Workplace news in brief

British Airways

The BA dispute is still continuing but Unite has postponed the latest strike ballot for members to consider an offer from BA.

The company has revamped its offer on pay but it is still refusing to reinstate the strikers’ rights to discounted travel.

This affects at least 5,000 workers. The union is not recommending acceptance of the offer. It may take some time for all 11,000 members to be consulted, so any future strike ballot could be some weeks off.

Crowlin House victory

On 21 June, there was a definite victory for the Save Crowlin House campaign, when the Hampshire NHS trust met with families of residents about the future of the house.

This important facility has been granted another reprieve, thanks to the dedicated hard work of the Southampton branch of the Socialist Party, and in particular to Anne Kahn.

Anne’s daughter Soraya has learning difficulties and is a long term resident of Crowlin House.

In the year since the campaign started, we’ve encountered a union (Unison) leadership whose approach has silenced the entire staff, so that it’s been like fighting with one hand tied behind our back.

But we’ve done very well, keeping up the pressure on the Trust board, holding regular stalls, leafleting, etc.

When we heard the good news, we stood with our banner saying ‘Save Crowlin House’ in the grounds, and received a lot of support from passing motorists.

So celebrations are in order.

It seems quite certain that Crowlin House would now be closed if it had not be for the Socialist Party’s intervention.

But we can’t relax our guard, and will continued to put the Trust board under pressure for as long as they treat vulnerable people with anything less than complete respect.

David Rawlinson

Pilkington Tiles

Over 300 workers at Pilkington Tiles, Salford, may lose their jobs as the company has gone into administration, despite workers taking a 5% pay cut last year.

The prolonged crisis in the housing market has hit the demand for domestic tiles. KPMG have taken over Pilkington Tiles and have offered a third of the labour force a couple of weeks’ work to finish orders while they seek a buyer – or maybe an asset-stripper.

It is unclear at the time of writing whether production will continue on site.

On 25 June, a packed meeting of Pilkington’s workers voted unanimously for a demonstration at the factory gates on 28 June.

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition members leafleted the meeting with details of their activities and the meeting warmly received a speaker from TUSC who gave support.

50 workers joined the demonstration on Monday morning and six copies of The Socialist were sold despite workers not being paid for several weeks.

Paul Gerrard, Salford Socialist Party