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From The Socialist newspaper, 17 October 2012

Workplace news in brief

Living wage now!

Transport union RMT is campaigning for London Mayor Boris Johnson to increase the London living wage to 10 an hour, benefiting cleaners and other low-paid workers.

Campaigners demonstrated outside the headquarters of the Greater London Authority on 17 October, to call for better pay and conditions for transport cleaners.

Cleaning companies on London Underground, DLR, London Overground and the various national rail companies pay wages varying between 6.09 an hour to 8.30 an hour.

A study has just found that one in five workers in London, over half a million people, are paid less than the current 'living wage' of 8.30 an hour.

Tesco drivers

Nearly 200 Tesco drivers in Doncaster were transferred over to Eddie Stobart's Logistics (ESL) firm in August and immediately lost their pension scheme and other benefits.

That is bad enough, but within one month of the transfer the drivers were all given three months notice, with no promise that they will be re-employed once the 90 days is up.

After the drivers voted by 91.7% to 8.3% for strike action they went on a 48-hour strike, which started on 9 October.

Unite, their union, fully supports the strike and has provided a mobile canteen for its duration.

The pickets were in a very angry but hopeful mood; there were a lot of drivers beeping in support as they passed the site.

The strike will be well supported by the residents of Doncaster, a once proud industrial town.

The 200 drivers who are being treated so shamefully deserve better but the system that is built on the exploitation of workers will continue to grind us down until we make a stand.

Mary Jackson


Unite has been leafleting rail and tube passengers in London, exposing the fact that Crossrail bosses are doing nothing about contractors who sack workers who raise health and safety concerns.

The union is calling for urgent talks with Crossrail over these claims of victimisation and that there is an anti-union bias across the project.

There is a daily picket at the Westbourne Park site where recently a waste hopper collapsed, underlining the importance of having proper safety reps.

Here Crossrail allowed a contractor to cancel a contract, effectively sacking 28 workers, including a shop steward and safety rep.

Unite is also raising concerns about the tax-dodging antics of contractors on this 18 billion project.

UPS workers defend union rep

Neil Cafferky

Union busting is alive and well in the UK as the campaign to reinstate Winston Dallen clearly shows. Winston is a Unite rep at UPS Camden, the parcel delivery firm, with 14 years employment at the company's Camden depot in London.

For the last five years he has been an effective and popular Unite rep. In a leaflet handed out to workers on 9 October, Unite explain that Winston has been unfairly suspended for his trade union activity.

UPS is a notoriously anti-union firm in the US. Those methods seem to have been imported wholesale to Britain.

During leafleting by Unite officials and supporters, including Socialist Party members, groups of managers attempted to intimidate workers into refusing to take leaflets.

The chief manager is a spitting image of Sid James but there was nothing funny about his attempts to disrupt leafleting, often standing beside leafleters as they spoke to workers, threatening them with disciplinary action if they displayed 'Reinstate Winston' leaflets on their dashboards of their delivery vans.

Despite these tactics union activists were determined to carry on leafleting. Several drivers were seen to keep the 'Reinstate Winston' leaflets in their windscreens in defiance of management bullying.

Building the fightback in Salford

Unison steward

On 8 October, over 170 Salford city branch Unison members gathered to discuss pay and grading, car allowances and the anti-cuts campaigns in Salford.

The Labour controlled council is proposing a 15 million reduction in the wages bill over five years.

It has also 'offered' a new car allowance scheme, and further cuts to admin services, mental health services and environmental services.

In an indicative vote, 168 members voted in favour of a motion rejecting the council's proposals. It included support for a ballot for industrial action if the council doesn't remove this proposal from the table.

The meeting also supported an indicative motion to reject the car allowance offer and to campaign for a fair scheme that doesn't amount to a pay cut.

There was overwhelming support for admin staff who are facing cuts, refuse collectors whose terms and conditions are under attack and staff in mental health services where services users and staff have linked up to resist cuts.

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In The Socialist 17 October 2012:

Fighting the cuts

We want a 24-hour general strike!

Southampton anti-cuts councillors form new council group

Meetings after 20th October TUC demonstration

Socialist Party feature

Socialism 2012

Socialist Party news and analysis

Academies: march to defend education on 20 October

Stop the gas price hike - Nationalise the utilities!

Osborne's 'shares' plan threatens rights

Them & Us

Socialist Party feature

Unions must build the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC)

Socialist history

Who was Malcolm X?

Poll tax: When organised mass action defeated the Tories

Liverpool 1983-87

Socialist Party youth and students

Youth Fight for Jobs fortnight of action 13-28 October

International socialist news and analysis

Fight for a socialist and internationalist alternative to the crisis-ridden EU

Solidarity with Miners in South Africa

US elections: And the winner is... Wall Street!

Pakistan: Workers die as profit put before safety

Tamil Solidarity

Campaign Kazakhstan

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Hands off our NHS! - Victory in Gloucestershire

Stop the far right from 'uniting' on 27 October

Stop health robbery in Sherwood Forest

Tough choices

Chase the sharks out of Toon!

Invest in caring - we're worth it!

Socialist Party workplace news

Lecturers fight cuts

Amnesty International staff take strike action

Bus drivers: We need shorter hours!

Hospital staff in Stockton and Hartlepool threatened with worse terms and conditions

Attacks on Bromley workers

Workplace news in brief

The Socialist Party

The Socialist - Help us build it with the 20-20-20 plan!

Fight back against austerity - support the Socialist Party

Why I joined

New sales of the Socialist in Kenilworth


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