Industrial news in brief

Submitted by AWL on 6 April, 2016 - 2:10 Author: Peggy Carter, Hugh Duncan and Ollie Moore

Workers at museums across Wales struck over the Easter weekend as part of a two-year dispute over weekend working.

The workers, part of the PCS union, plan to strike every weekend from 9 April-1 May, at Big Pit in Blaenavon, St Fagans and the National Museum in Cardiff, the National Wool Museum in Llandysul, the National Slate Museum in Llanberis, and the Swansea Waterfront Museum.

Management plan to abolish extra payments for weekend and bank holiday working. The campaign has been using the slogan "hands off our weekends" to emphasise that workers are fighting for the right to their own free time and to be fairly compensated if they take on work during weekends and bank holidays.

National Museum Wales said it was facing a 4.7% cut in its annual grant in aid from the Welsh Government and weekend payments cost about £750,000 a year.

PCS Wales Secretary Shavanah Taj said: "All we are asking is that the lowest-paid not be expected to bear the brunt of budget cuts".

Sheffield bin strike over CCTV use

GMB members on Sheffield's bin service struck on Friday 1 April over the use of CCTV on the trucks.

The use of CCTV, which was never agreed by workers and isn't covered in any company disciplinary policies, has resulted in an increase in the amount of disciplinary procedures and processes. This has been run alongside a much more aggressive use of the disciplinary process. Almost all issues relating to disciplinaries over the past year came in at gross misconduct level, according to the GMB union.

Peter Davies from the GMB in Sheffield said: "we have been averaging several gross misconduct cases a week. One member, Dave Wright, was recently sacked for health and safety breaches at Green Co, the subcontracted company that operate the Council's Household Recycling Centres, where he had little to no responsibility or influence".

GMB reports suggest that the aggressive attitude of management has continued, and as a result, a ballot for industrial action was held, with an impressive result of 92.5% in favour of strikes.

Davies said that the result shows "the level of our members anger at the treatment of their colleagues on the receiving end of this aggression".

Messages of support can be sent to Sheffield GMB at

News from the Tube

Solid strike on the Piccadilly Line: more lines fighting back

Drivers on London Underground Piccadilly Line stopped all trains from running with a solid strike on 23-24 March.

They are fighting an overly disciplinarian management, whose authoritarian antics have led to what Tube Union RMT calls a complete breakdown in industrial relations.
Further strikes are planned for 19-20 April.

They may be joined by drivers from the Hammersmith and City Line, where the RMT has just declared an official dispute around similar issues and is expected to launch a strike ballot.

ISS pension changes leave workers in the dark

Cleaning contractor ISS may be about to unilaterally impose changes to its workers pensions, without consulting or even informing most of its staff.

The contractor, which provides cleaning services to London Underground on several lines, currently offers a pension through a third-party provider. It recently announced plans to move to an in-house pension, but only informed some staff and has not made clear whether workers with pensions through the third-party provider can transfer their existing pensions over.

The RMT is demanding urgent meetings with the company.

Unfit for the future

London Underground launched a new staffing model across all Tube stations on 3 April, leading to chaos in many locations.

The Fit for the Future project, which RMT (occasionally alongside smaller Tube union TSSA) struck against several times, involves a massive reduction in staffing levels and forced displacement and regrading of thousands of workers.

Stations were forced to shut, or open without step-free access, as staffing levels were too low or because staff had not been adequately trained.

Rank-and-file socialist bulletin Tubeworker is pushing for Tube unions to declare new disputes with LU over the chaotic consequences of the scheme.

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