Today's top stories...Red wall voter fears over Three-Vodafone merger

Red Wall voters want UK government to stop dangerous Three-Vodafone merger

Reading time: 5 min

A Survation poll for Unite of over 1,000 adults in Red Wall seats reveals many voters share Unite’s concerns about Three’s owner, CK Hutchison, and its links to the Chinese state.

 If the merger is approved CK Group will have significant control over the privacy and security of 27 million UK mobile customers.

 As Unite research has shown, the Three-Vodafone merger will give CK Group access to a series of UK government contracts but six out of 10 (60 per cent) people are opposed, saying they do not want CK Group to be involved in UK government contracts.

 Almost eight in 10 are concerned about CK Group having access to their personal data due to CK Group being subject to Hong Kong’s pervasive national security law and its snooping powers.

Red Wall voters also want these concerns turned into action: two-thirds support Unite’s call for the government to step in and block the merger on national security grounds.

 Unite executive head of operations, Gail Cartmail said, “Unite has warned the government for months about the risks this merger poses to UK consumers and national security. This polling shows conclusively that the public shares our concerns. It’s time for the government and politicians to stand up for the British people and block this dangerous merger.”

Industrial action looms as Coventry council continues to attack terms and conditions 

Unite has today given notice to Coventry council that it will ballot 55 refuse workers for strike action and action short of a strike.

Coventry council is attempting to impose significant cuts to the workers’ terms and conditions.

The loaders will begin voting for action on 10 October, the ballot will close on Tuesday 24 October. More than 40 HGV refuse lorry drivers employed by Labour-controlled Coventry council have already voted for strike action.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Coventry council is once again targeting the terms and conditions of frontline workers. Our members are on the streets every week during heatwaves and hailstorms.

“The Labour controlled council appears to have learned nothing from the 2022 strike. If another strike goes ahead residents will only have their councillors to blame.”

During the first half of 2022, Coventry’s HGV refuse lorry drivers went on strike for six months to secure a reasonable pay rise. The council unsuccessfully spent £9.4 million trying to break the strike – an amount that dwarfed the costs of actually settling the pay claim – and was heavily criticised by Unite.

NHS Confederation workers to strike over pay

 Staff at the NHS Confederation, the membership body for organisations that commission and provide NHS services, are set to take industrial action over cuts to pay.

 Unite, Britain’s leading trade union, announced that its NHS Confederation staff members will walk out on Thursday 5 October. They work in policy, communications, managerial and administrative roles within the organisation.

The strike, the first in the Confed’s history, coincides with a meeting of the organisation’s Board of Trustees.

 Following the introduction of a new pay structure which saw one-in-five staff hit by a take-home pay cut and opportunities for pay progression curtailed, Unite members will head to the picket line as part of a campaign to reinstate staff pay and progression opportunities.

 Nearly 90 per cent of members taking part in the ballot voted to take strike action. A Unite survey of all staff, before the pay cut was imposed, found 60 per cent already said they were struggling with the cost of living. 

 Picket line protests will take place at the two NHS Confederation offices on Thursday (October 5)  from 11.30am to 1pm.

NHS Confederation membership includes acute trusts, ambulance trusts, community health service providers, foundation trusts, mental health providers, primary care networks and integrated care systems in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and some independent and voluntary sector healthcare organisations that deliver services within the NHS.  While officially a charitable body, the NHS Confederation’s own annual report states that it has a strong cash balance and holds healthy reserves.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Our members at the NHS Confederation do vital roles and are asking that pay doesn’t go backwards in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis. NHS Confederation staff will have the full backing of Unite in their fight for a better pay settlement.”

Compiled by UniteLive team