Socialist Worker

In brief

Issue No. 1936

Trying not to get punched

Ticket inspectors on London’s new “bendy” buses could ballot for industrial action in a row over safety.

Five workers were suspended at the start of this week for refusing to work in small groups, which puts them at risk of assault. The RMT union is insisting all suspensions are lifted. If not, it is to ballot 50 members who are inspectors for industrial action. The number of assaults they have faced has increased since they were made to work in pairs rather than larger groups.

Central issue is fairness

Seven hundred drivers on Central Trains have voted to strike for three consecutive Saturdays, beginning on 12 February. The action by members of the Aslef union is over the disciplining of two colleagues, who have been demoted to conductors following two incidents last year. Drivers feel the punishment is “way over the top” and will frighten off workers from reporting health and safety incidents in the future.

Drivers’ rep Mike Whelan says, “We have left it until 12 February to allow further time for dialogue with Central Trains. The two colleagues have never been disciplined in their careers, one for 30 years and the other for 14, until now.”

The official strike ballot comes after drivers took action by refusing to work overtime on Sundays.

We won’t be ground under

Workers on Glasgow’s subway brought the service to a virtual standstill when they struck on Thursday of last week over pay. The TGWU union members have rejected a pay offer that is worth just 5.9 percent over two years. They have also voted to strike over the imposition of a holiday roster, which they feel is inflexible. TGWU officials are considering further action.

Fighting ward closures on Wirral

Some 60 campaigners met on Friday of last week in Wallasey on the Wirral, Merseyside, to oppose the threatened closure of two hospital wards. The meeting, called by the TGWU union and the local trades council, heard that over 18,000 people have signed a petition to oppose ward closures at Victoria Central hospital. Campaigners were set to lobby a meeting of the NHS trust on Thursday of this week.

Balloting over heartless bosses

Members of the Unison union involved in heart surgery at Northern General Hospital in Sheffield are set to ballot over pay and conditions. About two dozen staff are involved in the dispute that involves staff shortages as well as low rates of pay.

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Article information

Sat 29 Jan 2005, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1936
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