Socialist Worker

Reports round-up

Issue No. 2030

ITN unions vote over pensions

Members of media workers’ unions at news provider ITN are balloting for strike action to protect their pension rights.

Bectu, NUJ, and Amicus members last week called for a strike vote after hearing that the management’s current proposals for pension changes – including an increase in retirement age from 60 to 65 – were a final offer.

Ballot papers were set to be sent out later this week. The ballot closes on 22 December.


Defending the right to legal aid

Defence solicitors in Peterborough, Sunderland and Worcestershire took action on Monday and Tuesday of this week in response to the government’s reform of the legal aid system.

Firms are angry because they feel that cutting the budget will deny the most vulnerable people in society access to justice as a result of lawyers not being able to afford to take on legal aid work.

The action meant that solicitors did not attend the magistrate’s court before 10am, finished their morning session an hour earlier at noon, and left at 4pm. There are plans for a national strike in January. Legal aid entitles people to free legal representation in a court or tribunal.


Amicus printers set to strike

printers in the Amicus union at Field Packaging Bradford and Field First Newcastle have voted in favour of a strike over pay.

The Amicus union claims that the firm had behaved in a “bullying and intimidatory” manner over pay negotiations.?Amicus national officer Vernon Robson said, “There will be a major dispute at Chesapeake, the company that owns the two firms.

“We’re not prepared to accept bullying tactics and we’re not prepared to accept management threatening 91 dismissals rather than getting around the table.”?The dispute centres on staff at the two sites not receiving their 2.49 percent pay award, and proposed changes to terms and conditions.?Vernon Robson said, “The company responded with individual letters to [Bradford] staff, asking them to accept the cuts and changes. We believe that around staff did, although around 90 didn’t.”?A ballot of workers was overwhelmingly in favour of action short of a strike and, by a majority of over 50 percent, in favour of strike action.


Workers have 20/20 vision

Unison union members at Liverpool 20/20 are balloting on industrial action in support of four staff facing redundancy.

Liverpool 20/20 is a partner of Liverpool council which transferred 130 staff to them three years ago.

Staff facing redundancy will receive only the statutory minimum redundancy pay.


Palestine Solidarity Campaign lobby parliament

The largest lobby of parliament organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in recent years took place on Wednesday of last week with some 350 pro-Palestine activists lobbying their MPs.

They were concerned about the British government’s slavish support for George Bush’s undeviating backing of Israel, in particular Tony Blair’s refusal to call for a ceasefire during Israel’s bombardment of Lebanon.

They also opposed New Labour’s support for the sanctions imposed on Palestine’s democratically elected Hamas government, and were angry at the doubling of arms sales to Israel by Britain.

Following the lobby, some 200 activists packed into a House of Commons committee room to hear a range of speakers denounce the brutality of Israeli onslaught on the people of Gaza.

Sabby Sagall


Palestinians visit Nottingham

A delegation of five Palestinians from Jenin in the West Bank visited Nottingham last week to raise awareness.

The visit was organised by the Nottingham Jenin Friendship Group. The delegates visited unions, women’s groups and youth and community organisations across Nottinghamshire. Some 150 people attended a cultural event last Saturday.

Helen Bowler


London underground

A London Underground RMT union rep’s meeting last week agreed that if management fail to pay up the agreed 4 percent for this year’s pay deal in early January then a ballot will commence of all grades.

The pay talks this year have taken place amid management’s insistence on a three year pay deal that offers 4 percent in year one with inflation plus 0.6 percent in year 2 and 0.5 percent in year 3.

Management wants to link the pay deal to later running of the tube on Fridays and Saturdays, and to introduce an element of performance related pay.

The meeting decided action will be on early in the new year unless management sees sense and pays us the 4 percent.

Unjum Mirza, political officer, London Transport Region, RMT


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News
Sat 9 Dec 2006, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 2030
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