Coventry Amazon workers on strike picketing last Tuesday (Picture: Sean Leahy)

Workers at the Amazon Minworth site near Birmingham were set to strike on Wednesday and Thursday this week. It’s the second time they have walked out. Last week Amazon workers in Coventry struck for two days.

On Tuesday and Wednesday they gathered on massive picket lines. Darren Westwood, a worker at the Coventry site, wrote on Twitter, “Some 600 plus on a picket line just asking for a decent wage. He added that the GMB union campaign means that recognition of the union can be won at Coventry and then the battle must move on to other sites.

The CAC—the offcial body regulating collective bargaining—can force companies to recognise a trade union if more than 50 percent of the workforce are members. Richard Milner, a Socialist Worker supporter in Coventry, told Socialist Worker that workers’ confidence at the site keeps growing.

“Some GMB union activists are openly wearing GMB T-shirts at work. “Through their brave fightback they are representing Amazon members not only in Coventry but in other Amazon workplaces.” He added that management inside Amazon is desperate to crush resistance.

“One Coventry rep has been suspended for allegations of abusing a colleague. Others present contradict this and are fighting back. Another Coventry rep has been tested for drugs three times in three months. They were cleared every time.” Despite the intimidation, the workers at Coventry are not giving up. Rank and file workers must push for battles at other sites.

Build the backpay battle

The Unison union campaign to win re-banding for health care assistants (HCAs) undertaking clinical work took another step forwards last week. Most NHS bosses accept they have wronged HCAs and they agree HCAs should be moved from band 2 to band 3.

But they want to limit the amount of backpay. That’s why hundreds of HCAs at Leicester General Hospital, Glenfield Hospital and Leicester Royal Infirmary last week voted for strikes by over 94 percent. Katarzyna, a healthcare assistant at Leicester Royal Infirmary, said, “The current back pay offer does not adequately compensate healthcare assistants for the years they worked without being paid properly.”

And the fight over grading continues to spread. Over 130 HCAs packed into a mass meeting at Whiston Hospital in Merseyside last week and agreed to ballot for strikes over the issue. Biomedical scientists in the Unite union at the Whiston Hospital also struck last Wednesday until Wednesday this week over bonuses owed to them. They are set to be out again for four days in April.

Strikes hit Scottish ministers

The EIS union has told all of Scotland’s further education colleges that rolling strikes are coming as part of a long-running pay battle. Workers have been striking and demonstrating since February and held one national strike. In the latest round, targeted strikes hit Dundee and Angus College and Fife College.

On Monday workers formed big picket lines at Glasgow Clyde College. Lecturers and other staff should have received a pay rise at the beginning of September 2022. But following over a year of talks, bosses’ organisation College Employers Scotland has said that its “full and final” offer is £5,000 over three years.

That’s far below inflation for the time it covers. Beginning on Tuesday 16 April, several colleges will strike each day for 14 days. All resistance is welcome, but escalating national action is the best way to pressure college bosses and the government.

For details of the strikes go to tinyurl.com/EIS0424

Leisure workers will not relax their fight

Over 100 workers at Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) were set to strike for a day over low pay and shoddy working practices on Tuesday this week. The Unite union members are demanding permanent jobs, immediate changes to sick pay schemes and new minimum pay rates for 2023 and 2024.

GLL employs its workers on zero‑hour contracts. Out of 10,800 staff, 6,313 are on zero‑hour contracts. GLL refers to itself as a staff-led organisation and elects staff to a representative board called a “society”. But only permanent employees hold full “society” status. GLL does not recognise trade unions and refuses to negotiate on pay.

CNH workers drive home a pay ballot

Around 500 workers employed by CNH Industrial at its New Holland tractor factory in Basildon, Essex, are voting for strikes over pay. The workers are angry that the company has reneged on an agreement from 2022.

It agreed that pay increases would be calculated by the average rate of inflation over the year. CNH instead offered 4 percent for 2024, rather than 7.4 percent. For 2025, it is offering the rate of inflation as of December 2024. The Unite union ballot began last Wednesday and closes on 10 April.

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