Socialist Worker

Reports round up: Trade unionists protest in Philip Hammond’s constituency

Issue No. 2599

Trade unionists from across the South East of England region gathered in chancellor Philip Hammond’s constituency last Saturday. The protest, organised by the Unison union, called for an end to austerity and a £10 an hour minimum wage. Around 100 Unison and PCS members marched from Egham to the memorial where Magna Carta was signed.

Trade unionists from across the South East of England region gathered in chancellor Philip Hammond’s constituency last Saturday. The protest, organised by the Unison union, called for an end to austerity and a £10 an hour minimum wage. Around 100 Unison and PCS members marched from Egham to the memorial where Magna Carta was signed. (Pic: Jon Woods)

Campaign to keep racism out of the local elections

Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) is launching initiatives around the local elections in England and in solidarity with refugees.

SUTR is asking supporters to organise campaign stalls to put out the anti-racist message over the weekend of 20 and 21 April and is producing a leaflet to “Keep racism out of the election”.

Already a leaflet has been distributed by Romford Conservatives claiming that if residents didn’t vote Tory, Romford would “increasingly look like an inner city area”.

It also said that a “London crime wave” would take place and that Havering would resemble “boroughs like Hackney, Newham, Camden and Barking rather than a traditional part of Essex”.

It contained several warnings about the area being “ruled by Mayor Khan”.

A local councillor named on the leaflet claimed it had been approved by the Conservative campaign headquarters.

There will be a trade union solidarity visit to Calais on Saturday 28 April and Sunday 29 April to deliver solidarity and donations to Care4Calais and the refugees in the area.

And Student SUTR is taking a coach to Calais on Saturday 5 May.

For details of events, and campaigning resources go to and

  • Around 600 Roma people and supporters paraded through Govanhill in Glasgow on International Roma Day last week in celebration of Roma culture.

Festival of solidarity with strikers in Hull

Up to 100 strikers and supporters gathered at the FCC Wilmington transfer waste station picket line near Hull last Saturday.

It was organised by the strikers’ Unison union as the third week of strikes began. They are demanding sick pay for all workers.

The event was supported by Hull trades council, Hull and East Riding Unite local government branch, East Riding NUT, RMT Humber shipping branch and the Isle of Axholme Labour Party branch.

There were local construction workers and flags from the GMB and the RMT unions.

Emma Hardy MP for West Hull and Hessle also spoke and pledged solidarity.

The strike has been boosted by workers at two more depots joining the action.

Eleanor Woyen

Donations and messages of support to Adrian Kennett, Unison Hull City Branch, Town Hall Chambers, Alfred Gelder Street, Hull, HU1 2AG

Back to action at Orion

Workers at the Orion recycling plant in Newham, east London, have been on wildcat strike over demands including health and safety concerns.

Videos appear to show people working in huge clouds of dust. Workers report managers refusing to renew breathing apparatuses and gloves.

The ten migrant workers are members of the United Voices of the World union.

After strikes before Easter the firm’s owner promised he would provide additional protective equipment. He also promised negotiations with workers’ representatives to discuss pay rises up to the London Living Wage of £10.20 an hour—a 25 percent rise.

But management did not stick to their promises and workers walked out again.

Now workers are officially balloting for a strike. They have received a message of solidarity from Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell.

Messages of solidarity to [email protected]

Nazi demo flops in West Midlands 

Anti-fascists outnumbered the English Defence League (EDL) in Walsall in the West Midlands last Saturday.

The EDL claimed it was holding a “national” demonstration".

But it drew fewer than 100 people to it.

Meanwhile over 100 people took part in a counter-protest organised by the Unite Against Fascism and We Are Walsall groups.

Eight Labour councillors and a Labour MP joined the anti-fascist demonstration.

  • Local campaigners, residents and Labour councillor Krupesh Hirani dealt with Nazi graffiti that had gone up around the Dollis Hill area in North West London on Sunday. Residents planned a vigil on Tuesday to stand united against hate.

Bromley indefinite strike continues

Bromley library workers in south London are on indefinite strike in a fight over decent pay and oursourcing.

They are employed by Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL), who run the library service on behalf of Bromley council.

The service was outsourced in November 2017 and workers want to be bought in line with the 2 percent pay offer for local government.

Unite union members voted 100 percent for strikes.

Messages of support to [email protected] Make donations out to Bromley Unite and send to Onay Kasab, Unite, 33-37 Moreland Street, London EC1V 8BB

Courageous battle is still on at Fujitsu

Workers at Fujitsu in Manchester ended another nine days of strikes last week with a solidarity rally on their picket line.

The Unite union members are fighting redundancies, victimisation of reps and breaches of agreements.

A solidarity social was set for this Friday, 13 April.

Thousands join tree protest in Sheffield

Around 2,000 people marched in Sheffield last Saturday to stop thousands of trees being felled as part of a £2.2 billion PFI deal.

Former Pulp singer Jarvis Cocker returned to his home city to speak alongside campaign groups. “I salute you,” he told the crowd in Barker’s Pool.

Protesters are demanding Sheffield Labour council’s contract with multinational Amey to axe 17,500 trees—half of the city’s street trees—be scrapped.

Phil Turner

Fury at the cuts at the Open University

UCU union members at the Open University (OU) have overwhelmingly backed a motion of no confidence in vice chancellor Peter Horrocks.

Workers backed the motion, which calls on Horrocks to resign, at an emergency meeting last week. It came as OU workers face yet another round of planned cuts.

The attacks would slash courses by a third and mean hundreds of job cuts.

Horrocks infuriated workers by telling students that OU workers didn’t teach. The UCU said the planned cuts would “destroy” the OU.

Union members also authorised the branch to “open a dispute with the university” if bosses refused to promise there will be no compulsory redundancies.

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