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From The Socialist newspaper, 26 March 2014

Workplace news in brief

HCA strike

Over 68% of Unite members at the Homes and Communities Agency voted for strike action over the divisive and unfair way that the Agency has chosen to allocate pay.

Workers on HCA contracts are being treated differently from those transferred from the old Tenant Services Authority. The Agency has so far failed to negotiate in a meaningful way on this key issue.

As a result they were on strike on 25-27 March, with picket lines in London and Manchester.

Royal Mail

Only months after Royal Mail was privatised the company has announced 1,600 job cuts. The jobs are mostly managerial and head office but only 300 new jobs are being created.

Unite, which represents the majority of the workers affected, has demanded a commitment for no compulsory redundancies and effective methods of redeployment.

The union will consider a ballot for industrial action if Royal Mail refuses to make such a commitment.

The CWU discussed the situation at its Postal Executive on 25 March and has pledged to fight to "protect as many jobs as possible".

Royal Mail has cut 11,000 jobs in eleven years as part of a lengthy restructuring. The cut-price sell-off, which saw shares rise almost 80% over its offer price, has not prevented further job losses. This is on top of an above-inflation rise in the price of stamps this year.

Prison officers' demo

Prison officers, members of POA, from around the country gathered in Westminster on 19 March for a march and rally.

The prison service has taken massive cuts since the austerity offensive against the public sector began in 2008.

This has led to a worsening of conditions in prisons for prison officers and prisoners alike.

A rally was held in Methodist Central Hall where the POA were joined by, among others, Matt Wrack from the FBU, Chris Baugh from PCS, Ian Lawrence from Napo, John McDonald MP, Kevin Maguire from The Daily Mirror and National Shop Stewards Network chair Rob Williams.

Like much of the rest of the public sector the prison service is menaced by privatisation with a number of prisons, such as HMP Northumberland, now run by private companies.

On this question the POA president was absolutely clear: "To make money off the misery of others is immoral".

Neil Cafferky

DLR protest

The NSSN joined the protest over the death of Kevin Campbell on the Docklands Light Railway site, 46 from Poplar, in East London who was killed on 2 March on a Docklands Light Railway project in Stratford.

Kevin was struck by a piece of machinery that was attached to an excavator. The fatality came in the same month as a worker was killed on the 15bn Crossrail project.

Also a worker on Balfour Beatty's Providence tower site in London's docklands was seriously injured after a crane collapse.

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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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In The Socialist 26 March 2014:

Socialist Party news and analysis

No to junk jobs

Fight for a 10 an hour minimum wage

2014 Budget: More misery for the majority

Killed asylum seeker - victim of racism and privatisation

Pensions: Osborne's 'counter-revolution'

Them & Us

International socialist news and analysis

Turkey: new wave of protests

Socialist Party youth and students

Defaults reveal student debt madness

Jobmatch: yet another fiasco of privatisation

Leeds protest: stop the student loan sell-off

Young people: alienated, not apathetic

Socialist Party workplace news

Probation workers' action can defeat privatisation

Teachers must fight on to stop Gove

Doncaster care workers determined to win

Workplace news in brief

Readers' comments

The great miners' strike 1984-85

Adventures in bedroom tax land

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

A socialist alternative to the austerity parties

Bristol council: Voting for cuts, voting for careers

It's the system that's ill

'Optimistic' Bluebirds protest

Marching against racism

May Day greetings with the Socialist


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