Socialist Worker

Reports round up: ‘Bring us back in house,’ demand university workers

Issue No. 2589

Protesting outside Senate House

Protesting outside Senate House (Pic: Socialist Worker)


Workers at the University of London (UoL) struck against outsourcing last Thursday.

The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) members at Senate House have been fighting to be brought back in house.

About 60 percent of maintenance workers, cleaners and receptionists at the site are employed by outsourcing firm Cordant.

Venrick Wilson told Socialist Worker, “We don’t have the same pensions or rights at work as people employed directly by the university. We’re requesting strongly that the university brings us in house.”

Over 100 people attended a solidarity protest outside Senate House to disrupt UoL’s graduate fair.

The protest moved on to the Royal College of Music in London where IWGB members face the sack. Workers told Socialist Worker that the crisis in outsourcing firm Carillion shows that bosses must be forced to take notice of workers’ concerns.

IWGB general secretary Jason Moyer-Lee said, “The university has just announced they are either going to bring all or some workers back in house.

“We’re here to tell them which option we prefer.”

Venrick said, “We have cleaners on our side, we have maintenance workers on our side.

“The university and Cordant are backing down.”

Alistair Farrow 


Workers at outsourcing firm Lee Hecht Harrison celebrated winning the London Living Wage of £10.20 last Friday.

The United Voices of the World union members had voted by 100 percent for strikes.


Strike against Labour leader’s school selloff

Teachers at The Village School in Kingsbury walked out on Tuesday against plans to turn the north west London school into an academy.

They rallied outside the civic centre

It was part of a three-day strike by the NEU education union members.

Management at the school is refusing to pause the consultation.

The walkout this week marked an escalation after a two-day walkout earlier this month.

Muhammed Butt, leader of Labour-run Brent council and chair of governors at the school, attacked NEU members.

He claimed their action was “to punish these children”.

Yet Butt’s own Constituency Labour Party (CLP) opposes his stance on academisation.

The local Labour MP Barry Gardiner is also opposed to turning The Village School into an academy.

Teachers were set to meet with Gardiner on Wednesday morning.

And NEU (NUT section) national president Louise Regan was set to join the picket line on Thursday.

Teachers have voted to strike again on 20, 21 and 22 February.

Send messages of support to lesley.gouldbourne@neu.org.uk

Teachers and parents fight academisation in Newham

NEU union members at Newham’s Avenue School were set to begin a two-day strike on Wednesday of this week.

The east London teachers are fighting a plan to turn the school into an academy.

They held two one-day walkouts in November and December. Strikers were well supported by parents and children.

NEU members at nearby Cumberland School also plan to strike in February.

This follows a one-day strike this month.

The two schools could strike together on 22 February.

Union members at Shaftesbury and Keir Hardie schools, also in Newham, are balloting for strikes against academy plans.

Send messages of support to assistant.secretary.nta@gmail.com
The Anti-Academies Alliance will hold a meeting for campaigners in London this Saturday.
Speakers include professors of education Diane Reay and Richard Hatcher, and Miriam Scharf.
Miriam is an NEU member and convenor of Newham Against Academisation.
Saturday 3 February, 2pm, The Wesley Hotel, 83-103 Euston St, London NW1 2EZ Go to Academies, the ‘middle tier’ & social justice—what should be done? on Facebook for more details

Tankers take on injunction

Unite union members at Suttons Tankers in Ellesmere Port in Merseyside are fighting an injunction against their strike.

Bosses sought an injuction in Manchester High Court on 24 January.

The case has been adjourned to 1 February where “Unite will be vigorously challenging this injunction”.

The workers had been on strike since 19 February against the imposition of new contracts. Bosses were planning to sack and re-employ them on lower pay.

The courts shouldn’t be allowed to decide whether workers can strike or not.


Protesters greet Rees-Mogg visit

students at Queen Mary university in London were set to protest against the visit of Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg this week.

Activists say he is not welcome because of his opposition to abortion, equal marriage and the rights of European Union nationals.

They say, “Since the Tories got in we have seen nothing but an increase in poverty, crisis in the NHS and racism.

“We’re ready to let Jacob Rees-Mogg know what we think of him.”

Protest Thursday 1 February, 6pm, Library Square. Go to bit.ly/2DKHyrU

Hackney cleaners sweep away attacks

Cleaners in six Hackney schools in east London have called off a planned strike after last minute talks ended in victory.

Some 40 Unite union members were preparing to strike for four days over the imposition of inferior contracts. Now workers have won the London Living Wage of £10.20 an hour, retention of year-round contracts and proper holiday pay.


No to the Scottish Defence League

Anti-fascists in Scotland will oppose a march by the Scottish Defence League on Sunday.

The fascists are cynically trying to use the death of a homeless ex-soldier to say that money should go to veterans, not migrants.

Edinburgh protesters say, “Houses and services for all— refugees welcome here.”

Protest Sunday 4 February, 1.30pm, Bute House, 6 Charlotte Square, EH2 4DR

New battle on Tyne and Wear Metro

Workers on the Tyne and Wear Metro are voting on strikes over pay.

RMT union members on the service are classed as local government workers, so have a 1 percent pay cap imposed on them.

Workers have rejected the 1 percent offer in a consultation and are now balloting for a strike and action short of a strike.


Equal pay march calls for full justice

Trade unionists in Glasgow are set to march on 10 February to continue their battle for equal pay.

The council has dropped its endless legal appeals, but the Unison union wants 11,000 discrimination claims settled and a new evaluation scheme to deliver justice for all.

Equal pay or we walk away, Saturday 10 Feb, 11am, Glasgow Green, Saltmarket entrance


‘Wage rise now or you won’t see us for dust’

Over 100 workers at dust mask and respirator maker 3M, based in Newton Aycliffe in County Durham, are set to strike next month over pay.

The workers, who are members of the Unite union, are set for a 24-hour strike on Tuesday 13 February with a further 24-hour strike on Thursday 15 February.

Workers have rejected a 1.5 percent pay increase for 2017.

The proposed “rise” is less than half the rate of inflation and follows a series of below-inflation pay deals.

Workers voted for strikes before Christmas but the union paused the action for talks.

Yet 3M’s managers have failed to improve the offer.

Unite regional officer Mark Sanderson said, “Workers at 3M are no longer prepared to see their standard of living continue to fall year on year. The workplace has co-operated with management in introducing new systems of working, which has resulted in their workload increasing.

“But they feel betrayed that their efforts have not now produced a fair pay increase.

“Management must understand this dispute will not go away until they offer a fair pay increase for our hardworking members.”


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