More than 100 maintenance workers at Magenta Living, a social housing provider in Merseyside, recently ended their strike after winning a deal over safe working with asbestos.
The strike, which began in February, was sparked by a change to the organization’s asbestos policy that required workers to handle the dangerous substance if they came across it in a property. But the workers, represented by the union Unite, stood together and successfully negotiated a new agreement that protects their health and safety.
The workers’ success in this strike is a testament to the power of collective action. By standing together and withholding their labour, they were able to force their employer to address their concerns and make changes to its policies. The new agreement ensures that staff who have opted out of handling asbestos will not be forced to undertake essential tasks with the dangerous material, which can cause cancer. This is a significant victory for the workers, who can now go about their jobs with greater peace of mind knowing that their health and safety are being protected.
This strike also highlights the importance of having a strong union to represent workers’ interests. Unite general secretary Sharon Graham praised the workers for standing together in their union and achieving this excellent result. She emphasized that the safety of union members is non-negotiable and that Unite always supports workers concerned about their health and wellbeing in the workplace. By having a strong union behind them, the Magenta Living workers were able to negotiate a better deal for themselves and ensure that their voices were heard.
The Magenta Living strike is just one example of how strikes can win for workers.
Higher pay win
In another example striking mill workers at an animal feed and nutritional product manufacturer have won a huge pay boost worth more than 13 per cent, their union Unite announced today.
The union confirmed that further walkouts by the 150 staff at AB AGRI have been cancelled after they voted to accept the two-year deal.
It includes a wage boost of 4.5 per cent backdated to October 2022, plus a one-off payment worth 1.5 per cent. From September this year, salaries will increase again by 5.5 per cent, followed by a further 2 per cent in January 2024.
An additional day’s annual leave and an agreement to allow union recognition across the firm’s mills — in Suffolk, Norfolk, Oxfordshire, Fife, Devon, Lincolnshire and East and North Yorkshire — is also included, Unite confirmed.
Both strikes show that strikes can win. These strikes are a powerful reminder that workers have the power to effect change when they stand together and demand better. When employees stand together and demand better working conditions, they can achieve real change. In recent years, we have seen strikes by teachers, healthcare workers, and other groups of employees who have successfully won better wages, benefits, and working conditions. By withholding their labour and disrupting business as usual, workers can force their employers to take their concerns seriously and make real changes to improve their working conditions.