Sunday, 30 August 2009

Workers battles of the last week


Port workers in Dublin, Ireland continue strike



Some 30 striking port workers in Dublin, Ireland continued their eight-week strike action against Marine Terminals Ltd this week. The dockworkers, members of the Services, Industrial, Professional and Technical Union (Siptu), began industrial action on July 3 to oppose plans by the company to impose compulsory redundancies and attacks on pay and conditions. The action began when the firm withdrew from talks and imposed nine compulsory redundancies. At the rally one port worker claimed that she was being offered just €4,000 redundancy pay after working for the company for 11 years.
In an attempt to break the strike, Peel Ports, the UK company that owns Marine Terminals, has brought in workers to replace the strikers. On Monday, several hundred port workers and their supporters attended a rally to protest Marine Terminal’s actions. The rally began at the East Wall Road, Ringsend and proceeded to the offices of Marine Terminals at the port. Once at the company offices, a delegation of the workers staged an occupation there for around an hour.




Bus Drivers



Bus drivers employed by First bus in Chester, England struck in a dispute over pay on August 21. The staff first balloted for industrial action on August 11 following the imposition of a pay freeze. The action lasted for three hours. Management at First attempted to break the strike by recruiting management to drive buses.
Strike action and an overtime ban was originally planned to go ahead last month but was prevented after management gained an court injunction in order to make it illegal. They had cited irregularities in the strike ballot procedure.




Street cleaners


Enterprise Liverpool workers set to take industrial action this week
Some 600 refuse and street cleaners employed by Enterprise Liverpool are set to begin industrial action today following a breakdown in negotiations between the company and trade union representatives. The action has been called by the Unite and GMB trade unions in a dispute over pay and working conditions and will begin at midnight.
The strike is to involve employees in a number of departments taking different forms of action for several hours throughout the day. These include an overtime ban, work to rule and selective strike action. Refuse collectors, street and highway cleaners and street light maintenance staff are involved.
The trade unions claim that Enterprise Liverpool is responsible for the breakdown in talks and allege that the company also reneged on an agreement that averted industrial action earlier this month.



Essex fire fighters begin ban on overtime and rest-day working



On Wednesday members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) in Essex in southeast England began a ban on overtime and rest-day working. The action was in opposition to plans by the Essex fire authority to shed jobs and impose other changes to working practices. In July members of the FBU in Essex voted 79 percent in favour of industrial action short of a strike.
Referring to the Essex fire authority, a local FBU representative said this week, “Unfortunately, they are still determined to remove 44 frontline firefighters’ jobs, but talks will continue.”
Fire Brigades Union members in South Yorkshire to ballot for industrial action
Members of the Fire Brigades Union in South Yorkshire, England are set to ballot for strike action to oppose the introduction of new shift patterns. Firefighters have demanded the withdrawal of plans to turn 9-hour day shifts and 15-hour night shifts to 12-hour day and night shifts.
According to the FBU, 744 staff have been threatened with dismissal unless they accept the changes.
In June FBU members began a ban on overtime and also refused to carry out “detached” duties—firefighters going to other stations to cover staffing shortfalls.

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