Socialist Worker

Reports round up: Students protest against Jacob Rees-Mogg

Issue No. 2590

Students protested outside Tory Jacob Rees-Mogg’s talk at Queen Mary university in east London on Thursday of last week. He was forced to sneak in a back entrance to dodge the demonstration. Students at Bristol university also made headlines when they challenged Rees-Mogg at a similar talk later that week.

Students protested outside Tory Jacob Rees-Mogg’s talk at Queen Mary university in east London on Thursday of last week. He was forced to sneak in a back entrance to dodge the demonstration. Students at Bristol university also made headlines when they challenged Rees-Mogg at a similar talk later that week. (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Strike means you can’t rush home

Drivers at First Bus in Manchester struck on

Monday this week, with more strikes planned for Wednesday and Friday.

Unite union members at Rusholme depot have been striking since October last year for pay parity.

They are currently paid £4,500 less than other drivers at First Bus depots in Manchester.

Drivers are fighting for an increase of £1.45 an hour and a written guarantee pay would be brought in line with other depots by 2019.


Make outsourcers face the music

Cleaners working at the Royal College of Music protested on Thursday of last week against cuts to hours and unfair dismissals by new contractor Tenon FM.

Most cleaners have rejected new contracts that would see their hours cut in half. The firm has issued them with notices of dismissal.

The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain is preparing tribunal claims for unfair dismissal and against the Royal College of Music for discrimination.


Will Tory council hurt school nurses?

Health visitors and school nurses in Somerset fear the Tory-run council will change their jobs and the service they provide.

They are currently employed by the Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, but the council wants to take over their contracts in April 2019.

The 200 workers say the NHS Foundation Trust is better rated at delivering children’s services than the council.

Protest outside the council cabinet, Mon 12 February, 9am, County Halls, Taunton, TA1 4DY

Protest against cuts to fire service

Firefighters in the FBU union in Matlock, Derbyshire, were set to protest this Saturday against threats to cut staffing levels.

Derbyshire fire and rescue authority want to force through cuts that would reduce the number of full time firefighters.

Pay offer means dust-up is avoided

A strike at dust mask and respirator makers 3M has been called off following a pay offer.

Unite members at the Newton Aycliffe factory were due to strike next week after rejecting a 1.5 percent pay increase.

They have now accepted a “vastly improved” pay offer.

 


Biggest conference ever supports Brum strikers

the Unison union women’s conference in Liverpool last week was the biggest ever with at least 550 delegates.

Most of the union’s members are women—and most are low paid. So pay was a big feature of the conference.

The mood on the conference floor was certainly far to the left of the top table.

Delegates voted against a motion supporting the “Nordic model” of prostitution laws, which makes buying sex a criminal offence.

A highlight was hearing from a Birmingham home care worker who spoke about their dispute. They’re fighting against redundancies, changed shift patterns and in defence of the service (see page 3).

Their story made delegates angry, but it was absolutely inspirational to see people fighting back against cuts from a Labour council.

We did a collection for them, which injected the conference with a sense that we can fight.

Unison leader Dave Prentis also promised to visit Birmingham and support the struggle.

Maddy Cooper, Unison shop steward (personal capacity)


Glasgow pay fight goes on

Campaigners in Glasgow are preparing to take to the streets in their decade-long battle over equal pay.

Unison and GMB union members are fighting for the correct implementation of the Single Status Agreements, which were supposed to tackle historic pay discrimination.

Glasgow City Council have dragged the case through the legal system for years, but in January they agreed to resolve the dispute at the negotiating table. Thousands of low-paid women, local government workers will be eligible for a pay-out.

Equal pay or we walk away demonstration, Saturday 10 February, Glasgow Green Saltmarket entrance 11.30am

Don’t cut key service in Bradford 

Bradford People’s Assembly, Bradford Families Against Children’s Services Cuts and union members were set to protest on Saturday.

Bradford council is planning changes to the Prevention and Early Help service.

If they go through, 500 jobs could be on the line.

Protest Saturday 10 February, 11am, Broadway.

Crossrail strike ahead

The Unite union has announced four more 24-hour strikes at a Crossrail site as a dispute with Balfour Beatty over bonus payments to electricians continues.

Workers at the Woolwich section of Crossrail in south east London planned to walk out on Wednesday this week and on 14, 21 and 28 February. Workers have already struck twice.

Unite said those strikes caused “widespread disruption” at Woolwich and other sections of the £14.8 billion project.

The dispute involves 80 electricians. Among the workers’ demands is a finishing bonus. This is “standard practice”, as it allows staff to give notice on their accommodation without taking a financial hit.

 


Protests show mood for fight

Civil service workers in the PCS union protested against the public sector pay cap on Wednesday of last week as part of a national pay day protest.

In Liverpool around 60 workers from the Ministry of Defence joined the protest.

In Birmingham 14 PCS reps held a campaign stall outside a civil service office. The day of action followed a vote by union members against the pay cap in a consultative ballot last year which saw more than 79 percent vote for action on a 49 percent turnout.

Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell said, “Our commitment to you, as set out in our manifesto, is that a future Labour government will scrap the cap.”

His promise is welcome—but there may not be a Labour government until 2022. The PCS should launch a real strike ballot to lead the fight over pay.


Bosses’ legal wheeze tanks

The Sutton Tankers strike continues after the Unite union won a legal victory. The 30 workers have been on strike since 19 January.

Bosses want to dismiss them and force them to come back on worse contracts and with pay cuts.

On 24 January Eastham Oil Refinery Ltd of Ellesmere Port, where the workers are based, went to court to prevent picketing. A temporary injunction was granted.

At last week’s hearing, Unite overturned the injunction. The court confirmed the separate right to conduct lawful protests on the public highway. 


Nazis beaten in Edinburgh

Over 100 people joined a Unite Against Fascism (UAF) demonstration in Edinburgh on Sunday against the Scottish Defence League (SDL).

The SDL was seeking to exploit the death of a former soldier. He died on the streets of Edinburgh in January.

The 26 fascists who showed up targeted the first minister’s residence. Representatives from the Labour Party, the Green Party, the EIS union and Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) spoke of their pride that Scotland had taken in 2,000 refugees.

The speakers also stressed the need to support the SUTR national demonstration on 17 March in Glasgow.

Keith Pender


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