Scotland

Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Gemma Short, Luke Hardy, Peggy Carter, Ollie Moore, Charlotte Zalens and Neil Laker

Workers at Pennine Foods in Sheffield have suspended their strikes after negotiations meant bosses agreed not to implement changes to their contracts. Negotiations also got bosses to agree to all employees receiving a lump sum for their 2015 pay rise. Negotiations will continue on the contract and further strikes are not ruled out. The contract changes at Pennine Foods were in order for bosses to try to recoup some of the money from implementing the government′s new ″living wage″.

Bosses dodge “living wage”; Camden teachers striking to stop job cuts; bosses make £11m profit, workers get 16p; cleaners fight back against sackings; ScotRail guards vote for strikes; Durham County Council sacks all teaching assistants; Capita workers strike over pay cuts.

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Reinstate Rhea Wolfson’s candidacy for NEC!

The right of the Labour Party is seeking to block left candidate Rhea Wolfson (who replaced Ken Livingstone on the Centre Left Grassroots Alliance slate following his suspension on charges of anti-semitism) from standing for Labour’s National Executive Committee.

Party rules say that candidates must receive nominations from three different regions – no problem, Rhea has dozens of nominations – and from their own CLP. But Eastwood CLP voted not to nominate Rhea.

The right of the Labour Party is seeking to block left candidate Rhea Wolfson (who replaced Ken Livingstone on the Centre Left Grassroots Alliance slate following his suspension on charges of anti-semitism) from standing for Labour’s National Executive Committee.

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Compass loses its bearings in Scotland

Author: 

Dale Street

Well, it probably seemed a good idea at the time.

On 31 May Neal Lawson – chairperson of the “influential left-wing think tank” Compass – penned an open letter to the SNP calling for a “progressive alliance” with the Labour Party.

The letter might best be described as obsequious (synonyms: servile, ingratiating, unctuous, toadying, oily, greasy, grovelling and oleaginous). Its tone evokes that of someone fallen on hard times trying to tap a loan:

Labour think tank calls for SNP-Labour alliance.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Neil Laker, Peggy Carter, Ollie Moore, Darren Bedford and Charlotte Zalens

In March, the University of Manchester announced plans to restructure its subsidiary company, UMC, making 46 redundancies in catering while moving the remaining staff on to “term-time only” contracts.

This latter move would have meant cuts of about one third to their total pay. But now, as a result of solid negotiating by Unison, and agitation, occupations and disruption by students, management have backed down. There will be no compulsory redundancies, no loss of hours and no pay cuts.

Manchester University catering staff win; lecturers strike; rail workers’ disputes spread; CalMac ferries stay public; Glen Hart reinstated; left makes gains in PCS.

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Bolder than you’d guess

Author: 

Colin Foster

“Solidarity. Socialism. Equality. Against Austerity. For Workers’ Rights”. A bolder message than we expect from the Labour Party, even under Jeremy Corbyn’s new leadership.

Yet that was a leaflet, printed in bright red too, issued before the 5 May election by the Scottish Labour Party under Kezia Dugdale, who was initially voted into leadership on a slate with ultra-Blairite Jim Murphy.

The leaflet did not sway the election. Not many copies seem to have been produced and distributed. It came out only shortly before polling day.

We should demand that Labour and its new leadership set themselves to campaigning for socialism, not just on detail demands.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Kelly Rogers, Dale Street, Darren Bedford, Ollie Moore and Gemma Short

On Saturday 14 May the BMA held a junior doctors′ conference, followed by a meeting of the junior doctors′ committee on the next day. It was hoped that these meetings would have heard the outcome of renewed negotiations held between the government and the BMA between 9-13 May. However a last minute agreement (brokered by Brendan Barber of all people!) to extend the talks for another week meant that junior doctors did not get a chance to give judgement on any proposed deal.

Junior doctors; BECTU votes for right-wing merger; school janitors step up strike; Topshop cleaners protest across country; strikes in Sheffield against job losses and pay cuts; Southern strikes continue.

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Scottish left banging the nationalist drum

Author: 

Dale Street

In elections for the Scottish Parliament the SNP triumphed (although with six seats less than in 2011, and two seats short of an absolute majority). The Tory vote was up by 9%, doubling its number of seats. And Labour slumped down by 8%, costing it 13 seats and pushing it into third place.

Labour and trade union activists need to organise to block any attempt to push Scottish Labour to the right. And what passes itself off as the far left needs to wake up from its nationalist daydreaming, now manifesting itself in pro-Brexit campaigning, and return to a focus on class politics.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Dale Street, Ollie Moore, Gemma Short, Charlotte Zalens and David Ball

CCTV workers employed by Glasgow Community Safety – a Glasgow City Council Arms Length External Organisation (ALEO) – are back at work having won a 24% pay rise after twelve strike days over six weeks. The 19 workers, all Unison members, struck to achieve equal pay, i.e. parity of shift allowance payments, with other employees who work the same pattern of 12 hour shifts in a round-the-clock service.

Strikes hit Glasgow council; Southern Rail guards strike to keep trains safely staffed; GTR bosses use courts to scupper strike; John Roan teachers strike; Government backs down on “check-off”; Parents Defending Education campaign launched.

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SNP goes back on promise to scrap Council Tax

Author: 

Dale Street

The SNP ditched another of its previous manifesto commitments — big time — when it announced plans to reform the Council Tax system in Scotland last week.

For well over a decade the SNP has promised to scrap Council Tax. In 2003, the current SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said: “There is no doubt that the SNP’s proposal to scrap the Council Tax in favour of a fair local income tax is hugely popular with voters.”

In 2004, the current SNP Finance Secretary John Swinney said: “Every vote for the SNP in the European election will be a vote to axe the Council Tax.”

The SNP is pressing ahead with another Tory policy: austerity. The combined impact of a £500 millions cut in local authority funding by Holyrood and the financial straitjacket imposed on local authorities by the Council Tax freeze could see 15,000 local authority jobs axed and the decimation of council and voluntary sector services.

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Scottish Labour starts to make noise about local government cuts

Author: 

Dale Street

The Scottish Labour Party organised a lobby of the Scottish Government Cabinet meeting in Clydebank last week, to protest against the SNP government’s cuts of £350 millions in local authority funding.

This week the Glasgow City Council Labour Group is staging a lobby outside the Scottish Parliament, to protest at the SNP’s cut of £133 millions in funding for Glasgow, which will cost around 3,000 jobs.

This is progress compared to muttering about underfunding and but getting on with ‘managing’ local authorities on a reduced budget anyway.

The Scottish Labour Party organised a lobby of the Scottish Government Cabinet meeting in Clydebank last week, to protest against the SNP government’s cuts of £350 millions in local authority funding.

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