Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2794

Reports round-up: West Coast train cleaners stage new strike

News in brief from workers’ struggles—including cleaners strikes, and votes to fight over pay
Issue 2794
Workers on the West Coast cleaners strike stand on a picket line outside Carlisle train station. They hold a banner that reads' heroes to zeroes - pay justice for cleaners'

West Coast cleaners strike – solid in Carlisle (Picture: RMT)

Over 20 strikers picketed outside the Alstom Train care depot in Manchester on Saturday—the start of their latest 48-hour pay strike. Cleaners on the West Coast line working for Atalian Servest services are striking over pay.

“We worked through the pandemic, but there’s no appreciation from them,” striking worker Sandra told Socialist Worker. “The more you do, the more they want.”

The strikers, members of the RMT union, were angry about the £10.8 million in pandemic support funds that Atalian claimed. They said it “went straight to a Luxembourg bank.” Other pickets took place at over a dozen more depots including Birmingham, London, Glasgow, Crewe and Preston. More strikes are set to take place between Thursday and Saturday of next week.

Mike Killian


Night fight still going

Night Tube strikes on the Central and Victoria lines continue in a fight to protect the specific grade.

Bosses want to force Underground drivers to work a combination of night and day shifts instead of keeping a separate role for Night Tube drivers. But getting other drivers to work Night tube shifts will destroy workers’ work‑life balance.

Strikes are set to continue every Friday and Saturday night.


A month of bus strikes is set for south west England

Over 380 bus drivers employed by Stagecoach West based throughout Gloucestershire and Wiltshire have announced a month long strike for pay. The strike is set to last from Thursday of next week to 9 April causing disruption throughout the counties. And it will hit the Cheltenham festival, which Stagecoach holds a contract for.

Many drivers are paid under £11 an hour—but bosses have only made tiny pay offers. It is the first time ever that the drivers—members of the Unite union—have voted to strike. There is plenty of money available to offer workers a pay rise. Company accounts reveal that the group made profits over £58 million and has £875 million available.

Workers have won pay rises on other Stagecoach services—they have the power to win and shouldn’t settle for watered-down deals.


Vote for action in Scottish colleges

Scottish college teachers have voted resoundingly for industrial action over a pay offer that would leave most thousands of pounds worse off. Members of the EIS union voted by 71 percent for strikes in an indicative ballot.

An even higher number—88 percent—voted for additional forms of action, on a turnout of 64 percent.

The bosses’ pay offer is well below inflation. And with workloads and massive stress due to the pandemic, teachers were infuriated by a £150 one-off payment offer that bosses hoped would sway opinion.

The Scottish government talks about the colleges being central to recovery from Covid. In reality it has cut their funding, and the employers are hiding behind this.  So the union will launch a statutory ballot soon, timed to see strikes beginning in the run-up to the May council elections.

Donny Gluckstein


Workers at Bobby Moore school in Newham, east London were set to strike over workload and conditions on Thursday of this week.

The NEU union members voted to strike after having to do dinner duties, cover lessons and much more additional work.


Two new pay fights set to start…

As the cost of living crisis sinks its teeth into food and energy bills and inflation soars to 7.8 percent, workers in the Unite union are fighting back.

Workers employed by GE Aviation Systems Limited’s subsidiary company Dowty Propellers were set to strike this week over pay. Over 90 workers based at the factory in Brockworth, Gloucestershire, rejected a two-year pay offer of 4.5 percent. Strikes were set to begin on Friday and continue for every Friday until 20 May.

And around 100 HGV drivers employed by catering firm DO & CO at Heathrow were set to strike on Friday and Saturday of this week over pay and conditions. Workers voted by 94 percent in favour of strikes after having no pay increase for 2021.


…and ballots could mean more to come

Around 100 workers and Unite union members at the Fawley refinery in Hampshire are balloting over a 2.5 percent pay offer for the next two years.

And 150 workers at Riverside Bakery in Nottingham are balloting over a pay offer that reduced overtime and premium rates. Workers at Eclipse Blinds in Inchinnan, Scotland, are balloting for strikes over pay. The 50 workers rejected a 4.3 percent pay offer.

At the Lerwick Port Authority in the Shetland Islands workers are balloting over pay, overtime and conditions. Over 270 workers at the Sibc chemical plant in Teesside are also voting for strikes after a two percent pay rise offer for 2022.


Cut makes sweet makers feel bitter

Workers have voted to strike at the factory where Fox’s Glacier Mints, Mint Humbugs and Poppets are made. GMB union members at sweet maker Valeo, in York, are ready to walk out in a dispute over terms and conditions.

Despite the cost of living crisis and rampant inflation, bosses have offered a below‑inflation pay rise. The lowest paid workers are also excluded from a one-off payment, while others are set to lose two days holiday a year.

Bosses have also told the GMB they want to end collective bargaining at the York site. GMB officials were set to meet with members to discuss potential strike dates.

Katherine Mitchell, GMB organiser, said, “GMB members have kept the company and production going throughout the pandemic—all they are asking for is a fair deal.

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