Driving Standards Agency strike
Over 1,600 members of the PCS civil service workers’ union at the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) struck on Monday of this week over the threat of office closures, job losses and changes to working practices.
The one day strike included driving examiners and administrative staff.
The DSA wants to close customer service units in Edinburgh, Birmingham and London, which will mean the loss of approximately 80 jobs.
The strike was solid, with picket lines involving driving examiners. We will continue our campaign. A work to rule began on Tuesday which will hit driving tests hard.
Paul Williams, PCS DSA section president
Minister Hain is booed at festival
Over 7,000 people attended the Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival in Dorset last weekend.
The festival commemorates six agricultural workers who were deported to Australia in 1834 for forming a union.
Speakers at the event included Tony Benn, TUC general secretary Brendan Barber and Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti.
Festival goers booed New Labour minister Peter Hain’s speech and shouted anti-war slogans.
A 21st century two day strike
Amicus union members at 21st Century Logistics in Kent are set to strike on Thursday and Friday of this week.
Union members are angry that the company refuses to sign up to an agreement that entitles them to negotiate on their working conditions.
21st Century Logistics is the warehouse contractors for papermakers M-Real at their Sittingbourne and Kemsley paper mills in Kent.
Amicus members have already staged two one day strikes on 21 June and 4 July. Workers voted by 100 percent for action.
Verdict awaited in Babar’s case
Babar Ahmad’s high court appeal against extradition to the US on terrorism charges was adjourned last week. A verdict is expected at the end of this month.
Edward Fitzgerald QC, representing Babar and Haroon Aswat, who is also detained at HMP Woodhill facing extradition to the US on terror charges, argued that both men face the risk of discriminatory treatment if they are handed over to US authorities.
He argued that the US president could designate the men “enemy combatants” and deliver them over to military custody.
He also said that a diplomatic assurance from the US embassy in London that this would not happen could not be accepted with good faith.
For more details on Babar’s appeal, go to the Free Babar Ahmad website at www.freebabarahmad.com
Benefit gig to defy the fascists
A benefit concert in aid of refugees will go ahead on Thursday of this week in Liverpool despite intimidation by fascists.
The concert will raise money for the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns. This organisation has been targeted by a fascist website.
The site publishes photographs and home addresses of anti-fascist activists. It was linked to the recent knife attack on Merseyside trade unionist Alec McFadden.
The site has targeted Liverpool singer Alun Parry who is performing at the gig.
The event, which is being supported by Love Music Hate Racism, takes place at 8pm at the Magnet venue in Hardman Street this Thursday 20 July.
Fighting job cuts in the DWP
A crucial meeting of the PCS union’s group executive in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) was set to take place on Thursday of this week.
It was set to discuss the next stage in the union’s fight against tens of thousands of job cuts in the DWP. There have been two solid two day strikes against these earlier this year.
The campaign is set to be stepped up after the union’s national executive voted last week to move towards balloting the whole membership to strike over job cuts in the autumn.
It is essential that the union does not postpone action in the DWP to wait for the rest of the membership to join the fight.
It should also not accept a deal with management as a fight brews across the civil service.
Dave Owens, PCS DWP group executive (pc)
Revenue strike postponed
The strike of 8,000 PCS union members at ten large processing offices in HM Revenue and Customs set for Friday of last week was postponed after a new offer over the “Lean” working practices.
National Gallery strike
PCS members at the National Gallery in London who work as warders struck on Thursday of last week against changes to their terms and conditions.