Socialist Worker

Reports round up: Support grows for all out walkout by dinner ladies

Issue No. 2626

Support on the picket line in Grimethorpe

Support on the picket line in Grimethorpe (Pic: Barnsley Unison)


Dinner ladies at Ladywood School in Grimethorpe, South Yorkshire, are keeping up their indefinite strike against redundancies.

The nine Unison union members are fighting bosses’ plans to axe their jobs and get teaching assistants (TAs) to supervise meal times instead.

Bosses also want to slash TA jobs. So from Monday of next week they are set to join the dinner ladies on all-out strike.

Pouring rain on Friday of last week didn’t dampen the strikers’ spirits.

Sheltering under their Unison umbrellas, the dinner ladies continued their chants of defiance. .

One of them said, “We normally work for an hour each day but now we are on the picket line from 8am till 2pm.

“Some dinner ladies can’t be here all the time because they have other jobs in the morning.”

But support is solid and local trade unions are planning a solidarity rally on the first day of coordinated action.

George Arthur

Solidarity messages to branchoffice@unisonbarnsleylg.org

Hundreds of women block roads outside parliament to demand pension justice

Over 1,000 women who have been forced to wait up to six extra years to get their state pensions marched to parliament on Wednesday of last week.

They blocked traffic around Parliament Square.

It was organised under the banner of #OneVoice by an alliance of groups including The Waspi Campaign, Back to 60, We Paid In, You Pay Out and others.

Women in their 50s and 60s have been hit hard by the government’s decision to increase the state pension age for women from 60 to 66 years old.

Joanne Welch is a representative of the BackTo60s pressure group.

“We feel that the government thought our demographic was low?hanging fruit that they could pick off without a fight,” she said. “But there’s an increasing groundswell of fury coming the government’s way.

“That’s because these women are becoming politicised.

“And increasing numbers are only now discovering they’re going to be affected.

“There are still women out there who don’t know their pension age has been set back.”


Devon council cuts foster resentment among carers

Foster carers in Devon protested against the Tory-run council’s proposed cuts to the service on Wednesday of last week.

They are members of the Foster Care Workers’ branch of the Independent Workers’ of Great Britain (IWGB) union.

Devon council is cutting the “skills fee” by as much as 35 percent for the majority of foster carers. The fee for all tiers will be brought down to £116 a week for each child a carer looks after.

IWGB branch secretary David Leyland said, “It’s such an injustice that they have the power to scrap the payments we receive for our skills and knowledge.

“We cannot allow Devon to devalue and disrespect us like this.”


Uber

Uber drivers protest outside the firm's east London headquaters (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Drivers deliver solid strike for pay and workers’ rights

Chants of, “Uber, Uber, you can’t hide, we can see your greedy side” rang out in Aldgate, east London, on Tuesday of last week as drivers protested outside the firm’s headquaters.

The protest was part of a 24-hour walkout by members of the United Private Hire Drivers section of the Independent Workers of Great Britain union.

Protesters remained in the firm’s lobby for almost an hour.

The taxi drivers struck and rallied in London, Birmingham and Nottingham. They are demanding an increase in their pay rate from £1.15 to £2 a mile in London.

They also want bosses to reduce the commission that Uber takes from drivers to15 percent.

Other demands include an end to unfair dismissals.

Workers urged people not to cross the “digital picket line by logging into the Uber app as either a driver or passenger”.


No to Nazi rally in central Manchester

Anti-fascists will protest in Manchester on Saturday against the Nazi English Defence League (EDL).

The EDL initially planned a national march to “shut down” Didsbury mosque in the city.

Hundreds of people, including council leader Richard Leese, signed a statement opposing the Nazi march.

That forced the EDL to call off the event—but it now plans to rally in Manchester city centre.

Greater Manchester Unite Against Fascism and Stand Up To Racism Manchester have called a counter-protest.

It assembles at 12.30pm at Piccadilly Gardens. Go to Oppose the EDL rally in Manchester on Facebook for more details

Pensions strike by NASUWT union staff

Workers at the NASUWT teachers’ union were set to strike over proposed pension changes on Wednesday of this week.

The GMB union members plan further strikes on 5 and 9 November.

The dispute involves both highly paid union bureaucrats and low-paid admin workers.

The NASUWT union made changes to the pension scheme and imposed a three-year pay deal without consulting workers.

Under the proposals, union staff will have to work for 45 years to get a pension that is worth half their salary.

David Warwick is the GMB organiser. “Meetings have been taking place across the country with GMB members who have expressed their anger and disappointment with the senior management team of the NASUWT,” he said.


Strikes could see workers cash in

Finance workers at Newham council in east London are set to strike on Friday of next week, 29 October and 2 and 5 November.

The seven Unite union members process payments to suppliers of the council.

The dispute centres around job evaluation.


Union march to end cuts to culture

The Unite, Unison and PCS unions have called a joint demonstration against Tory attacks on libraries, museums and cultural services in London for Saturday 3 November.

A statement from the unions said, “Enough is enough. Stand with us and call on MPs to end cuts to our vital cultural services and #SaveOurLibraries.”


Crane battle lifts workers

Workers at Street Cranes—a firm that manufactures cranes and hoists—struck on Monday over pay.

Unite union members at the Chapel-en-le-Frith factory in Derbyshire voted by 100 percent to strike for a 4 percent rise. Managers have offered 2.5 percent—or 3 percent with conditions.

The strings, which annoyed the members, included removal of a ten minute break and the imposition of monthly pay.

Workers are determined to win an above inflation pay rise and remove the strings.

This is the first strike at the factory for over 15 years.

For many workers it was their first picket line and the mood was very buoyant.

Virtually the whole membership signed up for picketing duty.

They plan to strike again on the next three Mondays and to escalate with four 48-hour strikes in November and December.

Jeannie Robinson

Please send messages of support for the Street Cranes strikers  to shaun.lee@unitetheunion.org

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