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From The Socialist newspaper, 3 March 2011

Workplace news in brief

Home Office

Civil service union PCS is balloting its members in the Home Office over job cuts and the sacking of two union reps on trumped-up charges.

Senior management first whinged about the ballot for action short of a strike, and then announced its intention to cut 776 staff from a pool of 1,453 at the Border Agency in Croydon. Jobs in Liverpool and Sheffield are also under threat.

The ballot is due to close on 23 March but the union is considering stepping up to a ballot for strike action if compulsory redundancies are threatened.

Renfrewshire victory

As we reported last week, a huge protest movement of parents, teachers and others from the local community has developed against the SNP-led council in Renfrewshire. The council had planned to cut 60 teachers' posts and replace them with lower-paid staff. After a 1,000-strong angry public meeting and a 97% 'yes' vote for strike action, the council has backed down.

This is a great example of industrial action linking up with a community campaign to fight the cuts. But campaigners and teachers will be alert to further attempts to cut education and other public services.

Train cleaners

Rail union RMT members working for Mitie were on a 24-hour strike on 25-26 February. The workers, based in Cardiff and Swansea, service First Great Western trains and are owed considerable sums of money by the company, which has also failed to make pension contributions. Mitie announced a 12% increase in profits recently but has been dragging its feet about settling this dispute with the low-paid staff, who were first forced to strike on 4 February.


A strike took place of 3,000 members of Unison working for Notts county council on 24 February, the council's budget day. An 800-strong demonstration marched to county hall to oppose the council's spending plans. The council eventually approved a 87 million cut in next year's budget, and plans 150 million cut and 3,000 job losses in the next three years. The campaign against these attacks continues. Members meetings will be held to consider the next steps.

Pete Watson, Notts Unison

BA staff ballot again

Unite is balloting 10,000 BA cabin crew members for the fourth time in two years. The dispute, over the company's threats to pay and working conditions, resulted in 22 days of strike action in 2010. BA has sacked 18 workers and disciplined 70 more for matters connected with the dispute.

The ballot closes on 28 March.

Ford pensions ballot

About 11,000 Ford workers are to be balloted for action in defence of their pensions. The company wants to move to a scheme based on Consumer Price Index, rather than the higher Retail Price Index it uses at present.

This not only affects current Ford workers but also 30,000 former workers who draw Ford pensions.

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In The Socialist 3 March 2011:

Anti-cuts campaign

Stop the cuts

Marching on the Con-Dem conferences in Wales

Fighting the cuts: Thousands protest, lobby and occupy

Lewisham election: There is an alternative!

Determination to beat the cuts

International socialist news

Fantastic results in Irish election: Socialists and lefts gain five seats

Elections see collapse of Fianna Fail, the traditional establishment party

Socialist Party news and analysis

Coalition steps up assault on NHS

Westminster: Save our children's services

Who 'agrees with Nick' now?

News in brief

Socialist Party workplace news

Largest protest yet against Wisconsin Governor's anti-union bill

Unison witch-hunt: Reinstate the Four!

End the blacklist

Workplace news in brief

Youth fight for jobs

Jarrow to London: March for jobs

CWU youth conference 'ready and willing to take action'

Socialist Party women

International Women's Day 2011: Women and the fightback

Socialist Party congress 2011

Socialist Party 2011 congress - a party growing in strength

International socialist news and analysis

Libya: A fight to the finish

Tunisia: Revolution and counter-revolution on the streets

Marxist analysis: history

Liverpool 1983-87: the council that fought Thatcher


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