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Workplace news in brief
Education dept strike
PCS members at the Department for Education have voted to strike over a threat to 1,000 jobs and six offices. In a ballot of 1,800 workers, 63.3% of those who voted supported strike action and nearly 90% in favour of other industrial action. Education minister Gove is clearly using his own department as a test bed for severe cuts in the civil service and increased privatisation.
Pickets were out early in Southampton on 18 February as part of a national strike at the BBC over compulsory redundancies.
Nationally 30 jobs are under threat by the end of March. Over 2,000 jobs are being cut across the BBC as part of the euphemistically titled Deliver Quality First programme.
Tom Hepworth, FOC NUJ BBC South, said: "Locally four have been given notice of redundancy. Experienced journalists are being put on the scrapheap when plenty of posts are unfilled and the BBC is advertising externally.
"The cuts planned, if they go ahead, will make the BBC unrecognisable. You can't get quality journalism on the cheap".
Dominic Blake, FOC NUJ BBC South, commented: "The BBC is wasting vast sums in redundancy payouts by forcing people out of their jobs whilst advertising other vacancies. It is a callous way to treat loyal staff, and a cavalier use of public money".
Union members are determined to defend their jobs, pay and conditions as part of defending quality journalism at the BBC.
Striking lecturers at Halesowen college in the west midlands marked Valentine's day with a giant card, featuring the message "No Love Lost" and the names of 12,000 supporters who have so far signed the petition against the victimisation and sacking of four maths lecturers for trade union activity.
College management have used results and targets as an excuse to bully lecturers. One of the four, UCU branch secretary Dave Muritu, spoke to the Socialist:
"I'm really heartwarmed to see the branch standing up to bullying management. If these sackings go unchallenged, no teacher is safe"
Whipps Cross Hospital
Hospital workers rally against attack on pay and hours
Contractor Initial is trying to cut the pay and hours of 36 domestic staff at Whipps Cross hospital, east London. On 18 February a large number of hospital staff and other trade unionists protested against this at the hospital gates. Unison branch secretary Len Hockey said: "domestic staff play a vital role in keeping the hospital free from infection. They barely have enough time at the moment to get the job done."
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