Unite

Unite declares ballot unlawful

Unite has declared its own recent ballot of cabin crew workers, which returned a 78.5% majority in favour of strike action, unlawful.

This action sets a new and worrying precedent in the ongoing battle against Britain’s anti-union laws. If Unite, the country’s biggest union, is now so jumpy that it will do the bosses’ and courts’ work for them the ruling class will only grow in confidence.

Unite has declared its own recent ballot of cabin crew workers unlawful.

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British Airways workers await strike dates

An announcement on strike dates will have to be made by mid-February. New Fleet [Walsh's new scheme for restructuring terms and conditions] has started, although it numbers only in the hundreds of crew at the moment.

Their rosters are appalling and probably unsustainable for any length of time, as they do not give the crew sufficient rest between long and short haul flights. Their take home pay (for the Juniors) is around £800 per month; this is not a realistic salary for someone working at Heathrow, where renting a room is around £550 per month.

An announcement on strike dates at British Airways will be made by mid-February.

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Organising at work: "we have to take action ourselves"

I’m an electrician and work for an electrical company in the North West. There are 40 of us working here and we travel all over the area.

Three years ago we had no union rep and only a handful of people in the union; this was down to the way the previous shop steward was treated. He eventually left the company.

With no rep or any kind of organising it became a workplace were everybody just looked out for themselves, laughing at the managers’ unfunny jokes but turning a blind eye when people seemed to lose their jobs with no good explanation.

A Unite shop steward in the North West explains how he and his workmates fought off their bosses' attempts to break their union organisation.

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Southwark Speech and Language Therapists take action

Speech and language therapists in Southwark are taking strike action to save services. In total, eight speech and language therapists and three assistants working in Sure Start children's centres, schools and community clinics are set to lose their jobs.

Southwark Speech and Language Therapists take strike action.

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Well said, Len. Now we need the action!

Unite

Author: 

David Kirk

In an article for the Guardian on 20 December, Len McCluskey, new general secretary of Britain's biggest union, Unite wrote:

"The response of trade unions will now be critical. While it is easy to dismiss 'general strike now' rhetoric from the usual quarters, we have to be preparing for battle. It is our responsibility not just to our members but to the wider society that we defend our welfare state and our industrial future against this unprecedented assault."

Len McCluskey, the new general secretary of Unite, has called for militant action against the coalition cuts.

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BA cabin crew dispute: union rejects latest offer

In a bitter dispute which has lasted months, seen several rounds of strike action, court injunctions and victimisations, British Airways bosses remain intransigent and committed to breaking the back of the cabin crew workers’ union.

Unite has rejected BA’s latest offer on pay and travel allowances without even putting it to a ballot.

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British Airways: "I can only think that the next step will be a further ballot for strike action"

Author: 

Darren Bedford

In a bitter dispute which has lasted months, seen several rounds of strike action, court injunctions and victmisations, British Airways bosses remain intransigent and committed to breaking the back of the cabin crew workers’ union.

A BASSA activist comments on the latest developments in the British Airways dispute.

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McCluskey wins in Unite

Unite
Len McCluskey has been elected as the first general secretary of the Unite union, formed by the merger of TGWU and Amicus.

Len McCluskey has been elected as the first general secretary of the Unite union, formed by the merger of TGWU and Amicus.

The count was:

Len McCluskey 101,000

Jerry Hicks (the other left candidate) 52,000

Les Bayliss (the main right-wing candidate) 46,000

Gail Cartmail (another right-wing candidate) 39,000

McCluskey has long been a close associate of Tony Woodley, who is currently joint general secretary with Derek Simpson.

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Unite: Vote McCluskey!

Members of Unite, Britain's biggest union (formed by the merger in 2008 of TGWU and Amicus), are voting to elect the merged union's first General Secretary. The ballot closes on 19 November.

There are four candidates: Les Bayliss and Gail Cartmail from the right, and Jerry Hicks and Len McCluskey from the left.

Why we are supporting Len Cluskey in the election for General Secretary of Unite.

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Birmingham council workers fight back

Author: 

Gerry Bates

Birmingham’s Tory-Lib Dem council has become the latest in a string of public sector employers to interpret the so-called “need” to make cuts as an excuse to take a sledgehammer to their workers’ pay, terms and conditions, and indeed their jobs.

Twenty-six thousand local government workers in Birmingham have been issued with letters notifying them of their employer's intention to make a number of them redundant. The notices are a signal of intent that, if the workers don't accept the new terms, they will be out the door.

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Stop Les Bayliss the scab!

Author: 

A Unite member

Amidst the revelations about footballer's private lives, rancid misogyny and horoscopes that filled the News Of the World recently, there was a interview with Les Bayliss titled "Union chief slams walk-outs over cuts". What makes this article particularly destructive is that rather then being a rant by a embittered and marginalised right-winger on the eve of retirement, Bayliss happens to be the Assistant General Secretary of Unite and a leading contender in the election for General Secretary.

Leadership candidate for Unite slams strikes against cuts.

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More action in aviation

Over 6,000 aviation workers — including firefighters, security guards and other ground staff — will vote on a 2% pay increase, plus a one-off payment of £500, after resoundingly rejecting the employer's previous, initial pay offer and voting by a big majority to take strike action.

The workers' union, Unite, called off scheduled strikes after talks at ACAS and will now recommend that its members vote to accept the new deal.

Over 6,000 aviation workers — including firefighters, security guards and other ground staff — will vote on a 2% pay increase, plus a one-off payment of £500, after resoundingly rejecting the employer's previous, initial pay offer and voting by a big majority to take strike action.

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More workers' struggle in the aviation industry

Author: 

Darren Bedford

Over 6,000 aviation workers - including firefighters, security guards and other ground staff - have voted to take strike action, with walkouts potentially beginning from 23 August.

As the British Airways cabin crew dispute rumbles on, other sections of aviation workers are being drawn into battle.

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Unite General Secretary election: we need a union fit for purpose

Branches and workplace reps’ committees of the union Unite are holding meetings to decide whom to nominate to take over as Unite General Secretary. Nominations have to be made by early September, and the election itself will take place in late October/early November.

Unite is Britain’s biggest union (with a claimed membership of two million). The result of the election will impact not just on Unite but also on the broader trade union movement and — as Unite is Labour’s biggest union affiliate — on the Labour Party as well.

Les Bayliss

Despite our criticisms of his record and the limitations of his election manifesto, we are calling for a vote for Len McCluskey as Unite General Secretary. Calling for a vote for McCluskey does not mean relying on McCluskey to deliver what he says he stands for - he hasn't as Assistant General Secretary, there's no reason to suppose he would as General Secretary - but linking a vote for him with a discussion about what needs to be done to turn Unite into a fighting union.

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BA workers reject latest offer

Author: 

Daniel Randall

British Airways workers have rejected the latest offer from BA bosses in their long running dispute over pay and work restructuring.

Minor concessions on pay were on offer but no significant promises on the original work-related issues of the dispute or the attacks workers have suffered during their campaign. While the deal did promise no victimisation of workers currently involved in disciplinary cases, it only offered a partial reinstatement of the staff travel allowance rescinded during the strike which many workers came to see as the key frontline attack.

British Airways workers have rejected the latest offer from BA bosses in their long running dispute over pay and work restructuring.

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British Airways: deal rejected but dispute still needs direction

Author: 

Darren Bedford

British Airways workers have rejected their bosses latest offer which, although it included minor concessions on pay, included no significant promises from management on either the original issues of the dispute or the attacks workers have suffered during the course of the campaign. While the deal did promise no victimisation of workers currently involved in disciplinary cases, it only offered a partial reinstatement of the staff travel allowance rescinded during the strike which many workers came to see as the key frontline attack.

British Airways workers have rejected management's latest offer, creating the possibility of further strikes.

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BA workers: reject this offer!

Author: 

Stuart Jordan

British Airways cabin crew are being balloted on a new offer from management. But this latest offer addresses none of the key issues of the dispute and would represent a substantial victory for their union-busting boss, Willie Walsh. They should reject the deal!

Since the beginning of the dispute, the union has failed to make clear demands and has consequently ceded ground to management.

BA's latest offer to cabin crew addresses none of the key issues of the dispute.

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British Airways strikes latest

Author: 

Jonny Keyworth

Unite is expected to launch a new waves of strikes against British Airways as it prepares to take a fresh ballot. Unite is serving notification of a ballot after further talks at ACAS floundered.

The union is demanding the full reinstatement of the staff travel scheme for strikers as part of any agreement. BA has made almost no concessions on the issue of the concessionary travel ban and other victimisations of strikers. These victimisations are BA's tactics for punishing staff for exercising their right to strike.

Unite is expected to launch a new waves of strikes against British Airways as it prepares to take a fresh ballot. Unite is serving notification of a ballot after further talks at ACAS floundered.

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Glasgow City Council's "arms length" company attacks unions

Author: 

Ann Field

Set up as an “arms length” company by Labour-controlled Glasgow City Council in 2006, City Building (Glasgow) LLP (formerly the council’s Building Services Department) has enjoyed a large amount of salacious press coverage in recent months.

It began with the revelation that since 2006 City Building had awarded £10 millions worth of contracts to City Refrigeration Holdings Ltd whose founder and boss, Willie Haughey, has donated over £1 million to Labour since 2003 — the biggest donor to Labour in Scotland.

City Building in Glasgow (formerly the council’s Building Services Department) has had a large amount of press coverage in recent months after revelations it awarded contracts worth £10 millions to a company whose boss donated over £1 million to Labour. What has been given a lot less attention are its attacks on trade union organisation.

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Ed Balls: UKIP candidate for Labour leader?

Author: 

Alan Stokes

The recent disgraceful anti-immigration position taken by Labour leadership candidate Ed Balls is bad enough. Even more worrying is one union’s response to it.

Writing in the Observer, Balls claimed that immigration from Eastern Europe has had a “direct impact on the wages, terms and conditions of too many people across our country — in communities ill-prepared to deal with the reality of globalisation, including the one I represent.” He effectively called for the abolition of the free movement of labour that exists across the EU.

The recent disgraceful anti-immigration position taken by Labour leadership candidate Ed Balls is bad enough. Even more worrying is Unite’s response to it.

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British Airways strikes: "It's Willie Walsh or us"

Author: 

Ira Berkovic

As the British Airways cabin crew workers’ dispute reached an apparent impasse, spirits remained high on picket lines at Heathrow Airport.

After several rounds of action, legal challenges to the ballot and a vicious campaign of victimisation, the defensive attitude of many workers at the beginning of the BA strike seems to have been replaced with a kind of kamikaze confidence as they face up to an all-or-nothing battle with Willie Walsh.

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British Airways strike: SWP stunt at ACAS hurt our cause

Author: 

Tom Unterrainer

The decision by 200 members of the Socialist Workers Party and a handful of others to enter the ACAS building on 22 May and disrupt talks between BA and Unite was nothing more than an ill-thought-out stunt.

It should be obvious to SWP members, as it is to the majority of the organised left, that such “militant looking” action had no positive impact on the cause of striking cabin crew and does not constitute valid solidarity. It may even have set back our ability to make solidarity with BA workers, at least solidarity which has their trust and support.

The decision by 200 members of the Socialist Workers Party to enter the ACAS building on 22 May and disrupt talks between BA and Unite was an ill-thought-out stunt. The left should ask trade unionists and activists within the SWP to hold their leadership to account and demand a public repudiation of it.

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British Airways strike: "Walsh wants to break the union"

Author: 

A BASSA activist

Workers definitely got a big morale boost from winning the appeal against the injunction. When that second injunction was granted, people were very down about that.

If it had stood then the dispute would’ve been finished, so it was extremely significant and galvanising when we won the appeal.

Despite the lies from BA and the media, the strike is definitely having an impact. If you know where to look at a big airport like Heathrow, you’ll see dozens and dozens of aircraft grounded and parked-up. BA are literally hiding away the grounded planes.

An assessment of the current state of the British Airways dispute by a cabin crew and UNITE member.

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Unite general secretary election timetable announced

The Unite union has decided on a timetable for the election to choose its first general secretary.

Candidates will have from 1 July to 31 August to nominate themselves. Ballot papers will be sent out from October, and the ballot will run to the end of the month.

Though the count takes place at the end of October, the winner won’t be formally announced till 1 December.

At the end of December, the current joint general secretaries, Tony Woodley (ex-TGWU) and Derek Simpson (ex-Amicus), step down, and the successful candidate takes over as sole general secretary.

The Unite union has decided on a timetable for the election to choose its first general secretary.

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BA strike back on! Mobilise solidarity!

Author: 

Sacha Ismail

Judges have ruled that the BA strike, recently banned by the High Court on a balloting technicality (see here), can go ahead (see the BBC website and the Guardian website for more).

Judges have ruled that the British Airways workers' strike, recently banned on a legal technicality, can go ahead. We need to mobilise solidarity urgently.

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BALPA attacks BA cabin crew workers

Author: 

David Kirk

Before the court issued its injunction against the BA strike, a letter was sent to the new business minister, Vince Cable, claiming that:

"Recent industrial action by cabin crew has further damaged BA's finances and the unprecedented strikes just announced for May and June will seriously threaten BA's ability to maintain the job security and terms and conditions of employees in all parts of the Company, including cabin crew."

Before the court issued its injunction against the BA strike, a letter was sent to the new business minister, Vince Cable...

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