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From The Socialist newspaper, 8 August 2018
Kirklees bin workers' strike forces management back
Bins, photo Ivor Ibrahamsen (Creative Commons) (Click to enlarge)
Mike Forster, Huddersfield Socialist Party
The threatened all-out strike of Kirklees bin workers has been averted. The week-long strike at the start of July ended without an agreement being reached and Unison announced their intention to call all-out action if the dispute wasn't settled.
The primary issue was management bullying and racism, as they tried to manage shrinking budgets by pushing the workers harder and harder. This included pushing the workers to overload wagons beyond the legal limit as rounds were expanded, denying time off for hospital appointments for a worker who had cancer and refusing other time to take their leave entitlement. Complaints and grievances were ignored - in fact one of the stewards was suspended for bringing a complaint!
The first July strike was solid among Unison members, but unfortunately the handful of GMB members were escorted across the picket lines by their union officials. Likewise, some Unite members continued working - but a significant number refused to.
Management had clearly hoped to break the strike using the other minority unions. When this ploy backfired, and further action was announced, management agreed to more talks. The new offer was accepted unanimously.
It includes recruiting ten more permanent drivers with two new rounds and a further 30 agency staff to cover for leave and sickness. Crucially two of the more hardline managers have been removed from the workplace.
Yet again, the threat of strike action has forced management to climb down. The agreement will be kept under close review as the ballot will remain live for the next few months. Any backtracking by management will be met with resumed strikes.
Socialist Party members had decided not to wait for the announced all-out strike and successfully proposed that the trade union council organise a public meeting on 23 July to launch a 'Bin Workers Support Group'. Speakers included reps from Mid Yorkshire Unison, who also recently voted to take strike action against privatisation, and the hospital campaign Hands Off HRI.
Anger was directed at the Labour council, whose leader has announced that the strike was politically motivated, and which had taken management's side in the talks. This betrayal has not gone unnoticed and further pressure is being applied to the Labour group and party activists to censure the council for refusing to support a critical dispute.
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In The Socialist 8 August 2018:
What we think
Corbyn must end false unity with Labour's right
Socialist Party news and analysis
Birmingham home carers strike
Northants Council in total collapse: for a citizens' assembly to draw up a 'needs budget'
Rents soar 60% faster than pay - while spivs plan luxury homes on Green Belt
Tax-dodging tech bosses make billons ... while 6m workers fear the scrapheap
No to Tory plans for radioactive waste under national parks
Them & us
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
The fight against Labour's Blairites and TUSC's role now
Workplace news and analysis
NHS workers angry at reality of mis-sold 'pay rise'
Government fails to deliver on funding and teachers' pay - demand action to win 5%
PCS union: break the pay cap - the fight continues!
Kirklees bin workers' strike forces management back
Ministry of Justice workers angry at barrage of attacks
Take on probation privatisation with union action
Bournemouth train guards' RMT strike
London cleaners' coordinated strike
International socialist news and analysis
Israel - Protest rally against the Nationality Law
Deadly fires ravage Greece: austerity contributed to high loss of life and property
Striking Portuguese dockers show the way forward
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
A mass campaign and trade union organisation can defeat the far-right FLA
Protests win temporary halt to refugee evictions in Glasgow
Why I joined: "I saw the need for Corbyn to stand against the right"
Shropshire NHS - fight the cuts to our services!
Tolpuddle festival: combative trade unionism and anticipation of general election
Trade unions mobilise against EDL in Worcester
A must-read for anyone fighting NHS cuts
The Socialist inbox
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