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News and reports in brief

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Hackney schools protest Students, parents and staff from Haggerston school in Hackney, east London, protested last week at threats to the school from the spread of city academies in the area.
Issue 1938
Haggerston school protest
Haggerston school protest

Hackney schools protest

Students, parents and staff from Haggerston school in Hackney, east London, protested last week at threats to the school from the spread of city academies in the area.

Journos scrapped for new presses

Journalists in the NUJ union at the Telegraph are considering industrial action after last week’s announcement of 90 redundancies. Management has said it will get rid of 90 journalists to save £150 million to buy new printing presses. At the same time they plan to add pages to the papers, produced by fewer staff.

An NUJ workplace meeting on Friday of last week voted to give managers an ultimatum — withdraw the announcement in three days or there will be a ballot for strike action.

NUJ Left conference, Saturday 12 February, 10.30am-4pm, Mechanics Institute, Manchester, with an Iraqi eyewitness from Fallujah. More details from Phil Turner — phone 07810 824 223.

Scottish Executive ignores ferry vote

The RMT union has threatened strike action over the Scottish Executive’s plans to sell off the Gourock-Dunoon ferry service, run by Caledonian MacBrayne.

The Executive placed advertisements in newspapers last week saying that the west coast ferry service was open for bids.

This is despite the Scottish parliament voting against the proposals in December.

Museum workers to strike over pay

Staff in the Prospect and PCS civil service workers unions in the museums that make up the National Museum of Science and Industry have voted to strike over pay.

Hundreds of workers are set to walk out for one day next week to coincide with the school half-term holidays.

Staff in the Science Museum, London, the National Museum of Photography Film and Television, Bradford, and the National Railway Museum, York, will strike after rejecting a 2.5 percent pay offer.

Schools: staff in equality fight

About 300 school caretakers and cleaners employed by Jarvis in Huddersfield and Dewsbury, west Yorkshire, are set to ballot for strikes over pay and conditions. The Unison and the GMB unions are calling on Jarvis to match the pay of caretakers and cleaners who have not been contracted out from Kirklees council, with the settlement backdated to last September.

MP forced to clean up his act

Residents Against Rubbish is continuing its campaign to prevent a new landfill site being opened next to their homes in Stargate, Gateshead.

Protesters marched from the proposed site to the surgery of local Labour MP John McWilliam on Saturday of last week.

McWilliam had previously failed to respond to letters from the protest group, but he now says he will table an amendment to the Clean Neighbourhoods Act.
Tony Dowling

Marshall Aerospace ballot

MEMBERS OF the Amicus union at Marshall Aerospace in Cambridge are balloting for action over a regrading claim.

The company signed an agreement last year stating it would implement the grading scheme by 31 July 2004. This never happened and it came back with an offer of an interim payment of 35p an hour.

Workers rejected this offer by four to one. The company raised the offer to 50p. The union recommended this deal but the workforce rejected it, again by four to one.

This was because the payment was not consolidated into the hourly rate or on overtime and was not to be paid on holiday and sick pay.

The company met union officials two weeks ago and promised to get back to us in a couple of days. This never happened, so we had no choice but to continue with the ballot for industrial action.
Amicus convenor

Anger against rubbish deal

REFUSE COLLECTORS in Coventry staged an unofficial walkout on Wednesday of last week. They are fighting plans to reduce their wages by £4,500 a year under a pay deal that the Tory-controlled council wants to force on staff.

Refuse collectors’ salaries will be frozen for five years before they drop. Strikers returned to work after being threatened with the sack over the action. The workers staged a wildcat strike last October when they first heard how much they’d lose.

Griffin blocked in Scotland

A STORM of protest has forced the debating society at St Andrews University near Dundee to withdraw an invite to BNP leader Nick Griffin to speak. Unite Against Fascism joint secretary Sabby Dhalu says, “The decision to withdraw the invitation shows what happens when the anti-fascist majority make their voice heard.”
Act now to stop the BNP. Unite Against Fascism conference, Saturday 26 February, 9.30am, TUC Congress House, Great Russell Street, London WC1

Sick pay attack spreads wider

COUNCIL WORKERS in Wolverhampton could strike over plans to dock sick pay for the first three days they are off work.

The Unison and Ucatt unions are organising against this latest move to bring the sickness policy employed by firms like Tesco into the public sector. Wolverhampton Unison branch secretary Adrian Turner says, “We may have to consult members on industrial action.”

Rising feeling at bread maker

AMICUS UNION members working for bakers Rank Hovis McDougall are considering a ballot for industrial action to defend their pension scheme. The company has decided to freeze the level of pensionable salaries for its 10,000 workers. This would reduce the value of the pension over time as it would not take account of wage rises.

New fear for jobs at Rover

THOUSANDS OF jobs are threatened by the planned merger between MG Rover and the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation.Sources at Rover’s Longbridge plant indicate that up to 3,000 of the company’s workers could be axed.

Sign up for right to protest at G8

ANTI-CAPITALIST activists in Scotland have launched a petition in defence of the right to protest at the G8 summit in July. It protests at intimidating “security” measures already threatened by the government and police, and demands the right to peaceful protest.

The petition is available at

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