USDAW

Drivers break from USDAW

A retail distribution driver spoke to us about recent moves by workers to break from the retail union USDAW and join Unite. AWL has criticised USDAW's role as a collaborationist and sell-out union in the retail sector. However, we do not have a formal policy of advocating or supporting breakaways from majority/recognised unions, and relate to particular cases on an individual basis. We publish this report for information.

Sainsbury's drivers leave USDAW, defect to Unite.

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Industrial news in brief

Workers at BMW’s Oxford plant have voted by 97% to oppose management’s latest pay offer.

The consultative ballot, which was conducted by the Unite union, polled 2,000 employees.

The pay deal included a basic increase of 2.21%, of which nearly 2% was contingent on working extra hours. Since the ballot, BMW bosses have offered further talks. While “welcoming” the talks, Unite has said it will press on with plans to move to a full ballot for industrial action to win a better deal.

A round-up of news from across the unions.

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USDAW calls off Primark strike

A strike by shop-floor staff at Northern Irish branches of discount clothing retailer Primark on Friday 16 March was called off after their union USDAW received “an eleventh-hour offer” from Primark bosses to resolve a pay dispute.

The offer would increase the hourly rate of pay for shop-floor workers at Primark from the current £6.84 an hour to £7.14 an hour from April this year. USDAW will now put the offer to ballot.

A strike by workers at Northern Irish outlets of clothing retailer Primark has been called off by their union, USDAW.

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Unilever workers prepared to take further action

Workers at food and cleaning products manufacturer Unilever have begun an 11-day programme of rolling strike action at sites across the UK in an attempt to defeat bosses’ plans to scrap their final-salary pension schemes. It is the joint strategy of the three unions involved: Unite, USDAW and the GMB.

The plan is a bold move from workers at a company that had never seen strike action until December 2011.

Bob Sutton from Merseyside AWL reports on his visit to a local picket line:

Workers at food and cleaning products manufacturer Unilever have begun an 11-day programme of rolling strike action at sites across the UK in an attempt to defeat bosses’ plans to scrap their final-salary pension schemes.

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Unilever strike over pensions

Unilever workers struck for a day on Friday 9 December as part of their battle to defend their pensions.

Members of the Unite, GMB and USDAW unions took action, with the strike being reported solid in most Unilever facilities.

Unite said that no engineer had gone to work at Unilever’s Burton site, and USDAW reported the strike 100% solid at the Port Sunlight research and development facility.

Unilever workers took a day's strike action in a battle to defend their pensions.

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Unilever workers take pensions fight to private sector

A strike by thousands of workers at Unilever (which manufactures well-known food products including Marmite and other household goods) could be the first major set-piece pensions battle in the private sector, after Unite, GMB and USDAW all returned massive majorities for strike action.

A strike by thousands of workers at food products manufacturer Unilever could be the first major pensions battle in the private sector.

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March? Good. But it’s only a start

Author: 

Daniel Randall

There were some definite positives to the 16 May “March for Jobs” organised by Unite in central Birmingham.

The turnout — up to 8,000 people, mostly rank-and-file workers — was bigger than many marchers were expecting. Unite seeming to have done a decent job of mobilising in workplaces. There were contingents from the Longbridge plant in Birmingham, as well as from steelworkers in Teesside, Visteon workers and Latin American cleaners from London. Other unions, most notably Unison, were also visibly present.

There were some definite positives to the 16 May “March for Jobs” organised by Unite in central Birmingham. The turnout — up to 8,000 people, mostly rank-and-file workers — was bigger than many marchers were expecting. Unite seeming to have done a decent job of mobilising in workplaces.

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TU News in brief

LOCAL GOVERNMENT: The decision by members of Unison’s Local Government National Joint Council to agree to binding arbitration effectively brings this year’s pay dispute to an end. It is a failure for the union and the leftists who lead the sector and will be a bitter disappointment to the members who supported action but wanted a better deal.

Round of short TU news articles

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The Unions after Bournemouth

Even in 2005, Tony Blair’s Labour must have seemed to most voters at least marginally less illiberal and less rigidly attached to inequality than the Tory party of the old Thatcher minister Michael Howard.

But what about now? Younger people, looking at the parties afresh, have nothing presented to them which makes Labour seem even demagogically more on the side of the “common people” than the Tories. Sometimes, indeed, the opposite.

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Industrial News

Terminal 5 strikes

TGWU, GMB and UCATT members building Heathrow’s Terminal 5 struck on Friday 20 and Monday 23 January in their battle over bonuses with contractor Laing O’Rourke — despite claims in the bosses’ press that the action was being called off following a settlement. The strikers organised picket lines at half a dozen strategic locations in the environs of the airport.

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