Shrewsbury Sixth Form College
More than 50 members of the NUT and other unions at Shrewsbury Sixth Form College held an angry protest on Tuesday of last week against the closure of the college’s adult learning section. This will lead to many highly skilled staff being made redundant or put on reduced hours
Campaigners held a protest last week over Newham council’s decision to move Stratford school in east London to the current Rokeby School site.
This means local kids will have to travel long distances to get to the new school—which will be funded by the Private Finance Initiative. This will deliver profits for private firms at the expense of education.
Tyre plants are in grip of dispute
Workers at the Pirelli tyres factories in Carlisle and Burton-on-Trent are balloting for strike action over pay.
More than 1,000 T&G and Amicus union members have overwhelmingly rejected a 2.2 percent pay rise. The ballot closes on Thursday 3 August.
Respect signs a striker for election
A by-election is set for 27 July in the Greenhead ward of Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. This follows the death of Labour councillor Annie Smith.
Respect’s candidate is David Ellis, leader of the recent partially successful 11 week strike over poverty wages by caretakers at Huddersfield Technical College.
The campaign has started strongly with regular leafleting of five local mosques, house to house leafleting of more than half the ward and a 32 strong public meeting in the ward with David Ellis, Mobeen Azhar and John Rees.
Systematic canvassing has begun and depends on wide participation by Respect members and supporters. Anyone willing to help should phone Roger on 07814 709 853.
Rail pension strike is still possible
The RMT rail workers’ union held its national conference last week.
Delegates discussed a number of crucial issues for the union, including political representation, privatisation and pensions.
The conference said that the union would strike in defence of pensions.
This comes after a successful strike ballot by the RMT over threats to pensions on the privatised railways.
This won an offer of an independent commission to look into pensions. RMT general secretary Bob Crow is set to speak at a number of union meetings across Britain in the next few weeks on the next steps in the campaign.
Delegates voted unanimously for an emergency resolution threatening strike action across the London Underground at the threats to privatise the East London line.
Balfour Beatty has crash fine cut
A £10 million fine imposed on the firm blamed for the Hatfield train crash was cut last week by £2.5 million.
The Court of Appeal decision over engineering firm Balfour Beatty sparked fury from unions and relatives of the four people who died in the tragedy.
Balfour Beatty was in charge of track maintenance at the time of the October 2000 crash, which also left 102 injured.
Balfour Beatty was fined in October 2005 after admitting breaches of health and safety laws.
Judges last week decided it was too big compared with Railtrack’s £3.5 million fine.
Audrey Arthur, 80, from West Sussex, who lost her only son Steve in the crash, said, “I can’t see how the justice system can let a company off the hook like this.”
A 700 signature petition was handed in at the University and College Union (UCU) headquarters on Friday of last week calling for a delegate conference of higher education workers. The fact that 700 people signed within a few days shows the depth of the anger at the university pay deal, which lecturers are currently being balloted on.
It also shows the impact the new UCU Left has had within the the first few weeks of the new union.
Malcolm Povey, Leeds University UCU
Over 1,000 members of the PCS and Prospect unions at Ordnance Survey took half day strike action on Tuesday of this week for half a day over pay.
Staff will take action at the mapmaker’s headquarters in Southampton, and offices in London and most other major cities.
Members voted overwhelmingly by four to one for strike action in a ballot.
Despite the talks management has refused to offer any measures to address the demoralisation felt by staff over pay. Workers will use a work to rule and a ban on unpaid overtime to keep up the pressure.
Office for National Statistics
PCS and Prospect members working for the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have begun a work to rule over job cuts and relocations.