Solidarity 471, 30 May 2018

Now win abortion rights in Northern Ireland

Published on: Wed, 30/05/2018 - 12:06

Gemma Short

On Friday 25 May the people of the Republic of Ireland voted to repeal the “eighth amendment” to the constitution, righting a wrong which for almost 35 years had put women′s lives in danger by banning access to abortion even more tightly than it was before under 19th century law.

The vote to repeal was carried by 66.4%, with just Donegal voting not to repeal. Opinion polls have shown majorities in favour of repeal for several years. However the organisation and mobilisation by the anti-choice lobby for the referendum was substantial. It makes the large majority for repeal a very significant

FE strikes win a pay rise

Published on: Wed, 30/05/2018 - 12:03

Peggy Carter

UCU members at Further Education (FE) colleges in Hull, Sandwell, and across London have been on strike over a variety of dates in May over pay and jobs.

As a result of the strike management at Sandwell college have offered a pay rise equating to 6.45% over three years. The deal has been endorsed by UCU, as well as by Unison. The deal also includes an increase in the minimum pay level to bring all workers onto the voluntary Living Wage, and the establishment of a joint working group to look at working practices, including staff well being.

FE colleges can set their own pay rates, though there

PCS to ballot on pay

Published on: Wed, 30/05/2018 - 12:00

Charlotte Zalens

PCS members voted at their Annual Conference, taking place in Brighton from 22-24 May, to ballot members across the civil service for national strikes on pay.

An emergency motion from the union′s National Executive instructing the executive to ″organise a statutory ballot of members in the civil service and its related bodies on a programme of industrial action involving both all member and targeted action, to be held as soon as possible after Conference″ was overwhelmingly carried. And about time too.

PCS held a consultative ballot of members in September-October 2017, but those members have

UoL's vague promises

Published on: Wed, 30/05/2018 - 11:58

Gerry Bates

Outsourced workers at the University of London are disappointed after a much delayed announcement from the University about bringing workers in-house has failed to give workers any real commitment.

Workers organised by the IWGB union previously struck on 25-26 April, and will strike again on 6 June, in a campaign to be brought back in-house and have parity of terms and conditions with in-house workers. Outsourced workers currently receive inferior pensions, and less holiday, sick, maternity and paternity pay.

The university’s vague statement gives no clear commitments to bringing workers in

Picturehouse strikes at Sundance festival

Published on: Wed, 30/05/2018 - 11:57

Gemma Short

Picturehouse workers will be on strike again for the Sundance film festival happening at Picturehouse Central from 31 May to 3 June.

They will be striking during the opening night on Thursday 31 May, and again on Saturday 2 May. The strikes will hit several premières taking place at the festival. 

Workers will hold picket lines from 17:30-20:30 each night, and welcome supporters to join them.

Stopped from taking annual leave

Published on: Wed, 30/05/2018 - 11:54

Luke Hardy

Refuse workers in the Kirklees area of west Yorkshire, members of Unison, returned a majority on 8 May for strikes over bullying and harassment, inability to take leave to attend medical appointments, and inability to take annual leave they are entitled to.

Workers voted by 85.5% in favour of strikes on an 86.1% turnout. This is a massive turnout and “yes” vote well above the new minimum turnout of 50% for industrial action ballots.  The balloted workers are at two depots, one in Huddersfield and one in Dewsbury.

The ballot followed management’s failure to keep promises, made over six months

Striking against NHS outsourcing

Published on: Wed, 30/05/2018 - 11:52

Gemma Short

Workers in Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS foundation trusts struck for 48 hours on Wednesday 23 and Thursday 24 May over outsourcing plans.

Hospital caterers, cleaners, porters, and other workers, members of Unison, voted by 89% in favour of strikes. Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS foundation trusts plan to outsource workers to a new company called WWL Solutions. The trusts claim they need to do the outsourcing to save money, however a recent staff newsletter quoted trust chief executive Andrew Foster saying it has not only met is financial plan, but recorded a “bottom line” surplus of £8

We want unity in Lewisham

Published on: Wed, 30/05/2018 - 11:47

Sacha Ismail

Activists in Lewisham for Corbyn (the established Momentum group in Lewisham) are campaigning for a new, properly conducted, democratic AGM, and for the election of a broad, politically pluralist committee representative of Momentum activists in Lewisham.

This comes, after National Momentum decided to recognise a farcically inaccessible, irregular and undemocratic ad hoc split meeting in the front bar of a pub as an official Lewisham Momentum AGM. Lewisham for Corbyn have submitted complaints about this and the campaign of lies and slander conducted by Stalinist Red London supporters, absolute

RMT divided on Labour link

Published on: Wed, 30/05/2018 - 11:43

an RMT activist

On 30 May, the RMT rail and transport union will hold its Special General Meeting in Doncaster to debate whether it should reaffiliate to Labour, the party the union helped found but from which it was expelled in 2004.

A period of consultation within the union has revealed a fairly even split. A slight majority of branches and Regional Councils that held meetings to debate the issue voted in favour of reaffiliation, but those voting against represent a slightly larger proportion of the membership.

The support of all three national officers for reaffiliation (General Secretary Mick Cash and the

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