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From: The Socialist issue 935, 8 February 2017: Stand with the RMT: Unite against Southern Rail and the Tories

Search site for keywords: Union - Strike - DWP - Closures - Jobs - Pay - Cinema - London - Janice Godrich - IWGB - living wage - PCS - Brighton - HM Revenue and Customs

Workplace news in brief

Job Centre Plus, photo Helen Cobain (Creative Commons)

Job Centre Plus, photo Helen Cobain (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge)

DWP closures

I spoke at a members meeting in my own office in Paisley on 31 January which was announced for closure. It's not a public office, it's a large contact centre and processing site.

Just before Christmas, Scotch whisky firm Chivas Regal announced the closure of their Paisley base with the loss of over 450 local jobs. The Department for Work and Pensions and the local authority are now the largest employers in what was once a proud mill town. Every other shop is a pound or charity shop. Most members live in Paisley and the surrounding area.

The loss of these jobs to the community is irreplaceable. At a serious and sombre meeting, members agreed we will fight this closure. Some members like part-time workers only found out about the announcement via colleagues on Facebook, which was disgraceful, as was the threat of disciplinary action to our local reps for speaking to the press.

We will link up with colleagues across the DWP and other government departments facing similar cuts like HM Revenue and Customs to save these jobs and services.

Janice Godrich, PCS president

Picturehouse strike

The Picturehouse cinema dispute by Bectu members fighting for the London living wage has been escalated with workers at four cinemas taking action on 11 February from 2pm.

The cinemas are Brixton Ritzy, Hackney, Crouch End on Tottenham Lane and Central in Piccadilly. There will also be a joint protest on Saturday 25 February from 12 noon outside the Empire Cinema in Leicester Square.

Deliveroo walkout

Brighton Deliveroo drivers took strike action on 4 February over a 4 drop in pay and have voted to unionise with the IWGB union.

This follows strike action by Deliveroo drivers in London last summer over pay which forced the courier company to drop plans for a trial which would see them paid 3.75 per delivery instead of the current 7 an hour.

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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.
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