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From The Socialist newspaper, 6 February 2013

Workplace news in brief

No privatisation

PCS members at the Ministry of Justice in Manchester (MoJ) staged a well supported two hour walkout last week. This was in protest at plans to privatise the court fines collection service.

The government wants to hand this over to notorious private bailiff operations.

Research done by PCS shows that there were over 25,000 complaints made against such firms in the last year.

The idea that replacing a publicly accountable service with an unaccountable private one will offer "value for money" is viewed as a sick joke by most MoJ PCS members.

The campaign against privatisation will continue and judging from the determined mood of the members on the Manchester picket line the government is in for a fight.

Alex Davidson


500 Unite members working for the food company Greencore in Hull have taken a day's strike action to demand a living wage. The company provides food for supermarkets.

In the last few years, the workers agreed to give up some terms and conditions for 18 months. Their reward for being loyal is broken promises and poverty wages.

When the 18 months were up, management told the unions: "You'll never get your terms and conditions back".

Various attempts have been made to get management to back down including negotiations and tribunals. The tribunal found in the workers' favour but, despite having to pay damages, the company has refused to reinstate the terms and conditions.

If management don't back down then, in the words of one worker: "We'll be back for two days next time"

Mike Whale, Hull NUT


The BBC have found that at least 111 workers in Wales were on the illegal blacklist run by the Consulting Association.

This mirrors the situation in England and Scotland where skilled construction workers have been consigned to a life of unemployment and poverty for just being a union rep or raising concerns about health and safety.

The UK Contractors Group claims that there is no evidence of blacklisting still going on. But one way of helping to purge this illegal practice from the construction industry would be for local authorities and other public bodies not to give contracts to firms involved in blacklisting.

Strike ballot

Transport union RMT has announced that staff working on London Underground's (LU) "Trainpeople" agency contract have voted unanimously to strike.

LU inherited a contract with the Trainpeople agency in 2007. In breach of agreements with unions, for five years LU continued to use agency staff in LU uniform while Trainpeople paid them as little as 6.75 an hour.

Trainpeople staff joined RMT and organised for equal rights with permanent staff. Then, without warning, LU terminated its contract with Trainpeople.

A number of protests have already taken place around London but now the RMT's executive will consider when to organise strike action.

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In The Socialist 6 February 2013:

Socialist Party NHS campaigning

Fight to save NHS

Revolt against pay cuts strengthened at Mid-Yorkshire NHS

Lewisham hospital protests continue

Whipps Cross workers prepare for fight against jobs and pay cuts

Scrap PFI, not our hospitals

Socialist Party news and analysis

Cracks in the coalition - we must take advantage of the divided enemy

As Gove attacks teachers: NUT leaders - delay no longer

Childcare plans spell disaster

Them & Us

Socialist Party feature

Organised fightback needed to save council services

Socialist Party reviews and comments

Cut tax dodging not benefits

Film review: Steven Spielberg's Lincoln

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Brutal cuts announced in Cardiff

Derby Labour councillors 'oppose' cuts - then vote for them

Tamil Solidarity looks at 65 years of 'independence' in Sri Lanka

Support the Socialist with a May Day greeting

Socialist Party regional conferences

Socialist Party workplace news

Workers tell Bromley council: We won't sign up to your plans

Labour cuts better than Tory ones?

Attempts to force Unison branches to affiliate to Labour

London mayor pressing ahead with fire service cuts

Workplace news in brief

International socialist news and analysis

South Africa: Battle for control of mining sector


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