Solidarity 306, 4 December 2013

Nurses: demand 4:1!

The 4:1 nurse ratio campaign argues nurses cannot look after an unlimited number of patients without patients suffering.

To ensure there is a safe number of nurses on shift there needs to be a mandatory patient to nurse ratio (4:1). Without that bottom line, financial pressures will always lead to reductions in nurses on shift.

Job cuts at Npower. Expropriate the energy industry!

Energy giant Npower has said it will make 1,460 staff redundant. Their jobs will be outsourced overseas.

Offices in Stoke, Peterlee, Thornaby in Teesside, and Oldbury in the West Midlands are being shut. Other affected sites are in the north east and Leeds. 540 office workers will be transferred to Capita.

Workers being made redundant are back office workers; the workers being transferred are call centre staff. There may be more redundancies, sell offs and outsourcing, which will effect thousands more staff.

Labour "opt-in" plan can be blocked

The Executive of the Unite union meets from 8 December. It will decide the union’s attitude on Ed Miliband’s drive to change union members’ Labour political-levy payments to “opt-in”.

Jim Kelly, chair of the London and eastern region of Unite, told the Guardian on 3 December: “Our executive has got to keep a collective voice, and that... has to be expressed through the block vote at a decision-making party conference where unions keep 50% of the vote....

Libya: the crisis and the constitution

Ongoing struggles between the Libyan government and militias may either be resolved or worsen on the 15 December. That is the date the government has set for the full incorporation of the militias — which have been at low level war with the government — into the army.

Prime Minister Ali Zeidan had the militias on the pay roll; on 15 December that pay will stop. The crisis is acute; the Amazigh and Tibu tribes of the south have respectively stopped the gas and the petroleum supplies to the north.

Thailand: free Somyot!

In recent weeks more than 100,000 anti-government protesters have taken to the streets of Bangkok and closed down numerous government offices.

The “yellow shirt” protesters are responding to the Yingluck Shinawatra government’s attempt to pass an amnesty bill that could lead to the return from exile of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Yingluck’s brother.

Tube union ballots for strikes

London Underground union RMT has begun balloting for strikes to stop a management cuts plan that will lead to the closure of every ticket office on London Underground and the loss of nearly 1,000 jobs.

Reinstate Charlotte Monro!

Charlotte Monro, an occupational therapist and chair of the Unison branch at Whipps Cross Hospital in north east London, has been sacked for speaking out against cuts.

Charlotte faced disciplinary charges, and was ultimately dismissed, after she raised concerns about a planned reorganisation resulting from the merger of two NHS trusts in 2012 which created Barts Health, the trust which now controls Whipps Cross (along with five other hospitals, including the Royal London in Whitechapel).

Lewisham teachers' pay win

The threat of strikes by teachers in seven secondary schools in Lewisham, south London, has forced school managers to withdraw an unfair pay policy.

The NUT’s national dispute on pay, workload, and pensions, provides a framework for union groups at school or borough level to escalate action in order to “secure an acceptable pay policy”, and the victory in Lewisham shows that, by standing firm, teachers can force concessions from local managements.

Education workers strike for decent pay

Higher Education workers in three unions struck on Tuesday 3 December against a 1% pay deal. University and College Union members in Further Education also struck to win better pay. A Unison activist in a large university spoke to Solidarity about the strike and the future of the dispute.

The strike seemed more solid at my workplace than the 31 October strike. We’re recruiting to the union as a result of the dispute, but it’s a slow process.

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