Socialist Worker

Hull strikers refuse to be treated like trash

by Eleanor Woyen
Issue No. 2594

Pickets brave the cold in Hull

Pickets brave the cold in Hull (Pic: Eleanor Woyen)


Drivers at a Wilmington FCC waste management depot in Hull began a seven-day strike last Friday.

The Unison union members are demanding sick pay and pay rises for all workers at the site.

Refuse workers haven’t crossed the picket lines.

Outsourcing giant FCC offered the drivers a 2.5 percent pay rise. But the drivers rejected it as not all workers would receive a raise.

Workers at the depot are on different rates of pay and conditions of service because their employers have changed since Hull City Council outsourced the service.

Management have tried to argue that raising workers on the minimum wage to £7.50 an hour amounted to a 4 percent pay rise.

Leave

Health and safety rep Tony said, “We refuse to accept a pay rise for a few which would leave the others out.

“Some people get statutory sick pay while others doing the same job don’t.

“We want a pay rise for all and to bring everyone on equal sick pay.”

Shop steward Russell said, “This is our first strike since 1981. This is a huge international company making millions and it doesn’t want to negotiate.”

Emma Hardy, Labour MP for Hull West and Hessle, visited the picket line and spoke at the solidarity rally.


Up to 100 strikers from three disputes and supporters attended a rally at Hull train station last Saturday.

Striking guards in the RMT union (see right) were picketing outside the station.

They were joined by striking university and FCC workers.


Home care workers plan more walkouts over shifts

Home care workers in Birmingham are ready for their next phase of action to defend their working conditions and the service.

The Unison union members struck twice against redundancies and changes to shift patterns in January and February.

They plan to strike for at least five more days and could start as soon as the end of this month.

Birmingham’s Labour-run council wants to slash 45 percent of jobs from the home enablement team.

Bosses also want home carers to work punishing split shifts, which would see them work 16 hours but only get paid for 11.

Unison union rep Mandy Buckley told Socialist Worker, “They’ve made it so difficult for people.

“If they’re worried about the new shift patterns, they’re told, ‘Maybe this job isn’t for you’.”

After their previous strikes, Unison reps went into talks at conciliation service Acas. One of their demands was a trial of self-rotas.

Split

This would give workers some choice over what weekends and evenings to work, which is very important as many have outside caring responsibilities.

But bosses said the trial would only happen for one area in Birmingham—and the new shift patterns would be rolled out in the other nine.

Since the job losses, some service users have been sent to private agencies for their care.

Mandy described the strikes as a blow against “creeping privatisation”.

She said workers were “feeling really positive” about the upcoming action.

“We’ve had so much support,” she said. “Donations from trade union branches and individuals have added £20,000 to the hardship fund.

“People say they’re coming to support us on the strike days and everybody we speak to understands why we're striking."

Sarah Bates 


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