Socialist Worker

Reports round-up: Hackney drivers walk out, gritters vote for action and more

Issue No. 2683

trade unionists in Hackney, east London, last week supported a strike by drivers and escorts who take disabled children to and from school. The Unite union members are now re-balloting to continue their action

Trade unionists in Hackney, east London, last week supported a strike by drivers and escorts who take disabled children to and from school. The Unite union members are now re-balloting to continue their action (Pic: Janis Krumins)


True grit in Carmarthen

Workers who grit roads in west Wales have voted to strike.

Over 75 percent of GMB union members working for Carmarthenshire council highways department backed action.

Unison members also voted Yes and Unite members are expected to support strikes too.

There has been a long-running dispute between unions and the council over rates of pay for staff carrying out winter gritting duties.

Over 80 workers could strike if all three unions back industrial action.

The GMB said strikes could mean “a blanket ban on winter gritting duties” causing roads across south Wales to “grind to a halt”.

The union said Carmarthenshire had “some of the worst terms and conditions” for gritting staff.


Lincolnshire battle rumbles on

About 70 health visitors in Lincolnshire are continuing their near month-long strike in a continuing dispute over pay and standards.

The strike by members of the Unite union began on18 November and is set to continue until 13 December.

The union said workers were significantly worse off since being transferred from the NHS in 2017.

According to the union, some workers stood to lose £150,000 over the duration of their careers due to a two-tier grading system introduced by the Tory-led authority.

This, it said, discriminated against some staff by placing them in the lower pay band and limiting their chances of progression, despite them having the same qualifications as those in the higher tier.

Steve Syson, regional officer for the union, said workers stuck in the lower tier would be £4,000 worse off a year.

Tweet solidarity to @UniteEastMids

Battle for guards on West Mids Trains

Workers on West Midlands Trains struck for a third time on Saturday, in an effort to halt the rollout of driver-only operated services.

The RMT union members are battling the imposition of trains which limit the safety role of the guards.

This move makes train travel unsafe and inaccessible, in particular for passengers needing assistance to board services.

They are planning to strike for every Saturday until the end of the year.

And on Northern Rail, workers voted by 95 percent to continue talks to reach a settlement to guarantee the long-term future of the guard.


Kirklees Unison officers suspended

The Kirklees branch of the Unison union was put into regional supervision on Monday. Branch secretary Paul Holmes was suspended by his employer.

Paul was also suspended by Unison under its “Rule I” alongside chair Nick Ruff and assistant branch secretary Cath Kinder.

Rule I has been used in the past against left wingers in the union.


Keep the Overground ticket offices open

Workers on the London Overground are set to start a strike ballot over plans to slash station ticket offices.

Members of the RMT union were to begin voting on Friday this week on whether to fight the “all-out assault on ticket offices”. Arriva Rail London, which runs the network, wants to close most offices except between 7.30am-10am, Monday to Friday.

The ballot is set to close on 19 December. Workers should vote Yes to fight these plans.


Heating up at Bristol tumble dryer plant

Bosses at the Whirlpool factory in Bristol are in a spin after workers announced plans to hold two 24-hour walkouts.

Unite union members at the tumble dryer plant were set to strike on Thursday 12 December and 6 January.

They are demanding a pay increase of £1.25 an hour, which would take their hourly rate up to £10 an hour.


Vote over pay fight at Electric Mountain

The Unite union has begun balloting for strikes at the First Hydro power plants in Dinorwig and Ffestiniog in north Wales.

The ballot over pay ends on 9 December. Daryl Williams, Unite regional officer, said, “This ballot is a clear sign that our members’ patience with the company has run out.”


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