Union News 26th of March 2023


Welcome to Union News which reports on the labour and trade union movement in the UK. In this podcast Fire Brigades Union calls for mass campaign to resist UK government’s ‘draconian’ anti-strike legislation, Workers at London’s largest sixth form college vote for 30 days of strikes, Junior doctors in England to hold longest strike in NHS history over pay dispute, National Express bus drivers continue indefinite strike in West Midlands, while balloting on new pay offer and Join the Active Minority and Help Build Union News: Donate Today! Music in this podcast is by Tim Bragg.

Fire Brigades Union calls for mass campaign to resist UK government’s ‘draconian’ anti-strike legislation

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has called for a mass campaign of resistance against the UK government’s Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill, which is currently at committee stage in the House of Lords. The proposed legislation would allow bosses and ministers to sack workers who refuse to cross picket lines and provide a minimum service level during walkouts in six key sectors. The FBU’s general secretary, Matt Wrack, described the bill as the “most draconian attack on the rights of working people in decades” and called for a mass movement of non-cooperation and non-compliance to defeat it. The Trades Union Congress has also condemned the bill and is being urged to organise an emergency congress and a sustained campaign of resistance.

Workers at London’s largest sixth form college vote for 30 days of strikes

NEU union members at NewVic, the largest sixth form college in London, have unanimously voted for 30 days of strikes in a dispute over management attacks on their working conditions and students’ education. The strikes will take place three days a week for ten weeks from the beginning of the summer term in April. This is the third dispute in the past 12 months at NewVic, and workers have grown stronger and more experienced through their previous struggles. Workers have cited a lack of concern for education and a focus on money from management, and delivered a vote of no-confidence in the principal in January. The first strike day will also see a mass meeting, with NEU joint general secretaries invited to attend along with other trade unionists, local councillors, and supporters.

Junior doctors in England to hold longest strike in NHS history over pay dispute

Junior doctors in England are planning to hold a four-day strike from Tuesday, 11 April, in the longest such action so far over the health service pay dispute. The doctors, represented by the British Medical Association, are calling for their pay to be restored to 2013 levels, which would represent a 26% increase. The action is expected to force the cancellation of thousands of operations and the closure of outpatient services. The union leadership has accused the government of failing to make any credible offer in negotiations. Other health unions are recommending that their members accept a pay deal that the BMA deems inadequate.

National Express bus drivers continue indefinite strike in West Midlands, while balloting on new pay offer

Over 3,100 National Express bus drivers in the West Midlands continue their indefinite strike as they ballot on a new pay offer. The Unite union members walked out in several cities on Monday, impacting the number of buses running in the entire West Midlands area. The new offer includes a 16.2 percent increase on all current driver pay rates, formalizing existing interim overtime rates, and accident pay to be paid at 12-week average pay. However, the 16.2 percent pay offer still would not take drivers up to the £18 an hour rate. Workers have been balloting on the offer.

And finally, Join the Active Minority and Help Build Union News: Donate Today!

Union News is seeking support to build a professional multi-media operation and expand its frequency and reach. The organization is looking for individuals who are willing to contribute to this effort and not simply interested in moaning about low wages and poor working conditions. Union News is already making progress with the help of an active minority of its listeners who are building a network of local correspondents, whose reports are being featured in recent issues. To expand further, Union News needs funds, and donations of any amount are welcome. If you want to be part of the active minority that makes history, not excuses, you can donate today by emailing this address: UnionNewsServices@protonmail.com

Motions passed at the Solidarity Annual Meeting 2023


The following motions were passed at the 2023 meeting of Solidarity union.

Motion for Union Meeting in Support of Strikers

The following motion is being presented in support of the strikers who have taken action to defend their rights and livelihoods:
WHEREAS, workers across the country are facing real-terms pay cuts, with inflation
outstripping wage increases; and
WHEREAS, the recent government decision to freeze public sector pay, and the ongoing economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, means that many workers are struggling to maintain their existing living standards; and
WHEREAS, strikes are a legitimate form of industrial action that allow workers to defend their rights and working conditions; and
WHEREAS, the recent strike action taken by many unions is an example of workers exercising their right to strike in order to defend their pay and conditions;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that this union meeting expresses its full support for the striking workers and their right to take industrial action in order to defend their rights and livelihoods; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this union will take all necessary steps to support the striking workers, including providing practical and financial assistance where possible; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this union calls on the government and employers to negotiate in good faith with the striking workers, and to work towards a resolution of the current dispute that recognizes the legitimate concerns and interests of all parties.
We urge all members to support this motion and to stand in solidarity with the striking workers as they fight for fair pay and conditions.

Proposed: Patrick Harrington. Seconded: Dave Andrews

Motion: Building Union Counter-Media to Combat Mainstream Media’s Reactionary Narrative

This meeting recognises the vital importance of the media in shaping public opinion, and the significant influence of mainstream media, particularly print media, in promoting a reactionary narrative that undermines the interests of working people.
We believe that it is necessary for unions to build their own counter-media in order to challenge this narrative and promote a more positive view of unions and the work they do. We welcome the opportunities offered by new technology, which make it easier to create and distribute pro-union content to a wider audience.
We acknowledge the importance of Union News, which is supported by non-financial voluntary contributions from Solidarity union members, as an example of a successful pro-union media outlet. We believe that it is crucial for unions to support such initiatives and work to expand their reach using new technology.
Therefore, we resolve to continue to find ways to expand pro-union media, using new technology to reach a wider audience and challenge the reactionary narrative promoted by mainstream media. We urge all unions to support this effort and work together to build a media landscape that accurately reflects the interests of working people.

Proposed: John Field. Seconded: David Kerr

Motion: Opposing the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill

The proposed Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill is a draconian piece of legislation that will severely limit the right of workers to take strike action. This motion condemns the bill and commits the Solidarity Union to oppose it through all available means.
The bill will allow ministers to impose regulations that will force workers to work during strikes in six sectors, including health, education, fire and rescue, border force, nuclear decommissioning, and transport. Employers will be able to issue work notices that name who must work and what they must do. Workers who refuse to comply could face dismissal and unions could be hit with huge damages.
The bill is undemocratic as it forces workers to cross picket lines even if they have voted to strike in a legal ballot. It is also counter-productive as the government’s own analysis warns that it could lead to more strikes. Moreover, it ignores the steps that workers already take to ensure that life-and-limb cover is in place during industrial action.
The proposed legislation will infringe on individuals’ freedom by allowing employers to dismiss workers who take part in a strike that has been agreed in a democratic ballot. Workers who continue to take strike action despite being required to work during the strike will lose their protection from automatic unfair dismissal.
The bill also places an unreasonable burden on unions to ensure that all their members identified in the work notice do not take part in the strike action. Failure to do so could result in the union facing an injunction or having to pay huge damages, costs that come out of members’ subscriptions.
This proposed legislation is probably against international law as it goes against normal democratic practice across Europe. The Solidarity Union, therefore, resolves to oppose the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill and urges all members to stand in solidarity with workers who will be affected by this legislation.
We believe that the government cannot legislate away workers’ dissatisfaction, and this bill will do nothing to resolve the current industrial disputes or support those using public services. The Solidarity Union will continue to work towards the protection of workers’ rights and against any measures that limit their right to strike.

Proposed: David Kerr. Seconded: Patrick Harrington

Union News, 12th of March 2023


Welcome to Union News, the weekly podcast which brings you news from the labour and trade union movement in the UK. In this episode: High cost of childcare forces over half of UK mothers to reduce working hours, Scottish teachers’ union accepts 7% pay deal after year-long dispute, Thousands March in London in Support of NHS Strikes and Urgent Action to Save the NHS, Build support for strikes and demos on the 15th of March 2023 and, Grow Union News. Music is by Tim Bragg. You can e-mail us privately with news from you industry or workplace at UnionNewsServices@protonmail.com.

High cost of childcare forces over half of UK mothers to reduce working hours

Over half of mothers with children aged 11 or younger have been forced to reduce their working hours due to the high cost of childcare, according to an online poll by charity Save the Children. Of the 2,000 parents who responded, 56% said they were impacted by the cost of childcare, while almost half reported declining job offers due to childcare responsibilities. The charity has called on the UK government to introduce a grants-based scheme to cover upfront childcare costs for the first month, expand and reform tax-free childcare offers, and ensure universally accessible, affordable childcare from the end of parental leave to the end of primary school. The government has previously acknowledged financial pressure on families and spent over £20bn in the past five years to help with childcare costs.

RMT union suspends Network Rail strikes and puts forward pay offer for ballot

RMT union leaders have decided to suspend the Network Rail strikes planned for next week and put forward an offer for ballot. Network Rail employs signallers and track maintenance workers, and their absence from the strike may make it easier for other rail bosses to organize scabbing on strike days.

The proposed deal would increase workers’ pay by either £1,750 or 5 percent for the period 1 January to 30 September 2022, whichever is higher. Additionally, there would be a 4 percent increase from 1 October 2022 to 31 December 2023. The RMT claims that for most of the affected workers, this would result in a 10.3 percent increase in basic earnings over two years. However, with inflation at 13.4 percent for a single year, this could lead to a significant real terms pay cut and is being evaluated for rejection.

The Network Rail bosses have proposed job cuts disguised as “Modernising Maintenance”, which could involve a 30 percent increase in nights and weekend work and the removal of 1,950 front-line posts. The company has promised not to make any compulsory redundancies, but only until 2025.

The RMT leaders have not recommended the deal, and the ballot will remain open until 20 March. While they have acknowledged a marginal improvement, which includes back pay being increased from January 2023 to October 2022, they have not endorsed the deal. Additionally, the rail deal includes 75 percent discounted leisure travel.

Scottish teachers’ union accepts 7% pay deal after year-long dispute

Scotland’s largest teaching union, the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), has voted overwhelmingly to accept the latest pay offer from the Scottish government and local authorities group Cosla. The ballot produced a nine-to-one vote in favour of accepting the proposal, on a turnout of 82%. The pay deal means that teachers will receive a 7% pay rise backdated to April 2022, 5% next month and a further 2% in January. The year-long dispute resulted in strikes across the country and targeted action in the constituencies of SNP and Green ministers. The EIS settlement follows the Scottish Secondary Teachers Association’s agreement, but the NASUWT is still to ballot its members.

Thousands March in London in Support of NHS Strikes and Urgent Action to Save the NHS

Thousands of campaigners and workers marched in London on Saturday in support of the National Health Service (NHS) strikes. The SOS NHS coalition of 50 groups organised the demonstration, which called for emergency funding for the NHS, an end to privatisation and support for workers. Many of the protesters had been fighting for the NHS for a long time, but there were also new people who were concerned about the health crisis and inspired by the walkouts of nurses, ambulance workers, and junior doctors. The strikes were described as a way of doing something rather than feeling helpless, and Anne, an RCN nurses’ union member who recently went on strike, said that the strikes were necessary to ensure that there were enough staff to offer patients the care they deserve. The unions did not make much effort to turn out their members, which some protesters criticised, and Cat Hobbs from the We Own It anti-privatisation campaign said that the government wanted the NHS to fail so that it could be handed over to private capital. John McDonnell MP pledged his support for the NHS, stating that the government would not be allowed to destroy it. The strikes were deemed the most important way of fighting back, and the next week’s action was described as crucial.

Build support for strikes and demos on the 15th of March 2023

On March 15th, a mass strike will be joined by more than 500,000 workers. While some have already taken action, others are new to the movement and joining for the first time.
Who’s striking on 15 March?
Over 275,000 teachers in the NEU union in England and Wales
Over 125,000 civil service workers in the PCS and Prospect unions
Over 40,000 junior doctors in the BMA and HCSA
Around 70,000 university workers in the UCU union
Around 12,000 London Underground workers in the Aslef and RMT unions
Around 1,000 NUJ union members working for BBC Local
Plus workers at Amazon, Coventry in the GMB union, and others
Help build the strikes and demonstrations
Encourage other workers to join the strike in some way
Bring your own demands, such as a minimum wage increase and more rights at work
Join rallies and picket lines even if you’re not striking
Organize everyone to join demonstrations on 15 March
Donate to strike funds
Deepen participation and direction by strikers themselves
Take pictures and video of the demonstrations and pickets and share on social media
Send us pictures and video at the email address in the show notes

And finally, Grow Union News

Union News is looking to expand its coverage by building a network of local volunteer correspondents who can provide regular labour and trade union-related information. The goal is to increase both the frequency and reach of Union News, and we are calling on anyone who is willing to help. All we need is regular local news from the shop floor or office. In addition, Union News is also interested in covering wider issues that affect ordinary workers, such as housing, homelessness, health, and price inflation. If you want to be part of building a pro-worker and pro-Trade Union alternative media, we encourage you to get in touch today. It’s time to take action and make a difference! Our email address is: UnionNewsServices@protonmail.com.

Union News 30th of December 2022


Click on the image to hear podcast

In this edition of Union News we look at predictions about the UK cost-of-living crisis, the first national rail strike by rail cleaners, the restoration of the whip by the Scottish National Party to the disgraced MP ‘Groper Grady’, a big win for Merseyside bin workers and firefighters pay.

UK cost-of-living crisis predicted to continue despite end of double-digit inflation

According to the Resolution Foundation, in 2023, the UK can expect to see an end to double-digit inflation, but many families’ incomes are predicted to fall by as much as they did in 2022 due to rising energy bills, tax bills, and mortgage payments. Low-income families are three times more likely to lack confidence in their financial situation over the next three months, according to a YouGov survey. The Foundation attributes this to the precarious employment conditions that exist in sectors that have been privatized or deregulated, leading to a general reduction in wages. To address this, the Foundation suggests that the government regulate energy prices, raise benefits and pensions, end pay constraints in the public sector, and impose windfall taxes on profits. However, it is uncertain whether these measures would be implemented by the current Tory government or a potential Labour administration.

UK railway cleaners to launch first national strike on New Year’s Eve

Railway cleaners in the UK will go on strike for the first time on New Year’s Eve, demanding a wage of £15 per hour, sick pay, decent holidays, and pensions. The industrial action, led by transport union RMT, will involve more than 1,000 contracted-out cleaners at private contractors for several rail operators, including Avanti West Coast, GWR, LNER, and TransPennine Express. ISS cleaners on London’s Dockland Light Railway will also strike over pay, rosters, and working conditions. The strikes follow the suspension of planned action last week and come amid a lack of progress in the dispute.

SNP restores party whip to MP found to have sexually harassed teenage employee

The SNP has restored the party whip at Westminster to Patrick Grady, a former chief whip who was found to have sexually harassed a teenage party employee. Grady had resigned from the party last summer following the ruling by the Commons authorities, but the SNP’s member conduct committee only imposed a six-month suspension of his party membership, which has now expired. Grady has therefore had his membership of the SNP reinstated and regained the SNP Westminster group whip. This move has prompted criticism of the party’s handling of the issue and its commitment to taking such issues seriously. Pat Harrington, General Secretary of Solidarity union, said: “The SNP are ‘woke’ in their speeches but act tribally to protect their own. Mr Grady was given, in effect, a slap on the wrist. What kind of message does this send out to others? It’s amazing that this is still happening after MeToo.”

Merseyside refuse workers win pay increase following strike action

Refuse workers in Merseyside, England, have won a pay increase of 15% after going on strike earlier this month. The deal, which covers more than 200 workers employed by Biffa on an outsourced contract for Wirral Council, will be backdated to April and includes a commitment to boost pay again in April 2023 by between 7% and 9% depending on inflation rates. The pay increase was secured through the efforts of the workers’ trade union, Unite.

Firefighters in UK paid up to six times less than their bosses, says union

Firefighters in the UK are paid up to six times less than their bosses, according to the Fire Brigades Union (FBU). Freedom of Information requests revealed that chief fire officers earned an average of £148,000 per year, with the highest salary being £206,000. This is significantly more than the salary of an ordinary firefighter. The FBU also reported that after a decade of below- or at-inflation pay settlements, many firefighters and control staff are relying on foodbanks and taking on additional jobs to make ends meet. The union is currently holding a ballot on whether to go on strike over pay, after rejecting a 5% pay offer. The result of the ballot will be announced on today.

Union News brings you news of the UK union and labour movement. We can’t rely on the UK media to give unbiased accounts on these issues. Please support Union News by sharing links and following us on streaming platforms such as Spotify, Amazon Music and YouTube. Thanks for your support in building the counter media. If you have news to share please get in touch.

Episode Notes

Our music is provided by Tim Bragg. Tim is a multi-instrumentalist & singer-songwriter. You can hear his songs here: – or any streaming service or on YouTube.

If you have news, video footage, pictures etc that you want featured in Union News please email: UnionNewsServices@protonmail.com

New Year Message from the President of Solidarity Union


2022/2023 Presidential Message from Glen Nicklasson

Please click on image above t hear this as a podcast.

As 2022 draws to an end it would appear the year was a year of Good byes – Good bye to Covid 19, Goodbye to Queen Elizabeth II and goodbye to two Conservative Prime Ministers. This year people have been able to travel freely, in contrast to last year, where people’s liberties were largely restricted based on vaccine status.

It serves as an important reminder how Liberty and Freedom can be swiftly taken from us and we should protect freedom vigorously. Whether you’re a Royalist or not, I think you would’ve been as shocked and saddened by the sudden death of our longest ever serving Monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. She sat as Head of State for seventy years and recently celebrated her Platinum Jubilee. She will be sorely missed by the establishment and many of her subjects throughout the Commonwealth and beyond. She was Interred with her late beloved husband the Duke of Edinburgh.

Did 2022 witness the beginning of the end of the Conservative Party? Let’s hope so. After Boris Johnson resigned in the face of a lying allegation, the Tories subjected the British public to a Tory leadership contest with Liz Truss coming out on top. Unfortunately for Liz She was almost immediately replaced by Rishi Sunak. Rishi Sunak is a Billionaire who once claimed in an interview that he had Working-Class friends. Mr. Sunak realised his mistake and retracted the false statement immediately.

The Year has ended on a positive note for the Trade Union movement with many Unions calling for Strikes in the wake of the Cost of Living Crisis. There have been walkouts by the RMT, CWU, RCN and many more. We in Solidarity support these strikes and urge you to support those taking Industrial action in any way you can. Do not cross a picket line, honk your horn in support if you see workers on a picket l ine and support local your local strikes on social media etc. Solidarity the Union looks forward to representing all working people in 2023 and would like to remind you to support each other at work. Together we are Strong!

Union News 26 December 2022


Here’s a round-up of trade union and labour related news from around the UK. In this programme union leaders announce plans for major strikes in health, post and rail sectors, Unison calls on Welsh Government to make deals with health workers to avoid strike action and military personnel take over passport inspection as Border Force workers go on strike.

Union leaders announce plans for major strikes in health, post and rail sectors

Union leaders in the UK have announced new dates for strikes in the new year across the health, post, and rail sectors. The government has been criticized for using the military to undermine strikes and for paying armed forces personnel a bonus of £20 per day for taking the place of striking workers. Nurses and ambulance workers will go on strike in January, and the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) has announced strikes for tomorrow. The RMT has accused the government of sabotaging attempts to negotiate with employers, and has said it is still willing to negotiate. The General Medical Services union and Unison have also announced new dates for strikes by ambulance workers following a strike last Wednesday. The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has announced new strike dates for January, following the first-ever strike by the organization last Tuesday.

The RCN union has announced new strikes for Wednesday 18 January and Thursday 19 January after the government failed to make any new pay offer. This follows strikes on 15 and 20 December. Picket line details will be out early in 2023.

The Unison union has called further ambulance strikes on Wednesday 11 January and Monday 23 January. The GMB union has wrongly called off strikes planned for 28 December—but has instead called action alongside Unison on 11 January.

Union Unison has called on the Welsh government to make a pay deal with health workers in order to avoid strike action

Union Unison has called on the Welsh government to make a pay deal with health workers in order to avoid strike action. Unison has asked the government to “reprioritize” spending, including a £460m ($622m) tax giveaway to businesses, in order to reach a “meaningful agreement” and prevent conflict. Health workers in Wales voted by more than 90% in favour of strike action over pay, but did not meet the turnout threshold set by the Westminster government in its anti-union legislation. Unison is calling for a pay increase of £1,400, which it argues is a real-terms pay cut, and is reballoting its members in the Welsh Ambulance Service following disruption caused by strikes at Royal Mail.

Military personnel take over passport inspections at major airports as Border Force workers go on strike

Military personnel have taken over passport inspections at major airports in the UK, including Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester, as Border Force immigration workers went on strike. Members of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) are striking after suffering years of real-terms pay cuts. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has said that armed forces personnel will receive daily bonuses of £20 after tax for covering the strikes between 19 December and 2 January. The strikes have also affected jobcentres, driving test centres, the Rural Payment Agency and the Highways Agency. PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka has warned that travellers could face further disruption unless the government improves its pay proposals.


Our music is provided by Tim Bragg. Tim is a multi-instrumentalist & singer-songwriter. You can hear his songs here: – or any streaming service or on YouTube.

If you have news, video footage, pictures etc that you want featured in Union News please email: UnionNewsServices@protonmail.com

Union News 17 December 2022


Sunak under pressure to start talking to nurses union

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is facing pressure from the Labour movement and his own backbenchers to negotiate with nurses and prevent further NHS strikes.

The Tory leader insists that this year’s 4.75 per cent pay deal — less than half 40-year high inflation — is “appropriate and fair,” but four Conservative former ministers have urged him to back down ahead of a second 24-hour walkout in England, Wales and Northern Ireland on Tuesday.

Mr Sunak and Health Secretary Steve Barclay reiterated their praise for July’s offer, recommended by the “independent” NHS pay review body, despite its remit being set by Downing Street.

Royal College of Nursing general secretary Pat Cullen warned that industrial action would only grow without a change of approach from ministers.

Unions given green light for legal challenge

The High Court has granted permission for the legal challenge – brought by eleven trade unions, coordinated by the TUC and represented by Thompsons Solicitors LLP – to protect the right to strike.

The unions come from a wide range of sectors and represent millions of workers in the UK.

With industrial action taking place across the economy after years of declining real pay and attacks on working conditions, reports suggest the government is considering new ways to restrict workers’ right to strike.

Unions argue that the regulations are unlawful because they violate fundamental trade union rights protected by Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady says that “the right to strike is a fundamental British liberty” but “the government seems hellbent on attacking it at every opportunity.”

Unite announce big pay win at Rolls Royce

The Unite union has announced that the workers at Goodwood’s Rolls Royce factory have won the “largest single pay deal in the history of the plant.”

The inflation-busting package, worth 17.6 per cent, will see staff at the site in West Sussex pocket an extra £3,205 a year alongside a one-off payment of £2,000.

Unite General secretary Sharon Graham praised the “top notch pay deal,” saying that it is a testament to the organising efforts of Unite reps at Goodwood and proof that their union’s focus on jobs, pay and conditions is winning for workers.

Staff at the plant build some of world’s most expensive luxury cars and had voted to go on strike during dispute. The Rolls Royce brand is owned by BMW who reported total sales of £13.5 billion in first half of this year.

People with heart and lung problems suffer more from cold homes

1.3 million people living in poverty in private rented homes suffer from a cardiovascular or respiratory condition, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

People with such conditions are more likely to need hospital treatment and to die from the cold, with this risk increasing for people who are too poor to afford to keep warm.

About a fifth of people with such conditions live in poverty, with coastal areas of north-west England worst affected.

Blackpool was found to have the highest proportion of people with cardiovascular or respiratory problems living in poverty (4.6 per cent), while Richmond upon Thames had the least (1.6 per cent).

Commenting on the figures, Asthma and Lung UK director of external affairs Henry Gregg said: “For years, our lungs have been a clear victim of inequality and poverty.”

UK government fails to set-up promised workers’ rights body

The UK government has reportedly shelved plans to introduce an independent body to oversee workers’ rights in the country.

Announced in June 2021, the watchdog was intended to combine the work done by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate and HM Revenue & Customs’ national minimum wage enforcement team.

Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, told the House of Commons business committee: “We’ve spent two years plus of this parliament fighting Covid. It may well be with two years left to go that we’re still able to address some of that. But what we’re more interested in is making sure that the bodies that are already there are operating effectively.”

The proposed group formed part of the Conservative manifesto and was a component of proposed revisions to the Employment Bill, which has also fallen by the wayside in 2022.

Episode Notes

Our music is provided by Tim Bragg. Tim is a multi-instrumentalist & singer-songwriter. You can hear his songs here: – or any streaming service or on YouTube.

If you have news, video footage, pictures etc that you want featured in Union News please email: UnionNewsServices@protonmail.com

Solidarity: winning for members

Solidarity Reps work to win cases for members on all kinds of workplace issues. Here is a sample of our recent cases.

Getting a reasonable adjustment

A member who suffers from a medical condition was running into trouble with her manager for repeated sickness absences. Using the Company’s absence procedures, it looked like the member would be forced out on medical grounds or simply on a failure to work.Solidarity asked the member to contact her GP to see if her condition was in reality a disability. Her GP confirmed that. The Union pointed out that the Equalities Act expects disabled employees to be offered a ‘Reasonable Adjustment’ i.e., allowing or offering a way of working or specific equipment that will allow the employee to perform to the best of their ability. In this case the equipment as set up was aggravating a medical condition leading to sickness absence.

Adjustments (which were reasonable for both the individual and company) resolved the problem.

Assault allegation kicked out

A Solidarity member in the NHS was accused of assault. She was told it could amount to gross misconduct and he could lose his job. It became clear at the disciplinary that the hearing Chair had inappropriately spoken to witness. Our Rep pointed out this procedural flaw which resulted in the sanction being downgraded to a warning. On appeal our Rep was able to get the warning thrown out.

Accused of sexual harassment but mitigating factors put forward

In another NHS case a member was accused of sexual harassment of a patient. He was told he could lose his job. Our Rep, however, was able to point out mitigating circumstances and the insight practiced by the member with the result that the member received only a warning.Half pay on sickness restored to full payA member was moved onto half pay during a sickness absence caused by the inaction of management in dealing with work stress. Solidarity was able to persuade the company to pay full pay in back pay for the period in question.

Attempts to kick out a discrimination case foiled

An attempt to kick out a discrimination claim on behalf of a member at a Preliminary hearing was foiled by our General Secretary. An attempt to say that the wrong company had been named as the employer was abandoned by the Barrister representing the employer as a result of evidence of the links between the various companies involved. The Barrister had to clarify which company was the employer and to accept the substitution of their name on the paperwork. The case will now go forward to a five-day tribunal hearing unless a settlement can be agreed.

Inflation up again – pay battles must continue


Union leaders should co-ordinate strike action and organise big demonstrations against the return of austerity and under inflation pay rises (wage cuts) say Solidarity union.

Price rises surged again in September. New official statistics released on Wednesday showed the RPI inflation rate had bit 12.6 percent, a rise of 0.3 percent.

The main driver was higher food prices, which went up by almost 15 percent. The figure means that if wages “rise” by, say, 4 percent, that is actually a cut of 8.6 percent.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the government’s preferred CPI measure of inflation rose 0.5 percent in the month compared with August to 10.1 percent.

Darren Morgan, ONS director of economic statistics, said, “After last month’s small fall, headline inflation returned to its high seen earlier in the summer. The rise was driven by further increases across food, which saw its largest annual rise in over 40 years.”

Price rises have not yet peaked, despite the energy price guarantee limiting gas and electricity bills this winter. The ONS said electricity prices rose by 54 percent and gas prices almost doubled in the year to September.

The September figure is also the number normally used for the uprating of benefits, including the state pension. Last Tuesday, new chancellor Jeremy Hunt could not guarantee the government would stick to its “triple lock” commitment on pensions. That would increase them by earnings, prices or 2.5 per cent—whichever is highest.

Cutting pensions and benefits as inflation keeps rising means an assault on millions of ordinary people. It will mean deep poverty, malnutrition, illness and death.

Patrick Harrington, general secretary of Solidarity said: All unions must fight for wage increases that at least match inflation. Workers are already being hit hard. We must also oppose any attempt to cut public services. Only co-ordinated strikes and street demonstrations will help us to win. Let’s start with the small things we can do to back the strikers.”

Small steps you can take to support the strikers

Go to your local picket line

Display a poster in your window backing the strikers

I support my postie
I support my postal worker

Make a small contribution to a strike fund

Wear a badge or T-shirt backing the strikers

Two TV programmes for Trade Unionists next week

Crisis, What Crisis? Will Truss face the same fate as Callaghan?

Next week, Channel 5 will be airing two programmes that are of interest to Trade Unionists. The first, 1978: Winter of Discontent, tells the story of the seven months of strikes by British workers that led to the downfall of then – prime minister James Callaghan. Featuring interviews with key players on both sides of the dispute, the programme provides a fascinating insight into one of the most momentous periods in British industrial history. With the worst weather for a decade, 13 million days were lost to strikes, with thousands of schools closed, hospitals only admitting emergency patients and the dead remaining unburied. The second, Britain On Strike: The Debate, is a live discussion featuring a panel of experts discussing the reasons for and the impact of the recent wave of strikes on British society. Are the strikes justified? Are they the best way to bring about change? Who is to blame for the disruption?

Sunday 2 October is 1978: Winter of Discontent (Channel 5 at 9pm) and on Monday 3 October Britain On Strike: The Debate (Channel 5 at 9pm). Thanks to our friends over at Counter Culture for the heads-up.

Picture credit: See page for author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons