Unite

Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Gemma Short, Charlotte Zalens and Peggy Carter

Cinema workers at East Dulwich Picturehouse in south London will strike on Saturday 27 May to coincide with the opening of the new Pirates of the Caribbean film. Workers at the other cinemas involved in the dispute have just voted for further strikes, and will be on strike on 3-4 June to coincide with the Sundance Film Festival, which Picturehouse hosts.

Cinema workers protest at Cineworld AGM; Argos warehouse workers strike; students support lecturers’ strike; train companies threaten striking guards; LSE threatens cleaners; school strikes suspended.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Gemma Short, Charlotte Zalens and Peggy Carter

Staff at Manchester Metropolitan University will strike against job cuts on 24 and 25 May, against a backdrop of hundreds of jobs at risk across the sector. Manchester University is planning to cut 171 jobs; up to 150 are at risk at Aberystwyth; 139 at the University of Wales Trinity St David; Sunderland, Durham and Plymouth are all looking for voluntary redundancies.

Universities start cutting jobs; LSE cleaners fight back; Fujitsu workers fight 1,800 job losses; stop job cuts at EHRC; nurses may ballot for strikes.

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McCluskey only just re-elected

Author: 

Ann Field

Gerard Coyne — the candidate of the right, backed not just by the right-wing media but also by the most right-wing elements of the Labour Party — came within 5,500 votes of being elected the new General Secretary of Unite the Union.

McCluskey got 59,000 votes (45.5%); Coyne 53,500 (41.5%); and rank-and-file candidate Ian Allinson 17,000 (13%). McCluskey was re-elected, but in every other respect the election result was a major setback for McCluskey and the trade union politics which he represents.

The dominant left culture within Unite has an excessive focus on elections. There is nothing wrong with wanting to win elections. The problem arises when political life degenerates into electioneering at the expense of rebuilding grassroots organisation at branch and workplace level.

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The Socialist Party gives ground to nationalism

Author: 

Ira Berkovic

At best, Hannah Sell’s article “Brexit and the left” (Socialism Today, the magazine of the Socialist Party, Issue 207, April 2017) is a series of platitudinous banalities. At worst, it is a wretched concession to nationalism.

The free movement that exists between EU member states should be extended, not restricted. Bosses’ use of migrant labour to undercut local labour should be met with common struggle and demands for levelling up, not calls to end free movement.

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The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Ollie Moore, Janine Booth, Peggy Carter and Gemma Short

National Union of Teachers (NUT) members at Forest Hill School in Lewisham will strike again on 20, 25 and 26 April in their campaign against vicious cuts being imposed by management to fulfil conditions of repayment of loan to Lewisham council. There is a demonstration on Saturday 22 April.

The proposed restructure at the school is in response to a £1.3m deficit. Lewisham council has given the school a “loan” however they are demanding that the school cuts £800,000 from their wage bill.

Forest Hill strikes again; reinstate Lee Cornell!; Night Tube win; RCN to ballot nurses over pay; RMT holds first disabled members conference; train strikes disrupt Grand National; six cinemas on strike; cleaners’ wild-cat strike.

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Re-elect Len McCluskey!

Author: 

Ann Field

Ballot papers for Unite the Union’s General Secretary and national Executive Council elections have been sent out to the union’s 1.4 million members. Voting runs to 19 April, and the result will be out on 28 April.

West Midlands Unite full-timer Gerard Coyne is the right-wing challenger to Len McCluskey, the incumbent General Secretary seeking re-election for a third time. Ian Allinson is also standing as the candidate of rank-and-file democracy.

Unite members should vote for Len McCluskey in the General Secretary election. But that is no more than the first stage of the campaign needed.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Peggy Carter, Gemma Short and Charlotte Zalens

Monday 13 March will see the biggest and most widespread action yet in the fight to maintain the job of guard (conductor) in the UK rail industry. As well as another day of action on Southern Rail, the RMT union is calling its guard and driver members out on the Northern and Merseyrail franchises.

Biggest DOO strike yet; outsourced cleaners demand parity; King’s cleaners win concessions; fifth cinema joins strike; BA cabin crew strike again; Fujitsu job cuts strike.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Dale Street, Martin Corby and Neil Laker

Ten employees of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) were sacked with immediate effect on Thursday 9 February by email — whilst they were on strike! They were told to come into work the next day to clear their desks.

Sacked while on strike; university threatens campus closure; mass Job Centre closures; DOO fight at Northern.

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Ian Allinson — an inconsistent critic

Author: 

Dale Street

Ian Allinson is standing as “an experienced workplace activist”, “the grassroots socialist candidate”, and “the only candidate who knows first-hand the experiences and frustrations of our members”. By contrast, writes Allinson, Len McCluskey and Gerard Coyne have both been “been paid officials of Unite for many years.” McCluskey stands for “more of the same” and Coyne stands for “turning the clock back”.

An assessment of Ian Allinson’s campaign to become Unite General Secretary.

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McCluskey moves ahead, but not left

Author: 

Dale Street

In the election campaigning for the post of Unite the Union’s General Secretary, the McCluskey election machine continues to deliver the goods.

With a while still to go before nominations close on 17 February, over 300 branches have nominated Len McCluskey, who has been general secretary since 2011 but has stood down early so he could run for a third term. A statement supporting McCluskey has been signed by 60 out of 64 Executive Council members and a similarly overwhelming majority on other top levels of the union.

The slick campaign being run for Len McCluskey conceals a number of problems, including the gap which separates McCluskey’s election rhetoric from reality, and the gap between McCluskey’s policies and the policies which Unite should be championing.

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