‘Workers in Unite get results’

Three strikes resolved very successfully over Christmas break

Reading time: 5 min

The Christmas break might be a time for rest and relaxation for many, but at Unite we here for members in dispute every day of the year.

While many were hopefully enjoying a well-deserved and hard earned break, Unite managed to secure some great above inflation pay wins for members in dispute.

Buses – Unite steers pay talks to victory

Just before Christmas on December 22, Unite ended action as it pulled off a pay deal worth up to 13.1 per cent for our Go North East bus members.

Around 150 Go North East bus engineers are affected by the deal, with the majority of workers receiving a rise of between 10 and 13.1 per cent, depending on their grade.

The deal also sees the workers’ attendance bonus automatically incorporated into their hourly rate, increasing it by a further 14 pence on top of the percentage pay rise. 

The workers at depots in Dunston, Sunderland, Consett, North Shields, Washington, Hexham and Gateshead voted to accept.

“This wage deal for Go North East engineers is an excellent result for Unite’s members and testament to the hard work of our reps,” commented Unite general secretary Sharon Graham.

“We are determined to improve the jobs, pay and conditions of our members in the bus industry and this win shows that workers get results when they’re in Unite,” she added.

Unite regional officer Dave Telford said, “This result is another reminder that those looking to improve their wages and working conditions should join Unite and get their colleagues to do the same.”

Civil aviation – Relentless focus on jobs, pay, conditions succeeds again

The threat of further strike action in the run up to Christmas at Heathrow Airport ended after workers employed as ground handlers by Menzies at the airport accepted an improved pay offer.

The news was released on December 23. The 400 plus workers, employed as ground handlers, took 72 hours of strike action in November. A further 72 hour strike was due to begin on December 16, with another to follow on December 29 – but were called off at the eleventh hour, following an improved offer by the company.

The workers have accepted the deal which means they will receive an increase of 9.5 per cent backdated to May 2022, and then a further one per cent from January 2023.

“This is an excellent result for our members at Menzies. By taking a stand and acting in unity they have achieved a dramatically improved pay increase,” commented Unite general secretary Sharon Graham.

“This victory further underlines how Unite’s relentless focus on the jobs, pay and conditions of its members is paying direct financial dividends for workers.”

“Unite made it clear from the outset that we believed that Menzies could afford to make our members a fair offer and that proved to be the case. Unite will now be building on this dispute to continue to ensure that our members receive fair pay increases in the future,” added Unite regional officer Kevin Hall.

Bin strikes – super 15 per cent rise

Wirral’s striking bin workers celebrated the end of their dispute after Unite secured a 15 per cent pay rise, just before the end of the year.

Following strike action in December over 200 Unite members employed by Biffa, on the outsourced Wirral council contract, have secured a 15 per cent pay rise backdated to April 2022.

Class 2 HGV drivers will also see their hourly rates increase by £1.49 on top of the percentage pay increase. From April 2023, the workers will see their pay increase again by between seven and nine per cent, depending on the RPI rate of inflation. 

“This is another win for Unite members; this pay increase was won by workers organising in a trade union and standing together for a better deal,” said Unite general secretary Sharon Graham. 

“Unite is doing what it says on the trade union tin – we are delivering jobs, pay and conditions victories for our members. We are winning for workers in the worst cost of living crisis in decades.”

And Unite regional officer John McColl added, “Following renewed negotiations, an improved offer was put forward from Biffa which our members voted to accept. The dispute has now ended and strike action has been cancelled.” 

Of course thousands of our members are still on strike – and UNITElive commends members on their brave stands and sends them our best wishes for successful resolutions and pay and conditions justice.

Compiled by Amanda Campbell @amanda_unite

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