Pay, hours, conditions

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.

Outsourced workers’ strikes

Author

John Moloney, PCS Assistant General Secretary (personal capacity)

Outsourced workers at the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) began a five day strike from 17 June, immediately following an outsourced workers’ strike at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (F&CO). Both strikes have had exceptionally lively picket lines.

IWGB surveys its work

Author

Zack, delegate to IWGB AGM

The Independent Workers of Great Britain (IWGB), a seven-year-old small union of mostly low-paid, often precarious, and disproportionately migrant workers, had its union-wide AGM on Saturday 8 June.

The IWGB, with almost 5,000 members now, is known for a combative and creative approach to fighting for its members, with loud, disruptive and sometimes secret protests, flash-occupations, and the like. IWGB ‘s ten “branches” — what in many UK unions might be called “sections”, although with considerably greater autonomy from the central union — gave reports.

Outsourced workers’ strikes spread

Author

John Moloney, PCS Assistant General Secretary (in a personal capacity)

Outsourced workers’ disputes in the civil service are spreading. Cleaners, porters, and maintenance workers employed by the contractor Interserve at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office began a five day strike on 10 June.

Tube prepares to ballot

Author

Ollie Moore

Tube union RMT is preparing to ballot its members across London Underground for industrial action, after talks with LU bosses over pay and conditions reached a dead end. Directly-employed Tube workers’ pay deal expired in April, with all four unions which organised on LU submitting claims which included the demand for a 32-hour week (most Tube workers currently work 35 or 36-hour contractual weeks). LU has refused to engage with these demands, offering first a 2.5% pay increase, then a two-year deal with RPI+0.1% and RPI+0.2% pay increases.

Sparking and spreading disputes

Author

John Moloney, Assistant General Secretary-elect, Public and Commercial Services union, in a personal capacity

There are numerous disputes going on across the civil service at the moment. The Universal Credit dispute in Walsall is just one of them. That dispute focuses on workload, and there’s a feeling that other workers in similar situations across the union might take similar action. That opens up the potential for a wider dispute within the Department for Work and Pensions.

TDL out again on 10 June

Author

Duncan Parker, TDL courier and IWGB union rep

The couriers at The Doctors Laboratory (TDL) went on strike for the very first time for a 48-hour period on 24 and 25 May.

After a year of negotiations over pay and terms and conditions, where TDL used delaying and intimidation tactics, the couriers had had enough and balloted for strike action. The final straw was an attempt by TDL to force couriers into PAYE contracts with another pay cut. The ballot was a complete success with 85% voting for industrial action. We had two stunning sunny days and a great turnout for the strike.

Tube cleaners to strike

Cleaners in the RMT union working on London Underground are preparing to ballot for strikes. A cleaning worker and union rep spoke to the Tubeworker bulletin about the dispute:

“Tube cleaners have been campaigning for many years against injustice. We’re fighting for dignity, and equal conditions in our workplaces. Currently we have no company sick pay, which means cleaners who get sick are forced to come to work or face financial hardship. And we also have no free travel passes, unlike directly-employed staff working on the railway.

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.

Courier fight widens

Author

Zack, IWGB National Deliveroo Committee Chair

Couriers and IWGB members at The Doctor’s Laboratory will strike for 48 hours from 7.30 a.m. on 23 May until 25 May, over better pay and terms and conditions and equality with non-courier staff. TDL have been trying to illegally intimidate couriers out of striking, but have not managed. Deliveroo couriers will be joining them in solidarity.

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