Socialist Worker

Fights for jobs by tanker drivers and at Rolls-Royce

Issue No. 2727

Former Rolls-Royce workers backing the campaign against job losses

Former Rolls-Royce workers backing the campaign against job losses


Two fights for jobs—wins can boost more

Fuel tanker drivers employed by Hoyer Petrolog UK have overwhelmingly voted for strikes over job cuts.

The workers are based at the Stanlow oil refinery in Cheshire and their first strike is set for Monday 2 November.

The workers, who are members of the Unite union, returned an overwhelming 96 percent vote in favour of action.

Hoyer wants to make six of the 28 drivers employed on the contract redundant, despite them having worked throughout the pandemic.

The company is now increasingly using agency drivers.

After the yes vote was announced, Unite gave Hoyer a final opportunity to withdraw its redundancy proposals. When bosses refused the union named a series of strike dates.

Unite has announced a total of 14 strike days on 2, 4, 6, 9, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 20, 23, 25, 27 November.

Among the high profile Hoyer customers that are set to be hit are Shell, Esso, BP, and Liverpool John Lennon airport.


Rolls-Royce workers at Barnoldswick in Lancashire have voted overwhelmingly for strikes to save jobs.

In August bosses said they wanted to move production of its Trent Engine blades, from Barnoldswick to Singapore. This would mean the loss of 350 jobs.

The workers, who are members of the Unite union, voted 94 percent for action. Unite was set to announce strike dates this week unless offshoring was withdrawn.

Rolls-Royce is currently asking for £1 billion from the British government.

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It must not receive a penny unless all job cuts are ruled out.

Unite regional officer Ross Quinn said, “It is simply immoral for Rolls-Royce to ask the government for financial support and then use that money to make workers redundant and offshore their jobs abroad.”

In recent years, Barnoldswick workers have accepted changes to shifts and terms and conditions and hundreds of voluntary redundancies.

At the start of the pandemic workers accepted a 10 percent pay cut. This has failed to save jobs.

What’s needed now is strikes, a mass campaign and an internationalist approach.


Bus builders and drivers fight for pay and safety

Bus-building workers in Yorkshire are set to strike again against bosses’ failures to implement a pay rise.

Unite union members at bus manufacturer Optare struck for 48-hours last week. They were due to stage a second 48-hour strike from midnight on Wednesday this week.

They are planning to follow up the action with two more 48-hour walkouts alongside an overtime ban.

Workers at the factory in Sherburm in Elmet near Leeds said they were promised a pay increase.

Bosses have refused to honour an earlier pledge to implement a rise by November last year.

Optare, which is owned by billionaire brothers Srichand, Gopichand and Prakash Hinduja, can afford to pay the workers.


London bus drivers are working hard to deliver a blistering ballot result at the Metroline firm, which plans to make their jobs more dangerous.

Unite members across the capital are fighting the imposition of “remote sign on” for working beginning their shifts.

It means that no checks will be done to see if the driver is healthy enough for the service, and workers will begin and end their shifts at random bus stops—not in the depot.

The ballot will close on 26 October. Workers should pull out all the stops to halt this remote sign on chaos.


Get votes in for Holmes

Members of the Unison union are preparing to vote for socialist candidate Paul Holmes in the general secretary election.

Labour Party member and long-time activist Paul has already received unprecedented support in his bid to succeed outgoing general secretary Dave Prentis.

Voting opens from next Wednesday.

Paul’s campaign is asking all branches that nominated him to now pin their 100-word statement on why they nominated him to the top of their social media.

Unison members should fight tooth-and-nail to get ballots mailed in to support Paul in turning the union into one led by members.

For details of the campaign go to facebook.com/Paul4GenSec   Paul’s fundraising page is at gofundme.com/f/paul4gensec

Free travel is under threat

Tory ministers are demanding that Transport for London cuts free travel, extends the congestion charge zone and raises fares in return for a bailout package.

Sky News reports that the price for the funding will be the elimination of the remaining free travel for under-18s and over-60s.

During the pandemic the government has already enforced cutbacks to previous free travel concessions.

The Tories’ plans are a huge assault. A spokesperson for the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said the measure, “would be totally unacceptable and the mayor would not ask Londoners to accept them”.

Those words need to be turned quickly into a mass campaign.


Resistance needed as the jobs slaughter accelerates

The Edinburgh Woollen Mill chain could be closed with only the Peacocks brand partially saved under billionaire boss Philip Day’s plans.

Up to 24,000 jobs are at risk at Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group—which also owns Peacocks, Jaeger, Ponden Mill and Austin Reed—as the retailer teeters on the brink of collapse.

The group filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators, a legal document that provides protection from creditors for ten days.

Day had until Thursday this week to secure a rescue package.

The deal would shut Peacocks’ worst-performing stores and could also see Edinburgh Woollen Mill, which has about 260 stores shut down.


About 450 jobs—more than half the workforce—are to be cut at the Birmingham-based NEC Group.

The firm runs five venues including the National Exhibition Centre.


Toy retailer Hamleys is shedding more than a quarter of its workforce in London.

Bosses confirmed this week that 60 of the 208 staff working in the Regent Street store and head office building would go.


The coffee and sandwich shop chain Pret a Manger announced a second wave of store closures in London with the loss of 400 jobs.


All roads must lead to action

Road maintenance workers are considering industrial action in response to the “union busting” tactics of construction giant Amey.

The company was awarded the Area 10 highways management contract in 2019. It covers the M6, M60, M67, M66, M56, M57, M58, M602, M61, M62, M53 , M65 and a number of major A roads.

The workers do maintenance and respond to accidents ensuring that motorways can reopen quickly.

During the winter the jobs include gritting to keep the roads ice free.

People Before Profit launch emergency jobs programme
People Before Profit launch emergency jobs programme
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The Unite union has a recognition agreement with the employer and has a very high density of membership.

A new management team took over earlier this year. Bosses have stated that the only way to make money on the contract is to reduce workers’ pay and conditions.

Now Amey is attempting to end the union recognition on the contract and reduce the number of elected workplace representatives. It has already started to attack workers’ conditions.

Unite regional co-ordinating officer Andy Fisher said, “Industrial action will cause incredible disruption across the North West of England.

“However, Amey needs to understand that Unite will not allow its members to be treated in this manner.”


Offer to accept pay cuts doesn’t take off at airport

An offer by the Unite union for workers to accept pay cuts has been rejected by Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL) bosses. They want even bigger attacks.

The union’s members are currently balloting for industrial action over a scheme that will see around 4,000 people lose up to £8,000 a year.

Last week Unite proposed all workers return their £700 airport profit bonus.

Directors would return theirs too, as would chief executive John Holland Kaye.

He was contractually entitled to a £565,965 bonus and a “share in success” payment of over £1 million due to be paid in August. Shareholders would also have been expected to return the £100 million of dividends paid to them earlier this year.

Unite also offered that the majority of staff—aside from new starters on lower rates of pay—would have their pay rates revert back to December 2019 levels.

Predictably the offer only encouraged management to double down on their cuts.

The strike ballot closes on 5 November.

The focus has to be on organising resistance, not offering cuts that seem to accept at least part of the case that the bosses are making.

Back the emergency action programme for jobs, services and safety. Go to peoplebefore-profit.co

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