Industrial news in brief

Submitted by Matthew on 2 October, 2013 - 12:50

The 20,000 members of Unite working in Higher Education have joined Unison and the University of College Union in balloting for strikes to win better pay.

Unite says its members in HE, who work as technicians, laboratory assistants, facilities management workers, and admin staff, have faced a five-year “pay drought”, and have seen their real pay decline by around 13% since 2008.

A Unite statement said: “The employers have shown a callous disregard when it comes to fair pay treatment for their staff — and now strike action is very much on the cards.”

Train cleaners strike against poverty

Cleaners employed by Rentokil Initial on East Midlands Trains struck for 48 hours on Friday 27 September.

The company is attempting to force through a freeze on pay and conditions, in what the Rail, Maritime, and Transport workers union (RMT) has called “a blatant attempt to enforce poverty pay on some of the most exploited staff anywhere on the rail network.”

The union said: “This morning’s rock solid action by our cleaner members on East Midlands Trains sends out the clearest possible message that they are prepared to stand up in unity and strength against the bullying and exploitation of this cheapskate outfit.”

Crown Post Office workers in twelfth strike

Alongside the Royal Mail fight, members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) working in Crown Post Offices (usually found on high streets) are fighting the potential sell-off of their workplaces.

Workers in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland struck on Monday 30 September, the twelfth strike since Easter 2013. The CWU says 4,000 workers in 372 CPOs could be affected by plans to close a number of the larger offices, or sell them off as privately-run franchises. Workers in Scotland will strike on Tuesday 1 October.

As part of the dispute, workers are also refusing to sell certain products, such as financial services.

CWU deputy general secretary Dave Ward said: “The company’s plans are to downgrade the network, reduce services to local communities, and hit jobs in the network.”

Cops colluded in blacklisting

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has admitted that the police were involved in the systematic blacklisting of workers in the construction industry.

The IPCC said: “It was likely that all Special Branches were involved in providing information about potential employees”.

It has also emerged that senior officers from the National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit attended meetings of the “Consulting Association”, the body funded by construction firms to keep a blacklist of workers.

The Blacklist Support Group said: “Blacklisting is no longer an industrial relations issue. It is a conspiracy between multinational construction firms, the police and the security services.”

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