CWU

Cleaners' round-up

Tyne and Wear Metro cleaners struck for 72 hours on 23 December, and London Underground cleaners struck on 31 December and 1 January, as part of ongoing battles for living wages and equality with directly-employed colleagues. Tyne and Wear Metro workers set up a soup kitchen in Newcastle city centre to highlight the poverty conditions into which low pay is forcing them. The Industrial Workers of Great Britain (IWGB) won a victory on 28 December, when cleaning contractor CCM agreed to pay the London Living Wage to workers cleaning the Exchange Tower near Canary Wharf. IWGB is also continuing...

Industrial news in brief

Tesco drivers' strike Lorry drivers at a Tesco distribution centre in Doncaster, south Yorkshire, have struck against a management plan that could cost 183 jobs. The workers, who are employed by haulage firm Eddie Stobart Ltd., recently rejected a management offer to increase their redundancy pay. Unite officer Adrian Jones said that the offer "was designed to get them out the door and not to maintain employment." For more info, see the drivers' campaign page on Facebook here. Postal workers' boycott threat The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has announced plans to hold a consultative ballot...

Union busting at Virgin

The media arm of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group empire announced on 7 November that it plans to derecognise unions organising at the company, including the Communication Workers Union (CWU). Virgin is offering an internal “Voice Forum” as an alternative staff representative, and will ballot employees on whether they wish to be represented this body or by an independent union. A CWU statement said: “It’s self-evident that a company’s own ‘employee forum’ cannot possibly be as independent as a democratically accountable trade union”. The move sends a worrying signal to other industrial sectors —...

Posties' wildcat wins

A 48-hour wildcat strike by postal workers in Bridgewater, south west England, ended in victory as a suspended Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) activist was returned to work. Workers also secured agreement for national talks around deteriorating industrial relations at the Bridgewater Delivery Office, where the CWU accuses bosses of heavy-handed management, refusal to comply with agreed upon consultation procedures, and making unilateral cuts to workers’ hours. Dave Wilshire, branch secretary of Bristol CWU, said: “Royal Mail can say what it likes but the fact is they would not talk to us...

CWU: not just a partner for Royal Mail and BT!

At this year’s Communication Workers Union (CWU) conference (22-26 April), the controversial issue of the CWU’s role in “workfare” schemes in Royal Mail (RM) was swept under the carpet. The CWU Executive supported a motion from South Central No 1 branch (which is influenced by the SWP) full of sound and fury about the principle of workfare, but which stopped short of criticising the current use of the system in Royal Mail! Although the scheme agreed between the union and Royal Mail contains negotiated guarantees for those taken on, the interaction with the benefits system is unchallenged and...

Daily Mail defends indefensible workfare

On 27 February, the Daily Mail issued a front page rallying call to British business to save the government’s workfare programme. Quoting Sir Stuart Rose, former Executive Chairman of Marks & Spencer, the paper ordered firms to “show some backbone”. The Mail is responding to a wave of companies and charities refusing to take up the so-called “work experience” scheme. The list grows everyday and now includes TK Maxx, Sainsbury's, Waterstones, Shelter and Oxfam. In the Daily Mail article Rose recounts his humble beginnings, shelf-stacking and sweeping floors. He was however a management trainee...

Score draw in London postal dispute

London postal workers have scored a partial, but perhaps ultimately pyrrhic, victory in their battles against closures and job losses at three Royal Mail workplaces in the capital (the mail centres at Twelvetrees in Bow and the Nine Elms centre in south London and the delivery centre at Rathbone Place). Following a vote for strike action, which passed by a resounding majority, the Communication Workers' Union held off naming strike dates in order to enter into new negotiations with Royal Mail management. The deal they have reached lifts the threat of compulsory redundancies and secures some...

London postal strikes in limbo

Planned strikes by London postal workers are in limbo as of 13 June, with the postal workers’ union CWU still closeted in talks with Royal Mail bosses. On 23 May the CWU announced that 79% of members voting from workplaces in London facing total or partial closure had backed strikes. Royal Mail wants to close Twelvetrees Lane mail centre in East London and Nine Elms mail centre in South West London, sharply scale down the big Mount Pleasant centre in Islington, and close the Rathbone Place delivery office just off Oxford Street. All the closures are due to go through this year. Some work was...

Build solidarity with London postal workers

An emergency motion passed unanimously at the Communication Workers Union conference called on sorting offices all over the country to refuse to handle mail from three London mail centres threatened with closure. This is likely to cause unofficial walkouts as union members get suspended for refusing to carry out an instruction from management. In the meantime, a ballot of the mail centres — Nine Elms, Rathbone Place and Twelvetrees Crescent — was returned with a yes vote for industrial action. This is not being acted on while talks are in process, but it is expected that the ballot of the...

Postal workers go into battle

On 23 May the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) announced that 79% of voting postal workers in London had backed strike action against the closure of three London mail centres. The turnout was around 54%, and over 3,000 London postal workers could now strike in June as they attempt to save Nine Elms, Rathbone Place and the Twelvetrees Crescent centre in Bow. Other major London mail centres not threatened with closure, such as the giant Mount Pleasant site in Islington, also face significant cuts. Mount Pleasant could potentially be reduced to 57% of its current size. Royal Mail bosses...

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