09 November 2002
STRIKING RAIL workers on Arriva Trains Northern led an 800-strong march in Newcastle on Saturday called by the Public Sector Alliance. Other delegations included firefighters, postal workers (with a significant delegation from Oxfordshire), GMB and Unison union members, further education college lecturers, university lecturers, anti-war activists and others.
26 October 2002
REFUSE WORKERS in Trowbridge, West Wiltshire, last week told management where to shove their pay offer until all workers are put on the same contracts. The 45 GMB union members have been privatised by the council and now work for the Cleanaway contractor.
19 October 2002
A MAJOR demonstration and rally are planned in Newcastle upon Tyne in suppport of public services and against privatisation. GMB union general secretary John Edmonds and CWU union general secretary Billy Hayes are among the speakers.
12 October 2002
THE DEFEAT for the Labour Party leadership in the conference vote last week on PFI confirms the high level of opposition to this policy. Tony Blair then told the unions, "Work with us and we may do something about the two-tier workforce that now exists in the private sector."
28 September 2002
AROUND 160,000 low paid workers employed by private companies that run many local government services are set to start ballots for strikes over pay. The GMB union is campaigning to get contractors to implement the pay rates which have just been agreed for directly employed council workers.
28 September 2002
OVER 100 members of the GMB union at William Freeman Ltd in Barnsley struck for their second one-day strike on Thursday of last week. They are demanding a 4 percent pay rise. This is the first strike in the company's history.
21 September 2002
A one-day strike was staged by over 100 workers at William Freeman Ltd in Barnsley on Thursday of last week. The workers, members of the GMB union, plan a further series of one-day strikes in their campaign for a 4.5 percent pay rise.
31 August 2002
MEMBERS OF the GMB union at the two Lupton and Place die casting factories in Burnley struck for three days last week. The 100 workers were set to hold another three one-day strikes next week. Talks were scheduled for Tuesday of this week. Management had withdrawn their measly 1 percent pay offer, which was only conditional on selling some land and was not to be backdated.
24 August 2002
AROUND 100 GMB union members are taking strike action at Lupton & Place's two die-casting factories in Burnley. They have already struck for three days and planned a further three-day strike this week. The workers have not had a pay rise for years.
17 August 2002
HUGE NUMBERS of council workers across England and Wales are up in arms over the pay deal agreed by their negotiators last week. It is now out for consultation among council worker members of the Unison, GMB and TGWU unions. Consultation will last six weeks.
10 August 2002
THE GMB union is recommending that members at key airports accept an improved pay offer. Airport baggage handlers and check-in staff employed by Aviance have already rejected two pay offers.
10 August 2002
UNION LEADERS called off the strikes of over one million public sector workers on Monday of this week after they struck a deal with council bosses. The leaders of Unison, the TGWU and the GMB called off all strike action for six weeks after bosses were forced to slightly improve their previous offer of a 3 percent pay rise. This is despite the fact that they had previously refused to offer anything to council workers and said anything more than 3 percent was "pie in the sky". But the offer falls far short of what council workers deserve and what could have been won.
03 August 2002
LEADERS OF the three council workers' unions-Unison, the TGWU and the GMB-walked out of talks with management in disgust last week. Council bosses had widely hinted in the press that they were putting a new deal on the table, including offering £5 an hour to some low paid staff, to end another strike across England and Wales scheduled for Wednesday 14 August.
20 July 2002
"I AM 51 and a GMB union shop steward in Manchester. I work on the Benchill estate in Wythenshawe as a family service worker. My job involves working with and helping people, teaching basic parenting skills, helping their children get access to services, and so on. I'm based in a childcare centre with places for 50 children.
20 July 2002
"THIS COULD lead to the biggest pensions rip-off in history." That was the reaction last week of GMB union leader John Edmonds to the report on pensions prepared for the government by Alan Pickering. It says workers will face either a cut in pension income or benefits or both unless they pour even more of their wages into company schemes. Pickering says this move is justified because such benefits are "bells and whistles".
13 July 2002
AIRPORT WORKERS are balloting for strike action that could hit Manchester, Gatwick, Heathrow, Stansted and Birmingham airports this summer. The 1,500 workers are employed by the airport services business Aviance which is owned by the transport group Go Ahead. The workers, members of the TGWU and GMB unions, process passengers and dispatch aircraft.
29 June 2002
THE NATIONAL conference of the giant public sector union Unison took place in Bournemouth last week, as 800,000 of the union's members in local councils in England and Wales balloted on strikes over pay. If that ballot, and similar ballots in the GMB and TGWU unions, are successful a massive one-day national strike of council workers could take place on Wednesday 17 July.
16 March 2002
Union leaders exploded in fury at the Labour government last week. "The time has come for Tony Blair to stop bowing down to big business," said GMB union leader John Edmonds. Blair had launched a pamphlet on public services side by side with Chris Garnet. Garnet is chief executive of the GNER rail company and the brother of ex Tory health secretary Virginia Bottomley.
09 February 2002
"I am under pressure from rank and file members of my union to disaffiliate from the Labour Party." That was the message from Dave Prentis of Unison to his fellow union leaders last week. Both Unison and the GMB union have launched big advertising campaigns in response to Blair's "wreckers" insults. They rightly point out that public sector workers are not wreckers.
26 January 2002
THERE WAS a real taste of anger at New Labour at a conference in Liverpool last weekend. Some 200 people attended Saturday's "Keep public services public" conference organised by the Liverpool joint trade union committee.