Strikes and lock-outs

All out strike at BEIS

Author

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

Cleaners and catering staff at the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) began an all-out, indefinite strike on 15 July.

This is extremely significant. It’s the first all out strike in a Whitehall government department for decades. The demands include the London living wage, sick pay, and direct employment.

The union is paying full strike pay. We won’t let these members be starved back to work. Fundraising for the strike funds is one of the best things activists in the wider labour movement can do to help these workers win.

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.

Fat cat college threatens to sink pension scheme

Trinity College, the richest college at the University of Cambridge (net worth £1.5bn), recently took the decision to remove itself from the USS pension agreement — the same agreement that saw 2018’s mass industrial action on dozens of university campuses.

This verdict, taken based on flawed financial grounds and with disregard to the wider education sector, puts at greater risk the pensions of over 400,000 university workers across the UK, and is already leading other universities to re-consider their long-term commitment to the scheme.

TDL couriers turn tide

Author

Alex Marshall, TDL courier and IWGB rep

Twelve months of negotiating. The IWGB’s “Rise of the precarious workers” demonstration descending on TDL’s headquarters doorstep. Demonstrating outside the company Christmas party they weren’t invited to. A two day strike that included a motorbike procession to prestigious clients in the Harley Street area and temporary occupation of the company loading bay. Amazing speakers on the picket line including Owen Jones, Dave “Blacklist” Smith and Dr Louise Irvine and support from clients, entrepreneurs and heavyweights like the ITF.

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.

New guards’ strikes up the ante

RMT has upped the ante in the dispute against DOO on South Western Railway, by announcing a five day strike from 18-22 June.

Despite winning what appeared to be a “guard guarantee” in February via previous strikes, SWR bosses have dithered and have failed to implement an agreement to retain guards’ jobs. Naming new strikes is absolutely the right thing to do, and it’s absolutely right to go big. Incidental one-day strikes won’t get the goods: sustained action might.

Setback at Harbinger

Author

Todd Hamer

Schoolworkers at Harbinger Primary School in east London have suffered a major setback in their dispute over management bullying.

The National Education Union's most senior unelected official, Assistant General Secretary Avis Gilmore, and the so-called NEU Action Committee withdrew union support for the Harbinger workers' strikes, hobbling the union group, on the eve of their long awaited grievance hearing.

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.

Outsourced workers’ strikes spread

Author

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

Outsourced workers’ disputes in the civil service are spreading. Cleaners, porters, and maintenance workers employed by the contractor Interserve at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office began a five day strike on 10 June.

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