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(en) Britain, Anarchist Federation Resistance 120, March 2010 - page 4 - On The Frontline: Workplace round-up

Date Sun, 07 Mar 2010 10:56:46 +0200



Healthy victory for hospital workers ---- Hospital cleaners and other support workers have won a clear victory in Devon. A two-day strike by 200 cleaners, porters and cooks at North Devon hospital won them a lump sum of up to £3,600. They will also receive a salary increase dated from 1 January 2010 and sick pay. They celebrated their victory with a rally in Barnstaple on the 16th of January. Mark Harper, chair of the Unison branch at the hospital, said "The campaign was intense and relentless. We launched a rank and file campaign group that lobbied every meeting the board of directors had. We put up four huge 20-foot banners on the road to the hospital and stuck posters and stickers everywhere. The Trust bosses would pull them down overnight but the next morning they'd be up again...

We'd told the bosses that we'd
escalate to indefinite, all-out strikes if they
didn't meet our demands. They capitulated,
which surprised us. Sometimes if you stand
up and put up a challenge you never know
how far it'll take you. The power of a union is
immense when it decides to fight. But it's not
about it being the branch's fight or the union's
fight--it's about the members."

Building workers make a scene

Hundreds of workers walked off a building
site in response to what they saw as a serious
health and safety breach. Up to 500 employees
at Staythorpe power station near Newark,
Nottinghamshire staged a demonstration and
blocked nearby roads after taking the action
on February 16th. The workers called for an
immediate inspection to be held on the site
after claiming that some scaffolding had been
interfered with.

Strikes, suspensions and struggle in Somerset

More than 100 postal workers in Somerset
staged a wildcat walkout on February
14th in a row over the suspension of two
colleagues and threatened cuts. Employees
at the Bridgwater Delivery Office, one of
the biggest in the West, took to the picket
line in a bid to force a rethink on the
issue by Royal Mail. The row centres on
allegations facing two members of delivery
staff ­ one has been accused of intimidation
by a colleague and the other is subject to a
customer complaint. But workers are also
fearful of plans to cut 240 hours of work
from the Bridgwater team, leaving many
out of pocket or working part-time.
Phil Greenslade, who represents the
Communication Workers Union for the
Bridgwater branch, said the workforce was not
comfortable with the way the individuals had
been treated. He added that morale over yet
more possible cuts to services was extremely
low. He said: "People are not happy with the
way these investigations are being carried
out and we feel Royal Mail is taking a very
heavy-handed approach... These allegations
have not been proven, we do not agree with
what they have been accused of and this could
all have been dealt with internally before the
option of suspending the two postmen on full
pay was taken."
The protest was over almost as soon as it had
begun, with staff returning to work after an
hour-and-a-half, but the union will now seek
a ballot for strike action.
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