Unite

Charity workers plan indefinite strike

Maintenance workers employed by the housing charity St. Mungo's will begin an indefinite strike from 22 April. Although just 12 workers are involved in the dispute, indefinite action is a bold step. The workers are employed in a property services department which provides repairs for the charity's 3,200 housing units. The Unite union says a culture of management bullying is endemic at St. Mungo's. It has also indicted St. Mungo's bosses for their anti-union attitude. A Unite statement said: “Unite’s concerns at the bullying and anti-union culture among St Mungo’s management have only grown...

Bus drivers resist fire-rehire

Bus drivers working for Go North West in Manchester are continuing their indefinite strike against “fire and rehire”, which has been ongoing since mid-February. The company wants to change workers terms and conditions, including increasing hours and reducing sick pay entitlement, and plans to dismiss the workforce en masse before re-engaging them on the inferior terms. The strike has now been supported by Manchester's Labour council. The council passed a motion supporting the workers, and exploring cutting council ties with companies who use “fire and rehire” tactics. Andy Burnham, the mayor...

Battles in three bus companies

Bus drivers at Manchester’s Go North West firm are continuing an indefinite strike against worsening conditions imposed via “fire and rehire”. The strike entered its sixth week on 4 April. The drivers’ union, Unite, says the new contracts represent an additional 130 hours of work, equivalent to a pay cut of £2,500. At talks at conciliation service Acas, Unite submitted a counterproposal detailing how the company could save £1.3 million to avoid the contractual changes. Go North West has refused, and has told Unite that, unless workers accept new contracts, it may close down the Queens Road...

Heathrow pushed back

Unite called off a series of 41 strikes planned by workers at Heathrow Airport, after Heathrow Airport Ltd (HAL), the central employer at the airport, made a new offer on pay and conditions. Unite says the offer “includes the potential for pay increases over the next two years (depending on airport traffic and inflation), the insourcing of work... and a commitment to review working hours of some sectors to improve work/life balance.” The strikes, planned to take place across a 24-day period, were due to begin on 2 April. Instead, Unite will ballot members on HAL’s new offer, with the union...

Thurrock council pay cuts

Council workers in the Unite union in Thurrock, Essex, will strike from 13 April to 7 May, excluding 3 May. The workers, including refuse workers, highway maintenance, and street cleaners, face pay cuts of between £2,000 and £3,500 per year. • Donations to the strike fund can be made to: S/C 60-83-01, A/N 20216557, Name: Unite 1/1152. Messages of solidarity can be sent to willie.howard@unitetheunion.org • More on the dispute in Tribune magazine

Scottish NHS pay: where's the other 11%?

On 24 March the Scottish Government announced a pay offer of 4% for NHS workers. Staff on the lowest Agenda for Change pay point would get a 5.4% increase. The pay rise would be backdated to last December. And it would come on top of the £500 "thank you" payment already made by the Scottish Government. As the Scottish Government press release inevitably pointed out, the pay offer was much better than the pay rise of 1% proposed by the Tories to the Pay Review Body for NHS workers in England. But the offer is nowhere near the Unite and GMB pay claim for 15% (or £3,000, whichever is the higher)...

Metroline bus ballot closes 9 April

A ballot of over 4,000 London bus drivers working for Metroline is continuing. The vote is due to close on 9 April. The dispute centres on the company’s plan to impose a remote sign-on system, which the workers’ union, Unite, says could lead to pay cuts and decreased safety. Meanwhile, drivers working for London United, a subsidiary of French firm RATP, struck again on 17 March, in a dispute over pay and conditions. However, planned strikes of drivers at Quality Line and London Sovereign, also RATP subsidiaries, were called off as Unite began a referendum on the employers’ latest offer. Should...

Heathrow workers plan rolling strikes

Unite has announced 41 strikes across a 23-day period, from 2-25 April, as its members at Heathrow Airport continue to battle the imposition of new contracts via “fire and rehire”. Heathrow Airport Ltd., the principal central employer at the airport, dismissed its entire 4,000-strong workforce and re-engaged them on worse terms and conditions, leaving some workers facing substantial pay cuts. A Unite statement said: “Workers have experienced pay cuts of up to £8,000 (25 per cent of earnings) and report being forced to downsize, move to cheaper areas or give up their car, as a result.” The...

London bus workers plan more strikes

Bus drivers in London struck again on 5-6 March, with further strikes planned on 10, 17, 24, and 31 March. Over 2,000 drivers at three bus companies – London United, London Sovereign, and Quality Line – are involved in the strikes. All three companies are subsidiaries of the French company RATP. Drivers will strike again on 17, 24, and 31 March. All three disputes centre around pay. Quality Line drivers are among the lowest paid drivers in London, earning £2.50 per hour less than drivers at other RATP subsidiaries. They have been offered an increase of 7p per hour. London Sovereign drivers are...

Health workers remobilise for 15% pay rise

The government's recommendation of a measly 1% pay rise for NHS workers has been widely seen as a kick in the teeth. Protests across the country were sparked following the announcement, reigniting the activists who organised sizeable street protests last July-September. Nurses United (a group inside RCN) and others in Healthworkers Say No to Pay Inequality have for months spearheaded campaigning for a 15% pay rise (with a £3,000 minimum). The GMB and Unite are following this demand. The RCN calls for 12.5%. Unison has a £2,000 flat rate demand, which looks like it's copied from the flat-rate...

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