PCS conference votes to back freedom of movement

Published on: Tue, 30/05/2017 - 10:33

PCS, the civil service union, held it′s national conference in Brighton 23-25 May.

Workers’ Liberty supporters, organised as part of the left-opposition faction, "Independent Left" within the union were delegates. Going into conference with victories in the NEC and Bargaining Group Executive elections.

The industrial landscape the union finds itself in is dire, and the leadership's response to it has been inadequate, but not surprising for a leadership infected with the broad left strategy of fusing with the bureaucracy we’ve had in PCS for the past 16 years. The union, despite those years of

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 17/05/2017 - 11:12

Gemma Short, Charlotte Zalens and Peggy Carter

Staff at Manchester Metropolitan University will strike against job cuts on 24 and 25 May, against a backdrop of hundreds of jobs at risk across the sector. Manchester University is planning to cut 171 jobs; up to 150 are at risk at Aberystwyth; 139 at the University of Wales Trinity St David; Sunderland, Durham and Plymouth are all looking for voluntary redundancies.

Publicly, universities have been blaming Brexit’s impact on international student recruitment and research funding. But Manchester Met has £400m reserves, while Manchester Uni is planning to hire an extra 100 junior researchers

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 15/02/2017 - 14:20

Dale Street, Martin Corby and Neil Laker

Ten employees of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) were sacked with immediate effect on Thursday 9 February by email — whilst they were on strike! They were told to come into work the next day to clear their desks.

PCS and Unite members were taking part in the first of five days of strikes in the latest round of action against compulsory redundancies. The stated reason for their dismissals was redundancy — despite the availability of 30 vacancies in the EHRC. In the civil service and government agencies it is unprecedented for employees under notice of redundancy to be dismissed

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Fri, 09/12/2016 - 14:09

Ollie Moore, Gerry Bates, Dale Street, Gemma Short and Charlotte Zalens

Members of the train drivers’ union Aslef on Southern began an overtime ban on 6 December, and are preparing to strike alongside RMT guards later in the month. The guards’ latest strikes began on 6 December and will continue until 8 December, with Aslef due to participate in further strikes on 13-14 and 16 December.

RMT guards will strike again on 19-20 December and 31 December-2 January, and both guards and drivers will strike on 9-14 January. Southern bosses, who succeeded in having an earlier Aslef ballot declared illegal by the High Court, have again sought an injunction against the

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 02/11/2016 - 13:41

Ollie Moore, Charlotte Zalens, Peggy Carter and Gemma Short

Station staff on London Underground are balloting for strikes, and industrial action short of strikes, against job cuts.

The ballot begins on 1 November and closes a fortnight later. Both the RMT and TSSA unions are balloting their members. London Underground’s “Fit for the Future” restructure programme on stations has seen nearly 1,000 jobs axed and thousands of workers forcibly regraded and displaced.

Workers say that new rosters are unworkable, and recent incidents at North Greenwich and Canning Town stations have highlighted the risks of de-staffing. Unions are demanding a reversal of

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 26/10/2016 - 12:55

Gemma Short, Charlotte Zalens, Ollie Moore and Simon Nelson

Teaching assistants in Derby and Durham have been fighting attacks on their terms and conditions.

As previously reported in Solidarity, teaching assistants in Derby will have their pay slashed by 25% to bring them onto term-time only pay.

Durham teaching assistants face a similar cut in pay, and the council is planning on sacking all the teaching assistants and reemploying them on the new contract to force through the changes, Durham council′s ″solution″ would mean some workers only losing 10% of their pay — but working more hours for the privilege!

Teaching assistants in Derby struck on

Not miserable but inspiring

Published on: Wed, 19/10/2016 - 12:25

Tim Cooper

After the UK premiere of Ken Loach’s latest film, ‘I, Daniel Blake’, in Liverpool at the time of Labour Party conference, I was filmed for a trailer. What did I think of it?

I had wondered whether I was a wuss, for blubbing, but when I looked everyone was crying or laughing or both. Daniel is a carpenter in his late 50s who has had a near-fatal heart attack and been told not to work by his doctor. His inability to fill in forms on the computer in a library, and his honest but naive answers, get him moved from disability benefit (ESA) to JSA. When he admits he can’t take the jobs he’s applied

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 01/06/2016 - 13:55

Cath Fletcher, John Moloney and Ollie Moore

Catering staff at the University of Manchester have won a deal for no compulsory redundancies, no loss of hours, and no pay cuts. Their employer, UMC, a subsidiary company wholly owned by University of Manchester, had said in March that it would sack 46 of its 280-odd catering workers and move the rest to term-time only contracts — meaning a pay cut of about one third. Hannah McCarthy, the student union Campaigns and Citizenship Officer and vice-chair of Manchester Momentum, spoke to Solidarity.

This is far from a complete victory. There will still be restructuring. But there will be no

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 25/05/2016 - 12:49

Neil Laker, Peggy Carter, Ollie Moore, Darren Bedford and Charlotte Zalens

In March, the University of Manchester announced plans to restructure its subsidiary company, UMC, making 46 redundancies in catering while moving the remaining staff on to “term-time only” contracts.

This latter move would have meant cuts of about one third to their total pay. But now, as a result of solid negotiating by Unison, and agitation, occupations and disruption by students, management have backed down. There will be no compulsory redundancies, no loss of hours and no pay cuts.

These victories in the fight against the university’s contemptuous treatment of its workers should embolden

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 18/05/2016 - 13:04

Kelly Rogers, Dale Street, Darren Bedford, Ollie Moore and Gemma Short

On Saturday 14 May the BMA held a junior doctors′ conference, followed by a meeting of the junior doctors′ committee on the next day. It was hoped that these meetings would have heard the outcome of renewed negotiations held between the government and the BMA between 9-13 May. However a last minute agreement (brokered by Brendan Barber of all people!) to extend the talks for another week meant that junior doctors did not get a chance to give judgement on any proposed deal.

An announcement from the negotiations is expected on Wednesday 18 May; at the moment it is impossible to tell what the

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