Privatisation

Issues behind CWU conference

The option presented by the Executive to the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) Special Virtual Conference on 7-9 November, to maintain the union’s affiliation to the Labour Party, is right. But the detail it contains, a focus on lobbying and supporting the Labour metro mayors, makes no sense. Dave Ward, the CWU general secretary, has moved on a little, but essentially this is a reprise from when Dave Ward pushed disaffiliation to gain profile against Billy Hayes, whom he defeated for general secretary in 2015. He did that to appear more left-wing, though in fact Hayes, for all his flaws, was...

Make Labour councils back Royal Parks workers (John Moloney's column)

Royal Parks workers’ month-long strike is continuing. There’s no new offer from the outsourced contractor yet; we think they are talking to Royal Parks, to see how much license they’ll be given to resolve the dispute. The contractor says any changes to staffing levels that result from the restructure we’re opposing will be “minimal”, but that could mean almost anything. Until we get something firm then the dispute will continue. We want to increase the pressure on Royal Parks centrally. We’re writing directly to the Board of Trustees, which includes two leaders of Labour councils, Camden and...

Care workers strike 20-22 October

Interview with a Sage striker here Care workers at the Sage care home in north London will strike again from 20-22 October, as their fight for living wages and equality with NHS staff continues. The workers are also demanding full contractual sick pay. Bile, one of the striking workers, who also sits on the Executive Committee of the United Voices of the World union (UVW), said: “We built a high profile campaign, supported by care workers around the UK, that led to strike action at the start of the year in the harshest of conditions during a global pandemic lockdown. Yet Sage Nursing trustees...

Royal Parks on strike (John Moloney's column)

Outsourced cleaners and attendants in London’s Royal Parks are striking throughout October. We began the strike with a successful rally on 1 October. We have more workers participating in the strike this time, which is a good sign, especially as a month-long strike is a significant escalation. We’ve had good support from across the labour movement. Jeremy Corbyn and Andy McDonald sent solidarity greetings, and John McDonnell addressed the strike rally. Fundraising is particularly important, as we want to ensure strike pay at a level as close as possible to workers’ full wages. We don’t want to...

Royal Parks out from 1 October (John Moloney's column)

We’re preparing for a month-long strike by outsourced cleaners and attendants in Royal Parks, which will begin on 1 October. That’s a significant escalation, so we’re also launching a new drive to fundraise for the strike fund. We’ll need active solidarity from our own branches, especially in London, and from the wider movement to help the strike win. Strategic discussions are ongoing within our branch at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) complex in Swansea. There’s a strong resolve to launch a new ballot, but detailed discussions are taking place about exactly how that ballot...

Social care: tax the rich!

Social care needs a transformation comparable to the transformation of UK healthcare seven decades ago through the NHS. It seems likely such a policy, for a public care and support system, would be popular, if strong enough voices argued for it. At the moment the forces campaigning for anything like it are weak, but the issue is centre-stage as never before. When the Tories produced their “plan for social care” — taxing workers more to produce extra money for the NHS and a much smaller amount for care services (later) — the Labour Party embarrassed itself by its lack of alternative ideas. Now...

Forced back into the office? (John Moloney's column)

Many of our members have been in the workplace throughout the pandemic. A majority, though, have home-worked. We have always known that these members will return to the workplace some time. Our argument is that they should only do so when safe. In September last year, the government made a concerted push to get everyone back to the workplace but that failed. This September, the concerned push has been replaced by an expectation that staff will return to the workplace for one or two days a week either this month or in October. The union is opposed to any moves to force staff back. Our...

BEIS strike 22-24 September (John Moloney's column)

Outsourced workers at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will strike again, unless a deal is found, from 22-24 September, demanding pay increases and the reinstatement of annual leave entitlement. The last day of that strike coincides with a global climate strike; that’s significant as BEIS is a key department in terms of the UK’s climate policy. We’ll make the picket line at BEIS a focus for mobilising union members across London, and will be promoting the union’s climate policies as part of that. PCS is balloting our driving examiner members for industrial...

PCS and UVW: a model for union joint working (John Moloney's column)

In Royal Parks, outsourced cleaners and attendants demonstrated on 30 August, part of a two-week strike against job cuts and for improved conditions [workers at the rally above]. The contractor, Just Ask, has already back off from its original plan to cut 33% of all jobs. On 9 September, they’re due to write to us with a new proposal. Some of our next steps will depend on that. There’s also a positive aspect to the dispute, including the demand for full sick pay. Royal Parks has admitted that the previous contractor had agreed to implement 18 weeks’ full sick pay entitlement to all staff...

Letter: British Gas outcome still a defeat

The report on the settlement in British Gas in Solidarity 602 was right to acknowledge that the concessions in the new deal are real. However, this is not some last-minute victory, nor even a score-draw, but an outcome that blunts some of the employer’s worst attacks within an overall context that is still very much a defeat for the workers. The new settlement does not return engineers to the terms they were on before new contracts were imposed. British Gas has ultimately succeeded in imposing worse conditions. Hundreds of engineers remain sacked for refusing to accept the new contracts, and...

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