Pay, hours, conditions

Lessons from McStrike

Author

Justine Canady

Last year the “McStrike” campaign got an enthusiastic response from many labour movement left and labour movement activists.

But now, for a long time, there haven’t been any local branch meetings for fast food workers, any meetings for workers in the “McStrike” campaign, or meetings with organisers about the direction of the campaign. What went wrong?

Over the last year or so I’ve worked in Wetherspoons, and before that in Brixton McDonalds. Another worker previously involved in cinema worker organising was already working at Brixton when I started there.

Anger over mail workload

Author

Gerry Bates

Postal workers’ union CWU is preparing to ballot its members in Royal Mail for strikes.

The dispute is over a range of issues arising from what the union says is Royal Mail bosses’ failure to implement an agreement reached in 2017, for which strikes planned then were suspended. A key plank of the agreement was a commitment to reduce the working week, which has been reneged upon.

PCS says: join coup protests

Author

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

PCS nationally has made a clear statement against Johnson’s coup, and is encouraging members to join protests.

Our National Executive Committee (NEC) meets this week [starting 2 Sep], and will discuss the unfolding situation in more detail. Our conference policy on Brexit is to remain neutral on the question itself, which the NEC can’t overturn, but obviously we will need to think about how we respond, particularly as it’s PCS members’ labour that will be relied upon to a large extent to “deliver Brexit”.

Post workers to ballot for strike

Author

Gerry Bates

Postal workers’ union CWU is planning a strike ballot of around 100,000 workers in Royal Mail, with the vote due to run from 17 September to 8 October.

The union also balloted Royal Mail workers last year, succeeding in meeting the thresholds of the anti-union laws, but strikes were called off after bosses agreed to a number of concessions, including a reduction in the working week from 39 to 35 hours. CWU now says the company is not abiding by this agreement.

Industrial news in brief

Author

Sacha Ismail and Ollie Moore

Tube union RMT suspended strikes planned by drivers on London Underground’s Central and Victoria Lines on 3-4 September, after bosses made a number of concessions.

The issues at the heart of the dispute include authoritarian management culture on both lines, and driver numbers on the Central Line particularly.

The union remains in dispute and activists say strikes should be reinstated if management renege on agreements.

Plans for TUC congress

PCS in rash of strikes

Author

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

Our members working as cleaners and catering staff at the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) are continuing an all-out, indefinite strike to win living wages.

Other outsourced workers at BEIS, including security guards and mailroom staff, have also struck, and they are discussing escalating the dispute by joining the indefinite strike.

Cleaners at HMRC offices in Bootle and Liverpool are also striking for living wages, and are striking from 11-13 August.

Industrial news in brief

Author

Ollie Moore

Harland and Wolff

A hundred and thirty workers at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast face the loss of their jobs, after the employer went into administration. Workers have occupied the shipyard, demanding it be taken into public ownership. Labour’s Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell visited workers there on Monday 5 August. The Unite union has argued the yard’s productive capacity could be used to manufacture renewable energy infrastructure.

EMT out again on 17 August

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.

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