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From The Socialist newspaper, 27 April 2011

Workplace news in brief

London Midland

Train drivers working for London Midland are to vote on a package to end a long dispute over harmonisation of pay and leave entitlement. Their union Aslef will ballot members after a strike vote was first challenged in the high court, where an injunction stopped strike action. An appeal overturned the injunction, a new strike ballot was held because the earlier vote was out of time and the new vote saw a bigger vote for action. This seemed to concentrate management minds, along with the lack of volunteers to work Sundays and no rest-day working agreement.

The offer is for pay to be harmonised with a 5% pay rise from April 2011. Leave will be harmonised at 30 days a year from April 2011. There will be pay rises in 2012 of 3% or February Retail Prices Index (RPI) plus a quarter per cent, and in 2013 3% or RPI plus half a per cent, whichever is greater in both cases.

Harmonisation of leave for 2011 is complicated by shortage of staff so drivers whose leave is increasing will be paid four days extra pay this year. Talks are to take place with Aslef to reduce the reliance on overtime working. So the union will play a constructive part in more jobs being created.

National action ballot across civil service

Workers at the Driving Standards Agency were balloted for strike action when a programme of office closures and job cuts was announced. 2,000 civil service union PCS members were balloted and 62% voted for strike action on a 43% turnout.

When the strike dates were announced by the union, involving admin and driving test staff, management offered concessions on the office closures and agreed to suspend compulsory redundancy notices until March 2012. This was enough for the union to suspend the strikes.

Battles against cuts and closures are also going on in the Department for Work and Pensions, the Home Office, the Equality and Human Rights Commission and other sections of the civil service. Therefore the PCS national executive is putting a resolution to the union's conference in May, calling for a national ballot in defence of jobs, pensions and pay and for the union to continue to work with other trade unions to coordinate the action for maximum impact.The resolution urges all members and activists to prioritise mobilising for a 'yes, yes' vote.

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In The Socialist 27 April 2011:

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Fight the cuts: Vote for a socialist alternative

Why I'm standing on 5 May

Fight the cuts - strike, demonstrate, stand against cuts

TUSC election challenge: vote socialist to stop the cuts

May Day Greetings

May day Greetings in The Socialist May 2011

Socialist Party news and analysis

No Health Cuts, No Privatisation

NHS cuts Leeds: Save Yorkshire's children's heart surgery unit

Stop the Connaught closure

Teachers' conference calls for strike ballot to defend pensions

Bristol 'Tesco riot' reveals anger

Royal wedding: Not much bread but there's plenty of circuses

News in brief

Socialist Party workplace news

Striking for jobs

Management failures force school strike

National Shop Stewards Network 2011 Conference

Saltend lockout: Struggle continues

Support the Leeds Fed strikers

Workplace news in brief

International socialist news and analysis

Syria: Assad's regime uses brutal terror to suppress opposition

Socialist history

Manningham Mills 1890-1891: A strike that changed Britain's unions

Socialist Party campaigns

Police assist racist EDL marchers

Opposing the BNP

Swansea says: make the fat cats pay!


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