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Workplace news in brief
Support Vik Chechi
As reported in the last issue of the Socialist, Vik Chechi, Unison branch secretary at Queen Mary university in east London has been suspended from work. Many Unison members believe this is part of the university's drive to implement swingeing cuts.
A Unison branch meeting on 28 October resolved to give full support to Vik. But messages of protest and demands for his reinstatement should still be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Please send copies to firstname.lastname@example.org
At a time of rapidly rising unemployment, the government has announced plans to close 19 jobcentres nationwide. This is on top of the closure of 22 benefit processing offices, where 350 people are threatened with compulsory redundancy as they have not been found alternative employment.
Civil service union PCS has condemned the closures and is lobbying parliament on 2 November.
Jobcentre Plus has slashed 12,000 jobs since January, when the government was claiming that unemployment would fall.
TV licensing workers were on strike again on 31 October over pay. The 500 workers, outsourced to Capita, mounted picket lines in Bristol and Darwen, Lancs. Capita makes £1 million in profit every day yet they have only offered a 2.6% pay rise. Now they are refusing to let workers who go on strike do overtime and are offering strike-breakers a free lunch.
The mood of the CWU members is good though - having rejected the original pay offer by 88% in a ballot.
Over 50,000 signatures and a demonstration of 10,000 in July showed the disgust of Derby workers about the government's decision to award a £1.4 billion contract to build trains for Thameslink to Siemens.
Derby faces 1,400 redundancies and tens of thousands more at suppliers across the country. The Tories are abandoning 150 years of train-making in the city and the last design team left in Britain.
As David Cameron promises an "all-out mission" on major infrastructure schemes the Derbyshire Rail Forum is charging £250 a head for tickets to its conference on 3 November.
Protesters from the unions, workers from Bombardier and others will oppose Tory rail minister Theresa Villiers sneaking into Derby Conference Centre.
The TUC unanimously supported the RMT/Unite's resolution on Bombardier's nationalisation should the multinational pull out, but workers are being made redundant every week. Socialists argue in the support group and campaign for occupation whilst the Litchurch Lane plant is still a going concern. We campaign for democratic planning and control.
British Aerospace is also facing massive redundancies. A united industry campaign could swing an autumn of street occupations and marches into the Tories' "winter of discontent".
Graham Lewis, Erewash trades council
In The Socialist 2 November 2011:
Building anti-cuts action
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