Pay, hours, conditions

Tower Hamlets backs down

Published on: Wed, 19/02/2020 - 09:13
Author

Patrick Murphy

The National Education Union (NEU) in Tower Hamlets, East London, won an important success on 13 February.

Under pressure from the NEU and the wider labour movement, the local council withdrew a legal challenge aimed at derailing a strike ballot.

On 22 January NEU launched a formal strike ballot in opposition to plans by the council to impose detrimental changes to terms and conditions without consultation with the union. Unison are also planning to ballot. The changes would significantly reduce redundancy payments for teachers and impose new contracts on support staff.

The NEU conducted an

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 19/02/2020 - 09:02
Author

Ed Whitby

Council pay: unions must move now

The local government unions (Unison, GMB and Unite) have rejected a 2% offer in response to their claim for 10% and £10 per hour starting salary (as well as an extra day’s leave, a two-hour reduction in the working week, and action on workplace stress).

The unions’ claim is based on recognition that local government workers have lost 22% on real wages since 2009. The GMB on its website helpfully explains that since 2009, teaching assistants have lost £4000 a year on average, nursery workers £5900, refuse collectors £4800, social workers £9,800.

But the claim

Lively pickets at FCO

Published on: Wed, 19/02/2020 - 08:55
Author

John Moloney

The strike at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is rock solid. The strike will continue through to the end of February over our demand for union recognition.

There have been lively pickets every day, and we’ve had good support from those from other unions. The strike has become a significant feature on the labour movement map of London. Strikers from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office also attended the “Trade Union Bloc” on the 14 February youth climate strike, which was organised by our branch at the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Interserve, the outsourced

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 12/02/2020 - 09:13
Author

Hugh Workman, Ollie Moore, Ed Whitby, Daniel Randall and David Pendletone

Sixth form colleges strike

The NEU’s (National Education Union’s) last strike day in sixth form colleges over funding and pay was 20 November last year. The next is 12 February.

In December the union executive and many NEU activists were, I think, hoping that an imminent Labour government would resolve the dispute in our favour.

The reason for the delay being around a month after most colleges came back is to build up momentum again after the election and Xmas break.

The upcoming three days (12 and 27 Feb, 10 March) are within the six month “shelf-life” of the first ballot, but at the same

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 05/02/2020 - 09:10
Author

Ollie Moore and Darren Bedford

University staff represented by the University and Colleges Union (UCU) are set to strike again in disputes over pensions, pay, equalities and casualisation with a series of walk-outs scheduled over fourteen days beginning Thursday 20 February.

A further fourteen institutions are joining the sixty who struck in the autumn after reballots got them over the 50% threshold. In Scotland members of EIS (another, Scotland-only, union) have also rejected the employers’ offer, bringing the total number of mandates for action to seventy-six.

Despite eight days of strike action last term the employers

FCO strike

Published on: Wed, 05/02/2020 - 09:05
Author

John Moloney

Our outsourced worker members at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office started a month-long strike on Monday 3 February.

There’ll be picket lines every day of that strike, which was a specific decision that the strikers themselves made. That’s not about engaging in some sort of PR exercise, it’s about the strikers understanding that effective strike action needs visible and effective picketing.

We’re appealing to the wider labour movement to actively support those picket lines and attend with flags and banners.

We’ve had good support so far, with John McDonnell and others visiting the picket

FCO dispute renewed

Published on: Wed, 29/01/2020 - 08:53
Author

John Moloney

Our members at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, who are employed by Interserve, are striking for a month, throughout February.

This is an ongoing dispute; the workers are striking to win living wages, union recognition, and greater equality. Ultimately the demand is for direct employment, they should be employed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on civil service terms and conditions.

We want to build maximum support for the strike. There will be picket lines every day, and we’re trying to persuade the TUC to launch the “I Heart Unions” month, which runs throughout February, from the

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 29/01/2020 - 08:33
Author

Ollie Moore and Darren Bedford

Although the action is yet to be announced, the next round of the university and college union (UCU) dispute appears set for the second half of February.

Where strike ballots exist, they are either related to action defending the USS pension scheme, or over casualisation, pay, workloads and equalities (the “four fights”), however in most universities live ballots exist for both disputes simultaneously. A further 37 branches are currently being re-balloted, which alongside the live 98, would significantly enhance the strike’s impact, which in November and December saw thousands of UCU members

Getting hold of the union

Published on: Wed, 08/01/2020 - 10:33
Author

Emma Rickman

During my first week at the plant I found GMB dispute letters laid out all over the control room desks. The letters summarised the national sickness absence dispute with Veolia and the proposed ballot for strike/action short of a strike taking place that month.

The Unite rep, R, stood on a step in front of the pit window, and everyone in the control room stopped work to listen to him.

“Me and the other union reps have discussed it. We’re not happy with Veolia’s national sickness policy — specifically the ability of HR to overrule the opinions of local line managers. There’s no flexibility;

Preparing a counter-offensive

Published on: Wed, 08/01/2020 - 09:14
Author

John Moloney

The key thing the union must consider now, in light of the general election, is how we prepare against a likely onslaught against both unions in general, and our members specifically as government workers.

Dominic Cummings has talked about a “radical reshaping” of the civil service. Whatever the precise detail of that reshaping will be, it’s inevitable that it will impact on our members.

It’s common under new governments that some departments will merge, and new ones may form; that’s normal practice, but a restructure in the hands of a government like this, and led by someone like Cummings,

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