Socialist Worker

Reports round-up

Issue No. 2081

Cracker workers are cheesed off

Workers at Jacob’s Bakery at Aintree, Merseyside, which produces cream crackers, are angry about changes being made to their work practices which will make it compulsory to work over the Christmas period.

The Unite union says this goes against flexible shift patterns that have been in place for workers over the Christmas period for many years. It will ballot its members for industrial action over the proposal.

Unite regional officer, Debbie Brannan said, “The company is acting like Scrooge. We are asking the company to show some festive spirit.”

The ballot is scheduled to close on 17 December, leaving the door open for strike action to begin before Christmas.

Refuse workers to strike in Cumbria

Refuse workers in west Cumbria could be on the brink of strike action in a row over working hours.

They say they are being asked to exceed maximum working hours for local authority staff – 37 hours – to meet deadlines for collections. Alan McGuckin, Unite regional organiser, said, “They are not at all happy about things. I am now waiting for authority from our union nationally to ballot for industrial action.”

He said any industrial action would be delayed until after Christmas.

Protest to save women’s centre

Around 40 staff, users and supporters of Salford Women’s Centre gathered with placards outside the town hall in Swinton, Salford, on Friday of last week, to protest at the decision by the local council and PCT to stop funding the centre from March 2008.

Representatives from local branches of the GMB, Unison, and Unite unions also brought their banners and flags. The centre, described in a 2005 government document as “thriving”, has been running for over 20 years and provides a wide range of services for the most vulnerable women in the community.

The campaign continues.

Sarah Davies

BBC bosses refusing to talk

BBC management has suspended talks with the National Union of Journalists, the Bectu and Unite unions at a national level.

Corporation managers have told the unions that they will refuse to meet them on any subject because of an ongoing strike ballot.

The unions decided to ballot on strike action because of compulsory redundancies.

BBC people strategy director Mike Gooddie wrote to them: “Until you suspend your notice of intended action, the BBC cannot meet with you at national level on any subject including unpredictability allowances and pensions.”

NUJ broadcasting organiser Paul McLaughlin said: “In BBC terms this is a big step. Toys and prams spring to mind.”

The ballot closes 9 January.

Rolls Royce protest on Merseyside

Rolls Royce workers on Merseyside led a nationwide protest to save 220 jobs at their closure-threatened plant on Monday of this week.

Workers demonstrating at the gates of the Netherton factory were joined by hundreds of colleagues from around the country.

Ian Tonks, Unite union national officer, said, “We are doing everything in our power to defend our members’ jobs on Merseyside.”

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Article information

Tue 11 Dec 2007, 18:44 GMT
Issue No. 2081
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