Industrial news in brief

Submitted by Matthew on 20 April, 2011 - 2:56

GMB members at Nottinghamshire County Council have voted 6 to 1 in favour of industrial action in an indicative ballot. A full ballot for strike action will now follow.

Workers at the council are facing a pay cut equivalent to 12%, comprised of several individual cuts. Many of these cuts are already in place.

Unison members at the council have already taken strike action, and although it comes later than might be hoped, the GMB’s decision to move towards action as well may contribute towards breaking the perception of the GMB as the “no-strike” union in many public sector workplaces.

London Ambulances

The number of emergency vehicles on London’s streets could be cut by 18% as the London Ambulance Service looks to axe 900 jobs as part of a £53 million “savings” plan.

The 900 posts include 560 “front line” staff, including paramedics and medical technicians. With ambulance call-outs currently increasing at a rate of around 4% per year, the increased workload on remaining workers will be enormous. Unions organising at LAS are consulting their members on how to respond to the cuts.

Saltend sit-in

Workers have staged a sit-in at the Saltend bio-fuels plant as the GMB, one of the unions which organises them, put itself on a war-footing by creating a £100,000 strike fund.

430 engineering construction workers have been locked for almost a month after their employers – companies contracted by Vivergo (a consortium made up for BP, British Sugar and Du Pont) to work on the plant — told them there was no more work available. The move is widely believed to be a ploy to replace the workers, who work under the terms of the National Agreement for the Engineering and Construction Industry (NAECI), with lower-paid workers not covered by the agreement.

GMB general secretary Paul Kenny said “It is reprehensible that neither the contractors nor the site’s owners, BP, seem to care about these 430 workers who have been locked out. GMB does care and will escalate the campaign for justice.” GMB shop stewards were due to meet on Monday 18 April to discuss taking the campaign forward.

Solidarity at the site has already begun to develop, with other groups of workers refusing to cross pickets put on by the locked-out engineering-construction workers. Protests at the gates of the site, near Hull, have already stopped traffic. Vivergo has said it is “appalled” by the protests.

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