Fujitsu workers strike for decent pay and job security

Unite pickets at Fujitsu office in Wakefield – photo Iain Dalton

Workers at Fujitsu Wakefield took part in their second day of strike action as part of the ongoing national dispute over job security, pensions, the living wage and union recognition.

Iain Dalton, Socialist Party West Yorkshire Organiser

Fujitsu is cutting around 1800 UK jobs via offshoring, with some of these coming in as soon as March 20th, as part of its ‘Agenda 2020’ plans. This comes on top of a recent trustee decision which has retrospectively cut the pensions of over-60s which the company is refusing to negotiate compensation for.

Scandalously, the company has now said that all its workforce could be included in the scope of further redundancy execrises.

Reprinted in the leaflet being distributed by strikers on the picket line is a quote from a recent communication from Fujtsu CEO Lucy Dimes which states “If you do not recieve this notification [of being in scope] this does not necessarily mean your role is not affected by Agenda 2020 as there may be other areas of the business impacted as part of longer term projects.”

Unite members at Fujitsu are not taking this threat lying down and will be taking further strike action on the 24th and 27th March.

 

 

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Mary Creagh should resign not remain

Hundreds of signatures have been collected by Wakefield Socialist Party and Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition members calling for the resignation of Wakefield’s Labour MP Mary Creagh.
Mick Griffiths, Wakefield and Pontefract Socialist Party

She recently voted against triggering Article 50 to leave the EU. With a 66% vote to leave in Wakefield, she voted against the wishes of a clear majority of her constituents.

In just one week alone hundreds have signed our petition calling for her immediate resignation.

Throughout Europe workers have suffered cuts and austerity while banks have been bailed out. We intend to lobby our MP in the near future once we have amassed thousands more signatures in support.

Meanwhile, we have organised a public meeting to discuss a socialist Brexit programme on Thursday 9 March at 7.30pm at Black Rock, Wakefield.

Arriva Drivers Strike across West Yorkshire

Unite members picketing outside the Castleford depot - photo Iain Dalton

Unite members picketing outside the Castleford depot – photo Iain Dalton

Socialist Party members visited Unite picket lines at Wakefield, Castleford and Selby on Monday morning as workers for Arriva took strike action.

Not a single bus moved at Arriva’s Castleford depot as Unite members took part in a strike across the service in West Yorkshire. The 24-hour strike was taking place on both the issue of pay and driving hours, with Unite seeking a 20p an hour pay increase and a reduction in number of trips between breaks. A couple of young drivers talked of how they had to work for years before coming off the training rate. They also spoke of huge pressures on drivers over sick days, with many working while ill leading to more drivers coming down with illness and needing to take days off. The mood on the picket line was upbeat and determined. Yet despite the shutdown in the service, several workers felt they would need further action to force Arriva to meet their demands.

Iain Dalton, Leeds Socialist Party

Warm Reception for Corbyn and socialist ideas in Featherstone

Corbyn supporters at the rally in Featherstone - photo Iain Dalton

Corbyn supporters at the rally in Featherstone – photo Iain Dalton

On Saturday 10th September Jeremy Corbyn attended his 35th election rally within the last month, at Featherstone Rovers Rugby League ground. Several hundred gave him the obligatory standing ovations.

Mick Griffiths, Wakefield Socialist Party

Introductory speakers commented how it had been difficult to keep the faith with the Labour Party after the experiences of Blair, Brown and Miliband. However, Labour is now potentially back where it belongs, in the hands of the people.

A young recently new member asked the question, “Is it too much to want affordable housing, stable jobs, with decent wages, and free education for the future generations?”

Jon Trickett, Labour MP for the area, related back to the Featherstone Massacre of exactly 123 years ago, when miners were shot at for striking against pay cuts. Back then, Labour’s first MP, Keir Hardie, spoke at Featherstone and campaigned hard for the miners case.

It was raised that we face the same question today. Do we want a Labour Party led by socialists, fighting for a political voice of workers or yet again another set of pale Tory imitators?

Jeremy Corbyn said that the banking crisis was not caused by low paid cleaners in Yorkshire, it was caused by the greedy, poorly-regulated bankers. He said that we must, and will, offer something very different to the electorate. He went on to explain in full an alternative programme of good quality, full employment all over the country.

Corbyn summed up by saying Labour would eliminate all discrimination, come together with the people to work to defeat the Tories and create a UK society and world that is better for its peoples.

Socialist Party members were well received with a prominent stall outside the ground. We sold 84 copies of the Socialist and raised £35 for the fighting fund, as well as selling other literature including a copy of the ‘Rise of Militant’ book. Several young people expressed their interest in joining the Socialist Party.

Fast Food Rights march in Wakefield

Fast Food Right protest for £10 an hour minimum wage in Wakefield

Fast Food Right protest for £10 an hour minimum wage in Wakefield

Chants demanding £10 an hour minimum wage rang out through Wakefield city centre as activists from Baker’s, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU), Youth Fight for Jobs (YFJ), National Shop Stewards Network took part in a demonstration to mark the #FastFood Global day of action.

Iain Dalton, Yorkshire YFJ Organiser
Over the last week we’ve visited fast food workplaces across Wakefield and nearby shopping centres where we’ve received an enthusiatic response. On the evening after the protest, a public meeting heard via Skype from a Fast Food worker in New York taking part in the strikes and gaining ideas from that of how to take the campaign forward locally.

Socialist Party member and new BFAWU activist, Tom commented “We’ve had a fanatastic few weeks of raising awareness of the BFAWU and it’s call for a £10 an hour minimum wage, and if we continue taking that message to local workplaces I’m confident we can build BFAWU among fast food workers in Wakefield.”

Wakefield Council Votes to Oppose Fracking

Socialist Party members & Frack Free Wakefield District campaigners leafletting outside the council meeting - Photo Wakefield SP

Socialist Party members & Frack Free Wakefield District campaigners leafletting outside the council meeting – Photo Wakefield SP

Wakefield and Pontefract Socialist party comrades teamed up with Frack Free Wakefield District to Lobby Wakefield District councillors before a full council meeting. The Council was scheduled to debate housing and fracking. The result was that the council voted overwhelmingly in favour of a motion, which we have been calling for,  to oppose fracking and call on central government to withdraw licences issued for the Wakefield district. We also took the opportunity to lobby councillors on setting a no cuts budget prior to their budget meeting next month.

John Sibbald, Wakefield & Pontefract Socialist Party

Wakefield tells big business to frack-off!

Four fracking licences have been granted in the Wakefield District area to Hutton Energy and Igas which would completely surround the city of Wakefield and turn the whole area into a massive industrial complex.

John Sibbald, Wakefield and Pontefract Socialist Party

In response, Frack Free Wakefield District held its first public meeting in a packed meeting room at Lightwaves leisure centre in Wakefield.

The meeting started with speakers detailing where fracking was likely to happen and the problems associated with it and then a good discussion took place with questions and opinions from the floor.

We have done interviews with the local press and local radio station but they seem more concerned about the visual impact on local beauty spots and less on the serious health issues involved with fracking.

We have also sent a six page document to all 63 Wakefield District Council members but only received a meaningful reply from one, the council leader Peter Box. He has promised a full council debate on fracking at some point in the future. When that happens we will hold a rally outside county hall to personally lobby councillors.

Our demand from the council is that they publicly announce total opposition to fracking and other similar processes such as underground coal gasification. We also demand that the council writes to central government and ask them to revoke the licences which they have issued; this is a course of action already taken by number of other councils in the Yorkshire area.

Frack Free Wakefield District can be found on facebook here – https://www.facebook.com/Frackfreewakefielddistrict-531329090364278/?fref=ts