Socialist Worker

Reports round-up: DVLA workers strike to drive up Covid safety standards 

Issue No. 2766

DVLA workers on the picket line

DVLA workers on the picket line (Pic: PCS)


A group of workers at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in Swansea began a month-long strike on Monday of this week.

The strike by workers in the Drivers’ Medical department is the latest action by PCS union members at the office in a long-running coronavirus safety battle.

More than 600 workers at the office have caught Covid-19 since the pandemic began.

Yet DVLA bosses have forced more than 1,000 of them to come into the office.

PCS members have fought a campaign of rolling action after government ministers intervened to scupper a deal that would end the dispute.

Action by those in Drivers’ Medical has already caused a huge backlog of applications for renewed licenses. Now a month-long strike could pile on the pressure.

Donate to the strike fund. The details are: Account name: Fighting Fund Levy. Account number: 20331490 Sort code: 60-83-01 Reference: DVLA
Send messages of support to [email protected]

Liverpool university workers fight to stop all redundancies 

A strike at the university of Liverpool was set to go ahead on Wednesday if university management didn’t backtrack on making six members of staff redundant. 

UCU union members in Liverpool have staged a number of strikes this year to stop 47 redundancies being made in the faculty of health and life sciences.

After fighting hard, bosses reduced the number of planned redundancies to six. 

But workers say they won’t stop until it is zero. 

Send messages of solidarity to [email protected]
Send a donation to the strike fund at ulivucunews.org.uk/hardship-fund/

 

Campaign to mop up mistreatment by Mitie

Cleaners at Southwark council in south London have launched a campaign against mistreatment at the hands of outsourcer Mitie. 

The cleaners work in Southwark hostels, which house vulnerable people including asylum seekers.

The IWGB union members say some of haven’t been paid for nearly 50 hours, which they spent disinfecting to make the hostels Covid safe. 

Tweet messages of support to @IWGBcleaners

London cleaners’ protests 

Two separate groups of cleaners were set to hold protests in London on Thursday. 

Outsourced workers at the British Medical Association (BMA) and Facebook headquarters—who are also members of the Caiwu— union are fighting over outsourcing. 

BMA cleaners, who are outsourced to City West, are demanding better treatment and to be brought in-house. 

Similarly workers at Facebook, who are outsourced to Churchill Cleaning, are asking for an end to outsourcing and better safety measures. 

And workers say they can no longer deal with the workload after Churchill Cleaning asked them to take on five extra floors while refusing to hire more workers. 

Join the protests 5 August, 2pm, 20 Tavistock Square, Bloomsbury, London WC10 9HW. 

Royal Parks workers strike over low pay 

Cleaners at Royal Parks in London struck on Friday of last week. They held a noisy and energetic protest outside Royal Parks headquarters in Hyde Park, central London.

The workers, members of the PCS and UVW unions, are outsourced to private company Just Ask Services. 

They are fighting for improved pay and conditions, and the reinstatement of a sacked member of staff.

The strikers elected a negotiation team and agreed on further action to be taken if their demands are not met. 

These include no job losses and parity of terms with directly employed staff working for the Royal Parks.


UPS workers could still deliver action

The Unite union suspended walkouts at the UPS delivery firm in Gloucestershire, which were due to begin on Friday of last week.

The UPS workers were set to strike last Friday and for a week from Monday over allegations of bullying and health and safety in the workplace.

The union suspended the action for talks with bosses. 

But it warned that “if the dispute is not resolved” strikes will begin Wednesday, with further strikes scheduled through this month. It was unclear if the bosses and union had reached an agreement, as Socialist Worker went to press.  


Strike shuts down Scottish airports  

Prospect union members at six Scottish airports struck last Thursday. 

Benbecula, Dundee, Inverness, Kirkwall, Stornoway and Sumburgh were shut to all but emergency flights when the air traffic controllers walked out. Bosses at the Highlands and Islands Airports (HIAL) say they need to “modernise”—meaning attacks on workers. 


Heavy goods drivers walkout could hit over 1,500 Budgens and Londis stores

Heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers in south east London are balloting for strikes over pay equality—and their action could hit smaller supermarkets. 

Bosses at Booker Retail Partners—the wholesaler for the Budgens and Londis shops—raised drivers’ pay by £5 an hour at its Hemel Hempstead depot in Hertfordshire. 

This was in response to the national shortage of around 100,000 HGV drivers (see page 17). But bosses refused to agree to a similar uplift for 30 drivers at the company’s Thamesmead site in south London. The depot stocks more than 1,500 corner shops across London and the south east. 

The ballot for strikes and action short of strikes opens in mid-August and runs until the end of the month. 

Unite regional officer Paul Travers said, “Due to this well-publicised driver shortage, Booker Retail Partners put in place a temporary uplift in pay of £5 an hour for the drivers at Hemel Hempstead. 

“However, when we approached the company in regards to an uplift for our members at Thamesmead, the bosses refused.

“The drivers are paid a low rate of pay. The company seems to think this is acceptable and has consistently refused to meet our demand for a temporary uplift until pay negotiations start in September.”

 


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