Friday, 27 May 2016

Unite Executive Guidance on Strike Pay

Our Executive Council has issued new guidance on strike pay and criteria for application for additional payments. I can send a copy to UNITE members on request.

An important point from the EC guidance is that applications for payments should be made via the Regional Officer or National Officer organising and overseeing the dispute or lockout. The request then goes via the relevant Regional Secretary or Assistant General Secretary to the General Secretary. There must be specific reasons for any application for increased strike pay and it must be demonstrated that it is an integral part of a detailed strategic plan to win the dispute.

So if you are contemplating industrial action, make sure you discuss with the relevant officer well in advance, work out your "plan to win", and get any applications in. The standard strike pay of £35 a day is clearly a huge help for members taking action, and the ability of the Executive Council Disputes Committee to authorise additional strike pay where appropriate is even better. It helps for employers contemplating pushing members into dispute to know that we have a strike fund that must by now be nearing £30m.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Report from Labor Notes conference and the Chicago Teachers' Strike

At the start of April I was lucky enough to be part of a small delegation from the UK to the Labor Notes conference in Chicago, which brought together over 2000 activists for an inspiring, stimulating and useful set of plenaries and workshops. The trip coincided with the 1 April strike by the Chicago teachers, which turned into a huge day of strikes, demonstrations and occupations involving dozens of unions and community organisations.

The first version of our report is now available here. So far it includes an overview of Labor Notes, reports from some workshops with really useful organising ideas, a report from the Chicago teachers' strike, and some background information about the US labour movement which might be helpful to readers.

Thanks to all the individuals and organisations who helped fund the delegation. Hopefully our report demonstrates that the trip was well worthwhile.