Fury at Southall centre closure
A lively campaign is developing in west London, against the closure of Southall Community Centre, which has been at the centre of the community for over 60 years.
The previous Labour council voted to close the centre. The new Conservative council intends to compete the plan. On Monday, with only two days notice, 70 people demonstrated outside the centre.
They were joined by groups including the Somali Teachers Association, Respect, and the trades council.
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Back the Unique Care workers
The fight for reinstatement of 17 black women care workers in Huddersfield has entered a crucial period.
The women were sacked by Unique Care, a private care provider, after walking out 12 weeks ago in defence of a sacked colleague and after a proposed change to their contracts.
The women had hoped that an investigation by Kirklees council, the sole financiers of Unique Care, would give redress. But it decided there are “no irregularities”.
The women spoke at a full council meeting last week to seek support for their case. They were disappointed at the reception they received.
The women know that they have to exert greater pressure on the council and they have a great opportunity on 4 April when Unique Care reapplies for its registration to allow them to be a care provider.
Send donations to Kirklees Unison, 20 Queen Street, Huddersfield, HD1 2SP.
Campaign for fair pay in Aberdeen
Clerical assistants who work in Aberdeen’s community centres are threatening strikes over what they claim is unfair pay.
Lorraine Stephen, a clerical assistant at Seaton Community Project, says, “We are doing the same job as primary school admin staff but receiving less pay for the same duties.” Their claims are backed by their T&G union.
An angry crowd protested outside the Maudsley Hospital in south London last week against the threat to close the emergency clinic and the Felix Post Unit elderly day hospital.
The clinic is the only one of its kind, where people with mental health problems can attend without having to be referred.
Voluntary services will be overwhelmed if they have to cope with the increased workload these cuts will cause.
NUT education conference
About 200 teachers, school governors, academics and campaigners, attended a conference last Saturday sponsored by the NUT union and the Institute of Education. The conference discussed how the NUT’s policy of a good local school for every child could be achieved.
A barrister from Matrix Chambers showed that government information on the nature of academy schools was misleading – for instance an academy in Haringey, north London, is not bound to admit special needs pupils.
There was wide agreement that the broad thrust of New Labour policy is detrimental to children’s education and that many specific policies need to be challenged. Workshops allowed participants to point to ways to fight back.
Wembley occupation agianst academy
Residents, sports ground users and trade unionists in Brent, north west London, have occupied the Wembley sports ground site in opposition to a proposal to build an academy there.
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Construction workers plan parliament lobby
Hundreds of construction workers from the Amicus union were set to lobby parliament on Wednesday over the exploitation of cheap foreign labour.
In the run up to the lobby, management at Heathrow Terminal 5 threatened to withdraw a week’s bonus from workers who stopped work to join the protest.
Workers then applied to take a day’s holiday which the bosses turned down. One worker said, “The bosses are being heavy handed and have already told us we will lose a week’s bonus if we don’t turn up for work.
“It’s our right to take holiday and I can’t see how they can turn that down. At least 100 lads have put in for the day off.”
Strike at Sunvic Controls
Forty women workers in the T&G union at Sunvic Controls in Uddingston in Scotland are on strike.
The dispute, centres on a clause management wants inserted into contracts, allowing it to cut hours if trade is slow.
According to Ellen Davies, a T&G rep at the factory, “This feels like a throwback to the Thatcher era, it’s getting so dirty.
“We’ve women who have given 40 years to this company and want no more than an assurance about our futures, which we haven’t got.”
BT workers vote on outsourcing
Around 6,000 CWU union members in BT Global Services are voting on an executive-recommended deal over outsourcing.
The important Central London branch is recommending a no vote
Increased pay offer at BT
BT has increased its pay offer to 3.5 percent consolidated and a £100 unconsolidated lump sum payment. This has been rejected. CWU deputy general secretary, Jeannie Drake, described the offer as “extremely disappointing.”