Socialist Worker

Reports in brief

Issue No. 1945

Hospital workers fight for equal pay

Cleaners, porters and catering staff at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital planned to strike this week — and have threatened to escalate their action if their equal pay demand is not met.

More than 430 members of the Unison union who are employed by contractor Serco were set to strike on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. They have voted to set additional strike dates — from 5 to 7 April and 11 to 14 April.

The Serco workers are demanding equal pay with workers directly employed by the NHS doing identical jobs. While NHS employed workers will earn £5.69 an hour under the new Agenda for Change pay system, Serco employees will get just £4.82 an hour.

Peugeot workers face jobs battle

The T&G and Amicus unions have pledged to fight compulsory redundancies at car maker Peugeot’s Ryton plant in Coventry. Peugeot has threatened to cut 850 jobs at the plant, which now employs 2,800 workers.

A T&G member at the plant told Socialist Worker, “The union has been in negotiations with the company. We told Peugeot to go away and reconsider its offer.

“If there are compulsory redundancies I’d expect industrial action.”

School students in angry walk-out

Around 200 school students staged a walk-out at George Stephenson school, Killingworth, near Newcastle, on Thursday of last week.

The students walked out at dinner time after the headteacher sent out a letter banning younger students from going outside school for their lunch. They made placards and marched out, to be confronted by mounted police.

Cleaners take pay claim to theatre

Low paid cleaners at Canary Wharf in London’s Docklands were to take their campaign for a living wage and decent conditions to one of the capital’s major theatres on Thursday of this week.

The cleaners, members of the T&G union planned to leaflet theatregoers outside the Old Vic.

The theatre has a £500,000 sponsorship deal with banking firm Morgan Stanley, the biggest shareholder in Canary Wharf.

Last month the cleaners protested that they were given a 2 percent rise when the bank made profits of $4.49 billion.

The American Services Employees International Union, which ran the successful Justice for Janitors campaign in the US, is supporting the Canary Wharf workers in their campaign to win £6.70 an hour.

T&G deputy general secretary Jack Dromey, said, “Morgan Stanley earnings rose by billions of dollars last year. A small proportion of that would see justice for the cleaners.”


Guards on Merseyrail struck for 24 hours on Friday of last week. Management had said they would be able to operate a normal service. But no trains ran on the Wirral line after drivers refused to cross RMT union picket lines.

The dispute centres on the implementation of a 35-hour week which would bring guards in line with most other grades of staff employed by the company.

Further strikes are planned for next weekend.

Central Trains conductors

Industrial action by over 500 RMT train conductors at Central Trains has been suspended for talks at the conciliation service Acas.

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Sat 2 Apr 2005, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1945
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