Strikes and lock-outs

Care workers challenge anti-union harassment

United Voices of the World (UVW) members at the Sage care home in north London are pursuing two legal claims against their employer. The workers previously struck in January and February to win living wages and parity with NHS workers’ terms and conditions on sick pay and annual leave entitlements. A UVW statement said: “The first claim is a group claim concerning a letter sent by the home’s trustees during a ballot for industrial action in October 2020... A second individual claim for victimisation is also being brought by a former employee of the home.” Bella Ruiz, a former care assistant...

Bus workers strike again 3-6 March

Drivers at three London bus companies struck across 22-24 February, with further strikes planned across on 3, 5, and 6 March. The strikes, organised by the Unite union, involve drivers at London United, Quality Line, and London Sovereign. All three are owned by French parent company RATP. London Sovereign drivers will strike on 3 March, London United drivers on 5 and 6 March, and Quality Line drivers on 5 March. The dispute involves almost 2,000 drivers in total. At London United, RATP wants to impose new contracts, which would reduce wages by £2,500 for some drivers. The new contracts would...

Gas workers' vote due 4 March

British Gas engineers struck again from 26 February to 1 March, and their dispute against worsening terms and conditions imposed through “fire and rehire” reached 26 days of strikes. Further strikes are planned throughout March and into April, but could be suspended depending on the outcome of an electronic referendum on British Gas’s latest offer. The result is due to be announced on Thursday 4 March. The GMB union has been running online meetings where members have discussed the deal. It involves a significant additional financial outlay from the employer, and represents some concessions on...

Openreach workers strike

Engineers working for BT Openreach struck on 24-25 February, in a dispute over proposed changes to their terms and conditions. Further strikes are planned on 3-5 March. The workers, who perform specialist work moving and preserving BT cabling during major building works, are resisting the imposition of new contracts which would lead to pay cuts. Bosses claim the difference in pay would be topped up by bonuses, but workers say this would represent a “performance-related-pay” scheme where pay is tied to productivity rather than a guaranteed salary. The strikes, the first by any BT workers since...

The great Post Office strike of 1971

UPW Bristol Branch strike march, February 1971: leading the march were striking day telephonists with Branch Officers Reg Dixon, Harry Varcoe and Monty Banks. Pic: DC This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Great Post Office Strike of 1971. This article surveys the background to the strike, how it was organised, and discusses the reasons for its defeat. Its author, Dave Chapple, is not a member of Workers' Liberty, but the article is published here with his permission, and with thanks. The Union of Post Office Workers, UPW, is the predecessor of today's Communication Workers Union (CWU)...

Keep up pressure on British Gas

British Gas engineers struck again from 19-22 February, in an ongoing battle to prevent their employer from dismissing its workforce en masse and rehiring them on worse conditions. The strikes succeeded in eliciting a new offer from British Gas, which was due to be issued to workers on Wednesday 24 February, and voted on over the weekend of 26-27 February. As Solidarity went to press on 23 February, strikes planned for 26 February-1 March were still due to take place. A previous round of strikes, due for 12-15 February, were called off, after British Gas agreed to further talks at conciliation...

School cleaners to strike for 40 days

Cleaners in the United Voices of the World union at La Retraite Catholic girls’ school in south west London will strike for 40 days from 16 March, in what the union describes as “the longest school cleaners’ strike in history”. The cleaners, who are employed by outsourced contractor Ecocleen, have faced cuts to their hours, as well as being low-paid, and denied contractual sick pay. Several cleaners have also recently been docked wages, after they exercised their right to refuse unsafe work under Section 44 of the 1996 Employment Rights Act. The union estimates that 25% of cleaners at the...

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...

Heathrow workers strike again

Workers at Heathrow Airport struck again on Sunday 21 February, in their dispute against a “fire and rehire” threat by their employer, Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL). Strikes planned on 13 and 16 February were called off, in what the workers’ union, Unite, called “an act of good faith”, as negotiations between Unite and HAL continued. A Unite statement said that HAL had provided “an initial positive response” to the union’s proposals, and they would therefore call off the strikes “to increase the prospects of securing a negotiated settlement.” Strikes have now resumed. This follows a similar...

Myanmar: solidarity against the coup

The Burmese military is stepping up repression to secure the coup it launched on 1 February, but facing strong resistance – mass street protests (in their eleventh consecutive day as we go to press) plus widespread strikes and workers’ actions. (See here for our report last week, with some photos, and here for the week before.) In the last three days armoured military vehicles have appeared on the streets of some cities. Water cannons, rubber bullets and perhaps live rounds have been used against protesters. There is an intermittent internet blackout, prominent social media activists have been...

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