'Solidarity has paid off'
UniteLive looks at Unite’s recent victories in workplaces across the UK
When Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey told British workers last month that they shouldn’t ask for a pay rise, he perhaps didn’t get the memo that Unite members are standing firm to protect their livelihoods – and they’re not taking no for an answer.
Amid an unprecedented cost of living crisis, Unite members are, against all odds, winning in workplaces across the UK. This is thanks in no small part to the union’s renewed industrial focus on jobs, pay and conditions under the leadership of Unite general secretary Sharon Graham.
Below are Unite’s top 10 wins over the last six weeks alone – these are only a handful of the dozens of victories Unite has notched up in the preceding months.
- Carntyne Transport workers secure 19 per cent wage rise
At the end of January, Unite Scotland has secured an inflation busting pay rise of 19 per cent for cask handlers, heavy goods vehicle (HGV), forklift and shunter drivers employed by Carntyne Transport.
Unite had been in dispute with the Springburn (Glasgow) based logistics firm, which is part of the Russell Group.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham called the win “a major victory for our members at Carntyne Transport who led the fight for better jobs, pay and conditions”.
“This deal is yet another example of our members fighting back and driving-up standards across the logistics industry,” she added.
- Unite secures bumper pay deal for BMW Mini workers in Oxford
In February, Unite secured a multi-year pay deal for 3,500 workers based at BMW’s Mini production plant in Cowley, Oxford. The three year pay deal is worth at least 26.1 per cent to the workers when all its elements are factored in.
Commenting, Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “This is a great deal, which Unite members at BMW in Oxford have won to provide stability and assurance for the workforce over the next three years.
- Major victory for outsourced NHS workers at Barts
In March, Unite struck a landmark agreement with one of the UK’s largest NHS trusts to bring 1,800 NHS workers employed by the outsourcer Serco into NHS employment.
Cleaners, porters, security guards, and domestic staff working at the Barts Health group of hospitals are to benefit from NHS pay, terms and conditions. The agreement came after workers staged a two-week strike in January and February.
Unite regional officer Tabusam Ahmed said, “The agreement negotiated between Unite and Barts is a significant step forward. The workers have tirelessly campaigned and their solidarity has paid off. Barts has set an example which other NHS trusts should follow.”
- XPO workers secure significant pay increase as strikes called off
Workers employed by XPO Transport Solutions have secured a significant pay increase after members of Unite voted to take strike action over low pay.
The Unite members, including warehouse workers, cross-dock operatives and HGV drivers, had voted for industrial action because their rates of pay were significantly below those of the company’s competitors.
Following the yes vote for strike action fresh negotiations were held and new rates of pay were agreed ending the dispute.
The warehouse and cross dock operatives will receive an increase of approximately 15 per cent increase in hourly rates while HGV drivers will see pay rates increase by approximately 27 per cent.
Commenting, Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “The pay increase demonstrates how Unite’s strategy of always prioritising the jobs, pay and conditions of workers is paying dividends.”
- Avonmouth GXO lorry drivers on Co-op contract secure double digit pay increase
In February, over 100 HGV drivers employed by logistics company GXO on the Co-op supermarket contract based at Avonmouth in South West England secured a 15 per cent pay increase.
The pay increase follows a long period of industrial unrest at the workers’ depot.
Unite regional officer Gareth Lowe said, “This pay deal represents good value for hard working drivers who have continued to work throughout the pandemic.
- First Manchester bus dispute ends as workers accept vastly improved pay offer
Strike action that affected the entire First Manchester bus service ended in February after drivers accepted a vastly improved pay offer. The 300 plus drivers, members of Unite, accepted the offer which will see pay rates increase by 8.9 per cent.
In addition to the increase in basic pay the drivers will see all other payments increase by the same percentage and they will also receive a one off payment of £750.
Commenting, Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “This deal puts down a strong marker for other bus companies that Unite will fight for decent pay increases that reflect the cost of living crisis. We are determined to defend members’ jobs, pay and conditions – it is Unite’s number one priority.”
- Worksop B&Q strikes end with Wincanton workers celebrating 10.75% victory
Strikes at B&Q’s national distribution centre in Worksop came to an end in February after Wincanton workers accepted a pay deal worth 10.75 per cent.
The deal, negotiated by Unite, means the 450 Wincanton employees returned to work at the site in mid-February after having been on strike since November.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Our members at Wincanton in Worksop have achieved an amazing result because, with the strength of their union behind them, they refused to back down.
Read more here.
- ‘Ground-breaking’ pay deal for ICTS workers at Glasgow Airport
In March, Unite welcomed a ‘ground-breaking’ deal for ICTS security workers based at Glasgow Airport worth up to 11.4 per cent.
Commenting, Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “The pay agreement with ICTS at Glasgow Airport is an excellent result for our members and ground-breaking at the airport. The aviation industry has been one of those areas of our economy significantly hit by the Covid pandemic, so this will be a very welcome boost to the pockets of our members.
- Cheltenham racegoers buses back on as Stagecoach workers secure pay increase
In another win for bus drivers, planned strike action involving bus drivers employed by Stagecoach West due to begin this week was called off after the workers accepted a greatly improved pay offer.
The resolution of the dispute means that the Stagecoach shuttle bus service which takes customers to the Cheltenham festival will not be disrupted.
The 380 drivers accepted a pay increase worth up to 12 per cent for 2021 and 2022.
Commenting, Unite regional officer Shevaun Hunt said, “This pay deal could not have been achieved without the hard work of Unite’s reps and by our members being prepared to stand up and say they were no longer prepared to accept low pay.”
- Stagecoach Cambus workers vote to accept a ‘significant’ pay rise
About 400 workers at Cambus – Stagecoach’s Cambridge division – who had not had a pay rise since April 2019, voted for a new pay package in January which sees increases of between 7.4 and 12.2 per cent over an 18 month period.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham called the win a “significant pay deal” which shows how “Unite will fight for decent pay increases that reflect the cost of living crisis in the coming 12 months”.
Stay tuned on UniteLive as we bring you details of more victories that Unite has achieved for its members, day in and day out.
By Hajera Blagg