Unite

Rank and file must control pay fight!

Author: 

Editorial

The pay of FTSE 100 directors has risen by 21% in the past year. Meanwhile average wage increases have been just 2%, 1.6% in the public sector, below price inflation of 2% (CPI) or 2.7% (RPI).

Over half of the wage rises in the last year were below RPI. In a sample survey of wage settlements for six million workers between August 2013 and August 2014, 13% faced a wage freeze and only 8.3% had a wage rise above 3%.

We are in the longest period of wage depression since records began, as a TUC report found on 12 October.

The top union officials have shown themselves inept and inadequate. Now the rank and file must organise to take control of the pay fight.

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Talking, explaining, and telling the truth

Author: 

Mick O’Sullivan

I knew Tom Cashman as a friend and comrade from the early 70s.

Tom was someone who had a hinterland; his interests spanned good whiskey, particle physics, a love of Sean O’Casey’s plays, modernist architecture, and an encyclopaedic knowledge of schisms in the Catholic Church, which quite frankly bemused me. Tom was a very rounded person and a very humorous one.

Remembering Tom Cashman, a socialist trade unionist and long-time associate of the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty who died in August.

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Strike to end low pay

Author: 

Editorial

Public sector workers from health, local government and civil service will strike over pay in the week beginning 13 October.

Unison, GMB and Unite local government workers (and some school workers) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will strike on 14 October. PCS (the civil service union) will strike across Britain on 15 October. Members of the lecturers' union UCU in Further Education colleges in England have rejected their 1% pay offer by 85%. They will strike on 14 October, on the authority of a previous ballot.

Public sector workers from health, local government and civil service will strike over pay in the week beginning 13 October.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Gemma Short, Gerry Bates and Jonny West

Two hundred GMB members employed by ISS at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich, South London have voted for strikes to end two-tier conditions in NHS.

The dispute is for the same pay rates, weekend enhancements and unsocial hours rates as the staff directly employed by the Trust.

The GMB members are employed as cleaners, security, ward hostesses, caterers, on the switchboard and as porters.

On 23 September GMB organised a protest outside the bondholders meeting of the PFI operator for the hospital.

Woolwich hospital dispute; NUT survey; construction workers’ wild-cat action wins better toilets; housing charity ballot; UCU pension ballot; Tube disputes.

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Strike to beat low pay

Author: 

Editorial

Several big unions will strike over public sector pay on 13-14-15 October, but as yet are discussing no follow-up.

At present inter-union communication happens only between general secretaries, or not at all. There should be a joint meeting of the unions' elected executive committees to discuss further action.

Widely-spaced national one day strikes, by themselves, will not win on pay. Unions should use creative tactics to maximise impact, maximise member involvement, and minimise impact on their members' pay.

Strike in October; build connections across unions; press for a strategy to win!

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14 October: organise on the ground

Author: 

Gemma Short

Between 2008 and 2013 real wages fell by 8.2%, on average. The median worker lost £2000 a year, for many that will have been much worse.

The wage squeeze is worse for younger workers, a 14% drop for those aged 18-25, 12% for 25-29 year olds. Each decade since the 1980s real wages growth has been lower than the previous decade.

In the public sector wages have fallen by 15%, many face a pay freeze.

14 October will be a display of the potential power of the labour movement, and will raise hopes for all workers feeling the squeeze on wages. The labour movement should bolster that hope with a strategy to win.

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14 October can be big!

Author: 

Gemma Short

On October 14, local government workers in Unison, Unite and GMB unions will strike over pay. They may be joined by health workers in Unison, Unite and the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) who all have ballots under way. If civil servants in PCS union join the strike this will be a very large and important action against the huge cuts in pay public sector workers have endured since 2009.

On October 14, local government workers in Unison, Unite and GMB unions will strike over pay.

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Good turnouts needed in health union ballots

Strike ballots in the health unions runs up to the end of September, with Unison's closing date on the 18 September and Unite on the 26th. 

A pay offer of 1% for 2 years, with no rise at all for those who receive an incremental rise, has angered workers, but a good turn out in the ballot would be very significant. 

The government has stopped the Health Pay Review Body from even going through the motions of reporting on annual pay this year. Instead it has been asked to propose cuts in unsocial hours pay, should further galvanise the vote. 

Strike ballots in the health unions runs up to the end of September, with Unison's closing date on the 18 September and Unite on the 26th. 

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Industrial news in brief

The Hands Off London Transport coalition plans a day of action for 16 September, involving leafleting, petitioning, and demonstrations at Tube stations.

The action will coincide with the introduction of contactless payment technology on the Tube which unions say will lead to problems for both passengers and staff.

The HOLT coalition want to raise the profile of cuts as a political issue, mobilise community direct action against them, and pressure GLAs and London MPs to take a stand on the issue.

Hands Off London Transport day of action; BBC workers to strike; Heathrow Airport strike; Doncaster care workers' dispute; NUT secretary suspended.

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Tom Cashman

Author: 

Jim Denham

In the last issue of Solidarity, Bruce Robinson remembered the life of Tom Cashman, socialist trade unionist and long-time associate of the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty, who died last month. In this and future issues we will print further tributes.

Remembering the life of Tom Cashman, socialist trade unionist and long-time associate of the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty, who died last month.

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