Socialist Worker


Save manufacturing jobs

27 May 2004
AROUND 500 manufacturing workers marched through Birmingham on Saturday on a march called by the TGWU, GMB, Amicus and other trade unions. They were marching to protest against the decline of manufacturing industry. Contingents from Land Rover, Vauxhall, Alstom and other workplaces in the Midlands marched behind their union banners.

A million could strike in local government

15 May 2004
OVER ONE million local government workers could be heading for a major pay battle. Last week both sides in the negotiations over the local government pay and conditions deal upped the ante. The giant Unison, TGWU and GMB unions agreed to consult their members over the deal and possible action unless the employers back down before 21 May. The employers issued a press release saying that they would stand firm over their offer of a derisory 7 percent over 3 years.

Outcry at GMB leader's backing for Brown

27 March 2004
KEVIN CURRAN, the general secretary of the GMB union, disgracefully praised Gordon Brown's job cuts plans. Curran said, "The chancellor has bravely negotiated cuts in Whitehall departments that will ensure that public service investment reaches communities where it can most help individuals and families." Paul Kenny, head of the London GMB, said he was "mystified and angered" by the comment.


13 March 2004
WORKERS AT Mid Kent Water have started a strike ballot over a maintenance contract for raw sewage work. A GMB spokesperson says, "The ballot comes after harassment of staff who have refused the work."

Refuse workers

06 March 2004
WORKERS AT the main refuse collection depot in Brighton & Hove staged a 48-hour unofficial strike on Tuesday and Wednesday last week. The walkout followed the suspension by management of GMB steward Richard Warren. Workers returned to work on Thursday after voting overwhelmingly to work to rule-refusing to work overtime or catch up on work missing during the walkout.


29 November 2003
HUNDREDS OF Tyneside shipyard workers staged an unofficial "wildcat" strike last week over allegations of bullying in the workplace. The one-day walkout was by around 600 platers, welders and riggers in the Amicus and GMB unions at the giant Amec shipyard in Wallsend on Tyneside.

Council workers

13 September 2003
MANUAL WORKERS in the GMB union working for Manchester city Council struck for a day on Monday against the imposition of the Single Status agreement. They voted three to one to strike in an official ballot. Many other council workers in other departments refused to cross their picket lines.

Laing O'Rourke

16 August 2003
CONSTRUCTION workers at Heathrow's new Terminal Five complex have won significant gains over working hours that will enable them to have something approaching a family life. Bosses of construction firm Laing O'Rourke caved in at the end of last week under the pressure of a strike ballot planned by the GMB union and of threatened wildcat walkouts by the 1,500 workers on the site.

British Airways

16 August 2003
NEW DISPUTES are brewing among British Airways workers at Heathrow. Some 4,500 BA engineers moved a step closer to an industrial dispute when their union negotiators failed to reach an agreement with BA management last week. The engineers are represented by the Amicus and GMB unions. They are potentially an extremely powerful group of workers.

Amicus union

09 August 2003
AN INDUSTRIAL tribunal found that trade unionists who have been on strike against the William Cooks foundry business for over two years had been "unfairly dismissed". The 80 workers, in the GMB and Amicus-AEEU unions, were sacked in 2001 when they were involved in an official strike. Eddie Grimes, Amicus-AEEU member and striker, spoke to Socialist Worker about the result:

Rhodia - defending pensions

19 July 2003
THE CRISIS over pensions has provoked another group of workers into strike action to defend their final salary pension scheme. Some 600 workers at the Rhodia chemical firm in Oldbury and Widnes were set to strike on Friday this week. The workers are members of the GMB and Amicus unions. The multinational wants to close their pension scheme to new entrants.


19 July 2003
THE WORKERS at Remploy, the government-aided company that mainly employs disabled workers, have given Remploy's final wage offer a massive 70 percent rejection. This comes after underhand bully-boy tactics from the board. The 5,700 workers are members of several unions - the biggest is the GMB, but some are in the TGWU, GPMU and KFAT.

Local unity can beat back the BNP Nazis

28 June 2003
"UNIONS HAVE been mobilising and we expect good delegations from the postal workers' CWU and firefighters' FBU," says Matt Saywell. He is a member of Broxbourne Against Racism, which is mobilising for Saturday's march in the Hertfordshire town where the BNP has one councillor. "The GMB London Region is also supporting the march, as are local churches," says Matt. "We've had a really good response from local people."

'The political mood is shifting in my union'

21 June 2003
THE POLITICAL level of this year's GMB congress was great, with really heated debates on issues like tackling racism and the war on Iraq. The congress voted to change the rulebook to expel racists from the union and to oppose the Nazi BNP.


14 June 2003
A MASS meeting last weekend saw over 120 airport workers at Liverpool's John Lennon Airport argue for possible strike action over huge pay cuts. Management want to cut baggage handlers' pay by up to 40 percent. The GMB union members are spitting blood. One worker said, "We work long hours, the shifts wear you out and now this." Paul Sillett

GMB conference

14 June 2003
THE SENSE that New Labour has betrayed its working class supporters ran throughout the GMB union's congress in Blackpool this week. Delegates voted unanimously to review the donations to MPs who do not share the "aims, values and priorities of the union".

Blair can't hide from his lies about Iraq

14 June 2003
THE LIES told by Tony Blair to justify war on Iraq are coming back to haunt him. This week the conference of Britain's fourth biggest union, the GMB, called for a public inquiry into events leading up to the war. If Blair was found to have lied, said the motion, he should resign. The conference also supported the Stop the War Coalition and voted to review its links with Labour MPs.

The walls come tumbling down

07 June 2003
OVER 1,000 brick workers are set to walk out on strike on 9 June in the first of a series of planned one-day strikes. Hanson Bricks employs the workers. They are members of the TGWU, GMB and Amicus unions and work at 14 plants across England and Wales. The workers voted by over 60 percent to take strike action after rejecting the company's revised pay offer of 3.45 percent spread over 15 months.

Hanson Brick

31 May 2003
HUNDREDS OF workers for Hanson Bricks, Britain's biggest brick producer, are set to take strike action in a dispute over pay. The workers, in the TGWU, Amicus and GMB unions, have voted overwhelmingly to strike. The first strike is set for Monday 9 June. The second day of action is set for Monday 16 June.

Council workers

31 May 2003
AROUND 140 council manual workers, members of the TGWU and GMB unions, met on Wednesday of last week in central Manchester to discuss resistance to the imposition of new contracts by Manchester City Council. Hundreds of cleaners and "street scene" workers face new duties and the loss of weekend working pay enhancements.

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