Dispute Solidarity!

Angry strikers set to escalate dispute:
250 Bridgwater fruit-juice makers resolve to see out their David and Goliath struggle against foreign-owned company to bitter end
Fifty Unite the Union demonstrators, a familiar sight at the Express Park roundabout at the north end of the Bristol Rd in Bridgwater for months now, were still in determined mood yesterday.
This was their seventh 36-hour strike protest against plans by Refresco-Gerber to radically worsen pay and conditions at the factory, which produces household-name fruit juices.
At least three more stoppages have been planned for the next two weeks.
Unite the Union officer Roy Winter said:
“Our members contribute their working lives to this factory, which makes a handsome profit for Refresco-Gerber. 
Unfortunately, under new owners whose HQ is now in Rotterdam, those profits are not enough: the plan is to double or treble them at the expense of Unite members sick pay, shift allowances, pay protection. We are talking here of corporate greed, nothing more or less.
 Refresco-Gerber is making a bad mistake. There has been a recognised union organisation here for nearly fifty years: Unite the Union will not walk away from this dispute until the company agree an acceptable settlement.”
Two mass meetings will be held on the 16th & 17th March to inform Unite members involved in the dispute of the latest negotiations.
Future 36-hour strikes are set for Wednesday /Thursday the 18th/19thMarch, 0645am to 1900pm; Tuesday/Wednesday 24th/25thMarch, 0645am to 1900pm; Wednesday/Thursday 1st /2nd April, 0645am to 1900pm. Trades unionists are welcome at picket lines, key times are 7am/7pm.
For further information please contact Roy Winter on 07720 705087  roy.winter@unitetheunion.org
national-gallery-strike (1)
Don’t forget the ‘Meet and Greet, Thursday March 26th 6pm to 7pm at the Shakespeare Pub (behind the Arnolfini, Bristol).
PCS union members at the National Gallery in London are striking against privatisation and the suspension and then sacking of their union representative Candy Udwin. On Thursday March 26th a striker will be touring union branches in Bristol to collect solidarity donations. There will also be a ‘meet and greet’ event for the striker(s) in the evening from 6pm to 7pm at the Shakespeare pub, 68 Prince Street (behind the Arnolfini). If you can help organise a solidarity visit, please reply to this notice. All welcome at the Meet and Greet!

Local Dispute News

DSG Warminster


Defence Support Group workers, who are employed maintaining Ministry of Defence equipment are striking back for decent pay. They have rejected a one percent pay offer and have held a solid six day strike. They are currently in the midst of a further ten day strike and have been organising big picket lines at DSG sites across the country including at Warminster.

Can you invite DSG workers into your union branch or campaign meeting? Can you get to the DSG picket lines? Please rush messages of support to DSGStrike@yahoo.com follow the striker’s @DSGstrike

They need your solidarity, please circulate the DSGcollectionsheet111214.

Lambeth College Lecturers
Lambeth College lecturers visited Bristol before the summer to gather support for their dispute. They have now begun their second round of their campaign, and full details can be found here. Please support them.
Sharpak, Yate
Over 100 workers at the Bristol food packaging firm Sharpak in Yate are taking intermittent strike action over a ‘sign or be sacked’ ultimatum forcing them to work extra hours.
Solidarity visits to the Unite organised dispute are welcome
Marks & Spencer Swindon
From GMB: GMB Ballot On Strike Action At Marks & Spencer Swindon Distribution Depot Over Racist Abuse And Subsequent Sacking Of Two Abused Members. On Friday 12th December up to 100 angry members will protest outside the Marks and Spencer store in Swindon over this management action says GMB.

GMB members will be holding banners saying “Marks and Spencer, we will not tolerate racism, we are not slaves” and “We Demand Respect at Work”.

Carole Vallelly, GMB  Regional officer, said, “More than 80% of the staff, permanent and agency, on site are non-white, but of more than 40 Wincanton managers all but about 4 of them are white. Our members describe a management culture reminiscent of a Mississippi plantation.

The details of protest are as follows:

11:00 am to 12: 00 noon on Friday 12th December,
Marks and Spencer
81 Regent St, 

More Strikes!


Firefighters are set to resume their strikes again with four days from October 31st.
This follows a refusal from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) refusal to bring any new offer to the table over pensions, despite two months of talks.

The strike will begin at 18:00 on 31 October until 18:00 on 4 November.
The union states that it has negotiated in good faith and has taken up every opportunity to make its case and to seek changes to the government’s pension plans, which the unions says are expensive and unworkable.Despite promising statements from Penny Mordaunt, the Westminster fire minister, it is now clear the government does not want to resolve this dispute and is spoiling for a fight.Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “Firefighters are incandescent following two months of negotiations which have led to no new proposals.

“Firefighters will not stand by and see our members’ pension rights destroyed by a government which does not give a damn about the safety or wellbeing of firefighters or the long term

“The public do not want 60 year olds tackling fires. Everyone understand the stupidity of these plans – except government Ministers.

“We remain committed to resolving this dispute in the interests of our members and the public at large.”

The FBU has opposed government attacks on firefighter pensions and the union has presented large quantities of professional evidence to demonstrate the proposals do not take account of the real operational demands or standards of a firefighter’s role.Under government proposals firefighters will have to work until they are 60 instead of 55, pay more into their pensions and ultimately get less in retirement.Due to the rigorous fitness requirements of the fire service, many of firefighters are expected to be unable to work to 60 and therefore risk losing half of their pension.

The public will also be put at risk with every likelihood that increasing numbers of 60 year old firefighters will be attending the most serious of incidents.The Westminster government now stands isolated as the ONLY government in the United Kingdom which has offered no new proposals, with Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales all putting forward new proposals for firefighters to consider.

Matt Wrack added: “The fact the Westminster government now stands alone in this dispute shows they are ignoring all the evidence and spoiling for a fight. They do not care less about firefighters or the fire and rescue service.”

Postal Workers Strike in Bridgwater


Dave Chapple, Communications Workers Union representative, told the Mercury: “A young woman has been dismissed for sick absence and it was totally unfair. It is the worst managerial decision in all my 35 years as a postman.

“80% of the staff are out on unofficial strike because we just felt so strongly about it. We are waiting for somebody to come out to talk to us, however long it takes.”

UCU lecturers strike in Newport and S Wales.

UCU members at the University of South Wales will be on strike on Thursday 13 November in a row over job cuts.Staff will walk out in protest at compulsory redundancies resulting from the closure of the university’s centre for community learning. The centre offered a range of courses at community and workplace venues across south Wales, providing a stepping stone to higher education for people without formal qualifications.Although some of the courses will continue following the centre’s closure, several staff members are being made redundant and the university has refused to redeploy them or improve the terms of severance packages.

UCU members at the institution start working to contract^ next week and will walk out next month if the university does not reconsider its position on redeployment or improved severance packages. The union will be handing out leaflets to students explaining the reasons behind their industrial action.UCU Wales official, Margaret Phelan, said: ‘Striking is always a last resort for members but, faced with the compulsory redundancy of hardworking and committed staff and a failure by university management to properly consider alternative proposals, they have been forced to take action.

‘We hope that the university will reconsider its position in the coming weeks and work with us to find a solution so that strike action can be avoided.’

Messages of support to rachel.stubley@southwales.ac.uk.

New website launched to build vote against local government pay proposal

Following a meeting of over 70 local government activists after last Saturday’s TUC protest in London, a website has been launched for branches and activists to share information on the campaign to reject the rotten LG NJC pay proposals.


Unite the Resistance Conference



Week of Action Activists Meeting

Pre–strike solidarity meeting

THURSDAY 9th October 2014 7pm
(Light refreshments from 6:30pm)

 Lecture Theatre, Level C, St Michaels’ Maternity Hospital
Southwell Street, Bristol BS2 8EG

 Bristol Health Service Branch have called this meeting to discuss the current pay offer and planned public sector strike action week commencing 13th October 2014 to include NHS staff who will be taking part in a four hour strike on 13th October.

Stuart Davies – Regional Officer, Unite the Union
Dave Honeybone – Care UK Striker, Lead Steward,Unison Healthcare Doncaster and Bassetlaw Branch
Richard Capps – PCS South West Regional Vice-chair
All Trade Unionists welcome

 FFI email: Kathy Taylor Branch Secretary   Kathy.Taylor@unitetheunion.org

Or phone: Chrissie Gardner, Assistant Branch Secretary on  07983233908

Still The Enemy Within

See this fantastic film celebrating 30 years after the Great Strike!
Tickets here.
More information and Facebook event here.

The TUC has called a ‘Britain Needs A Pay Rise‘ demonstration in London on October 18th.

Details of coaches from Bristol and the south west are below.
Bristol Unison coach
Free for members, £10 for others
Book here http://bit.ly/1sohBTb 
Email: bristol.unison@bristolunison.co.ukPhone: 01179540053

Bath UCU coach
Departs: University of Bath East car park 7.30 am, 
Laura Place 7.45 am
Returns: arrive Bath 8 pm (approx)
Tickets:£8 (waged), £4 (unwaged and concessions),
UCU members free.
e-mail: ucu-sec@bath.ac.uk


North Somerset UNISON coach

7 am from Locking Road Car Park in Weston super Mare
7.30 am from Castlewood in Clevedon
Back in North Somerset around 10 pm
Free for UNISON members and their families, £10 for non-UNISON members, and £5 unwaged, students, children, senior citizens

To book seats phone 01934 634759 or email unison@n-somerset.gov.uk – give numbers of seats, whether UNISON members or not and mobile phone and email contact.


UNITE coach from Swindon
Pick up Swindon 8am at the layby opposite the Sun Inn at Coate Water by the petrol station on the A4259. Leaving London 6pm to return to Swindon.
Email: peoplesassemblyswindon@gmx.co.uk

October Strikes!

On Monday 13 October hundreds of thousands of NHS workers will strike in England. The strike is rejection of a paltry one percent pay offer from the government. Most healthworkers will not even get that.

The strike is from 7am-11am, and will see picket lines across the country.

These healthworkers work long hours to provide an essential public service.
David Cameron is determined to wreck the NHS through cuts, closures and privatisation. Opening up our health service to private companies will see services run into the ground. The NHS has to be driven by peoples’ health care needs not by the push to drive up profits by money grabbing big business.

The strike on 13 October is not just about fair pay, it’s about defence of our health service.

Sign this pledge sheet to support the strikes. Join the picket lines on 13 October, take a collection down, and take them some breakfast!

The strike in the NHS is part of a week of rolling strikes. On 14 October over a million local government workers will strike, and on 15 October civil servants will strike. On 18 October the TUC has called a ‘Britain Needs a Pay Rise’ demonstration in central London.

The march can be a huge show of strength against the Tories and austerity.
Everyone who wants to see fair pay and the defence of our public services
should be on that demonstration!

**breaking news. Royal College of Midwives to join strike action!


Fire Brigades Union ‘Ring of Fire’

FBU: Ring of fire anti-cuts protests this week

Tuesday 30 September – Portsmouth – Guildhall, Portsmouth , PO1 2AB

Wednesday 1 October – Plymouth – Armada Way, off Royal Parade, Plymouth , PL1 2HJ

Thursday 2 October – Cardiff – Roald Dahl Plass, Oval Basin , Cardiff Bay , CF10 6AN

Friday 3 October – Bristol – Castle Park , Broadweir, Bristol


Care UK resume strike

The ex-NHS care workers who now work for Care UK are out on strike again for three weeks from 7am this Monday 29 September through until 7am on 20 October.

This period of strike action will take them over the previous longest strike in the history of the health service (70 days).


Over £100,000 has been raised in trade union branches and workplaces around the country to support the workers, who’s fight for fair pay and against savage attacks on their terms and conditions is also a strike in defence of the National Health Service.

The strikers have been out and spoken at scores of meetings around the country, it’s now time to deepen that support.

Have you invited them in to speak at your union or campaign meeting? Send email requests to: admin@unison-dab.org.uk

Cheques can be made payable to: “Doncaster, District & Bassetlaw Health Branch” and sent to:
Jenkinson House, White Rose Way, Doncaster, DN4 5GJ (ps. £192 was collected for the strikes at a showing of the film ‘Pride’ at the Watershed last weekend!)

Could you do a collection at work for the strikers? Click here for the pdf of an updated collection sheet.

During their previous three week strike they joined care workers who work for Your Choice Barnet who were also on strike over similar attacks. They are set to strike again on Tuesday 14 October and Thursday 16 October.

The Care UK workers’ strike coincides with the big week of action from 13-18 October, which will see NHS workers strike on 13 October, local government workers strike on 14 October and civil service workers strike on 15 October. The TUC’s ‘Britain Needs A Pay Rise’ demonstration on Saturday 18 October.

For updates on their strikers itinerary and you can support them, go to their facebook page here

Barnet Unison has also organised a meeting in the House of Commons involving Your Choice Barnet and Care UK strikers on the crisis in social care. This takes place at 6.30pm, Tuesday 21 October, in Committee Room 10. It is important that it’s a well supported meeting. Please ensure to arrive early as the House of Commons run security checks and this tends to mean there is a queue to get in.

Roger Hutt and Mags Dalton from the Care UK strike, a speaker from the Your Choice Barnet strike and Helen Davies from Barnet Unison will all be speaking at the Unite the Resistance “Striking Together – Organising to Win” conference on Saturday 15 November. Click here to visit our conference page.

July 10th Strikes!

July 10th

The number of unions announcing strike action on pay, pensions and working conditions for July 10th is growing. Unions joining the action so far include NUT, Unison local government, Unite local government, FBU, NIPSA and GMB local government. The Royal College of Midwives have also voted for strike action, and there remains the possibility of the RMT striking on London Underground. The strike will involve more than 1.5 million workers and will mark a significant change for the better in the class struggle against the ConDems austerity.

Bristol Unite the Resistance are holding a pre-strike rally on Thursday July 3rd, 715pm at the Create Centre, B Bond Warehouse, Smeaton Road, BS1 6XN.
Argos workers strike this Friday in Manchester, Essex, Leicester, Castleford and Bridgwater :


  • About 1,000 warehouse staff employed by Argos at five distribution centres are to stage a 24 hour strike in a dispute over terms and conditions. Members of Unite will walk out on Friday, threatening disruption to deliveries. The strike, starting at 6am, will hit the company’s distribution centres at Basildon, Bridgwater, Castleford and Magna Park (Lutterworth, Leicestershire). A strike at Heywood (Greater Manchester) starts at 6.30am.


  • Unite national officer Matt Draper said: “The crux to the dispute is Argos ‘ determination to push through a new 24/7 shift pattern, without offering our members a decent compensation package to offset the severe disruption to their personal and family lives at weekends.
  • “In many cases, it is going to cause havoc with childcare arrangements and mean spouses and partners will see much less of each other.
  • “The company’s plans will seriously undermine the ‘work/life’ balance.”

Meet and Greet the Care UK Strikers!

Meet and Greet the Care UK Strikers

On Wednesday the strikers from Care UK in Doncaster launched a serious escalation of their campaign against their bullying management who are trying to force through big pay cuts.

The strikers hired a coach and travelled the 175 miles from Doncaster to Colchester to target Care UK’s headquarters there. Strikers say this is just the start.

As part of their effort to build solidarity across Britain Care UK strikers will be visiting Bristol and touring workplaces on Friday May 16th. There will be a ‘Meet and Greet’ event on May 16th, 8pm, in the Shakespeare Tavern, 68 Prince St, Bristol BS1 4QD (behind the Arnolfini, near Mud Dock cafe). Come along and meet the strikers, bring collections if you can.

If you wish to have a visit to your workplace/trade union branch on Friday 16th from the strikers ring 075855139940.
Facebook event here.

Radical Perspectives in Mental Health
This mini Conference is organised by both users and people who work in mental health in the South West. We ask what is the nature of the crisis in mental health today? How can we resist austerity and cuts? How can we construct a strategy of liberation and democracy in relation to mental health?

Plenaries on Austerity, Cuts in Services, and the effects on Mental Health

Plus Workshops on:

The Tyranny of the Target Culture The Recovery Approach: A Radical Critique
Mental Health and Liberation: What Does it Mean Today?

Including contributions and facilitation from Salena Williams (Senior Psychiatric Nurse and Unison activist), June Sadd (Social Work Action Network), Rich Moth (Liverpool Hope University researcher), Judy Wilson (SW Region Unison Organiser) and others from campaign groups.

Refreshments available. Bookstalls etc.

Email radicalperspectivesmh@gmail.com

for further information and to book a place
£3 entry (free to unwaged and service users)
Saturday May 17th, 12 noon to 4pm, City of Bristol College, Ashley Down Centre, Ashley Down Road, Bristol.
Facebook event here.