GMB

Gas is not green

Climate activists and some European climate ministers have slammed the EU’s long awaited “taxonomy on sustainable activities” which includes gas and nuclear in its new “green investments guidebook”. The guide is designed to channel billions of EU subsidies into projects that help the EU reach its target of zero carbon emissions by 2050. The inclusion of gas torpedos that effort. The issue is live in the British labour movement too, since the GMB union supports gas as “green”. The original taxonomy, agreed through a long process of scientific debate and negotiation in Brussels, excluded both...

Setback in local government

The ballot by the public services union Unison of its local government members for industrial action for an improvement on the real-wage-cut 1.75% offer on 2021 pay closed on 14 January in England and Wales. Unison has not published the results yet, but they are widely available. 70.2% voted for strikes, 29.8% no, on a turnout of 14.5%, far short of the 50% turnout required under the Tories’ Trade Union Act 2016. The GMB, another union with members in local government, is doing an indicative ballot. Unite is currently balloting members for industrial action, with closing dates from 17 February...

NHS pay: organise now for April 2022

In second round of consultation ballots by the biggest health unions on NHS pay, RCN members in England voted 89% for action short of strike and 54% for strike action. Unison members voted 77% in favour of industrial action. Unsurprisingly the turnouts haven’t improved significantly since the first round of consultations, 23% for the RCN and an unannounced (but similar) figure in Unison. We’re told that very few branches reached the 45% level that the Unison health service group Executive had set to trigger a formal ballot. The GMB formal ballot, which is being run on a disaggregated basis...

Unison local government: vote yes for action

Unison members in schools and local government will be receiving their ballot papers in the week starting 5 December. The union has started balloting 370,000 council and school staff for strike action over the “inadequate” pay offer. It is calling on its members to vote for strike action. Unison, GMB, and Unite have called for a 10% pay rise for council workers. Members in all three unions have voted to reject the offer. Unite are due to ballot soon, and the GMB has gone back to members for further consultation. Unison head of local government Mike Short said: “This inadequate pay offer shows...

Votes on pay action in health and local government

The health unions are carrying out their second round of membership votes on the 2021 NHS pay award of 3%. GMB is holding a formal industrial action ballot which closes on 15 December, Unison’s second informal consultation closes on 5 December, and the RCN’s on 30 November. Across the unions the proportions of members voting in the first rounds were not high enough to meet the legal threshold for industrial action, and so the main objective of the current ballots is to increase the turnout. In some areas the campaign has had more energy this time, and in these last weeks activists should...

Sheffield bin workers fight for "going rate"

Sheffield bin workers employed by Veolia at the Lumley Street depot struck on Monday 8 November over pay. The company had offered them a below-inflation pay award of 3%, plus a £250 bonus offered on condition that they accepted the offer. At a 6:30am picket attended by 100 to 200 workers, the workforce voted by show of hands to demand a 6% pay increase plus the £250 bonus back. On 8 November, the action was for one morning: after a march through town and a rally at the town hall, the Lumley Street workers returned to work at 10:30am. But the picket meeting voted that from 22 November (after...

“Cityclean is a powder keg”

A shop steward from Brighton bins tells us about their victory in their recent dispute. Firstly, congratulations on winning the dispute, I wouldn’t have expected anything less! Haha, yeah, it’s a brilliant outcome, to come out of a dispute with something even better than what we were demanding in the first place is just brilliant, but it shows you our strength. So can you tell me a bit about the deal? What does it mean for the workforce? So as you know, the dispute was about round changes, changes to working patterns at very short notice and without explanation, about management unilaterally...

Diary of an engineer: Bin strike - “Someone must be bullshitting”

The ERF [Energy Recovery Facility] where we work is fuelled and funded by bin waste. In a series of morning meetings, we’ve heard that the city’s refuse collection workers are taking strike action over pay and conditions. The first strike day [scheduled for 1 November] was called off after the company made a pay offer, but the GMB drivers’ branch rejected it. The following week, workers and managers at the ERF began discussing the effect on the plant. Management estimate (or at least tell us that they estimate) a small reduction in waste. Other waste streams will be tipped at the plant as...

Local government and health pay: build the campaigns!

Members of GMB and Unite have voted to reject the local government pay offer, with similar percentages to Unison members, who voted by 79% to reject a 1.75% pay increase (2.75% for those on pay point 1). Ballot papers are scheduled to go out to Unison members in early December, asking whether they want to strike to secure an improved pay offer. The union will be asking members to vote yes. Meanwhile, the Joint Trade Union Side have written to the Employers’ Side, asking them to return to the negotiations and make an improved pay offer. Since 2010 the value of local government pay has fallen by...

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