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Workplace news in brief
Unemployed construction workers from around Britain took part in a roving protest around central London on 3 February. The protests, organised by the GMB union, were about the underpayment of construction workers at the Staythorpe power plant site employed by the Italian subcontractor Somi. 20 workers there have been underpaid by €1,300. The protests took in the Alstom offices (Alstom are the main contractors at the Staythorpe site) and Lord Mandelson's office, the department for business innovation and skills. The protesters are also demanding an end to blacklisting.
Outside Mandelson's office the demonstration was joined by some workers from the Olympic site in Stratford, East London. They spoke of the draconian conditions on the site, with the Balfour Beatty management threatening any worker who came on the protest with the sack. One worker told me they are not against workers coming in from other countries but this is about making sure all workers get the agreed rate for the job.
Warrington trades council has supported Steve Acheson, an electrician dismissed from the Fiddlers Ferry power station construction project, ever since his dismissal in December 2008. Steve is a member of Unite.
His protest outside the gates of the power station is about the use of a secret blacklist, which led to his dismissal on spurious grounds 14 months ago in December 2008. However TV and press coverage on 5 February stated that this protest was about the use of foreign workers.
Steve Acheson commented: "I have been here consistently for 14 months responding to a blatant unfair dismissal and the use of the discriminatory blacklist. The press coverage today was completely misleading.
"I am a trade unionist and as such I fight to defend and enforce trade union agreements which should cover all workers, regardless of origin."
Leeds university members of the University and College Union (UCU) have delivered a clear mandate for industrial action. This is over the threat of compulsory redundancies and the proposed £35 million cuts in the university's budget. 700 jobs are threatened. 64% voted in favour of strike action while 74% voted for action short of a strike.
Unison members at the Notting Hill Housing Trust are balloting for industrial action over forced changes to workers' terms and conditions. The management team are refusing to negotiate with Unison and are trying to impose changes which will mean pay cuts, longer working hours and higher travel expenses. The trust has also refused to go to ACAS. The ballot result should be out on 22 February.
In The Socialist 10 February 2010:
Unison general secretary election
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
PCS young members
Socialist Party feature
International socialist news and analysis
War and occupation