Privatisation

Test and trace workers don't get isolation pay

Speaking to the Coronavirus Lessons Learnt meeting in parliament on 10 November, the head of Test and Trace, Dido Harding, told MPs: “All the evidence shows that people are not complying with isolation not because they don’t want to but because they find it very difficult. “The need to keep earning and to be able to feed your family is a fundamental element of it which is why I think the financial support payment is a very good thing.” The financial support that she refers to is the £500 isolation support payment which was introduced in September. But millions of workers, including thousands...

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...

Defend Cetin Avsar

Security guard and union activist Cetin Avsar has been threatened with dismissal by his employer, Wilson James Ltd., who said in a letter that his opposition to outsourcing, and role in leading a strike for direct employment in his previous workplace, St. George’s University of south London, represent a “conflict of interest”. Cetin is currently working for Wilson James Ltd. on a contract at the Francis Crick Institute in King’s Cross, London, but has been told his “conduct has not reached the required standards.” The only issue cited for discussion at his probation review meeting is his...

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 safety and lockdown (John Moloney's column)

Our Group Executive Committee in the Department for Work and Pensions is continuing to discuss our dispute with the DWP over workplace safety. That dispute and the threat of industrial action has wrung concessions from the bosses, including a commitment that individual Job Centre workers will have the final say over where a claimant is seen face to face. It now seems that the employer will make concessions over the other central issue in the dispute, the extension of Job Centre opening hours. Our reps and activists will discuss the proposals; the GEC will decide a way forward. In the...

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...

HSCA 2012 eight years on

The scrapping of Public Health England (PHE) and a new government health task force point to the Tories using the background of the pandemic to make radical changes to the NHS. The abolition of PHE is seen as an early attempt to cast blame for the devastating Covid-19 response away from Boris Johnson. It may also be the first step to bringing the NHS into increased central and political control. Last time the Tories led an NHS reorganisation was the Health and Social Care Act (HSCA) of 2012. This made fundamental changes, removing central responsibility for healthcare from the Secretary of...

Action on jobs and re-opening (John Moloney's column)

Strikes to resist job cuts by our members at Tate galleries are continuing. I attended picket lines on 28 and 29 August. Tate bosses have now identified the workers whose jobs they intend to cut, cruelly doing so by sending out emails late at night on Friday 28th. Meanwhile, Tate is advertising for new jobs and is still recruiting staff! We’re therefore demanding that the workers facing redundancy be reallocated to the positions for which Tate is now recruiting. We’ll begin a ballot of our members at London’s Southbank Centre, also over job cuts, on 1 September. Bosses there have extended the...

"Conditionality" and DWP hours (John Moloney's column)

“Conditionality” for benefit claimants has been restored, which means claimants can be “sanctioned” — i.e., have their benefits revoked — for things like being late for appointments. This is a spectacularly cruel decision on the government’s part, which PCS completely opposes. At the moment, bosses are still proceeding with a light touch and often not insisting that frontline DWP staff impose conditionality. But that’s likely to change, especially as claims continue to rise. We oppose conditionality both in terms of its impact on claimants, and its use as a productivity measure to discipline...

John Moloney's column: Outsourced cleaners strike

Outsourced cleaners in HMRC offices in Merseyside begin their next strike on Monday 3 August. They’ll strike until 28 August, demanding living wages and full occupational sick pay. This latter demand is clearly vital in terms of safety and infection control during the pandemic, and is the central demand of the Safe and Equal campaign in which Workers’ Liberty members have been central, so hopefully Safe and Equal can play a role in supporting the strike. For how you can support the strike, see justiceforhmrccleaners.wordpress.com The unions will be holding a consultative ballot of our members...

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