CAIWU – Following a year of campaigning, finally in March the Cleaners and Allied Independent Workers Union won parity of terms and conditions with employees of the British Medical Association.

A year ago, these cleaners were facing redundancy. Now they will now receive proper sick pay, employers pension contributions of 12%, 7 days more annual leave, paid breaks and the London Living Wage.

The Barts strikers also had a huge victory against outsourcing.


RMT Churchill cleaners strike, Hastings Station, 12th March
RMT Churchill cleaners strike, Hastings Station, 12th March

RMT Hundreds of RMT cleaners in London and the Southeast, also employed by Churchill, are now striking for pay justice and against outsourcing. Churchill made £32 million in 2020 yet refuse decent pay for its employees.

The cleaners are campaigning for £15 an hour, for sick pay, for free travel and to be directly employed by the train operating companies. Employees currently earn as little as £8.91.

The strike action first began on 23rd February with 24 hours and then 48 hours strikes affecting rail services across London and the South East, including Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern, South-eastern and Eurostar routes.

There is a strike picket at Eastbourne Station for 20th April that several local union members plan to support. Please be there if you can. 6.30am to 12.30pm.

The next strike action is now agreed to be from April 27th to May 7th.


Exxon Fawley Refinery, Southampton.
Exxon Fawley Refinery, Southampton.

Exxon: Fawley, Southampton. Following an insulting 2.5% pay offer, Veolia, Altrad and Trant Engineering outsourced workers at the Fawley refinery began the first of three days of strike action on Friday 8 April. These workers also receive no sick pay unlike workers employed directly by Exxon receive from day one.

Like other energy companies leeching of working people with high energy prices, Exxon made £6.25 billion last year, but UNITE says it is “colluding with the outsourcers to screw over the workers” as well.

Action began on 8 April; they will also be striking on 25 April and 6 May. With Fawley supplying all airports in the country and a sixth of all petrol stations, the strike has the potential to cause serious disruption if the employers refuse to treat their workers fairly.

The newly formed Extinction Rebellion Trade Unionists joined the Fawley picket line. There is an XRTU in Eastbourne. (If interested please contact Carol Mills TULO).

XRTU at Fawley Refinery, EXXON strike
XRTU at Fawley Refinery, EXXON strike


GMB are the main union. GMB has a reputation for strong organising. Locally we’ve seen their success in Brighton, Eastbourne, and Hastings. This strength is spreading. GMB have built experience on how to win these disputes and also word of the big victories being won has inspired other areas

Adur and Worthing: Bin workers in GMB went ahead with their strike action in April after the employer failed to negotiate seriously.

Wealden: Wealden District Council said it has been informed by Biffa that is has ‘received formal notification from the GMB union that its members intend to take strike action at the depots operating services in Wealden’ from April 25 for at least two weeks.


Coventry Bin Strike. Mass rally March 26th.
Coventry Bin Strike. Mass rally March 26th.

Coventry: The Coventry Labour run Council has not only refused to negotiate since September, but then went on to suspend a striker in order to intimidate during a re-ballot.

The Council continues employ scabs, but the strikers remain solid. There was a mass rally called by Unite in Coventry on Saturday, March 26th.

There is some evidence that public opinion is turning on the council, which could have implications for Labour’s prospects in the local elections this May.

Rugby and London borough of Hackney: are also in dispute against Labour councils which are going into local elections in May.

Somerset and Barrow: GMB members rejected a net pay cut. A minority are directly employed by the Council, but most are working for very profitable service companies one of which is refusing increase workers’ pay despite 5.5% increase in funding from the council. The GMB organiser for Northampton, Asia Allison, has further said that the company has been threatening actual pay cuts and arbitrary dismissals.

Wiltshire: GMB bin workers have been striking over the disparity in staff and agency worker pay, as well as rates of pay.You may have seen the video footage a striking-breaking truck hitting a picketer outside the depot gates.

Manchester: Cross-union bins strike in Manchester continues. Workers in both UNITE THE UNION and GMB have been engaging in industrial action for months. Both unions have agreed to coordinate action, and this is the first time that workers in these two major unions enter a dispute simultaneously. GMB and UNITE are both pledging strong support for the workforce, as has Unite leader Sharon Graham.

Cardiff Council: Waste collection workers in the UNITE UNION have voted by 98% to strike over a ‘TOXIC BULLYING CULTURE ’ and high levels of agency staff who are treated ‘like 1960s dockworkers’. For example,  agency staff are expected to turn up for work, without any guarantee that they will get a shift – that they are used as cheap cover for sickness or absences, and if there is no work they get sent home.

Unite members feel that the bullying culture is made worse by the high levels of agency staff, some of whom have worked in the waste for several years, who fear losing work if they complain.

No strike dates have been set yet, as management is now talking to the union to try and resolve the issue.

WORKERS ARE ON THE RISE – strikes across the country.

xrtu join a union
xrtu join a union

There are an increasing number of strikes across the country as the Cost Of Exploitation Crisis is hitting workers. These include:-

DLH drivers; UVW at Great Ormond Street Hospital;  Stuart Food Couriers/Just Eat “gig economy” in Sheffield  ; Croydon Council Workers;  GMB/UNITE Translink bus drivers; The Criminal Bar Association (CBA); Sandwell Leisure Trust; Cadent Gas; Mini workers in Oxford and an ongoing series of UCU strikes across the country including Brighton University and Goldsmiths.


TUC National Demonstration

Parliament Square

Saturday 18 June

The trade union movement will be taking to the streets to demand action on the cost of living and a pay rise for all workers.

NB the TUC General Secretary Francis O’Grady will be retiring at the end of the year.


Carol Mills


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