Solidarity with Unite bus worker

Please donate to help a good Unite rep O’Neil Lewis clear his name

https://www.gofundme.com/f/legal-requirements

Email us to pass on solidarity messages

Rolls Royce and Optare

Unite members are currently involved in two crucial battles at the Rolls-Royce plant in Barnoldswick, Lancashire and the Optare bus manufacturers in Leeds.

Rolls-Royce bosses announced in August that they would be offshoring production of the Trent Engine blades, currently manufactured at the Barnoldswick plant to Singapore.

The move would see 350 workers lose their jobs, the potential closure of the factory and the further threats to the jobs of workers in the supply chain.  And this is a company that sought £1 billion in financial support from the Government.

Unite members voted 94% for a strike to stop the job losses. 

They began a 3 week strike last Friday 6 November that was due to end on 27 November – but the action will now continue until Christmas Eve.

National officer Ross Quinn told the local press 
“This dispute is not just about maintaining the viability of the Rolls-Royce factory in Barnoldswick, it is about the future prosperity of the local community.”

Workers at bus manufacturer Optare in Leeds have been taking strike action from last month.  They have been staging 48-hour strikes every week to win a pay rise that was pledged but never implemented by the company last year.  Optare can hardly plead poverty. The company is owned by the billionaire Hinduja brothers Srichand, Gopichand and Prakash, the second richest people in the UK.
Despite Unite pickets at Optare wearing masks, socially distancing and regularly using hand sanitiser, last week a police officer ordered them to stop picketing quoting new coronavirus legislation.Unite made legal representations that have been successful so the right to picket has been maintained. The stakes are high, the bosses are accommodating temporary workers in hotels and bussing them in to try and break the strike. But next week, the strike will escalate to four days a week and workers believe that this will have a major impact. 

It is clear that just as with the economic crash in 2008, the Tories and the bosses are intent on making us pay for growing pandemic and economic crises.  These strikes are crucial because if they win it shows that workers don’t have to meekly accept being thrown on the scrapheap or cuts to their pay and benefits.  But the workers at these factories could also be the key to tackling another crisis – that of the ongoing climate catastrophe.  Optare workers specialise in making electric buses. Barnoldswick workers specialise in making blades for aircraft engines – but there’s no reason why they can’t make blades for wind turbines. 

Raise solidarity for these strikes in your branch and committee meetings. Get in touch to invite a speaker or if your branch can make donations.

Send messages of solidarity to:

Rolls-Royce Barnoldswick – facebook.com/UniteNorthWest/  and tweet to @Unite_NorthWest using #BattleForBarnoldswick and #SaveOurSite hashtags

Optare Richard.bedford@unitetheunion.org

Unite EC Elections in a personal capacity by Laurence Humphries

In the recent EC Elections held on the 18th June I wanted to comment on the very low turnout in most of the sectors and analyse briefly why this happened. The URF has always campaigned for a real democratic union but at the moment it still remains in the hands of a bureaucratic elite.

In the regions there were contests in the following regions : Ireland, Scotland, North East Yorkshire and Humberside, South East, Wales and West Midlands. Of course voting in territorial elections is restricted to working members only.

In the regions there was an average of a 6.2% turnout. It was better in the Industrial sectors where there were contests in 9 of the sectors again with an average turnout of 6.2%. At the last Rules Conference it was resolved to have equality representatives elected onto the EC. There were only contests in BAEM and Retired Members. LGBT, Women and Young Members were uncontested as well 10 Industrial sectors and 4 Regions without a contest.
Of course if you are a Community Member, Unemployed or a student you do not have a vote in these Elections at all. The Retired Members sector where I stood had the highest poll 19% which shows that Retired Members are very active.

The reason for the low poll in the Industrial sectors is that in a union like Unite which has strong bureaucratic apparatus, members feel that they have no say in most decisions.
All Officers, National Officers and assistant General Secretaries are appointed either on the recommendation of the Executive Council or the General Secretary. They are not accountable to the membership because they have not been elected. Members therefore consider these elections an irrelevancy and it has nothing to do with apathy.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected Unite enormously with the threat of layoffs redundancies and sackings. BA Workers are threatened with sackings and or redundancies. In Passenger Transport, 44 Bus drivers have died from coronavirus showing inadequate PPE and protection from the virus.

It is necessary for the URF to campaign for democracy, accountability and a perspective that all members of the union irrespective of whether they work or not to have a proper democratic structure in the union and be able to participate like working members. When the pandemic is over we need to have a perspective to fight redundancies and sackings through strike action if necessary.

RSPCA workers to strike over ‘bully boy’ bosses

Staff at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) have voted by a large majority for strike action, Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, said today (Thursday 20 February).

Unite said that its members had voted by 73 per cent to strike over the management’s arbitrary imposition of new ‘performance pay’ contracts.

The union said that it would be announcing strike dates in the near future – and called for the RSPCA management to hold last-ditch talks, under the auspices of the conciliation service Acas, to avert strike action.

Unite is the only union recognised at the UK’s leading animal charity, founded in 1824.

Unite said the crux of the dispute is management’s proposals to replace the recently negotiated incremental pay scheme with a performance pay arrangement which could exacerbate plummeting staff morale in an organisation where bullying has been endemic.

https://unitetheunion.org/news-events/news/2020/february/rspca-workers-vote-to-strike-over-new-detrimental-bully-boy-contracts/

Protest in support of Unite member and London bus worker

Unite Rank and File are really shocked to hear that Moe Manir, a hard working Unite rep on London buses has got a disciplinary this Thursday at Abellio and is facing the sack

Moe, with others, has been a major campaigner for the London-wide consultative ballot on safety that took place last Friday 7th February 2020.

There is going to be a protest at 12.30pm this Thursday outside the Twickenham depot where Moe’s disciplinary is being held if anyone able to make it – Stanley Road, Twickenham TW2 5NP

Big win for Hackney bus workers

A long running dispute between Hackney Council and school bus staff has been brought to an end after workers secured increased pay and a commitment to make agency roles permanent.

The pay deal came after 38 Unite members, who are drivers and passenger escorts on school buses for children with disabilities, carried out a series of strikes in relation to the dispute during 2019.

Hackney council has agreed to yearly lump sum payments which will be backdated to April 2019 and are linked to annual National Joint Council pay increases for local government staff.

The agreement also includes a review, led by the conciliation service Acas, into improving working relationships within the bus service, as well as a commitment to review agency staff positions each term with a view to making those roles permanent.

Full story here:

Win! Hackney bus dispute called off after workers secure pay rise

General Election Day

On the day of the General Election tomorrow, myself as an NHS worker and UNITE Workplace Rep will be at work for yet another consultation launch on reorganisation

For me, this is the 9th reorganisation in 9 years

I work for an NHS organisation that came about as a direct consequence of the Tories Health & Social Care Act and a part of the NHS most affected by change since the ConDem coalition in 2010

No top down organisation of the NHS, Cameron said yet we have seen nothing but every year since

Multiple redundancies every time losing mostly the good people with the skills and knowledge

I would prefer to be out campaigning to get the vote out for Labour instead however I need to be there for my members and support them through this pain, this time also at risk myself being in a ringfenced competition which means I will have to apply for my own job

I also have moderate anxiety and depression which make these situations even more difficult for me to cope with even with tons of support available

This is why I am voting Labour on 12th December to put an end to all this misery by Labour getting into government and standing by the Labour manifesto to repeal the terrible Health & Social Care Act once and for all

Victory for health workers in Lincolnshire

The long-running Lincolnshire health visitors’ dispute is coming to an end with a pay victory that sees the vast majority of the workforce being upgraded.

Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, today (Thursday 5 December) hailed the victory, which will see most of the union’s members move onto the grade 10 pay scale, as ‘highly significant’.

Unite regional officer Steve Syson said: “Thanks to the tremendous solidarity that our members have shown since this dispute started in the summer, we have achieved a highly significant and welcome victory.

“The health visitors’ determination against what they considered as a gross pay injustice was buttressed by the firm backing from the people of Lincolnshire and from supporters across the UK.”

The dispute had centred on the council’s insistence on different contracts for grade 9 and grade 10 health visitors, while Unite has consistently argued that as all health visitors have the same qualifications they should be paid the same.

The health visitors have now suspended their month-long strike action while the authority upgrades the health visitors; however, Unite reserves the right to reinstitute strike action if the council does not abide with the agreement. Besides the grade 10 job roles, the health visitors will receive between £2,000- £6,000 in a one-off transitional payment.

More than 70 Unite health visitors voted for the month-long, now suspended, strike that started on 18 November. Of those about 58 will now be fast tracked to the grade 10 posts with 16 further Agenda for Change AfC) staff awaiting confirmation; about 13 have left or are departing to take up alternative employment within nursing, which leaves a handful of relatively new health visitors on grade 9.

Unite pledged today that it would explore every avenue to get those still on grade 9 uplifted to grade 10 as soon as possible.

Unite regional secretary for the East Midlands Paresh Patel added: “I think that a number of factors contributed to this positive outcome, including the fact that the council was, and even now, is continuing to lose highly skilled health visitors at the rate of knots, as our members are offered alternative roles elsewhere in recognition of their experience.

“There was also the stark realisation by council bosses that our members were prepared to take further strike action on top of what they had already taken in the summer, after a second ballot confirmed they were prepared to continue on with further industrial action.

“This victory should be seen in the context of a broader campaign for a fully-resourced health visiting service across England – that fight will continue across the country in 2020.”

Unite National Industrial Sector Conferences 2019

Unite Rank and File supporters will be gathering in Brighton next week for Unite National Industrial Sector Conferences 2019

There will not be a leaflet from Unite Rank and File

Thanks to all those who volunteered to help with leafleting

We will still however be meeting up

On Monday 18th November, we will be in the Fiddler’s Elbow post conference

On Tuesday 19th November, we will be meeting in The Bright Helm from 6.30pm onwards for discussion and food before moving on to the Fiddler’s Elbow

Come and join us there

Unite National Industrial Sector Conferences 2019

UNITE National Industrial Sector Conferences 2019 are fast approaching starting Monday 18th November 2019 in Brighton

If you are going to be in Brighton in any capacity, please do get in contact

I will be there as a delegate along with a few others from Unite Rank and File

We are hoping to meet up in the evening of Tuesday 19th November

It will be an opportunity for UNITE Rank and File supporters to meet each other and do some planning for the socialist revolution, so if you are interested, please do come along and meet us

Some of us will be here later that night
https://www.fiddlerselbow.pub/

Please also email us if you would like to contribute to or have ideas for our latest leaflet and / or if you are able to help us in Brighton with leafleting

In solidarity!

Nicola Redwood
Co-Chair
Unite Rank and File Committee