Socialist Worker

In brief

Issue No. 1995

Justice for Nuur

Over 350 people protested outside Plumstead police station, south London, last Saturday, over the death of Nuur Saeed. Nuur died after armed officers stormed his flat in Plumstead on 10 January this year.

Nuur was found on the ground below the balcony of his second floor flat suffering from massive head injuries. He died on 24 January after two weeks in a coma.

In an unusual and controversial move the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) issued a statement saying Nuur was apparently shown alone in CCTV footage of the incident.

The family are angry and hurt that the IPCC decided to release a section of its evidence before the inquiry is concluded. They are still seeking the truth over what happened in the police raid.

Vote for action at BBC and ITV

Media workers in the Bectu union at BBC Human Resources have voted by 85 percent to be balloted for industrial action.

The workers are threatened with being outsourced to Capita.

They voted 100 percent against the principle of being outsourced.

Bectu is demanding that its members are guaranteed the right to continue working on the BBC contract or be offered redundancy, as has happened in other recent outsourcing deals.

Capita, which intends to move 100 jobs to Belfast, is refusing to offer any such guarantee.

Capita has indicated that union members will have to re-sign a mandate to pay their union subscription from their wages.

Meanwhile journalists in the NUJ union working for most of ITV’s regional newsrooms are to hold a one-day strike on Tuesday 18 April over pay.

Over 300 workers in England and Wales, all working outside London, will walk out.

ITV reported a 36 percent rise in annual profits last month and unveiled plans to launch a new “participation TV” channel, ITV Play.

Unison service group elections

Unison United Left (UUL) is backing candidates in the service group executive elections. These include:

  • Local government: Greater London, David Eggmore, South East, Mike Tucker, South West, Dawn Fearn and Phil Jones, Yorkshire & Humberside, John McDermott
  • Health: Northern, Yunus Bakhsh, North West, Karen Reissmann and Caroline Bedale, Greater London, Kate Arao, South East, Zena Dodgson and Mark Ladbrooke
  • Higher Education: Greater London, Tom Silverlock

The ballot closes on 19 May.

Civil service workers protest

PCS civil service workers’ union members marched through Bootle, Merseyside, on Friday of last week to protest against the withdrawal of nursery and childcare provision.

Staff from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), the Department for Work and Pensions and the Health and Safety Executive attended the rally.

Local Labour MP Joe Benton joined them.

Management is withdrawing subsidies for the staff nursery in Bootle and HMRC plans to halt resources which have been used for the operation of a playscheme.

Paul O’Connor, a local PCS representative, said, “Members who are already struggling with low pay are angry at having their nursery subsidy withdrawn and the playscheme cut.

“The government says it is committed to family friendly policies and to employers providing affordable childcare.

“It is now time for it to lead by example with its own workforce by reversing this decision.”

Meanwhile, 1,000 PCS civil service workers’ union members working for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in the large Lothians processing centre are currently balloting over the deskilling of work.

The dispute follows the introduction of new working practices in the processing centre. These are called “Lean”. Bosses have rejected moves by the PCS to reach a negotiated outcome.

Ballots and strikes on the railways

The railworkers’ RMT union is balloting its members on South Eastern Trains over threatened staff cuts.

South Eastern Trains, which was brought back into the public sector in 2003, was returned to the private sector last Saturday.

The dispute follows the imposition of new working arrangements, which mean the employment of fewer staff, in November 2005. A separate ballot is underway among South Eastern Trains guards over the staffing of barriers at certain stations.

The ballot follows a 24 hour strike by RMT members at Manchester Piccadilly station on Friday of last week. There was a 33 to three vote for action.

“Virgin Rail wants redundancies and changes to rosters without negotiation, so we voted to strike,” said strikers on a picket line at the station entrance. More action could be called if talks don’t deliver progress.

Meat packers march

Hundreds of workers from a meat packing firm marched through Chippenham in Wiltsh-ire last Saturday in protest over redundancy settlements.

About 550 jobs are to go at Hygrade Foods, owned by Tulip Ltd, when the factory closes later this year. The previous day, workers from the company’s Chard plants demonstrated in the Somerset town.

Miners sacked

UK Coal's Rossington colliery in South Yorkshire ceased production last week, signalling the end for hundreds of jobs. For the next four weeks all 220 miners will be kept on while they dismantle the pit equipment.

A total of 70 jobs will be shed by May, and the rest are expected to go sometime between July and August.

UK Coal chief executive Gerry Spindler admits, “There are still reserves remaining at Rossington, but they require a major investment which we just cannot finance at this time.” UK Coal recently announced it was making operating profits again.

Rossington opened in 1915, was closed by British Coal in 1993 but was reopened the following year.

Its closure would leave just seven deep mines in the whole of Britain.

Demand for justice at Asda

The GMB union is demanding justice for its member Mohamed Adnam Ali, a worker at Asda Wal-Mart’s Hulme store in Manchester.

He was suspended recently by management after he supplied union application forms to two work colleagues during his break.

He was summoned into the manager’s office and accused of actively recruiting workers into the union and being a ringleader who was attempting to orchestrate strike action.

He was suspended pending a disciplinary investigation.

Cleaners fight for living wage

Cleaners at Canary Wharf looked set to step up their campaign for a living wage this week. The T&G union, which represents the cleaners, has said that it will ballot its members for strike action.

Paul Davies from the union said, “Our members at the Wharf have had enough of working for some of the wealthiest companies in the world for low pay and of their managers refusing to meet with their union.”

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Article information

Sat 8 Apr 2006, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1995
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