Protesting in support of a living wage for cinema staff

wakefield cineworld

Protesting for a living wage for cinema staff – photo Yorkshire & the Humber TUC

On the weekend of the release of the new Star Wars film, protests across Yorkshire took place in solidarity with striking cinema workers in the Picturehouse chain, who are currently engaged in a two-year long dispute to win a living wage.

Iain Dalton, Socialist Party West Yorkshire Organiser

The Picturehouse workers, members of BECTU, starting from the Ritzy cinema in London, have been taking action on a series of issues including union recognition and payment of the London Living Wage. Picturehouse had agreed to their demands, but since reneged on that pledge.

Socialist Party members took part in the protests outside the Wakefield Cineworld site and outside the White Rose Centre where the new Leeds Cineworld is based. A little over a dozen local trade unionists supported both events and received strong public support for the campaign.

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DVSA pickets strike against attacks on terms and conditions

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PCS pickets at the Wakefield Driving Test Centre near Ossett- photo Iain Dalton

PCS members at the Wakefield Driving Test Centre began two days of strike action on Monday 4th December against attacks on their terms and conditions of work as part of a national dispute.

Iain Dalton, West Yorkshire Socialist Party organiser

Whilst much of the media coverage has focussed on the strike being on the first day of the new driving test, which part of the dispute covers some issues with it, most of the pickets anger was focussed around the ‘flexible’ working arrangements management are attempting to impose on them.

This includes being able to deploy Ops staff to anywhere they choose without notice, but on top of this that the time taken by staff to travel to these deployments is to be done on their own time! This also means that staff travelling to such deployments wouldn’t be covered by the Civil Service Injury Benefits Scheme.

There are other issues such as around test schedules facing staff, and also including removal of premium payments for working voluntarily beyond their contracted Monday-Friday hours, similar to attacks taking place in the retail and other sectors as well.

Despite this being the first strike for some picketers, they were well equipped with a gazebo and bacon butties and hot drinks and pickets were bouyed by the news that there were no tests booked in at the site on Monday – DVSA offering for the first time in an industrial dispute to allow those booked in to cancel or re-arrange for another day.

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.

Obituary: Peter Vasey, 1957-2012

It is with great sadness we are made aware of the passing of our comrade Peter Vasey, whose obituary is featured in this weeks edition of The Socialist, reproduced here.

Peter Vasey, called Pete by his friends, died on 17 July at the relatively young age of 54. Born in Batley, West Yorkshire in 1957 to a poor family, he instinctively fought any authority figures who tried to rule his life. He had a very keen and lively sense of humour and was generous to a fault. Much banter took place when he was around and you had to be on the ball not to get caught up in one of his jokes.

A member of the Labour Party Young Socialists and a Militant (forerunner of the Socialist Party) supporter in Batley in the 1980s, he used his artistic talent to good effect. He made a plywood effigy of Tory Prime Minister Maggie Thatcher, with a “Job Destroyer” notice around her neck, which had a good impact in the local campaign against unemployment. He will also be remembered for his adventurous approach. For example, he made a seven foot kite of Lenin to raise fighting fund, then tested it out on Bridlington beach in gusty conditions – terrorising those nearby!

After the defeat of the momentous 1984-85 miners’ strike, however, he lapsed into inactivity but always propounded Marxist ideas, especially those of his beloved Engels.The demoralisation of unemployment blighted his life at this time too and he developed a drink problem. But after years on the dreaded dole
he finally got a job and was determined to never return to the sub-life conditions of unemployment. Proud of the working class he belonged to and never corrupted by the greed of the capitalist system, he was an inspiration, especially to his brother.

YfFJ Press Release

Yorkshire Youth Fight for Jobs have today published a press release concerning a Liberal Democrat candidate for the Wakefield Rural ward. It has come to the attention of YfFJ that Finbarr Cronin has been using the YfFJ logo’s on his election materials, claiming he supports the campaign, yet contrary to the views of Youth Fight for Jobs he is not standing on a platform against cuts! We wholeheartedly agree with their statement shown bellow, and encourage you to read their full post on this issue over at the Yorkshire Youth Fight for Jobs website.

“If Finbarr Cronin really supports the aims of Youth Fight for Jobs then he should resign from the Liberal Democrats and contest elections on a platform that includes the key demands of Youth Fight for Jobs. This is what Wakefield YFJ activist, Dan Dearden, is doing standing as part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition in Pontefract North ward.”

May 3rd, Vote TUSC Against Cuts

Wakefield & Pontefract Socialist Election Flyer

Wakefield & Pontefract Socialist Election Flyer

Wakefield Coalition Against Cuts – Update

Wakefield Coalition Against Cuts will be holding its next meeting tonight at 7:30 in the Red Shed in Wakefield town centre. Attendance at the meetings has fallen for a variety of reasons since Christmas. In light of recent events: the continuing fight against public sector pensions cuts, the recent protests against government work schemes and the successful outcome of the Electricians Unions struggle, it can be argued that a Wakefield Coalition Against Cuts still has a role to play both locally and nationally supporting and being active in whatever struggles are going on for this reasons this meeting is especially important and well help us relaunch the campaign.

We encourage as many people as possible to attend this meeting, and to pass on the information to anyone further who might wish to attend.