Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/24086

Posted on 8 December 2016 at 12:38 GMT

Victory for UPS parcel workers

photo MobiusDaXter/Creative Commons

photo MobiusDaXter/Creative Commons   (Click to enlarge)

Unite the Union members employed by UPS parcels in Camden, London, have won a tremendous victory in a long running battle against bullying and racism.

The company has a business model which forces drivers to work overtime using bullying tactics such as sending messages out to drivers who are out on route, demanding that they finish delivering all packages before returning to the depot - and threatening disciplinary action if this condition is not met.

The workers who load the vans work under Victorian conditions, with tremendous pressure to load vans as quickly as possible - reporting that they have even been fed high sugar energy drinks to keep them going through the night shift.

These workers have complained in particular of racism and bullying over a long period, but have felt too intimidated and afraid of victimisation to follow complaints through.

Negotiations have taken place since February at Acas which followed a consultation ballot where members expressed a clear desire for a strike ballot. Progress was slow and stalled and the reps finally had enough and called for an official strike ballot, which returned a 85% yes vote, but on a small turnout.

Once news of the ballot got out around the country, reps in other depots expressed concern about action taking place, because of the low turnout. They also expressed fear that the company would withdraw from the recognition agreement.

However, the courageous reps at Camden took the view that a recognition agreement is only as good as the results it delivers. They therefore pressed for notice of strike action to be issued without delay, which the union did, setting the 7th and 9th December as strike days.

Once again reps outside of Camden expressed concern, this time in strong and sometimes insulting terms - again expressing more concern for the recognition agreement than for day-to-day conditions. However, events proved the Camden reps right.

Following the issue of notice for strike action, which would have coincided with the December peak season, the employer started serious talks. Within the space of four days more was achieved by local reps than had been achieved by national negotiations for nearly a year.
An agreement was signed that led to the strike being called off only after the local reps were satisfied that issues had been addressed.

The multi-issue agreement includes measures to start dealing with racism but also includes a proposal that will mean drivers no longer being bullied to work forced overtime. This is a huge step - the UPS business model relies on forced overtime.

Unsurprisingly, those reps who were critical of Camden now wish to see this rolled out across other depots. The Unite response must be to support depots outside of Camden who now have the confidence to fight too.

But there are also clear lessons. This campaign was won despite a very low turnout in a ballot, emphasising again how important it is for the trade union movement to fight measures aimed at restricting the ability of workers to take strike action following a yes vote.

It is of course vital that work is done to maximise turnouts in ballots. But equally, there are plenty of campaigns that grow from low turnouts and win important victories.

Socialist Party reporters

This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 8 December 2016 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.






Related links:

Camden:

triangleCamden Socialist Party: The struggle for socialism around the world

triangleCamden Socialist Party: What next after the EU referendum?

triangleWe won't move! Mass resistance can defeat the Tories' housing act

triangleNorth London Socialist Party: The EU referendum - What position should socialists take?

triangleWorkers and youth unite to defend vital services

Workers:

triangleTata pension deal: 'Gun to the head' offer accepted

triangleAslef members reject Southern deal - now for coordinated action to fight to win

Reps:

trianglePolicy conference backs reselection of Labour MPs

triangleStop supermarket bosses making us pay for their mistakes

triangleWorkplace news in brief

Drivers:

triangleUltimatum as Deliveroo drivers down tools in Brighton

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

17/2/17

Steel

Tata pension deal: 'Gun to the head' offer accepted

15/2/17

London

Vibrant Picturehouse pickets in continued living wage strike

15/2/17

Leicester

Thousands march to defend Glenfield heart centre

15/2/17

May Day

May Day greetings in the Socialist

15/2/17

Fracking

Toxic fracking could start in England in 2017

15/2/17

The Socialist

The Socialist: 20 years old and more important than ever

15/2/17

Unite

Workplace news in brief

15/2/17

PCS

PCS union pledges to fight Jobcentre job losses at public meetings

15/2/17

Tesco

Solidarity with Tesco Ireland Valentine's Day strike

15/2/17

IWGB

Ultimatum as Deliveroo drivers down tools in Brighton

15/2/17

PCS

"Disgraceful" treatment of sacked EHRC workers

15/2/17

Rail

United fightback needed as entire grade of rail worker is at stake

15/2/17

Trump

Resist Trump and his rotten policies: why I'm walking out on 'Day X'

15/2/17

Socialist Party

New Socialist Party press

14/2/17

Labour

Wallasey Labour remains suspended despite collapse of allegations

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle17 Feb Tata pension deal: 'Gun to the head' offer accepted

triangle16 Feb Aslef members reject Southern deal - now for coordinated action to...

triangle15 Feb Socialist Students: growing, brimming with confidence

triangle15 Feb March to save #OurNHS

triangle15 Feb Vibrant Picturehouse pickets in continued living wage strike

triangle15 Feb French presidential election: crisis in the establishment parties

No cuts!, photo by JB

triangle15 Feb Council cuts can be fought - and they must be!

More ...

triangle20 Feb Chesterfield Socialist Party: Capitalism - On the edge of the volcano?

triangle20 Feb Leeds Socialist Party: LGBT rights & the Russian Revolution

triangle21 Feb Bristol North Socialist Party: Where is Britain heading?

triangle21 Feb Manchester Socialist Party: Where does British capitalism come from?

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice