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Workplace news in brief
POA strike ballot
The national executive of the POA prison officers' union has decided to conduct an indicative ballot against prison privatisation. This ballot, which will include the option of supporting strike action, has been triggered by the government announcement of the privatisation of Birmingham and Featherstone 2 prisons.
Steve Gillan, general secretary of the POA, explained that until the indicative ballot has been concluded, there will be weekly lunchtime protest meetings.
Ballot papers are being sent out as we go to press and the ballot will close on 5 May.
Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM)
Unison members working for TfGM are being balloted for strike action over compulsory redundancies. Around 160 workers in the TfGM headquarters are being balloted, which closes on 27 April.
TfGM took over from the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive on 1 April this year, and since then senior management have proposed a restructuring plan which puts jobs at risk.
As previously reported in the Socialist, 83% of BA staff have voted to strike over management attacks - including disciplinary action against workers who took strike action last year.
Since then, negotiations have been proceeding between Unite and the company. Under the terms of the latest ballot, strike dates would have to have been declared by 15 April.
But the company has agreed to a 28-day extension to this period.
In a joint statement issued on 14 April, Unite general secretary Len McCluskey and BA chief executive Keith Williams have said they "accept that a lasting peace is essential... to achieve such a peace, it is understood by BA that cabin crew must feel their concerns are being fairly dealt with and it is recognised by the union that the management and acceptance of change is the key to lasting peace."
What is meant by "the acceptance of change" will obviously be the crucial factor in the workforce judging whether any agreement is acceptable.
First Great Western
The RMT, TSSA, Aslef and Unite unions met with First Great Western (FGW) management for pay talks recently. FGW offered members a 5.5% pay rise this year with a 3% or RPI rise, whichever is greater, next year with no strings.
This shows that even in these times of austerity, strong trade unions can win decent pay deals for their members.
With high union density and joint negotiations involving all the unions organising at FGW, the rail unions have shown it pays to be in a union!
In The Socialist 20 April 2011:
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