Pay, hours, conditions

Strikes in Scotland

RMT has called strikes on ScotRail from 1-12 November, and from 31 October-2 November and 11-13 November on the Caledonian Sleeper. Both strikes could potentially impact the COP26 international climate change conference, which is taking place in Glasgow from 31 October-12 November. Workers on...

High wages? Start with strong unions

The Tories want to present anti-migrant policies and the labour shortages caused by those by policies, by Brexit and by poor wages and conditions in key industries like road haulage and social care as a boon for workers. That was the pitch of Boris Johnson’s speech to Conservative Party conference, promising a “high-wage, high-skill, high-productivity economy” in place of “the same old broken model with low wages, low growth, low skills, and low productivity, all of it enabled and assisted by uncontrolled immigration.” The Tories are being aided in this misdirection by the lack of serious...

Leftists who agree with Johnson?

Johnson has hit on the idea of posing as the friend of workers and the champion of higher wages. For weeks ministers have been insisting that shortages had nothing to do with Brexit, but now Johnson claims that it was all part of the Brexit “plan” to push higher pay by restricting the supply of labour: he claims his government wants to make Britain a high-wage economy by ending supposedly “uncontrolled” immigration. . With typical opportunism, Johnson has seized upon a few limited and short-term wage rises to suggest that Brexit and tighter immigration controls benefit British workers. It is...

Make Labour councils back Royal Parks workers (John Moloney's column)

Royal Parks workers’ month-long strike is continuing. There’s no new offer from the outsourced contractor yet; we think they are talking to Royal Parks, to see how much license they’ll be given to resolve the dispute. The contractor says any changes to staffing levels that result from the restructure we’re opposing will be “minimal”, but that could mean almost anything. Until we get something firm then the dispute will continue. We want to increase the pressure on Royal Parks centrally. We’re writing directly to the Board of Trustees, which includes two leaders of Labour councils, Camden and...

Care workers strike 20-22 October

Interview with a Sage striker here Care workers at the Sage care home in north London will strike again from 20-22 October, as their fight for living wages and equality with NHS staff continues. The workers are also demanding full contractual sick pay. Bile, one of the striking workers, who also sits on the Executive Committee of the United Voices of the World union (UVW), said: “We built a high profile campaign, supported by care workers around the UK, that led to strike action at the start of the year in the harshest of conditions during a global pandemic lockdown. Yet Sage Nursing trustees...

Silence at Labour conference on NHS pay

Trade unions, the Labour left and Labour NHS campaigners failed to raise the issue of NHS pay at Labour Party conference – or, more exactly, did not try. Rank-and-file NHS workers, organised through NHS Workers Say No, Nurses United and other networks as well as their various unions, are focusing on a difficult struggle to get industrial action off the ground. Some of them were invited to speak at various fringe meetings at the conference. But beyond that minimal gesture there was little attempt by unions and Labour activists present at the conference to use it to boost NHS workers’ campaign...

NHS pay: move to formal ballots!

As the backpay for the 3% pay award, due from April, arrived in the pockets of NHS workers this month, the simultaneous rise in cost of living reinforced how worthless it was. For many health workers the miserly 3% has also tipped us into the next pension bracket, meaning that our take-home pay each month is actually less than it was, and we owe our Trusts pension payments from April. Many of us are being told this will be taken out in one chunk next month, just before Christmas. This is the latest background to the ongoing dispute on NHS pay. A decade of pay restraint, ever-increasing...

Council pay: campaign for strikes

Unison members in local government have voted by 79% to reject a 1.75% pay offer. On 1 October the union’s Local Government Committee voted to ballot members on industrial action. Members will start to receive ballot papers in November or early December. The National Joint Council (NJC) for Local Government Services (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) covers the largest group of employees for collective bargaining purposes in the UK economy. Over 1.4 million workers have their pay and conditions determined within the national framework negotiated in the NJC. The claim submitted by the unions...

Royal Parks on strike (John Moloney's column)

Outsourced cleaners and attendants in London’s Royal Parks are striking throughout October. We began the strike with a successful rally on 1 October. We have more workers participating in the strike this time, which is a good sign, especially as a month-long strike is a significant escalation. We’ve had good support from across the labour movement. Jeremy Corbyn and Andy McDonald sent solidarity greetings, and John McDonnell addressed the strike rally. Fundraising is particularly important, as we want to ensure strike pay at a level as close as possible to workers’ full wages. We don’t want to...

University workers fight for jobs and conditions

On 4-5 October, workers at the Royal College of Art struck in support of their long running campaign against casualised working conditions. 90% of staff are employed on “zero hours” and other forms of insecure contracts — the highest percentage of such employment in UK Higher Education. Strikes are scheduled for the next three weeks . RCA strikers will take heart from the important recent win at Open University, where 4,000 Associate Lecturers won significant improvements in their (fixed-term) contracts, including a pay rise and payments for all work. At Goldsmiths in south London, staff are...

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