Danish nurses defy unions and continue one-hour wildcat stoppages over pay and understaffing; UK Rail strikes continue at ScotRail and East Midlands over pay and safety; Strike by Nigerian doctors over pay arrears continues despite opposition from union

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

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Danish nurses continue one-hour wildcat stoppages over pay and understaffing

Nurses in Denmark are continuing to join one-hour wildcat strikes, defying the orders of the Danish Nurses’ Council (DSR) union and the imposition of fines by the national Labour Court. The strikes followed the shutdown of the national nurses’ strike in August.

Over the past weeks, hundreds of nurses walked out at the Rigshospitalet, Herlev Hospital, Aalborg University Hospital and Hvidovre Hospital. Last week, a group of health and social care assistants in Silkeborg held a sympathy strike in support of the nurses, defying their own union. On Monday, nurses at Kolding Hospital also joined the protest strikes, walking out for an hour in the morning, according to Jydske Vestkysten .

The 6,000 nurses walked out for ten weeks over pay, understaffing and workload, but the government intervened on August 28 to impose a pay deal, which was rejected twice by DSR members. The nurses then began wildcat action, with support from workers in Denmark and internationally.

Nurses continued to join the stoppages, despite the imposition of a fine of 86 kroner per hour by the Labour Court. Nurses at Rigshospitalet set up a fundraiser to help pay the fines, which received donations from supporters internationally.

Nurses have also denounced their working conditions, including irregular shift patterns. The DSR and the government, as they did throughout official strike, tried to focus exclusively on matters of gender. Underlining the right-wing nature of this perspective, the Minister for Gender Equality for the ruling Social Democrats said that the government was involved in the “long, hard work” of ensuring equal pay between men and women, but it would be unfair to give a real-terms pay rise to striking nurses because other “women’s professions” such as social workers did not receive an increase.

National strike in Dutch university hospitals over pay and workload

Thousands of hospital workers in seven Dutch university hospitals joined a 24-hour national strike on Thursday, to call for a salary increase and a decrease in workloads.

In eleven departments, scheduled surgeries were cancelled and only emergency care provided. According to the Algemeen Dagblad, the Federation of Dutch Trade Unions (FNV) and most other healthcare unions rejected an offer from the employers’ association of only a 1 percent pay increase over three years, well below even one year of inflation.

After what the FNV describes as the “largest ever strike” in academic hospitals, another one-day strike is planned for October 26.

Wave of strikes among French healthcare workers over poor working conditions and pay

Healthcare workers in France held a huge number of strikes and protests to denounce their working conditions, which have deteriorated throughout the pandemic, low staffing levels and stagnant pay.

France Bleu reported on September 23 that operating theatre nurses in Sens held a one-day strike, cancelling non-emergency operations, and nurses in the Poitiers university hospital began an indefinite strike. Both actions were against low staffing levels and difficult working conditions.

The unions representing nurses in Sens said in a press release, “Working conditions are increasingly deplorable and precarious.” A nurse in Poitiers told France Bleu, “We can’t take any more of these working conditions … Some days, there is a shortage of nurses and caregivers, and the safety of patients is compromised.”

On the same day the General Confederation of Labour (CGT) called for a national strike of home care assistants for an improvement in pay and conditions.

On September 24, midwives began a three-day national strike to demand a pay increase beyond the inadequate 100 euro monthly pay rise announced by the Minister of Health a few weeks ago, reported 20 Minutes. Many midwives denounced staffing levels, with a midwife from the university hospital in Angers telling Ouest France, “Our working conditions make us afraid for the safety of the babies and mothers.”

Workers in multiple healthcare professions have been on strike since the “Ségur” healthcare review last year, which excluded many areas from receiving a pay rise. This is the fifth protest of midwives in 2021, and according to 20 Minutes another protest in Paris is scheduled for October 7.

Sixty nursing assistants from a nursing home in Tours walked out on Monday to demand more staff. France Bleu quoted several strikers who said that people were leaving the profession due to the exhausting working conditions, and caregivers did not have enough time for each resident.

Also, on Monday, General Practitioners in the SOS Médecins association stopped work for a day to demand the increase in payment for a home visit. Speaking to Le Figaro, SOS Médecins said the stoppage cancelled around 8,000 visits, although some of its 1,300 members were requisitioned for night watches over vulnerable patients.

Spanish bank workers protest against mass layoffs

This week, workers at Banco Sabadell protested in 14 cities across Spain against plans to cut almost 2,000 jobs. According to Europa Press the bank intends to make 1,936 redundancies to “remain competitive.” The unions at Banco Sabadell called a protest on Monday in nine cities including Barcelona, where the bank has a headquarters, and on Tuesday and Wednesday in five other cities.

The General Workers Union (UGT) attempted to persuade Banco Sabadell it can make the cuts it wants by “offer[ing] sufficiently attractive exit conditions” to induce “voluntary” redundancies and early retirements. The industrial action scheduled against the cuts aims to put minimum pressure on the bank, with a mere 15-minute strike on October 4, and one hour on October 5. The unions also threatened strikes on November 6 and 8 if the banks do not agree to their proposals by then.

The unions refuse to mount a united campaign to oppose job cuts. In July, the unions agreed to 6,452 job losses at CaixaBank, and in June accepted 2,725 redundancies at BBVA, in each case organising only short token strikes to demand better redundancy terms.

One-day strike of Athens delivery riders in Greece to demand better working conditions

On September 24, hundreds of riders employed by the “gig economy” delivery platform Efood in Athens held a one-day strike to denounce their working conditions. According to Kathimerini, workers were angered by Efood’s attempt the previous week to change the status of 115 drivers from permanent employees to freelancers, which the company quickly had to reverse after a backlash from drivers and a boycott by many customers.

Ef.Syn estimated that over 1,000 people took part in a motorcycle procession in the capital, listing their demands as the renewal of permanent employment contracts for all riders, and an end to the “vague and arbitrary” productivity and bonus system. It also listed demands for improvements to their working conditions such as distance limits and an end to deliveries in dangerous weather conditions.

Norwegian cultural workers continue pensions strike

Workers in the cultural sector in Norway continue a strike begun on September 3 to demand improved pensions. After the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) called new members to walk out, there are now 556 workers on strike, according to FriFagbevegelse .

The strike began after mediation between LO and employers’ organisation Spekter did not lead to an agreement over the pension scheme. LO accepted a “temporary pension scheme” in 2016, which was claimed to be necessary for the financial sustainability of the cultural institutions, but workers are calling for improvements. The main issue is that pensions are “defined contribution,” so the pension workers receive on retirement depends on the value of the fund and decreases over time, unlike “defined benefit” pensions, where they receive a certain percentage of their salary as a pension. LO is calling for a “hybrid” model.

Belgian logistics workers strike against closure of Nivelles site

Workers at the Kuehne+Nagel logistics centre in Nivelles, Belgium began an indefinite strike on September 23, after the company announced it was going to close the Nivelles site and lay off its 549 employees, reported Het Laatste Nieuws. After the company’s announcement on September 22, some of the workers travelled to the company’s other centres near Mechelen and Antwerp to set up pickets.

The Kuehne+Nagel Nivelles site supplies many of the Carrefour supermarkets nearby, and the strike had a large impact, leaving many shelves empty. According to HLN, the logistics workers also intend to bring their pickets to Carrefour stores.

Three-hour stoppage at Cypriot state hospitals

Doctors in Cyprus’ state hospitals held a three-hour strike on Wednesday morning after two healthcare unions denounced the failure of the State and Health Services Organisation (OKYPY) to deal with problems over staffing, according to AlphaNews. The unions accused OKYPY of reneging on a deal signed in July 2020, and of “authoritarianism and disrespect.”

Scotland’s ScotRail workers’ Sunday strikes over pay continue, ticket examiners vote to take further action

Several hundred train conductors and ticket examiners at ScotRail, Scotland, walked out on Sunday, continuing one of the UK’s longest running series of stoppages. The conductors’ strikes began in March, while ticket examiners walked out at the end of April.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport workers union (RMT) members demand equal overtime pay with train drivers. The conductors voted by an 80 percent majority to continue the stoppages,.

Ticket examiners were re-balloted and voted to continue their stoppages. They will strike each Sunday from October 10 until October 31. They will also walk out on October 3, as part of previously agreed industrial action.

The RMT accuses ScotRail of safety breaches by using managers to replace the strikers, as they lack training. The union called on the Scottish government to intervene.

The team managers (Transport and Salaried Staff Association members) voted to strike against being used as strike-breakers. Train cleaners at ScotRail started an overtime and rest day working ban on July 13.

The RMT revealed ScotRail’s parent company Abellio proposes to slash jobs and services—closing 140 ticket offices and cutting 85,000 rail services, with a loss of 1,000 jobs.

From August 11, ScotRail gateline workers, also RMT members, began an overtime ban, refusing to act up or work rest days to protest overtime rates. They will only work Sundays already booked.

The RMT was to meet with ScotRail for talks over the pay disputes. The RMT said it would not rule out holding strikes during the COP26 International climate change summit, due in Glasgow from November 1 to 12.

The RMT betrayed the five-year struggle of rail workers against the introduction of Driver Operated Trains, reaching agreements with train operators that undermined the safety-critical role of conductors.

Train managers and senior conductors at the UK’s East Midlands Railways company hold further Sunday stoppage over safety

Senior conductors and train managers at UK’s East Midlands Railways, involved in separate disputes over safety relating to the four-carriage Class 360 trains, held a further 24-hour strike Sunday.

The four-carriage units can be coupled together to make eight- or 12-carriage trains. With no connecting passage between each carriage unit, and with only one manager or senior conductor on board, this creates a serious safety issue.

The senior conductors began their walkouts in mid-May, and have held 24-hour strikes each Sunday, up to and including last Sunday. Train managers have also held 24-hour strikes each Sunday, up to and including last Sunday.

Further strike dates are set for Sundays starting October 17 until November 21.

The RMT said the use of scab-operated trains resulted in safety breaches, citing doors being opened on the wrong side of the train. The union says strike-breakers are given one day’s training and a £270 shift bonus.

The RMT refuses to unite the growing disputes in the rail industry.

Strikes by lecturers at UK colleges over pay

Strikes at 10 UK Further Education (FE) colleges took place on Tuesday over pay.

Five of the colleges also held a further day’s stoppage on Wednesday. Originally University and College Union (UCU) members at 15 FE colleges throughout England were to walk out. They voted by a near 90 percent majority to strike in July.

Pay for FE lecturers fell behind that of school teachers, so there is a £9,000 gap between them. Over the last decade, their pay has fallen by 30 percent in real terms.

Strikes at Sheffield College and City College Plymouth were called off after pay awards were agreed. In addition, last minute deals at three other colleges meant the number of colleges out was reduced to 10. The strike at Weymouth College was called off after staff accepted a 2.2 percent offer backdated to April. Strikes at City of Bristol College and New College Swindon were also called off after the colleges made an improved pay offer. The union and the colleges gave no details of the offers, as negotiations are still ongoing.

More stoppages are planned at the 10 colleges, but the UCU is looking to the employers to make improved offers so they can call off further action.

Union calls off five-day strike over staff cuts at University of Liverpool, UK

The UCU has called off a five-day walkout of academic staff at Liverpool university due to begin Monday. The stoppage would have coincided with the first week of the new term.

The walkout was scheduled after previous strikes and other forms of industrial action. Initially, the university proposed the use of compulsory redundancy to cut 47 posts in the Health and Life Sciences Faculty. This was subsequently reduced to 24 posts, and now has been reduced to two posts. These threatened jobs are not mentioned in the UCU’s statement yesterday announcing the calling off of next week’s strike.

The UCU’s main objection was the use of compulsory redundancies, as the union has assisted in cutting many university posts nationally through voluntary redundancies. In yesterday’s statement, the UCU boasted that “As a result of this action, not one compulsory redundancy has been made to a UCU member.” They went on that the action had resulted in “an enhanced voluntary severance package that enabled some of our members to take the decision to leave the University with greater security than management wanted to afford them.”

The university had devised so-called “rank and yank” criteria to select academics deemed to be the worst performing. UCU members condemned the criteria as “statistically innumerate.”

UK academic staff at Falmouth University support action to protect pension of new staff

Academic staff at Falmouth University, England voted by an 80 percent majority in an indicative vote to take action to protect pensions of newly appointed staff.

The university proposed to move newly employed academic staff to a subsidiary private pension scheme, removing them from the superior Teachers’ Pension Scheme. Newly employed academic staff face the uncertainty of precarious contracts on top of the attack on pensions.

Second round of strikes by cereal engineers at Weetabix, UK factories

Around 80 engineers working at the Weetabix plants in Kettering and Corby, England held a second round of strikes this week, with a 48-hour walkout Tuesday against the threat of fire and rehire.

The Unite union members held a 48-hour stoppage last week. Further 48-hour strikes are due each Tuesday up until November 30. Newly elected general secretary of the Unite union, Sharon Graham visited the picket line on Wednesday.

The engineers oppose pay cuts and restructuring of their contracts that would roster them to work more days, with the loss of shift allowance. The changes mean the engineers losing up to £5,000 a year. The threat of dismissal hangs over those workers refusing to accept the changes.

The engineers were to strike at the end of June, followed by weekly 24-hour strikes throughout the summer. However, Unite suspended the strike to allow “meaningful talks.” This resulted in new proposals from Weetabix. However, Unite was unable to sell the new proposals to the workers who rejected them by an 82 percent majority forcing Unite to launch the current round of stoppages.

Strike by ferry workers in London over bullying claims continues

The 57 Woolwich ferry workers in UK capital are continuing their intermittent strikes over bullying, victimisation of union representatives, excessive use of agency staff and the failure to give health and safety training to new hirees.

The Unite union members, who work for Transport for London (TfL) have staged intermittent walkouts since May. They are currently balloting to extend the industrial action.

TfL took over the running of the ferry from Briggs Marine Contractors Ltd in January. Under Briggs, there was a long-running dispute over alleged management bullying.

The ferry service, providing free crossing of the Thames for pedestrians and vehicles, has operated since 1889. Prior to the pandemic around 20,000 vehicles and 2.6 million passengers a year used the service.

Strike of biomedical scientists in northwest England over pay continues

Twenty-one biomedical scientists working for the East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust at the Royal Blackburn hospital, England are continuing their strike.

The Unite union members began their strike in May claiming the hospital trust reneged on a 2019 pay agreement, meaning they are owed up to £8,000. In total Unite says the workers who carry out tests including blood tests are owed around £50,000, but the trust spent £150,000 on overtime costs for non-union staff acting as scab labour to cover the duties of the striking biomedical scientists.

Taxi-hailing app drivers in UK hold 24-hour strike over pay and conditions

On Tuesday, drivers working for the tax-hailing app Uber held a 24-hour strike in eight cities across the UK, including Glasgow, Leeds and London.

The App Drivers and Couriers Union (ADCU) members were protesting against not being paid for waiting time. According to ADCU, waiting time can represent up to 40 percent of Uber drivers’ work time. They were also protesting some Uber drivers being “robo-fired” via an automated logarithm. A recent High Court ruling classed Uber drivers as workers, but Uber is currently seeking to overturn the ruling.

Teachers in Salford, England walk out over management practices

UK teachers at the Co-op Academy Swinton secondary school, in Salford held the first of five planned walkouts on Wednesday, protesting management practice at the school.

Around 30 teachers, half the workforce, took part in the stoppage and mounted a picket line. The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers members are opposing excessive working hours, shorter lunch breaks and management’s imposition of practices relating to teaching practice and performance management.

Separately, 200 parents at the school signed a petition against “pedantic” rules imposed by school management. These include pupils having to line up outside for a bag check to see they have the right equipment, poor quality school meals and only having a 35-minute lunch break. Parents say the short lunch break does not leave enough time for pupils to eat their lunch and use the toilet.

Cleaners at University of the Arts London strike over pay and conditions

Cleaners at the University of the Arts London held a strike on Monday.

The GMB members who work for a contractor are demanding to be brought in-house and have pay and conditions in line with directly employed staff.

UK bus drivers in Wales vote to strike over pay

UK bus drivers working for Stagecoach South Wales voted overwhelmingly to strike over pay.

The Unite union members voted by a 98 percent majority on a 77 percent turnout. The ballot covers the Cwmbran, Brynmawr and Blackwood depots of Stagecoach South Wales, which operates in the south east Wales area. A statement issued by Unite announcing the ballot result on September 24 did not name dates for any possible stoppage, but put the company on notice that the “workforce is determined to undertake industrial action if they do not change course.”

Pay talks due last year were abandoned as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold.

Scaffolders at steel plant in Scunthorpe, England to begin indefinite strike over pay

Around 60 scaffolders employed by contractor Actavo at the British Steel plant in Scunthorpe, England are to begin an all-out strike on Monday.

The Unite union members have been in dispute over pay since 2019. They struck previously and are demanding payment in line with the National Agreement for the Engineering Construction Industry (NAECI). They are paid between 10 to 15 percent less than NAECI agreed rates.

Refuse collection workers in Sandwell, England to renew strike after failed talks over bullying allegations

Refuse collection workers employed by Serco under contract will hold a 24-hour strike October 6.

The GMB union members walked out on August 31, over allegations of bullying by their employer, outsourcing company Serco. Serco is contracted to provide refuse collection to Sandwell council in the West Midlands. GMB suspended further planned strikes on September 7,14 and 21, and entered into talks with Serco. However, according to GMB, Serco walked away from the talks, and strike action has resumed.

UK driving test examiners vote to strike over proposal to increase workload

UK driving test examiners employed by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) voted by over 90 percent on an 80 percent turnout to strike.

The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union members are opposed to management proposals to increase the number of driving tests they expect examiners to carry out, from seven to eight a day. The DVSA intends to impose the eight tests schedule from October 11.

PCS members held meetings Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to discuss possible action. The PCS is calling on the DVSA to postpone the schedule and enter into talks.

Weapons technicians at Scottish nuclear naval base vote for industrial action over pay

Around 70 technicians at the Royal Naval Armaments Depot in Coulport nuclear naval base, Scotland voted by over 90 percent to strike.

The Unite union members are employed by AWE plc, Babcock Marine (Clyde) Ltd and Lockheed Martin UK Strategic Systems Ltd. The workers, who formerly worked for the Ministry of Defence, were transferred to the companies in 2013 under Transfer of Undertaking (Protection of Employment) rules, supposed to protect contract conditions between employers. The technicians provide care and maintenance of nuclear weapons at the base.

Unite put in a 3.8 percent pay claim, which was rejected by the employers. A Unite statement September 23 said it would consult its members as to what form of industrial action it would take, and this would commence at the beginning of October “if there is no breakthrough in pay talks.”

Bus workers in northeast England being balloted over pay

A ballot of UK bus drivers and engineers working for Stagecoach North East began on Wednesday.

The Unite union members rejected a two percent pay rise, a cut in real terms. The ballot will close on October 14. The company has depots throughout the north east, including Newcastle, Stockton and Hartlepool.

Ballot of Stagecoach bus workers in Chesterfield, England over pay

A ballot of UK bus drivers and cleaners working for Stagecoach in Chesterfield closes Friday.

The Unite union members are protesting the refusal of Stagecoach to offer a pay rise. The company offered no pay rise in 2020. The Stagecoach group made a profit of £58.4 million in the last financial year. Stagecoach drivers were designated key workers during the pandemic, and worked during lockdowns.

Unite union suspends strike action at Birmingham, England auto parts factory threatened with closure

A strike of workers at the GKN factory in Birmingham due to start Monday was suspended by the Unite union.

The factory produces drivelines for UK auto companies such as Jaguar Land Rover, Nissan and Toyota. It is owned by venture capitalists Melrose Industries. Melrose is seeking to close the plant next year, transferring the work to plants in Europe with the loss of 519 jobs at the Birmingham factory.

Following a meeting last week between Melrose and Unite, the company agreed not to remove machinery from the plant in return for Unite promising not to resume strike action before October 18.

Postal workers vote to strike at Llanelli, Wales depot in support of sacked colleague

The members of the Communications Workers Union (CWU) at the Llanelli delivery office, Wales voted by a 98 percent majority to strike in support of a sacked colleague.

Bus drivers in northwest England balloted for strike over pay

Bus drivers working for Arriva serving northwest England are currently balloting for strike action over pay.

Around 1,800 Unite members based at 11 depots including Birkenhead, Liverpool and Manchester are seeking an improved pay increase. The ballot closes October 15. A Unite press release stated if strike action is agreed it would take place at the end of October, but called on Arriva to make an improved offer to prevent a walkout.

Health staff in Wales reject below-inflation three percent pay offer

Staff working for the NHS in Wales have rejected a three percent pay offer as inadequate in a consultative vote.

Around 6,000 Unite union members working as health visitors, estate workers, maintenance staff and health care workers, and other roles voted by a 64 percent majority saying they rejected the offer and would be prepared to strike to win an improved offer.

Announcing the result, Unite noted it “hopes that industrial action can be avoided but remains open to the possibility of holding a further industrial action ballot if it is required.”

Middle East

Workers protest in Iranian province of Khuzestan

Protests by workers took place in September in the southwest Iranian province of Khuzestan.

The protests included those of Kut Abdollah municipality workers who are owed wage arrears. Railway construction workers employed on the infrastructure upgrade in the city of Ahvaz protested against not being paid for the last 11 months.

Renewed protests took place at the Haft-Tappeh Sugarcane Company. Among the issues raised by the Haft-Tappeh works are wage arrears, poor management and corruption.

Protests by teachers in Iran over pay and conditions

On September 25, teachers current and retired protested across 35 cities in Iran including Tabriz and Isfahan, and outside the education ministry in Tehran. Their demands included increased pay, better promotion prospects, free education for all children and the release of imprisoned teachers involved in previous protests.

Protests by electricity supply workers in Iraq calling for permanent contracts

Hundreds of electricity supply workers in Iraq held protests on September 16, calling for workers on temporary contracts to be made permanent.

The General Union for Workers in Iraq-Electricity and the Union of Engineering and Technical Professions-South Electricity Sector organised the protests, which took place outside the Ministry of Electricity in Baghdad and other provinces in Iraq. They demanded the government intervene to grant permanent contracts in the state-run electricity supply industry.

Protest by Israeli medics against long working shifts

Hundreds of resident doctors, interns and medical students held a protest outside the home of Orna Barbivai, Israeli economy minister on Saturday.

They were protesting Barbivai’s refusal to implement a proposal to reduce the length of the medics’ shifts from 26 hours to 16 hours. Barbivai said he would accept 22-hour shifts.

Additionally, 1,500 residents, interns and medical students signed a petition calling for 16-hour shifts to be implemented. If not implemented the residents say they will resign, while interns would refuse to become residents and students refuse to become interns.


Strike by Nigerian doctors over pay arrears continues despite opposition from union

The strike by resident doctors in Nigeria is continuing into its second month.

The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) said it is willing to suspend the strike, only holding off for fear of a rebellion by their members.

Resident doctors in Abia and Imo states are owed 20 months and six months’ salary arrears respectively. Those in Ekiti and Ondo states are owed four months’ arrears. Their demands include payment of arrears, payment of funds for residency training and payment of death benefits.

NARD is focused on pressuring the federal government to intervene, and opposes widening the stoppage to other health workers wanting to fight against cuts and declining services.

Union suspends judiciary workers’ strike in Ogun State, Nigeria

Striking judiciary workers in Ogun State, Nigeria were told to return to work by their union after a sell-out deal. The Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) walked out on August 11, when the state government cut basic salaries.

The salary cut was made in October last year, but the union delayed action for 10 months.

After emerging from a meeting with the state government, Tajudeen Edun, JUSUN state chairman said the strike was “suspended” after the state government “restored” basic pay. “We also agreed to what government asked from us,” meaning the government made up the “cost” of restoring pay by cutting elsewhere. Edun did not say the workers would be paid arrears.

Nigerian fuel tanker drivers to work to rule in preparation for strike over dangerous work conditions

Fuel tanker drivers in Nigeria began a work-to-rule on September 27. The Petroleum Tankers Drivers (PTD) branch of the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) threaten a strike from October 8, over crumbling roads and lack of safety provisions.

NUPENG has threatened strikes many times. There is increasing anger among their members over poor working conditions.

PTD described the state highways as “death traps and dens of truck hijackers” for the drivers, who risk their lives to transport fuel. Other issues are the lack of the safety valves the government promised would be fitted to all oil tankers to prevent spills, and the dangerous overloading of vehicles to increase profits.

Kenyan power workers’ union suspends planned strike for talks with government and national utility company

A planned October strike by Kenyan electrical utility workers was called off Tuesday by the Kenya Electrical Trades and Allied Workers’ Union (Ketawu) for arbitration talks with the employer, Kenya Power (KPLC), and the country’s Energy Minister.

The Ketawu members demand the resignation of four directors they accuse of using micromanagement to interfere with procurement processes. KPLC, half publicly and half privately owned, produces and distributes most of the electricity in Kenya.

South African traffic officers in Pietermaritzburg demonstrate over work conditions

South African traffic officers protested Tuesday, and shut down City Hall in Pietermaritzburg, provincial capital of KwaZulu-Natal, demanding their grievances are addressed by the mayor and municipal manager. The officers say they want firearms, radios and transparency in recruiting processes.

South African postal workers take employer to court over missing insurance contributions

Post office workers, represented by their union, Solidarity, are taking the South African Post Office to the labour court in Johannesburg over money deducted from wages but not paid into the employees’ medical insurance fund.