Living wage

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...

"We need to develop workers' capacities"

Henry Chango Lopez (pictured above, centre, before the pandemic) is the new General Secretary of the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB). He spoke to Sacha Ismail. In recent years the IWGB has had a high profile in part because it’s grown quite a lot when trade unions in general have stagnated. Why is that? It’s really just about the situation of workers at the moment, the way the economy is, outsourcing, precarious employment – these are problems that many unions have not tackled. Unions do not effectively organise workers in these situations. The problem is so wide...

School cleaners' strike wins

Cleaners in the United Voices of the World union (UVW) at La Retraite Catholic girls’ school in south west London have secured a 24% wage increase, full contractual sick pay, and the repayment of withheld wages, just three days into a planned 40-day strike.

The strike, which involved cleaners...

School cleaners to strike for 40 days

Cleaners in the United Voices of the World union at La Retraite Catholic girls’ school in south west London will strike for 40 days from 16 March, in what the union describes as “the longest school cleaners’ strike in history”. The cleaners, who are employed by outsourced contractor Ecocleen, have faced cuts to their hours, as well as being low-paid, and denied contractual sick pay. Several cleaners have also recently been docked wages, after they exercised their right to refuse unsafe work under Section 44 of the 1996 Employment Rights Act. The union estimates that 25% of cleaners at the...

John Moloney's column: Outsourced cleaners strike

Outsourced cleaners in HMRC offices in Merseyside begin their next strike on Monday 3 August. They’ll strike until 28 August, demanding living wages and full occupational sick pay. This latter demand is clearly vital in terms of safety and infection control during the pandemic, and is the central demand of the Safe and Equal campaign in which Workers’ Liberty members have been central, so hopefully Safe and Equal can play a role in supporting the strike. For how you can support the strike, see justiceforhmrccleaners.wordpress.com The unions will be holding a consultative ballot of our members...

Combat transphobia through education, not expulsions

This article was originally published on Labour List and has been republished with the author's permission. Find it here: www.labourlist.org/2020/02/labour-should-combat-transphobia-through-edu… There is undoubtedly an issue of transphobia in the Labour Party. The Labour Campaign for Trans Rights has been set up to combat this, as well as fight for positive advances for the rights of trans and non-binary people. We do this with a recognition that the Labour Party and the wider labour movement are crucial for winning and consolidating the rights of marginalised people within...

Industrial news in brief

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...

FCO dispute renewed

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

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...

A national contract for all school workers

By Tracy McGuire I’ve just been elected to the support-staff place on the Executive of the National Education Union, in a by-election. My first priority is unionising as many school support staff as possible into the NEU. Especially with the election, there are going to be cuts to schools and job losses for support staff. We need campaigns. We need more support-staff reps, and not just as reps for support staff. At present the NEU has a support staff conference, but it is entitled only to put one motion to the national union conference. [The system was inherited from the ATL, the union that...

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