Socialist Worker

Royal Parks workers will fight on for a full victory + DVLA + Tesco drivers

by Nick Clark
Issue No. 2779

Royal Parks workers have stood firm

Royal Parks workers have stood firm (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Outsourced park cleaners and playground assistants in London ended a month-long strike last week with a vow to keep fighting until all their demands are met.

The strikers, who work in Royal Parks, including Hyde Park and St James’s Park in central London, are in a battle with their bosses at Just Ask Services. They want the same conditions as those employed directly by Royal Parks, as well as to stop redundancies.

They are in the PCS and UVW unions.

Their action has already forced concessions out of bosses—including halting redundancies and a new offer of up to three months’ sick pay.

But Just Ask says the sick pay offer doesn’t apply to workers originally employed on older contracts. One striker, Antonietta, told Socialist Worker the strike had “achieved a lot—there’s no one going to lose their jobs.”

But she added the strikers won’t settle until the sick pay settlement applies to all workers.

“They want a few people to keep on working and be happy with what they’ve got. But it’s not going to happen that way. Everyone will come out on strike if we need to.”


DVLA battle continues

A new ballot for strikes by workers at a major government office in Swansea was set to end on Wednesday of next week.

Workers at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) are in a long running battle over coronavirus safety.

Bosses want to force workers back into the office, despite many workers saying it is unsafe.

One PCS union member, Daniel, said, “I am voting yes after pinging twice for Covid in as many weeks. I was only in for one and a half days on each week.” Sarah said the DVLA “should not be allowed to gamble with our safety.

“I also vote yes to show a stand of unity going forward to help get better pay, better working conditions and better treatment overall.”


Tesco drivers' ballot

Some 3,500 Tesco lorry driver and warehouse workers are balloting for strikes.

Workers at the Belfast, Didcot, Doncaster and Thurrock regional distribution centres have rightly rejected a 4 percent pay offer.

The ballot closes on 23 November.


RMT union’s workers walk out

The RMT union’s national office closed this week as staff walked out on strike from the union’s annual general meeting (AGM).

RMT employees, who are members of the GMB union, walked out on Friday, forcing the union’s members to leave the AGM early.

The walkouts were prompted when delegates  voted to support an appeal against the dismissal of a temporary member of staff employed at the union’s London offices. Unofficial pickets were held outside the union’s offices.

Conference delegates voted to support the unofficial picket line, triggering staff to walk out. There is a power struggle inside the RMT.

RMT general secretary, Mick Lynch said he was working to solve the “issues and the situation.”

Bullying and harassment must be taken seriously but the decision to support the staff member must be respected.


Tug crew won’t be made mugs of

Crewing tugboat workers at Teesport are being balloted for strikes after a pay freeze from bosses Svitzer Marine Limited.

Teesport in Teesside, north east England, is part of the Tories’ new freeports strategy.

The ballot opened last Friday and is set to end on Friday of next week.

The Unite union says a strike could significantly disrupt Christmas supplies.


HGV pay ballots get results on pay

HGV drivers working for XPO on the Wavin contract in Chippenham, Wiltshire have won a 20 percent pay increase in a one year deal.

The 39 Unite union members had been battling for a pay rise as well as improved conditions when they’re on the road.

And drivers employed by Turners Ltd on The Cargill contract in Liverpool won a 17.5 percent pay deal for the year starting April 2021.

The 24 drivers will also receive a 4.55 percent increase for paid meal breaks.

There has also been a 23 percent pay increase for drivers employed by GXO, formerly XPO Primary Logistics at sites across Britain.

Around 1,000 HGV drivers employed by the Co-op on its delivery contract will receive a five percent pay increase backdated to February.

They will also get a further five percent from the start of this month.


HGV drivers say it’s time to take a break

Heavy goods vehicle drivers called a day of action on Monday this week pushing for proper pay and conditions.

Long hours, low pay, loss of pensions and terrible working conditions have led to backlogs, queues for fuel, and supermarket shortages.

The Unite union backed the grassroots campaign, #TruckedOff.


Hackney drivers in new dispute

Drivers who transport disabled children to school in Hackney, east London, are balloting for strikes as council bosses refuse to recognise their work during the pandemic.

The 37 Unite union members say bosses have failed to agree a Covid hazard payments and to take necessary health and safety measures.

The ballot opened on Monday and is set to end on Tuesday 30 November.


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