Socialist Worker

Reports round-up

Issue No. 2000

The rail lobby (Pic: Guy Smallman)

The rail lobby (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Rail pensions lobby

Hundreds of rail union members lobbied parliament on Tuesday of this week in defence of pensions. The unions are preparing to ballot for strikes over the issue.

GMB ballots its Asda members

The agreement between the GMB union leadership and Asda has collapsed. The union is now balloting 8,000 members in depots over industrial action.

The GMB previously suspended plans for an official strike ballot in the depots pending the completion of agreements.

But recent events in depots and stores following that meeting “cast doubt on the reality of the agreement”, the GMB said.

Jude Brimble, GMB national officer, said, “GMB has spent over 20 hours in talks with the company to try to find a satisfactory resolution of the items in dispute. We thought we had made progress but in the end we are back to square one.

“Asda Wal-Mart is not prepared to accept that pay and conditions agreements need to be fair and fairly arrived at. We need a big vote for strike action to secure these reasonable objectives.”

Recognising the need for the NUJ

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has won recognition at the Archant company in London. The union is now officially recognised at the group’s Ham and High series.

The Central Arbitration Committee panel last week declared that the NUJ would be recognised without a ballot and decided that the agreed bargaining unit was valid.

The NUJ will now negotiate and come to an agreement with Archant about a method for collective bargaining.

Referees blow for time in Scotland

Scottish Rugby referees have gone on strike after the Scottish Rugby Union (SRU) made its development officer Bill Calder redundant.

At a meeting in Melrose on Wednesday of last week members of the Border Referees Society unanimously voted to withdraw their support from matches.

The society said, “The decision was taken that all referees appointed by the society will be withdrawn for all matches as of tonight until such time as meaningful discussion takes place with senior officials with a view to the reinstatement of the Borders referees’ development officer.”

Appeal court rules against Brian Haw

The government has won its appeal against a legal ruling which allowed peace activist Brian Haw to continue his five-year vigil outside parliament.

Haw won a high court action last year against a new law threatening his protest. But three court of appeal judges have now overturned that decision.

The Stop the War Coalition said the decision was “another stab in the back” for democracy and spoke of its determination to continue peacefully protesting outside parliament.

Andrew Burgin of Stop the War said, “We are very disappointed by this ruling, which we believe is completely wrong.”

Deutsche Bank cleaners

Cleaners, members of the T&G union, held a street protest outside Deutsche Bank’s London head offices as part of their campaign to demand a living wage.

Deutsche Bank reported a 55 percent surge in profits to 1.7 billion Euro for the first three months of this year – yet the cleaners’ pay remains below the breadline in one of the most expensive cities in the world.


Flight attendants and ground staff at Easyjet are to vote on strike action.

The T&G union has objected to being bypassed after the Luton-based budget airline wrote directly to 2,000 employees with an offer of an 8 percent to 10 percent rise over two years.

The union, which is recognised, says this has breached normal procedures and has jeopardised talks with management that have been under way since October.

Serviceteam refuse collectors

Refuse collectors in Kings Lynn in west Norfolk are balloting over whether to take strike action over pay. This comes after talks with Serviceteam managers over a 2.95 percent pay offer broke down.

They have been fighting for higher wages saying increasing attacks from members of the public make the job riskier and more difficult. According to Glen Holdom from the GMB, “We have even been barred from access to the site and hold meetings outside the depot gates.

“The employer has told our members if they don’t like it they can look for another job. If that’s their attitude then we have no other option but to ballot.”

Telford Amicus strike over pay

Over 100 workers at a Telford manufacturing firm were on strike on Thursday of last week in a dispute over pay.

Amicus members picketed Link 51 Pallet Racking Systems.

Senior shop steward Paul Westbrook said more than 100 staff were in dispute with the company over a 2.5 percent pay rise offer.

“We have got strikes planned for the next four Fridays, and there is an ongoing work to rule to make management listen,” he added.

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Sat 13 May 2006, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 2000
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