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From The Socialist newspaper, 24 February 2010

Fast news

Safety strike ballot

A ballot for national industrial action involving rail maintenance workers across the country begins on 25 February.

The RMT is organising the ballot because of the threat of redundancies. Network Rail want to cut up to 1,500 safety-critical maintenance jobs and use external contractors for some work. TSSA members will be balloted at the same time.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: "We are balloting for a national strike because we know that the threat to axe jobs and compromise safety standards makes another Hatfield, Potters Bar or Grayrigg disaster on the UK rail network inevitable."

RMT members lobbied the Department of Transport about the job cuts and the risks to safety on 23 February.

National Gallery

On 23 February, security staff at the National Gallery walked out for two hours over low pay. This was repeated for another two hours on 24 February. The PCS members are angry over the imposition of a pay award which leaves most warders earning as little as £7 per hour, 60p less than Tory mayor Boris Johnson's recommended London Living Wage.

Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary said: "The people who mind the nation's masterpieces are sick and tired of having to work 50 to 60 hours a week and take second jobs to scrape together enough to pay for housing costs, bills and food. It's time that the National Gallery recognised that loyal staff deserve a London living wage."

"Bungalow Bill" speaks

Bill Wiggin, Old Etonian and MP for Leominster, where Cadbury's Marlbrook plant is located, labelled Cadbury workers as "whingers" for opposing the takeover by Kraft.

With Kraft's announcement that they intend to close the Somerdale factory coming only days after their takeover of Cadburys he should now be ashamed of himself.

Even this Tory toff (known as "Bungalow Bill" after the MP claimed £11,500 on a phantom mortgage) must now recognise the real fear Cadbury workers have for their jobs and that there was no whingeing.

Kraft had given assurances about jobs at UK plants during the takeover process. Clearly, these guarantees about jobs and investment were meaningless.

Will Wiggin commit himself to defending jobs at the plant or is he still more concerned with fishing, hunting and shooting than the livelihoods of working people in his constituency?

The Campaign to Defend Jobs and Services, which is battling against public sector cuts and private sector redundancies, had its inaugural meeting in Worcester recently and has leafleted the Leominster plant calling for the nationalisation of Cadbury to safeguard jobs as well as the resignation of Bill Wiggin.

Whingers of the world unite! You have only your MP to lose!

Sean McCauley, Herefordshire and Worcestershire Socialist Party

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In The Socialist 24 February 2010:

NHS: Not safe in their hands!

Private 'vultures' to run NHS hospital

How to stop cuts and defend public services

Demo opposes £29m Notts county cuts

Youth fight for jobs

Young people deserve a future: Join the Manchester march for jobs on 13 March

Youth Fight for Jobs Demonstrations

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC)

RMT branch supports challenge to Denham

Support the TUSC election challenge

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition General Election launch rally

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Fast news


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Unison witch-hunt

Nominate Roger Bannister: Unison's leadership battle

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Workplace news and analysis

South Wales: Demo against council cuts

Staythorpe: the fight for workplace safety

Port workers battle bosses... and high court

Jobcentre staff fight cuts

Leeds university: Support lecturers striking to save jobs

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Iraq: All eyes on the oil prize

Socialist Party news and analysis

Campaigning rights victory: But questions remain on new Waltham Forest policy


How can the racist BNP be defeated?

Scottish Defence League defeated: Working class political alternative urgently needed


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