FBU

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.

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

Industrial news in brief

Author

Ollie Moore

Tube workers fight job cuts

Tube workers are currently voting in an industrial action ballot, as the RMT union pushes back against job cuts proposed as part of the so-called “Transformation” process.

Nearly 2,000 workers are being balloted, including workers in engineering, signals, electrical, track, the London Underground Control Centre, and the Emergency Response Unit. “Transformation”, a sweeping restructure and job cuts plan, has already led to admin workers seeing their numbers slashed.

Left initiatives at FBU conference

Author

Sacha Ismail

I attended the Fire Brigades Union conference in Blackpool, 15-17 May, as a visitor for the Free Our Unions campaign. The conference saw debate about the union’s industrial strategy as well as significant decisions and stances on a number of big political issues.

Industrial news in brief

Author

John Moloney and Ollie Moore

The PCS union’s ballot for action on pay, which closed on 29 April, gained a turnout of 47.7%.

That is over 6% higher than in 2018, but still about 3,000 votes short of reaching the 50% threshold required under Tory anti-union laws. This has highlighted, yet again, the extreme unevenness of our organisation on the ground.

A bridge to the far right

Author

Steve Michaels and Sacha Ismail

This is a reply to a Full Brexit article.

The “Full Brexit” project describes itself as a network of “activists, academics, journalists and policy experts, all on the broad political left” dedicated to “seizing the historic opportunity Brexit offers for restoring popular sovereignty, repairing democracy, and renewing our economy”.

Union rights campaign wins support

Author

Gerry Bates

The Eastern region of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has voted to back the Free Our Unions statement – the second FBU region to do so, after the West Midlands – and purchase 200 copies of the Free Our Unions pamphlet produced by the Labour left group The Clarion. The two regions have also arranged to raise the campaign at FBU national conference in May.

Fighting fire in the class struggle

Author

Sacha Ismail

In 2018 the Fire Brigades Union, which organises operational firefighters, fire control staff, fire brigade officers and others in the UK fire and rescue service, celebrated its hundredth anniversary as an independent union. For its centenary the FBU has published a book, Fighting Fire, about the last thirty years of its history.

Grenfell campaigners united

Author

Clare Horner

Campaigners marked the anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire with public demonstrations and resolute promises to fight for justice.

West Mids FBU strike

Author

Gemma Short

Firefighters in the West Midlands have voted by 90%, on a turn out of 82%, for strikes over the creation of a two-tier workforce.

Contracts introduced by the West Midlands Fire Authority mean new firefighters entering the service will have to take on work outside the currently agreed role of a firefighter. The new contracts would allow the employer to unilaterally change the work of firefighters at any time, breaching nationally negotiated agreements with the union, the FBU.

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