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From The Socialist newspaper, 29 June 2011

Trade union news in brief

London Met university strike

Unison and UCU members held a one-day strike at London Met university on 22 July. This was after management had repeatedly refused to talk to the unions since November, or even go to arbitration service ACAS, about avoiding compulsory redundancies, 200 of which have been proposed so far.

This is the result of a plan by the vice-chancellor to cut hundreds of courses that will hammer educational provision and jobs in London.

Max Watson, Unison branch chair, told the Socialist: "Our strike was absolutely solid and shows what we can achieve when we stand together - whether it's over pay, pensions or jobs we will fight shoulder to shoulder."

There was a particularly large and lively picket outside the Women's Library in Aldgate which is part of the university, but has not had such effective protests on other recent strike days.

The strikers I spoke to were looking forward to taking part in the 30 June mass day of action. A demonstration was organised that braved appalling weather to go to lobby a meeting of the university governors.

Pete Dickenson Tower Hamlets Socialist Party

Barnsley college

UCU members at Barnsley College took their second day of strike action on 27 June against severe job losses at the college. Joined by students, around 20 to 30 lecturers were on the picket lines. They were geared up for the 30 June pension strikes.

College principal Booth has so far refused to budge on the fundamental plans that could see a quarter of academic staff lose their jobs. Support staff organised in Unison and Unite are facing a similar scale of devastating job losses, but have still not yet been balloted for strike action.

Sustained and determined action by lecturers, support staff, and students uniting all campus trade unions could stop Booth in his tracks. Barnsley College UCU will strike on 30 June and 6-7 July.

Ian Pattison, Yorkshire Socialist Party

Trade union conferences

The Unite rules conference on 13-15 June saw a definite shift to the left by Britain's largest trade union. Following the election of Len McCluskey as general secretary and the ignominious third place for the candidate of the right wing, the conference also showed the lack of influence of the traditional right in the union.

For a report of the conference, see: www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/12279

About 25 delegates attended the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) fringe meeting at the RMT conference in Fort William.

This was out of about 90 delegates, including five youth observers.

This means that the NSSN has had two official fringe meetings at union conferences, the PCS and RMT and a joint one at the FBU conference.

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In The Socialist 29 June 2011:


30 June pensions strike

Next step: one-day public sector strike


Socialist Party editorial

Con-Dems' pension attack demands coordinated and determined response


Unison conference

Unison conference Socialist Party meeting spells out action needed

Unison delegates reject leadership proposals


Socialist Party news and analysis

Universities on the cheap!

Trade unionists must fight for LGBT rights

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