Broad basis for challenge to G8
About 150 people came to a meeting at Manchester University last week to discuss organising for the Make Poverty History campaign and the G8 protests in July.
There were speakers from Oxfam, the World Development Movement, the Stop the War Coalition, G8 Alternatives, and local Labour MP Michael Meacher.
In the run-up to the meeting, different societies—ranging from the Christian group Speak to the Stop the War Coalition, Amnesty and Labour Students—took responsibility for staffing Make Poverty History/G8 protest stalls for a day.
We now have a vibrant group on campus planning a series of films, music nights and publicity stunts between now and the G8.
For further information go to www.makepovertyhistory.org
New turn in the Newcastle dispute
Lecturers at Newcastle College heard last week that management was refusing to go to the Acas arbitration service to try to resolve a long-running dispute at the biggest further education college in the north east of England.
The response from members of the Natfhe lecturers’ union indicated the continued anger at college proposals — 85 percent of union members at a meeting voted for a series of one-day strikes in May.
Neil Sharp, chair of the college Natfhe branch, said lecturers will continue to resist the attempts by management to increase their workloads. He said, “We have some of the best results in the country. Staff need the time and resources to continue to teach students at a very high level.”
Previous strike action on 1, 15 and 16 March was very well supported by over 300 Natfhe members and effectively closed the college.
Brunel managers engineer turmoil
Lecturers at Brunel University in west London struck on Tuesday of last week against job cuts.
The university vice-chancellor forced the action by refusing repeated requests from the lecturers’ AUT union to re-open talks over plans which threaten 60 academic jobs.
The Brunel AUT branch says, “Since the ballot result we have sought a negotiated solution.”
Management’s response is to threaten staff who take part in legal industrial action.
University management has threatened to deduct a whole day’s pay from anyone who takes part even in action short of a strike.
Undeterred, AUT members from Wednesday of last week began boycotting work connected to assessments and exams.
They are also refusing to cover for absent colleagues or comply with the university’s appraisal and performance management system.
Devon and Cornwall Police Authority
Devon and Cornwall Police Authority has executed an amazing U-turn over its threat to impose pay cuts of up to 28 percent following job evaluation of civilian staff.
The climbdown follows spontaneous walkouts by hundreds of shocked and angry civilian workers—including forensic staff, emergency switchboard operators and mechanics—when pay cuts of up to £8,000 were announced two weeks ago.
Television reports showed workers weeping at the prospect of losing their homes.
Some of their anger was directed at a union representative who had agreed to the pay cuts.
Further walkouts have forced the authority to agree to an independent inquiry into the fiasco and to confirm in writing that the threat of pay cuts has been lifted.