Socialist Worker

Reports round up: Bin workers should refuse to take any rubbish from council

Issue No. 2644

The strike was solid in Birmingham

The strike was solid in Birmingham (Pic: Unite union on Twitter)


 

Birmingham bin workers were set to strike on Friday—and their Unite union plans further strikes on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.

They are fighting over payments made to GMB union members, who didn’t strike during an industrial dispute in 2017.

Unite members only heard about the payments, estimated to be up to £4,000, when their GMB colleagues told them.

Unite suspended two walkouts last week and a further walkout this Monday for talks with council bosses.

The union and the Labour-run Birmingham City Council have been locked in a legal battle over the dispute.

The council attempted to use Tory union laws to block the strikes after some 325 bin workers struck for two days last month.

Meanwhile, Unite sought an injunction over the bosses’ implementation of an agreement after industrial action in 2017. That deal was meant to ensure that bin lorries had experienced grade 3 bin workers on them.

But the union said the council is running bin services without grade 3 workers on them—creating an unsafe working environment.

Workers are balloting for action over the implementation of the 2017 deal—and should be prepared to come out to defend themselves.

The union shouldn’t call off the current action—strikes make bosses listen.


Taxi drivers take out legal challenge to Sadiq Khan

Private hire taxi drivers have launched a legal challenge to Transport for London’s (TfL) congestion charge for minicabs.

Lawyers for the workers’ IWGB union will argue that the extension of the charge to drivers is in breach of the Equality Act.

Black-cab drivers, the majority of who are white, will continue to be exempt.

But minicab workers—94 percent of who are black—will have to pay the £11.50 daily charge.

Employers should be made to pay the charge.

But TfL would have to stop letting firms such as Uber treat workers with contempt through bogus self-employment status.

And it will not do that without a fight. Yaseen Aslam is the United Private Hire Drivers branch secretary of the IWGB.

“Four years ago I decided to take Uber to court because it was unlawfully depriving me of my basic employment rights,” he said.

“I didn’t imagine then, that years later I would be forced to take legal action against mayor of London Sadiq Khan for introducing a policy that discriminates against our community.

“We hope the mayor sees sense and scraps this policy that promises to push thousands of drivers into deeper poverty.”

The IWGB has launched a crowdfunding campaign for its legal challenge bit.ly/IWGBTaxis

Activists are angry after Greens vote with Tories

Green Party councillors in Scarborough voted for Tory budget cuts last Friday in an apparent bid to secure funding for the “climate emergency”.

The North Yorkshire council declared a climate emergency in January after pressure from environmental campaigners.

The council agreed minimal climate funding of £80,000 over two years to be absorbed into “climate work”. The climate emergency motion had called for funding for a sustainability officer.

The Greens’ actions have angered local campaigners.

Stephanie Pride, a member of Extinction Rebellion and Frack Free Scarborough, said she was “very disappointed” with the Greens.

“Opponents spoke very well, highlighting the social justice issues that should be at the forefront of environmental politics,” she said.


Sudan solidarity protests

Around 100 Sudanese people and their supporters joined a vibrant protest in Bristol last Saturday.

It was called in solidarity with the struggle against the regime of Omar al-Bashir in Sudan.

Sudanese women and men assembled outside the city hall where a major International Women’s Day event was being held.

This was appropriate as women are playing a leading role in the Sudanese struggle.

Labour Party councillors and a member of the Socialist Workers Party spoke alongside Sudanese people living in Bristol.

Meanwhile, around 40 Sudanese people and their supporters protested in Liverpool on the same day.

Demonstrations have also taken place in London, Manchester and Norwich.

Thanks to Salena Williams and Michael Grisenthwaite


Housing conference takes on landlords

Housing campaigners are gearing up for a conference on 30 March.

The event, supported by Generation Rent and the Unite union, will focus on issues facing private renters and homeless people.

Speakers are set to include Dr Jackie Turner from Doctors in Unite, Eileen Short from the Homes for All campaign and Guardian columnist Dawn Foster.

Sat 30 March, 10am. Unite the Union, 33-37 Moreland Street, London EC1V 8BB

Lift workers push button for action

About 400 lift engineers, employed by Otis Ltd, are set for six weeks of strikes over the next three months after rejecting bosses’ pay offer of 1.5 percent.

The first week’s strike runs from 13 to 20 March.


Baggage handlers sack off walkouts

The Unite union suspended a planned seven-day strike by baggage handlers and check-in staff at London Luton Airport after bosses made a new pay offer.

The workers, employed by GH London Ground Handling Services, are set to vote on a revised offer.


Hunger could strike at British Airways

Unite union members at Alpha Flight—food and drink suppliers for British Airways—voted by 98 percent to strike over pay allowances.

Workers are set to strike from 3am on 27 March until 12 midnight on 28 March.


Car part workers defend penssions

Over 400 Unite union members at Delphi Technologies are preparing to ballot for strikes over bosses’ attacks on their pensions.

Workers are based at two sites in Gillingham, as well as Stonehouse in Gloucestershire and Warwick.


Struggle could take off in Dundee

Air traffic controllers at Dundee Airport have voted for strikes over pay. They could walk out from April after an 89 percent vote for strikes on an 86 percent turnout.


Strikes to derail pensions attack

Freightliner rail company workers are set to strike over pensions on Friday 15 March.

RMT and Aslef union members will walk out together. And Aslef members, who voted overwhelmingly for strikes, are planning a` further walkout on 29 March.


Benefit workers plan strike 

Workers in the West Midlands who manage people’s claims for the Universal Credit benefit are set to strike on Monday and Tuesday of next week.

Members of the PCS union in Walsall and Wolverhampton say understaffing is causing a backlog of work—meaning claims and payments can be delayed. This causes misery for claimants.


Security walkout in parliament 

Parliamentary security staff have voted to strike in a dispute over rest breaks, settlements for longstanding personal cases and the reinstatement of a worker.

Members of the PCS union voted by 87 percent for strikes on a turnout of 63 percent.

Tax office ballot in west London 

A strike ballot by workers over the closure of an HMRC tax office in Ealing, west London, has ended. The result was expected this week.


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