Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/951/25566
From The Socialist newspaper, 31 May 2017
Manchester housing workers' strike solid
Mears maintenance workers'; strike, 15.5.17, photo Becci Heagney (Click to enlarge)
The three-day a week strike by housing maintenance workers in Manchester is continuing. Workers expect a long battle, one for which they are prepared.
Pickets are rightly outraged at the huge disparities - £5,000, £6,000 even £7,000 - in the pay of workers doing exactly the same work in the same city. Petty penny-pinching, such as demanding that workers pay for damaged screens on the hand-held electronic PDAs which direct them to their jobs, only adds insult to injury.
Management are using sub-contractors on strike days, and the use of PDAs make this form of strike-breaking easier, but it's costing employer Mears a fortune.
The dispute has arisen from decisions by the Labour council to outsource housing maintenance - at a time when many councils are considering bringing it back in house.
Colin Pitt, Unite steward, is a Labour Party member but is severely critical of Manchester's Labour administration: "We have sat down on two occasions with the council's deputy leader who was made aware in no uncertain terms where the dispute would end up. He did not even respond to our last meeting and six weeks later simply handed the contract to the company we're in dispute with."
Mears workers have seen too much of the cosy relationship between Labour councillors on inflated allowances and housing association chiefs on six-figure salaries. The Blairite councillors in Manchester town hall jumped on the 'Northern Powerhouse' bandwagon, despite George Osborne's cuts and privatisation agenda. Jeremy Corbyn's campaign has much to attract workers but the actions of Labour councillors are making it harder, not easier, to win.
Paul Gerrard, Salford Socialist Party
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In The Socialist 31 May 2017:
What we think
Mobilise for a mass movement after 8 June
How can Corbyn's programme be implemented?
Socialist Party news and analysis
After 8 June: build the socialist fightback
Workers warned BA boss of tech failure danger
Families to have £15,000 debt by 2020 - trade union action needed
Tories and Blairites in pockets of big business: kick them out!
Fighting Tory schools cuts
Struggle can beat Tories' outlandish 7% cuts to schools
Fighting Tory cuts to the schools budget
International socialist news and analysis
South Africa: burning anger
Workplace news and analysis
PCS conference: Confident delegates back fighting strategy and Jeremy Corbyn
Certification officer confirms that Unison did break the rules in general secretary election
Gains for left in Unison national executive election
Shortened GMB conference to hear pro-Corbyn and anti-austerity motions
Strike action to save Sheffield Jobcentre
Union stops finance for anti-Corbyn Labour MP
Manchester housing workers' strike solid
Bully bosses' zero-hour backdown
National Shop Stewards Network conference 2017
Tory attacks on mental health care
Fight the Tory cuts and changes that take mental health back to Bedlam
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Don't wait! Join the Socialist Party to transform society
Electric atmosphere at Jeremy Corbyn rally in Glasgow
Why I joined: "To fight for an end to tuition fees and cuts"
Manchester socialists campaigning against war, racism, terrorism and austerity
Socialist Party hosts pro-Corbyn rally in Southampton
Student occupation at Chelsea College of Arts
North Bristol: angry march in defence of the NHS
Book launch meeting: showing the Socialist Party's active participation in events past and present
Women and austerity - scrap the 'rape clause'
Socialist readers' comments and reviews
June 1917: when workers in Britain first tried to form soviets
Heroic socialist fighters who sang as ship went down - new memorial
Corbyn's policies could help fight unhappiness for LGBT+ people
Obituary: Rhodri Morgan 1939-2017, architect of the 'Welsh Labour' brand
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