Pay, hours, conditions

Sheffield couriers strike

On Wednesday 25 November, food couriers in Sheffield will carry out an all-day, all-out strike. Their demands, aimed at all food platforms, are for a living wage plus costs, a fair process on terminations from platforms, and a hiring freeze. In recent weeks, many couriers across Uber, Stuart and Deliveroo, have found themselves being terminated with no right of appeal. In many of these cases the reason for the termination is computer error. For example, Uber requires riders to submit selfies during a shift in order to prove that they have not rented out their account to a third party. But Uber...

Preparing to fight the pay freeze (John Moloney's column)

Our National Executive Committee (NEC) meets on 10 December, and will decide our strategy. I am sure industrial action will be considered. If it is, no doubt the union will approach other public sector unions and trying to build towards coordinated action, but we of course have to be prepared to go on our own if necessary. If the NEC say yes, then we could build towards action in the new year. There’s a specific process inside the civil service called the “pay remit”, where the Treasury issues guidance about how much money is available. That usually takes place in April, so that could be the...

Fight the cuts, fight the pay freeze!

Chancellor Rishi Sunak claims he is not “returning” to austerity. This while: • All public sector workers outside the NHS get a pay freeze. And the government will not confirm that NHS workers will get a pay rise! It also seems it will cancel the planned 49p rise in the minimum wage in favour of something more like 19p. • Councils are saying they need billions more just to avoid yet another round of even deeper cuts. • The government refuses even to make its measly £20-a-week increase to Universal Credit permanent; it will be withdrawn in April. Meanwhile the Tories have announced they will...

Strike vote pushes care bosses to talk

Workers in the United Voices of the World union at the Sage Nursing Home in North London are demanding £12ph, parity with NHS annual leave and sick pay, pay for unsociable hours, and recognition of UVW. Following a 100% vote for strikes, energetic campaigning by UVW, and strong support from local labour movement activists and the wider community, the Sage bosses have just agreed to negotiate. A victory here would have major consequences for the entire social care sector. It would strengthen other care workers’ ability to organise, and — with the right arguments and campaigning — add momentum...

Workplace and union reports: Royal Academy, Unison election, Sheffield couriers

Royal Academy jobs fight In the week ending 30 October, staff at the Royal Academy of Arts in Piccadilly held five days of demonstrations outside the building, calling for the RA to reconsider their proposal to make more than a hundred staff redundant. Since the start of the pandemic, the Prospect union has seen RA staff join at speed and reach over 150 members by the start of the demos, between 30% and 40% of total staff, numbers that mirror the scale of the proposed redundancies. The daily demonstrations, typically hosting between ten and thirty people, were joyful and replete with RA staff...

Sick pay for outsourced workers (John Moloney's column)

PCS's “Dying for Sick Pay” campaign, demanding full sickness and isolation pay for all workers, is continuing. We’ve been applying political pressure, and have written to the government demanding that the right of all workers, regardless of contractual status, to full sick pay is written into agreements across the civil service on a permanent basis. MPs who work with the union have also raised this issue in Parliament. Crucially we’re also contacting every outsourced worker member to discuss the campaign with them and encourage them to get active in the union. Our reps working in Department...

Couriers hit Wagamama again

Deliveroo workers in the IWGB union in Sheffield struck on 14-15 October against Wagamama over pay and terminations. From 4pm to 10pm on those two days, deliveries were boycotted at Wagamama, which is a major and exclusive client of the Deliveroo food delivery company. Couriers are fighting against a sustained drop in fees and a threatened mass-hiring drive by Deliveroo; and demanding basic due process be applied to the way that the app handles complaints and terminations. Presently drivers can find themselves dismissed arbitrarily from the app following a single anonymous complaint, with no...

Deliveroo workers strike again

Deliveroo workers in the IWGB union in Sheffield have voted to take two days of industrial action on 14-15 October, as they continue to push Deliveroo nationally on pay and unfair sackings. Following several weeks of boycotts and organising in Sheffield, the union is continuing to grow. And now, workers from nearby towns have reached out to the Sheffield union branch. A group of drivers in Barnsley have been in contact and report that they are now discussing action on parking fines and low pay. In neighbouring Penistone, food couriers have taken inspiration from the fight in Sheffield, and are...

Deliveroo action spreads

On Thursday 24 September, Sheffield Deliveroo drivers stepped up their campaign of action on low pay and unfair sackings. They hit one of Deliveroo’s biggest exclusive national partner restaurants, Wagamama, with a 24-hour boycott. Meanwhile, Deliveroo are preparing to further immiserate their workforce with a mass hiring drive. Deliveroo workers face sackings with no hearing, no chance to see the evidence against them, and no right of appeal — as recently befell a Sheffield union activist, Khalid, and seven others in the city. Whereas 18 months ago couriers would make no less than £4.25 per...

We need a pay rise to rebuild the NHS

Holly Johnson, a staff nurse at Sheffield’s cancer hospital, talked to Alison Brown from Solidarity. Why has the issue of pay, in particular, mobilised nurses, more than privatisation, cuts and safety in the NHS? Pay freezes, pay cuts and expanding roles for all NHS workers are part of the dismantling of the NHS. Inequality of our pay affects well-being. This has a direct effect on patient safety. If pay is low, it does not attract people into the workforce, does not make them feel valued. That, combined with poor working conditions, makes it hard to retain staff, thus affecting safe staffing...

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