Workplace news in brief

Education walkout

On 24 February, lecturers’ union UCU and Unison will take joint strike action across England in the further education sector for the first time in a huge step forward in a sector – where pay, terms and conditions have been savaged in recent years. The unions’ pay claim, which amounts to just £1 an hour extra for further education workers, has been rejected by the employers. UCU members have been balloted for action and voted overwhelmingly in favour, with 74% voting to take action. Unison members backed industrial action with 66% in favour. There will be reports of the strike in next week’s issue of the Socialist.

Indy closure

Following news that the Independent newspaper will cease to produce print versions of its daily and Sunday papers the Independent’s NUJ chapel (branch) has passed a motion condemning the decision. Around 100 jobs could be lost and the chapel has resolved to fight the jobs cuts and “rejects the fact there has been no opportunity to consider alternative strategies. Decisions have been taken behind closed doors leaving staff to pick up the pieces.” The Socialist backs this decision and calls on the Independent to open the books to the NUJ and its workers. The Financial Times chapel has also voted to support journalists at the Independent.

‘Pay the rate’ protest

As part of a lengthy campaign by construction workers to force two contractors Interserve and BWV to adopt industry collective agreements, protests at two sites have been called. Both major contractors have declined to enter the agreements which guarantee minimum standard rates of pay. General unions Unite and GMB, alongside building union Ucatt, have also demanded that all employees working on the sites should be directly employed. The protests are both at 6.30am on 1 March in South Wales at Margham, Heol Caer Bont, SA13 2NR, and in Yorkshire at Templeborough, Sheffield Road, Rotherham, S60 1AD.