UNISON

Workers’ control of PPE!

Published on: Tue, 07/04/2020 - 10:13
Author

An ambulance worker

There is alarm amongst many about the lack of PPE [Personal Protective Equipment] being provided to workers at risk of exposure to Covid-19. Rightly so.

The information regarding protection has been confusing, with different recommendations initially coming from the World Health organisation (WHO) and Public Health England (PHE). Workers in the frontline are being told what to do rather than being involved in the decisions that affect them. We don’t trust our bosses to protect us. Many workers are superseding recommended protection with support of trade unions. For example in my workplace, an

Councils: essential local services, full isolation pay for all

Published on: Tue, 31/03/2020 - 07:11
Author

A local government worker

My union branch, Lambeth Unison, organises three main groups of workers — workers for Lambeth council, support staff in schools in Lambeth, and workers in Elis Laundry. We also have some members in smaller private sector workplaces.

Our first step, and early on, was to win full pay for all workers in the council following public health advice, or staying home for childcare because of school and nursery closures, early on. For absolutely all workers in council workplaces, including agency workers and zero-hours workers.

The next battle was in the libraries. On 20 March the library workers

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, 26/02/2020 - 08:42
Author

Ollie Moore and Katy Dollar

UVW at St George's

Outsourced security workers in the United Voices of the World union (UVW) at St. George’s University in Tooting, south London, are continuing their campaign for equality.

UVW members and supporters recently occupied the lobby of the main St. George’s building during a university open day, holding an impromptu rally addressed by St. George’s strikers, UVW reps from victorious anti-outsourcing campaigns at LSE and St. Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, and an RMT activist.

UVW is also preparing what it describes as a “landmark legal case” to challenging outsourcing in court. The

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

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 03/07/2019 - 07:52
Author

Ollie Moore

Tube workers fight job cuts

Tube workers are currently voting in an industrial action ballot, as the RMT union pushes back against job cuts proposed as part of the so-called “Transformation” process.

Nearly 2,000 workers are being balloted, including workers in engineering, signals, electrical, track, the London Underground Control Centre, and the Emergency Response Unit. “Transformation”, a sweeping restructure and job cuts plan, has already led to admin workers seeing their numbers slashed.

The current phase of the plan includes the outsourcing of waste collection workers who are currently

Unison clash over tests boycott

Published on: Thu, 20/06/2019 - 07:43

The most contentious debate at the Local Government sector conference of public sector workers’ union Unison, which finished on 17 June, was around a motion proposed by Lambeth Unison, supported by Workers’ Liberty Unison activists.

The motion advocated that Unison organise its members working in primary schools to support the National Education Union’s planned boycott of testing in primary schools. Arguing that “Unison members must not be put in the position of being asked to cover work that another union’s members are boycotting as part of a legitimate dispute”, it asked that all Unison

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 15/05/2019 - 07:20
Author

Ollie Moore and Katy Dollar

Tube win against cuts

Cuts had been planned by London Underground to train maintenance schedules, to reduce the frequency of train safety checks, from 24-hourly to 96-hourly, or up to monthly or more on some lines. Fleet maintenance workers in the RMT union had set strikes for 17-20 May. RMT had also planned to demonstrate outside London’s City Hall on 16 May, highlighting Labour mayor Sadiq Khan’s failure to resist Tory cuts to Transport for London’s budget.

RMT reported on 14 May that the maintenance schedule cuts had been withdrawn, and has suspended action. Union general secretary Mick

Labour revolt in Birmingham

Published on: Wed, 27/02/2019 - 10:10
Author

Jim Denham

Backbench Labour councillors in Birmingham have condemned their own leaders in a letter demanding that the council leaders “step back” from confrontation with two unions. The protesting councillors include several senior figures such as former council leader Albert Bore.

The letter adds to pressure on present council leader Ian Ward and his deputy Brigid Jones. Three days previously, the Regional Labour Party Board voted overwhelmingly in favour of a motion calling for Labour’s National Executive to investigate their conduct of the council leaders' continuing disputes with Unite and Unison.

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