Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1136/32591
Liverpool Uni three-week walkout
Around 1,300 staff at the University of Liverpool began three weeks of strike action on 24 May, in a fight over cuts to jobs in the faculty of health and life sciences, said the University and College Union.
Staff are on strike every working day until 11 June unless the university halts the cuts.
The strikes come after 84% of members, who voted in a ballot last month, backed strike action to fight the university's plans to slash teaching and research jobs in the faculty. The university originally intended to sack up to 47 staff. This has since been revised down to 32 after UCU threatened industrial action.
Engineers fight 'fire and rehire'
Field service engineers at Brush Electrical Machines in Leicestershire have started a three-month strike over proposed changes to their contracts. The job involves going out to sites across the world to service the manufacturer's generators.
Unite says the contracts include reductions to overtime rates, allowances, holidays and other terms and conditions that would result in a pay cut of between £10,000 and £15,000 a year, and the company is using 'fire and rehire' to try and push the changes through.
Unite regional officer, Lakhy Mahal, said: "Throughout the pandemic, these engineers have continued to travel wherever Brush Electrical needed them to be, even though they had to spend weeks quarantining in solitary confinement to do so.
The industrial action will last from 25 May to 16 August.
Marks & Spencer distribution strike
Usdaw members have voted to strike in a dispute about the amount of redundancy pay that long-serving staff will receive when the site closes at the end of July. The industrial action affects a Marks & Spencer third-party logistics contract, operated by DHL at Long Eaton in Derbyshire.
Ed Leach, Usdaw area organiser, says: "Over 90% of Usdaw members have voted in favour of industrial action. DHL's refusal to agree that staff employed prior to July 2003, who are now being made redundant, are entitled to significantly enhanced redundancy pay."
Pizza Express slice workers' tips
Unite has said that Pizza Express workers could lose an average of £2,000 a year if the cut to their share of tips paid via credit and debit cards or the company's app continues. It was suddenly reduced from 70% to 50% as restaurants reopened.
Waiting staff said their take-home pay had been as much as halved as the shift to contactless payments had also led to fewer cash tips, which waiting staff keep in full.
One worker said: "My wages have nosedived. The reality is everybody I'm working with is on minimum wage - so that is council tax or a dental bill."
Card tips at Pizza Express are managed via a 'tronc', in which a committee of staff members decide on how they are allocated. Workers said the members of the committee, led by a member of Pizza Express's head office team, had not been elected by staff and minutes of meetings were not available.
London sixth form college dispute
City and Islington College Sixth Form workers in their third week of strike action against the college's merger into Capital City College Group, which has led to falling pay and staff levels, rising workload, and zero consultation from management.
Trade union membership on the up
Between 2019 and 2020 trade union membership increased by over 100,000, the fourth consecutive year in which it has risen. The last time that happened was the late 70s.
This increase was propelled by a massive increase in the number of trade union members in the public sector of over 200,000. Almost 150,000 of these new members were employed in education, reflecting the trade union struggle for Covid safety in the schools.
In The Socialist 2 June 2021: