Unite

Sparks give employers a shock

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I started working in the construction industry in 1993 as an apprentice electrician. Since then I have witnessed not just the lack of real-term pay rises, but also a year on year assault on our terms and conditions through forced bogus self-employment. So when I received a text message at the beginning of August from the London construction branch secretary calling a meeting to discuss how the eight biggest electrical contractors in the country wanted to tear up our 30 year old national agreement, my heart sank.

IT: A lot to be angry about

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The image of work in the IT industry is dominated by the clever nerd lacking social skills and the highly paid consultant.

Yet recent months have seen Unite members in Fujitsu staging the first ever national strikes in IT, over jobs, pay and pensions. A group of Unite members in Hewlett-Packard (HP) have won union recognition and, after a one-day strike, a 2.5 percent pay rise. PCS members in HP also struck over pay and jobs. Union organisation has now increased across IT.

Many organisations now outsource IT work. Mergers mean services are dominated by a few multinationals, like BT, HP, Capita, IBM, Fujitsu, Cap Gemini, Accenture, CSC, Atos Origin and Steria.

Superdrug: The poor can't pay anymore

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We have just been on all-out strike for three weeks. We struck to resist plans by Superdrug to attack our pay and conditions.

They wanted to abolish shift pay, worth £2,000 a year to some people; to take away sick pay from the first three days of every occasion; and to lower sick pay coverage from 13 weeks to seven weeks. They also wanted to cut overtime payment from time and a half to time and a third and to change our contracts to make us work flexible annualised hours.

That's why as a membership and as a union we called a postal ballot to vote for strike action. There was an 86 percent vote in favour of a walkout which we then decided had to be an all-out indefinite strike.

Standing up room only

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Thousands of bus workers across London have been part of a defiant fight against the privatised bus companies.

The roots of the militancy can be traced back to November 2006 when Metroline drivers took on the employers and won after two days of strike action. It proved that drivers didn't need to be afraid of standing up to their employers. It was like a burst of fresh air that was long overdue.

Jackson's Hole

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New Labour's favourite union leader is facing problems in the forthcoming election.

A remarkable transformation appears to have overtaken Sir Ken Jackson in recent weeks--morphing from his customary incarnation as great lummox into the D'Artagnan of the TUC. Presumably this is not entirely unrelated to the fact that Sir Ken finds himself up for election again, an experience he had not entirely bargained for and one which he has not undergone since 1995.

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