Socialist Worker

Reports round up: Crane builders’ walkout aims for higher pay offer

Issue No. 2617

Unite and GMB union members united on the picket line in Sunderland

Unite and GMB union members united on the picket line in Sunderland


Crane manufacturing workers struck on Thursday and Friday of last week over an “inadequate” pay offer.

Unite and GMB members at the Liebherr workplace in Sunderland are planning a huge series of strikes that should see them walk out for 16 days in the next five weeks.

Workers were left bewildered after last-minute talks resulted in bosses offering a worse deal than the one they were striking against.

The original pay offer was a 3 percent rise, a £150 lump sum and an extra day off over the Christmas period. The bosses’ later offer was a 3.2 percent rise, with Christmas Eve off with pay as an additional holiday—bringing the total rise to 3.3 percent.

Mike Sanderson, Unite regional officer, said “The removal of the £150 one off lump sum means this is a worse offer.

“Our members have accepted below-inflation pay awards as management said that business was not so good.

“Business has now picked up and the promises made have not been honoured.”


Telecoms workers win over contracts

Telecoms company BT has agreed to stop using a form of agency contract following a campaign by the CWU union.

BT bosses have said they will end the use of “Pay Between Assessment Contracts,” where workers are paid by an employment agency.

The use of agencies allows bosses to recruit workers on worse pay and conditions than those employed directly by the company.

The announcement came after talks with the CWU, part of its “close the gap” campaign. The CWU says the contracts will be phased out by 2019, and agency workers offered permanent employment with BT.


Scots prepare for Dundee indy demo

Thousands of people were expected to join the latest of a series of marches for Scottish independence this Saturday in Dundee.

It follows big demonstrations in Glasgow, Dumfries and Inverness.

They have shown the thirst for independence among wide numbers of working class people.

A giant march is scheduled for 6 October in Edinburgh.

Saturday 18 August, assemble 12 noon, Baxter Park, Dundee

Fresh union drive at Sky broadcaster

The Bectu union has launched a new campaign—“Moxie”—aimed at recruiting more members at the Sky media firm.

The union says it wants to build on its existing membership at Sky.


Fringe Festival agrees to new code

A new code of conduct has been agreed between the Bectu union and the Fringe Society. It covers rates of pay, hours of work, and other workplace issues for people employed during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.


Welsh march for our martyred dead

Activists were set to join a march to remember the 1911 Llanelli rail strike in the west Wales town on Saturday.

The 1911 strike was the first national railway strike—and saw workers killed in retaliation for the occupation of Llanelli rail station.

Speakers will include Steve Hedley from the RMT union, Mark Drakeford from the Labour Party, Leanne Wood from Plaid Cymru, Nimisha Trivedi from Stand Up To Racism and Martin Chapman from the Socialist Workers Party.

Assemble Saturday 18 August, 1.30pm, Llanelli railway station

More sites join TGI Fridays tips campaign

Workers at three sites of the TGI Fridays restaurant chain were set to walk out on Friday 24 August as part of an ongoing dispute over tip payments.

The sites involved in this round of strikes are Milton Keynes, and Covent Garden and Stratford City in London.

The Unite union members’ dispute centres on a new tipping policy.

Workers were given just two days’ notice that tips given via card payments would go to kitchen workers to top up their wages.

Tips traditionally go to waiters, and are needed to bump up their low pay.

Bosses have tried to use this to divide workers.

Incorporating demands for a living wage for all workers into the dispute could forge greater unity.


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.