Pay, hours, conditions

Getting hold of the union

Published on: Wed, 08/01/2020 - 10:33
Author

Emma Rickman

During my first week at the plant I found GMB dispute letters laid out all over the control room desks. The letters summarised the national sickness absence dispute with Veolia and the proposed ballot for strike/action short of a strike taking place that month.

The Unite rep, R, stood on a step in front of the pit window, and everyone in the control room stopped work to listen to him.

“Me and the other union reps have discussed it. We’re not happy with Veolia’s national sickness policy — specifically the ability of HR to overrule the opinions of local line managers. There’s no flexibility;

Preparing a counter-offensive

Published on: Wed, 08/01/2020 - 09:14
Author

John Moloney

The key thing the union must consider now, in light of the general election, is how we prepare against a likely onslaught against both unions in general, and our members specifically as government workers.

Dominic Cummings has talked about a “radical reshaping” of the civil service. Whatever the precise detail of that reshaping will be, it’s inevitable that it will impact on our members.

It’s common under new governments that some departments will merge, and new ones may form; that’s normal practice, but a restructure in the hands of a government like this, and led by someone like Cummings,

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

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 –

St Mary's porters make gains

Published on: Wed, 04/12/2019 - 15:47
Author

Ollie Moore

Outsourced hospital porters at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, members of the United Voices of the World (UVW) union, made significant progress on 27 November, their ninth day of strikes.

A UVW statement said: “Cleaners, caterers, porters, and doctors disrupted Imperial NHS Trust’s board meeting, forcing the CEO and the board to provide an early 2020 deadline for a decision on making all currently outsourced workers NHS employees.

“These are the first strikes in NHS history to demand workers be brought in house. [Board members] Tim Orchard, Kevin Croft, and Janice Sigsworth were forced to

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

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