CWU

Industrial news in brief

UVW at St George's Outsourced security workers in the United Voices of the World union (UVW) at St. George’s University in Tooting, south London, are continuing their campaign for equality. UVW members and supporters recently occupied the lobby of the main St. George’s building during a university open day, holding an impromptu rally addressed by St. George’s strikers, UVW reps from victorious anti-outsourcing campaigns at LSE and St. Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, and an RMT activist. UVW is also preparing what it describes as a “landmark legal case” to challenging outsourcing in court. The...

Industrial news in brief

Council pay: unions must move now The local government unions (Unison, GMB and Unite) have rejected a 2% offer in response to their claim for 10% and £10 per hour starting salary (as well as an extra day’s leave, a two-hour reduction in the working week, and action on workplace stress). The unions’ claim is based on recognition that local government workers have lost 22% on real wages since 2009. The GMB on its website helpfully explains that since 2009, teaching assistants have lost £4000 a year on average, nursery workers £5900, refuse collectors £4800, social workers £9,800. But the claim...

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...

Industrial news in brief

University staff represented by the University and Colleges Union (UCU) are set to strike again in disputes over pensions, pay, equalities and casualisation with a series of walk-outs scheduled over fourteen days beginning Thursday 20 February. A further fourteen institutions are joining the sixty who struck in the autumn after reballots got them over the 50% threshold. In Scotland members of EIS (another, Scotland-only, union) have also rejected the employers’ offer, bringing the total number of mandates for action to seventy-six. Despite eight days of strike action last term the employers...

Rewriting history on Brexit

On 13 December, CWU general secretary Dave Ward was quoted in the front page lead story of the Morning Star as saying “Labour got it wrong on Brexit. Millions of people who know the economy, the world of work and politics in general isn’t working for them saw the move to a second referendum as a betrayal and final straw.” Unite union general secretary Len McCluskey, in an article for Huffington Post, published on the same day stated “It is Labour’s slow-motion collapse into the arms of the People’s Vote movement and others who have never accepted the democratic decision of June 2016 for a...

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...

Postal workers to strike in Bootle

Royal Mail workers in Bootle, Merseyside, will strike from 18-20 January, to protest the victimisation of a local union rep. There had previously been wildcat action at the same depot in October, when workers struck to defend a Muslim workmate against racist abuse from a manager. The strike subsequently spread to an office in Warrington after a driver from that office was suspended for refusing to cross the Bootle workers’ picket line. The strike lasted for a week, until workers were forced back to work by a court order. Since the strike, management have intensified an authoritarian workplace...

Court rejects CWU appeal

On 28 November the High Court rejected an appeal by postal workers’ union CWU against the injunction granted to prevent strikes by Royal Mail workers. A union statement said: “We have just left the High Court. Our appeal was dismissed. Six hours of evidence and they took two minutes to come to a decision. The justice system in this country is an absolute farce.” Following the rejection of the appeal, most CWU activists think the union will now move quickly to organise a new ballot for industrial action. Some postal workers are discussing an unofficial “work-to-rule” over the Christmas period –...

Postal workers still set for strike

People on the shop floor aren’t happy. Lots of people were looking forward to the strike, it was a chance to really stick it to our incompetent managers, which obviously now won’t happen as soon as we’d hoped. The conversations I’ve had have ranged from feelings of hopelessness or powerlessness — “what’s the point of balloting if the courts will stop us anyway?” — to anger with Royal Mail for going to court in the first place. Online, I’ve encountered a very small amount of people blaming the CWU union’s social media campaign (“why did they have to make those videos of offices posting ballots...

Yes to publicly-owned free broadband!

Labour’s policy on part-nationalising BT (its infrastructure arm Openreach, and a few other sections) has pushed a long-held union policy written by the left in the Communication Workers Union into the limelight. The union has in fact been pushing for the full renationalisation of BT. Even though there could have been much more of a genuine collaboration by Labour with the union, and the detail published so far does not go far enough, this policy is both radical and interesting. All over the world governments are pushing for the replacement of copper wiring in “The Last Mile” of phone...

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