Strikes and lock-outs

Strikes at Virgin, West Midlands, South Western Railway

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2019 - 07:39
Author

Ollie Moore and Jay Dawkey

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

Not just a Labour vote

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2019 - 07:34
Author

John Moloney, PCS Assistant General Secretary (in a personal capacity)

PCS members at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office will strike again on 7, 8, 11, and 12 November. These are members working in facilities management, employed by outsourced contractor Interserve.

We want Interserve to meet certain demands, including recognising the union; guaranteeing company sick pay; and reversing cuts in hours, but ultimately we want these workers to be employed directly on the same terms and conditions as all other civil servants.

We are also working closely with the United Voices of the World union, which has members in the Ministry of Justice and Royal Parks, which are

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 30/10/2019 - 08:48
Author

Darren Bedford, Ollie Moore and Jay Dawkey

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

Second victory at BEIS

Published on: Wed, 23/10/2019 - 08:32
Author

John Moloney, PCS Assistant General Secretary (in a personal capacity)

On 21 October our members working for the contractor ISS at BEIS (the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy) won a complete victory in their dispute.

This follows a victory for catering staff at BEIS, employed by another contractor, Aramark, on 4 October.

Now porters, security, post room, cleaners and receptionist staff have also won the London Living Wage, improved sick pay, and a number of other conditions.

The victories can be put down to one factor: all-out indefinite strike action, which isn’t that common these days.

At FCO (the Foreign and Commonwealth Office) we’ve

Post workers target late November

Published on: Wed, 23/10/2019 - 08:29
Author

Gerry Bates

Postal workers are talking about strikes around the big online shopping days of “Black Friday” (29 November), “Cyber Monday” (2 December), and in the run-up to Christmas.

The aim is to time the action for maximum impact. A strike which included 29 November would also have the boost of coinciding with the next big student climate strike, when a number of workplaces will take action too.

The talk is not of one-day strikes. A Doncaster postal worker told Solidarity: “The general feeling in my office is we can handle a week or so of lost wages. We’ve had ample notice, and I know a few posties who

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 23/10/2019 - 07:41
Author

Charlie George and Tom Saff

USDAW, the shopworkers union, is facing a financial shortfall due to large numbers of its members being made redundant.

This is particularly felt at Tesco, which is the largest employer for the union’s members, but also where the union has refused to put up any resistance to the loss of around 9,000 jobs this last year.

Instead of launching a massive recruitment campaign or fighting back against the bosses, the union is instead considering getting rid of the part-time rate for new members, at its next annual conference, presumably a prelude to getting rid of it all together.

This would double

Sixth form colleges strike

Published on: Wed, 16/10/2019 - 08:35
Author

Hugh Workman

We’ll be striking in 25 colleges on 17 October, and then again on 5 and 20 November.

The feeling I pick up is that oversized classes, workload, management bullying, interpretation of directed time agreements are the big issues, exacerbated by issues of funding and pay.

Sixth Form teachers’ pay has fallen behind school teachers’ pay. We probably need a 15% rise to get us back to the relative level of 2008.

There’s been a general pay freeze, but that has been eased in schools and continued in the Sixth Form sector. The government is trumpeting the end of austerity, but the Sixth Form sector is

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 16/10/2019 - 07:31
Author

Gerry Bates, Dom Sztyber, Darren Bedford and Ollie Moore

The ballot for general secretary of the civil service union PCS will open on 7 November and close on 12 December.

For the first time in 18 years, the sitting general secretary, Mark Serwotka, faces a challenge from the left.

Bev Laidlaw, the Independent Left candidate, got 17 branch nominations, topping the number of 15 required to get on the ballot paper.

Serwotka got 62 nominations. The candidate backed by the Socialist Party, Marion Lloyd, got 39.

The SP was a dominant force in the union, closely allied with Serwotka, until about a year and a half ago.

In the Assistant General Secretary

Victory at BEIS

Published on: Wed, 09/10/2019 - 08:46
Author

John Moloney, PCS Assistant General Secretary (in a personal capacity)

Outsourced workers at the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) have won a hugely significant victory.

Their sustained campaign of strikes, which has included an all-out, indefinite strike, has forced Aramark, one of the outsourced contractors, to concede the London Living Wage of £10.55. The dispute with ISS, the other contractor at BEIS, continues, but following the win with Aramark we are hopeful for a win over ISS as well.

Now the task is to consolidate these gains by pushing for union recognition, not just at BEIS but across the civil service.

PCS has written to

Royal Mail eCourier strike

Published on: Wed, 02/10/2019 - 09:04
Author

Zack, IWGB activist and Deliveroo courier

Couriers working for eCourier, a Royal Mail Group subsidiary, will strike on 10 and 11 October.

IWGB — the union they and I are in — demands the couriers be put on worker contracts, be paid the London Living Wage after costs and that the company enter into a collective bargaining agreement with the union.

For years, eCourier — like Deliveroo and many other courier companies — has been unlawfully classifying pushbike, motorbike and van couriers as independent contractors, denying them their most basic employment rights, including the right to a guaranteed minimum wage and the right to holiday

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