Bury schools protest
Over 500 people marched through Bury, Lancashire, last Saturday against the proposed closure of two local high schools, Prestwich Arts College and Broad Oak High. My local school, Prestwich, is brilliant and has a mixture of students of all races and religions. Campaigners also lobbied the council and forced it to delay any decision on closures for three weeks.
Amy Hicks, year six, Butterstile primary school
The GMB union planned to stage five demonstrations against asset stripping by management at the AA motorists’ organisation on Wednesday of this week.
The protests were due to take place in Basingstoke, Birmingham, Manchester, Cardiff and Newcastle.
Paul Maloney, the GMB national officer, for AA said, “The venture capitalists who now own the AA have sacked 3,400 of the 10,000 workers supplying services to motorists.”
Hundreds of school catering and cleaning staff in Aberdeen, who are overwhelmingly women, were set to strike on Thursday and Friday of this week over equal pay.
Last week the workers’ T&G union announced that a ballot showed that 94 percent were in favour of going on strike.
About 430 women are taking Coventry City Council to industrial tribunals to argue they’ve been underpaid compared with men for years.
DWP: we need new strikes soon
Civil service workers’ union leaders in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) were set to begin talks with employers this Wednesday over job cuts and office closures.
These talks take place over one month after 80,000 PCS union members struck for two days. Members in the offices are asking when are we striking next, as they know that the union is getting no concessions from the employer.
If these talks don’t produce anything substantial in a week the union should be calling another strike date for the end of March, preferably linking up with the public sector strike over pensions. The union should also call a boycott of the hated PDS and Ragtool performance appraisal systems.
Rob Bryson PCS DWP Central London branch secretary, (personal capacity)
BBC Radio deal narrowly accepted
Bectu media union members in BBC Radio have accepted revised proposals on changes to job descriptions by a slim majority. Management’s new offer came after the threat of strike action.
Some 54 percent voted to accept the introduction of a new assistant producer role.
Staff who move into the new job are expected to perform duties currently carried out by three separate job categories. The close vote shows that workers are concerned about how the new role will work.
Asylum seekers welcome in Leeds
Over 50 people protested outside the Home Office in Leeds on Friday of last week against the treatment of asylum seekers.
John Ward, who helped organise the protest, told Socialist Worker, “There are over 1,000 destitute asylum seekers in Leeds. We decided to set up a No Borders group.
“Asylum seekers have to report to the immigration and nationality directorate, from where they can be detained and deported.
“We had a protest outside against this and to say that people are welcome in Leeds. Asylum seekers joined us.”
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March for Gate Gourmet workers
The sacked Gate Gourmet workers have organised a protest for Saturday 25 March to raise solidarity for their continuing struggle.
The demonstration assembles at 1pm, Sidmouth Avenue, Isleworth, London.
Fined for taking direct action
Councillor Ray Davies, the vice chair of CND Cymru, has been brought before the ombudsman for allegedly bringing Caerphilly county borough council into disrepute.
He was fined £1,700 for taking direct action at Aldermaston, Faslane and the Tamar River against the war in Iraq.
NUJ members at the Independent and Independent on Sunday are balloting for industrial action in pursuit of a 5 percent pay rise. Freelancers working at the newspapers will also be balloted simultaneously by the NUJ over the claim.
Management offered a derisory 2.5 percent cost of living award. Senior executives have rewarded themselves with rises of up to 106 percent.
Some 200 people gathered in the snow to protest outside the opening of the new Welsh Assembly building in Cardiff last week.
Protesters included representative from a campaign to reopen a local hospital. But there were many other groups present – including Cymru X (Plaid Cymru’s youth movement), Cymdeithas Yr Iath Gymraeg (theWelsh Language Society), the Stop the War Coalition, Respect, anti GM food activists and former Allied Steel & Wire steelworkers campaigning for their pensions.