Industrial news in brief

Submitted by AWL on 4 September, 2014 - 10:37

Unison members in Doncaster are now on their 57th day of strike action as part of action against Care UK who cut wages by up to 35%.

They will be on strike until 14 September, and have pickets every day at 7am outside Care UK’s Doncaster office, as well as trips to picket offices in other cities and to speak at meetings.

The strikers are also currently having weekly members’ meetings to discuss the dispute.

Ritzy workers reject offer

In a ballot closing on 26 August, Ritzy cinema workers have voted to reject an offer by management, by 24 votes to 23. On their Facebook page workers said:

“We would like to make clear that this should not be interpreted as a sign that we are in any sense divided. Nor does it indicate that a large minority of our members viewed this as a good deal that is worth accepting. 

“Over the last four weeks we have discussed the offer and all the implications of accepting or rejecting it in full at two full BECTU members’ meetings and during lengthy discussion via email and face to face amongst ourselves ... our members viewed the offer with considerable disappointment and felt that it fell too far short of the London Living Wage ...

“The other clear message that came from the discussions was that we remained united and determined to stick together as a collective and respect the democratic will of the majority, whatever that might be.

“We stand absolutely by that collective spirit that has already achieved so much during this campaign. Unity is Strength!”

Tube jobs fight must be re-mobilised

Tube union RMT has called off planned industrial action in its fight against job losses and ticket office closures on London Underground, after LU management threatened legal action.

Smaller Tube union TSSA had planned to call equivalent action to the RMT, but buckled at the last minute, leaving some RMT reps worried that TSSA members would make up the overtime not done by RMT members. But other activists argue that, while TSSA’s suspension of its action was capitulatory and a real problem, RMT cannot be shackled to the more conservative culture of its sister union.

RMT was due to begin an overtime ban on 3 September, and its Station Supervisor members had been instructed not to attend “development days”.

After LU Chief Operating Officer Phil Hufton threatened to seek a legal injunction against the action, RMT’s national leadership called it off are promised.

Talks with the company through September.

The fact that LU was prepared to use the courts to stop even an overtime ban shows that bosses are nervous, and that further action would put them back under pressure and could force concessions.

Activists who spoke to Solidarity said that, even if the union was not prepared for a legal confrontation with LU, further action should have been named to replace the injunction-threatened OT ban. 

Workers’ Liberty members in RMT on London Underground will be arguing for the union to urgently call further industrial action to arrest the de-escalation of the dispute.

For regular updates, see the blog of Tubeworker, a workplace bulletin for LU workers published by Workers’ Liberty.

Tube cleaners' strike ballot

Tube cleaners employed by ISS (mainly on the Jubilee, Northern, and Piccadilly Lines) will begin a ballot for strikes in their battle against biometric fingerprinting machines on 3 September.

RMT members at ISS have been locked out of work since 4 July for refusing to use the machines, but have used the time to visit workplace and recruit more cleaners to the union.

Cleaners argue that the machines, which take unique biometric data, are an infringement on civil liberties, and will be used by ISS to spy on workers and potentially to report them to immigration authorities. The RMT is also pursuing a legal challenge against ISS’s use of the machines.

The cleaners have faced some obstacles within the union itself, but recently won an agreement that the union would pay them strike pay and travel expenses to fund their dispute.

The Living Wage and Beyond

A dayschool for workers and activists at Birkbeck College, London, 4 October 2014, 10am-4.30pm.

In the last few years, campaigns of low-paid workers have emerged across the public and private sectors. The Living Wage has been won across many local councils, universities, and other workplaces. This free worker-led dayschool, just two weeks before the TUC’s “Britain Needs a Pay Rise” march, will bring together these diverse campaigns and allow us to learn from each other’s experiences and talk about how campaigning on the Living Wage relates to wider industrial organising.

Whether you’re an experienced Living Wage campaigner or just getting a campaign started, it’s sure to be an inspiring day.

Workshops will include: How to start a Living Wage campaign, with workers from SOAS and Birkbeck After the Living Wage: Winning more demands, with the 3 Cosas Campaign How can we push the Labour Party to support a decent wage for all?

With John McDonnell MP and Islington GMB.

Mobilising the community behind an industrial campaign, with Ritzy Living Wage.

•Register for the dayschool here. Email. Web: Mobile: 07455 158249. Facebook: “Living Wage and Beyond”. Twitter:@BeyondLW

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