Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/681/12479
Workplace news in brief
Action to save our libraries
Planned strike action by Lambeth libraries staff for 22 July was postponed as the council management conceded that there will be no compulsory redundancies.
This offer is being put to all Unison members in libraries at a joint shop meeting. Staff are not ruling out industrial action to protect libraries from cuts but this offer represents a significant victory as it protects both jobs and many frontline services. Every library in Lambeth looked set to close before the action was organised.
Andy Tullis, Lambeth Unison
More library battles
Battles to save libraries are going on in many areas, including a mass lobby of Surrey county council on 26 July. See the article: Surrey library lobby a huge success
In Waltham Forest, east London there will be a protest to save the libraries - on Saturday 13 August from 4pm in the Town Square.
Stop the cuts at St Helier hospital
Despite management intimidation, an inspiring protest took place outside St Helier hospital in south London on 27 July. 100 health workers came out in a lunchtime protest against the potential loss of over 100 posts.
Kevin O'Brien, the Epsom/St Helier Unison union branch secretary explained that roughly 4,600 staff work for Epsom and St Helier University hospitals trusts.
Of these, 762 are casual staff who face the sack. He said any job loss is unacceptable.
Local staff still cannot understand how the trust has gone from a £3 million 'surplus' in April this year to a situation a few weeks later of announcing up to £45 million of cuts.
Those present are determined to continue to fight to defend jobs and services and a further protest is planned on 3 August at Epsom hospital.
Surrey social care staff say enough is enough
Adult social care workers from across Surrey have voted to refuse to work to proposed new shifts. Surrey County Council (SCC) have been trying to change the working hours of staff in adult social work teams since last year but staff, most of whom are Unison members have stood firm and SCC have been unable to implement the changes.
A meeting of reps from across the county voted unanimously not to accept the changes and not to participate in a planned 'pilot' of the changes in hospital-based teams.
The meeting also elected five new Unison workplace contacts to build for potential action. Dozens of Unison membership forms were taken away to recruit those staff not yet in the union.
Surrey County Unison branch will now conduct a consultative ballot for industrial action and let the council know that our members will not be pushed around any longer.
Paul Couchman, Surrey Unison branch secretary, personal capacity
Journalists on strike
Around 25 National Union of Journalists (NUJ) members in Doncaster, Selby and Mexborough are in the third week of indefinite strike action which started on 15 July.
Darren, the acting Father of Chapel (FOC - National Union of Journalists' union rep) said that "the strike is about everything - office closures, staff cuts, merged jobs, increased workloads and hours, low pay - all of which mean poorer quality local newspapers."
Another striker Barbara said: "I worked during the last strike in 2006, but they've gone too far this time. We know it's not a nine to five job but it shouldn't be a sweat shop either. I just feel that after everything we've done, I've been smacked in the face with a wet fish."
Meanwhile, Hayley is giving it large on her megaphone on the picket line: "25 quid from Maplins, best money I ever spent." In an attempt to make progress, the NUJ chapel have approached arbitration service ACAS.
- Please send messages of support to firstname.lastname@example.org and donations to account name DFP NUJ Chapel, no: 35630388, sort code: 60-06-39.
...and at the BBC
Members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) took industrial action in Coventry on 1 August as part of a national strike at the BBC against compulsory redundancies.
The strength of the strike action in Coventry and regionally reduced the local radio station and regional news channel to a minimum service.
Vanessa Pearce, Mother of the Chapel for BBC Coventry and Warwickshire NUJ spoke to members of the Socialist Party on the picket line: "It's really important for us to fight against compulsory redundancies. In September we will find out how the cuts in the BBC will affect us here, we need to make a stand now to fight for every single job."
In Leeds the strike severely disrupted programming. At lunchtime, an impromptu rally was held to boost morale. A work to rule has begun and further industrial action looks likely over the next few months.
Socialist Party reporters
Over 200 people packed into Oystermouth primary school, Swansea on 22 July to hear coastguards and local campaigners make the case for saving Swansea coastguard station.
The original government proposal was to close Milford Haven station and downgrade Swansea to a daylight hours-only service.
Now the Con-Dem coalition proposes to close Swansea, although Milford Haven has had a reprieve.
The public consultation (closing on 6 October) tries to steer respondents into choosing between Swansea and Milford Haven, but this divisive tactic must be resisted at all costs.
A campaign committee was set up at the meeting.
Readers are urged to sign the online petition at http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/save-swansea-coastguard.html and respond to the consultation on the Department for Transport website.
Dave Warren, PCS South West Wales
In The Socialist 3 August 2011:
Fighting the cuts
Opposing the far right
Socialist Party NHS campaigning
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party news and campaigns
Socialist Party review
Socialist Party feature