Strikes and lock-outs

A good time for strikes

Sometimes workers and unions have to strike at times we would not have chosen. The bosses pick a time when they feel secure and can afford a risk of idling their business to victimise union reps or impose worse conditions. Sometimes we win strikes even when the bosses have done the best of calculations. This is a time when the chances of winning strikes are better than usual. On 5 November the Daily Mirror compiled a list of 39 u-turns by the Tory government since early 2020. It is a government with little solid strategy beyond its December 2019 election slogan, “Get Brexit done”. Brexit is...

Victory for HK strikers

From 13 November 200 food delivery workers in Hong Kong struck for two days against their employer Foodpanda. They took to the streets on 16 November with a 15 point series of demands. The police unfurled blue banners instructing them to disperse or face arrest as an illegal assembly — the charge that has seen many leading Hong Kong trade unionists given prison sentences of up to two years. But the workers did not cease their action. The Foodpanda workers, many of whom are Asian migrants to Hong Kong, were protesting about many of the problems experienced by other delivery workers across the...

Victory at Sage care home

Strikes by care workers at the Sage care home in north London have won significant pay increases. From 1 December, care workers, domestic, and maintenance staff will receive a pay increase to £10.85 an hour. This represents a minimum pay increase of 11%. All other staff will receive a pay rise of 5%. The dispute at the care home began in March 2020, and has seen workers, who are members of the United Voices of the World union (UVW) strike several times, most recently in October 2021. Trustees of the care home include property magnate Benzion Freshwater, who has a net worth of over £2 billion...

Goldsmiths out for three weeks

Three weeks of strike action began at Goldsmiths University of London on Tuesday 23 November with picketing, a strike rally and the start of an extensive teach-out programme. The first day of action was the culmination of weeks of preparation, and the product of a determination to beat redundancies and damaging restructuring at the college. The day before the strike, Goldsmiths Warden (top manager) Frances Corner issued a disingenuous message (one of many) urging University and College Union (UCU) members to call off their strike, claiming that she is listening, and implying UCU are being...

Royal Parks: an interim advance (John Moloney's column)

Outsourced cleaners and attendants in the Royal Parks have voted to accept a settlement in their dispute. A vote was held at a meeting on 18 November, with a follow-up check of members who couldn’t attend. It vastly improves sick pay arrangements, and enhances holiday pay. It also recognises the union, and several workers have come forward to be elected as reps. Although a clear victory, this is an interim settlement. There are many outstanding issues and other demands that workers want to press for, including issues regarding their contracts, health and safety and other matters. Another key...

Building organisation at Barnoldswick

Workers at the Rolls Royce site in Barnoldswick have voted to accept a new offer from the company in their dispute over staffing at the site. Ross Quinn, a Unite officer involved in the dispute, spoke to Solidarity. The key concession in the settlement is the extension of the no-compulsory-redundancies guarantee to five years. That’s a three-year extension on what was on the table previously. The deal also includes an agreement for a company furlough scheme for up to 70 workers, which is a kind of baseline insurance policy if work streams dry up in future. But that’s not something either party...

John Deere strikers face re-vote

A re-vote has been announced on the defeated deal in the dispute at John Deere agricultural equipment factories, in Iowa and Indiana and elsewhere in the USA. 10,000 workers had vowed to continue, but union officials from the United Automobile Workers (UAW) announced on 12 November that there would be a re-vote on the agreement already overwhelmingly voted down on 3 November, with only small alterations made. This is reminiscent of the UAW actions at Volvo trucks earlier this year, where 3,000 workers voted down three UAW sell out agreements. It takes the total UAW backed contracts rejected by...

RMT calls strikes of drivers on Night Tube lines

RMT has called strikes in its dispute to stop the consolidation of train operator grades. LU wants to merge the Night Tube duties, currently worked by a dedicated grade of driver, into the full-time rosters, offering full-time drivers a shift supplement to work them.

Although part-time drivers...

"Fire and rehire" battle at Clarks

Five hundred trade unionists and community members marched through the very small town of Street, in Somerset, on 13 November, to support Clarks warehouse workers’ ongoing, all-out strike against being “fired and rehired”. Workers’ Liberty members and supporters from London and Bristol joined the march. To donate to the strike fund: Community, account 34042733, 60-83-01. Reference: Clarks strike pay. Messages of support to drfrancois@community-tu.org The company that now owns Clarks, LionRock Capital, is based in Hong Kong and controlled by a billionaire capitalist close to the Chinese...

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...

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