🔸️GMB EASTBOURNE BIN STRIKE

Three days of Eastbourne bin collection strikes began on 31st December and planned  next for January 7th and 10th. Also, 6 days of strike action starting 14th January. The strikes are over pay and working conditions.

Speaking before the strike, Declan MacIntyre, GMB organiser for  Southern Region, said :-

“All the staff deeply regret the impact to the Eastbourne residents they serve and sincerely apologise to all if the strike does need to take place. Unfortunately, our members have been left with no choice. Their pay is near minimum wage while inflation runs rampant, while the way they are treated and their working conditions are almost barbaric.”

It took 7 weeks for management to agree to talk after the issues were first raised. Eventually, talks began on 22nd December. But no agreement was made and no word was heard from management for the next 9 days, so the first day of the strike went ahead as planned.

GMB bin strike 31st Dec 2021
GMB bin strike 31st Dec 2021

🔸️REPORT FROM GMB EASTBOURNE BIN STRIKE DAY on 31st DECEMBER.

6 Union members and Labour Party members turned up to support the GMB strikers on this first day of strike action.

“Our bin collection workers do a hard frontline key working role which is an essential service. The work is hard, dirty and thankless. The drivers are HGV qualified. Their management hold down their pay to near minimum wage. Their working conditions are primitive to say the least. 2 toilets for 88 workers. No indoor staff room. No access to showers. Reports of needing to be hosed down in the car park after especially difficult jobs” “Draconian”. “Nothing less than 19th century working conditions”. (Strike supporters).

The Lib Dem council charge one of the highest council tax rates in the UK and increase it by the max 4% year on year. Eastbourne bin loaders are one of the lowest paid in the country and are paid £3 less PH than their colleagues in Lewes who work for the same employer.

The Lib Dem management has been accused by many online commentators of trying to break the strike by sending in replacement drivers. They announced to residents it was business as usual, put your bins out, they will be collected today.

Instead of encouraging the talks for a speedy resolution of the issues,  management had set to work arranging for replacement drivers. But when the 20 to 30 strong picket line held firm and no vehicles left the depot, EBC then put out anti-union information on their website as an explainer to their failed plan. They blamed the strikers pure and simple.

Their announcement read  as trying to pit residents against the striking drivers and to pit non-striking workers against striking workers.  But the news from the picket line showed a picture of strong solidarity from the non- striker bin loaders with the striking drivers.

Judging by the online commentary and passers-by at the picket, cars tooting etc there is strong local support for this strike. It seems a pretty clear-cut case that the strikers’ terms are reasonable and should be met in full.

“As a resident whose bin is full and has a Friday collection, I am quite prepared to put up with the inconvenience so that these essential workers are paid a decent living wage, so they can feed their families, and have access to an indoor staff room with 21st Century facilities. Shame on Eastbourne Borough Council. Solidarity with the workers ✊”  (Picket line supporter)

“I went down to speak with the workers…. Not one elected Councillor, MP or Josh Lib Dem Prospective Parliamentary Candidate to be seen. Why are they not supporting their residents who have worked throughout the pandemic, putting their life at risk, the people who they want to support them and voted them in? All they are asking for is fair pay and decent working conditions. Shame on them (Councillors). Time for Labour voters not to lend their vote any longer to Lib Dem’s in Eastbourne.” ( Picket line supporter).

The next strike days are Friday 7th and Monday 10th January from 5am until 12. Also, further industrial action is set to take place on January 14 for 6 days. Supporters are joining the picket line either before they go to work or later from about 9am. The Depot is opposite ESK on Courtlands Road.

Latest news is that the negotiation talks due for this Friday have been brought forward to today, Wednesday 5th. Here’s hoping the strikers terms are met in full. Their terms are reasonable and long overdue.

 

🔸️THE UCU STRIKES

Union members at 58 universities took three days of strike action: Wednesday 1 to Friday 3 December involving around 50,000 staff at universities across the UK.

As well as the three-day walkout, staff at 64 universities had a mandate to take action short of striking.

UCU strike issues are various including:- gender, ethnic and disability pay gaps; casualisation; unmanageable workloads; pay cuts; and pensions.

The disputes are marked by student-staff solidarity. Students have spoken about the importance of understanding wider context of the disputes, i.e. the ongoing marketisation in education and the wider society that sees their chances in life reduced by a hugely inequitable system.

List of the universities where UCU members were on strike 👇

https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/11872/Universities-to-be-hit-with-three-days-of-strikes-in-December/

 

🔸️VICTORY…. COMMUNITY UNION  – CLARKS

“After striking for eight weeks, Clarks’ workers have been victorious in stopping the company’s fire-and-rehire plans. The deal which members of Community Union agreed to will protect hourly pay for established employees and increase pay for new workers. While the exact details of the deal have not been made public, this is a huge win for workers who were facing a 15% cut to their wages.

The notorious tactic of fire-and-rehire has been a favourite tool used by employers to push the costs of the pandemic onto their workers and slash their working conditions. The victory for Clarks’ warehouse workers is significant in its own right, but will also strengthen struggles elsewhere against the bosses’ underhanded tactics.

Clarks’ workers have shown that concerted collective action can win and this will give confidence to others across industries to unionise, organise and fight back.”

 

🔸️VICTORY….. UNITE – GLASGOW BUS DRIVERS   

Wednesday 8 December 2021. Great news 👇

1000 First Bus Glasgow drivers are to receive pay rises of up to 21.5%. Unite has also secured a commitment from First Bus Glasgow to recruit and train additional drivers alongside it now taking only two years to get to the top pay rate, as opposed to the previous five years, as part of a coordinated effort to attract people into the bus industry

Sharon Graham, Unite General Secretary, said:

“The inflation busting pay deal for many of our drivers in First Glasgow is industry leading. Unite has been working hard over a number of months to secure the best possible result. We are determined to improve the job, pay and conditions of our members, and this pay deal should be a benchmark for all other bus companies to follow.”

 

️🔸️ELECTIONS BILL

The Government ’s Elections Bill is designed to mute our movement and rig the rules in favour of the Tories. The Bill is widely recognised as highly flawed. There is cross party objection to this Bill. The Conservative-dominated Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee published a report 13th December that called on the government to stop the passage of the Elections Bill.

The report expresses deep concerns about how the government is rushing legislation through parliament and recognises trade unions’ concerns about the chilling affect the Bill has on their ability to organise.

TAKE ACTION 👇 PETITION.

https://labourunions.org.uk/take-action/stopelectionsbill/

You can read the report here 👇

https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/327/public-administration-and-constitutional-affairs-committee/news/159702/pacac-elections-bill-report-pubished/

Guardian article here 👇

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2021/dec/13/mps-call-for-halt-to-uk-elections-bill-as-voter-id-could-hit-turnout/

Passage of the Bill 👇

https://bills.parliament.uk/bills/3020

Heart Unite
Heart Unite

🔸HEARTUNIONS WEEK- 14–20 February 2022

Union Awareness Week

Let’s help grow the trade union movement and to ask people that aren’t in a union yet to join one. An opportunity to promote why unions are the answer to problems at work. And to demonstrate that unions are a powerful force for change.

#HeartUnions week drives some of the highest traffic of the year to union finder – people signing up to be new union , hopefully putting them on the road to becoming an activist or rep.

Look out for posts on #HeartUnions and like, comment and share.

https://www.tuc.org.uk/join-a-union/

 

🔸 SUTR TRADE UNION ORGANISING CONFERENCE – Fighting for anti-racist workplaces.

On Saturday 5 February, trade unionists and workplace activists from across Britain will come together at the Fighting for Anti-Racist Workplaces online conference – hosted by the TUC and Stand Up To Racism – to talk about how we can effectively oppose the government’s racist policies and agenda.

5 February 2022 Registration for Conference 👇

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/sutr-trade-union-conference-fighting-for-anti-racist-workplaces-tickets-217534169557/

 

️🔸STAND UP TO RACISM NATIONAL DEMONSTRATION – 19 March 2022

Stand Up to Racism national demonstration, 19 March, will to mark the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which is officially 21 March 2022.

#FightRacism

 

Carol Mills

TULO 

 

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