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The IR Guru Bulletin

September 4, 2020

Election for Unite leadership getting fiercer following vote rigging claims

Left-wing Howard Beckett (pictured) has declared he will stand for the post of general secretary at Unite in next year’s elections to replace Len McCluskey.

This is despite the United Left (UL) – a separate group within Unite – having already voted in July for Steve Turner to be the sole election candidate representing the union’s left-wing.

Beckett’s decision follows criticism that there were irregularities in July’s ballot, which the UL’s national co-ordinating committee has refuted. It was alleged that some people not eligible to vote were given ballot papers while others who should have received a vote were excluded. 


Act fast to protect jobs and aid economic recovery, say global unions

G20 governments need to move urgently and decisively to protect employment as the global economy is devastated by Covid-19, the international trade union movement has urged.

The L20 unions – which represent the interests of workers of the G20 economies – has unveiled a plan to tackle the social and economic crisis that has been caused by the pandemic.

Investment in healthcare, education, child care and aged care as well as in infrastructure and industry policy is vital, says the L20 plan.

“The scale and depth of this crisis everywhere require courageous action by governments, with 350 million jobs lost or under threat, and hundreds of millions of workers in the informal economy facing destitution,” said Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary.


Game workers’ pay victory makes history

Independent contractors working for the mobile game Lovestruck have won an average 78% pay increase after a 21-day strike campaign.

It is the first successful game worker strike in the history of the game development industry, according to UNI Global Union.

The 21 workers took action against Voltage Entertainment USA, the makers of the game, supported by UNI’s affiliate, the Communications Workers of America (CWA). 

“The writers’ bold action is a model for others who are ready to fight to improve working conditions in the video games industry and beyond,” said CWA President Chris Shelton.



Lloyds pharmacists fight for union recognition

The Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) is seeking formal recognition of the union at LloydsPharmacy. It filed an application for recognition with the Central Arbitration Committee in July, following Lloyds’ management announcing planned changes to employment contracts and store closures as part of a “transformation and harmonisation programme”, the PDA explained.


Petition campaigns for shop workers to be safeguarded from abuse

A petition calling for retail workers to be protected by law against abuse and violence from the public received 10,000 signatures within 24 hours of its launch. 

Usdaw released the petition last month with the backing of Co-op Food, the British Retail Consortium and the Association of Convenience Stores.

Incidents of abuse during the Covid-19 crisis doubled, said Paddy Lillis, Usdaw General Secretary.

Last week, the number of signatures in the petition stood at 22,000. A total of 100,000 are needed to trigger a parliamentary debate.


Industrial action hits US post service

US postal workers took strike action at the end of last month, supported by UNI Global Union.

A campaign called #SaveThePostOffice was launched in response to proposed cuts that threaten to compromise the efficiency of the US Postal Service (USPS) by causing delays to mail deliveries.

UNI said it is alarmed by recent attempts to weaken and downgrade the USPS during the pandemic and was concerned it was being used as a ruse to privatise the public service.

UNI is also standing with unions in Brazil, where nearly 100,000 workers have been striking to stop the service being privatised. 


Photo credit: ehrlif – 

Union challenges PHE decision

Prospect has questioned whether the scrapping of Public Health England (PHE) is the midst of a pandemic is a wise move.

The government said PHE will be replaced by a new body, called the National Institute for Health Protection.

Mike Clancy, Prospect General Secretary, said there are questions to answer as to whetherthe restructure announced is a wise use of resources.”

“The drip drip of briefings against PHE fits a wider pattern of attacks on both civil servants and experts which has come to categorise this government’s approach and must come to an end,” he added.


Photo Credit: chrisdorney –

GMB branded institutionally sexist and unprofessional

The GMB is “institutionally sexist”, an independent inquiry has concluded, with bullying, misogyny, cronyism and sexual harassment endemic within the union.

The investigation, led by Karon Monaghan QC, also says women are underrepresented throughout the GMB’s ranks and branches often organised in a way that deters women members’ participation.

“The culture in the GMB is one of heavy drinking and late night socialising, salacious gossip and a lack of professionalism,” says the report.

The inquiry was launched in May after the General Secretary, Tim Roache, stood down following anonymous allegations of misconduct.

Barbara Plant, GMB National President, said the union will act on the report’s recommendations and is committed to “achieving transformational change.”

“It’s clear that real and lasting change is needed for us to become a safe and inclusive place for all” she said.


Read the report:



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