Socialist Worker

Reports round-up: Polyflor strikers want to floor greedy company

Issue No. 2768

Determined on the picket line at Polyflor

Determined on the picket line at Polyflor (Pic: Geoff Brown)

Production staff at Greater Manchester flooring firm Polyflor are continuing their strikes.

Polyflor is a manufacturer of vinyl floor coverings.

After numerous membership rejections of the company offers, the GMB union members are determined to fight on over pay.

They want a proper percentage rise and not the proposed one-off cash payment that the company keeps proposing.

Workers were further angered recently when the release of company accounts showed it had paid a dividend to shareholders of £20 million during the pandemic.

The accounts also show directors’ pay increased by 25 percent year on year.

Further strike dates have been confirmed throughout August.

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DVLA battle goes on, as backlogs are still growing

Workers at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency offices in Swansea are voting on whether to renew their mandate to strike.

PCS union members there are in a long-running battle over workplace safety.

Action by workers has already caused huge backlogs.

The PCS reports that over two thirds of a million driving licenses are waiting to be approved or renewed.

A current strike by workers in the Drivers Medical team is set to continue until the end of the month.

The ballot—a consultative vote—is set to end on Friday 3 September.

Donate to the strike fund. Name: Fighting Fund Levy. Account number: 20331490 Sort code: 60-83-01, Ref: DVLA.


Air Traffic Systems workers have voted by 88 percent in favour of strikes and 94 percent for action short of strikes.

The consultative ballot by PCS union members came as bosses threaten to tear up a long standing redundancy agreement.

Driving examiners have lodged an official dispute with bosses in the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency.

Bosses want to introduce an extra driving exam to the working day.

The workers’ PCS union says it “cannot rule out balloting members over possible strike action.”

After a decade of having their allowances frozen, parking wardens working for NSL in Westminster, London, are set to strike over pay and conditions

The workers, in the GMB union, have dismissed the company’s pay offer.

A magnificent 100 percent voted to reject in a high turnout ballot, with nearly 80 percent of those eligible voting.

Currently NSL workers are effectively just above the breadline, earning the basic London Living Wage of £10.75

Staff have not had their allowances uplifted for over a decade and do not get London Weighting.

NSL has offered only an extra 21p an hour in a three-year deal.

This would see workers losing in real terms.

GMB officer, Paul Grafton said, “It’s clear that this isn’t the action of a responsible employer, and we believe now NSL doesn’t want the contract in Westminster

“If this is the case then they should walk away now and leave Westminster City council to run it in house.”

Strikes could cause major disruption.

Workers at the Royal Parks are now in revolt

Outsourced cleaners working for Royal Parks in central London began a two week strike on Monday of this week.

The cleaners—members of the PCS and UVW unions—work for private contractor Just Ask Services. They are fighting against possible job cuts later this year, and are demanding the same sick pay, maternity pay, annual leave, and, pension entitlement as workers employed directly by Royal Parks.

Bosses had asked union officials to postpone the strikes until 9 September, claiming they needed time to come up with an offer. But union members said the bosses’ plea was just a ploy to keep them working during the busy summer weeks.

They agreed at a meeting that bosses had already had plenty of time to come up with an offer. They voted to go ahead with the full strike, which is set to end on Monday 30 August.

UVW said, “Support the Royal Parks striking workers.

“The cleaners, toilet, and playground attendants have had enough.

“UVW and PCS members —all black, brown, and migrant workers—receive lower wages and fewer benefits than their directly employed counterparts.

“This dispute could result in all public bodies being required to take into account the discriminatory effect of having double standards between their directly employed staff and outsourced workforces

Donate to the strikers’ fund at

Crowds at the Beacontree Festival in Dagenham, east London last weekend. The event was hosted by Barking and Dagenham council and Love Music Hate Racism. It celebrated 10 years since the Nazis of the British National Party lost all 12 of the seats they’d won in the borough in 2006

Crowds at the Beacontree Festival in Dagenham, east London last weekend. The event was hosted by Barking and Dagenham council and Love Music Hate Racism. It celebrated 10 years since the Nazis of the British National Party lost all 12 of the seats they’d won in the borough in 2006 (Pic: Guy Smallman)


GKN strike ballot to save factory

Workers at the GKN Automotive factory in Birmingham are being balloted for strikes after owners Melrose announced closure plans.

In May, bosses rejected a proposal put forward by workers and Unite union officials to keep the factory open. But plans have been announced to close it by 2022 for “short term profit hikes”.

Work will be moved aboard, but the 500 remaining workers will vote from Monday until 31 August.

DHL workers claw back at Jaguar

DHL workers at Jaguar Land Rover plants in the West Midlands and Merseyside are being balloted to strike over wage arrears and an “insulting” pay offer.

The Unite union members have been given incorrect pay slips for months, with some owed up to £800. And DHL has refused to offer a pay rise.

Some 2,000 members will now vote at plants in Halewood, Castle Bromwich, Solihull, Tyrefort, Midpoint and Hams Hall. This is the latest round of action at a DHL workplace, following action in Liverpool and Kent.

Will taps run dry as beer strike starts?

Workers at GXO Logistics Drinks who deliver beer have voted for strikes.

The 1,000 Unite members will take part in two 24-hour strikes on 24 August and 2 September. And an overtime ban will start in August and end on 15 November.

Workers are based at 26 sites and are responsible for 40 percent of beer deliveries to pubs in Britain.

They voted for strikes by 9 percent and after the company offered a 1.4 percent pay rise, despite RPI inflation currently at 3.9 percent.

They have also lost between £8,000 to £10,000 due to furlough and no pay increase for 2020.

Scientists test positive for strikes

Biomedical scientists in Lancashire plan to continue their strike until the middle of November. The 21 Unite union members from the East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust struck from 31 May to 28 July and will resume strikes on 20 August to 11 November.

Strikers can’t conceal their anger

Usdaw union members struck at BCM Fareva again last week following three previous strikes at the end of July.

The Nottingham based manufacturer of consumer pharma and beauty products are pushing ahead with fire and rehire threats.

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Article information

Tue 17 Aug 2021, 14:26 BST
Issue No. 2768
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