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Workplace news in brief
As we reported last week, workers at the Grangemouth oil refinery in Scotland are balloting for strike action over attacks on working conditions and pensions, including the victimisation of a Unite senior steward. Stevie Deans, chair of Falkirk Labour Party, was suspended from the Party during the debacle when the Labour leadership falsely accused Unite of interfering in the selection of the parliamentary candidate. He was then suspended by Ineos, the owners of the oil refinery.
He was only reinstated after the workers threatened to walk out. But Unite says: "Ineos is continuing with a sinister campaign of victimisation against an innocent employee".
The adjacent petrochemical plant, also owned by Ineos, is threatened with closure.
The ballot closes on 27 September.
Royal Mail ballot
On 20 September the Communication Workers Union (CWU) served legal notice to Royal Mail of the intention to ballot members for strike action over pay, pensions and privatisation. Ballot papers will go out on 27 September. The result will be announced on 16 October. If there is a yes vote, the earliest strike date would be 23 October.
This is the first national strike ballot in Royal Mail since 2009. It affects 115,000 postal workers in Royal Mail and Parcelforce.
John Reid, currently London regional secretary of the transport union RMT is standing for election to the union's national committee, the Council of Executives. He is standing on a programme to defend jobs, pay and conditions and to unite all grades in the battles against the many attacks on RMT members.
RMT members who are drivers on the Victoria line on London Underground are due to strike from 9pm on 24 September over working conditions.
Firefighters in England and Wales will walk out for four hours from noon on 25 September. This is over the massive attacks the government is waging on their pension scheme. There is a national agreement that during the strike firefighters will be able to volunteer to return to work in the event of a major incident. But in Surrey and Buckinghamshire the employers are preventing firefighters from entering stations for the duration of their shift - leaving those areas unnecessarily without cover for nine hours.
In Wales firefighters will march to the National Assembly for a protest at 1pm.
The FBU must be given full support by the whole trade union movement to give the union confidence to take further action, particularly given the employers' strikebreaking plans, which could turn this struggle into a bitter dispute.
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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.
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In The Socialist 25 September 2013:
Socialist Party NHS feature
What we think
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party reviews and comments