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Workplace news in brief
On 18 October, Queen Mary University (QMUL) Unison branch secretary Vik Chechi was suspended from his post at the east London university. This suspension is undoubtedly linked to Vik's opposition to the cuts and restructuring being imposed at Queen Mary and his tireless efforts to organise campus workers, reinvigorate the Unison branch and link up with the students.
Please send letters of protest demanding his immediate reinstatement and letters of support to firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is an online petition: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/reinstatevikchechi/
QMUL Unison are also organising a public meeting and a lobby.
- Meeting: Thursday 10 November, 5.30-6.30pm, Francis Bancroft Room 1.13a, Mile End Campus, Queen Mary University, E1 4NS
- Lobby: Tuesday 15 November, 4.30-5.30pm, Garrod Building entrance, Queen Mary University, Whitechapel Campus, behind Royal London Hospital, Turner Street, Whitechapel, E1 2AD.
Construction industry campaigner Mick Dooley has won his unfair dismissal claim against building union Ucatt. In a recent issue of the Socialist Mick explained how his efforts to turn Ucatt into a campaigning union had resulted in him being sacked as a fulltime official.
Also, despite gaining 30 nominations from union branches, Mick has been barred by Ucatt from standing in the re-run election for the union's general secretary.
Mick is now contemplating legal action against this ban.
Hundreds of cleaners working on Virgin West Coast mainline trains will strike for 48 hours from 1am on 11 November to midnight on 12 November, as their employer continues to offer insultingly low pay 'rises'.
350 workers struck on 28 October and refused to empty train effluent tanks or refill fresh water tanks.
The cleaners are paid barely over minimum wage. For five years, their pay only increased with the minimum wage. 94% of workers voted to strike in a ballot organised by their union, the RMT. Now, as a result, the company, Carlisle, is offering a few pence more an hour. Carlisle is owned by the Impellam Group, itself part of the business empire of top Tory Lord Ashcroft. Impellam increased its profits by almost 30% to £16.2 million in the past year!
The RMT is demanding a meeting with Virgin's boss Richard Branson, who so far has refused to intervene. Branson's millions are made from workers like those at Carlisle being paid peanuts. The entire rail service is run so train operators like Virgin and contractors like Carlisle can rip off taxpayers through subsidies, the travelling public through extortionate ticket prices, and workers in the industry through low pay. This disgraceful shambles should be renationalised from top to bottom and run under the democratic control by representatives of rail workers and the travelling public, as well as the government.