Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/807/18467
Workplace news in brief
Low-paid hospital workers in west London have scored an important victory. 150 GMB members working as domestic, catering, portering and other staff working for Medicrest, part of Compass, were on £6.31 an hour.
After eleven days of well-supported strike action they have won an increase to £7.31 an hour from 1 April and two additional days leave.
From April 2015 pay rates will be harmonised across the health trust so the workers should be on £9.10 to £9.30 an hour - the same rates as NHS staff and those transferred from the NHS to Compass under the TUPE agreement.
Site deaths scandal
There has been a significant rise in construction industry deaths. This is happening in London particularly as the amount of building activity increases. Baroness Donaghy, former government advisor on the sector, has pointed out that this increase in deaths and injuries is at the same time as the Health and Safety Executive has had a 35% cut in funding. Only 10% of construction workers are trade union members and the industry has relied on casual workers to maximise profits.
The urgent need to campaign to organise sites, eradicate the blacklist and fight for proper health and safety provision was underlined by a death in central London on 14 April. A building worker was killed when a floor collapsed under him at the former US Navy site in Grosvenor Square. Another worker was injured.
This comes at the same time as construction workers are having to fight attempts by the big construction companies to take advantage of a change in tax legislation to worsen workers' pay and conditions. But workers have been walking off sites in the battle to be employed directly an PAYE terms - a tactic which has proved successful in many cases so far.
As well as the elections for national officers and the national executive of the PCS, there are elections for the union's group executives. The Department for Work and Pensions is the biggest group in the union and the Left Unity slate, of which the Socialist Party is a part is available on www.leftunity.org.uk
Ballot papers should be distributed by 29 April and must be returned by 9 May.
In The Socialist 16 April 2014:
Socialist Party election campaigning
Socialist Party news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party reports and campaigns