CWU

Dreaming of a Hot Christmas...

A small wave of strikes is developing in a variety of industries and workplaces. Although not quite perhaps on the scale of the Autonno Caldo, the "Hot Autumn" of Italian factory worker militancy in 1969, these strikes could make for a "hotter" Christmas than Britain has experienced for some time. Rail workers Drivers and guards on the Southern rail franchise are continuing an increasingly bitter struggle to prevent the imposition of "Driver Only Operation". A strike on 14 December led to the cancellation of all Southern services from London Victoria. Further strikes are planned for 16 and 19...

Industrial news in brief

Station staff on London Underground are balloting for strikes, and industrial action short of strikes, against job cuts. The ballot begins on 1 November and closes a fortnight later. Both the RMT and TSSA unions are balloting their members. London Underground’s “Fit for the Future” restructure programme on stations has seen nearly 1,000 jobs axed and thousands of workers forcibly regraded and displaced. Workers say that new rosters are unworkable, and recent incidents at North Greenwich and Canning Town stations have highlighted the risks of de-staffing. Unions are demanding a reversal of the...

Industrial news in brief

Hundreds of Derby teaching assistants and their supporters protested outside Parliament on Wednesday 14 September. The lobby of Parliament was part of a strike by teaching assistants in their fight to against the council changing their working week, resulting in a 25% loss of pay. Strikes in August finally brought the council to the negotiating table, but their offers since have been so miserly that workers have rejected them by large majorities. The council has also attempted to make divisive offers that would benefit only a section of the workforce. Teaching assistants were further angered...

Industrial news in brief

Unison is organising a strike ballot among its members in the Higher Education (HE) sector to oppose this year’s pay offer. The offer of just 1.1% for the majority of staff, with some additional payments at the lower end of the scale, is not adequate to meet rises in the cost of living and compensate for rises in taxation.The union is recommending rejection of the offer and demanding a 5% rise, and the independent living wage for those on the lowest pay. Although there is a financial squeeze on the HE sector, those at the top are trying to make those at the bottom suffer all of the pain. In...

Unions must fight for a workers’ Europe!

Maria Exall of the Communication Workers’ Union explains why unions must campaign for a vote to remain At CWU conference (24-28 April) we voted overwhelmingly to campaign with other unions for a distinctive workers voice in the debate on the EU referendum. This decision was not based on any defence of the indefensible about the EU but because a “remain vote” is in CWU members’ interests. The EU is in many ways a capitalist club with a neoliberal agenda, but so is this UK Conservative government. The EU certainly needs democratic reform so that our voice in the elections of our representatives...

Industrial news in brief

Tim Roache has been elected General Secretary of the GMB, Britain’s third largest trade union. He succeeds Paul Kenny, who has stepped down after 10 years in the position, and who courted controversy recently by accepting a knighthood. Roache won with 57% of the vote to his opponent Paul McCarthy’s 43%. Both men are former Regional Secretaries, powerful positions in the GMB which are appointed, rather than elected. Other candidates initially put themselves forward but later dropped out. Neither candidate would have represented any profound change of direction for the union, although Roache is...

Hayes beaten in CWU election

The election of Dave Ward as General Secretary of the Communication Workers Union is a step backwards. Liberalisation of the postal sector and privatisation of Royal Mail should mean the priority for the CWU is building the union across the communication industry, but this has happened very slowly. In telecoms, where privatisation and competition arrived 30 years ago, workers with union recognition are a minority. More focus and resources need to be put into this work to take the Union into unrecognised areas. Though under Hayes the union could have done more, he at least recognised the need...

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