Industrial News in Brief

Submitted by Daniel_Randall on 28 January, 2005 - 5:25

Brighton and Hove Teaching Assistants, Michelin workers, UNISON activists in Walsall, BBC workers against job cuts.

Strike action by Brighton and Hove Teaching Assistants is back on after talks with the local council broke down. The next strike date is 26 January.

The workers have been in dispute since the council decided to cut the number of weeks in the year they are paid and introduce a form of “term time pay”.

Staff at the Michelin tyre factory in Stoke-on-Trent are to be balloted on strike action after voting to reject a management pay offer. More than 80 per cent of Transport and General Workers’ (TGWU) union members voted last month to reject a 3% or £650 lump sum instead of a pay rise.

The TGWU say they are continuing negotiations with management, despite Michelin refusing to increase their offer. Workers at the Dundee car tyre production plant have accepted the offer, after management warned that jobs may be lost if the efficiency of the plant does not improve.

Meanwhile, TGWU members at the Ballymena truck tyre plant have rejected the offer and will this weekend begin a consultation on a possible strike ballot.

Unison members at Walsall Council are threatening to strike after their branch office was closed down and an official was suspended by the council. The council claim he tried to “blackmail” the council for £30,000 to settle equal pay issues.

Val Gibson from Unison at Walsall said the allegation was totally unfounded. Regional officers of Unison held talks with the chief executive and senior managers at the council on Monday about the suspension but failed to reach agreement.

The BBC’s three staff unions — BECTU, NUJ and Amicus — have launched a campaign against 3,000 proposed job losses and budget cuts. Their joint statement reads:

The BBC joint unions are committed to working together to oppose at all levels the effects of the Director General’s savaging of staff in the biggest cuts in BBC history.

Far from preparing the BBC for Charter Renewal we believe that a policy which requires such colossal job cuts, reductions in programme commitments, and the sale and privatisation of core sections of the BBC, risks destroying its ability to continue as the country’s leading public service broadcaster, and poses a substantial risk to the BBC’s continuing right to the Licence Fee.

The unions will resist all compulsory redundancies. Through the coming months we will stand together in workplaces to oppose the scale and extent of cuts, and work in the public arena with Licence Fee payers, politicians, and opinion formers, to make the case that the BBC offers the best value for money in British broadcasting.

The joint unions agree to organise at national and local levels to oppose such massive cuts.

We will view an attack on one union as an attack on all three.

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