Socialist Worker

Reports round-up: Get a move on over equal pay, Glasgow council

Issue No. 2583

Equal pay or we walk away say Glasgow council workers

'Equal pay or we walk away' say Glasgow council workers (Pic: Glasgow City Unison Branch)


Unison and GMB members protested outside Glasgow City Chambers on Wednesday of last week demanding the council stop dragging its feet over equal pay.

The protest continued a decade-long battle over the council’s failure to re-grade low paid women workers to the same level as male-dominated roles.

With 11,000 claims still unresolved, the council could face a bill of £500 million. Protesters unveiled an “equal pay or we walk away” banner.


Sellafield workers out to power up pay

More than 3,000 workers walked out at the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing and decommissioning site in Cumbria on Wednesday of last week.

Firefighters based there struck for 12 hours the following day, causing mile-long tailbacks.

The GMB union members are involved in three separate disputes over pay.

Bosses imposed a below-inflation pay offer of 1.5 percent on the majority of the Sellafield workforce in July. This dispute has seen three strikes this autumn.

The Unite union is in dispute over the same issue. It should call its members out alongside GMB, for coordinated strikes that hit harder.

Outsourced catering and security workers also joined the walkout last week. Their employer, subcontractor Mitie, is imposing a below-inflation 2 percent pay offer.

The firefighters also rejected an offer of £4.30 more a week.

GMB official Chris Jukes said it was “very clear” that the strike was solid because of the lack of cars.

“We’re picketing at all five gates and we have a lot of support,” he said.


Big strike planned for Virgin trains

Some 1,800 RMT and TSSA union members are set to strike for six days in their fight for pay.

The dispute involves train managers, on board catering, station, clerical and retail grades on the Virgin West Coast line which runs from Glasgow to London.

They’re due to strike on 15 and 22 December, and on four more dates in January.

They’re fighting for a similar deal to drivers—who won a one-hour reduction in the working week and an extra £500 on their basic salary.

RMT members returned a 91 percent vote to strike, alongside the TSSA members voting 87 percent to strike.


Kingsmill workers need more dough

Workers at the Kingsmill bakery in West Bromwich have voted by 82 percent for strikes over pay.

They have been offered a below-inflation pay deal of 2 percent plus £150 this year and the same next year.

Around 130 drivers, maintenance workers and security personnel were balloted. Strikes could trigger a bread shortage across the Midlands before Christmas.


Surrey bus workers want recognition

Bus drivers struck on Monday for union rights at the Quality Line depot in Epson, Surrey. Up to 18 routes were affected.

RMT union members are protesting because bosses recognise only Unite—a minority union in the depot.

The RMT wants joint recognition.


Campaign to save crucial Kent buses

Kent’s Tory council is axing 74 bus services across the county.

The Unite union has mounted a campaign to fight the cuts to the “socially necessary bus services” budget.

Unite regional officer Dave Weeks said, “We will be mobilising public opinion to get the council to reverse this harsh plan which threatens to isolate rural communities and deepen divisions in society.”


Surgical strike plan at Medway Maritime Hospital

Anaesthetists, nurses and other surgical workers at Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham are balloting for strikes against new rosters.

The 74 workers are Unite union members. Bosses have imposed new shifts which in one case saw staff working 12 hours without their 30-minute break.

Unite warns that pushing workers to exhaustion endangers patients too.


May force be with Picturehouse strikers?

Workers at five branches of the Picturehouse cinema chain are set to strike as new Star Wars film The Last Jedi is released.

The workers in London plan to walk out on 14 December. They demand the Living Wage of £10.20 in London and £8.75 outside London.

Their other demands include maternity, paternity and sick pay.


Protest against Rajoy in Britain

Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy visited Britain this week—with protests against him on Tuesday.

Unison Scotland this week announced its condemnation of state violence during the independence referendum.

It also called for the release of political prisoners. Catalans will vote on 21 December in imposed elections.


STUC takes on the Scottish budget

The Scottish TUC has announced a rally on the day of the Scottish budget.

Union leaders want the Scottish parliament to use its full tax and borrowing powers to finance a rise in pay for public workers and restore the funding needed for proper public services.

Thu 14 Dec, 11.30am, Scottish parliament, EH99 1SP

Stop cutting us, say Newsquest journalists in Darlington

Journalists working for regional newspapers published by Newsquest in Darlington were set to ballot for strikes from Thursday.

They are fighting cuts to jobs and pay.


Court challenge for blacklist bosses

The Unite union has launched a new claim at the High Court against named individuals over blacklisting in the construction industry.

Protests were to take place around Britain on Wednesday.

  • London
    • 9am at Skanska office, Goswell Road, Barbican, London
    • 12 noon Westminster lobby of parliament and rally
  • Edinburgh
    • 9:30am Meet at Unite Edinburgh Office
    • 10:00am Protest at St James Centre
    • 12 noon Lobby the Scottish Parliament
  • Leeds 8am-10am City Square, LS1 2
  • Brighton 10am Balfour Beatty, Sussex University, Brighton, BN1 9RH
  • Birmingham 12noon McAlpine site, Exchange Square, Urban Village Site, Gate 4, Dale End, B4 7LN
  • Durham 5pm McAlpine site, Milburngate shopping centre

Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.