Socialist Worker

Reports round-up

Issue No. 1977

Huddersfield caretakers

Huddersfield caretakers


Huddersfield technical college

Caretakers at Huddersfield technical college completed their second week of strike action this week. They are fighting for a wage increase to get parity with school caretakers in the area.

The caretakers received a number of boosts for their dispute last week. They got a superb reception at the Respect meeting in Bradford and raised £300.

Fellow Unison union members at the college also attended a lunchtime rally. A successful mass picket was held on Monday of this week.

Roger Grigg, assistant branch secretary Kirklees Unison (pc)
Send messages of support and requests for speakers to Kirklees Unison, 20 Queen Street, Huddersfield. Phone 01484 511826 or fax 01484 450174.


Parliament cleaners

Lords and MPs walked past picket lines on Wednesday of last week as up to 140 workers who clean parliament went on strike for a second time.

The cleaners, who are all members of the T&G union are campaigning for a living wage.

They currently earn £5.20 an hour, and are asking for £6.70.

The cleaners had received an offer to increase the pay to £6 an hour at the cost of 30 jobs.

Nestor Barona is one of the contract cleaners who works in the House of Lords. “The campaign started back in February,” he says. “We want a decent wage, sick pay and holidays the same as every worker deserves.

“We have had a lot of support from people. We have been trying to support cleaners involved in similar campaigns.”


Pensions

The 70 people at a conference for trade unionists and pensioners in London on Saturday of last week expressed anger and resentment at the government’s refusal to restore the link between the state pension and earnings.

There was also strong opposition to privatisation of public services, and support for campaigns to keep the NHS public and stop the demolition and sell-off of council housing.

A motion is to be sent to the TUC calling on them to advise trade unions to stop funding the Labour Party because of the government’s attacks on workers, especially on future pensions.

Mary Phillips


Department for Work and Pensions

Over 90,000 PCS members in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) are set to ballot for a strike over the crisis in the department.

The ballot is over a number of issues — staff shortages, job cuts, office closures, centralisation of work, and compulsory redundancies and transfers.

There are demands to work harder, a clampdown on sickness, and the threat of privatisation.

It is vitally important that we win the ballot clearly. Almost a third of the union work in the DWP. It has the highest percentage of low paid workers.

Activists, the group executive and the national executive have to carry the argument to strike.

The group executive has voted to subsume the London dispute, where members voted for action, into the national action. The ballot begins on 5 December.

Phil Pardoe, PCS DWP group executive (personal capacity).


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News
Sat 19 Nov 2005, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1977
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