Industrial news in brief

Submitted by Matthew on 19 October, 2016 - 12:56 Author: Ollie Moore, Gemma Short, Peggy Carter and Charlotte Zalens

Southern rail workers began a further three-day strike from 18 October in their battle to defend the role of the guard. Southern bosses recently re-offered a £2,000 payment to all workers in exchange for accepting new, non-safety-critical roles as "On-Board Supervisors".

The workers' union, RMT, denounced the offer as a bribe. A union statement said: “The company have been told repeatedly that money is not the issue and that the safety of passengers and staff is not for sale. RMT disputes the bogus figures on the number of staff working. Our reps at all locations report that morale is high and that support for the strike action remains rock solid.”

RMT has called a demonstration at Parliament at 12.30 on 1 November to support the Southern dispute.

Veolia caught strike breaking

Multinational refuse outsourcing company Veolia has been bring workers from other parts of the country in an attempt to break a strike of bin workers in Sheffield. Workers struck on Wednesday 5 October over a derisory pay offer.

Their union GMB has found out that Veolia used workers from the London borough of Haringey working overtime shifts to cover the strike in Sheffield. It paid for first class train tickets for the Haringey workers to travel up and put them up in a hotel. Sheffield and Haringey Labour and Momentum activists are coordinating to protest Veolia′s dirty tactics. Sheffield workers struck again on Monday 17 October. As yet it is unclear if Veolia used the strike breaking tactics again.

Newsquest strike

Journalists at Newsquest, south London, will strike for five days in a long running dispute over a restructure that puts all newsroom staff at risk of redundancy. The restructure would leave just 12 reporters covering 11 of Newsquest′s newspapers and eight websites.

An initial 14-day strike was to start on Thursday 6 October but was delayed to allow for talks. When talks produced no movement from Newsquest, workers started a five-day strike on Thursday 13 October. The new strike days will start on Monday 24 October. Newsquest is the second-largest local and regional newspaper publisher in the UK.

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) argues Newsquest is driving down standards, terms and conditions for journalists and making their life a misery while continuing to maximise profits for bosses and shareholders. Newsquest made £60m pre-tax profits in 2014 (their 2015 accounts are apparently overdue!). Seven journalists have already quit since the restructure was announced and many are now whistleblowing on the horrendous working conditions.

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London bus strike restarts

Bus drivers, engineers, and controllers working for London bus operator Tower Transit will strike again on Wednesday 19 October.

Workers struck several times in September in a dispute over imposed roster changes which affect workers′ work-life balance and leave them out of pocket. One of the planned 24 hour strikes in September was cancelled as a ″goodwill gesture″ to the company to encourage negotiations.

Tower Transit has refused to revisit the imposed roster changes in negotiations. Bosses rarely offer goodwill. Bus companies reacted the same way in the London-wide pay strike last year.

Museum cleaners win living wage

Cleaners at the London Transport Museum have won the London living wage, after a long campaign. The cleaners, who are members of the TSSA union, organised demonstrations and petitioning outside their workplace.

Tube cleaners in the RMT union also demonstrated recently, campaigning outside City Hall and the headquarters of cleaning contractor Interserve. They demanded a £10/hour minimum wage, staff travel passes, and direct employment