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Wealden bin workers’ battle + Coventry HGV2 + round up

Other battles take on bosses, and build for 18 June TUC demonstration
Issue 2808
Orange-jacketed Wealden bin workers stand on a picket line with GMB union flag

Wealden bin workers stand firm after five weeks on strike (Pic: GMB Sussex on Twitter)

Fighting on in Wealden against Biffa and cops

Refuse workers in Wealden, East Sussex, will keep striking over pay after failed talks with outsourcer Biffa. 

The members of the GMB union have been striking for five weeks since 25 April. They are also defying police repression.

Two weeks ago three GMB officials were arrested on pickets in a blatant attack on trade unionism. Workers at the Amberstone depot have started bringing a cardboard cut-out of union organiser Gary Palmer, who the police have banned from that particular picket. 

Last week workers refused to accept a rubbish offer from Biffa and voted to keep striking. 

  • Sign the support petition at bit.ly/GMBWealden
  • Refuse workers on the Isle of Wight are set to begin strikes next Monday. 

Almost 91 percent of GMB members voted to strike on a turnout of 78 percent. Loaders and pickers are demanding that they are paid £12.50 an hour. 

Cage drivers and all drivers and grab operatives want £13.25 an hour, and HGV drivers demand £15 an hour. 

  • Around 130 GMB union members are poised to strike at Rhondda Cynon Taf council refuse and recycling department. 

In a ballot, 95 percent of them backed action. Talks have continued since the vote, but have not resolved the dispute.

The GMB now needs to name dates quickly for hard‑hitting action to win a pay rise above inflation.


Coventry HGV2 strikers say yes to more action

Coventry HGV2 strikers have voted by 100 percent to continue pay strikes against the scabbing Labour council.

There are repeated rumours of a deal. But that can only come if there is real movement on the pay issues that sparked this dispute at the start of the year.  

The strike committee insists that any settlement must include the withdrawal of disciplinary action against their deputy convenor Pete Randle. The Labour council continues to organise mass scabbing through its Tom White Waste company.

  • Donations to Unity trust Bank, Unite WM/7116 Coventry Local Government, Account Number 20302665, Sort Code 60-83-01 Messages of support to [email protected]

Build 18 June demo and then fight for more strikes

Trade unionists continued this week to build for the demonstration called by the TUC federation in London on Saturday 18 June. Wednesday was set to see activists hand out tens of thousands of leaflets at stations across Britain. 

Local meetings to build the demonstration, open to all, are planned next week in areas including Worksop, Merthyr, London and Blackpool. The TUC is advertising over 100 coaches to come to London on the day. Some of these are free to union members, some are free to everyone.

The TUC said, “Ministers partied while people died. They did nothing while P&O laid off hundreds of workers on the spot. They dithered and delayed whilst living standards plummeted.

“It’s time for a new deal for working people. We need help with energy bills and a real pay rise for every worker. Let’s take matters into our own hands—and get out on the streets.”

Everyone needs to build the demo. It can boost workers’ confidence to fight. 

And it then has to be a launchpad for the strikes and further mass protests that are desperately needed.

  • Full details of the march, transport and local meetings at bit.ly/TUC1806

Four red-overalled activist with a Palestine flag and red smoke flares stand  on a ledge outside the Elbit factory in Glasgow

Palestine Action at the Glasgow Thales factory (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Thales hit by Palestine Action in Glasgow

Operations at the Thales arms factory in Govan were suspended last week after six Palestine Action protesters climbed to the roof in the early hours of Wednesday morning. 

The action was aimed at challenging Scottish complicity in the violence perpetrated by Israeli apartheid.

Palestine Action released footage from inside the factory, claiming that activists had entered and destroyed equipment.

At least 40 police vans had encircled the building by around 7am, with a police helicopter also deployed.

Thales works alongside Elbit Systems, an Israel‑based developer of military technology. This includes drones used by the Israeli military to kill Palestinians in Gaza.

Stephen Ramsay


Yorkshire bus battle

Over 650 workers on Arriva buses across west Yorkshire began indefinite strikes over pay on Monday. 

Workers have rejected a pay offer of 4.1 percent, well below the rate of inflation. In Wakefield around 80 workers joined the picket line.

They waved Unite union flags as passing cars sounded their horns in support.

Unite regional officer Phil Bown said, “I’ve got bus drivers here who are working 40 to 50 hours a week but who can’t afford to live. Some of them are forced to go to food banks.”

Bus services were cancelled across Wakefield, Dewsbury, Castleford, Pontefract, Heckmondwike, Cleckheaton, Bradford, Leeds, Ossett, Batley, Morley, Rothwell, South Elmsall, Hemsworth, Huddersfield, Halifax, Doncaster, Selby, York and Goole.

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