Industrial news in brief

Submitted by Matthew on 7 September, 2016 - 2:05 Author: Gemma Short and Charlotte Zalens

Campaigners have targeted Sports Direct ahead of the Annual General Meeting of the company due to be held on 7 September.

The company AGM will consider a trade union sponsored resolution which calls for an independent investigation into the use of zero-hours contracts in Sports Direct. Campaigners protested at Sports Direct stores in Grimsby, Manchester, Liverpool, Eastbourne and south London on Saturday 3 September holding banners reading #SportsDirectShame and ″stand with migrant workers″.

On Tuesday 6 September it was announced by Sports Direct that they will be offering guaranteed hours contracts to most of its workers (though not workers employed through agencies). They also announced that a full-time nurse and welfare officer will be employed at the Shirebrook site (where conditions have been compared to a Victorian workhouse), a confidential system for reporting sexual harassment, and fewer searches of staff.

Campaigning groups greeting this announcement with cautious welcome, arguing it shows that the impact of unions campaigns but that workers will not be fully protected in Sports Direct until a union is organised in each workplace.

Hundreds march for A&E

Hundreds of people marched through Huddersfield on Sunday 4 September against the closure of their local A&E. As previously reported in Solidarity, Huddersfield Royal Infirmary A&E is scheduled for closure, meaning the nearest A&E for local people will be 7 miles away in Halifax.

The campaign against the closure has staged several demonstrations, gathered a lot of celebrity support, and gathered 63,000 signatures on a petition against the closure. Karl Deitch, from the Hands off HRI group, said we “won’t take it lying down”. “We’re not stopping, they need to take a look and think — we have to go to a plan B, we need another alternative,”

London bus workers strike again

Bus workers at London bus operator Tower Transit struck again for 24 hours on Tuesday 6 September. The strike comes after the second of two strike days over the bank holiday weekend in August were suspended to ″allow the company to reflect″ and re-start negotiations. Three London bus depots are involved in the strike, covering 28 different bus routes.

Workers are fighting the imposition of roster changes which leave them out of pocket, as well as non-payment of overtime when working on rest days. The bus workers′ union Unite says that “Tower Transit could resolve this dispute with the stroke of a pen and by committing to genuine change in managerial practice rather than confrontational brinkmanship.″

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