Socialist Worker

Reports round up: Test for bosses from Large Goods Vehicle examiners

Issue No. 2685

LGV Strikers on the Bredbury picket in Greater Manchester

LGV Strikers on the Bredbury picket in Greater Manchester (Pic: PCS union on Twitter)


Large Goods Vehicle driving examiners began a week-long strike on Monday of this week.

The PCS union members are involved in a long-running dispute with bosses at the Driving, Vehicle and Standards Agency (DVSA) over longer working days, staffing shortages and increasing workloads.

The strike follows a month-long walkout by IT workers in the DVSA in August.

The PCS said the latest action comes after talks at conciliation service Acas broke down as “management refused to meaningfully negotiate with reps”.

Send solidarity messages to Midsbargaining@pcs.org.uk
Donate to the strike fund— account number 20331490, sort code: 60-83-01, quote reference DVSA strike fund

Second tax office strike 

Workers at a west London tax office staged their second half-day strike in a month on Thursday of last week.

Members of the PCS union in Ealing are fighting over plans to close their office and relocate their jobs to a new site on the other side of the city. Many workers say the move could force them to take redundancy.

Meanwhile, members of the PCS union have re-elected Mark Serwotka as their general secretary.

He won 53 percent of the vote on a 19 percent turnout


Christmas strike in Bristol after a ‘heartless sacking’

Postal workers at a Royal Mail delivery office in Bristol are set to strike ahead of Christmas over the “callous and heartless” sacking of a colleague.

Members of the CWU union at the Kenysham delivery office voted to strike after bosses sacked Paul Hollow for absences from work after a series of personal tragedies.

Paul had depression after one family member died and another was diagnosed with cancer, leading him to take time off. When he returned, bosses sacked him claiming there were “no mitigating circumstances”.

Paul said the sacking left him “in shock”.

“We live pay cheque to pay cheque and now I don’t know how we will get through Christmas,” he added.

Workers were set to strike on Monday and Tuesday of next week.


Action wins big pay victory for Royal Parks workers

Park and toilet attendants across seven of the Royal Parks in London have won their fight for a pay rise.

Their pay will rise from the minimum wage of £8.21 an hour to the London Living Wage of £10.75.

The rise will also be backdated to 1 November and equates to a 31 percent increase, and an extra £5,000 per year.

The park attendants are members of the United Voices of the World (UVW) union.

They struck for two days in October. The decision to pay the living wage came just before workers were set to hold another strike.

Outsourced to multinational Vinci, the workers were also being denied annual leave.

Speaking after the announcement of the pay rise, one attendant said, “I have worked for the Royal Parks for nine years and in that time we have been paid poverty wages.

“It’s only fair that we are paid a wage we can really live on, but we shouldn’t have been forced to strike to get it. That said, we are absolutely delighted with our victory.”

UVW organiser Petros Elia said, “Many of our members have been dismissed by other unions as unorganisable.

“But they have proven once again that no matter what your job is, or where you’re from, if you get organised and strike then you can, and probably will, win.

“This is a victory for all workers everywhere who have been told that they don’t deserve more than the minimum wage.”


Ferry staff plan pay and racism strike

Woolwich ferry workers in south east London were due to strike on Thursday.

The action centres on workers’ calls to be paid the London living wage of £10.75 an hour

In addition, the Unite union members claim their employer failed to investigate after two workers reported a colleague repeatedly using a racial slur in the canteen.

Staff, employed by Briggs Marine, voted unanimously for the action.


Kirklees council has begun investigation

Kirklees council in West Yorkshire has begun its investigation in relation to the suspension of one of its employees, Paul Holmes.

Paul is also the branch secretary of Kirklees Unison union. He was suspended by the national union under its “Rule I” earlier in December.

Kirklees branch has also been put into regional supervision. Chair Nick Ruff and assistant branch secretary Cath Kinder were also suspended by Unison.

Felixstowe battle over outsourcing

Engineering workers at Felixstowe docks in Suffolk have voted overwhelmingly for strikes.

The 110 Unite union members at the Felixstowe Dock and Railway Company, are fighting against plans to transfer their jobs to a subcontractor. They voted by 98 percent for strikes and unanimously for industrial action short of a strike.


Support Bromley library strikers

Unite union members have raised over £20,000 in under a week for library workers on indefinite strike in Bromley, south east London.

The library workers have been out since the summer against subcontractor GLL’s plans to slash frontline staff.

Every trade unionist should donate to their strike to make sure the workers aren’t now forced back.

Donate to the strike fund—account name Bromley Unite LE/531, account number 20272821, sort code 60-83-01

Deal rejected in Tower Hamlets

Workers in Tower Hamlets, east London, have rejected attacks on their terms and conditions.

The Tower Rewards programme included plans to increase the working week and end automatic incremental pay progression.

Months of negotiations and workers’ mass meetings have pushed bosses back on some elements. But they have threatened to terminate contracts in 2020.

GMB, Unite and Unison union members have rejected the plans. The NEU union is holding an indicative ballot on a threat to severance pay.


Big action vote at Welsh power plants

An overwhelming vote for strikes could electrify the fight for higher pay at First Hydro power stations in north Wales.

Unite union members at the Dinorwig and Ffestiniog plants backed strikes by 97 percent and action short of strikes by 99 percent.

The union says it will be announcing dates for strikes soon unless bosses offer a much better deal.


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