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Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/654/10981

From The Socialist newspaper, 19 January 2011

Workplace news in brief

Pensions ballot

Teachers' union NUT members are participating in a survey about action over pensions. The education department is threatening to increase contributions from 6.4% to as much as 10% of salary. The NUT executive meets on 18 January to consider the results of the survey, so all NUT members should make sure their executive member supports an urgent ballot for strike action.

Members of the lecturers' union UCU will be balloting for strike action on jobs, pay and pensions. Higher education branches from 2 February to 2 March and further education branches and members in post-1992 universities from 23 February to 11 March.

Birmingham bins

The recently planned strikes by Birmingham bin workers were called off at the last minute by the trade unions. They say that negotiations have produced enough to call off the industrial action. Negotiations are proceeding as the bin workers clear the backlog of rubbish. But it seems that the workforce is still facing major pay cuts and a worsening of working conditions, whilst the position of agency workers is increasingly precarious.

Hull workers fight sacking

At midnight on 12 January, Lovells housing maintenance workers in Hull were told that they were no longer going to be paid. In effect they were being sacked. What has happened to these workers is a timely warning to all public sector workers who face privatisation. It also gives the lie to Cameron's claims that the private sector is better at doing public sector work.

The workers used to be part of the direct labour force in Hull city council. The last Labour government "outsourced" the housing maintenance work to three arms length companies - Keir, Connaughts and Kingston Works Limited (KWL).

In July last year Connaughts went bust. Under the original agreement, the Connaughts workers should have been taken back into Hull city council's employment. Instead Carl Minns, the Liberal leader of the council, sold the workers and the work to Lovells, another private firm.

Ken Thompson, UCATT steward, explained that: "The workers are demanding that the council either takes them and the work back in house or organises their transfer to KWL and Keir."

Mick Whale

Related links:

Pensions:

triangleTory think tank proposes attack on pensions

triangleUniversity workers' strike escalates

triangleUniversity strikers walk out for better pay and pensions

triangle14 more days of university strikes over pensions, pay and conditions

triangleUniversity and College Union: Pensions, pay and conditions dispute reach a crucial stage

Birmingham:

triangleSelling the Socialist: we're back!

triangleBirmingham South Socialist Party: 1990s struggles against the far-right

triangleBirmingham South Socialist Party: Charities, volunteering and the welfare state

triangleBirmingham North Socialist Party: The General Strike and workers' power

Hull:

triangleP&O: defend every job - nationalise the ferries

triangleHull Trades Council debates workers' political representation

triangleTrades council debates workers' political representation

Council:

triangleLeeds City Council in danger of bankruptcy

triangleCardiff community fights nursery closure: Council must step in

NUT:

triangleMoney doesn't make up for cuts - education unions must organise for funding and against Tory attacks

Education:

triangleTory full return to school plans gamble with lives

Bin workers:

triangleVictory for Medway bin workers

UCATT:

triangleLetter from blacklisted construction workers

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