Workers at the Royal Museums Greenwich struck on New Year’s Day over changes to their conracts.
The Prospect union members work as visitor and sales assistants at the National Maritime Museum, Queen’s House and Royal Observatory Greenwich in south east London.
The changes include workers losing their entitlement to paid breaks. Extra
That means effectively working an extra three weeks a year without any compensation.
The hours within which their shifts can fall have also been extended. Shifts had previously been between 9.30am to 5.15pm.
But the new contracts mean shifts can be anywhere within an 8am to 8pm window.
Although the union negotiated an “up to 3 percent” pay rise, workers would have been better off without the pay rise if they had kept their paid breaks.
Workers voted by 85 percent for strikes on a 68 percent turnout.
A Prospect statement said, “The aim is not to stop the public from visiting the Museum but to highlight the treatment our members are facing.”
Workers only struck for one day. It is likely to take more than that to win the dispute.
Disrupting the running of the museums through strikes is a key tool at workers’ disposal.
Plymouth job centre walks out over Tory closure plan
pcs union members at a Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) benefit centre in Plymouth struck for two days last month.
They are fighting against the closure of their office.
Robin Nicholl, south west England regional DWP organiser for the PCS, told Socialist Worker the strike had been well supported. “There were very few people at work so it’s had an impact,” he said.
The planned closure and relocation is part of a national wave of cuts hitting benefit and jobcentres.
Robin explained that the closure could force many workers out of their jobs. “There are 350 workers that the department is looking to relocate from the office in the city centre to a site in the north of the city.
“It puts a number of people out of reasonable daily travel, so they’re left at risk of redundancy.”
He added, “Thirty people have already been given notice of voluntary redundancy. Some aren’t prepared to take it so are at risk of being made compulsorily redundant”.
Bosses’ uncompromising attitude underlines the need for national action across the DWP against the cuts.
Homecare workers vote for action over jobs cull
Around 350 home care workers in Birmingham have voted by 99 percent for strikes over redundancies and a new rota system.
The Tories have continued to cut budgets for social care. In Birmingham we have gone from a social care workforce of over 7,000 in 2010 to fewer than 2,000 now.
Labour-run Birmingham council now plans to make 40 percent of our home care workers redundant.
They also plan to introduce an unacceptable work pattern.
Workers would be expected to work three split shifts in a day—7-10am, 12-2pm and then 4-10pm.
Many won’t be able to get home between shifts, meaning they won’t get a break at all.
Home carers earn between £15,823 and £18,560 a year. Many have to take on second jobs to survive.
They want to provide the best care they can for society’s most vulnerable.
But workers know that if they are forced to work the new rotas, it will make the job they do so much harder.
by Caroline Johnson, Unison union Birmingham branch secretary (personal capacity)
Make out donations to Birmingham UNISON and make it clear that it’s for the Hardship Fund and post to UNISON Birmingham Branch, The McLaren Building, 46 The Priory, Queensway, Birmingham, B4 7LR