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Solidarity stories

Union member wins and how they did it.

Standing together and taking action together works. Unions have always known that and it’s as true today as it ever was.

Here are just a few of the many union win stories that we’ve been involved with lately.

PCS

A great pay win for workers at National Museum

PCS members at National Museums Liverpool have voted to accept an improved pay offer, bringing an end to a long-running dispute. Read Stuart Payne's story

meeting

NUJ achieves historic union recognition at Press Association

NUJ has won a historic union recognition agreement at the Press Association (PA). This campaign started back in 2020, following the easing of the first Covid-19 lockdown, we had a pay cut imposed on us with no consultation. Read Jonathan and Emily's story

“Everything had gone up except our wages. We felt unappreciated"

After working through the pandemic, a group of outsourced canteen workers working at Drax power station felt the cost-of-living crisis starting to bite. Read Debbie and Dianne's story

"Your future is in your hands”: A brilliant union recognition win for workers at Euro Car Parts

"This campaign started back in 2016, when we had an enquiry from a migrant worker about some of the working conditions. A bit of investigation found a number of poor practices at the company, who weren’t following the rules as they should have been." Read Gavin's story

“New recognition agreements are rarer than hens’ teeth”: A new deal for care workers

More than one hundred care workers in Wales are to see their pay and conditions improve after their company, Adferiad, signed a new recognition deal with UNISON. Read Andrew's story

Winning for outsourced workers

In the midst of the pandemic, Dolce, a private school catering company, was cutting contracted hours of their staff, while expecting many of them to work the same hours as before. These outsourced workers got in touch with their union, UNISON and asked for advice. Read Diane's story 

"These changes will go a long way to support our members when they need it most"

In September 2023, following ongoing discussions between Tesco and Usdaw, the supermarket announced new policies to support workers with paid leave. Janet, USDAW rep and Tesco worker for 28 years, explains how this will help staff who have caring responsibilities. Read Janet's story

"You saved your own jobs: It was the members standing united that delivered"

Nearly three years, Nautilus began negotiations over pay and terms and conditions with the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company (IOMSPC). When talks broke down, the employer dismissed all the seafaring officers. But thanks to strong and decisive action from the seafarers, the workers attained a great deal! Read Garry's story

"The public really got behind us"

When North Wales fire authority announced proposals for downgrading services, the FBU sprang into action, rallying support from the community and laying bare the reality of what these downgrades in services would mean for the safety of the public - and firefighters’ wellbeing. Read Duncan's story

“It feels good to know that we are all unified”

In December 2023, the Stand Comedy club in Edinburgh signed a voluntary recognition agreement with Unite, after the majority of workers in the Glasgow club also joined the union. "Having this recognition means we can hold the company to their word.” Read Lotte and Louis's story

“Don’t be afraid to be bold”: Winning for outsourced workers at ISS

Last year, around 100 outsourced PCS members employed by ISS as cleaners, security guards and support staff took 46 days of strike action after ISS failed to improve on a 2% pay offer. After nearly 7 weeks of strike action, members agreed a deal that saw their pay rise above the Living Wage. Read Duncan's story

“We got an amazing result!”: A great ballot turnout for the AEP

In September 2023, members of the Association of Educational Psychologists (AEP) voted decisively in favour of taking industrial action over pay. It was the union’s first vote for industrial action since 2011 – but it secured AEP an improved pay offer which members accepted. Read Cath's story

The fight for recognition at Glee Club, Cardiff

Following a long and hard-fought campaign, Unite the union secured union recognition at the world-famous Glee Club in Cardiff, Wales. Representing the first of its kind within the Welsh hospitality sector, 35 employees at the venue will be covered by the collective agreement. Read Michela's story

gchq

"I was sacked by GCHQ, but I have no regrets"

GCHQ worker Gareth Morris talked to PCS about his experiences when the trade union ban was brought in at GCHQ in 1984. "For me it was a matter of principle. I have no regrets. Yes, I may have been promoted earlier at GCHQ if I’d signed the letter, but after the ban was lifted, I returned there, resumed my career and stayed there until I retired." Read Gareth's story

“Don’t underestimate the benefits of being part of a union, especially if you want things to change for the better in your place of work.”

At Gatwick Airport, DHL easyJet staff manage the safe take-off and landing of a plane every 2-3 minutes. But their pay did not reflect this workload or level of responsibility. Unite rep and flight coordinator Martins Malomo spoke to the TUC about the campaign. Read Martins's story

“I’m surprised at how much of a difference I was able to make”

Earlier this year the FDA union entered into negotiations over pay for civil service Fast Stream members. Rep Allan Carmen spoke to us about the resounding pay win. Read Allan's story

UNISON reps extract a great pay deal for staff at the National Coal Mining Museum

"The employers offered us less than half of what we’d asked for and claimed this was the maximum they were allowed to pay because of a government-imposed cap of 5% for civil servants.” Read Rianne's story

Bumper pay rise for Camden's traffic wardens

"This is a huge win for our members. After eight weeks of strikes they have finally been offered a proper pay deal. It works out as an 18.1% pay increase, or a £5k rise in this year alone." Read Liz's story

A better deal for retail workers going through the menopause 

“As part of our pay claim every year, we obviously always have the pay element, but we also put forward consultative issues as part of the claim. We wanted to discuss the menopause and how people going through the menopause should be treated at work.” Read Jane's story

Light at the end of the tunnel for St Mungo’s workers

Hundreds of workers employed by homelessness charity St Mungo’s – represented by Unite the union – have just ended their long-running strike after accepting an inflation beating pay increase. Read Jacob's story.

Eurostar staff on the right track for a great pay deal

Railway workers on Eurostar have secured a great pay deal following negotiations between the RMT union and management. Read Primrose's story

Manufacturing a great pay win for Glen Dimplex workers 

Community National Officer for Light Industries, Gavin Miller, spoke to the TUC about the Prescot site’s recent pay claim – and their win! Read Gavin's story

"Scotland’s oldest cinema wins union recognition for first time"

In search of clarity on issues with hours, contracts and pay - cinema workers Katie and Euan took inspiration from a local Unite organiser and together with their colleagues, pushed for union recognition at Glasgow Film Theatre. Read Katie and Euan's story

“Support from the TUC’s Solidarity Hub turbo-charged our campaign” 

When management offered their staff at Hinduja Global Solutions (HGS) a 3.25% pay rise they weren’t impressed. PCS members voted with their feet and took prolonged strike action to secure a much better deal for all the team. Read Claire's story

"From the beginning this was about staff having a choice"

When senior management decided it wanted to save costs, workers at Magenta were forced into an impossible decision: start working with asbestos or for short-term contract and apprentices risk losing your job. They decided to take action. Read Dave's story

coca cola

"Stand up for yourselves, together in this cost of living crisis and fight for what you’re worth"

Workers at Coca Cola in Wakefield were facing a real-terms pay cut. Despite record profits of £1.85 billion in the last year, the company clearly had no intention of sharing the rewards with its employees. Hundreds of workers at the plant decided it was time to fight for their fair share. Read Chris's story

FBU

"We had solidarity messages from control rooms and fire stations across the country" 

Back in September 2022, Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service had announced plans to scrap its entire control operation on money saving grounds. In response to the announcement, FBU fire control members launched their campaign to fight back. Read Val's story here

“It’s great to see our work having an impact beyond our own employer”

Davina Lambie, a physiotherapist and union rep for the CSP union, was part of a team of three reps who secured the right for staff at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals Foundation Trust to be able to wear shorts to work in hot weather, including her manager Tazivei (pictured). Read Davina's story here

“We prepared for this like gearing up for a football match. We had our game plan, we had rehearsed our moves, and we were ready with stories of case studies that spoke to every element of our claim.” 

Three Equity union reps, Hywel Morgan, Lizzie Cooper and Joe Richardson, tell the story of how they won a fair deal for their members in the West End. Read their story.

"My main advice when in pay negotiations is – hang on in there. Stand your ground"

Steve O’Sullivan, 61, is a Unison rep at the Canal and River Trust. He recently helped secure an 8.2% pay rise (which included and interim rise of 4% in July 2022) for the 1,700 Canal and River Trust staff. Read Steve's story

"I just want to show other people there’s power in union."

Joanne Thompson, an outsourced hospital cleaner from Blackpool tells the story of how she won pay parity with NHS colleagues.
Read Joanne's story.

“It was blood, sweat and tears to get a deal on the table.”

Tim Collins from the Aintree Jacob's Cream cracker factory tells the story of 11 weeks of strike action standing up to bulling and intimidation from management to fight for better pay. Read Tim's story

“This group of workers has for too long been undervalued."

Alex Vernon speaks to Dan Smith and Wendy Guest from UNISON to find out more about the hard-fought campaign for health care assistants pay in Greater Manchester. Read Alex's story

“I’d felt burned out, unheard, mistreated. Now, hope was giving me a newfound energy.”

Nuria describes working on the frontline of social care – and how she helped secure the Living Wage for thousands of support workers across Greater Manchester. Read Nuria's story.

 

Seven steps to strike success

After years of discontent, it was the punishing combination of Covid in 2020 and the soaring cost of living in 2021 that finally led Gary Walker and 67 of his CHEP co-workers to the picket line. We talked to Gary about what made the strike a success. Read Gary's story

“Equity will fight for you. I’m proof of that.”

Joanne worked through the pandemic in a key role at Phoenix Dance Theatre, only to be 'laid-off' while the company took a break to 'restructure'.  With the support of Equity, a Megaphone petition and a noisy protest outside Phoenix HQ - Joanne and her colleagues got their jobs back. Read Joanne's story

Victory for bus driver who lost job for being 'too short'

Tracey Scholes was the first woman driver at the Queens Road bus depot in Manchester. After 34 years of service, she was sacked by Go North West for being too short to see her mirrors properly. Public outrage, a massive Megaphone petition and a media storm followed – and Tracey got her job back. Read Tracey's story

After 18 years at Clarks, union rep Trevor Stephens led 140 workers out on strike

"Clarks said if we couldn’t agree to the new T&Cs, they would ‘disengage to reengage’. We called this fire and rehire! We did an official ballot which came back around 96% positive for industrial action with a strike – one of the highest rates we’d ever had." Read Trevor's story

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