Workplace news in brief

Prison officers prepare

Prison Officers Association (POA) members are gearing up to counter major attacks expected in the next few weeks.

On 12 and 13 February, their union leaders are in the Royal Courts of “Justice”, charged with violating New Labour’s scandalous restrictions on their right to strike, following their magnificent action on 29 August last year.

Members will be lobbying the court in The Strand, London, and other trade unionists will be there supporting them.

On 19 February an emergency delegate conference will be held to determine the union’s reaction to the government and court’s decisions. The mood is developing amongst many members that if the court’s decision goes against them, they will be out next day.

Next week, circumstances allowing, we will have an interview with a leading POA member.

Keith Dickinson

Fighting unsafe staff cuts

The rail unions RMT and TSSA have warned Transport for London (TfL) that they may ballot 7,500 workers for strike action over safety. This follows plans to close 40 ticket offices and cut the number of staff on duty.

TfL want to use more agency staff and introduce “mobile supervisors” at stations.

They have been forced to put on hold their plans to use sub-contractors at the new tube station at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 but they have still not withdrawn them.

The unions have not yet announced a timetable for the strike ballot.

National Shop Stewards Network Meetings

  • North East Regional Conference. 29 March 12.00-2.30 pm in the Irish Centre, Gallowgate, Newcastle.
  • London, Southern and Eastern Region: Meeting for bus reps and other busworkers.

    Tuesday 6 March, 7-10pm, Exmouth Arms, Starcross Street, London NW1 2HR

  • North West Regional Conference. 19 April, 11am-3pm, Manchester.

Single status battle

Workers for the London Borough of Waltham Forest are facing the imposition of a single status settlement by management.

This is despite recent unofficial action by workers in street cleansing and refuse collection unhappy at the possibility of losing between £60 and £100 a week if the council carries through its proposals.

Workers parked 40 dustcarts and street cleansing vehicles outside the town hall for 90 minutes on 10 January in protest at this drastic cut to their pay and received a lot of coverage in the London media.

At least two of the unions are unhappy at the imposed agreement and have referred it for further opinion to their full-time officials.

Kevin Parslow