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Workplace news in brief
Workers at the high-security Ashworth Hospital on Merseyside took 24-hour strike action on 13 November in protest over the sacking of two nurses involved in a violent struggle with a patient. The Prison Officers' Association (POA) asserts that both Kevin Gregson and Peter Hilton were sacked despite following guidelines. The POA, which has over 500 members at the hospital, said it was calling for an independent inquiry into the dismissal of the two members of staff.
Sandy Nicoll, SOAS Unison branch secretary, SOAS J4C activist and a long standing trade unionist, has been reinstated after being suspended by SOAS management on grounds of alleged gross misconduct (see issue 877). The allegations were not only false but were fabricated in an attempt to victimise him and undermine the trade union support for the students' occupation of SOAS against massive cuts and course closures. The NSSN and Socialist Party send our congratulations to Sandy, his members and his union.
80 Royal Mail postal workers at Bridgwater Delivery Office in Somerset defied the Tory anti-union laws on 11 November. The workers walked out without a ballot to protest at Royal Mail's refusal to reinstate Andrew Mootoo, a worker who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis. Andrew has been waiting so long for Royal Mail to support his return to work that his pay has been stopped and he has to rely on benefits. Dave Chapple, CWU rep, said: "Most decent employers would do their best to try and get a disabled worker like Andrew Mootoo off benefits and back to work on a properly adjusted duty. Instead, for 18 months, since MS was diagnosed, Royal Mail, nationally and locally, has tried every dirty trick in their book to get Andrew the sack and reduce him to a lifetime of benefits dependency." Every reasonable compromise CWU offered to Royal Mail has been spurned. 80 Bridgwater trade unionists have, a day after the Tory anti-union bill passed the House of Commons, broken these vicious laws to fight for workplace justice for a severely disabled and much respected colleague.
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