Thursday, November 04, 2010

Twenty years ago this week... the New Worker

Fifteen hundred engineering workers at the Liverpool plant of tele-communications company GPT, will strike from November 23 unless the company puts forward acceptable terms for a shorter working week. The manual workers voted about 4:1 in favour of industrial action last week, although white-collar workers voted against. Dave Gough, AEU activist told the New Worker that a major stumbling block has been the company’s refusal to accept a four and a half day week. He said the company had put forward 14 points in all, some of which were “window-dressing” while others were far more significant. The Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions has reached 1,200 agreements reducing the working week from 39 hours to 37 for over half a million workers. The CSEU has called for a strike ballot at MEM in Tysley, Birmingham, and has also given the go-ahead for strike action at Howden Sirocco in Birmingham. In the Rolls Royce aerospace group, attempts to reach a final agreement for all 20,000 manual workers stalled last week.

Those in favour of a merger have won a simple majority in the Civil and Public Service Association’s ballot. Around 55,000 or 42 per cent of CPSA’s membership voted. This is an exceptional high return in any postal ballot. The majority in favour of merger with the National Union of Civil and Public Servants was just less than 1,500. A simple majority is all that is required. NUCPS members have already voted overwhelmingly in favour of the merger. The result, announced last week, was 27,000 voted for and 6,000 against, in a 29 percent turnout of NUCPS’s 118,000 members.