Strikes and lock-outs

“No retreat, no truce!” say French strikers

Published on: Wed, 08/01/2020 - 12:48
Author

Sacha Ismail

As we go to press, 7 January, the French government is sitting down with the various union federations to discuss the ongoing dispute over its pension “reforms”.

The government hopes that a few limited or even cosmetic concessions will be enough to peel away some unions and begin to the mass strikes and protests that have swept France since early December.

It is standing firm on its central policy of changing how the level of public-sector pensions is calculated and introducing disadvantages for those who won’t retire later (64, as against 62 now). Many private sector pensions are also tied

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 08/01/2020 - 09:01
Author

Ollie Moore

Rail union RMT has begun re-balloting its members on South Western Railway (SWR) for further industrial action to defend the role of the guard. SWR guards concluded a month-long strike on 1 January, and are now re-balloting as the six-month mandate of their current ballot, stipulated by anti-trade union legislation, has now expired.

The new ballot closes on 23 January. If it returns a majority and meets the required thresholds, SWR guards could take further action. No direct negotiations have been held between SWR and RMT since November.

Elsewhere, RMT members on the Tyne and Wear Metro struck

PCS plans new drive

Published on: Wed, 18/12/2019 - 10:06
Author

John Moloney

Like all workers, civil servants are now facing at least five years of an extremely reactionary government. Workers’ rights and trade unionism will come under renewed assault, and as government workers we expect PCS will be in the frontline of that.

We even had members on strike on election day, with our members at Ealing tax office striking for half a day to demand the office remains open. They also struck on 5 December, and have now struck five times in total. Further strikes are planned in January if necessary.

The union will be launching a new organising and recruitment drive in 2020. We

New university strikes from 20 February

Published on: Wed, 18/12/2019 - 09:01

A sectoral conference for University and College Union (UCU) members working in universities in the USS pension scheme, where workers struck in November and December, has voted for an escalation of the strike, passing a proposal to strike for two weeks from 20 February.

The Higher Education Committee of the union will now ratify that proposal.

That does leave a big gap between the end of the last strike and the next, but many universities have exams through January, so striking then wouldn’t have any impact on teaching. Negotiations are ongoing; the fact of a further planned strike will

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 18/12/2019 - 08:38
Author

Duncan Morrison, Ollie Moore and Jay Dawkey

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

University workers strike, students occupy in solidarity

Published on: Wed, 04/12/2019 - 16:09

University workers strike

By Ollie Moore

The strikes by higher education workers in the University and College Union (UCU) around pensions, pay, and workload, running from 25 November to 4 December, have seen significant student support.

A UCU striker in Cambridge sent this report of picketing at his university to Solidarity:

“There was a much noisier response from the road traffic today [27 November] where the West Cambridge picket is based. Possibly a sign that locally the news that a major strike is going on has got through.

“It genuinely also felt like fewer people were crossing our picket

Outsourced and directly employed workers unite at UCL

Published on: Wed, 04/12/2019 - 16:05

4 December will see a mass strike at University College London, as outsourced workers in the Independent Workers’ union of Great Britain (IWGB) strike to demand direct employment and equality, alongside directly-employed workers in UCU, striking as part of the national dispute.

The two unions have worked well together locally, with UCU supporting the IWGB’s campaign, including a recent demonstration and its previous strike on 19 November. This unity is a model for elsewhere, with unions organising outsourced and directly-employed workers working together to coordinate action.

The ultimate aim

Court rejects CWU appeal

Published on: Wed, 04/12/2019 - 15:58
Author

Ollie Moore

On 28 November the High Court rejected an appeal by postal workers’ union CWU against the injunction granted to prevent strikes by Royal Mail workers.

A union statement said: “We have just left the High Court. Our appeal was dismissed. Six hours of evidence and they took two minutes to come to a decision. The justice system in this country is an absolute farce.”

Following the rejection of the appeal, most CWU activists think the union will now move quickly to organise a new ballot for industrial action. Some postal workers are discussing an unofficial “work-to-rule” over the Christmas period –

UCU Strike Bulletin: Build the rank and file! (November 2019)

Published on: Mon, 02/12/2019 - 16:02
Author

AWL members in the University and College Union

Click here to download this bulletin as a PDF. This was modified slightly after the climate strike - download the old one here.

Build the rank and file!

The election of Jo Grady as UCU General Secretary earlier this year was a big step forward for the union.

The previous leadership had a record of compromising too soon in disputes and had never delivered the support for workplace organising needed to change the power balance in universities. Electing officials and NEC members committed to a more combative approach to organising is important, but it’s not sufficient, or an end in itself.

In

Labour must back UCU strike!

Published on: Wed, 27/11/2019 - 18:29
Author

Ollie Moore

Above: UCU picket lines in Nottingham. At centre-right, holding the “four fights” placard, is, with supporters, including Nadia Whittome, Labour’s Nottingham East Parliamentary candidate. All Labour candidates near any of the 60 striking universities should join the pickets.

Higher Education workers in the University and College Union (UCU) are striking from 25 November to 4 December, in a national dispute over workload, pay, and pensions. A striker in Cambridge spoke to Solidarity:

“This was my first day on a picket as a striking worker. I’ve previously only picketed in solidarity. Although I

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