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From The Socialist newspaper, 16 November 2016

Workplace news in brief

Drivers' dispute

Not a single bus moved at Arriva's Castleford depot as Unite members took part in a strike across the service in West Yorkshire. The 24-hour strike was taking place on both the issue of pay and driving hours, with Unite seeking a 20p an hour pay increase and a reduction in number of trips between breaks. A couple of young drivers talked of how they had to work for years before coming off the training rate. They also spoke of huge pressures on drivers over sick days, with many working while ill leading to more drivers coming down with illness and needing to take days off. The mood on the picket line was upbeat and determined. Yet despite the shutdown in the service, several workers felt they would need further action to force Arriva to meet their demands.

Iain Dalton, Leeds Socialist Party

Sweet strike

GMB has announced four days of strike action and continuous action short of strikes at the York sweet factory, Tangerine. Pickets will be out across every shift and there is a feeling of solidarity both on the picket line and within the factory. One worker said that this dispute is bringing the workers together in a way not seen before, and there has been a 200% increase in union membership in the months since the workers rejected an initial offer. There have been two days of strikes so far. On the first day only one line from a possible twelve lines was running. Management and inexperienced workers tried to run other lines, but this led to huge amounts of sweets being ruined and having to be skipped. A group of non-unionised Polish workers was also on the picket line and is seriously considering joining the GMB union. They were very clear about their support for the strike and solidarity with their striking co-workers. There was an 82% vote in favour of this action and although talks are continuing there is a feeling that the dispute will go on.

Nigel Smith, York Socialist Party

Bin bust-up

'Veolia Profit Machine' by a Sheffield bin worker

'Veolia Profit Machine' by a Sheffield bin worker   (Click to enlarge)

Two full days and two half days of strike action plus an effective "work to management rules" by nearly 200 Sheffield GMB bin workers forced Veolia management to increase their pay offer a second time. The 1.9% pay rise over 15 months was accepted by 162 in favour, 19 against and four spoiled ballots. This is the second dispute this year after 17 years with no strike action. Workers have shown Veolia that they will not be bullied by management or scabs, and are increasingly demanding that the Labour council take the outsourced contract back in-house as demanded by the Socialist Party in its petition to the council meeting.

Alastair Tice, Sheffield Socialist Party

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