Industrial news in brief

Submitted by Matthew on 29 June, 2012 - 12:58

The GMB union has launched a landmark legal challenge against contractor Carillion, after evidence emerged that it had been involved in large-scale blacklisting of trade union activists in the construction industry.

The case is part of a wider labour movement campaign on the issue, blown open by the revelation in January 2012 that the shadowy “Consulting Association”, a data collection company used by numerous construction industry contractors, was holding files on over 3,000 workers containing information that could only have come from the police or other security services.

Meanwhile, GMB members at a hospital in Swindon (pictured) are continuing a dispute against Carillion.

Workers have so far taken 20 days of strike action in a battle over management bullying.

Doctors consider next steps

Over 1,000 operations and 7,000 appointments were cancelled on Thursday 21 June, as industrial action by the British Medical Association (BMA) made an impact.

60% of GPs’ surgeries in Scotland were affected by the action, where 3,650 procedures were cancelled.

The BMA’s annual conference, currently taking place in Bournemouth, will discuss the effectiveness of the action and plan the association’s next steps.

A spokeswoman said: “We have always been willing to return to talks, but it is the Government that has failed to return to the table to negotiate on the detail of the pension changes.”

Unite in pro-Europe vote

The policy conference of the Unite union has passed a motion supporting European unity and opposing calls for Britain to withdraw from the EU.

Although far from perfect, the motion represents a defeat for the Stalinists who were pushing for the union to take a left-nationalist position on the European question.

The conference also saw a heated debate on the union’s relation to the Labour Party.

University staff strike for decent pay

Support workers at the University of Birmingham struck for two days last week as librarians, technicians, admin staff, and other workers fought for a decent pay increase.

Unison, the workers’ union, says that they have suffered real-terms pay cuts every year since 2009 as pay deals have failed to keep pace with inflation.

It is the first strike by support staff at the university for 20 years. University bosses want to increase support staff’s pay by just 1.9%, despite the university’s surplus increasing from £22.3 million to £27 million last year. Support staff, many of whom earn as little as £13,000 per year, are already second-class citizens at the university – receiving only 6 months’ sick pay entitlement (compared to a full year for academic staff).

Unison official Dawn Sant said: “Support staff are absolutely vital. If academics didn't have their support to help with students, or the management, then the place would simply grind to a halt.

“Support staff work shifts and work long hours, so it is only right they get the pay they deserve.”

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