Socialist Worker

Private sector pay round-up

Issue No. 2108

Don’t shop for it – strike for it!

More than 1,000 members of the Unite union at retailer Argos are balloting for strike action in a dispute over pay.

Workers have been offered just 3.8 percent without strings, or 4.1 percent if they accept an attack on their sick pay scheme.

Argos also wants to move workers from weekly to monthly pay, but has offered only a small loan to tide people over.

A union convenor at one of the company’s depots told Socialist Worker that Argos’s chief executive received a 58 percent bonus this year.

Initial cleaners vote for strike

Cleaning staff at Manchester airport have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action over pay.

About 95 percent of Initial Air Services staff backed the action after the company imposed a 2 percent pay offer which was previously rejected by workers.

Sharon Cowell from the Unite union said members had “no choice” but to proceed with action after bosses refused to hold “meaningful negotiations”.

She added, “These results are sending a clear message to the company that our members are willing to fight for a decent wage.”

Pay offer sparks overtime ban

Electricity maintenance and supply workers in northern England began an overtime ban and work to rule last week.

Some 1,100 Unite union members at CE Electric, which runs Northern Electric Distribution and Yorkshire Electricity Distribution, are refusing to work overtime until a pay row is resolved.

CE Electric workers voted by nine to one to reject a 3.8 percent pay offer.

The workers at the Northern and Yorkshire companies are demanding an 8 percent rise to bring them into line with workers doing the same job for other electricity providers.

“CE Electric’s pay offer is way below the industry average,” said Unite negotiator Kevan Parker. “The workers are already some of the lowest paid in the industry.”

Sellafield workers ready to ballot

Thousands of nuclear power workers in Cumbria are to be balloted on strike action.

Some 96 percent of workers in the GMB, Prospect and Unite unions at Sellafield rejected a 2 percent pay offer. Prospect described the offer as the “worst” it had ever received.

Prospect’s Mike Graham said, “Our members should not be expected to tolerate an award that is below the market rate and relies unduly on efficiency bonuses.”

Unite regional officer Alan Westnedge said, “This is a pay cut in real terms and our members are struggling to keep up with rising household bills and energy costs.”

The Sellafield strike ballot was set to start this week.

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Article information

Tue 1 Jul 2008, 18:49 BST
Issue No. 2108
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