to private firm (3 Nov) – Hospital staff in Nuneaton and Warwick will strike over a jobs move to a private firm. Some Unison members of the IT departments at both South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust and George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust have voted for strike action read more from Coventry Live

 

RCN

‘NHS staff must be supported to make an informed choice about having the COVID-19 vaccine’ (9 Nov) – RCN responds to government announcement that COVID-19 vaccines will become compulsory for frontline NHS staff in England read more

NHS pay in England and Wales: indicative ballot on industrial action now open (4 Nov) – Nursing staff hand Fair Pay for Nursing petition to Downing Street as RCN launches ballot to gauge members’ opinions on next steps in the fight for fair pay read more

RCN members in Wales have until 30 November to let us know about their willingness to take industrial action (4 Nov) – The indicative ballot, opened on 4 November, will test members’ appetite for taking this next step in our fight for fair pay read more

RCN Scotland analysis shows nursing ‘shortfall’ in NHS Scotland at record high (4 Nov) – New analysis by the Royal College of Nursing Scotland shows that the shortfall in Registered Nurses in NHS Scotland has risen to a record high read more

 

NIPSA

Education Welfare Officers – Bulletin – Action Short of Strike Action (8 Nov) – The following is a NIPSA Bulletin that was issued to Education Welfare Officers, EA Branch Secretaries and JNC Reps on Friday 5 November.

To:  Education Welfare Officers

Action Short of Strike Action

The industrial action that each of you are participating in has been very successful in putting pressure on management, over the next few weeks we will be escalating this action every few weeks to ensure that they are left in no doubt that we are determined in our campaign for pay parity with Social Workers employed in the Health and Social Care Sector read more

 

POA

Westminster Hall debate 16th November 2021 – Gordon Henderson MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey has secured a debate on the retirement age of Prison Officers. The debate is to be held on Tuesday the 16th of November at 1630hrs, the debate will be for an hour in length. Could I ask you all to contact your constituent MP and encourage them to take part in this debate on your behalf. This debate will also further our 68 is too late campaign read more

Calling all health care members (8 Nov) – The POA represents 1300 healthcare workers who work in secure settings and are employed by a range of employers: NHS, prison or private companies/charities. Those staff employed by the NHS received a on average a 3% increase in England in Wales and 4% in Scotland. The NHS lead Trade Unions for those on Agenda for Change Terms and Conditions in England are having a virtual planning event to talk about working together to see if agreement can be arrived to put a single pay offer in which unfortunately did not occur in the last round of pay talks. It was to be in sunny Eastbourne but due to Covid this has not been possible because of rising levels of infection. Following indicative balloting in individual NHS health care establishments there is a need to be able to identify all health workers particularly those that work in prisons, NHS and private establishments and prisons in order to be prepared to ballot for industrial action read more

 

NEU

Rally for Oaks Park, Redbridge strikers – 5.30pm Monday 15th November outside London City Hall

Please also sign and share the petition: https://www.change.org/p/redbridge-council-end-the-culture-of-bullying-at-oaks-park-high-school

Support the following NEU strike action:-

Action Date Contact
Oaks Park High School / Redbridge (Victimisation of Rep) Tuesday 9 November

Wednesday 10 November

Thursday 11 November

[email protected]

[email protected]

Sarum Hall / Camden Thursday 11 November [email protected]
Clayfields House Secure Unit/ Notts Tuesday 9 November

Wednesday 10 November

Thursday 11 November

[email protected]

 

Reinstate John Boken Shropshire NEU rep – solidarity protest Saturday 20th November in the Quarry Shrewsbury. For more details and send solidarity messages, email [email protected]

 

NASUWT

Gateshead teachers begin 19 days of strike action (9 Nov) – Members of NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union at Furrowfield School are taking 18 days of strike action over adverse management practices which are impacting on members at the Gateshead school. Members have been subjected to poor management practices which are impacting on their health, safety and wellbeing. They have faced what they believe are intimadatory and bullying practices and attempts to undermine their employment entitlements. There have been significant issues at the school for a long period, with members taking strike action earlier this year at the school read more

Nottingham teachers take strike action (4 Nov) – Members of NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union at Clayfields House Secure Unit in Nottingham are taking the first of seven planned days of strike action today (Thursday) over adverse management practices, including the failure to deal with pupil behaviour which is affecting the health, safety and wellbeing of members read more

 

EIS

Joint statement from SRUC and EIS (3 Nov) – Scotland’s Rural College and the EIS union are pleased to announce that the planned strike action at SRUC campuses has been suspended with immediate effect. This follows a dispute over pay and grading which, thanks to several weeks of hard work and negotiation on both sides, has now led to a proposed resolution – with EIS members about to be balloted on approving a proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) agreement to resolve the dispute. SRUC and EIS have agreed a proposed Memorandum of Understanding that, if approved by EIS members, will bind SRUC and EIS to implement key points within a future Pay & Grading Framework, and that they will work together to design a pay and grading structure that will reflect the organisation’s unique nature in Scotland. This MoU will be put to EIS members for acceptance in a ballot running over the next seven days read more

 

UCU

UCU writes to university bosses setting out how to avoid pre-Christmas campus strikes (9 Nov) – UCU has written to university employer representatives, the University and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) and Universities UK (UUK) outlining what university vice chancellors have to do to avoid industrial action before Christmas, escalating into spring and beyond. The letters come just days before the union’s higher education committee meets on Friday 12 November to decide the scale of the action, the dates at which it will take place, along with an escalation and reballoting strategy. Last week a total of 58 UCU university branches won ballots over pensions and pay & working conditions, providing a mandate for industrial action across UK campuses. On the pay & working conditions ballot staff at 54 universities have a mandate to strike. Overall, more than seven in 10 members who voted backed strike action with 85% voting for action short of strike, which could include a marking boycott. The overall turnout in British universities beat the 50% threshold required by Tory anti-trade union laws and was the highest ever in a nationwide dispute over the issues read more

Big mandate for strike action at UK universities over pay & working conditions (5 Nov) – Members of UCU at UK universities have backed strike action in a ballot over pay and working conditions. Overall, more than seven in 10 members who voted (70.1%) backed strike action with 85% (84.9%) voting for action short of strike, which could include a marking boycott. The overall turnout in British universities hit the 50% threshold required by Tory anti-trade union laws. Today’s results follow those held yesterday, in which 76% backed strike action over pension cuts, with an overall turnout of 53%. UCU said the turnout in both ballots reflected the anger of staff working in UK universities. In both ballots, the union delivered the vote in a window of under three weeks. Now, staff at 54 universities have a mandate to take strike action over pay and working conditions. Yesterday, UCU announced that staff at 37 universities had backed strike action over Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) pension cuts. Following the two separate ballots, staff at 58 universities now have a mandate to take action, 21 over pay, 33 over both pay and pensions and four over USS only. The National Union of Students has backed staff voting for strike action, calling their working conditions “untenable” read more

UCU members back strikes over pension cuts (4 Nov) – Members of the UCU working in UK universities have backed strike action in a ballot over cuts to pensions. Overall, 76% of UCU members who voted backed strike action. 88% voted in favour of action short of strike. The ballot on pension cuts covered 68 universities. The overall turnout was 53%, higher than the legally required threshold of 50%. UCU called the result a ‘clear mandate’ for strike action and said it reflected staff anger over cuts to the USS pensions which would reduce the guaranteed retirement income of a typical member by 35%. The union delivered the vote in a ballot window of just three weeks read more

Dispute at United Colleges Group ends as college agrees deal on contracts (4 Nov) – A long-running dispute at United Colleges Group (UCG) has ended after the college agreed a deal on a new contract. The deal comes after members of UCU balloted for industrial action to reverse changes to their contracts that would have resulted in increased workloads. 99% of those who voted had said they were willing to take strike action over the changes. UCU welcomed the deal and said it was looking forward to a new positive working relationship between the union and UCG. The dispute had centred on college bosses’ failure to implement a previously agreed contract after the College of North West London and City of Westminster College merged to create UCG in 2017. Management then unilaterally removed timetabled non-teaching hours from staff contracts in September 2020. These timetabled hours were part of the contract UCG had originally agreed with UCU following the merger read more

Victory for staff at five London colleges over pay and conditions (3 Nov) – Staff at five London colleges have won improved pay offers from employers after taking strike action. UCU members at Croydon College overwhelmingly voted to accept a deal on pay and conditions. Members had previously taken seven days of strike action. The deal includes a backdated 2% pay increase for all staff and 5% for lower-paid members in learning support roles and a minimum salary for qualified teachers of around £30k. There are additional commitments around workload protection, a four week summer leave period and simplified pay progression. South Thames Colleges Group, which includes South Thames, Merton, Kingston and Carshalton colleges, has offered a pay rise for all staff, which for staff on under £23k includes an increase of over 2.25%. The offer also includes a commitment to review and level up terms & conditions across the group including lecturers’ contact hours and holiday arrangements, as well as a new pay and grading structure. UCU members in the colleges are voting on whether to accept the offer in a ballot that closes on Monday 8 November. Members had previously taken a day of strike action read more

Royal College of Art staff enter second week of strike in fight against casualization (11 Oct) – UCU members at the Royal College of Art (RCA) will begin their second week of strikes today in a fight against casualised contracts, to protect the terms and conditions of established academic staff and to push back against the use of unfair contracts for new staff. In total, staff are on strike for fourteen days across four weeks. Management at the RCA are shockingly reliant on precarious employment practices. In the last two academic years there have been more than 1,000 visiting lecturers working on zero hours contracts with no guaranteed work and limited employment rights. The action began with two days of strikes last week, and continues with three days of action this week (Tuesday 12 October, Wednesday 13 October and Thursday 14 October), and will also include continuous action short of a strike for six months from 4 October, entailing:-

  • boycotting all graduate and postgraduate assessments and marking
  • refusing to reschedule work cancelled due to industrial action
  • and/or to share materials in relation to such action
  • not undertaking any voluntary activities read more

Updates on latest UCU disputes

Petition calling for fair funding and online learning

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 Belfast branch sends message of solidarity to transport workers (9 Nov) – Two buses have been hijacked and burnt in the city. Robin Wilson, chair of the Belfast and District branch of the National Union of Journalists, said: “As journalists we have been reporting on the violent events of recent weeks, putting ourselves at risk to inform the public, fairly and accurately, to the best of our professional ability. Earlier this year, one of our number was subjected to sectarian abuse and assault while photographing a riot taking place at Lanark Way in Belfast. We therefore stand in solidarity with the transport workers who have been intimidated and attacked in their efforts to serve the travelling public…” read more

Four in five journalists have experienced threats and violence at work (3 Nov) – Over one in three female respondents said they do not feel safe operating as a journalist in the UK, a government survey has found. Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary said: “This evidence demonstrates that much more needs to be done to tackle the growing scourge of harassment and attacks against journalists. The Action plan endorsed this year by the government’s National Committee for the Safety of Journalists is a vital part of that work. We need a cultural change to stop this abuse and unacceptable behaviour from being normalised – this is not, and must not be allowed to become, part of a journalist’s job. No worker should have to contend with threats of violence and intimidation. We want to see a zero-tolerant approach, with greater reporting, better policing and robust sentencing, to protect journalists and journalism” read more

 

Prospect

Prospect launches new tech sector (5 Nov) – Prospect has today launched a new sector for tech workers. Members of Prospect have been moved into the new ‘Information Technology and Telecoms sector’. With the growth of the tech industry and its growing range of occupations, and Prospect’s growing membership and campaigning in this area, we have creating a new home of tech workers within the union, reinforcing our credentials as the leading union voice on tech issues read more

Prospect and Unite land key agreement in SSE renewables (5 Nov) – Following positive discussions between SSE and trade unions Prospect and Unite we are pleased to confirm that SSE is to extend existing collective bargaining arrangements to some staff on the renewables side of its business read more

New protections needed to stop employer surveillance of remote workers (5 Nov) – New polling from Prospect has found that one in three (32%) workers are now being monitored at work- up from a quarter (24%) just 6 months ago in April. This includes a doubling of the use of camera monitoring in people’s homes, with 13% of home workers currently being monitored by cameras compared to 5% 6 months ago read more

 

Equity

Equity responds to Digital Radio and Audio Review (9 Nov) – In October, the Digital Radio and Audio Review published its report, which looked at future trends in listening and made recommendations to government on ways of strengthening UK radio and audio. The review projected a decline in analogue radio listening and called on the UK radio industry to begin preparing the ground for a possible switch-off of analogue services at some point after 2030 read more

Equity briefs House of Lords ahead of crucial debate on the creative industry (5 Nov) – On 04 November, members of Parliament in the House of Lords debated the impact of government policy and spending on the creative sector. With the Chancellor’s budget last week falling short of Equity’s demands, this was a vital opportunity to influence this crucial debate and ensure parliamentarians hold the government to account. Equity briefed the Peers taking part. We highlighted the enormous value of the creative industry to the economy and to our social infrastructure. We called on the government to adopt a range of policies shaped by our members to strengthen the support for our industry read more

Sign the petition to save Stratford Circus! https://www.change.org/p/save-stratford-circus

 

USDAW

BCM Fareva, Nottingham: Usdaw members to take further industrial action over the slashing of terms and conditions – Members of Usdaw at BCM Fareva will begin a further stoppage on Sunday 10 October, which will continue into Monday. The strike follows five previous stoppages in July and August. Nottingham based manufacturer of consumer pharma and beauty products for leading brands including Boots and The Body Shop has imposed through ‘fire and rehire’ cuts to staff terms and conditions read more

Victimised Tesco warehouse rep fighting for reinstatement read more

 

Community

Support the Clarks strike –

Friends, the ALL-OUT strike by 100 Clarks Warehouse workers at Street in Somerset against a vicious ‘fire and rehire’ attack, is now approaching its SIXTH week. This is the first all-out local strike in Somerset since the epic six-month strike of 186 NGA print workers against the Robert Maxwell-owned Purnell plant at Paulton-that was in 1986! Among many other reductions in pay and conditions, Lion Rock Capital is slashing basic pay from £11.16p an hour to £9.50p: despite Lion Rock boasting that £9.50p was a ‘significant compromise’ from its original plan to impose the minimum wage of £8.92p, the minimum wage is now due to rise to, guess what, £9.50p an hour! Did Lion Rock have a hot-line to government? Thanks to all who have supported this strike, , be it at the picket lines, via a strike fund donation or messages of support. This e-mail is to ask trades councils, trade unions and trade union branches all across the UK to take action urgently, and in two ways:

  1. Send a donation and message of support to the Community Clarks Strike Fund:

Sort code 60 83 01 Account number 34042733

Name: Community: Reference: Clarks Strike Pay

Significant recent strike fund donations have included:

£500 from the Bristol Health Branch of Unite the Union;

£500 from the Somerset General Branch of GMB

£1,000 from Bridgwater Trades Union Council (The largest donation in this council’s history)

Send support/donation messages to:

Dan Francois< [email protected]>  Tel. 07760161952

  1. Send a delegation to the Clarks Strike Solidarity March and Rally, Saturday, November 13th, assembling for 11am at the picket line, Westway Warehouse, Westway, Street, Somerset, BA

Speakers include Roy Rickhuss, Community General Secretary; Paul Nowack, TUC Deputy General Secretary; Barry Gardiner, Labour MP. Bring your banners and flags and horns! A SW TUC flyer for this march and rally is attached.

PLEASE PASS THIS URGENT REQUEST FOR SOLIDARITY ONTO ALL YOUR CONTACTS

Thank you.

Dave Chapple,

Secretary,

Mendip Trades Union Council (To which the Community Union branch at Clarks IS affiliated!)

07707869144

Community: Industrial action begins at Clarks

 

UVW

Security guards at Great Ormond Street Hospital vote to strike in dispute for equal rights! (3 Nov) – “GOSH is made up of departments of families. And in a family circle, even when one member of the family feels he’s been left behind, or he’s not been treated fairly, there’s always going to be a reaction.” Samuel Awittor, security guard, GOSH. Security guards at Great Ormond Street hospital have followed in the footsteps of their domestic staff colleagues by voting to take strike action. The unanimous vote to strike closed earlier this week, and came hot off the heels of UVW members who work as cleaners and who won their demands for full equality with in-house NHS staff in October. Likely emboldened by the victory, 100% of workers who took part in the ballot voted ‘YES’ for strike action. They are requesting the end to outsourcing and full NHS pay and terms & conditions read more

Striking SAGE workers: “the bosses are the second virus” – “The workers at Sage have given their absolute all, under impossible conditions, to take care of elders in my community. It’s extremely important that these workers are treated with dignity.” With flags billowing, banners waving and music blaring, UVW members at the Sage Nursing Home in North London were joined by dozens of supporters on a vibrant and noisy picket line on Thursday. The staff are on strike over the poverty wages at a care home which is short-staffed and mismanaged. Addressing the picket line Bile, a senior care worker at Sage and UVW executive committee member said: “They say there’s a pandemic, they say there’s Covid-19, but there’s a different Covid, the bosses are the second virus” read more

Support the joint PCS-UVW Royal Parks strike – On Friday 30th July migrant park attendants across London’s Royal Parks who are dual carding with UVW and PCS kicked off strikes in a bid to end outsourcing and be treated as equals. They will need all the solidarity they can get and donating to their strike fund is a great way to show that solidarity. So if you can, please donate

From UVW Facebook page: Royal Parks workers are on lower wages and fewer benefits than others directly employed by Royal Parks. They are striking for the month of October – because they deserve better. Help them fight for equal:

  • sick pay ✔
  • maternity pay ✔
  • annual leave ✔
  • pension entitlement ✔

United Voices of the World the union and PCS Union fighting together  for dignity, justice and equality

 

IWGB

Striking Food Delivery Couriers Facing £130 Fines while Working Rally at Hackney Town Hall to Demand Free and Safe Parking (9 Nov) – On Wednesday 10 November at 2:30pm, striking food delivery couriers part of the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) are staging a motorcade from Ashwin Street to Hackney Town Hall after being forced by restaurant management and local authorities to wait for orders in a carpark with no toilets, no shelter, and that will have a negative impact on the number of orders that couriers can collect read more

 

SIPTU (Ireland)

SIPTU seeks urgent meeting with ministers on rising anti-social behaviour on public transport (2 Nov) – SIPTU has sought a meeting with government ministers and renewed its call for a dedicated transport police service to adequately counter the rise of anti-social behaviour on our public transport system read more

 

 

Other News

National Pensioners Convention (NPC) GREATER LONDON REGION

JOIN OUR PROTEST 12.00 midday on Friday 26th Nov 2021

Assemble by George V’s statue at Old Palace Yard Westminster opposite the House of Lords. Then march to 10 Downing Street.

Immediate action is for the Government to halt any increase to fuel and other bills.

Pensioners are already dying from cold related illnesses, and the situation will only get far worse with the forthcoming increases in the cost of living and fuel bills.

It’s estimated that GAS PRICES Will INCREASE BY UP TO 30% next year that will result in far higher number of Pensioners and those most vulnerable dying. It is predicted the energy price cap will go up to about £1,660 in the summer, almost £400 an increase of 30%.

The number of additional winter deaths of older people, due to cold related illnesses will be announced on Friday 26th November 2021. On that day London Region NPC will be protesting the government’s failure to prevent fuel poverty deaths.

 

Sign petition: Save Fernbank & Hillside Children’s Centres from closure! – Crowdfunding to stop the closure of two Children’s Centres by Hackney Council

 

‘Boris Out!’ – an evening of socialist comedy and entertainment. 3pm Sunday 14th November, Tyneside Irish Centre – 43 Gallowgate, Newcastle NE1 4SG

Racism, privatisation of the NHS, the gig economy, our youth being charged exorbitant rents, Governmental corruption and total incompetence.

We are delighted to announce a 3pm show for Boris Out! – a feast of socialist comedy and entertainment.

The 7pm show has SOLD OUT. Tickets for the 3pm show are strictly limited to 130. Tickets (only £10) from: www.borisout.eventbrite.com. Contact Ed (0191) 4550608

Please note: If you are a Tory, racist or a supporter of the royal family this is definitely not for you.

 

 

Fight blacklisting and victimisation of union reps

Blacklist Support Group update – Sad news, awards and a new rank & file film:-

  1. A minutes silence – Two good friends, comrades and active members of the Blacklist Support Group have passed away this week.

Andrew Wilkes R.I.P.

Blacklist Support Group are sad to hear the news of the death of elecrician, Andy Wilkes. A proud Welsh rank & file union activist in the construction industry who fought for workers rights for decades. He stood on picket lines, attended meetings and drank in the pub with many of us. In June this year, Andy played a leading role in unofficial action that closed down the UK Atomic Weapons Agency. You’ll be sorely missed, brother.

 

Davey Ayre R.I.P.

BSG are sad to hear that Davey Ayre has died. Blacklisted bricklayer from County Durham, co-author of ‘The Flying Pickets’, an important book on the 1972 building workers strike and the Shrewsbury Pickets, long term secretary of Crook UCATT Branch. A genuine gentleman, with a sharp political mind & an anger at injustice till the end. Dave will be sorely missed. His funeral is provisionally taking place on 15th November at 1pm at St Thomas’ Church, Stanley Crook followed by Cremation at Durham with a wake at the Foresters.

Blacklisted workers send condolences to both Andy’s & Davey’s family, friends & comrades.

  1. “Working Class Hero’ Awards presented to Shrewsbury Pickets

Attached is a short video of the awards presented to Ricky Tomlinson and Arthur Murray by the Blacklist Support Group and Construction Rank & File during our fringe event in Liverpool last week.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=mSLM1gQJV1c&feature=youtu.be

  1. “Can’t beat the Rank & File” – new film

Some people talk about ‘rank & file union militancy’ as if it’s something from the distant past, never seen since the 1970s or 80s. In construction, it never went away. Rank & file networks of building workers (not the official unions) have been responsible for every major industry dispute in the sector for the past 50 years. This film by Reel News is a call to arms and an intervention into the debates currently taking place within UNITE and the rest of the trade union movement. Essential viewing for anyone interested in union organising in 2021. Ricky Tomlinson, Davey Ayre and Andy Wilkes all appear in the film.

Please share widely: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8vPcBPLc5c

  1. Public Health Post:

Given the increase in the number of COVID infections recently, Blacklist Support Group encourage all of our supporters to stay safe. Vaccinations work, but they do not prevent transmission, whether on a building site or in a union meeting. There have been a small number of positive COVID tests following the UNITE Policy conference in Liverpool last week. It is impossible to say exactly where the infections took place. So if any anyone attended the conference, any fringe meetings, or any social events, we encourage you to take a test if you develop any symptoms. It would be advisable to inform NHS Test & Trace if you get a positive test result.

Stay safe everyone.

Blacklisting Investigation – Unite the Union has commissioned an independent investigation into alleged involvement of any past of present union officers or officials in the operation of blacklists in the construction industry. The independent investigation will be conducted by Jane McNeill QC in accordance with the attached Terms of Reference. Evidence for the investigation is now being compiled by Thompsons Solicitors LLP. Any documentary evidence which any individual wishes to provide should be submitted to Thompsons either by email to [email protected] or by post to Unite Blacklisting Inquiry, Thompsons Solicitors LLP, Congress House, 23-28 Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3LW, reference L213003/RH.  All evidence to be considered for the purpose of the independent report must be received by Thompsons by 9 November 2021 read more

#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 news

Unison: Unions seek investor action in challenging labour rights abuses. UNISON is supporting a Sri Lankan trade union fighting to represent beleaguered rubber glove factory workers read more

 

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 the Queens Speech in December 2019 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 finish but has now been extended because of the 2nd lockdown. But it’s clear that the Tories are looking to end it asap.

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

 

 

Diary

 

 

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