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Workplace news in brief
Medirest NHS cleaners returned to the picket line on 7 March for a three-day strike in their ongoing battle over unpaid wages and sick pay. The failure to implement the NHS job evaluation agreement Agenda for Change in 2006 has left the workers without their right to NHS terms and conditions.
"We are not going away and will be here for as long as it takes!" was the angry and determined message from the pickets.
Stewards Jo Spear and Jacek Cholewicki demanded the chief executive meet to resolve the outstanding issues and are due to have face to face talks on 9 March.
- Send messages of support to Unison steward Jo Spear 07899 087957.
Post office strike ballot
Workers in the Crown post office network have voted for strike action by nine to one, with a 66% turnout. The dispute is over pay and job security for the 4,000 staff in the 373 Crown post offices. In spite of making increased profits last year, the Post Office is refusing a staff pay rise for this year and is considering closing more Crown offices. The union is seeking further negotiations.
Around 7,000 workers in Jobcentre Plus call centres are balloting for strike action over intolerable working conditions. The PCS members are fighting a bullying management who are obsessed by hitting targets, rather than providing a good public service. 2,000 staff went on strike in January over the same issues and the battle has now been widened to include all staff affected by these conditions.
Manchester RMT activist of 21 years Chris Smart has been sacked on trumped up charges by Network Rail. Network Rail has a history of attacking RMT reps and Chris is the latest example.
Chris visited blacklisted electrician Steve Acheson at Fiddlers Ferry, where he spoke to the Socialist: "I was sacked on 14 February 2011 for allegedly bullying my manager in the course of my union duties.
"It is completely untrue. I would never use my union position to bully anyone. It would not even occur to me.
"But other reps need to be aware of my case. As a union rep you are on a knife edge. If you are effective the company can accuse you of bullying their managers. Even the Tribunal judge said it is going to be unique - he had never seen a case before of a manager being bullied by a subordinate."
Andy Ford Warrington Trades Council
In recent elections the left has scored a major victory in Northern Ireland's largest trade union, NIPSA. Three Socialist Party members topped the poll on the executive, with the left winning 12 out of 25 seats.
For more information on workplace and trade union issues, see www.socialistparty.org.uk. For more on NIPSA see the CWI website: socialistworld.net.
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