Socialist Worker

Reports round-up

Issue No. 2053

Remploy workers move to ballot

The unions representing disabled workers at the Remploy factories are planning to begin a strike ballot. This is in response to plans to close 43 factories.

Over 2,000 mainly disabled workers will be affected when 32 of the Remploy manufacturing sites are shut and 11 are merged with others.

Bosses claim they are cutting the subsidised jobs in order to place 20,000 disabled people into mainstream employment annually by 2010.

Phil Davies, the head of the Remploy Trade Union Consortium, said, 'This is an act of industrial sabotage. The unions will now seek authority for a national official strike ballot at all 83 Remploy sites.'

Exhibiting a mood for action

Services at Liverpool's museums were severely hit on Monday as 150 members of the PCS civil service workers' union struck over the imposition of below inflation pay increases.

Staff, whose starting salaries can be as little as £11,000 a year, are angry over deteriorating pay levels.

The strike hit the Maritime Museum, Liverpool Museum, Walker Art Gallery, Lady Lever Gallery, Conservation Centre, Sudley Art Gallery and Central Services.

Respect election result in Brent

Respect came fourth in the Dudden Hill ward council by-election in the north west London borough of Brent last week, gaining 160 votes – 5 percent. Respect beat the Greens while the Liberal Democrat candidate won.

There was a fierce contest between New Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

Sarah Teather, the Liberal Democrat MP for Brent East, and Dawn Butler, the Labour MP for Brent South, will be battling it out for the new Brent Central constituency at the next general election.

The Dudden Hill ward is in the middle of the new constituency and the by-election was seen as a rehearsal for that contest. The two parties threw everything into the campaign, squeezing all the other parties.

Respect's campaign was lively and enjoyable. The campaign has raised Respect's profile and consolidated support. We are now gearing up for next year's London elections campaign.

Sarah Cox

Unique workers plan meeting

The dispute over the sacking of 17 black women by private care provider, Unique Care, continues. The women are fighting for their reinstatement and are awaiting the outcome of the first employment tribunal.

The women's Kirklees Unison union branch is proposing to organise a fringe meeting at the upcoming Unison conference. This will highlight the disaster of privatisation.

Nick Ruff

Donations to Kirklees Unison, 20 Queen Street, Huddersfield HD1 2SP

Industrial action in the Maritime and Coastguard Agency

Around 700 members of the PCS civil service workers' union at the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) are currently involved in a campaign of industrial action short of a strike in a dispute over low pay.

PCS members voted overwhelmingly for the action over a below inflation cost of living increase.

This averages just 2.5 percent for many and penalises the most experienced staff with pay increases of less than 1 percent.

The row has been on-going since the settlement date of August last year.

Workers are refusing to do non-essential duties.

Royal Liverpool support staff plan strike

Around 600 porters, catering staff, cleaners and other workers from the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen hospitals in Merseyside are set to strike on Wednesday and Thursday of next week over pay.

The workers, members of the T&G and GMB unions, are employed by the ISS private company. Unions last week organised a meeting to reach a deal with ISS.

Glyn Thornton, the GMB's regional organiser, said, 'A meeting was scheduled to take place, but, unfortunately, ISS could not provide a senior manager to be present. We believe that reflects their attitude to the workforce.'

Workers want the same pay deal as NHS staff. One caterer said, 'We are all disgusted and it doesn't give us any heart to work.

'It's like we don't exist but the hospital can't be run without us.'

Esol petition to Downing Street

The Save Esol (English for speakers of other languages) Campaign marked Adult Learning Week by delivering a petition to Downing Street on Thursday of last week signed by over 15,000 people.

The petition calls on the government to ditch plans to remove automatic fee remission for Esol classes.

The UCU union is organising a conference on Esol on Friday 29 June. Lecturers can register at » There is also set to be a London demonstration over the issue on Saturday 30 June. Go to » for more information.

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Article information

Tue 29 May 2007, 18:53 BST
Issue No. 2053
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