Pay, hours, conditions

New settlement in British Gas

The GMB union’s dispute with British Gas formally ended on 20 July, when the union accepted a new settlement on pay, terms, and conditions. Engineers in GMB had struck for 44 days, but then new contracts were imposed via fire and rehire, with 500 workers leaving the company. The GMB says the company has made concessions on overtime rates, increasing them to “time-and-a-half”, and on unsocial hours payments, as well as agreeing limits on unsocial hours working. The new deal also strengthens the criteria for emergency call-outs, which potentially gives workers greater grounds to refuse being...

Building-wide safety committees (John Moloney's column)

The outsourced workers’ strike at the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) on 19-21 July was totally solid. I had the honour of addressing their picket line, and there was good support from elsewhere in the union and the wider movement too. It was especially good to see young activists from the UK Student Climate Network’s London chapter support the picket line, emphasising climate change as a class issue. BEIS is a key department in terms of climate strategy, so it’s especially important the links are made. The perspective now is to build towards further action in...

NHS: beat the 3%, beat new privatising plans!

It looks like the government’s pay “award” for NHS workers will be 3%. Maybe only 1.5% will be a basic ongoing increase, and the other 1.5% a one-off payment. This falls way below all the claims the unions put into the Pay Review Body. Three per cent does nothing to address the real-terms pay cuts faced by NHS workers over the last 10 years, or the 100,000 vacancies that are taking many workers to breaking point and crippling NHS services. After a more than a year of extraordinary effort and current escalating pressures NHS workers will feel this as a body blow. The government are confirming...

BEIS: ready for a long fight (John Moloney's column)

Outsourced workers at the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) strike from 19-21 July. We’re prepared for a long dispute there if necessary. Neither ISS, the outsourced contractor, nor BEIS itself has offered a settlement to avoid the strike, so our members will continue taking action. Cleaners and toilet attendants at the Royal Parks will strike on 30 July. On the day of the strike, there’ll be a mass meeting where members will discuss any offer from the employer, if one’s been made, and discuss further action. Reps are proposing an ongoing programme of strikes...

BEIS strike from 19 July (John Moloney's column)

Our outsourced worker members at the government Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will strike for three days, from 19 July. These are workers who’ve had to come into work throughout the pandemic, despite the buildings they service being mostly empty. They’re fighting for increased pay, a bonus for having worked through lockdown, and annual leave entitlement owed from last year. On 14 July we’ll get the result of our ballot of cleaners and toilet attendants in Royal Parks, who’re resisting potential job cuts and who want party of terms with those who work direct for...

Tax billionaires to rebuild the NHS!

As lockdown measures are further lifted, the NHS is under huge pressure. Numbers of Covid cases admitted to hospital are rising for a third time, and sickness and isolation levels amongst staff are again increasing. Unlike last year, this pressure is on top of the provision of “normal” services, where, in turn, demand has escalated because of the pandemic. Waiting lists for consultant-led planned hospital treatment stand at a record high of 5.3 million, despite the restrictions on GP referrals over the last year. Last month was also the busiest ever at emergency departments across the country...

Iran: strikes spread

The strike by the workers of Iran’s oil and petrochemical industries has spread to various cities, despite 700 workers at the Tehran refinery being fired. On 23 June workers in many refineries and petrochemical industries joined the strikers who had already been on strike for two days. It is estimated that there are now around 20,000 oil and petrochemical workers on strike across 11 provinces, demanding higher wages, an increase in leave and holidays, better health and safety conditions. In response, however, the regime stepped up its repression against the workers. According to labour...

Legal setback for Deliveroo workers

Deliveroo couriers in the Independent Workers’ union of Great Britain (IWGB) have been knocked back for the fourth time in their legal challenge aimed at forcing Deliveroo to recognise couriers as “Limb B workers” — a legal category distinct from both salaried workers (“employees”) and self-employed contractors, which Deliveroo insists its couriers are. Limb B workers are self-employed and work flexibly, but do not set their own rates of pay in the way a self-employed tradesperson might. Had the IWGB’s case been successful, Deliveroo would have been forced to increase courier wages and...

Caledonian Sleeper struggle

Workers on the Caledonian Sleeper service concluded an 11-day strike for better pay on 26 June. Their bosses have imposed a pay freeze, in line with demands from the Tories for an industry-wide freeze on railway workers’ pay. The strike was extremely effective, with all Sleeper services cancelled. However, subsidies from the Scottish government have protected Serco, which operates the service, from the strike’s economic impact. Labour movement activists must plan action targeting the government, and ask why the Scottish National Party, which claims to be pro-trade union, is helping a...

Link outsourced workers' disputes

The union has now made a formal complaint to the Cabinet Office about the treatment of our reps in the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) Swansea. It’s increasingly clear that the strikebreaking campaign is, if not originating with management, certainly endorsed by them. The anti-strike, back-to-work petition was even tweeted by the DVLA’s official Twitter account. I’m pushing for the union to coordinate three outsourced workers’ disputes which are developing concurrently. On 29 June, we’ll get the result from a ballot of outsourced workers in the Department for Business, Energy, and...

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