Amazon Coventry strikers, Jeff Bezos Amazon Coventry strikers. Photo: GMB Midlands | Jeff Bezos, Photo: Daniel Oberhaus / CC BY 4.0

Counterfire’s weekly digest with the latest on strikes and workplace struggles

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Momentum is building for the 5 August mass rally called by Amazon strikers in Coventry. A number of trade union branches, trades councils and organisations have passed motions of support and coaches are being booked from across the country. Most importantly, the workers themselves are standing defiant and escalating the action.

On Monday, Amazon workers at a second warehouse voted overwhelmingly to strike alongside the Coventry workers. 86% of workers of GMB members in Rugeley warehouse voted to strike and will soon be out on the picket lines.

This follows the news that the Coventry warehouse now has 1,000 union members. The union was forced to withdraw its recognition bid earlier this year after Amazon hired an extra 1,300 people to dilute union density – but clearly the unionised workers have been quick off the bat to recruit the newcomers.

Amazon is the second biggest employer in the world and the third biggest revenue of any company on the planet. Their decision to double the workforce in Coventry rather than meet the strikers’ demands at a fraction of the cost shows with certainty that their primary concern is to quash workers organisation. Read Nigel Flanagan’s article on the Amazon workers’ fight here.

It is crucial that the entire labour movement deliver a resounding message of solidarity and show both Amazon workers and their bosses that we’re fully behind the fight. If you haven’t already, please pass this motion at your branch/trades council/CLP, organise a delegation to the rally and request transport or help organise it from where you are by filling out this form.

Coordinate the action, not the deals

Following the decision by education unions to recommend the government’s 6.5% pay offer to their members, Lindsey German makes the case for rejecting the deal

Junior doctors escalate strike to save the NHS

Junior doctors in the BMA concluded five days of strike action this week as they continued their fight against the Tory assault on the NHS. Counterfire’s Shabbir Lakha spoke to Dr Andrew Meyerson about why their strike is connected to the wider fight by workers

Red carpet treatment for striking film workers

Hollywood has been hit by the biggest strike wave in sixty years as Screen Actor’s Guild joined forces the Writers’ Guild in a dispute over residual payments from streaming services and the impact of AI on intellectual property.

Tinseltown A-listers George Clooney, Halle Berry, Matt Damon and Margot Robbie were quick to solidarise with their brothers and sisters in the trade union movement disrupting promotional events for summer blockbusters Oppenheimer and Barbie.

UK broadcasting union Bectu responded swiftly too :

“We stand firmly with SAG-AFTRA and WGA East and West, who are at the forefront of ensuring that the people who create the films and TV dramas that we all enjoy, receive a fair contract fit for the 21st century. Without their creativity there is no film and TV industry.

“This is a global fight that is pivotal for workers across the world and solidarity with US actors and writers is important for raising standards globally.”

Actors’ union Equity were similarity prompt:

“Equity stands full square behind our sister union in their claim, and the action their Board have agreed to take. Equity too is experiencing bullish engagers attempting to undermine its collectively bargained agreements. SAG-AFTRA has our total solidarity in this fight.”

This glitzy militancy may seem removed from our struggles but whether they’re Disney or Uber, it is still bosses using digital technologies to screw us over.

Unions are fighting back everywhere and it’s crystal clear to News from the Frontline that coordination is the key to success both in Hollywood – and Homerton.

Rank-and-file organising is the answer to CWU defeat

The CWU leadership is unable to defend its members’ interest; rank-and-file rebuilding of the union is the only way forward, argues the Secret Postie

The workers leading the way for the hospitality movement in Glasgow

Determined unionisation and a strike in one cafe is encouraging unionisation in other venues across the city, reports Sophie Johnson

West London traffic warden win!

GMB notched up an impressive win for its traffic warden members in Kensington and Chelsea.

Nineteen days strike action, including strategically targeting the Kings’ coronation and the Chelsea Flower Show have forged a pay increase of 14 per cent, taking workers’ hourly rate from £11.95 to £13.50.

The work is still mediated by outsourcing barons NSL.

GMB’s John Weir says:

“Workers within the NSL contract were some of the best-paid in London when the contract started but over the years, below inflation increases have seen their pay eroded and at the beginning of these negotiations they were by some margin, the lowest paid.

“This increase starts to redress this. NSL and the borough of Kensington and Chelsea will not forget the strength our members have shown.”

Stop Tory vandalism: defend ticket offices

Across the country, protests against ticket-office closures brought together a diversity of people determined to defend these public services, reports Peter Bird

A Very British Conspiracy: The Shrewsbury 24 and the Campaign for Justice – book review

Eileen Turnbull’s account of the Shrewsbury 24 campaign is a very engaging and meticulous exposure the routine complicity of media, law and politics with injustice, finds Richard Allday

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