On the Picket Line

Strikers from three companies hold joint rally in Manchester

By Catharina Tirsén
February 19, 2018

MANCHESTER, England — Some 200 UNITE union members on strike here and their supporters joined forces Jan. 26, marching through the city center to a rally at the Mechanics’ Institute.

Maintenance workers from Mears joined IT workers from Fujitsu and bus drivers from First Manchester. The Mears workers have been on strike first three and now four days out of five each week since May 2017. “We are paid up to £5,000 [$7,000] less a year than other maintenance workers,” shop steward Billy Sinclair told the rally. “We are not taking a step back now. And we will support Ian Allinson!”

Allinson, a worker and union representative at Fujitsu, told the rally how he was fired Jan. 12 in the midst of workers ongoing fight against layoffs. This is the third time they’ve voted to strike.

First Manchester drivers, at the Rusholme depot, carried flags and banners saying, “Pay parity for Rusholme bus drivers.” They have been on strike three days a week since October fighting for higher wages. They get paid £9.55 per hour, whereas drivers at the company’s other Manchester depot are paid £12.10 per hour.