Socialist Worker

Reports round-up—strike at Royal Palaces

Issue No. 2641

PCS and GMB union members on the picket line together

PCS and GMB union members on the picket line together (Pic: Guy Smallman)


GMB and PCS union members working for Historic Royal Palaces struck on Wednesday of last week over the closure of their pension scheme.

There were demonstrations outside the Tower of London and Hampton Court Palace.


Ferry workers put bosses in the dock

Workers on the Woolwich Ferry in south east London are to ballot for strikes. They are in dispute over pay, health and safety and staffing.

The 31 Unite union members employed by Briggs Marine Contractors are set to be balloted from 14 February.

They are fighting bosses’ refusal to grant a 6 percent pay increase for the year starting January 2019.

Workers are also angry at the imposition of new duties, and a lack of staffing.


Disciplinary victory on Yorkshire buses

Two unite union reps at First Yorkshire buses have been reinstated following a successful appeals procedure and the threat of strikes.

Plans to ballot 3,500 bus drivers for action have now been called off.


Strikes follow two pay rises in 14 years

Print workers at CPI William Clowes were set to strike for a fourth time on Wednesday this week

The Unite union members have been given just two pay rises in the last 14 years, and are threatening more strikes in the future.

Some 75 workers at the workplace in Suffolk are fighting for an improvement to the bosses’ “offer” of a two-year pay freeze from April 2018.


Anger in Angus after shift on shifts

Around 140 workers at Angus council, east Scotland, could be heading for strikes after bosses attacked their working patterns.

Unite union members in environmental services face an extension of the working day that would mean moving to two shifts.

In a consultative ballot, workers voted by 98 percent to move to a full legal ballot.


Council is sunk by Glasgow pool battle

A community campaign against the closure of a local swimming pool and other leisure services in Dennistoun in the east end of Glasgow has scored a brilliant and quick victory.

The SNP-led council had been considering the closure of Whitehill Pool and Drumchapel Pool.

But it was forced into a U-turn following the launch of a campaign after a meeting of over 200 people.

The threat to the Whitehill and Drumchapel pools has been lifted for this year.

Activists have vowed to keep campaigning to demand guarantees of investment for the future.

Mark Brown


hospital workers from Kingston in south west London plan to protest outside the ISS multinational corporation’s headquaters on Tuesday of next week.

The GMB union members, who are outsourced to ISS, are demanding the right to sick pay.

They have already held three lunchtime protests.


Celebrate equal pay moves

unison and GMB union members in Glasgow were celebrating last Thursday as the city’s council signed off on an equal pay deal brokered with trade unions.

The £550 million deal is a major breakthrough in a dispute that’s raged for

12 years as women workers have fought against an unequal pay structure.

It follows a 48-hour strike by 8,000 workers in care, cleaning, education and catering workers. Workers are set to receive a letter in May with an amount they will receive under the deal.

But so far strikers have been offered very little opportunity by their unions to discuss the terms of the deal collectively.

It was solid strikes that brought the council back to the negotiating table.

Workers need to be ready to fight together for more if their settlements are not good enough.


Home care workers keep up struggle in Birmingham

Home carers in Birmingham leafletted the ward of Labour council leader Ian Ward during their strike last Saturday.

The council is trying to impose cuts up to £4,100 a year on an already low-paid workforce. The Unison union members have struck for over 60 days against council plans to force them onto part time hours. The decision has been referred to the council’s scrutiny committee which are set to review it.

Workers plan more strikes on Sunday and 23 February.


Bin workers set to strike

Bin workers in Birmingham are set to return to the picket lines next Tuesday over blacklisting by council bosses.

The Unite union members plan to strike for two days every week for the next five weeks.

The union said they are fighting “secret payments” made by council bosses to GMB union members who didn’t take part in strikes in 2017.

The 300 workers have been operating a work to rule since 29 December.

Unite is seeking an injunction to stop council bosses running bin wagons that are short staffed and without safety critical workers on them.


To strike or not to strike is question in Tower Hamlets

Council workers in Tower Hamlets, east London, are preparing to fight a raft of attacks on their working conditions.

The Labour-run council wants to impose new contracts that would see a longer working week for less pay.

It claims the “Tower Rewards” proposals are a “new approach to pay and reward”.

The plans would see a one hour increase to the working week and an end to automatic incremental progression through pay scales.

It comes alongside drastic cuts to severance pay and travel allowances and restrictions on flexible working.

Overtime rates are also set to be slashed, and unsociable hours rates to be reduced.

Tom, an education worker in Tower Hamlets, described the plans as a “massive attack on terms and conditions.”

He said, “People work unofficial overtime anyway and are really angry about that. The introduction of performance related pay will put a lot of pressure on people.

“We don’t feel we do jobs that are neatly measurable, we support students with complex needs, and that’s not just something that can be put in a box.”

Workers are planning mass meetings. They should be prepared to strike.


Council workers in Lambeth, south London, are declaring victory after the threat of a 24-hour strike forced bosses to cave in.

Unison union members in the civic centre were fighting for proper implementation of the council’s flexible working agreements.


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