Hundreds of Unite members will join forces tomorrow for a joint demonstration in central Manchester.
Workers from Manchester Mears/Manchester Working, Fujitsu and First Manchester are all involved in separate industrial disputes and are striking on Friday, so will come together for a joint demo in Manchester’s Piccadilly Gardens.
Before the joint demonstration, Unite members from Manchester Mears/Manchester Working will hold a separate demo at the meeting of the Combined Manchester Local Authority which is held at Greater Manchester Pension Fund Headquarters in Guardsman Town Downs House and will be chaired by Manchester mayor Andy Burnham.
The Mears workers are currently holding a 49-day strike, which follows 40 days of strikes last year.
Unite say the industrial action is based on Mears’ failure to “meaningfully negotiate on pay and conditions” as well as the “detrimental treatment of workers during the previous dispute, attacks on workers’ holiday entitlement, allocation of work to sub-contractors, inappropriate allocation of work to apprentices… and proposed unilateral changes to working hours and conditions for some of the affected workers.”
Originally the strike action concerned pay disparities which left workers at Mears and Manchester Working (a joint venture company owned and operated by Mears) being paid as much as £3,500 less for the same work.
Joining them at the demonstration in Piccadilly Gardens will be Unite members who work as bus drivers at First Manchester’s depot in Rusholme and have been taking strike action since October last year about pay parity. The workers at the Rusholme depot are paid up to £5,000 a year less that workers at the First’s other Manchester depot.
The Fujitsu workers are currently on an 11 day period of strike action in a dispute that Unite says concerns the “victimisation of union representatives, breaches of the redundancy agreement and compulsory redundancies.”
Unite’s north west regional secretary Ritchie James said of the planned joint demonstration:
The determination of all the Unite members involved in these three long-running disputes is truly humbling, the spirit of solidarity which courses through our members, underpins what trade unionism is all about.
At all three workplaces our members have stood up and made their voices heard after years of having endured mistreatment and exploitation by management.
The joint demonstration will show that our members have widespread support from the wider union movement and the local community as they stand shoulder to shoulder for a fair and just deal.