Solidarity 590, 28 April 2021

Accessibility should be standard

Over thirty delegates attended the RMT transport workers’ union’s 2021 Disabled Members’ Conference online on 17 and 18 April. The conference demanded that workplace accessibility be “as standard” not “as required”. An accessible job is one in which a disabled worker does not have to ask for adjustments, because barriers have already been removed. With the pandemic and the economic crisis accompanying it, delegates acknowledged that disabled transport workers feel insecure in their jobs and that the union needs a concerted fightback which incorporates this and other equality issues. Conference...

Diary of an engineer: "I realise it's bullshit"

After a botched job where we failed to weld pipe brackets onto a steel girder, I decide I need to get the hang of welding. Most of our time between jobs is taking turns at the workshop stick welder. L is the most experienced, J is very proud of his straight lines, and I’m happy to have overcome my fear of burns and electrocution — progress! The time spent concentrating intensely on a small dot of molten metal make me feel a bit light-headed. When we’re not practising welding, me and J are trying to use the new job-logging software. Unlike the old software, getting hold of jobs directly...

Kino Eye: Days of Hope

As far as I know there is no film about the events around Black Friday in 1921 (see Solidarity 588) but Episode Two of Ken Loach’s four-part TV drama Days of Hope — covering the period from the First World War to the 1926 General Strike — admirably fills the gap. It was broadcast by the BBC in 1975, with a script by long-time Loach collaborator Jim Allen. It sees Ben (Paul Copley), a British soldier, desert the army after serving in Ireland. He befriends a group of Durham miners who are locked out for refusing to accept a pay cut. The miners receive food aid from fellow workers around the...

DVLA strikes again 4-8 May (John Moloney's column)

Workers at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) complex in Swansea will strike again from 4-8 May. We’re continuing to fight there over the fact our members are being compelled to come into the workplace, in a way we believe is unsafe. The employer has made some concessions in negotiations, but these relate mainly to changes in the medium-term future, around greater provision for homeworking. We need action right now — centrally for all on-site working, except for emergency and absolutely essential work, to be suspended. We’re also demanding agreements that will give the union direct...

Regrouping in British Gas

Over 1,000 workers attended an online meeting organised by the GMB union to discuss the next steps in British Gas engineers’ fight over terms and conditions. British Gas used a “fire and rehire” process to dismiss around 500 engineers who refused to sign new contracts that will see workers work longer for less. Union activists estimate that around another 500 workers left the company voluntarily during the dispute. GMB members struck 43 times against the new contracts, which were finally imposed on 14 April. With no negotiated collective agreement in place, GMB can submit a new pay claim. A...

Central line drivers to strike

Central Line drivers will strike from 21:00 on 5 May to 20:59 on 6 May, as the campaign to win reinstatement for unjustly sacked RMT rep Gary Carney steps up.

Gary was sacked for allegedly “avoiding” a Drugs and Alcohol test, despite having booked off sick before he was even informed about the...

Break the world vaccine logjam!

Just over 13 Covid jabs have been given per 100 people, world-wide, as of 25 April. That’s about five more vaccinations per 100 people since 1 April. Over April, vaccination levels have increased, but only in a straight line, about 0.2 more jabs per 100 each day, not exponentially, as they need to. At current rates it will take more than a year to give everyone in the world one dose, and two years to give everyone full vaccination, even taking into account the contribution of the Janssen single-dose vaccine. Probably long before then, the vaccine protection for those who have already had jabs...

1 May: Bring unions out against Police Bill

The labour movement is still not a force in the anti-Police Bill struggle. For us to win, it needs to be. The Tories’ delaying of the Bill shows they are vulnerable to pressure; so do repeated retreats on their Overseas Operations Bill (part of the same authoritarian-nationalist agenda). The Labour leadership whipped its MPs to abstain on Overseas Operations, with opposition mounted by left-wing MPs and members of the House of the Lords. Labour planned to abstain on the Police Bill until the pressure of demonstrations pushed it to vote against. However its “opposition” was politically weak...

£20,000 by 10-11 July

We raised £19,420 from our 2020 fund drive, enabling us to employ a new temporary part-time office worker and a new part-time staff organiser working "remotely", and to make our current special cheap subs offer. Still, we need more fund-raising, particularly to support a good "return to the streets" when that becomes possible and to give us options when looking for a new office. We're aiming for £20,000 by 10-11 July. h3 {text-align: center;} £6110.24 of our £20,000 target! Donate here! £0 £20,000 Make a contribution here! Or donate via PayPal: In 2020, some of our supporters, fortunate enough...

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