Strikes and lock-outs

Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Maria O’Toole, Paul Abbot and Gemma Short

The Durham teaching assistants and Derby school support staff disputes have been the most significant in local government over the last year. Similar pay cuts of approximately 25%; threats of, or in Derby’s case the actual, imposition of new contracts; Labour councils doing the dirty work for the Tories and spearheading these acts; but on the workers side a strong determination to resist.

Teaching Assistants demonstrate in Durham; Tube station staff balloted for strikes; cinema strikes win celebrity support; not our deficit!

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LSE cleaners are no longer invisible

Author: 

Jamil Kowcun, LSE Justice for Cleaners

Cleaners at the London School of Economics struck on 15 and 16 March.

The 5 a.m. picket lines were brightened by 48 hours of painting, teach-ins, music, and protest. The high point was the occupation of the grandiose offices of the cleaner’s managing company Noonan based at Number One Kingsway.

LSE cleaners struck on 15 and 16 March.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Justine Canady, UCLU Women’s Officer-elect (personal capacity), Simon Nelson and Luke Hardy

UCL Student Union’s senior management have agreed cuts in the region of 90k to the cleaning budget. Secura Clean, the company contracted to carry out UCLU cleaning, have promised there will be no redundancies. However, hours will be drastically cut, meaning that some cleaners possibly losing one-third of their hours.

Student union cuts cleaners’ hours; sacked for using holy water?; Picturehouse strikes spread to six cinemas; teachers say: “not our deficit!”; sacked for organising.

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DOO strikes spread

On Monday 13 March, RMT guards and drivers on Southern Railways struck and were joined for the first time by RMT guards and drivers on Northern and Merseyrail. RMT continues its fight against the extension of driver-only operation on Southern, while the leadership of drivers’ union Aslef seems desperate to surrender.

On Monday 13 March, RMT guards and drivers on Southern Railways struck and were joined for the first time by RMT guards and drivers on Northern and Merseyrail.

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Privatised pay deal

Privatised ex-NHS staff at Birmingham’s Heartlands hospital have accepted a deal which will see them reach parity with NHS pay and conditions by 2007. The deal was offered to them by Initial Hospital Services and Birmingham Heartlands management after the workers planned strikes in protest against the “two-tier workforce”.

NHS-employed staff were going to be up to £1 an hour better off than privatised staff doing the same work.

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Network Rail ballot: vote "yes"!

By a an RMT member

The RMT has called a ballot for industrial action of its 7,000 members at Network Rail. These workers include signalling, maintenance and station staff. The ballot over the closure of the final salary pension scheme, pay, and travel facilities, will run from 27 April to 17 May. It raises the prospect of the first national rail stoppage in a decade.

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Nursery nurses - Back to local negotiations

Nursery Nurses across Scotland have been on all-out strike from 1 March 2004.

The basic pay for this vitally important job runs from around £10,000 for a newly qualified nursery nurse up to £13,800 after 10 years' experience. In a dispute that has been running for three years UNISON have made a claim for nursery nurses to take their pay up to £14,000-£18,000 with merit for nursery nurses working longer hours and weeks. They also want a career structure for promoted staff.

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Birmingham Bagmakers: Striking for some dignity

Workers at Euro Packaging in Birmingham, which makes paper bags, have been on strike against redundancies and for a 37.5 hour week. The workers are members of the Graphical, Paper and Media Union. The employers are notorious for bad pay and conditions (some workers, say the union, work up to 80 hours a week and most are on minimum wage or just above). The GPMU was recently organised and won recognition. The employers have responded by "selecting" key organisers for redundancy.

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PCS walkouts

By a civil servant

Members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCSU) working in the Social Security offices and Jobcentres in east London walked out at the beginning of May over the suspension of a supervisor. This action was part of a series of walkouts in offices around the UK in Glasgow, Lancaster, Morecambe, Sheffield, Manchester, central London, Leicester. The offices affected in east London were at Hackney, Stratford, City, Poplar and Hoxton, and the jobcentres in East Ham, Stratford and Poplar.

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Strategy needed to convince

By a rail worker

A ballot of 7,000 Network Rail workers by the RMT union has gone in favour of industrial action.

The result was 58% in favour (2,947) and 42% against (2,246). However, the RMT was forced to admit that only a very narrow majority of the signalling workers - they key section involved - voted for action.

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