Protesters dressed as elephants in Brent, north west London, on Thursday of last week, arguing that plans for a new privately run academy school will create a “white elephant”. A conference against academies is set to take place this Saturday 8 October in Birmingham. For details phone 0121 442 2031 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Strikes over cuts loom in the DWP
Workers in the PCS civil service workers’ union in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in London were waiting to hear the results of negotiations about job losses in the department this week.
PCS members voted by over 70 percent to take strike action against the cuts. Talks between the union and management were set to take place on Wednesday of this week.
If significant progress is not made the union has made it clear that it will call industrial action.
Why won’t petrol bosses Shell out?
Tanker drivers in the north of Scotland have held a four-day strike over pay. More than 20 employees of Gleaner Fuels, members of the T&G union, took action at depots in Aberdeen, Mintlaw, Elgin and Inverness.
The firm delivers exclusively for Shell UK and supplies petrol stations as well as domestic and commercial users.
Jobs still to go at Morrisons depots
Unions organising workers at Morrisons’ depots called off strike action due to start on Friday of last week.
The T&G and GMB unions have won the right to national negotiations at depots run directly by the supermarket chain. However, plans to close three depots and cut 2,500 jobs are set to go ahead.
Following the talks, workers made redundant will get an extra £1,000 on top of existing redundancy agreements.
Appetite for fight at Grampian Foods
Talks between the T&G union and management were set to start on Wednesday of this week at Grampian Foods, which supplies meat to supermarkets across Britain.
A strike at the Haverhill site in Suffolk ended early when the company issued a legal challenge. The T&G has since sought legal advice and believes it has a mandate for strikes.
An overtime ban was set to start on Thursday of this week.
Disappointment all round in Scotland
New Labour won two by-elections in Scotland last week — one in Livingston for the Westminster parliament, the other in Cathcart for the Scottish parliament — both with much reduced majorities and both on low voter turnouts.
There was little comfort for the other parties as the Scottish National Party’s hopes in Livingston fell short of expectations.
The Scottish Socialist Party’s Livingston campaign was badly affected by the death of election agent Bill Lebrun half way through the campaign.
Nevertheless the party’s poor showing there, gaining 1.4 percent of the vote, and in Cathcart, in Glasgow’s southside, where its vote slipped from 13 percent to 5 percent, was disappointing.
On Wednesday 2 November Make Poverty History will stage a mass lobby of parliament calling for trade justice.
Two months after the massive Make Poverty History demonstration in Edinburgh, campaigners are being asked to demonstrate to remind people that the problems of the world’s poorest have not gone away.
For more information see www.wdm.org.uk/masslobby