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Reports round-up: British Airways must pay

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Issue 2530
BA cabin crew on strike in 2010

BA cabin crew on strike in 2010 (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Thousands of British Airways cabin crew begin voting this Wednesday on strikes against poverty pay.

They have rejected a 2 percent pay offer following six years without pay rises.

A survey by their union, Unite, has revealed workers sleeping in their cars between shifts, doing second or third jobs or flying while ill because they can’t afford to take sick leave.

Their basic pay is £12,000 a year, with average pay packets including allowances totalling just £16,000.

This comes from the “Mixed Fleet” imposed on cabin crew after Unite backed down from a fight in 2010. The union must build a big vote for strikes and call a serious programme of action this time.

Ritzy bosses are taking the biscuit

Bectu union members at the Ritzy cinema in Brixton have announced the latest strikes in their ongoing dispute for the London Living Wage as well as other demands.

The first was set to start this Thursday at 10pm. This will be followed by strikes on Friday between 4pm and 9pm, Saturday from noon until 6am Sunday, Sunday between 3pm and 6.30pm and on Monday from 6pm to 9pm.

Send messages saying you support the strikers to [email protected] and cc [email protected]

Out to beat the hated Housing Act

Housing activists are set to hold a protest outside parliament on the day of the Autumn Statement, Wednesday 23 November.

The Axe the Housing Act campaign has called the protest to keep pressure on the Tory Housing and Planning Act (see page 2).

Join the protest 23 November, 12pm to 4pm, Old Palace Yard, London SW1P3JY

Sheffield unites for £10 an hour wages

Activists in Sheffield are preparing for a demonstration to demand a £10 an hour minimum wage.

The protest is set to take place on Thursday 17 December at 12 noon and starts from Devonshire Green.

Protest demands Kurdish rights

Around 2,000 people joined a demonstration in London last Saturday in defence of peace and democracy in Turkey. In the latest assault, the Turkish interior ministry ordered 370 NGOs and community organisations inside Turkey to be closed.

Some 199 are Kurdish and accused of being affiliated to the PKK. It is important that British trade unionists support the fightback.

See SPOT (Solidarity with the People of Turkey) on Facebook

Civil service staff reject payoff cut

The PCS union has said the need for members to vote to reject Tory cuts to redundancy pay “has become even more important” after the cut was forced through last week.

Cuts to the Civil Service Compensation Scheme (CSCS) will see caps on compulsory and redundancy pay reduced.

They will also change the way redundancy payments are calculated.

Strikes across civil service departments can save jobs and office closures—and force the Tories to row back on their CSCS cuts.

EHRC workers walk out for your rights

Civil Service workers at the Equality and Human Rights Commission struck on Wednesday of last week. The members of the PCS and Unite unions are fighting bosses’ plans to close offices in Birmingham, Leeds, Edinburgh and Newcastle, and slash jobs.

Last Wednesday’s strike saw 100 percent turnouts in Glasgow and London—and was set to be followed up by another strike on Wednesday this week.

Walkout in jails over ‘dangers’

Prison officers walked out of prisons in England and Wales on Tuesday morning.

The Prison Officers Association (POA) says 10,000 took part in industrial action.

The POA, which is legally restricted from striking, said the day of protest would be “interpreted as a strike”.

It comes after talks with the government over staffing levels broke down.

According to the union, “The POA has consistently raised the volatile and dangerous state of prisons.”

Dave Todd, POA representative for London, Kent, Surrey and Sussex, said conditions in prisons were “volatile and dangerous”.

“We need to act to protect ourselves,” he said.

“Last month Lewes prison had a riot, Bedford prison had a riot, and assaults are at an all-time high.

“There’s mobile phones and drugs in prisons.”

Todd added, “The Ministry of Justice will call it a strike, they will injunct through the courts.”

The Tories did indeed describe the action as unjustified and “unlawful”—and threatened to go to the courts.

Every trade unionist should oppose the repeated use of the law against the prison officers.

But it should be remembered that the victims of the prison system and its conditions are the prisoners.

Improving jail conditions means fewer prisoners, not more officers.

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