UNISON

Industrial news in brief

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Gemma Short, Darren Bedford, Charlotte Zalens, Dale Street, Peggy Carter and Ollie Moore

Hundreds of Derby teaching assistants and their supporters protested outside Parliament on Wednesday 14 September. The lobby of Parliament was part of a strike by teaching assistants in their fight to against the council changing their working week, resulting in a 25% loss of pay.

Strikes in August finally brought the council to the negotiating table, but their offers since have been so miserly that workers have rejected them by large majorities. The council has also attempted to make divisive offers that would benefit only a section of the workforce.

Derby teaching assistants fight 25% pay cut; Manchester to sack all firefighters; Tube drivers’ strike solid; bosses cut benefits to meet minimum wage; Bromley libraries; Post office workers strike.

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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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Gemma Short and Ollie Moore

A recent survey of workers at Lambeth Council, south London, conducted by the Unison union uncovered high levels overwork, stress and anxiety among staff, following years of job cuts. The survey found that 56% of staff do not feel that they can continue at the council unless workloads improve.

Lambeth Council stress survey; Southern Rail strikes restart; Tube and London bus drivers strike; courier strikes defeat low pay bosses.

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Ollie Moore and Gemma Short

Members of the RMT union on Southern Rail have struck again, this time for five days, as they continue their battle to defend the role of the guard. Southern, which is owned by Govia Thameslink Railway, a train company which operates other services, including Gatwick Express, wants to de-skill the guard's role, meaning the safety-critical on-board tasks would be carried out by the driver only.

Southern: labour war continues; job cuts on East Coast; how not to save jobs; Derby teaching assistants fight on.

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Dennis Brian, Luke Hardy and Gemma Short

On Wednesday 20th July, library workers in Lewisham took their third strike day to defend our libraries. In the evening the workers, service users and community activists held a lively lobby of Lewisham council.

The council wants to make £1 million of cuts to the library service. They propose taking staff from four libraries, hoping that local voluntary organisations will take over the running of these libraries.
This would leave only three full libraries open in the borough.

Fight to save libraries spreads; Leeds bus workers win pay deal; striking cleaners win London living wage; keep the guard on the train!

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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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Mark Mills, Tony Byrne, Ollie Hill, Ollie Moore and Gemma Short

Bakers’, Food and Allied Workers’ Union (BFAWU) members are in the middle of a fierce battle against massive pay cuts in a food factory in Sheffield.

Pennine Foods is part of 2 Sisters Group, which has revenue of over £3 billion; its owner Ranjit Singh Boparan has a personal wealth of £190 million. Boparan’s “salami-slicing” of conditions has been going on now for 8 years.

Sheffield food factory strike; train drivers: reject means reject!; GTR uses courts to stop strikes; Tube bosses celebrate job cuts; Barnet library workers to strike.

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Cath Fletcher, John Moloney and Ollie Moore

Catering staff at the University of Manchester have won a deal for no compulsory redundancies, no loss of hours, and no pay cuts. Their employer, UMC, a subsidiary company wholly owned by University of Manchester, had said in March that it would sack 46 of its 280-odd catering workers and move the rest to term-time only contracts — meaning a pay cut of about one third. Hannah McCarthy, the student union Campaigns and Citizenship Officer and vice-chair of Manchester Momentum, spoke to Solidarity.

Students help Manchester University workers win; lecturers strike for fair pay in HE; No to the DWP “employer” deal; train bosses hire scabs; cabin crew vote to strike over safety.

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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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Kelly Rogers, Dale Street, Darren Bedford, Ollie Moore and Gemma Short

On Saturday 14 May the BMA held a junior doctors′ conference, followed by a meeting of the junior doctors′ committee on the next day. It was hoped that these meetings would have heard the outcome of renewed negotiations held between the government and the BMA between 9-13 May. However a last minute agreement (brokered by Brendan Barber of all people!) to extend the talks for another week meant that junior doctors did not get a chance to give judgement on any proposed deal.

Junior doctors; BECTU votes for right-wing merger; school janitors step up strike; Topshop cleaners protest across country; strikes in Sheffield against job losses and pay cuts; Southern strikes continue.

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