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Bin workers in struggle + round-up

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Plus BT ballot, Scottish councils, Gatwick Airport and Coventry council
Issue 2809
50 GMB union conference delegates including bin workers behind a large orange and black banner saying GMB southern

Strikers, including bin workers, were at the GMB congress this week

Three refuse workers’ battles across London

Workers at two waste transfer stations in Wandsworth and Battersea are preparing to strike over pay. If they walk out they could severely delay rubbish collection across south London. 

These workers sort and collect household and commercial rubbish before it is taken to landfills. All the waste outsourcers use these waste transfer stations, including Biffa, Serco Amey and Veolia. 

The GMB union members, outsourced to Cory Environmental, Ltd, rejected a final offer from the company earlier this month. Workers are set to strike on Thursday and Friday of next week and on 30 June and 1 July.  

  • Refuse workers outsourced by Croydon council to waste management company Veolia are striking for three weeks over pay.

Over 100 workers in the Unite union employed as drivers, loaders and sweepers were set to strike from Thursday of this week until Friday 8 July. Many workers earn £7,000 less a year than workers in other London boroughs.

Drivers with an HGV licence are paid £12.51 an hour, with loaders and sweepers on £10.75.

  • More than 100 bin workers in Bexley, south London, employed by council contractor Countrystyle Recycling are being balloted for strikes.

The workers were offered just a 2 percent pay increase. 

A deal in Coventry HGV2 battle?

Bin strikers in Coventry could be nearing a deal over pay with the labour council. 

But issues over holiday pay are a block. And the strikers will refuse any settlement that does not include the withdrawal of disciplinary action against deputy convenor Pete Randle.

The strikers recently voted 100 percent on an 83 percent turnout to continue striking.

  • Coventry bin workers’ strike fund: Unity Trust Bank a/c Unite WM/7116 branch, Sort code: 60-83-01, a/c number: 20302665. Messages of support to [email protected]

Refuse workers on the Isle of Wight called off a strike planned for this week after being offered an improved offer from outsourcer Amey.

25,000 in Scottish councils pay struggle

Some 25,000 local government workers in Scotland are getting ready to take on council bosses over pay.

Members of the Unison union in schools, early years, waste and recycling began voting last Friday over whether to strike over their 2 percent pay offer.

Inflation is standing at 11 percent—so workers are actually being offered a 9 percent pay cut.

An offer of 2 percent is insulting to the very same workers that a few short years ago were being hailed as heroes.

Workers have seven weeks to build the ballot and deliver a stonking Yes vote. 

They should ensure the best way to ring in the new school year in August is by mounting strikes to defend themselves against the cost of living onslaught.

Action at Red Funnel

Strikes could shut down all Southampton to Cowes ferry services. A dispute over pay involves around 120 customer service staff, shunters and ratings in the Unite union. They work on Red Funnel’s Southampton to Cowes passenger ferry and car ferry.

The workers have rejected a pay offer of 4.5 percent, rising to 6.5 per cent for the lowest paid staff. They are calling for an increase that reflects the real, fast-rising cost of living.

The majority of the employees at Red Funnel, which operates the lucrative routes, are on the national minimum wage.  

Unite says the workers are increasingly struggling to pay increased rents. Some are turning to food banks. The ballot is scheduled to close on 5 July.

BT strike vote begins

Tens of thousands of workers across BT group were set to begin voting in a national strike ballot on Wednesday of this week.

Members of the CWU union, working for BT, Openreach and EE, are furious after bosses imposed a pay increase of £1,500 without any agreement from the union. For every worker, that’s a real terms pay cut.

If action goes ahead, it will be the first strike across all of BT since 1994. Bosses sent security to move on CWU members leafleting an “employee event” in Birmingham last week.

Meanwhile hundreds of members joined mass on line CWU rallies. BT announced £1.3 billion in profit earlier this year.

One CWU member in Openreach said, “The only thing the company can’t afford is for us to walk out.”

Can you match this 21 percent deal?

Over 300 workers at Gatwick airport are set for a 21 percent pay increase.

The workers are employed by Wilson James on the mobility contract at Gatwick. They are responsible for assisting passengers with mobility issues through the airport, including helping them on and off planes.

The pay deal has been backdated to 1 April and the Unite union has secured agreement for Wilson James to pay for free parking at the airport for all its workers on the contract.

In addition, 200 workers employed by British Airways Gatwick Ground Handlers are set for a 10 percent rise. 

The workforce is responsible for the ground handling operations for all British Airways and Vueling aircraft using the airport.

Pay fight at east London school

Teachers and support staff at Drapers’ Pyrgo Priory school, in east London struck on Wednesday of last week over a proposed restructure. The NEU union says some staff will lose £400 every month.

The academy trust wants to cut hours and worsen pay grades.

London strikes at two taxi companies

Workers for two taxi apps are planning to strike over poor pay, unfair dismissals and basic workers’ rights.

Those that work for Bolt were set to strike on Wednesday of this week, refusing to log onto the app for at least 24 hours.  Workers want to be paid £2.50 a mile or £0.20 a minute, and to be able to access their own data on the app.

The ADCU union, which represents app drivers and couriers, said, “We deserve better than poverty pay and management abuse. Enough is enough.” Workers for Uber are also set to strike on Wednesday of next week.

  • Demo against Uber, 22 June, 11am at Aldgate Tower, London E1 8QN

Action against a shattering pay cut

Over 160 workers at Owens Illinois Glass were set to strike this week against a below inflation 4 percent pay offer.

Workers at the company’s Devilla Forest Quarry site in Alloa, Scotland, were set to strike on Wednesday of this week.  That was to be followed by a 48-hour strike at its Glasshouse site, also in Alloa, on Thursday, and then at Edinburgh Way at Harlow in Essex on Sunday.

Court guards put outsourcers on trial

Security guards working in the courts and tribunal service were set to begin a strike ballot over pay on Thursday of this week.

The members of the PCS union work for outsourcing company OCS. They are angry after bosses offered them a pay deal of just 27p above the national minimum wage of £9.50 an hour.

Another strike vote in Walthamstow

Teachers at Our Lady and St. George’s Catholic primary school in Walthamstow, east London have voted to strike to save jobs.

The NEU union members are fighting a planned “restructure” including forced redundancies. It comes amid a wave of battles in Walthamstow schools.

Ballot wins gains at primary school

NEU union members at Gwyn Jones primary school have beaten back a planned support staff restructure after launching a strike ballot.

Support staff salaries will not worsen and their pay will be safeguarded for a longer period. Those facing redundancies will remain employed under a different role. Bosses also agreed to regular meetings with union reps over workload.

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