Socialist Worker

Reports round up: Strikers pile on pressure at Westex carpets

Issue No. 2682

Westex pickets are determined to win

Westex pickets are determined to win (Pic: Martin Jones )

Workers at Westex Carpets in Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire, are on all-out indefinite strike over pay.

The Unite union members have rejected a 2.2 percent offer.

The firm then withdrew the offer, pleading poverty and saying it was implementing a pay freeze.

The workers do not believe the poverty argument.

They know that Westex has been making profits of over £5 million a year.

There have been lively picket lines with about six to eight people during the day and bigger pickets on the nightshift.

There has been some success in turning people back.

Over 15 workers have joined the union so they can take part in the strike.

Westex was taken over by Victoria PLC a few years ago. Victoria PLC is run by Geoff Wilding, who in 2018 was reported to have a fortune of £285 million.

This is another reason why the workers do not take the protestations of poverty seriously.

Martin Jones

Unions unite in Brighton

Workers at Moulsecoomb Primary School in Brighton struck on Thursday of last week against plans to turn the school into an academy.

The walkout saw NEU and GMB union members hold big picket lines outside the school. The unions delivered unanimous votes for strikes on full turnouts, as did workers in the Unison union.

Unison members are set to strike at a later date.

The school is set to be taken over by the New Horizons trust after the Ofsted schools inspectorate rated it “inadequate”.

Workers and parents oppose the plan and have formed a Hands Off Moulsecoomb campaign.

Councillors from all parties in Brighton and Hove have also voted to oppose the academy plan. The trust was previously forced to hand back another school it had taken over in Worthing after over half the workers there resigned.

Send messages of support to [email protected]

NEU union members at Roe Green Infants & Strathcona school in Brent, west London, were set to hold their seventh strike over compulsory redundancies on Wednesday.

NEU union members at St Catherine’s Catholic School for Girls were set to strike on Thursday of this week. Workers at the south east London school are challenging what they call bullying from the head teacher.

Bootle cleaners want £10

Outsourced cleaners at HMRC tax offices in Liverpool and Bootle began a three-day strike on Monday of this week.

The members of the PCS union are demanding bosses at private contractor ISS pay them a wage of £10 an hour. They also want equivalent working conditions to workers employed directly by HMRC.

ISS bosses have refused to listen to workers’ demands, after strikes in July, August and September.

But strikers say they’re determined to keep going. Striking cleaner Maria told Socialist Worker, “Everyone’s getting a bit pissed off with ISS now—but we still want to keep striking.”

They plan another strike from Monday to Tuesday next week.

Meanwhile, workers at an HMRC tax office in Ealing, west London, are set to strike in December against the closure of their workplace.

They voted by 95 percent to strike in a ballot that ended last week—the second successful strike vote in their long-running campaign.

Protest stops Slovak fascists’ meeting

Anti-fascists, including dozens of Roma people, halted a planned gathering of the fascist People’s Party—Our Slovakia (LSNS) in central London last Saturday.

The Sinti Holocaust Memorial Trust and Unite Against Fascism called the counter-protest. Earlier in the week, pressure from anti-fascists in Britain and Slovakia saw a Slovak LSNS MP and MEP pull out from speaking at the meeting.

The LSNS has Nazi roots and its members have been involved in vicious anti-Roma persecution.

Paul Sillett

Coventry university appraisals action

UCU union members at Coventry university struck on Tuesday over a new appraisal system.

It was the first of five planned walkouts following a successful strike on Thursday of last week. Union members are fighting a system that makes it harder for them to get pay rises than staff at other institutions.

Workers planned further strikes on Friday of this week, and on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.

Determined fights over library cuts

Library and museum workers in West Yorkshire plan a week-long walkout from Monday of next week.

The Unite union members in Braford are fighting against the Labour-run council’s plans to push through nearly £2 million in cuts by 2021.

Meanwhile, library workers in Bromley, south east London, remain on indefinite strike. Unite union members are fighting subcontractor GLL’s plans to slash 35 percent of frontline jobs.


Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.