Socialist Worker

Reports round-up

Issue No. 2015

South West Trains

Drivers on South West Trains (SWT) are to stage three 24-hour strikes as part of a long running dispute.

The workers, members of the Aslef union are due to walk out on 29 August and on 8 and 11 September.

SWT operates commuter routes from London Waterloo to the south west and south east, including Bristol, Plymouth, Weymouth and Brighton.

The dispute centres on a dispute over the right to take a free taxi home after a shift ending in the early morning or late at night.

Gatwick Express

Drivers on the non-stop express rail link between London Victoria and Gatwick airport have announced a series of strikes in a dispute over pay.

The 46 drivers who are members of the Aslef rail union were to strike this Friday and next Tuesday, with a further three days of action planned for 11, 22 and 25 September.

Aslef says that after “meandering” formal negotiations, the company has failed to make an offer that is “even vaguely acceptable”. It has accused managers of stalling and obstructing progress rather than seeking a settlement.

The final offer would see a pay rise of just over 3 percent with worse conditions.

Pension strike vote in Cumbria

Cumbrian Newspapers NUJ union members are to vote on strikes over plans to close their final salary pension scheme.

The group, which employs about 300 staff, wants to close the scheme to both new and existing members - a greater attack than most firms.

The NUJ rep at the Carlisle newsroom, Julian Whittle, said, “The members feel anger, betrayal and dismay. Using the company’s own projections, the members will typically be £4,000 to £5,000 a year worse off when they retire.”

Cumbrian Newspapers’ portfolio includes the Cumberland News, the Carlisle News & Star, and the North West Evening News. In 2004 it made after-tax profits of £1.6 million.

Asylum seekers’ lawyers to strike

Staff providing legal services for asylum seekers at a reception centre are to strike over redundancies.

Amicus union members at the Oakington Centre near Cambridge are set to walk out on Tuesday.

Staff claim that their employers, the Refugee Legal Centre (RLC), failed to abide by its own redundancy policy. In a ballot 95 percent of members voted for strikes.

Fourteen jobs were lost in July without consultation and up to 20 more could go.

Amicus regional officer Sarah Carpenter said, “In recent months management has repeatedly breached its own redundancy policy negotiated with the union in 2002.

“It has not behaved like a responsible employer and certainly not like one that won an award last year for defending human rights.”

Are prison staff locked into deal?

Prison officers in England and Wales have voted to take industrial action in a row over pay and bargaining rights.

Some 15,000 members of the Prison Officers Association (POA) have backed action and 2,400 voted against.

The union said the dispute was over the independence of the pay review body and claims its members have seen a pay cut.

The Prison Service said it and the POA had signed a major deal which included an agreement by the POA not to take industrial action, and that the union needed to give 12 months’ notice if it wanted to withdraw from this agreement. The POA says pay falls outside this deal.

Strike plan inflates Pirelli tyres pay

The threat of a strike has led to an improved pay offer at Pirelli tyres in Carlisle and Burton-on-Trent.

Pirelli increased its offer to 1,100 workers from 2.2 percent to 3 percent.

The company offered 1.1 percent when bargaining began in April. Workers in the T&G and Amicus voted for industrial action by 75 percent after the company revised the pay offer to 2.2 percent.

They were to strike this week but will consider the new offer.

Croydon tram workers

Workers in the T&G union on the Croydon Tram are in dispute over a pay claim.

A series of strike days had been announced but have been repeatedly cancelled for talks with management.

According to Steve Linger, of the T&G, “We’ve been having talks for nine months now but First Group keep on messing us around and moving the goal posts.”

Some 57 percent of tram drivers voted in favour of strike action. The workers are seeking a 15 percent pay increase while First Group have offered 5 percent.

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Article information

Sat 26 Aug 2006, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 2015
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