Anti-union laws

Spread the action for 20 September!

Author

Mike Zubrowski

On 20 September, date of the next global school student climate strike, workers at a school in Lewisham will do a photo-shoot with their union group after school, and supporters of Solidarity will then try to persuade as many of them as possible to join a local demo.

Cambridge UCU activists and Solidarity readers are organising a mass lunchtime photo-shoot. There will have been school student walk outs and rallies that morning, and another rally that evening. In the same city, some schools are having early “Power-downs” that afternoon – initiated by staff.

Industrial news in brief

Author

Ollie Moore, Jay Dawkey, Cath Fletcher and David Pendletone

UCU ballot opens

University staff belonging to UCU are being balloted for strike action this autumn over pay equality, job security, workload and pay deflation.

Working conditions in higher education have been deteriorating. The gender pay gap is over 15%; over 100,000 staff across the sector are on fixed-term contracts; academic staff work over 50 hours in a typical week; and in the past ten years pay has declined by 20% in real terms.

How Labour should end austerity

Author

Chris Reynolds

Since 2010 austerity has ground down working-class living standards for the benefit of the ultra-rich. Life has been made meaner and more insecure.

Boris Johnson now says he will end austerity. But that is all a matter of previously-budgeted money being “recycled” and called expansion, and random promises to try to win a general election after which he will be free to do his right-wing worst for five years.

Post workers to ballot for strike

Author

Gerry Bates

Postal workers’ union CWU is planning a strike ballot of around 100,000 workers in Royal Mail, with the vote due to run from 17 September to 8 October.

The union also balloted Royal Mail workers last year, succeeding in meeting the thresholds of the anti-union laws, but strikes were called off after bosses agreed to a number of concessions, including a reduction in the working week from 39 to 35 hours. CWU now says the company is not abiding by this agreement.

Industrial news in brief

Author

Sacha Ismail and Ollie Moore

Tube union RMT suspended strikes planned by drivers on London Underground’s Central and Victoria Lines on 3-4 September, after bosses made a number of concessions.

The issues at the heart of the dispute include authoritarian management culture on both lines, and driver numbers on the Central Line particularly.

The union remains in dispute and activists say strikes should be reinstated if management renege on agreements.

Plans for TUC congress

A different PCS conference

The 2019 conference of PCS, the main civil service union, from 21-23 May in Brighton was the most open and interesting one in years. The great majority of motions on the Conference agenda were not controversial and nor should they be: the bulk of equality and terms and conditions motions should command support. However, on a number of issues the NEC found itself struggling to win over delegates.

Campaign renews NEU

Author

Duncan Morrison (assistant NEU secretary, Lewisham, in personal capacity)

National Education Union (NEU) districts across the country are gearing up for the indicative ballot to boycott high-stakes summative testing in primary schools, which will open on 4 June and close on 2 July. It is clear the campaign is having a hugely invigorating effect on many NEU districts.

PCS: close vote on pay

On the first day of the conference of the PCS civil service union in Brighton, 21 May, a composite backed by the Independent Left on pay was only narrowly defeated.

The debate centred round two emergency motions, one from the National Executive (NEC), and a composited backed both by the Independent Left and by the Socialist Party, which until recently dominated the union leadership. It went to a card vote. The NEC motion passed 62,000 to 60,000, so the alternative composite fell. The NEC motion could be summed up as “do the same again”.

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