Trade Union News. Here’s a round up of the latest trade union and labour related news from around the UK. In this programme: NHS Staff March on Downing Street, Train Drivers to Strike, Christmas Post Truce Rejected By Management, Ambulance Workers Pledge To Maintain Essential cover and Union Leaders Meet To Discuss a unified day of strikes.
NHS Staff March on Downing Street
NHS staff and campaigners marched on Downing Street yesterday as picketing nurses were greeted with outpourings of public support in towns and cities across the country.
The march was organised jointly by campaign groups NHS Workers Say No! and NHS Staff Voices which are part of the Keep Our NHS Public campaign.
Spirits were high on nurses’ picket lines nationwide, with many people honking their horns in encouragement as they passed by.
Train Drivers to Strike
Train drivers represented by their Union, Aslef, will go on strike on Thursday January 5, joining RMT members who are scheduled to walk out on January 3, 4, 6 and 7.
This is a result of a new ballot that was forced on them by government anti-strike laws. The mandate was even stronger than in the original ballot six months ago – 93 per cent for strike action on an 85 per cent turnout.
The drivers’ strike will halt services at 15 train companies including Avanti West Coast, Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry, East Midlands Railway, Great Western Railway, Greater Anglia and GTR Great Northern Thameslink.
Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan said: “We don’t want to go on strike but the companies have pushed us into this place.”
Christmas Post Truce Rejected By Management
The Communication Workers Union has announced that postal workers will be striking on December 23 and 24, after Royal Mail rejected their offer of a Christmas truce.
The union had sought to get Royal Mail to sign a joint agreement incorporating the company’s latest promise of no compulsory redundancies, but the offer was rejected almost immediately.
This will be the 17th and 18th day of action in the dispute over pay, and is likely to cause significant delays in mail delivery during the festive period.
Ambulance Workers Pledge To Maintain Essential cover
GMB national secretary Rachel Harrison said that unions representing ambulance workers had been working “round the clock” to ensure there were enough strike exemptions to keep critical services running.
Tens of thousands of ambulance staff including paramedics and call handlers are expected to walk out today in a dispute over pay.
Speaking to MPs on the Commons health and social care select committee, Ms Harrison said strike action would go ahead unless Health Secretary Steve Barclay is willing to talk about pay.
The GMB leader said that “essential” parts of the service will still be covered today, including responses for the most life-threatening conditions, like cardiac arrest.
Ms Harrison told MPs that ambulance workers have been forced to take strike action after raising concerns for years about ambulance delays and unsafe conditions for patients as well as pay.
And finally, Union Leaders Meet To Discuss a unified day of strikes
According to a report in Socialist Worker Trade union leaders are planning to call a unified day of strikes on Wednesday 1 February, which could involve over a million workers. Union leaders met last week to discuss whether some sort of joint action was possible, and agreed to reconvene on 10 January when a final decision could be made.
This plan is a sign of the potential for powerful struggles to transform British politics says the report.
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