Pay, hours, conditions

Ferry workers demand full sick and isolation pay

The National Union of Rail, Maritime, and Transport workers (RMT) plans to ballot members working for Stena Ferries, demanding the reinstatement of a company sick pay scheme.

Bus drivers resist fire-rehire

Bus drivers working for Go North West in Manchester are continuing their indefinite strike against “fire and rehire”, which has been ongoing since mid-February. The company wants to change workers terms and conditions, including increasing hours and reducing sick pay entitlement, and plans to dismiss the workforce en masse before re-engaging them on the inferior terms. The strike has now been supported by Manchester's Labour council. The council passed a motion supporting the workers, and exploring cutting council ties with companies who use “fire and rehire” tactics. Andy Burnham, the mayor...

British Gas dispute: 14 April deadline approaches

British Gas engineers who have not agreed to new, inferior, contracts faced dismissal on 14 April, as their battle with their bosses' “fire and rehire” offensive reaches its culmination. The engineers, who are members of the GMB union, will strike again on 14 April, the day the new contracts are set to be imposed. The new contracts British Gas wants to impose would lead to an overall 15% reduction in the basic rate of pay, as well as: • A levelling down of holiday entitlement, representing a loss of up to a week’s holiday for many workers • A move to an across-the-board 40-hour week, an...

Now win full isolation pay for all

For the past few months the Safe and Equal campaign (S&E) has been working with Labour MPs to demand full sick and isolation pay for all frontline Test Centre workers. On 29 March 2021, S&E and Emily Thornberry MP got a letter from Sodexo HR Director Greg Austin: “Since receiving your enquiry I am pleased to report that the DHSC have approved the payment of occupational sick pay for periods of self-isolation for all workers at Test Centres. This commitment has also been included in the tender specification for the new Test Centre contract which commences in July 2021.” Previously, G4S and...

Battles in three bus companies

Bus drivers at Manchester’s Go North West firm are continuing an indefinite strike against worsening conditions imposed via “fire and rehire”. The strike entered its sixth week on 4 April. The drivers’ union, Unite, says the new contracts represent an additional 130 hours of work, equivalent to a pay cut of £2,500. At talks at conciliation service Acas, Unite submitted a counterproposal detailing how the company could save £1.3 million to avoid the contractual changes. Go North West has refused, and has told Unite that, unless workers accept new contracts, it may close down the Queens Road...

BT workers gear up to ballot

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has been holding online meetings for members around the country, as it prepares to launch an industrial action ballot in BT Group. The union’s “Count Me In” campaign has seen well-attended meetings take place throughout recent weeks, with union reps and officers discussing how to resist BT bosses’ plans for job cuts and attacks on terms and conditions. In late March, BT announced plans to give its workers a non-consolidated “pandemic bonus” of £1,000 in cash, and £500 worth of shares, a move which the CWU denounced as a bribe, calling attention to the fact...

Heathrow pushed back

Unite called off a series of 41 strikes planned by workers at Heathrow Airport, after Heathrow Airport Ltd (HAL), the central employer at the airport, made a new offer on pay and conditions. Unite says the offer “includes the potential for pay increases over the next two years (depending on airport traffic and inflation), the insourcing of work... and a commitment to review working hours of some sectors to improve work/life balance.” The strikes, planned to take place across a 24-day period, were due to begin on 2 April. Instead, Unite will ballot members on HAL’s new offer, with the union...

Deliveroo strike 7 April

Deliveroo workers across the UK are set to strike and demonstrate against low pay on 7 April. Earlier this month the Bureau of Investigative Journalism analysed payslips from 318 Deliveroo couriers which covered 34,000 hours of time spent logged into the app. They report: “Half (56%) of the riders who took part earned less than an average of £10 an hour for all the time they were logged in. Some took home far less, with one in six (17%) getting less than £6.45 per hour — the lowest possible minimum wage — and one in three (41%) receiving below £8.72, the legal minimum wage for workers over 25...

DVLA strikes 6-9 April

Workers at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) complex in Swansea will strike from 6-9 April. It’s clear from last-ditch talks that the bosses aren’t budging, so strikes will go ahead. The issue is workplace safety; far more workers than strictly necessary have been made to come into the workplace, leading to numerous Covid outbreaks. Our demand is for all workers to be sent home, and for an emergency working arrangement, overseen by union reps, to be agreed which ensures only emergency and essential work is done on-site. Longer term we want investment in equipment and software to...

Thurrock council pay cuts

Council workers in the Unite union in Thurrock, Essex, will strike from 13 April to 7 May, excluding 3 May. The workers, including refuse workers, highway maintenance, and street cleaners, face pay cuts of between £2,000 and £3,500 per year. • Donations to the strike fund can be made to: S/C 60-83-01, A/N 20216557, Name: Unite 1/1152. Messages of solidarity can be sent to willie.howard@unitetheunion.org • More on the dispute in Tribune magazine

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