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From The Socialist newspaper, 11 May 2011

Workplace news in brief

Connexions

Connexions staff, members of Unison employed by Birmingham city council, staged a half day strike on 4 May. This was in protest at the cuts proposed by the council's ruling Con-Dem coalition which place a question mark over the future viability of the service.

A lively protest was staged outside the city centre office at lunchtime attended by about 100 workers whose spirits were kept up by socialist musicians singing on the picket line. The protest was followed by a short march and rally.

I spoke to Simone, one of the workers who agreed that there was no party worth voting for in the elections because all the major parties supported swingeing cuts to public services and that working people needed a political party of their own. She also agreed that the TUC should have used the 26 March demonstration as a springboard for a more concerted campaign and that a one-day public sector strike was needed.

Clive Walder, Birmingham Socialist Party

Anti-strike laws

Britain already has draconian regulations to prevent workers from striking. Tory backbencher Dominic Raab, however, sponsored a private members' bill making it harder still - strike ballots would need to have at least 50% participation of a union's membership before being legally accepted.

The move was defeated. However, a noisy group of Tories (including London mayor Boris Johnson and the Daily Telegraph) want prime minister Cameron to adopt the orphaned bill and push it through with government support.

Of course, Cameron asking for a 50% turnout is ironic. During the AV debate, he was adamant in supporting a voting system that regularly elects governments, councils and MPs on far lower participation. The trade unions should fight for their members' democratic rights by campaigning to scrap the anti-union laws.

Sexist sacking

On Saturday 14 May at 10am transport union RMT members and supporters will be leafleting the Original Tour bus company at Piccadilly circus station. This is over the sacking of RMT member Zara Senkan. Zara has suffered from sexist discrimination for years. She got practically no overtime and terrible shifts whilst her male colleagues got regular overtime and decent shifts over a period of two years.

When she finally complained and entered a grievance she was swiftly dismissed on the pretence that she was disrespectful to managers. The RMT are taking her case to tribunal for sex discrimination and unfair dismissal. We will be organising more leafleting soon.

Steve Hedley, RMT regional organiser London Transport Region

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In The Socialist 11 May 2011:


Socialist Party NHS campaign

Fight for the NHS


Socialist Party workplace news and analysis

PCS conference: prepare for united action on 30 June

Crucial time for Saltend dispute

Defending trade unionism on London Underground

Poverty minimum wage

Library cuts hit staff and users: time for action against the cuts

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Students

Students occupy against cuts at London Met

For sale: university places


Socialist Party election analysis

Government Con-Demned at ballot box

TUSC shows alternative to Con-Dem and Labour cuts

Labour wins Welsh Assembly election -

SNP landslide but it will be a government of savage cuts


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Defend independent living rights

Con-Dems put squeeze on democratic rights

Bahrain repression: Muted criticism of West's ally

Suffolk Tories in retreat?

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International socialist news and analysis

UN report on Sri Lanka war crimes


Socialist Party reviews

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists

Review: Panorama on housing: The human impact of the crisis


 

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