Wednesday, 24 December 2014


In a shock announcement in the run up to Christmas the National Gallery has told 400 of its 600 staff they are to be taken over by a private company. The Gallery want to push ahead with these plans even though a new Director is to be appointed early in 2015.

 Appeal to Defend the National Gallery

We are asking for your support to stop these plans. Already over 35500 of you have signed the 38 Degrees petition against the plans.

There is widespread concern that looking after the nation’s collection of paintings should be carried out by loyal and experienced staff rather than private security firms such as G4S who are more interested in profits than in protecting and promoting art.

On strike for 3 days over Christmas

National Gallery staff believe they have no choice but to ask the public for support to take action to stop these plans.  As part of their national campaign the PCS trade union will strike for 3 days over the busy holiday period at the National Gallery with further action planned in the New Year.

We need your support to win!

Those prepared to lose money to go on strike over Xmas will be fighting to defend the Gallery for all of us!  They are some of the lowest paid workers in London and are appealing for any financial help you can give.

If we all gave just £5 we would make sure the campaign can win.

 We plan an e-campaign in the New Year to back the campaign. We are also organising a meeting in the House of Commons in support of Early Day Motion 300  and asking MPs to back the call for a public enquiry into the running of the National Gallery.


Join the strikers picket lines at the Gallery over the holidays : Saturday 27 Dec, Monday 29 Dec and Saturday 03 Jan (Pickets 9-11am)

Make a donation to National Gallery PCS Campaign Fund - If we all donate just a few pounds we can make sure the campaign has the money in needs to win.  Click to donate here
Share the 38 Degrees Petition - No Privatisation at National Gallery petition
 Keep Up-to-Date with the Campaign through our Facebook page

 Thanks for your support and Happy Christmas

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

*Red Ladder Theatre Company* performs *“We’re Not Going Back”*

*Red Ladder Theatre Company* performs *“We’re Not Going Back”* – which
commemorates the thirtieth anniversary of the miners’ strike by looking at
the role of women during the dispute.

UNITE London Region planned to host performance but, unfortunately, it
transpired that the set was too big for their space available. Thanks to
this support, SERTUC Creative and Leisure Industries Committee and others,
Red Ladder is kindly offering discounted tickets to trade union members for
forthcoming performance:

thursday 17 february

*Performance starts at 7.30pm

*Red Ladder Theatre Company Presents*

*“We’re Not Going Back” *

*@ Pleasance Theatre*

*Carpenters Mews, North Road, London N7 9EF*

*(Nearest Tube: Caledonian Road)*

·         Full price ticket - *£12.00*

·         Union members discounted tickets - *£7.00* (use discount code:

Full details of the play and booking arrangements can be found *HERE

Monday, 15 December 2014

Decent Jobs Week

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15 ‑ 21 December 2014 / Millions of people in the UK are trapped in low-paid, insecure jobs. Decent Jobs Week shines a light on our growing jobs crisis.

No one really knows how many people work on a ‘zero-hours contract’ basis. It is at least 1.4 million, and quite probably a great deal more. Many zero-hours contracts offer no steady, regular or assured work each week. Other workers, such as agency and casual workers, often lose out on important rights and terms of employment, such as ‘sick pay’.
The recovery is creating new jobs but many are of poor quality. As a result, more and more people struggle to pay their rent, mortgage and heat their homes. Food banks fed more than a million people in 2013, and this year it will be many more. Women and young workers have suffered the greatest detriment from poor quality employment. For very many people work is not a route out of poverty, it is a route into poverty.
From 15 to 21 December, the TUC is organising ‘Decent Jobs Week’, a series of events across England and Wales that will raise awareness about Britain’s jobs’ crisis.
SERTUC will be ‘street campaigning:

15 December                          Ipswich: 60-62 Tavern StreetIpswich, Suffolk, IP1 3AJ
Decent Jobs for All Stall:          12.00 - 15.00
Photo Opportunity:                  12.30 (approx)
16 December                          Gillingham: 124A High Street, Gillingham, Kent ME7 1AS
Decent Jobs for All Stall:          12.00 - 17.00
Photo Opportunity:                  12.30 (approx)
17 December                          Chatham: Opposite 211 High Street, Chatham ME4 4BG
Decent Jobs for All Stall:          12.00-17.00.
Photo Opportunity:                  12.30 (approx)
18 December                          Southwark: 264 Walworth Road, London SE17 1JE
                                          opposite the entrance to East Street Market
Decent Jobs for All Stall:          12.00 - 15.00
Photo Opportunity:                  12.30 (approx)
19 December                          Hastings: Pedestrian area at the junction of Wellington Place and Queens Road, Hastings, East Sussex TN34 1NN
Decent Jobs for All Stall:          12.00 - 15.00
Photo Opportunity:                  12.30 (approx)
Contact for information: Laurie Heselden 0781 800 2877 and

On each day/street action: 
There will be a photo opportunity at 12.30 (approx), with campaign banner, Father Xmas, a Christmas Elf and local people. Trade unionists and supporters are welcome.
Volunteers are welcome to help with street leafleting for any part of the afternoon.
Trade unionists and local people are very welcome to visit our street stall, to tell us their story and have their photo taken with their ‘jobs wish’, and with our ‘Decent Jobs Santa’, if they wish. 
What we Want - A Decent Job for All! Every Worker Should Have:
·         A proper contract of employment
·         Fair pay, and at least the Living Wage
·         Regular hours of work
·         Good employment rights and collective bargaining at work
·         The opportunity to learn at work and improve their skills
·         Equal rights at work for all



Laurie Heselden
Regional Policy and Campaigns Officer
T: 0207 467 1292 (DL) and 0207 467 1220 (Darren Lewis-Office Administrator)
M: 0781 800 2877
Twitter: @TUCLaurieHeseld

We have street activities in Ipwich (15 Dec), Gillingham (16 Dec), Chatham (17 Dec), Southwark (18 Dec) and Hastings (19 Dec). Contact me by email for more information.
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Unite Shelter Strike

Members at Shelter ready to go out on strike


Unite members at Shelter get set for strike action next week from Tuesday 16 December. The advice and support workers are angry over the imposition of a new pay scale at the charity which will lead to pay cuts of up to £5,000 for new starters, with the pay of current frontline staff only being guaranteed until 2016.
In addition to pay cuts for new frontline staff, the proposed pay changes have left the charity open to accusations of creating a two tier workforce. The new pay scale only affects frontline staff and will see some advice workers earning several thousands of pounds less than non-frontline colleagues working on the same grade elsewhere in the charity.
Shelter’s main offices in London, Glasgow and Sheffield as well as smaller ones in cities such as Manchester and Bristol will be affected by the three day strike, which starts at 00:01 hours Tuesday 16 December and concludes at 23:59 hours on Thursday 18 December.
What can you do to help?
Please support members on the picket lines at:
Shelter London - 88 Old St, EC1V 9HU

Shelter London - 4 Garrett Street, EC1Y 0TY

Shelter Bristol - New Bond House, Bond Street, BS2 9AG

Shelter Sheffield - Furnival House, 48 Furnival Gate, S1 4QP

Shelter Manchester - Victoria House, 5 Samuel Ogden Street, M1 7AX

Shelter Glasgow - Breckenridge House, 274 Sauchiehall St, G2 3EH

Shelter Dundee, 1 Courthouse Square, DD1 1NH

Shelter Edinburgh -  4th floor, Scotiabank House, 6 South Charlotte Street, EH2 4AW

Shelter Truro - Palace Building, Quay Street, TR1 2HE
Other ways to support this campaign:
  • You can write to Campbell Robb, Chief Executive, Shelter, 88 Old Street, London, EC1V 9HU, or email him at
  • Leaving a message on our Facebook page at or on Twitter @uniteatshelter 
  • Donate to the Shelter Hardship Fund by sending a cheque payable to TGWU (ACTSS) 1/0524 Central London Branch to: Mary O'Brien, Branch Secretary,174 Parkside Avenue Romford Essex RM1 4NP. Or pay directly to: Sort Code 08 60 01 Account No 30010808. Please mark all payments Shelter Hardship Fund.

Belgium paralysed by general strike -

Belgium paralysed by general strike

TODAY @ 09:09
  2. Valentina email
  3. Valentina Twitter
BRUSSELS - The entire Belgian airspace is closed on Monday (15 December), as well as high-speed trains from Brussels to London, Paris and Amsterdam and local buses, trams and metro lines, as part of a general strike over public sector cuts.
Schools, government offices and private firms are also likely to be closed on Monday. Garbage will not be picked up and newspapers will not be delivered.
Serious traffic jams are expected around Brussels and Antwerp, with transport trade unions calling on truck drivers to join in and "paralyse the country".
Trade unions already staged a huge march which ended in violent clashes with police a month ago, when the government first announced the plans to save €11 billion over the next five years. The measures include scrapping an automatic indexation of salaries next year and raising the retirement age from 65 to 67 from 2030.
Belgium last month was flagged up together with Italy and France and given time until March to bring its budget in order or face extra scrutiny from the EU commission.
Unlike France, Belgium is sticking to the three-percent budget deficit rule, but its public debt is set to reach 107.8 percent of GDP in 2017, compared to 104.5 percent last year. Under EU rules, countries should keep their public debt below 60 percent of GDP.
In its assessment of the 2015 budget plan, the EU commission said Belgium is expected to boost its competitiveness if it scraps wage indexation, but that it "should reform the full wage-setting system in a structural way".
Belgium's general strike echoes protests in Italy on Friday, where transport was paralysed and schools and hospitals shut down for the day.
Like Belgian trade unions, their Italian counterparts were also protesting announced labour market reforms, which would make it easier for workers to be fired.
Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has come up with a "Jobs Act" that would make it easier to hire and fire, in order to get some of the 43 percent jobless young people into a job.
Italy is also under the EU's scrutiny for failing to reduce its debt burden, with the commission waiting for the labour market reforms to be implemented.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Defence workers begin ‘historic’ 10 day strike over pay

Gptu sends support to the Defence Support Group (DSG) strikers.

Defence workers begin ‘historic’ 10 day strike over pay

08 December 2014
Strike action over a one per cent pay rise at the Defence Support Group (DSG) is set to intensify today (8 December 2014) as over 800 members of the country’s largest union, Unite, start a 10 day strike at the Ministry of Defence (MoD) facilities.
The latest action, the longest in the group’s history, led to warnings of backlogs in the repair and maintenance of key military equipment as the union accused DSG management of fattening up the organisation for its sell off to preferred bidder Babcock Land.
Commenting, Unite national officer Mike McCartney said: “As the DSG is fattened up to be privatised, workers who support our armed forces have had pay cuts in real terms of nearly 18 per cent. 
“The DSG is a cash rich organisation which can well afford a decent pay rise. Management should be under no illusion of the resolve of our members as this latest action, which is the longest in the group’s history, demonstrates.
“Any backlogs in repairs and maintenance of key military equipment sit squarely with DSG management who need to get back around the negotiating table to hammer out a fair pay deal.”   
The latest round of action at the group which maintains, repairs and overhauls military equipment for the MoD, follows six days of solid strike action in October and November.
The main sites affected by the latest walkout are at Bovington (Dorset), Catterick (North Yorkshire), Colchester, Donnington (Shropshire), Stirling, Sealand (North Wales) and Warminster (Wiltshire). 
For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869. 
Notes to editors:
  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.

Morning star
Friday 19THposted by Paddy McGuffini

Defence union Unite is to ballot over 800 workers on industrial action in a long-running dispute over pay.
Employees at the Defence Support Group (DSG) will vote on strike action and action short of a strike from today.
The main DSG sites are at Bovington in Dorset, Catterick in North Yorkshire, Colchester in Essex, Donnington in Shropshire, Warminster in Wiltshire and Stirling.
Unite said its members had already rejected management’s 1 per cent pay offer for 2014 by a majority of 85 per cent in a consultative ballot.
The workers, who maintain, repair and overhaul military air and land equipment for the Ministry of Defence (MoD), are seeking an 8 per cent pay rise for 2014.
“It looks like the DSG will be sold off to the private sector in 2015 and our members want to be able to take with them to their new employer a decent rate of pay which can be consolidated for pension purposes,” said Unite national officer for the MoD Mike McCartney.
“DSG has a cash mountain of £65 million, which will go back to the Treasury’s coffers once the sale has been completed.
“The current DSG management can well afford to give a substantial pay rise to the workers who have made DSG such a success story.”
The sell-off of DSG was heralded by the coalition’s 2010 strategic defence review, but the process has been dogged by the issue of third-party intellectual property rights. 

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Firefighters in England announce further pensions strike & GPTU statement

The Green Party Trade Union group sends support to those FBU members who will be striking on Tuesday next. We know that firefighters are dedicated to ensuring public safety and saving lives, so they will not be taking this step lightly. It is absurd, but regrettably not surprising, that the government cannot reach or even approach a settlement to the pensions dispute with the FBU in England whilst settlements and negotiations which the FBU finds more acceptable can proceed elsewhere in the UK. This is another sad example of the inept and dangerous handling of vital public services by the current government. We hope the firefighters will be able to win the just settlement that they deserve. 

Firefighters in England announce further pensions strike

( from FBU website)
Firefighters in England announce further pensions strike
Firefighters will walk out for 24 hours
No strike action called in Scotland and Wales due to ongoing negotiations
Trade dispute lifted in Northern Ireland
Firefighters in England today announced a further 24 hour strike to take place from 09.00 on Tuesday 9 December. This follows the government’s decision to commence the Parliamentary procedure to implement regulations for an unfair, unaffordable and unworkable pension scheme.
After almost three years of discussions firefighters still face a stark choice of either being sacked or a severely reduced pension if they fail fitness tests as a result of naturally declining fitness through age.
The evidence presented by the Fire Brigades Union has created considerable political opposition to proposals for firefighter pensions – even from within the Westminster coalition. The FBU has gathered cross party support from MPs in Westminster who have signed an Early Day Motion (EDM 454) opposing the draft regulations. The EDM is the procedural mechanism by which the government proposals can be challenged at this stage. This support for firefighters includes a number of Liberal Democrats.
Despite this the government have made no attempts to address the concerns within Parliament and are still pressing ahead with forcing through the regulations. They have so far refused to hold a full debate on the issue despite widespread concern among MPs.
Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “Firefighters in England are reluctantly calling further strike action today as a direct result of the Westminster government’s failure to listen and negotiate over pensions.
“Firefighters are asking the Westminster government to immediately open genuine negotiations to resolve this dispute. They should also hold a House of Commons debate to fully scrutinise the legislation and there should be a parliamentary vote on the regulations.
“We need to be clear. We are not going to give up or go away. Firefighters will fight for however long it takes to secure a fair pensions deal – this dispute will not end as long as the regulations remain unchanged.”
Firefighters in Northern Ireland have lifted their trade dispute as the result of a revised and improved offer with a lower pension age.
Firefighters in Scotland and Wales will be taking other forms of industrial action but will also not be on strike as a result of genuine negotiations have delivered changes to the proposals facing firefighters.
Wrack said: “It is sickening that the only part of the UK where the fire minister refuses to engage in genuine negotiations is England. We cannot accept that firefighters in England will be penalised simply because the Westminster government refuses to consider the evidence or even read its own reports on the risks to firefighter fitness related to aging. We have won the argument on this issue for the past three years. We face a government which refuses to negotiate or even to listen to reason. Therefore this fight will carry on.”

Thursday, 4 December 2014

McDonald's Korea workers fight back!

McDonald's Korea workers fight back!

On November 24 we asked for your support for the struggle against employment abuses in  McDonald's Korea restaurants. Union activist Gahyun Lee was dismissed from her job at a McDonald's in Yeokgok, Gyeonggi Province for challenging wage and scheduling manipulation and demonstrating solidarity with fast food workers in the US and around the world.

The Arbeit Workers' Union today released a statement to the national media informing them of the international campaign. They're collecting new evidence of illegal and abusive practices at the Golden Arches and organizing new actions to secure Gahyun's reinstatement and respect for trade union rights.

Many thousands of you responded to our earlier appeal, but If you were not able to do so, please take a moment show your support now, as these brave workers prepare for what is likely be a long and difficult campaign.

CLICK HERE TO SEND A MESSAGE to McDonald's Korea corporate management calling on the company to reinstate Gahyun Lee, recognize union rights and representation and enter into good faith talks with the union.
Rampe du Pont-Rouge, 8, CH-1213, Petit-Lancy (Switzerland) 

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Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Support the Sharpak Yate Workers

Message from William Quick
(Sharpak Yale is a fish processing plant near Bristol)

Members of the Unite Union working at Sharpak Yate are staging two 24 hour strikes this week over a demand made by management that employees sign a new contract extending the working week by 3 hours (to 40 hours) or be fired.

This outrageous move by management undercuts working conditions and job security (what good is a contract if it can be rewritten at the drop of a hat and demanded that you sign it or be fired) and undermines the very principle of collective bargaining. As Green's we should support the efforts of these workers and their trade union to defend their employment terms and conditions.

The first strike starts today (Tuesday December the 2nd) at 6 am till 6 am tomorrow (Wednesday), with the follow up action commencing at 6 am on Thursday till 6 am on Friday morning

Message of Solidarity

'To the Sharpak Yate Workers,

The Bristol Green Party supports you in your industrial action against Sharpak Yate’s outrageous demand that you sign a new contract extending the working week by 3 hours (to 40 hours) or be fired.  These kinds of intimidation tactics represent some of the worst aspects of employment relations in the UK.  The Green Party believes that good industrial relations depend on the achievement of consensus in the workplace and is committed to workplace democracy (see policy WR430).  We strongly support the rights of workers and their trade unions, and condemn the bullying tactics of your employers. In the UK we are already burdened with the longest average working hours in Europe, contributing to stress, ill-health and diminished family life one the one hand; and unemployment and its attendant ills on the other.  As stated in our Policies for a Sustainable Society, policy WR340:

The Green Party believes that excessive working hours contribute to ill health, stress, lower productivity, lower quality of life and a reduction in quality childcare. We believe that, on average, UK employees currently work too many hours in a working week and a Green government will work towards a reduction in working time in the UK…

And policy WR344:

We are committed in the medium-term to a reduction in working hours to an average of 35 hours per week. The Green Party will enact legislation in order to bring about this change [without loss of earnings].

We wish you the best of luck in resisting this unfair and arrogant attack on your working terms and conditions; and hope your industrial action is brought to a speedy and successful resolution.

the Bristol Green Party'

*RMT Demonstration 4 december 2014 *

*RMT Demonstration 4 december 2014 *

Interserve's Waterloo Rd Headquarters at 4pm

A map is available *HERE <,-0.1109813,18z> *

This demonstration will highlight the comprehensive breakdown in industrial relations with Interserve at Waterloo Station, relating to a whole range of fundamental issues including:

The unwarranted victimisation and dismissal of RMT members

Ignorance of basic employment rights and failure to follow agreed procedures

Underpayment of wages

Bullying and harassment of staff

Monday, 1 December 2014

Tell PepsiCo to pay casual and permanent workers equally!

Tell PepsiCo to pay casual and permanent workers equally!

Members of the IUF-affiliated National Union of Workers (NUW) at PepsiCo's Smith's snack foods warehouse in the Auckland suburb of Tingalpa have been occupying their lunchroom since November 27 in a dispute over equal treatment for casual and labour hire employees.

NUW members are fighting for a fair pay deal, especially for casual workers who get paid less for doing the same work, and jobs workers can count on with permanent positions. The NUW has created the #OccupyTingalpahashtag and is posting photographs and updates from the sit-in on its Facebook page.

You can show your solidarity with the NUW at Smith's by signing their petition HERE.

Rampe du Pont-Rouge, 8, CH-1213, Petit-Lancy (Switzerland) 

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