Unite

Right-winger Coyne declares for Unite election

This year, 2021, will see an election for the replacement of Len McCluskey as General Secretary of the big cross-sector union Unite. And now union right-winger Gerard Coyne, the runner-up in the last general secretary election, in 2017, has declared his wish to stand. We don't yet know the detailed schedule. Sadly, jockeying for position, armtwisting, backroom deals, backstabbing, slanders and the outright lies are already in full flow. McCluskey’s favoured successor is Howard Beckett. In his capacity as head of the union’s Legal Department he has squandered vast amounts of members’ money on...

Barnoldswick strike saves jobs

Sustained strikes by Rolls Royce workers at the company’s Barnoldswick plant have secured a settlement that will save jobs at the site, which Rolls Royce had planned to cut. Workers voted to accept the company’s proposal, following the suspension of their latest strikes, due to run from 4-22 January. The settlement includes: • A 10-year manufacturing guarantee for the site • A guaranteed minimum headcount of 350 workers • The creation of a “centre of excellence”, supporting the development and manufacture of zero-carbon technologies • A two-year no compulsory redundancies agreement The...

Barnoldswick workers consider offer

Workers at Rolls Royce’s plant in Barnoldswick are considering a proposal from their employer which could end a weeks-long strike at the factory. Unite suspended its latest strikes, which began on 4 January and were due to continue until 22 January, when the offer was received. The union has described the offer as a “landmark deal”. 350 jobs at the Barnoldswick site were threatened by Rolls Royce’s plan to offshore the factory’s work to countries including Singapore. The cuts are part of a wider tranche of job cuts planned by Rolls Royce, totalling 9,000. Unite says the employer’s offer would...

Industrial reports: DHL; British Airways; Sage; Rolls-Royce

DHL workers strike for better pay Workers at DHL Supply Chain, a distribution company based in Liverpool which distributes Burton biscuits to shops in the north west, struck on 19-23, 29, and 31 December, and 3-4 January, demanding a 50p/hour pay increase. From April 2021, pay rates will be just 2.5p/hour above the minimum wage. The low pay is despite DHL’s profits increasing by nearly 20% in the second quarter of 2020. Police were called over 10 times as bosses attempted to disrupt successful picketing at the depot. Nine days’ strike at British Airways Cargo workers employed by British...

Barnoldswick workers resist lockout

Workers at Rolls Royce’s plant in Barnoldswick in Lancashire have been striking since 6 November to prevent the offshoring of 350 jobs. Facing strikes through until Christmas, the company has now locked the workers out. Ross Quinn, a Unite organiser involved in the dispute, spoke to Daniel Randall from Solidarity. The targeted action we’ve taken has put the company under huge pressure. The majority of workers were still coming into work, but nothing was moving, and nothing was getting done. The employer couldn’t use the government furlough scheme, because the impact on work wasn’t to do with...

Barnoldswick workers face lockout

Striking Rolls-Royce workers at the company’s Barnoldswick plant face a lock-out, after bosses closed the site from 27 November. Strikes against plans to cut 350 jobs at the factory were scheduled through to 23-24 December. Rolls-Royce has said it will immediately transfer work currently being undertaken at the site to Japan, Singapore, and Spain. Unite officer Ross Quinn said: “We have consistently called on Rolls-Royce to work with us to find the resolution that the members who have given their working lives to Rolls-Royce deserve. “However the company has shown absolutely no appetite to...

Strikes at Heathrow

Workers at Heathrow Airport, Britain’s biggest single-site workplace, will strike on 1, 14, 17, and 18 December. Airport bosses plan to sack up to 4,000 workers en masse, and rehire them on worse terms and conditions. Some workers could lose up to £8,000 per year. 3% of all workers will have their pay cut by 20%. Workers affected include baggage handlers, security workers, airport firefighters, and others. Passenger flights, which are expected to resume after the lockdown in England ends on 2 December, will be affected by the strikes on 14, 17, and 18 December. A statement from the Unite union...

"This can inspire workers in all workplaces"

Rolling strikes by Rolls Royce workers in Barnoldswick, Lancashire, are continuing, as workers resist attempts by bosses to cut 350 jobs. The strikes, which involve workers in different parts of the factory striking at differ- ent times, maximising the impact on the employer whilst minimising the impact on workers, started on 6 November and will run until Christmas Eve. A statement by the workers’ union Unite said: “This week [starting 23 November], the company will be meeting with ministers and MPs to discuss the proposals. Given the criticism of Rolls-Royce’s actions from across the...

Striking to win at Barnoldswick

Workers at a Rolls Royce site in Barnoldswick (Lancashire) began an initial three weeks of rolling strikes on 6 November, to resist the loss of 350 jobs. The strikes have now been extended to 23 December. Unite organiser Ross Quinn spoke to Daniel Randall about the dispute. DR: How's the strike going so far? RQ: It's going really well. We've targeted specific areas in the factory. That's something we did at Camell Laird [shipbuilder] two years ago, where there was only ever 20% of the workforce on strike at any one time, but no production was going on. We've used the same overall principle...

Right to picket

On 6 November, the police dispersed a covid-distanced picket line over pay at the Optare bus factory in Sherburn-in-Elmet, near Selby in North Yorkshire. They warned strikers they would be issued with penalty notices for breaking lockdown rules if they returned. But after a legal challenge from Unite the Union and the scheduling of a judicial review against the North Yorkshire Chief Constable and the Secretary of State for Health, the government conceded the right to picket should be upheld. It says it will issue guidance to all police forces that workers can undertake covid-distanced...

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