Socialist Worker

Strike


130 ballots for action over Xmas

11 December 1999
POSTAL workers across Britain are angry at Royal Mail's plans to make them work harder and for less money this Christmas. Management has tried to push through Christmas arrangements that claw back on overtime, concentrate the mail on fewer deliveries and squeeze staffing numbers and conditions. The result is that a remarkable 130 areas across Britain have demanded strike ballots.

Sky Chefs

11 December 1999
TRADE UNIONISTS in west London are organising to raise solidarity with the Sky Chefs workers in the run up to Xmas. They are calling on everyone-trade unionists, campaign groups, etc-to collect money to take to the picket line on Sunday 19 December. The 270 workers were sacked by Lufthansa just over one year ago for taking part in a legal one day strike.

BT

11 December 1999
SOME 4,000 BT call centre workers at 37 workplaces were due to stage the second of a series of one day strikes on Friday of this week. The fight is over bullying managers, understaffing and work targets. There were picket lines on most of the affected offices on the last strike day. Talks between the workers' CWU union and BT were still taking place as Socialist Worker went to press.

Get Carter!

11 December 1999
YORKSHIRE Traction bus workers were boosted on Friday of last week as they staged their second one day strike for a decent pay rise. Their boss, Frank Carter, did not dare to run scab buses, driven by managers from outside the area, as he had done on the previous strike day on Saturday 27 November. The 35 pickets at the Barnsley depot talked about how the managers had received so much abuse from passengers they refused to work again.

On the line

04 December 1999
AN EXCELLENT 50 copies of Socialist Worker were sold to pickets during last week's Wandsworth council strike, while 29 papers were sold to striking postal workers during their unofficial strike in Glasgow. Socialist Worker readers in the post produced two copies of a strike bulletin.

Drivers rattle Centre West

27 November 1999
NEARLY 2,000 bus workers across west London struck for the day over pay on Monday this week. The action hit services in Greenford, Acton, Uxbridge, Orpington, Alperton and Westbourne Park. It was the workers' second official one day strike. Members of the TGWU also struck for the day on Wednesday of last week. The drivers and conductors work for a company called Centre West which is owned by First Group, Britain's largest bus operator.

It's good to walk

27 November 1999
"IT'S LIKE working in a slave galley." That was how one striker in Lancaster summed up the feelings of the 4,000 workers on strike at 37 BT call centres around Britain on Monday.

Manchester University

27 November 1999
SECRETARIES AND clerical workers at Manchester University struck on Tuesday of last week in a dispute over pay. Management had offered 3.5 percent but had set aside over 6.5 percent for a rise in the university's pay bill. The strike was solid, with over 40 people joining the UNISON union in the run up to the action.

'We want results from union leaders'

27 November 1999
OVER 400 people attended a one year anniversary rally for the Sky Chefs workers in west London last Saturday. Lufthansa Sky Chefs at Heathrow sacked the 270 workers last year for taking part in a legal one day strike. They have been fighting for reinstatement ever since.

Centres of a new struggle

27 November 1999
"IT'S LIKE George Orwell's 1984 in there. You can't even go to the toilet without someone in Coventry or London knowing where you're going and for how long." Those were the words of a BT call centre worker in Bristol who was out on strike on Monday along with over 4,000 call centre staff. Their fight is against bullying managers, understaffing and impossible work targets.

Colleges

20 November 1999
SECRETARIAL and clerical workers at Manchester University were due to be out on strike on Tuesday in a dispute over pay. Staff have demanded an improvement on the 3.5 percent which was foisted on them in their September pay packets. The university has one of the highest proportions of low paid clerical staff in the country.

BT workers poised to cut off bosses

20 November 1999
THOUSANDS of BT call centre workers are set to strike on Monday. If the action goes ahead it will be the first national action in BT for 13 years. It comes after BT announced record profits last week, up by 9 percent in the last three months to a staggering £137 a second.

Bus drivers shift to a forward gear

20 November 1999
"WE HAD no other option but to strike. We just couldn't go on being ground into the dirt." That was how Essex bus driver Roger Martin explained why workers at Eastern National went on strike over pay. The company is owned by FirstGroup, Britain's biggest bus operator.

Zimbabwe

20 November 1999
Some 6,000 nurses, two thirds of the national total, began a strike in Zimbabwe last week. This came a few days after striking doctors went back to work, victorious after a long strike. The striking nurses are demanding better pay after doctors won their fight for better pay and conditions for staff and patients.

Bus workers

13 November 1999
BUS WORKERS in Essex staged their second one day strike over pay on Friday of last week. The strikes are the first for 29 years at Eastern National, now owned by the giant First Bus outfit. The action shut depots in towns across Essex, including Colchester, Chelmsford, Bishop's Stortford, Braintree and elsewhere.

Ford walkout

13 November 1999
"IT'S A war in there." They were the angry words of a Ford Dagenham worker this week as the giant plant in Essex was again hit by strike action.

Sky Chefs

13 November 1999
"LOOK AT us. I feel like I am homeless. We look so poor sitting here in all the cold weather." They are the bitter words of one of the Sky Chefs workers at Heathrow airport who have been on the picket line for nearly a year after being sacked for taking a legal one day strike.

Teachers

13 November 1999
THE NATIONAL Union of Teachers is calling on teachers to organise a week of protests, beginning on 29 November, against the government's plan to impose a performance related pay system. Activities are to be aimed at winning arguments with other teaching unions, parents, governors and MPs, but they will not include the one day strike agreed at the last annual conference. The union's general secretary, Doug McAvoy, announced this action when he spoke to 130 union branch secretaries last week.

Ratcatcher: quiet anger in the dust

13 November 1999
Glasgow's dustcart workers went on strike in June 1975. As they fought for parity of pay with other HGV drivers 60,000 tons of rubbish built up. The new film Ratcatcher is set in the slum tenements of Glasgow during the strike. James, a young boy, ekes out a miserable existence. His home is an overcrowded slum. His family has no money. He accidentally drowns his friend and has to watch his family mourn.

Zimbabwe's unions prepare to fight

13 November 1999
Doctors in Zimbabwe, southern Africa, have won big concessions from the government after a strike lasting over a month. They fought not only for better pay, but also for better patient care. Zimbabwe's health service is in crisis. The government's pro-market policies and its attempts to cut back on welfare mean the most basic equipment is in short supply.

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