RMT reps continue to be sacked in an attempt to pick apart the union.
A ballot will soon start on CBS outdoor to reinstate sacked rep Brendan Judge. He was sacked before Xmas, without evidence, on trumped up charges. Management’s motive is that Brendan played a key role in the successful first ever strike on CBSO last year. A new American, anti-worker management have come in who have been making life tough for all reps in CBS. Management want to push through loads of changes this year: they don't want the communication, organisation and assertiveness the reps have built up to stand in their way, so they are picking off key activists.
Brendan knows he’s been sacked for being a good rep, not a bad one. He has support where he works and people will be campaigning hard to strike again – this time for Brendan. The threat of a strike should increase Brendan’s chance of the appeal against his sacking ruling in his favour.
Meanwhile, cleaning companies continue their vicious attack on the union. ISS threatened to sack Clara, cleaners’ grade secretary and have already sacked cleaner rep, Mary Boakye. A demonstration of RMT and other campaigners stormed ISS offices last week while the disciplinary and appeal hearings were going on. Clara saved her job.
Mary remains sacked, accused of sleeping on duty, whereas she had actually sustained an injury to her eye. Management’s evidence is shaky and contradictory. But no matter: they have sacked her anyway. A ‘Defend Mary’ campaign has begun: there was a second demo on Wednesday and there is a meeting next week. If management will stoop to these low tactics to break the union, then the union must respond. It is good that a campaign is underway: a welcome change from the many cleaners’ reps and members who have been sacked without a fight since last year’s cleaners’ strike. Where Mary works, the union is demoralised and it would be hard to defend her job industrially as CBS outdoor are doing. But that’s what we must aspire to do. Cleaners are not a lower cast of workers, although they are some of the most exploited workers in this city. We are all in the same union and there should be no ‘second rate’ tactics for cleaners. Hopefully this campaign will build cleaners’ confidence. Coupled with a forthcoming recruitment drive we will start building towards a situation where management are too afraid to sack cleaners.