Union News (8th of August 2023)

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Welcome to Union News, the weekly podcast for the labour and trade union movement. In this edition: Outrage as NHS Funds Flow to Private Companies Amidst Record Waiting Lists, Camden Traffic Wardens Brave the Rain to Demand Fair Pay in Lively Protest, Amazon Workers Rally for Fair Wages: One Year Since Historic Walkout, Bus Drivers in Manchester Stage Powerful Strikes for Better Pay and Working Conditions, Rank and File Construction Workers Fight for Rights and Fair Pay on Major Projects and UNITE Demands Scottish Government to Step Up on Local Government Pay Amidst Looming Strikes. Writing is by Pat Harrington and music is from Tim Bragg.

Outrage as NHS Funds Flow to Private Companies Amidst Record Waiting Lists

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) announced plans to establish 13 new community-based centres to diagnose patients and tackle the record waiting lists of 7.47 million patients. However, eight of these centres will be run by private companies, raising concerns among health campaigners. Keep Our NHS Public (KONP) warned that funnelling £19 billion to the private sector is draining vital resources from the NHS. Critics argue that long-term solutions are needed, including adequate investment in the NHS and addressing chronic underfunding, as opposed to temporary fixes through private involvement. The NHS faces staff shortages and struggles to retain workers due to real-terms pay cuts, making the move towards private-sector involvement controversial and potentially detrimental to the NHS’s overall resources. Camden

Traffic Wardens Brave the Rain to Demand Fair Pay in Lively Protest

Traffic wardens in Camden, employed by outsourcer NSL, took to the streets in an all-out strike demanding a pay rise. Around 60 strikers marched through the north London borough, joined by Unison union members, St Mungo’s homelessness charity strikers, and UCU union members from across London. The workers are resolute in their fight for better pay, with bosses offering a disappointing raise to £15 an hour in three years, while the strikers demand £15.90 on a one-year deal. They are also highlighting the unequal treatment faced by black and Asian workers and are determined to achieve their main aims. The spirited protest has garnered support from the public, and the strikers are unwavering in their fight against low pay and racist outsourcing practices.

Amazon Workers Rally for Fair Wages: One Year Since Historic Walkout

Hundreds of Amazon workers in Coventry and Rugeley marked the one-year anniversary of their biggest walkout in Britain with defiant rallies. Shouting “Freedom, we will not stop,” the workers demanded fair wages and better working conditions. Despite facing heavy private security and newly erected metal barriers, they stood strong in their calls for a cost-of-living pay rise to £15 per hour. Strikers shared their struggles of working long hours, barely having time for family, and resorting to second jobs just to make ends meet. Amazon’s attempts to deter the rallies with metal fences backfired, only igniting the workers’ determination to be heard. With one year of striking under their belt, the workers continue to fight for their rights and fair treatment in the face of corporate resistance.

Bus Drivers in Manchester Stage Powerful Strikes for Better Pay and Working Conditions

Around 350 bus drivers employed by First Manchester launched strike action for improved pay in July and continued their picket lines on Friday. They will be joined by more than 1,000 Stagecoach bus drivers next week, escalating the pay dispute. The drivers, members of Unite, rejected the offered pay increase of 7.4% backdated to April with an additional 3.4% in October, deeming it insufficient to address their high living costs and chronic staff shortages. Both First Manchester and Stagecoach have reported significant revenues and profits, yet the drivers’ wages remain the lowest in the region. The ongoing strikes demonstrate the drivers’ determination to secure fair pay and better working conditions as they make their voices heard in the pursuit of a resolution.

Rank and File Construction Workers Fight for Rights and Fair Pay on Major Projects

Construction workers at Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant in Somerset and Stanlow oil refinery in Ellesmere Port are taking significant stands to secure their rights and fair pay. At Hinkley Point C, mechanical and electrical workers walked out to oppose travel allowance cuts, while scaffolders stopped work to resist changes in shift patterns. Both groups of workers are determined to win their battles, with the support of rank and file movements. At Stanlow oil refinery, workers successfully cabined up to force through a bonus payment, highlighting the potential for rank and file organization in the construction sector. These ongoing disputes demonstrate the power of collective action among workers and their determination to secure better working conditions and fair treatment. and finally,

UNITE Demands Scottish Government to Step Up on Local Government Pay Amidst Looming Strikes

UNITE, the powerful workers’ union, has issued a strong call to the Scottish government, urging them to “get involved and get real” concerning local government pay. This stern warning comes in the wake of an announcement by the union that its members in schools and early years positions across 10 councils have voted in favour of striking. UNITE’s regional officer, Graham McNab, revealed to BBC radio’s Good Morning Scotland that a potential strike could commence as early as September. However, McNab emphasized that the timing decision hinges on the outcome of the ongoing Unison ballot. This allows both UNITE and the GMB to collaboratively “discuss our plan of attack and our action.” The strike ballots were prompted by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) offer, which falls considerably short of expectations. The offer claims to provide an average pay increase of 5.5%, a stark contrast to the current inflation rate of 10.7%. UNITE Executive Committee member Eddie Cassidy condemned this offer as derisory and demanded that the Scottish government face the reality of the situation. Cassidy expressed his frustration, stating, “Year after year we have to threaten strike action just to get them to match the Tory settlements down south. A 5% offer with real inflation still well over 10% is a pay cut pure and simple — and we’ve had enough. It’s time the Scottish government got involved and got real.” The Scottish government responded by stating that local government pay negotiations are a matter for local authorities and unions. Despite UK government cuts, the Scottish government has allocated an additional £155 million to support substantial pay raises for local government workers. This allocation has already been factored into the pay offer put forth by Cosla. As the potential strike looms and tensions escalate, the call from UNITE to the Scottish government to “get involved and get real” reverberates as a rallying cry for fair treatment and just compensation in the local government sector.

Strong Enough to Care: Join Solidarity Union Today!


In a world that often seems fast-paced and disconnected, where individualism prevails, there’s a beacon of hope shining bright – Solidarity Union. With a resounding commitment to the theme “Strong Enough to Care,” this union stands as a testament to the power of unity and compassion. If you’re seeking a community that values both strength and empathy, look no further – Solidarity Union is your answer.

Unity in Diversity: Solidarity Union is not just a union; it’s a diverse family of individuals who believe in the strength that comes from supporting one another. Here, differences are celebrated, and a spirit of inclusivity thrives. Whether you’re a skilled worker, a professional, or a student, Solidarity Union welcomes you with open arms. By embracing our collective uniqueness, we forge connections that are both enriching and empowering.

Strength in Numbers: Solidarity Union understands that true strength is found in unity. When we come together for a common cause, we amplify our impact and create positive change. From advocating for fair wages and workers’ rights to championing social and environmental justice, our collective voice reverberates far beyond individual efforts. With a network of dedicated members, we transform challenges into opportunities, inspiring change on both local and global scales.

Empathy in Action: “Strong Enough to Care” isn’t just a catchphrase – it’s the essence of Solidarity Union’s values. In a world where empathy can sometimes seem scarce, our union stands as a bastion of compassion. We believe that caring for each other extends beyond our immediate circles. Through community outreach programs, support initiatives, and charitable endeavours, we prove that strength and compassion go hand in hand.

How to Get Involved: Becoming a part of Solidarity Union is easy and rewarding. Simply click the link below to join. , There’s a place for you within our union.

Together, We Thrive: Solidarity Union embodies the idea that a community can be strong, vibrant, and caring all at once. It’s a union that believes in the power of collective action to create positive change. By joining hands with like-minded individuals, you become a part of something greater – a movement that embodies strength, empathy, and progress.So, are you ready to be “Strong Enough to Care”? Join Solidarity Union today and be a driving force for positive transformation. Together, we’ll build a world where strength and compassion are inseparable, and where our actions inspire a brighter future for all.

Click here to join.

Union News (27th of July 2023)

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Welcome to Union News, your weekly podcast from the Trade Union and labour movement in the UK. Writing is by Pat Harrington and music is by Tim Bragg.

Radiographers Strike: NHS Staff Exit Sparks Crisis

Radiographers in England initiated a 48-hour strike action on Tuesday, protesting the concerning exodus of staff from the profession. Members of the Society of Radiographers (SoR) voted against a 5% government pay award and demanded talks to reopen, citing disparities with pay increases offered to other public-sector workers, including junior doctors. The picket lines outside the Royal Marsden Hospital in Surrey saw therapeutic radiographer Ashley d’Aquino, 43, expressing their frustration. She stated that the government had not engaged with the SoR despite discussions about recruitment and retention issues. The worsening situation has led to burnout and prompted professionals to leave their positions. The striking radiographers are urging the government to collaborate more with different unions to address these critical problems. Members of the public expressed support for the striking radiographers, driving past the picket lines and honking their horns.

The strike involves 37 NHS trusts where members have a mandate to strike, including prominent institutions such as University College London Hospitals, Liverpool University Hospitals, Nottingham University Hospitals, University Hospitals Bristol and Weston, and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals. However, the strike organizers have ensured that adequate emergency cover will be provided for patients during this period. Richard Evans, the Chief Executive of SoR, emphasized that the strike is not just about better conditions for the radiographers themselves but also about improving patient care. Radiographers have experienced stagnant pay increases and real-terms pay cuts since 2008, leading to a talent drain from the profession. Simultaneously, the NHS, as a whole, has faced neglect and insufficient funding from the government, causing enormous strain and jeopardizing services.

The public’s vocal support for the strike reflects their awareness of the immense pressure the NHS is under and the potential risks to its sustainability. Presently, a million people are on the waiting list for radiography services, indicating the urgency of addressing the concerns raised by the striking radiographers. In response to the strike action, Health Secretary Steve Barclay stated that the pay award was final and called on the union to call off the strike. The situation remains tense as both sides seek a resolution to the ongoing dispute.

Glasgow Museum Workers Launch Fortnight of Protests Against Job Cuts

Museum workers in Glasgow are gearing up for a fortnight of protests, beginning this week, as they rally against proposed job cuts in the city’s museums and collections department. The public-sector union Unison announced the protests, expressing concerns over the potential loss of 37 jobs, which Glasgow Life Museums intends to implement to address a £1.5 million financial deficit. While half of the proposed cuts are for unfilled positions, Unison argues that the removal of curators, conservators, technicians, outreach personnel, and learning assistants could seriously undermine the quality of visitors’ experiences, resulting in vacant and “stagnant” exhibition spaces. Glasgow Life, a charity wholly owned by Glasgow City Council, stated that it will collaborate with the union to handle the remaining job cuts. The council, known for its no compulsory redundancies policy, faces Unison’s challenge to reverse the cuts and protect the city’s renowned museums and collections. Unison calls upon Glasgow City councillors to defend the cultural institutions from funding attacks by the Scottish and UK governments, emphasizing the need to safeguard and cherish the world-renowned heritage. A Glasgow Life spokesperson clarified that the savings made this year amount to approximately 9% of the charity’s annual service fee received from the city council, and no venues will be closed. They asserted that over half of the affected posts are currently vacant. The charity is engaging closely with staff and unions to assess the individual implications of these measures. In response, a Scottish government spokesperson emphasized the increased resources provided to local government for 2023-24, showing a significant real-terms increase, with the aim of supporting cultural institutions. Unison’s protests are scheduled to commence at the Burrell Collection in Pollok Park on Saturday, July 29, and will continue at the Gallery of Modern Art in Queen Street on August 5 the following week. Museum workers are determined to make their voices heard and protect Glasgow’s cultural treasures for future generations.

Traffic Wardens in Camden Launch All-Out Strike Demanding £15.90 per Hour Pay

Traffic wardens in Camden, north London, have initiated an all-out strike, demanding a pay rise to £15.90 per hour. The workers, who currently receive £12.70 per hour, voted overwhelmingly in favour of the strike action, with 100 percent supporting the move on a 73.11 percent turnout. On the picket line at the Car Pound Reception in Kentish Town, the strikers voiced their demands for a pay rise with spirited chants. They were joined by CCTV workers, who also showed their solidarity with loud cheers. The strike includes over 100 workers responsible for CCTV operations, street work, and car parks, all employed under a contract with Camden council by outsourcing company NSL. Unison union representatives emphasized that the pay rise is long overdue, recalling the last significant increase in 2018, which followed a 33-day strike.

The workers expressed frustration at the lack of response from the authorities despite assurances of a pay rise. With 90 percent of the workforce now participating in the strike, they believe that such action is necessary to compel the bosses to offer reasonable proposals. Unison representatives, highlighted the impact of rising living costs and inflation, stating that the wages have not kept up. The offered increase of 57p was deemed inadequate, falling below the London living wage raise. The striking traffic wardens are calling for a fair wage and expressed determination to continue the strike indefinitely, citing its effectiveness in gaining a quick response from employers.

The previous strike saw NSL attempt to replace striking workers with staff from other contracts, but this time, the union is adamant that it will prevent such measures. There are also discussions about the possibility of bringing the workers in-house, a move they believe would offer better treatment and benefits.

Record High: Number of Children in Temporary Accommodation in England

According to newly released figures from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), the number of children in temporary accommodation in England has reached an all-time high. In March, a staggering 104,510 households were in temporary accommodation, while 131,370 children lived in these households—marking the highest figures recorded since 1998 and 2004, respectively. Over the past year, these numbers have grown by 10%, with the number of households in bed and breakfasts surging by over a third to 13,780. The situation has drawn sharp criticism, especially in light of the DLUHC recently returning £1.9 billion earmarked to tackle the housing crisis to the treasury, citing difficulties in finding suitable projects to spend it on.

Nick Ballard, ACORN Head Organiser, expressed dismay, stating, “It is a national disgrace” given the apparent lack of progress on addressing the issue. The ADLUHC, however, contends that temporary accommodation ensures families have a roof over their heads and emphasizes that the use of bed and breakfasts is always considered a last resort to prevent homelessness before it occurs. Nonetheless, the escalating numbers raise serious concerns about the welfare and stability of vulnerable families across the country.

and finally… Rail Bosses Extend Ticket Office Closure Consultation Amid Backlash and Legal Threats

In response to strong public opposition and legal threats, rail bosses have decided to extend the public consultation on mass ticket office closures by three weeks. The Rail Delivery Group’s decision comes after unions and passenger groups expressed concerns about the potential closure of over 1,000 ticket offices and the loss of 2,300 station staff.

The RMT and Aslef unions remain critical of the consultation process and are considering legal action. Five Labour metro mayors, including Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, are also preparing to challenge the “rushed” closure plan in court. The extension has been welcomed, but critics argue that a 12-week consultation is required by law. Various watchdogs and organizations, such as Transport Focus, London TravelWatch, Scope, and the Equality and Human Rights Commission, have raised their own concerns about the impact of the plan on passengers, particularly disabled and older individuals. The situation remains contentious as stakeholders continue to call for transparency and accountability in shaping the future of the railways.

Union News (13th of July 2023)

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Welcome to Union News, your weekly podcast from the UK labour and Trade Union movement. In this edition: Midwife Shortages in UK Maternity Services Pose Significant Challenges, Warns Royal College of Midwives, Workers Left Jobless as Empire Cinema Chain Shuts Down Without Warning, Tube Workers to Stage Rolling Strikes Over Jobs and Conditions on London Underground, Construction Worker Deaths Surge to 45 in a Year, Exceeding Five-Year Average, Barts Health NHS Trust Workers Vote on Industrial Action Over Pay and Staffing Dispute, Junior Doctors walkout, and finally, Teachers vote for Action. Text is by Pat Harrington and music is by Tim Bragg.

Midwife Shortages in UK Maternity Services Pose Significant Challenges, Warns Royal College of Midwives

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has issued a warning about the severe impact of midwife shortages on women, emphasizing the historical lack of appropriate investment in maternity services. According to the RCM’s latest report, if the number of NHS midwives in England had increased at the same rate as the overall health service workforce since the last general election, there would be no shortage of midwives. Instead, the report reveals a shortfall of 2,500 full-time midwife staff, highlighting the need for an additional 3,100 midwives in the NHS. The report explains that the increasing complexity of needs, such as higher rates of obesity during pregnancy and a rise in older women giving birth, has placed additional demands on maternity services. Combined with a growing birthrate, the staffing levels of midwives have not kept pace with these demands, resulting in compromised quality and safety of care. Birte Harlev-Lam, the RCM’s executive director midwife, stresses the importance of addressing the challenges outlined in the report. She emphasizes that the government must demonstrate unwavering commitment to resolving this crisis by providing the necessary resources for maternity services, both in the present and the future. The RCM highlights the need for a renewed focus on staff retention, including measures such as increased flexibility in working options, improved support for learning and development, and addressing poor workplace cultures.

In response, a spokesperson from the Department of Health and Social Care acknowledges the efforts made to enhance the quality of care for mothers and babies within the NHS. They mention an additional investment of £165 million per year aimed at expanding the maternity workforce and improving neonatal services

Workers Left Jobless as Empire Cinema Chain Shuts Down Without Warning

The bosses at the Empire Cinema chain made a calculated move to dissolve their company into administration, but they didn’t forget about their workers. Prior to the closure announcement, managers at the Walthamstow branch organized a “special meeting” under the pretext of discussing insurance matters. However, it turned out to be a trick. While the staff was gathered in one part of the building, administrators secretly brought in locksmiths to change the locks and padlock the fire exits, preventing the workers from returning to the site or taking action to save their jobs. The following morning, the employees arrived at the cinema only to find that their keys were useless. A note on the door informed them that Empire had shut down and any unpaid wages would have to be claimed from the administrators or the government.

One of the affected workers, Peter, revealed that he had been promised a role in a new cinema in Basildon, Essex, but the whole thing turned out to be a lie. The majority of the affected workers were young, aged between 18 and 25, and all the managers at the Walthamstow branch were also fired. Peter expressed his frustration, noting that the managers at the head office had received pay raises and were not facing the same hardships. He questioned the disregard for their legal right to receive at least 30 days’ notice of possible redundancy, and given that five other cinemas were closed simultaneously, argued that the notice period should be extended to 45 days, as over 100 people were affected. In addition to the Walthamstow branch, Empire Cinemas closed five other cinemas in Bishop’s Stortford, Catterick Garrison, Sunderland, Swindon, and Wigan. The already-closed cinema in Sutton Coldfield will not reopen. However, the remaining sites in Birmingham, Clydebank, High Wycombe, Ipswich, and Sutton, as well as the two Tivoli-branded venues in Bath and Cheltenham, will continue trading while the administrators search for a buyer.

Tube Workers to Stage Rolling Strikes Over Jobs and Conditions on London Underground

The RMT union has announced a week of rolling strikes on the London Underground, scheduled to take place from 23 to 28 July. This marks a significant escalation in the ongoing dispute over jobs, conditions, and pensions. Workers, represented by the RMT, are taking a stand against Transport for London’s (TfL) decision to cut positions and implement new rosters with fewer staff, despite opposition from the union. These cuts not only make work more difficult and unsafe for station staff but also result in a poorer service for passengers. Employees have shared their frustrations regarding the impact of the cuts. With stations increasingly operating at minimum staffing levels, there are instances where staff are unable to assist vulnerable passengers, as they are unable to leave their designated areas. TfL has also announced plans for significant cuts to managerial positions and changes to staff work areas, while refusing to guarantee the preservation of the existing pension scheme. Critics argue that TfL’s claim of financial constraints due to the pandemic is questionable, as its own figures demonstrate a surge in fare income. For example, in the first four weeks of the financial year, TfL generated £380 million in income, surpassing the figures of previous years. Additionally, passenger numbers have been on the rise, with record-breaking usage of the Elizabeth Line and millions of Tube and bus journeys. Despite this, TfL has granted substantial pay rises to its top-level management. Workers are infuriated by TfL’s mismanagement of funds while claiming an inability to maintain sufficient staffing levels. They argue that these cuts are unnecessary and dangerous, and that there is enough money available to prevent them.

The rolling strikes are set to commence on 23 July, with different grades of workers striking on different days. The aim is to cause maximum disruption while minimizing financial loss for the striking employees. However, the most significant impact would be achieved if all workers went on strike collectively, according to the RMT representatives.

Construction Worker Deaths Surge to 45 in a Year, Exceeding Five-Year Average

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the number of construction workers killed in accidents on construction sites rose significantly from 29 to 45 in the previous year. This figure exceeded the five-year average of 37 annual deaths. Construction accounted for one-third of the 135 workers killed in work-related accidents across all industries in the UK during the 12-month period ending in March 2023. The construction industry was followed by agriculture, forestry, and fishing, which had 21 deaths, and manufacturing with 15 deaths. The HSE noted that the most common fatal accidents at work included falls from a height (40), being struck by a moving object (29), and being struck by a moving vehicle (20), which together accounted for approximately two-thirds of fatal injuries to workers in 2022/23. In addition, official figures revealed that 2,268 individuals died from Mesothelioma, a cancer caused by past exposure to asbestos, in 2021.

Barts Health NHS Trust Workers Vote on Industrial Action Over Pay and Staffing Dispute

Over 1,000 workers at Barts Health NHS Trust have commenced voting today to decide whether to initiate industrial action in response to concerns regarding low pay and understaffing. These workers include cleaners, caterers, porters, security guards, ward hosts, and domestic staff, who were transferred from private firm Serco to NHS employment last year, following protests and strikes led by the Unite union. According to Unite, workers who transitioned to NHS terms after March 31 have been denied a £1,655 lump sum that is part of the NHS pay agreement. Additionally, a considerable number of employees are facing financial losses due to the NHS disregarding their length of service during their employment with Serco. The trust has also been attempting to pay these workers lower overtime rates, exacerbating their financial struggles. Tabusam Ahmed, regional officer for Unite, emphasized that the union will not tolerate Barts Health NHS Trust paying workers, who are no longer outsourced, less money than other NHS staff. Ahmed accused Barts of perpetuating a decade-long history of underpaying these workers and urged the trust to rectify the situation. It is crucial, according to Unite, for the trust to cease cutting corners and fulfil its obligation to pay workers what they are owed, including those in the NHS bank. The outcome of the voting will determine whether industrial action will be taken by the affected workers.

Junior Doctors Walkout

Junior doctors in England have started the longest walkout in the history of the health service. This strike is not only crucial for healthcare workers but also for those who want to save the NHS from the impact of budget cuts by the Conservative Party. On Thursday, thousands of medics across various departments, including A&E, began a five-day strike, as part of an ongoing battle for fairer health service pay. Given that junior doctors make up a significant portion of the medical workforce, this action will severely disrupt many NHS services. The Tory health secretary, Steve Barclay, has refused to engage in dialogue with the doctors’ union, BMA, while strikes are ongoing. Instead, he has presented inadequate offers, fully aware that they would be rejected by the union.

Junior doctors are fighting to have their pay restored to 2008 levels, which would equate to a 35 percent increase. This demand is the least they deserve, although there are concerns that some union leaders might settle for far less. The Scottish BMA agreed to suspend pay strikes scheduled for this week after receiving a revised offer from the Scottish government. However, the offer is disappointing and hardly an improvement over previous government stances. It amounts to a mere 17.5 percent increase over two years, with an immediate rise of 12.4 percent. Scottish BMA leaders claim they will recommend accepting the offer, as it prevents further pay erosion over the next three years. However, the deal fails to address the existing 26 percent pay decline. Additionally, the union has made troubling comments about a pay settlement for consultant doctors in England. Last week, the BMA stated that it would cancel strikes planned for the following week if the government offered a 12.4 percent increase, the same deal proposed to junior doctors in Scotland. There is a genuine risk that the Scottish offer will become the union’s benchmark and undermine the more radical leaders among the junior doctors. In light of this, activists must take a firm stance on the upcoming picket lines and support the union’s original pay demand and the strategy of longer strikes.

The announcement of a two-day strike by the Society of Radiographers (SoR) on July 25, shortly after the planned consultants’ strike, will undoubtedly inspire and energize the cause. The persistence of pay strikes as a pressing issue within the NHS, both among healthcare professionals and the general public, poses significant problems for the Tories, particularly as they face upcoming by-elections while already weakened. Furthermore, cabinet divisions are emerging, with some ministers advocating for improved offers to workers engaged in disputes. and finally,

Teachers vote for Action

Teachers in England represented by the NASUWT union have voted in favour of industrial action in a dispute over pay, meaning schools could face further strike action in autumn. Nearly nine out of 10 teacher members of the NASUWT union who voted in the ballot backed strike action. The union – which passed the 50 per cent ballot turnout required by law – has said it plans to stage continuous action short of strike action starting in September. Dates for strike action in the autumn term will also be considered and it will be coordinated with other unions where possible, the union said. Overall, 88.5 per cent of NASUWT teacher members in England who voted in the ballot backed strikes and 94.3 per cent backed action short of strikes, with a turnout of 51.9 per cent.

Patrick Roach, NASUWT general secretary, said: “Today our members have sent a strong message to the government and to employers that teachers demand a better deal on pay and to address excessive workload and working hours. “Our members have secured the largest mandate for industrial action by the NASUWT in over a decade, exceeding the government’s anti-trade union ballot thresholds.

“We have today written to the government and to employers confirming the prospect for industrial action in schools the length and breadth of the country from this autumn.”

Pregnant woman with child: Image by <a href=”;>Tawny Nina Botha</a> from <a href=”;>Pixabay</a>
Empire Cinema Picture: By User:EmpireSunderland – Own work by the original uploader, Public Domain,
Construction image: Image by bridgesward from Pixabay
London Underground Train: Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay

Nine Northern Ireland Firms Exposed for Minimum Wage Violations


Nine companies in Northern Ireland have been publicly criticized by the government for violating the minimum wage law. These companies owe a total of £55,200 to 534 workers following investigations by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs since 2017.

The companies in Northern Ireland that failed to pay their employees the correct wages are:

  • Victor Foster Poultry Services in Markethill, owing £33,045 to 284 workers.
  • Avondale Foods in Craigavon, failing to pay £9,007 to 149 workers.
  • Hatch Brothers, trading as Genesis Crafty (now under new ownership) in Magherafelt, owing £4,439 to 7 workers.
  • Reahs Restaurant, trading as The Portmor in Blackwatertown, failing to pay £3,292 to 8 workers.
  • O’Connor’s Bar and Restaurant in Dromore, Omagh, owing £2,413 to 1 worker.
  • WGAB Limited, trading as Excel Clothing in Newtownards, failing to pay £2,369 to 18 workers.
  • Curran Court Hotel in Larne, owing £2,003 to 63 workers.
  • 727 Your Store in Craigavon, failing to pay £580 to 1 worker.
  • Edenmore Golf & Country Club in Magheralin, owing £506 to 11 workers.

In total, 202 employers across the UK have been ordered to repay workers and face penalties of nearly £7 million. These breaches have left 63,000 workers out of pocket.

The worst offender, according to HMRC, is high street retailer WH Smith, which failed to pay around £1 million to 17,607 workers. The company attributed this failure to an error related to its company uniform policy. Other prominent retailers, including Marks & Spencer and Argos, are also on the list.

Pat Harrington, General Secretary of the Solidarity union, emphasizes the importance of paying the legal minimum wage and condemns the anti-social and wrong nature of not doing so. Harrington states, “Paying the legal minimum wage is non-negotiable, and all businesses, whatever their size, should know better than to short-change hard-working staff.”

The employers named on the list were found to have underpaid workers through various means, such as deducting pay from workers’ wages (39% of employers), failing to pay workers correctly for their working time (39% of employers), and paying incorrect apprenticeship rates (21% of employers).

Bryan Sanderson, chair of the Low Pay Commission, further emphasised the significance of the minimum wage as a guarantee to ensure all workers receive a decent minimum standard of pay. Sanderson asserts that when employers break the law, they not only harm their staff but also undermine fair competition between businesses. Sanderson believes that regular naming rounds serve as a crucial tool in raising awareness of underpayment and safeguarding the rights of minimum wage workers.

The government has made it clear that anyone entitled to receive the minimum wage should be paid accordingly, and it is determined to take robust enforcement action against employers who fail to comply. Since 2015, the budget for minimum wage enforcement has doubled, and the government has ordered employers to repay over £100 million to 1 million workers.

Union News 28th of June 2023


Welcome to Union News, your weekly podcast of reports from the Trade Union and labour movement in the UK. In this week’s edition: Junior Doctors Set to Launch Major Strikes, Challenging Tories and Hospital Bosses in Pay Battle, Successful Edinburgh Meeting Calls for an End to the War in Ukraine, 20,000 Rail Workers to Strike in July Amid Pay Dispute with Train Operators, Xplore Dundee bus workers resume strike action over rejected pay offer, Amazon workers in Coventry set to strike for three days during Prime week, warns GMB, North-West University Support Staff Escalate Strikes Demanding Fair Pay, and finally, Sun Editorial shows need for a pro-union Counter Media. Music is by Tim Bragg.

Junior Doctors escalate strikes

Junior doctors are preparing for a major block of strikes, aiming to challenge the government and hospital administrators. The upcoming five-day strike, scheduled for July 13, will be the longest single walkout in NHS history. The British Medical Association (BMA) has called for fair pay, demanding a 35 percent rise to bring salaries back to 2008 levels. The announcement coincided with the closing of a strike ballot by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN). If the RCN members vote in favor of striking, there may be joint action with the BMA. The BMA highlights the government’s lack of commitment to resolving the dispute, with no effort made to reopen negotiations. The ongoing NHS pay battle seeks to address the workforce crisis, with millions on waiting lists for treatment and thousands of unfilled doctor positions. The escalation of the pay campaign is crucial, and the support of all trade unionists on hospital picket lines is essential. The BMA is currently balloting hospital consultants, and their strike is planned for July 20 and 21. While simultaneous strikes by junior doctors and consultants could pose a significant challenge to the government, the BMA has ruled out such action at this time. However, united NHS strikes have the potential to force the government to address the pay issue.

Successful Edinburgh Meeting Calls for an End to the War in Ukraine

On Saturday 24th of June a rally was held next to the Holyrood Parliament in Edinburgh with the object stated as addressing: “The recklessness of British policy on Ukraine is a threat to us all and to world peace. Send out a strong message and reaffirm our democratic right to assembly and free speech: End this war!”

In glorious summer sunshine the crowd heard speeches from, amongst others, Brian Gerrish of the UK Column, Lauren Wilson of the Workers Party of Britain and Peter Ford, former ambassador to Bahrain and Syria.

20,000 Rail Workers to Strike in July Amid Pay Dispute with Train Operators

Approximately 20,000 rail workers are set to go on strike in July as part of a nationwide rail dispute. The strike action comes after train operators rejected a new pay offer, backed by the Tories who support the privatised rail firms. Members of the RMT union working across 14 train operating companies will walk out on July 20, 22, and 29. RMT general secretary Mick Lynch emphasized that the strike mandate was renewed by an overwhelming majority, and the union will continue its campaign until a satisfactory agreement is reached on pay, working conditions, and job security.

The latest pay offer from the Rail Delivery Group, representing the bosses, is a mere 5 percent pay increase for the 2022-23 period, significantly below the inflation rate. Additionally, the union would have to accept company-by-company negotiations for a major restructuring of job roles and conditions before a pay rise for 2023-24 is considered. The fragmented talks and proposed changes by the rail companies, such as a single flexible station grade and closed ticket offices, have sparked concerns among union leaders. Despite some leaders possibly viewing the 5 percent offer as acceptable without the conditions attached, it is regarded as inadequate and should be rejected.

While the new strikes are welcomed, it is evident that achieving victory will require a higher level of action. The upcoming anti-union laws that the Tories plan to pass in parliament pose a threat, allowing for minimum service levels during strikes and potential repercussions for non-compliance. Rail workers will likely be among the early targets. In the negotiations, unions should demand a firm commitment from employers to refrain from utilizing these laws under any circumstances. The Scottish government has already agreed to this condition, raising the question of why rail bosses have not followed suit. Any employer resorting to these laws must be met with mass defiance and non-compliance.

In a separate development, RMT members working as ticket inspectors on Arriva Rail London (London Overground) have commenced voting on whether to strike. The vote stems from a collective grievance that has not been adequately addressed, with the employer failing to adhere to the proper procedures outlined in the collective bargaining agreement. The ballot will run until July 11.

Xplore Dundee bus workers resume strike action over rejected pay offer

Bus workers employed by Xplore Dundee went back on strike this weekend after rejecting the latest pay proposal. Members of Unite, the union representing the workers, had previously walked out in a heated dispute concerning pay, terms, and conditions at the city’s privately-owned bus operator, which is part of the McGills group. The workers were dissatisfied with a below-inflation pay increase of 7 percent, ongoing restrictions on sick pay, and the accumulation of hundreds of days in outstanding annual leave owed by the company.

The employer, known for its anti-trade union stance, further provoked workers by displaying pictures of the city’s shuttered Timex factory on noticeboards during the strike ballot. This was seen as a veiled threat, which became explicit during negotiations when the company hinted at folding the business and terminating employees to be rehired. The workers had temporarily suspended their 12-week strike to consider a new offer, but according to Unite representative Dougie Maguire, the proposed terms failed to meet their needs, particularly amidst the current cost-of-living crisis.

Maguire emphasized that for a resolution to the dispute, Xplore Dundee must present an offer that aligns with the expectations and demands of the workers.

Amazon workers in Coventry set to strike for three days during Prime week, warns GMB

The GMB union issued a warning today that the upcoming three-day pay strikes at Amazon’s Coventry warehouse will have a significant impact on one of the online retail giant’s busiest weeks of the year. The walkouts, scheduled for July 11, 12, and 13, coincide with the company’s annual Prime week event, known for offering substantial discounts on popular products to drive sales.

Nearly 900 workers in the West Midlands are expected to participate in the ongoing dispute, marking the first time that British-based Amazon staff have taken strike action. The conflict, initiated in January following a meagre 50p hourly wage increase, has already resulted in 19 days of strikes.

Rachel Fagan, senior organiser at GMB, emphasized the staggering sales figures generated during Prime week, which can reach up to £2 billion. In light of this, she criticized the company for denying low-paid workers a wage that enables them to meet their financial needs. The message from GMB members to Amazon is clear: human beings cannot be undervalued and underpaid.

North-West University Support Staff Escalate Strikes Demanding Fair Pay

Support staff at universities in north-west England are intensifying their strike action in protest of their pay. Employees such as cleaners, IT technicians, administrators, and library staff at Manchester Metropolitan University will walk out today and tomorrow, adding to the six days of strikes that began last week. They will also strike on July 5, 6, and 7. Additionally, support staff at the University of Liverpool and Liverpool Hope University took action on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

These workers, who are members of the public-sector union Unison, are demanding fairer compensation for their vital roles in ensuring a positive university experience for students. Unison’s North West regional organiser, Kate Doyle, criticized the generous executive pay and bonuses enjoyed by senior leaders in higher education while support staff have faced years of pay cuts in real terms. Doyle called on the universities to reconsider their inadequate pay offer and improve wages. The workers have already rejected a 5 to 8 percent pay rise.

and finally, Sun Editorial shows need for a pro-union Counter Media

The need for a pro-worker counter media arises from several reasons that stem from the shortcomings and biases present in mainstream media. This is especially evident in the editorial you mentioned from The Sun newspaper, which highlights the importance of alternative sources of information that prioritize the interests and well-being of workers. Here are some key reasons why a pro-worker counter media is necessary:

Challenging biased narratives: Mainstream media outlets often have corporate interests or political affiliations that can lead to biased reporting. As a result, they may prioritize the perspectives and agendas of the elite or powerful, neglecting the concerns and struggles of the working class. A pro-worker counter media aims to challenge these biased narratives and provide a platform for alternative viewpoints.

Amplifying worker voices: Workers’ perspectives and experiences are crucial in understanding socio-economic issues, labor rights, and workplace conditions. However, these voices are often marginalized or overshadowed in mainstream media. Pro-worker media outlets prioritize amplifying the voices of workers, allowing them to share their stories, concerns, and demands, thereby fostering a more inclusive and democratic media landscape.

Raising awareness of labor rights: Many workers face challenges such as exploitation, unfair wages, unsafe working conditions, and inadequate labour protections. Mainstream media may not adequately cover these issues or provide in-depth analysis of labour rights violations. A pro-worker counter media strives to educate the public about labour rights, workplace abuses, and the need for social and economic justice.

Holding power to account: Media plays a crucial role in holding power accountable, including government institutions, corporations, and other influential entities. However, when media outlets have vested interests tied to these powerful entities, their ability to provide objective scrutiny may be compromised. Pro-worker media outlets are less likely to be influenced by these interests, allowing them to provide a more independent and critical perspective on power dynamics and abuses.

Fostering solidarity and organizing efforts: Pro-worker counter media can serve as a platform for fostering solidarity among workers, unions, and labour movements. By highlighting success stories, organizing efforts, and collective actions, these media outlets can inspire and mobilize workers, contributing to a stronger labour movement and improved working conditions.

Examples like the Morning Star, Workers magazine, and the Union News podcast that you mentioned are important alternatives that prioritize the interests of workers and provide a counter-narrative to the dominant mainstream media. Supporting such outlets can help create a more balanced media landscape, ensure the representation of workers’ concerns, and contribute to a fairer society.

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Union News (18 June 2023)


Welcome to Union News, the weekly podcast from the labour and trade union movement in the UK. In this edition: Unmasking the Cover-Up: Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign Fights for Accountability, The People Stand with Nurses: Public Support Surges as Strike Action Continues, Rising Cost of Living Hits Hard: Public Service Workers Struggle to Make Ends Meet, Rising Cost of Living Hits Hard: Public Service Workers Struggle to Make Ends Meet, Train Drivers Take a Stand: Strikes Loom as Working Agreements Come Under Fire, Strike for Change: Junior Doctors Demand Decisive Action on Pay, and finally, Pay Battle Escalates: Teachers in England Set for July Strikes. Writing is by the Solidarity team and music is by Tim Bragg.

Unmasking the Cover-Up: Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign Fights for Accountability

The Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign (OTJC) renewed its calls for an inquiry into a severe state attack on organized workers by the Conservative government at a march this week. The campaign seeks to hold those responsible accountable for their actions. The campaigners argue that an inquiry would expose the government’s lies and cover-ups regarding their role in managing the pit closure program, orchestrating militaristic police operations during the miners’ strike in the 1980s, and manipulating the courts and media to create a false narrative that demonized and criminalized workers fighting for their jobs and communities.

The incident in question took place on June 18, 1984, when police confronted striking miners at the Orgreave Coking Plant in South Yorkshire. The police had previously impeded pickets and engaged in acts of violence. On that day, they corralled the miners into a field and initiated a violent charge with mounted and riot police, leading to what has been referred to as the “Battle of Orgreave.” However, eyewitnesses and campaigners contend that it was an assault rather than a battle, with the police being the only armed side.

The OTJC argues that an inquiry is essential due to several factors, including pardons granted by the Scottish government to Scottish miners arrested during the strike, ongoing resentment in former mining communities, the withholding of strike-related documents until 2066, and growing public support for the campaign. They believe that a comprehensive and authoritative review is in the public interest to uncover the truth about what transpired and why the workers were treated so harshly.

Despite the evidence compiled and submitted, the Tory government has refused to grant pardons or initiate an inquiry into the events at Orgreave. The OTJC emphasizes that no one in government or the police has been held accountable for their actions. They view the government’s attempts to bury these issues as a serious threat to democracy. Some campaigners suspect that the government fears an Orgreave inquiry would expose scandals, corruption, and attempts to suppress dissent. They argue that the right to protest and strike should not be subject to the state’s discretion but should be inherent rights in a democratic society.

The People Stand with Nurses: Public Support Surges as Strike Action Continues

Support for striking nurses has surged even higher than when the industrial action began six months ago, according to the Royal College of Nursing (RCN). In an RCN poll, it was revealed that 62 percent of the public now backs the strikes, marking the highest level of support for any profession engaged in strike action. A majority of supporters expressed strong support for nurses. Additionally, more than eight in 10 respondents (82 percent) expressed their backing for a pay increase for nurses.

The RCN is conducting a second ballot among its 300,000 members as per government regulations, which require reballoting after a six-month period of industrial action. If nurses vote to continue their campaign, the strike will persist until December of this year, with voting concluding on June 23.

RCN General Secretary and Chief Executive Pat Cullen acknowledged the immense public support received by nursing staff during this time. The presence of patients on picket lines, some coming directly from their hospital beds, provided a significant morale boost for the nurses concerned about leaving patients unattended. Cullen emphasized that the unwavering public support should draw attention in Downing Street, calling on Rishi Sunak to recognize the significance of this backing. Cullen stressed the importance of doing right by nurses, as it ultimately benefits patients as well. Cullen noted that support for the nursing strikes cuts across party lines, and urged Sunak to regain public support this summer. The upcoming 75th anniversary of the NHS is expected to elevate this issue further in the context of elections.

Rising Cost of Living Hits Hard: Public Service Workers Struggle to Make Ends Meet

During a debate on the rising cost of living, Unison delegates highlighted the difficult choices faced by public service workers, including having to sacrifice meals to provide for their children. The cost-of-living crisis disproportionately affects already disadvantaged workers, including women, black, disabled, LGBT, and young members.

Yvonne Green from the Greater London region expressed concern over members struggling to meet their financial obligations and being priced out of living near their workplaces due to escalating housing costs. She emphasized the importance of supporting and holding employers accountable to address these issues.

Tina Roach from the Northern region highlighted the insecurity faced by many individuals, with some members even relying on charitable donations as current benefits prove inadequate. She lamented that instead of making progress in eradicating poverty, the country is witnessing the opposite trend.

The conference resolved to advocate for a well-funded public sector that prioritizes its workers and to raise awareness of the mounting financial pressures faced by public service workers.

Train Drivers Take a Stand: Strikes Loom as Working Agreements Come Under Fire

Train drivers from the union Aslef have initiated two new disputes against private rail operators to protect their working agreements. Avanti West Coast is being accused of attacking the workers’ sick pay agreement, leading to a vote in favour of strike action. The drivers will stage a 24-hour walkout on Sunday, July 2. In a separate dispute, drivers at London North Eastern Railways (LNER) will enforce an overtime ban starting from Saturday, July 1. These conflicts add to Aslef’s ongoing national dispute over pay.

Mick Whelan, the general secretary of Aslef, expressed regret that their members had to resort to such actions but emphasized that they would not tolerate violations of their agreed terms and conditions by the train operating companies. Whelan stated that they have been actively seeking resolutions to these disputes for several months, but unless the operators honor their agreements, further action will be necessary.

Strike for Change: Junior Doctors Demand Decisive Action on Pay

Junior doctors in England, following their 72-hour walkout, are being encouraged to escalate their strikes to demand proper negotiations and a substantial pay offer. Tens of thousands of doctors, supported by the BMA union, took part in a march from Tavistock Square to Parliament Square last week, calling for fair pay and the preservation of the NHS. The government’s current offer of a mere 5 percent pay increase has been deemed inadequate, leading to calls for more decisive action. Junior doctors express concerns about the strain on waiting lists and the shortage of staff, emphasizing the importance of unity and continued strikes. They are also considering collaborating with other unions, such as the RCN nurses’ union, to strengthen their cause. The ultimate goal is to bring about meaningful negotiations for a significant pay offer and rejuvenate the fight to protect the NHS.

And finally, Pay Battle Escalates: Teachers in England Set for July Strikes

Teachers in England, represented by the National Education Union (NEU), are planning to strike over pay in July. The strikes are scheduled for two dates, 5th and 7th July, and are likely to result in the closure of many schools, either fully or partially. The NEU considers strike action as a last resort and is calling for renewed negotiations with the government. The Department for Education has expressed concerns that further strikes would negatively impact student learning.

The NEU has previously organized five national and three regional strike days since February, making it the largest education union in the UK. The most recent strike on 2nd May affected a significant number of schools, with less than half fully operational.

The joint general secretaries of the NEU, Dr. Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney, accuse Education Secretary Gillian Keegan of abandoning teachers in England. They demand that Keegan engage in negotiations, as their previous appeals have been disregarded. Bousted and Courtney emphasize that Keegan possesses the authority to prevent the strikes.

State school teachers in England received a 5% pay increase for the 2022-23 academic year. The government also proposed a one-time cash payment of £1,000, which was forfeited when negotiations failed. The unions argue that the offer should be higher to account for inflation, and they insist that any pay rise should be funded by additional government funds rather than schools’ existing budgets.

The government has offered a 4.3% pay rise for most teachers in the 2023-24 academic year, with starting salaries reaching £30,000. The Department for Education regards this offer as fair and reasonable, noting that schools will receive an additional £2.3 billion over the next two years. It claims that, on average across England, the offer is fully funded, although individual schools will be affected differently.

Negotiations stalled when all four unions rejected the government’s offer, arguing that most schools would need to make cuts elsewhere to accommodate it. The unions are urging the government to disclose the recommendations of the independent pay review body, which advises on appropriate pay rises for teachers in the coming year.

Picture credits

Cops with riot shields: West Midlands Police from West Midlands, United Kingdom – Day 150 – West Midlands Police – Handsworth riots (1985), CC BY-SA 2.0,
Teacher image 14995841 from Pixabay

Union News (11 June 2023)


Welcome to Union News the weekly podcast from the labour and union movement in the UK. In this episode Surge in Universal Credit Claims from Welsh Public Service Workers, RMT Members Accept New Pay Deal at ScotRail, Teaching Unions Threaten Coordinated Strikes as Government Withholds Pay Rise Report, Dundee Workers Rally in Solidarity with Bus Workers Ahead of Impending Strike, and finally, Amazon accused of ‘dirty tricks’ as GMB withdraws recognition bid. Music is by Tim Bragg.

Surge in Universal Credit Claims from Welsh Public Service Workers

A recent analysis by the GMB union highlights a significant increase of 167% in the number of public-sector workers relying on universal credit in Wales since the beginning of the pandemic. The study, based on Office for National Statistics (ONS) data, indicates a rise of 3,610 individuals receiving social security payments between late 2019 and the end of last year.

Expressing concern, Rachel Harrison, the national secretary of GMB, criticized the situation, stating that it tarnishes the honour of the nation when so many public-sector employees are compelled to depend on working benefits to sustain themselves. Harrison further emphasized that these workers should be adequately remunerated to support their families and maintain a stable living without having to rely on universal credit.

According to the ONS labour force survey, the number of Welsh public-sector workers receiving benefits stood at 2,162 in the final quarter of 2019, increasing to 5,772 by the fourth quarter of 2022.

RMT Members Accept New Pay Deal at ScotRail

In a positive development, members of the RMT (Rail, Maritime and Transport) union have accepted a new pay deal at ScotRail.

Under the terms of the agreement, the country’s largest rail union will see a 5 percent increase in their basic salary, with the lowest-paid workers receiving up to 8 percent. Additionally, the union highlights that the deal includes other benefits that contribute to an enhanced overall pay package.

“This exemplifies that agreements can be reached, and it is the government, not the unions, that bears responsibility for prolonging the rail strikes,” stated Pat Harrington, a representative of Solidarity union.

Mick Lynch, the general secretary of the RMT, expressed the challenges encountered during the negotiation process and the acceptance of this modest pay deal by the members. He noted that similar agreements have been successfully negotiated in various regions, including Wales, English regions, and now Scotland.

Lynch also highlighted the disparity between the treatment of RMT members and those working for 14 other rail operators who fall under the mandate of the Department for Transport. He emphasized that the RMT has been engaged in a year-long dispute with multiple strikes, whereas ScotRail members have received annual pay increases and additional value added to their overall pay packages. Some RMT members, on the other hand, have not seen a pay rise in the last four years.

Expressing gratitude, Phil Campbell of ScotRail acknowledged the constructive approach taken by their trade union colleagues during the negotiations and emphasized that the agreed-upon pay increase is well-deserved by the employees.

Teaching Unions Threaten Coordinated Strikes as Government Withholds Pay Rise Report

Teaching unions have issued a threat of coordinated strikes next month and strongly criticized the government for not releasing a leaked report recommending a 6.5% pay rise, calling it “extremely disrespectful.” The National Education Union (NEU) sent an open letter to Education Secretary Gillian Keegan, demanding the immediate publication of the School Teachers Review Body (STRB) report and a resumption of pay negotiations.

The NEU, alongside the ASCL, NAHT, and NASUWT unions, had made these calls over two weeks ago but has not received a response. In their letter, NEU joint general secretaries Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney described the delay as disrespectful and criticized the government for not engaging in discussions about pay, the STRB report, workload, and funding.

The NEU urged the Education Secretary to publish the STRB report promptly and arrange a meeting in the following week to address the dispute and the challenges faced by schools. If these demands were not met, the NEU’s national executive would consider the option of further strike action during the week starting July 3.

The NEU, ASCL, NAHT, and NASUWT had previously announced their plan to coordinate industrial action and are preparing to ballot their members for strikes in the autumn term.

The letter from the NEU comes after Schools Minister Nick Gibb stated that the Department for Education (DfE) was considering the STRB report’s recommendations and would respond in due course.

According to the leaked report, the STRB recommended a 6.5% pay increase for teachers after the NEU rejected a 4.3% offer. The looming strike action could impact nearly every school in England.

Government data revealed a doubling of teacher vacancies over the past two years, with a record 44,000 teachers leaving their jobs in 2022 alone.

In response, a spokesperson from the DfE stated that the independent STRB had submitted its recommendations on teacher pay for 2023-24, and the government would consider them before publishing its response.

Dundee Workers Rally in Solidarity with Bus Workers Ahead of Impending Strike

Workers in Dundee showed their support for bus workers as last-minute negotiations failed, setting the stage for an upcoming strike. The strike, scheduled to begin on Monday, is expected to last for 12 weeks. Employees of Xplore Dundee, the city’s sole bus operator, including drivers, duty managers, platform staff, and administrators, are taking action over pay issues. The strike was called after workers rejected a 7 percent pay offer deemed below inflation. Unite, the union representing the workers, reported that 93 percent of bus workers backed the strike. The rally received widespread support from local politicians and unions, with calls for the city council to intervene in the dispute.

and finally, Amazon accused of ‘dirty tricks’ as GMB withdraws recognition bid

The GMB union has accused Amazon of engaging in “dirty tricks” after being compelled to withdraw its historic bid for recognition at the internet giant’s Coventry warehouse. Despite months of strike action, GMB’s membership at the warehouse had surged to 800.

Last year, Amazon publicly stated that there were 1,400 workers at the warehouse, indicating that GMB members constituted more than the required 50 percent for statutory union recognition. However, when GMB officially applied to the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC), Amazon claimed to have 2,700 workers—a claim that was accepted by the CAC.

GMB members employed at Amazon Coventry allege that the warehouse has been inundated with up to 1,000 new hires since the start of the strike action. Additional strikes at Amazon Coventry are scheduled for June 12, 13, and 14.

Stuart Richards, GMB Senior Organiser, voiced concerns over Amazon’s actions, stating, “Amazon has refused to pay workers a decent wage but is now paying an additional 1,300 workers to try and bust the union. We estimate that’s more than £300,000 a week—just to prevent workers from having a voice in their workplace. This amount exceeds the cost of paying the original workforce the £15 per hour they were requesting. It’s plain and simple dirty tricks.”

While the GMB has been compelled to withdraw its application for statutory recognition, it remains committed to the cause. GMB members at Amazon are determined to continue the fight for a liveable wage and union recognition, despite the setback.

If you’ve got any thoughts or comments on this issue of Union News or want to submit a news item, simply use the comments section on whatever Social Media platform you’re listening to and/or reading Union News on or e-mail us privately at To get you started here are some questions you might like to comment on: What are your thoughts on the significant increase in the number of public-sector workers in Wales relying on universal credit during the pandemic?
Do you believe the RMT’s acceptance of a new pay deal at ScotRail sets a positive example for other unions and industries?
How do you feel about the government’s refusal to release the leaked report recommending a 6.5% pay rise for teachers, leading to threats of coordinated strikes by teaching unions?

End violence against workers


A recent investigation by the GMB union has unveiled shocking revelations about the extent of violence faced by workers in various sectors across the UK.

From underpaid ambulance crews to retail workers, fire brigade crews, pharmacists, and prison officers, a distressing number of individuals have fallen victim to violent attacks while carrying out their duties. It is high time we address the underlying issues contributing to this violence and take immediate action to protect the well-being of our workers.

Uncovering the Statistics

According to the GMB union’s investigation, a staggering number of violent attacks have been reported against workers in recent years. The findings revealed that between 2017-18 and 2021-22, at least 9,565 incidents of violence occurred across Britain and Northern Ireland. It is important to note that these figures may be significantly higher, as only eight out of the 13 ambulance trusts provided data. The Midlands region has been particularly affected, with 4,318 assaults recorded. Additionally, during the same period, 1,248 cases of sexual assault were documented.

The Toll on Workers

These acts of violence take a significant toll on the affected workers. Patrick Harrington, General Secretary of Solidarity union, expressed his concerns: “Violence against workers, irrespective of their sector, is utterly deplorable. Whether it’s retail workers, fire brigade crews, pharmacists, or prison officers, no one should have to endure such acts of violence while trying to carry out their job duties.” 

The impact of these assaults is not limited to physical harm but also includes psychological and emotional trauma that can affect individuals and their families for years to come.

The Importance of Legislation

Recognizing the urgent need to address this issue, the Assaults Against Emergency Workers (Offences) Act 2018 was introduced, making common assault against emergency staff a specific offense. The legislation also mandates that courts consider such attacks as an aggravating factor during sentencing. However, it is important to note that sexual assaults were initially not covered by the law. Thanks to the persistent efforts of the GMB and its members, the government amended the legislation after a significant increase in reported incidents from 2012 to 2017.

The Way Forward

While progress has been made, it is crucial to acknowledge that more needs to be done to protect workers across all sectors. Violence should never be tolerated. Patrick Harrington further emphasizes, “We must condemn violence against workers in all sectors, whether it’s the retail industry, fire brigade crews, pharmacists, or prison officers. Every worker deserves a safe and secure working environment. The government, employers, and society as a whole must join forces to ensure the safety, well-being, and dignity of all workers.”


Violence against workers is an alarming and reprehensible issue that must be addressed urgently. The GMB investigation serves as a wake-up call to tackle the root causes of this violence and protect workers in all sectors. Our retail workers, fire brigade crews, pharmacists, prison officers, and countless others who serve the public deserve our unwavering support. Let us stand united against violence and create a culture that respects the rights and safety of all workers. It is only through collective effort and decisive action that we can put an end to violence against those who contribute so much to our society.