Defending jobs

Where will the axe fall? (Diary of a Tube worker)

"I've been here 13 years, so you know what, yeah? If this fucks me, now, and it doesn't come round, I'll be pissed, pissed". D shakes their head and goes back to their food. "Well, the training [for Tube station workers to become drivers] has to restart at some point, but it's going to be a long time yet. They haven't even got enough instructors that can do the in-cab training yet". I'm in a similar boat myself. Several of us all thought we had a route out. It has been six months now since the lockdown put our training on pause, and time is really dragging. And some days drag more than others...

Tube: an alternative to cuts

As well as a loud “no” to cuts proposed by the ongoing KPMG-led audit of Transport for London’s finances, Tube workers and our unions also need to spell out our “yes”. We’re unlikely to get that kind of vision from the “independent review” London Mayor Sadiq Khan has commissioned to run in parallel. RMT has produced its own submission to the TfL review, making the case for public funding, public ownership, increased staffing levels, and the in-housing of all services. It’s a useful contribution to discussion, but needs to be connected to an active campaign with roots in workplaces. It also...

Action on jobs and re-opening (John Moloney's column)

Strikes to resist job cuts by our members at Tate galleries are continuing. I attended picket lines on 28 and 29 August. Tate bosses have now identified the workers whose jobs they intend to cut, cruelly doing so by sending out emails late at night on Friday 28th. Meanwhile, Tate is advertising for new jobs and is still recruiting staff! We’re therefore demanding that the workers facing redundancy be reallocated to the positions for which Tate is now recruiting. We’ll begin a ballot of our members at London’s Southbank Centre, also over job cuts, on 1 September. Bosses there have extended the...

Unions: use the lull to organise

Drax power station workers are balloting, 14-25 August, for industrial action against 230 threatened redundancies there. The GMB union has won a 95% majority, on a 67.5% turnout, for strikes at British Gas if the bosses do not back down on a threat to fire their whole workforce and rehire on new terms. The Unite union held a mass meeting of 1,000 British Airways ramp, baggage, and cargo workers near Heathrow on 20 August, and they voted for the union to move for “industrial and legal action” over job cuts, pay cuts, and BA cheating on redundancy pay for workers who have already signed for...

"Conditionality" and DWP hours (John Moloney's column)

“Conditionality” for benefit claimants has been restored, which means claimants can be “sanctioned” — i.e., have their benefits revoked — for things like being late for appointments. This is a spectacularly cruel decision on the government’s part, which PCS completely opposes. At the moment, bosses are still proceeding with a light touch and often not insisting that frontline DWP staff impose conditionality. But that’s likely to change, especially as claims continue to rise. We oppose conditionality both in terms of its impact on claimants, and its use as a productivity measure to discipline...

Expand jobs, boost pay!

Article and video. On 8 August, NHS workers and supporters across the country will demonstrate to demand a 15% pay rise, something like but better than what France has already paid its health workers. The Labour Party would help on jobs more by backing these protests than it is doing by its “jobs, jobs, jobs” campaign launched on 31 July. In the coming months, millions of furloughed workers are set to lose their jobs. And even more if it proves necessary to shut pubs and cafés again, as it may do. Over half a million young people leaving school and university are searching for jobs which aren’t there. The article sketches what we need.

John Moloney's column: Outsourced cleaners strike

Outsourced cleaners in HMRC offices in Merseyside begin their next strike on Monday 3 August. They’ll strike until 28 August, demanding living wages and full occupational sick pay. This latter demand is clearly vital in terms of safety and infection control during the pandemic, and is the central demand of the Safe and Equal campaign in which Workers’ Liberty members have been central, so hopefully Safe and Equal can play a role in supporting the strike. For how you can support the strike, see justiceforhmrccleaners.wordpress.com The unions will be holding a consultative ballot of our members...

Ballot for action on job cuts

We’re balloting our members working across the four Tate galleries, in London, Liverpool, and St. Ives, for industrial action to resist job cuts. The ballot runs from 22 July to 3 August. A consultative ballot of members has already returned a 93% vote in favour of action on a 99% turnout. The employer wants to cut 200 jobs, as part of a cuts package aimed at saving £1 million this financial year. That’s part of a wider picture in the culture sector, which has taken a significant financial hit in the pandemic, which bosses will be looking to recoup via cuts. Our reps and branches have done...

The UK has the lowest sick pay of all rich countries

On average, across all the 34 OECD (richer) countries, workers receive about 70% of their last wage as statutory (or mandatory) sick pay (SSP). It is as high as 100% in a significant number of countries. This sick pay has to be paid by employers for a period of time. In the UK it is up to 28 weeks. But the UK’s £95.85 per week statutory level is now the lowest, as a percentage of earnings, of all OECD countries. In the UK as elsewhere some workers are covered by agreements with employers which provide much better sick pay, but the low level of statutory sick pay is a scandal. Since the...

"We're showing them we're not weak" - Tower Hamlets workers strike again

After strikes on 3, 6 and 7 July, Tower Hamlets council workers will strike again 15-17 July to overturn the “Tower Rewards” scheme attacking their terms and conditions. Tower Hamlets Unison’s adult social care convener Amina Patel spoke to Sacha Ismail about their fight. For ways you can support the strike, including picket lines, donations and solidarity messages, see the Tower Hamlets Unison website. Please also add your name to this statement. We’ve been overwhelmed by the support we’ve had since the action began. This dispute has been on the cards for over a year, but with the pandemic we...

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