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Reports round-up: Anger at death of Trans woman in prison

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Issue 2538
Protesters outside Doncaster prison
Protesters outside Doncaster prison (Pic: Steve Johnston)

People gathered outside Pentonville prison in north London and Doncaster prison last Sunday protesting over the death of transgender prisoner Jenny Swift.

Jenny died on 30 December last year. She was the third trans prisoner to die in UK prisons in a little over a year.

The authorities had remanded her to an all-male prison run by Serco and she had been refused her hormone medication.

Prison staff referred to her as “mister”, and she walked into the prison naked as she refused to wear prison clothes.

More than 100 people took part in the London protest, and some 60 joined the protest in Doncaster.

The protests were part of the International Day of Solidarity with Trans Prisoners.

Laura Miles

Vote for free movement at Unison Black Members Conference

Hundreds of black workers gathered in Brighton for the Unison union’s Black Members Conference last weekend.

The conference reaffirmed its opposition to any attempt to curtail the free movement of workers from the European Union.

Conference highlighted the need to build a mass anti-racist movement.

Many activists pledged to join the Stand Up To Racism Trade Union Conference on Saturday 4 February.

Ameen Hadi

Cleaners fight back at London’s universities

Cleaners at KCL university in London were set to strike on Thursday and Friday of this week.

They are fighting over changes to terms and conditions including reduced working hours and possible redundancies.

Cleaners at the London School of Economics are being balloted for strikes. They are fighting for pay and conditions parity with other workers at the university.

The cleaning services are outsourced to firm Noonan, which pays the workers less than their colleagues in other departments and only gives them the statutory minimum of employment rights.

Cleaners held a lobby on campus on Thursday of last week.

A two-day nuclear strike for pensions

Around 600 workers at two Atomic Weapons Establishment sites in Berkshire struck on Thursday and Friday over pensions.

Bosses of the privatised nuclear weapons authority want to cut thousands from workers’ retirement income.

Another two-day strike is planned next week.

A tip-top win at Harrods

Restaurant workers at Harrods celebrated a victory on Friday of last week after the posh department store backed down and announced it will give them all their tips.

Management recently admitted to only giving workers 50 percent of the service charge. Some workers estimated that they were owed as much as £5,000 in lost tips.

Management caved after a short campaign of protests by the United Voices of the World union. Harrods workers have joined the union through the campaign.

From April workers will get 100 percent of the service charge—although bosses are cutting it from 12.5 percent of the bill to 10 percent.

But this is a significant victory for the sector.

Solidarity halts disciplinary at Edinburgh College

The threat of disciplinary action has been lifted from Edinburgh College lecturers’ EIS-Fela union branch secretary Penny Gower.

It followed an 82 percent vote for strikes in an indicative ballot and a flood of solidarity messages.

Penny had taken up the case of a lecturer who, she argued, was unfairly sacked without due process.

Management accused her of misrepresenting events.

The fact that Penny has no case to answer strengthens the union’s view that the sacking remains unjustified.

A statutory ballot to win the lecturer’s reinstatement opens on Thursday.

Simon O’Hara returns to work

Simon O’Hara, who has been fighting a long fight after he was suspended and then sacked, went back to work at Birmingham’s Small Heath School on Monday.

His return is a tribute to the tremendous solidarity and fighting spirit of his co-workers in the NUT union.

Teachers held 11 days of strikes against plans to turn the school into an academy and forced bosses to withdraw them. They escalated to weekly three-day strikes after Simon was suspended.

The union group has been strengthened by the battle and is cheered that Simon is back.

Defending community halls in south London

The occupation of the Thurlow Lodge community hall on the Aylesbury estate in south London entered its third week.

Southwark council climbed down from threats to evict the Divine Rescue charity, and didn’t offer it alternative premises.

“They said they’re not going to kick us out,” said volunteer Valerie Msoni.

The council wants the charity out of Wendover House—the next block up for demolition in the Aylesbury “regeneration”.

A campaign has also been started to defend the Stockwell community centre in Lambeth, south London.

Its owner Hyde Housing Association is trying to sell off its community centres across London.

Stop Nazi EDL in Rotherham

ANTI-fascists are mobilising against the Nazi English Defence League demonstrating in Rotherham on Saturday 25 February.

Rotherham Unite Against Fascism has called a Unity Demo at around midday in the town centre.

Peterborough post workers may strike

Postal workers at a Royal Mail centre in Peterborough could strike in defence of two workers facing disciplinaries.

The CWU union’s Eastern No 5 branch is asking the union’s Postal Executive Committee for permission to ballot for industrial action.

Fire bosses send home firefighters

Two firefighters in Scarborough were sent home after implementing a work to rule last Wednesday.

The two had refused to operate a two-person Tactical Response Vehicle (TRVs) that had replaced a full size fire engine in recent cuts.

Firefighters in the FBU union are refusing to operate the vehicles as bosses try to “railroad” them through.

Climate refugees conference planned

Activists are building for a conference on “Climate Refugees” in central London on Saturday 11 February.

It aims to explore “a global response based on justice and solidarity”.

New offer at Fujitsu sees strike halted

A planned strike at IT Services firm Fujitsu in Manchester was suspended on Friday of last week after bosses made a new offer to end the long-running dispute.

Unite is not releasing details of the offer until it has been put to members.

Don’t slice our jobs, say pizza workers

Workers at The Pizza Factory in Nottingham, owned by food giant 2 Sisters have voted for strikes for better redundancy pay and to defend conditions as bosses announced job cuts.


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