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Teaching strikes Tues 1st Oct

The NUT and NASUWT unions in the East Midlands, West Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside and the Eastern regions are on strike on Tuesday October 1.

The strikes are over pay, pensions, workload and conditions. If you live or work near a primary or secondary school do your best to show your solidarity.

PAY

Education round up 27 July 2012

(Un)Qualified teachers wanted.
While the eyes of most people, both critical and uncritical, are drawn to the Olympics, secretary of state for Education, Michael Gove, has introduced possibly his most significant and destructive piece of reform.

Academies no longer need to employ qualified teachers to teach lessons. Gove heralds this as 'freedom' for academies to employ 'the best for the job'. So while trying to raise the profile of teaching, he's doing the exact opposite. But this is a smokescreen. This is nothing to do with profile, or improving education, or getting 'the best for the job'. It has everything to do with driving down pay and conditions.

Northampton: Office Angels picket 28th April

Members of Northampton Solidarity Federation today picketed the local office of Office Angels in connection with the current dispute over non payment of wages.

We talked to many passers by about the bad practice and heard several stories of mistreatment at the hands of employment agencies, particularly of underpayment and summary dismissals. One worker in particular related instances where she had worked for long periods of time for agencies only to be laid off for one day's illness.

UK news in briefs

Government 'war games' against the working class

The Cabinet Office has reportedly been carrying out ‘war games’ to prepare for possible strike action against sweeping cut backs. Plans have centred on ensuring there’s enough scab labour available to break strikes in key sectors. 

Ministers have already suggested they will tighten Britain’s already draconian anti-strike laws in the event significant strike action breaks out. A string of recent strike ballots have been ruled unlawful in the courts, using technicalities to annul majority votes for action. Both Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne have threated to further tighten the law “as a last resort” if union bosses don’t co-operate.

Merseyside protest at planned plant closure

“More (crap) Jobs than Ever” ... Tony Blair claims...

The Labour Government repeatedly claims that there are more people in work than ever. “This year, for the first time, there are more than 30 million in the workforce” boasted Gordon Brown recently. But sadly, there.s more to it.

On the face of it, Labour.s record on employment is good. According to the International Labour Organisation, unemployment in Britain stands at 4.8%, not bad when compared with the Eurozone.s 9%. But, as always with Labour, the devil is in the detail.

Service not included

Following our piece on tips in the last issue, The Independent launched a campaign on the same issue. They didn’t credit either us or the trades unions, which have been campaigning on the issue much longer.

This newspaper campaign seems to have had some effect, however. “Government insiders” now claim they will address the issue in the autumn. More significantly, a prominent “Old” Labour figure has admitted delivering restaurant workers into the hands of their exploiters when drafting minimum wage legislation in 1997.

Ian McCartney, ex-trades union official and token ex-prole in the government, admitted that he sold out workers to ensure the agreement of bosses to the minimum wage. While this ex-waiter banned the use of cash tips to top up the minimum wage, he agreed to a legal loophole allowing catering bosses to use “service charges” for the same purpose.

Service not included

Following our piece on tips in the last issue, The Independent launched a campaign on the same issue. They didn’t credit either us or the trades unions, which have been campaigning on the issue much longer.

This newspaper campaign seems to have had some effect, however. “Government insiders” now claim they will address the issue in the autumn. More significantly, a prominent “Old” Labour figure has admitted delivering restaurant workers into the hands of their exploiters when drafting minimum wage legislation in 1997.

Ian McCartney, ex-trades union official and token ex-prole in the government, admitted that he sold out workers to ensure the agreement of bosses to the minimum wage. While this ex-waiter banned the use of cash tips to top up the minimum wage, he agreed to a legal loophole allowing catering bosses to use “service charges” for the same purpose.

Cleaning up on the tube

London tube cleaners have won crucial pay increases from cleaning companies, with their £5.50 an hour poverty wages being brought up to £7.45.

Cleaners on Metronet contracts were granted the ‘ London living wage’ in July through a wider initiative whilst those working for ISS (contracted by Tubelines) won a staggered pay rise in pre-strike negotiations in August.

With the 48hour RMT strike in June/July and the planned three day strike in August forcing the hand of ISS, the cleaners have demonstrated their strength and gained from it. However, their fight is far from over with the strike committee continuing to meet in pursuit of unmet demands - more holidays, better sick pay, a decent pension and an end to the scandal of ‘third party sackings’.

The real cost of inflation

If the government were to announce that it was cutting the wages of all workers there would be uproar. Yet this is exactly what they have done by calling for ‘pay restraint’ and capping all wage rises at 2%. A below-inflation pay ‘rise’ is a pay cut. No amount of statistical trickery changes this fact.

The government’s favoured measure of inflation, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is currently running around 3.3%. However, this excludes mortgage repayments. Does that mean we don’t have to pay them back out of our falling wages? No such luck. The inflation measure that does include these payments is called the Retail Price Index (RPI). It is currently running at around 4.3%. So by the government’s own figures they are imposing a pay cut of over 2%.

Have your say: Single Status

Dear DA,

As if the credit crunch wasn’t bad enough, many of us employed in local authorities are now also reeling from the effects of “Single Status” implementation.

The 1997 Single Status agreement between employers and public service unions called for a pay and grading review of all local government posts. Many were conned into believing it would give a fairer pay structure within and across local councils. Indeed, at the time, the union bosses told us that “many will gain and nobody will lose”.

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