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It will take a fight to save hundreds of jobs at JCB

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Issue 2705
Unions need to back action to fight for jobs (Pic: U.S. Air Force)

Digger maker JCB has said that up to 950 jobs are at risk at its ten plants in Staffordshire, Derbyshire, and Wrexham in north Wales.

At one of these plants Boris Johnson smashed though a polystyrene wall to symbolise “getting Brexit done” during the election campaign last December.

A 45-day consultation period with staff over redundancies began on Monday.

About 500 Guidant agency employees, who work at JCB’s British sites, are also being dumped.

The family company is chaired by Lord Bamford, a billionaire Tory donor.

Stuart Harrison, GMB union organiser, said, “This announcement is devastating to everyone involved.

As the recognised union, GMB’s senior representatives have entered into urgent talks about the future of the business with management.

“We will keep fighting to avoid job losses at all costs, for our members and their families,” he said. 

Unite assistant general secretary for manufacturing Steve Turner said, “JCB is preparing to throw 1,500 workers under the bus just as the government asks employers to pay their fair share towards protecting jobs and keeping the heads of loyal workers above water.

“Boris Johnson should be on the phone this afternoon seeking guarantees that JCB will save those jobs.”

In the past unions at JCB have accepted pay cuts to “save jobs”—a process that utterly failed.

Pay rise at Compass follows union’s campaign of strikes

Workers at Medirest, the healthcare division of Compass Group, have won the NHS Agenda for Change rates of pay after a series of strikes.

They will receive on average a 5 percent increase in pay bringing them in line with NHS colleagues doing similar jobs.

Medirest operates at 20 NHS Trusts across Britain and the change will benefit over 2,200 workers.

The uplifted pay will be implemented from 1 June this year. In addition to the increased pay, sickness entitlement is also being improved.

Compass workers across the north west of England held repeated strikes last year.

In particular there was action at St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Whiston Hospital.

Stockport council has come under fire for not protecting care workers.

The Unison union said it has uncovered shocking treatment of carers who work for Borough Care, Stockport’s largest provider of residential care.

Local care workers have told the union that they have been forced into poverty due to the lack of sick pay for staff who need to selfisolate during the pandemic.

Official figures last week showed that care workers are twice as likely to die of Covid-19 than other health workers.

This may be because they feel they have to work when sick.

Bins pay deal on the Wirral

Bin workers in Wirral, Merseyside, have accepted an improved offer in a dispute over pay.

Unite union members and subcontractor Biffa agreed to a pay increase of 3.5 percent, backdated to April 2019.

The deal also says Unite will be “fully consulted in the implementation of monthly pay” towards the end of the year.

Workers will then receive a one off, non-consolidated payment at 0.5 percent of their annual salary.

More than 180 workers voted to strike by 96 percent on an 80 percent turnout, but the union said there would be no action during coronavirus.

In a separate dispute, the Biffa workers staged a walkout over health and safety fears in April and forced bosses into negotiations.

Jobs threat in Leicester

Aerospace parts firm SPS Technologies plans to make 200 staff at a Leicester factory redundant and impose worse terms and conditions of the remaining workforce.

The move has been decried as “opportunism of the worst kind” by the Unite union.

The company wants to reduce its Barkby Road workforce from 480 to 280.

At the same time it is trying to push through reductions to pay grades, sick pay, paid breaks and shift premiums.

Unite regional officer Lakhy Mahal said, “The government has put support in place to prevent Covid-19 redundancies. There is no reason why SPS cannot reverse this decision and register staff under the job retention scheme.”

He added that the attacks “will be fought by Unite every step of the way”.

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