Highlights of Unite wins in July 2023

July has seen another strong showing for Unite in fighting back for members. With the union’s focus pivoted to jobs, pay and conditions, the last month has seen improvements to unsocial hours payments at Gatwick airport, better maternity and paternity leave and pay at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health as well as protecting pensions on the London Underground.

Tube trouble averted

London tube mapPotential trouble for travellers on London’s tube was avoided after Unite stepped in to protect workers’ pensions. TfL had been planning changes following central government cuts, but with a pension scheme both in credit and financially viable, Unite called for the changes to be taken off the table and TfL was forced to back down. Said Unite regional officer Simon McCartney: “Unite is clear that only the full protection of all pension benefits past and future will be acceptable. We will continue to be involved at every stage of the pension review and will not take our eye off the process.”

NHS bank workers fairly rewarded

And Unite has stepped in to challenge NHS trusts (and the government) that are denying valuable bank staff their special one off lump sum payment. The NHS’ bank system sees temporary staff step in to help trusts. It includes many workers that are solely employed through the bank system and the government has shamefully neglected to fund the increase for these workers. That’s when Unite stepped in.

After Unite tabled its collective grievance with the Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS), it was quickly established that the trust was legally obliged to make the lump sum payment, worth up to £3,789. The trust paid up. Referring to other bank staff Unite national lead officer Onay Kasab said: “Unite’s members who have been denied the promised payment have the union’s complete support and we will take these cases all the way, including to the courts in order to achieve pay justice for our members.”

A better deal for new mums and dads

Unite members employed by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) secured significant improvements to their jobs, pay and conditions after a series of strikes. Unhappy with the deal for expectant parents, the workers took seven days of action on conditions and pay and won a better offer.

Unite regional officer Matt Freeman said: “The workers have secured significant improvements to their jobs, pay and conditions … They took matters into their own hands when they were being treated unfairly and they won.”

The deal sees a doubling of paternity pay, maternity pay for six months and an end to the company’s two tier holiday entitlement which will see half the workforce get more annual days’ leave, backdated by six months.

Pay deals driven upwards

Unite offshoreAnd Unite’s focus on pay has also added to the number of double digit pay deals. The offshore dispute at Stork has been solved after a further round of negotiations. Earlier this year workers rejected a revised 6 per cent pay offer, with around 700 of Unite’s Stork membership taking action since May.

This forced the company to come back to the table with a 10 per cent offer that was backdated to January, said Unite general secretary Sharon Graham: “Unite members in Stork have made the oil and gas giants sit up and take notice of their workers, culminating in this 10 per cent salary increase, and we are very proud of each and every member who took a stand.”

Also in the offshore arena, a 10 per cent reinstatement of pay was secured by Unite members at Wood TAQA after taking strike action in May and June, and the pressure mounted to see some take home even more. Unite's Sharon Graham added: “The hard work and tenacity of our members has paid off … we are extremely proud of our members in Wood TAQA who have taken this stand, and congratulate them on their well-earned victory which will see some take home an additional 25 per cent this year.”

Strikes at Bristol Waste were also averted following an 8.5 per cent pay offer, while at Somerset council Suez workers on the waste contract agreed a 9 per cent pay rise, almost double the original offer.

Aviation’s where it’s at

Birmingham airportFinally, Unite members at key airports across the country are winning runaway deals. ASC ground handling staff at Gatwick have secured a double digit pay rise, while workers at Menzies voted in favour of a 13 per cent rise, Gatwick DHL workers had earlier agreed a 15 per cent pay deal

And in the Midlands strikes by security officers at Birmingham airport were cancelled after a 13.3 per cent pay deal was agreed, and what’s more the deal secures two new Unite reps, a wider collective bargaining agreement and increased union organising across the airport. A triple Unite win for workers. Others ae taking action and will likely follow suit. 

General secretary Sharon Graham said: “Unite’s Birmingham airport workers secured this deal because they stood strong in their union. Once again, Unite’s absolute concentration on delivering improvements to jobs, pay and conditions has paid off for our members.”

The message remains clear. Month in month out Unite members get more, so Join Unite today to not just defend your jobs, pay and conditions, but to improve them.