Strikes and lock-outs

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.

Around the world: 

Trade Unions: 

Publications: 

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.

Issues and Campaigns: 

Trade Unions: 

Publications: 

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.

Publications: 

Trade Unions: 

Firefighters battle government austerity

Author: 

Darren Bedford

Firefighters showed the government the depth of their anger over pensions and cuts last week when they successfully disrupted a planned media event around a new fire station in south London on 25 November.

Fire minister Penny Mordaunt was met by 200 angry firefighters when she arrived at the new West Norwood fire station, blocking the entrance and preventing the car from getting in. As the vehicle sped away, cries of “1 – 0 to the FBU!” rang out.

During this government over 5,000 firefighters’ jobs have been cut and 39 fire stations closed. The Fire Brigades Union has refused to accept these austerity measures and continues its industrial, political and legal campaign.

Publications: 

Trade Unions: 

Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Gemma Short and Charlotte Zalens

Following a re-ballot which returned 83% in favour of strikes on a 58% turn out, Lambeth College UCU will be on their first day of new strikes on Thursday 4 December.

The dispute is over changes to contracts which see two weeks cut off annual holidays, a massive reduction in sick pay entitlement, and extra hours of teaching with no extra pay. UCU members at Lambeth college were re-balloted following a court injunction against their previous indefinite strike plan.

Lambeth College walkout; stop Academies in Lewisham; Tube strikes for sacked workmate; QEH strikers in talks.

Issues and Campaigns: 

Trade Unions: 

Publications: 

Black Friday strike in retail

Author: 

Ollie Moore

Retail workers in America struck on Friday 29 November, the “Black Friday” shopping day when stores offer huge discounts, as part of an ongoing movement against low pay.

In the run-up to Black Friday, workers held protest to build for the strike, with one sit-in at a Los Angeles Walmart resulting in 23 arrests. Strikes are organised locally by community action groups and workers' centres, backed by the United Food and Commercial Workers union.

Retail workers in America struck on Friday 29 November, the “Black Friday” shopping day when stores offer huge discounts, as part of an ongoing movement against low pay.

Around the world: 

Trade Unions: 

Publications: 

Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Sacha Ismail and Gemma Short

Over two hundred outsourced workers who are members of the GMB at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich, South London struck for 48 hours on 24-26 November.

On the 24th the workers, who are employed by Dutch multinational ISS as cleaners, security, ward hostesses, caterers, on the switchboard and as porters, struck alongside directly employed NHS staff striking for their national pay dispute.

Woolwich Hospital cleaners walk out; Care UK strikers agree to pay deal; strikes to defend victimised NUT rep suspended.

Issues and Campaigns: 

Trade Unions: 

Publications: 

Health strike gains momentum

Author: 

Todd Hamer

Health workers struck for a second 4-hour block on Monday 24 November.

Although the strike may not be the most militant on record, there is some evidence that the NHS pay dispute is gaining momentum and the unions are turning up new activists.

Despite painfully timid leadership, the dispute has become a rallying point for health workers concerned about NHS cuts and privatisation.

If it is going to grow and be successful then those new activists need to turn outwards and convince the large numbers of strikebreakers to join us and create a renewed union movement.

Health workers struck for a second 4-hour block on Monday 24 November.

Issues and Campaigns: 

Trade Unions: 

Publications: 

Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Charlotte Zalens, Ollie Moore, Gareth Devonport and Gemma Short

Cleaners working for contractor Interserve at Waterloo station struck on 17-18 November after a manager claimed “we shouldn’t be employing black people.”

The strikes follow earlier action on 10-11 November, and a further 24 hour strike has been called starting at 3pm on 21 November.

The RMT union says bosses have refused to address the allegation through agreed procedures. The union also says Interserve has underpaid wages, as well as victimising, bullying and harassing staff.

Waterloo cleaners walk out over racism; victimisation on Tube; Northern Rail pay dispute; Haringey teachers strike as NUT rep remains suspended.

Publications: 

Trade Unions: 

Health workers to strike again

Author: 

Todd Hamer

Health unions will stage a further four hour strike on 24 November in their ongoing pay dispute.

If we do not win a decent pay settlement and build a union movement capable of defending our already much degraded terms and conditions, then we will have helped speed on the end of the NHS as a free state-of-the art health service.

Since 2010 the NHS has been starved of £20 billion. By 2020 the gap between funding and necessary expenditure will be around £50 billion.

Health unions will stage a further four hour strike on 24 November in their ongoing pay dispute.

Issues and Campaigns: 

Trade Unions: 

Publications: 

Pages