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Workplace news in brief
Newport Passport Office
On 23 May Tory immigration minister Damian Green announced the closure of Newport Passport Office as a processing centre. But, in a big concession to the massive campaign led by the PCS union in Newport, 150 of the 300 jobs have been retained.
The job losses were hardly a surprise to workers at the Passport Office - 36 boxes of redundancy leaflets had been discovered in their foyer! It was clear that the Tories had made their mind up about the office closure months ago.
Nevertheless the campaign has forced the government to make concessions. Of the 150 jobs retained at Newport, 50 will work in a customer service centre, while 100 will run a central Identity and Passport Service (IPS) customer complaints and correspondence base. It will share telephone customer enquiries handling with the Durham office, while a counter-fraud team will operate in Newport.
The PCS is determined to fight for all jobs. Workers are pleased with this partial success but sceptical at the government's promises. It is still unclear where the promised jobs will come from and there have been no guarantees that the retained workers will keep their existing contracts. At least 150 jobs will be lost across the rest of the IPS.
A 'Yes' vote in the PCS ballot for strike action over cuts to pensions, jobs and pay later this month would give a green light to a strike across the IPS against all cuts.
London Underground (LU) train drivers in the RMT union plan to strike due to London Underground's refusal to reinstate tube driver Arwyn Thomas.
Eamonn Lynch, who was also sacked, has been reinstated following an employment tribunal. This tribunal showed that Eamonn was unfairly sacked for trade union activities. Arwyn's employment tribunal is taking place as the Socialist goes to press.
Arywn told the Socialist: "The action is back on. The union suspended the action on the grounds of re-engaging Eamonn, and having negotiations about my reinstatement. They've now reneged on negotiations, and are still victimising reps, which is intolerable for the union."
If the employer fails to reinstate Arwyn, action will escalate to include LU station and engineering staff.
After two years of harassment against blacklisted electrician Steve Acheson, Scottish & Southern Electricity (SSE) have backed down.
SSE threatened an injunction for trespass to stop Steve's peaceful picket outside Fiddlers Ferry power station near Widnes in Cheshire. This failed, as did their previous attempt using the Terrorism Act which was defeated in the Royal Court of Justice.
Unite activist Steve said: "It's not just for me, it's for shop stewards everywhere. If we stand our ground we can still defend our right to protest."
Steve's battle against blacklisting continues. For more information contact Steve on 07949 335390 or email email@example.com
Teachers strike over bullying
Teachers at Selwyn primary school in Waltham Forest, north east London, took strike action on 24 May against bullying and harassment by the school's temporary head teacher
In The Socialist 25 May 2011:
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