HULL CITY Unison members employed by Madrid-based multi-national FCC agreed to suspend strike action after FCC management finally budged over the issue of occupational sick pay. Having refused for months to agree a sick pay scheme for blue collar staff comparable to management’s, the company eventually conceded after five weeks of strongly supported strike action.
This substantial victory will benefit the company’s staff across the country and should see some 3,000 staff receive enhanced sick pay. The branch is monitoring to ensure the company honours its commitments. If FCC fails to do so we will ballot members again.
The all-out strike action by members, combined with amazing support from Unison branches across the country, Hull Trades council, local MP Emma Hardy, several Labour councillors including Hull’s leader and deputy leader, and crucially council refuse workers’ refusal to cross the picket line, forced the company to negotiate. John McDonnell supported the dispute from day one and the clear messages coming from the leadership that Labour will support trade union members fighting for justice strengthen our members’ confidence and determination.
The issue at stake was always simple fairness. FCC has made hundreds of millions in profits from outsourced council contracts, but sticks to the statutory minimum wage. This dispute raises yet again the need for contracts to be brought back in-house.
Our branch’s victory shows that concessions can be won from hostile employers if the broader labour movement stands together and supports workers in struggle.