Amazon workers on the picket line in Coventry last year (Picture: Patricia Chamberlain)

Strikes at Amazon fulfilment centres are spreading. Workers in the GMB union at the Sutton Coldfield site in Birmingham plan to strike on Thursday of next week.

This is exactly a year since the first official strike took place at the Coventry ­warehouse.

The union says “up to 100” workers will take part in the strike at the Sutton Coldfield warehouse, which opened in October.

It’s only a fraction of the total workforce, but the union hopes to use the action to boost the profile of the dispute and recruit more people to the union.

Many of the workers at Sutton Coldfield already have experience of struggle as many have recently started working there after moving from the Rugeley site, which Amazon bosses are set to close in March.

Workers in Rugeley took part in walkouts and ­“slowdowns” in August of 2022 after Amazon announced that it would give workers just a 30p an hour pay rise.

On the same day as the Sutton Coldfield strike, ­workers at the Coventry site will finish voting on a new ballot for more strikes.

To try to persuade more people to vote workers have been phone banking so they can reach the turnout ­threshold. Pushing for more strikes is the best way forward.

In Coventry it has been strikes and big picket lines that have built the union. Hopefully this will be the same in Sutton Coldfield.

Amazon faced nearly 30 days of strike in Coventry in the last 12 months.

More than 1,000 ­workers took part in industrial action to mark the retail giant’s Black Friday event in ­November.

Rachel Fagan, a local GMB organiser, said, “The industrial chaos Amazon faces isn’t going to disappear—it’s growing every day.

“One year on from the first strike day the message from GMB members at Amazon is the same—recognise our union and end poverty pay.”

GMB membership in ­Coventry has increased significantly since that first strike, to more than 1,200.

It’s a positive sign that these strikes are spreading but workers should keep pushing that they need to spread to more Amazon ­fulfilment centres in Britain.

Sophie Squire

Give us what we’re owed say Wirral NHS strikers

Clinical support workers at Wirral hospitals, on Merseyside, are set to continue their weekday strikes until the end of January.

Strikers in the Unison union are demanding that they are re-banded from band 2 to band 3. This would reflect the clinical work they do in addition to patient personal care. They also insist that their pay is backdated to 2018.

That would mean some workers would rightly receive a payout worth thousands of pounds.

Bosses have agreed to both demands in principle but are now trying to reduce the number of workers that will benefit. That’s why the strike, now lasting over 60 days, is so important.

Earlier this month, one clinical support worker told the press that the NHS trust is “in a toxic place right now”.

“Morale is shot to pieces,” he said.

Another said they could see the effect of their strike because they go into work at the weekends. But, they said, until the problem of low pay is solved, the NHS will be in perpetual crisis.

“No one wants to do the job,” she said. “Young people do not want to do this job.”

Another added, “We all love our jobs. But we’re given no choice but to be here on the picket line.”

Unison has been fighting successfully to get clinical support workers—and many other similar roles—­re‑banded.

The Wirral strike must succeed so that bosses everywhere learn a lesson—don’t take on the union.

Yuri Prasad

Sheffield campaigners call for an apartheid-free city

Two Palestinian women have issued a defiant message following a week-long Justice Camp in Sheffield.

“Resistance will win, keep fighting for Palestine,” declared Sahar Awadallah and Lena Mussa, who were on hunger strike after addressing a 1,000-strong rally on Saturday to mark the end of their protest outside Sheffield town hall.

Sahar said, “I’m a child of Nakba survivors. My parents were made refugees by the creation of the Israeli state in 1948. They, like tens of thousands of Palestinians, were forcibly expelled from their towns and villages.

The women said they’d been overwhelmed by a “celebration of solidarity” from across the city and beyond. So many people were, like them, “sickened by the complicity of the British government with the genocide Israel is carrying out on Palestinian people.”

Supporters and groups, including the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign, trade unionists, members of the Socialist Workers Party, clergy and Sheffield Jews Against Israeli Apartheid, visited during the week.

The women want Sheffield council to declare the city an “Israeli apartheid-free zone” and for local MPs to support calls for a ceasefire.

Phil Turner

400 bus builders in Falkirk out for two weeks over pay

Around 400 workers struck this week at Alexander Dennis, Britain’s largest bus manufacturer, in a bitter pay dispute.

The Unite union members began a two-week walkout on Monday at the plant in Camelon, Falkirk.

The strikers, including coach builders and spray painters, have rejected the latest 4.5 percent below-inflation pay offer from management.

Over 83 percent of union members at the plant backed strikes on a 72 percent turnout.

The current industrial action follows a two‑week strike last month.

After the December strike, Alexander Dennis offered an insulting additional 0.5 percent on its original offer.

Pat Egan, Unite’s industrial officer, said, “The two-week long strike action will be the first in a series of lengthy stoppages to hit the factory.

“Our members are not asking for the Earth but simply an offer worthy of their hard work and loyalty.”

Egan went on to slam the under-inflation pay offer, saying, “Alexander Dennis has instead made penny pinching offers which amount to a real terms pay cut.

“This is unacceptable and our members will continue to fight until they get what they deserve.”

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