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Reports round up: Big march for NHS in Oxford

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Issue 2608
Over 200 people joined a march for the NHS in Oxford on Saturday demanding action over the staffing crisis in Oxfordshire’s NHS, and opposition to cuts and privatisation. Its vacancy rate is twice the national average. Over £236 was collected for Wigan health strikers.
Over 200 people joined a march for the NHS in Oxford on Saturday demanding action over the staffing crisis in Oxfordshire’s NHS, and opposition to cuts and privatisation. Its vacancy rate is twice the national average. Over £236 was collected for Wigan health strikers. (Pic: Julie Simmons)

TGI Fridays workers keep up campaign 

Workers at TGI Fridays delivered a letter to the business minister Greg Clark on Tuesday.

They are demanding the government take action over companies using card service charges to avoid paying workers properly.

The workers held another day of strikes last Friday in their bid to get back 40 percent of their tips.

To save the firm money, management transferred these to kitchen staff with just two days’ notice.

Two stores, in Milton Keynes and Covent Garden, London, have been out for every Friday for four weeks.

Another two, in Manchester and Piccadilly Circus, have been out for every Friday for three weeks.

In Manchester Labour MPs Kate Green and Lucy Powell joined the picket lines, and mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham sent a message of support to strikers.

Workers are clear that they want the dispute to be about more than just tips.

Unite union has to fight for unity among all TGI Fridays workers and demands for a living wage and equal share of tips could help.

The letter handed to the business minister by workers also demanded the government publish its report on the tipping system, which is almost two years overdue.

It finished its consultation on 27 June 2016.

Fracking protest defies injunction

Dozens of trade union activists joined anti-fracking campaigners last Saturday at the Preston New Road fracking site in Lancashire.

There were delegations from the PCS, NEU, Unite and TSSA unions, alongside socialists and environmental campaigners.

Preston New Road has been a key battleground for fracking companies and the anti-fracking movement.

Demonstrators defied an injunction obtained by fracking firm Cuadrilla and marched down to the main gates of a site chanting, “Frack free Lancashire, frack free everywhere.”

Sarah Ensor

Strike for dignity at University of London

Outsourced workers at the University of London struck on Wednesday of last week.

They receive worse pensions, holiday pay, sick pay, and maternity and paternity pay than those directly employed by the university.

Management has been forced to review its facilities management contract after a strong campaign involving strikes by the workers’ Independent Workers of Great Britain union.

University of London cleaner Margarita Cunalata said, “We will continue fighting until we are made direct employees and treated with the dignity we deserve.”

Tube strikes called off after new moves

Strikes on the Jubilee and District lines on the London Underground set for last week were called off at the last minute, following talks at arbitration service Acas.

RMT union members on the Jubilee line are fighting a new timetable that would affect weekend working.

And Aslef union members on the District Line are part of a separate dispute over rostering and working procedures.

Three networks are set for action in fight for rail safety

A fresh wave of strikes are set to sweep parts of the rail network in June, with three networks walking out in coordinated action.

Bosses want to bring in driver only operation (DOO) trains. This attacks jobs and safety.

RMT union members on Greater Anglia will strike on 16 and 23 June, and they’ll be joined by Northern strikers on 19, 21 and 23 June.

Workers on South Western are set to strike on 21 and 23 June.

This marks a return to the coordinated action which saw six networks strike together.

The action comes when rail fat cats are under fire for bringing in timetable changes that have resulted in thousands of trains being cancelled or delayed.

The Tories and bosses are determined to roll out DOO—and only solid strikes will stop them.

Action needed on sexual harassment

A third of women workers have faced sexual harassment in the workplace according to a new survey of 7,000 people carried out by the Prospect union. The figure goes up to almost two thirds for people under 30.

Of the reported sexual harassment, 27 percent of incidents involved “suggestive remarks” and 17 percent included “unwelcome behaviour of a sexual nature.”

One woman said when she complained she was “made to feel like I was to blame by the investigating officer”. Another respondent said, “I lost a job after bringing up sexual harassment from a manager.”

Scarborough victory over a far right gig

Scarborough Spa’s management was forced to cancel a Sargon of Akkad (Carl Benjamin) show following a campaign by Scarborough Stand Up To Racism.

It was supported by Labour and Green Party councillors and members, trade unionists and other anti-racists.

Benjamin, who had been due to appear at the venue on 16 June, is a mouthpiece for the far right.

“The far right is trying to regroup under the banner of free speech,” said Labour councillor Rob Barnett.

“Scarborough Spa is to be congratulated for refusing to allow its stage to be used as a tool in that campaign.”

Benjamin spoke at the rally in Whitehall in London on 6 May called by former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson.

Kim Hunter


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