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Industrial round-up

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Issue 2566

Outsourcers swept away

Workers at Soas have been fighting outsourcing for years
Workers at Soas have been fighting outsourcing for years (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Cleaners in the Unison union at the Soas university in London celebrated victory in their 11-year battle to be brought back in house.

Consuelo Moreno, a leading cleaner, said, “It was an incredible struggle alongside students and supporters.”

The Justice For Workers campaign began in 2006 and has won holiday pay, sick pay and pensions.

Soas has now guaranteed that all workers will be brought back in house.

Consuelo added, “This struggle has not just been for Soas.

“We are going to support every workplace that wants to do away with outsourcing.”

Their victory follows news that cleaners at the nearby LSE university will be brought back in house by next year.

Three-week strike at Argos

over 1,000 Argos distribution workers plan to strike for three weeks from next Tuesday.

The Unite union members are demanding a national agreement on redundancy and severance packages.

It comes after bosses moved nearly 500 workers from the Argos hub in Lutterworth, Leicestershire, to one run by outsourcer Wincanton in Kettering, Northamptonshire.

Workers fear attacks on terms, conditions and jobs across their five sites.

They are based in Basildon in Essex, Bridgwater in Somerset, Castleford in West Yorkshire, Heywood in Greater Manchester and Barton in Staffordshire.

Bosses are on the rocks

unite and GMB union members at Chivas whisky bottling plant in Dumbarton in Scotland struck on Monday for a better pay deal.

The threat of strikes saw Chivas increase its original offer to a four-year deal of 1.5 percent in the first year and rises linked to inflation in subsequent years.

Workers in Paisley—a plant marked for closure by 2019—voted to accept the new offer but those in Dumbarton rightly held out for more.

High morale at Mears

Housing maintenance workers in Manchester went back to work on Monday after a four-week strike.

The Unite union members are employed by contractor Mears to maintain homes run by council management body Northwards.

They are fighting for pay parity with similar council workers.

Morale was high outside the Mears depot on the last strike day last Friday, with around 30 workers on the picket line.

They aim to be back out within weeks after a new ballot.

Transport round-up

Unite union members on the Scottish National Party government’s fleet of five ships have called five two-day strikes starting this Thursday.

Further strikes are planned next week.

Marine Scotland vessels carry out research and monitor fishing activity.

Their crews are paid far less than workers on the nationalised CalMac ferries.

  • The RMT rail workers’ union has demanded an immediate halt to plans that would “unleash privatisation” of Network Rail infrastrucure in Wales.

It’s part of Welsh Labour’s major modernisation of South Wales Valleys routes

Scaffolders’ strike set to start in Goole

Scaffolders at Eggborough power station in Goole, East Yorkshire, have called a series of pay strikes.

The Unite union members are set to strike for 48 hours from next Thursday. They plan a further 48-hour walkout from 21 August and a continuous strike from 29 August.

The Cape Industrial Services firm is paying them £15.12 an hour. But under the National Agreement for the Engineering Construction Industry workers say they should be on £19.34.

Tributes paid to fallen comrade

Almost 300 people paid tribute to Dave Gibson in Barnsley last Thursday.

Dave, a Socialist Workers’ Party member and trade unionist, died last month. A collection raised over £900 for Stand Up To Racism.

Fran Postlethwaite

Anti-racist football fans organise

Anti-racist football fans at several clubs, including Arsenal, Liverpool and Sheffield Wednesday, have organised leafletting against the Football Lads Alliance (FLA) this Saturday

The FLA plans a demonstration on 7 October.

It claims it’s not racist, but the FLA’s first mobilisation in June ended with racist speeches against Muslims.

Go to for more details.

Racist EDL plans protest in Bradford

The English Defence League has said it will march in Bradford and Keighley on Saturday 2 September.

Anti-fascists will hold a counter-demonstration.

Details at

Journalists at FT demand equal pay

Journalists at the Financial Times (FT) newspaper have said they are prepared to take industrial action to get equal pay for women.

The NUJ union members slammed the gender pay gap at the FT which they say is as big as a 13 percent.

Prepare for next civil service fight

A recent High Court victory by the PCS union forced the Tories to reinstate the 2010 civil service redundancy scheme they tried to scrap.

The Tories’ defeat is good news for every public sector worker.

But the Tories will surely launch another attack on redundancy payments. Strikes can stop them.

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