The Socialist 26 March 2014 |
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Workplace news in brief
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.
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".
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.