Rent strikers at The University of Manchester (UoM) have been given a show of solidarity by 10,860 fellow students, almost a quarter of the entire student body. In an official referendum, only open to UoM students, 97% of respondents voted in favour of the strikers’ demands. The 350 members of the rent strike are calling for more students to join the movement in time for the next payment date on 20 April.
As one year ends, another begins. But the struggles of 2022 haven’t gone away, and January 2023 continues to see industrial action affecting Greater Manchester. Here’s a rundown of this month’s strikes and ballots, and the reasons that workers are going on strike.
Transport workers striking for better pay and conditions, picketing Piccadilly train station, joined the Manchester May Day Festival.
Festival formed part of the International Workers Day celebrations, occurring across the world, celebrating past-victories and supporting current struggles for workers rights.
Arriva bus drivers in Greater Manchester are set to go on an all out continuous strike from 30 October, following a vote by Arriva North West drivers with 87% in favour of strike action.
The deal agreed between Unite and Go North West contains several key victories for the drivers, including a pledge from both Go North West and its parent company Go Ahead Group not to use fire and rehire tactics in future.
Andy Burnham met Go North West bosses last week to discuss service disruption.
While careful to distinguish the industrial dispute between GNW and its drivers from other instances of ‘fire and rehire’ practices, the mayor says issuing Section 188 notices to renegotiate workers’ employment contracts is tantamount to ‘industrial blackmail’.
Bus drivers in Manchester employed by Go North West voted 82% in favour of taking industrial action against the bus company for its ‘fire and rehire’ practices, on a 77% turnout.
Unite, represents the drivers, stressed there was still time for Go North West bosses to return to the negotiating table.
Unite will ballot 485 bus drivers on strike action if Go North West does not return to the negotiating table. The decision to consider balloting was made in response to the bus company announcing it will no longer negotiate with the union and will instead consult drivers individually.
Bringing buses under public control is ‘better value for money’ for the city region in spite of ‘severe’ impact of Covid-19 on bus patronage and revenues, Greater Manchester leaders hear at a meeting this week.
Unite leader Len McCluskey warns Go North West parent company Go Ahead Group it risks industrial action if it continues with plans to “fire and rehire” nearly 500 Manchester bus drivers, which would see each driver lose an estimated £2,000 a year.