Socialist Worker

Reports round-up

Issue No. 2563

Bristols Labour mayor Marvin Rees

Bristol's Labour mayor Marvin Rees (Pic: Wikimedia/Rwendland)

Get on with it, Rees, and name a day for protests

Anti-cuts campaigners in Bristol were set to lobby the Labour-run council on Tuesday night to call a national lobby of parliament against council funding cuts.

After the general election mayor Marvin Rees said, “I will be asking the UK’s other major cities to join me in taking an argument to the new government for a fairer, more sustainable deal for our cities.”

Campaigners want him to “quickly set the date for the lobby of parliament”.

Tuesday’s protest takes place during the council’s 12-week “consultation” about what services to cut next.

Angry library campaigners point out that, “all of the options it offers would result in the withdrawal of funding from 17 libraries” out of 27.

To cut another £5 million Rees’ administration could also axe school crossing patrols and public toilets. It committed itself in a vote just a few months ago to budget cuts of over £100 million.

Rees is right to call for more funding—so when is his lobby going to happen?

And if Rees really wants to hit back he should defy the Tories and say he cannot and will not impose these devastating cuts.

Raymie Kiernan

Tube Lines action on the Piccadilly

London Tube bosses have seized on safety concerns raised by union members as an excuse to attack workers’ conditions.

RMT union members working for Tube Lines were set to begin action short of a strike next Tuesday at the Northfields and Cockfosters Piccadilly Line workshops.

Extra work has been planned in a way that RMT says rips up agreements and threatens job security.

Boycott action called for axed reps

Daily protests outside the Ritzy Picturehouse cinema in Brixton are calling for people to boycott the cinema, its bar and other cinemas in the chain. This follows the sacking of three Bectu union reps and a fourth awaiting a disciplinary hearing.

Picturehouse workers have fought a long dispute for the Living Wage but owners Cineworld refuse to pay it in spite of grossly large profits.

Solidarity and support for the boycott can help them win and inspire other workers.

Hector Sierra

“Ukip out—homeless people in” protesters chanted in Portsmouth

“Ukip out—homeless people in” protesters chanted in Portsmouth (Pic: Jon Woods)

Protest against vile Ukip councillors in Portsmouth

Over 50 people demonstrated outside a Portsmouth City Council meeting on Tuesday of last week against a vile motion from Ukip councillors.

The motion described homeless people as “unwelcome detritus” and called on police to put them into special care whether they want to go or not.

Homeless charity Crisis branded the comments “offensive and toxic”.

Some of the homeless people who sleep rough in the Guildhall Square spoke on the megaphone. One said they never had a voice before. Another said that, underneath it all, we are all sisters and brothers. We chanted, “Ukip out—homeless people in”.

Jon Woods

Housing workers in a four-week strike

Housing maintenance workers in Manchester are on a four-week strike against pay differentials and attacks on their terms and conditions.

The Unite union members are employed by private contractor Mears and Mears-operated joint venture Manchester Working.

Some workers are paid up to £3,500 less than colleagues doing the same work. Workers have taken shorter strikes earlier this year, but stepped up the action as bosses refused to negotiate.

Refuse walkout creates tailbacks

Refuse workers in Birmingham were set to strike on Wednesday over pay and in defence of their jobs and conditions.

There were massive tailbacks outside the city’s rubbish dumps last weekend as residents queued to dump uncollected waste.

The council admitted that almost 1,200 people missed a collection in just one day last week. This shows how vital the workers are—and how hard their strikes can hit.

Protesting outside Notts County Council

Protesting outside Notts County Council (Pic: Richard Buckwell)

Standing with child refugees

Protesters descended on Notts County Council at short notice on Monday as Tory councillors voted to cease support for child refugees.

Eve Leadbetter, who was brought up in Notts after escaping the Holocaust as a child in the “Kindertransport” trains, addressed them.

The Tories used a procedure to suspend involvement in the scheme and say policy had not changed.

Disgusting behaviour!

Richard Buckwell

Shattering delay for glass workers

Manufacturing workers at Sierra Windows in Paignton returned to work on Monday after their twelve-week run of strikes came to an end.

They plan to ballot for a new dispute but around substantially the same issues—shift patterns and pay.

The balloting process means weeks without strikes. Workers are angry at Unite union officials for an unnecessary and demoralising delay that gives bosses a chance for revenge.

Stop privatisation of Bromley libraries

Protesters were set to oppose the privatisation of all 14 libraries in Bromley, south London, on Wednesday of this week.

The Tory-run council executive was to discuss handing Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) the contract.

GLL is the same firm that was handed libraries in nearby Lambeth, in a deal that saw some closed and turned into gyms with some books in them—against fierce local opposition.

This week’s protest was called by the Unite union.

Building anti-Tory mood in Barnsley

Over 20 campaigners joined local trade unionists at Barnsley Trades Council’s May Must Go protest in Barnsley last Saturday.

It followed on from a successful similar protest held in May in the run-up to the general election.

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