Strikes and lock-outs

Shift in Tower Hamlets

John Biggs, mayor of the Labour council in Tower Hamlets, east London, has at last agreed to talk directly with the public services union Unison about his “Tower Rewards” plan to cut terms and conditions. He will meet Unison Regional Secretary Maggie Ferncombe, other officials, and branch representatives. This move follows nine days of strikes by Tower Hamlets Unison in July and August in response to the imposition of “Tower Rewards”. Unison branch secretary John McLoughlin says: “If management were genuine in their claim that Tower Rewards was not in part about making it easier to make staff...

Deliveroo workers strike for decent wages and sick pay

On Wednesday 19 August couriers working for Deliveroo struck in Sheffield, demanding a pay increase, sick pay, and an end to sackings from the platform without hearings or appeals. Their action almost completely shut down all delivery business for local restaurants selling food via the Deliveroo app. The strike drew support from Labour MP Olivia Blake, who sent a message to the rally: “I fully support Deliveroo workers, and all precarious workers, organising for better conditions and the right to a guaranteed living wage. For too long Deliveroo, Uber, and other employers of the platform...

Let Tower Hamlets reballot!

After nine strike days since the start of July, and a lot of vibrant campaigning, Tower Hamlets council workers are regrouping in their fight to stop the “Tower Rewards” attack on their terms and conditions. Under the anti-union laws, they need to reballot to strike again. There are rumours that the national Unison leadership, despite its public support for the dispute, is dragging its feet and insisting on drawn-out procedures that will make further action impossible for a while yet. Unison activists will push the union leaders to move faster. We can help by continuing to build support for...

"Conditionality" and DWP hours (John Moloney's column)

“Conditionality” for benefit claimants has been restored, which means claimants can be “sanctioned” — i.e., have their benefits revoked — for things like being late for appointments. This is a spectacularly cruel decision on the government’s part, which PCS completely opposes. At the moment, bosses are still proceeding with a light touch and often not insisting that frontline DWP staff impose conditionality. But that’s likely to change, especially as claims continue to rise. We oppose conditionality both in terms of its impact on claimants, and its use as a productivity measure to discipline...

Tower Hamlets workers out again

On 13, 14 and 17 August Tower Hamlets council workers will strike again to defeat the “Tower Rewards” attack on their terms and conditions. 17 August will be their ninth strike day since the start of July. According to Tower Hamlets Unison, two thirds of the workforce have refused to sign the new, inferior contracts, despite all kinds of management lies and bullying, including threats of sacking. The Tower Hamlets workers have run an energetic, determined campaign, generating enthusiastic support from their community and from bottom to top of the labour movement. The notable exception has been...

Stop the Met's criminalisation of strikes

Striking security guards, members of the UVW union, were legally striking and picketing at St George’s, University of London, on 13 January 2020. Police threatened the striking workers and union officials with mass arrest under Section 119 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008. Franck Magennis, UVW barrister and trade union official, was arrested and handcuffed in mid-conversation with a police officer as he enquired into the legality of the threatened arrests. As a result, the picket-line fell apart. This is part of a series of attacks by the Met Police on trade unionists. UVW’s...

Iran: the workers fight back

The workers at the Haft Tappeh sugar cane complex in south-west Iran, who have struck repeatedly in recent years, are now in the 8th week of a new strike. Their action has been joined by a rash of strikes over unpaid wages in Iran’s oil and gas industry. Iran is in deep economic trouble, with high inflation and unemployment. The oil price is low, and US sanctions are hurting. Despite the new power which Iran’s rulers have gained over the last decade or so in Syria and in Iraq, domestically they are more and more seen as a corrupt robber regime. On top of that comes the rulers’ incapacity to...

Tower Hamlets strikes again

Tower Hamlets council workers’ fight against attacks on their terms and conditions is continuing, with new strike dates on 13, 14 and 17 August. The workers want to reballot when their current ballot mandate expires on 22 August; so far the Unison bureaucracy is stalling them on that. • Sign up for solidarity and donate here • Updates here • Interview with Tower Hamlet’s Unison’s social care convener Amina Patel here

John Moloney's column: Outsourced cleaners strike

Outsourced cleaners in HMRC offices in Merseyside begin their next strike on Monday 3 August. They’ll strike until 28 August, demanding living wages and full occupational sick pay. This latter demand is clearly vital in terms of safety and infection control during the pandemic, and is the central demand of the Safe and Equal campaign in which Workers’ Liberty members have been central, so hopefully Safe and Equal can play a role in supporting the strike. For how you can support the strike, see justiceforhmrccleaners.wordpress.com The unions will be holding a consultative ballot of our members...

Tower Hamlets workers can win

Members of the public services union Unison in Tower Hamlets council, East London, had good support again for a strike on 15-17 July, following another on 3-6-7 July. We understand that the local Unison branch is pressing the union nationally to approve a longer strike, and a reballot if the council will not concede before the validity of the current ballot expires on 22 August. Tower Hamlets Unison’s adult social care convener Amina Patel told us: “The fight is very much continuing and we need to keep the momentum up. We’re calling on all Tower Hamlets councillors, on all Labour MPs but most...

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