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5 October 2016

Workplace news in brief

Virgin dispute

RMT pickets were out in force at Leeds train station on 4 October picketing all three major station entrances as part of the Virgin Trains East Coast strike. They were joined, as ever, by local Socialist Party members, assisting them in reprinting their leaflet which had been eagerly snapped up by commuters interested in finding out what the dispute was about and unsurprised at owner Richard Branson's profiteering antics.

See the report online at

Ritzy strike again

Following the loud, bustling picket line that shut down the Ritzy cinema in Brixton at midday on 24 September, workers will walk-out again from 1pm on Friday 7 October in their dispute over pay. In 2014 the Picturehouse workers, members of Bectu, took 13 days of strike action in their fight for the London Living Wage (LLW). They won a 26% pay increase, back pay going back nearly a year and an agreement from management to implement the LLW this year. Management have reneged on this agreement in pay negotiations and the workers' minimum pay remains at 8.80 an hour - 60p short of the LLW. They balloted for action and secured a 90% yes vote - 80% of the workforce is in the union. The strike has spread to the Picturehouse cinema in Hackney where workers are balloting for action, with the result due on 6 October.

Newsquest walkout

Journalists working on newspapers owned by Newsquest in south London have voted to hold a 14-day strike starting on 6 October in response to company plans to put nearly all the newsroom staff at risk of redundancy. They want to put pressure on the company to rethink these plans and highlight concerns about health and safety at work, inadequate staffing levels, excessive workloads and deterioration in the quality of local journalism due to consecutive local cuts. The titles and websites affected include the Croydon, Epsom, Sutton, Wandsworth and Wimbledon Guardians, the Richmond & Twickenham Times, the Surrey Comet and the News Shopper in Bexley, Bromley, Greenwich and Lewisham. The two-week strike will take place from 6 October until 19 October.