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From The Socialist newspaper, 18 June 2014

Workplace news in brief

EDF energy strike

A third day of strike action by Unite members working at EDF in London, the South East, South West and Eastern region took place on 16 June.

This is the first strike campaign at EDF since the early 1990s. The dispute is about the company's failure to abide by a 2011 pay agreement and its below-inflation offer for 2013. But worker after worker at EDF has made clear that this is also about making a stand against an appalling employer.

Two days of strike action persuaded EDF to begin talks at ACAS, but these broke down before 16 June after the employer played daft games during negotiations. Unite offered to continue talks - but senior managers refused, because they said they had a planned trip to Paris!

A wide ranging work to rule began on 17 June. The campaign will be lobbying EDF HQ buildings and the French Embassy over the coming weeks.

Visteon pensions

Around 1,400 car manufacturing workers, who lost their jobs when employer Visteon went into administration in 2009, have won back 28 million in pension compensation.

Workers occupied factories in Basildon, Belfast and Enfield when the plants were closed five years ago. Since then the Visteon Pensioners Group and their Unite union have campaigned through protests and legal action to get back their pension contributions.

Socialist Party member and NSSN chair Rob Williams, who is a Visteon pensioner and former convenor at the Visteon Swansea plant that was sold to Linamar in 2008, said: "This doesn't cover what we lost or deserve but is at least some compensation and a reward for a struggle by pensioners and our union Unite that has lasted over five years... starting the day the sacked workers occupied their plants."

Transport for London

Once again members of RMT, TSSA and Unite working for Transport for London (TfL) took strike action on Friday 13 June in defence of pay and pensions.

TfL management plan to freeze our pensionable pay, with only the possibility of highly subjective one-off reward for performance payments in future.

The strike hit head office buildings, contact centres, lost property offices and closed Liverpool Street and Piccadilly Circus travel information centres.

Continued management intransigence can but lead to an escalation of this dispute, a test-case for similar attacks on London Underground pay and pensions.

A TfL worker

Look Ahead pay cuts

Look Ahead care workers protested on the steps of Hackney Town Hall on 12 June over threatened pay cuts of 14% which follow recently imposed pay cuts of 15%.

The Unite members now plan to ballot for strike action.

Already workers have been forced to move home because of the cuts. Now they are saying 'enough is enough'.

Another protest is planned for 19 June at 3pm. Hackney council funds the Look Ahead care service.

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Coronavirus crisis - 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.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • 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.
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We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

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In The Socialist 18 June 2014:

Socialist Party news and analysis

Strike back for a living wage

Report shows huge support for taxing rich

Survey shows potential for new mass workers' party

Them & Us

Kshama Sawant to speak at Socialism 2014

International socialist news and analysis

Iraq: Oil war's bloody legacy

Brazil: Upsurge in struggles of workers and homeless

Socialist Party workplace news

How should the RMT maintain Bob Crow's tradition?

Unison local government members want action on pay

Bakers call for 10 minimum wage

Escalation of FBU dispute begins

Lambeth College indefinite strike

Safety Glass workers strike for a real pay rise

Trades council conference: workers won't wait for TUC

Workplace news in brief

Come to the NSSN conference on 5 July

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition campaign reports

Rhydyfelin library saved

Nottinghamshire fire cuts - "pushed to breaking point"

Orgreave 30th anniversary - solidarity and celebration

Birmingham: new Socialist Party branch

Socialist Party Summer Camp 2014

Readers' comments and reviews

"Self-employed" and exploited

Book review: The man who loved dogs

Letters to the Socialist


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