Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/702/13586
Workplace news in brief
Victory for POA
The European Court of Human Rights have accepted the prison officers' union application for restoration of trade union rights. Successive governments have enforced legislation prohibiting prison officers from taking legitimate industrial action. Steve Gillan, POA general secretary, said: "I am pleased that this issue is moving forward to right a wrong on a basic human fundamental right that is denied to my membership. This obviously is the first of many hurdles but at least our application has been successful by being accepted".
Jobs under threat
About 400 TV licensing employees in Bristol, which is now operated by private company Capita, have been in a pay dispute over the last few months. Their latest one day strike was timed to coincide with the N30 public sector pensions strike. Now Capita are considering closing down the office in Bristol and relocating, probably to the North West, with a potential massive loss of jobs as a consequence.
This brutal response to a modest pay claim shows what the bosses are capable of and requires a firm response by the unions and maximum solidarity.
Victory over victimisation
Trade unionists have been quick to respond to the victimisation of three activists in the University and College Union (UCU). Craig Lewis, a member of the UCU national executive, Peter Jones, vice-chair of UCU Wales, and Ray Williams, a UCU rep were all suspended and threatened with disciplinary action by Coleg Harlech principal. The college covers campuses across north-west Wales.
The suspension followed UCU members raising multiple grievances, including management's decision to leave tutors out of pocket for travel expenses between the college's teaching sites - two of which are 90 miles apart.
But UCU and Unite members, National Shop Stewards Network supporters and Socialist Party members from across Britain flooded the principal's email box with so many messages of solidarity and support for the three that it shut down. Four days from the announcement of the suspensions, college management capitulated, lifted the suspensions, withdrew the threat of disciplinary action and promised to pay money owed for holiday work.
Edmund Schluessel Cardiff University UCU, personal capacity
100 Bectu members held a rally in Birmingham on 19 January to mark the end of a 24-hour strike against plans to effectively mothball the majority of BBC Birmingham's studios. The BBC wants to move programmes currently produced there to Bristol. The move would mean state of the art studios, the lease for which still has several years to run, being closed. Then the inferior facilities at Bristol would be expanded at a cost of millions. As one steward commented: "Staff are really angry that no explanation has been given for this decision, which won't save money or lead to more creativity".
In The Socialist 25 January 2012:
Socialist Party editorial
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news