No welcome for the Ineos fracking plan in Derbyshire
Over 100 anti-fracking campaigners from North Derbyshire and beyond gathered outside Chesterfield Assembly Rooms last week.
They were there for the opening session of the Planning Inspectorate’s public inquiry into Ineos’s scheme for exploratory drilling for fracked shale gas at Marsh Lane in North East Derbyshire.
Shale gas multinational Ineos, owned by billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, is appealing the decision taken by Derbyshire County Council earlier this year to refuse them a licence to drill.
The opening session of the inquiry saw local residents argue that it should take into account the long term cumulative impact of the proposed development on the local community.
And they said it should look at the impact of the development on wider environmental and climate issues. If the outcome of the inquiry was based on the power of argument and the views of the local community, Ineos would not stand a chance.
However Tory planning regulations skew the whole process in favour of big corporations. A recent inquiry into a similar proposal at nearby Harthill in South Yorkshire found in favour of Ineos.
Whatever the outcome of this inquiry, the campaign against the frackers will need to continue and step up a gear.
Let’s have genuine public control of the rail nework
The maiden voyages of the new publicly-owned London North East Railway were beset by delays and protests.
Demonstrations called by the RMT transport union greeted some of the first services on the line—which links Scotland and the north east of England to the capital.
The new company is the result of a franchise takeover by the Tories. Tory transport secretary Chris Grayling bought out the East Coast Main Line from transport firms Virgin and Stagecoach.
They were supposed to pay the government £2 billion to run the franchise until 2020, but are now not liable.
A consortium of firms is now running the service on behalf of the government.
Protests were held in Edinburgh and London to demand the rail networks be brought properly back into public ownership.
And a protest was also held in Manchester on Tuesday of this week as Grayling was due to address the Royal Transport Summit, but he didn’t show up.
It follows three days of strikes hitting Arriva Rail North (Northern) on 19, 21 and 23 June.
The action is part of the dispute over the future of guards and safety.
Workers want a guarantee that a second safety trained member of staff will be on board at all times.
Evacuations and unsafe housing for Haringey residents
A residential tower block in Haringey, north London, has been evacuated after it was found it was to be in danger of collapse.
A second block was also found to be unsafe but is yet to be evacuated.
A lobby of the council over the rehousing of residents was set to take place on Tuesday as Socialist Worker went to press.
All the buildings on the estate were constructed using a large panel system.
That’s the same technique that resulted in the 1968 collapse of Ronan Point in east London, killing four people.
Local elections in May saw a new, left wing Labour leadership elected in Haringey.
Jacob is a resident of Tangmere block, which has been evacuated.
He said of Tuesday’s council meeting, “Nothing in the agenda pack indicates any serious possibility that an equivalent number of council homes would be built on the site at equal rents if demolition occurs.”
Haringey lead councillor for housing Emina Ibrahim said, “A decision on the long-term future of these blocks will be taken only after proper consultation.”
Big No to Scottish councils’ pay offer
GMB union members in local government in Scotland have delivered a “clear and resounding” rejection of the local government pay offer.
Some 92 percent of workers who voted in the ballot rejected the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities’ (Cosla) offer for workers in local government.
It would mean a 3 percent increase for workers earning under £36,500 and 2 percent for those earning more.
Some 30,000 workers were consulted.
Huge vote to derail Sheffield tram deal
Drivers and conductors on the trams in Sheffield have delivered an overwhelming mandate to strike over pay.
Over 200 Unite union members voted by 92 percent for strikes on an 83 percent turnout.
They are fighting against a two-year offer that would see workers get a mere 26p an hour pay rise.
Undertakers want to bury Co-op plans
Undertakers working for Co-op Funeralcare in Scotland face redundancies and massive pay cuts.
Some 200 workers could be affected and some are set to lose between £7,000 and £10,000 if cuts go ahead.
The Usdaw union is set to ballot workers on the proposals.
Cleaners fight to sweep away poverty
Cleaners at Kensington and Chelsea town hall in west London have voted for strikes over pay.
They are paid £7.83 an hour by the employer, Amey. They are demanding at least the London Living Wage of £10.20 an hour.
Other demands include sick pay.
The workers are in the United Voices of the World union.
Shetland could see a Total shutdown
Members of the Unite union at Total’s Shetland gas plant have voted to take industrial action over working patterns.
Unite said members had “emphatically” voted for industrial action.
Pumps may run dry if tanker drivers stop
Hundreds of drivers working for Hoyer UK—a firm that delivers fuel from Grangemouth refinery to filling stations across Scotland—are considering strikes.
The dispute centres on pay cuts.
The Unite union has given bosses 14 days to think again.