Industrial news in brief

Submitted by Matthew on 8 April, 2015 - 11:07 Author: Charlotte Zalens, Peggy Carter and Ollie Moore

Seventy Unison members who work with the homeless in Glasgow Council started an indefinite strike on Tuesday 31 March.

The strike is to win recognition of their work reflected in their pay grading. Unison says workers doing similar jobs are paid a pay grade higher than the homeless support workers.

Workers have been taking action short of strike action since January. Send messages of support to: Glasgow City Unison

Lewisham academies fight wins extension

Two school reps involved in the fight against academies in Lewisham attended NUT conference this weekend and spoke at the Lanac organised fringe meeting.

The fight against academies in Lewisham continues. Last week school governors and unions met in ACAS and agreed to various things, including an extension of the consultation over academisation until 6 June. They have also agreed that executive head of the Prendergast Leathersellers Federation will hold a public meeting. School governors have not yet agreed to hold a parental ballot.

Heidi Alexander, Labour MP for Lewisham East, has written to one campaigner saying she has concerns about the conversion of the Prendergast Federation schools to academy status, though she says she is not opposed to academies in principle. She has requested a meeting with the chair of governors for the federation.

On 25 April campaigners will march from Hilly Fields School to Prendergast Vale School.

Charlotte Monro reinstated

Charlotte Monro, sacked Unison rep at Whipps Cross Hospital, has been reinstated by Barts Health NHS Trust after a two year battle.

Charlotte had worked in Whipps Cross as an occupational therapist for 26 years, but was sacked in November 2013 after whistle-blowing on cuts and their effect in the hospital.

The million pound cuts programme, triggered by ballooning PFI debt, resulted in 220 jobs being cut across Barts Health and the downbanding of several hundred experienced nursing staff, making many reapply for their jobs.

The Quality Care Commission has recently put Whipps Cross Hospital into special measures and accused Barts Health of a “culture of bullying and harassment”. It linked the hospital’s underperformance to job cuts and downbanding.

Charlotte’s reinstatement is a blow to bullying health trust, and should strengthen the fightback against PFI and cuts in the trust.

Network Rail pay ballot

The rail union RMT is preparing to ballot its 17,000 members employed by Network Rail after they voted by 93%, on a 56% turnout, to reject a four-year pay deal.

A statement from the union said: “The deal involved a pay freeze in year one – that amounts to a real-terms pay cut. On top of that, job protection guarantees will expire this year with no assurances into 2016, and the travel concession arrangements are also seriously undermined.”

RMT’s Network Rail members work in a variety of grades and roles across operations, maintenance, and customer service.

Elsewhere in the railway industry, supporters of the rank-and-file Tubeworker bulletin working on London Underground are continuing to call for the reinstatement of industrial action in RMT’s “Every Job Matters” campaign against job cuts.

RMT election

RMT Executive member Mick Lynch has beaten Alan Pottage, head of the union’s Organising Department, to win the Assistant General Secretary election. Workers’ Liberty members in RMT had backed Pottage in the election. The principles of equality, democracy, and member-leadership that were the foundation of Pottage’s campaign will continue to be essential.

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