Union conferences

Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Simon Nelson, Gemma Short and Peggy Carter

Unison is organising a strike ballot among its members in the Higher Education (HE) sector to oppose this year’s pay offer. The offer of just 1.1% for the majority of staff, with some additional payments at the lower end of the scale, is not adequate to meet rises in the cost of living and compensate for rises in taxation.The union is recommending rejection of the offer and demanding a 5% rise, and the independent living wage for those on the lowest pay.

HE: reject the pay offer; cleaners fight union-busting; Durham teaching assistants reject offer; Post office workers to strike; Picturehouse protest; TUC wrings its hands.

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Unite backs Corbyn and mandatory reselection

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A delegate

Unite the union held its bi-annual policy conference from 11th to 16th July. Does the largest working-class organisation in Britain have the policies and perspectives needed for the next two years of struggle? The answer has to be, on the whole, no. 

Good policy was passed on the casualisation of work, Kurdish solidarity work, the union's relationship with the Labour Party, and many other areas.

Some good decisions but internationalist class struggle policies still required.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Gerry Bates, Simon Nelson and Ollie Moore

On 7 July the International Dockworkers’ Council (IDC), the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) called a one-hour world-wide strike, from 8 a.m. local time.

Under the slogan “Defend Dockers Rights,” the Global Day of Union Action was organised to call for: Improved health and safety in the workplace, an end to job deregulation, respect for bargaining rights and collective agreements, the need for universal labor standards in GNTs, the concerns over automation processes in terminals, and social justice.

Global strike in the ports; Minnesota nurses strike for control; progress for left at Unison conference; driver-only operation fight continues; ISS must investigate chemicals.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Neil Laker, Peggy Carter, Ollie Moore, Darren Bedford and Charlotte Zalens

In March, the University of Manchester announced plans to restructure its subsidiary company, UMC, making 46 redundancies in catering while moving the remaining staff on to “term-time only” contracts.

This latter move would have meant cuts of about one third to their total pay. But now, as a result of solid negotiating by Unison, and agitation, occupations and disruption by students, management have backed down. There will be no compulsory redundancies, no loss of hours and no pay cuts.

Manchester University catering staff win; lecturers strike; rail workers’ disputes spread; CalMac ferries stay public; Glen Hart reinstated; left makes gains in PCS.

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FBU conference votes to remain in EU

Author: 

Jack Horner

FBU conference in Blackpool last week witnessed sharp debate over the European Union, with delegates eventually voting for a remain vote after much wrangling.

FBU’s executive council proposed a statement to the conference calling for a vote to remain. This argued that the consequences of leaving would be detrimental to firefighters: the working time directive is built into firefighters’ national pay and conditions, while retained firefighters have won gains as part-time workers in the EU, such as pensions, sick leave, holiday pay and other leave.

FBU conference in Blackpool last week witnessed sharp debate over the European Union, with delegates eventually voting for a remain vote after much wrangling.

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Unions must fight for a workers’ Europe!

Author: 

Maria Exall

Maria Exall of the Communication Workers’ Union explains why unions must campaign for a vote to
remain


At CWU conference (24-28 April) we voted overwhelmingly to campaign with other unions for a distinctive workers voice in the debate on the EU referendum.

A leave vote will lead to chaos and reaction and give a massive boost to the right, distracting people from fighting our real enemies — the casual racist Boris Johnson or whoever takes over the Conservative Party if Cameron is forced to resign. A leave vote will also separate us from working with our real friends — workers and trade unions throughout Europe.

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Teachers to strike for a national contract

Author: 

Harry Davies

The conference of the National Union of Teachers over the Easter weekend was a strange beast: a mixture of genuine support for a sustained programme of strike action with a stifling lack of open debate.

The conference of the National Union of Teachers over the Easter weekend was a strange beast: a mixture of genuine support for a sustained programme of strike action with a stifling lack of open debate.

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FBU to debate Labour reaffiliation

Author: 

Jack Horner

The Corbyn surge could receive an important boost in the next month with the announcement that the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) will consider reaffiliation to the Labour Party.

The Corbyn surge could receive an important boost in the next month with the Fire Brigades Union considering reaffiliation to the Labour Party.

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TUC: shaken but not stirred

Author: 

Harry Glass

TUC Congress was still in session as Solidarity went to press (15 September), but there were signs of a bit more rancour in what is normally a somnambulant affair.

The Congress began with a very downbeat address by TUC president Leslie Manasseh, deputy general secretary of the right-wing led union Prospect. Delegates were left wondering whether Corbynmania had completely passed the bureaucracy by.

The tremor of a Corbyn victory registered with, but has not yet shaken, the bureaucratic structures that hold unions back.

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Unite prepares ground for unlawful action

Unite the union held its rules conference in Brighton this week.

About 500 delegates debated motions from sectors, branches, equalities committees and regions. 

Two key and contested debates were about the election of union officials and the union’s political structures and affiliation to the Labour Party. 

Unite members do not elect any paid officials other then the General Secretary. There were many different motions calling for the election of different types of officers by different constituencies. These motions all fell and the status quo prevailed.

Unite has deleted from its rules the caveat “so far as it may be lawful”. General Secretary Len McClusky made clear this was about the existing trade union laws and the Tories’ planned new attack on the right to strike.

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