Trade union issues

Industrial news in brief

Submitted by Matthew on 9 May, 2012 - 11:06

Forty-five workers at the Enterprise Distribution Centre, which unloads paper reels from incoming vessels at the Tilbury docks in Essex, struck on Monday 7 May, the first walkout at the docks since 1989.

The workers, who are members of Unite, are striking against the arbitrary imposition of new contracts which could see them lose up to £2,500.

Unite official Jane Jeffery said: “Members are annoyed at the complete lack of negotiation and consultation. Since the ballot for strike action, we have had no formal communication with the company.

Sunderland College strike ballot; Greenwich libraries strike; new NUJ chapel in Wapping

Submitted by AWL on 1 May, 2012 - 12:17

Workers at Sunderland College will be balloted for strike action in a dispute over pay. According to the University and College Union, “The college intends to cut the salaries of more than 150 lecturers by £10,000 and downgrade 70% of its teaching workforce to inferior pay grades.” The ballot closes on Friday 18 May.


Nearly 100 workers employed across 13 libraries in Greenwich have launched a series of strikes to prevent the privatisation of their workplaces. Workers struck on 27, 28 and 30 April and are due to strike again on 1 and 11 May.

Tanker drivers to vote on deal

Submitted by AWL on 1 May, 2012 - 12:15

More than 2,000 fuel tanker drivers will vote on an offer from the fuel haulage industry’s major employers that bosses hope will settle a dispute on job security, health and safety, and minimum standards.

The workers’ union, Unite, is recommending rejection of the deal – which has already been opposed by a conference of union reps.

Unite officer Diana Holland said that the bosses’ proposals “do not give enough guarantees that the instability and insecurity gripping the industry will come to an end.”

The ballot on the deal closes on Friday 11 May.

Fighting the Tories: what next?

Submitted by Matthew on 25 April, 2012 - 9:34

Bankers’ and bosses’ pay and bonuses, share prices, and profits have recovered nicely since the sudden crash of 2008-9.

This semi-recovery for the bourgeoisie does not come with any economic recovery for the working class. Real wages are going down, and set to go down further. Unemployment is high and not falling. The Government plans even heavier cuts for the next few years than it has made in 2010-2.

Unions: not surveys but agitation

Submitted by Matthew on 21 March, 2012 - 11:44

It has become habit for public sector unions, even when they have a legally valid ballot mandate for strikes, to conduct “surveys” of their members to see whether there is a mood for further action.

In the 1960s, sociologist John Goldthorpe undertook a survey of Vauxhall car workers in Luton. His study was technically sound. After detailed analysis he concluded that the workers were content with their working lives, thought well of management, and had no sense of working-class solidarity.

Pensions: make unions commit to action now! Matthew Wed, 02/01/2012 - 14:21

Unions which have not accepted the Government’s so-called “final” formula for public sector pensions are talking about a further strike on the issue in late March, and more action beyond that.

But activists in those unions, and especially in the officially “left-wing” unions, will have to fight hard:

• to make sure the further strike happens;

• that it is energetically organised, and not just a limp token protest;

Strikes at Barnet Council, Newsquest, Remploy Matthew Wed, 02/01/2012 - 14:02

Members of Barnet Unison local government branch will take their fourth one-day strike on Thursday 9 February against mass privatisation at the council.

Please send messages of support to the strikers to contactus@barnetunison.org.uk
and follow the branch on Twitter: @barnet_unison.

Pensions fight in the balance

Submitted by Matthew on 18 January, 2012 - 1:57

Trade union militants across the labour movement are fighting to rescue the pensions battle from sell-out.

Activists in Unite are fighting to hold their national leadership to account and demanding that they uphold the policies of the union’s National Industrial Sector Committees (NISCs), which have voted to reject the government’s offer and organise further action.

Planning the next steps in the pensions fight

Submitted by Matthew on 18 January, 2012 - 12:01

Members of Workers’ Liberty who work in the public sector met on Saturday 14 January to discuss organising against a sell-out in the pensions campaign, and to develop our efforts to build rank-and-file power in workplaces and unions.

AWL members organise in “fractions” — our school workers’ fraction, for instance, brings together National Union of Teachers (NUT) activists with teaching assistants and other education workers.

Organise next pensions action now!

Submitted by Matthew on 11 January, 2012 - 1:15

The decision of Unite’s local government committee to follow the lead of its health committee in rejecting the latest pensions offer is a significant development in the fight to defeat the government’s attacks.

Unite says only that its local government members will “now consider their next steps”, rather than definitively committing to further action. In Unite now, the battle for activists is to ensure that the union organises further strikes, and quickly.