The shocking numbers of insecure workers who died of coronavirus

Insecure workers died of coronavirus (Covid-19) at twice the rate of people in other jobs. That’s the finding of new research into the pandemic. It’s shone a damning light not only into the government’s response but also the state of employment in the UK more broadly. Insecure jobs The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has researched how the pandemic impacted insecure workers. It says these are people whose: contract does not guarantee regular hours or income (including zero-hours contracts, agency work and casual work) or… are in low-paid self-employment (earning less than the government’s National Living Wage). In total, this is one in nine in of those in work.…

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“We Need to Give the Workers a Fair Shot”: Jane McAlevey on What Went Wrong in Amazon Union Vote

Labor organizer and scholar Jane McAlevey says there were many warning signs that the historic Amazon union drive in Bessemer, Alabama, would fail. Workers at the Amazon warehouse voted overwhelmingly against forming a union after a months-long vote by mail, with Amazon using widespread intimidation and misinformation to undermine the effort. But McAlevey says organizers made a number of missteps in their campaign and didn’t do enough to engage workers in the warehouse. “There’s a strategy and a method for every part of a hard campaign. Do we always win when we follow them? No. Do we stand a better chance of winning them? Yes,” says McAlevey. Source…

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Deliveroo workers strike in pay and conditions dispute

Workers at delivery firm Deliveroo went on strike on Wednesday in a dispute over pay and conditions. Socially distanced protests were held in cities including London, York, Sheffield, Reading and Wolverhampton. The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) said its members are calling for decent pay as well as improved employment rights and safety protections. The union said supportive action was expected in Australia, France, the Netherlands, Ireland and Spain. “A false choice” The action follows recent campaigns by those in the gig economy to be classed as workers and so receive better pay and conditions. Unions won legal action recently against ride hailing firm Uber. Alex…

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New York’s “Excluded Workers” Demand First U.S. Fund to Secure Pandemic Aid for Undocumented People

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.AMY GOODMAN: More than a year into the pandemic and the economic crisis it generated, many workers continue to be excluded from receiving any government relief. These excluded workers include undocumented people, many of them in essential services, and people recently released from prison. Well, on Monday in New York, hundreds of excluded workers from across the state marched to the Capitol of Albany in a final push to demand lawmakers support a $3.5 billion fund that would be the first of its kind in the United States to provide financial relief and healthcare to those…

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Amazon apologises for tweet denying workers need to urinate in bottles

Amazon has apologised for a tweet it sent to a US politician more than a week ago denying the company’s employees work so hard they must urinate in empty water bottles. The company also admitted that some delivery drivers might have had to urinate in bottles. And it vowed to improve their working conditions. “Peeing in bottles” The matter was first raised on 24 March by Wisconsin Representative Mark Poca. He responded to a tweet by an Amazon executive that said the company was a progressive workplace. Pocan said in his tweet: Paying workers $15/hr doesn’t make you a ‘progressive workplace’ when you union-bust & make workers urinate…

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Asda workers win Supreme Court discrimination fight for equal pay

Asda bosses have lost a Supreme Court equal pay fight with store workers. More than 40,000 Asda store workers, about two-thirds of whom are women, brought equal pay claims after complaining that staff working in distribution depots unfairly get more money. Asda bosses said store jobs were not comparable to distribution centre jobs. The store workers, who are represented by law firm Leigh Day, made sex discrimination claims, saying they historically got less because most store workers are women while most distribution depot staff are men. Implications for supermarkets and other retailers Lawyers representing the store workers say distribution depot workers get between £1.50 and £3.00 an hour…

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Amazon Intimidates Workers Amid Historic Union Vote in Alabama as Jeff Bezos Makes $7 Million an Hour

Amazon workers in Bessemer, Alabama, are in the final days of voting on whether to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union and become the first unionized Amazon warehouse in the United States. Ballots have been sent to nearly 6,000 workers, most of whom are Black, in one of the most closely watched union elections in decades. Amazon has fought off labor organizing at the company for decades, but workers in Baltimore, New Orleans, Portland, Denver and Southern California are now also reportedly considering union drives. “Amazon is trying to intimidate workers. They want them to be afraid,” says Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and…

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Len McCluskey slams disease of fire and rehire, as Heathrow Airport workers stage fresh strikes

Thousands of workers at Heathrow Airport, including security staff and firefighters, are to stage a series of fresh strikes in a long-running dispute over pay and conditions. Action Unite said 41 strikes will be held over a 23-day period from 2 to 23 April, involving different groups of workers. The union has accused Heathrow of planning to “fire and rehire” its entire workforce, cutting their pay and conditions. Industrial action started last December and has continued this year. Unite officer Wayne King said: These strike days are avoidable, yet Heathrow is not listening. Heathrow Airport Ltd (HAL) railroaded these pay cuts through at a staggering speed, leaving thousands…

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Uber decision on drivers’ conditions opens the door for other workers

A decision by Uber to give its drivers a guaranteed minimum wage, holiday pay and pensions “opens the door” for other workers in the gig economy to get better pay and conditions, unions have said. The ride-hailing giant announced that, from Wednesday, more than 70,000 drivers will now to be treated as workers under UK employment law. The move, following lengthy legal action, was welcomed by unions representing hundreds of thousands of workers in the growing gig economy. “Gig workers deserve the same basic rights as everybody else” Mick Rix, national officer of the GMB union, told the PA news agency: “Uber’s announcement should mark the end of…

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Public joins in slow handclap against 1% pay offer for NHS workers

Thousands of people showed their support for health workers on 11 March by joining a nationwide slow handclap protest against the government’s controversial recommended 1% pay rise for staff. Slow clap The event, organised by health unions and the TUC, mirrored the weekly applause for the NHS at the height of the coronavirus crisis last year. Anger has been mounting since it was revealed a week ago the government had suggested to the NHS Pay Review Body that health workers should receive a 1% wage increase. Unison thanked members of the public and health workers who took part in the slow handclap, which will be repeated on April…

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