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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Two welcome victories

by New Worker correspondent

IT IS all too rare to report that workers have won a double-figure salary increase. Workers at the Argos warehouse in Kettering, Northamptonshire employed by logistics firm Wincanton have done just that and are getting a 19 per cent pay rise.

Two years ago 145 workers were transferred from Magna Park in Leicestershire to the Argos site in Kettering. Those being transferred were on higher salaries thus creating a two-tier workforce at the expanded site, which caused friction with the existing workforce whose numbers were just about equal.

Unite the Union has won a deal that will result in the lower-paid workers getting an equalising rise by 2022. The pay of the typical worker who was on the lower rate will therefore increase from £10.00 per hour to a magnificent £11.88 per hour, whilst the remaining workers also received a payment worth six per cent.

Unite regional officer Mick Orpin said: “Union negotiators did a fantastic job in difficult circumstances to ensure workers were treated fairly after an unsettling company restructure. It now means the workers are strong, organised and united thanks to their union Unite.”

Last week 200 domestic cleaners at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, Essex won a battle to prevent their employer from outsourcing their jobs — but only after management backed down because the cleaners had voted overwhelmingly (99 per cent on an 84 per cent turnout) to take six days of planned strikes, after which their employer dropped plans to outsource their jobs.

Their union Unison repeatedly warned bosses managers that outsourcing would lead to lower standards of cleanliness and create a two-tier workforce. General Secretary Dave Prentis said: “This is a stunning victory that sends a strong message to other hospitals considering privatising core services. The determination and focus of our members has ensured their jobs stay part of the NHS.

“Striking is always a last resort but while hospital bosses were dithering, workers felt they had no other choice than to take action to defend their jobs and the standard of the service they provide.”