Socialist Worker

Reports round up: Water workers walk out against torrent of attacks

Issue No. 2596

On the picket line in Manchester

On the picket line in Manchester (Pic: Mike Killian)

Around 1,000 Unite and Unison union members at United Utilities water treatment plants and offices in the North West of England struck last Friday and this Monday.

The workers at Britain’s biggest privatised water company face being hammered by pension proposals that could leave some as much as £10,000 a year worse off.

Yet in the past five financial years United Utilities has grabbed £1.6 billion in profits.

And over £1 billion was paid out in dividends to shareholders over the same period.

In 2016/17 the two most senior staff—Steve Mogford and Russ Holden—were paid more than £4 million between them.

The Unison union said, “The pension scheme will be in surplus by 2020 according to current projections.

“This is a healthy scheme, where due to changes made in 2010 members are already paying more for less.

“This isn’t about saving the pension scheme, it’s about cutting pension costs at a highly profitable business.”

Fight by outsourced university workers

Over 100 workers at the University of London are set to strike on 25 and 26 April.

The Independent Workers of Great Britain (IWGB) union members’ demands include pay rises as well as an end to outsourcing and zero hours contracts.

Cleaner Margarita Cunalata said, “The university has done its best to deny workers like me basic rights.

“We have had to fight for everything, from the London Living Wage to basic sick pay.

“All we ask for is equality and we will keep on fighting until we get it.”

Ballot over pay at Al Jazeera English

Workers at Al Jazeera English are being balloted for strikes over pay.

The Bectu and NUJ union members at the media company have not had a pay rise since 2014.

After two years of negotiations bosses made concessions over redundancy policy and overtime but refused to budge over pay

The ballot runs until 27 March.

Sacking at the Royal Opera

Cleaners at the Royal Opera House are under attack from outsourcing firm Kier.

Five members of the Cleaners and Allied Independent Workers Union have been sacked and a sixth suspended.

Cleaners have called morning protests every day between 7.30am and 8am until 31 March to demand their reinstatement.

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Easter rail strikes coming

Strike picket  at Waterloo

Strike picket at Waterloo (Pic: RMT)

Strikes are set to take place on South Western Railway over Easter in the continuing battle over safety, the role of guards and driver only operation.

Rail union RMT says the company continues to fail to engage with the union in talks and has stepped up their threats and intimidation aimed at staff.

Strikes are set for Friday 30 March and Monday 2 April.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said, “The disruption caused will be wholly down to South Western Railway and their pigheaded attitude.

The RMT will hold a national demonstration on 25 April in London to mark the second anniversary of the bitter disputes over the role of guards

Connaught strike paused for fresh talks

A planned strike at Connaught School for Girls in north east London was suspended this week for talks at conciliation service Acas.

NEU union members had been due to strike on Tuesday and Wednesday, following two days of strikes last week.

They were to strike on Thursday if no offer made was acceptable.

Workers are demanding an Inner London pay rate as an Outer London school.

Other schools in Waltham Forest already pay the rate. They have won support from other trade unionists and campaigners.

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Anger over pay offer at Gatwick

Workers at Gatwick Airport have begun balloting for strikes over pay. If workers support action then strikes could begin by the end of next month.

The company has offered a one-off payment of £500 from October 2017.

They would then get a 2.8 percent increase from April 2018 until October 2019 and an additional £350 non-consolidated payment.

This is below the rate of inflation and comes as the profits of Gatwick Airport Limited have risen by over £35 million to £97.4 million in the past year.

The ballot of Unite union members was set to start this week and close on 13 April.

Cleaners protest at Daily Mail offices

the United Voices of the World union has called a protest to support cleaners at the Daily Mail newspaper’s offices who are fighting for a living wage.

The migrant workforce, employed by outsourcers Mitie, want the living wage of £10.20 an hour in London.

Join the protest at 3pm to 7pm on Thursday 12 April, 2 Derry Street, London W8

Activists demand exodus of Genesis

Campaigners against the merger of Genesis and Notting Hill housing associations have called a protest outside the Savills real estate giant’s housing auction for 26 March.

The merger was voted through last month, but activists aren’t giving up.

Join the protest at 8am, Monday 26 March, Marriot Hotel, Grosvenor Square, London W1K 6JP

Support the Fujitsu fight

Unite union members at IT firm Fujitsu struck from last Friday of last week until Wednesday of this week.

They plan a further ten days of strikes from Wednesday of next week.

Workers are fighting for the reinstatement of longstanding union rep Ian Allinson and six other union activists.

They were made redundant.

Donations to “Manchester IT Workers Group” can be sent to c/o John Wood, 50 Brooklyn Street, Crewe, CW2 7JF or online transfers to sort code 30-91-48, account 00980539 and email details to

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Tue 20 Mar 2018, 15:34 GMT
Issue No. 2596
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