Strikes and lock-outs

Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Gemma Short, Gerry Bates and Jonny West

Two hundred GMB members employed by ISS at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich, South London have voted for strikes to end two-tier conditions in NHS.

The dispute is for the same pay rates, weekend enhancements and unsocial hours rates as the staff directly employed by the Trust.

The GMB members are employed as cleaners, security, ward hostesses, caterers, on the switchboard and as porters.

On 23 September GMB organised a protest outside the bondholders meeting of the PFI operator for the hospital.

Woolwich hospital dispute; NUT survey; construction workers’ wild-cat action wins better toilets; housing charity ballot; UCU pension ballot; Tube disputes.

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Strikes on 13, 14, 15 October

Author: 

Gemma Short

The ballot over NHS pay in Unison returned a yes vote with 68% in favour of strike action and 88% of action short of strike action.

Unison has called a four hour strike in all NHS services, from 7-11am on October 13. This is a different day to local government workers, who will be called out on October 14, and PCS (civil servants), who will be out on the 15th.

Both Unison and PCS now have a concrete demand for pay. In local government Unison is demanding whichever is higher out of a £1 per hour increase or the living wage. In the civil service PCS is demanding a £1200 or 5% pay increase.

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Industrial news in brief

Staff at Your Choice Barnet (YCB), who work with a variety of vulnerable adults, were on strike for two days last week.

The strike was in addition to two days the previous week, where they held a joint rally with visiting Doncaster Care UK workers.

The dispute is over a 9.5% pay cut being imposed by YCB management — an arms length organisation devolved from the council. As well as defending their pay, strikers are also demanding to be taken back in house.

The strike is very well supported amongst staff, and picket lines are lively and well attended.

Barnet care workers strike; Brighton refuse dispute; Tube cleaners vote to strike; Tube victimisation; Tube cuts fight.

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14 October: organise on the ground

Author: 

Gemma Short

Between 2008 and 2013 real wages fell by 8.2%, on average. The median worker lost £2000 a year, for many that will have been much worse.

The wage squeeze is worse for younger workers, a 14% drop for those aged 18-25, 12% for 25-29 year olds. Each decade since the 1980s real wages growth has been lower than the previous decade.

In the public sector wages have fallen by 15%, many face a pay freeze.

14 October will be a display of the potential power of the labour movement, and will raise hopes for all workers feeling the squeeze on wages. The labour movement should bolster that hope with a strategy to win.

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Industrial news in brief

The Hands Off London Transport coalition plans a day of action for 16 September, involving leafleting, petitioning, and demonstrations at Tube stations.

The action will coincide with the introduction of contactless payment technology on the Tube which unions say will lead to problems for both passengers and staff.

The HOLT coalition want to raise the profile of cuts as a political issue, mobilise community direct action against them, and pressure GLAs and London MPs to take a stand on the issue.

Hands Off London Transport day of action; BBC workers to strike; Heathrow Airport strike; Doncaster care workers' dispute; NUT secretary suspended.

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US fast food workers' struggle escalates

Author: 

Daniel Lemberger Cooper

On 4 September, thousands of fast food workers and other service industry employees (including home healthcare workers), backed by both the SEIU (Service Employees International Union) and UFCW (United Food and Commercial Workers), held strikes and protests in cities in California, Missouri, Wisconsin, New York, and elsewhere in the United States, for respect, improved benefits, the right to organise, and for a $15 minimum wage. Hundreds of workers and supporters were arrested.

On 4 September, thousands of fast food workers and other service industry employees (including home healthcare workers), backed by both the SEIU (Service Employees International Union) and UFCW (United Food and Commercial Workers), held strikes and protests in cities in California, Missouri, Wisconsin, New York, and elsewhere in the United States, for respect, improved benefits, the right to organise, and for a $15 minimum wage. Hundreds of workers and supporters were arrested.

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PCS to join October 14

Author: 

Gerry Bates

The civil service union PCS is almost certain to join the unions striking on 14 October over pay.

Local government workers who struck on 10 July are already set to strike again on 14 October. This time they may be joined by health workers also demanding pay rises.

Health workers’ wages have dropped in real terms every year since 2009, and between 12 and 15 percent since 2010.

This year 60% of workers are offered no rise, and others get one percent.

The civil service union PCS is almost certain to join the unions striking on 14 October over pay.

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Industrial news in brief

Unison members in Doncaster are now on their 57th day of strike action as part of action against Care UK who cut wages by up to 35%.

They will be on strike until 14 September, and have pickets every day at 7am outside Care UK’s Doncaster office, as well as trips to picket offices in other cities and to speak at meetings.

The strikers are also currently having weekly members’ meetings to discuss the dispute.

Ritzy workers reject offer

Doncaster care workers strike; Ritzy workers reject offer; Tube jobs fight; Tube cleaners ballot; Living Wage dayschool.

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