Socialist Worker

Reports round-up

Issue No. 2086

Ivan Lewis MP lobbied for Karen Reissmann

Mental health workers in Manchester lobbied health minister Ivan Lewis on Friday last week to demand the reinstatement of psychiatric nurse and Unison union steward Karen Reissmann.

More than 50 health workers, campaigners and patients joined the lively protest outside the ministers’ surgery, winning cheers and beeps on car horns from passers-by.

Unison is now planning a national lobby of parliament over the sacking, to be organised by the north west region of Unison for early spring.

Send messages of support to Manchester community and mental health Unison branch, 70 Manchester Road, M21 9UN

Cleaners suspended after protest

The world’s largest insurance broker has demanded the suspension of cleaners working at its offices in the City of London after they held a protest to demand a living wage.

The 12 cleaners – mostly migrant workers – employed by contractor ISS to clean for Marsh insurance protested last week as part of their campaign for the London Living Wage of £7.20 an hour.

Marsh bosses demanded that the cleaners should not be allowed to return to work. All 12 were suspended.

The protest was organised by the Unite union as part of a wider campaign for justice for cleaners in the City.

Marsh is part of a group that has an annual revenue of $11 billion.

One of the cleaners said he just wanted to be treated “like a human being”.

BBC workers to ballot on deal

unions representing workers at the BBC have come to an agreement in principle with management over 2,500 job cuts and other attacks.

The agreement came last week just before the end of a strike ballot of NUJ, Bectu and Unite union members. The ballot has now been extended.

The agreement will now go to a ballot of members between 10 to 27 March.

Pete Murray, the deputy father of the NUJ chapel (union branch) at BBC Scotland, told Socialist Worker, “Management have postponed redundancy notices until the end of March.

“This is an improvement. The unity and purpose of BBC staff has meant management have backed off.

“But they still want to make 2,500 redundancies and attack allowances. People need to take that into account in the ballot.”

Bristol bin workers set for strikes

Refuse collectors in Bristol are due to stage a series of strikes in the next few weeks in a row over pay.

The workers, members of the Unite union, were set to stop work on Thursday in the first of three planned strikes.

The union then plans to strike for 48 hours from Monday of next week and then 72 hours starting on 11 February.

The workers rejected a 2.5 percent pay offer from the council’s waste contractor, Sita.

Paul Swain from Unite said Sita “is a national company and we believe they can afford more than they are offering”.

London and Keele unite against cuts

The London region of the UCU lecturers’ union agreed on Saturday of last week to call on Keele UCU branch to set up a national rally against threatened job cuts. Hopefully a date will be set this week.

Lecturers at Keele university are fighting proposed cuts which would see 38 out of 67 jobs cut in the School of Economic and Management Studies.

UCU has accused university management of ignoring procedures to rush through the redundancies last December.

Activists have circulated a protest letter that has so far been signed by 163 academics. To add your name email

Guardian printers ballot over pay

Workers in the Unite union at the Guardian newspaper’s east London print site are to ballot for industrial action over their current pay claim.

This follows an overwhelming rejection by workers of a two year deal. The ballot result is expected in February.

Action would severely affect the printing of the Guardian.

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Article information

Tue 29 Jan 2008, 19:22 GMT
Issue No. 2086
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