North sea oil workers ballot
A ballot of over 200 North Sea oil workers on eight Shell platforms was due to end this week. They are employed by oil services giant Wood Group, which is slashing jobs and conditions.
The Unite and RMT union members face their third round of redundancies in a year as bosses drive through new, longer shift patterns but keep their own perks in place.
Workers also fear their safety is increasingly at risk from the cost cutting drive in what is already an extremely dangerous working environment.
Firms have used the downturn in oil prices as an excuse to push through attacks and axe 80,000 jobs in the sector. Another 40,000 could go by the end of this year if there is no resistance from unions.
This isn’t a good Prospect
Media workers in the Bectu union are voting on a merger with professionals’ union Prospect.
Socialist Worker believes Bectu members should vote no.
Merging would mean strike votes would have to be approved by Prospect’s executive committee.
It would also mean Bectu disaffiliating from the CND campaign against nuclear weapons and from the Labour Party on a right wing basis as Prospect believes it has to be politically neutral.
East London teachers strike against extra hours
Teachers at an east London school were set to strike on Thursday of this week in protest at a plan to make them work longer hours.
NUT union members at Connaught School for Girls struck over the issue on
5 July and shut the school.
Bosses want teachers to work for an extra 90 minutes a week.
Workers plan to picket from 7am until 8.30am at Dyers Hall Road, Leytonstone, E11 4AE.
They have appealed to other trade unionists and activists to visit the picket line to show support.
Posties ballot against privatisation
Post Office workers across Britain are being balloted for strikes against privatisation.
Bosses at Post Office announced plans to sell off 20 crown post offices on Tuesday of last week.
It comes after the privatisation of 41 offices was announced in January of this year. The fresh round of selloffs could bring the total number of job losses to 2,000—including some by compulsory redundancy.
Offices will be sold off to companies such as WH Smith.
The announcement also follows a switch to a worse pension scheme and the closure of more than half of the company’s cash handling operation.
The CWU union is balloting its Post Office members to strike against the closures. Strikes could stop closures and save jobs—workers should vote yes in the ballot.
Protest against the EDL Nazis in London
Unite Against Fascism (UAF) has called a counter-protest against the Nazi English Defence League (EDL) in London this Saturday.
The EDL plans to protest in the capital to whip up racism and hate.
It says that its protest is partly against “Muslim grooming gangs” and partly against the “creeping Sharia” it ludicrously claims the election of Labour’s Sadiq Khan as London mayor has ushered in.
The UAF protest will assemble from 12 noon in the City of London.
Roma genocide commemoration
An event to remember Roma who were killed by fascists during the Second World War will take place in London on Tuesday 2 August.
It assembles at 12 noon at the Hyde Park Holocaust Memorial.
More Weymouth bus strikes on timetable
Around 110 bus drivers based at Weymouth and Bridport were set to strike for three days this week in a continuation of their eight-month dispute over pay.
They are protesting that they are paid less than any other First Bus drivers in the whole of England and want a decent pay rise.
The Weymouth and Bridport drivers earn about £8.80 an hour while First Group drivers in Yeovil are on £9.50 an hour.
Drivers working for rival firms in Bournemouth and Poole earn nearly £2 an hour more.
Leeds bus strike halted
A six-hour strike of bus drivers in Leeds, set to take place on Monday, was suspended by the Unite union for an offer of “meaningful” talks.
The offer followed a 24-hour strike last Friday, the third in a month, by more than 1,000 workers at the Bramley and Hunslet Park depots in Leeds in a row over pay with FirstGroup bosses.
Unite members rejected the latest offer and are continuing to demand a 36p an hour pay rise, backdated to January.
New talks were expected on Tuesday or Wednesday of this week. Drivers must keep up the battle to win decent pay and defend their union.
Protest in support of Corbyn in York
Around 140 supporters of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn protested on Friday of last week in York.
The event was called by York Momentum.
Many brought homemade placards and strong speeches were made against Labour’s right wing.
New moves in the steel closures fight
Tata Steel announced this week that it will put the sale of its British business on hold to explore “strategic alternatives”.
There are rumours that Tata is considering a merger deal for its European operations with another giant firm.
The Financial Times reported last week that, “Any deal could lead to large numbers of job cuts as part of an attempt to find further cost savings in the business”.