Socialist Worker

In brief

Issue No. 1781

THOUSANDS OF bank workers at Scottish- based branches of the Royal Bank of Scotland were due to strike on Wednesday over having to work on a public holiday and not being paid premium rates.

The workers, members of the UNIFI union, are furious at being told to work on 2 January with no extra pay. The day is a traditional bank holiday in Scotland. Other banks with Scottish branches are either shut on the day or have agreed to pay staff premium rates.

BUS DRIVERS in Belfast forced management to shift after a two-day walkout last week. Drivers working for Citybus stopped work in a dispute about support for drivers who have been assaulted or threatened.

Then drivers on Ulsterbus routes also walked out. Management agreed to set up a task force to look at how drivers are treated after attacks.

THE STRIKE by pierhands on Caledonian MacBrayne ferry routes from the Clyde was resolved by a deal on Christmas Eve. The deal gave the RMT union many of its demands, including moving towards pay and hours parity between seagoing staff on Clyde routes and those on Western Isles routes.

BACKSTAGE staff at London's West End theatres have voted to be balloted on strikes unless management improve their pay offer.

The theatres offered 1.6 percent, but this was rejected by 99.6 of members of the BECTU union in a ballot. The same ballot saw 98 percent back a strike ballot if no new offer comes.

AROUND 150 people attended a showing of the film Bread and Roses in east London just before Christmas. The film, directed by Ken Loach, portrays the fight for decent pay and union rights among cleaners in Los Angeles. The east London showing was organised by the TELCO community organisation, which is running a campaign, backed by local unions, against poverty pay in the area. After the film Ken Loach introduced an excellent discussion.

STAFF AT Southampton College are set to strike next Tuesday in protest at the college's refusal to implement a national pay award for further education. Lecturers in the NATFHE union and admin staff, creche staff, technicians and maintenance workers in the UNISON union will be striking. People are losing hundreds of pounds as a result of the college's refusal to pay a 3.7 percent wage increase which most colleges have already implemented.

WORKERS AT Southmead Hospital are celebrating victory in a long-running regrading dispute. They have won upgrading for many workers after an indicative strike ballot.

SOME 150 counter staff at 13 post offices across London's West End struck for 24 hours on 21 December in protest at the closure of two local offices. The Post Office is under orders from the government to save £50 million a year on the running costs of the post office network, so is shutting down offices. The new year needs to see London-wide stoppages if the closure programme is to be beaten.

NURSES demonstrated outside central London's Middlesex Hospital days before Christmas in protest at lack of heating and appalling conditions in nurses' homes.

The nurses' homes at the UCLH trust, of which the Middlesex is part, have been transferred to a private housing association. Nurses allege that newly arrived nurses face higher rents than others.

TENANTS ON the Aylesbury estate in Southwark have voted against privatisation of their south London estate. Some 73 percent of tenants voted against the Labour council's recommendation to hand their estate to Faraday Housing Association, and over 75 percent of the 2,500 tenants voted in the ballot.

Defend Council Housing national conference, Saturday 9 February, 11am-4.30pm, Christian Centre, The Parade, Birmingham city centre. Full details from Defend Council Housing-phone 020 7275 9994 or go to

TOP LONDON store Selfridges has withdrawn a range of goods produced in Israeli Occupied Territories. Goods labelled 'Made in Israel' were made in the Golan Heights, Gaza Strip and West Bank, which are occupied illegally by Israel. The withdrawal was a response to activities organised by the Boycott Israeli Goods campaign. The Campaign for Palestine Rights is urging all activists to take up the campaign.

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Sat 5 Jan 2002, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1781
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