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Workplace news in brief
Unite the Union members working for Smurfit Kappa packaging in Northampton, took 48 hours of strike action from 1 April in support of two sacked senior shop stewards who have stood up to the company over 'race to the bottom' contracts.
The 108 Unite members voted by 60% for strike action. Around 50 workers were out on their vibrant picket line.
Reporting on the successful strike action, sacked steward Paul Metcalfe said: "The majority of people supporting this week's strike were not activists or militants, just ordinary working people who were prepared to give their time and support to what they believed to be unfair and unjustified actions by the company management. Most of them had never been on strike before and behaved with courage and dignity throughout the action and have sent a message to the company that surely cannot be ignored."
Earlier this year, Smurfit Kappa announced €378 million global annual profits.
Unite members working as drivers in passenger services for Hackney council took strike action on 2 April against pay cuts of 50%. Local TUSC parliamentary candidate Brian Debus visited the picket line to show support and solidarity - the only candidate to support the strikers.
Unite members working for Bromley local government took strike action on 7 and 8 April in opposition to the council's privatisation plans and attack on the workforce pay and trade union rights.
The council is proposing to privatise the majority of its services, including libraries, parks, planners and social services, leaving the local authority with a limited "commissioning role".
A public campaign led by Unite has led to nearly 1,000 residents demanding the council drops plans to privatise the library service and replace professional staff with volunteers.
The local union branches are looking to escalate the action with Unison branch having requested a ballot for its 1,000 members.
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