Socialist Worker

Workplace roundup: strike call at The Doctors Laboratory+Mcr airport+The Grange+The Giant agency

Issue No. 2704

IWGB union members marching in 2018

IWGB union members marching in 2018 (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Medical couriers that transport Covid-19 samples on behalf of NHS pathology contractor The Doctors Laboratory (TDL) are to ballot for strikes.

IWGB union members are angry at the company’s decision to make redundancies during the pandemic.

They also say it has failed to address health and safety concerns. TDL is preparing to make ten bicycle couriers and “walkers” redundant.

Couriers have been going into hospitals to pick up Covid-19 samples and deliver them to pathology labs.

TDL cycle courier and IWGB branch chair Alex Marshall said, “TDL’s hypocrisy knows no bounds.

“The company was sending emails asking people to clap for key workers on Thursday and then told us we’d be getting sacked on Friday.”


Giant problems for agency workers at Rolls-Royce

The Giant employment agency has been accused of “bad faith” after appearing to renege on a promise to furlough about 300 workers working on Rolls-Royce contracts in Derby and Washington in north east England.

It means they have not been paid for a month.

The Unite union said that Giant bosses had promised on 17 April that the workers would be furloughed under the government job retention scheme (JRS).

But workers had not received a penny in the last month, which had left them in dire financial straits. The union estimates that about 270 workers were on the Derby contract and 27 at Washington.

Unite regional coordinator Suzanne Reid, who represents members on assignments at Rolls-Royce Washington, said, “Giant agency workers have been left in the worst possible predicament.

“They have not received any wages for well over a month which is causing financial hardship for their families and impacting on their mental health.

“We have had mixed messages from the company over whether the JRS application is being progressed or not.

“It appears that they could be reneging on what was agreed in mid-April.”

The company said there was a lack of clarity over the treatment of agency workers from the government and that it was moving to make applications for furlough. Unite must keep up the pressure on the company.


Pay battle at Manchester airport

Construction workers at Manchester Airport have been “left high and dry, without pay” by the construction company JCK and the airport during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Greater Manchester’s ten councils have a 65 percent stake in the airport.

They are providing a £250 million package to support it. But they have so far failed to intervene on behalf of the workers.

The Unite union is demanding that the 70 workers get immediate financial support.

The construction of the Terminal 2 baggage handling system by Vanderlande was shut for safety reasons linked to coronavirus.

Mechanical engineers’ and electricians’ employment status means they are unable to access the government’s Covid-19 schemes.


The Range leaves workers angry over lack of safety

Shopworkers’ union Usdaw has expressed deep disappointment that retailer The Range continues to ignore staff complaints about a lack of social distancing in store.

Paddy Lillis, Usdaw’s general secretary, said, “A number of Usdaw members employed by The Range have contacted the union concerned about staff safety.

“I wrote to the company seeking a meeting to explore what additional preventative measures can be put in place to protect staff. To date I have not received a reply and I urge management to contact me as a matter of urgency to resolve the concerns of their staff.

“Usdaw and the British Retail Consortium have been working to develop advice and guidance on what effective safe distancing in the shops might look like.”

With such intransigent bosses, the union should urgently start organising action to protect lives


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