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Reports round-up: Housing activists build a movement

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Issue 2648
Discussing the link between housing and health
Discussing the link between housing and health (Pic: Glyn Robbins)

Housing campaigners came together in London on Saturday to discuss the links between housing and health.

Speakers included academics and activists.

Raquel Rolnik, United Nations special rapporteur on housing, attended and slammed the Tory government’s austerity.

“We must stop and scrap Universal Credit and issue a radical rebuke to the rich who only see housing as a commodity,” said Ellen Clifford from Dpac.

Guardian newspaper columnist Dawn Foster said, “Our arguments are winning—that housing should be a right and for a national council house building programme.”

Workers engineer a 24-hour walkout

Workers at an engineering firm were set to strike on Wednesday to fight for a better pay offer.

Over 90 Unite members at TSP Engineering in Cumbria were due to walk out for 24 hours after rejecting a lump sum by 96 percent.

Strikers include crane drivers, electricians, fitters, machinists, mechanics, platers and welders.

Seafarers sail into historic action

Seafarers could be headed for strikes at Trinity House—the firm responsible for lighthouses and marine safety.

The Unite union members are fighting seven years of below-inflation pay rises and pay freezes.

The 34 workers are based at three lighthouse tenders in Essex and Swansea. Union members voted by 90 percent for strikes—which would be the first walkouts in Trinity Houses’s 505 year history.

Workers were due to receive a six percent increase three years ago but bosses backtracked after the transport ministry vetoed it.

Miles Hubbard, Unite regional officer, said workers “maintain buoyage and seamarks which are essential for the wellbeing of mariners in British waters”.

Winning pay like it’s going out of fashion

Cleaners at Chanel have won a 10 percent pay rise following a vote for strikes.

But they plan to go ahead with the planned strike until they win the London Living Wage of £10.55 an hour.

Other demands include decreased workloads, the implementation of health and safety legislation, and that workers receive their wages by bank transfer not cheque.

The workers are members of the United Voices of the World trade union.

Soas gets strike ready

Workers at Soas university, central London, were due to lobby the university’s trustees, as Socialist Worker went to press on Tuesday.

Unison union members are fighting the loss of 30 jobs, with 100 workers at risk of redundancy.

Pay cuts and degrading of roles is also threatened.

Bosses’ plans have come out of the “One Professional Service” restructuring

process. Workers staged an unofficial walkout in March and are set to start a ballot for strikes soon.

Action would be likely to hit from late May, and the students union has voted to support their fight.

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Outsource fightback

Up to a hundred students and workers protested on Tuesday of last week at Goldsmiths university, south London, to demand outsourced workers be brought in house.

Cleaners and security guards are demanding the same conditions as directly employed workers.

“Some of us have worked for Goldsmiths for more than 20 years and we have to retire without anything,” said security guard Raphael.

Workers claim that the management of the CIS firm which employs them prevents them from eating at the canteen on campus.

Management said they can following protests.

Action off, fight still on in Hackney bus dispute

Strikes on school bus services in Hackney, east London, look set to continue after talks broke down.

Drivers and passenger assistants—who help disabled children get to school—are fighting for an extra £50 a week in split shift payments.

The Unite union members struck for two days in March.

They called off two further days of action due to last week’s negotiations.

They are likely to take more action after the Easter holidays.

Workers in this vital service should keep fighting for decent pay.

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