Against victimisation

Stop school victimisations!

Kirstie Paton, victimised NEU rep at The John Roan School in Greenwich Members of Shrewsbury Colleges Group NEU members are set to strike against the victimisation of John Boken, one of the union reps at the college. John is a NEU safety rep and it is clear that the disciplinary action faced by John is a result of his trade union activity before and during the pandemic. NEU members are due to strike on Wednesday 24 February, and have just announced an escalation to nine strike days in March: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday for three weeks. John deserves our support, as do other NEU reps such...

UEL strikes 22-23 February

University of East London UCU (University and College Union) held a 230-strong solidarity strike rally on Monday 22 February, the first day of a two day strike, with staff, students and other union activists speaking. The strike is over four compulsory redundancies, including the UCU branch chair (a clear example of victimisation). UCU is also fighting rising workload, drastically increased since September 2020, when 82 jobs were cut. Speakers talked about the effects of the cuts to date, in terms of insufficient services and overwork. Many called for national action by UCU over this and a...

Defend Tracy McGuire! Stop the victimisation!

Suggested wording for union branch motions. Please also see petition at: bit.ly/neu-p This branch/district notes: • Tracy McGuire, workplace rep and elected support staff representative on the NEU Executive Council, faces losing her job, as one of ten posts declared redundant at The Rydal Academy in Darlington. Tracy, who has been a strong and effective rep in the school for several years, was told about the redundancy on the same day that she submitted her Section 44 letter, informing her employer of her refusal to work in unsafe conditions. • Tracy is the Attendance Officer at her school...

Defend NEU activists, stop the victimisations!

When trying to keep your workplace safe during the pandemic, when what you do could save lives, how would you expect your boss to respond? Maybe with some appreciation or a grudging “thank you”? The reality in many cases is that union reps are facing bullying and harassment for trade union activity during the pandemic. Louise Lewis of Kirklees National Education Union, John Boken of Shropshire NEU, Tracy McGuire of Darlington NEU, and Kirstie Paton of Greenwich NEU are just four of the activists who are currently facing victimisation for supporting staff and for raising safety issues during...

Defend Cetin Avsar

Security guard and union activist Cetin Avsar has been threatened with dismissal by his employer, Wilson James Ltd., who said in a letter that his opposition to outsourcing, and role in leading a strike for direct employment in his previous workplace, St. George’s University of south London, represent a “conflict of interest”. Cetin is currently working for Wilson James Ltd. on a contract at the Francis Crick Institute in King’s Cross, London, but has been told his “conduct has not reached the required standards.” The only issue cited for discussion at his probation review meeting is his...

Reinstate Richie Venton

The campaign to overturn the dismissal of Richie Venton — USDAW shop steward, USDAW convenor, and member of USDAW National Executive Council — continues, despite the lack of support from the leaders of his own union. Richie was sacked by his employer, IKEA, at the end of August. Richie had worked in the IKEA store in Braehead on the outskirts of Glasgow for twelve years, during which time he had built an effective trade union organisation in the store and achieved major improvements in working conditions. In the midst of the first lockdown IKEA informed union representatives of plans for major...

The Doctors Laboratory votes for strikes

Medical couriers transporting Covid-19 samples on behalf of NHS pathology contractor The Doctors Laboratory (TDL) have voted overwhelmingly for strike action, in response to the company’s decision to make redundancies during the pandemic, and its failure to address health and safety concerns. The IWGB union, on behalf of eight of its members who are being targeted for redundancy, has also filed a trade union victimisation and whistleblower victimisation claim. Almost all of the ten targeted workers had been demanding better and safer working conditions. One of them, Alex Marshall, is a key...

Factory gate meeting

Unite members working for Great Bear distribution recently organised a factory gate meeting at the Unilever Port Sunlight factory to protest at the dismissal of a Unite shop steward and the company’s refusal to pay full sick pay for workers self-isolating. The meeting, organised by Unite North West, showed how protests and workplace meetings can still be organised safely and effectively. Everyone observed social distancing rules. When the organisers were explaining why the meeting took place, they made sure that they explained to local residents who were watching and listening why the meeting...

The Morning Star and "patriotism"

On 7 May, the Morning Star carried an article with the snazzy headline “Patriotism is good for you.” A better headline would have been “Stalinism turns you into a useless nationalist who can’t pick the right side in an industrial dispute”. Before examining what this Comrade Blimp has to say about the fusion of nationalism and socialism, it’s worth saying something about the piece’s author. Doug Nicholls is chair of the board of Ruskin College. Last year college management victimised workplace activists in the UCU. Nicholls refused to back the workers, and then invited the college principal to...

Bullying is not just Rutnam

In the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), part of the Department for Transport, one of our leading reps, Paul Williams, is being targeted for compulsory redundancy. We believe this is an attack on the union in the workplace. Paul's local branch is discussing a possible dispute and strike to resist that attack. The union will ensure there is a national focus on this campaign. In wider politics, a light is being shone on the relationship between the government as an employer and the civil service. Clearly there are tensions at the top, in terms of how the people around Mr Cummings want...

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