Workplace In brief

Pension mythbuster

Teachers’ union NUT has revealed that £46.4 billion more has been paid into the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS) since its foundation in 1923, than has been paid out. This is in addition to the findings by the National Audit Office and the Public Accounts Committee which concluded that the long-term costs of the TPS are declining.

This has not been found on the front pages of the bosses’ papers, that continually peddle the myth that public sector pensions are “gold-plated” and unsustainable.

Transport for London (TfL) jobs

Unions took their united campaign to stop the proposed outsourcing of London Taxi and Private Hire (Compliance and Driver Licensing) to TfL headquarters on 23 November. 94 workers could be shunted out of the company, losing their travel facilities and possibly pensions. 68 may be forced to move out of London altogether (to Northampton or Coventry) if they want to keep their jobs. For all TfL’s talk of “Safer Travel at Night” it’s difficult to see how passenger safety would not be affected with regulation of London’s 28,000 black cabs and 50,000 private hire vehicles run from 100 miles away by the same kind of private firms who have so expensively failed to deliver across the public sector (think Tube privatisation!). And, if we let this through, TfL call centres could be the next.

  • Join TfL unions on 7 December at 8am outside Windsor House, Victoria Street to lobby the full TfL board
Paul Stevens, TfL RMT

No academy!

On 16 November, teachers in NASUWT and NUT at Prince Henry grammar school in Otley, Leeds took their second day of strike action against the proposal to turn the school into an academy. Academies are a form of backdoor privatisation and in Otley there is huge opposition to the planned changes. School students and parents joined the picket line. Many were discussing how to support the strike. A well-organised strike by students could be a way of upping the pressure on the head teacher and remaining governors to back off from the academisation plans.

Iain Dalton, Leeds Socialist Party

Strike vote

PCS members working at HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have voted to strike against privatisation. HMRC want to use private contractors in two contact centres dealing with calls about tax credits. In the ballot 70% voted to strike and 86% voted for other action, on a 34.7% turnout in the ballot involving 21,000 workers.

Strike vote 2

Transport union RMT members in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary have voted for action in defence of their pensions. 60% voted to strike and 80% for action short of a strike.

Support Vik Chechi

On 18 October, Queen Mary University (QMUL) Unison branch secretary Vik Chechi was suspended from work at the east London university. This suspension is undoubtedly linked to Vik’s opposition to the cuts and restructuring being imposed at Queen Mary.

Please send letters of protest demanding his immediate reinstatement and letters of support to

[email protected].