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From The Socialist newspaper, 30 June 2021

Support Sandwell Leisure workers: No to 'fire and rehire'

Sandwell picket line. Photo: Black Country TUSC

Sandwell picket line. Photo: Black Country TUSC   (Click to enlarge)

Richard Gingell, Black Country Socialist Party

On 25 June, Unison union members working for Sandwell Leisure Trust (SLT), West Midlands, organised a strike at a number of leisure centres across the borough. Their grievance is one we've heard too much of recently: 'fire and rehire'.

The new contracts being imposed by the trust would see a two-year pay freeze and staff being taken out of nationally agreed terms and conditions for local government workers. This is despite the trust having maintained 4 million of reserves during the pandemic.

Socialist Party members supported the striking workers on the picket lines, which swelled with activists throughout the day.

Over three sites (Portway Lifestyle Centre, Tipton Leisure Centre and Smethwick swimming baths), strikers met a favourable public response, with many refusing to attend the centres that day in support.

Living wage

They also received a visit from Dudley Trades Union Council and from local Labour councillor Kerrie Carmichael. But will the Labour controlled-council put some real pressure on SLT to fix this dispute?

Last year, the council offered SLT an emergency payment, which was declined. The unions want these services brought back in-house to ensure a living wage for the staff.

While SLT workers are represented by both Unison and the GMB unions, allegedly the GMB leadership was unable to muster up enough support to even attempt a strike ballot. This is a true shame in the face of what is clearly an attempt at dismantling the rights workers have fought so hard for over the years.

It's now, more than ever, that we need union leaderships to step up and truly begin to organise their members to combat these underhand tactics being brought to bear against them by unscrupulous employers.

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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.

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In The Socialist 30 June 2021:


What we think

NHS after 3 July protests Trade unions must organise serious action


NHS

Fight to save our NHS

Royal London Hospital

Fight the health and care bill

Keep private hands off NHS patient data

We don't want a USA-style healthcare system


Railways

Post-pandemic railway battles loom

East Mids train guards strike


News

Stop the Channel 4 sell-off!

Hopeless Hancock replaced

Millionaires multiply during pandemic

Dalian Atkinson - police found guilty of killing ex-footballer


Biden police reform

Can Biden reform the police?


Workplace news

Socialist candidate wins NIPSA general secretary election

Gateshead: Sacked electricians reinstated

Support Gary Clark for CWU executive

Support Sharon Graham for Unite general secretary

End bullying and victimisation at Oaks Park school

Unite members step up action against bullying Mungo's managers

Sandwell Leisure workers: No to 'fire and rehire'


International

The Israeli working class

German Greens: The image and reality


Campaigns

Protesters halt Nadia's eviction

Brighton: Moulsecoomb strike against academisation

York residents demand land for local community needs

Young Socialists march in London

Pride is a campaign, not a business opportunity


Readers' opinion

TV Review: GB News

Readers' comments


 

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Related links:

Leisure:

triangleSave John Carroll - fight is far from over!

triangleSave John Carroll Leisure Centre

triangleDefend Bracknell Community Services

triangleBromley Libraries 'restructure' in middle of pandemic!

triangleReading Labour council: Stop privatising our leisure services

Workers:

triangleIsrael: Hospital ancillary workers' strike suspended

triangleIn brief: News, reports & analysis from the CWI

triangleFight Freeports to stop bonfire of workers' rights

triangleNationality and borders bill

Union:

triangleYouth Fight for Jobs is officially relaunched

triangle'Pingdemic' exemptions

triangleNew left NEC meets - Organise the fight back now

Council:

triangleBarnsley 'Big Green Space' protest

triangleEast London resident fighting eviction again

Strike:

triangleBexley bin workers strike for better pay

GMB:

triangleFight back against British Gas bosses' 'fire and rehire' offensive

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PCS

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