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Pay fights escalate in Manchester, South Yorkshire and more

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Reports from pay fights across Britain
Issue 2785
Pickets in high viz coats raise their fists

PCS union members joined the Unite picket line

After lively pickets, workers at Chep UK in Manchester were set to begin an indefinite strike over pay on Friday of this week.

The action, by members of the Unite union, comes after a four-day strike over pay last week. The workers make and repair pallets, something that is in even greater demand.

Chep has offered workers just a 2 percent pay increase—well below inflation.

Yet the company made £30,000 profit per employee in 2019 and this rose to over £120,000 per employee last year.

So it can afford to give workers a proper pay rise.

The strikers worked all through lockdowns—why should the money they made for bosses not be given back to them?

Workers’ morale is great. Strikers have turned back lorries, and the supply and quality of pallets will dwindle, putting more pressure on Chep.

Pickets run 24 hours and get great support from passing traffic.

Strikers are prepared to strike for as long as it takes to force Chep to pay what is fair.

Karen Reissmann

Messages of support to [email protected]

Every little doesn’t help—reject Tesco pay cut

Over 5,000 Usdaw union members were set to strike at Tesco distribution centres in Daventry Clothing, Google, Hinckley, Lichfield, Livingston, Magor, Peterborough and Southampton.

Workers rejected a 4 percent pay increase. Strikes were set to take place from Monday of next week until Christmas Eve.

Meanwhile Unite union Tesco workers including warehouse workers and HGV drivers at Livingston Distribution Depot in Scotland are also set to strike after a 4 percent pay offer.

The depot provides stock to all Tesco stores in Scotland. Next Monday strikes will begin and will not cease before Christmas.

Coordinated action between the two unions is crucial to win demands and put pressure on bosses.

But the Unite union has called off strikes in Tesco across northern Ireland and England over the Christmas period.

Workers were offered a 5.5 percent increase backdated to July 2021 and an additional 0.5 percent from February 2022.

Members are now being balloted on the deal and the union is wrongly recommending to accept acceptance. If the deal is rejected members will strike in the new year.

Workers should be ready to vote against the deal that doesn’t meet inflation for the full year.

And with other Tesco sites facing strikes, big and escalated action will boost the fight.

Bus drivers to rev up action

Striking Stagecoach bus workers in South Yorkshire are set to escalate action to an all‑out strike from January.

Unite union members at four depots across Barnsley, Rotherham and Sheffield started a second week of strikes over pay.

But they have also told bosses that an all-out strike will start unless the union’s 6 percent claim plus backdating is met.

Pickets at the Rawmarsh depot were joined by representatives from Barnsley and Rotherham trades councils and the Rotherham NEU union with their banners on Monday.

The South Yorkshire Better Buses campaign also handed over a solidarity Christmas card with 200 signatures.

Phil Turner

Bin workers vote for strikes in Coventry

Bin workers in Coventry have voted for strikes by 98.5 percent on over a 90 percent turnout.

The 70 Unite union members are set to strike from Tuesday of next week until Friday of next week, which is Christmas Eve.

They are then set to strike again for two days from 5 January and from 11 January to 14 January.

The workers are striking over being paid just £22,000 a year despite the shortage of qualified HGV drivers. And Coventry council is trying to change contracts regarding Christmas working times.

Up in arms over 3.8 percent pay offer at Coulport naval base

Unite union members at the Royal Naval Armaments Depot Coulport, in Scotland, are set to strike over pay.

The 70 Unite members were set strike on Thursday of this week and Monday of next week.

Further strikes are scheduled for January and February if no progress is made in negotiations.

The ABL Alliance employers have refused to meet the RPI inflation rate from July at 3.8 percent.

An important win for workers at Teesside port

Workers employed by PD Ports in Teesside have secured a two-year pay deal worth 7.35 percent. Bosses originally offered a single-year rise of 1.35 percent.

Unite union general secretary Sharon Graham said, “This is a significantly improved pay offer at a strategically important port.

“Companies operating in the Teesside Freeport area are expecting to see a huge economic benefit.

“In order to protect the jobs, pay and conditions of its members, Unite is closely monitoring the establishment of all freeport areas.”

Pay and pensions fight on the cards in civil service

The PCS union is set to start a consultative ballot of all its members over pay and pensions.

The union says civil service workers have lost an average of £1,000 after being forced to overpay into the scheme.

Workers’ contributions should have been cut after the scheme was valuated in 2019 but the government refused to act.

PCS says it will run the ballot in early 2021.

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