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Workplace news in brief
The National Pensioners Convention is launching a Rights in Retirement campaign week from 24 to 29 October 2011. We are demanding three basic rights in retirement: the right to a decent state pension set at £178 a week, the right to be cared for in dignity and respect, as well as a warm home.
The fight of public sector workers to defend their pension is the same fight being waged by retired workers to defend their state pension. The NPC calls for a winter fuel allowance of £500 per household as well as the right to be cared for whether in the NHS or in the community, with costs shared by society as a whole.
As part of the campaign there will be a national rally/lobby of Parliament on 26 October, 1-3pm. In the build-up to 30 November it is vital we unite all sections of the working class behind the strikers, this includes pensioners, many of whom are being hit hard by the government's austerity programme.
Terry Pearce, National Pensioners Convention (NPC) - Thames Valley, personal capacity
Lincoln Benefit Centre, along with 41 other Jobcentre Plus offices across the UK, is under threat of closure. The closure of this site will represent the loss of the last benefit processing facilities in the county of Lincolnshire. Over 130 people work there, scores will be forced to transfer to Lincoln Contact Centre.
A march against the closure was held on 24 September. PCS reps came over from other threatened offices in the East Midlands and the North West to support the event.
Our PCS branch is committed to opposing the closure of Lincoln Benefit Centre and demands a well-staffed public welfare service with secure, permanent jobs for all staff.
Nick Parker, Assistant Secretary, PCS DWP Lincolnshire and Rutland Branch
Scores of lecturers' union UCU members at Barnsley College, with students in support, picketed entrances as they took strike action on 6 October. This was in defence of Graham Mustin, their joint branch secretary who after over 20 years of teaching at the college is being made redundant on 21 November, despite vacancies existing that he could have been redeployed to.
This strike follows on from several days of strike action earlier in the year against job cuts at the college, with over 50 staff forced into voluntary redundancy with a prospect of returning to work at college on inferior terms and conditions.
The mood of the staff on strike was one of anger and determination. The mood was lifted as several college students went round visiting picket lines with a large banner emblazoned "Students support their lecturers".
There was a fantastic response when we gave out leaflets about the Jarrow March arriving in Barnsley on 11 October, with several pickets saying they had already heard about it and were planning on coming along to support it.