Socialist Worker

Reports round-up: vigil against antisemitism

Issue No. 2686

The vigil in north London against antisemitism

The vigil in north London against antisemitism (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Anti-racists held a vigil against antisemitism in north London on 30 December.

Called by Stand Up To Racism, it was a response to antisemitic graffiti sprayed on buildings in the Hampstead and Belsize Park areas.

Sheerness dock strike can put brakes on Volkswagen

Volkswagen (VW) could face “serious disruption” as logistics workers prepare for six days of strikes during the next three months.

Some 26 Unite union members, who load and unload new VW cars at Sheerness Docks in Kent, are fighting against a paltry pay offer from GB Terminals bosses.

They plan to walk out on Friday of this week—and plan further 24 hour strikes on 17, 24 and 31 January and 7 and 14 of February.

The union has also called 48 hour strikes on 20 and 27 February and a four-day one from 9 March.

Unite regional officer Philip Silkstone said, “These strikes will cause serious disruption to Volkswagen Group vehicle deliveries to dealerships across Britain, including new plate models set for release in March.

“The responsibility for this situation lies solely with GB Terminals who will have to explain why its actions have led to disruption and losses for Volkswagen.

“The drivers are simply asking for a pay rise in line with inflation.”

Woolwich Ferry walkout over pay

Workers on the Woolwich Ferry in south east London struck over an “employment horror show” on 19 December.

The Unite union members on the Thames river crossing are angry over pay and workplace conditions.

The crossing is operated by subcontractor Briggs Marine on a contract to Transport for London.

Libraries strike enters month seven

Library workers in Bromley, south east London, began the seventh month of an all-out strike in the new year.

The Unite union members are fighting against subcontractor GLL’s plans to axe 35 percent of frontline jobs.

Trade unionists should raise money in their workplaces and branches to make sure the library workers aren’t forced back to work.

Donate to the strike fund—account name Bromley Unite LE/531, account number 20272821, sort code 60-83-01

Bin workers ballot in West Midlands

Bin workers in Sandwell, West Midlands, could walk out over health and safety later this month.

The GMB union’s ballot for strikes ended on Monday of this week, with results set to be released after Socialist Worker went to press.

The GMB said that subcontractor Serco had “urged workers to ignore the company’s own safety rules”.

Socialist Worker raises £115,000

The annual Socialist Worker Appeal has raised £115,000 since September.

It means we can continue for another year to produce Socialist Worker newspaper and online and bring reports from strikes and protests in Britain and worldwide.

Thank you to all those who donated.

Cop cleared in case of Alfie Meadows

A police officer was cleared in December of using unreasonable force against student protester Alfie Meadows in November 2010.

Alfie suffered a brain injury during the protests against tuition fees.

Detective constable Mark Alston faced a misconduct hearing.

He faced the charge that he had used his baton “in a violent, uncontrolled and dangerous manner to deliver a number of downward strikes at head height towards a group of demonstrators”.

Alston was cleared.

Vote begins to gain respect

Bus drivers in London are getting ready for a consultative ballot on whether to strike over “chronic levels of fatigue” among workers.

Their Unite union is fighting for better treatment for 20,000 members across the capital.

It wants workers to be able to finish on time, use their breaks, work to a proper schedule, have enough time to complete their journey, to be treated with respect and receive proper training.

John Murphy, Unite regional officer, said Transport for London cannot simply sweep this problem under the carpet.

“It must act decisively and stop trying to pass the problem onto bus operators who have consistently failed to resolve the issue and instead allowed it to worsen.

“For the last 25 years bus operators have been failing,” he said.

UCU activists meet to win more university strikes

Activists in the UCU union will meet in London on 25 January to discuss “After the election, build the fightback—organising for higher education strike wave 2”.

The meeting is called by Goldsmiths UCU, Imperial UCU, Queen Mary UCU and UCL UCU—and organised by UCU London Region.

It comes after workers held eight days of strikes across 60 universities last term and as strike ballots are taking place across another 37 institutions.

They are fighting to defend pay and pensions, and to fight casualisation, rising workload and pay inequality. The union’s higher education sector conference in December voted for 14 further strike days.

To register go

Members of the EIS Scottish education union began a strike ballot this week over pay in universities.

Last year workers voted 84 percent in favour of action. But the turnout fell just short of the threshold required under the Tories’ anti-union laws.

Plan for 15-day strike by guards to secure justice at Tooting hospital trust

Security guards at St George’s University Hospitals trust in south London are set to strike for 15 days, from next Monday.

They are members of the United Voices of the World union.

The workers are outsourced to Noonan Services Group and are demanding equal pay and working conditions to staff similarly employed by the trust.

The workers receive only the minimum statutory sick pay, annual leave and pensions.

They receive no sick pay for the first three days of illness and then only £18.85 per day following.

And they receive 2 percent employer pension contribution compared to the 16 percent offered to trust employees. They have no place to change into uniforms and many workers feel that they are subject to “harsh and unfair disciplinary procedures.”

They are requesting a review into management styles at the hospital.

Join the picket on 13 January from 7am at Blackshaw Road, Tooting, SW17 0QT

Cleaners, porters and caterers from St Mary’s hospital in west London are set to walk out indefinitely in February.

Negotiations with trust bosses continue over improvements in pay, conditions and an end to outsourcing.

They workers are members of the United Voices of the World (UVW) union. They are outsourced to Sodexo.

They currently make some £10,000 less a year than similar NHS staff.

Waves of previous strike action forced management to agree an end to the contract with Sodexo this year.

Managers have said that they will employ staff under NHS terms. But workers insist they will not cease action until a deal is finalised.

Health unions have suspended strikes at hospitals in Berkshire and Surrey after bosses dropped privatisation plans—at least for the time being.

The GMB and Unite union members had been set to strike from 18 December for three days.

Bosses at Frimley Park NHS Health Foundation Trust had wanted to transfer support staff to a “wholly?owned subsidiary”, a privately registered company owned by the hospital.

A series of strikes by the GMB and Unite unions forced bosses to drop the plans “while exploring all other options as alternatives”.

Workers should remain ready to return to the picket line if bosses renege.

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Tue 7 Jan 2020, 12:21 GMT
Issue No. 2686
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