Unite

Fight the epidemic - yes. Back the Tories - no

Published on: Wed, 25/03/2020 - 08:38
Author

Mohan Sen

The Labour Party has made some important demands for the Covid-19 crisis, including improving the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which underwrites part of wages and extending it to the self-employed; insisting employers guarantee to keep people in work; and increasing a range of benefits.

The problem is that the party shows no sign of campaigning around these demands. Its leadership acts as if that the epidemic obliges it to express positive support for the Tory government.

Big demonstrations and crowded public meetings are obviously out at the moment. But Labour wasn’t going in for those

Green New Deal, not airport expansion!

Published on: Wed, 04/03/2020 - 11:43
Author

Misha Zubrowski

Existing plans for Heathrow airport to be expanded with a new third runway have been ruled unlawful by the Court of Appeal, in the latest move in a battle stretching back the best part of two decades.

On 27 February the court ruled that in June 2018 Chris Grayling, then the transport secretary, was acting unlawfully by not taking into account the government's commitment - under the Paris agreements - to tackle the climate crisis. The Government said it would not appeal, though Heathrow airport itself will.

Air travel is extremely emissions-intensive, releasing a much higher quantity of

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 04/03/2020 - 08:31
Author

Ollie Moore

CWU ballots until 17 March

By Ollie Moore

As Solidarity went to press on 3 March, Royal Mail workers were beginning a new ballot for industrial action, after a successful ballot last year was injuncted by the High Court.

The ballot will close on 17 March. It is about action to prevent a restructure that could see the postal and parcel delivery aspects of Royal Mail’s business separated into distinct companies, a move which the Communication Workers Union (CWU) says could threaten up to 20,000 jobs.

The CWU is also demanding that Royal Mail honour an agreement reached in 2018 which included a

Industrial news in brief

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

Ed Whitby

Council pay: unions must move now

The local government unions (Unison, GMB and Unite) have rejected a 2% offer in response to their claim for 10% and £10 per hour starting salary (as well as an extra day’s leave, a two-hour reduction in the working week, and action on workplace stress).

The unions’ claim is based on recognition that local government workers have lost 22% on real wages since 2009. The GMB on its website helpfully explains that since 2009, teaching assistants have lost £4000 a year on average, nursery workers £5900, refuse collectors £4800, social workers £9,800.

But the claim

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

Support the TfL workers' strikes!

Published on: Fri, 31/01/2020 - 14:26

Members of Unite working for Transport for London in revenue, enforcement, and Dial-a-Ride struck today, the first of four planned strikes on the last Friday of each month, until April. TfL has offered them a 1% pay rise, well below inflation. The workers held a lively picket outside Palestra, where many of TfL’s central administration is now based, where they were supported by RMT London Underground reps.

Links between these workers and RMT are especially vital, as part of LU’s plans for restructuring revenue involves having a new grade of TfL endorsement staff - Transport Safety Enforcement Officers, TSEOs - working on LU stations, in order to provide what TfL calls “a physical intervention” against fare evasion and antisocial behaviour. This will expose TSEOs to significant risk, and TfL plans to pay them just £27k, less than an LU CSA1, less than existing TfL revenue staff, and far less than an LU Revenue Control Inspector.

RMT has begun balloting Revenue Control Inspectors for industrial action to resist attacks on their grade. The ballot closes on 20 February. TfL and LU revenue staff, in Unite and RMT, must work together and coordinate action to fight for decent working conditions and to protect jobs.

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Rewriting history on Brexit

Published on: Wed, 29/01/2020 - 12:22
Author

Jim Denham

On 13 December, CWU general secretary Dave Ward was quoted in the front page lead story of the Morning Star as saying “Labour got it wrong on Brexit. Millions of people who know the economy, the world of work and politics in general isn’t working for them saw the move to a second referendum as a betrayal and final straw.”

Unite union general secretary Len McCluskey, in an article for Huffington Post, published on the same day stated “It is Labour’s slow-motion collapse into the arms of the People’s Vote movement and others who have never accepted the democratic decision of June 2016 for a

Ballot for action against Npower job cuts!

Published on: Wed, 04/12/2019 - 15:53
Author

A Npower worker

On 29 November, the energy firm Npower announced plans to cut 4,500 jobs. We heard about the cuts on the news, on the way into work.

We were then summoned to a “briefing” by managers. The company says the unions were “consulted”.

That is untrue. Telling the senior stewards late the previous day and embargoing them from discussing with others is not any form of meaningful consultation.

The cuts are on a huge scale, 4,500 jobs out of a total workforce of 5,700. Effectively Npower is being closed down. There will also likely be cuts to outsourced workers, such as caterers and cleaners, agency

Tell McCluskey: solidarity, not borders!

Published on: Wed, 20/11/2019 - 19:33
Author

Mark Boothroyd

Len McCluskey’s intervention in the debate over freedom of movement is aiding the Tories, and promoting myths about immigration that the trade union movement should be dismantling.

On 13 November McCluskey [general secretary of the Unite trade union] criticised the policy voted for at Labour Party conference, of defending and extending freedom of movement for all migrants. McCluskey said “It’s wrong in my view to have any greater free movement of labour unless you get stricter labour market regulation.”

What does stricter labour market regulation mean? If McCluskey means more rights for trade

The message from Andrew Murray

Published on: Wed, 16/10/2019 - 09:18
Author

Ann Field

Ever the Stalinist nostalgic, in his new book The Fall and Rise of the British Left, Murray laments the passing away of “a largely vanished world of working-class power” and the fact that “none of the scenarios which gripped the left I grew up with in the twentieth century appear fully plausible any more.”

What is to fill the vacuum?

Murray’s answer is not: Slough off the dead weight of Stalinism, re-assert the centrality of independent working-class politics, and reforge a labour movement fit for the overthrow of capitalism.

Instead, and this is his explanation for Corbyn’s election as Labour

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