Industrial news in brief

Submitted by Matthew on 21 October, 2015 - 1:52 Author: Ollie Moore, Charlotte Zalens and Gemma Short

Rank-and-file London Underground workers’ bulletin Tubeworker is calling for Tube unions to reinstate industrial action in disputes over jobs, pay, and Night Tube.

Tube bosses derailed negotiations by restating a pay offer unions had already rejected.

The RMT’s pay claim is for a four-day, 32-hour week for all grades and a pay rise that keeps pace with increases in the cost of living.

Unions previously suspended strikes after 24-hour running (“Night Tube”) was deferred, but with talks faltering, many activists are calling for a return to action.

Agency workers continue quest for justice

Agency workers who were sacked by London Underground are continuing a legal battle through Tribunal courts.

The workers were part of the 2012 “Justice for the 33” campaign, which demanded reinstatement for the sacked workers after London Underground terminated its contract with the Trainpeople agency. The workers continue to seek compensation and back-pay; LU says it paid all monies owing to Trainpeople (which has now ceased to exist), but workers say the money was never passed on.

The Tribunal is ongoing.

Rail cleaners' fight

Tubeworker is pleased to hear that ISS cleaners on JNP have been given a 4% pay rise taking pay from £8.80 to £9.15.

The cleaners’ union had asked for a substantial pay rise; and this offer will be discussed at a reps’ meeting — to which all cleaners should go and have their voice heard. It’s a positive step but there is still much for cleaners to fight for: even better pay, stronger terms and conditions and decent pensions.All transport workers must back that fight.

Meanwhile, on the Docklands Light Railway, Interserve cleaners struck for the fourth time over pay and conditions. They struck for 48 hours from 15-16 October. The bosses had promised new talks after the last strike, but have chosen to ignore their employees’ demands. Theirs is a courageous battle which we should all support.

The unions must continue and build on efforts to organise cleaners, and cleaners must join the union to have their voices heard and to fight back against the bosses.

Parking wardens win pay rise

After 11 strike days, parking wardens in Camden voted on 14 October to accept a pay offer which guarantees a minimum hourly rate of £9.40.

Workers had been fighting to increase their basic pay from £8.92 per hour to £10.50, but had offered a compromise of £9.50 an hour which parking contractor NSL rejected.

The agreement to pay £9.40, 25p above the current London living wage, is a very real gain, and sets a precedent for other outsourcing companies that workers will not allow their pay and conditions to be downgraded by privatisation.

Unfortunately the agreement reached does not address other non-pay related issues, but NSL has agreed to ongoing talks.

Barnet strike

Unison members in Barnet will strike again on 2 November in their ongoing dispute over privatisation.

Social workers, coach escorts, drivers, occupational therapists, schools catering staff, education welfare officers, library workers, children centre workers, street cleaning and refuse workers struck on 7 October.

These workers are some of few left directly employed by Barnet council after mass privatisation, as the “easycouncil” aims to reduce its directly employed staff to fewer than 300.

Barnet Unison members will picket workplaces in the morning of the 2 November, then join protests at Parliament against the Trade Union Bill from 1 pm.

More steel job losses

TATA steel has announced that 1,200 jobs will be cut at its plants in Scunthorpe and Lanarkshire.

This is on top of 1800 redundancies steel firm Caparo has accounted and 2,220 at SSI, amounting to a huge crisis in the UK steel industry.

The large scale job losses are likely to have a huge impact on local communities, yet unions representing steel workers seem to be doing little to save the jobs, short of making appeals to the government and steel companies to work with them to ″save the industry″.

No significant calls have been made to nationalise the SSI Redcar steel plant which is now in the process of being shut down. Unions instead kept themselves to the demand that the plant is “mothballed” and the furnaces kept burning, so that it can be put back into operation at a later date.

Job cuts at TATA and Caparo, which do not involve shutting down the whole plant, could be fought by industrial action uniting all workers in the plants.

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