Socialist Worker

Reports round-up: Withdrawal of labour paid bank workers dividends

Issue No. 2571

Bank of England strikers earlier this year

Bank of England strikers earlier this year (Pic: Socialist Worker)

The Unite union has settled its dispute with the Bank of England after workers voted by 60 percent to accept a new offer.

It included more annual leave, a payment to lower paid workers and a commitment to more negotiations with Unite over pay in future.

Unite called it “a victory for the workforce”—though with only three of four planned strike days going ahead more could have been won.

Fawley refinery canteen strikers set to escalate

Canteen workers at Fawley oil refinery in Hampshire are stepping up their action with a five-day strike set to start from Monday 25 September.

The action will hit a training day at the ExxonMobil refinery.

The 20 strikers—most of them women—are members of the Unite union employed by contractor Baxterstorey.

They have already taken four strike days in their fight for an £8.45 an hour wage. Some are currently paid just the £7.50 minimum wage.

Baggage handlers for Norwegian airline at London Gatwick airport are voting in a consultative ballot over action for a pay rise.

Their employer, contractor Omniserve, has offered no basic pay rise and suggested a company barbecue as an alternative.

But Jamie Major of the workers’ union Unite said, “Workers are not going to accept an offer of burgers for bucks.”

Hospital workers will lobby trust

Barts health strikers and their supporters were set to join a lobby of Barts Health annual general meeting this week.

The workers, employed by outsourcer Serco at a number of east London hospitals, have been striking for a pay rise and improved conditions.

Protest Wednesday 13 September, 5.30pm, Stratford Old Town Hall, 29 Broadway, London E15 4BQ.

Lecturers to strike in Manchester?

UCU union members at the University of Manchester are balloting for strikes over job cuts.

Bosses want to make up to 140 workers redundant by September next year.

The union said the university recorded a £36 million surplus in 2015/16.

It has £1.5 billion in reserves. The attacks on jobs follow similar threats made earlier this year. The ballot ends on 4 October.

Jobcentre action suspended for talks

A strike at a west London jobcentre set to take place on Tuesday of this week was called off.

Members of the PCS union had been preparing to strike against the closure of the jobcentre in Southall.

It’s just one of hundreds of offices run by the Department for Work and Pensions earmarked for closure.

The union called the strike off for talks after bosses said they would consider “the requirement for a possible small outreach location in the area”.

Kirklees council watch new boss

UNISON union members working for Kirklees Council Social Work Teams met last week to discuss the next steps in their longrunning dispute.

They are fighting over pay, workloads, agency staff, new technology and management bullying.

Strikes on 5 and 6 July were well supported. Members want to see what will result from the new director, who has been appointed from Leeds council, in terms of resolving the dispute.

The new director has promised proposals by the end of the month.

Unison members voted to take five days of action if the proposals are not acceptable or don’t materialise at all.

Unison members will meet at the end of the month to vote on what happens next.

Nick Ruff, Kirklees Unison branch chair (pc)

Winter strike for nuclear?

Some 3,000 workers are set to strike at Sellafield on Wednesday 27 September in a pay dispute. The GMB union, which has 3,000 members at Sellafield, called the strike.

GMB members at Sellafield voted by 76 percent to strike. Unite union members were due to start getting ballot papers on Wednesday.

Bosses have imposed a 1.5 percent pay rise—far below inflation, which stands at 3.9 percent according to the RPI measure. Unite said the difference could make workers over £1,700 worse off.

The GMB suggested that the promise of “meaningful talks” could be enough to avert strikes. Last year workers agreed to accept a raise of just 0.25 percent to stop bosses cutting apprentices’ pay.

It’s time for action.

Bus bosses to feel heat

London bus and Docklands Light Railway workers were set to demonstrate at City Hall on Thursday morning over “seriously deteriorating working conditions”.

It follows the publication of a report released by the London Assembly in July.

It found that tiredness, lack of toilet access, poorly maintained buses and hassle from controllers over the radio are distracting bus drivers and threatening safety.

Part of the background is low pay. London mayor Sadiq Khan pledged to make Transport for London’s bus contractors pay one rate for the job—but still hasn’t delivered.

East Midlands Trains could see strikes if the firm doesn’t revise its 2.7 percent pay offer to workers.

The workers’ RMT union described the offer as “totally inadequate”.

It has begun to prepare for a strike ballot.

Stand with Ritzy workers

Some 60 protesters and local trade unionists formed a line across the front of the Ritzy cinema in Brixton, south London, on Monday night.

The cinema boycott is part of a three-year battle over the company’s refusal to pay the living wage of £9.75 an hour in London and £8.45 outside it.

Protesters were joined by Labour shadow cabinet member Chris Williamson MP.

Tim O’Dell

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Tue 12 Sep 2017, 14:14 BST
Issue No. 2571
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