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Unison grows + BT crisis + RSPCA cuts + School safety + Curtain falls on jobs

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Issue 2710
Its struggle that really builds unions
It’s struggle that really builds unions (Pic: Guy Smallman)

The Unison union says it has seen a surge in membership with more than 90,000 people signing up ​this year.

That’s an increase of almost a quarter on the same period in 2019.

Some 25 percent of th​is membership ​increase came in May alone, with 23,040 joining​.

One sector where growth has been ​significant is among school ​support staff​, said Unison.

Another big increase has come among care staff.

It’s welcome to see more workers getting organised.

But the real test is what the union will now do to encourage a fightback as bosses seek to slash jobs and conditions.

Workers will rightly expect their union to offer real resistance.

Battle lines drawn at BT

Threats to job security and terms and conditions across BT Group must be met with “a steely and united show of resistance” said CWU union branches last week.

BT bosses are poised to embark on the widest-ranging programme of changes in the company’s history.

The union says it is already grappling with a growing list of potential flashpoints.

These include the threat of compulsory redundancies and major attacks on pensions.

The CWU says it “has resolved to prepare for battle in case negotiations fail to secure an acceptable way forward”.

Will Murray from Greater London Combined branch told an online forum, “BT has manoeuvred us past our red line which was industrial action after a single compulsory redundancy.

“We need to stand firm.”

RSPCA job cuts challenged

Plans from the RSPCA animal charity to make 300 staff redundant will be “challenged” said the Unite union last week.

Unite regional officer Terry Abbott said, “While coronavirus and the subsequent economic disruption are undoubtedly putting financial pressure on many charities, these proposals are excessive.

“This is distressing news for our members at the RSPCA and Unite will do its utmost to support them at this difficult time.

“Before any course of action is decided upon, the RSPCA must enter into a full consultation with Unite.

“Any potential restructuring must be done in a way that keeps redundancies to an absolute minimum and ensures the charity’s operational capacity.”

Calls for Surrey school closure over safety fears

The GMB union has called on Surrey County Council to shut Godstone village school immediately, citing serious concerns for pupil and staff safety.

The school has failed to carry out a detailed risk assessment.

It has also been admitting students from years two and five, even though this is in direct contravention of the government advice.

The headteacher has further fuelled the flames by sending a letter to parents inviting them into the school to help, increasing safety fears.

Carmarthenshire theatre jobs slashed

Over 20 people working in theatres for the Randstad agency were laid off overnight by the company last week.

They work in theatres run by Carmarthenshire County Council in west Wales.

The company had refused the council’s request to furlough their staff.

The workers were given only one week’s paid notice.

The GMB union is calling on the council to intervene and ensure staff are paid and protected.


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