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Reports round up: nurses demand higher pay

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Issue 2560


Rallying outside the Department of Health on Whitehall
Rallying outside the Department of Health on Whitehall (Pic: Socialist Worker)

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) organisation kicked off its “summer of protest” against the Tories’ 1 percent pay cap this week. There were with rallies and meetings across England.

Around 60 RCN members and supporters rallied outside the Department of Health in central London on Tuesday.

Cynthia Davis, who sits on the RCN London board, told Socialist Worker, “Theresa May said there are ‘complex reasons’ why nurses are going to food banks. The reason is very simple—the pay is too low.”

The rallies follow a 78 percent vote for strikes in a consultation. Cynthia said, “The strength of feeling is very clear.”

The RCN and the health unions, including Unison, should ballot their members to strike against the cap.

For a full list of RCN events go to

Workers want genuine pay deal, not hot air from union

Workers at Sierra Windows in Paignton, Devon, were set to strike for three days from Wednesday.

Talks with management took place on Monday—only the second meeting bosses had granted workers after nine weeks of strikes.

The Unite union members are resisting the imposition of new 12-hour shifts and a below-inflation pay deal.

They were briefly joined by workers at DB Glass in nearby Newton Abbey.

They are both part of the Specialist Building Products Group.

But Unite stopped the action at DG Glass after reported ballot irregularities.

The Sierra Windows workers have had their strike days changed due to an error by the union.

But workers have said these days are less effective because fewer of them are at work.

Unless Unite gets an extension rapidly, its 12-week mandate for industrial action has just three weeks left to run.

These workers have shown determination to fight the bosses. Their union needs to match it—and that means raising its game.

Postal union gets ready to deliver ballot over attacks

CWU union reps are discussing the next steps in their fight against a wave of attacks planned by Royal Mail bosses.

They heard from top union officials about their talks with bosses in London on Monday and Birmingham on Tuesday.

Royal Mail wants to rob thousands of pounds from workers’ pensions, slash pay supplements, erode conditions and get rid of crucial union rep positions.

Union leaders told the reps they had to prepare for a big fight. The plan is to ballot at the end of summer to take action in the autumn when strikes can have more effect. Reps now need to deliver a big vote to strike.

A series of unofficial walkouts at Royal Mail offices also show there is a mood to fight.

Postal workers at a delivery office in Thurrock staged a three-hour sit down on last Thursday.

Bosses want to break the union and drive down hard-won pay and conditions.

National strikes can stop them.

More meetings are planned in Bristol, Glasgow, Liverpool and Sheffield next week. For details go to

Left should do better

The Socialist Teachers Alliance (STA) will stand Kauser Jan in an upcoming election for the NUT union’s vice president.

Kauser Jan is a strong candidate that the left should unite behind.

But many are rightly angry as the STA had voted to stand Sara Tomlinson.

Sara stood down after it became clear that leading STA members planned to ignore that democratic vote.

Sara said she would fight for “an inclusive left in which democracy, transparency and accountability are core principles, not empty slogans”.

New strike at Picturehouse

Workers across five Picturehouse cinemas in London were set to strike this Saturday in defiance of management attacks on their Bectu union.

Three reps at the Ritzy cinema in Brixton, south London, have been sacked.

It follows the suspension of eight reps earlier in the month. Workers plan a further walkout on 7 July in their fight for the Living Wage and other demands.

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No suspension for rolled up trousers

A hospital worker in Watford General Hospital, north of London, has been suspended for rolling his trousers up during the recent heatwave.

The GMB union member works as a porter for private contractor Medirest.

Bosses had refused workers’ request to wear three quarter length trousers.

Michael Dooley from the GMB said, “Mr Wood has been treated unfairly and should be reinstated immediately.”

Bosses should reinstate the worker immediately. If they refuse to, the union should force them through action.

Protest to stop estate demolitions

Housing campaigners in Haringey, north London, plan to protest next Monday against the council’s plans to knock down seven estates in the borough.

5.30 pm at Turnpike Lane Tube station, London N15 3NX

Bin workers won’t be refused demands

birmingham refuse workers are set to walk out on Friday in the first of six planned walkouts.

The Labour-run council wants to slash around a fifth of jobs.

The Unite union members plan five further two-hour walkouts in July and August.

Tesco rise isn’t as super as it sounds

Tesco announced last week it would raise workers’ pay to £8.42 an hour by 2018.

The Low Pay Commission estimates the minimum wage will have risen to £7.90 an hour by then.

It is also still below the current Living Wage of £8.45 an hour outside London and £9.75 in London.

Other supermarkets already pay this rate.

The rise comes at a price.From July workers will recieve lower pay premiums for Bank Holidays and Sunday.

Tesco also announced some 1,100 job losses at a Cardiff call centre last week.

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