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Victory over fire and rehire in Sandwell + round-up

A series of strikes and ballots over pay and other issues
Issue 2805
12 workers with purple Unison flags and placards fight for pay and national terms and conditions

Workers have fought off fire and rehire that hit pay and conditions

Leisure workers in Sandwell, West Midlands,  are celebrating a victory this week. Their employer, the Sandwell Leisure Trust, announced that it will return the workers to national pay, terms and conditions.

The board of the trust announced the decision last Friday. It reverses the fire and rehire of staff that took place back in March 2021.

The Unison union has been in dispute with the trust for 20 months over the fire and rehire. 

This involved strikes, lobbies of councillors, and a demonstration outside the new Commonwealth Games Aquatic Centre.

Sandwell Unison branch secretary Tony Barnsley said, “This decision is great news for all the staff working at Sandwell Leisure Trust.”


40 postal workers in orange-red jackets look confident as they hold up CWU union placards in their pay fight

Ready for action at Chipping Norton in the pay fight

Ready for a ballot in post

Royal Mail workers have held large workplace and gate meetings across Britain to get ready for a fight over pay.

Members of the CWU union met as their leaders go through final talks with bosses, demanding a “no‑strings attached pay rise”. Bosses at Royal Mail put forward a pay increase of just 3.5 percent—well below the rate of inflation—coupled with attacks on working conditions.

Union leaders say they will launch a national strike ballot if bosses don’t back down at the end of a four week negotiating period. It’s important the action begins as soon as possible.


Traffic wardens won’t park strikes

Traffic wardens in Wiltshire were set to strike for a second day this week after a previous day of strikes brought parking enforcement to a standstill.

The members of the GMB union are hitting back at plans by the council to cut their pay by as much as 20 percent. The scheme would withdraw extra pay for unsocial hours. Cuts would hit hundreds of other staff employed by the council, including social workers, as well as traffic wardens.


Turn up heat of Cadent action

Thousands of workers at gas company Cadent began action last week to demand a pay rise. Workers also have ready rejected two previous offers of two and four percent.

The members of the GMB union voted to strike. But currently they are taking part only in an overtime ban on the advice of the union leadership. Workers won’t work additional hours or cover for those off sick.

The union has argued that they are offering the company a period of “goodwill” to force them to negotiate and avoid strikes. But only strikes will win them the pay rise they need.


Care worker wins case

A care worker that the bosses victimised at the Sage care home in north London has won compensation for damages caused by her employer.

Bella Ruiz, a former care home worker at Sage and member of the UVW union, was part of organising a series of inspiring fights for better pay and conditions at the care home.

In total Bella helped to unionise around 30 members of staff. She said managers called her “subversive” and malicious.

Bella said, “Taking my employer to court was quite a feat, quite a challenge, because people fight, they cry, they get angry, and, in the end, they leave and resign.

“But I showed them that it is possible, that we can speak out, that we have to be orderly in organising when things happen to us in our jobs, and that we are not alone. I have never felt alone.”


No more low paid soap work at opera

Cleaning workers at the Royal Opera House have launched a campaign against outsourcer DOC cleaning. The members of the Caiwu union say they are tired of low pay and unsafe conditions and should be rewarded for the work they did during the pandemic.

Workers will lead a protest outside the Royal Opera House this Friday at 5 pm.


Firefighters demand a better pay fight

Firefighters have demanded their union leaders adopt a new strategy over pay. Delegates at the FBU union’s conference last week defeated union leaders in a debate. It came after union leaders signed up to a 1.5 percent pay deal in 2021.

Fire authorities have also gradually made firefighters take on extra duties as part of pay deals. Delegates at the conference passed a motion that said this “has not yet yielded a positive outcome nor an increase in firefighter pay.”


Strike could stuff jubilee celebrations

Tube Station staff at Green Park and Euston say they will strike for 24 hours on 3 June to fight back against a culture of bullying, and intimidation.

If it goes ahead, the strike will hit the remainder of the jubilee bank holiday, at the nearest station to Buckingham Palace celebrations.


Ballot to take wind out of victimisation

Workers at a wind farm company—Orsted Walney Operations—are balloting for strikes over the victimisation of a worker who raised health and safety issues.

The RMT union says bosses withheld the worker’s pay for nine months and that he was subjected to personal ridicule.


Ballot to down tools in Doncaster

Rail maintenance workers at Wabtec in Doncaster are voting on strikes over the company’s fire and rehire plans. More than 150 workers in the Unite union face cuts in breaks and working extra hours for no extra pay.

Additionally, the company is pushing a two-year pay deal below inflation. The ballot continues until next Monday.


New outsourcing pay fight in NHS

GMB union members that work as cleaners, domestics and porters at St George’s hospital in south London have voted to strike over pay. They are subcontracted to notorious outsourcer Mitie.

The union plans a series of 24-hour strikes starting on Tuesday 30 May at 7am. Further action is scheduled for 6 and 7 June.


Workers win a decent pay rise

Over 300 ground handlers employed by Menzies Aviation at Gatwick Airport have secured a 10 percent pay rise. The Unite union says workers have overwhelmingly accepted the deal.

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