Friday, 4 March 2011

A few union news stories

SO in the news today there has been a couple of interesting union news stories which often dont get the recognition and the news time as perhaps they should. I myself like to keep on top of union matters and feel they dont have a big enough voice in the mainstream media. The mainstream media often the capitalist's own media refuse to publish union news stories in a positive light if they do publish stories on them its usually some good old union bashing. Well i'm a trades union member and will speak up for them and give them a voice if they need to. I wont defend them to the hilt of course but i will when i feel they have been misrepresented and anti union laws have been enforced.

So below are two news stories which have made the BBC today

Unions welcome court strike ruling
The RMT had called a strike on the Docklands Light Railway
Court halts train drivers strike
Two rail unions have welcomed a court ruling that prevents minor mistakes in balloting being used to halt strikes.

Aslef and the RMT challenged injunctions blocking strikes over small faults in procedure, such as polling those not entitled to vote.

The Court of Appeal clarified the law, saying unions cannot be expected to always have up-to-date membership records.

Trade union leaders called the ruling a "major step for industrial freedom".

Two strikes that were planned separately - by the RMT on London's Docklands Light Railway and by Aslef on London Midland - were halted in the courts because of what were seen as technicalities.

In the Aslef dispute, an overwhelming "yes" vote was set aside, because the employer objected to two ballot papers that had been sent to two members who were not entitled to take part.

The court said in future that the information should be "as accurate as was reasonably practicable" and that allowances should be made for "small accidental failures" in administration.

'Massive victory'

Richard Arthur, from the law firm Thompsons, who acted in the case, said the findings were a major victory for the union movement.

"There's been a series of cases over the last 18 months to two years where employers have found it easier to get injunctions and the way the legislation has been interpreted by the courts has been ever more restrictive," he said.

"This case redresses that balance and interprets the legislation in the way its supposed to be interpreted."

Keith Norman, Aslef's general secretary, said it had been almost impossible to take legal strike action in the UK.

"If the employer could find the tiniest discrepancy, the courts would find in the employer's favour," he said.

Bob Crow, leader of the RMT, called the result a "massive victory" and said it paved the way for millions of members to take action over cuts to jobs and services in the coming months.

The second story from the BBC news today on union matters well done the BBC for getting two in today is on post ofice workers pay and conditions.

Post Office staff vote to strike over pay
The Post Office says the Crown offices are losing £55m a year
Staff who work in Crown post offices have voted to go on strike in a dispute over pay and possible branch closures.

Communication Workers Union members at the 373 branches voted by nine to one for a strike, on a 66% turnout.

Talks are scheduled with the Royal Mail but strikes could start by the end of March if they were unsatisfactory, the CWU warned.

The Post Office said it was "disappointed" by the result, adding that deliveries would be unaffected.

The union said it was worried by the lack of pay rise this year and the future of the Crown offices.

'Job security'

Crown post offices form the network of main branches in the UK's High Streets and employ about 4,000 counter staff.

CWU deputy general secretary Dave Ward said: "This ballot is about more than pay - it is the job security of our members and the future of the Crown office network which is also at stake.

"The government and the company appear to be hiding the fact that they are planning a programme of further Post Office closures," he added.

Last month, the Post Office rejected the CWU's claim for a staff pay rise, saying the Crown branches were losing money, amounting to £55m in the past year.

A spokesman for the Post Office, said: "Post Office is disappointed that staff in our 373 directly managed [Crown] branches have voted in favour of strike action. Some 97% of Post Offices are run by subpostmasters and they will be unaffected by any industrial action.

"Postal deliveries across the UK are also unaffected by this ballot result."

Just a few stories thre to get your teeth into. I'll trya nd highlight more union news stories in the coming weeks and months as giving unions a better voice on this blog may not be much but its something that the mainstream media fail to do.

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