Against victimisation

Near victory in Royal Parks dispute

Last week I wrote that one of our members in the Royal Parks dispute was facing victimisation. Until that threat was lifted we couldn’t settle the dispute. The good news is that the threat of dismissal has now been withdrawn, and the member’s probation period has been extended, which is the outcome he was looking for. That means we can move forward with discussion around the employer’s offer. That offer includes the recognition of PCS, significant enhancement of sick pay arrangements, and improvements in many contractual terms. We’ll discuss the offer with members at a meeting on Thursday 18...

Support Facebook cleaners, 15 October

Workers cleaning Facebook’s London offices are protesting outside them weekly about the sacking of their union rep and workloads which are making them unwell. The next protest is 4pm on Friday 15 October at the Facebook office at 10 Brock St, NW1 3FG. The workers’ union CAIWU (Cleaning and Allied Independent Workers’ Union) will be balloting for strikes on issues including the sacking of Guillermo Camacho. They are also calling for Facebook to terminate their contract with Churchill Cleaning and bring them in-house. Cleaners and facilities workers have won or are pushing for insourcing at a...

Facebook victimises workers' rep

Workers cleaning Facebook’s London offices for Churchill Cleaning will protest again on 17 September as part of their fight against workload increases, harassment of workers and victimisation of their union rep. The company has doubled the workload of cleaners at Facebook’s office on Brock Street (in Camden, north west London) and is now trying to implement similar changes at its London HQ down the road in Rathbone Square. It has removed Cleaners and Allied Independent Workers Union (CAIWU) rep Guillermo Camacho, and engaged in severe bullying of another worker, Monica Arribasplata. CAIWU...

Solidarity with Paul Holmes

Around 100 people joined a solidarity rally for Unison Branch Secretary and national President Paul Holmes on Monday 6 September as his disciplinary hearing began. Holmes was suspended by Kirklees Council in November 2019. The council is not holding the hearing at council offices as would be usual, instead paying for a four-star hotel on the outskirts of Huddersfield. Though supported by his local branch, Holmes is not receiving support from the national union. Along with other Kirklees Unison activists, Holmes has also been suspended by Unison, with no hearings yet. It is unclear whether the...

Two Tube strike ballots close 29 June

Tube union RMT has launched two parallel ballots of its driver members across London Underground, both closing on 29 June. One ballot is for action to win reinstatement for Gary Carney, a union rep sacked after allegedly “avoiding” a drugs and alcohol test about which he was not informed. Drivers on Gary’s line, the Central line, were due to strike on 6 May, but strikes were suspended to allow further talks. After London Underground upheld the sacking, the ballot has been widened to include all drivers across the Tube. The other ballot is for action against so-called “grade consolidation” for...

Three wins, two setbacks

The United Learning academy chain has pulled back from dismissing teacher and National Education Union (NEU) activist Kirstie Paton.

A victory at Pimlico Academy

Staff and students at Pimlico Academy in London have already seen a first victory. On 18 May, the day before a National Education Union (NEU) ballot for strike action, closed, head teacher Daniel Smith announced he would leave on 31 May. Student protest and the threat of workers’ action has seen off...

A strike against bullying

Maintenance workers at housing charity St. Mungo’s have been on indefinite strike since 22 April. They are striking against management bullying and the suspension of a union rep. Unite union officer Steve O’Donnell spoke to Solidarity. The company is refusing to agree to an independent investigation into bullying in the workplace, and our rep remains suspended, so the strike continues. The management culture in the company is intimidating and overbearing. Workers report being given unrealistic deadlines and unmanageable workloads. One worker, who has breast cancer, missed a chemotherapy...

Rick Sumner, 1933-2021

Sadly, Rick Sumner of the National Justice for Mineworkers Campaign has died. Once a miner at Shuttle Eye Colliery in West Yorkshire, in the aftermath of the 1984-5 strike he, along with his wife, Christine, organised the Justice campaign to help the many miners who were victimised and unable to find work. I met him a few times at various functions such as the Chesterfield May Day Rally and the Durham Miners’ Gala, where he was a regular presence with his stall of miners’ memorabilia and publications. A few years ago he stood down and the work of the campaign is being continued by others...

NEU: make defence of reps central!

Chaired by victimised National Education Union (NEU) rep Tracy McGuire, the Defend Victimised NEU Reps Zoom meeting on Thursday 29 April heard from victimised NEU reps and how the fightback is shaping up. First to address the meeting was Louise Lewis, NEU rep at North Huddersfield Trust School, suspended last year after seeking to secure safer working during the pandemic. NEU members at the school voted for strike action to defend Louise and are striking for two days, with more to follow. Kirstie Paton, a teacher at the John Roan School in Greenwich, London, for 20 years, NEU rep, and an NEU...

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