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Workplace news in brief
Grangemouth workers are facing 200 job losses in spite of recently agreeing cuts to pay and working conditions to keep the plant open. Unite has revealed that Ineos plans to close five plants on the site. So Ineos have already reneged on the agreement which forced workers to accept huge pay cuts and cuts to pensions and conditions.
On 29 November the first hearing in a High Court case against blacklisting companies began. The case was originally launched by the Blacklist Support Group on behalf of nearly 100 claimants, mainly construction workers. The unions Unite, Ucatt and GMB have now joined in.
The case will proceed in April, when all the cases have been prepared.
Pay battle needed
At a recent meeting of the Unison Northwest local government Service Group Executive, branch representatives - both from the political left and right - spoke, stating that the Northwest region (along with Greater London) was right to oppose 1% this year and that we should be doing all we can to ensure that 2014-15 is the year Unison defeats the government's policy of public sector pay restraint.
At the end of the meeting a motion was passed unanimously, which stated that Unison needs "to mobilise our activists and members in preparation for the need to take industrial action to support a decent pay rise for all."
We cannot take it for granted that this will happen. We need to make sure that all aspects of any campaign on pay are accountable to rank and file activists and members. 2014 must be the year that Britain's largest public sector union takes action on pay.
A Unison member
Out of tune
Ghosts of co-ordinated action, past and future, are what haunts scrooge employers and the Con-Dem government. But my union has come up with a novel way of pressuring local government employers to grant a £1 an hour increase.
On 18 December, members are being encouraged to gather to sing Christmas carols as we "Strike A Chord for Local Government Pay".
I've no objection to using seasonal stunts to draw attention to campaigns, in fact, providing you've got branch members who can actually sing, it would certainly draw attention. But imagine how much more impact it would have if it was for Unison members in all sectors and, instead of being careful to encourage us to sing carols "at lunchtime or after work", the carols were sung on a walkout to draw people to a strike rally.
This could have been the case if the Unison leadership hadn't dragged its feet on pay for the last two years, during which time we've had too many stunts and not enough preparing for action.
Another Unison member
In The Socialist 4 December 2013:
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