Members of the University and College Union (UCU) at every Further Education college in Northern Ireland staged a one-day strike on the 24th March. The UCU cites issues with pay and workload, and only receiving a 3.8% pay increase over the last seven years.
The proposed 1% pay-rise for all NHS staff in Britain - a pay-cut in real terms - has rightfully led to widespread anger across a workforce who have been on the frontline in fighting the pandemic.
At a record breaking live stream with over 7,000 members, the Communication Workers’ Union leadership announced that talks with the management of BT Group (BT, EE and Openreach) had broken down, and that they now intend to initiate a national ballot for industrial action.
The pitiful submission by the Tories of a 1% increase for all NHS staff to the Pay Review Board is a huge kick in the teeth to all those frontline workers. The government’s hypocritical excuse for the award is that they cannot afford it. This jaw dropping assertion has left even media commentators agog at the Tories’ complete underestimation of the mood in the workplace and the wider public. As soon as the information was made public on March 6th, nurses’ social media posts began to hum with fury and rage, as well as understandable despair. Sunak had just delivered a budget which had committed to spend another £65bn in the next 4 months and then claimed there was no money left!
GMB’s industrial dispute at British Gas continues with engineers braving all weather in their fight to protect hard won terms and conditions. With massive public support, thousands of members have already taken 16 strike days against their bullying employer Centrica. The next round of industrial action began this morning with the launch of a four-day strike, and more are in the pipeline.
Amazon has decided to set up shop in Ireland. It plans to create a new ‘fulfilment centre’ at a 650,000sq ft unit in Baldonnell. The purported reasoning behind this is to avoid delays on the delivery of products and new taxes resulting from Brexit, which have added 40% to the cost of some products. The new warehouse would mean Amazon orders in Ireland would be picked and packed in Ireland, rather than in the UK.
Over 1,800 students at Queen’s University have signed an open letter calling for a Student Safety Net in the midst of the Covid crisis. This follows the launching of a “Students Deserve Better” campaign by the Students’ Union (QUBSU) as part of a broader initiative across the UK.
Boris Johnson’s announcement that schools will close until February half term is yet another U-turn from this shambolic Tory government – one which has been forced by the huge pressure from below by education workers.
Unite members at Queen’s University Belfast Students’ Union (QUBSU) are celebrating a major victory in their impressive, seven-week-long campaign for respect and pay justice. The campaign developed after workers on zero-hour, casual contracts were left without pay since August as a result of the refusal of university authorities to enroll them on the government Job Retention Scheme (JRS).
Debenhams and Arcadia must open their books to the workers to show where the money has gone. In 2015, the Arcadia Group - owned by multi-millionaire retail tycoon Sir Philip Green - famously sold off the failing BHS department store for £1, but not before Green took £400 million out of the company for himself!