Industrial news in brief

Submitted by Matthew on 16 September, 2015 - 12:28 Author: Gemma Short, Charlotte Zalens and Peggy Carter

United Voices of the World (UVW) union continues its protests in support of sacked union members Barbara and Percy.

Barbara and Percy were sacked from Sotheby’s auction house, where they worked as porters and cleaners, after they helped organise a protest to demand sick pay and for trade union rights.

On Monday 7 September UVW organised a protest at a car auction Sotheby’s was holding in Battersea park.

Two of the four UVW activists originally sacked by Sotheby’s have got their jobs back, but Sotheby’s continues to victimise Percy and Barbara.

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Gallery strikes continue

Workers at the National Gallery are now on their 92nd strike day in their dispute against privatisation, 36th since they started their indefinite strike.

On Monday 14 September their strikers’ meeting was addressed by Yanis Varoufakis, former Greek finance minister. Varoufakis said: “If those who run the National Gallery cannot appreciate the real people that make the National Gallery tick, they are not fit people to look after the treasures in their custody.

“And if the National Gallery, at the heart of London, cannot safeguard decent working conditions for the people working there, then Britain’s integrity is in peril.”

Other supporters to picket lines this week have included a delegation of NUJ members.

Gallery strikers continue to run daily pickets between 9 am-11 am. They are also hosting regular cake sales outside the gallery to raise funds and ask trade unionists to send delegations to show support on the picket lines.

Construction workers take unofficial action

Construction workers at Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant in Cumbria have walked out on unofficial strike as a dispute over health and safety has spilled over into the right for their union to organise effectively.

Workers, mainly organised by Unite, from various construction firms, took part in official picketting from 5.30 am — 9 am on Wednesday 9 September, but after heavy handed policing of the official strike workers walked off the job later in the afternoon and stayed out until Monday 14 September.

Unite official Steve Gibbons said: “We are frustrated with what happened to our picket last Wednesday. As they dealt with traffic issues Cumbria Police opened another area to get people onto the Sellafield site which bypassed our lawful picket line. It meant that many workers were unable to talk to us and us them. The police were quite forceful with their actions and some workers felt intimated by them.”

A further, official, three hour strike is planned for Wednesday 16 September, followed by a whole day strike on 23 September.

The workers are asking for a full-time union convenor on site and their own health and safety committee to deal with issues on site.