DHL workers strike for better pay
Workers at DHL Supply Chain, a distribution company based in Liverpool which distributes Burton biscuits to shops in the north west, struck on 19-23, 29, and 31 December, and 3-4 January, demanding a 50p/hour pay increase. From April 2021, pay rates will be just 2.5p/hour above the minimum wage. The low pay is despite DHL’s profits increasing by nearly 20% in the second quarter of 2020.
Police were called over 10 times as bosses attempted to disrupt successful picketing at the depot.
Nine days’ strike at British Airways
Cargo workers employed by British Airways (BA) at Heathrow Airport struck for nine days, from Christmas Day to 2 January, as BA attempted to “fire and rehire” its workforce, leaving some workers facing pay cuts up to 24% — from £5,000 to £11,000 per year.
BA workers voted by a 98% majority for the strikes. Although passenger travel is dramatically reduced due to the pandemic, the strikes still impacted flights transporting goods.
The BA strikes follow a series of strikes on 1, 14, and 17-18 December, by workers employed directly by Heathrow Airport itself, over a similar “fire and rehire” attack, which could see workers’ pay cut by 20%.
Care home workers to strike
Cleaners and care workers at the Sage nursing home in north London will strike on 15-17 January because bosses have stalled negotiations on the workers’ demands for £12 an hour wages and parity with NHS sick pay and annual leave.
The care home owners called in a £354 per hour union busting legal consultant to advise them in their stonewalling tactics.
Negotiations due to take place in December were suspended after Sage bosses refused to allow elected union reps from the United Voices of the World union (UVW) to attend the talks. Bile, a worker and UVW activist, said:
“It’s an act of defiance and irresponsibility from Sage to avoid meeting us for negotiations. We are incredibly frustrated, because all we are asking for is respect, dignity and equality. We deserve a living wage; we deserve full sick pay and a better holiday scheme. And if Sage thinks it can just ignore us and that we’ll go away all they’re really doing is boosting our motivation to stand up for our rights and for the right of our union to be recognised. We have never been more united”.
Barnoldswick strikes 4-22 January
Workers at the Rolls Royce plant in Barnoldswick have begun a further three weeks of strikes, from 4 to 22 January. 350 jobs at the plant are threatened, as part of a bosses’ plan to offshore work to other countries. Nationally, Rolls Royce cut 5,000 jobs in 2020, as part of planned cuts of up to 9,000.
Unite activists say that if Rolls Royce bosses fail to agree proposals to keep work at Barnoldswick, they will aim to spread action to other Rolls Royce sites.