Socialist Worker

Industrial round-up: Post workers hold large rallies over Royal Mail pension attack

Issue No. 2562

Royal Mail workers met in Sheffield last week

Royal Mail workers met in Sheffield last week (Pic: Twitter/CWU)


There were large gatherings of trade unionists working for Royal Mail last week, as the CWU union prepares to defend postal workers’ pensions, pay and conditions.

CWU reps met for big rally-style meetings in Bristol, Belfast, Glasgow, Liverpool and Sheffield. There could be a national strike in the autumn.

Bosses at Royal Mail want to rob thousands of pounds from workers by replacing their pension scheme with a worse one.

They also want to get rid of the union’s area reps, impose worse conditions on new starters and slash wages.

It will take a national strike to see off this massive attack.

CWU members voted unanimously for possible strikes at their conference in April. A strike in the autumn, when mail volume increases, could hit bosses hard.


Mears workers strike in Manchester

Workers for the Mears property maintenance company began a four-week strike in Manchester on Saturday of last week.

The workers are fighting for equal pay—the difference is as much as £3,500 in some cases. They are also fighting against a new contract which would increase flexible working.

Donate to the strike fund by cheque, payable to UCATT UD.393 Manchester 1st Branch, sendto Andy Fisher, Unite, 2 Churchill Way, Liverpool, L3 8EF, or online to account 46034412 sort code 60-83-01. Send a message of support to Colin Pitt via colinpitt65@hotmail.co.uk

Tube bosses ban water

A summer of delays for passengers across London Underground looks “inevitable” due to a row over water, Tube union Aslef said.

Drivers have been told, “Wait for your break and use the tap,” following a change in contractor which supplies water coolers.

Yet senior managers’ air conditioned offices will still have water coolers.

“When your working day is spent in a metal box deep underground, cool drinking water is a necessity,” Aslef organiser Finn Brennan said.

Temperatures peaked at

31 degrees last August on one line.

Mick Cash, RMT union leader, said, “The mayor should intervene right now.”


Woolwich ferry dispute settled

The Unite union has settled a dispute at the Woolwich Ferry in south east London.

Workers there struck twice at the beginning of this year over allegations of sexual harassment of a female worker by a manager.

They were also angry over allegations of management bullying and raised health and safety concerns.

The deal between Unite and bosses at Briggs Marine Ltd will remove a senior manager from the site. It will also give a “fair” settlement for the female worker.

Onay Kasab, a Unite regional official, said the result was down to a “remarkable display of worker solidarity”.The company has also agreed to address workers’ health and safety concerns.


Don't let LSE bosses throw Alba Pasmino in the trash

Cleaners at the LSE university called off a three day strike set to begin on Wednesday.

The members of the United Voices of the World (UVW) union are fighting to get their colleague reinstated.

Alba Pasmino was dismissed after bosses at the outsourcing firm Noonan changed job roles.

An employment tribunal hearing for an appeal of the decision is set to take place later this month.

Now cleaners are being taken back in house by the LSE by next year after a successful fight.

That means the university management can be pressured to reinstate Alba.

Send messages of solidarity to info@uvwunion.org.uk

Protests planned against evil Atos

Disabled People Against the Cuts (Dpac) were set to start a week of action on this Friday to coincide with the World Para Athletics.

The Athletics is sponsored by the company Atos, which assesses disabled people for the Personal Independence Payments benefit.

These assessments are not designed to help those in need but to save money by cutting benefits.

Dpac plans a week filled with action across Britain, starting with a protest on Friday at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London.

The week of action will culminate in a protest on Friday of next week outside Atos headquarters at Regents Place in London.

Activists plan to make lots of noise and bring music, food and banners.


Work stoppage for Birmingham bins

Refuse workers in Birmingham struck on Tuesday in the third of six walkouts against a restructuring that will hit their jobs and pay.

Unite union members walked out for two hours at four depots around the city. Their next strike is set for Wednesday of next week.

The Labour-run council says Tory austerity has left it no choice but to make cuts. Workers are right to resist its austerity.


Sellafield workers are all fired up

Firefighters at Sellafield nuclear power plant in Cumbria plan their first ever walkout on 24 July.

It is part of the GMB union members’ long-running dispute over pay grading.

The workers have said that they are doing roles beyond what they should be doing, such as paramedics’ tasks.

They plan a series of 24-hour walkouts after talks broke down with bosses last Thursday.


Workers won’t be treated like shit

Bosses at Glasgow whisky firm John Dewar & Sons were left “disgusted” by a dirty protest.

Human faeces were found in a control room office after bosses launched a security crackdown to stop workers allegedly stealing alcohol.

The Glasgow Live website reported that bosses were studying workers’ log-in details as part of the investigation.

HR boss David Cameron said the company wanted to “get to the bottom of this disgusting act”.


BMW dispute ends after union fails to escalate fight

A major dispute ended in an unnecessary defeat last week as BMW Group car workers in the Unite union voted to accept the closure of their final salary pension scheme.

It follows their rejection last month of an offer very similar to the one they ultimately accepted.

A series of strikes had already shut down production lines and rocked BMW bosses. Unite should have called more action to make the rejection a reality.

But officials sat on their hands while bosses began to blackmail workers. The result is the loss of a major battle in the war on final salary pensions.


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