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From The Socialist newspaper, 21 June 2017

Manchester housing maintenance dispute steps up action

Mears maintenance workers'; strike, 15.5.17, photo Becci Heagney

Mears maintenance workers'; strike, 15.5.17, photo Becci Heagney   (Click to enlarge)

Paul Gerrard, Salford Socialist Party

In the week after the general election Manchester housing maintenance workers held a two-day mass protest outside Manchester Town Hall. Their dispute is with their employer Mears, but it's the Labour council which has hung them out to dry by passing the contract over to a private company.

At the protest stewards met with the council's head of housing and regeneration for 45 minutes and left him in no doubt about their sense of betrayal, their dispute with the company, and their determination to see successful negotiations.

Mears employees earn up to 6,000 less than workers on the other side of the city. The company claims it wants to see a 'sustainable workforce' yet apprentices are being offered six-month and even three-month contracts on completion. What's next - zero-hours?

Unite the Union is looking to step up the dispute, regularising strike pay and moving to involve other Mears staff who maintain the council's own premises, including the iconic Gothic town hall.

Workers were shocked - but not surprised - by the events in Grenfell Tower, as they work on council housing stock renovation projects. It used to be part of their work to check for potential fire hazards when they visit homes, and either report faults or deal with them while they're there. But nowadays there is relentless pressure to get jobs done, signed off and leave for the next job.

Stewards are rightly angered by the Labour council's actions but welcomed the success for Jeremy Corbyn in the election. One commented that the most encouraging thing was to see young people flooding to support Corbyn in defiance of the "turncoats" in the parliamentary party.

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In The Socialist 21 June 2017:


Grenfell Tower

Whole establishment exposed for role in Grenfell fire

Organise: justice for Grenfell and safety for all

Massive failings led to Grenfell Tower fire - Rapid, fully funded action now

Anger and grief on moving Grenfell marches

Unions call for action after Grenfell


What we think

Tories and May stagger on amid crisis - get them out!

Finsbury Park attack: No to terror, racism, war and austerity!


International socialist news and analysis

French elections: time to build a fighting left alternative


Socialist Party news and analysis

Kick out the Tories to save the NHS!

Inflation: Workers lose out - time for action

Open University facing huge cuts

The have-yachts and the have-nots


Workplace news and analysis

Jobcentre strike grows in second round of action

BA cabin crew calls two-week walkout over blacklisting accusations

Welsh college strike against crippling workload

Manchester housing maintenance dispute steps up action

Barts Trust NHS workers vote for action over pay

Unison conference: "A sense of change"

Militant mood against college job cuts

NSSN cancels conference to support 'Tories Out' demo


Socialist history

The Pentrich uprising: revolution and counter-revolution in 19th century Britain


Socialist readers' comments and reviews

"Austerity hurts and the only alternative is socialism"

The Socialist Inbox


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Protests around the country demand: Tories out!

Young socialists share ideas at London meeting

Canterbury pride


 

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Related links:

Manchester:

triangleMears workers escalate action to all-out strike

triangle"What do we want? Pay parity.

triangleManchester Socialist Party: Social housing and safety

triangleThe Socialist inbox

triangleManchester housing workers' strike solid

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triangleGrenfell survivors tell Tories: "Step down and resign"

triangleSouthwark Group of Tenants Organisations meeting reveals huge anger of tenants

triangleBron Afon workers fight 3,000 pay cut

triangleGrenfell stitch-up: unions should call independent inquiry

Council:

triangleSupport the Bart's strikers

triangleVigil for Grenfell

triangleWaltham Forest Trades Council: Back the Whipps Cross strikers!

Workers:

triangle10% pay increase accompanied by cuts and job losses

triangleBin workers step up action

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