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From The Socialist newspaper, 8 February 2012

Workplace news in brief

Stop press: Victory!

Today, Tuesday 7 February, Len Hockey received a letter from his employer Initial stating that there is no case to answer in their attempt to discipline him.

This is a fantastic victory against an anti-union employer who wanted to clear out a fighting union leadership.

Initial had trumped up a charge of Len meeting with union members without prior approval from management. Without a shred of evidence and with the fury of union members on their necks, management backed down!

As soon as the threat to Len was raised, with a unanimous show of hands, an emergency meeting of Unison members agreed to prepare for strike action and to demand the London region of Unison do everything in their power to defend Len.

Emails of protest flooded in to the employer from all over the country, and to Unison to demand they vigorously defend Len.

A campaign of protests at the gate and of petitioning around the hospital galvanised support across the board - from porters and domestics, nurses, doctors, social workers, ambulance workers, onsite nursery and canteen staff, hospital volunteers and visitors.

On the morning of Len's investigation, staff and visitors were met by a sea of "Defend Union Reps" posters and placards and a gathering of supporters.

Paula Mitchell

Construction workers

On 1 February, around 60 construction workers and their supporters protested against the imposition of the new Besna contracts outside the Trinity Walk construction site in Leeds City Centre. Around 40 sparks also protested outside Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station.

They have been out each week for the past couple of months. There was a determined mood that they will continue with the weekly protests until they win.

Manchester electricians continued their protest at the central library Baileys site, and upped the pressure on the city council, which is the client.

Bus workers' demo

On 4 February around 150 striking Stagecoach bus drivers and their supporters turned out in Barnsley. The drivers are continuing and escalating their action in a bitter pay dispute. After a short march from the picket lines through the town centre, speakers addressed the defiant rally.

The demonstration itself was organised through Barnsley trades council and support came from many unions including Unison, GMB, UCU and NUT, who notably sent members from Rawmarsh in Rotherham, where Stagecoach have a depot. Only a year ago those teachers were on strike themselves, fighting for their jobs at the local community school.

The demonstration fell on the first day of four days of strike action on alternate days. This is aimed at maximising costs for management who are shipping in scabs from other parts of the country.

Strikers remain determined and report that scabs from some regions have refused to assist management.

Chris Bingham, Rotherham Socialist Party

National Shop Stewards Network

6th annual conference:

Saturday 9 June 11am - 4pm
Friends Meeting House, Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ

For more information see:

Contact the NSSN at: [email protected] or PO Box 54498, London, E10 9DE

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

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In The Socialist 8 February 2012:

Socialist Party NHS campaigning

Save the NHS!

Prince Philip Hospital Llanelli: We can defeat cuts plans

Kingston Hospital: Save all NHS jobs

Socialist Party news and analysis

London - a tale of two cities

Exploiting the unemployed to line the pockets of big business

Safe railways, not shopping malls

Them & Us

Socialist Party youth and students

Students drop out of college without EMA

Leeds Trinity students fight canteen cuts

New society at Leeds College

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Scrap the Welfare Reform Bill

Tactics to stop racist EDL

Manchester Sure Starts saved!

Tower Hamlets: Save Rushmead one stop shop - fight all cuts

Salford campaign saves day care centres

Defend care services in Medway

International socialist news and analysis

Mubarak's state machine blamed for football massacre

Socialist Party workplace news

UCU special conference

Reinstate sacked PCS steward, John Brookes!

The scandalous role of London Unison - Demand that it defends Len Hockey!

Striking oil tanker drivers demand meaningful talks

Workplace news in brief

The Socialist - reviews & readers' comments

Tory policies hit women hardest

We need fighting trade unions

Review: Borgen - politics and crime in Denmark


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