Privatisation

Social care: tax the rich!

Social care needs a transformation comparable to the transformation of UK healthcare seven decades ago through the NHS. It seems likely such a policy, for a public care and support system, would be popular, if strong enough voices argued for it. At the moment the forces campaigning for anything like it are weak, but the issue is centre-stage as never before. When the Tories produced their “plan for social care” — taxing workers more to produce extra money for the NHS and a much smaller amount for care services (later) — the Labour Party embarrassed itself by its lack of alternative ideas. Now...

Forced back into the office? (John Moloney's column)

Many of our members have been in the workplace throughout the pandemic. A majority, though, have home-worked. We have always known that these members will return to the workplace some time. Our argument is that they should only do so when safe. In September last year, the government made a concerted push to get everyone back to the workplace but that failed. This September, the concerned push has been replaced by an expectation that staff will return to the workplace for one or two days a week either this month or in October. The union is opposed to any moves to force staff back. Our...

BEIS strike 22-24 September (John Moloney's column)

Outsourced workers at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will strike again, unless a deal is found, from 22-24 September, demanding pay increases and the reinstatement of annual leave entitlement. The last day of that strike coincides with a global climate strike; that’s significant as BEIS is a key department in terms of the UK’s climate policy. We’ll make the picket line at BEIS a focus for mobilising union members across London, and will be promoting the union’s climate policies as part of that. PCS is balloting our driving examiner members for industrial...

PCS and UVW: a model for union joint working (John Moloney's column)

In Royal Parks, outsourced cleaners and attendants demonstrated on 30 August, part of a two-week strike against job cuts and for improved conditions [workers at the rally above]. The contractor, Just Ask, has already back off from its original plan to cut 33% of all jobs. On 9 September, they’re due to write to us with a new proposal. Some of our next steps will depend on that. There’s also a positive aspect to the dispute, including the demand for full sick pay. Royal Parks has admitted that the previous contractor had agreed to implement 18 weeks’ full sick pay entitlement to all staff...

Letter: British Gas outcome still a defeat

The report on the settlement in British Gas in Solidarity 602 was right to acknowledge that the concessions in the new deal are real. However, this is not some last-minute victory, nor even a score-draw, but an outcome that blunts some of the employer’s worst attacks within an overall context that is still very much a defeat for the workers. The new settlement does not return engineers to the terms they were on before new contracts were imposed. British Gas has ultimately succeeded in imposing worse conditions. Hundreds of engineers remain sacked for refusing to accept the new contracts, and...

DVLA workers stay strong (John Moloney's column)

A month-long selective strike (2-31 August) at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) complex in Swansea has begun as we move towards the expiry of the current ballot mandate. The dispute was triggered by management’s insistence that far higher numbers of workers than we deemed safe continued to come into work during the pandemic, but the campaign has taken on a wider focus on workplace safety and an authoritarian style of management more generally. The new ballot will begin in the coming months, and we’ll campaign to ensure we exceed the required thresholds. Outsourced workers in the...

Building-wide safety committees (John Moloney's column)

The outsourced workers’ strike at the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) on 19-21 July was totally solid. I had the honour of addressing their picket line, and there was good support from elsewhere in the union and the wider movement too. It was especially good to see young activists from the UK Student Climate Network’s London chapter support the picket line, emphasising climate change as a class issue. BEIS is a key department in terms of climate strategy, so it’s especially important the links are made. The perspective now is to build towards further action in...

NHS: beat the 3%, beat new privatising plans!

It looks like the government’s pay “award” for NHS workers will be 3%. Maybe only 1.5% will be a basic ongoing increase, and the other 1.5% a one-off payment. This falls way below all the claims the unions put into the Pay Review Body. Three per cent does nothing to address the real-terms pay cuts faced by NHS workers over the last 10 years, or the 100,000 vacancies that are taking many workers to breaking point and crippling NHS services. After a more than a year of extraordinary effort and current escalating pressures NHS workers will feel this as a body blow. The government are confirming...

BEIS: ready for a long fight (John Moloney's column)

Outsourced workers at the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) strike from 19-21 July. We’re prepared for a long dispute there if necessary. Neither ISS, the outsourced contractor, nor BEIS itself has offered a settlement to avoid the strike, so our members will continue taking action. Cleaners and toilet attendants at the Royal Parks will strike on 30 July. On the day of the strike, there’ll be a mass meeting where members will discuss any offer from the employer, if one’s been made, and discuss further action. Reps are proposing an ongoing programme of strikes...

BEIS strike from 19 July (John Moloney's column)

Our outsourced worker members at the government Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will strike for three days, from 19 July. These are workers who’ve had to come into work throughout the pandemic, despite the buildings they service being mostly empty. They’re fighting for increased pay, a bonus for having worked through lockdown, and annual leave entitlement owed from last year. On 14 July we’ll get the result of our ballot of cleaners and toilet attendants in Royal Parks, who’re resisting potential job cuts and who want party of terms with those who work direct for...

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