Socialist Worker

Reports round up: March to remember rail strike martyrs in Llanelli

Issue No. 2618

On the march in Llanelli

On the march in Llanelli

Around 200 people marched through Llanelli last Saturday to mark the anniversary of the 1911 national rail strike.

Workers in the west Wales town rose in revolt after troops opened fire and killed pickets.

Caroline Goffin is a relative of Leonard Worsell, one the workers who was shot. “I’m so thankful that Llanelli remembers past heartaches and is inspired to change the future,” she said.

RMT rail union senior assistant general secretary Steve Hedley was the keynote speaker at the rally.

“The ruling class didn’t give in to the railway strike after two days because there were reasonable people sitting around a table with them,” he said. “They gave up because there were trains being dynamited, there were magistrates’ shops and offices being ransacked. We need to put fear in them now.”

This year’s march was a significant event for the Welsh left and coincided with leadership elections in Labour and Plaid Cymru.

Labour leadership candidate Mark Drakeford and incumbent Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood spoke at the rally. They both identified themselves with socialist politics and workers’ struggle.

All speakers talked about the dangers of the far right and pledged to mobilise against fascist Tommy Robinson.

Martin Chapman

Anger over bullying bosses grows at Royal Mail depots

A postal workers’ union leader has responded after a series of unofficial strikes over workplace bullying and harassment at a number of Royal Mail workplaces.

Terry Pullinger, deputy general secretary of the CWU union, said workers were “absolutely right” to walk out against workplace bullying. It comes after walkouts over allegations of management bullying at Royal Mail delivery offices in Plymouth, Grimsby, and Ferndale, South Wales.

Royal Mail workers increasingly face pressure from managers to work more efficiently, or take on greater workloads through re-organisations of how work is shared out.

In a video posted to Facebook last Thursday Pullinger said,“If people are being bullied in the workplace and you genuinely believe that then you are absolutely right to bring it to a head.”

But he added that CWU members should try and resolve disputes through negotiations before taking action. And he said the union had completed an audit in workplaces that he hoped would show where there are problems to be fixed.

It’s part of an agreement between the CWU and Royal Mail bosses to bring about a “cultural change” in workplaces in a recent deal.

Yet the walkouts and Pullinger’s video are signs that there is widespread anger among Royal Mail workers at management bullying.

FT journalists could take action over pay

The chief executive of the Financial Times newspaper has promised to hand back a £510,000 pay rise after outcry from journalists in the NUJ union.

Members of the NUJ at the Financial Times slammed the high pay of chief executive John Ridding. They called for pay increases for trainee staff and action to fix the gender pay cap.

A motion welcomed Ridding’s decision to hand his rise back. But it said journalists could take industrial action if their other demands aren’t met.

Kurds protest over Turkey state killing

Around 50 Kurdish people protested over the Turkish state killing of Kurdish leader Zeki Sengali in Wood Green, north London, on Sunday.

Sengali was killed in an airstrike in the Sinjar region of Iraq last Wednesday.

Paul Burnham

Workers fight for pay justice

Workers in the GMB union at the Ministry of Justice have overwhelmingly rejected a paltry pay offer.

Some 81.6 percent of members rejected the offer on a 76 percent turnout.

George Georgiou, GMB National Officer, said, “This result confirms our suspicions and reflects the often angrily voiced view of GMB members.

“This deal represents a retrograde step for them in terms of pay, conditions and working hours.”

Animal feed drivers ballot over shifts

Drivers at an agricultural firm in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, are preparing to ballot for strikes over attacks on working hours.

Bosses at AB Agriculture—an animal feed firm—want to change shift patterns to force drivers to work two Saturdays in four.

Unite union regional officer Steve Harley blasted the bosses for “an undiluted attack” on the work-life balance.

TGI strike day, say restaurant workers

Unite union members at three sites of the TGI Fridays restaurant chain were set to strike on Friday of this week as part of their ongoing fight over tips.

The three sites are Milton Keynes, Covent Garden in central London, and Stratford City in east London

The dispute began when bosses told workers that tips taken by card payments would go to kitchen staff, not just waiters.

Workers at three oil and gas platforms in the North Sea operated by Total struck on Monday.

This week’s strike is the fifth industrial action at the Alwyn, Elgin, and Dunbar platforms since 23 July.

Total wants to place workers at the platforms on a three-week rotation system instead of two.

The fields hit by the strikes account for some 10 percent of Britain’s gas production. Crude oil production at Alwyn, Elgin, and Dunbar pumps up to 50,000 barrels per day to the Forties and Brent Blend crude streams.

Further strikes are set for 3 and 17 September.

Power to the people

Workers at Liverpool’s John Lennon airport were set to strike over the bank holiday weekend.

GMB union members have rejected the company’s below-inflation pay offer of 2 percent and are demanding at least 3.6 percent.

A total of 80 workers from aviation rescue and firefighting services, the control room, engineering and driver operations and airport bird control are set to walk out.

The 36-hour strike was due to begin at 7pm on Thursday this week and continue until 7am on Saturday.

This will be followed by a further 12-hour strike beginning at 7am on Monday 3 September.

Further strike dates are set to follow.

Crane makers aim high 

Unite and GMB members at Liebherr’s Cranes in Sunderland have escalated their dispute after management failed to improve their pay offer.

Workers plan to strike from Monday to Thursday for the next four weeks.

Bosses have resorted to divide and rule tactics. Managers tried to exclude the Unite union shop steward from talks and negotiate only with the GMB union. The GMB rightly rejected this move.

A number of steel wagons have refused to cross the picket lines.

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Cheque makers strike over pay

A six-week programme of strikes is set to begin at a cheque operations base in Crewe, hitting the supply of cheques and chequebooks.

Some 79 workers at Communisis are fighting over pay. A deal would mean a 2 percent rise in year one, and a 3 percent rise in both years two and three. Workers voted by 78 percent to strike on a 90 percent turnout.

An initial 48-hour strike is planned for Tuesday and Wednesday next week. This will be followed by strikes every Monday and Tuesday for the following six weeks.

Unite regional officer Darren Barton said, “The strike action will inevitably create delays for bank customers, however our members have endured years of below inflation pay increases.”

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