RMT union members on strike (Picture: Guy Smallman)

Some 40,000 rail workers have announced strikes throughout March as part of their fight for pay, jobs, pensions and safety.

Members of the RMT union working of 14 train operators plan to strike on 16, 18 and 30 March and 1 April. And those employed by Network Rail are set to strike on 16 March and refuse to work overtime.

RMT leaders called the action after rejecting a poor offer from the Rail Delivery Group, which represents the train operating companies. They offered a rise of just 5 percent for last year, or a minimum or £1,750, whichever is the greater, and 4 percent for this year.

That falls far short of inflation and comes with a raft of attacks that threaten job security. Yet leaders of the TSSA union accepted it on behalf of 3,000 of their members.

The TSSA has withdrawn ballots for further strikes but still opposes proposed ticket office closures. The train drivers’ union Aslef is still in dispute but has no strikes planned.

Outsourced cleaners, security, revenue protection and travel safe staff employed by ISS on Transport for London’s (TfL) DLR services struck for 48 hours from last Friday. They have rejected a pay offer of 1.8 percent.

The workers, members of the RMT union, are underpaid compared to others on TfL performing equivalent roles. And despite the union winning free travel for all outsourced workers on the London Underground, ISS staff have so far not been told whether they will get this.

Action on buses  in Scotland

Bus cleaners, fuellers and shunters employed by Bidvest Noonan on First Bus operations in Glasgow and Aberdeen are set to strike over pay. They have rejected a 2 percent pay offer backdated to 2022.

The over 100 members of the Unite union were set to walk out from 3pm on Wednesday of this week until 6am on Saturday of this week. And they’re set to strike again from Wednesday to Saturday of next week.

Wages at the company start at just £9.62 per hour allowing Bidvest Noonan to make a profit of £9.5 million for the year ending June 2022. That’s up from £5.96 million in the year ending June 2021.

On strike days cleaning, refuelling and recharging of electric buses won’t be carried out.  That means buses across the cities may remain in depots. The workers are demanding to be brought back in-house and to be paid fairly.

College strikers say ‘fund the future’

Workers at Havant and South Downs college in Hampshire struck on Wednesday and Thursday of last week. The members of the UCU union are fighting against a pay offer of just 3 percent.

Workers in the NEU union also voted to strike at the college. UCU rep Steve Pattenden said, “We are determined to get a pay award that helps us meet the cost of living crisis.”

Pay resistance at Imperial College

UCU union members at Imperial College in west London struck on Tuesday as part of continuing action over pay.

As well as being part of national strikes, there is local action because college  bosses withdrew from national bargaining on pay several years ago. Unite union members have also joined strikes.

Messages of support to v.tymms@imperial.ac.uk and on Twitter to @ImperialUCU

Ballot begins at Bradford college

Workers at Bradford college are balloting for strikes after being offered a measly pay increase of between 2.2 and 2.5 percent. Members of the UCU union began voting on whether to strike on Monday.

Workers are furious that the CEO of the college, Chris Webb, makes five times the average salary of college staff.

New NHS fight set to begin in London

Domestics and ward catering workers across the ISS hospital trust in South London and Maudsley are preparing to vote for a strike over pay. Members of the GMB union at Maudsley Hospital, Bethlem Royal Hospital, the Ladywell Unit at Lewisham Hospital and Lambeth Hospital will be balloted for strikes.

Action is getting called off in Gedling

Workers at Gedling council, who were preparing to strike, have decided to call off action. HGV waste drivers, street cleaning teams, tree workers and gravediggers, who work in environmental services, were preparing to strike.

The council has promised to cancel “poverty pay bands” and deliver a one-off payment to all contracted staff.

Will ballot douse fire pay fight?

A firefighters’ ballot on whether to accept a pay deal was set to end on Monday of next week.

Leaders of the FBU union recommend that workers accept the deal of 7 percent this financial year and 5 percent next year. But this is well bellow inflation.

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