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Workplace news in brief
NUT members at Tech City academy in Islington, north London, are taking two days of strike action on 8 and 9 December and have planned a further three day strike in the following week. The college has been run by the Aspirations Academies Trust since 1 September - a Trust that runs 12 academies altogether. The management has refused to address the concerns of the teaching staff, despite these being raised by the NUT in a number of meetings. The teachers are requesting an agreed performance management policy which would include a limit of three lesson observations per year and to have reasonable notice of them. The NUT produced a leaflet to give to the students to explain the reasons for the strike and to ask for their support.
On 3 December Webhelp UK confirmed the closure of the Aintree and Bolton call centres that provide services for Shop Direct, which will result in the loss of over 700 jobs across both sites. The company originally said the closures are a result of customers preferring to shop online rather than ring call centres. However, Usdaw has discovered that the real reason is to move jobs to a South African call centre where staff are paid just £2.39 an hour. Usdaw is holding a ballot of all members working for Webhelp UK at the Aintree and Bolton sites to ask whether they want to take industrial action to oppose the closures. The result is due on 11 December.
On 2 December firefighters from across London demonstrated outside city hall against proposals by the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority to scrap 13 fire engines and cut 184 frontline jobs. Firefighters told Mayor of London Boris Johnson that the plans would lead to deaths, warning: "Cuts will kill." Ian Leahair, a member of the Fire Brigades Union's national executive, told the protest: "Can you really believe the timing? For 13 appliances to be taken away from London in the wake of the Paris attacks that have just occurred? If we had those events in London, a series of events at one time, we would not cope. Taking 13 appliances away now is absolutely absurd."