Category Archives: Strike Action

Johnson and Hancock are jeopardising Covid recovery by prioritising useless ‘Test and Trace’ over hardworking NHS staff

At breaking point: the UK’s National Health Service. The Tory government could make it better by paying NHS staff what they’re worth – but Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock have spaffed billions on Dido Harding’s useless and lazy ‘Test and Trace’ white elephant instead.

It has been calculated that a one per cent pay rise for NHS staff will cost around £82 million per year, or 0.22 per cent of the £37 billion that has been spaffed on Test and Trace as run by Dido Harding.

The full 12.5 per cent pay rise for NHS staff would cost £1.025 billion – only 2.75 per cent of the spending on Test and Trace.

And Test and Trace has been useless. Employees notoriously spent their days doing nothing at all – and being paid £1,000 per day to do it, while NHS staff slaved in conditions that made them highly vulnerable to Covid-19 because the Tories couldn’t be bothered to secure PPE for them.

Many NHS staff are working overtime or using credit to afford essential bills, visiting food banks so they can eat, and struggling with both mental and physical health problems.

Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s attitude seems to be, “So what? I’ve offered you one per cent, which is more than you thought you were going to get!”

He and other Tories have made false claims that nurses have actually received far more, already, than they’re saying.

But this is nonsense. The fact that they cannot afford to survive is clear evidence that they are not paid fairly.

Stunningly, Death Health Secretary Matt Hancock has defended the one per cent pittance, saying it is

“what we think is affordable”

Could the UK have afforded the deaths of millions if those doctors, nurses and support staff had not been there to keep Covid victims alive? Of course not. Hancock was talking gibberish. He rarely does anything else.

This Site broke news of health professionals’ disgust at the lack of respect being shown to them on Thursday – before any of the mainstream news sites. At the time, strike action was being demanded by only one group – Nurses United UK.

Now strike calls are being taken up by the British Medical Association, Unite, the Royal Colleges of Nursing and Midwives and Unison.

And what if an NHS strike happens before Boris Johnson’s arbitrary deadline for reopening the UK economy – which is already looking shaky because health professionals are planning for another wave of Covid admissions in July?

All his plans will be dashed – because he decided to pay Dido Harding and her minions to sit on their fat backsides rather than supporting our hard-working NHS staff.

Source: NHS pay: More health unions join backlash against 1% pay rise – BBC News

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Mainstream media finally notice nurse strike threat – after being prompted by This Site?


Isn’t it odd that the BBC only realised that nurses were threatening to go on strike over low pay after Vox Political ran a story on it?

I published my piece yesterday lunchtime (March 4) and the BBC came out with its story (link below) just before midnight.

I’m not going to make extravagant claims about being first with the news because I had found the story on the website Nursing Notes, where it had been published on March 3.

It had taken the BBC at least a day and a half to realise this was a major news story (it was the lead on the Corporation’s politics page when it was published).

Would the BBC ever have mentioned it at all, if I hadn’t picked it up and published it on my little social media site?

I don’t know. The implications for news reporting in the UK if the answer is “no” are terrifying.

The message for you is simple: don’t rely on the BBC and the other mainstream media giants for your news because you won’t get it.

All you’ll get is what has been passed as fit for you to be spoonfed, plus whatever media bosses realise has gained traction elsewhere and can’t be ignored.

If you want to know what’s really going on, come to This Site – and the others like it.

Source: Nurses’ union anger over ‘pitiful’ 1% NHS pay rise – BBC News

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Nurses urged to strike after Sunak offered them nothing. But how can they?

Undervalued, underpaid, overstressed: nurses need a fair deal but they won’t get it unless they strike. How can they do that without harming patients?

It’s the classic dilemma for nurses: how can they campaign for fair pay and conditions when striking may harm NHS patients?

Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak spat in the faces of nurses across the UK in his Budget speech yesterday (March 3), which did not even mention the National Health Service.

It was a deliberate insult to the healthcare workers who have suffered and sacrificed – some losing their lives – in the face of government failure to provide even the most basic protective equipment when it was needed.

It seems Tories think applause is all that nurses deserve. Meanwhile they are working overtime or using credit to be able to pay essential bills, and using food banks to be able to eat.

They have lost both their mental and physical health, struggling to come to terms with the horrors they have witnessed while trying to cope with Covid-19, underfunded, understaffed and underequipped by the Tories.

This is a national scandal.

Campaigning organisation Nurses United UK says health staff need to think seriously about strike action. Health unions have been demanding an immediate – restorative – pay rise of between 12.5 and 15 per cent.

That’s just to bring pay back up to the level that nurses have lost in the 11 years since the Tories took office.

The Tories, it seems, consider this demand to be “one for the fairies“.

But then, as Nurses United lead organiser Anthony Johnson pointed out – it must be better than giving billions to Tory donors in return for nothing at all:

This Government is weak – that is why they u-turn so often. They know that people are watching and demanding that rather than giving billions to their donors, they invest in the people of this country.

But we come back to the crux of the matter: if nurses strike, they won’t harm the Tory government – they’ll harm sick people who don’t deserve worse treatment.

Perhaps targeted strike action – to ruin Tory press junkets in hospitals or withdraw coverage for Tory projects – is the answer?

Source: Pay campaigner asks nurses to ‘seriously consider industrial action’ | NursingNotes

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Victory in fight against ‘fire and rehire’ by British Airways after Unite union secures deal

This is great news at a time when companies seem keen to ramp up the stress on employees who already have enough worry with Covid-19.

British Airways has agreed to end so-called “fire and rehire” employment practices.

The company came to the deal after nine days of strike action over the Christmas/New Year period which the union United said caused “overwhelming disruption to the company’s cargo services”.

Unite had proposed a urther nine days of strike action to start on January 22 but the first three days were called off at the last minute, after progress was made at the negotiations.

Another round of strikes due to begin this weekend has also been called off.

The deal is as follows:

  • End of “fire and rehire” (the last area of BA where this was a threat)

  • Workers will revert to previous contractual provisions subject to agreed changes

  • No compulsory redundancies

  • Improved pay protection for staff whose pay sits above the new agreed rates

  • An increase in pay for a significant proportion of staff

  • Members who did not sign the new contract and were dismissed will be offered their jobs back on the agreed terms.

Unite’s members will have to be balloted on the deal, and it is understood that they are likely to accept it.

It’s a great victory for Unite, but let’s not minimise the step that BA has taken at a time when other firms are opportunistically forcing employees to re-apply to do the same job they’re already doing, but for less money and with fewer work-related protections.

BA is setting an example, and even if nobody else follows it, let’s applaud that choice.

Source: Unite ends BA ‘fire and rehire’ dispute by securing deal to avoid forthcoming cargo strike action

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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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fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

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Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

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