Defending jobs

Make Labour fight for “grand schemes”!

Both the government and the scientists who criticise it say that finding people with Covid-19 symptoms, testing to confirm, tracing their close contacts, and getting sufferers and contacts to self-isolate, is central to controlling the virus. Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds told the Marr show on Sunday 5 June: “I’m not going to say to you that Labour is going to be advocating some massive grand scheme right at this moment when social care is in crisis”. But we need grand schemes exactly at this time of crisis! The Tories’ floundering has imposed a massive grand Covid-19 death toll, threatens a massive grand risk of a whole new second wave of the virus, and is generating massive grand job cuts.

University staff rally against cuts

On 25 June, over 500 people attended an online rally jointly organised by branches of the University and College Union (UCU) at Imperial College, SOAS, Roehampton and Liverpool Universities in parallel with socially-distanced protests in Liverpool and London. Those institutions are facing some of the harshest cuts in the university sector. Management at Reading have threatened to sack the entire workforce and rehire only those prepared to accept inferior terms and conditions. Roehampton staff have been asked to take a voluntary pay cut, and a redundancy scheme is up and running. Their branch...

British Airways threatens to fire and rehire

British Airways has seized on the pandemic crisis to attack the terms and conditions of its entire workforce. Using the claim that they need to impose redundancies, they are attempting to fire and re-hire every BA worker. Only weeks into the furlough scheme, with the state picking up almost the whole wage bill for BA staff, the company issued redundancy notices to 42,000 staff, with a deadline of 14 June to accept a wholescale change to their contracts and pay. BA was one of the first companies to argue that the lockdown left them no choice but to cut jobs and wages. Unite, the main union in...

Tube unions plan funding campaign

Unions organising across Transport for London and London Underground will hold a joint online rally on 15 July, to launch a campaign for increased funding for TfL and against cuts. At the time of going to press, RMT, Aslef, and Unite were backing the rally, with TSSA also expected to come on board. Exact details, including the time, had yet to be confirmed. Since the Tories abolished the central government subsidy to TfL, it has been almost wholly reliant on funding from fares and commercial revenue streams, meaning it was plunged into a profound financial crisis when passenger levels dropped...

Halting the Job Cuts Express

We know that job cuts are coming, thundering down the track towards us like a runaway freight train, loaded with attacks on our pay, conditions and pensions as well.

Wabtec has already announced job cuts at its Doncaster site, Heathrow Express is threatening to cut over a hundred posts, and we...

Defend Wabtec jobs!

Bosses at the Wabtec rail refurbishment factory in Doncaster have announced a plan to cut 450 jobs in several waves, starting in August and running through to March 2021. The cuts would halve the workforce.

The plans are now out for consultation, and responding should be quick and easy: not one...

Goldsmiths action grows

Fixed term teaching staff have joined the marking boycott at Goldsmiths, started by Associate Lecturers (ALs) and Graduate Trainee Tutors (GTTs). They are also “working to rule”, performing only contractual duties. The college, part of University of London, has been planning cuts since the start of the year and wants to sack 163 academics on fixed term contracts and 309 ALs and GTTs. The college is putting through the sacking by allowing the contracts of these staff to expire. According to research by staff at Goldsmiths, around 75% of those being laid off are from a BME background. That is a...

Poll scores won't save jobs

A survey — see here — by manufacturing bosses’ organisation Make UK published on 15 June indicates a big flood of job cuts in the next three months, July to September. They report only 11.7% of firms operating at capacity; 81% vs 39% predicting further falls in output in the next three months; a quarter of firms already having decided on redundancies; and only one-third saying they won’t make redundancies in the coming months. This week, starting 15 June, is the last time for bosses to send out the “HR1” letters required by law for large-scale redundancies if they are to take effect before the...

Move against cuts at Goldsmiths

Associate Lecturers (ALs) and Graduate Trainee Teachers (GTTs) at Goldsmiths University, London, plan to take action against the freezing of their short-term teaching contracts, against the withholding of payment for hours worked under lockdown (promised but not delivered), and against the decision by management not to use the government furlough scheme to help these precarious workers. At the start of the year Goldsmiths management announced a programme of cuts (“Evolving Goldsmiths”). Then they withdrew under pressure from the unions. Financial uncertainty at the college has increased as a...

More jobs, less work (Women's Fightback)

Economic research at the University of Essex has warned of job losses of around the 6.5 million mark as a result of Covid-19. That would equate to about a quarter of the UK’s total jobs, with more than half of the positions in certain sectors being lost. The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) found that the virus lockdown has so far hit younger workers the hardest. They are nearly two-and-a-half times more likely to work in a shutdown area. The IFS also found that the virus was likely to have a bigger effect on women’s earnings because of a disproportionate amount of women working in retail...

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