Awe inspiring Amazon picket line in Coventry

100 GMB pickets brought the Amazon plant in Coventry to a halt this morning.

At 6.30am the pickets who had gathered on the footpath swarmed into the road. At first a few cars drove at speed through the line but soon the pickets brought the cars to a halt and the road was ours.

To chants of “What do we want? £15”, “we are not robots” the strikers held the road for over an hour. “The workers united will never be defeated” was less well known but was soon taken up as a chant.

Amazon lorries were trapped in the traffic alongside people heading to work.

While some pickets were blocking the road others were working along the queue talking to the drivers and recruiting to the GMB.

I asked one of the organisers if it was like this every day on the picket line? “Oh yes” he said casually, they take over the road every day.

After the picket we had a march around the Amazon car park. One of their staff attempted to read out a trespass order which includes the line “desist from your nuisance” which amuses the organisers.

While it may be just a strike, this strike is more, it’s more like a rebellion.

Today’s strike was the last of 14 days of strike action. The GMB is growing every day. They are demanding £15 per hour. Although that has not yet been won Amazon felt enough pressure to increase the rate by 50p per hour. People report an improvement in working conditions inside the plant.

The strike is an inspiration. I’ve been at a variety of meetings over the last year or so where Amazon staff have spoken. Their story has changed as they have progressed. It started out with them talking about the pressures in the plant, more recently about their first sit down stoppage in the canteen. Now they talk about how they are organising in the plant and fighting for union recognition.

They have had to overcome many hurdles. There are people from Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe in the plant, with differing first languages. But on the picket line this is a strength. Everyone driving in knew someone on the picket line and we heard discussions in a variety of languages.

Amazon is one of the wealthiest organisations in the world, skilled at tax evasion and not recognising unions. Jeff Bezos can afford to join the rich boys space race. When the GMB win recognition in Coventry it will open the door to every plant in the country, and the GMB is already organising in a number of them.

As trade unionists we should celebrate the work being done to unionise Amazon and lend them all the support we can.

Pete Jackson

Pete is standing for the NEC on the Democracy Alliance slate. The full slate can be found here ->

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Building Solidarity, Building Unity

As we escalate our Strike Campaign  and undergo re-ballloting, the determination of our members to Fight for Fair Pay, Save Jobs, Keep our compensation Scheme & for thePension payment correction, is unwavering. 

Last month I was out on 15th March with PCS HMRC Merseyside comrades, after HMRC beat the ballot threshold, and spent some time showing solidarity with Bootle Jobcentre & HSE Bootle. Afterwards I joined comrades from UCU, BMA & PCS for a joint rally in Liverpool, where I was also a speaker. Enthusiasm to keep fighting had not weakened from the amazing February 1st all- out strike and rally in Liverpool, which I stewarded after showing solidarity with PCS Pickets at West Derby & Everton Jobcentres, Liverpool Home Office, Liverpool Passport Office & Liverpool DBS, as well as UCU Liverpool School of Tropical  Medicine – Liverpool University, Liverpool John Moores University  & ASLEF. 

I have continued to show support and solidarity for our PCS pickets including Toxteth Jobcentre which is facing closure and supporting the Anti Closure campaign with Sarah Morton, Martin Cavanagh & Angela Grant. 

I was also recently out in Solidarity with RMT, and spoke at their rally on 18th March, which also included UN Anti-Racism Day. 

On Monday, I was out at the Liverpool Passport Office again,  as they started day 1 of their 5 week targeted strike. The picket got great support from the public and had a visit from Ian Byrne MP for West Derby, as well as PCS ARMS NW and the hard working PCS NW staff. 
On Thursday I spoke at the University of Liverpool UCU branch meeting about the PCS Dispute.

Our campaigns have much in common and UCU and PCS have been working together with other unions such as RMT, Unison, RCN, Unite, CWU,  BFAWU, NEU  and others with the Liverpool Trades Council under the banner of Liverpool Strike Solidarity Network. This has included having city centre stalls in the summer to encourage sign up to join unions, collections for strike funds and doing joint rallies and events, and working with relevant groups to protect the NHS, Anti Racism activities and Solidarity across pickets for the various ongoing disputes. 
The Liverpool University UCU branch passed on their Solidarity at the meeting, and they and others will  be showing us support on our PCS Walk Out, when we are all out on 28th April. The branch also pledged a £1,000 donation to our strike fund! Fantastic Solidarity. 

This month, we have seen thousands of members at AA grade get an automatic uplift to match the new National minimum wage NMW – some workers who administer the NMW have had to have a raise, whilst others delivering Universal Credit have to claim it themselves. 

The strategy of targeted strikes is proving to the Government our true worth, and the escalated action is enabling this to ramp up more. The next PCS Walk Out, on 28th April, will show them that our demands remain widely supported across all groups who smashed the threshold & we have the public and other unions on our side. 

Don’t forget to post your ballot paper back if your group is in the re-ballot. We have seen other unions winning their re-ballots with even better turnouts and mandates – as we are all determined to fight the draconian terms and conditions the government are trying to force on to all of us working for the public, delivering vital services for the most vulnerable and the for benefit of our national economy.

 Inflation is rising and so are we. 


Tracey Hylton

Tracey is standing for re-election to the PCS NEC as part of the Democratic Alliance slate. Click here to see the full Democratic Alliance slate.

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Speech by Austin Harney in protest against the attack on Al Aqsa Mosque

Solidarity to all Palestinian Trade Unions and Workers! Not only am I on the National Executive Committee and joint PCS Liaison Officer with Mohammed Shafiq who sends his apologies and greetings of solidarity, but, also, represent a branch that has the largest Muslim membership in the Ministry of Justice! I represent many Muslim members at work, especially against discrimination, ensured prayer room facilities on each floor and organised Islamophobia Awareness Month in my workplace, last year! Every Trade Union should organise Islamopbobia Awareness Month but there is nothing more shocking in the 21st Century when the Israeli forces arrested 450 Palestinians on Tuesday in the ancient mosque of Al Aqsa in East Jerusalem during Ramadan. The Israeli forces and are, still detaining 50 Palestinians whilst the rest were released bruised and beaten. On Wednesday, the Israeli forces fired stun grenades and used rifle buts to beat the Palestinians whilst they were praying. It is these injustices that all Trade Unions must expose on Islamophobia Awareness Month!

Al Aqsa was a sacred place of worship for the Palestinians in East Jerusalem until it was captured and annexed by the Israeli government in 1967 during the Six Day War. There has been a small extremist movement calling for the mosque in Al Aqsa to be demolished and replaced by a Jewish Temple. But this movement has mushroomed and is, now, a powerful organisation supported by Binyamin Netanyahu’s government. Last year in April 2022, Al Aqsa was raided by 48,000 Israeli settlers. In April 2021, the Israeli forces attacked and injured hundreds of Palestinian worshippers including women, children and the elderly seven times in 10 days. At the same time, 700 Israeli settlers roamed outside Al Aqsa but none were arrested.

It is clear that the Israeli government can get away with these atrocities and it is not enough that we vociferate these protests. Two powerful governments are equally to blame of which are in Britain and the United States! These two governments have, cowardly, surrendered to Islamophobia and Apartheid committed within Israel! It is time that we hold all these governments to account. We cannot forget the Sykes – Picot Agreement in 1916 of which the British and French governments partitioned the Middle East. Also, we cannot forget the Balfour Declaration of 1917 of which the colonisation programme of Palestine was started in 1926! I, only, received the last minute invitation to speak at this demonstration at 12.00, last night. But I was happy to give up part of my Good Friday as my family’s country, Ireland, is the first nation in the European Union to impose a boycott of the Israeli Settler goods. The term “Boycott” originally comes from Ireland when William Erskine Boycott was “shunned as a leper of old” for evicting many Irish people from their lands. Balfour was known in Ireland as “Bloody Balfour” for evicting many Irish tenants. It is not enough that one country such as Ireland imposes Boycott Divestment Sanctions on the Israeli government. All governments must do the same including that of Britain and the United States in order to force the establishment of Israel to stop these atrocities committed on the Palestinian people! We must, also, pressurise all political parties in Westminster to hold this British government to account including Her Majesty’s Opposition to speak out and criticise, heavily, in Parliament!

We call on this Israeli government to stop all the bombings of Gaza that was committed last night, the colonisation of the West Bank, the return of the Palestinian Diaspora to their homes in Palestine, and fight for the rights of all Palestinian Trade Unions and Workers! Imperialism can beat us into the ground but it will never break our spirits! If we lose, today, we will never give up! We will come back in the next generation and generation after until we have smashed imperialism and achieved natural justice! Solidarity to all the Palestinian people!

Austin Harney

Austin is standing for re-election to the PCS NEC as part of the Democratic Alliance slate. Click here to see the full Democratic Alliance slate.

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Workers Memorial Day – April 28th 2023 – a day for remembrance and action

Every year on Workers Memorial Day we remember workers who have been killed or injured at work with a key message…remember the dead and fight for the living.

Workers Memorial Day came about due to events throughout history, where employer and government failures led to the preventable deaths of workers and dates to commemorate trade unions winning legal battles to protect rights to safety at work.

The recent pandemic posed, and is still posing, a number of health and safety risks and highlighted to many who had previously seen health and safety as a nuisance, the importance of union safety reps and risk assessments. Today, more than ever, Health and Safety reps are working hard to keep our work places safe in an ever changing work environment.

Left Unity led our union through the most challenging period many of us have ever faced. Both at national and group level, it was Left Unity members negotiating policy and holding the employer to account, allowing reps on the ground to keep a members and their families as safe as possible.

Nothing has changed, as it is still Left Unity leading the current fight back to the latest risk to workers safety and wellbeing.

Traditionally on Workers Memorial Day, we organise health and safety activities across our workplaces. This year is slightly different. The threat posed to workers by the cost of living crisis and in work poverty to our physical and mental wellbeing cannot be overstated. So for this year the fight for the living means withdrawing your labour and participating in our latest strike action. This is one of the biggest fights we’ve had in a long time and it’s crucial that we are all involved.

Support the Strike action on the 28th April

Participate in the picket lines

Return your ballot paper

Observe the Workers’ Memorial Day one-minute silence at midday


Carol Revell DWP Group Safety Officer and Left Unity Member

Carol is standing for re-election to the DWP GEC as part of the Left Unity slate. To see the full Left Unity DWP GEC slate click here

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Five week Passport Office strike off to a fantastic start

Today marks the start of five weeks of industrial action targeting passport examination staff across HMPO production sites. That’s a huge undertaking, involving around 1,500 members on strike for an extended period.

This morning saw huge picket lines outside of Peterborough, London, Newport, Belfast, Glasgow, Liverpool, Durham, and Southport offices. It was a cold start to the day, but we brought the sunshine with us, which in turn brought large numbers of members down to support the strike and the pickets were especially notable for the number of young members who were present. Morale was high with members excited about the prospect of really making a difference.

The strike is fully linked into our national strategy; we identified an area which could deliver the greatest impact – that’s passport production. We recognised that we needed to wait to target a time of year when applications had started to pick up – that’s now. We also knew we needed a significant period of action so that backlogs developed, and the greatest leverage created – that’s five weeks, well to start with…

We’ve already seen loads of media coverage and we’re hoping this only increases. This is a strike designed to win, it’s a huge outlay from our strike fund and demonstrates our commitment to maximising and escalating the pressure we are putting the government under.

The ability of the union to fund strike pay has been key in our strategy, there’s no way that we could have asked this group of members to go out for 5 weeks unpaid or funded through donations to hardship funds. Financially that’s completely unviable but they are also striking on behalf of all our members in PCS. Our national action encompasses the strikes in the Government Digital Service, the British Library and all the other areas we have targeted so far.

We are also looking forward to the action on the 28 April. This gives an opportunity for all those members not covered by the passport action to join in and demonstrate solidarity. That’s in addition to the solidarity we are all showing via the levy we are all paying that is allowing to prosecute such significant action as that in the passport office.

We have already seen over 600 new members join the passport office within the last two weeks since this action was announced. We have also had new reps come forward and we are hoping to increase and diversify our activist base.

This action has excited young members in the workplace. Young members are disproportionately affected by the extortionate rental market, let alone the ever-receding dream of being able to buy. Many of them have huge student loans taking a percentage of their pay every month. They have seen coverage of strikes on the news and now they know they have a union which is also in the fightback. The strikes and picket lines are inspiring and politicising the next generation of trade unionists our movement needs.

We know that this is significant action, but we also know that we have to ensure we renew our ballot because we need to be ready to continue into the next six months. Make sure you vote, take part in the 28 April all member action, and visit a passport office picket line! Together we can build the union, inspire new reps and ultimately win the pay rise all our members deserve and need.

Karen Alderson

Karen is standing for the NEC on the Democracy Alliance slate. The full slate can be found here ->

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