Socialist Worker

Strike


Bus drivers shift to a forward gear

20 November 1999
"WE HAD no other option but to strike. We just couldn't go on being ground into the dirt." That was how Essex bus driver Roger Martin explained why workers at Eastern National went on strike over pay. The company is owned by FirstGroup, Britain's biggest bus operator.

Zimbabwe

20 November 1999
Some 6,000 nurses, two thirds of the national total, began a strike in Zimbabwe last week. This came a few days after striking doctors went back to work, victorious after a long strike. The striking nurses are demanding better pay after doctors won their fight for better pay and conditions for staff and patients.

Colleges

20 November 1999
SECRETARIAL and clerical workers at Manchester University were due to be out on strike on Tuesday in a dispute over pay. Staff have demanded an improvement on the 3.5 percent which was foisted on them in their September pay packets. The university has one of the highest proportions of low paid clerical staff in the country.

BT workers poised to cut off bosses

20 November 1999
THOUSANDS of BT call centre workers are set to strike on Monday. If the action goes ahead it will be the first national action in BT for 13 years. It comes after BT announced record profits last week, up by 9 percent in the last three months to a staggering £137 a second.

Help us raise £175,000

13 November 1999
SOCIALIST WORKER'S appeal burst through the £100,000 mark this week. Now the total has reached £114,448.51. The money we received included £365 raised from a walk by 50 people around London's East End through the sites of great working class struggles like the Match Girls' strike in 1888. A walking tour round Manchester raised £214.

Journalists

13 November 1999
JOURNALISTS IN the NUJ union at the Observer have voted for a strike over pay. The 34 to 15 strike vote is over Observer journalists being offered a lower pay rise than those at their sister paper the Guardian. Guardian staff have been offered 3.5 percent, while Observer staff are being offered just 2.4 percent.

Bus workers

13 November 1999
BUS WORKERS in Essex staged their second one day strike over pay on Friday of last week. The strikes are the first for 29 years at Eastern National, now owned by the giant First Bus outfit. The action shut depots in towns across Essex, including Colchester, Chelmsford, Bishop's Stortford, Braintree and elsewhere.

Ford walkout

13 November 1999
"IT'S A war in there." They were the angry words of a Ford Dagenham worker this week as the giant plant in Essex was again hit by strike action.

Sky Chefs

13 November 1999
"LOOK AT us. I feel like I am homeless. We look so poor sitting here in all the cold weather." They are the bitter words of one of the Sky Chefs workers at Heathrow airport who have been on the picket line for nearly a year after being sacked for taking a legal one day strike.

Teachers

13 November 1999
THE NATIONAL Union of Teachers is calling on teachers to organise a week of protests, beginning on 29 November, against the government's plan to impose a performance related pay system. Activities are to be aimed at winning arguments with other teaching unions, parents, governors and MPs, but they will not include the one day strike agreed at the last annual conference. The union's general secretary, Doug McAvoy, announced this action when he spoke to 130 union branch secretaries last week.

Ratcatcher: quiet anger in the dust

13 November 1999
Glasgow's dustcart workers went on strike in June 1975. As they fought for parity of pay with other HGV drivers 60,000 tons of rubbish built up. The new film Ratcatcher is set in the slum tenements of Glasgow during the strike. James, a young boy, ekes out a miserable existence. His home is an overcrowded slum. His family has no money. He accidentally drowns his friend and has to watch his family mourn.

Zimbabwe's unions prepare to fight

13 November 1999
Doctors in Zimbabwe, southern Africa, have won big concessions from the government after a strike lasting over a month. They fought not only for better pay, but also for better patient care. Zimbabwe's health service is in crisis. The government's pro-market policies and its attempts to cut back on welfare mean the most basic equipment is in short supply.

Lecturers

06 November 1999
LEADERS OF the AUT lecturers' union have disgracefully suspended industrial action over pay. The campaign began earlier this year with an excellent one day strike. Since then it has consisted mainly of boycotts of some administration tasks and admissions inquiries. The union's winter council (a delegate based body similar to a conference in other unions) could be asked to consider holding another ballot for action if there is not sufficient progress by the time it is held.

1999/2000 millennium pay

06 November 1999
WORKERS ON Tyneside's Metro light rail system are threatening strike action over millennium holiday payments. They have rejected by eight to one an offer of a £350 bonus, triple pay and a day off for those working after 8pm on New Year's Eve. The RMT union, representing half of Metro's 600 employees, is asking for a £750 millennium bonus.

Brazil

06 November 1999
Hundreds of thousands of Brazilians struck and demonstrated on Wednesday of last week against unemployment and recession caused by the government's free market policies. The strike and protests were organised by the CUT union federation and involved students and landless farmers as well as workers.

Sky Chefs

30 October 1999
THE SACKED Lufthansa Sky Chefs workers at Heathrow airport in west London are planning a number of events to mark the anniversary of their dispute. The workers have been fighting for their jobs for one year, after being ruthlessly sacked for taking part in a legal one day strike.

Great strike revolts of 1888-9 : 'A small spark that kindled a great fire'

30 October 1999
IN THE summer of 1889 the London Evening News and Post reported on the huge strike wave then sweeping the capital. The Bryant and May match girls' strike a year earlier had been, it concluded, "the proverbial small spark" which had "kindled a great fire".

Nurses strike blow at Ireland's elite

30 October 1999
"WE'RE NO longer Florence Nightingales. We're fighting back." Those were the words of Susanne Kennedy, one of 10,000 striking Irish nurses who brought the centre of Dublin to a standstill on Thursday of last week.

Two tactics put to test

30 October 1999
WHAT A contrast. Ford workers strike unofficially for a day. The result: one of the most powerful capitalists in the world almost immediately flies across the Atlantic. Rail union leaders call off a one day strike over safety by guards because it is declared illegal by a high court judge. The result: Railtrack could get away with murder.

Rail bosses use law to stop safety strike

30 October 1999
A STRIKE to protect rail passengers' safety was declared illegal by high court judge Mr Justice Turner on Friday of last week. Rail bosses want to change the guards' duties so they are no longer responsible for train safety. Instead they will be glorified ticket collectors and food sellers.

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