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Reports round up: McStrike on menu at 6 stores

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Issue 2679
McDonalds workers rally in Westminster during their first strike
McDonald’s workers rally in Westminster during their first strike (Pic: Guy Smallman)

McDonald’s fast food workers who are members of the Bakers Food and Allied Workers’ union (Bfawu) were set to strike at six sites across south London London next Tuesday.

Workers are demanding a wage of £15 an hour, as well as an end to “youth pay rates”, and job security.

McDonald’s workers in Britain have previously struck in September 2017, May 2018, and October 2018. This strike will be the largest to date with more stores taking part than ever before.

Maria Underwood, a McDonald’s worker in Downham, said, “I’m striking because even though I work hard I still have to choose between paying bills and having something to eat.

“People think McDonald’s workers are dumb, but working at McDonald’s isn’t easy. We work full on. We’re on our feet constantly, often trying to do three jobs at the same time. I want to change that.”

Manuel Feria, a McDonald’s worker in Balham, said, “I’m striking because the poor wages stop me from paying my bills. You have to pick and choose what you can pay.

“We need a union so we have people to back us up.”

The sites hit are Wandsworth Town, Downham, Balham, Deptford, Catford and Crayford.

Activists from the group LGBTQ+ Against Hate Crime rallied in London last Saturday in support of LGBT+ education in schools
Activists from the group LGBTQ+ Against Hate Crime rallied in London last Saturday in support of LGBT+ education in schools (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Ealing fight is back on

Workers at a west London tax office were set to start a ballot for strikes this week in the latest phase of their battle to save jobs.

Members of the PCS union in Ealing are fighting to stop redundancies following the planned closure of their office. Many say they will be forced to take redundancy if bosses at HMRC relocate their workplace to a new site in either Stratford or Croydon.

Bosses had previously agreed to give workers “flexible working” hours to manage commuting time, following strikes earlier this year.

But the PCS says they have dropped this promise.

The ballot will run until Thursday 21 November.

Meanwhile, outsourced workers and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office were set to strike for four days from Thursday of this week.

The PCS union members—including maintenance workers and cleaners—are fighting a long-running battle over pay and union recognition.

Fight for guards on West Mids Trains

Workers at West Midlands Trains are preparing for a series of hard-hitting strikes.

RMT union members are fighting the imposition of driver only operated (DOO) trains. Services would run without a guard.

Workers argue DOO services mean the driver can’t deal with safety issues that may arise. They also make travel harder or unsafe for disabled passengers.

Workers plan walkouts every Saturday until the end of the year, starting this Saturday.

Virgin action after worker victimisation

Train managers on Virgin West Coast are set to to walk out on Tuesday.

The RMT union members are fighting what they say is the “shocking treatment and dismissal of a colleague”. It called bosses’ action a “straightforward and vicious case of victimisation”.

Vote to take Tube bosses to cleaners

Cleaners on the London Underground in the RMT union are fighting for the biggest possible vote for strikes in a ballot.

Workers are outsourced to contractor ABM and are fighting for parity with colleagues. They want improved pensions, sick pay and travel arrangements. The ballot closes on 19 November.

TfL controllers set for pay and holidays fight

A key group of workers at Transport for London (TfL) are preparing for strikes after big votes for walkouts.

Workers in TfL control centres are fighting rubbish pay and cuts to holidays.

Workers in the Network Management Control Centre voted by 89 percent for strikes.

And compliance officers, revenue protection inspectors and roads and transport enforcement officers voted by 88 percent for walkouts.

Bosses want to impose a 1 percent pay rise, a pay cut in real terms.

And managers are also attempting to slash holiday allowance by five days.

Bus drivers’ action to mark a tragic death

A minute’s silence was held across bus services in London on Monday following the tragic death of a bus driver.

Kenneth Matcham died while driving a bus in south east London last week. Some 15 passengers were injured in a collision where two buses collided with a car.

The car’s driver has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and drug driving.

South London school strike against ‘culture of fear’

Workers at St Catherine’s Catholic School for Girls in Bexleyheath, south east London, were set to start a two-day strike on Wednesday of this week.

The action follows a successful walkout by NEU union members on Wednesday of last week. Staff are striking over what NEU district secretary Debbie Jones called a “deep culture of fear” at the school.

They plan further walkouts on 12, 13 and 14 November.

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Nurseries get more money

Pressure from campaigners pushed the Tories to pledge more money for nurseries last week.

Supplementary funding for maintained nursery schools (MNS) was due to end in August next year.

The NEU union said this puts all 392 MNSs at risk of closure.

The government last week said that funding would stay in place for 2020-21. But this still means uncertainty in the longer term.

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Forbo strike going strong

The Forbo flooring workers’ walkout in Derbyshire goes from strength to strength.

The Unite union members have struck every Tuesday and Wednesday for the last three weeks over pay and bullying.

A solidarity day of action last Wednesday saw union reps from the NEU, PCS, Unite and Chesterfield trades council join the picket line.

Cheryl Pidgeon, the Unite regional official, told Socialist Worker, “After three weeks of action the lads are well up for the fight.

“The company is making big profits and our members deserve fair pay.”

Jeannie Robinson

Climate action has ‘given us hope’

A Campaign against Climate Change (CaCC) national meeting in London last Saturday saw campaigners and trade unionists discuss how to fight for climate justice.

Discussions included fighting for progressive policies in the workplace, the Green New Deal, and how to build the fightback for the United Nations climate negotiations in Glasgow in 2020.

A joint session, co-hosted with activists in the UCU union, brought together CaCC attendees and education workers.

They discussed how to build on the momentum after the global climate strike on 20 September.

Macsen Brown of the UK Schools Climate Network said, “Our movement is about more than just who sits in the House of Commons, or about who sits in Downing Street.

“Whoever it is, it’s not going to be enough—we need a worker-led movement and a grassroots movement.”

CaCC chair Suzanne Jeffery praised the school strikes as “an extraordinary movement that’s given us hope”.

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