Socialist Worker

Reports round up: ‘Fracking ban is priority’, Labour says to activists

Issue No. 2595

The panel at the conference included Labour shadow minister Barry Gardiner

The panel at the conference included Labour shadow minister Barry Gardiner (Pic: CACC)

Over 200 campaigners gathered at the Jobs and Climate conference in central London last Saturday. It was organised by the Campaign Against Climate Change Trade Union Group.

Activists at the conference celebrated recent victories against fracking. Many had come from anti-fracking campaigns in the North West of England.

A big focus was on how to take the arguments for climate jobs into the trade union movement.

Barry Gardiner, Labour shadow minister for international development, said, “If I’m in government my top priority is banning fracking.”

And he said his message to fracking bosses is, “Don’t say we didn’t warn you”.

A session on climate refugees saw TUC union federation race relations officer Wilf Sullivan call on people to “take arguments head on” about immigration.

Discussions centred on how to provide practical solidarity for migrants, alongside working toward a future where people are not forced to move because of climate change.

Sarah Bates 

March to stop closure of five nurseries in Salford

anti-cuts campaigners plan a march and rally to save all five council-run nurseries in Salford, Greater Manchester, on 24 March.

Labour-run Salford council announced plans to start a consultation on the future of the nurseries last month.

But council bosses backed off within days after a meeting of hundreds vowed to fight the cuts.

The Fight for the Five campaign, which includes parents, three local Labour MPs, councillors, nursery workers and their Unison union, has organised the demonstration.

The Labour council should guarantee the future of the nurseries and fight for more funding from the Tory government, not pass on their cuts.

Join the march, Saturday 24 March, 11am, Victoria Park, Manchester Road, Swinton, M27 4UR

Campaigners vow to take on anti-abortion bigots

Over 60 people attended a public meeting organised by Abortion Rights (AR) in central London last Saturday.

There was a film showing of a powerful new documentary, Kind to Women, about the impact of the 1967 Abortion Act.

At the AR annual general meeting that followed, delegates passed a motion that called for pro-choice activists to build a large protest against a planned anti-abortion mobilisation.

The anti abortion “March for Life” has called a protest in London for 5 May.

The group, inspired by anti abortion forces in the US, had previously marched annually in Birmingham.

But last year a pro-choice protest blocked their route and demanded they were no longer allowed to host their rally in the city centre.

Abortion rights are being debated in Ireland and in Britain Tory MP Maria Caulfield has called for time limits to be halved.

At a time like this it’s vital that the anti abortion bigots are opposed.

Picturehouse walkout on International Women’s Day

Picturehouse cinema workers at the Ritzy in Brixton, south London struck on Tuesday.

This follows strikes at four sites in London on International Women’s Day on Thursday of last week.

Workers’ demands include the London Living Wage of £10.20 an hour and maternity, paternity and sick pay.

The members of the Bectu section of the Prospect union also want union recognition across all five sites. Currently bosses only recognise the union at the Ritzy.

Strikers protested outside the Picturehouse Central site in Piccadilly, central London, last Thursday. Kelly Rogers, a Bectu rep, said, “We are fighting for basic things that every single worker deserves.

“But this company would rather sack its staff than pay these very basic things.”

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn sent a message of support. “I fully support your campaign to be paid the real Living Wage and to tackle the injustices that you face,” it said.

An employment tribunal began this week considering the case of three Bectu union representatives dismissed by Picturehouse last June.

The union believes these were unlawful and motivated by a desire to crush lawful trade union activity.

Train guards strike for safety and jobs

rmt union members on Southern rail struck on Monday in their fight against bosses’ plans to bring in driver only operation (DOO).

DOO removes the guard from the train and makes rail travel less safe and accessible.

Workers on the Northern network are also planning to walk out against DOO on 26 and 29 March.

DLR workers won’t take attacks lightly

Docklands Light Railway (DLR) workers in London are set to walk out for seven more days between 21 and 23 March and 20 and 24 April.

Bosses are forcing them to work more than their agreed hours and not honouring shift agreements.

The RMT union members also say that bosses miscalculated pay dates, meaning workers had to pay more tax.

The cleaners and travel safe officers are employed by the KAD, the company which runs the DLR, and outsourcing company ISS.

Freedom Riders’ fourth birthday

South Yorkshire Freedom Riders and their supporters are preparing to celebrate their fourth birthday with a protest in Sheffield.

The Freedom Riders, by travelling on trains and refusing to pay, successfully fought to stop free local train travel being removed from older and disabled people.

Protesters plan to gather at Barnsley Interchange at 10.30am on Monday 26 March to travel to Sheffield.

Memorial for two miners who died

Around 200 people attended the annual memorial for Joe Green and Davey Jones at the Miners Hall Barnsley last Saturday. They were the two NUM union members who died on picket lines in the 1984-5 Miners’ Strike.

TUC union federation general secretary Frances O’Grady called for an inquiry into the police behaviour at the Orgreave coking plant.

George Arthur

Reject shoddy pay deal at Sainsbury’s

Workers at Sainsbury’s are set to have their pay raised to £9.20 an hour, and £9.80 in London—but at the expense of paid breaks, bonuses and unsocial hours pay.

Sainsbury’s has said it will offset workers’ losses by introducing a top-up payment, but only for an 18 month period. The Unite union is urging its members to vote against the deal in a consultative ballot.

UCU Left win seats in university workers union

UCU Left candidate Nita Sanghera has been elected vice president of the UCU university workers’ union.

She was elected with 56 percent of the vote.

Nita said the experience had been “humbling, exciting and extraordinary”.

She called for “powerful” action during her election campaign.

A number of other UCU Left candidates were also elected onto the union’s national executive committee. They include Ioanna Ioannou, Margot Hill, Sean Wallis, Sean Vernell, Julia Roberts, Julie Hearn, Mark Abel, Sue Abbott, Pura Ariza and Jo McNeill.

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