Socialist Worker

Reports round-up: Capita, Sellafield, Mears, Croydon trams, Plymouth DWP and more

Issue No. 2579

Uhite union members at outsourcing company Capita struck across Britain last week against attacks on their pensions. The nine-day walkout ended on Sunday.

Capita’s nine-day action on pensions

Unite union members at outsourcing company Capita struck across Britain last week against attacks on their pensions. The nine-day walkout ended on Sunday. (Pic: Pete Woodward)


Sellafield strike raises the temperature over pay

More than 1,100 maintenance workers and electricians struck at the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant on Tuesday for a better pay deal.

The Unite union members rejected a 1.5 percent pay offer imposed by Sellafield Ltd and the government-run Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

The GMB union’s 3,000 workers at Sellafield struck against the same pay offer in September. The unions could hit harder by joining forces and striking together.

Unite accused “the unseen hands of government ministers” for derailing “positive” pay talks.

Whether or not that’s true, it’s clear that an inflation-busting deal for the Sellafield workers would increase the pressure for better pay across the public sector.

Unite regional officer Graham Williams warned, “Tuesday’s strike is a shot across the bows and more strikes are on the cards in the run-up to Christmas.”


Plymouth fight to halt office closure

Civil service workers in the PCS union at a benefits office in Plymouth struck on Monday against the closure of their office.

Bosses want to relocate the office to a new site north of the city. The PCS says this will put it “well outside reasonable daily travel” time from workers’ homes.

The closure is just one of many planned by the DWP at office across Britain.

The strike came after a jobcentre in Sheffield closed last week despite valiant strikes by PCS members to keep it open.


Infra-red stoppage on Croydon trams

Drivers on the Croydon Tramlink in south London plan to hold two 24 hour walkouts over health and safety. The Aslef union members are set to strike next Wednesday and on 6 December.

After a fatal accident last year, bosses have installed a device that shines an infra-red light into drivers’ faces

Aslef says its members “have reported blurred vision and potentially serious eye damage” as a result.

The union called for an automatic tram protection system to prevent accidents.


Mears workers call 49 new strike days

Housing maintenance workers in Manchester are set to launch a new wave of strikes next Monday.

The Unite union members are employed by Mears. They struck for 40 days earlier this year for pay parity, but paused after 12 weeks to run a new ballot.

The workers maintain council homes. Some are paid up to £3,500 less than others for the same work.

The new action consists of 23 two-day strikes and three one-day strikes running into February.


Brighton lecturers vote for jobs fight

UCU union members at the University of Brighton have voted by 85 percent for strikes against compulsory redundancies.

Two UCU members face compulsory redundancy. The UCU branch said more job cuts are “unwarranted given the departure of 90 staff under the severance scheme just a few weeks ago”.

The branch has requested authorisation from the national union for strikes and action short of a strike.


MoD cleaners want to rub out bosses

Low paid workers at the Ministry of Defence’s Fort Blockhouse in Gosport were set to stage a wage robbery protest on Wednesday.

The employer is cutting their working year from 52 to 50 weeks. The cut is set to cost each worker around £500.

The workers are members of the Unite union. They are employed by ESS, part of the Compass Group, which paid its boss £5.8 million last year.


Tell Fujitsu not to victimise union reps

A protest was set to take place outside Fujitsu’s British headquarters in central London on Wednesday.

Fujitsu is making 1,800 job cuts and workers say bosses are rigging the redundancy process to get rid of reps.

The protest coincides with the final redundancy hearing of leading rep Ian Allinson.


Half a victory at Manchester airport

The Unite union has called off a cleaners’ strike at Manchester airport.

They gained some improvements, including double time for working at Christmas and New Year.

The workers, previously on the minimum wage had demanded £1 an hour above it. Now they’ll get a 50p increase.


Gas plant workers say rise is hot air

Around 80 workers are set to begin strikes over pay this month at the Shetland Gas Plant.

The Unite union members are employed by subcontractor Aker Solutions at the terminal run by Total.

They are to strike on Mondays and Wednesdays from 20 November.


Labour expulsion is overturned

The Labour Party has readmitted left wing academic Moshe Machover following an uproar.

Machover was expelled over an article he wrote defending anti-Zionism.

Officially his expulsion was for belonging to a “rival” organisation. But the article was also wrongly accused of being antisemitic.


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