Socialist Worker

Reports round-up

Issue No. 2508

City of London cleaners begin all-out strike

Cleaning workers picket 100 Wood Street

Cleaning workers picket 100 Wood Street (Pic: Lewis Nielsen)

Workers At 100 Wood Street corporate offices in the City of London financial district are on all-out strike.

The United Voices of the World (UVW) union members walked out on Wednesday of last week.

They are fighting against sackings and for the London Living Wage.

The workers are employed by outsourcer Thames Cleaning and Support Services.

UVW general secretary Petros Elia told Socialist Worker, “The company came in on 1 April and just decided to cut the number of cleaners in half.”

Donate to the cleaners’ strike fund

Gas and electric strike is E.ON

Hundreds of gas and electricity meter fixers struck at energy firm E.ON’s sites in Bolton, Nottingham and Kingswinford from last Friday to Monday.

They are members of the Unite, Unison and GMB unions.

Bosses want to impose an extra 30 minutes on any three days a week. But some shifts are already 12 hours long.

There were around a dozen pickets at Kingswinford in the West Midlands.

Reps Nigel and Haydn said, “The company doesn’t understand the concept of the carrot rather than the stick.

“They want to force all staff to work an extra 30 minutes every 12 days in 20.

“We’re not having it.”

Jerry Langford

Newcastle University workers celebrate victory

UCU union members at Newcastle University applauded and cheered at their annual general meeting last week as they celebrated a victory against the bosses.

Management withdrew a coercive performance management scheme known as “Raising the Bar” after UCU members began a marking boycott over it.

Union members voted to end the boycott as a result.

This victory resulted from the courage, hard work, and willingness to take action of UCU members across the university. There was also widespread opposition to the policy among members and non-union members.

Without the strategy of building towards industrial action when faced with this serious threat to our profession, the management would not have given way.

Committee members have received letters of congratulations from around the world, including from Dr. Rowan Williams, Master of Magdalene College, University of Cambridge.

Newcastle Uni UCU member

Activists say fly the flag for Orgreave

The Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign is calling on councils to fly specially designed flags of support.

Police attacked striking miners during the “Battle of Orgreave” in June 1984. The campaign is demanding an independent inquiry.

Wakefield Council has agreed to fly the flag. There is a rally to mark the anniversary in Sheffield this Saturday.

Orgreave anniversary rally, Saturday 18 June, 5pm, Orgreave Lane, Sheffield S13 9NE

Drivers on crash course with bosses

Drivers at landscape building supplies group Marshalls struck for better overtime pay on Monday.

The workers are members of the Unite union based at 14 sites across Britain.

Boss Martin Coffey got an 87 percent pay rise last year to over £2 million, and the firm’s profits are going up.

South Ayrshire bin workers reject offer

South Ayrshire Tory councillor Peter Convery had egg on his face after refuse workers rejected an offer from bosses at the Tory-run council by 44 to 33.

He had been predicting “good news on the horizon” in the press ahead of the vote.

The Unite union members are opposing the imposition of new shift patterns.

Blacklisted worker found guilty farce

Blacklist Support Group secretary Dave Smith was found guilty of disrupting traffic in Park Lane, London, in March last year. Campaigners were protesting at a construction industry awards ceremony.

Dave said that “only two people have ever been convicted because of their involvement with blacklisting”—blacklist operator Ian Kerr and himself.

Dick Turpin rides Sports Direct

Up to 100 people joined a protest at the Best Connections job agency in Chesterfield on Monday, called by the Unite union.

It aimed to pile pressure on Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley and the agencies that he uses to rip off workers at his Shirebrook warehouse.

Unite regional officer Luke Primarolo explained how Best Connections deducted bogus charges from workers’ pay.

Luke told the crowd this was “daylight robbery”. To underline the point, infamous highwayman Dick Turpin rode into town on his horse to “rob” a group of workers.

Jeannie Robinson

Schools round-up

Parents and school staff are fighting a plan by North Somerset Council to withdraw funding for school crossing patrols from September.

Frances Laing, a parent and governor at Bournville Primary School, told Socialist Worker that the Tory council’s cut would put children’s safety at risk.

“We started a petition against the cuts with dinner ladies in the school,” said Frances. “We supported a protest over this recently.”

The council said it would “save” £29,000 with the cut—from a total budget of £151 million.

Frances said, “It is not ok for the council not to fund this service.”

The NUT union has announced a strike ballot in schools across Doncaster and Scunthorpe in a row over restructuring.

The ballot will cover union members in schools run by the Schools Partnership Trust Academies.

The union says a restructure will lead to job cuts and a narrowing of the curriculum.

The schools affected are De Warenne Academy, Ash Hill Academy, Don Valley Academy and Melior Community Academy.

Transport workers round-up

Bus drivers in Leeds struck for higher pay on Monday.

Over 100 Unite union members picketed the Hunslet Park depot.

Others picketed a disused depot where bosses had tried to run a scab operation using buses driven by managers.

A mass meeting had rejected bosses’ miserly rise of 16p an hour this year and 20p next year.

Workers are preparing to strike next Monday if the offer isn’t improved.

Steve Johnston

RMT union members working for Abellio Scotrail in Scotland have voted by 75 percent to strike.

The union says bosses have refused to confirm that driver only operation will not be extended during the life of the current franchise.

No action had been called as Socialist Worker went to press.

Croydon tram drivers’ union Aslef suspended a two-day strike set for Wednesday and Thursday.

It said that FirstGroup bosses made a “much improved offer”.

The south London workers voted by 100 percent for strikes to demand more than the 2.6 percent rise offered.

The union’s executive was considering the new offer this week.

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