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From The Socialist newspaper, 19 October 2011

Workplace news in brief

TV license strike

About 50-60 TV licensing workers in Bristol, members of the CWU, gathered from various picket lines for a short rally to mark the first day of their strike on 17 October. They are fighting for a decent pay increase after their employer, Capita, have offered them only 2.6% this year. The cost of living is rising at almost double this rate and this deal comes on the back of a two-year pay freeze.

The company claim this is all they can afford but as angry workers pointed out they make 1 million profit daily and bosses recently awarded themselves 5,000 each. Companies like Capita that specialise in winning contracts for privatised public services are actually looking forward to an even bigger bonanza thanks to the government's austerity drive. They're only able to make these huge profits off the back of driving down workers' terms and conditions.

Everyone I spoke to was clear that if bosses didn't budge after this first day of action then there would be more.

Tom Baldwin

West Mids NSSN

Around 30 trade unionists attended the West Midlands conference of the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) in Birmingham on 15 October. It marked another positive step forward for the NSSN.

The first discussion of the day heard introductions from Rob Williams, chair of the Network, and Sian Ruddick chair of the PCS in the Midlands. Both speakers outlined the current situation, with unions gearing up to take action on 30 November.

After that discussion there were two workshop sessions - one on strengthening unions where they already exist, and the other on building unions where there are none. These were excellent discussions - activists from the shop floor exchanging ideas, experiences and practical advice on organising.

The final session was on building the NSSN for the battles ahead.

A delegation of Unite members from Remploy in Staffordshire formally thanked the NSSN for the support they have received.

Socialist Party reporters

Sotheby's

The international class struggle hit one of the more exclusive parts of London's West End on 13 October when professional art handlers at auction house Sotheby's salerooms in New York, members of the Teamsters union, took their protests to the London contemporary art auction.

Jason Ide, president of Teamsters Local 814 in New York said to the Socialist: "Despite record profits and growth, Sotheby's locked out all of their art handlers when they refused to accept worsened contracts. We have been locked out for two and a half months when we refused to accept an extra 30 minutes on the working day, reduction in overtime rates, the introduction of a 'permanent' class of temporary workers and having to train these new workers to do their jobs!"

Jason said they will continue their protests outside Sotheby's events wherever they happen around the world.

Kevin Parslow

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In The Socialist 19 October 2011:


Socialist Party news and analysis

15 October: day of intercontinental resistance

Scandal reveals corrupt influence of big business on government

The Hardest Hit protests

Rocketing rents leave tenants facing eviction

Fast news


Socialism 2011

Come to Socialism 2011


What we think

Mass movement needed to save our NHS


Socialist Party workplace news

Support Remploy workers

Construction electricians march on Blackfriars

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party youth and students

We are the 99% - Fighting for our future

Anti-union, low paying, bullying bosses

Birmingham youth service ravaged by cuts


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Not guilty: Jury rejects the politically motivated charge of 'conspiracy'

Dale Farm - occupiers defiant

More London trade unionists support call for anti-cuts candidates


International socialist news and analysis

Greek workers strike back


Socialist Party review

Reclaim the Game!


Socialist history

Hunger marches - When the unemployed fought back


 

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