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Reports round up: Campaigners join Silent Walk for Grenfell

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Issue 2681
Campaigners joined the Silent Walk for Grenfell in west London on Thursday of last week. It was the first monthly walk since the interim report of the first phase of the Grenfell Tower fire inquiry was published earlier this month.
Campaigners joined the Silent Walk for Grenfell in west London on Thursday of last week. It was the first monthly walk since the interim report of the first phase of the Grenfell Tower fire inquiry was published earlier this month. (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Walkouts at tax office to give poverty pay the boot

Cleaners at HMRC tax offices in Liverpool and Bootle were set to strike on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.

The PCS union members are demanding a wage of £10 an hour from bosses at outsourcer ISS.

The cleaners have already struck several times this year—but so far bosses at HMRC and ISS are refusing to engage with the union. Yet the workers are determined to keep going. An indefinite strike by cleaners and caterers at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy forced ISS to pay them a living wage.

The HMRC workers also plan strikes on 2, 3 and 4 December.

For details of picket lines, strike rallies and other ways to support the strike go to

Bosses don’t give Atos

Workers at IT firm Atos were set to strike against a “derisory pay offer” on Monday of next week.

The PCS union members are demanding a 5 percent pay rise and a minimum salary of £20,000 a year. They provide IT services at the National Savings and Investment bank, the personal independence payment benefit and the BBC.

Tim Roache wins union leadership

GMB union general secretary Tim Roache was re-elected last week.

The incumbent Roache received 61 percent of the vote in the general secretary election.

His challenger, GMB official Kathleen Walker Shaw, won 39 percent. Walker Shaw, who received 57 nominations for the election, was initially deemed ineligible to stand by a union committee.

Workers dip into struggle over pay

Around 1,000 workers at food manufacturer Bakkavor have voted for strikes against a “paltry” 1.5 percent pay rise.

The Unite union members at the Spalding factory in Lincolnshire produce meals and snacks sold at supermarkets, including hummus and taramasalata.

Workers don’t want their pay docked

Car manufacturer Volkswagen could face serious disruption if logistics workers vote for strikes over pay.

Drivers at the GB Terminal (Southern) firm move new Volkswagen vehicles Sheerness Docks in Kent. The Unite union ballot closes on Monday 2 December.

Plastic workers consider strikes

Strikes could hit plastics manufacturer Formica’s factory in North Shields unless bosses return to pay negotiations.

Unite union members at the factory have voted for strikes after demanding a pay increase in line with inflation.

They were only offered a 1 percent rise alongside two days extra Christmas holiday that would be available for this year only.

Renfrewshire bus fightback

Workers at McGill’s bus firm in Renfrewshire are set to start a wave of strikes next week after voting overwhelmingly for action.

Around 50 workers plan to walk out on 26 November, followed by strikes on 2 and 9 December. Inchinnan and Johnstone depots could be hit.

The Unite union members are fighting for pay parity between workers who were transferred over on a contract from Arriva and those who have long-standing contracts with McGill’s.

Ex-Arriva staff are paid 8-14 percent less than others. Those workers complain they have been subjected to pay freezes for eight years while those on pre-existing McGill’s contracts have had several pay increases.

nA ballot for strikes at Yellow Buses, a firm based in Bournemouth, was called off this week after bosses backed off from attacks.

Workers were set to take action over an “unjustified attack” on their union rep. But Martin Conder’s appeal saw all charges dropped.

Action on the Victoria Line

The Victoria line on the London Tube is set to grind to a halt for several days next week as workers strike.

Drivers on the line voted unanimously for strikes over pay this summer, and have vowed to walk out after talks failed.

Workers are set to walk out for 24 hours from 10pm next Wednesday, with delays expected until Friday.

Their RMT union says bosses have reneged on commitments made in negotiations around pay, abuses of procedures and staff harassment.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said transport bosses were “mugging off drivers on the Victoria line by making promises inside Acas and then pulling them away the moment that they step out in the daylight.”

“RMT representatives will not be treated with contempt,” he said.

West Mids defends guards

A 24-hour strike hit West Midlands Trains last Saturday as workers took action to keep a guard on the train.

RMT union members walked out to “defend the safety of the travelling public” over threats to remove a second safety-trained member of staff from services. Workers are fighting for a guarantee that all West Midlands Trains will continue to run with a guard, which ensures safe and accessible travel for all.

They are planning to walk out every Saturday until the end of the year.

RMT union members were set to protest outside City Hall at 9am on Wednesday this week.

They are angry at London Overground’s plans to slash ticket office opening hours.

Workers are also balloting for action over the cuts.

A scheduled strike by train managers in the RMT union on the Virgin West Coast line was called off this week. Agreement was reached about the treatment of a sacked worker following talks at conciliation service Acas.

Caterers on the Eurostar have announced a 24-hour strike on 29 November. The caterers are the last group of workers on Eurostar who are paid below the £10.55 hourly rate.

Their employer, Rail Gourmet, is part of catering giant SSP.

RMT members are preparing for action on the Tyne and Wear Metro over pay and staffing issues.

Workers voted 80 percent for action on a 100 percent turnout. But bosses offered no concessions.

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