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From The Socialist newspaper, 10 February 2010

Workplace news in brief

Construction protest

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.

Chris Newby

Fiddlers Ferry

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

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.

Notting Hill

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.

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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 10 February 2010:

Fight university cuts

Unison general secretary election

Fighting leadership needed in Unison - Nominate Roger Bannister for general secretary

Greenwich Unison backs victimised branch secretary

Socialist Party news and analysis

Preying on the living and dead

Waltham Forest: Campaigners score a victory

Fiddling MPs: Jail the whole lot of them!

Vulnerable lose out on benefits

Socialist Women: Fighting for equality through socialism

Fast news

Socialist Party workplace news

Civil service strike ballot: Vote 'yes' for action

Boycotting the 2010 SATS in schools

Coventry youth workers' strike

Metaldyne workers strike

Stoke: Axiom workers in overtime ban

Saving jobs and services in Worcestershire

Workplace news in brief

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Hazel Blears must go

TUSC: Wellingborough socialists make a stand

PCS young members

PCS young members network conference

Bristol job centre workers fight transfer

Socialist Party feature

Trade unions in Britain - are they ready for the coming battles?

International socialist news and analysis

Northern Ireland: An agreement to cement division

Sri Lanka President Rajapakse removes his rival, Fonseka

Tamil Solidarity -: Successful northern conference

Unison witchhunt

Trotskyism on trial

War and occupation

Armed forces: Release Lance-Corporal Joe Glenton

Trade union rights for service personnel


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