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From The Socialist newspaper, 29 July 2015

Workplace news in brief

National Gallery

Guest services staff at London's National Gallery are escalating their strike campaign against privatisation. Members of public service union PCS will begin indefinite action on 17 August. They have taken 52 days of strike so far, with four more planned before the all-out offensive.

Reps removed

Tory-led Bromley council in south London wants to wipe out trade union representatives. Alan Brown, a steward for general union Unite, was suspended on 17 July - with no clear charges.

Meanwhile, the branch secretaries of Unite and public service union Unison have lost all time to do trade union work. Unite secretary Kathy Smith is not even invited to liaison meetings with management anymore.

What a trial!

The courts have postponed anti-blacklisting activist Dave Smith's trial due to establishment incompetence. He stands accused of 'unlawful obstruction' during a demonstration.

Prosecutors had not completed any of the tasks expected of them. And ten witnesses were due to speak - in only half a day Dave's case, which has become about the democratic right to protest, is slated for 25 to 26 January.

Auction action

Two victimised union reps at international art seller Sotheby's have won reinstatement - two more to go. Cleaners and porters at the London auction house are fighting for sick pay and against management bullying. They are organised by the trade union United Voices of the World.

Housing strike

Maintenance workers for housing company Aspire in Newcastle-under-Lyme plan further strikes against cuts to wages, sick pay, holiday and benefits. Members of construction union Ucatt and general union GMB walked out on 27 July, and will strike again on 31 July.

Andy Bentley

Earning a crust

Bakery workers at Gunstones in North East Derbyshire plan to strike again from 6 August over pay and conditions. The 48-hour walkout organised by bakers' union BFAWU follows members' 93% rejection of bosses' latest offer.

Unite rep reinstated

Building workers picketing investment bank Morgan Stanley over sacked union rep Graham Boxall on 27 July. The action got the electrician, a member of general union Unite, reinstated ahead of talks.

Electrical contractor Phoenix is working on the finance corporation's London office. Phoenix is a signatory to the 'Joint Industry Board' (JIB) bargaining body. One JIB agreement allows workers employed through subcontractors - like Graham - to transfer to direct employment.

When Graham asked to do this he was summarily dismissed. Just days before, bosses had offered him weekend overtime.

The direct action saw off police intimidation and high court threats to force Phoenix's managing director into talks. Graham is now on full pay while the matter is discussed.

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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.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

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In The Socialist 29 July 2015:

Socialist Party news and analysis

Kids go hungry in Tory Britain

Corbyn's support shows anti-austerity message is popular

Kill the bill! Stop the new Tory anti-union laws

Austerity measures cut social care provision

Them & Us

Socialist Party feature

The menopause: breaking the taboo

International socialist news and analysis

Turmoil in Greece will be repeated across Europe

Turkey: only workers' unity can end terrorism, division and war

Socialist Party workplace news

Striking homelessness workers beat Glasgow council

Back tube strikes

Coal closure costs 700 jobs

Tory cuts and attacks on unions imperil workers

Workplace news in brief

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Determined mood to defend the unions

Nottingham rehab unit campaign

Wales: Stop the Bedroom Tax evictions!

Anti-austerity protests from Northumberland to the 'English Riviera'

Campaigns news in brief

Help fund the party that fights austerity!

The Socialist, reader's comment

'Prevent'ing terror or preventing opposition?


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