Socialist Worker

Reports round-up: sacked porter reinstated as workers bite back

Issue No. 2542

Aldred Tomlinson (centre) and supporters at the hospital entrance

Aldred Tomlinson (centre) and supporters at the hospital entrance (Pic: Mark L Thomas)


A hospital porter who was sacked has won his job back following protests and a threat to strike by fellow workers in the GMB union.

Aldred Tomlinson has worked at King George Hospital in Ilford, east London, for 15 years. He was sacked two weeks ago after being accused of stealing a bacon and egg sandwich.

Aldred is employed by private contractor Sodexo.

Hundreds of workers at the hospital signed a petition demanding his reinstatement.

GMB organised a meeting to discuss strikes and plan a protest. This pressure forced Sodexo to reinstate Aldred.

Mark L Thomas


New Arcadia warehouse walkout

Workers at the disgraced billionaire Sir Philip Green’s warehouses in Solihull and Leeds were set to strike over low pay this Friday and Sunday.

They work for logistics giant DHL, supplying stores in Arcadia’s retail empire, including Top Shop, Burton and Miss Selfridge.

The GMB union members, currently on just £7.20 an hour, are demanding a Living Wage of £8.45 an hour.

Those at the Solihull warehouse held three solid 24-hour strikes last December.

Management’s pigheadedness has now led the GMB to pull out workers at the Leeds warehouse too.

Send messages of solidarity to dominic.hinks@gmb.org.uk

Colleagues back McNeill in UCU election

UCU Left candidates are getting a good response in the UCU union elections.

Jo McNeill is challenging incumbent Sally Hunt to become the union’s general secretary. Many lecturers at the University of Liverpool, where Jo is UCU branch president, back her campaign.

David Whyte said Jo was key to a “crucial victory” against redundancies in 2014 and “would breathe much needed energy and life into the leadership of the UCU”.

Stefania Tufi said Jo “has been indefatigable in running the branch, and really galvanises members”.

Voting ends on 1 March.


Anger at pay cap at Unison women's conference

some 600 Unison members attended the union’s national women’s conference last week in Brighton.

General secretary Dave Prentis urged support for teaching assistants fighting Labour councils attacking their pay.

A broad left challenge to Prentis’ leadership in upcoming elections was well received.

Health members were angry at officials accepting a 1 percent pay cap until 2020.


Fascist EDL returns to Rotherham

Anti-racists in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, will gather for a unity rally on Saturday to oppose a fascist English Defence League (EDL) march.

A series of protests by far right groups over two years have emboldened racists and encouraged violence against Muslims. Mushin Ahmed, an 81 year old Muslim man, was murdered in Rotherham in August 2015.

The EDL protest forced the cancellation of an event for LGBT history month, due to be held in the town hall.

Join the Rotherham Unite Against Fascism rally, Saturday 25 February, 1pm, Minister Gardens next to All Saints Square, Rotherham

Tube strike over jobs displacement

Tube drivers on the Central line in the RMT and Aslef unions were set to walk out for 24 hours on Tuesday evening over what RMT called “cuts-led forced displacement of staff”.

Both RMT and the Aslef union also announced a ballot of Night Tube drivers over bosses preventing part time drivers applying for full time positions.


Teaching unions should get together

Teachers in the NUT and ATL unions are set to vote on whether they back the unions merging.

The ballots begins on Monday of next week and both unions urge a Yes vote.

Socialist Worker supporters are building the Yes vote, arguing that a merger will create a stronger, more effective union.


Protest premieres in Leicester Square

As part of the fight for a Living Wage, workers at Picturehouse cinemas have called a protest in central London’s Leicester Square this Saturday.

The demonstration has been timed to coincide with the Oscars ceremony.

It will draw attention to the disparity between cinema workers’ pay and the vast profits of the Cineworld chain, which owns Picturehouse.

Details at bit.ly/2kyYesS

Demo defends care packages in Southampton

Disabled People Against Cuts supporters protested in Southampton last Wednesday.

The council has drafted in contractor Capita to deal with a backlog of assessments for care packages.

Leaked emails suggest that Capita staff get financial incentives to reduce people’s care packages. One person in five has had their care packages reduced but none have had an increase.


Bonus deal on Crossrail

Building bosses Balfour Beatty have agreed to pay electricians on the Crossrail project in London bonuses of more than £4 an hour.

The deal was struck at the Whitechapel site in east London. Workers are pushing for bonuses from other contractors on the route.

The bonus payments would add nearly £900 per month to every worker’s wage packet. This is in line with the JIB national agreement between bosses and unions.

Electricians have dubbed the job the “Hokey Cokey” line because they take so many work cables out after putting them in because bosses’ technical dawings are wrong.


Rally against the frackers

Hundreds of activists were set to descend on Preston New Road near Blackpool in Lancashire in a nationwide rally against fracking this Saturday.

Cuadrilla are building what could become the first operational fracking rig in Britain for six years. But protesters have hampered progress by walking slowly in front of lorries.

Another protest was set to take place at the same time in Marsh Lane outside Eckington in Derbyshire where firm Ineos plans to start fracking.


Firefighters debate plans for unpaid medical care

Firefighters in the FBU union will debate whether they should continue to do extra work for no extra pay at a recall conference next month.

Fire brigades have been trialling “Emergency Medical Response” (EMR) in some areas such as London.

This sees firefighters provide medical help alongside paramedics in some emergencies.

The FBU will meet in Blackpool on 21 March to discuss their response to the trials and whether they should be extended.

The trials have already been extended twice.

Some union members argue that they should not be extended again unless firefighters’ pay is increased.

As FBU member Simon Hickman from Manchester told Socialist Worker in a personal capacity, “If we’re doing this extra work then we should be getting paid for it.”

And in a statement the London region of the FBU said, “After years of pay restraint and cuts we need to start making demands of our own.

“There is a real danger of the trials having the effect of embedding the work in the service by default.

“There is now growing unease among London FBU members that we are providing a significant concession to the employers and the government without receiving a penny in return.”


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