WORKERS FROM three Tyneside shipyards walked out on strike on Friday of last week in an unofficial dispute over pay.
The workers involved are 98 subcontractors. They are demanding to be included in an agreement, signed by the three shipyards and UCATT, Amicus and GMB unions which gives all the workers parity pay of £11.30 an hour.
Around 1,500 workers are employed at the Amec and Swan Hunter yards. The subcontractors are currently on an hourly rate of £9.35.
'This issue has been an ongoing thing for outfitters for the past 15 years. We want to put a full stop to it now. Just give us recognition as tradesmen for what we are worth, ' said one subcontractor.
Dewsbury to Palestine
ABOUT 1,000 people crowded into the main hall of Dewsbury sports centre last weekend for a conference in support of the Palestinians.
It was called by the newly formed Batley Muslim Association and the Leicester-based Friends of Al Aqsa.
Andrew Murray, chair of the national Stop the War Coalition, made one of the major contributions.
A clear message from the platform was the need for more unity with non-Muslims in the fight for justice in the middle east.
Healthy vote for pay fight
JOURNALISTS at EMAP Healthcare/PSM in north London have voted by an overwhelming majority for a ballot on industrial action over pay.
The NUJ union at EMAP has been in dispute over pay since April.
Talks at ACAS last month saw a marginally improved offer of 3.5 percent.
The NUJ calculates that the new offer represented just an extra £315 on the company's wage bill.
Since winning recognition last year, the union has faced sustained hostility and bullying from management.
Last year EMAP Healthcare/PSM held a one-day strike over pay, the first strike in national magazines for 10 years.
Wheel out some more action
WORKERS AT Ifor Williams trailers in north Wales voted last week to suspend their action over pay for seven days for talks between the GMB union and their employers.
Dave Cliff, the GMB regional organiser, told Socialist Worker, 'The vote was narrow. I think there was about half a dozen in it, to agree to the company's request to suspend the action.
'If by Friday there is no constructive response from the management then we will announce more strike days.
'The lads are keeping up the overtime ban. They say it is having a real effect. 'The company recorded 60,000 hours of overtime last year between 350 production workers.
'The GMB is demanding the workers get paid time and a half for working overtime and that all overtime should be 'voluntary'.'