The Socialist 8 February 2012 |
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Workplace news in brief
Stop press: Victory!
Today, Tuesday 7 February, Len Hockey received a letter from his employer Initial stating that there is no case to answer in their attempt to discipline him.
This is a fantastic victory against an anti-union employer who wanted to clear out a fighting union leadership.
Initial had trumped up a charge of Len meeting with union members without prior approval from management. Without a shred of evidence and with the fury of union members on their necks, management backed down!
As soon as the threat to Len was raised, with a unanimous show of hands, an emergency meeting of Unison members agreed to prepare for strike action and to demand the London region of Unison do everything in their power to defend Len.
Emails of protest flooded in to the employer from all over the country, and to Unison to demand they vigorously defend Len.
A campaign of protests at the gate and of petitioning around the hospital galvanised support across the board - from porters and domestics, nurses, doctors, social workers, ambulance workers, onsite nursery and canteen staff, hospital volunteers and visitors.
On the morning of Len's investigation, staff and visitors were met by a sea of "Defend Union Reps" posters and placards and a gathering of supporters.
On 1 February, around 60 construction workers and their supporters protested against the imposition of the new Besna contracts outside the Trinity Walk construction site in Leeds City Centre. Around 40 sparks also protested outside Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station.
They have been out each week for the past couple of months. There was a determined mood that they will continue with the weekly protests until they win.
Manchester electricians continued their protest at the central library Baileys site, and upped the pressure on the city council, which is the client.
Bus workers' demo
On 4 February around 150 striking Stagecoach bus drivers and their supporters turned out in Barnsley. The drivers are continuing and escalating their action in a bitter pay dispute. After a short march from the picket lines through the town centre, speakers addressed the defiant rally.
The demonstration itself was organised through Barnsley trades council and support came from many unions including Unison, GMB, UCU and NUT, who notably sent members from Rawmarsh in Rotherham, where Stagecoach have a depot. Only a year ago those teachers were on strike themselves, fighting for their jobs at the local community school.
The demonstration fell on the first day of four days of strike action on alternate days. This is aimed at maximising costs for management who are shipping in scabs from other parts of the country.
Strikers remain determined and report that scabs from some regions have refused to assist management.
Chris Bingham, Rotherham Socialist Party
National Shop Stewards Network
6th annual conference:
Saturday 9 June 11am - 4pm
Friends Meeting House, Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ
For more information see: www.shopstewards.net
Contact the NSSN at: [email protected] or PO Box 54498, London, E10 9DE