Strikes and lock-outs

Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Peggy Carter, Gemma Short and Charlotte Zalens

On Tuesday the 13 January the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) branch of the PCS union voted by an overwhelming majority to call strikes over pay.

The ICO has been lagging behind civil service pay for some time, with members’ salaries a grade behind what the rest of the civil service receive.

Information Commissioner’s Office staff vote to strike over pay; Woolwich hospital workers continue dispute; Lewisham teachers' ballot against Academies; NUT DGS result; Lambeth College deal; No to outsourcing at National Gallery.

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NHS pay: what's been gained?

Author: 

Charlotte Zalens

As Solidarity went to press on 27 January, news of a deal on NHS pay had just been announced.

Unison, Unite, GMB and the Royal College of Midwives have all confirmed they have suspended strikes planned for Thursday 29 January to consult members on an offer from the government.

A GMB official said the offer included “the implementation of the 1% pay rise for all NHS staff from April 2015 plus some further improvements for the lowest paid NHS staff.”

The details are unclear. However initial publicity suggested that it includes:

It is clear to all that the problems within the National Health Service go much deeper than insufficient pay.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Peggy Carter, Gemma Short, Charlotte Zalens and Darren Bedford

As Solidarity went to press on 20 January, health unions were meeting with Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

The NHS pay dispute is escalating. It started timidly with two days of four-hour strikes. But now there will be a 12 hour strike on 29 January, followed by a 24 hour strike on 25 February involving most of the unions in the NHS.

There were problems with the two four hour strikes. In some areas unions scuppered their own action by granting lavish “exemptions”, encouraging many members to go to work.

Health unions meet Government; new offer at Lambeth College; Brighton hospital workers balloted; Barnet care workers to strike; Essex firefighters strikes solid despite lockout.

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Bus drivers fight for fair pay

As of 2015, new drivers with Arriva — the lowest payer for starter drivers — get £9.69 an hour. The previous starting rate with Arriva, before 2015, was £9.30 an hour. After eight years, a driver is on £12.89 an hour.

For Stagecoach drivers — the highest payer for starter drivers — the rate is £11.46. After two years, they reach the top rate of £15.63 an hour.

A Unite rep at the Wood Green bus garage talks about the London bus dispute.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Gemma Short, Darren Bedford, Gerry Bates, Charlotte Zalens and Micheál McEoin

As Solidarity went to press on 13 January, bus drivers across London were staging a 24 hour strike in a bid to level up pay across the capital.

London’s bus network is outsourced to 18 different companies. Each one of these companies has their own pay scales and the union Unite must separately negotiate pay with all 18 companies. As a result pay differs by up to £3 an hour across the capital for drivers doing the same work. Unite is calling for a London wide pay scale.

London bus drivers. Essex firefighters, clothing workers and college staff strike; Haringey council cuts; sacked rep reinstated.

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Tax the rich to save the Health Service!

Author: 

Sacha Ismail

Spurred by waiting times in Accident & Emergency departments which are the worst since records began in 2004, the Tories have promised an extra £2 billion a year above inflation for the health service.

Labour says it will go £2.5 billion a year above that (funded by a mansion tax, a levy on tobacco companies and closing tax loopholes). Both are completely inadequate

NHS boss Simon Stevens says that the NHS will need at least £8 billion a year above inflation even with dramatic “efficiency savings” – by which he means attacks on NHS workers.

The labour movement must demand a thoroughgoing reversal of marketisation and privatisation, and adequate funding to rebuild the NHS as a comprehensive public service.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Charlotte Zalens, Rhodri Evans and Gemma Short

Health workers in Unison, Unite and GMB will strike for 12 hours on Thursday 29 January, with a planned follow up of 24 hours on Wednesday 25 February.

This follows a series of 4 hour strikes in October and November over NHS pay. Unions are also calling on members to “work to rule” for the days between the two strikes.

Health unions are calling for an immediate 1% consolidated pay rise for all NHS staff, with a further consolidated award for 2015-16 and future increases that they hope will restore the value of NHS pay.

Health workers to walk out; London bus drivers vote for strikes over pay; Waterloo rail cleaners suspend strike; Brighton mental health workers strike; Hands Off London Transport.

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Belgium: general strike on 15 December

Author: 

A correspondent in Liège

The three union confederations in Belgium — the FGTB, linked to the social democratic parties, the CSC, the Catholic confederation, and the liberal-linked CGSLB — have called a general strike for 15 December against the new right-wing government’s cuts plans.

There have been regional general strikes on 24 November, 1 December, and 8 November and a demonstration on 6 November.

The three union confederations in Belgium — the FGTB, linked to the social democratic parties, the CSC, the Catholic confederation, and the liberal-linked CGSLB — have called a general strike for 15 December against the new right-wing government’s cuts plans.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Ollie Moore, Dale Street, Gemma Short and Charlotte Zalens

London Underground has announced its schedule for closing every ticket office on the Tube, starting from early 2015.

It has done this despite the publication of a passenger survey conducted by independent watchdog London TravelWatch which shows the strength of public opposition to the closures.

Tube ticket office closures; Shelter staff to strike; Waterloo cleaners walk out; London bus drivers balloted over pay.

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Firefighters strike over pensions

Author: 

Darren Bedford

Firefighters in England began another 24 hours of strike action as Solidarity went to press, as part of the FBU’s long-running pensions dispute.

The FBU also called a demonstration in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire on the same day, to rally activists for the pensions fight and to show solidarity with FBU executive council member Ricky Matthews, who was sacked during the four-day strike in November. Firefighters gathered in Aylesbury to demonstrate their anger with government proposals to make them work to 60.

Firefighters in England take another 24 hours of strike action as part of the FBU’s long-running pensions dispute.

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