CWU

Second victory at BEIS

On 21 October our members working for the contractor ISS at BEIS (the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy) won a complete victory in their dispute. This follows a victory for catering staff at BEIS, employed by another contractor, Aramark, on 4 October. Now porters, security, post room, cleaners and receptionist staff have also won the London Living Wage, improved sick pay, and a number of other conditions. The victories can be put down to one factor: all-out indefinite strike action, which isn’t that common these days. At FCO (the Foreign and Commonwealth Office) we’ve...

Post workers target late November

Postal workers are talking about strikes around the big online shopping days of “Black Friday” (29 November), “Cyber Monday” (2 December), and in the run-up to Christmas. The aim is to time the action for maximum impact. A strike which included 29 November would also have the boost of coinciding with the next big student climate strike, when a number of workplaces will take action too. The talk is not of one-day strikes. A Doncaster postal worker told Solidarity: “The general feeling in my office is we can handle a week or so of lost wages. We’ve had ample notice, and I know a few posties who...

Industrial news in brief

The ballot for general secretary of the civil service union PCS will open on 7 November and close on 12 December. For the first time in 18 years, the sitting general secretary, Mark Serwotka, faces a challenge from the left. Bev Laidlaw, the Independent Left candidate, got 17 branch nominations, topping the number of 15 required to get on the ballot paper. Serwotka got 62 nominations. The candidate backed by the Socialist Party, Marion Lloyd, got 39. The SP was a dominant force in the union, closely allied with Serwotka, until about a year and a half ago. In the Assistant General Secretary...

Royal Mail eCourier strike

Couriers working for eCourier, a Royal Mail Group subsidiary, will strike on 10 and 11 October. IWGB — the union they and I are in — demands the couriers be put on worker contracts, be paid the London Living Wage after costs and that the company enter into a collective bargaining agreement with the union. For years, eCourier — like Deliveroo and many other courier companies — has been unlawfully classifying pushbike, motorbike and van couriers as independent contractors, denying them their most basic employment rights, including the right to a guaranteed minimum wage and the right to holiday...

Industrial news in brief

London Underground station workers at the east end of the District Line began industrial action from Friday 27 September, in a dispute over workplace safety. Workers will refuse to detrain or attend incidents alone, and will work from a place of safety, after their union, RMT, launched a campaign to demand safe staffing levels following a spike in antisocial behaviour and staff assaults. Workplace safety is becoming an increasingly acute issue on the Tube, after a serious assault on staff at West Ham station. Drivers in the RMT on four lines — Victoria, Central, Northern, and Jubilee — will...

Anger over mail workload

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. The union is also in dispute over Royal Mail’s plans to restructure parcel delivery work, with its Parcelforce arm possibly being separated off. The CWU says this restructure could threaten thousands of jobs. The...

Post workers to ballot for strike

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. A postal worker told Solidarity: “There are other issues in the background to the dispute as well. There’s widespread bullying and...

CWU faces change

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) met for its conference on 29 April-3 May. It took place as the union finalised reorganisation plans ("Redesign"), to tackle declining membership, in the context of industrial change in both the telecoms/financial services and post/courier sectors. An emergency motion from the National Executive on Brexit passed at the union′s general conference (attended by delegates from both sides of the union) was widely reported in the press. The conference voted decisively for ″Labour′s Manifesto commitment″ to deliver ″a Brexit deal that prioritises jobs and living...

CWU conference debates free movement

The Communication Workers′ Union (CWU) conference met on 22-23 April, with sector conferences following. At the general conference one of the big issues debated was the Windrush scandal, and the union overwhelmingly expressed its solidarity with Windrush migrants and their families. Unfortunately this compassion from migrants did not last into the same afternoon when a motion calling for the CWU to affiliate to the Labour Campaign for Free Movement fell heavily. The union made sure it was tailing the Labour leadership′s position on the response to Brexit and free movement. General Secretary...

Industrial news in brief

As previously reported in Solidarity (461, 7 February), the Communication Workers′ Union Postal Executive has endorsed the agreement reached between CWU negotiators and Royal Mail, which will now be put to a vote of the membership. The outline of the deal is: the creation of a new single pension scheme for all workers; extension of all current agreements and protections until 2022; two one-hour reductions in the working week (in October 2018 and October 2019) without loss of pay; a later last delivery, but not as late as Royal Mail wanted; a three year pay deal which the CWU claims equates to...

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