Socialist Worker

Reports round-up

Issue No. 2052

The Unison lobby in Greenwich

The Unison lobby in Greenwich


Greenwich council workers single status protest

Over 100 council workers protested last week against plans by Greenwich council in south east London to use the single status pay deal to attack wages and conditions.

There were shouts of “Shame on you” and “Hey you Mary Ney [the council’s chief executive] we won’t let you cut our pay”.

There have been some concessions forced from the council but nowhere near enough. As far as the Unison union is concerned, no one should lose out as a result of single status.

The Unison campaign is continuing with posters and leaflets being sent out, and meetings being arranged to keep everyone informed and involved. There is also an ongoing recruitment campaign.

Greenwich council worker


Heanor postal workers vote to strike

Postal workers in Heanor in the East Midlands have voted to strike over the proposed closure of the town’s sorting office.

In April Royal Mail announced that the Mansfield Road branch would close with 25 workers being transferred to the Ilkeston depot.

Last week CWU union members voted seven to one to take strike action if Royal Mail goes ahead with the closure.

Simon Walker, branch secretary of Derbyshire CWU, said, “The vote is good news for us. We have a lot of negotiating power now.

“Whether the strike takes place depends on Royal Mail. The first thing we will do is take them back to the negotiating table.”

There is no date set for the strike yet.

Paul Jones, the Labour mayor of Heanor, said he would join the postal workers on the picket line.

Over 2,500 local residents have signed petitions against the closure.


Strike at Ritzy cinema in London

Members of the Bectu media workers’ union at the Ritzy Cinema in Brixton, south London, are set to strike on Saturday of this week and Friday of next week in a dispute over pay.

The workers, who are currently on the national minimum wage, voted unanimously to take strike action after they rejected the company’s latest offer of £5.41 per hour, or £5.50 without a sales bonus.

Bectu rep Jackie Brett-Holt said, “It is unacceptable for a company as large as City Screen, which runs the Ritzy, to take advantage of its workers by paying wages well below the recognised London poverty line.”


Virgin staff strike against sackings

Over 70 catering staff in the RMT rail workers’ union employed by Virgin Trains at Liverpool Lime Street struck on Thursday of last week. They are demanding the reinstatement of colleagues sacked over allegations of bullying.

The strike followed action on 24 April after the company sacked three people, including a union rep.

Bob Crow, the RMT general secretary, said, “The allegations in this case come from unsubstantiated hearsay tittle-tattle from a consultancy firm employed by Virgin, and the company has since made a mockery of its own disciplinary procedures.”


Respect stands up for the young

Lewisham Respect held a very successful public meeting in south east London last week on “Why are our children being failed?”

Around 35 people attended, including many local black people. There was a lively discussion on what is needed to bring hope to our young people.

The success of the meeting is a result of Respect intervening in a local gun crime conference and a “ceasefire now” march.

Ian Crosson


Meeting disrupts work in Barrow

Members of the NUJ journalists’ union at the Barrow office of the CN Group held an all-day disruptive chapel (workplace union branch) meeting on Tuesday of last week.

They were protesting against the company’s decision to close its final salary pension scheme.

Some 27 out of 38 editorial staff, who work on the North West Evening Mail and the Advertiser, left the office at 8.30am and did not return for the rest of the day.

Bosses want a defined contribution pension scheme, which is dependent on market rates rather than length of service.

Helen Wall, the NUJ mother of chapel (workplace rep), said, “Chapel members are determined to take further action until the company comes up with a proper offer.”

Union members at Carlisle and Whitehaven are also involved in the dispute.


Recognition dispute at London Met

Lecturers at London Metropolitan University voted unanimously last week to enter into a formal dispute with management at the university over union recognition.

Since the creation of the UCU union from the merger of the AUT and Natfhe, management have said that the pre-merger recognition agreement with Natfhe no longer stands.

Management has also set up a staff association in an attempt to bypass the union.

For more information or to send messages of support contact the chair of London Metropolitan UCU. Email Amanda Sackur at asackur@gmail.com


Unique Care tribunal decision due

After over four months of fighting for justice, the 17 sacked black women, members of the Unison union working for Unique Care in Huddersfield, are facing the decision of the first of many employment tribunals. The women’s brilliant fight is starting to see results.

Send donations to Kirklees Unison, 20 Queen Street, Huddersfield.


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Tue 22 May 2007, 18:46 BST
Issue No. 2052
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