Brighton Bin Men Strike Over Attacks on Pay

Bin men in Brighton today voted overwhelmingly to strike over attempts by the Green led council to slash pay.

The bin men (a self-adopted title, although they include many non male workers) voted 96% in favour of strike action. This follows an unofficial walkout on the 8th and 9th May and a fiercely enforced work to rule since which has left rubbish piled up across Brighton and streets unswept.

The first strike action is due to start on the 14th June and to last for a week. Further action is likely to follow if the council does not ditch the proposed pay cuts.

Shop steward reinstated at Ratcliffe power station after walkout

Hundreds of people stopped work at Ratcliffe power station in Nottinghamshire last Tuesday after a shop steward was suspended. Rank and file activists from round the country went to the site at 6am and spoke to workers going in, who held onsite meetings and voted to take action in support of their health and safety rep. 600 people eventually walked out unofficially. It is inspiring that various trades took part, not just electricians, including welders, scaffolders and pipefitters. Rank and file activists say that the rep, Jason Poulter, who was suspended six weeks ago, is being victimised for being active in the Besna protests.  He has now been reinstated and is back at Ratcliffe. 

Electricians beat back BESNA

Firms drop proposed 35% pay cut after direct action campaign from ‘Sparks’

Electricians are celebrating a major breakthrough in their battle to stop a co-ordinated attempt by some of Britain’s biggest construction firms to deskill their jobs and impose pay cuts of up to 35% after main players Balfour Beatty and NG Bailey threw in the towel. A source told a trade magazine that “one thing is definite, BESNA is finished.” The news was later confirmed in Construction News.

The employers had wanted to kill off JIB, an industry-wide agreement on pay and conditions, so it could be replaced with the vastly inferior BESNA plan. This would have let contractors raise and lower hourly pay rather than maintaining a standard wage for skilled work. For some electricians this would have meant a fall in hourly rates from £16.25 to £10 – a 35% cut.

Rub a spark the wrong way and you get a wildcat

Solfed members were on the pickets in London for the biggest wildcat strike of 2011 and one of the biggest electricians' walkouts of recent years. Below we summarise some of the events around Blackfriars as thousands of electricians downed tools against the breaking of national working agreements which will mean pay cuts of up to 35% and defied an injunction against official strike action brought by Balfour's legal team just days before. Below that we've collated summaries from elsewhere.

London Cleaners Win Wildcat Strike!

Today saw SolFedders join with some 100 members of the public to support an unofficial strike by University of London cleaners at Senate House.  The cleaners, who are primarily Latin American immigrants and who are employed by the privateer Balfour Beatty, struck over unpaid wages. With some cleaners not having been paid for three months, it was decided yesterday that official union channels weren’t working and the workers called for a strike to begin today at 8am. 

Message of Solidarity and Congratulations to the North London Posties

The North London Solidarity Federation wishes to congratulate our fellow postal workers in Islington on their successful three hour wildcat strike last week.

Unfortunately, Royal Mail's harassment of workers that refuse to cut corners is nothing new and, regrettably, keeps going on up and down the country on a daily basis. Unreasonable cuts to duties coupled lay-offs have created impossible workloads. Management's response to this situation—a situation they created—is to bully their workforce. Everyday at Royal Mail centres around the country, management try to make us work through our breaks, begin work before our shifts start, and stay on late without compensation. When we refuse—when we do our job properly—we are threatened with dismissal.