Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/803/18309
The Socialist 19 March 2014 |
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Workplace news in brief
The report into blacklisting from the Scottish Affairs Select Committee was published on 14 March. The report calls for blacklisting firms to be banned from publicly funded contracts. They also paid tribute to the work of the Blacklist Support Group.
Chair of the Blacklist Support Group, Steve Acheson welcomed the report saying: "Honest hard working men and women have been denied the opportunity to provide for their families because we were members of a trade union or dared to raise concerns about health and safety on a building site."
Steve himself has been blacklisted and won a court case for unlawful refusal of work. But the judge reduced the damages on a technicality.
He then faced having his house repossessed. But the trade union movement rallied round in support and the appeal has just reached its target of £25,000.
Donations came in from trade union branches and other blacklisted workers and the appeal was backed by Bob Crow, Len McCluskey and MP John McDonnell.
Strike at HCA
Unite members at the Homes and Communities Agency have voted to strike over the divisive way the agency allocates pay. 68% voted for action because workers on HCA contracts are being treated differently from those transferred from the old Tenant Services Authority.
The pay offer has already been rejected three times by the staff and the Agency management have refused to go to ACAS. Unite are seeking more talks but the strike will go ahead if the Agency continues its intransigent stance.
Budget Day march
The POA prison officers' union marched against cuts and privatisation in central London on 19 March, to coincide with budget day.
Like much of the public sector, the prison service has been cut and privatised. POA members have been forced to work longer hours while suffering a pay freeze. They are also being forced to work until they are 68.
Lewisham education welfare
On 12 March, Lewisham's education welfare officers, members of Unite, held a successful one-day strike against a 50% staffing cut in their service, which has a good record in combatting school truancy through early intervention.
Pickets were angry at Lewisham's Labour mayor Sir Steve Bullock and his cowardly council, for using their massive Labour majority to carry out, rather than fight, the cuts.
There was growing interest in supporting the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition's local council electoral challenge.