Strikers on the picket line last Friday (Picture: David Owens)

 
Strikers at National Museums of Liverpool (NML) are into their sixth week of fighting for a Covid payment. 
 
NML bosses are refusing to pay the £1,500 cost of living payment the strikers won last year. Instead it has offered just £250. 
 
The 230 strikers began an eight-week strike on 17 February. The strikers were part of the PCS union national action last year. 
 
That ended with a 4.5 percent rise, plus 0.5 percent for the lowest paid—and a £1,500 one-off payment.
 
NML has denied workers this £1,500 payment. The strike is winning wide support. 
 
The union set up an e-fundraiser to ask people to “buy the workers a coffee”. Hundreds of people donated and it has raised over £3,000. 
 
The PCS says this provides enough money to hire a coffee truck and deliver it to a recent picket line to keep the workers’ spirits up.
 
One PCS member from another branch, Gillian, said in support, “You deserve the same cost of living crisis payment the rest of us have received. 
 
“Keep fighting for the rights you deserve.”
 
The leftover £2,000 from the donations is being sent to the PCS strike fund to help fund strike pay while the workers take action.
 
Strikers are clear that they’re not going away until they get what’s theirs. 
 

Visit pickets outside Museum of Liverpool 8-11am Pier Head, Mann Island, Liverpool L3 1DG
Send messages of solidarity to PCS@liverpoolmuseums.org.uk and tweet them at @ PCSLiverpoolMus
Sign the petition to the chair of the NML board at tinyurl.com/NMLChair

War declared at museums
Bosses are trying to derecognise the PCS union at five Imperial War Museum sites. 
 
Three of the sites are in London, one is in Manchester and another is in Duxford near Cambridge.
 
Imperial War Museum Director Francoise Harris wrote to the PCS confirming that they wish to derecognise PCS and move forward with only the Prospect union. 
 
In a management-run poll 80 percent of staff voted for union recognition and the PCS is campaigning to defend its members’ decision.
 
Big national vote needed 
The PCS union strike ballot across the civil service in Britain—launched on 18 March—continues. 
 
A national survey had seen workers vote overwhelmingly in favour of continuing the campaign for better pay and conditions. 
 
The dispute involves nearly 150,000 PCS members across 171 employers in the civil service and related areas. 
 
The union’s pay claims are for an above inflation rise, pay equality across departments and a minimum wage of £15 per hour. 
 
Some other demands are for a London weighting provision of a minimum £5,000 per year, a minimum of 35 days annual leave and a significant shortening of the working week with no loss of pay. 
 
The ballot is scheduled to close on 13 May.
 
Aslef train drivers are off the rails again for a day
 
Train drivers in the Aslef union were set to strike for a day either this week or next at 16 train companies in the latest phase of a pay battle that has dragged on for 20 months. 
 
The strikes are scheduled to be staggered from Friday this week to Monday next week at different firms. It’s right for train drivers to strike. 
 
Many have not had a pay rise since 2019, and have been offered only below-inflation deals linked to a ferocious assault on working conditions.
 
Aslef has called 14 one-day strikes since the first strike ballots went out in June 2022.
 
Had union leaders called an unlimited strike there would have been a settlement well before 14 days had passed. 
 
Instead, on-off strikes haven’t move the Tories at all. Strikes have to escalate.
 
When are the strikes?

Friday 5 April: Avanti West Coast, East Midlands Railway, West Midlands Trains and CrossCountry
Saturday 6 April: Chiltern, GWR, LNER, Northern and TransPennine
Monday 8 April: c2c, Greater Anglia, GTR Great Northern Thameslink, Southeastern, Southern/Gatwick Express, South Western Railway and SWR Island Line

Tube strikes after a push for more time in the cab
Tube train drivers in the Aslef union plan strikes next Monday and Saturday 4 May. The first strike coincides with walkouts at seven of the train operating companies.
 
Finn Brennan, Aslef’s full-time organiser on London Underground, said the action was over bosses’ “failure to give assurances that changes to our members’ terms and conditions will not be imposed without agreement and that all existing agreements will be honoured.
 
“Despite a previous commitment to withdraw plans for massive changes to drivers’ working conditions, London Underground management has established a full-time team of managers preparing to impose their plans.
 
“They want drivers to work longer shifts, spending up to 25 percent more time in the cab, and to remove all current working agreements in the name of ‘flexibility and efficiency’.
 
“Everyone knows what these management buzzwords mean. It’s about getting people to work harder and longer for less.”
Transport fightbacks in Northumbria & ScotRail
Over 300 Arriva Northumbria bus workers in the north east of England planned a week-long strike from Saturday this week over pay.
 
Bosses have offered just a 4 percent rise. Arriva drivers are currently the lowest paid out of the three main operators in Tyne and Wear. 
 
A further week of strikes by Unite union members is scheduled from 21 April if the company doesn’t meet workers’ demands.
 
Unite regional officer Dave Telford said, “This strike demonstrates the strength of ill-feeling at Arriva over the poor pay offer when energy bills and mortgages have gone through the roof.”
 
Easter weekend walkouts
Supervisors and managers at ScotRail struck over the Easter weekend as part of a long-running battle about on-call working arrangements.
 
Walkouts by TSSA union members on Saturday and Sunday included conductor team managers, driver team managers, on-train team managers, station team managers, and others at stations across Scotland.
 
The dispute began in December 2022.
 
Fighting de-recognition on the rails
Workers in the RMT union employed by CrossCountry are set to strike against de-recognition of union rights for supervisory and clerical grades.
 
All RMT members at the company plan to take action on Saturday 13 April.
 
The RMT represents all grades in the company and has had this confirmed many times in writing.
 
But CrossCountry has held discussions with other trade unions regarding pay and policy matters, hoping to undermine the RMT.
 
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