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From The Socialist newspaper, 26 October 2011

Workplace news in brief

30 November strike

Unite members are now being balloted for strike action on 30 November. They will be joining one of the biggest strikes in modern British history.

On 25 October, Unite went to the High Court with five other public sector unions with a judicial review challenging the government's 15% cut in existing public sector pensions. This is because of their decision to move from using the Retail Price Index to the lower Consumer Price Index when calculating the annual increase in pension rates.

Southampton council

As we go to press, a new pay offer has been made by Southampton city council. Following the latest strike of Southampton council workers, talks with the council have produced an offer which will be put to a ballot of Unison and Unite members. A mass meeting has been organised to discuss the latest proposal. In the meantime strike action has been suspended.

Southampton council workers have shown tremendous determination to sustain a prolonged battle to defend their contracts. It has served notice on Southampton councillors, Tory, Lib Dem and New Labour, as well as all local authorities around the country about what they can expect if attacks are made on pay, terms and conditions.

Enormous anger remains at the savage cuts to pay and the prospects of massive job cuts in the next council budget. It remains to be seen whether this latest concession will be sufficient to settle the dispute.

As national strike action looms on pensions, this could be a significant opportunity to intensify the pressure on the council and give confidence to all Southampton council workers that these pay cuts can be defeated.

Nick Chaffey, Southampton Socialist Party

Coventry council

Workers at Coventry City Council lobbied councillors on 18 October to demand a 250 payment that had been promised to all public sector employees earning under 21,000. The council have budgeted for this increase, but are refusing to pay.

Unions have collected hundreds of signatures demanding the council pays its staff. Socialist Party councillor Dave Nellist presented the petition.

The response from other councillors was disgraceful. When quizzed by council workers, the majority of our public representatives claimed they had no idea what we were talking about.

Unions now need to continue the campaign for the 250 payment - continued lobbying of councillors, linking up with the wider public and trade union movement to pile the pressure on. There should also be discussion about how this links in to the fight for decent pay, pensions and the defence of jobs.

A Unison member

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In The Socialist 26 October 2011:

Fighting back

Capitalism IS crisis - Fight for a socialist alternative

Prepare for N30 - strike and demonstrate!

Hardest Hit demos - thousands march

Events on 5 + 6 November

Join the Jarrow march for jobs & education - 5 November

Join the fightback - come to Socialism 2011

Socialist Party youth and students

Coventry rally - The Jarrow march is on its way!

Wales takes action to defend young people

Socialist Party workplace news

Tax dodging continues while staff face cuts

Reinstate Vik Chechi

Construction protests continue and Unite declares strike ballot (report with video)

Workplace news in brief

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Building the fightback and building solidarity at Occupy LSX

Electric support for London anti-cuts challenge

Socialist Party news and analysis

10,000 public sector jobs lost in Wales and counting

The whole world in its hands

Them & Us

International socialist news and analysis

Where now for Libya after the downfall of Gaddafi's regime?

Euro crisis - urgent need to build a socialist alternative

Solidarity appeal: Stop Kazakh state brutality

Socialist Party feature

Free schools - Freedom to privatise education


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