OVER 150 members of the PCS and Prospect civil servants' unions packed into a meeting at the HQ of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in London last week. Both unions are balloting for action over the 2003 pay offer after 90 percent voted to reject it. Feelings are running high as HSE management are determined to limit rises at the top of all pay bands to 0.5 percent per year for three years.
This means that about 40 percent of staff will get a pay cut this year, including some of the poorest, and that last year's concessions to allow clear progression up the pay bands are being undermined. Rank and file HSE civil servants are demanding unity between the unions as we face the first strikes for over a decade.
SIMON HESTER, London section secretary Prospect HSE branch
Beagle workers strike again
OVER 100 workers at the Beagle aircraft factory in Christchurch, Dorset, staged their second one-day strike on Friday of last week in their struggle for better pay. The workers are members of the Amicus union and are striking every Friday.
East London says no to the Nazis
AROUND 50 local activists, including trade unionists and Labour councillors, gathered at Upton Park tube station in east London last Sunday to protest against a planned march by the National Front.
We had a petition condemning the police for allowing the march to take place at the end of Eid in such a predominantly Asian area. The response from local shoppers to what we were doing was so positive that the police were forced to stop the march taking place.
Marching to stop Blair's weapons
FOUR DECADES after the first London to Aldermaston anti-nuclear march, a fresh generation of marchers will follow the same route this Easter. This is to protest against the threat of a new generation of weapons being developed at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE), Aldermaston.
The protest is organised by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), the Aldermaston Women's Peace Camp(aign) (AWPC) and Slough4Peace, and supported by the Stop the War Coalition. It will start with a rally at Trafalgar Square at 11am on Easter Friday, 9 April, and end with a 'surround the base event' at AWE on Easter Monday.
Prospective marchers can get more information and register at www.aldermaston2004.net
Protest against prison isolation
THREE PROTESTERS who have been on hunger strike for 45 days in a tent at Seven Sisters, north London, were set to end their strike on Wednesday of this week. They are protesting against the use of extreme forms of prison isolation in Turkey. In Turkish prisons eight people are on hunger strike in protest at prison isolation.