Strikes and lock-outs

Tower Hamlets backs down

Published on: Wed, 19/02/2020 - 09:13
Author

Patrick Murphy

The National Education Union (NEU) in Tower Hamlets, East London, won an important success on 13 February.

Under pressure from the NEU and the wider labour movement, the local council withdrew a legal challenge aimed at derailing a strike ballot.

On 22 January NEU launched a formal strike ballot in opposition to plans by the council to impose detrimental changes to terms and conditions without consultation with the union. Unison are also planning to ballot. The changes would significantly reduce redundancy payments for teachers and impose new contracts on support staff.

The NEU conducted an

Lively pickets at FCO

Published on: Wed, 19/02/2020 - 08:55
Author

John Moloney

The strike at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is rock solid. The strike will continue through to the end of February over our demand for union recognition.

There have been lively pickets every day, and we’ve had good support from those from other unions. The strike has become a significant feature on the labour movement map of London. Strikers from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office also attended the “Trade Union Bloc” on the 14 February youth climate strike, which was organised by our branch at the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Interserve, the outsourced

Hong Kong: “Resist tyranny, join a union”

Published on: Wed, 12/02/2020 - 12:28
Author

Chen Ying

A notable feature so far of the eight-month political protest in Hong Kong has been the absence of industrial action. However, the five day strike by health workers at the start of February promises to dramatically change that perception.

The strike was not about wages or job cuts. At first glance it appeared to be xenophobic, as its main demand was shutting Hong Kong’s borders with China to keep out carriers of the new coronavirus from the mainland.

Strikers however saw themselves as trying to protect their working conditions and to save Hong Kong and its under-resourced health service from

France’s pension strikes still alive

Published on: Wed, 12/02/2020 - 12:19
Author

Joséphine Simplon

The strike action renewed every day at SNCF (national rail) and RATP (Paris local transport) is over, but that doesn’t mean that the battle against the government’s Bill is at an end.

On the contrary. Not a day passes without one sector or another making itself heard with never-before-seen actions. The strike is still alive, whether it be:

• the strike of the firefighters who demonstrated on 28 January
• the strike of the street cleaners and refuse workers in Ile-de-France or Marseille, who have been on strike for more than a week
• the strike of the energy workers who have organised a series

Labour leadership: what about the anti-strike laws?

Published on: Wed, 12/02/2020 - 11:41
Author

Editorial

Speaking in Sheffield on 7 February, Labour leader candidate Rebecca Long-Bailey pledged to back all striking workers “no questions asked”, promising to be a leader “as comfortable on the picket line as at the dispatch box”.

She argued that building up trade unionism should be central to increasing Labour support, including in areas lost to the Tories, and said a Labour government should aim to increase union membership by a million in its first year.

We are not supporting Long-Bailey, because of her close ties to the established Labour "backroom" cabals of the Unite union hierarchy and long

Sorting out the left in UCU

Published on: Wed, 12/02/2020 - 10:11

As UCU members in higher education prepare to strike — action begins on 20 February — voting is underway in both HE and FE sectors of the union for members of the National Executive Committee and a new Vice-President.

The VP election sees a contest between the two long-standing union factions, UCU Left (dominated by the SWP) and the Independent Broad Left (on the right). Margot Hill, the left candidate, is Branch Secretary at Croydon College and has recently led local strikes over pay and conditions. Janet Farrar, her opponent, has no such track record.

It was a surprise to many activists,

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 12/02/2020 - 09:13
Author

Hugh Workman, Ollie Moore, Ed Whitby, Daniel Randall and David Pendletone

Sixth form colleges strike

The NEU’s (National Education Union’s) last strike day in sixth form colleges over funding and pay was 20 November last year. The next is 12 February.

In December the union executive and many NEU activists were, I think, hoping that an imminent Labour government would resolve the dispute in our favour.

The reason for the delay being around a month after most colleges came back is to build up momentum again after the election and Xmas break.

The upcoming three days (12 and 27 Feb, 10 March) are within the six month “shelf-life” of the first ballot, but at the same

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 05/02/2020 - 09:10
Author

Ollie Moore and Darren Bedford

University staff represented by the University and Colleges Union (UCU) are set to strike again in disputes over pensions, pay, equalities and casualisation with a series of walk-outs scheduled over fourteen days beginning Thursday 20 February.

A further fourteen institutions are joining the sixty who struck in the autumn after reballots got them over the 50% threshold. In Scotland members of EIS (another, Scotland-only, union) have also rejected the employers’ offer, bringing the total number of mandates for action to seventy-six.

Despite eight days of strike action last term the employers

FCO strike

Published on: Wed, 05/02/2020 - 09:05
Author

John Moloney

Our outsourced worker members at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office started a month-long strike on Monday 3 February.

There’ll be picket lines every day of that strike, which was a specific decision that the strikers themselves made. That’s not about engaging in some sort of PR exercise, it’s about the strikers understanding that effective strike action needs visible and effective picketing.

We’re appealing to the wider labour movement to actively support those picket lines and attend with flags and banners.

We’ve had good support so far, with John McDonnell and others visiting the picket

AWL delegation visits Paris

Published on: Wed, 29/01/2020 - 12:27
Author

Michael Elms

Since early December, France has been gripped by a mass strike movement over the Macron government’s plan to reform pensions.

Workers’ Liberty organised a delegation of socialists of all ages from across the UK to visit France 24-26 January to bring our solidarity to strikers, and to talk to and learn from striking workers and socialist activists about events.

By the time that we arrived in France, the movement was entering a new stage. After nearly 50 days of almost-uninterrupted strike action, transport workers were scaling back their action from an all-out strike every day to a series of

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