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Bus battle at Go North West + Strikes win a new deal at British Airways cargo + Scunthorpe scaffolders

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Issue 2740
Protesting at Go North West last year
Protesting at Go North West last year (Pic: Geoff Brown)

The Unite union is balloting its 500 members at bus company Go North West in Manchester on whether to strike.

The ballot comes over the company’s decision to fire and rehire its workforce.

Go North West, part of the Go Ahead Group, first threatened to fire and rehire its workforce last summer.

But negotiations failed, and the company is now forcing through its proposals.

This will see a 10 percent cut in driver numbers and workers working longer for no additional pay leaving them up to £2,500 a year worse off.

If workers vote in favour of action, strikes could begin by the end of February.

But the company is telling workers that if they agree to the new contract within seven days they will receive favourable routes and schedules.

Unite is investigating whether this breaches employment law.

Strikes win a new deal at British Airways cargo

Workers’ action has taken fire and rehire off the table at British Airways cargo.

Unite union members were voting on a deal this week.

Workers, mainly at Heathrow airport, struck for nine days over Christmas and the new year after a 98 percent vote in favour.

The deal sees an end to fire and rehire, no compulsory redundancies, improved pay protection and an increase in pay.

And members who did not sign the new contract and were dismissed will be offered their jobs back.

Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett said, “This is a tremendous result. Huge credit must go to our members in BA Cargo.

“Fire and rehire is proving to be the present day go-to weapon of the worst type of employers.

“It is workers who will rebuild our industrial sectors post-Covid and they can only do so if their terms and conditions reflect the work they have undertaken over many years to build the profit of companies such as BA.”

Scaffolders put up a fight

Scaffolders launched a second round of strikes on Monday at the British Steel plant in Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire.

They are employed by contractor Brand Energy.

The Unite union members are in a pay dispute that began in 2019. Workers are demanding to be paid in line with the National Agreement for the Engineering Construction Industry (Naeci).

Currently they are paid £2 an hour less than Naeci rates. The workforce delivered a 100 percent yes vote for strikes.

Brand Energy is to set to lose the scaffolding contract on 15 February when it will transfer to rival firm Activo.

If the matter is not resolved, Unite will begin balloting for fresh industrial action with Activo, once the contract transfers.

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