Pay, hours, conditions

Now win full isolation pay for all

For the past few months the Safe and Equal campaign (S&E) has been working with Labour MPs to demand full sick and isolation pay for all frontline Test Centre workers. On 29 March 2021, S&E and Emily Thornberry MP got a letter from Sodexo HR Director Greg Austin: “Since receiving your enquiry I am pleased to report that the DHSC have approved the payment of occupational sick pay for periods of self-isolation for all workers at Test Centres. This commitment has also been included in the tender specification for the new Test Centre contract which commences in July 2021.” Previously, G4S and...

Battles in three bus companies

Bus drivers at Manchester’s Go North West firm are continuing an indefinite strike against worsening conditions imposed via “fire and rehire”. The strike entered its sixth week on 4 April. The drivers’ union, Unite, says the new contracts represent an additional 130 hours of work, equivalent to a pay cut of £2,500. At talks at conciliation service Acas, Unite submitted a counterproposal detailing how the company could save £1.3 million to avoid the contractual changes. Go North West has refused, and has told Unite that, unless workers accept new contracts, it may close down the Queens Road...

BT workers gear up to ballot

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has been holding online meetings for members around the country, as it prepares to launch an industrial action ballot in BT Group. The union’s “Count Me In” campaign has seen well-attended meetings take place throughout recent weeks, with union reps and officers discussing how to resist BT bosses’ plans for job cuts and attacks on terms and conditions. In late March, BT announced plans to give its workers a non-consolidated “pandemic bonus” of £1,000 in cash, and £500 worth of shares, a move which the CWU denounced as a bribe, calling attention to the fact...

Heathrow pushed back

Unite called off a series of 41 strikes planned by workers at Heathrow Airport, after Heathrow Airport Ltd (HAL), the central employer at the airport, made a new offer on pay and conditions. Unite says the offer “includes the potential for pay increases over the next two years (depending on airport traffic and inflation), the insourcing of work... and a commitment to review working hours of some sectors to improve work/life balance.” The strikes, planned to take place across a 24-day period, were due to begin on 2 April. Instead, Unite will ballot members on HAL’s new offer, with the union...

Deliveroo strike 7 April

Deliveroo workers across the UK are set to strike and demonstrate against low pay on 7 April. Earlier this month the Bureau of Investigative Journalism analysed payslips from 318 Deliveroo couriers which covered 34,000 hours of time spent logged into the app. They report: “Half (56%) of the riders who took part earned less than an average of £10 an hour for all the time they were logged in. Some took home far less, with one in six (17%) getting less than £6.45 per hour — the lowest possible minimum wage — and one in three (41%) receiving below £8.72, the legal minimum wage for workers over 25...

DVLA strikes 6-9 April

Workers at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) complex in Swansea will strike from 6-9 April. It’s clear from last-ditch talks that the bosses aren’t budging, so strikes will go ahead. The issue is workplace safety; far more workers than strictly necessary have been made to come into the workplace, leading to numerous Covid outbreaks. Our demand is for all workers to be sent home, and for an emergency working arrangement, overseen by union reps, to be agreed which ensures only emergency and essential work is done on-site. Longer term we want investment in equipment and software to...

Thurrock council pay cuts

Council workers in the Unite union in Thurrock, Essex, will strike from 13 April to 7 May, excluding 3 May. The workers, including refuse workers, highway maintenance, and street cleaners, face pay cuts of between £2,000 and £3,500 per year. • Donations to the strike fund can be made to: S/C 60-83-01, A/N 20216557, Name: Unite 1/1152. Messages of solidarity can be sent to willie.howard@unitetheunion.org • More on the dispute in Tribune magazine

British Gas: sackings and strike on 14 April

British Gas engineers in the GMB union will strike for the 43rd time on 14 April, the latest date British Gas has set for the imposition of new contracts. Engineers who have not agreed to the new terms by that date face dismissal, as British Gas uses “fire and rehire” tactics to force through changes. The new contracts were due to be imposed on 1 April, but workers were informed by letter of the extension to 14 April. No reason was given for the change. British Gas says workers who do not accept the new contracts will be dismissed, with pay in lieu of notice, but no redundancy package. Justin...

NHS pay protests across the country

NHS workers across the country held hospital-gate protests on Thursday 1 April, calling for a 15% pay rise (with a £3,000 floor) instead of the government's recommended 1%. St Thomas's hospital in London (pic above) held two protests, at two shift-change times, and University College London Hospital and Lewisham Hospital had lively protests (UCLH pic below). The London Transport Regional Council of the rail union RMT sent solidarity delegations to St Thomas's and UCLH. The next date pencilled in for demonstrations is 12 May, "international nurses' day". The official Pay Review Body is due to...

Scottish NHS pay: where's the other 11%?

On 24 March the Scottish Government announced a pay offer of 4% for NHS workers. Staff on the lowest Agenda for Change pay point would get a 5.4% increase. The pay rise would be backdated to last December. And it would come on top of the £500 "thank you" payment already made by the Scottish Government. As the Scottish Government press release inevitably pointed out, the pay offer was much better than the pay rise of 1% proposed by the Tories to the Pay Review Body for NHS workers in England. But the offer is nowhere near the Unite and GMB pay claim for 15% (or £3,000, whichever is the higher)...

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