Union elections

GMB rules hamper democracy

Published on: Wed, 23/10/2019 - 08:35
Author

Dale Street

Ballot papers have been sent out to GMB members in the union’s General Secretary election, a choice between the incumbent Tim Roache and the union’s European Officer, Kathleen Walker-Shaw.

That an election is taking place at all is an achievement.

In previous elections only 30 nominations were needed to get onto the ballot paper. But last year’s GMB conference agreed to increase the number of nominations by two thirds, raising the number to 50.

The GMB’s rules also make it notoriously difficult, and deliberately so, for anyone who is not already a union full-timer – such as an incumbent

Second victory at BEIS

Published on: Wed, 23/10/2019 - 08:32
Author

John Moloney, PCS Assistant General Secretary (in a personal capacity)

On 21 October our members working for the contractor ISS at BEIS (the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy) won a complete victory in their dispute.

This follows a victory for catering staff at BEIS, employed by another contractor, Aramark, on 4 October.

Now porters, security, post room, cleaners and receptionist staff have also won the London Living Wage, improved sick pay, and a number of other conditions.

The victories can be put down to one factor: all-out indefinite strike action, which isn’t that common these days.

At FCO (the Foreign and Commonwealth Office) we’ve

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 16/10/2019 - 07:31
Author

Gerry Bates, Dom Sztyber, Darren Bedford and Ollie Moore

The ballot for general secretary of the civil service union PCS will open on 7 November and close on 12 December.

For the first time in 18 years, the sitting general secretary, Mark Serwotka, faces a challenge from the left.

Bev Laidlaw, the Independent Left candidate, got 17 branch nominations, topping the number of 15 required to get on the ballot paper.

Serwotka got 62 nominations. The candidate backed by the Socialist Party, Marion Lloyd, got 39.

The SP was a dominant force in the union, closely allied with Serwotka, until about a year and a half ago.

In the Assistant General Secretary

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 02/10/2019 - 08:52
Author

Ollie Moore, Duncan Morrison and Darren Bedford

London Underground station workers at the east end of the District Line began industrial action from Friday 27 September, in a dispute over workplace safety.

Workers will refuse to detrain or attend incidents alone, and will work from a place of safety, after their union, RMT, launched a campaign to demand safe staffing levels following a spike in antisocial behaviour and staff assaults. Workplace safety is becoming an increasingly acute issue on the Tube, after a serious assault on staff at West Ham station.

Drivers in the RMT on four lines — Victoria, Central, Northern, and Jubilee — will

Back Bev Laidlaw for PCS General Secretary!

Published on: Wed, 25/09/2019 - 08:30

The election for general secretary of the civil service union PCS is now well into the branch nomination phase.

Nominations close on 14 October. Voting will run from 7 November to 12 December.

There are three known candidates: Mark Serwotka, the existing General Secretary; Marion Lloyd, the candidate of the Socialist Party (SP), a current PCS NEC [National Executive] member Marion Lloyd; and Bev Laidlaw, candidate of the Independent Left (IL), and also a current NEC member.

Bev Laidlaw has been a consistent opponent of the bombastic and failed PCS leadership. She has been elected to the NEC

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 25/09/2019 - 08:24
Author

Gerry Bates

Strikes in Bristol, Nottingham, Colchester, Newcastle and South London have continued the campaign by Deliveroo riders and the IWGB union, for better pay and conditions.

The Nottingham riders demands included reverting the fee change back to the previous minimum of £3.90 for cyclists and £4.15 for motorised vehicles and removing the vehicle priority which has seen cars and motorbikes get priority over bicycles.

In Bristol an ongoing issue is the safety of riders, particularly moped drivers who have found themselves attacked and victims of robbery while they go about their work.

In Brixton,

Bev Laidlaw for PCS General Secretary!

Published on: Wed, 11/09/2019 - 08:27

The nomination period for the post of General Secretary in the civil service trade union PCS has now opened. PCS branches should be organising to debate which candidate they wish to support in the actual elections, which will open on 7 November.

Bev Laidlaw, a DWP rank and file activist and NEC member, will be contesting the election as a PCS Independent Left candidate. All serious socialists and PCS activists who yearn for a departure from the many years of failed, bombastic, top down bureaucratic leader leadership should campaign to nominate and vote for Bev.

We should do so taking

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 11/09/2019 - 07:39
Author

Ollie Moore, Jay Dawkey, Cath Fletcher and David Pendletone

UCU ballot opens

University staff belonging to UCU are being balloted for strike action this autumn over pay equality, job security, workload and pay deflation.

Working conditions in higher education have been deteriorating. The gender pay gap is over 15%; over 100,000 staff across the sector are on fixed-term contracts; academic staff work over 50 hours in a typical week; and in the past ten years pay has declined by 20% in real terms.

In 2018 an impressive strike forced pre-92 universities to back down on massive pension cuts, but since then employers have refused to compromise and now they

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Thu, 05/09/2019 - 07:45
Author

Sacha Ismail and Ollie Moore

Tube union RMT suspended strikes planned by drivers on London Underground’s Central and Victoria Lines on 3-4 September, after bosses made a number of concessions.

The issues at the heart of the dispute include authoritarian management culture on both lines, and driver numbers on the Central Line particularly.

The union remains in dispute and activists say strikes should be reinstated if management renege on agreements.

Plans for TUC congress

At the time of writing discussions are taking place among labour movement anti-coup people about activities at the 2019 TUC Congress (8-11 September, in

IWGB debates democracy

Published on: Wed, 19/06/2019 - 10:05
Author

Zack, delegate to IWGB AGM

This is the second part of a report on the Independent Workers of Great Britain (IWGB) union’s AGM on 8 June (first part in Solidarity 510, see here).

The AGM committed IWGB working closely with – and trying to revitalise – the wider labour movement, but voted against changes which would have made the union significantly more democratic.

Submitted by a sympathiser of Workers’ Liberty, the first motion stated that “IWGB is part of the broad labour movement… direct coordination and links between unions, at rank-and-file level, is essential for developing workers’ struggles and building

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