Thursday, 30 August 2012

Wednesday, 29 August 2012


Workers Uniting the global union comprising of the United Steelworkers and Unite has strongly condemned the anti-union activities being used by the global multinational engineering and electronics company Siemens to suppress a campaign by workers at its plant in North East, Maryland, USA to join and have United Steelworkers recognised for collective bargaining.

The North East plant is a machine shop with 42 production employees. The USW and the company have agreed to an election, conducted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), on 6 September.

The workers began organizing in response to:

- Favoritism and disparate treatment: workers performing the same job are receiving different salaries and disparate wage increases.
- Reduction of holidays by management.
- A generally hostile attitude from the management.

In response to the organizing campaign, Siemens has hired two highly-paid union-busting consultants, Ken Cannon and Joe Brock, who are systematically intimidating employees in mandatory one-on-one and group meetings.
These consultants, along with Siemens managers, have engaged in anti-union actions including the following:
■ threatened employees that it would be futile to join the union

■ threatened employees that the Union would fire them for various reasons

■ removed union literature from non-work areas

■ prohibited employees from talking about the union

■ conducted surveillance of union activities (photographing employees who accepted union literature outside the plant)

■ threatened employees with the loss of customers if they organize (stating that a client would not do business with Siemens if the workers unionize)

■ pressured employees to sign an anti-union petition
The company’s anti-union message has been repeated in written communications to employees, including letters mailed to their homes.

All of these activities violate the U.S. National Labor Relations Act. The USW has filed multiple Unfair Labor Practice charges against Siemens with the National Labor Relations Board.
In addition to the violations of U.S. law, Workers Uniting believes that the company’s actions violate ILO Convention 87.
Further , the actions of Siemens management violate the International Framework Agreement signed on 25 July 2012 between Siemens AG, the Central Works Council of Siemens AG, the IG Metall and the IndustriAll Global Union. Pursuant to this agreement, Siemens “ explicitly acknowledges the fundamental employee rights defined in . . . the fundamental conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO). Specifically, section 2.4 of the IFA states that:

The right of employees to form labour unions, join existing labour unions and conduct collective negotiations, is acknowledged. Members of employee organizations or unions will be neither advantaged nor disadvantaged on account of their membership (see principles of ILO Conventions 87 and 98). A constructive approach will be taken to cooperation with employees, employee representatives and unions on the basis of local law. Even in contentious disputes, the continuing objective will be to maintain effective constructive cooperation and to seek solutions with the aim of balancing our commercial interests and the interest of our employees.

If the level of protection granted to employees in a country in which Siemens operates fails essentially to reflect these principles, Siemens will nevertheless apply these higher standards to its employees.The conduct of the Siemens management at the North East plant has in fact disadvantaged employees who seek union representation and has completely failed to live up to the company’s commitment to maintain a constructive approach. The Company’s actions flagrantly and directly contradict both the spirit and the letter of the International Framework Agreement and belie the statement on the IndustriALL website that “Siemens again commits itself to fundamental workers’ rights such as equal opportunity and freedom of association and collective bargaining.”

Workers Uniting, the USW and Unite believes that the following actions are necessary to uphold the IFA, ILO Conventions and U.S. law.

■ Siemens must immediately terminate its relationship with union-busters Ken Cannon and Joe Brock and cease the anti-union activities referenced above.

■ Siemens must call a meeting of all employees in the presence of senior management officials and USW representatives, and inform them that the company will take a neutral position, cease all anti-union activities, take no reprisals against employees on the basis of their union advocacy, and afford the USW reasonable access to the plant to communicate with employees.

■ The company should provide all employees with copies of the International Framework Agreement.

IndustriALL has issued a statement challenging the company to honour its recently signed global agreement.
See below
USW have also issued a statement in German which can be viewed here:

LabourStart solidarity campaign.

Friday, 10 August 2012

USW Members Under Attack in USA

USW Says that Siemens’ “Sweet Talk” Doesn’t Conceal Its Union-Busting Efforts
Workers at Siemens Maryland Plant Being Targeted

(Pittsburgh) – The United Steelworkers (USW) said today that workers in a North East, Maryland Siemens’ plant who recently signed affiliation cards with the (USW) have become targets of the company’s anti-union philosophy.

The company has launched a full-blown union-busting campaign, hiring an anti-union consultant, Ken Cannon, who advertises “40 years of experience supporting managements' efforts to remain union free.”

This action comes on the heels of Siemens signing a Global Framework Agreement with its General Works Council, the German Metalworkers union IG Metall, and the IndustriALL Global Union on July 25 where the company pledged to respect workers’ right to choose a union. (See

The Agreement states that “Members of employee organizations or unions will be neither advantaged nor disadvantaged on account of their membership.”
In a recent letter to employees, Siemens’ Director of Operations, Joe Didwall, stated: “Siemens does not believe a union is in the best interest of our employees here in North East.

The reason is two-fold: Unions haven't delivered on their promises and unionized employers can have difficulty being competitive in today's global economy.” The General Manager, Izadore Hossler, told workers “if organized we will lose customers in the south as they don’t want to do business with a union facility.”

Cannon has been conducting meetings with employees at which he has told them that he is making $1,000 per day, some $173,000 per year and does not need the money, but does this work for fun.

He told the employees he wins all of his campaigns and has never had an unfair labor practice filed against him.

He told the employees he will be there for the next 30 to 45 days, going around the plant to talk to them one-on-one.

Cannon has told some employees that “if you don’t agree with the Union, they will fire you.”
“This is a classic union-busting operation,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “It is completely inconsistent with the company’s stated principles and with International Labor Organization Conventions as well as U.S. law.”

The USW represents about 850,000 workers in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean in a wide variety of industries, ranging from glassmaking to mining, paper, steel, tire and rubber to the public sector, service and health care industries.

Aviation Strike Ban in Turkey

On 10th May, Metin Külünk, a deputy of the ruling political party, proposed an amendment to Article 29 of the existing Collective Labour Agreement, Strike and Lock-Out Law as follows: “It shall not be lawful to call a strike or order a lock-out in the following activities … Banking, public notaries and aviation services.”

Such an amendment would be a serious blow to the right to strike in Turkey and will bring major loss of income and hard-won rights for unionized aviation workers.
This repressive parliamentary motion is now the subject of an ILO complaint submitted by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF).

As a reaction to this unprecedented attack Turkish Airlines workers went on mass sick leave on May 29th, 2012, at 3am. In fact Turkish Civil Aviation Union (Hava-İş) members have been left with no alternative other than taking this latest action.
On the very same day hundreds of them received text messages to their phones informing them that they were sacked without compensation. 305 workers have now been sacked.

Unite is supporting the campaign to re-instate the 305 workers and scrap this attack on the right to strike.
Back the campaign with LabourStart
Download campaign materials here.
Please Tweet this campaign and put the information and video on your Facebook and blog sites.

With the UK Government intent upon attacking Trade Union rights how long before they revert to this kind of approach.
Solidarity with Turkish Trade Unions

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Fight Continues at Greencore



Congratulations to everyone on a fantastic turnout last Thursday; we got great coverage and really made management sit up and listen but now we need to step up the fight. We’ve got a number of other actions planned and your stewards will be consulting you over the next few days, but these could include:

• Presentation of the petition – we are finalising details of how and when this will happen but watch this space! – and the majority of the site has signed so if you haven’t done so yet, make sure you sign very soon, you have nothing to fear with all our members standing shoulder to shoulder together

• Conducting a consultative ballot for industrial action – this is NOT an industrial action ballot but is to see whether members would be willing to ballot for action if management continue to treat us so disgracefully, and to send a very strong message to Greencore that their workers must not be forced to pay for their mistakes

Let your stewards know your views (and suggestions for other actions!); Unite is lay member led and you make all decisions!


Management have put out statements to the press and the workforce that contain a number of ‘facts’ that aresimply not true. It may be helpful to remind you of what has actually happened over recent months during the consultation period so we have circulated a separate notice with full details.


Management are still putting members under pressure to sign the new contracts before 27th July. Do not sign your contract until you have spoken to your shop steward; we have a letter for you to give to the company stating that you are signing the new contract under duress. If you have already signed a contract and feel that you have signed it under the duress, we have another letter for you to give to the company – both letters have been checked by Unite solicitors.


Since we began our fightback our membership has grown to over 500. If you’re still not a member, go to the Union office for a form – the more members we have, the better we can fight back!



Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Support Unite Members at Paragon

Unite is now into the second week of a dispute with a print company in Sunderland called Paragon.
Unite members from the GPM Sector have been taking strike action over threatened changes to their shift and overtime premiums which are standard in the printing industry in the UK.

The company are trying to impose significant reductions in premiums on our members, in spite of making huge profits in recent years.
Our members have decided to take action after years of company imposed pay freezes etc.

It would very much appreciated if you could send messages of support to our members at Paragon, Sunderland, who are prepared to fight back against a company who are trying to exploit a global economic crisis by imposing these swinging cuts in terms and conditions.
Support on the picket line at the next strike day, Tuesday 24th July would be very much appreciated.

The picket will be at: Pallion Trading Estate, Sunderland, Tyne and Wear SR4 6ST
Please send email messages of support through the Unite Regional Officer, Dave Telford at
Please send any cash or cheque donations to: Cheques payable to; Moore Paragon NGA Chapel, Sunderland; 1 Wavenden Crescent; High Barnes; Sunderland SR4 8LW

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Battling Beecroft

Liaison Committee for the Defence of Trade Unions has organised a public meeting on "Battling the Beecroft Report" on  the eve of the Durham Miners Gala on Friday 13th July 2012.
The meeting will be held in the Bailey Room, Three Tuns Hotel, New Elvet, Durham, DH13AQ.
This is an ideal opportunity for the unions to involve activists in seeking ways and means of defeating the attacks being made upon employment rights.