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Reports round-up: 250 join unofficial walkout over university library cuts

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Issue 2646
Campaigning for the library
Campaigning for the library

Hundreds of workers staged a dramatic wildcat strike on Monday at Soas University of London.

Around 250 Unison union members struck from 4pm as part of their fight against an ongoing restructuring process of the university library.

Sandy Nicoll, Soas Unison union branch secretary, told Socialist Worker, “We’re ready to ballot over compulsory redundancies.

“The actual restructuring included a lot of downgrading of people’s jobs.”

Workers walked out as soon as the final outcome of the restructuring was announced. It could mean 30 jobs would be slashed.

“There’s a huge level of anger”, said Sandy. “The next thing is getting the students and academics on board.”

Around 500 workers at Essar Oil (UK) in Ellesmere Port, on Merseyside, are to ballot for strikes over job losses.

The Unite union says up to 155 workers’ jobs are under threat.

Unite regional coordinating officer Mick Chalmers said, “Our members are feeling increasingly betrayed because of the company’s refusal to give assurances on jobs. We will fight compulsory redundancies by every means open to us.”

Edinburgh takes on SDL

Anti-fascists will gather in Edinburgh on Saturday to oppose the Scottish Defence League’s latest attempt to spread its racist hate.

It is attempting to exploit victims of child sexual exploitation and abuse to mobilise numbers behind its fascist organisation.

Edinburgh Against The Racist SDL says, “Join us as we call for justice for survivors of child sexual abuse and exploitation and absolutely oppose the far right’s cynical use of these abhorrent acts to demonise entire religious and ethnic communities.

No to the SDL, Saturday, 23 March, assemble 12 noon, East Market Street (near Waverley Station)

Hackney battle over split shift payments

Drivers and passenger escorts at Hackney council in east London began the first of a series of strikes on Tuesday.

They are in dispute over working split shifts. The 33 Unite union members drive and assist disabled children to and from school.

They work two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening. One striker explained that on £800 a month, “We need more pay. We have to come home between shifts.

“If you pay £650 a month on rent, then money on fares, you’ve nothing left.’

They are set to strike on the next two Tuesdays and 4 April.

Gareth Jenkins

NSK engineers fight against extra hours

Unite union members at NSK Bearings in Newark, Nottinghamshire, started the third week of a strike on Monday of this week.

The 27 workers are striking against a new shift pattern that could see management extend Friday working on a whim. The new conditions would also see more weekend shifts for engineers.

Pensions fightback at Glasgow airport

Workers at Glasgow Airport are preparing to vote on strikes over pay and pensions.

Airport bosses want to close workers’ defined benefits pension scheme.

This would break a 2016 agreement to keep the scheme open.

In addition workers have been offered a 1.5 percent pay “rise”—which represents a real terms pay cut.

It was unanimously rejected in a consultative ballot of Unite union members.

Pension strike move wins at Freightliner

Bosses have backed off from attacks at Freightliner after rail workers threatened strikes.

RMT and Aslef union members were due to walk out last Friday at the freight company.

The firm wanted to change the pensions scheme for a worse one. But the strike threat made them think again.

Remembering those who fought in Spain

Around 250 people packed into a meeting in Hull last Saturday for the unveiling of a memorial to people from Hull who went to fight fascism in Spain in the 1930s.

Family members of some of the ten local people who went to Spain spoke about the dangers of racism, antisemitism and Islamophobia today.

Phil Sanderson

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