Workplace news in brief
Unison Scotland urges no more cuts
Last week the Socialist reported that the five trade unions representing Glasgow City Council workers have demanded a 'no cuts' budget. Following this Unison Scotland has set up a 'Scotland-wide cuts strategy group' to take the campaign forward and have published a report pointing out how 'Scottish public bodies could mitigate the effects of austerity through powers they already have.'
RMT members on the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) held a solid 48-hour strike on 15 and 16 October. Cleaners and security staff are campaigning for a wage rise and for management to honour long-standing workplace agreements. This was the fourth strike in the dispute and pickets were confident that management is feeling the effects. Some had voted for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), and were happy to add their names to the TUSC letter to Labour councillors asking them to meet and discuss voting against cuts. Tower Hamlets TUSC had hoped that local Labour MP Jim Fitzpatrick would at least give support to the strikers after John McDonnell had pledged that Labour MPs would support workers in struggle. However he replied to TUSC with a bizarre tweet about not supporting any struggle unconditionally because a group of dockers marched in support of Tory MP Enoch Powell in 1968.
RMT drivers on Arriva Trains Wales are taking strike action on 22 and 23 October in response to the company dragging its heels over a revised pay offer for the 2015 pay award. RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "RMT is not prepared to tolerate Arriva Trains Wales' delaying tactics any longer. Train drivers deserve a fair pay offer and real improvements in their working conditions. We have been left with no alternative than to call strike action to show the company that drivers will not be treated with contempt over such important issues as pay and terms and conditions."
On 15 October, NUT members at Alfreton Grange Arts College took strike action. Around 20 workers formed a picket line outside the college and were in good spirits. The NUT produced a leaflet indicating the college management plans to increase the number of teaching periods from 25 to 43, thereby ensuring shorter break times and leading to a longer school day. It is a question of quantity rather quality, leading to poorer educational outcomes. The college management is also looking for academy status.