Fawley Oil Refinery strike 8 April. Photo: Nick Chaffey
Fawley Oil Refinery strike 8 April. Photo: Nick Chaffey

Chep workers’ pay victory

Unite members at Chep UK in Trafford Park in Manchester have won a major 14% pay victory. This comes as a result of a determined strike since December 2021 by workers who do the vital job of supplying and repairing pallets for goods transport.

Unite reports that they will receive a 9% pay increase, and other elements, including a lump sum and extra annual leave. The total package is worth as much as 14%.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “I’m very proud of Unite’s reps and members at Chep. This was a tough dispute but the workers stood their ground and won an excellent deal. The workers knew that the company could afford a fair wage so they kept up the fight and they won.”

Fawley contractors strike for pay and suspended rep

Nick Chaffey, Southampton Socialist Party

On Monday 25 April, maintenance contractors at the Fawley refinery were out in force striking for better pay, sick pay and in support of their suspended trade union rep. Following the success of the first day of action, the rep was suspended after directly employed maintenance crews refused to cross the picket line.

After working through the Covid pandemic as ‘essential workers’, they are furious that Exxon Mobil are offering just 2.5% – after making £6.75 billion profits in 2021! Malcolm Bonnett, Unite official, attacked Exxon for leaving workers, who are out in all weathers every day of the year, on statutory sick pay, while others on site receive full company sick pay.

With large numbers of strikers protesting at the two main gates, it is clear that workers are determined to win their share of the profits made during the Covid pandemic, defend their rep and their union rights.

Victory for hospital security guards 

John Gillman, Reading Socialist Party

After 16 months of strike action – marches, protests and support from the wider trade union movement – security workers employed by private company Kingdom at The Royal Berkshire Hospital have secured a 7.5% pay rise, with some back pay.

Even Labour councillors were forced to support them – although they have outsourced their own services!

These workers often have to deffuse tense situations by those frustrated at long waiting times at A&E caused by Tory cuts. While 7.5% is a step forward we need 15% now for all workers in the NHS. The campaign goes on to bring these services back into the NHS. Why pay the middle man?

Just Eat strike spreads to Darlington

Alan Docherty, Teesside Socialist Party

The strike of Just East couriers working for Stuarts in the ‘gig’ economy, that started in Sheffield, has spread to the North East – at first to Sunderland and Middlesbrough, and now Darlington.

They are angry at the £1.10 cut in their base rate for each delivery, from £4.50 to £3.40. On 28 April, at a meeting of 30 Darlington drivers, they agreed to start strike action straight away and every day between 12 noon and 2pm for at least a week. They are targeting McDonald’s, Greggs, KFC and others.

The dispute now has the support of over 60 drivers with pickets at most fast food outlets across the town. Their action forced the companies to shut down the delivery app over lunch times. Morale is high and strikers enthusiastic that they are getting their message across to Stuarts: to reverse the cut and for decent pay!

These workers are technically self-employed. We would call it bogus self-employment. They get no holiday or sick pay.  One worker said that during the pandemic he was petrified he would get Covid as his family’s income would then be non-existent.

A striker told us that, after the cut in base rates, he is lucky if he makes about £10 an hour. And that is before the rising cost of fuel, higher car insurance for business use, and higher prices for everything.

As a small independent union, the IWGB has no strike fund, so is appealing for trade union donations to sustain and spread the strike action. You can donate by BACS to:

  • Account name: Couriers and Logistics branch
  • Sort Code: 23-05-80
  • Account number: 17001094