Socialist Worker

Reports round-up - Council workers win the London Living Wage

Issue No. 2621

John McDonnell joined a cleaners protest in London last week

John McDonnell joined a cleaners' protest in London last week (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Workers at Kensington and Chelsea council celebrated winning their demand of the London Living Wage of £10.20 an hour last week.

The cleaners have been promised that the council will implement the changes by December. The council has also pledged to review the outsourcing contract with firm Amey, with a view to bringing the cleaners in house.

While the United Voices of the World (UVW) union members celebrated, others were demonstrating for the same demands in Westminster.

Cleaners at the Ministry of Justice are paid the minimum wage. They took to the streets on Wednesday of last week along with Labour politicians.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell addressed the crowd, promising to “end all outsourcing when we get into government”.

The fight is on to save nurseries in Tower Hamlets

Around 50 people came to a campaign meeting last week to protest against Tower Hamlets council’s plans to close the three remaining local authority day nurseries in the east London borough.

The nurseries deliver highly trained support to vulnerable children, including through a specialist deaf support centre.

If closed, compulsory redundancies would be likely.

Parents, nursery workers, Labour councillors, trade unionists and the Salford Nurseries campaign addressed the meeting.

John McLoughlin, Unison local government branch secretary, said, “Our kids suffer when nurseries close”.

Tom Kay

See “Tower Hamlets Save Our Nurseries” on Facebook for more details

Crane workers say yes to new pay offer

Crane workers have voted to accept a new pay offer, following strikes.

Workers at the Liebherr Sunderland Works plant have won a pay rise of 3.3 percent and 24 December as paid holiday, for this year only.

Unite and GMB union members struck in August and September against the bosses’ pay offer of 3 percent.

Demonstration to shame letting agent

Housing activists in Manchester plan to protest on Saturday against a letting agent that refuses to let homes to people on benefits.

The protest is organised by Tenants Union UK and Greater Manchester Housing Action. It assembles from 11am near HOME on Whitworth Street West, Manchester M1 5NG.

Airport workers set for strikes over pay

Around 80 workers at Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport were set to strike on Thursday this week and Wednesday of next week after rejecting a pay offer.

In a ballot 68 percent of the GMB union members rejected a below-inflation pay offer of 2.2 percent plus a £150 lump sum.

New pay ballot is possible in the PCS

Civil service workers could launch a fresh strike ballot over pay next spring, the PCS union has said, if their pay is held below inflation.

Workers in the Ministry of Justice rejected a pay proposal in a ballot last month.

Some 94 percent voted against the proposal on a 74 percent turnout.

Marking socialist history in Somerset

Bridgwater Trades Union Council hosts Somerset’s second-ever socialist history day on Saturday.

Sessions include Somerset radicals and The Bridgwater Poll Tax Rebellion.

It takes place from 9.30am at GWRSA/Railway Club, Wellington Rd, TA6 5HA.

Amazon conditions spark GMB protest

The GMB union held a protest on Thursday of last week at Amazon’s Rugeley warehouse in Staffordshire over working conditions.

During the past three calendar years ambulances were called 115 times to the site.

One pregnant woman said she was forced to stand for ten hours a day, while another said she suffered a miscarriage.

GMB must step up support for Britvic workers

On the rally in Norwich

On the rally in Norwich (Pic: Wendy Smith)

Workers at Robinsons (Britvic) in Norwich, who have held a series of strikes since the summer, called a rally in the city centre on Monday.

Strikers rallied and marched with their GMB union flags and the pickets’ home-made placards.

Members of the public took leaflets and donated to the strike fund.

The dispute is over the plant’s closure and redundancy packages.

There is so much more that the union could be doing to widen the support for the strike. GMB general secretary Tim Roache has yet to visit the picket line.

The strike committee and union officials hope the publicity from the rally will strengthen their hand in the meeting with the company which was set for this week.

But the union needs to step up support.

Send messages of support to [email protected] and donations to

Wendy Smith

Workers at York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust are being balloted for strikes against bosses’ plans to attack their jobs.

Bosses want to outsource 200 estates and maintenance workers to the Limited Liability Partnership, a wholly-owned subsidiary.

Some 77 percent of Unite union members backed industrial action in an indicative ballot earlier this month.

While the trust would remain the sole shareholder, it would allow bosses to undermine wages and terms and conditions.

Slashing the wage bill would make it more attractive for private companies—making it a bridgehead to fully-blown privatisation.

Strikes or the threat of strikes—notably at Wigan—forced bosses to back off from setting up similar schemes. The York ballot runs until Thursday of next week.

Opposing war

Over 100 people attended the annual general meeting of the Stop the War Coalition (STWC) in London on Saturday.

Delegates came from STWC groups across Britain to take part in sessions that included opposing war and racism in the era of Trump, and the Middle East, imperialism, occupation and war.

Many speakers pointed to the increased instability in the global system and said that Trump’s election had made the world a more dangerous place.

STWC convenor Lindsey German talked in the opening session of the tremendous turnout for the anti-Trump demonstration in July.

She said it showed the potential for future mobilisations.

Several motions passed expressed the importance of the STWC continuing its support for the struggle of the Palestinians.

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