Postal workers lobby
Hundreds of postal workers joined a lobby of parliament last week to press the case to keep Royal Mail fully owned by the public sector.
At a meeting before the lobby began, CWU union deputy general secretary Dave Ward said, “It is good that so many MPs have signed up for our early day motion to keep the post 100 percent publicly owned. But we want more than names on paper.
“Royal Mail chair Allan Leighton’s share plan is unacceptable. If privatisation goes ahead there will be calls for disaffiliation from the Labour Party.”
CWU general secretary Billy Hayes said that “all hell will break loose” if the share plan is implemented.
True grit in Birmingham
Road gritting, street lighting and traffic signal services workers in Birmingham have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strikes against the council’s plans to transfer their jobs to the private sector.
The ballot was organised by the Amicus union and returned a 90 percent vote in favour of strike action.
Other unions are also balloting their members on the issue, involving some 1,000 workers.
Elementis of surprise over jobs
Workers at Elementis Chromium chemical plant on Teesside have voted for industrial action over a threat to 120 jobs.
Over 80 percent of T&G union members voted for action.
Union organiser Joe Keith said, “The overwhelming support shows our members are not prepared to sit back, they will fight back.”
The union is also worried about the future of the company’s pension scheme.
Workers wanted on rail, not robots
RMT union members on South Eastern Trains have voted by more than eight to one to strike over the threat to ticket office jobs.
The dispute centres on the company’s plans to replace ticketing staff in booking offices with automated machines, and follows the company’s announcement of plans to reduce ticket office opening hours and remove 100 station workers.
“Their plans will leave stations severely understaffed or not staffed at all for long periods,” says RMT general secretary Bob Crow.
The union is consulting local reps over dates for strike action.
‘Start the fight over pensions’
The Unison union and the National Pensioners Convention held a pensions rally in York on Wednesday of last week.
Speakers, including convention president Frank Cooper and Unison regional secretary Cliff Williams, condemned both the inadequacy of the state pension and proposals to raise the pension age for public sector workers.
One pensioner, a retired Labour councillor, challenged the trade union movement to take stronger action in defence of working people’s interests.
“You’ve been too soft on this government, you’ve got the power, now use it!” he said to applause.
Hot mood over climate change
More than 80 people attended a Campaign against Climate Change event in Liverpool last week.
Among the speakers was Jonathan Neale, who spoke of how the inequality and racism exposed by the US government’s reaction to Hurricane Katrina warn of what we can expect if climate change leads to increasingly extreme weather.
Unite against Fascism
Anti-fascists in Thurrock, Essex, are mobilising to ensure the British National Party fails in its attempt to grab council seats at two by-elections on Thursday 1 December.
The Nazis are standing in two wards — Grays Riverside and Homesteads. Unite Against Fascism is leafleting the areas.
The next leafleting session will be on Sunday of this week, meeting up outside Grays train station at 11am. Phone the Unite office on 020 7833 4916 for more details.