Thursday 6 July 2017

Solidarity needed - housing, BA, NHS and finance

Four groups of Unite members are currently engaged in pretty serious industrial action at the moment. They deserve our support.

I'd previously posted about the outsourced Manchester housing maintenance workers. They are now escalating their action with four weeks of continuous strike action from Saturday 8 July to Friday 4 August. A letter appealing for support has been issued by Unite's north-west region. You can support the strikers by:

  1. Visiting pickets, typically 7:30-10am on strike days, at Hendham Vale, by the junction of Hazelbottom Road and Vale Park Way (map
  2.  Donating to the strike fund by cheque payable to UCATT UD.393 Manchester 1st Branch, sent to Andy Fisher, Unite, 2 Churchill Way, Liverpool, L3 8EF, or online to account 46034412 sort code 60-83-01.
  3. Sending a message of support to Colin Pitt via
Meanwhile cabin crew at BA Mixed Fleet have announced another 14 days of strike action. Like the Mixed Fleet Unite Facebook page for more information, or their web site gives details of how to support them.

In the NHS in London, cleaners, porters and security staff employed by Serco at Barts Health NHS Trust have been striking this week and plan a further seven day strike from Tuesday 11 July followed by a 14 day strike from 25 July. The action covers Whipps Cross University Hospital, Royal London Hospital, St Bartholomew’s Hospital and Mile End Hospital. Messages of support can be sent via Unite branch secretary Len Hockey ( Photos and videos on the strikers' Facebook group show an impressive level of participation - and that migrant workers are at the heart of fighting low pay rather than being the cause of it. Cheques payable to “Barts NHS Health Branch” can be sent to Willie Howard, Unite the Union, 33-37 Moreland St, EC1V 8BB or you can donate online to account 20344885 Sort code 60-83-01.

At the Bank of England maintenance, parlours and security workers will be taking a four day strike from 31 July.

Two things stand out from this cluster of strikes. Firstly, all are about pay - reflecting workers losing patience after years when wages were held down and prices are rising. Why should we wait to make Labour's manifesto pledge of a £10 an hour minimum wage a reality? Secondly, all are sustained action to try to win, not token or "protest" action for odd days. Nearly two years ago I pointed out that the Trade Union Act "strengthens the case for intensive action rather than relying on the disruption of odd hours or days of action". In an article yesterday Gregor Gall argues that the "predominant strategy of one-day strikes, (or a series of one-day strikes) is coming to an end". If this is the case it is not before time - token strikes have acted more as a way of letting of steam than a serious attempt to win.
cleaners, porters and security staff
cleaners, porters and security staff

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