Workplace news in brief

Orgreave protest

On 29 March around 100 protesters gathered outside the northern office of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) in Wakefield to voice their anger at the continuing cover-up of the truth of the police operation to break the National Union of Miners picket outside the Orgreave coking plant just under 20 years ago.

The protest was organised by the Orgreave Truth and Justice campaign. As their spokesperson, Barbara Jackson, introduced the speakers, she commented that the IPCC had moved at a “snail’s pace” to review the events around Orgreave.

This was after South Yorkshire Police referred themselves to the IPCC under pressure in the wake of the Hillsborough inquiry.

She also pointed out the limitations of IPCC, which is largely staffed by former police officers and is unable to compel police officers to testify. She called for more pressure on the IPCC but also for a public inquiry.

The speakers included many trade union activists from South Yorkshire. An NUR [now RMT] member at the time explained the solidarity that rank and file railway workers gave to the miners in refusing to move coal.

Kevin, a Doncaster Care UK striker who had been one of the miners arrested at Orgreave also spoke.

TNT Post

The Communication Workers Union is calling on postal regulator Ofcom to set service quality levels. This is because TNT Post has been operating in Manchester for some months with complaints about poor service, late and mis-delivered mail. Now TNT is starting a service in Liverpool, delivering mail every other day.

As well as providing a poor service TNT has also been undermining postal workers’ pay and conditions by paying staff less than the living wage and using zero-hour contracts.

Lambeth college

Lambeth College teachers struck on 1 April. Management has launched unprecedented attacks on hours, wages, sick pay and jobs.

Four privatised “free schools” are set to carve up the Brixton campus. Staff backed action by 95% on a 70%. This is a record mandate for lecturers’ union UCU.

Pickets held an energetic morning protest and lunchtime rally at the main Clapham site. Local trade unionists and Socialist Party members supported the picket line throughout the day.

Workers plan to follow up with indefinite strike action after Easter.