July 25, 2022: in our first strike round-up, rail workers are out this week, with IT workers in BT and Openreach starting national action. Workers have won pay rises from Heathrow to Sandwell – and national public sector ballots are underway.

Teachers on the RMT picket line at Paddington, London

Victories

Workers are winning double-digit pay rises in workplaces around the country. In many cases, management concede a pay rise after a successful ballot or threatened strike without an actual strike taking place.

Heathrow airport
Refuelling workers have won a 12.5 percent pay rise, an increase in weekend overtime rates and £2,500 bonus. The workers are employed by Aviation Fuel Services (AFS), which is responsible for refuelling half of the non-British Airways traffic at Heathrow airport. A 72-hour walkout was scheduled to begin on Thursday 21 July, but was called off when management offered an improved deal.
Sandwell refuse workers
Outsourced workers in the West Midlands have won a 9 percent pay rise and 5 days extra holiday a year after threatening to strike during the Commonwealth Games. Plans to begin strike action on 28 July brought management back to the table with an improved offer.
BA check-in workers
Hundreds of staff had voted to strike after British Airways refused to reinstate a 10 percent pay cut imposed during the pandemic. After an “overwhelming” strike vote negotiations restarted and workers won a 13 percent pay rise.
Sainsbury’s HGV drivers
200 Sainsbury’s HGV drivers in Basingstoke have accepted a 12 percent pay rise. The pay rise was won without a strike or even a successful ballot – a shortage of drivers means bosses need to hold on to staff.
Lerwick Port
Lerwick is the main town in Shetland, islands 170km north of the Scottish mainland. Around a dozen key workers had taken indefinite strike action for almost a month from 20 June. The strike has won workers huge pay rises of 34 to 38 percent, with an increase in the employers’ pension contributions and a new rota which aims to cut working hours.

Ongoing disputes

Several national disputes are continuing. Show your support by visiting a picket line!

Arriva NW bus drivers
1,800 bus workers in North West England are still on strike in a dispute over pay, as we reported last week.
Rail workers
Rail workers in the RMT and the white collar TSSA union will take strike action on Wednesday 27 July. ASLEF train drivers will strike on Saturday 30 July. Read our interview with RMT activists to find out more about the issues.
Telecoms and IT
CWU members at BT and Openreach will strike on Friday 29 July and Monday 1 August. Management are seeking to impose a flat-rate pay increase of £1,500. That’s way below inflation, when BT profits are at £1.3 billion and Chief Exec Philip Jansen has a £3.5 million pay package.
Criminal barristers
Barristers will strike for a week from Monday 1 to Friday 5 August. A barrister from Manchester explains the issues behind the strike.

Strike ballots

Non-academic university staff
20,000 staff in 93 universities, including administrators, cleaners, security and catering staff, are voting on strike action. 86 percent of staff previously rejected a pay offer of 3 percent. The ballot has begun and closes on 19 August.
Nurses
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is to ballot nurses on industrial action over pay. The RCN has been campaigning for a pay rise of 5 percent over inflation, which means at least 14 percent. The government is offering an incrwase of less than 4 percent on the average basic pay for nurses. Polling shows 60 percent of public would support a nurses’ strike.

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