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30 March 2011

in brief

Unite elections

Ballot papers to elect a new executive committee for Unite have now been sent out and must be returned by 15 April to be counted.

Socialist Party members in the union are supporting the United Left candidates; the full slate can be found at

Following the victory of Len McCluskey for general secretary, a left executive with a fighting programme is crucial for members facing attacks on their jobs and conditions.

BA strike ballot

In the fourth strike ballot in four years, BA cabin crew have voted overwhelmingly to strike against management attacks. On a 72% turnout, 5,811 voted to strike, with 1,170 voting against.

This was a re-run of a ballot held before Christmas which was declared invalid through the antitrade union laws.

The original dispute, which started in November 2009, was over management cutting jobs and attacking working conditions.

Workers are angry at travel concessions being removed from staff who went on strike and disciplinary action being taken against union members.

Talks are proceeding between the Unite union and BA. Unite has 28 days to name the dates for strike action.

Royal Mail closures

Between 500 and 600 postal workers from around Britain met at Friends meeting house in central London on 29 March. They were meeting to discuss Royal Mail management's attacks on the postal service through their new business plan. This means mail centre closures, privatisation and more attacks on postal workers' pensions.

Mail centres around the country are threatened with closure. In Yorkshire and the north east of England, six out of nine mail centres are set to be closed. In London Twelvetrees and Nine Elms mail centres will be closed and the remaining centre at Mount Pleasant will see big staff cuts.

These closures and cuts will mean compulsory redundancies, which goes against the national agreement.

The Communication Workers Union leadership are giving Royal Mail management until the end of April to come up with concessions before deciding what further action to take.

Pete Redfarn

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