Solidarity 216, 14 September 2011

New pension strikes set for 30 November

Published on: Thu, 15/09/2011 - 12:17

24 union leaders, meeting at the TUC on 14 September, have set a new public sector workers' strike against pension cuts for 30 November.

By Patrick Murphy, National Union of Teachers (NUT) exec (pc)

In the first few days of autumn it was just possible to hear the creak of arthritic joints as one public sector trade union leader after another slowly got up of their knees, cleared their collective throats and finally announced that they would ask their members to take strike action to defend their pensions.

Four unions (NUT, ATL, PCS and UCU) took national strike action on 30 June against

Defend Dale Farm!

Published on: Wed, 14/09/2011 - 13:09

Hundreds of people marched on 10 September to show their support for the travellers of Dale Farm, who are facing the prospect of imminent, violent eviction by Basildon Council.

The atmosphere on the march — a mix of young and old, including travellers, locals and others from further afield — was vibrant and the speakers were positive about the chances of the campaign preventing the eviction.

Camp Constant, the base set up by supporters of the travellers, is an inspiring place. The eviction is set for 19 September. We would appeal to anyone able to go there to do so as a matter of urgency.


Stop jailing children!

Published on: Wed, 14/09/2011 - 13:06

During the riots many who would normally describe themselves as liberals or moderate socialists repeatedly Tweeted and updated Facebook with their own calls for the use of “any means necessary” to restore social order.

If taken at their word, this would have meant the use of the full force of the state — police, police armoury, to disperse what people who were in many instances little more than children.

Now things have now calmed down and the armchair generals have stopped panicking, the post-riot response of the establishment meets all their expectations — vindictive, hading out

More victimisations on the Tube

Published on: Wed, 14/09/2011 - 13:01

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport workers’ union (RMT) on the London Underground could soon ballot again for strikes against bosses’ long-standing policy of sacking or disciplining union members for minor offences.

After a hard-fought campaign that won reinstatement for Eamonn Lynch and Arwyn Thomas, and after Central line driver Tunde Umanah had his dismissal overturned on appeal, ballots for action may be in the offing to win justice for Bakerloo line driver Jayesh Patel (downgraded to a Customer Service Assistant after he was charged with gross misconduct following an incident

Fujitsu workers to strike

Published on: Wed, 14/09/2011 - 12:58

1,000 workers at IT company Fujitsu will take strike action on 19 September after bosses tabled a pay offer that the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS), which represents some of the staff at Fujitsu, described as “insulting”.

The offer includes pay rises of between 1.5 and 2.5%, even though workers have exceeded or met performance targets. Some workers at Fujitsu are paid as little as £13,500. PCS leader Mark Serwotka said: “Such a pitiful pay offer to workers, who are paid less than what some senior executives pocket in bonuses alone, is an insult. Our members may work for Fujitsu but

Southampton battle not over

Published on: Wed, 14/09/2011 - 12:53

Refuse workers have begun a new round of industrial action in the long-running Southampton council dispute, commencing a work-to-rule as part of the fight against the Tory council’s cuts.

Despite claiming a recruitment freeze is in place and threatening existing employees with redundancy, the council has now begun advertising for 16 jobs in the refuse collection sector.

Unite regional organiser Ian Woodland said: “We would expect that these posts are filled internally first, because there are people who still face losing their jobs. I think there will be questions asked about recruiting when

Bedfordshire workers call bosses' bluff

Published on: Wed, 14/09/2011 - 12:51

Central Bedfordshire Council has become the latest local authority to attempt to impose worse conditions on its staff by threatening to sack them unless they agreed to new terms.

The council is proposing an across-the-board wage cut of 2%, despite having nearly £4 million spare in the budget after a projected overspend, on which the cuts plan was predicated, did not occur.

The council has imposed a 1 October deadline for staff to sign up to the lower wages or face the sack. But, less than one month from the council’s deadline, 600 staff have still refused to sign.

Martin Foster, the secretary

Barnet strikers face down lockout

Published on: Wed, 14/09/2011 - 12:46

Barnet council locked out workers due to strike from 1pm on Tuesday 13 September when they arrived at work on Tuesday morning.

Bosses appear to have given up on their (always half-hearted) negotiations with the council unions over their outsourcing plans and have moved to impose an offer to staff. The offer is far short of the “TUPE-plus” the council says it is.

They have also lied about Barnet Unison, accusing them of acting in bad faith toward their members. They have written to all staff along these lines, and on Thursday 8 September plastered the council offices with posters bearing “An

Organising in the citadels of capital

Published on: Wed, 14/09/2011 - 12:40

The syndicalist union Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) has been organising amongst cleaning workers in the City of London, the heartland of British capitalism. An IWW activist spoke to Solidarity about the campaign.

A lot of cleaners start their first shift very early – at 6am or 7am – and have to be off the premises by 9.

Many will come back later for a shift in the afternoon or evening, and will often work on two or three different sites during a day or have other jobs.

The conditions are primitive, and bad management practises are rife. Bosses can easily abuse workers as many are

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