Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1140/32737
From The Socialist newspaper, 30 June 2021
Support Sandwell Leisure workers: No to 'fire and rehire'
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.
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.
Donate to the Socialist Party
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.
In The Socialist 30 June 2021:
What we think
NHS after 3 July protests Trade unions must organise serious action
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
Post-pandemic railway battles loom
East Mids train guards strike
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?
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'
The Israeli working class
German Greens: The image and reality
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
TV Review: GB News
The Socialist 30 June 2021 |
Join the Socialist
| Audio | PDF | ebook