Solidarity 317, 19 March 2014

Stop starving the NHS!

The new pay settlement in the health service has denied 615,000 NHS staff a 1% pay rise this year. They will receive their usual annual increments in 2014-15 but nothing else.

A further 550,000 staff will get a 1% rise for each of the next two years but as monthly additional payments alongside their salary.

This game of Tory divide and rule is estimated to save just £200 million from the NHS budget this year. Its real intention is to further attack the pay and conditions of NHS workers.

Teachers will strike on 26 March

A special meeting of the National Executive of the National Union of Teachers has confirmed a national strike will take place on 26 March.

Unfortunately, the other main teaching union, the NASUWT, has decided not to strike on the pretext that it wants to give talks with the Department for Education a chance. The small Welsh-speaking union UCAC also pulled out of the action with the same excuse.

SOAS cleaners to strike again

Cleaning workers at the School of African and Oriental Studies (SOAS) in central London will strike again on 21 March.

The workers, who are members of Unison, struck on 4-5 March. They are employed by private cleaning contractor ISS, and are demanding the same holiday entitlement, contractual sick pay, and pension scheme as directly-employed staff.

Workers are not satisfied with the progress made since the 4-5 March strike, so will walk out again for 24 hours on 21 March.

Tories seek to ruin civil service union

Tory Minister Francis Maude, who has responsibility for the civil service, has asked all civil service departments to consider ending “check off”, the system by which union members pay their dues directly from their salary.

NHS pay fight

The government have continued their attacks on the NHS by announcing a zero cost-of-living pay rise for the majority of health workers and a meagre 1% only for those on the top of their pay band.

Even this 1% only applies to basic pay, not unsocial hours or overtime payments. Health workers have endured many years of zero or less than inflation pay rises, leaving all ordinary health workers struggling and poverty pay a reality for many.

Unions must fight to win on council pay

Council workers receive the lowest pay in the public sector, and have faced an 18% decline in pay over the last eight years, with below inflation pay rises and three years with no increase at all.

Workers have faced some of the worst cuts in services, with some councils having seen 30% cuts since 2010, while the cost of services are increasing due to increase in cost of elderly care and services to support the vulnerable being in greater demand.

Unions like Unison and GMB should be taking a stand against another year of pay cuts planned by local government employers.

Rail: A workers' and passengers' plan

An extract from Janine Booth’s book, Plundering London Underground: New Labour, private capital and public transport 1997-2010.

London Underground must provide services to meet people’s needs, so its operation and development must be planned. The PPP showed, as private ownership had shown more than half a century earlier, that the “market” cannot meet London Underground’s needs. …

Bob Crow, 1961-2014

Bob Crow represented plain-speaking trade union militancy. He was seen as the personification of the idea that the job of a trade union leader is to stick by and stick up for the union’s members — not apologise for, close down or slither away from their battles with employers.

Everyone who understands and values that mourns his shocking and premature death. There is a genuine feeling of sorrow, shock, disbelief and profound sadness among RMT members, and condolences have poured in from everyone from union leaders around the world to passengers coming up to transport staff.

Toyota Bangalore lock-out

Toyota’s Indian subsidiary has locked out around 6,400 workers at its two plants near Bangalore after workers protested against a delay in receiving pay rises following 10 months of negotiations.

In response to the protests and assembly-line stoppages, Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) closed its factories on Sunday 16 March and has not said when they will re-open.

Prasanna Kumar of the Motor Corporation Employees’ Union said: “The lockout is illegal as management did not give the mandatory 14-day notice to employees and the state labour office.

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