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The IR Guru NEWS Bulletin

November 12, 2020

Candidates throw hat in the ring for RMT election

Three candidates have announced they are putting themselves forward to become the RMT’s next General Secretary, replacing Mick Cash.

Cash, who has been elected twice as General Secretary, resigned at the start of November at the union’s Annual General Meeting, blaming a “campaign of harassment”.

He had only recently returned to work following extended sick leave due to stress. Cash explained that: “Unfortunately, factional groupings within the union have seized every opportunity to undermine and frustrate my efforts to keep the organisation focused on delivering for our members regardless of the consequences.”

According to Union News, Mick Lynch, the RMT’s Assistant General Secretary is bidding to replace Cash as is Steve Hedley, Senior Assistant General Secretary and John Leach, the union’s London Transport Regional Organiser.


Key workers in Switzerland demand essential rights as Covid cases rise

Swiss service union Unia has kicked off a campaign for fair pay, adequate staffing and collective bargaining agreements for essential workers, as the country faces a second Covid-19 wave.

Retail employees, long-term care workers, and logistics workers assembled on 31 October to demand better conditions. They say they have barely recovered from the stresses of the first wave and need better protection and rights as virus cases rise again.

Unia’s campaign has the full support of UNI Global Union. 

Christy Hoffman General Secretary of UNI said: “As we enter a second wave, action is needed in Switzerland and around the world to guarantee that essential workers get more than symbolic shows of gratitude. They need wages with dignity, sick leave, safe jobs, and union representation.”


Health unions issue joint call for NHS pay rise before Christmas

A group 14 health unions in the UK have written to the prime minister Boris Johnson calling for a pay rise for all NHS staff before Christmas.

NHS workers are not due a pay rise until April 2021 but the unions say an early increase would help employees, still exhausted from coping with the first virus peak, “feel valued, by the entire country, and the government too”.

Such a move could also persuade staff looking to leave the health service to change their minds, they add.

The health unions that have come together to campaign for a Christmas pay rise include the British Association of Occupational Therapists, Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, College of Podiatry, Federation of Clinical Scientists, GMB, Managers in Partnership, Royal College of Midwives, Royal College of Nursing (RCN), UNISON and Unite. They jointly represent more than 1.3 million health workers. 

Hannah Reed at the RCN said without urgent action on pay, vacancies across the NHS will continue to rise.

“NHS staff have been underpaid for years and there has never been a more critical time for the government to address this,” she added.


Workers in South African water companies win pay rise

The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) has signed a salary and wage collective agreement that covers nine water boards responsible for more than 95% of bulk water supply to the country’s districts.

The agreement sees workers receive a 6.5% salary boost backdated to July this year and a 10% housing allowance increase. Employees will also receive at least 21 days of annual leave days this financial year, increasing to 25 by 2021/22.

The deal was agreed by parties in the Amanzi Bargaining Council, which includes the South African Association of Water Utilities, an employer organisation representing water boards, and three unions (one of which is SAMWU).

Negotiations, which nearly collapsed according to SAMWU, are ongoing with respect to other issues, such as medical aid and a night allowance.


Photo Credit: Ricochet64 –

Unions back McDonald’s workers who allege sexual harassment

A global federation of trade unions has pledged its support for McDonald’s workers in France who have set out new allegations of sexual harassment in restaurants.

The International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF), based in Switzerland, said more than 110 testimonies of sexual harassment suffered by workers were taped to the food chain’s headquarters in France last month.

There have also been demonstrations held by 50 workers and supporters at a McDonald’s store in Paris.

“The IUF supports these workers in their call for justice and an end to sexual harassment,” said its General Secretary, Sue Longley.

 “No worker should experience sexual harassment. We call on McDonald’s to take responsibility without further delay.”

Since workers around the world have complained of similar situations at McDonald’s, in May the IUF, together with its regional European organisation and other affiliates, filed an OECD complaint demanding action be taken.


Put plans for pilot training on hold, says BALPA

Students are being warned to delay starting pilot training schemes for fear there could be no jobs waiting for them at the end.

The warning comes from the pilots’ union BALPA, which it says, wants to avoid people paying upwards of £100,000 for training in a profession that has poor job prospects in the current climate.

BALPA highlights that there are already around 200 trainees in flight training schools who were on a path to jobs with easyJet but who now have no clear route to even a licence, far less a job.

There are currently 10,000 unemployed commercial pilots across Europe including 1,600 pilots in the UK with many pilots working part time or on reduced pay, it adds.

Wendy Pursey, Head of Membership and Careers Services at BALPA said there will be fewer jobs with fiercer competition for them even when the pandemic is over.

She added: “We urge potential pilots to get experience in another profession first, which will postpone any training until the industry is in a more robust shape, provide additional skills and experience and also give them another avenue to fall back on.”


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