Socialist Worker

Reports round up: Royal Mail workers hold unofficial walkouts in Medway and Paisley

Issue No. 2653

On strike in Medway

On strike in Medway


Workers at two Royal Mail offices walked out unofficially last week.

Members of the CWU union struck at the Medway mail centre in Kent and a delivery office in Paisley, Scotland.

CWU officials said the workers in Medway had taken action against the “unacceptable behaviour” of Royal Mail managers.

And the union’s Glasgow and District Amal branch praised the strikers in Paisley for “acting as a union to defend each other”.

The walkouts came after CWU members threatened to strike over issues including bullying, with a vote at their national postal conference last week.

The motion said that there is a “growing toxic workplace culture” in Royal Mail offices. It said the CWU could launch a national ballot for industrial action if an agreement signed between union leaders and bosses last year broke down.


Trade unionists marked International Workers’ Day in Leeds last Saturday. It was one of dozens of May Day marches across Britain this week

Trade unionists marked International Workers’ Day in Leeds last Saturday. It was one of dozens of May Day marches across Britain this week (Pic: Neil Terry)


Sandwell workers win a pay rise

Workers at Sandwell council in the West Midlands are celebrating after winning a pay regrade.

Customer service assistants—members of the Unite and Unison unions—were set to begin action short of a strike and threatened walkouts.

Workers accepted a new offer of an extra £4,000 a year, with two days additional leave.


Union recognised on HS2 project

The TSSA has won the first union recognition agreement for workers constructing the HS2 rail line.

Some 1,200 workers are directly employed by the HS2 Ltd.

They are building the railway link that is set to connect ten of Britain’s largest cities.


Oil refinery bosses back down on jobs

Threats of strikes at an oil refinery in Ellesmere Port made bosses guarantee that there would be no compulsory redundancies.

Unite union members at Essar Oil’s Stanlow plant voted by 98 percent to strike. The turnout was 93 percent.

Some 155 workers were at risk of redundancy.

Bosses had announced a plan to decommission several parts of the operation.


Rochdale housing workers balloted

Housing workers in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, are set to be balloted for strikes over low pay.

Some 170 Unite union members at Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH) have seen their pay cut by 21 percent over recent years.

RBH—which manages 13,500 homes—could see strikes in June after the ballot closes on 29 May.


Library workers could walk out

Library workers in Bromley, south east London, are balloting for strikes over pay.

The 45 Unite union members are demanding a 6 percent pay increase and wages owed.

They are employed by outsourcer Greenwich Leisure Limited.

Workers are also fighting against understaffing and bosses asking them to be managers without paying the correct rate for the job.

The fight is part of the union’s campaign against Greenwich Leisure Limited.

The outsourcer has contracts in 16 London boroughs.


Cleaners’ walkout at government office

Outsourced workers at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in central London struck for two days from last Wednesday.

The PCS union members at the FCO struck over redundancies, changes to pay dates and attacks on holiday and sick pay.

The union is demanding that ministers intervene to secure jobs and bring the outsourced workers back in house.

It reported that 100 percent of its members struck on both days of the strike. PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said, “Interserve should never have been awarded the contract.

“Ministers cannot escape the blame for this situation.

They should have learned from the disaster at Carillion that contracting-out doesn’t make sense financially.

“Jobs at the FCO and elsewhere must be brought back in-house as soon as possible.”

ncleaning workers at the Lyceum Theatre in central London have won a pay rise from the minimum wage of £7.83 an hour to £10 an hour.

On Saturdays they are set to get £20 an hour.

Meanwhile, cleaners at Goldsmiths university in south London have been brought in-house.

It is the culmination of a long fight for the workers who protested to raise awareness of their campaign.

It means workers will have improved sick pay, holiday pay, better pay and more holidays.


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