Socialist Worker

Reports round up: Workers at Burton’s won’t let bosses take the biscuit

Issue No. 2723

Roz Foyer, STUC union federation general secretary, joined the picket line

Roz Foyer, STUC union federation general secretary, joined the picket line (Pic: STUC video)


Workers who make some of people’s favourite biscuit brands have made an appeal for financial support in their fight against low pay.

The GMB union members at Burton’s biscuit factory in Edinburgh were set to strike on Wednesday—their third walkout this month.

Benny Rankin, a GMB Scotland organiser, said, “Our members seek your vital support to help alleviate the financial hardship being incurred because of the fight they are undertaking.

“Their employer is refusing to talk about improving a derisory 1.6 percent pay offer.

“We are now entering the 9th week of the company’s refusal to respond to our requests to enter meaningful negotiations.”

Roz Foyer, STUC union federation general secretary, joined the picket line on Wednesday of last week.

“The workers here have been treated abysmally by the bosses at this company,” she said.

“And given that these are ‘key workers’ that have worked all the way through the lockdown, that is an absolute insult. They have come in day in day out to keep this company making profits.

“The directors in this company got a 33 percent pay rise in 2018 and yet they are refusing to give this workforce their ask of a 7 percent pay rise.

Cheques to GMB Scotland. Send a covering letter making clear that the payment is to support the dispute. GMB union Fountain House, 1 Woodside Crescent, Charing Cross, Glasgow G3 7UJ

More action in Brighton

Workers at Brighton and Hove’s housing repairs department plan a ten-day strike over sick pay and terms and conditions from Monday of next week.

The GMB union members already struck for five days at the beginning of this month.

Mark Turner, GMB branch secretary, said the council should use the pause in industrial action to “come to the table with their own realistic offer if they don’t like the GMB’s viable solution for sick pay fairness”.

“But it needs to not be based on enforcing a pay cut upon anyone looking to gain sick pay, as the management team remain adamant would need to happen.”

“Our members remain clear—we’ll stay away until we all have sick pay.”


TUC union conference slams Israeli apartheid

The coronavirus crisis was a major theme at the TUC union federation’s virtual conference last week.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said, “It takes a whole community to beat a pandemic.

“It can’t just be done from Westminster corridors or company boardrooms.

“We all have to play our part.

“Yet some in the Establishment behave as if there’s one rule for them, and another for everybody else.

“And, too often, ministers struggle to imagine lives that are unlike their own.”

She warned chancellor Rishi Sunak as he plans to scrap the job retention scheme, saying, “Stand by working families —don’t walk away. Unions will fight for every job.

Meanwhile, the conference passed a motion slamming Israeli attempts to annex more Palestinian land in the West Bank. It described the Israeli moves as “illegal” and a “significant step in the creation of a system of apartheid”.

The conference passed another motion against transphobia.

It said that attempts to paint trans women as a threat to women and children is “reminiscent of homophobic lies of the past and we reject this”.

The motion also backed reform of the Gender Recognition Act.


Bus worker wins reinstatement

Bus Workers at Manchester’s Queens Road depot in are celebrating after Coin Hayden, a sacked union rep, was allowed to return to work this week.

It follows several early morning protests that stopped buses from leaving the depot.

But the Unite union members at the Go North West company still have a serious fight on their hands.

Bosses want to fire and rehire them on worse contracts.

The 477 workers stand to lose thousands of pounds in the move.


Cardiff bus bosses plan huge job cuts

Bosses at the Cardiff Bus firm are pushing ahead with swingeing job cuts.

More than 20 percent of workers at the municipal bus company—owned by the Labour-run council—are facing the sack after a consultation process started last week.

Management said the end of the furlough scheme and lower passenger numbers were to blame.

But workers shouldn’t be made to pay with their livelihoods for this crisis.


Tube workers back industrial action

Aslef union members on the London Underground have overwhelmingly backed industrial action if bosses try to drive through changes to their terms and conditions.

The workers voted for industrial action by 95 percent on a 70 percent turnout.

Finn Brennan, an Aslef organiser, said, “This ballot result sends a very clear message that our members will not accept agreements being broken or Covid-19 being used as an excuse to attack our terms and conditions.”


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