UVW

To beat the pandemic, beat poverty: good sick pay for all!

There is growing noise in the labour movement and more widely around the issue of sick pay. We urgently need a bigger campaign on this issue. Despite right-wing agitation about people flouting lockdown regulations, the evidence suggests something like 90% general compliance (British Medical Journal). But much lower numbers of those infected or in contact with the infected are self-isolating fully: more like 20%. Unlike hand-washing and social distancing, self-isolation often requires material resources and support, particularly sufficient space and an income. Data from the first lockdown...

Cleaners at Great Ormond St win in-house status

Hundreds of cleaners outsourced to the multinational contractor OCS at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London will be made NHS employees on 1 August 2021 following a campaign by the workers and their trade union United Voices of the World. UVW had warned hospital bosses that it would move to a ballot for industrial action and a legal case for institutionalised racism (the cleaners are mostly ethnic-minority). UVW won a previous victory in April 2020, when Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust gave their 1,200 outsourced staff NHS contracts. The union reports that "the cleaners –...

Industrial reports: DHL; British Airways; Sage; Rolls-Royce

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...

North London care workers will strike after bosses stall negotiations

Cleaners and care workers at the Sage nursing home in North London will strike in 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. The workers are organised in the UVW union, and more information is available at the UVW website.

Defend Cetin Avsar

Security guard and union activist Cetin Avsar has been threatened with dismissal by his employer, Wilson James Ltd., who said in a letter that his opposition to outsourcing, and role in leading a strike for direct employment in his previous workplace, St. George’s University of south London, represent a “conflict of interest”. Cetin is currently working for Wilson James Ltd. on a contract at the Francis Crick Institute in King’s Cross, London, but has been told his “conduct has not reached the required standards.” The only issue cited for discussion at his probation review meeting is his...

Strike vote pushes care bosses to talk

Workers in the United Voices of the World union at the Sage Nursing Home in North London are demanding £12ph, parity with NHS annual leave and sick pay, pay for unsociable hours, and recognition of UVW. Following a 100% vote for strikes, energetic campaigning by UVW, and strong support from local labour movement activists and the wider community, the Sage bosses have just agreed to negotiate. A victory here would have major consequences for the entire social care sector. It would strengthen other care workers’ ability to organise, and — with the right arguments and campaigning — add momentum...

Workplace safety and lockdown (John Moloney's column)

Our Group Executive Committee in the Department for Work and Pensions is continuing to discuss our dispute with the DWP over workplace safety. That dispute and the threat of industrial action has wrung concessions from the bosses, including a commitment that individual Job Centre workers will have the final say over where a claimant is seen face to face. It now seems that the employer will make concessions over the other central issue in the dispute, the extension of Job Centre opening hours. Our reps and activists will discuss the proposals; the GEC will decide a way forward. In the...

Stop the Met's criminalisation of strikes

Striking security guards, members of the UVW union, were legally striking and picketing at St George’s, University of London, on 13 January 2020. Police threatened the striking workers and union officials with mass arrest under Section 119 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008. Franck Magennis, UVW barrister and trade union official, was arrested and handcuffed in mid-conversation with a police officer as he enquired into the legality of the threatened arrests. As a result, the picket-line fell apart. This is part of a series of attacks by the Met Police on trade unionists. UVW’s...

John Moloney's column: Outsourced cleaners strike

Outsourced cleaners in HMRC offices in Merseyside begin their next strike on Monday 3 August. They’ll strike until 28 August, demanding living wages and full occupational sick pay. This latter demand is clearly vital in terms of safety and infection control during the pandemic, and is the central demand of the Safe and Equal campaign in which Workers’ Liberty members have been central, so hopefully Safe and Equal can play a role in supporting the strike. For how you can support the strike, see justiceforhmrccleaners.wordpress.com The unions will be holding a consultative ballot of our members...

Victory on sick pay (John Moloney's column)

Outsourced workers at the Ministry of Justice, organised by the United Voices of the World (UVW) and PCS unions, have won a significant concession from OCS, the outsourced contractor. After a substantial campaign, spurred on by the tragic death of UVW member Emanuel Gomes, who died after working through his symptoms due to being refused full sick pay, OCS has agreed to retrospectively pay full sick pay for workers who’ve taken time off since April, for a period of up to 14 days. There’s still more to fight for, as OCS is still refusing to make an open-ended commitment to pay full sickness and...

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