Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2807

Pile on pressure to win in Coventry bins battle + round-up

Bin strikes are spreading as workers taste their power
Issue 2807
A large group of Coventry bins strikers with Unite union placards and a big banner supporting the reinstatement of their rep Pete Randle

Coventry strikers’ demands include the reinstatement of union rep Pete Randle

Formal talks between the Unite union and Labour-led Coventry council over the long-running HGV2 drivers’ dispute are continuing. The strike committee insists that any settlement must include the withdrawal of disciplinary action against their deputy convenor Pete Randle.

A practical sign of this commitment came when the council asked the drivers to come in and empty their personal lockers. Officials asked, “Which driver will empty Pete Randle’s locker”? The unanimous answer from the picket line was “Pete will be allowed in to empty his personal locker or else none of us will.” So far this means the lockers remain uncleared.

Ballot papers have been sent out to all the HGV2 drivers to vote to extend the strike by a further 12 weeks. The ballot papers have to be returned by Monday. This timescale is to ensure that there is no break in the strike. 

Local activists have been running protests outside any business with a connection to Tom White Waste (TWW) management or which uses TWW for refuse. They have also been protesting outside TWW itself.  TWW, wholly-owned by the council, is organising scabbing to undermine the strike.

At the same time as police were arresting union officials in Wealden, police stood idly by and watched as Jay security guards used physical force to get protesters outside TWW off the road. The fact that security guards had no official badges or that trucks were going onto the road with out of date Ops licence did not seem to interest the police.

If this activity is to continue there needs to be many more people available and on-site legal support from Unite. This will be easier if Unite is prepared to take over these protests and build them throughout the local labour movement.

Donations are still needed to back one of the longest-running Unite disputes in local government. 

  • Donations to Unity trust Bank, Unite WM/7116 Coventry Local Government, Account Number 20302665, Sort Code 60-83-01 Messages of support to [email protected]

Pay boost in Rugby as bin strikes now spread further

After five weeks of strong strikes workers for Rugby council have called off their action after accepting an improved offer from the council. 

Refuse drivers will see their total pay rise to £30,940 per year. Refuse loaders will be paid £24,018 a year and street cleaners will get a similar sum of £24,587. These increases amount to as much as a 12 percent pay rise for some.

However, the rise is lower for some grades. They face a below-inflation settlement.

The council has tried to suggest that this increase was down to a nationally-agreed pay rise. But it was only because of strikes that workers received the deal. 

In Chesterfield in Derbyshire, 100 percent of refuse workers, in the GMB union, voted to reject a 4.48 percent pay rise offered to them by outsourcer Veolia. 

The union noted that the company did say it would offer a six percent increase—but only if workers quit their union. They rightly refused such blackmail.

Refuse workers for the Rhondda Cynon Taf council have also voted to strike after over pay.  An impressive 95 percent of GMB union members backed strikes. This means that 130 workers will now strike. 

Refuse workers who are outsourced to contractor Amey could also strike on the Isle of Wight. A strong 91 percent of workers voted to strike on a 78 percent turnout. 

Workers in Littlehampton in West Sussex will also ballot for strikes. Bin strikes are continuing to spread and in many cases they are winning significant pay increases.  

More strikes coming in Post Offices—and strike vote coming at BT

Post Office workers were set to hit back over pay with strikes spread over two days on Saturday of this week and Monday of next.

The members of the CWU union are furious at bosses’ offer of a meagre 2 percent pay increase—well below inflation—for 2022, following a pay freeze in 2021.

The planned action will see workers at 114 Crown Post Offices—the major Post Office branches that are still state-owned—striking on Saturday of this week. Supply chain and admin workers—including those who transport cash to every Post Office branch—are set to follow on Monday of next week. 

There will be no cash collections or deliveries to any of Britain 11,500 ­­sub‑post offices. This follows a successful one‑day strike in May.

  • Workers at BT could be heading for their first national strike since 1994, in a major dispute over pay. Members of the CWU union are set to begin voting in a strike ballot from Wednesday 15 June.

It comes after BT bosses imposed a pay increase of £1,500 earlier in April without any agreement from the union. Though bosses touted the figure as an 8 percent rise for some workers, for others it’s as little as 3 percent. 

And with the RPI rate of inflation over 11 percent, it’s a real terms pay cut for everybody.

Tube strike off, Arriva in Yorkshire is on

The RMT union has suspended strikes set for 3 June at Euston and Green Park Underground stations in London. It says there has been “significant progress” with management.

Station staff at the two stations have faced bullying and intimidation from a single manager for years. Now a review with union involvement will be held to deal with the bullying issue.

The pressure of strikes hitting the Jubilee weekend has led to this result and some staff and RMT members are happy with the result. But the threat of strike shouldn’t have been withdrawn until the staff got full justice and the removal of the manager from London Underground. 

If the review falls the RMT must call more strikes over a longer period.

  • Bus workers employed by Arriva in Yorkshire are braced for an indefinite walkout to tackle low pay.

Over 650 workers voted overwhelmingly to strike after rejecting the company’s pitiful offer of a 4.1 percent pay increase. 

Inflation currently stands at 11.1 percent which workers cite as the reason for the rejection. 

All out strikes are set to begin on Monday across depots in Castleford, Dewsbury, Heckmondwike, Selby and Wakefield. 

Both drivers and engineers will unite on the picket lines.

The Unite union says new bus drivers are paid just 28 pence above the minimum wage

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Arriva is part of a multi‑billion company. It has no business demanding that workers get by on pitiful low pay so that its boardroom can get ever-richer. Arriva can easily afford to pay decently. It should do just that, or face industrial action.”

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