Solidarity 234, 15 February 2012

Pensions: strike on 28 March, plan next action!

Submitted by Matthew on 15 February, 2012 - 1:21

The Executives of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and of the civil service union PCS, meeting on 9 February, decided to call for a new strike to defend public sector pensions on 28 March.

The unions will survey all members, asking them to endorse rejecting the Government’s so-called “final offer” from December and to support further action “beginning with” a strike on 28 March.

Class struggle explodes in Israel

Submitted by Matthew on 15 February, 2012 - 1:16

A general strike which paralysed the Israeli economy for nearly a week is over — for now.

The strike, called by Histadrut (the main Israeli trade union centre), followed a similar action in November 2011 and focused on the issue of the increasing use of agency labour by public sector employees. It demanded the levelling up of pay and conditions for the 250,000 contract workers, who Histadrut says are paid an average of 30% less than directly-hired staff. Unions ultimately want the government to end the use of agency labour and hire workers directly.

Cleaners fight for their jobs

Submitted by Matthew on 15 February, 2012 - 1:08

Trade unionists will demonstrate outside the offices of NTT Communications Ltd. in London, where cleaning contractor Dynamiq Cleaning and Program Management Ltd. recently sacked its entire workforce for attempting to organise a union.

The workers’ union, the Industrial Workers of the World (Cleaners’ Section) is also involved in a reinstatement battle at the landmark Heron Tower in Liverpool Street, where prominent rep Alberto Durango was sacked when a new contractor, Incentive FM Group Ltd., took over the running of the work.

Council workers strike against cuts

Submitted by Matthew on 15 February, 2012 - 1:05

Workers at Cheshire West and Chester Council staged a three-hour stoppage on Tuesday 14 February to mark the beginning of a campaign of industrial action that will involve selective strikes in coming weeks.

The workers – members of Unite, Unison and GMB – are attempting to force management to abandon a plan to introduce new terms and conditions, which unions say will reduce overtime pay and weekend allowance, by dismissing and re-engaging staff.

Leeds Labour debates cuts

Submitted by Matthew on 15 February, 2012 - 12:59

On Tuesday 7 February East Leeds and Elmet and Rothwell Labour Party held a public meeting with Owen Jones. They got an impressive 70 people on a very cold Tuesday night.

The speakers from the floor included local trade unionists, old Labour lefties and a few younger people who had joined Labour recently. Many of the contributions were on the money in blaming union leaders for supporting New Labour and not forcing Miliband to support the strikes.

Sparks sweat on court ruling

Submitted by Matthew on 15 February, 2012 - 12:47

As Solidarity went to press, electricians working for Balfour Beatty Engineering Services were still awaiting the outcome of a High Court ruling as to whether their latest strike ballot – which returned a 66% majority for action – is legal.

If the Court rules in favour of the workers’ union, Unite, the earliest conceivable date for an official strike would be 21 February. A strike committee elected from BBES stewards agreed that any walkout would be followed by rolling and selective action as well as action short of a strike, including an overtime ban.

Eurostar cleaners fight for living wage

Submitted by Matthew on 15 February, 2012 - 12:44

Eurostar cleaners at the company’s flagship St. Pancras terminal will strike for two days on Thursday 16 February.

The workers, who are employed by cleaning contractor Initial, have not received a pay rise for four years. Their bosses’ most recent offer, an increase of just 13p, has been described by their union, RMT, as “insulting”.

As we were saying: “Anti-Zionism”

Submitted by Matthew on 15 February, 2012 - 12:37

AWL member Daniel Lemberger Cooper’s victory in the recent elections at the University of London Union (2-9 February) was won in the teeth of a large campaign, orchestrated by the SWP, branding Cooper a “racist” on the grounds that he is “a Zionist”, i.e. he defends Israel’s right to exist and to defend itself, while also supporting the right of the Palestinians to an independent state of their own alongside Israel.