Category Archives: Strike Action

Universal Credit staff to strike this week – but not over the state of the so-called ‘benefit’

If you think Department for Work and Pensions staff in Wolverhampton, Walsall and Stockport are striking over the appalling state of the so-called ‘benefit’ they are employed to enforce… think again.

They’re striking to get an improvement in their own working conditions.

Apparently people being forced to suffer because of the conditions forced on them will just have to fend for themselves. Charming!

According to Welfare Weekly, “Universal Credit staff working at two centres in Walsall and Wolverhampton will take two further days of strike action this week, after losing patience with the government in their campaign for more staff and better working conditions.

“The walk-out will take place between Tuesday 28 and Wednesday 29, after the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) refused to meet the demands of workers.

“Staff walked out in March 2019, accusing the DWP of treating them with “utter contempt”.”

So they should understand how UC claimants feel, then.

The Mirror has said the strike will be joined by workers at a call centre in Stockport.

Organiser the PCS union has said the action has been motivated by cuts, workload increases and the victimisation of union representatives.

It says this is making it impossible for its members to properly support UC claimants.

The DWP, on the other hand, has said staffing levels are sufficient but it will monitor the situation and hold regular meetings with the union, in order to resolve the issues.

Meanwhile, UC claimants will undoubtedly continue to suffer with benefit claims rejected on false pretences. Will the DWP try to use employees’ claims of overwork as an excuse?

Source: Universal Credit staff poised for further walk-outs

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What will Tories do if Theresa May refuses to say when she’ll quit as PM? Strike?

Hilarious: Conservatives used up all their “no confidence” options in supporting Mrs May. Now they want her to go but have no way of ejecting her.

The UK’s anti-trade union party might end up adopting trade union tactics to rid itself of its unwanted leader if all else fails.

Tories are holding an emergency meeting of the National Conservative Convention on June 15, when around 800 senior Tory activists will vote on a “no confidence” motion against Theresa May.

But the vote will be non-binding. The Conservative Party blew its chance to force Mrs May out when MPs supported her during party and Parliamentary “no confidence” votes in December 2018 and January this year.

So, if she refuses to be pushed out, what will they do?

It seems the only options left to them are those used by trade unions – tactics which Tories have loudly and consistently deplored.

Perhaps we’ll see them impose a “work to rule” protest in which ministers will only be in their offices from 9am until 5pm. That would be amusing, considering Parliament often sits until 10pm or later.

Maybe they’ll even go on strike. That would be very exciting, wouldn’t it?

The chairman of the Tory backbench 1922 committee, Sir Graham Brady, is already being described as a “shop steward” (see below). I wonder how he feels about that?

The whole fiasco highlights the hypocrisy of the Tory position – not simply in having supported Mrs May for the sake of holding onto power, which was the meaning of the December and January confidence votes.

It also shows the poverty of their argument against unions, now that union-style behaviour is all that is left to them.

Tory activists have confirmed the date for an unprecedented new no-confidence vote against Theresa May.

The ballot of around 800 activists will be held on Saturday 15 June, local chiefs have been told.

The vote will not be binding, but activists believe it will pile pressure on the Prime Minister to quit.

She is already meeting Sir Graham Brady, the shop steward for Tory MPs, today as pressure mounts for her to name a date for her departure.

The vote will be held at an emergency meeting of the National Conservative Convention, the forum for senior Conservative activists across the country.

It was triggered after more than 65 chairmen and women of local Tory associations signed a petition demanding the summit.

Source: Date CONFIRMED for Tory activists’ no confidence vote against Theresa May – Mirror Online

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Royal Mail workers have voted to strike by a huge majority

What are the Tories going to do now?

They ruled that strikes would only be legal if more than 50 per cent of a workforce voted in favour. Here are the stats on the Royal Mail strike ballot:

So posties are going on strike. And who can blame them?

The CWU believes it is a “watershed” moment for unions as well as the Royal Mail, which it has accused of following a “relentless” programme of cost-cutting to maximise short-term profits and shareholder returns.

The union accused the company of “unilaterally” closing its defined benefit, or final salary, pension scheme, with new entrants going into an “inferior” scheme which will leave them in “pensioner poverty”.

The union is also in dispute over pay and issues such as delivery office closures.

The union’s deputy general Secretary Terry Pullinger said: “This ballot result is hugely significant and demonstrates a strength of feeling that can only be translated as a massive vote of no confidence in the managerial leadership of the Royal Mail Group and the direction that they advocate.

“Any sense of vocational spirit and working together with management has been lost in a climate of fear and insecurity. This massive failure in trust has created a breakdown in relationships and a toxic environment where working together to solve difficult problems has become almost impossible.

“The managerial leadership has failed and should resign or be sacked. This is a dispute about honour and we refuse to simply stand aside.”

Source: Royal Mail faces first national strike since it was privatised


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Nuclear workers will strike after Tory promises on pensions prove worthless

Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) Aldermaston in Berkshire [Image: PA].

Here are another couple of arguments against privatisation: Private firms raid your pensions.

Oh, and a Tory government will always make promises about the conditions in which privatisation is taking place – and then those promises will be broken.

Usually at huge cost to workers, the state… anybody apart from the people responsible.

Nuclear workers will go on strike after this month, Unite union has confirmed

Workers at the Atomic Weapons Establishment are to stage two 48-hour strikes in a long-running dispute over pensions.

Unite said 600 of its members at AWE’s two sites at Aldermaston and Burghfield in Berkshire will walk out for 48 hours from January 18 and 30.

The union said workers felt “deeply betrayed” as promises made a quarter of a century ago guaranteeing their pensions, when they were transferred from the Ministry of Defence to the private sector, have been broken.

The union is protesting at plans to close the defined benefit scheme at the end of the month and replace it with a defined contribution one.

Source: Nuclear workers will strike as they vote for two 48-hour walkouts in row over pensions

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Tube strike is about maintaining good service. Don’t let selfish people tell you it’s about selfishness

The London Underground is in a mess due to cut by the Conservative Government and poor management by Boris Johnson Conservative administration.

Sadiq Khan, the current (Labour, he says) Mayor of London appeared on Radio 4, to oppose the strike, but is arguments do not ring true.

His administration may be working to limit the damage but the service is suffering now, and changes imposed by Johnson and the Tories may be hard to reverse.

The strike was called because of ticket office closures and the loss of 800 staff members under Mr Johnson. Mr Khan could only say 200 jobs had been restored, and his comments about ticket offices were limited to saying he had accepted the findings of a review by Travel Watch. He did not say what those findings were.

Meanwhile, Tube staff are striking because the service is not safe. They say the cuts, along with “brutal” unilaterally-imposed changes to working practices that have been imposed by Transport for London (TfL) have led to “a further exodus of staff from the service”.

That is their right; anybody can walk away from a contract if the other side imposes unfair conditions.

And it doesn’t take genius to work out that they are right to do so.

The level of support for the strike among those who remain – only 10 stations are open, it has been reported – is evidence of this.

The Tube system needs restoration now – not talk about doing it tomorrow (maybe).

Claims that the strike is causing misery for a day show a lack of understanding that the aim is to prevent misery on a regular – or indeed permanent – basis.

They are the claims of the selfish, the narrow-minded, and the ignorant.

Some critics are even claiming that Tube workers have decent, well-paid jobs and should not, therefore, be striking.

The only reason any employee has a decent, well-paid job, is union action – including strikes. And in this case it is clear that striking remains the only way to protect pay and conditions that the Conservative Party has tried to erode.

It’s time some of the people catching a bus today also got a clue.

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If the Tories won’t order an investigation into Orgreave, they must prepare to be examined themselves

Barbara Jackson speaks during a press conference in Barnsley [Image: Danny Lawson/PA].

Barbara Jackson speaks during a press conference in Barnsley [Image: Danny Lawson/PA].


Bravo, Barbara Jackson.

It seems clear to This Writer that the Conservatives don’t want an inquiry into the “Battle of Orgreave” because it would reveal their own complicity with South Yorkshire Police.

So I say, let’s see a crowdfunding bid for a judicial review of Amber Rudd’s decision as soon as possible, and let’s haul the Conservatives over the coals.

Be warned, though: We’re all going to hear a lot of nonsense about Orgreave, especially from Tory MPs. There was one on the BBC News Channel on Tuesday (November 1), accusing Labour of ignoring the issue while it was in government.

(Jeremy Corbyn has promised an inquiry if Labour is elected in 2020.)

Well, somebody asked prominent Orgreave campaigner Andy Burnham MP that very question. Here’s his answer:

That’s right – the cabinet papers on Orgreave weren’t published until last year. It is now much harder for the Conservatives to deny links between their government of the day and what happened there.

We might have had a whitewash before, and would have been unable to do anything about it when the papers came out.

I await the nonsense from Tories and their supporters, that will undoubtedly spew forth in response to this clear explanation.

Campaigners for an inquiry into the “Battle of Orgreave” have declared that the gloves are off as they step up calls for a judge-led investigation into brutal clashes between police and mineworkers during the 1984 miners’ strike.

In a defiant press conference at the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) hall in Barnsley, campaigners said they were considering mounting a crowdfunded bid for a judicial review of Amber Rudd’s decision not to hold any kind of inquiry into the episode.

Barbara Jackson, secretary of the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign, was close to tears as she described feeling “shocked and devastated” by the home secretary’s decision.

Addressing the crowd of former pitworkers, their relatives, supporters and union activists in the South Yorkshire town, Jackson said: “We have focused on police violence because we thought that was the best way to get our inquiry – now we’re going to focus as well as that on the political side of the strike and the involvement of Margaret Thatcher’s government of the time … We regard the gloves as off on our side.”

She said Jeremy Corbyn had promised an Orgreave inquiry if Labour were elected at the next general election, and that the campaign was also looking at a possible “peoples’ inquiry”.

Source: Orgreave inquiry campaigners say the gloves are off | UK news | The Guardian

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Hunt defeated: He withdraws plan to impose contract on junior doctors

Do not be misled – Jeremy Hunt’s agreement to withdraw his plan to impose a cruel new contract on junior doctors is an admission that he has been defeated, utterly.

Of course, operations and outpatients’ appointments have been disrupted by the Health Secretary’s stubbornness, but it seems likely that a more healthy situation could arise from today’s announcement.

But what does this mean for the Conservative Government?

George Osborne has withdrawn his plan to cut tax credits.

Jeremy Hunt has been defeated by the junior doctors.

And David Cameron cannot scrape together a Parliamentary majority for his warmongering.

And the media are still saying Labour is in crisis?

A strike by junior doctors planned for Tuesday could yet be called off after four days of talks produced what Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, called “a potential agreement” with their union.

If the British Medical Association (BMA) agrees to the deal and calls off Tuesday’s walkout, the health secretary would lift his threat to impose a new contract, which has sparked huge anger and protests among England’s 45,000 junior doctors.

As things stand, Tuesday’s strike, which has led to many planned operations and outpatient clinics being cancelled, is still due to go ahead. But it could be suspended if the BMA accepts Hunt’s offer.

Source: Doctors’ strike: Jeremy Hunt announces ‘potential agreement’ with BMA | Politics | The Guardian

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Health Education England to suspend training during junior doctor strike to make senior doctors available

Here’s the announcement, from Twitter:

151123healthedengstatement

Good decision?

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Jeremy Hunt statement on weekend hospital care is misleading, experts warn

Leading statisticians have cast serious doubt on Jeremy Hunt’s claim that in only 10% of hospitals are patients seen by a senior doctor within 14 hours of being admitted at a weekend, and described it as unfair, misleading and a gross underestimation.

NHS England has also distanced itself from the health secretary’s claim saying the evidence it has collected on hospitals’ performance in this area does not vindicate his interpretation.

The controversy over the accuracy of Hunt’s statement, which he made in parliament, is the second time in recent weeks that questions have been raised about a key plank of his justification for imposing a new contract on junior doctors and turning the NHS into a seven-day service. The row comes as the result of the ballot for strike action by junior doctors emerges on Thursday.

Doctors recently complained to the Cabinet Office that Hunt has also misrepresented key research on how many patients admitted to hospital at the weekend die because too few senior doctors are on duty, and the British Medical Journal, which published the findings, has accused him of misrepresenting them.

Source: Jeremy Hunt statement on weekend hospital care is misleading, experts warn | Society | The Guardian

For a proper explanation of the junior doctor’s contract, listen to the November 13 edition of Radio 4’s The Now Show, from 14.30 minutes into the programme.

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Welsh government in drive to recruit junior doctors from England


This is a very intelligent move.

What it says is, let’s see if the Welsh health service is as bad as David Cameron says it is by asking junior doctors whether they would prefer to cross the border or stay in England.

The result could be humiliating for the Conservative Government.

The Labour-controlled Welsh government has launched a bold and pointedly political recruitment campaign to attract junior doctors across the border from England.

Just weeks before planned strike action in England over a hugely controversial new contract, the Welsh health minister, Mark Drakeford, has released a recruitment video claiming his devolved government had a “partnership approach” to negotiations.

Drakeford is emphasising that the NHS was “born in Wales” and argues that the service there is all about getting care to the people who most need it – not to those who can afford to pay or know the right people.

For several years, David Cameron has heavily criticised the way the devolved government in Cardiff has run the health service and it was a key battleground during the election campaign.

The problems faced by the Tories in Westminster and health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, in particular over the junior doctors’ contract are seen as an opportunity for the Welsh government as it bids to recruit more young health professionals – and to hit back over its record.

Source: Welsh government in drive to recruit junior doctors from England | Society | The Guardian

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