Socialist Worker

Sheffield delivery workers strike +Optare+Glasgow train guards+Richie Venton settlement win+Alstom strike

Issue No. 2733

Worker and supporters joined a picket line in Longsight, Manchester on Sunday

Worker and supporters joined a picket line in Longsight, Manchester on Sunday (Pic: Martin Empson)


Delivery workers in the IWGB union in Sheffield struck on Wednesday of last week to demand a living wage and an end to unfair sackings. 

Strikers formed a lively cavalcade of up to 20 cars that passed the food outlets the workers deliver for. 

On the strike day the Sheffield Deliveroo app told customers that there were “no couriers nearby”. In August Deliveroo decided to scrap a minimum per fee per job. Deliveroo workers formed the South Yorkshire Couriers Network in response. 

Abdirisak Hared, a courier based in Sheffield, said that their treatment at the hands of UberEats pushed them to take action. 

“In July I was terminated first by Deliveroo and then by UberEats. I’ll probably never know the exact reasons and I wasn’t given any chance to appeal or explain,” he said. 

Another worker, Mohamed Abdul, said, “I worked through lockdown without a single day off. 

“It was really frightening at times but the country was clapping for us and we knew we were needed.

“I’ve completed over 8,000 deliveries with a customer rating of 97-100 percent. 

“In August I was terminated by an automated email—no due process, no hearing, no chance.” 

Neither Deliveroo nor UberEats has to explain why a worker has been dismissed.

The IWGB has launched the #clappedandscrapped campaign to win support for a parliamentary motion for delivery workers’ rights.

Sophie Squire

For details of the motion go to bit.ly/IWGBmotion

Optare out for four days

Bus manufacturing workers near Leeds began a four-day walkout over pay on Tuesday.

Unite union members at the Optare plant have held a series of strikes over “broken promises” on pay.

Optare worker and Unite union member Kevin was due to speak alongside strikers from other disputes at an online rally on Tuesday night. 

The rally was organised by the People Before Profit group, It brings together Labour MPs, trade unionists and campaigners to resist the Tories’ and bosses’ attempts to make workers pay for the coronavirus crisis. 

Workers say solidarity has been key to keeping up their morale. 

Trade unionists and campaigners should raise money for the Optare strike fund. 

Donate to the strike fund. Account: Unite NE/200/1 Optare Branch. Account number: 20327132. Sort code: 60 83 01. Unity Trust bank

Glasgow train guards set to strike

Train guards in Glasgow struck last Sunday and were set to strike this Sunday. They are fighting against improper use of disciplinary procedures. 

The RMT union members work for Scotrail and plan six consecutive Sunday strikes. 

They are also refusing to work on rest days, undertake higher grade duties or overtime shifts. 

In addition, workers on the whole of Scotrail are campaigning to get a Yes vote in a strike ballot over pay. 

Nearly 2,500 workers are being balloted after bosses claim they are unable to afford to give a pay rise.


Venton wins a settlement

A shop steward sacked after fighting against cuts in workers’ sick pay has won a financial settlement against furniture giant Ikea.

Socialist Richie Venton was fired this year from the company’s Glasgow store after bosses claimed he “breached confidentiality” by warning staff of new sick pay rules before management announced them.

Ikea has now awarded Richie a payout rather than face an employment tribunal. But he has not won his job back.

The Reinstate Richie Venton Camapign said it was “a massive victory for the entire Ikea workforce, a victory for workers’ solidarity—although still at the price of Richie having no job and no wages since July”.

It also rightly criticised Usdaw union leaders who “point blank refused several calls to issue public declarations of support for Richie”—even though he was a member of its executive.


Pay action at Alstom sites

Over 30 strikers and supporters joined a picket line in Longsight, Manchester, last Sunday to support a strike by RMT union members employed by Alstom. 

The train maintenance workers were celebrated as key workers during the pandemic, but have been told that they cannot have a pay rise. 

But the freeze on pay doesn’t apply to everyone. 

One worker told Socialist Worker of their disgust when they were offered a “sandwich, packet of crisps and a can of pop” while managers received £1,500. 

“We refused the lunch,” he said. 

Michelle Rogers, RMT national president who joined the Longsight picket, told Socialist Worker there were strikes in London, Wolverhampton, Glasgow and Liverpool. 

The strikers were set to walk out again on Thursday and Friday this week.

Martin Empson


Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'


Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.