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StrikeSpotting UK 08.03.04 - 01.04.04 | 01.04.2004 15:54 | Social Struggles

Summary of strike action in the UK

Strikespotting UK 08.03.04 – 01.04.04

Mineworkers hold strike action
Miners at a West Yorkshire pit were taking strike action on Monday in a row about new working practices. About 350 workers at Kellingley colliery near Pontefract were on a 24-hour stoppage. Mine owners UK Coal want to increase Kellingley's operating hours to accommodate 240 miners from the Selby mines which will be shortly closed.
Around 550 miners at Kellingley pit in North Yorkshire struck for the second time last week after talks broke down. The action had been suspended while the NUM union prepared to take the employer, UK Coal, to court over a scheme for new shifts.

Strike brings traffic chaos
Passengers faced another day of strike action today as Metro bosses revealed the present industrial action has cost the railway £300,000.
The Metro was at a standstill today as workers staged their third 24-hour strike this year in a bitter dispute over pay and conditions. Traffic into Newcastle was heavier than usual this morning as many commuters took to their cars while others caught buses to get to work

Council workers - Liverpool strike solid
"This is about bullying." Those were the words of one social worker who joined around 145 colleagues on strike on Friday of last week. The social workers, who work in childcare in Liverpool, were out on the first day of a three-day strike over management bullying, excessive workloads and lack of staffing. They were supported by colleagues in the GMB/Apex union who, in many workplaces, refused to cross picket lines. Union members voted to go ahead with the action at a mass meeting on the previous Wednesday.

Protest at call centre jobs plan
Bank workers have mounted a demonstration outside the Lloyds TSB bank in Newcastle, on the day it revealed a rise in profits. The protesters are angry at proposals by the bank to move call centre jobs from the north-east of England to India. The bank says 750 jobs will be lost when it closes the call centre in Newcastle. On Monday Lloyds TSB announced a 66% rise in pre-tax profits to £4.35bn.

Fresh drivers' strike halt buses
Services in Grantham were expected to be the worst affected
Hundreds of Lincolnshire bus drivers are striking for a fourth day.
Members of the T and G union who work for Lincolnshire Roadcar are staging the walk out in a protest over pay and union recognition. Officials say services in the Grantham area are expected to be the worst affected. The firm says it does not understand why its workers are continuing to strike and insists that union officials have refused to meet them.

Health workers
Maintenance workers at Preston and Chorley hospitals, Lancashire, took strike action on Monday of this week. The members of the Amicus union are fighting attacks on their pay and conditions. Under the government's "Agenda for Change", hospital workers are having their jobs evaluated.
Many workers, especially non-clinical staff like those on strike, will lose out under this scheme.

Wage dispute in Aerostructures
Nearly 1,000 workers at Aerostructures in Hamble, near Southampton, took part in the first of a series of one-day strikes over pay on Monday. The dispute comes after union members rejected an offer of a 3 percent pay rise from Smiths Group, the multinational parent company, and voted by an overwhelming 87 percent majority to take action.

Postal Wildcat
Nearly 200 postal workers in Peterborough walked out on strike unofficially last week in a dispute over the interpretation of the MTSF (Managing the Surplus Framework) pay and conditions agreement. Workers had just realised the implications of the deal, which was part of the package accepted in a national ballot earlier this year. It means that the seniority principle (that workers who have been in the job longest get first pick of duties) will be abandoned in some cases.

Benefits offices close in strike action
Three jobs and benefits offices are to close in Northern Ireland this week as the three-month long dispute over pay continues. NIPSA says up to 300 workers will be involved in the industrial action.

Hundreds of striking nursery nurses marched across the Forth Road Bridge yesterday in their fight for a national pay deal.
Around 400 protesting nurses set off from either side of the bridge which crosses the Edinburgh and Fife council boundary and met in the middle.
McConnell blames men for nursery strike
The intransigence of a small number of men is to blame for the long-drawn-out nursery nurses' dispute, Jack McConnell said yesterday.The first minister was highly critical of both the union leaders and local authority employers, but angered supporters of the strikers by appearing to characterise them as unwitting women being led astray by men.
Union bids to end nursery nurses' strike
Trade union bosses are urging Renfrewshire Council chiefs to get round the table to try to bring the nursery nurses' strike to an end. Leaders of UNISON - the union that represents the nursery nurses - have sent a letter to Councillor Jim Harkins, the leader of the council. Renfrewshire is one of 21 separate areas where nursery staff are still out on strike as part of their long-running pay dispute.

Strike hits livestock movement
Civil servants have been in dispute with management since last year
Animal inspectors at the port of Larne in County Antrim are beginning week-long strike action in an ongoing dispute over civil service pay.
Thousands of civil servants have taken part in a series of strikes since late last year over being denied a "cost of living" pay increase from April 2003. The public service union Nipsa says no livestock will be allowed to move through Larne port from Monday onwards because animal disease control measures will not be able to function normally.

School hit by bitter strike
Angry teachers at the struggling Madeley Court School in Telford went on strike today in protest against possible job cuts. Around 18 banner-waving teachers at Madeley Court School were protesting at the school gates over fears a partnership with Thomas Telford School will mean job losses.
Members of union NASUWT claim the partnership, which was introduced to improve the school, will mean a cut in teaching jobs. Parents and pupils arriving at the school this morning were met by one-third of the teaching staff waving placards that read "no redundancies".

Tube wildcat over radios
A union has threatened further strikes on the Tube if drivers are disciplined after refusing to work because of faults with a radio system.
Unofficial industrial action on Saturday closed the Jubilee Line, but services resumed on Sunday. The Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) Union said the radios, which link staff with the control room, were a matter of "life and death". The RMT said a strike ballot would follow if drivers were disciplined.

Child support staff on strike
Child Support Agency staff today became the latest Northern Ireland civil servants to take industrial action in the long-running pay dispute. The Department for Social Development has hit out at the strike and pledged to
minimise disruption.

Strike looms at Daily Record and Sunday Mail
More than a decade after the last major newspaper strike in Scotland, members in the Daily Record and Sunday Mail Chapel have voted to ballot for industrial action. The move comes in response to a decision to impose changes in Retouch, which would result in job losses and has already affected quality in the papers.

Safety workers stage pay strike
The HSE inspects factories, hospitals and construction sites
Thousands of health and safety workers are holding a one-day strike in protest at a "derisory" pay offer. Up to 3,000 inspectors, scientists and admin staff at the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have been taking part.
It is the first time in 23 years that workers responsible for the regulation of safety in the workplace have taken industrial action. The HSE has promised a 1.5% pay rise to all staff with employees on lower grades receiving between 4.9% and 6.6%.

Gas dispute could boil over
Some 60 engineers employed by British Gas went on strike in Staines, west of London, last week. They are fighting to get the same allowance as British Gas engineers who work in central London. The workers walked out for 36 hours on Tuesday of last week. Their strike had an impact on services in north west London. The workers are members of the GMB union, and are striking for two evenings this week.

Metzeler Workers on strike
STRIKERS AT Metzeler's plant in Coalville, Leicestershire, held their sixth one-day strike on Monday over the company's pay offer. They were also planning to hold a vote over whether to continue the action. The 16 engineers have been fighting to wrestle a 73p an hour pay rise from the multinational company. They are in the Amicus union. Most of the 500 shop floor workers are in the TGWU union, who narrowly voted for the pay offer.

Virgin staff strike over new rosters
VIRGIN staff at Manchester's Piccadilly station were holding a one-day strike today in protest over new working conditions. Around 30 on-board catering staff gathered outside the station waving flags and blowing whistles. They were protesting over changes to working rosters which, they claim, are unfair. The strike, which was expected to involve more than 100 staff, was due to last until 7.30pm.

Unofficial Post Action
Strike disrupts mail deliveries
Residents could face delays in receiving their mail after a number of Royal Mail staff staged a walk-out. The unofficial industrial action by workers from Oxford's main sorting office began on Tuesday night. Royal Mail and the Communications Workers Union (CWU) differ on how many staff are taking part in the strike. A statement released by the Royal Mail and the union said there had been "tensions within the office" between staff members.

Picket threat as 140 strike over pay offer
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WORKERS at the biggest factory in Shipston were due to stage the first of a series of 24-hour strikes from last night in a fight for better pay.
Nightshift workers were expected to picket the Norgren factory in Campden Road from 9.30pm after more than 90 per cent of the 140 members of the Amicus union voted in favour of industrial action. A picket of daytime staff was due to start at 7.30am today. Pete Coulson, full-time official for Amicus, formerly the Amalgamated Electrical Engineering Union and the Manufacturing, Science, Finance Union, said the 24-hour stoppages would continue every Wednesday and Thursday until management at the international pneumatics manufacturers significantly improve their current 2.8 per cent offer.

Motorists latest targets of striking civil servants
THE cancellation of thousands of MOT tests was today predicted as Ulster motorists continued to get caught in the crossfire of the civil service pay battle. Trade union NIPSA announced that vehicle test centres at Belfast, Mallusk and Craigavon will be hit by strike action next week. And it said the move will halt 3,500 MOT tests and 300 driving tests.

Waiting to happen…..

Govt pay plans spark barrister strike threat
Hundreds of barristers are threatening strike action over new Government pay levels for murder and fraud cases.
The Bar Council has told all heads of chambers that it will not stand in the way of the strike if the Government goes ahead with plans to massively cut rates. Some barristers will receive a net pay as low as £15 an hour for high-cost cases.

Workers could strike over sewage
The GMB union claims household taps could run dry
Household taps across half of Kent could run dry if members vote for strike action at Mid Kent Water, according to the GMB union. Workers are being balloted for strike action, saying they were not consulted about a contract to handle raw sewage maintenance for a council in Essex. The union also claims staff have been bullied after refusing to do the work over health and safety concerns.

Taxi strike
Borough taxi drivers will be staging a protest over the lack of council support later this evening (Monday). Taxi drivers will gather outside the Dudley Council Houses in St James's Road before a council meeting at 6pm.
General secretary of the Dudley Private Hire Association, Omar Ali, said the demonstration was to highlight the trade's frustration at the lack of communication between the council and drivers.

Royal Mail managers plan strike vote
Managers at Royal Mail are to be balloted over strike action for the first time in 20 years, after a leaked memo revealed that the organisation is considering compulsory job cuts. Consultation on proposals to remove 3,000 middle management posts at the postal operator ends this week. Under the process staff affected are offered voluntary redundancy packages.

IT staff to strike at Co-op over SCC outsourcing gig
Twenty-one IT staff at Co-operative Financial Services (CFS) are due to begin a 24-hour strike tomorrow in protest at a decision to outsource their jobs to SCC, the leading UK reseller.The workers - all members of the Amicus union - are unhappy that the move to SCC would result in a reduced pension for workers.

Pay strike fears at BA
British Airways staff have rejected a pay rise of just over one per cent a year. Unions have warned a pay dispute could lead to a summer of delays and cancellations if pay and pension concerns are not resolved and members strike. The rejection of the offer of a four per cent rise over three years came as unions launched a campaign to protect pay and pensions. Staff at the airline are also worried about a £900 million shortfall in the company's pension fund.

Bin strike threat over new rounds
There is a history of strike action among refuse workers in Brighton
Refuse collectors in Brighton have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a ballot on industrial action. Workers took the decision at a meeting on Wednesday afternoon claiming grievances with their managers at Brighton and Hove City Council. Employees claim new rounds have been imposed without proper consultation. They also feel a union representative was unfairly treated after being suspended following an argument at the refuse depot in Hollingdean.

Referees threatening to strike
Referees in the Thanet area are threatening to go on strike because of a rise in the number of assaults on the pitch. They have said the assaults are occurring at all levels, including children's matches, and it could lead to a shortage of officials. Phil Bing, a referee in Thanet, said; "We have suffered more than our fair share of assaults against referees.

Firemen Strike Threat
Hundreds of Swansea firefighters are on the verge of walking out on strike in support of a workmate with a bad back. They are threatening action claiming the man has been sacked for being unable to work. Voting on industrial action gets under way within the next four weeks. It means that just 17 months after the country's fire service was thrown into chaos over pay, more than 1,000 firefighters stretching between Carm- arthen to Port Talbot may now decide to strike all over again. The Army would have to be brought in to man the pumps instead.

Childcare Socialworkers in Liverpool, a Liberal Democrat controlled council, voted for a second three-day strike at a mass meeting on Thursday of last week. They are striking over high workloads and staff shortages. The members of the Unison union will start their strike on 14 April.

Council workers
…in Newham, east London, were due this week to start a ballot on industrial action to defend their union branch. The New Labour council has renewed its threat to axe the Unison union branch's full time officers, and to force it out of its existing union office in a council building.

Tube workers action?
A planned strike by track workers on London Underground has forced the private company on the network into a climbdown over six sacked employees. Metronet, which runs two thirds of the track, had said it would not take back under any circumstances six workers it singled out at Farringdon depot. Members of the RMT union at the company voted five to one for a strike, scheduled to start last week.

BA faces strike threat over plans to plug £1bn pensions gap
Unions are preparing to block British Airways' plans to plug the £1bn gap in its pension fund, raising the prospect of fresh industrial action.
BA has told its 47,000 employees that they have two options with their pensions: maintain contributions at the existing level but face reduced benefits on retirement, or pay an extra 3 per cent into the scheme to safeguard their pension pot.

Teachers set to strike over jobs threat
Teachers are to go on strike this week over fears they may lose their jobs in a school reorganisation led by one of England's top comprehensives.
Members of the National Association of Schoolmasters' Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) at Madeley Court School in Telford, Shropshire will stage a one-day stoppage on Wednesday.

IT strike threat
Councils face strike action over outsourcing deals
Trade unions are warning that failing to consult staff could result in strike action as a number of councils step up plans to outsource their IT operations to the private sector. Following on from the near strike by 100 IT staff at Bradford in February over a £100m outsourcing deal, Unison is warning that it could propose action at Swansea City and County Council.

Hundreds of Clyde shipyard workers could take industrial action because of a row over a tea break. Management face the threat of stoppages after workers at the BAE Systems yards in Govan and Scotstoun refused to give up a 15-minute tea break on Fridays as part of a 7% wage deal. Almost 1400 manual workers - the lowest paid on the Clyde - have rejected the offer, claiming conditions have been eroded over the years. They earn on average £310 a week and want a "no strings" pay deal to bring them closer to other yards such as Vosper Thorneycroft in Portsmouth. Vosper workers are the industry's highest earners, making £330 a week on average, and are due a pay rise in April. However, the Clyde has won warship work worth more than £5billion which guarantees employment for at least the next decade.

Industrial action is looming at Swansea's Timet Titanium Plant it was claimed today. Two-hundred Transport and General Union members are expected to vote for industrial action when they meet in 10 days' time. The dispute centres around the disciplining of a worker at the Waunarlwydd plant which finishes titanium into fan blades for Rolls Royce aero engines. Union regional industrial organiser Andy Richards claims the company recognised a recent disciplinary investigation was flawed but are refusing to rectify the errors they had made.

Ballots on the rail
Nearly 3,000 RMT union members working for rail contractor Jarvis were to begin voting for strike action this week to protect their employment rights when they are transferred to Network Rail. Jarvis's maintenance contracts are due to be brought in-house and the workers re-employed by Network Rail on 1 April.

Staff at hospitals across the Fylde Will strike.
The first walk-out will take place next week, with further action planned for subsequent Mondays and Fridays. The move to take industrial action comes after trust bosses failed to meet pay demands of maintenance workers.
Next Friday, 11 builders, joiners and painters will man picket lines outside Blackpool Victoria Hospital with placards and banners in an attempt to draw attention to their cause. Initially the workers were a part of the Amicus union dispute but then branched off with their own Union of Construction and Allied Trades (UCAT).

Postal workers strike threat
POSTAL WORKERS in Bracknell, Berkshire, have voted for strikes after a postal worker was sacked. George McComb, aged 55, was dismissed last month for allegedly leaving post unattended which was then stolen. He has received huge support form the people he delivers to and his workmates.

Ballot on action for decent pay in hospitals
Low paid health workers in North Manchester and Bury hospitals are planning strike action at the start of April. The porters and domestic staff are employed by private contractor ISS Mediclean. The workers, members of the Unison union, overwhelmingly voted for strike action in their ballot earlier this month. They earn just £4.61 an hour, and want to get £5 an hour. That is what similar workers directly employed by the NHS in the same hospital trust earn

Concern as bus strike threat looms over
Fears of further industrial action by Norwich's bus drivers were raised today after it emerged they had voted overwhelmingly to throw out a three per cent pay rise deal.The last time bus drivers went on strike, in January 2003, it cost the city £6.5 million in lost revenue and trade dropped by some 50 per cent. First made the offer of three per cent, but in a ballot by drivers those who had their say voted 94 per cent in favour of rejecting the offer on the table.

Strike Could Affect Transmitters
Members of the broadcasting union BECTU, working for communications giant ntl, are due to start industrial action on March 31 over new terms and conditions. The action, which includes an overtime ban and withdrawal of out-of-hours cover by more than 500 union members, could affect ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, and commercial radio transmitters across the UK, as well as emergency services like the Metropolitan Police, who use ntl to provide their radio communications facilities.

Almost 400 workers at Dunlop Tyres, on the Wear Industrial Estate are staging a walkout over a pay dispute. They have voted for an overtime ban and strike action next month. Company bosses have offered workers a two per cent pay increase, but GMB members are pushing for three per cent.
Mark Wilson, GMB organiser said he hadn't seen such levels of discontent within a company in a long time. Workers at the Washington factory voted 66 per cent in favour of strike action, and 87 per cent for an overtime ban.

ABB workers vote for strike
Workers who waived their pay rises for three years to help their troubled engineering company have voted overwhelmingly for a strike. Around 60 staff are planning to walk out for 48 hours from 15 April at ABB in Sunderland.
Amicus shop steward John Buckley says, "We bent over backwards to assist the company. The staff are extremely disappointed that their loyalty has not been rewarded." Workers have rejected a pay offer of 3 percent, with Amicus members voting to push for a 5 percent increase plus time and a half overtime.

No co-operation on pensions
Workers AT the Co-op Bank, famous for proclaiming its "ethical" stance, have voted for industrial action over attacks on the pension scheme. Members of the finance union Unifi voted overwhelmingly for action after the bank opted to remove some staff from its final salary pension scheme. The workers affected are the ones being outsourced to the bank's computer specialist, SCC. From 12 May an overtime ban will begin, which may escalate if the Co-op Bank maintains its stance, Unifi warned.

Post Strike for sacked colleague
POSTAL WORKERS at the Aston sorting office in Birmingham were due to start a ballot this week against the sacking of a worker accused of drinking, and against attacks on the CWU union by management. Around 100 workers on the night shift stopped work two weeks ago in protest at the sacking of a postal worker with 27 years service, and management withdrew all union facility time in retaliation.

Strike action threat to six-term school year
A LEADING teaching union says it will ballot its Hampshire members over strike action if the county council pushes ahead with plans to change the pattern of the next school year. Last week, the National Association of Schoolmasters Union for Women Teachers (NASUWT) wrote to its members asking them to vote in a ballot for industrial action in protest at Hampshire's plans to divide the 2005-6 academic year into six more or less equal parts.


Ryanair says union cancels plans for Dublin airport strike on March 18
LONDON (AFX) - Irish trade union SIPTU has backed down from plans to hold a strike at Dublin airport on Thursday, said Ryanair Holdings PLC, the airport's biggest customer.

End in sight for lecturers' pay dispute
Lecturers' leaders today called for an end to the industrial action which threatened to disrupt students' exams in the old universities after securing assurances from the university employers on future pay.
The Association of University Teachers (AUT) said a deal reached with the employers in talks convened by the TUC general secretary, Brendan Barber, on Monday and Tuesday would mean an average pay rise of more than 12% over two years. The deal will be recommended to union's executive and to next week's conference in Scarborough.

Water workers call off strike
A PLANNED strike by Anglian Water employees over pension scheme changes has been called off. Employees of the water company voted to strike on Tuesday.
But the action has been called off following Anglian Water opening talks with the four unions representing staff.

Water staff vote for a strike
WORKERS at Anglian Water have voted in favour of a strike.
The industrial action comes as a result of a row over plans to change their pension scheme. But on Tuesday staff voted in favour of the walkout which will take place at depots on March 30 in Bedfordshire, Northants, Cambs, Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk.

A dispute by city college lecturers strike over a new contract has officially ended. Staff returned to work at Leicester College earlier this month after four weeks of industrial action. They were protesting over a new contract which would have cut lecturers' holiday by four days. Natfhe union members voted yesterday to return to normal working hours. The revised contract will still see a reduction in holidays but it will be phased in over a number of years.
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  1. Why so low — Andre