For the past month cleaners and other staff at the GBH hospital in Swindon have been campaigning against racism, bullying, and unfair treatment by their employer carillion. The campaign has included 12 days of strike action by over 100 workers in the GMB union and numerous demonstrations. On Saturday, as the workers are set to enter another week of strikes, they held their largest demonstration to date. They were joined by locals from Swindon including the National Union of Teachers, Unite, and Swindon anarchists; aswell as groups from around the region such as Bristol Anarchist Federation, SWP and SP.
The demo was lively as the cleaners and their supporters (totalling around 350 people) marched and danced their way through the streets of Swindon. There was unanimous support for the strikers amongst all the passers by we spoke to, with some showing particular interest in the fact strikes were spreading from the public sector to the private sector.
The dispute began due to the mostly Goan cleaners facing constant bullying and harassment from Carillion, despite 109 individual complaints the company refuses to accept and deal with what the cleaners have described as institutional racism. There are also demands for the right to take their holiday in blocks larger than ten days to allow people to visit their families, and accusations of corruption amongst the Carillion management. Whilst the company seems to think it can ride out the dispute with scab labour bussed in from other sites, the GMB is digging in for a long fight and they have the passion, energy and drive to see this through.
For more information or to get involved in the continuing actions get in touch with Swindon anarchists: firstname.lastname@example.org
TV Licence workers at CAPITA are continuing their fight for fair pay with a week-long rolling strike commencing this Monday. Support staff on the picket lines!
CAPITA specialise in buying up public sector contracts as they become privatised, they then rake in massive profits by driving down working conditions and wages for staff. Due to TUPE legislation management will initially have to keep all staff contracts the same, however they will quickly use every tactic at their disposal to lower conditions.
TVL workers have seen permanent staff replaced with agency workers at every opportunity, with staff on decent contracts encouraged to leave, meanwhile bellow inflation pay rises or pay freezes have seen their pay effectively reduced since CAPITA took over. Whist CAPITA is using the current recession as an excuse for this, the argument simply doesn’t stand up to scrutiny:
- CAPITA profits have increased substantially in the past two years, despite the recession.
- Profits currently stand in excess of one million pounds a day.
- The contract for TV licencing has been so profitable it has been used as a case study and recently been renewed for another 8 years.
- Whilst low paid workers have had bellow inflation pay offers, the CEO and senior executives have been given a 17% pay increase!
This is the reason workers have decided to demand the pay they deserve and they know their bosses can afford (a 77% yes vote on strike action). It has already led to several days of strikes around the country, including on November the 30th dispelling the myth that only public sector workers are fighting cuts to their living standards. As CWU assistant secretary Andy Furrey put it “Both disputes are about fairness – fair pay for Capita workers and fair pensions for public sector workers. We both face powerful employers who say they can’t afford more. The truth is that these employers will use excuses to squeeze staff costs for fat cat strategies”.
Good luck to everyone on strike, fight ’till you win!
Latest issue of Bristol AFed’s irregular news sheet 1831
-Bristol Council’s Plans to close care homes and day-centres for elderly.
-Bristol Uni’s links to the arms trade
-Local nuclear plans