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

Union News 12 December 2022


Tens of thousands rally outside Parliament to support strikers

• Tens of thousands of postal workers demonstrated in Parliament Square, London, on Friday over pay and conditions.

• The Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) said that “17,500 CWU members came to London”—one in six of those on strike.

• The CWU members were joined by politicians and other trade union leaders in solidarity.

Royal Mail workers across the country formed picket lines and more action is planned for the rest of the week.

• CWU acting deputy general secretary Andy Furey spoke to the rally, saying that their demands are not going away and that unity will win in the end.

Christmas is cancelled for many disabled and carers

• One in five families who care for a disabled relative are planning to cancel their Christmas celebrations this year due to soaring prices, according to research by disability charity Sense.

• A survey of 1,007 families found that more than half said they were in debt and over a third were skipping meals to save money. With energy bills soaring as temperatures drop below 0 across the country, over a third (38 per cent) said they will not buy Christmas presents, and a fifth (22 per cent) said they will cancel celebrations altogether.

• The government has pledged to increase benefits in-line with inflation in April next year, but Sense warns that the delay to the uplift will leave “millions” of disabled families struggling to afford food and energy this winter. People with disabilities typically have higher living costs which makes them more vulnerable to soaring prices.

Jacob’s strike ends following settlement

• The Jacob’s cream cracker factory strike in Aintree, Liverpool has been called off after eleven weeks.

• Strikers voted in favour of a pay offer put forward by management, but over a third wanted to keep fighting.

• The deal includes a 6.5 percent pay rise this year backdated to January with a £300 one-off payment, followed by 3 percent increase next year with a £250 one-off payment – far less than the RPI rate of inflation which has soared to 14.2 percent.

• GMB union members were initially demanding a minimum pay rise of 8.5 percent but accepted 6.5% for first year and 2% for second year.

Shelter workers start two week strike

• Around 600 workers at housing charity Shelter began two weeks of strikes last Monday in the fight for a pay rise that at least matches inflation.

• Strikers are out at Shelter’s offices in Old Street and Hackney in London, Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Birmingham, Blackburn, Bristol, Bournemouth, Manchester, Newcastle , Norwich , Liverpool , Plymouth , and Sheffield .

• On the picket line in Old Street , strikers chanted , “ Three percent won ’ t pay the rent ” while car horns beeped in support—and at the “ Honk if you’re not paid enough ” sign .

• The strikers are using their campaigning skills to run the picket—with a book swap group , tactics meetings teach – outs. A rally took place on Friday from where the strikers marched to the CWU union rally.

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

Union News 24/11/22

  • Long Covid sufferers face stigma

A new study has found that the majority of people living with long Covid have experienced some form of stigma associated with their condition.

The research, which was based on a survey of 1,100 people, found that 95% of those suffering from long Covid have experienced some form of stigma while 76% reported experiencing it “often” or “always”.

As of October 1 it is estimated that 2.1 million people are living with long Covid in Britain — around 3.3% of the population, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Dr Marija Pantelic, a lecturer in public health at Brighton and Sussex Medical School, said: “The stigma attached to long Covid is likely to leave a devastating mark on our society and health service provision.”

  • RMT announce further strike action

RMT union members at Network Rail and 14 train operating companies plan strikes on 13, 14, 16 and 17 December and 3, 4, 6 and 7 January, in addition to an overtime ban between December 18 and January 2.

This is the latest development in an increasingly bitter six-month dispute over potential job cuts and plummeting take-home pay.

RMT assistant general secretary John Leach has called on Mark Harper—the third Tory transport secretary since July—to meet with RMT general secretary Mick Lynch and come to a resolution.

  • Strikes close Scottish schools

The Education Institute of Scotland has launched their first national strike over wages in 40 years, with the action expected to close most schools north of the border.

This comes after the union rejected a last-minute offer which would have seen most staff pocket a 5 per cent rise – less than half of soaring double-digit inflation.

General secretary Andrea Bradley has branded the proposal an “inept rehash” of the offer made to teachers earlier this year and accused ministers and local authority umbrella group Cosla of “not trying hard enough.”

She has repeated her demands for a 10 per cent salary boost, a figure described by Scottish Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville as “unaffordable due to extreme budget pressures.”

  • Strikes called off after pay deal

Outsourced workers at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy called off strike action today after winning a 12 per cent pay boost.

The caterers and hospitality staff, employed by Aramark at the government department, had been set for five days of walkouts into next month after public services union PCS warned of plummeting take-home pay.

But they are now set to pocket a rise above last month’s 11.1 per cent consumer prices index inflation rate.

Meanwhile, PCS members employed in the same central London offices by fellow contractor ISS as security guards, postal staff, porterage workers, cleaners and receptionists have suspended a planned four-day strike after receiving an improved offer on health and safety issues from bosses.



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