Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/27010

Posted on 8 March 2018 at 11:20 GMT

Woolwich ferry workers win automation campaign

Woolwich ferry photo BL2002/CC, photo BL2002/CC

Woolwich ferry photo BL2002/CC, photo BL2002/CC   (Click to enlarge)

A Unite member

The news has been filled with reports about the robot future and while it gets the odd mention, there has been relatively little detail reported about the impact on workers - save for the occasional sensational headline warning of a robot take over.

Unite the Union has correctly given the matter priority attention and produced informative reports. More importantly, Unite members working on the Woolwich Ferry in London have shown how to take the matter on in the workplace. This October will see the delivery of new, hybrid boats. The technology involved will make a number of jobs on the ferry no longer necessary - mainly in the onsite workshop. The employer put forward a reorganisation plan, which involved compulsory job losses and pay cuts.

The union responded by uniting workers in order to deal with a challenge that will be increasingly common as automation advances. This challenge, where older groups of workers may wish to take the opportunity of a retirement or redundancy package but where equally there are workers who cannot afford to leave and want to fight for their conditions, requires a campaign that takes up the demand of both groups.

To the immense credit of union members on the ferry, this is what was agreed and on this basis, a ballot for strike action took place with 98% of members voting for strike action on a turnout that also beat the threshold set by the latest anti-trade union legislation. This forced the employers into serious negotiations where the union held the line that both sets of workers' demands must be met.

The leverage from the strike ballot forced the employers to agree a no-compulsory-redundancy process, a three-year pay protection arrangement for those moved jobs where nearly all workers will receive 100% pay protection, enhanced redundancy terms for those who do volunteer to leave now, a pay increase this April and the option of enhanced redundancy terms for workers who do not accept voluntary redundancy at this stage but who are unsuccessful when applying for a job later on in the process.

Clearly, there is a bigger picture whereby the unions must nationally be calling for automation to benefit workers, with more leisure time without loss of income and alternative employment. The victory won by the Woolwich Ferry workers, building on the campaign they won last year against sexual harassment and breaches of health and safety, shows that campaigns can be won at a local level - and should be used as examples for a national response.


This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 8 March 2018 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:

Woolwich:

triangleWoolwich ferry workers begin ten days of strike action

triangleWoolwich Ferry staff to strike over pay and safety

triangleWorkplace and union news in brief

triangleWoolwich Crossrail walkouts to demand promised bonuses

triangleNo to the Woolwich monster block

Workers:

triangleNorthern Ireland's strike wave

triangleAverage wages recover to pre-crisis levels - but we're still over a decade behind

triangleThis is the BBC: fight the cuts - and the capitalist media

trianglePacked meeting of workplace militants, strikers, socialists and trade union leaders

Redundancy:

triangleGrimethorpe dinner ladies stage all-out strike against redundancy

triangle600 more retail jobs on the line: workers must not pay for the bosses' high street crunch!

triangleHull college workers and students protest redundancy plan

Union:

trianglePCS union relaunches pay campaign

triangleWorkers call on Interserve bosses to recognise union

Pay:

triangleHousing cuts cost lives

Strike:

triangleAnti-academy strikes growing

Unite:

triangleUnite union executive council elections

Trade union:

triangleLeicester Socialist Party: Fighting austerity & anti-trade union laws

Health and safety:

triangleNewham housing repairs workers announce strike dates

Technology:

triangleThe private sector will never provide broadband to every home, nationalisation will

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

26/2/20

London

Packed meeting of workplace militants, strikers, socialists and trade union leaders

26/2/20

UCU

University workers' strike over pay, pensions and workload escalates

26/2/20

Housing

Housing cuts cost lives

26/2/20

Cuts

Stop the council cuts

26/2/20

Appeal

Congress 2020 appeal: Donate to help us renew vital resources

26/2/20

Solidarity

Solidarity with striking university staff

26/2/20

Academies

Anti-academy strikes growing

26/2/20

Labour leadership

Council cuts could cost Labour another general election

26/2/20

PCS

PCS union relaunches pay campaign

26/2/20

Leicester

Leicester: We can't take any more cuts, any more misery, and we are fighting back

26/2/20

Coventry

Coventry: A socialist councillor who will vote against cuts

26/2/20

The Socialist

Socialist sellers

26/2/20

Women

Number of women killed by current or ex-partner rises

26/2/20

Students

Students and workers out together on Budget Day, 11 March

25/2/20

Royal Mail

Royal Mail workers in the Communication Workers' Union (CWU) supporting a 'yes' vote in a reballot for strike action, at a gate meeting at Leicester Meridian, 25.2.20, photo by Steve Score

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999