Gill Whittaker campaign
Over 60 people lobbied the disciplinary hearing for Chesterfield PCS activist Gill Whittaker on Friday of last week. Those attending included delegations from the GMB, CWU, Amicus, UCU unions, Chesterfield trades council and the Derbyshire Unemployed Workers’ Centre. Speakers at the rally included Paul Holmes MP.
Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, Crewe
Civil service workers in the PCS union at Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs in Crewe struck on Monday after being told they must commute to Liverpool or face the sack.
Some 34 staff struck. Staff in Northwich face the same choice.
Dozens of ex-BBC staff, angry at being outsourced to Capita in west London, struck on Friday of last week.
The Bectu union members struck after their new employer threatened to move them onto non-BBC work when a centralised call centre opens in Belfast.
A picket line was set up at the White City building which not only houses Capita’s staff, but is also the BBC’s corporate HQ.
The ex-BBC staff, mostly based in London, have called for redundancy to be offered as an option when the move to Belfast takes place. The company has refused this.
Aircelle in Burnley
Some 300 workers at aircraft parts makers Aircelle in Burnley struck on Friday of last week after the company failed to improve a 2.5 percent rise.
Staff have already implemented an overtime ban. Many picketed during the strike.
Regional Amicus union officer Dave Gorton said, “The pay offer from the company has not met our expectations.
“Our members are also very unhappy that the company has employed contractors and has given them a loyalty bonus which has not been given to some other staff who have been here for up to 20 years.”
More strikes are likely.
First Great Western to strike
Train drivers in the RMT union at First Great Western are set to stage three 24-hour strikes after voting by five to one for action in a dispute over the harmonisation of terms and conditions.
The company has failed to honour an agreement for 104 rest days and refused to negotiate harmonisation of the pay and conditions of drivers across the three former franchises that now constitute the First Great Western franchise.
Drivers are set to strike on Tuesday of next week, Wednesday 19 July and Thursday 27 July.
DLR action cancelled for improved offer
A strike over jobs, pay and conditions by RMT’s 250 members on the Docklands Light Railway set for Monday and Tuesday of this week was suspended after fresh talks produced a new offer.
The RMT rail workers’ union is to recommend the deal to members.
The dispute centres on re-organisation plans. But Serco has agreed that there will be no compulsory redundancies and no reduction in salaries for current station staff. Current station staff will get priority for new station jobs.
The offer also includes built-in earnings protection for staff nearing retirement age.
Anti-war feeling at military parade
Some 35 families of serving soldiers signed the Military Families Against the War (MFAW) petition on Saturday
1 July at the Highlanders military parade, in Aberdeen.
This is the largest number of military families to sign up to support MFAW in a single day.
Rose Gentle and Janet Lowrie from MFAW travelled to Aberdeen to work with the local Stop the War Coalition to distribute leaflets, petitions and speak to military families.
At the Castlegate rally we unfurled a large banner that read “Not one more life, bring the troops home”.
Military Families Against the War and Stop the War Coalition members were very warmly received by families visiting the stall and those attending the event in general.
Bus workers strike for justice
Striking bus drivers brought Arriva North East services to a standstill with a 24 hour strike on Monday. Alan Gray from the T&G union told Socialist Worker that “The strike was 100 percent solid.”
Arriva North East buses operate across Teeside and County Durham in the north east of England as well as parts of North Yorkshire.
Alan Gray explained that the workers are fighting for parity with other Arriva drivers in the region, “Arriva Northumbria pay their drivers £8 an hour. Drivers at Arriva North East do the same job, but are paid £7 an hour.”
The drivers have rejected two offers from the company and are now set to strike every Monday.