Defending jobs

Sixth form colleges strike

Published on: Wed, 16/10/2019 - 08:35
Author

Hugh Workman

We’ll be striking in 25 colleges on 17 October, and then again on 5 and 20 November.

The feeling I pick up is that oversized classes, workload, management bullying, interpretation of directed time agreements are the big issues, exacerbated by issues of funding and pay.

Sixth Form teachers’ pay has fallen behind school teachers’ pay. We probably need a 15% rise to get us back to the relative level of 2008.

There’s been a general pay freeze, but that has been eased in schools and continued in the Sixth Form sector. The government is trumpeting the end of austerity, but the Sixth Form sector is

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 16/10/2019 - 07:31
Author

Gerry Bates, Dom Sztyber, Darren Bedford and Ollie Moore

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

northern

Northern guards: put the action back on!

Published on: Wed, 02/10/2019 - 22:39

Word has it that Northern Rail management have come up with a spiffing new idea for undermining the role of guard, and seem to think that we may be daft enough not to see through it.

It goes like this. The train pulls in to the station. The driver opens the doors. The guards steps onto the platform. When the PTI is clear, the guard presses the buzzer to tell the driver that it is safe to close the doors. The driver closes the doors.

Of course, there is the small matter that the buzzer is not live while the doors are open. But in case they get a technical fix for that, the bigger question is: If the guard can press a buzzer to communicate with the driver, then why can't the guard press a button to close the doors?

The answer, of course, is that they can. So why would the company get the guard to press something to tell the driver to close the doors when they can just as easily have them press something to close the doors themselves? The only answer to that question is that their longer-term aim is to scrap the guard.

First, it will be the guard pressing a buzzer to tell the driver. Then it'll be in-cab CCTV meaning that no guard is needed. We can see where this is going, amd this plan is not acceptable.

We say 'Word is ...' because it has been hard to find out for certain what is going on. Discussions are taking place behind closed doors and above the heads even of our company council reps. RMT promised its guard members in July that it would give us an update by the end of September. That was frustrating enough, but it is now October and we still have no definite news.

If the union keeps on keeping us in the dark, it will find that our patience runs out. We have been fighting this dispute for a long time and we won't allow all the momentum to drain out of it.

It is high time for us to go back on strike, and not stop our action again until we have secured the future of the guard.

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Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 02/10/2019 - 08:52
Author

Ollie Moore, Duncan Morrison and Darren Bedford

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

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 25/09/2019 - 08:24
Author

Gerry Bates

Strikes in Bristol, Nottingham, Colchester, Newcastle and South London have continued the campaign by Deliveroo riders and the IWGB union, for better pay and conditions.

The Nottingham riders demands included reverting the fee change back to the previous minimum of £3.90 for cyclists and £4.15 for motorised vehicles and removing the vehicle priority which has seen cars and motorbikes get priority over bicycles.

In Bristol an ongoing issue is the safety of riders, particularly moped drivers who have found themselves attacked and victims of robbery while they go about their work.

In Brixton,

Rail workers strike again against DOO

Published on: Thu, 05/09/2019 - 08:30

Guards on South Western Railway are striking again from 30 August – 2 September, as their fight against the imposition of Driver Only Operation (DOO) goes on.

Company figures expected that 40% of services would be cancelled on Friday 30 August and Monday 2 September, with up to 50% of services cancelled at the weekend. Union activists believe these figures could be conservative.

As guards prepared for the strike, the news that SWR’s parent company First had received £32 million from the government, in compensation for the impact of anti-DOO strikes. This means that taxpayers have subsidised a

PCS in rash of strikes

Published on: Wed, 14/08/2019 - 07:40
Author

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

Our members working as cleaners and catering staff at the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) are continuing an all-out, indefinite strike to win living wages.

Other outsourced workers at BEIS, including security guards and mailroom staff, have also struck, and they are discussing escalating the dispute by joining the indefinite strike.

Cleaners at HMRC offices in Bootle and Liverpool are also striking for living wages, and are striking from 11-13 August.

On 13 August, workers from BEIS visited Liverpool for a joint rally. Outsourced workers at the Foreign and

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 14/08/2019 - 07:32
Author

Ollie Moore

Harland and Wolff

A hundred and thirty workers at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast face the loss of their jobs, after the employer went into administration. Workers have occupied the shipyard, demanding it be taken into public ownership. Labour’s Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell visited workers there on Monday 5 August. The Unite union has argued the yard’s productive capacity could be used to manufacture renewable energy infrastructure.

EMT out again on 17 August

Guards on East Midlands Trains, soon to be East Midlands Railway, struck for a third successive Saturday on 3 August.

The

All out strike at BEIS

Published on: Wed, 17/07/2019 - 07:00
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.

On Thursday 18, there’ll be a joint march of

RMT halts ballot

Published on: Wed, 17/07/2019 - 06:57
Author

Ollie Moore

Tube union RMT has halted a ballot of around 2,000 workers on London Underground, mainly in engineering grades.

The workers were being balloted for strikes to stop job cuts proposed as part of Transport for London’s “Transformation” scheme. The scheme also includes a proposal to outsource a section of waste disposal staff currently employed directly by London Underground.

The ballot had been due for return on 16 July. The union says it plans to rerun the ballot with an expanded electorate, as it believes the cuts may be more extensive than first thought.

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