Tag Archive for strike

UCU strike: “the money is there, so where’s our share?”

On both of the two hour strikes on Thursday 23rd and Tuesday 28th January, around 50 UCU members and students gathered for protest rallies outside Nottingham Trent University (NTU). The strike is about pay. UCU members were pointing out that whilst they were getting, in reality, a pay cut the vice chancellor’s pay increase meant he was now taking home £320,000 a year. One speaker at the rally asked the strikers, “Is that because he works ten times harder than us?” and was answered by a chorus of “No!”.
 
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Students spoke at the rally to give support to their striking lecturers, making the point that if students are paying £9,000 a year, they would rather that money was going towards decent lecturers, not into the pockets of the vice chancellors! I also spoke to give solidarity from Youth Fight for Jobs and talked about the use of zero-hours contracts on university campuses as well as the future (or lack of) facing young people leaving university.
 
At the second rally, members started to discuss the need to escalate strike action if this dispute is going to be won. NTU is one of 11 universities who are docking a full day’s pay from lecturers walking out for two hours. The aim of the management is to bully and scare UCU members into not taking any action but in fact the opposite has happened – they are more determined to take action and for the next planned two hour strike to be escalated nationally into a full day’s strike as a step towards further action.
 
The strikers finished their rally with chants of “the money is there, so where’s our share?”.

Stand up for education! Hundreds march in Nottingham on teachers strike

“Stand up for education – Gove must go!” is what hundreds of teachers were chanting as they marched through Nottingham on the day of their strike. The well supported march and rally was applauded by passers by as it made it’s way through the streets into the city centre. This made a big difference to the teachers who were saying “it’s good that parents realise we’re striking for their children”.
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One teacher spoke to the Socialist: “It’s a myth that teachers have short working days, long holidays and easy work. We’re concerned that children have enough pressure already, they should enjoy primary school, not be set to figures and results”.
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Many supported the demand for a national strike in November, enthusiastically taking the Socialist Party leaflet, and also the demand for co-ordinated action with other trade unions.

 

Solidarity with firefighters on strike

Members of the Fire Brigade Union took strike action on Wednesday for 4 hours against government plans to force them to work longer (until 60), pay more into their pension and get less money when they retire.
FBU have made it clear that firefighters do not want to take strike action but feel they have no choice in order to defend the service – many people do not have the same fitness level at the age of 60 as they do at the age of 30 and so public safety can be compromised if firefighters have to work longer.
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Around 45 firefighters impressively marched out of Nottinghamshire Central firestation in formation. Members of the public were coming up to the picket line to sign their ‘visitors book’ and bus drivers were honking their horns in support as they drove past.
One striker summed up the mood on the picket line when he said “The government is trying to pick us off one by one, we need to all be out together”. Many firefighters knew teachers who are preparing for strike action next week in the East Midlands and referred to other possible strikes and could see the need for co-ordinating that action.

PCS strike well supported in Nottingham

Members of PCS (Public and Commercial Services union) who work for the DWP and HMRC were on strike yesterday against cuts to public services. The government is closing HMRC enquiry offices and cutting jobs in DWP.

As part of a week of rolling regional action, PCS members in the Midlands and the South East struck and held rallies across the region. In Nottingham, after holding successful picket lines outside workplaces, strikers then spent time leafleting and petitioning the public outside the JobCentre on Station Street to build the opposition to the closure of HMRC enquiry centres.

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PCS has been instrumental in leading the fightback against the government’s austerity measures by campaigning against the idea that “cuts are necessary” by calling for investment to collect tax and provide decent public services.

Send messages of support to campaigns@pcs.org.uk

Save the DVLA: successful strike at Nottingham office

Members of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) took strike action today against government plans to close all 39 of the DVLA local offices, 10 enforcement centres and 3 processing centres. This would mean there would be no face-to-face services for DVLA customers and would also mean 1,200 job losses.

PCS points out that the government is making these cuts as part of their austerity measures but that it is a false economy. Not only will it put more people on to the dole queue but will also mean a rise in vehicle excise duty evasion which will cost the exchequer tens of millions each year.

In Nottingham, PCS members walked out at 3pm, taking 2 hours of strike action to defend the local office. This is the start of a month of rolling action by PCS in the Department for Transport (DfT).

Jan Watts, DfT Midlands branch secretary, spoke to the Socialist Party:

“It’s been a fantastic success here. All members have walked out apart from two managers. So I’m really proud of every one.

“We’re doing this today because we’re all under attack. It will mean that everything will need to be done via the post or the internet, which we don’t think is a viable service for the public. And also, putting another 1,200 people out of work in this economic climate is completely nonsensical.”

Check out pcs.org.uk/dvlapcs for updates and sign the petition at savethedvla.co.uk

Mass walkout at Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station against victimisation

Over 600 construction workers walked out of Ratcliffe on Soar power station this morning in protest against the suspension of Unite health and safety rep Jason Poulter.

Those walking out included electricians, pipe fitters, scaffolders and welders. Later today the night-shift workers are also going to refuse to work. This effected several companies on site with workers employed by Spie WHS, Dewson Babcocks, Alstom, FB Taylors, Howdens, Cape and C&D downing tools.

The walkout was planned by a recent national meeting of rank and file sparks, and was supported by members of the National Shop Stewards Network and the Socialist Party. Also at the protest was expelled Ucatt member Mick Dooley.

Jason was suspended by management six weeks ago for carrying out his trade union duties, an action that workers believe was taken in revenge for their success in defeating the Building Engineering Services National Agreement (Besna) which would have reduced pay and attacked terms and condtions.

This is just the first step in the campaign to reinstate Jason and what a start! Today’s protest has sent a clear message to the bosses: the rank and file aren’t going away!

Teachers plan strike at Kimberley School to say ‘no to academies!’

NUT members at Kimberley School, Nottinghamshire have voted for industrial action against the decision for the school to become an academy. The governors had previously ruled out this option but have since done a u-turn.

Notts NUT and Notts Save our Schools oppose the privatisation of schools in the county and are holding a public meeting on the day of the strike, Tuesday 29th May, at 7pm in Kimberley Parish Hall.

Nottingham Socialist Party supports this action taken by teachers. Academy schools are not controlled by the local authorities and are therefore not accountable. They are run for profit by businesses and not for the good of students. It will also mean an attack on teachers’ pay and conditions.

Education needs to be decent and fully funded – kick out the private profiteers!

Further protests against 5 Term Year plans for Nottingham schools

A loud and lively protest took place outside Nottingham City Council’s head office this week, by those teachers, school support staff and parent who oppose the City Council’s plan to alter the school year holiday arrangements.

The protest was organised by the NASUWT teachers union and attended by members of many unions as well as parents and pupils. The main slogan chanted was “Five term year, bad idea!”. The National Union of Teachers has already taken several days of strike action on this issue .

Although at first sight this is a local dispute between unions at Nottingham City and the local council, the issue has national significance not least because the City Council has threatened to force all school staff onto the new working patterns by a ‘dismissal and re-engagement’ process.

Whilst talks between the NUT, City Council and ACAS are currently underway, it does appear the Council is not at this stage prepared to back down. It is essential that the other school unions support the NUT by joining any strike action.

  A group of local parents –PA5TY – is also organising against the Council’s proposals and has already organised a well attended public meeting as well as a protest by parents.

Aslef strike remains 100% solid

Train drivers in the Aslef union took their 6th day of strike action today against attacks to their pensions by employer East Midlands Trains. In Nottingham, the strike has been 100% solid meaning that trains have been cancelled, with the few that are running been driven by managers!

East Midlands Trains are planning to lower both the employer and employee contributions to the pension scheme, meaning that it will be worth less. Aslef estimates that this will give the company a £2.1m windfall until the next valuation in 2013.

This short term view of the pension scheme by East Midlands Trains is because they may not be running the franchise in a couple of years. Aslef members are striking to protect the current pensions scheme.

Aslef have been trying to resolve this with the employer for nearly a year but East Midlands Trains are refusing to listen.

RMT (the rail workers union) have today started balloting for strike action by their members on East Midlands Trains. There is the possibility of co-ordinated action between these two unions, and possibly UNITE, in the near future.

I spoke to local Aslef rep at Nottingham station, Andy, who said:

“We’ve had a lot of support from both the public and the RMT members in the station. I think people understand that we are just trying to defend the pensions we’ve worked hard for. Our conference raised £1200 for our fighting fund and we also received a donation from the RMT.

“East Midlands Trains are trying to divide us but it won’t work. We’re hoping for co-ordinated action to push them back and defend everybody’s pensions.”

Bilborough College Nottingham strike Action over five-term year

On 25 April, NUT staff at Bilborough College Nottingham took strike action against cuts to frontline teaching services.

This is the latest in a string of strikes by teachers in Nottingham because the city council wants to move to a five-term year. Teachers have been striking for one day each week for the last three weeks, with large protests in the city centre.

Socialist Party member Helen Pattison interviewed local NUT rep Diane Fletcher. She said that last year the teachers had agreed to a temporary increase of 10% in workload. This was the equivalent of half an A-Level group extra. This took time away from supporting students and one-to-one contact time.

Now the 10% increase in workload is being made permanent and management are refusing to negotiate.

Diane hoped they wouldn’t have to take more strike action in the future but also said that they needed to win the fight against these cuts which would be damaging to both teachers and students.

They will be escalating their action to two days. Parents meetings are also being planned across the city to support the teachers.