Around 1,800 Passport Office workers in the PCS civil servants' union are to be balloted for strikes over pay. The workers rejected management's pay offer by nine to one in a ballot. 'It shows the underlying bitterness of people for the low pay we face and the work we have to do,' one Passport Office worker told Socialist Worker.
Some 600 workers out of a workforce of 1,800 face the dole after chemical multinational ICI sold its sites in Runcorn, Wilton and Lostock to InesoChlor. The new owners now want to sack 450 workers in Runcorn and shut the Wilton and Lostock sites, axing all 210 jobs. 'It's been a long time since we had a strike, but there's never been such wholesale proposed cuts,' said one Runcorn worker. The TGWU, AEEU, GMB and MSF unions are discussing what to do.
Globalise Resistance has organised a forum on why patents kill. The debate is given focus by the current fight over AIDS drugs in South Africa. Speakers will include Liz Dodd, policy officer for Action for South Africa, and Dr John Parrington, principal research fellow in physiology at University College London It will be at 7pm on Wednesday 14 March in Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London WC1 (Holborn tube). Come and join the discussion and plan for Genoa in July. Details on website: www.resist.org.uk
More than 2,000 council workers marched through Plymouth on Monday in the biggest demonstration the city has seen since the poll tax. Council workers held a one-day strike against £20 million planned cuts. Demonstrators wore trade union tabards saying, 'Plymouth is not for sale.' Labour councillors joined the strikers in wearing 'On strike' badges to show their opposition to the Tory council's cuts.
Workers at the Tulip meat processing factory on Merseyside walked out three hours early on Friday of last week, and planned another walkout this week. The workers transferred to a new factory two years ago, taking a massive cut in pay. Since then they say they have been bullied by bosses. When one worker was sacked they decided enough was enough.