Socialist Worker

Reports in brief

Issue No. 1942

Protesters lobby Bury council (Pic: Geoff Brown)

Protesters lobby Bury council (Pic: Geoff Brown)


Bury council cuts

Supporters of the Re:d centre in Bury were waiting this week for the result of a legal case about the future funding for the service. The centre provides critical support for over 100 local children with disabilities and their families. Protesters recently lobbied the council demanding withdrawal of the cuts.


Turn the heat up on fire authority

The FBU firefighters’ union has called a march and rally next week in central London. The protest has been organised to oppose cuts that will remove ten appliances from central London, close a station and slash scores of jobs.

The FBU demonstration on Thursday of next week will coincide with a meeting of the London Fire Authority, which is to decide whether to go ahead with the cuts or not. Among the speakers at the rally will be Respect MP George Galloway and Matt Wrack, the newly elected assistant general secretary of the FBU.

Matt Wrack is now seeking nomination for the forthcoming FBU general secretary election.

So far he is getting support even from areas which did not back him in the assistant general secretary election.

Save Your Fire Service rally, assemble 12.30pm, Thursday 17 March, City Hall, Queen’s Walk, London SE1.


Long march for renationalisation

The RMT rail union is organising a national march from Glasgow to London to highlight its call for the renationalisation of the industry. Each leg of the march will end with a rally in a town or city. Among those constituencies the union is targeting in the run-up to the general election are the seats of cabinet members John Prescott and Alan Johnson in Hull.

Members of the RMT, which also organises seafarers, converged on parliament on Tuesday of this week to rally and lobby MPs over the decline of shipping jobs.
For more information on the RMT’s renationalisation campaign and for details of local rallies go to www.rmt.org.uk


Unequal and unfair Enterprise

Careers staff in Scotland are considering industrial action over a performance related pay scheme.

Scottish Enterprise has introduced its existing pay scheme for the staff of Careers Scotland, which has been part of the economic development agency since 2002.

The Unison union, which represents most of the 1,100 employees affected, believes the system is out of date and favours senior managers. The union is currently balloting its members on industrial action short of a strike.

“The imposition of this unfair and unequal scheme in the middle of pay talks was crass, hardnosed and destroyed the good work that had been done in creating Careers Scotland,” said regional organiser Matt McLaughlin.

Scottish Enterprise has imposed a pay structure on its new staff that, in 2003, saw 71 percent of senior directors awarded a bonus of around £1,400 on top of a 4.1 percent pay increase.

In contrast, only 12 percent of admininistration staff received a bonus. The ballot result was due this week.


AA

On Tuesday of last week the AA motoring company welcomed a new breakaway organisation, the AADU, effectively derecognising the GMB union after over a decade.

The AADU has been formed by a group of ex-GMB officials, unhappy with the current leadership of the union. They urge GMB members to leave the union and join their organisation.

The AADU has financial backing and the support of management. They are promising an AADU recruitment meeting in every AA workplace in the next two weeks, a facility the AA never extended to the GMB.

The GMB will fight hard to persuade its members to stay within the trade union movement. A major reorganisation that threatens 4,000 jobs is planned by management for this year, so bosses have every reason to sow discord among the staff and smash a real union.

The GMB will urge its members to reject this and resolve concerns they have within the union’s democratic structure.


Canary Wharf cleaners organise

Cleaners from across Canary Wharf in east London came together on Thursday of last week to discuss their campaign for a living wage.

The meeting had to take place in Canary Wharf tube station because the cleaners — who belong to the T&G union — are not allowed to hold union meetings in the buildings they clean.

Around 60 people came, representing five of the buildings in Canary Wharf, and the mood was very upbeat. The workers agreed that there should be a push to get the cleaners fully unionised and that the campaign should be united across the whole of Canary Wharf.

There was a general focus on Morgan Stanley, as they own a large chunk of Canary Wharf itself. Anthony, a cleaner at the Morgan Stanley building summed up the feeling of the meeting when he said, “The big companies should pay attention. The more people who are involved in the campaign the stronger we are.”


Vauxhall Merseyside strike vote

Workers at Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port plant on Merseyside have voted strongly for strikes over pay and pensions.

The vote comes just months after unofficial action which temporarily shut the plant.

Workers in the T&G voted 75 percent in favour of strikes in response to the company’s two year pay offer.

This would increase workers’ pension contributions by 2 percent of salary, move from weekly to monthly pay and scrap pay parity for temporary workers.

In return workers were offered just 3 percent in the first year and the rate of inflation in year two.

Vauxhall is owned by General Motors, the US-based multinational.

A sustained strike at Ellesmere Port would have knock-on effects for the whole European operation.

Talks between the T&G and bosses are planned before any strike dates are announced.


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News
Sat 12 Mar 2005, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1942
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