Socialist Worker

Manchester and London bus strikes +Sage care + Chivas + Devonport + Brush electrical

Issue No. 2752

Solid on the picket line in Manchester

Solid on the picket line in Manchester (Pic: Unite North West)


Around 400 bus workers at Go North West in Manchester are in the ninth week of an indefinite strike against fire and rehire.

Bosses want to impose an inferior contract leaving them £2,500 a year worse off.

  • London United bus drivers in the west and south of the capital in the Unite union have suspended strikes after a new offer from RATP company bosses.
  • Carers and cleaning workers at Sage care home in north London are heading back to the picket lines after returning a 100 percent Yes vote to strike.

The members of the UVW union, who are mostly migrant workers, started striking last year to demand a living wage and sick pay

They are also striking for trade union recognition for their chosen union, the UVW.

Donate to the strike fund at bit.ly/sagecarehomefund

  • Unite union members at Chivas Brothers are being balloted for strikes after talks over pay broke down.

The firm employs around 1,600 workers.

In December 2020, workers voted by 91 percent to reject a pay offer that equates to a pay freeze.

If the vote is for strikes, action could hit the company’s Kilmalid, Strathclyde Grain Distillery, Southern Operations and Northern Operations from the middle of May.

  • Tugboat crews at Devonport naval base in Plymouth began a 24-hour strike on Monday.

About 40 Unite union tractor tug crew members employed by Serco Marine took part in the action.

This follows the first 24-hour strike on 9 April in the year-long dispute over the introduction of a new three weeks on three weeks off roster.

  • Engineers employed by Brush Electrical Machines in Loughborough, owned by Melrose, are being balloted over fire and rehire pay cuts of up to £15,000 a year.

The ballot for the 30 Unite union members who are field service engineers closes on 10 May. 

Proposed contracts will see reductions to overtime rates, allowances, holidays and other conditions that will end in a pay cut of between £10,000 and £15,000 a year.

Melrose is currently in dispute with Unite over plans to close its GKN automotive driveline factory in Birmingham, threatening 500 jobs.  

  • Members of Unite employed by the student union at Sheffield University have won a victory on zero-hours and sick pay following a year-long campaign.

Hundreds of student workers on precarious contracts called on management to introduce sick pay entitlements for casual staff in line with full time staff. And they wanted an end to other poor employment practices. 

The board of trustees voted to support the union’s proposals, including minimum hours for current and future staff and full sick pay after 12 weeks service.


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