Socialist Worker

Reports round-up: Capita workers strike to defend pensions

Issue No. 2578

Capita pickets in Manchester

Capita pickets in Manchester (Pic: Mike Killian)


Workers at outsourcing firm Capita began a nine-day strike this week against bosses’ plan to raid their pension scheme.

The Unite union members walked out last Saturday at sites in Birmingham, Reading, Bristol, Manchester, Stirling and Belfast in action set to continue until this Sunday.

Bosses plan to close workers’ defined benefit pension scheme and move them onto a worse defined contribution scheme. Unite says some stand to lose 70 percent of their retirement income.


Living Wage Week action at Picturehouse

Picturehouse cinema workers at five sites across London are set to strike for four hours next Monday.

They are members of the Bectu section of the Prospect union. Workers at the Ritzy cinema in Brixton, south London, will also be striking on Sunday.

The workers’ demands include maternity pay, sick pay and the Living Wage of £9.75 in London.

The strikes have been called to highlight workers’ demands during Living Wage Week next week. Media stunts can be very effective in raising the profile of a dispute.

But to win, the union needs to have a serious campaign of strikes and recruitment.


Hospital porters prepare to strike in Exeter

Porters at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital were set to walk out for three days from Thursday. The Unison union members are fighting plans to go from eight to 12-hour shifts. Sign their petition at bit.ly/2yIyGyO

Porters at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital were set to walk out for three days from Thursday. The Unison union members are fighting plans to go from eight to 12-hour shifts. Sign their petition at bit.ly/2yIyGyO (Pic: Unison South West


Manchester Airport cleaners out on Friday

Low paid cleaners at Manchester Airport were set to strike on Friday in the first of nine planned walkouts.

The Unite union members are employed by contractor Mitie. Most are on the minimum wage and demand an extra £1 an hour.

Subsequent strikes, running into December and January are to be longer, including one lasting four weeks.


Nazis register for trouble in Bromley

Anti-fascists will join a protest against the Nazi Britain First group in Bromley, south London, on Saturday.

Their leaders have been charged with causing religiously aggravated harassment and have to sign in at Bromley police station every week.

They joined a so-called “rally against grooming” in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, last Saturday and were outnumbered by anti-fascist protesters.

Protest against Britain First in Bromley. Saturday 4 November, 12 noon, Bromley North train station.

Tories should cut weapons not jobs

The Unite union rallied reps from arms giant BAE Systems at parliament on Wednesday of last week.

They demanded that the government “spends the UK’s defence budget to support jobs in Britain”. BAE plans to make 2,000 job cuts, and it’s right to fight these.

Unite is frustrated that nearly 25 percent of the British state’s arms spending will soon go to US firms.

But playing workers from different countries against each other is a dead end.

The workers who make advanced fighter planes and other military equipment have valuable skills that could be put to much better use.


Mend hosts Trojan Horse meeting

A meeting on the Trojan Horse scandal was set to take place in Birmingham on Friday.

The scandal saw Muslims wrongly accused of trying to take over schools to promote “extremism” in the city.

The Muslim Engagement and Development (Mend) group has called the meeting.

Speakers include joint general secretary of the NEU teaching union Kevin Courtney, anti-racist activist Salma Yaqoob and former chair of governors Tahir Alam.


UCU Left debates beating the pay cap

The UCU Left will hold its autumn conference in central London on Saturday 18 November.

Preparing to Win—Post-16 Education for All will take place at the School of Oriental and African Studies.

The conference will aim to discuss and design policy for a progressive further and higher education sector.

It will also debate how to build a movement that can beat the public sector pay cap.

The conference is free and takes place between 10am and 4pm. To register go to bit.ly/2gV9O0Y

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