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Nottingham organises to defeat council cuts

Plus rail strikes, Arriva bus drivers, ballot at Morrisons and housing maintenance workers strike in London
Issue 2902
A packed Save our Services meeting in Nottingham (Picture: Richard Buckwell)

A packed Save our Services meeting in Nottingham (Picture: Richard Buckwell)

Around 100 people squeezed into a Save Our Services meeting in Nottingham’s Meadows area last week to oppose the results of council cuts. People from a host of local groups spoke.

They included Leroy, the chair of Stand up to Racism, and Shuguftah Quddoos Sherriff of Nottingham, who was suspended by the Labour Party for voting against the cuts.

There were brilliant contributions from local people up for a fight.

It was a community protest meeting not bettered since poll tax days, very political with no belief in Keir Starmer’s Labour reversing anything.

It can be the start of a real fight back involving occupations of community facilities and giving confidence to union members to also take industrial action.

We need to link with other council areas facing similar cuts. In November 2023 Nottingham council was effectively declared bankrupt.

Nottingham Trades Council launched Nottingham Save Our Services.

It has organised protests supported by the Unison, Unite and GMB unions, but also those representing culture sector workers in Equity, Musicians Union and Bectu.

They will be severely affected by the total cut of all council grants to community and cultural organisations.

Richard Buckwell, Nottingham Unite Community branch

Train drivers schedule new national strikes

Train drivers in the Aslef union have scheduled more strikes as part of their pay battle at 16 train operating companies.

They are set to hold staggered one-day strikes, coupled with a six-day overtime ban. Many train drivers have not had any pay rise for five years.

They have held 14 national oneday strikes since the first walkout in July 2022.

Strike timetable

Tue 7 May: Greater Anglia, c2c, GTR Great Northern Thameslink, Southeastern, Southern/Gatwick Express, South Western Railway main line and depot drivers and SWR Island Line

Wed 8 May: Avanti West Coast, Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry, East Midlands Railway, Great Western Railway and West Midlands Trains

Thu 9 May: LNER, Northern Trains and TransPennine Trains. There will also be an overtime ban from 6 to 11 May.

  • People who work for the TSSA union are set to strike on Tuesday of next week and 6 June over bullying, harassment and financial mismanagement.

GMB union members voted 93 percent yes to action in a ballot. They have also voted for a motion of no confidence in TSSA’s leadership.

A strike by train drivers in the Aslef union halted three-quarters of services on LNER last Saturday. The action was part of a dispute over terms and conditions, which is separate to the wider pay action at 16 train companies.

  • THE RMT union has rejected a pay offer from Network Rail. The state-owned company, which runs the track and infrastructure, has offered a 3.5 percent rise. The RMT said the offer was not enough because it fell below the retail price index measure of inflation relevant to this settlement, which was 5.3 percent.

Take brake off the bus strikes

Unite union officials have called off another scheduled week-long strike of Arriva Northumbria bus drivers— for the second time.

The drivers had been set to walk out on Sunday last week, but Unite called the action off for workers to consider a new offer.

Unite is advising the bus drivers to accept, but is staying quiet on what the deal is.

Calling off the strike “as a goodwill gesture” is only useful to the bus bosses.

The 300 drivers voted to walk out over a 4 percent pay offer.

Unite also called off a week of strikes due to start on 7 April to allow drivers to vote on an offer— which they rejected.

Unite needs to stop putting the brakes on the strike and let the bus drivers strike for the pay they deserve.

Pension raid at Morrisons

Some 1,000 Morrisons workers—warehouse stock controllers, cooks, canteen staff and administrators— are voting to protect their pensions.

The workers based at warehouses in Cheshire and Wakefield fill the shelves of 500 supermarkets and stores run by the chain.

Bosses are forcing workers to increase their own pension contributions while the supermarket reduces its own contributions by the same amount.

Workers will be significantly worse off, while Morrisons pockets the extra money. Bosses also want to adopt a new “pick rate”.

This speed-up scheme monitors the rate that items are packed from the warehouse shelves.

The ballot opened on Tuesday last week, and is set to close on 9 May.

No sanctuary for housing repair bosses

London Sanctuary Housing repair and maintenance workers were set to continue strikes Monday, Wednesday and Friday this week.

The workers, who are members of the Unite union, began strikes over pay and union recognition in February.

Bosses triggered strikes by imposing a 4 percent rise in April 2023, when the real rate of inflation was 11.4 percent.

The dispute has been drawn out because Sanctuary Housing, which has assets of over £5.6 billion, a surplus of £101 million and a CEO on £400,000 a year, refuses to recognise unions.

New workers are regularly joining the strikes.

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