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Workplace News in brief
Civil servants name strike day
PCS members working in the Department for Work and Pensions are to strike on 17 and 18 March, following the collapse of pay negotiations. Management have so far failed to improve on their below-inflation pay "offer". They are trying to get away with imposing a three-year arrangement as part of their general attack on public-sector pay.
PCS is also organising a national lobby of parliament on pay on 11 March. They are inviting other public-sector unions to participate.
Birmingham strike suspended
The strike by Birmingham council workers, scheduled for 26 February, has been suspended for a fortnight. The unions feel that there is enough to suggest that management are prepared to give concessions, including putting more money on the table.
Negotiations will go on for two weeks, with mass meetings to consult the workforce if any agreement is reached.
Signal workers prepare to strike again
Rail signal workers in the Lincoln area walked out on 23 February in protest at how an experienced worker has been treated by Network Rail. He has been made redundant, against the provisions of long-standing agreements.
The 50 signal workers are due to strike again on 1 March but the RMT union is also balloting 400 signallers in the area covering Kings Cross to Doncaster.
A similar breach of agreements has now come to light in York, so it is likely that a strike ballot will take place in that area as well.
Knowsley Unison members prepare to fight!
The annual general meeting of Knowsley Unison was held on 22 February, and considered an unprecedented welter of attacks from the council's New Labour rulers. Abuse of the disciplinary code by management, attacks on part-time workers, attempts to wriggle out of the 35-hour week agreement, job losses and pay cuts for neighbourhood wardens were amongst the issues that the well-attended meeting voted to strike over if necessary.
The meeting heard an address by Bernadette Gallagher, left national executive member, who spoke about the need to fight for a decent local government pay settlement, and the problems of the disastrous Single Status agreement.
PCS union activist sacked
PCS activist Eddie Fleming was sacked on trumped-up charges before Christmas. He is branch chair of Hastings Child Support Agency PCS branch and has been sacked over charges relating to his trade union duties.
There has already been a huge petition, two public rallies and a well supported march through the town centre in his support. He is due to be re-elected unopposed as branch chair on 27 February.
The union has pledged its full support and Eddie's tribunal case will be heard in a few weeks time.
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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.
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In The Socialist 27 February 2008:
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