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From The Socialist newspaper, 18 May 2011

Workplace news in brief

Strike at EHRC

Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) members in the Cardiff office of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) had solid support for their second walkout on 11 May.

PCS members are fighting back against the slashing of the EHRC budget by 68% and the staffing by 66%.

The Con-Dem government wants to close the EHRC helpline and run down the organisation that enforces the law and tackles discrimination.

This is part of the government agenda to let employers off the hook and give a green light to the worst employers to discriminate against workers.

PCS EHRC members in Cardiff fully understand how this battle fits in with the campaign to build for action to stop the attacks on our jobs, pay, pensions and the vital services that we provide.

Katrine Williams PCS Wales chair


Sacked Redhall construction workers are continuing their protests outside BP Saltend near Hull. Ten weeks after being locked out of work on the bio-ethanol plant being built for BP/Vivergo, the majority of workers reluctantly want to take a financial settlement.

But the employers are trying to force the trade unions to sign an onerous agreement that would prevent any worker from pursuing a legal case or further protest against the company. This is unacceptable to the workers who have fought to get their jobs back and now voted three times to refuse to sign up for this deal.

As we go to press on 17 May, Redhall workers in Hull will protest outside the courts when GMB national officer Phil Whitehurst is due to appear to face charges following arrest two weeks ago under Section 14 of the Public Order Act (POA). This arises from heavy-handed policing and blanket-use of the POA to restrict the right to protest because the workers had several times effectively closed down the BP site and blockaded traffic.

Alistair Tice

Trades councils meet

At the Trade Union Councils' annual conference it was obvious that many trades councils have been in the forefront of the anti-cuts movement.

They have initiated coalitions against the cuts in many areas, involving local communities, as well as public sector workers. Socialist Party members in the National Shop Stewards Network have been the prime movers in many of these initiatives.

Motion after motion was carried unanimously, with commitments to campaigns against the government proposals high on the agenda. After the magnificent demonstration of 26 March, the main question asked was how will the TUC develop the obvious mood of resistance shown on that day?

The mood of the conference was shown by the voting for the Suffolk motion moved by Teresa MacKay. This listed among its demands the nationalisation of the pharmaceutical companies and was chosen as the trades council motion to go to this year's TUC in October!

Roger MacKay Suffolk County Association of Trade Union Councils

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

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In The Socialist 18 May 2011:

Socialist Party workplace news

Strike back at pensions robbery!

Fight all the cuts - come to the NSSN conference

Socialist Party NHS campaign

Battle for the NHS!

Derriford hospital announces huge cuts

Socialist Party editorial

Crisis deepens in the eurozone

Socialist Party news and analysis

The Hardest Hit march and rally

Teachers' strike stops job cuts

Iraq war: Labour's lie machine

Pay gap grows ever wider

News in brief

Socialist Party feature

Britain now facing crisis on all fronts

International socialist news and analysis

Northern Ireland: The 'no change' elections

Socialist Party workplace news

UCU at the crossroads on pensions

CWU conference: Support joint union action on 30 June

BA dispute: Mass meeting votes to put latest agreement to membership

Workplace news in brief

Socialist Party youth and students

Con-Dems: Supporting Youth Enslavement

Yorkshire Youth Fight for Jobs regional conference

Socialist Party feature

Tory cuts hit children and young people

Teachers strike and parents picket at Shorefields

Campaigners put pressure on Lambeth council


The difference a union makes


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