Socialist Worker

Biomedical scientists + Jobcentre resistance +Abellio ScotRail + Encirc + Local Government

Issue No. 2755

Biomedical scientists on the picket line

Biomedical scientists on the picket line (Pic: Unite North West)

Biomedical scientists who do Covid-19 testing at a Lancashire NHS trust are ramping up their industrial action.

They have announced a further three weeks of strikes in June, after bosses reneged on an upgrading pay agreement.

The Unite union said its 21 members, who work at the Royal Blackburn Hospital and the Burnley General Teaching Hospital, will strike continuously from Monday 31 May until Monday 21 June

Resistance in jobcentres

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) was set to begin its attempts to impose a mass return to work in Jobcentres from Monday of this week.

Reopening jobcentres would pave the way for the return of the sanctions regime that punishes people for missing or being late for appointments.

It means claimants—including disabled people who may not feel safe at face to face appointments—could be punished with fines.

The jobcentre workers’ PCS union also says its unsafe and could put staff at risk. There are reports that work coaches have been told to carry out up to nine face to face interviews each day.

A consultative ballot of PCS members in jobcentres, asking if they would be prepared to strike against reopening, was set to end on Friday of this week.

Determined at Abellio

Strikes by RMT union members continued at Abellio ScotRail last Sunday.

The union says bosses “continue to treat front line staff with contempt”.

The action by conductors and examiners is over equality and justice in respect of enhanced payments for rest day working.

The RMT revealed last week that Abellio is using volunteer managers as scab labour to act as a second person on trains.

The union says some do not have the knowledge, experience and safety competencies required. RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said, “Our action remains absolutely solid again today and I want to pay tribute to our members who refuse to be ground down and bullied by Abellio.

“It is frankly appalling that rather than sitting down with the union to negotiate a fair settlement to this dispute Abellio is playing fast and loose with public safety.

“I am also calling again for the political leadership and Transport Scotland to end their vow of silence and start taking responsibility by calling Abellio ScotRail to account.”

Further strikes are set for every Sunday

Back to picket lines at Encirc

Workers at glass manufacturing firm Encirc in Elton, Cheshire, are renewing industrial action after rejecting an offer from the company.

More than 170 workers had been taking action over working patterns and contracts that are less favourable than other departments in the company.

A 48-hour strike by Unite union members took place last Thursday and others were set for Wednesday this week and next Wednesday.

Local government offer falls short

Unions representing 750,000 council and school support staff in England and Wales have criticised the 1.5 percent pay offer made by the Local Government Association.

The GMB, Unite and Unison unions submitted a joint pay claim to the local government employers in February for a 10 percent pay rise.

It will take action to win.

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