Pay, hours, conditions

The case for a four day work week

Published on: Wed, 16/10/2019 - 08:43
Author

Daniel Randall

Struggles over working hours, the amount of each day over which workers are compelled to sell our labour power to a boss, were foundational for the early labour movement.

Karl Marx called the Factories Act of 1847, which restricted the working day to 10 hours, “the first time that in broad daylight the political economy of the middle class succumbed to the political economy of the working class.” Shortening working hours claws back some time from our employers, and widens the amount of time during which where we go and what we do is not determined by direct instructions from capital.

The

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

Building for a new pay ballot

Published on: Wed, 16/10/2019 - 07:49
Author

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

We are building towards a renewed dispute over pay and pensions for directly-employed civil servants in 2020.

Our 2019 conference voted for that, and some recent developments have given additional impetus. The government has told the union nationally that the civil service pension scheme is overfunded, meaning there’s more money coming in than going out.

This means it could absorb a 2% reduction in employee contributions, effectively a 2% pay rise. But the government has said they can’t do this, as they need the spare cash to pay for the fallout from the Fire Brigades Union’s victory in their

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

NEU support staff call for wage fight

Published on: Wed, 09/10/2019 - 08:53
Author

Bill Davies

The first support staff conference of the National Education Union (NEU) since the NUT and ATL officially and fully merged has voted to send a radical, bold motion on pay for school support staff to the NEU’s annual conference next April.

The motion (5 October) calls for the union:

• to pursue standard national pay, terms and conditions for support staff
• to launch a campaign for support staff to get an across-the-board £3 per hour pay rise (equivalent to about a £5000 per year increase full-time)
• and to initiate a specific Living Wage campaign to win the Living Wage Foundation rates (£9/hr

Victory at BEIS

Published on: Wed, 09/10/2019 - 08:46
Author

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

Outsourced workers at the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) have won a hugely significant victory.

Their sustained campaign of strikes, which has included an all-out, indefinite strike, has forced Aramark, one of the outsourced contractors, to concede the London Living Wage of £10.55. The dispute with ISS, the other contractor at BEIS, continues, but following the win with Aramark we are hopeful for a win over ISS as well.

Now the task is to consolidate these gains by pushing for union recognition, not just at BEIS but across the civil service.

PCS has written to

Royal Mail eCourier strike

Published on: Wed, 02/10/2019 - 09:04
Author

Zack, IWGB activist and Deliveroo courier

Couriers working for eCourier, a Royal Mail Group subsidiary, will strike on 10 and 11 October.

IWGB — the union they and I are in — demands the couriers be put on worker contracts, be paid the London Living Wage after costs and that the company enter into a collective bargaining agreement with the union.

For years, eCourier — like Deliveroo and many other courier companies — has been unlawfully classifying pushbike, motorbike and van couriers as independent contractors, denying them their most basic employment rights, including the right to a guaranteed minimum wage and the right to holiday

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,

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 18/09/2019 - 09:01
Author

Ollie Moore and Will Sefton

Tube vote for action on noise

Driver members of the RMT union on London Underground’s Victoria, Central, Jubilee, and Northern Lines have voted to take industrial action short of strikes over excessive noise.

Drivers are demanding a permanent engineering solution to the problem of excessive noise in trains. The issue is caused by noise cancelling technology fitted to tracks to avoid excessive noise at street level, which has the effect of forcing the noise into the cabs, where it becomes unbearably loud for both drivers and passengers.

The action, which has yet to be formally named by the RMT,

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