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Reports round-up: Porters, cleaners and domestics protest at north London hospital

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Issue 2576
Workers in Edmonton
Workers in Edmonton (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Outsourced porters, cleaners and domestics in the GMB union protested at North Middlesex Hospital in Edmonton, north London, on Thursday of last week.

Contractor Medirest is trying to slash wages, terms and conditions and axe 24 jobs. GMB could ballot for strikes.

Mears workers prepare for more action

About 25 Unite union members at Mears housing maintenance firm demonstrated on Tuesday of last week at the AGM of Northwards Housing whose council-owned properties they maintain.

They’ve just finished a second strike ballot with the result due out next week, following strikes over pay earlier this year.

“I’d think most of us will be up for it”, said one worker of the expected ballot result.

Mike Killian

Grantham protest battles the NHS cuts

More than 500 protesters marched through Grantham, Lincolnshire, on Saturday against the night time closure of the local A&E and wider NHS cuts.

The only walk-in centre in the county—in Lincoln—is to close, alongside cuts in neighbouring Nottinghamshire.

The famed Glenfield Heart Unit in Leicester, which serves all the East Midlands, could be axed next month. A huge protest is planned for Saturday 9 December if this takes place.

Richard Buckwell

Bristol’s Deliveroo riders strike back

Deliveroo couriers in Bristol struck on Saturday of last week over pay.

The riders say Deliveroo is failing to pay them the agreed amount per delivery.

Over 20 riders lined up their bikes along the Queens Road in Clifton, Bristol, on Saturday night.

“The company said they would pay us £4.25 per delivery to work between 5.30pm and 10pm but we were only paid £3.75,” said one rider. “This has happened three or four times before but they always pay the next day.”

The rider added, “If they don’t pay us again we will be back here on strike again.”

Gatwick ground staff wage war

Around 200 baggage handlers are set to strike for a pay rise on Monday 30 October.

The Unite union members are employed by contractor Omni Serv for Norwegian airline subsidiary Red Handling.

Workers voted to strike by 91 percent. Bosses refused to give them a pay rise, suggesting a company barbecue as an alternative.

Guards slam ‘wage theft’ at Bloomberg

Security guards and activists protested outside the London offices of media giant Bloomberg on Monday. The Unite union members accuse contractor Seal Security of “wage theft”.

Unite says workers could be owed thousands of pounds back pay for being made to attend an unpaid 15 minute briefing at the beginning of every shift.

A catastrophe for Bield care homes

Some 200 care home workers face redundancy as private contractor Bield leaves the social care sector.

Bield is closing all 12 of its care homes across seven local authorities in Scotland.

Unison, the union that represents the workers, is calling on the Scottish government to step in.

London conference discusses feminism

Hundreds of activists gathered for the Filia conference last weekend in central London.

Formerly called Feminism in London, it is the largest feminism conference in Britain.

The keynote speeches included author Cordelia Fine, activist Finn Mckay and the Women’s Equality Party.

It held meetings on revolutionary women, refugees and the fight for reproductive rights.

Firefighters go out in Sellafield

Firefighters at the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant struck for 12.5 hours on Monday and were set to do so again on Thursday.

The 60 GMB union members are fighting for a better pay rise.

A separate dispute over pay could see around 5,000 GMB and Unite union members strike together.

Parents save Bolton’s last council-run nursery

Parents in Bolton were celebrating last week after they forced the Labour council to withdraw plans to close the only local authority run nursery in the town.

Tabassum is a parent who was involved in the campaign to save Harvey Children’s Centre. She said, “Running costs for the nursery are only around £68,000—it’s not a lot of money.

“The council is spending millions on doing up the town centre. It should be able to find money for the nursery.”

The campaign included parents, trade unionists and local Labour Party activists.

The parents launched their campaign to keep the nursery open. And Unison union members voted to strike against the closure.

This forced the council to backtrack only 28 days into a consultation.

Laila Hasan

Workers at driving agency agree dates for walkouts

PCS union reps at the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) met last week to decide on strike dates against bosses’ plans for a “flexible working” regime.

They agreed a number of dates and an announcement was likely this week.

The “flexible” working plan would give managers the ability to deploy staff anywhere without notice.

In a last ditch attempt to prevent any action, DVSA bosses offered mediation.

PCS rejected this unless a clean slate is agreed before any talks. So far the employer has refused to do this.

It appears that bosses are waiting for the ballot result from the Prospect union.

Prospect and DVSA bosses have entered into a disgraceful deal behind the backs of PCS.

The DVSA is allowing its own IT systems to be used to conduct the Prospect ballot.

And it is allowing facility time for Prospect members to meet.

Prospect is recommending the deal to its members.

In fact Prospect members at the DVSA are angry at the attempt to push a deal on them.

As a result a number of Prospect members have left their union and joined PCS.

The Prospect ballot result was due out on Tuesday.

PCS reps are confident that when strikes are announced they will be very strongly supported.

Paul Williams, PCS Department for Transport Group President (pc)

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