UNIVERSITIES and higher education colleges across London were closed on Tuesday as lecturers and admin and manual workers continued their campaign for a decent London weighting payment. The unions involved-Natfhe, AUT, Amicus and Unison-are claiming a London weighting payment of £4,000.
The unions were organising a London weighting battle bus to tour round the picket lines, and pickets were to lobby the department of education. An admin worker from London Metropolitan University told Socialist Worker, 'There are 30 people outside the university but the buildings are totally shut down. There are no lectures and no libraries open.'
Workers gearing up for a strike
PEUGEOT CAR workers in Coventry are set to strike over pay. Each shift will take part in a 24-hour strike planned to take place next week, over Thursday 13 to Friday 14 February.
The strike plan follows a 53 percent majority vote for action in response to a pay offer of 7.3 percent over two years. Peugeot workers are the lowest paid in the car industry. Union leaders are hoping that the threat of strike action will produce a new pay offer.
But one TGWU union member at the factory told Socialist Worker, 'We were led to believe that there would be a series of one-day actions each week but the officials seem to be pussyfooting around.'
Bosses thrown into reverse
STRIKE ACTION by bus drivers in Norwich has forced the multinational First Group to retreat from its attack on working hours. The 350 drivers held a solid week-long strike last month after management increased their driving time.
The company's climbdown means the drivers cannot work for longer than four hours and 21 minutes without a break. It has also reinstated the drivers' paid breaks, backdated to October last year. Drivers voted by 201 to 50 for the deal. 'We feel good that our strike forced this from the company,' said driver Dave Manningham. 'Drivers' confidence has gone up.'
Deal fails test of probation
HUNDREDS OF probation workers walked out on strike for a day on Wednesday of last week in several areas of Britain. The action involved workers employed by local probation boards in Cumbria, Hertfordshire, North Wales, South Wales, Staffordshire, Surrey, Teesside and Thames Valley.
Other regions had also been due to strike in a national dispute over workloads, but suspended strikes after reaching agreement with their local boards. The deals which headed off some strikes are better in some areas than in others. In the eight areas still in dispute the staff, members of the Napo probation workers' union, now plan a work to rule and more one-day strikes.
SHARON PRICE, chair South Yorkshire Napo
CONNECT, THE union for professional staff in telecoms, held a national delegate meeting in London last week. The formal agenda focused on internal matters.
But discussion was dominated by the firefighters' dispute and war with Iraq. A collection was taken to the nearby Euston firefighters' picket line. The pressure from delegates also meant that the union executive the next day agreed to back the 15 February anti-war demo.
TEACHERS, parents and students from Laburnum Primary and Kingsland School in Hackney, east London, demonstrated on Saturday against the closure of both schools.
Speakers outlined the need to combine the fight against closures with the fight to defend union organisation by campaigning for Indro Sen, the sacked union representative from Kingsland School.
SHEILA McGREGOR, acting NUT rep Kingsland School