Solidarity 216, 14 September 2011

New pension strikes set for 30 November

24 union leaders, meeting at the TUC on 14 September, have set a new public sector workers' strike against pension cuts for 30 November.

By Patrick Murphy, National Union of Teachers (NUT) exec (pc)

In the first few days of autumn it was just possible to hear the creak of arthritic joints as one public sector trade union leader after another slowly got up of their knees, cleared their collective throats and finally announced that they would ask their members to take strike action to defend their pensions.

Defend Dale Farm!

Hundreds of people marched on 10 September to show their support for the travellers of Dale Farm, who are facing the prospect of imminent, violent eviction by Basildon Council.

The atmosphere on the march — a mix of young and old, including travellers, locals and others from further afield — was vibrant and the speakers were positive about the chances of the campaign preventing the eviction.

Stop jailing children!

During the riots many who would normally describe themselves as liberals or moderate socialists repeatedly Tweeted and updated Facebook with their own calls for the use of “any means necessary” to restore social order.

If taken at their word, this would have meant the use of the full force of the state — police, police armoury, to disperse what people who were in many instances little more than children.

More victimisations on the Tube

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport workers’ union (RMT) on the London Underground could soon ballot again for strikes against bosses’ long-standing policy of sacking or disciplining union members for minor offences.

Fujitsu workers to strike

1,000 workers at IT company Fujitsu will take strike action on 19 September after bosses tabled a pay offer that the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS), which represents some of the staff at Fujitsu, described as “insulting”.

Southampton battle not over

Refuse workers have begun a new round of industrial action in the long-running Southampton council dispute, commencing a work-to-rule as part of the fight against the Tory council’s cuts.

Despite claiming a recruitment freeze is in place and threatening existing employees with redundancy, the council has now begun advertising for 16 jobs in the refuse collection sector.

Bedfordshire workers call bosses' bluff

Central Bedfordshire Council has become the latest local authority to attempt to impose worse conditions on its staff by threatening to sack them unless they agreed to new terms.

The council is proposing an across-the-board wage cut of 2%, despite having nearly £4 million spare in the budget after a projected overspend, on which the cuts plan was predicated, did not occur.

The council has imposed a 1 October deadline for staff to sign up to the lower wages or face the sack. But, less than one month from the council’s deadline, 600 staff have still refused to sign.

Barnet strikers face down lockout

Barnet council locked out workers due to strike from 1pm on Tuesday 13 September when they arrived at work on Tuesday morning.

Bosses appear to have given up on their (always half-hearted) negotiations with the council unions over their outsourcing plans and have moved to impose an offer to staff. The offer is far short of the “TUPE-plus” the council says it is.

Organising in the citadels of capital

The syndicalist union Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) has been organising amongst cleaning workers in the City of London, the heartland of British capitalism. An IWW activist spoke to Solidarity about the campaign.

A lot of cleaners start their first shift very early – at 6am or 7am – and have to be off the premises by 9.

Many will come back later for a shift in the afternoon or evening, and will often work on two or three different sites during a day or have other jobs.

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