Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/601/8347
Strikes force concessions
Six days of strike action by 700 South Yorkshire Fire Brigade Union (FBU) members have forced major concessions from the Chief Fire Officer and Labour-controlled fire authority.
The threat of mass dismissals has been withdrawn, and the strings previously attached to going to arbitration (ACAS) over proposed shift changes have been dropped. So the FBU has called off further strikes. The union has reiterated its proposal for a change to a ten-hour day and 14-hour night shift system that would have a lot less detrimental impact on parents and carers than the management's 12-hour shifts that they were trying to impose.
A bullying management that sought to impose shift changes by threatening mass sackings and then a lock-out has been forced to retreat by the solidarity of firefighters across South Yorkshire. This was backed by the support of brigades throughout the UK, demonstrated by the 2,000 at the Barnsley rally, and overwhelming public support, despite very biased media reporting.
Similarly, three days of solid strike action by First Bus drivers in Sheffield has forced management at the Olive Grove depot to back down on the five drivers who had unjust disciplinaries against them. Disciplinary action has been overturned, with money owed paid back to them.
Consequently, the Unite union depot committee suspended a planned strike last Saturday, pending more talks on 10 November about outstanding issues, especially the disciplinary procedures. At the time of writing, further strikes on 12 and 15 November will go ahead if talks don't resolve the issues to drivers' satisfaction.
In The Socialist 11 November 2009:
War and occupation
Postal workers strike
Defend the four campaign
Campaign for a New Workers Party
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party review