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What we saw

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From: The Socialist issue 986, 14 March 2018: Determined UCU strikers; We're out to win

Search site for keywords: Unions - What we saw - Newham - Academies - Workers - Unite - Usdaw - Union - Schools - Somerset - Len McCluskey

Workplace news in brief

Hinkley sit-in

A two-day sit-in by 500 workers at the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset won the workers' demand for pay. Bosses had threatened to dock pay for not attending work when the site was closed due to heavy snowfall.

When employees returned to the site on 6 March they were told they would not be paid for the days they were off.

The workers' unions GMB, Unite and Prospect have announced the project is back underway after the 'Beast from the East' sit-in protest which halted work for four days.

Newham academies

The battle against academies is continuing in Newham, with a lively picket at Avenue Primary School on 13 March. Avenue will take six days of strikes over the next fortnight, with other schools in the borough coordinating action.

Campaigners recently lobbied a full council meeting, and won a vote for the council to take an anti-academies position. This is welcomed.

But the motion made no provision for schools currently attempting to convert to academies, so the strikes continue.

What we saw

Nick Cohen

Nick Cohen   (Click to enlarge)

In his diatribe against Len McCluskey and his leadership of Unite the Union, Nick Cohen in the Observer (11 March) contrasts Unite's 'poor' record with Usdaw the shop workers' union.

Cohen claims: "The shop workers' union Usdaw fights equally necessary and difficult struggles to stop cut-price supermarkets cutting pay and conditions."

On the contrary, they don't! Contrast Usdaw's current position on the Sainsbury's deal with Unite's. That is why members elected Socialist Party (formerly Militant) member Amy Murphy as president last month so that Usdaw does fight those battles.

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Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

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