Living wage

Combat transphobia through education, not expulsions

This article was originally published on Labour List and has been republished with the author's permission. Find it here: www.labourlist.org/2020/02/labour-should-combat-transphobia-through-edu… There is undoubtedly an issue of transphobia in the Labour Party. The Labour Campaign for Trans Rights has been set up to combat this, as well as fight for positive advances for the rights of trans and non-binary people. We do this with a recognition that the Labour Party and the wider labour movement are crucial for winning and consolidating the rights of marginalised people within...

Industrial news in brief

Sixth form colleges strike The NEU’s (National Education Union’s) last strike day in sixth form colleges over funding and pay was 20 November last year. The next is 12 February. In December the union executive and many NEU activists were, I think, hoping that an imminent Labour government would resolve the dispute in our favour. The reason for the delay being around a month after most colleges came back is to build up momentum again after the election and Xmas break. The upcoming three days (12 and 27 Feb, 10 March) are within the six month “shelf-life” of the first ballot, but at the same...

FCO dispute renewed

Our members at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, who are employed by Interserve, are striking for a month, throughout February. This is an ongoing dispute; the workers are striking to win living wages, union recognition, and greater equality. Ultimately the demand is for direct employment, they should be employed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on civil service terms and conditions. We want to build maximum support for the strike. There will be picket lines every day, and we’re trying to persuade the TUC to launch the “I Heart Unions” month, which runs throughout February, from the...

Industrial news in brief

Although the action is yet to be announced, the next round of the university and college union (UCU) dispute appears set for the second half of February. Where strike ballots exist, they are either related to action defending the USS pension scheme, or over casualisation, pay, workloads and equalities (the “four fights”), however in most universities live ballots exist for both disputes simultaneously. A further 37 branches are currently being re-balloted, which alongside the live 98, would significantly enhance the strike’s impact, which in November and December saw thousands of UCU members...

A national contract for all school workers

By Tracy McGuire I’ve just been elected to the support-staff place on the Executive of the National Education Union, in a by-election. My first priority is unionising as many school support staff as possible into the NEU. Especially with the election, there are going to be cuts to schools and job losses for support staff. We need campaigns. We need more support-staff reps, and not just as reps for support staff. At present the NEU has a support staff conference, but it is entitled only to put one motion to the national union conference. [The system was inherited from the ATL, the union that...

Industrial news in brief

Lewisham members of the National Education Union (NEU) in primary schools are to take part in an indicative ballot over boycotting high stakes testing. The ballot will run from 6 January for two weeks. There will be two questions on the ballot, one about “action short of strike” (i.e. the question about the boycott) and a second asking members if they will strike in the event of victimisation of members who take part. The ballot information summarises the boycott as follows: “Leadership and teacher members will refuse to administer the year 2 SATs, the year 6 SATs, the phonics test and the...

Strikes at Virgin, West Midlands, South Western Railway

Rail union RMT has called strikes on Virgin Trains, West Midlands Trains, and South Western Railway (SWR). On the latter, the union has named a calendar of strikes throughout November and December, which will see walkouts on 16, 23, and 30 November, and 7, 14, 21, and 28 December. West Midlands Trains is the latest Train Operating Company to see its workers plan industrial action over the imposition of Driver Only Operation (DOO). On Virgin Trains, train managers, a grade of customer-facing train crew, on the West Coast franchise will strike on 19 November to demand the reinstatement of an...

Industrial news in brief

Postal workers are discussing the timing of potential strikes, likely aimed at disrupting “Black Friday” retail deliveries on Friday 29 November, and/or Christmas post, after the Communication Workers Union (CWU) strike ballot returned a 97% majority for action on a 76% turnout. The CWU’s Head of Communications Chris Webb, in an article for Tribune magazine discussing the successful ballot result, wrote: “Most crucial of all were our 1,250 workplace meetings. “The explosive combination of the workplace meetings being posted on social media created a competitive feeling in our membership across...

“Worker status” for couriers!

The California state legislature has passed a landmark “AB5” bill to tighten legislation in the so-called “gig economy”, extending basic workers’ rights to many who had been deprived them. In the USA, as in the UK, companies such as Uber or Deliveroo falsely categorise most of their workers as “independent contractors”. This deprives us of basic workers’ rights such as minimum wage, holiday pay, a pension, and collective bargaining rights. The number of workers with such jobs has more than doubled in the last three years, to around one in ten working-age adults. Companies, when attempting to...

Lessons from McStrike

Last year the “McStrike” campaign got an enthusiastic response from many labour movement left and labour movement activists. But now, for a long time, there haven’t been any local branch meetings for fast food workers, any meetings for workers in the “McStrike” campaign, or meetings with organisers about the direction of the campaign. What went wrong? Over the last year or so I’ve worked in Wetherspoons, and before that in Brixton McDonalds. Another worker previously involved in cinema worker organising was already working at Brixton when I started there. From the start we were told by the...

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