Socialist Worker

Wilko sick pay cuts scandal + Universal Credit protests + Cleaners fight + Hospitals pay battle + Hackney education strikes

Issue No. 2740

Protesting n Chesterfield

Protesting in Chesterfield (Pic: James Eaden)


High street giant Wilko is disgracefully planning to cut sick pay for tens of thousands of its workers.

The company plans to stop sick pay after the first day of sickness from Monday this week.

Gary Carter, GMB national officer, said, “Employees will be pushed into poverty because they won’t be able to pay their bills if they are sick.”

People Before Profit activists protested against the move in Chesterfield, Manchester and Clowne last week.

The company only narrowly avoided strikes in 2019 when 1,800 workers planned to walk out over new rotas.


Universal Credit protests

Disabled People Against Cuts, the Homes For All campaign and People Before Profit are calling a national day of action this Saturday to fight plans to scrap the £20 uplift to Universal Credit.

The government plans to scrap the increase at the beginning of April.

Benefits should be increased, not cut.

Details here


Cleaners fight

Outsourced cleaning workers, members of the UVW union, at La Retraite Roman Catholic Girls’ School in south London have begun a strike ballot.

Union members, all of whom are migrants from Latin America, are fighting plans by the school to cut over 800 hours of work.

The union says it is “appalling” that contractor Ecoleen hadn’t done any risk assessments of the school with cleaners until January.

Cleaner Juan Tamayo said, “We fear for our health and that of the vulnerable people we live with.”


Blackburn and Burnley hospitals pay fight

Security guards at Blackburn and Burnley hospitals are balloting for strikes in a fight over pay.

The Unison union members work for private firm Engie and earn well below NHS Agenda for Change pay rates.

The union is calling for NHS pay rates, without a change to shift patterns.

Tweet protest messages to @EngieGroup and support to @NorthWestUNISON Sign the petition at bit.ly/NHS0102

Hackney education strikes

Two groups of education workers in east London plan to hold three-day strikes from 10 February.

Walkouts by teaching support staff will hit Colvestone primary school and the Thomas Fairchild community school in Hackney.

The Unite union members are fighting plans that could put over 18 jobs at risk.

Some 32 drivers and passenger assistants who take disabled children to and from school will also take action over health and safety.

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said, “Hopefully the dovetailing of these two disputes will concentrate minds. Our members should not pay the price for the Covid-19 pandemic.”


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