Socialist Worker

Reports round up: 2,000 march through Brighton to stop NHS cuts

Issue No. 2573

cleaners and porters in the GMB union protested outside North Middlesex Hospital in north west London on Thursday of last week. Outsourcing giant Medirest, which has taken over the contract, is refusing to give workers the Living Wage and wants to impose job cuts

cleaners and porters in the GMB union protested outside North Middlesex Hospital in north west London on Thursday of last week. Outsourcing giant Medirest, which has taken over the contract, is refusing to give workers the Living Wage and wants to impose job cuts (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Over 2,000 people joined a march against the Tories’ assault on the NHS in Brighton last Sunday.

It was organised by the Sussex Defend the NHS to conincide with the first day of Labour Party conference (see pages 4&5).

Health campaigners lobbied the conference during the debate on the NHS motion on Tuesday.

The motion called for a break with the Tories’ drive to break up and privatise the health service. They demanded that it passes without amendments.

The Tories are forcing through the next stage of the Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) that will slash services.

  • Health campaigners plan to march through Ealing in west London this Saturday. Assemble 11am in Southall Park, UB1 3BT

Glasgow protest demands equal pay

Unison and GMB union members protested last week outside Glasgow City Chambers to demand equal pay.

It was the second demonstration in a week around the long-running single status dispute.

Glasgow City Council has over 11,000 outstanding single status claims, which are mostly from low-paid women workers.

Unison won a legal battle last month to get it to pay up and now the council could face a bill of £500 million.

This issue is feeding into the wider issue of low pay.

Demonstrate, Pay Up Now. Organised by Unison Scotland, Saturday 7 Oct, 11.30am, Johnston Terrace, Edinburgh

Nazis humiliated on demo in Essex

The Nazi English Defence League (EDL) was forced to abandon a planned protest in Chelmsford, Essex, last Saturday after just six fascists showed up.

Around 50 counter-protesters joined a demo called by Unite Against Fascism (UAF).

UAF will also mobilise against a planned EDL protest in Peterborough on Saturday 21 October, along with the local TUC.


Britain First chiefs charged in court

Britain First leaders Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen have been charged with causing religiously aggravated harassment.

It follows a protest outside a trial of four Afghan asylum seekers accused of raping a teenager, who were later found guilty.

Golding and Fransen allegedly handed out leaflets and shared videos about the trial at Canterbury Crown Court in May. They will appear before at Medway magistrates on 17 October.


Sellafield strike over low pay

Around 2,500 workers at Sellafield nuclear plant in Cumbria were set to strike this Wednesday.

The GMB union members are fighting bosses’ imposition of a below-inflation 1.5 percent pay rise.

They voted by 76 percent to strike on a 60 percent turnout.

A GMB spokesperson said, “Our members have had enough of the company imposing their pay upon them.

“The vote to strike comes after the company ignored repeated requests for further talks.”

The Unite union is also balloting its 2,000 members at the plant.


Strike reel keeps rolling at Picturehouse cinemas

Workers at the Ritzy cinema in Brixton, south London, struck last Saturday.

The members of the Bectu section of the Prospect union marked one year since the begining of the latest round of their dispute.

Sophie Lowe, one of the striking Ritzy workers, said, “One year on from the start of this dispute, we are planning a substantial escalation in the campaign.”

The dispute has spread to five other Picturehouse cinemas in London and Brighton.

Workers are fighting for the Living Wage and the reinstatement of sacked union reps. There will be more strikes across Picturehouse cinemas in London during October, which sees the British Film Institute (BFI) festival taking place across the capital.

Some screenings will be held at Picturehouse cinemas, despite BFI claiming it supports the workers’ demands.

Workers at both the Hackney and Central Picturehouse sites will strike from 5pm on 6, 8, 11 and 15 October.

They plan a demonstration in Leicester Square in central London on 4 October, the first day of the BFI film festival.

Tim O’Dell


Hackney meeting unites the fights against racism

There was an excellent Stand Up to Racism (SUTR) meeting in Hackney, east London, last week.

It included a very moving address by Esa Charles, father of Rashan Charles who died after contact with police.

Moazzam Begg gave a strong address on fighting Islamophobia and all forms of racism. He said, “We have an antidote to the racist poison pushed by the government and the media.

“It’s called unity.”

Weyman Bennett, co-convenor of SUTR talked about how unity and solidarity had broken racist organisations such as the National Front, the British National Party and the English Defence League.

He said that unity was urgently needed against Donald Trump and Theresa May’s attacks.

A young woman who attended the meeting said, “I have been meaning to get involved in something like this for a while. It was so great to hear people speak in the same room rather than through a laptop.

“There was so much energy and I left feeling inspired to get more involved in anti-racism.”

Hackney SUTR is organising to get a big delegation to the SUTR national conference on 21 October.

Hackney Stand Up To Racism


Cuts still hit under new plan

The overwhelming majority of schools still face cuts under Tory funding plans, campaigners have confirmed.

Updated calculations on schoolcuts.org.uk show that 88 percent of schools face real terms cuts between 2015/16 and 2019/20.

The average primary school will lose £52,546 a year. The average secondary school will lose £178,321 a year.The anger at the scale of the cuts has seen mass protests in towns and cities across Britain over the past year. Parents and others set up new campaigning groups and organised to pile the pressure on politicians.

Leaders of school unions have denounced the cuts.

Now they need to match the determination shown by parents and call action to defend education.

Go to schoolcuts.org.uk for details of cuts in your local area


NASUWT union members at Badock’s Wood primary school in Bristol called off six days of planned strikes after a last minute agreement with school management on Monday.

Teachers are in dispute because of changes management has brought in after schools inspectorate Ofsted rated the school inadequate. Managers want teachers to take on extra duties and to have more assessments.

NASUWT national executive member Wendy Exton said the agreement included scrapping “excessive monitoring” of teachers.

Strikes can be reinstated if managers renege on the deal

 


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