Socialist Worker

Reports round-up

Issue No. 2550

Showing solidarity outside the Russian embassy

Showing solidarity outside the Russian embassy (Pic: Socialist Worker)


Around 600 people turned out for a LGBT+ solidarity protest outside the Russian embassy in London last Wednesday.

It was organised by Pride in London in response to reports of gay men being detained in Chechnya in the Russian Federation.

Protester Maeve told Socialist Worker, “I didn’t go on protests or think about the bigger question before, but showing solidarity is important. What’s happening is horrific.”


Ian Allinson

Ian Allinson (Pic: Ray Smith)


Union militant made redundant

Workers at IT services firm Fujitsu struck nationwide on Thursday of last week.

They were set to walk out again on Thursday and Friday of this week and Monday of next, with seven more dates planned.

Fujitsu is pushing through mass job losses, including through compulsory redundancy.

Unite’s chair at Fujitsu, Ian Allinson, was among those summoned to a compulsory redundancy meeting last week.

He told Socialist Worker, “They created a redundancy pool of about six people in a department of 600, on a completely arbitrary basis, and then said they’re sacking all of us. Yet I work in an area where there’s a skills shortage.

“In reality it’s an attack on the union. They’ve gerrymandered the redundancies to get rid of one of the key reps. It’s why it’s worth opposing compulsory redundancies—if employers get to pick and choose who to lay off they’ll use it to weaken the union.”

But workers are resisting. Ian said, “Obviously I’m going to appeal—and the strike is not just for me, but for all the jobs.”


Voting in the Unite union’s general secretary election was set to close on Wednesday this week with the result around next Friday.

Right wing candidate and senior official Gerard Coyne provoked outrage by writing in the Sun newspaper last week.

Meanwhile incumbent Len McCluskey was reported to the Information Commissioner over pre-recorded phone messages to Unite members.

Socialist Worker calls for a vote for Ian Allinson, a rank and file worker currently in dispute at his workplace Fujitsu (see above).

Allinson has called post-election meetings in several cities to discuss continuing to “shake up” the union.

For details go to bit.ly/2on361l

Strikes over pensions cuts at BMW

A programme of eight planned strikes against BMW bosses’ pension robbery was set to start on Wednesday this week, with a second on Sunday.

This follows a 93 percent vote for action.

Unite union members at the Mini plants in Cowley in Oxford, and Swindon were set to join both walkouts, along with those at the Hams Hall engine plant in Warwickshire on the Wednesday.

Bosses plan to close workers’ final salary pension scheme, costing workers thousands from their retirement income.

With attacks against pension schemes underway across the private sector, the BMW dispute is a fight for us all.


In Brief

Brighton strike by lecturers’ union

UCU union members at the University of Brighton plan a two-day strike from Wednesday of next week—and they plan to escalate action.

The walkout follows a half-day strike at the end of last month as well as a work to rule.

Lecturers are in dispute over attacks on conditions and redundancies.

Bosses have said they will choose which issues they will negotiate on. This effectively derecognises the union.

Send messages of support to m.abel@brighton.ac.uk

Janitors keep up action for equal pay

Glasgow janitors have announced a fresh three-day strike in their 15-month dispute with bosses at the Labour council-run firm Cordia.

The Unison union members were set to strike from 25-27 April.

They are demanding the same payments given to council employees—worth up to £1,000 a year.


Unions clash over pay deal

A row broke out last week between Scottish local government trade unions after one blamed the other for its members having to wait for council chiefs’ paltry pay deal.

GMB Scotland wrote to its members saying the pay deal “is potentially going to be delayed by Unison’s decision to reject the pay offer”. It said that Unison did not tell GMB that it would recommend rejecting the offer.

Unison hit back saying both GMB and Unite union officials agreed that the offer “was not good enough”.But it seems GMB and Unite recommended their members accept, which they did.

The deal was a flat rate £350 offer for those on less than £35,000 a year and 1 percent for those on £35,000 and above. Unite said it “was the best that we could achieve through negotiation” and GMB officials seemed content to get an offer “deliberately weighted to the lowest paid”.

However, with inflation at over 3 percent, the 2.18 percent “rise” for workers on £16,000 a year is in fact a real terms cut.

Unison members overwhelmingly rejected the offer by 78 percent.

The union claims more of its members accepted the deal than are members of both GMB and Unite in the sector in Scotland.

It’s good that Unison recommended rejection. But a week after publishing the result no date had been set for an official strike ballot.

Instead of engaging in petty “our membership is bigger than yours” arguments officials should get moving with the strike ballot and preparing for a national walkout.


Pro-choice march set for Birmingham

The Abortion Rights campaign has called a pro-choice protest in Birmingham on Saturday 20 May.

This will take on anti-choice bigots who plan to hold a “March for Life”.

The campaign is linking up with women’s groups as part of the Women’s March Against Trump.

It assembles at 12 noon, Victoria Square, Birmingham city centre.

Name and shame lousy landlords

A new campaign is set to name and shame the worst landlords and bosses in the sector, with the Alternative Housing Awards.

The event, called by the Housing Association Workers and Residents network, takes place just around the block from the bosses’ own UK Housing Awards.

Alternative Housing Awards, Wednesday 26 April, 5.30pm, Lancaster Gate Hotel, London W2 3NA

Campaign against climate change

Climate campaigners are set to protest in solidarity with the People’s Climate March in Washington DC next Saturday.

The Campaign against Climate Change (CCC) has called for a demonstration on Westminster Bridge from 12 noon on Saturday 29 April.

CCC will also be marching in a climate bloc on this Saturday’s “March for Science”.

More info at campaigncc.org

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